Zahara calmly awaits his response.
alsoquin "We have not been offered the opportunity to trade. Until recently our nations were too distant for direct contact. We had barely begun the formalities of inter-relations."
Birds "That seems a little ill-mannered, starting off your formalities with violence."
Zahara "I'm sure we can arrange a much healthier relationship between your two fine nations."
alsoquin "Indeed, when we have entered in with only the best of intentions!"
Cerin ::I feel I may have located the source of Grazim and Ovesh's strange intelligence. Three of the pentarch order are kindly detailing Ovesh's preparations right here...::
Birds ::How helpful of them.::
Zahara ::Which three?::
alsoquin The general seems a little confused at the sudden silence as the Solars confer via thought.
Cerin ::They are young and made of jade. We have not seen them before::
Zahara "I believe that we will be able to establish harmonious relationships between your two fine nations - if you wish it. There seems to be some misunderstandings between the two of you brought on by, perhaps," she pauses to think for a moment, "Untrustworthy sources of information, that have led to this state of affairs."
alsoquin Zahara's personality overcomes, as it tends to, the general's strong inherent sense of distrust. "I will consider this."
Zahara "With your permission, I will investigate to discover the ones who have perpetrated these crimes upon your two nations."
alsoquin The man nods, seemingly still a little wary though confusedly unable to refuse the offer.
Zahara closes her eyes, and solemnly incants some nonsense about secrecy revealed and the destruction of lies while spending a few essence to power her magic lightshow. When she has determined that she's mumbled long enough for them to be uncomfortable, she opens her eyes again. "I know now who the ones currently spreading lies are."
Thirteen ::I recommend smashing some walls as part of your performance as well. I find that is always an attention-getting spectacle.::
Zahara ::Hmm an interesting idea.::
alsoquin The general nods againl
Zahara ::Where are they located now, Cerin?::
Cerin ::Not too far away. They would be certain to hear a sufficiently large commotion::
Birds pretends to have just started listening. "Untrustworthy? It is unthinkable!"
Zahara ::If you will kindly trap them wherever they are, so I can go smash some walls around them, that would be fantastic.::
Birds leans over and whispers conspiratorially to the nearest person, loud enough for everyone to hear, "That's how I know it must be true. NOBODY would have the gall to make such a thing up."
Cerin ::I will endevour to keep them restrained.::
alsoquin Birds' statement creates a little mini-commotion that bubbles out into the party proper.
Zahara sweeps glowily out of the room, following Cerin's directions on where they are.
Cerin ::Though they are with two of the majuere, who possess a non-trivial amount of power and who might take exception to the walls of their palace collapsing::
Zahara ::Oh won't that be fun!::
pigeon ::Ah, exception.::
pigeon ::How non-trivial are they, do you suppose?::
Birds ::Do you suppose we could conjure a sea? I have always wanted to see a palace falling into the sea.::
Cerin ::It may well make your diplomacy somewhat harder. If you merely wish to restrain the three, some patience until they depart is all that is required::
Zahara ::I could bring the sea inside it.::
pigeon ::They will eventually notice that the walls have collapsed in any case. Let us be forthright.::
Cerin ::No walls need to be collapsed to waylay the 3. They are not very enlightened::
Zahara ::Ah yes, I had momentarily forgotten I wanted to foster GOOD relationships with these people. *sigh* it's so monotonous.::
Cerin ::Still, they are now waiting for you in a small study I found.::
Zahara proceeds to take a spiral path that will allow the others time to leave before she gets there.
Lucent goes after Zahara, silent, a little confused by the place...
alsoquin Through a few winding, ceremonious hallways, Zahara walks until she finds the small study, with the three Exalts lined up against one wall.
Zahara ::Did you catch their names?::
alsoquin Each has portions of flesh -- face, hands -- transformed into solid jade of varying shades, and all wear symbols on their chests -- an abstract depiction of an upraised hand, with a garland and arrow crossed over it.
Cerin ::Alas not::
Lucent ::They seem to be strong... on the other hand, that is only Jade. Strong as Terrestrials, pehaps?::
Cerin ::Approximately so. It is hard to judge when one attacks from ambush.::
Zahara ::I suppose we should leave them interrogatable.::
Cerin ::They merely need to be woken...::
alsoquin The general has lagged somewhat behind the Exalts, but manages to catch up and look into the room. "What have you done?" His face turns bright red with rage and terror. "These are warrior-monks of the Pentarch Order!"
Thirteen ::How politely?::
Cerin ::With medical attention::
Zahara "I? I have done nothing. Perhaps it is the Order that needs to answer to you."
alsoquin Seeing the Exalts who stand between him and a swift departure, the fearful general says nothing, but merely watches the events unfold....
Zahara walks over to one, wraps the Bonds around him securely, sealing them into what looks like a single flowing sheath of silken silver, then moves so that it is not obvious that a demon is emerging from her stomach, to heal the prisoner.
alsoquin Some coughing emerges from within Zahara's creepy cocoon.
Zahara ::Luc, would you care to try your hand at speaking to this one?::
Lucent ::Not at all, Zahara.::
Zahara "Well now," she says to the imprisoned Jadeling. "Whatever brought you to such a state?"
Lucent walks over to the strange gift-wrapped Exalted, looking into his eyes. ::Well, what should I ask him?::
Zahara is referring, of course, to the state in which he was previous to the current one.
Zahara ::Try to find out who has done this to him, as well as on whose orders - or information - he has been passing disinformation between the two realms.:: She steps back from the man, allowing Luc to move forward.
alsoquin As he comes to, the Exalt begins to try to free himself, though the only result is a pitiful shaking of his mummified form.
Birds "Don't do that."
Birds fishes out one of her own stomach bugs. "Sometimes they bite."
Thirteen "Please note that this advice is for your benefit. You cannot escape, but you may further inconvenience yourself."
Lucent "Stop. There is no way you can escape from this." He says, the pools of molten gold on his eyes placid, compassionate. "But we do not wish to hurt you. We just wish to know who has done this to you, brought you to such a state. We would prefer not to hurt you, but we need you to cooperate." His tone leaves very clear how his friends WILL hurt him, even though Luc himself does not wish to.
alsoquin "Free me! I am an agent of the Pentarch Order, here on the will of the Maker! Unhand me or you will face the ultimate retribution!" The threat is a little unimpressive coming from within the wrapping.
Zahara manages not to laugh out loud.
Thirteen "Ah, the ultimate retribution."
Thirteen "I am concerned."
Lucent "You do not understand." He says simply, without boast. "We were created to meet and destroy the ultimate retribution."
Cerin watches the man carefully for any magic he might try and use
Lucent "Now, have you been spreading your lies on the orders of the Pentarch Order, then? Of someone within it?"
alsoquin The egoless edge of Lucent's statement terrifies the man far more than any bravado might have done, and he cuts off the beginning of another rant mid-sentence."
alsoquin "We... we do not lie! We keep the nations aware of each other's treachery... we cannot allow one to play at friends with the others..." He swallows. "It is from the Highest Orders that this act comes."
Lucent shakes his head sadly "And why can you not? What terrible happening would come to pass if they simply had peace?"
alsoquin "The work of the Maker would go undone..."
Lucent "And how would that come to pass?"
Thirteen "What work is that?"
Lucent sighs. It is sad to see how believers would keep a world at war...
alsoquin "The Great Experiment... the cause for which all life in Atomnos flourishes or dies..."
Zahara "War is required for life to flourish? Or for it to die?"
alsoquin "War maintains the tension of the experiment... we are tasked to maintain the conditions at all times."
Lucent ::He is afraid. Not this one. The... everything around us, I think. They are keeping Atomnos too busy infighting for them not to... what? Look for them? Look beyond them? This is all...::
Zahara silently muses on how fascinating such an experiment would be to conduct, if only she could get away with it.
Lucent almost asks how he lives with himself at night, but that would be pointless
Birds "Clearly, this Maker does not have the best interests of his people at heart."
Lucent "What else do you do for that, beyond keeping the countries at war?"
Birds "We must kill him. Tell me his name. Show me his home."
Thirteen "Finally, we have come around to my initial conclusion."
Thirteen "What is the goal of this experiment, minion?"
Lucent ::I could not agree more. We have to destroy this sadist. And get those people out of this horrible game of his'.:: He nods. ::But let us not make the prisioner panic, alright?::
alsoquin "We... " He seems terrified now, but compelled by greater magics than his own to continue. "We enforce the order, allowing only those with the will to serve the Maker to escape the breaking wheel. We watch the lineage of the majeures and keep it to our liking. We... we allow the Qlippan to rage against the nations...."
Thirteen "Yes, that much could be deduced. We must know why."
Lucent "You keep them enclosed, them. This is a prision, nothing more. And you are the jailors."
Zahara exerts Calm upon him. Calm compliance.
alsoquin Suddenly he starts screaming and writhing. "There is a secret at the heart of the world! Without knowledge of it all will fall into Oblivion and be for naught! Only the Maker can discover it...!" He trails off into a worldless scream as those with Essence sight notice a powerful emenation from within his chest cavity.
Cerin ::Zahara, my love, you might want to put him down now::
Lucent ::... what?::
Thirteen ::On that note, I wonder whether Zahara's collars might be effective on these creatures.::
alsoquin What looks almost like a black un-light begins to shine out from the man's chest, through the Bonds, and a dark, acrid smoke rises up as his screaming grows more intense.
Thirteen ::Well, it appears it will not after all be necessary for you to triangulate the Seal, Cerin.::
Cerin watches the Exalt with interest.
alsoquin A dark, infernal Essence floods out of the Exalt's chest with great force in a sudden burst, and as it dissipates he collapses, no longer amongst the living.
Zahara gestures, and the bonds engulf the man completely, sealing the emanations inside a cocoon.
Zahara "I see the Master did not enjoy his speaking with us. Well, there are two more, we can pick up where we left off." she says philosophically.
Lucent "Just... what... Sun. They have spelled them to die if they talk of the secret? Or if they are compelled to talk..." Lucent gets between it and his companions, hoping Amika will absorb the blow... but it wasn't nessessary after all.
Lucent "They will die at the same point, if they are spelled to, Zahara..."
alsoquin The general has been in a state of constant shock during this entire conversation, and the intensity of the infernal energies appears to have rendered him utterly unconscious.
Zahara "Well, then we can discover what triggers it."
Cerin :: I do not think that was the Master. That Essence was Infernal in nature. It is not the same as the Essence of the Plane.::
Lucent turns. "General, where can we... damn."
Lucent ::So, they are being manipulated by Malfeas, some demon pretending to the Maker?::
Birds lifts up the general and fans him gently. "Wake up, you're missing the whole show!"
Cerin ::I might be hasty, but that could be the 'secret at the heart of the world'::
Cerin ::I feel we need to travel to the citadel and find out.::
Thirteen ::Hm. I suspect that that secret is the Seal we seek. They do have a way of shaping the world about them.::
Thirteen ::In either case, I agree. It is time for us to be on our way.::
Lucent ::It might be only demons pretending to be agents of the government, but what would they gain in keeping Atomnos and the Pentarch blind if that was the case? Pehaps they are tainting the 'Maker'? It must be a slow proccess, if they are...::
Cerin ::It might be. It is also possible this war and the shaping is merely a more elaborate version of the method by which I determined the seal was here. A gigantic geomantic calculation::
Thirteen ::That seems a bit recherche. What benefit would they gain from so overdoing things?::
Cerin ::If the taint is well hidden enough that the Maker cannot see it, one would require a large scale machine on which to calculate.::
Lucent ::Pehaps he does not care. Some Gods in Creation would care more for the arrangement of a mountain that for all the lives in the city surrounding it, Thirteen. Of course, those have to be schooled and taught the way of things.:: He nods. ::I concur. Pehaps the next one can tell us? Unless that is also a forbidden information...::
Thirteen ::Need we persist in interrogating them? We will need to speak with their master in any case.::
Cerin ::I am curious as to who the Pantheon of Glass are.::
Lucent ::True. No need to bring any additional harm to them, in any case. Not that they will likely survive when we expose the Pentarch to Atonmos. But let us go, then. And may the sun have pity on the 'Maker' if this is his doing::
alsoquin It is but a simple prospect for the Solars to absent themselves from the palace in Grazim and make their way back outside. The Sky-Fires seem unusually agitated, and blaze by faster and more erratically than on the Solar's previous trip. It is some distance from the outer shell of the Grazim continent (...)
alsoquin to the crystalline tower of Avixos, home of the Pentarch Order, though to the Solars distance is rarely a concern.
alsoquin Only a tiny bit of "persuasion" was necessary to commandeer a cargo vessel from one of the nation's ports and redirect it towards the crystalline capital.
Cerin starts to paint one of the giant lightning serpents as it flashes past.
alsoquin The spire of the Avixos tower, far in the distance, begins to glow unnaturally brightly, beams of light splitting the dark air of Atomnos as it grows to nearly blinding levels. Those who can still look into the intense radiance can see three blurs of motion streak out of it, into the air...
Zahara muses over how far the experiment has progressed as she leans over the bow, letting the wind stream through her hair. Her apparant abandon is no such thing, however, as she is constantly prepared for danger.
Cerin "I think we might have some company soon." Cerin muses, as he sets the paintbrush down.
Lucent "They know their servant died, you think?"
Zahara "I'm sure they killed him.""
Thirteen turns away from the side of the ship, idly fingering his spear.
alsoquin With almost unmatchable speed a crystalline blur shoots downwards from the sky-dome above and crashes down directly through the center of the Solars' boat, shattering it utterly.
Zahara dives acrobatically, but rather than away from the missile, she aims for it, interposing her Daiklave between it and the deck, twisting deftly, she deflects it so that it only smashes through the rail
alsoquin As Zahara's motion breaks the being's momentum, she gets a clear look -- a nearly seven-foot tall, unbearably beautiful woman rendered entirely in the most transparent of glass, that seems to melt and flow into her every movement, clad only in the lightest of garments... her great wings larger by far than she herself, and as razor-sharp as the two great curved swords she carries in her hands.
Thirteen idly twirls the point of his spear above his head, directing it at the woman as she flies over him and into the rail.
alsoquin Elsewhere, beyond the ship, the other two forms can be seen -- a dark man, like smoky quartz, of rough glass, whose hands move swiftly and carelessly to keep aloft the eight geometric forms that hover in orbits around him... and a set of 113 cubes of different sizes, that shift and slide fluidly across one another to take a variety of forms.
Cerin ::Ah, Malakim.::
alsoquin "Worthless ingrates!" shouts the woman in a voice of unrivalled clarity. "You squander the gift of the Maker on petty treachery! Halt your progress here or become waterlogged carrion."
alsoquin Thirteen's spear swings underneath the unexpecting creature's defenses and sends a fine spray of glass dust off of one side, which sparkles brilliantly as it catches the red light of the Sky-Fires and drifts slowly through the air.
Thirteen "I apologize, but I am not currently interested enough in you to provide a witty riposte."
Cerin ::Perhaps these are the Pantheon of Glass.:: Cerin hypothesises telepathically as he studies the figures.
Cerin ::Perhaps these are the Pantheon of Glass.:: Cerin hypothesises telepathically as he studies the figures.
pigeon twirls his spear and couches it under his arm, turning to face the rail as the dust falls over him, leaving him gleaming in the light.
Thirteen "Please, pique my curiosity."
Valeci "The Maker does not welcome you. You invade like a cancer upon his world, and strike at his heart. It cannot be tolerated. You must turn back." She takes no other action yet, but clearly remains ready for further battle.
Lucent "This world is a sickness upon its people. It is wrong. It must change."
Lucent opens the Coronal, arranging the stars around him, the sun flashing bright above his face
Thirteen "I remain uninveigled."
Lucent "This does not work. And we burn what does not work."
Zahara "Our gifts are not of the Maker." she notes idly.
Lucent ::... damnit, thirteen, DON'T make me giggle during the speech!::
Valeci "You understand naught of the world. Have you never thought to the nature of your gift? What purpose it serves?"
Thirteen "Friend of yours, Lucent?"
Lucent "No, there is a big difference between us. I am right, for starters."
Cerin "Have you never considered that there might be a better way than these rather wasteful wars to find what you seek?"
Lucent turns to Valeci, "It serves the Sun. To shine upon the darkness. To lead those that need. To burn what does not work."
Valeci A passing Sky-Fire puts a vicious red glint in her eye. "The same Sun who put the doom to your kind and cast down all who could put challenge to him?"
Thirteen "Since we stand before you, I must suggest that that statement is, at least, incomplete."
Lucent "The sun would never put down his favorite children."
Thirteen "Let us not quibble over trifles. The point is that we respectfully disagree with you."
Cerin ::Blind faith does not become you, Lucent.:: Well, it did. But that was the problem, really.
Valeci "Ah, but he did. Did you think the Star-crossed could put you down themselves? Had his way carried forth your kind would be absent still from the ways of Meru."
Zahara "And if we allow you to carry forth, the citizens of this plane would have a similar, though more pitiful, fate."
Lucent will have none of it "They had help, clearly. Demons, probably. The Lion. He had given himself to the darkness even then!"
Thirteen "I, at least, care not what serves the Sun. It is my desire to continue as I have begun. I advise you with what compassion I can muster to timidly allow me to do so."
Valeci looks over the Solars and continues. "They simply do not know their place. Just as you do not, and just as your master still does not. This world was not made for those such as you."
Zahara "Then simply give us what we came for, and we will depart without destroying you utterly."
Birds "Knowing one's place is the practice of servants."
Birds "It shames you to speak thus. Where is the pride of your station?"
Valeci stares at Birds with an almost unimaginable hatred. "You WILL NOT enter Avixos!" And with that she casts both wings violently upwards and launches herself into the sky; her two compatriots suddenly begin to move as well, and dive quickly into the Quicksilver Sea.
Birds memorises the expression. That look of hatred could be useful.
Tags: (:tags Atomnos, Grazim, Ovesh, Pentarchal Order, Great Experiment, Qlippan, Avixos, Crystalline Host, Malakim, Valeci, Sol Invictus, Sidereals :)