Imrama The moment that his ship's hull touched the sky over Meru, Imrama opened the hull to release the long-imprisoned gods within. A scintilating rainbow of divinities has trailed the Fable as it swept on towards Solaria, where Imrama and Grala have now arrived.
Imrama ::Cerin, I have brought an old friend to see you.::
Grala stands on the deck, her feathers radiant in the sunlight, though her expression -- as always -- is cold and unreadable.
Cerin ::Oh?:: He asks, and then a few moments later. ::You seem to have a great many gods in your ship, Imrama. Still, I shall join you presently. One of the upper gardens?::
Imrama ::Very good.:: Imrama brings the Fable to moor over the Cascade's highest garden, and 1,000 of the smallest or most sluggish gods of Meru begin to scurry out.
Cerin steps out of the shadows of the trees a short time later, clad in his black armour and surrounded by a cloud of ribbons. He waits for Grala and Imrama to descend, mostly ignoring the smaller gods.
Grala floats down and perches herself on a convenient treebranch.
Cerin "Greetings, Grala," he inclines his head respectfully.
Imrama helps a few elderly dieties down off of the ship before coming to stand near Cerin and Grala.
Grala speaks after a long pause. "Hello, Cerin."
Cerin "Welcome back, Imrama." He appears to give something some thought. "You have just returned from Heaven?"
Imrama "Yes. The state of things there is vastly worse than we imagined. Every Terrestrial god who attended the Carnival of Meeting has been held prisoner there since the eclipse. A mute martial law has been imposed from the Jade Pleasure Dome, enforded by the Swords of Truth."
Imrama "I have freed some of the dieties on whom Meru depends, but most of them remain captive, above."
Cerin "Hmmm. That is less than ideal."
Grala ruffles her feathers slightly. "It is far less."
Cerin "I suppose it would help in rectifying this situation if we knew what was happening within the Jade Pleasure Dome."
Imrama "It is a disastrous situation. I had hoped that, with the advent of the new Deliberative, we could reach a new level of understanding with Yu-Shan. Instead, I found the powers of the Celestial City to be even less reasonable than they were the last time I visited."
Imrama "Yes, very much so." Imrama says, as if responding politely to a child's fanciful hypothetical.
Imrama "Wait: do you mean that we might attempt to infiltrate the heart of heavenly power?"
Cerin "Well, I was thinking that I myself might do so."
Grala looks at Cerin, her expression still unreadable.
Imrama 's eyes seem almost to leave his sockets as he grapples with what Cerin is nonchalantly proposing. "If...you would undertake the quest, I would be only to happy to ferry you to Yu-Shan."
Cerin smiles a little. "It is something I have been considering for a while. The ways and means, that is."
Grala decides that now is a good time to speak up. "And what do you expect to accomplish there, precisely?"
Cerin considers. "I would like to discover which of the Incarna are behind the imprisonment of the Gods, I would like to investigate certain things I saw as I fell through Creation." and most of all, I would like to see if I can.
Imrama "I can think of no alternate strategy for the return of the remaining divinities, now that the Swords know me, and seem resolved to pass sentence. We may leave at your choosing, Cerin the Wolf."
Grala stands up straighter. "Tell me, before you depart. What purpose does freeing the remaining deities serve, to you?"
Cerin "I do not know who they are, so I cannot speak in specific, but I have seen what happens to Creation without them."
Grala nods. "And are you prepared to resume the war with them, if you must?"
Cerin simply favours Grala with a raised eyebrow.
Imrama adopts a caring, but somewhat exhausted expression. "I believe that there is a path that avoids both a slow decline and the resumption of war."
Grala "Perhaps," she says. "But then, you are mortals, and not Gods. We do not think in the same way."
Imrama "We are not the same, this is true, Mistress of the Hunt. But we are not so different that we cannot each live to the benefit of the other."
Cerin "I think I shall let you continue this discussion. There are certain things I must collect, and I must see Zahara," he nods to both of them, and then vanishes.
Grala "Be careful," she says, to the air where Cerin was a moment ago.