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Friv
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Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

04 Apr 2009, 00:18

Within the Jade Pleasure Dome, the Games of Divinity went on.

Some would have called it odd. Others, less tactful, would have had far fouler things to say of the gods that clustered around the Games, their attention on each move as they sought to block the thought of the terrors that befall their mortal charges from their minds. But in the end, the attitudes of the gods were not so different from those of the humans they guided. Bereft of the ability to interfere in Creation’s affairs, unable to do so much as wipe the brow of a dying worshipper, they had elected to turn away altogether, to distract themselves with the only thing that could bring joy instead of silently watching tragedy. Thus, while Yu-Shan was quiet, the Games were more crowded than ever, with every god able to wrangle an invitation present to watch as the Incarnae took their moves.

It was Luna’s turn at the Games, and she was debating her move thoughtfully. The Sun hung in the sky above, and gods whispered that there was no move she could make that would grant her the lead this time. In truth, even the most stalwart observers had been having difficulty discerning her strategy of late. The Changing Maiden was distracted, even more so than the other Incarnae, and her latest moves had the sense of a god uninterested in the slightest fragments of logic or plan. Older, more cunning gods had suggested that this, itself, was likely a strategy – predicting the goals of the Moon-Mother was difficult at best. Perhaps it was simply that Gaia, while present, had turned her attention from the Games to focus on the war against the Yozi. At least someone could.

Now, though, Luna was moving, a secret smile passing over her features as she looked towards her lover. Gaia looked back, with an approving nod, and the gods craned their heads to consider the move. Whispers and murmurs filled the hall, for with her shift Luna had not gained control, but passed it to Saturn. The sky above darkened, faint trails of purple light filtering into the building as the Maiden of Endings stepped up to the board with a perplexed frown – though she had made many moves in the past, she had never before gained control of the board, or even truly sought it. It was not in her nature, and she seemed uncertain of what to do with it. Some gods chuckled ruefully, seeing the pattern of Luna’s recent movements unfold, and wondered why she had put her fellow on the spot so suddenly. A joke, some whispered. A challenge, said others. There had to be some meaning to it.

Saturn’s gaze rose, and met Luna’s. She took a deep breath, sudden understanding crossing her features, and looked down at the board again, a mixture of fear, and hope, and sorrow on her face all at once.

She moved.

The doors of the Jade Pleasure Dome blew open, slamming against the walls with terrible force. Serafin Ordered-Chaos, the Conduit of Gaia, strode through, with a bevy of Celestial Lions flanking her on either side, each other attempting to plead with her to stop, to listen, to just pause for one moment and possibly… she ignored them. Behind her, seven grey-robed figures walked in unison. The crowd of the gods parted before their approach, as the doors slammed shut behind them under the force of an invisible wind. The hall went silent.

The Unconquered Sun spoke first, mildly chiding, but with a concerned glance towards Gaia, who returned it blandly. “Lady Conduit. Exalts are not meant to enter the Jade Pleasure Dome.”

“No, they aren’t.” Serafin met his gaze evenly. “But I am not merely an Exalt. I am an arm of Gaia, and as such I and whatever retinue I choose to bring cannot be denied entrance.”

“It’s true.” Luna observed blandly, seemed utterly unsurprised by the interruption. “We don’t technically have the authority.”

“I am aware, I simply wondered at your decision.” Sol shot Luna an annoyed look for undermining him, before dismissing the issue and turning his attention to the congregation. “Just as I know who you have brought with you, Serafin. And I see that this is not a battle that I care to fight.”

“That is wise of you, O Light. You wouldn’t like the result.” Stepping forwards, the first of the grey-clad figures spoke as each removed their cloaks. The Lions, who had been crowding ever-closer, recoiled with immense speed, as did every god sitting within five hundred yards. It was nearly comical, and in fact won a smothered snicker from Parakk the Bold. For now it was clear that eight Conduits stood within the chamber, and not one. Harakken Cyrus, who had spoken, continued with triumph in his voice. “We chose this route solely because we didn’t want to ruin too much of your precious city, and you have left certain instructions with the Lesser Elemental Dragons that might have proved mildly annoying.”

The hall was silent, thousands of eyes fixed on the centre of the room. The Games themselves could not have rooted them to their seats more firmly. The Sun smiled sadly, looking over to Gaia. “Then it has come to this? I knew you were displeased. I never imagined you would reach such a drastic conclusion.” He sighed, with a nod, and stepped backwards, away from the board. “Perhaps I should have. Perhaps your decision is correct.”

“It is what must be.” Saturn’s voice spoke up suddenly, as she led her sisters away. “A new age demands new thoughts.”

Cyrus smiled again. “Thank you for not challenging us. I would hate to have to replace you.”

“Enough, Cyrus. We aren’t here to antagonize them.” Bowing her head, Serafin stepped solemnly up to the board. Around her, the others did the same, Parakk and Sillia taking opposite sides of the board, Thelos moving behind Cyrus, Tide Star and Wind Daughter flanking Parakk and Sillia and the Perfect standing alongside Serafin. “End this.”

Each of the Conduits nodded as one. Their arms raised, and power flowed from them. The air rippled and shook as seven of the Yozi were channeled, raw power ripping through the chamber for a moment, blasting the roof away from the Dome in a shower of Essence. Then Sacheverell’s weavings caught those of the others, twisting them around into a spiral that dove down towards the Games.

Harakken Cyrus’s voice rose triumphantly over the din, meting out his proclamation. “When the world was new, the Primordials built the Games of Divinity to amuse themselves in their home. When they fell, the Games were taken by the gods who had claimed their thrones. Now, the thrones are broken, and the Games with them! As I wove the fabric once, so do I unweave it!”

A tower of Essence rose, cracking through the Games with terrible force. Incandescent and flowing, it rose into the sky like a river, sending a million shades of color rippling across the sky. The night was banished, replaced by a scintillating mix of colors as the Essence that had powered the Games erupted harmlessly above, its power coursing across the sky to fall through the walls of Heaven. For a moment, awe overcame shock, as every being in Yu-Shan paused to watch the sheer beauty of the sky.

Then memory returned, and the eyes in the Dome went from amazed to horrified. The Incarnae alone had nothing to say, simply watching the Conduits with the solemnity of those who refuse to fear.

Cyrus’s face was damp with sweat as the victorious raging voices of the Yozi faded away once again. “It is done. The Games that distracted you from your duties and incited you to treason are removed. Now, you will watch as we remake Creation in our image. You are rulers no longer – now, you will bow to your Primordial masters.”

No.

Cyrus froze. He turned slowly. “What?”

Gaia rose from her seat at last, her skin rippling with rainbow light. She opened her mouth to speak, and a thousand voices sang in harmony. I said No. Her gaze swept the room, and Incarna and Conduit alike quailed at her fury. Only Serafin and Cyrus himself stood firm as her resolve bore down on them. There will be no slaves. There will be no masters. The Games are done, and all that they represent.

Serafin spoke, echoing the words of her mistress. The Perfect stood beside her, and his voice was added to her own. And as Cyrus glanced around the room in panic, he saw her other companions, Tide Star and Wind Daughter, nodding resolutely. “The Primordials enslaved the gods, and the gods enslaved the Primordials. You have destroyed one anothers’ panoplies, murdered each others’ friends, slaughtered each others’ followers. You have made Creation into a bloodbath in an escalating series of wars. It ends now. It ends forever. And no one is leaving this room until we find a peace that Creation and the Primordials alike can agree on.”
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

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BrilliantRain
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Re: Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

04 Apr 2009, 00:51

Heh. Saturn gets the last move. Saturn always gets the last move.

Of course this is a battle you care not to fight. You might lose, and then you could hardly be unconquered anymore.

Gaia was playing a very deep game. Nice to see how it ends.

Hmmmm.... So, the conduits job was to deal with the Yozies and GoD, then does that mean that it is Mnemon's job to deal with the deathlords and other underworld beings? Or was she not in on the plan?
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Dinosaur
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Re: Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

05 Apr 2009, 17:07

Cyrus will soon be joining the games?
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Deaths Pale Mistress
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Re: Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

06 Apr 2009, 13:23

It looks like were going to witness a second accord between the Primordials and the Gods only this time the idea is make it so everyone comes out with something rather than nothing - a veritable reset button if you will, without using the Sword of Creation to destroy everything and send Creation spiraling into the Void. I think Mnemons purpose in the Imperial is far simpler than it is complex but the true purpose escapes me.

Good work Friv. I'm eager to see how this ends.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
 
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BrilliantRain
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Re: Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

06 Apr 2009, 23:51

Well, Mnemon could simply be serving as a distraction for the Silver Prince. Alternately, she could be planning to use the internal gate system to blow up the Underworld or something.
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Friv
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Re: Age of Blood and Bone, Part Fifty-Five: Unilateral Action

09 Apr 2009, 09:26

BrilliantRain: Yeah, Saturn always gets the last move. ;) As far as Mnemon goes... well, it's going to come up. Her plan is both very complicated and extremely simple, and is the last piece of the equation that hasn't been shown yet. >:)

Dinosaur: Anything's possible. It's probably too late for an Avoidance Kata, at the least.

Heavens Gardener: It's certainly ambitious, yeah.

Deaths Pale Mistress: Thanks!
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".

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