Cerinfernal Cerin's first act in command of the powers of the Imperial Manse is to activate the Realm Shrouding Grid, cutting the Realm off from the world.
alsoquin He watches as, in miniature, the bolt of sunlight Essence shoots upward and draws the ominous cloud down to surround the Blessed Isle, closing off all communication with the outside world.
Cerinfernal And then, once that has settled down, he looks into his memories and then starts to call up functionality long disused, building for himself the most complete picture of the environs of the Imperial City and Isle at large that he can.
alsoquin Cerin stands before the panel of the Night Caste room, and a world of information is suddenly available to him.
alsoquin He is aware of all the groups that seek the treasure and glory that lie within the Manse: the Sunlands Circle, now split in twain as they track through the halls; near the Eastern entrance, Mnemon and her soldiers; and still approaching the manse, Lai Misuna and his agents...
alsoquin As well as the others -- the lone Lunar who approaches from within the sewers below, and the three Abyssals who managed to enter the Realm just before the clouds came down to hide it from view.
Cerinfernal Cerin experements with other functionality, attempting to see if the machineries of the manse can ascertain more about the identities of those unknown to him - the lunar and the abyssals.
alsoquin Cerin can determine the names and titles of those that approach -- Hieronymus is the one, while Lake Born of Ice, Shadows of Ancient Hills, and Unspeakable Knife-to-Bone are the others --
alsoquin as well as their directions of approach -- from the northeast and the western islands, respectively.
alsoquin Cerin also notes with interest a few other matters:
alsoquin In the outskirts of Stygia, in an area that approximates the location of Lord's Crossing in Creation, the First and Forsaken Lion has gathered an immense army of the dead, and seems to be... waiting for something.
alsoquin A few strange readings seem to come from far away -- strange beings setting foot in Creation who should not be there, in the south and the east, but none seem to threaten the mission.
alsoquin Something else... something seems to be moving in the southeast, near the Sunlands, in fact, but it is obscured somehow... unclear, out of focus. Something.
alsoquin It is almost as if something were specifically and purposefully interfering with the actions of the geomantic methodologies that gathered the information.
alsoquin And then, as he takes in all of this, Cerin notices something else, something much closer to his current location....
alsoquin Somewhere in the manse -- the system does not appear to wish to tell him where -- Akghani, the guardian spirit of this building... is beginning to awaken.
Cerinfernal "Ah." He says softly into the still air. And then, having appraised himself of the immediate situation and spent a brief moment discovering more of the hidden ways of the manse, he sets out through secret tunnels and walk ways to greet one of the larger obstactles to Lai's present destiny. He plans to meet Mnemon at the East entrance.
alsoquin Cerin bolts through the hallways, the traps within forming no challenge for him now, and moves towards the hallway running north-south inside the Eastern entrance. He can already hear those who are entering, though a "Shhh" follows.
alsoquin Looking around the corner, he can see Mnemon -- radiantly beautiful and cruel, every bit her mother's daughter -- and her guards, as well as the presence of Hejatha, Surveyor of Shattered Bones, Demon of the Second Circle, who stands dematerialized and invisible behind her. (...)
alsoquin The Exalt is carrying a beaten, golden lantern, and as she shines it across the hallway before her, it seems to indicate the presence of the traps and pitfalls that await her.
Cerinfernal Cerin waits until they are near one such set of traps, planes of essence, infinitely thin crossing much of space within the hallway and then he steps out silently behind them. It is the work of moments to unfasten another knot from the long cord he carries. It's as the crackle and roar of the Magma Kraken's tentacles errupting from the floor that he choses to shoot Hejatha, a quintet of shadow-barbed crimson arrows leaving his (...)
Cerinfernal bow to fly toward the unsuspecting demon.
alsoquin The group is taken entirely by surprise. The demon roars and slams one fist into a wall as it's struck by the bolts, but it collapses shortly after -- and the discipline drilled into Mnemon's followers seems to leave them as the tendrils strike at them --
alsoquin a moment later, both are bisected and bleeding out across the floor. (...)
alsoquin Mnemon turns almost instantly to face Cerin, dropping the lantern while almost reflexively drawing out a vicious red-jade knife -- and a tiny, roaming flame rises up from the lantern to circle around her. "Who are you?" she spits.
Cerinfernal "I am Cerin the Wolf." He says, allowing a blurred outline to shimmer into her view. "Your ambitions end here."
alsoquin Mnemon spits angrily. "Did my mother send you?"
Cerinfernal Cerin appears to consider. "I suppose that she did, yes."
Cerinfernal "You will meet her soon." He says, and then as the tentacles arc forward in flame and shadow, black cutouts are left in the hallway as Cerin moves forward in a crimson blur - and then the arrows start to fly. Hungry, hungry arrows.
alsoquin Mnemon's Virtuous Guardian and her knife wheel through the air with shocking displays of speed, knocking away arrows left and right -- but Cerin's Infernal Solar might is too much for her, and one strikes her squarely in the chest.
alsoquin Mnemon whirls, her hair coming undone from its careful position, and she flinches. After just a moment's hesitation, she launches herself at Cerin, hoping to inflict enough of a wound to make a getaway...
alsoquin But the outcome is never in doubt. Cerin merely flickers around her, and in a moment, her Essence drains utterly away, and she collapses unconscious upon the floor.
Cerinfernal Mnemon finds herself surrounded by a pack of the odd shadow cut outs that dog her every move, receeding from her strikes before pressing her back with carefully placed arrows, corralling her in the hallway between the impassable essence planes, the writhing flame tentacles and himself. Essence flares white from her body, uselessly at wall, at floor and at wolf ... and then it's snuffed out as she slips to the floor.
Cerinfernal nods, and then picks up Mnemon, lantern and knife ... vanishing into the secret passageways of the manse once more, as though he was never there. Excepting the still writhing tentecles of lava and bloody corpses, that is...
Cerinfernal Cerin makes his way upwards, after first depositing Mnemon one of the wider portions of the secret passageways that riddle the manse. It was important that he went up, though the quickest route would involve him visiting certain rooms ... and so it was that a few moments later, he stepped out from behind a pillar within the room of Secrets.
alsoquin The room Cerin enters into is quite simple, at first glance: green, unadorned walls, and at the center, a planetary model -- the bodies that spin through the true heavens modelled perfectly, while others Cerin has never seen lie in a tray around the model.
alsoquin Around the ecliptic sun perfectly modeled at the center of the room, Cerin sees the three stars as they slide, so near to alignment -- and he feels his finger tingle slightly.
Cerinfernal examines the room in more detail, especially the three stars that circle the sun, balling and unballing the fist with the ring on it, feeling the changing sensations ...
alsoquin The stars grow quite near -- the appointed time is almost upon him. As Cerin looks over the model more closely, he sees that the base it is set upon is a calendar, in the old Realm style... with two sets of dials, one of which ticks along to mark the exact current time,
alsoquin and the other of which seems to be manipulable to mark any date.
alsoquin As he looks about, Cerin notices -- the walls, despite being monochrome, seem to... have something encoded into them. Writing, green upon green, in the finest, tiniest lettering.
Cerinfernal Cerin idly dials the dates to the exact moment of his Exaltation as he sets out to try and read the script in green.
alsoquin The planetarium shifts and changes, revealing the exact stars Cerin was born under -- an alignment it might do him well to analyze further at a later date.
alsoquin As he stares into the walls, the words seem mostly to be gibberish, but it seems like some of them are... trying to say something to him.
Cerinfernal memories the locations, of course, and then he dials forward several years, dials forward to the moment on which he swore an oath. And then he devotes his fullest attention to the green on green text.
alsoquin He stares at the green text, and it is all blurry, but for a moment, it springs into stark relief. Two phrases:
alsoquin "STEP THROUGH THE PAST" and "UNDO THE FUTURE"
Cerinfernal Considering these two phrases, Cerin memorises the stars at the moment he swore his love to Zahara and then returns the alignments to how he found them. And then he vanishes behind another pillar, climbing the manse once more. Cerinfernal Cerin made his way up through the twisting internal passages of the manse, following the route he had mapped during his time in the Night Room, climbing quickly and not especially bothered which of the surfaces of the corridoors and stairwells he used, so long as it got him up there fast. The passageway ended just short of the Eclipse Room, a slit opening in the side of the hallway to admit him. And then he touched the seal to (...)
Cerinfernal the double-ringed indentation in the centre of the door and pushed gently, the doors sliding open before him. He steps within.
alsoquin The room stands open and empty, the great hawk emblazoned across the ceiling, the panel awaiting the arrival of one who might cause it to spring into life once more after millennia of sleep.
Cerinfernal steps forward, up to the table, studying the room and the hawk as he does so.
Cerinfernal And then, satisfied, he places the seal within the black jade recess.
alsoquin The seal slides in with a satisfying click and shortly thereafter is spirited away into the bowels of the manse. From somewhere deep within the building, Cerin senses a great buildup of Essence... and a moment later, it washes out over him (and everything) with a sudden quickness.
alsoquin Upon the table amidst the room, Cerin can see the outlines of a map of Creation, and after a moment, the borders begin to expand as well -- stretching out to extend well beyond the borders he is familiar with.
alsoquin As Cerin peruses the board, he realizes that something will happen momentarily.
Cerinfernal Curious as to see what the new world will bring, Cerin immediately commands the table for a general diplomatic overview.
alsoquin The information presented is rather scrambled -- the outside portions of Creation have all been wrenched from their last established political situations quite forcefully, so few have any existing "established" relationships, but:
alsoquin It would appear that many of the areas revealed have been maintained in something resembling stasis since the times at which they last stood within Creation's borders. It also appears that the regions now revealed fell into the Wyld at many different times throughout history:
alsoquin Contagion-devastated remnants of the Shogunate, disintegrating First Age empires, unspoiled wilderness, and long lost centers of Hundredfold society coexist upon the face of the newly restored Creation.
alsoquin It would appear that there were several rather significant events that led to large regions losing stability, and three "rings" -- corresponding to the Contagion, the Usurpation, and the end of the Primordial War -- seem to make up the majority of the territory.
Cerinfernal continues to study as he searches for more information, but then, as he becomes aware that he will be surprised, he sets the map to show all of the new Creation once more - though in no particular diplomatic detail - and then locks the table once more. Then he waits.
alsoquin (4:36:36 PM) alsoquin: A few moments pass, and one of the doors bursts open -- Lai Misuna, entirely without his retinue, walks in and is immediately surprised to see Cerin.
Cerinfernal "Greetings, Lai Misuna." He says, voice cold. There is a faint smile on his face, though it does not reach his eyes.
alsoquin Lai blinks and looks at the person waiting for him with shock. "...Cerin?"
Cerinfernal "My presence here surprises you somehow?" He continues on, perfectly calm.
alsoquin Lai sets his face into an angry snarl. "I don't know what purpose you have here, but you will not impede me. I will realize my destiny this day."
Cerinfernal "Indeed, you shall. It is not my place to deny you that destiny."
alsoquin "Then what in all hell are you doing here?" He has his rapier out, and Cerin notices that he's looking around -- probably wondering where Siram is hiding.
Cerinfernal "I came here alone." He says as he notices the looking. "Though I imagine the Sunlanders will be here presently."
Cerinfernal "Let us just say that you are not the only one who wishes to see you claim your destiny on this day."
alsoquin Lai looks at Cerin, and something very unfamiliar -- an emotion very much like fear -- plays over his face as he does so. He starts to say something in response when he hears the sounds of two distinct groups of Solars converging on the room from each side, and readies his rapier instead.
Cerinfernal "Things could get rather complicated right about now. Please try not to die." He says, and then wills a bow of deepest crimson into existence, shadow cutouts now trailing his every motion.