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Lucent "Or should we go to the Monstrances first?" He asks with a smile.

Ember Of Glory The ashen man nods. "This way," he says, gesturing to a door leading down into the Night room.

Lucent "What I told him goes for you, too." He nods, saying that without any menace, looking up at Ember, "But I would like to be friends. We are of a kind, Ember, despite the shadows woven around you." The thin, wan gentleman nods to Lucent, as he leads down into the Night room, where the cruel-looking cages of iron hang. "Are we?" he gestures towards one of the cages, which seems to hang in shadow despite the bright lights that line the ceiling.

Lucent looks at the cages... trying not to make his hands curl into fists. And managing. For once, he wishes he was not so good an actor. "Despite the shadows. But we are. You understand devotion, right? You understand the need to bring faith, to bring the word."

Ember Of Glory "Oh, I understand it. Only too well. It is as my liege says: we wish only for you to understand our position as well as we understand yours." His eyes flash a deep greenish color, and he points with one long, outstretched finger into the darkness within the cage, which has begun to swirl around as he has spoken. "Look within, Lucent. Come face to face with the legacy of your kind."

Lucent looks. He does not step away. However much as he wishes to.

Ember Of Glory The darkness within spirals faster and grows darker, deeper as Lucent stares into it. Strands of pure, unadulterated darkness seem to be carved out of the very air itself as they grow thick and tangible within the massive cage; the skeins of inky darkness coalesce into a circle

Ember Of Glory that seems to be ripped from the very fabric of the world, and as Luc stares into it he sees it expand, grow, until it encompasses all of his senses, and he stands alone, in infinite darkness.

Lucent takes a deep breath. He can't hide it now. "Sho... show yourself."

Ember Of Glory A great, slow-moving draft of hot, sticky air washes over Lucent from behind where he stands. It has a thick smell, like grave earth mixed with carrion, sickly sweet and heavy.

Lucent turns slowly. So very slowly. Pools of gold in his eyes are opaque, as if trying to hide what lies within. He bring his white sleeve to his nostrils, to keep the smell away... "Th.. Glimpse of Night, I... presume?"

Ember Of Glory Where Luc turns, he... "sees" nothing. More empty blackness. But somehow, in that darkness, there is a definition, lines -- a form, twenty feet tall, like a man with a tall crown, clad in robes and sitting upon a square throne. The breath of void washes out from it again, the hint of speech carried upon it: {YOU HAVE COME}

Lucent curls his hands into fists, feeling them slick with sweat. He watches the greatness in the darkness... greater than any god... "... I have. For Quen is my friend. I have made a deal with him. And he... he is yours'..."

Lucent takes a deep breath. "For all that is... wor... worth... I am sorry."

Ember Of Glory As Luc looks into the darkness, the invisible edges, black upon black, that define the statue begin to spread, and other, smaller creatures are defined encircling it in every direction:

Ember Of Glory a woman with five wings, a half-boar creature that wears a single glove, a tall person with eight rhythmically moving arms, a form of fifteen moths (all clinging together to take the shape of a human), and more.... About the ground, the invisible shapes of tinier, stranger creatures sit, and Luc feels as if all of them are looking at him.

Ember Of Glory The voice again: {FOR WHAT DO YOU LIVE}

Lucent "I... I used to live for the sun. But the sun has forsaken me. Now, I am not sure for what do I live. For myself, pehaps...." He looks around. His souls. Their souls. The hierarchy. "Until then, I want to keep the forces of Creation held at bay. Both Lily and Sunlands." He finally realises his words. "I live for my own survival, until I know what that is for!"

Ember Of Glory The breath washes over Luc once again, now from every direction, all sides... he feels the thousands of eyes gazing upon him. {SHOW US YOUR LIGHT}

Lucent spreads his arms, sending orange-tinted desert-summer light to all sides! Sand appears everywhere, touching the eyes of his souls as his caste mark burns upon Lucent's brow! The seven lights of the Coronal break free, wrapping a defensive configuration around him. The lights of heaven, serving him, not him serving them. He waited.

Ember Of Glory The light fills the chamber, and washes over the distinctions he picked out amongst the darkness... to show a shocking sight. Before him, on the throne of obsidian, sits the rotting body of a vast, inhuman king; maggots bigger than a fist writhe in the holes of his flesh, and a rat picks at his eyesocket. All around, other bodies lie in similar states of decomposition; and thin trails of black essence rise up from all.

Ember Of Glory The king's arm jerkily rises from its prone position, sending the maggots that crowd upon it flying about, and it swivels unnaturally to point at the base of the throne, where a hole large enough for a person to walk through opens onto more darkness.

Lucent gasps, taking a step backwards, nearly stumbling back. His his hand comes to close his mouth, to stop him from throwing up... not even then. Not even when he dealt with Yozi. That was... horrifying. He takes a moment to start shaking... and steels his own resolve. Walking foward. Towards the corpse. Towards the darkness.

Ember Of Glory Luc steps through under the vast body's throne, into a new darkness, one so deep that Luc cannot sense even his own body. At first nothing appears, and all is darkness and silence. Then the image begins to resolve itself -- Luc feels himself, but not himself.

Ember Of Glory He bestrides a vast plane, scarred and pitted with the wounds of battle; he still cannot see himself, though he feels himself move, his attention and perceptions divided thousandfold as a sentience greater than his own directs itself.

Ember Of Glory A battle is waged; Essence crackles; men die. Lightning strikes the ground from above and magma bursts from it below. Trees grow, flower, then wither in seconds.

Ember Of Glory The buzzing flies of Exalts are seen, thousands of them... thousands, just for him. He slays thirty with a single motion, casting their bodies aside, each causing a fountain of blood to spring from the earth where it lands.

Lucent watches, befuddled. That... that powerful creature... was it him? Destroying... or... was it the Primordial? The fight... was it through his eyes? He wondered which of those flies had been Him. How many times Lucent himself had died on those hands...

Ember Of Glory Off in the distance, behind the soldiers at the front lines, two stand. A man, long hair flowing in the wind, clad in golden armor; and a dark-skinned, bald man, clad only in flowing robes. Between them is some great object, perhaps ten feet tall, swathed in a thick cloth, unseen...

Ember Of Glory He turns, focuses hundreds of his thousandfold perception upon the two. He turns to move, crushing twelve more Exalts as he does.

Ember Of Glory The long-haired man reaches over and pulls off the cloth, revealing the object: a vast, crescent-shaped frame. From it hang, on strands of gossamer, a hundred or more panels, irregularly placed, sharply geometrically edged, and of the purest mirror-silver; they hang loosely to define the circle.

Ember Of Glory The two men nod to one another, and draw out their swords: a pale, thin blade of opaline radiance, and a thick blue slab of jade; both are blades Luc has seen recently. He charges towards them, the very earth shifting and changing beneath his feet.

Lucent lucent watches... looking within the Crescent... losing himself the mirrors... wondering what that object is for. They are going to kill him... he knows it. He has been brought low, but how?

Ember Of Glory He draws near, and he sees, from one hundred angles, the expressions on the faces of the men: grim, but smug. As one, they raise their blades and swing them into the device, and it chimes: a melodious, infinitely faceted sound that explodes outwards, nearly tearing the air as it does so.

Ember Of Glory Luc feels it rip into him, jagged, brilliant pain; he feels his thousand eyes and ears go white one by one, feels his souls torn from his body, feels the shreds of his life peel off and disappear in tiny bursts of Essence.

Ember Of Glory There is a brief pause, when all is white.

Ember Of Glory And then, Luc feels himself rise from where he fell... clarified, purified; he rises up into the air, the crumbling, indistinct husk of his body crumbling to dust below. He rises up and the air thins, the sky shifts; the Essence grows thick, and he pulls himself upwards, to the single brilliant white light that hangs above...

Lucent He looks up, trying to reach it... lethe he thinks, accepting it... lethe!

Ember Of Glory He reaches up, all his eyes turned upon it, his hand moves to touch it... one single finger brushes against it, and he feels the slightest hint of its soothing caress....

Ember Of Glory And, then, the air beneath him falls away, and he drops back towards the earth, screaming with words that cannot be heard.

Lucent screams, denied even that... "We... we didn't know..."

Ember Of Glory Through the earth he falls, passing through it utterly, and out its opposite side; into the empty cavern of Netheos, where the ash-white grave-statues of the world above sit in seclusion and emptiness....

Ember Of Glory Here, when he strikes, there is a great impact, and the ground buckles underneath.... further he falls, further, until the grave-earth grows pitted and hollow.

Ember Of Glory He feels his soul spread out, like blood from a corpse, fallen a thousand feet; it oozes into the tunnels, coats them, changes them; where once was spiritual flesh, a new medium takes hold.

Ember Of Glory The tunnels, once scale models of the vast Underways that line the body of Meru, pull and twist as the newly-fallen creature's being seeps into them; as Lucent feels his sanity crack and the madness of what has been done to him pervade his senses, the tunnels twist as well, the great labyrinth bending to fit the impossible geometries of an impossible being's shattered mind.

Lucent It is like HIS mind is being shattered. Lucent tries to hold his head, to scream, but he cannot. We didn't know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We didn't know. At least... he thinks they did not. So... so much pain...

Ember Of Glory The pain, the madness, the hot wind of death... they all intensify, so greatly that it seems like they will become too much.... almost.

Ember Of Glory Then, without warning, Luc stands in the Night room once again. The shadow upon the cage is just a shadow; the two Abyssals stand, watching him as he returns from his reverie.

Lucent falls to his knees. He tries not to cry. Face hidden by his hair, he talks to Ember. Without moving up, but Ember knows it is addressed to him. "Y.. yo... you knew?"

Ember Of Glory nods. "I did."

Lucent "And that is how he died... Pluto... all of them... when the museum became a nightmare. When the place for lost contemplation became a labyrinth of shattered pain... I had no idea. I had no idea they had suffered so. We thought... Pluto. I wonder if he realised it, before..."

Lucent shines his caste mark. There is the slightest tinge of shadows there. A crescent moon of shadows on the corner of the golden light. "I suppose... we are kin now, Ember of Glory."

Ember Of Glory "Perhaps it is a thing that will never be known," he says, to Lucent's question. As the Solar arises before him, a spot of gold appears in the corner of his own black castemark disc. "We are indeed," he speaks, and smiles.

Lucent "It... it is time to go, then. Amika." Is all he says. Light begins to pour below their feet. Sand flows down from his open palm... and a thing of sand and light lifts all of the ground. The being is grand... and begins to break the walls. "This is Amika. She is my soul. She is my better half. Amika, meet my kin, meet my friend's servant." A grand tail appears in the room, coming from the sand...

Lucent ... and it goes through the chains holding the cage, picking it for itself. "I will keep that, and my friend will understand." He tells the Deathknights. "I wish to understand it. And maybe... maybe someday, I will use it. For myself. If there is no other way to achieve Glimpse's goals."

Ember Of Glory nods as the creature rises from the floor, and looks at the cage that Luc has taken with bemusement, then merely nods.

Ember Of Glory Crow-Devours-Flame speaks up, curtly. "We must be going."

Lucent That is all the approval he needs. On another blink, Amika is real... and goes through the walls, finally appearing fully. She lands fifty meters away... and begins to move, far too fast. "We are." He says with a bow. And then he sits down... and that is all he could do not to fall to his knees.

Lucent It took him much to do that. And he does not speak with them, not now. It took all of him to remember his mission enough to pick the cage. Not to forget. Now, he needs to close his eyes. And come to terms with all he has witnessed...

Ember Of Glory As Luc closes his eyes, he can hear it, where silence once stood before... the tiniest whisper of the long dead.

Ember Of Glory But underneath it... and above it... and all around, the sun in Lucent's breast that Hesiesh drew out, the unquenchable light of potential and glory... it beats softly and casts its light, as if to remind Luc that nothing, no great noble task, lies beyond his reach....

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