Imrama Deep in the heart of the Air Fortress Atzeret, lately called 'Crystal', Imrama peers over the sky-city's controls, making notations on his clipboard. He calls back over his shoulder to his fellows near bye. "So. Does anyone have anyone else in mind for membership in our new Deliberative?"
alsoquin The flying city hums gently under Imrama's careful glance.
Lucent "Having in mind the current membership..." Lucent ponders. "And what is that one again?"
pigeon left the room (quit: Ping timeout).
Imrama looks up from his clipboard for a second, staring into space as he counts off the names. "The present members of our circle: You, Zahara, Cerin, Phoenix, Thirteen, Kai and myself. I have also, in recent diplomatic missives, named Tepet Ejava, Mnemon, Karal Linwei and Ikara Ji'thala as members."
Lucent "Hmmm. We need to go talk to the Chrysanthemum, possibly. A Deliberative needs Sidereals. For good luck." He nods.
Imrama "I agree. Likewise, we have few prospects at the moment for Lunar members of the Deliberative. Serenal is a possibility, but Lachu Atapis may wish to send its own representative."
Imrama "I would also like to submit for consideration our allies Ahina and Relovia. And I think that both Arathi Rugalo and Ebon Blade of Vengeance bare discussion."
Lucent "What about Ember and Crow?"
Zahara "And, indeed, our ally Ssithumi."
Imrama "It is my position, Lucent, that the Deliberative ought to exist in resistance and opposition to the enemies of Creation, the Malfeans and the Deathlords chief amongst them. As I understand it, Ebon Blade of Vengeance has renounced his master's service, while our two cultural emissaries from the Mask have not."
Lucent "True. I imagined that being invited to this would make them identify more with Creation and weaken their resolve to ending the world, but I imagine the opposite will hold true as well. I will tell them they do have an invitation if they decide to renounce Larquen, however."
Imrama "That makes good sense, Lucent. Of course, if membership in the Deliberative can lead them away from betrayal of Creation, then we should welcome them with open arms."
Imrama "As for Ssithumi, I believe that she, and any other allies amongst the Hundredfold, deserve a place at the table, but I also think that the Deliberative should be first and foremost a human institution. I would like to offer her a sort of observer seat, as a valued guest and adviser."
Lucent "Exalted." Lucent chimes in, "Exalted is a better term. The Exalted are, by definition, the best of humanity. And 'human' is... a very porous term. It can be eroded until it means little." He nods. "For instance, Gods."
Imrama "You're right, Lucent - defining the Deliberative as an 'Exalted' institution evades several thorny philological issues."
Lucent "Hmmm Hmmm?. So... we need to go talk to the Chrysanthemum, and to Lachu Atapis." Lucent ponders. "Hmmmm. We can probably trust Atapis to send champions. We should probably hand-pick starchosen, however."
Imrama "Which begs the question of Seven Leaping Herons, I should think."
Lucent "Zahara. What do you have to say about Herons?" Lucent pats on the table, uncertain.
Zahara "Hm, he has helped us, in his way. And I believe he works for the betterment of Creation."
Imrama "Extending the offer of membership may be an opportunity to bring him out of the shadows a bit then. From what I've read in the chronicles, he seems to be fond of mystery and secret-keeping."
Lucent "Which we should shed light into. They did betray us once, remember. And even before, as *incredibly* useful as they are... well. You should make sure they conform to your agenda, not you to theirs'."
Imrama "There were once binding strands of trust that connected the chosen of the Sun and Stars." Imrama appears wistful for a long, quiet moment. "There must be such again."
Lucent "No, no, weren't you listening? There was never THAT much trust. But they are far too useful, and you want fate at your side."
Zahara "Well, we should consider the consequences of inviting Ikara as well."
Imrama puts on a wrinkled smile over wet eyes. "I was listening, Lucent. Perhaps my particular shard gives me a more rosey view of the past."
Imrama "Certainly, there are consequences, Zahara. She seems a strong candidate to me, though. This circle trusted her enough to leave Xara in her care. And I found her to be a source of direct and honest information on the occasions when we spoke."
Lucent "Ah, yes. Sorry, Imrama, I had forgotten." Lucent smiles, mussing the hair on the back of his head. "I will... try to be more thoughtful of it in the future."
Imrama "Don't worry about it, my friend."
Imrama "But, so far, all of our discussions are necessarily limited to the Exalts we already know. And that must be a relatively small percentage of the world's Exalted population."
Lucent "Of course, it would be hard to accept those we don't know. We need to have a circle of trust beforehand. One with sufficient numbers of all kinds of Exalted, before we can open it for all... especially in its early stages."
Zahara "Perhaps there can be a probationary period for those we do not know well.
Lucent "And exaustive background checks and interrogation between you and Cerin."
Imrama "That may be a good idea, Zahara. Although I also think that the limited risk of trusting a few new recruits could send a powerful message about the strength and ideals of our new Deliberative."
Zahara "So long as we maintian a 2/3 majority until we are all established."
Imrama "Of course, Empress. I may be an idealist, but I am not a fool."
Zahara smiles. "So you have proven, many times."
Zahara hmmms, looking over the control room, her eyes settling on the map.
Zahara "Are there any other concerns to raise about the Deliberative?"
Imrama "In general? I'm not sure, Zahara. There are certainly other matters relevant to the Deliberative that we could discuss. The problem of the Locust Crusade, for instance, and the unfinished matter of the components needed to unlock the secret of Exaltation."
Zahara "Perhaps the latter could assist with the former."
Imrama cocks his head, intrigued. "Do you have something in mind?"
Zahara "Well, consider; increasing our own power would make us yet more able to triumph. And there is the matter of Exalting humanity, which would make our army more powerful and capable against the Alchemicals, which are also Exalts. Hmm."
Imrama "A very good point. How quickly do you think we can begin Exaltation on a mass scale after we complete the collection of components?" Imrama responds to Zahara's last noise in kind. "Hmm?"
Imrama During the pause in conversation, Imrama runs his hand over the nearest control panel. Motes of multi-hewed essence dance around his hand, filling the room with the sound of soft chimes and the smell of lavender incense. He makes a few notations on his clipboard.
Zahara ponders, "It is difficult to say for sure. There may be unanticipated difficulties... I would like to start small, and see how it goes."
Imrama "Understandable. There is still the problem of a power source for our new Exaltations, to replace the torn shreds of stolen Solar shards. In the long-term, I believe the Exaltation project will help us immeasurably on nearly every front we now hold. In the short term, with regards to the Atomnosi, I believe that our best tactic is an aggressive generosity and hospitality."
Imrama "Atomnosi society knows no surplus, no leisure, and very little freedom. Comforts and pleasures taken for granted by even the very poor of the Sunlands are without precedent for the people of the Maker. If we show them some of what they are missing, the great mass of people at the bottom of their social pyramid may grow hungry for the fruits their leaders have denied them."
Zahara nods at his assessment of the Atomnosi. "That sounds like an intriguing plan. As for a power source, I am considering harnessing the Wyld in some form."
Imrama "I think that is an excellent idea, Zahara. We spoke at one point of the idea of Exaltations that were inherently linked to one another. It seems to me that such a network could be forged out of one of the Unshaped."
Zahara "That is indeed my hope."