Zahara "So." she says, surveying those gathered around the familiar, slightly scarred War Room Table, "I need status updates on all the plans we have set in motion so far, beginning with you, Kai, and your new guard. Is there anything you require to re-form it, or equip your soldiers that you do not already have?"
Kai "Actually, yes. I should start with the armor I showed you, and Serenal and the others will need good weapons," she looks over to her lieutenant, "What would you prefer to use, Ser?"
charlequin The Lunar responds from her perch near the back of the room. "I want not for tools of destruction. Others may require them, however."
Kai smiles. "All right. I'll talk to the dragons about their preferences... I'll need to assemble some uniforms, but I think they said they have some, and Thirteen has the spare cloth. Oh, and perhaps some badges, possibly communicators like the rings."
There is a knock at the door.
Zahara "Have you any skill in making them, Serenal, or perhaps know others of your kind that will assist us in outfitting our army? We will pay, of course."
Lucent Copper perks up, always smiling, "Communicators? Is there any way I can get those for my guard? They would come in handy..."
Cerin slips from Zahara's side, opening the door.
Thirteen "When you have the opportunity, Kai, we should discuss what your specific operational goals are, so that I can establish formations and procedures for them."
Zahara "There will be a limited number of rings, but I hope to create enough for each of the generals and commanders.
birdsoftrinity is on the other side of the door.
Cerin smiles in greeting "Welcome back, Birds."
birdsoftrinity gives Cerin a hug and sits down.
Zahara looks over, and stands, smiling "Birds of Trinity, welcome back! You were missed."
Thirteen evinces no surprise. "Greetings, Birds of Trinity. We are honored to have you among us once more."
birdsoftrinity smiles to everyone. "It's good to be back. Hello, Serenal!"
charlequin Serenal nods to Birds. "Welcome back."
Kai "Birds! Welcome!"
Lucent Copper gets up, smiling at Birds, the room seeming to brighten up at it. "I finally get to meet the famous Birds-of-Trinity! It is great to meet you, Birds. I am Lucent Copper Haze!"
Lucent Copper does a elaborate salute
Cerin hugs birds in return, then drifts back to Zahara's side
birdsoftrinity bows to Luc. "It's good to meet you! I take it we were planning for war?"
Kai leans over to Zahara, in a before-I-forget kind of way, "Also, if the badges could maybe indicate to everyone connected some information on their, uhm, status... Like, not-being-dead status."
Zahara kisses Cerin, then nods to Kai, "Will you be the only one who needs to know?"
Thirteen "I assume that they will operate on the same principle as the communicators Zahara is constructing for my purposes, in which case, I have already made that specification."
Zahara "This is true. I can give them each a ring tied to you."
Kai "Known ot each posessor, I think."
Thirteen "Now that Birds has returned, our assault on the Red Lily can begin in earnest."
Thirteen pauses, gets up, and walks to the corner of the room, where he vomits up several rolls of paper, then returns.
Zahara "I hope that your plans do not require that the rings be already made, then, Thirteen, although I have implemented plans to have other craftsmen make copies for me, as the volume of rings you require would take up far too much of my valuable time."
birdsoftrinity pulls a few papers of her own out of her sleeves and takes down some notes.
Thirteen "The rings are only necessary for coordination of our total force. My plan will only require a small cadre, such as Lucent's men."
Thirteen "Shall I begin my presentation?"
Lucent Copper "Us against the world..."
Lucent Copper "Go ahead!"
Zahara "Please do." She reaches down and plucks Reaver off of her leg, setting him on the table, where he blinks up at Thirteen and his papers.
Thirteen "We will need to build a summer palace in Chaya. Zahara, it will be necessary for you to arrange the logistics and architecture. I project that the building process will take between two and three days under your supervision."
Zahara "Home of the Red Lily, hmmm?"
Cerin 's expression admits a little curiousity
birdsoftrinity leans over to Luc and asks, "Hey, what have I missed? I didn't know we were friends with Serenal..."
Kai "I like this plan!"
Zahara "The Puppeteers can do much of the construction, of course. I assume you have an idea of what defenses and other necessities the plan will require? Perhaps an air filter."
Kai "Oh, Ser is my new lieutenant."
Thirteen "When it is complete, we will hold a great festival to celebrate the wonder and glory of Chaya. You will prevail upon the government, which is, after all, under the control of the Sunlands, to declare a holiday, so that all the Chayans can attend."
Thirteen passes the first sheaf of paper over to Zahara. "Here are the requirements."
Zahara accepts them and pages through them, making notes here and there.
Lucent Copper "Kai got in good terms with her, and named her her first lieutenant.", he whispers, "She wants to rebuild the honor guard Rosada used to lead with Serenal and the Dragon kings. Very noble of her, really!"
Thirteen "In honor of the festival, Birds-of-Trinity will write two hundred poems on the glory of the Chayan blossoms."
birdsoftrinity hrms, impressed.
Zahara quirks a brow at Thirteen "You realize you are giving the gods power by doing so, of course."
Thirteen "She will conceal the same insidious message within each poem -- that the Chayan blossoms, while beautiful, eat away at the virtue of all those who behold them."
Zahara tilts her head to one side, pretty sure that that is the REASON people go to Chaya
Thirteen "These two hundred poems will be engraved in various locations around the summer palace, such that the people who come to enjoy the festival will behold them constantly."
Thirteen "Some measures must be taken to ensure that those who are illiterate will still be exposed to them. I leave that to your discretion -- an enchantment on the palace, or each poem, or what have you."
Zahara "Or a rumor."
Thirteen "During the festival, you, Zahara, will need to...yes."
Lucent Copper leans back on his chair, and smiles. My, this was bold.
Kai "Perhaps an image, as well."
birdsoftrinity nods. "This can be done."
Thirteen "I bow to your wisdom in constructing rumors, although I recommend something that suggests that one of the poems is different from all the others."
Thirteen "At the end of the day, Lucent Copper Haze will give a speech to the gathered assembly."
Thirteen "Again, I make no specific recommendations as to wording, but there are certain talking points that needs must be present."
Lucent Copper "Which would those be?"
Thirteen "Specifically, that the Chayan people are unique because of their great virtue, and that it is this virtuous quality that makes them the ideal cornerstone for our upcoming direct assault on the Realm."
Thirteen "And that this assault would no doubt fail, and leave us all to perish, if their virtue were not so great."
Zahara "Might I note that the Chayans... have never seemed to care much for Virtue?"
Thirteen "If they did, it would not be necessary to mount such a large campaign to convince them that their virtue were important and worth protecting."
Thirteen "You may need to play on the theme of our planned attack on the Realm until the local spies are convinced that you mean business. I am sure Cerin is aptly fitted to detect these spies and determine when they are ready to send urgent word to the Realm."
Lucent Copper "They will care." Is all he says, crossing his arms. "Least those who can hear me."
Zahara "We're 'attacking the Realm' now?"
Thirteen "At the end of this speech, you will offer them a boon -- that, due to their great importance, we have agreed to perform one great task for the people of Chaya, in service of their virtue."
Thirteen "No, but it will be helpful that the Realm thinks so."
Lucent Copper "That being?"
Thirteen "I hope it is clear what the people of Chaya will ask us to do for them."
Thirteen "Oh. My intention was that you would offer them the choice."
Lucent Copper "I wonder if the Realm would be foolish enough to have Dragon-Blooded spies there. A fight with them, elemental energy in the air, would do wonders to make them feel that the Realm is around."
Cerin "I might suggest another target. The realm is hardly in a fit state to think so. It is, afterall, involved in a two and a halfway civil war."
Thirteen "Alas, the Realm is the only target with enough force to mount an effective counterattack on Chaya."
Lucent Copper "Lookshy is certainly closer. And more militaristic, apparently."
Thirteen "Lookshy may attempt to attack further targets within the Sunlands, which I hope to avoid."
Thirteen "However, it is certainly possible that we may threaten Lookshy instead, at the cost of slightly more risk and the cost of a potential alliance with them."
Cerin "We have an alliance with them."
Zahara "Unless we warn them."
Zahara "If only the heads of Lookshy know what we play at, we can use their mounting force, supposedly against us, against our true enemy."
Lucent Copper "If we warn them, the Lily might know we are up to that. They seem to be in bed with everyone. That they have spies within Lookshy is not unthinkable."
Thirteen "Such is my consideration. As far as possible, I intend nobody to know that our attack plan involving Chaya is merely a feint."
birdsoftrinity "I think it better to turn our enemies against one another than risk changing the status of even a tenuous friend."
Zahara shrugs, "You ARE the master strategist. Go on."
Thirteen "When Lucent asks the Chayan people what we may do for them, they will ask us, in a roar not unanimous but overwhelming, to destroy the Chayan blossoms. We need only agree, and march on them."
Thirteen "We will, of course, not succeed. Lai cannot ignore this assault; he will mobilize what small defensive force he can to delay us. His troops will be shaken, unready, and powerless before our might; we will easily destroy his vanguard."
Zahara "He will not suspect, the moment we begin building a summer palace, right in his midst?"
Lucent Copper "I really liked the plan up to the part where we are overwhelmed by lesser Exalted, Thirteen..."
Thirteen "I am sure he will suspect. Unfortunately, his travel and communication times drastically affect his ability to react."
birdsoftrinity twirls a string of amulets. "We are not sane and sensible opponents, and how long will building this palace take?"
Kai "I like the part where we build a summer palace!"
Thirteen "The vast majority of these Exalted are deployed in the other theatres at the moment."
birdsoftrinity "All we need are some of those demons that Zahara doesn't like, the ones that look like a dirty bathtub drain..."
Zahara "I wonder how the spell will affact them..."
Zahara wrinkles her nose, "They ARE a bit disgusting, but they're useful. I have some helping to rebuild war-ravaged areas right now."
Thirteen "The building of the palace takes three days at most. The festival takes one, and the attack will take one. It will take one week for Lai to effectively redeploy his army for defense, and a further ten days before his fortifications are ideal."
Thirteen "Immediately after the attack, his force will become too great to resist, as his closest battalion arrives. Luckily, we will no longer be there. Immediately after our first attack, we will have left for the North, to subjugate the Haslanti, investigate the First Age city near Crystal, seize the superweapon there, and use it to destroy Gem."
Thirteen "After the festival, the Realm will attack Chaya in five days."
Thirteen "Are there any questions?"
Zahara "Hmmm I will be able to summon some Fire Elementals to assist in burning down the Chayan blossoms."
Lucent Copper "Yes. What makes you think the Realm will attack? They have to go through Lookshy space, and are they not in turmoil from within?"
Lucent Copper "Amika will love to help in that! She loves fires."
Thirteen "Make no mistake -- there is no greater threat to the Realm than the Sunlands."
Thirteen "They are aware of us constantly, even though we pay them almost no mind."
Zahara "Does your monkey throw fire, Kai?"
Thirteen "Moreover, the Realm cannot brook an openly declared rebellion without response, lest all the Threshold revolt."
Thirteen "They must respond if they wish to remain the power they claim to be."
Kai "Just butterflies."
Lucent Copper "And you really think various warring factions will unite to send their armies away?"
Thirteen "The first assault will be token, at best. Lai's forces will beat it back decisively."
Thirteen "Upon facing Lai's armies, though, it will become clear to the Realm just how precarious their position is."
Zahara "Ah, too bad, that." She looks, however, ever-so-slightly pleased at the monkey's lack.
Lucent Copper seems to disbelieve this. "Of course... I like the rest of the plan. Wonder if there is some way we can make the Realm more united until then. How long do we have, Thirteen? I am sure I would need to have trained the soldiers until then, what gives us a few weeks?"
Thirteen "It becomes difficult at this point to exactly predict maneuvers, because it is not always possible to be assured of the result of an assassination attempt, of which there will be many at this point."
Thirteen "My probationary period only extends for two more days. Should I remain, we can begin the assault as soon as we may, although a week of preparation would allow me to fine-tune my plans."
Zahara "Birds, perhaps Smoking Mirror can assist in recruiting a Fire Court of elementals to assist us in burning down Chaya."
birdsoftrinity "I will have him consult with Fire House."
Lucent Copper "Give it a week. I suppose we can go to the Realm and make it closer to unification. A winning faction might decide to flex its muscles elsewhere, if just out of pride. With the right incentive. And besides... I want to see Meru."
Thirteen "The ideal way to bring the Realm together is clear. Cerin will just have to visit and kill a major Dynast. He will, of course, assure that they detect him, at least enough to know the Sunlands is responsible."
Thirteen "This will nicely demonstrate that we mean business."
Zahara "Tell them to light the fires and then flee, we don't want them to die for this feint of ours."
Lucent Copper "I want to talk with those 'Dynasts'.. pehaps I can sway a few towards the Sunlands. We are supposed to work together, after all."
Zahara "Ah, we started to do that once."
Cerin "They should not detect me. They must surely be aware by now that I orchestrated the theft of their flagship from the harbour itself, and not one person new about it until we were long gone from the harbour. I believe I have a better idea ..."
Zahara "Do tell, my love."
Cerin "It will be in a public place, of course. And the arrow will be orichalcum. Wrapped around it will be a painting of the murder."
Thirteen "Please be sure to return in time for our assault. I am relying on your combat capabilities."
Cerin "When would be the best day for the assassination?"
Zahara smirks, "That is quite possibly the most amusing thing I have pictured in a long while, Cerin. And brutally effective."
Thirteen tilts his head. "The third day of the palace construction. I want the reports of our intended attack and the detailed information on the assassination to be crossing the same desks at the same time."
birdsoftrinity grins. "Be sure to capture the looks on their faces. I want to see that scene when they unwrap the painting."
Zahara "Actually, I think the Dragon Kings might have an artifact that does such a thing; capture images as they happen. That would be a most excellent thing to have."
birdsoftrinity "DO they?" Birds writes a note and ties it to a messenger hawk. "Take this to Rathess, dearest."
charlequin The bird soars out a nearby window.
Thirteen "If there are no further questions, we may proceed to the next item on the agenda. Zahara?"
Thirteen "I believe you were conducting this meeting."
Zahara "Of course." She looks around the table, "Well, it seems that Thirteens' plans have been covered thoroughly. Does anyone else have anything to add?"
birdsoftrinity reaches for the bread basket and finds... nothing.
birdsoftrinity "I have something to add."
birdsoftrinity "Where are the biscuits?"
Cerin "That has been something of a problem while you were away."
Zahara "It wasn't Reaver, he's just been eating the goblets."
birdsoftrinity looks around innocently. "Really? I CAN'T IMAGINE why..."
Thirteen "I had not considered that. Yes. The pastry supply has suffered in your absence."
Zahara "Yes, now that we seem to have finished the business end of things, do tell us how your trip was, Birds."
birdsoftrinity "I'll see about setting things to right. My trip?"
birdsoftrinity fidgets. "Oh, it was all right."
Zahara "Only all right?"
birdsoftrinity "Well, I'm Iallu's priest now. I got this necklace." She indicates a leather cord tied around five tiny scrolls.
Kai "You're a priest?"
birdsoftrinity "Well, we need a divine ally, and I owe Iallu some favors, and so on..."
Lucent Copper seems obviously interested in matters of faith "Interesting! What sorts of vows did you have to take? And what does Iallu represents?"
Zahara "Ahh.. really? Well, that's unexpected, but it could be very useful."
birdsoftrinity "Yes, the goddess of secrets. I carry around a panoply of them and tell her things at night."
Zahara smiles slightly thinking of nighttime secrets
Thirteen "I would very much like to pay a visit to this goddess."
Zahara "Well you're in luck, because she's in the North, near the Gate we will be taking."
Thirteen "Ah, excellent."
birdsoftrinity "I'll mention you in my prayers."
Thirteen "Please do."
Thirteen "How did you come to be a priest of Iallu?"
birdsoftrinity 's looks shiftily around the room.
birdsoftrinity no 's
birdsoftrinity "Well, uh, I asked her if she needed a priest, and she basically jumped me and tied this around my neck like a crazed Amazon."
Zahara covers a laugh
Kai "Hm. Maybe we could use more priests in out midst..."
Lucent Copper "I have no choice but to be one." He shrugs. "However, I answer only to the Sun."
Kai "If only he said anything..."
Zahara "Birds, weren't you working on the Faith Ecliptic?"
birdsoftrinity "How is Daddy lately? We haven't talked."
birdsoftrinity "The Faith? Yes...the True Things Document is nearly prepared. I'm not as confident about the state of Instructive Fables for Wily Petitioners."
birdsoftrinity makes a thinking face. "That title could use some work, too."
Zahara "I rather like it, although I don't think you should publish it as such."
Lucent Copper "He tends to be silent. But he will talk with us when there is need... but he never forgets us."
Lucent Copper "We must have faith, Kai."
Zahara "Are you sure he still favors us? He seems to have turned his face from the World again."
Thirteen "Perhaps we may turn it back for him, in time."
Lucent Copper looks baffled "The sun would never turns his face from the world!"
Zahara snorts, "I think he is testing us. And it doesn't sit well with me."
birdsoftrinity "I'll have to see him at some point. He doesn't have many verses in the Document."
Thirteen "If he is testing us, he had better prepare himself. Our response is apt to be compelling."
Lucent Copper "He has no need to test, Zahara. He knows who you are. Heaven knows who you are."
Zahara "Then how dare he refuse all help to us, when we are working to bring back his age of glory?"
Zahara "How DARE he!"
Thirteen "His age of glory?"
Thirteen "It is, and will be, OUR age of glory."
Zahara "It certainly will, if he doesn't shape up."
Lucent Copper "He does not help? How is it that we met then? All of us? How is it that we got our power? This is our world, Zahara. He has given it for us to tame. To strike the Lily himself would be an insult to us."
Thirteen "Once we restore the Deliberative and define the laws of the Bureaucracy to suit ourselves, the question of who reigns and who serves will be answered to my satisfaction."
birdsoftrinity touches Zahara's hand. "Zee, love... I know it's hard, but isn't it more satisfying this way? Aren't you glad to say, 'I am Zahara Zhan, queen of the Sunlands, who built the world in the image of her desires, who owes nothing to anyone'?"
Lucent Copper "We are the mightiest of all Exalts, just as he is the mightiest of all gods. We will take care of our lesser cousins. And when they are done, he will judge his'"
Zahara narrows her eyes and gazes steadily at Luc. "He has banned the Gods from joining our side, but there is no such thing against joining the Lily."
Zahara "Not assisting us is one thing, but actively working against us? The Nerve!"
Lucent Copper blinks "Surely there must have been some mistake...?"
Cerin "That is not strictly true. It is the Celestial Gods that are banned, and from both sides, I believe."
Thirteen "Certainly, the Lily's actions might well be called a mistake on his part."
Zahara "It is enough."
Lucent Copper "Pehaps, as I as said, he only wishes us to prosper by ourselves. It would trouble the order if they helped us overmuch. Though pehaps his servants were not as wise as he in choosing the words of the oath?"
Thirteen "If he intends us to succeed on our own, we shall assuredly do so. I see little in this to motivate me to consider the Sun kindly, however."
Zahara mutters about multiple limbed evil.
Birds "Do they help the Lily?
Lucent Copper "And suddenly, all your confidence in your great abilities have vanished, Thirteen? They were given by the Sun. To one who was already mighty and resourceful. If you wish more, then you are doubting yourself."
Thirteen "The Sun made Wei Dan, and Wei Dan is me. But this creates in me no sense of obligation."
Lucent Copper "Your obligation is to safeguard Creation, Thirteen. And is that not what the whole plan is about?"
Thirteen "I am no bodyguard or lackey, to protect my master's toys."
Lucent Copper "Your master rules all there is, Thirteen. If you wish not to mind his toys, you can go into the Wyld."
Thirteen "I safeguard Creation with an owner's eye. After the war, we will be the masters."
Thirteen "I have no master. I have only a father."
Thirteen "Wei Dan is the Dragon God. He does not bend his knee."
Kai leans back in her chair, wishing for biscuits...
Zahara manages not to snipe at Thirteen's arrogance, as she is not entirely sure she does not agree with him.
Lucent Copper laughs! "We will be, as we should be. Pehaps you will understand this someday, Thirteen. As it is, you are too grounded on earthly ways to view things. We are the rulers of Creation. But indeed, we have a master."
Birds digs in some cabinets, noting Kai's expression, and pulls out a small coal stove and some containers of flour, sugar, and so on.
Lucent Copper "Anyway, since NOW you will not be seeing anything other than your own arrogance..."
Lucent Copper turns to Birds, "I must hear more of this... Birds, when thirteen goes to meet your deity, I wish to be along."
Thirteen "If the Sun considers himself my master, he may come down from his throne and prove his mastery over me."
Thirteen "Until then, I will consider myself and my friends supreme."
Kai smiles, hops up out of her seat, and fetches Birds some coal from a bucket in the corner.
Birds "I'm sure that Iallu will be ...excited... to meet you both," she replies, over a ball of dough.
Kai pipes up as she assists Birds, "Don't consider me supreme, please. I'm pretty sure I can't handle being supreme."
Birds "Can you start the fire, Kai? I can't find the orange peel..."
Thirteen "Alas, Kai, your nature is intrinsic."
Zahara >>To Cerin :: It seems he wants the Sun to collar him too. ::
Birds leafs through more cabinets. "A Master, eh?"
Cerin ::It would be an interesting contest, to be sure.::
Kai starts the fire, resigning herself to ignoring the conversation as best she can.
Birds "I don't wish to cast shadows on our progenitor, but I do wonder, Lucent, what drives you to say that we are the Sun's servants, rather than his children."
Lucent Copper "That is why you are, Kai."
Kai "Well, if I'm supreme, then I use all my vast power to declare myself not supreme. I am a girl, starting a fire, hoping for biscuits."
Zahara "I believe he deserves worship in return for the gifts we were granted, but He is not being very inspiring lately. Nor should we be servants. Do you consider yourself a servant of Iallu now, Birds?"
Lucent Copper "Because, Birds, we were not born as this. We were chosen. It is a holy work - to rule, to teach, to create, and to keep Creation. That was His job, Birds. Together, we do what he once did, as lords of all we can see. Saying 'servant' carries so much for you... but we do the Supreme God's work. How can that be demeaning?"
Birds "She and I have arrived at a mutually beneficial partnership."
Zahara "You know, once we make our own Exalts, we can have them rule Creation while we play games too."
Cerin "I do not see what is so Supreme about him. He did not make the world. He did not make the Exalted to my knowledge, and that is something that we shall be able to do soon in any case."
Birds "Do we do that? I know I do Iallu's work - she asks me for things. We are friends."
Birds "The Sun is a light in the sky."
Lucent Copper "He is supreme by virtue of being him, Cerin. That is what he IS. This is why all the other Celestines recognize his leadership without question."
Kai sings a song about making biscuits, just loud enough to be a tiny bit intrusive.
Lucent Copper "Then it is just semantics, Birds. We do his work, wether we wish to or not. If you wish to call this friendship... go ahead. However, if you wish not to aid Creation in its darkest hour, you know you will feel like you are not doing your duty. What it is, as well. But if you want to imagine it as a duty to a friend... go ahead!"
Thirteen "Do you have any support for your ideas besides bare unsupported assertions, Lucent?
Thirteen "I am not eager to assume a life of infinite servitude on your word alone."
Zahara "What would you do if the Sun threatened to take away your Essence, and demote you to a" her voice drips with scorn "mortal creature?"
Thirteen "I would invite him to test his skill, if he dared."
Thirteen "What would you do?"
Lucent Copper "Assertions? They are truth, Thirteen. This is why we were created for. This is why we were Exalted for! Surely you know the story? Surely you know what the Five Castes mean?"
Zahara ponders for a long moment. "I would do what I must."
Thirteen "I see no reason to suppose the Sun is supreme merely by virtue of his nature. I, at least, do not recognize his leadership without question. Does this not imply, by your reasoning, that he must not truly be supreme?"
Birds "Hold on."
Birds "I know that we don't all immediately agree with Lucent, but, it appears, he is a priest of the sun. That means that things are different for him."
Lucent Copper "I said he is supreme wether you recognize it or not. He simply is."
Birds "I know something you don't know. That's the nature of my priesthood. Maybe Luc's nature is something a bit more...forceful."
Lucent Copper "Pretty much, Birds."
Thirteen "It pains me to see a fellow so in thrall, Birds."
Thirteen "I can accept an enlightened partnership, such as yours."
Thirteen "I see no benefit to Lucent Copper Haze in his enslavement."
Lucent Copper "You can doubt the wisdom of the Maiden of Secrets. I am sorry to tell you, but she will not know any less because you doubt her. It is sad that it is so easy for you to recognize War, Journeys, Secrets and Endings, and not simply... supremacy."
Lucent Copper "I am not slave, Thirteen."
Lucent Copper "I could cast my lot with others. I could walk away. I could do many things. But I decide to stay here and do my duty. So do you. You just do not realise it."
Zahara "I suppose it is similar to the commanders of our army."
Thirteen "I do not doubt the wisdom of the Maiden of Secrets. I merely doubt that she will forever be unsurpassed in her knowledge."
Thirteen "In the same way, I certainly acknowledge that the Sun is greater than many things. But he is not greater than I am."
brasslantern sniickers. "What, do you give light to the world?"
Thirteen "Your mind is clouded, Lucent. You willingly speak of serving the Sun as if he were your lord, as if you had no greater purpose. I see no difference between this and servitude. If you can cast off these chains, do so."
Thirteen "Give me time."
Lucent Copper rolls his eyes, "And I assume after you wrestle the Unconquered Sun, and take his place as the supreme of all things, you will proceed to learn more than the Maiden of Secrets?"
Lucent Copper "Why don't you replace Mars while you are at it!"
Kai "Give you time to what? Explode in a giant ball of fire?"
Thirteen "I thought it would be somewhat clear that Mars would be the first whom I, at least, would surpass."
Thirteen "Her bailiwick and mine much resemble each other."
Zahara "I'm not sure I'd even WANT to be a god. Seems boring."
Thirteen "Why should we not be greater than the gods? Do they not fear us? Do they not make war upon us? And yet we stand undefeated. Who is the master in this struggle?"
Kai snickers again. "Bailiwick..." she mutters to herself, amused.
Thirteen "What distinguishes you from a god, Zahara? You merely lack worshippers."
Zahara "That is not entirely true either."
Lucent Copper just shakes his head. There was no use, was there?
Zahara "There are those that worship me, of course."
Birds puts some buns on the grill. They're not quite biscuits, but they'll have to do.
Thirteen "So then, you are a god in all but name."
Birds "What IS a god, anyway?"
Birds shuffles through notebooks. "I swear I had a diagram..."
Zahara "That is also not entirely true. I am a being of flesh, and I am not yet immortal."
Thirteen "Meaningless distinctions. I am a fleshly mortal being, and yet I am a god."
Zahara "And yet you do not require worship to function."
Lucent Copper "You are a Chosen. It works differently in all kinds of way. Only the Dreambreaker may walk between those worlds of all those in this room, Thirteen."
Thirteen "You and I do not fit that particular classification of gods that many refer to as 'gods' alone. We are a greater form of god."
Thirteen "That is an example of our superiority. We may benefit from worship without depending on it."
Thirteen "Our fundamental godhood is strong enough to survive without constant reassertion."
Lucent Copper "You assume, Thirteen, that an Incarna is the same as a God. Those are functionaires of the world. They are not our superiors in any way."
Zahara "Should we not, then, worship the Primordials, as they are the Creators of Creation?
Birds lifts up the first batch of buns and puts them in a basket. "Why don't we, uh, go and ask them what they think?"
Birds "I mean, I -do- love these discussions and all, but..."
Thirteen "Yet more nonsensical classifications. An Incarna is merely a greater god of the traditional sort. They lack even the benefits we possess over the other gods."
Birds "It's not like we are asking unanswerable questions here."
Zahara swipes a biscuit and takes a moment to enjoy it
Thirteen "Perhaps I have not made it clear that I do not see why we would value their knowledge over our own, unless supported by meaningful evidence."
Thirteen reaches for a biscuit as well.
Lucent Copper smiles. All of them? They ARE the evidence.
Zahara "I value the Gods for what they give me. IF I must throw the occasional prayer their way to continue my rise to power, then so be it."
Birds "When I said 'ask,' I didn't really mean that we should have them over for tea and have them fill out a survey."
Lucent Copper looks at Zahars somewhat oddly. She seemed so nice before.
Lucent Copper "Some of them are nice to have for tea, really."
Lucent Copper "Or so I heard."
Thirteen "What information are you seeking, Birds? Whether they are fundamentally superior to us? Or merely the metaphysical principles behind their existence?"
Birds "I'm sure they are. I was just considering a more... -hands-on- approach to investigation."
Cerin "I am not entirely sure that you are correct, Thirteen. The Celestial Gods are a different kind of being to the terrestrial ones. It is not impossible to suppose the incarna are different once again. But that would just be conjecture."
Thirteen "I bow to your superior knowledge on this issue. However, the thrust of my point remains. A difference in Essence proves nothing."
Birds "I'm not honestly sure that we can answer questions about superiority in a generalised sense."
Birds "So I propose the test-to-the-limit-of-breaking."
Thirteen "I believe your attitude coincides with my own."
Birds "Assuming that you want hard evidence to answer that question you hold so dear."
Thirteen "Fortunately, I believe our ultimate goal will require several attempts at this test to complete."
Cerin "That would be interesting to watch. I am sure it would help the work I am completing."
Birds "Cerin... what of our Essences? Do we express celestial or earthly nature?"
Zahara "A difference in Essence is the difference between ourselves and god-bloods, or mortals, or even the lesser Exalts."
Cerin "Celestial, of a surity. As are the flowers. And the moon-touched."
Lucent Copper shakes head. So much proof. So little faith. Even Birds was... strange, about it.
Thirteen "A difference in power distinguishes us from mortals."
Cerin "And Essence. That book is not in the library."
Thirteen "Whether that power is the result of a difference in Essence is not relevant. Were we to meet a mortal with the strength to face us inn combat, I would not hesitate to proclaim him a new sort of god."
Birds tilts her head. "That would be an interesting mortal."
Birds "How do you suppose he would accomplish that, without command of Essence?"
Cerin "I find your classification of gods somewhat ... imprecise. Though, that would be a most curious mortal, yes."
Zahara "The Essence grants us the power. To the newly Exalted, we are as Gods as well."
Thirteen "That seems the clearest argument I can find to show that Godhood is a matter of power and not Essence, Zahara."
Cerin "Hmmm. I shall bear this in mind when conversing with you."
Thirteen "I can use your terminology if you desire."
Thirteen "However, it lacks a collective term for beings of the power we possess -- those whom I refer to as gods."
Zahara "Are you referring to the Hundredfold, or Exalts?"
Thirteen "Both. Either. Any who possess the requisite capabilities."
Zahara "There is a distinction."
Cerin "That is because it would be a term that included all intelligent life other than humans."
Zahara "And perhaps you refer to potential."
Thirteen "Like the distinction between Exalts and gods?"
Thirteen "Many are powerful enough to wield Essence. As Zahara has noted, not all possess godhood. It is relative. Were there a being more powerful than I, I would be willing to worship it."
Thirteen "Assuming I acknowledged its power as greater than my own."
Zahara "Do you agree that the Incarnae have greater Essence than your own?"
Zahara "At this point, at least."
Cerin "I will do so if and when I have seen it."
Thirteen "Allow me to revise my statement."
Thirteen "Were there a being fundamentally more powerful than I, I would be willing to worship it."
Zahara "But not a being who grants you power?"
Thirteen "The Primordials granted the Incarna power. With what worship did the Incarna repay them?"
Zahara "Betrayal and death. That does not, however, make them greater in power than the Primordials, for they required armies upon armies to do so."
Thirteen "And what were these armies composed of?"
Birds envisions phalanxes carefully standing on the heads of phalanxes.
Zahara "Mortals and Exalts."
Thirteen "Let us disregard mortals, as we generally do."
Birds "Zahara- a difference in Essence?"
Thirteen "Who possesses the power to overthrow the Primordials?"
Lucent Copper "The Incarna could not strike upon the Primordials directly. If they could, they would have."
Thirteen "Unless they lacked the power, and needed to create beings more powerful than they."
Lucent Copper "They lacked the ability, Thirteen. They could not. Literally."
Birds thinks, drawing sketches on the table. "We express, in a way, the Essence of our god, right? Sorry, I'm trying to figure something out. So, we can apply knowledge we have about our own Essences, indirectly, to make conclusions about the gods involved."
Zahara "They could not, why?"
Cerin "We do, however, know that they had help to make us."
Cerin nods to birds
Thirteen "I had not realized you were present, Lucent. Please, enlighten us with your eyewitness account of that day."
Lucent Copper "Because their creators had foreseen that exact situation, Zahara. The Primordials were not innocent, nor good. So they made them so they could not raise their hands." He frowns. "There were many theological texts in my old self's Manse, Thirteen - written by people of greater repute than you, I am sure. Excuse me if I believe the wisdom of the Old Realm."
Thirteen "What conclusions can we draw about the gods from the knowledge we possess of our Essence, Birds?"
Thirteen "An incapacity towards a certain type of action is a clear example of limited power."
Cerin "The formost Zenith of that age is even now possessed by a primordial spirit who is in cahoots with our enemies, Luc."
Cerin "That spirit possessed him in the Old Realm too."
Birds "Well, were we to have a Chosen of some arbitrary god-of-heaven, then we could discover whether the Essences of the heavenly deities were similar in nature to that of the Incarna; unfortunately we do not have a basis for that comparison. We do, however, have a parallel case: that of the Dragon-Blooded and the Chosen of the Lily."
Zahara "But is it not true that we all may be bound by Oaths?"
Lucent Copper shakes his head. "And you want another proof, Cerin?"
Zahara "Speaking of which, Markuran is SO breaking his oaths right now."
Lucent Copper "The Incarna made few mistakes. We... look at us. Bickering. Betraying. Leaving."
Birds "Being broken and killed."
Lucent Copper "It was a Solar spirit leading the Shadowed Unlife Equation."
Thirteen "The Incarna made few mistakes because they made few attempts."
Lucent Copper "You want to be a god, thirteen? Look at this talk! At us! At yourself! We are still fallible. We are not the Incarna."
Cerin "Hmmm. The differences between the Chosen of the Lily and the Dragonblooded."
Cerin "The fact that they have made mistakes makes them fallible too."
Lucent Copper "I wonder how they made such heretical creaures. They were not supposed to. Nobody else is."
Thirteen "This is the talk that worries me, Lucent."
Thirteen "They are clearly fallible."
Lucent Copper "I have never seen the sun fail, thirteen."
Thirteen "The Sun has more duties besides rising in the morning, Lucent."
Zahara "The Incarna made the mistake of making falliable so-called-servants who aspire to replace them."
Lucent Copper "They have no chance at that. Let them run free, in the end... they will do ther duties, or rise against him and fall. He made us all, after all. There is no mistake there. Look at thirteen. He may be many things... but he showed WHY he was picked by the sun today."
Lucent Copper "It was not a mistake to consider him an excellent strategist, worthy of the essence of twilight. That he is a poor, misguided, fallible human is... inevitable. Do you really think the sun would have settled for someone weaker, but tamer?"
Thirteen is briefly silent.
Thirteen "You contend that we cannot overcome the Incarna. I contend that we can."
Thirteen "There is only one way to find out."
Cerin nods to Thirteen.
Birds takes a final bite of grilled bread.
Lucent Copper is... equally shocked. "That is.. blasphemy, Thirteen. To raise your hand against Him..."
Cerin "No, he raises a valid arguement. If we march upon them and we cannot prevail, you are correct. If we succeed, then he is correct."
Lucent Copper "... I suppose..."
Cerin "Birds, your question requires a little thought. I will have an answer for you soon, I think."
Thirteen "Thank you for this discussion, Lucent. It has been most enlightening."
Lucent Copper "I shall pray for the sun that he does not condemn us all and turns his face on this world due to your foolishness. And when the time comes... I shall watch, I suppose."
Thirteen "Goodnight, my friends. Tomorrow we will begin preparations for our attack. Let us set the start date one week from tomorrow."
Thirteen "I hope, by that date, you will be ready to fight beside your comrades, Lucent."
Thirteen knocks lightly on the table, and strides from the room.
Lucent Copper gets up, and walks away "Goodnight... and may the sun be with us all."
Birds "Goodnight, gentlemen."
Cerin "Good night, Birds, Luc."
Lucent Copper "It was a pleasure to mee you, Birds of Trinity." He turns at the door, one last courtesy. "I hope we can meet to discuss matters of faith and meet your goddess later."
Birds "I look forward to it. You know where my chambers are, I assume."
Birds steps out the window.
Tags: (:tags Serenal, Chaya, Summer Palace, Realm, Haslanti, Crystal, Gem, Lookshy, Iallu, Faith Ecliptic, Sol Invictus, Wei Dan, Gods, Primordials, God-Exalts :)