alsoquin The brutal haze of death beginning to pass, Thirteen returns to the first glimmers of consciousness just in time to feel the massive surge of infernal energies that accompany Nyx's rebirth.
Zahara glances over at Thirteen as he awakens. "Ah, you are back. Did it hurt very much?"
Imrama "Welcome back to the land of the living, General. Would you like to help us save it?'
Thirteen "I suppose we ought." He struggles to his feet. "What has occurred in my...absence?"
Zahara "We escaped, though we lost one of the chimes, and Nyx has begun to break through and be gloriously reborn unto Creation."
alsoquin In the image that hovers over the table, the unimaginably vast bulk of the Ebon Dragon fills the sky with a blackness darker than even the sunless, moonless, starless night, and before him, the shape of Teneiros, his fetich:
alsoquin a tall, thin man, clad in fine black dress clothes, who seems to stand just above the ground and hold aloft a black walking stick.
alsoquin Imrama's glasses helpfully inform him that the demon's full title is "Teneiros, He Who Awaits At the End."
Thirteen ::We lost one of the chimes?::
Lucent ::The fake one, yes.::
Lucent ::The one that is not fake is just waiting. I bet Zahara's hand is itching, now.::
Imrama watches the display with narrow eyes. He reaches out a hand to test the potential of the Twilight chamber - what tools can the armaments of the ancients offer against their mortal enemy?
Thirteen ::Then let us cease waiting and begin in earnest.:;
Zahara places her palm on the console, running her fingers over the designs and seeking a deeper understanding of its workings so that she may discover where best to link the power of the chimes with that of the manse. She takes a long, lingering breath, feeling the air around them begin to herald the corruption of Nyx. When she lets it out, she opens her eyes to the past and the present and the intricate flows of Essence.
alsoquin A little investigation makes the basic functionality of the True Realm Grid clear:
alsoquin * The Dawn Seal controls the weaponry wielded by the Solar Deliberative: channelling through the local manses, it transforms geomantic energy into focused elemental matter, inflicting wanton destruction in a variety of gruesome ways.
alsoquin * The Zenith Seal controls both the address and defense systems, extending the Solars' communications either to broaden out to the entire world or focused to a single location; the shielding and defensive essence applications are flexible in the same way.
alsoquin * The Twilight Seal controls direct application of Essence in the manse grid, allowing direct diversion and filtering of the Essence, as well as manipulation of the geomantic effects of connected manses at a remote distance; it also provides a variety of sensory information from each such manse. (...)
alsoquin * The Night Seal provides surveillance and stealth capabilities: the ability to scry on any region within the range of grid manses (using a variety of magical senses) as well as the ability to obfuscate the grid's activities and to wrap portions of the Realm in the obscuring clouds that currently surround the isle.
alsoquin * Finally, the Eclipse Seal coordinates the effects of all the other Seals with one another, can directly manipulate quintessence in the neighboring area of grid manses (solidifying it, disrupting it, or otherwise), and drives the geomantic patterns that maintain Creation's borders in the face of Wyld encroachment.
alsoquin In this region of the isle, literally every manse whose even foundation was laid before the end of the Solar Deliberative is intricately and completely tied into the True Realm Grid.
Thirteen frowns and begins conversing quietly on his ring with his troops, informing them that he is again still alive.
alsoquin Ejava, her voice low with the grimness of battle but yet unbowed and confident, answers him personally. ::That is good. What orders do you have for our forces in supporting your position?::
Thirteen ::Here is a list of buildings. Occupy one near your current position and under your control, and give me the details.::
alsoquin ::Noted.:: Ejava reports back quickly that she has relocated a segment of troops to secure the building in question.
Thirteen "Well? Shall we begin?"
Imrama "Absolutely. Empress, do you have sense of how to focus the chimes through the manse network?"
Lucent "Anytime. They seem comfortable enough now."
Zahara tosses the shard of a broken 'chime' to Thirteen, then withdraws the real ones. Moving swiftly but accurately, she slides each one into the slots intended for the Seals. The slim crystals begin to hum in chorus, each adding its own tone when integraded with the manse's energy. "I do believe so." she answers Imrama with a smile.
Zahara "If you would each place your palm near your caste's chime, and link with me through the rings, I believe I can put all of our power together behind the chimes, magnified through the grid."
Zahara "But please do not touch the crystals, as it will alter their tones."
Thirteen does so.
Lucent touches, the full circle burning on his forehead... "Shine bright. End the night."
Thirteen "Imrama, before focusing your power thusly, please be so good as to transport the Dragon-Blooded within the Lesser Tower of Prevailing Winds to the Imperial Manse, using the Grid."
Cerin kisses Zahara on the cheek and then slips from sight. ::I shall go down to the Night Room and ensure our operation is not observed.::
Zahara ::Thank you, love.::
Imrama nods once, and draws a line of yellow light in the air above the table. Writing with two fingers, he forms an arc, adds two quick loops near the end, and then straight down to the base of the table. Given their command, long neglected essence flows whir, crackling, into life again.
alsoquin Ejava speaks over the ring network into the thoughts of the Solars: ::We have arrived.::
Thirteen ::Engage the Scarlet Empress. Try not to die.:;
alsoquin ::Understood.:: There is a brief pause. ::I will be sure not to.::
Zahara waits until everyone has focused and linked with her. The amulet begins to glow, as do the chimes. As the amulet focuses the five crystals into one, so does Zahara focus the disparate minds into one power, one thought, one focus. She gathers the building Essence into a single pure stream of white-hot light and pours it into the amulet where it refracts and takes on the colors of sunrise. The Chimes' hum surges and is drawn in
alsoquin In the image floating above the table, the Solars see the Eastern doors of the Manse burst open -- and almost too fast to see, a fang of Sunlands soldiers charge towards the Nightblossom, their bodies leaving brilliant contrails of Essence through the air,
alsoquin and at their head, three glorious bonfires of Essence in the shape of women: and in the air above them, the spectral image of a great, brilliant green rosebush expanding and unfolding, an elegant flame burning just to each of its sides.
Zahara The Chimes' hum surges and is drawn into the channels of the manse, through the Defense Grid, magnified beyond imagination. The screams of the world being torn asunder are drowned out by the clarity and depth of a pure note that focuses seemingly from everywhere and one single spot. The heart of Nyx.
alsoquin As one, one thousand manses across the face of the Blessed Isle chime with a pure, unsullied sound, and a pulse of brilliant, white light shines out to cover the entirety of the Realm.
alsoquin For a moment, across the entire face of Creation, the endless night of Calibration is cut by the brilliant light of day.
alsoquin And then, at the moment of his greatest triumph, as he breathes the air of Creation once more, after so many millennia in chains, the ancient weapon that he feared more than almost anything else strikes out at the Ebon Dragon --
alsoquin and like a statue of ash, the soul of Nyx cracks... and breaks.
Thirteen "Now for the difficult part."
After an eternity of waiting, Nyx stretched forth.
Nyx thought nothing of it, for it was not a creature of thought; only of instinct, of a child's cruel curiosity and a foundling's feral rage. It only did what it had sought ceaselessly to do in the aeons since its imprisonment: push free and escape. It felt the world shake around it, the smooth sliding as its infinite bulk slipped across dimensions, the birth pangs of new existence... and for just a moment, it tasted freedom....
But then it saw it: that cruel instrument, its great fear, the hated chime. And then its whole world was broken.
Across the Universe, the foundations of existence shift and rock once more. Once, the three Dragons held together the world, their coils dividing one place from another, pleasure from torment, light from dark, heaven from hell, life from death. Even now, their unimaginably vast forms lie amidst existence, and so... Creation trembles.
Upon the cliff in Malfeas, the black Essence that flows through Qian Mian's body grows white-hot... And as he reaches out for anything, something to stop the pain, Qian Mian feels something -- fear -- for perhaps the first time in three thousand years. He grabs the grand mahogany desk with one hand, and... it cracks....
The pain was unimaginable. Its grand existence splintered and cracked, each mote that made it up spinning away to find a new home, each drop of darkness dissipating in the harshness of the Sun's judgmental light. In the streets of Malfeas, firmin fall upon their own needles and die in agony, while sesseljae suddenly choke on millennia of poisons and vomit out their own insides.
One by one, a thousand times a thousand souls each cry aloud, and are wrapped in suffering... and then, are snuffed out. As the end approaches, Teneiros falls on his own blade rather than let that end take him.
The pain grows, and grows, and even the senses fail Nyx, one by one, and it is cast into the darkness: and though it is of darkness, and darkness of it, this is a new kind of darkness, unfamiliar... terrifying.
The being has never in its life known unbridled terror, but now, at the end of that life, it screams: the raw scream of a hurt child, and for an instant, every single being throughout Creation knows its pain. And then the darkness swallows up its scream, and Nyx falls.
It falls, screaming in agony and silence, for an eternity, until finally, something breaks through the pain. A simple touch, cold and damp, but it soothes the indescribable pain just a bit. Nyx sees nothing, hears nothing, but leans in towards the escape nonetheless,
and the cold, calming touch surrounds its shattered form. Broken and blind, all it can do is shudder in place, hoping that that touch never goes away and the pain never returns.
"There there," one might imagine the other being, as vast as he, saying. "You're with Mother now." And tears of blood run from her sightless, white eyes and splash on Nyx's broken body.