alsoquin The opening at the base of the Spire beckons to the Solars, leaving just enough space to walk one abroad into the heart of Wasirru's gloriously alive manse-cathedral.
Thirteen leads the way.
Cerin waits for Thirteen and Birds to enter, then steps inside after them.
alsoquin The first chamber within is something that Thirteen remembers well -- the feel of the walls, the warm, rapidly circulating air within, the woody and warm tone of the echoes cast by every sound. In the center of the room is a small mound, with a hole in the center... it is from here that Thirteen plucked the Splinter, twelve long years ago.
Thirteen spares only a moment in reminiscence before he proceeds onwards to the entrance that balked him long ago.
Cerin spends a few moments examining the room before he follows Thirteen
alsoquin Upon the back of the room, carven directly into the ancient branch-wood that composes the entire spire, are ten elaborate, abstract pictograms, lovingly rendered and smooth to the touch. A hairline crack in the wood around them forms the outline ofwhat is certainly a door.
Thirteen frowns, running his hand carefully along the symbols on the door.
Birds quirks her head at the pictograms.
alsoquin Once, when Thirteen was here long ago, the words puzzled him, but no longer. Now, he reads each word as his hand runs over it:
Cerin studies the door and the pictograms, wondering what they mean
alsoquin "The Tenth and Final Pact: Here Shall I Rest, and Plant the Seed. When the Winds are Right, it Shall Sprout Again. When the Fruit has Ripened, It Shall Know to Speak Truth. So It Is Written, in the Tongue Known Only to You and I, Wei Dan."
Thirteen murmurs the words aloud as they take shape under his fingers, for the benefit of his companions.
Birds grumbles. "You boys always have the most frustrating ancestors."
Thirteen "I am Thirteen Blooming Flowers, Wei Dan returned. I have travelled far across the twelve planes, and come into my power, and I return now to seek what is rightfully mine. This truth I speak to you."
alsoquin No sooner does Thirteen speak these words than the hairline crack thickens and the door panel slides downward into the floor, exposing an upward-heading spiral staircase of wood, still no wider than single-file....
Thirteen speaks over his shoulder as he heads upwards. "Wei Dan was a warrior first, Birds, and an ancestor second. Alahwi was a writer. At all times, she must have been aware of posterity."
Birds thinks about this for a second and makes a hrm of assent.
Cerin follows the pair up the stairs
alsoquin The staircase continues up for some distance... perhaps four stories. The wood is increasingly warm to the touch, and those who can see witness the dark brown of the exterior give way to elaborate, marbled patterns of tan, burgundy, and ebon woods.
Birds curiously touches the patterns, wondering if these colors are accompanied by equally ornamental changes in texture.
alsoquin When it reaches the top, another small room is revealed, one where the contrast of the marbled wood grows even greater. In its center the floor slopes up to form a small depression, filled with earth, from which a small tree, perhaps two feet high, grows, looking exactly like the Wasirranu in miniature. Along the walls are several curtains, of plain unornamented cotton, covering small alcoves.
alsoquin To Birds' and Thirteen's delight, the different wood colors are easily distinguishable by touch!
Thirteen kneels by the depression, carefully running his hand along the small tree.
alsoquin The miniature duplicate is quite uncanny, down to the tiny spire that sits above its leaves.
alsoquin Though the air in the chamber is largely still, the branches of the tiny tree rustle as if in a stiff breeze, and in the soothing sounds of the rustling, Thirteen can hear words. "Welcome, returning one."
Cerin settles himself against a wall, studying the tree and it's flows, considering how they compare to the larger tree outside.
Thirteen "Are you, too, a child of Wasirru?"
Tiny Tree "There is a sense in which that is true."
Tiny Tree The breeze, a tiny bit cool in the warmth of these chambers, spreads from the tree's leaves to touch each of the Solars, and the understanding of the tree's speech follows with it.
Tiny Tree "Your birthright lay within the chamber below. That which you have earned is here, instead."
Thirteen "And you have waited here for me, that I may have Wasirru with me, wherever I choose to roam."
Tiny Tree whispers, "Yes."
Thirteen whispers back, "Thank you."
Thirteen rises, moving to investigate the various alcoves.
Tiny Tree Within each alcove sits a single item, left behind by Wei Dan for his future self. In the first, on a simple hook upon the wall, hangs a mundane reed hat, slightly singed by fire.
Thirteen settles the hat onto his head as best he can, turning towards Birds for approval and minor adjustments.
Birds rotates the hat a little so an interesting scorch mark is in front. "Excellent."
Thirteen proceeds to the next alcove.
Thirteen "Thank you for your assistance, Birds."
Tiny Tree On a similar tiny hook hangs something Thirteen has heard of, but perhaps did not expect to see: the Crown of the High Chieftan, a necklace of tiny wooden chimes that cast out the three tones that speak of leadership to all the Spearfolk.
Thirteen "I wonder how many of my people's treasures lie concealed here."
Thirteen takes the Crown, laying it carefully around his neck, and continues on.
Tiny Tree Within the next alcove yet another seemingly simple treasure lies: a large, square scrap of parchment, upon the center of which is emblazoned the symbol of the Twilight Caste, its details raised up from the paper that Thirteen's fingers might read it
Thirteen runs his hand quickly over the parchment, as always.
Tiny Tree As Thirteen feels upon the paper, he experimentally jabs a finger into one portion of the page, almost as if by reflex, and ink seems to flow into it, pushing the paper up into a bas relief that his fingertips can recognize... the symbol of a dark rose appears upon the paper, while tiny old-realm characters speaking of the current status of Thirteen's subordinate begin to circle around it.
Thirteen pokes around some more on the paper, looking for other spots that react to his touch.
Tiny Tree Littler symbols appear in their own orbits around the Roseblack, as she orbits around the Twilight at the center. It takes but a moment for Thirteen to recognize the Lieutenants who report directly to Ejava.
Thirteen smiles, concentrating on the Wasirrans as he continues to investigate the paper.
Cerin smiles, concentrating on Thirteen as he continues to investigate the paper.
Tiny Tree Thirteen is pleased to see that his Spearfolk have organized themselves well and already decisively won several skirmishes on the border in his time absent from them.
Birds watches Thirteen with interest.
Tiny Tree Armed with his recent discoverys in motonic theory, Cerin is pleased to notice the rather elaborate waves of orientation-changes that pass between the motes encased in the paper. Clearly whoever created it had access to knowledge of Essence principles that are completely unknown in the modern age.
Thirteen rolls up the paper and swallows it, nodding in satisfaction, and investigates the fourth and last alcove.
Cerin is pleased to note they are ALMOST completely unknown in the modern age.
Tiny Tree Behind this curtain, there is no object at all... but carved into the wall are more of the strange, raised pictograms that marked the entrance to this chamber, far below.
Thirteen gets his read on.
Tiny Tree "The Last Testament of Wei Dan"
Tiny Tree "After two thousand years of life, I return here, to the Spire of the Wasirranu, where I began my journey. With our own hands we built up the world from the ashes, and by our own hands now it is returned to them.
Tiny Tree "Less than fifty of the Sun-Graced still live, and no more rise to join them. Those who remain say that the age of the Solars has ended, and that it will fall to others to take up the reins of the world, or else they bargain with things that debase their status as the true Gods of existence.
Tiny Tree "Thankfully, I have always been smarter than my compatriots.
Tiny Tree "Since you are myself reborn, I need not be concerned that you will wish to do the things you must now do. Since you were Chosen at the peak of the Wasirranu, I need not be concerned that you are capable of doing them.
Tiny Tree "Though you are alone in all of the worlds, you will find a way to restore the glory of ages past. Glory be upon you." It is signed, simply, with the Twilight Caste Symbol once again.
Tiny Tree As Thirteen finishes reading, his hand notices the same sort of thin, hairline crack that marked the doorway below.
Thirteen "We were more fortunate than you expected, my ancestor. I am not alone."
Thirteen "Together we will accomplish what we must. This I swear, by my name -- Thirteen Blooming Flowers, Wei Dan returned."
Tiny Tree Once again, the door slides open, revealing another staircase.
Thirteen proceeds upward once again.
Tiny Tree This staircase ends in another, smaller chamber. Little lies within here: the center of the floor rises up to a small table, upon which sits an wooden egg, perhaps the size of a large cat, with abstract depicitions of winds carved into its exterior; and on the far wall, which slants outward, a depression, around the size of a person.
Thirteen frowns, sparkling suddenly, and taps the wooden egg with a finger.
Tiny Tree The wind carvings glow golden for a moment at the touch.
Thirteen "Cerin, I believe you might find this room to your interest."
Thirteen leaves Cerin to investigate the room, proceeding downstairs, where he begins to carefully scrape handfuls of earth into his mouth...