< Meeting With Lai | Sol Invictus Logs | Meeting With Ssithumi >

  • Birds-of-Trinity is chatting with Relovia over a light meal; the balcony they have chosen to eat on overlooks the military drilling ground, where Rannath's force is performing "exercises" that look like off-colour jokes when seen from high above. His officers must have had some free time.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, what I'm saying is that the Immaculate Order isn't the horrible, false, inhuman thing that dear Markuran makes it out to be," she explains.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I do think that they've lost sight of their goals, but in these years of tumult, that can only be expected, don't you think?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "All they need is a strong, willing leader with her heart in the right place."

  • Zahara wanders down beneath the balcony, ever-present sheaf of papers in her hand and an impatient look on her face. "Damn," she mutters, "I thought I'd drawn it out right that time.."

Relovia stares at Birds for a moment, and frowns a little.

  • Birds-of-Trinity offers Zahara a bun. "What're you looking at there?" She hasn't learned when this isn't a good idea yet.

<Relovia> "But as you have shown me, the core philosophy of the Immaculate Order is built upon falsehood. The devotions to the Immaculate Dragons are blasphemous and ineffective. How can a solid church be built upon a rotten foundation?"

Relovia violently but swiftly slices another bun in half, then applies a liberal helping of butter to it.

  • Zahara looks up at Birds, startled. "Designs for use with my meteor. WHICH is now safe. Theoretically." She mutters imprecations under her breath about the sonovabitch that took it. "Can't send a goddamn messenger, nooo. gotta show off and steal my stuff.. bastard.."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Look at what they do for the land. Sure, they tell their stories about the Immaculate Dragons, but the real work of a monk is to talk the circuit, bearing learning, goods, medicine..."

  • Cerin strides into the courtyard from the maze. He looks mildly annoyed as he does. The hunting trip must not have gone so well.

<Relovia> "This is true, Birds, even as it galls me to admit it. I never served the Immaculate Order with pride in my heart for my place as a Dragon-Blood. I did it with a deep weight of responsibility driving my action, and shame at what my kind had allowed Creation to sink to. To know that the platitudes and prayers I offered for one hundred years were false burns me deeply."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Without the Order, the peasantry would live lives even worse than the ones they live now; they'd be sick, ignorant, without hope or faith or a guiding hand to turn to when they are lost."

  • Birds-of-Trinity nods gravely.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You're right that they do the world an offense."

<Relovia> "They do, with the finest of the noble Dragon-Blooded host serving as their unwitting pawns."

  • Birds-of-Trinity raises her brows a little at the sound of "one hundred years," forgetting for a moment that she speaks to a master of the fire dragon.
  • Zahara paces about, pausing every once in a while to scribble something on the sheaf of paper.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You must know about the Cult of the Illuminated...and the Hundred Gods Heresy."

<Relovia> "Know of them? I stamped out enough wide-eyed devotees of each, I am afraid."

  • Cerin stalks across the training grounds, avoiding rannath's men as he does.
  • Zahara spins and notices Cerin. "Cerin, does this look right to you?" she shoves the papers in his direction. They're fairly incomprehensible, as a once streamlined document has now acquired myriad chicken scratches.

<Cerin> "hmm!? Oh...hmmm" he frowns at the sketch

  • Zahara taps her foot. "It doesn't behave as it should." she scowls.
  • Birds-of-Trinity snickers. "Eh. Better that you stamped them out than press them into service for a cause they used to be violently against. I have seen this done!"
  • Relovia frowns at Birds again, but, against her own nature, chooses to say nothing.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "It is my thought that these three philosophies need to find a commen ground. If they can be brought together to coexist peacefully...

<Relovia> "Hmmmm. That is a grant proposal, Birds. How would you arrange for that?"

  • Cerin frowns "Well of course it wont if you draw it like that!" he snaps alittle at Zee
  • Zahara snatches the papers out of his hands, "Give me that." she hmphs and stalks off a ways to stare at them some more.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "A few well-placed hints, a bared hip, a smile..."

  • Relovia 's eyes narrow slightly.
  • Birds-of-Trinity grins. "Or HOLY WAR!"
  • Relovia blinks, five times.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We two can bring all three churches under us, in one staggering coup of martial prowess!"

  • Cerin shakes his head in Birds direction, then walks into the manse
  • Relovia is at something of a loss for words.
  • Birds-of-Trinity will be a prophet, and Relovia her first acolyte!

<Relovia> "....what part, exactly, do you forsee for me in this, ah... grand plan of yours?" Relovia looks distinctly bemused.

  • Birds-of-Trinity bangs her fist on the table, knocking over a glass.
  • Zahara turns the papers this way and that, before whipping out a fresh sheet and copying over the relevant parts. She then proceeds to stare at it for a long time, though she looks up at Birds' statement. "Holy war? That sounds fun."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "This is not something one woman can do alone," she replies, struggling not to leap onto the table and strike a dramatic pose.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We will be prophets, you and I."

  • Relovia , though she tries to hide it, visibly enjoys this idea.

<Relovia> "I do wish to burn out the cancer that lies, fetid and stinking, at the heart of the Order."

  • Cerin exits the manse again, he looks calmer, and a little apologetic. He walks over to Zahara again

<Zahara> "Hmmm..." she muses, "I'd better get this to work before the war starts."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We will need to plan this carefully, though. It would not do for us to be slain by your erstwhile colleagues."

  • Birds-of-Trinity sets out a plan, wherein they will begin with a campaign of literary subversion - adding and changing to the scriptures of the faiths to bring them closer together, and undermine their foundations of confidence.

<Relovia> "No, it would not do at all." Relovia spears a grape with her fork, and continues. "My life as an Immaculate master is not yet compromised, I think. The other four Terrifying Dragons have all fallen beneath your fists, no?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity considers this.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "This is true. We are MIGHTY warriors."

<Relovia> "Then no one else knows I have engaged with you. I can return to the Isle, bruised and battered, fresh with the head of an... Anathema" -- she spits a seed onto her plate -- "from my long campaign in the southeast, and resume the appearance of my previous, 'holy' life."

  • Birds-of-Trinity very nearly squeals with glee.

<BirdsOfTrinity> ..."You're right."

<Relovia> On the grounds below, a horse-seated messenger and a foot guard begin to approach the manse.

  • Zahara , being overly sensitive to strangers on her grounds these, looks up and eyes them with annoyance. She strides swiftly to meet them at the edge of the Maze.
  • Cerin follows after Zahara, though slightly behind

<Zahara> "Well?" she demands as they reach the edge where they are waiting.

The man riding the horse is clearly Marukani, given his equine decorations and ease upon horseback. Behind him is seated a thin man in modest tan robes, in keeping with those worn on official business by the cleric-senators of Jakobi.

The latter dismounts and walks up to Zahara, a little uncertain in his approach.

  • Zahara eyes him imperiously.

The Jakobin messenger states "I come bringing a message for the rulers of the Sunlands, from the governments of Jakobi and Marukan."

  • Zahara thinks about that for a moment, then lifts a brow. "What is your message?"

<Jackobiandiplomat> "We wish to announce to the Sunlanders that Jakobi and the Marukani have entered into a binding alliance with the city of Thorns, to mutually protect one another against any unwarranted aggression by foreign states."

<Zahara> "Ah, Congratulations."

<Zahara> "Let me know how that works out for you, will you?"

<Jackobiandiplomat> "We furthermore bear a message from Thorns beseeching you to similarly join this alliance, to further strengthen the free nations of this region, since the honorable Mask of Winters cannot guarantee your safety in the coming tumult should you refuse."

  • Cerin , behind Zahara, seems to have his mood brighten a little as he hears the announcement.

<Zahara> "Hmmm that would be tragic, wouldn't it? If we accidentally got destroyed during a conflict."

The messenger blanches slightly. "I...i...indeed it would be so."

  • Zahara chuckles slightly, "Or the opposite."

The messenger has become completely white. "I... I take it you wish to reply in the negative?"

  • Zahara pats the messenger on the shoulder in a friendly fashion, enjoying his squirming. So like a little bug pinned to the earth. "We have not made a final decision yet. But we remain friendly to all of our neighbors for the nonce."

<Jackobiandiplomat> "Y... yes. I shall return with that message. At once." He leaps back upon the Marukani horse, and the group swiftly turns to depart.

  • Zahara wiggles her fingers at them as they leave.
  • Cerin shakes his head slowly
  • Zahara turns to regard Cerin, half-smiling. "That was fun. I should tell the others, I suppose."

All of a sudden, an outrageously bright pillar of light shoots up into the sky from far in the southwest, casting a bright white light over everything visible. Those looking at it must turn away from the brightness; those looking away see only the reflection of its brilliant radiance, still far brighter than the noonday sun.

  • Zahara ducks, shielding her eyes with her arms, "What the hell was that?"
  • Cerin blinks, wincing slightly pain, the light visible to him masking even the pure light of the pillar "I...dont know" he speaks through gritted teeth

The brilliant light flares for about thirty seconds, then disappears entirely.

  • Markuran walks into the room, rubbing sleep from his eyes, sweating profusly. "I feel asleep in the steam-room aga....what's that giant purple bar of light across my eyes?"
  • Zahara whistles, and Tanty flies over, does a loop, and settles on the ground in front of her, tail swinging back and forth in a lazy arc of spikes. "Care to find out?"
  • Markuran nods. "Can your Manticore carry two?"

<Cerin> "..yes" then shakes his head, blinking.

<Zahara> "As long as we're not racing." She leaps up on his back and offers her hand to the first person who tries to jump up behind her.

  • Cerin does

<Zahara> "He can carry three if you're willing to squish."

  • Markuran snorts as Cerin takes his place behind Zahara. "Call one of your wasps then? I think I might over-burden him."
  • Markuran does, after all, weigh more then Cerin and Zahara combined.
  • Zahara lets out a particularly piercing whistle, and a couple of the wasps come buzzing over to investigate
  • Markuran climbs onto a wasp and nods at Zahara. "Lets find out what that was."
  • Zahara tells the other wasp to wait for the next exalt that comes along, probably Birds, and they fly off toward the now absent beam of light
  • Cerin is slowly shaking his head behind Zahara.
  • Zahara pushes Cerin's hands down slightly and looks over her shoulder "Why are you shaking your head?"
  • Birds-of-Trinity catches up on a wasp a little while later. She is scribbling preoccupiedly in a notebook when she meets the others.

<Markuran> "He's disappointed."

  • Zahara eyes Marku, "In what?"

<The_ST> Cerin and Zahara can both see well enough to percieve the cloud of dust and smoke rising up from hundreds of miles away, in the direction the beam appeared in.

<Cerin> "...My eyes...the essence flare was at least ten times brighter than the light..."

<Zahara> "Well, your eyes are certainly not the only thing it damaged."

<Markuran> "Was it a spell of mass destruction?"

  • Cerin blinks and looks "..I dont know...a spell...an artifact..." he studies the purple on his vision to check "..something like that"
  • Zahara waves toward the smoking piece of Creation, "It would seem so, yes."
  • Markuran turns around on his Wasp as Rannath comes along behind them. "Where were you?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, it looks like we're going to be in for sort of a trip?"

<Cerin> "It is further than we thought"

  • Rannath is riding along on his literally fire-maned steed, already wearing full armor. "Drilling."

<Cerin> "...Gods, it must have been bright"

  • Markuran shrugs. "So? We have to find out what it is regardless."

As the Solars rapidly move towards the source of the beam, the cloud becomes clearer -- a massive cloud of dirt and dust has been thrown up where the beam appeared, and is beginning to spread across the sky.

<Zahara> "Hmm perhaps we should have left a better guard behind this time, since every time we leave, something happens to the manse. Ah well, it'll be a test of our new defenses."

<Markuran> "Relovia remains behind. She can defend against lesser threats. I do not think the Mask can mount an assault in just a few days."

After many hours of tiresome travel, the Solars can finally begin to see the location where the pillar appeared.

  • Markuran flies his wasp ahead of the others, searching the ground around the explosion.

The cloud of dust rises out of a massive city of gold and white, slightly hidden by a valley amongst the jungle trees.

Its walls stand in a perfect circle, and it is clearly divided into eight identical sections.

  • Zahara blinks several times. "Was that city always there? I don't recall it on my map."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Maybe it wasn't."

In the very center, dust and smoke rises out of a hole nearly half a mile across.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You know how it is."

  • Markuran flies lower and lower, circling. His anima, a roaring grizzly in full bellow, burns away the dust and smoke. The grizzly's paws seem to clear a path in the cloud so Markuran can see clearly. Puzzled by the city, Mark continues moving lower, sweeping over the buildings curiously, Armsbreaker ready to deflect attack..

<Rannath> "I'd recall it from a patrol report."

<Cerin> "The city was there...there did used to be a pyramid too, however"

  • Zahara swoops down below most of the smoke and dust, eyeing the crater. "More starmetal?"

The hole is no mere crater; even flying straight overhead, Zahara can see no bottom to the huge shaft drilled into the center of the city.

  • Rannath stops at the city's edge, spear and armor encased in a brilliant shell of yellow-white light.

<Zahara> "Nice shaft."

  • Cerin looks down, the magical enhancments on his helmet banishing the darkness

Upon closer inspection, the city was clearly wondrous in the first age -- but it has fallen into great disrepair. Several of the great towers that stood above it have collapsed, and rubble and weeds fill the streets.

  • Markuran skims across the streets, searching for signs of life in the blasted and age-torn ruins.
  • Zahara gets distracted by the towers that still remain and directs Tanty over to them, inspecting them as she, and by default, Cerin, circle around them.

The huge hole at the center of the city is clearly new; the rock on the sides shows the signs of recent shearing. It seems to plunge downwards, in a more or less straight line, for at least many miles.

  • Rannath charges into the city from the ground, spear and helmet lowered. The great crimson horse, even encumbered with the golden-armored warlord, moves far faster than any mortal equine as the pair make their way to the center of the city.

The towers are great elongated pyramids, each with a dome and a spire atop them. The high levels bear platforms and mechanisms similar to those seen at a First Age seaport -- they seem to be intended for skyships of some kind to dock.

As Rannath rides through the city, he can see that though the city lies in ruins, it is not without life. In the side streets, reptilian figures dart and weave -- seeming to be heading to the same location as the Solars.

  • Cerin casts his eyes about him with some interest, and a little concern
  • Zahara eyes the mechanisms, wondering if she can break enough off to bring back with her for further study.

<Zahara> "Why haven't we come here before? There's so much to LEARN here.."

Markuran can get a better look at the lizard creatures from above -- they are man-sized, with a bipedal but angular posture -- they seem to move with an alarming swiftness.

  • Cerin studies the machinery, frowning.
  • Markuran runs through his mind stories of lizard men among the ruins...hmm..Tarnash the Bold who died claiming victory over the scavengers in Kesdaren...did his tale mention them? Maybe the great epic poems about Eskanura the Purple Hearted..? Hmm..he knows he's heard about them.
  • Zahara lands on one of the balconies and studies the machinery more closely, touching it with a bit of Essence to see if it reacts

On one side of the hole, opposite where Rannath stands, a group of the lizard men appears. Most appear as bestial and mindless as the others. One, however, at their lead, looks different.

  • Rannath comes to a halt at the edge, watching the lizard men with a level gaze from behind the glowing helm.
  • Markuran nods to himself. It was Eskanura the Purple Hearted! The savage "man eating snake demons that stalk the ruins" must be these creatures. Smiling to himself happily, Markuran lands his wasp as the new group emerges, hoping to collect a few trophies from these fabled lizards.
  • Cerin watches the reaction of Zee's essence to the machines and the machines to Zee's efforts, a little fascinated despite his nagging worry
  • Rannath flicks his spear slightly, and the fire-maned horse is suddenly engulfed in glowing armor, befitting his majestic celestial heritage.

It wears a simple robe of white, with the insignia of the sun emblazoned in brilliant gold across it. On each arm, elaborate claw bracers of golden metal gleam. It seems to be carefully examining the holes, and the other lizards seem to be following it.

Zahara's touch causes one of the machines to spring instantly to life -- a seemingly immovable portion of the platform begins to warp and unfold, as if to provide a convenient landing space for a flying vehicle.

<Zahara> "ooooh."

  • Rannath whistles piercingly, raising the spear as the image of Rannath's totem, a massive bull, springs to life behind him.
  • Birds-of-Trinity lands beside Markuran and touches his arm as if to ask, "What're those creatures?"

<Markuran> "Lizard-creatures! If you speak, be warned that you face Markuran the Great Bear, born of the Lakewalkers, chosen of the Sun himself!"

  • Zahara slides off the monster, completely ignoring the ruckus below, and crawls around the machinery, trying to figure out how it works.

The Dragon-King looks up to the brilliant Solar displays across the hole. He stares for a moment, then begins to circumnavigate the obstacle, moving towards the Solars.

<Rannath> "Shut up, Zenith! We aren't trying to provoke them."

  • Markuran moves forward, still smiling broadly, surrounded by his swirling anima of solar fire.

The Essence machinery in the tower is unlike anything Zahara has ever worked with before. It seems to be a deeply elaborate matrix of Essence flows, arranged to interact with one another and provide multiple possible responses to any input.

The Dragon-King, and his retinue of bestial followers, arrives near Rannath's location. It stops one hundred feet away, and stares at Rannath for several moments, making no other motion.

  • Birds-of-Trinity sets mode: +o Rannath
  • Rannath watches the Dragon King from atop his steed, bearing imperious and gaze remaining level.
  • Zahara tries activating it a couple of different ways, pushing and prodding any levers or buttons that look promising.
  • Markuran repeats his message in Riverspeak, then Old Realm. If they don't answer they must not be very smart..
  • Birds-of-Trinity calls out a greeting in the several languages she is familiar with.

Zahara finds that the mechanism can be easily configured even by a novice user to accept all manner of vehicles, as well as to provide a stable walking space and to open the doorway to the tower.

<Cerin> "This tower looks rather empty...perhaps we should try a different one?"

<Zahara> "That's absolutely fascinating. See how easily it works?"

  • Cerin nods "The flows are so precise"

The Dragon-King draws closer to the three Solars. Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that its eyes glow a deep red -- and leave paths in the air when its head moves. Its entire body glows with a slight, almost unnoticeable aura.

  • Birds-of-Trinity holds up a hand. "Maybe he can write..."

<Dragonking> "Chosen of the Unconquered Sun, why do come today of all days to the city of Rathess -- the city you let fall into ruin and die?" it -- she, apparently -- calls out in an unusually mellifluous voice.

  • Zahara glances over the edge of the balcony, sees no blood being shed yet, and hops back onto Tanty. "Yes, yes.. another tower." They take off and check out another one.
  • Markuran blinks. "You speak?"
  • Birds-of-Trinity bows to the speaker.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "The Chosen of this day are no longer blessed with the knowledge and office of the Sun, stranger."

<Cerin> "Perhaps that one?" he points at another tower, one that seems closed up

<Dragonking> "Of course I speak, Chosen. Do you not know of your history? Would you ask a scion of one of the Hundredfold if it can speak?"

  • Markuran looks confused. "But the tales...they say the lizard-men are savages.." Mark's deep voice is plaintive, almost sulky.

<Dragonking> "Hmmm. How unfortunate. I have not journeyed from Rathess in nigh upon 2000 years, so I know not what barbarism the world has fallen to in the interim."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'm sure you would not believe it, madam. Let us get acquainted! I call myself Birds-of-Trinity."

  • Zahara alights on the next tower that looks interesting and less broken, and dismounts, again, crawling over, around and through all intriguing apparatus, and jotting down notes and diagrams.
  • Markuran nods to the..lizard woman..slightly, still confused. He has already named himself. "Do you claim this city?"
  • Cerin leaps lightly off tanty as he nears the tower, and opens it up.

<Ssithumi> "Birds-of-Trinity. Is that what you call yourself today? I knew you once. You will not remember Ssithumi, or Ssithumi-an-Tohatep as we are now, however."

  • Rannath trots forward, slowly, still giving off that blinding radiance. "They dwell here. It is theirs."

Ssithumi looks over the other two. "I have not met you before, Spear-bearer."

<Markuran> "You have met me ?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity hesitates. "You...knew me once? I am honoured, then."
  • Zahara comes up behind Cerin and peers over his shoulder. "Anything interesting in there?"

Ssithumi turns to look at Markuran, then seems to shake for a moment. "I..." she rapidly turns back to Rannath. "And your name, Chosen?"

<Rannath> "My past existed farther west than this place, so I am not surprised. You name me correctly, though, for I am Rannath of the Spear."

In this tower, an intact skyship sits, gathering dust but otherwise intact.

  • Cerin smiles "That"
  • Zahara 's eyes widen and take on a gleam of avarice. "It's beautiful." she slips past the man and places her palm on the surface of the ship, shakes her hand a bit, and starts wiping off the dust, revealing the ship's original color.
  • Markuran eyes the lizard-woman hard, wondering what *that* meant. "What did that mean?"
  • Cerin presses a spot on the side. It glows briefly and then a door slides open.

Ssithumi pointedly ignores Markuran's comment. "I believe I can guess the reason why you have descended upon my home on this day," she says, gesturing behind her to the hole.

<Ssithumi> "Do you have any more information than I do about its cause?"

  • Rannath shakes his head, resting the spear on his armored shoulder.

<Ssithumi> "Then you do not know where the sky cannon has fled to?"

<Rannath> "Sky cannon?"

  • Markuran furrows his brown, the solar flares around him darkening slightly with tinges of blue instead of the normal golds and bronzes. "Ssithumi-an-Tohatep, I have asked you a question. Answer it or deny me an answer straight, do not dishonor me by ignoring my words." Markuran's old realm syllables come out sharply formed and perfectly ennunciated, though slow. It sounds as if he carved each one from stone before speaking it.
  • Zahara climbs through the door and settles herself in what looks to be the pilot's seat
  • Cerin follows her inside, looking about him as he does

<Rannath> "Her silence should be enough for you, Zenith. Your provocations earn you their ire and mine."

  • Markuran ignores Rannath.
  • Zahara looks like a kid in a candy store, as she fiddles with the ship

Ssithumi turns to Markuran and glares, her eyes flaring brighter red. "I will justify you, Kiriath the Deceiver, only the answer that I am shocked to see your soul continue to live in this world, rather than rot in the deepest pits of hell."

Turning away, Ssithumi turns to another lizard and begins speaking in a strange, clicky tongue. After a second, it steps forward and raises up one foreclaw.

  • Markuran blinks. "I have always been a hero of the Sun." his voice is low and definantly unhappy.
  • Zahara pressees the big gold button.

Above the dragon's claw appears an image -- accurate to the smallest detail. It shows the city, before the beam struck it.

The skyship's Essence engine roars to life, and the panels and such begin to light up.

After a moment, in the image, a giant construction begins to float above the city -- a vicious eight-pronged star, glowing gold and silver, with jade trim across its surface, and one vicious-looking blade jutting downwards, towards the earth.

  • Birds-of-Trinity pitches her voice to carry to Ssithumi's ears without having to speak loudly. "I wonder who I have been, before..."

<Zahara> "ooOOOOhhh" she grins, but manages to hold off before pushing other buttons randomly.. instead she takes a moment to try to discern what they all do. Specifically for a steering mechanism, and possibly a brake. Although she can do without the brake for a while.

  • Markuran studies the image floating in the air. "Was this the sky cannon?"

The blade begins to glow -- then, suddenly, the beam which could be seen from miles away shoots down, obliterating the central pyramid. The vision ends.

  • Rannath snorts, and freezes, slowly turning his head to regard the source of the noise.

<Ssithumi> "That was, indeed, the sky cannon." She turns to Birds. "Alahwi, have you never seen such a thing in this lifetime?"

  • Cerin smiles and pushes some buttons at his console! he does pause to study any labels thogh

The controls of the skyship are surprisingly comprehensible, even to neonate pilots.

<Zahara> "This... this is going to be fun. Hold on tight!" she announces.

  • Cerin laughs softly
  • Zahara points herself at the door, and pushes 'go'

The skyship shoots rapidly out of the tower, moving with an ease unlike anything Zahara has ever experienced before.

  • Zahara squeals in glee, testing the steering mechanisms
  • Rannath tracks the skyship, helm turning. "..Only one person."

The skyship bears suddely and quite sharply to the left.

  • Cerin wonders what his console actually does.
  • Markuran turns in a flash, arms upraised to fend off an attack as the huge artifact heaves itself into the air. "Sol's nuts! What is that!"

Whether or not he realizes it, Cerin's panel controls the weapons.

  • Zahara turns in leftward circles happily.
  • Birds-of-Trinity gasps and reels a little, the name hitting her like a physical blow. "It has been...too long, since I have been called by that," she says, in uncharacteristic tones. It is a moment before Birds-of-Trinity realizes that she does not recognize the language she just spoke.

<Ssithumi> "It is a fitting name for you, Chosen." Ssithumi thinks for a moment. "I suppose your current name is acceptable as well."

<Zahara> "This is mine." she declares.

  • Zahara tries going right!

The ship suddenly curves sharply right in the air.

  • Cerin pushes buttons carefully, not wanting to touch the disk infront of him for now

All turns are currently causing the ship to list 45 degrees to one side as it turns.

  • Zahara wraps her legs around the seat to stay in, and attempts to go straight
  • Birds-of-Trinity decides not to ask what the name means. Not yet, anyway.

<Cerin> "Perhaps a little lighter on the controls, Zee?" holding onto the seat

<Zahara> "They're very responsive." she giggles

  • Markuran snarls and runs toward the closest building, smashing his fists into the ..not stone? walls. Hurling himself upwards, Mark reaches the top of the tower. When the air-born monstrosity comes close enough, the big Solar flings himself across the empty air, anima flaring like wings behind him as he soars and THUDS into the ship, sending it realing with his three hundred pound bulk

<Rannath> "..This is the most shameful display I have ever seen. I think I am cursed." Rannath is muttering in Old Realm, head lowered.

  • Zahara yelps as the ship thuds and lists to the side, "What the hell? Who's shooting me?!"

<Cerin> "...what was that?"

Ssithumi speaks to Birds and Rannath. "So you have never seen the like of such a thing. It is for the best. The world is better off without such things."

  • Zahara yanks the controls left, hard.

<Ssithumi> "I take it you have no knowledge of who commanded it, then."

  • Markuran searches for a way into this..thing!

<Rannath> "I do not. It is an unusual construction."

  • Cerin wonders if there is some kind of surface defence...
  • Cerin starts to push some of the buttons on the console. he offers some essence to the console too.
  • Markuran crawls toward the clear section at the front of the machine, thudding across the hull as his big feet scrabble for purches. Pressing his face against the clear part, Markuran looks inside.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "It is new to me. I don't have many memories of the lives before my most recent death." Birds says this offhandedly, but falters at "death."

<Rannath> "Also, I beg pardon for the disruption. My companions are.. ill-mannered, excluding you, of course." Rannath gestures briefly to Birds.

  • Zahara basically jerks the controls around like a madwoman, aiming the ship away from the city so as not to ram into any towers.

The outside of the ship is suddenly covered by a tremendous electrick shock.

<Zahara> "MY SHIP! IT'S ON MY SHIP!"


  • Markuran shudders and howls as the blue-white fire courses along his muscles, knotting them into an agonizing tangle of flesh and sinew. His pain-stricken bellow is audible, and recognizable, through the cockpit of the airship as Mark struggles valiently to resist the onslaught. His anima flares wildly, trying to bleed off the energy, but most of it courses through the poor man.
  • Zahara aims up

Ssithumi says, "I know not the purpose of those who made this attack, but it was clearly for malevolent purposes. I know of some of the things which live under this city.... and I would prefer that they remain there."

  • Rannath sighs as he watches the entire show out of the corner of his eye. "And what direction did this sky cannon go in?"

<Ssithumi> "We could not see -- the light blinded us for long enough for it to disappear."

The ship lurches upwards, Markuran still gripping tightly to its exterior.

  • Zahara summons her weapons from Elsewhere to fly along *outside* of the ship.
  • Markuran hammers his burned fists against the clear screen seperating him from Zahara and Cerin. His bull-roar is torn away by the wind, but he clearly looks rather angry, making threatening guestures at the pair.

<Cerin> "...Oh. The behemoth was Marku"

  • Cerin tries to figure out how to turn the defence off....
  • Markuran clambers back towards the hatch-looking thing and tries to get inside the ship.
  • Zahara looks up, and makes nasty hand gestures at him, shouting "GET OFF MY SHIP YOU BIG PIECE OF LEAD" but she levels off, so they're no longer aimed upward. Annoyance barrages Marku through the mental link.

Ssithumi suddenly shouts "Solars, look out!" and violently pushes Birds from her current location.

  • Zahara circles back towards the city, her first ride now marred forever.
  • Rannath gallops away quickly.

<Zahara> "That jerk!" she fumes. "Can you believe the NERVE?"

  • Markuran finally manages to enter the skyship. Storming, painfully, across the decking he looms behind the two pilots. "Which one of you two tried to kill me!"

<Zahara> "YOU tried to kill US!"

<Zahara> "What are you, stupid? You jumped on my SHIP! I can't even FLY this thing!"

Where Birds stood just moments before, a huge ball of fire strikes violently into the ground, sending tiny flame gouts off in every direction.

  • Zahara demonstrates by pointing down, then up.

<Markuran> "You go soaring through the sky in some ancient war machine without TELLING us and expect us to recognize you?" the force of Mark's bellow shakes the ship.

Birds finds herself on the ground, with Ssithumi collapsed atop her.

<Zahara> "It wasn't like I was HIDING. I was CLEARLY inside the tower, and then came OUT in the SHIP."

<Cerin> "You leap at said ancient war machine in attack and expect it not to activate defences?"

<Markuran> "It didn't! You did! Or she did!"

<Zahara> "What did you THINK we'd do? You JUMPED on the SHIP!"

<Cerin> "All we heard was a 'THUNK'. We were supposed to know you were the passenger?"

<Zahara> "AND I bet you scratched the finish, too!"

  • Birds-of-Trinity catches her breath and helps Ssithumi up. "Thank you."

Unbeknowst to the arguing Solars in the skyship, a trio of spiritual beings have materialized in the air above the others; one angrily curses her poor aim.

<Markuran> "What else would be jumping at the ship?!"

<Cerin> "Just about anything in Rathess!"

<Zahara> "How the hell should I know? I don't live here. I assume anything that lands on my ship intends to knock it from the sky."

A ten-armed, winged woman made of pure red flame, a large, squat man draped in hundreds of animal furs, and a bear with insect wings and tusks begin to descend from the air, towards Birds, Ssithumi, and Rannath.

<Markuran> "I did! Until I saw you two inside. Then you go and try to kill me!"

As the ship turns to return to Rathess, suddenly the scene becomes visible to those inside -- the gods become manifestly visible.

<Zahara> "Then we were perfectly right to try to kill you."

<Zahara> "See.. it could have been THEM." she points

  • Markuran snarls at Zahara. "Well, turn this demon-ship against them instead of me. And get low enough I can jump out."
  • Zahara looks rather triumphant that she's found an enemy in the sky that Mark could have been.
  • Birds-of-Trinity tenses into a combat stance upon seeing the assailant gods.
  • Cerin condenses into pure rage "ZAHARA GET US TO THE CITY!! I WILL EAT HIS SOUL!!"
  • Markuran glances at Cerin, confused. "What?"
  • Zahara accelerates toward the city, "Figure out what the rest of those buttons do, will you?"
  • Cerin starts to power up the damned weapons

<Axhelm> "You shouldn't have COME here, Solars. The Lily can't have you interfering with its plans so SOON!" shouts the furred man, in a horrificly twisted voice.

<Cerin> "That ...THING destroyed my village"

<Cerin> town*

  • Cerin goes white, the rage now crystalising as he hears that boom out over the battlefield

<Zahara> "Buttons! Buttons!"

  • Zahara aims for the nearest demon.
  • Cerin touches the wheel, offering the console all the motes it wants, trying to activate all its destructive weapons to blow the bear god from the sky
  • Rannath charges forward, Essence-charged form appearing to be an amazingly-fast beam from Heaven. Sanli leaps mightily and Rannath swings the spear three times in quick succession at the fur-wearing god.
  • Birds-of-Trinity flicks a sevenfold spear of black-gold light at the butterfly-bear in one elegant motion of her weapon.

<Zahara> "Mark, go back to the hatch and I'll drop you on a demon.

<The_ST> From the front of the vessel, a massive gout of Essence flame shoots out, striking the unsuspecting bear directly upon its back, singing its delicate wings. It drops to the ground with an angry yowl.

<Zahara> "YEAH!"

Even falling through the air, the bear is surprisingly nimble -- it manages to twist out of the way of several of Birds' solar arcs, though not effectively enough to avoid every one of them. The remainder strike it full-on, and it yowls again.

The fur-wearing god draws out a great axe and brings it up to attempt to deflect Rannath's blows.

He seems to almost have the edge, but Rannath gives the slightest push and drives past his defenses, striking the god with his glowing spear.

The woman of fire sneers at the Solars, then turns around and lobs another fireball directly into the path of the oncoming skyship.

The fur-wearing god staggers back momentarily under Rannath's harsh blows.

  • Zahara angles the machine humming beneath her towards the monsters, and it responds to her requests, skimming along just above them, out of reach of their arms. Her eyes widen as the fireball puts a wrench in her plans, and she veers sharply upward, returning the favor as her weapons continue on straight, aiming for the god's face and wings. The bell rings, but follows the ship like an obedient puppy instead of going into range of the gods.

<Zahara> ::Meanwhile, Tantamount roars from the ledge, and flings its poisoned spines at the offending gods "What happens to those who harm my mistress?"::

The ship veers up, avoiding the oncoming fireball by mere inches.

The bear struggles forward to claw at Birds, but, moments before reaching her, collapses in the dirt, a sigh of epic proportions escaping its beary lips.

The woman of fire dodges nimbly to avoid Zahara's floating weapons, but not nimbly enough -- two strike home on her, just before she is shocked by the stunning sound of the bell.

The fur-clad man suddenly swings his axe behind his head, somehow deflecting the sound of Zahara's eerie bell.

The icy hammer swings through the elemental's midsection, freezing her ghostly flames solid as it passes through. A huge portion of her midsection falls out and clatters to the ground below.

  • Markuran throws himself from the hatch of the skyship, diving toward the fur-covered man. With a smack of flesh hitting flesh, Markuran impacts the furry man. Quickly the big man places his feet squarely against its spine and wraps his thick arms around its neck. Standing up and pulling back with all his might, might that has shattered stone and steel in the past.
  • Markuran uses the god as a cushion for his landing against the city streets. Thought the impact jars his legs and shatters the road in to a rain of not-stone, the god’ spine and neck suffer even more, shattered as its body bends almost in half under Markuran’s pressure.
  • Zahara clears the gods and turns the ship in a narrow arc to get back on target

The man's axe seems to move almost with a speed of its own, interposing itself between his body and Mark's vicious blows.

Under the force of Mark's redoubled blows, however, even the axe gives way, letting two more blows strike home.

The fur-clad man spits up shining blood under the weight of Mark's fists, and more blood drips out from the gaping wounds dealt to his frame. As he bleeds, however, some of the furs begin to shift and attach themselves to his body, covering the wounds and joining with his skin.

  • Markuran hauls the fur-covered god into the air and hoists him overhead, throwing him across the street to slam into the base of a tower. Racing after, Mark picks up one of the newly-created boulders carefully places it under the disoriented god's head. Then, smiling, the big Solar slams the God's head down onto the stone, his fist becoming a true hammer to temper the god's skull.

As he flies through the air, the furred god howls, and swings his axe in a circle. Two new blades extend out of it, and it begins to glow.

Under further blows, the god's furs almost entirely fuse to his body, and a few begin to rot and fall off.

<Zahara> "Cerin... who's the Lily?" She asks while maneuvering the ship towards the flaming god-thing. She keeps an eye out for any fireballs being flung her way, her nerves on hair-trigger as she acts to protect her precious ship.

  • Cerin doesnt answer as he abandons the console now, racing out of the ship, calling a bow of solar flame as he does, he leaps onto the waiting wasp, digging his heels into its side cruelly as he drives it toward the fur-wearing god, drawing three arrows of solar flame and vengance across his bow. "I have killed you once before, Axhelm, this time I will eat of your soul!" and with that he lets the arrows fly, each one blazing brighter than the last as they plunge into the god

<Zahara> "Oh, sure. Now how am I going to fire the weapons?" she grumbles

  • Zahara risks a quick glance at the weapon console

Cerin's arrows strike true, the weakening parries of Axhelm offering little resistance to them -- they pluge deep into his heart. The god lets out a horrific scream, enough to rattle the bones of the dead, as his soul is consumed utterly from within by the purifying light of the Unconquered Sun, and reduced to mere ashes.

  • Cerin shudders as he drinks in the essence from the fallen god, breathing heavily.
  • Rannath hits the ground mounted, turns, and charges towards the winged being of fire. His spear, once bladed with captive fire, is now encased in Solar light. A great golden bull charges up into the air at the fire-goddess, and Rannath bursts out of it with spear twirling for a pair of quick blows.
  • Markuran leaves the last goddess to the others as he picks up and admires the dead god's axe. Studying it from every angle, Mark decides to keep it unless Cerin claims it as a death-trophy.

Rannath's blows strike the fire elemental directly where she was deeply wounded by Zahara's icy hammer -- wounding her so deeply that her essence collapses and dissipates into loose wisps of flame.

  • Rannath shakes the Essence shell surrounding his armor and spear off, Sanli doing likewise for her barding.
  • Cerin very carefully and calmly fires essence arrows at the corpses of the gods, drinking the last dregs of their lives for evermore.
  • Zahara finds herself flying towards no foes, and her mind turns to the next-most-important thing. "Huh. I wonder how to land this thing."
  • Zahara cuts the acceleration a bit, keeping the ship steady
  • Rannath dismounts, walking over to the white-robed lizard-woman.
  • Cerin stalks across to the pile of ash, long ribbons of red silk billowing about him in his rage. "the Axe"
  • Zahara eyes the tower dubiously

Ssithumi speaks to Rannath. "I suppose these beings were likely involved in the strike upon my city."

  • Zahara shakes her head and looks for a rather large clearing instead. "This is going to be interesting. What's the saying? 'It's not the fall I'm afraid of, it's the landing'?"

<Rannath> "It appears likely. Have you heard of a being called 'Lily'?"

<Ssithumi> "No, the name is unfamiliar to me. But I have slept these past thousand years; I am not well versed in current events."

  • Zahara circles around her chosen clearing, and cuts the engine further, decreasing her acceleration as smoothly and slowly as possible.
  • Rannath nods, spear-flame dimming to a small glow. "We will investigate this thoroughly. Are you the ruler of Rathess, or is there another?"
  • Cerin snatches the Axe from marku's hands. Then he turns north and bellows out in old realm "LAI! I will hunt you unto close of your days! Until my arrows pierce you flesh! Until my arrows drink your blood! Until my arrows end your life!" the silken bands of his armour billow around him in the winds taking his declaration
  • Markuran was about to hand it over when Cerin snatched it. Looking annoyed, Mark turns away to find some other trophy

<Ssithumi> "I am the only surviving elder of Rathess, and I am the last tribal spirit enabled to form /olchilike/. All the others were killed by stasis malfunctions, or lost to the depredations of Filial Wisdom. So you might say that I am the ruler, yes."

<Markuran> "What's a Filial Wisdom?"

  • Zahara offers a prayer to the Wind Elementals of the area, and the Earth ones, just in case she meets them up-close and personally. She then eases the ship down, down toward the waiting Earth. In her mind, it goes like this: The ship floats down on wings of essence, and coasts to a perfect stop midway down the clearing, not even tearing up the turf.

<The_ST> "...Filial Wisdom was once like you, until he became Chosen by a forbidden god. I watched my brood-brothers and sisters die at his hands as he cackled with glee. Finally, I slew him, and took these" -- she raises her arms, showing off her claw gauntlets -- "as my trophy."

  • Rannath nods solemnly. "Death is the only reward for a kin-slayer. Your deed was righteous and you honor the Unconquered One with it."

<Ssithumi> "Indeed. As, I take it, does your companion." She gestures towards Cerin.

<Rannath> "We all carry vengeance in our hearts, towards the usurpers, their foul religion.."

  • Zahara claps with delight as it does indeed happen almost like she'd planned it. The grass gets a bit torn up, but no other harm is done. She pats the ship affectionately on the console. "I must do this again."

<Cerin> "Thank you, Dragon King" he speaks in a strange tongue, offering her a slight bow

  • Cerin seems to have calmed since his vengeful shout, his eyes just displaying a certain coldness
  • Rannath bows. "But I digress. My Circle is in possession of a nearby land, and unless they have any particular objections, we would be honored if Rathess and the Sunlands could form an alliance of friendship."
  • Zahara eyes the distance between the ship and the city, and calls upon Tanty to transport her. The manticore reluctantly complies, complaining in his roundabout ways, that she likes the ship more than him. "Don't be silly, Tanty. You know I love you. Why else would I tolerate your constant riddles?"

<Ssithumi> Ssithumi laughs, a strange reptilian laugh. "It is foolish for the powerless queen of a savage ruin to offer alliance and friendship with a great nation. Nonetheless, I choose to do so."

  • Rannath removes his helm, revealing his burning Dawn castemark, and extends his free hand. "I can think of a number of more powerful allies, but none worthier."

Ssithumi bows to Rannath for his great gesture of respect.

  • Zahara eventually lands amidst dead god parts and dismounts, "So, what's going on?"
  • Rannath smiles, and turns to Zahara. "We have a new ally."
  • Zahara eyes the lizard woman thing. "....we do?"
  • Rannath nods, and mounts. "We do."
  • Zahara hmms. "Well, I'm keeping the ship. As a peace offering."
  • Cerin shakes his head at Zee
  • Rannath tenses. "I'm sure you can *ask*, Zahara."
  • Zahara sighs "... if that's allright with YOU, of course."
  • Zahara smiles sweetly

<Ssithumi> "That is acceptable to me," Ssithumi states calmly.

  • Rannath inclines his head to Ssithumi. "Thank you. If you require aid, our capital city and Manse is a short distance to the northwest."

<Cerin> "Are there no other dragon kings like yourself, Ssithumi?" he smiles "Your merging of spirit and flesh is a most interesting effect" he speaks again in the strange tongue

<Zahara> "Excellent. So. What city is this? And do you have a name?"

<Markuran> "Did you..you make those?" points vaguely at some giant flowers that seem to be glowing and crawling around the city, fixing things.

Ssithumi answers the Solars in turn. "I thank you for the offer of aid; I may require it someday. As for others: we were once the chosen champions of my people, merged with spirit to serve a higher calling. But all the other gods who could perform such a merging are dead now."

Finally, looking at Zahara: "This is Rathess and I am Ssithumi, as your companions already know."

She stares at Zahara for a moment more, then whispers "Talmuda? Interesting...."

  • Cerin bows "I am apologise for not introducing myself, I am Cerin the Wolf, Hunter of the Empty Forest"
  • Zahara pulls herself together a bit, still riding the high of flying in a big chunk of metal without knowing how. "Ahh, pleased to meet you. My name is Zahara Zhan." she curtsies politely. "You have quite a beautiful city. I can clearly see its glory still shines."

Ssithumi turns to Cerin and says "I knew you once as Ymir. You have suffered much since then, I am afraid. Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to meet you again."

  • Markuran mutters in Riverspeak about the snooty lizard lady who likes everyone but him.

Then to Zahara, saying "I thank you for the compliments. I would... like it very much if you might assist me in rebuilding it, someday."

<Rannath> "I seem to be the only stranger here." The ugly, yet intensely charismatic Solar's face splits into a wry grin, as he watches the group speak.

  • Cerin blinks "I would speak with you later about this, if I may?" in the high holy speech

<Ssithumi> "You may, Cerin. I would like that greatly."

  • Zahara 's eyes alight again, but she smoothly replies, "I would love to help you with this project. I believe both of us could learn much from eachother, and this city." inside she's jumping up and down, trying to imagine all the possible secrets she'll unearth in the process.

<Ssithumi> "That is most heartening, Zahara."

  • Markuran sighs and asks Zahara, in riverspeak, to ask the lizard thing about helping with Sharpglade.
  • Zahara looks at Markuran in surprise, then looks around, notices the crazy flower things and nods to herself, "I would like it if you would assist us with helping shape our forest back in the Sunlands, as well. You seem to have quite the expertise working with plants. Unless, of course, those grew that way." she gestures to them

<Ssithumi> "Of course. Once I have trained more of my nieces and nephews" -- she gestures to the barbaric dragon-kings -- " I will be happy to assist."

  • Zahara looks them over and ponders, "Perhaps Rannath can help? He is quite experienced in training troops. He may be able to teach other lessons, or at least assist you."

<Rannath> "My teaching skills are trifling, but I am available if you so desire."

<Ssithumi> "I would be very happy to have your assistance. It is said that the Solars were once able to raise our young from barbarism. Perhaps you will discover this lost art."

<Zahara> "There may be something in my library. I shall look for a solution in the histories."

<Ssithumi> "Thank you." Ssithumi straightens up, and gestures to the city. "You are welcome to my hospitality while you remain here. None will attack you, and you may make use of any surviving quarters, and take any objects you wish. I look forward to speaking to you again soon."

<Zahara> "No, thank YOU!"

Ssithumi grins, then walks away, leading her entourage of dragon-kings.

<Zahara> "I like her," she comments in Riverspeak.

<Markuran> "She doesnt like me." the big man sounds sulky.

  • Rannath grins wider, and turns his horse. "She does seem to have quite a bit of good sense, yes."

<Zahara> "I'm sure you'll grow on her."

  • Cerin nods "I have never seen a being quite like her.."

<Zahara> "Is it the scales?"

  • Cerin shakes his head "Her essence...a spirit...but one entity, a perfect fusion"

<Rannath> "I must return to the Manse, will you all be accompanying me?"

<Zahara> "Hmmmm intriguing. I wonder... no."

Tags: (:tags Relovia, Faith Ecliptic, Marukani Plains, Jakobi, Thorns, Rathess, Ssithumi, Dragon-Kings, Hundredfold, Sky Cannon, Kiriath, Alahwi, Red Lily, Axhelm, Listran, Lai Misuna, Talmuda, Ymir:)

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