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Thread: Aeon (updated 10/9/14)
Monday, 5th December, 2011, 02:05 PM #1121
thanks sep. always a joy to find an update waiting for you."My infinity is bigger than yours." - Mostin the Metagnostic
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Monday, 5th December, 2011, 07:03 PM #1122
Gallant (Lvl 3)
I'm sure she has a perfectly rational plan motivating this intervention. One might even call it a plot.[Gihaahia]: Don't disappoint me, Mostin.
"What is her involvement in this?" Mulissu asked, confused.
"I have no idea," Mostin was dubious. "She has never evinced any interest in my work prior to now....
Pursuing irrational ends by any means necessary.
Sunday, 11th December, 2011, 04:25 AM #1123
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Midwinter Goddess - Part 2 (and 3)
“How many is that?” Teppu asked.
Nehael groaned. “Too many. She is out of her mind. I make three Antagonists; six others who were once episemes; around fifty recently-migrated devas – most of whom were exemplars. She began conjuring pit fiends and malebranche – presumably for heavy lifting tasks – but would appear to be taking a break. She seems to be avoiding magnates from the traditional order – for the time being, at least.”
“Does she have a purpose? What did she reveal to you?”
“Little,” Nehael shrugged. “She will be hard-pressed to control them all.”
“Do you believe that she will make an immediate bid for the Urn?”
“Shomei is not one for procrastination,” Nehael sighed. “But nor is she ignorant of the difficulty of the task. She will weigh probabilities carefully.”
When he awoke, it was light. Her face was inches away. He groaned.
An eyelid flickered open. Void bored into him.
“Why are you here?” He asked.
She stood slowly and stretched, her wings unfurling to their maximum extent – and briefly darkening reality – before retracting. She turned to face him.
“I get lonely,” she smiled, tilting her head. “Sometimes, cold.”
“And how did you circumvent the wards?”
She laughed. “I dream, Eadric.”
Casting her eyes around the interior of the tent, her gaze settled on Lukarn. She raised an eyebrow.
Before he could mouth an objection – faster, even than he could articulate the thought to do so – she had moved and drawn the weapon from its scabbard. She seemed to absorb its light effortlessly.
“I remember you,” she whispered to the sword, running a forefinger along its fuller. “You don’t like me very much, do you?”
“I notice that your scars seem to have vanished,” Eadric observed without humour.
“They come and go,” she replied vaguely. She brandished Lukarn deftly, flipped the blade over and caught it by the tip between two fingers, presenting him with its hilt. “Did you wish to cause more?”
“No.” He set the sword down firmly next to him. “And I doubt this weapon is adequate to the task, in any case.”
“Move up,” she kicked his feet. “It is time you understood a few things.”
He drew his knees in, and she sat, cross-legged upon the narrow pallet, sable wings drawn around her like a bat. From beneath them, her hand appeared holding a plain clay jug. She placed it squarely between them.
“It is unremarkable, would you not say?”
Eadric was silent; his perception twisted and span.
“For a long while,” the demoness continued, “I wondered why Kaalaanala did not simply take it from me. I was there when she reified, Eadric: it was glorious; something to behold. At any rate, the question puzzled me: I know that I would have certainly taken it from her, had our roles been reversed.”
“And have you determined an answer?”
“No,” she shrugged. “I gave up looking for one. There comes a point where one must concede that there are things which cannot be known; and there are too many plausible theories: the Aeon forbade it; Cheshne forbade it; a deal was struck between Uedii and Cheshne – are they different, in any case? And so on, and so forth. The Urn has great power, Eadric – of that there can be no doubt. In the hands of a goddess such as the Fires of Death, its destructive – which is to say its generative potential focused toward an absence of matter and energy – would be great. But her remit is limited: she cannot leave Jashat, nor her direct influence extend beyond it: she is the black dart, stuck in Uedii’s green shield. Aggravating, unbalancing, but ultimately unmoving. And she lacks a certain perspective required to realize the Urn in full. Perhaps a deeper Void perceived this truth. I cannot say.”
“And this perspective is something which you possess, I presume?”
“Not exactly,” Soneillon replied unexpectedly. “I aberrate, Eadric. My path is not conventional, as you may have noticed. The Urn is a great boon to me, but I also lack a certain something. The demiplanes which I created which abut Throile – which still persist, incidentally – were the labor of many years. Entities with more…wherewithal…in this regard are empowered to make more effective use of the Urn’s generative power.”
Eadric gave an inquiring look.
“That would be your other girlfriend,” Soneillon smiled innocently.
“It becomes more complicated,” Soneillon continued.
“I had a feeling it might.”
“What do you know of the I?”
“I mislike the direction of this conversation already,” Eadric sighed. “Enough to know that it would be foolish to be complacent regarding its motivation.”
“The I is tenacious,” Soneillon nodded, “and will seek to survive despite all other indicators to the contrary. It fragmented in order to preserve itself, with a notion to recombine at a later time. And a vehicle – something exempt from the normal rules – to allow this to occur.”
“Yes. Your other other girlfriend.” Soneillon said lightly.
Eadric grunted. “I am tired of hearing this. Nehael also accused me of as much.”
“Then the green bitch is not entirely stupid,” Soneillon gave a sweet smile. “Not everything is about sex, Eadric. At least, not in the beginning.”
“I do not regard Shomei in this fashion.”
“Yet you evince a particular sympathy for her perspective?”
“She is complex. As to our philosophical differences, we reached…an understanding. I care for her wellbeing.”
“And you find her attractive?”
“She is comely enough, I would say.”
“And she, you?” Soneillon pressed on, evidently enjoying the line of questioning. “How does Shomei the Infernal relate to the Ahma, who is – or at least was – central to her paradigm?”
“I cannot speak to that,” Eadric sighed. “She has never demonstrated anything other than…” He paused, and considered.
“A measure of doubt crosses your face.”
“I had simply not considered that she is even capable of being driven erotically. It seems somehow… beneath her.”
Soneillon laughed, and it seemed warm and heartfelt. “Ah, Ahma. No wonder you interested me so: you are truly guileless. And you attach such virtue to chastity; a line of examination which we might pursue at some later time. Shomei is fired by deep passions, Eadric, and to suggest that she is somehow asexual or frigid is to misunderstand her absolutely. But her lovers have been – and remain – devilish, for the most part; I realize that these are not the social circles in which you are wont to move. And her façade is well-practiced: she is discreet; no brazen harlot.”
“Where is this leading, Soneillon?”
“Consider your subsequent interactions with her in the light of this perspective, and form your own judgment.”
“But why do you speak of Shomei at all?”
The demoness cast her eyes downward, toward the amphora which sat between them.
“Shomei wants the Urn?”
“That girl always had ideas above her station,” Soneillon sighed. “The devils which she currently conjures will be deployed against me. She will make her move in due course.”
Eadric was aghast. “Deorham…”
“Will likely be a violent and unpleasant locale. By the way, I have done nothing to harm your thralls – I’m sorry, you’d prefer a euphemism – although many have been altered by the scion. But my own demons are becoming impatient: at some point, I will need to either deploy them or disband them. Think on this, and we’ll come back to it. May I go on?”
Eadric nodded grimly.
“Shomei needs the power offered by the Urn in order to master Hummaz,” Soneillon continued. “To consolidate the various components of the I; to make herself whole. I’m disappointed that Nehael did not share this information with you; still we each have our own agenda.”
Eadric scowled. “It was Nehael who suggested that I remain open to discourse with you.”
“I despise her less already,” the demoness raised her eyebrows.
“You are not seriously suggesting that Nehael is manipulating me against my best interests?”
“Of course. To promulgate empathy is her agenda. That may involve a lack of full disclosure.”
“As your agenda is to sow dissension and madness?” Eadric smiled, and shook his head.
“No. But we’ll come to that.”
“It gets more complicated,” Soneillon warned.
“This should be good.”
“There is a spell – A Flame Precedes the Aeon. It was dictated by Rintrah the Messenger to Jovol the Grey; the wizard Tozinak currently has it in his possession. It is conceptualized in terms of Urgic altitudes, and requires that a naked iota of Radiance be present, and the Urn also, and one who has shaken off their reality – several times, in fact. Its timing is also crucial – certain astrological windows must be observed.
“I see that you were not aware of the origin of this spell,” Soneillon sighed, and continued. “Nor, indeed is Tozinak. The Regents of the Purifying Wind bestowed it upon Rintrah – episemes lack aptitude for this kind of magic; it was, in fact, formulated in the Sovereign Sphere. But it was contrived in the Infinitudes; in the Mind of God – your God. Or your previous god; your bent would seem more theacentric of late: a tendency I am obliged to commend.”
A look of sheer bewilderment crossed the Ahma’s face.
“You have a question?” Soneillon seemed amused.
“This spell can somehow be used to create a set of circumstances which allow the wielder of the Urn greater latitude in exercising its generative power?”
“No,” Soneillon smiled. “The spell summons Pharamne. At which point all other considerations are moot.”
“The Dragon coils around the Tree…”
“Where have you been, I wonder?” Her surprise seemed genuine.
“What else do you know of this spell? How do you know so much? Mostin spoke of it.”
“It has preoccupied my thoughts for some time; I made inquiries. Mostin has seen the pattern in the broadest sense, but does not understand the specifics of the language. I have asked Tozinak to transcribe it for me. But there has been a complication. In the form of the Cherry.”
“And why, precisely, are you telling me all of this?” Eadric’s head throbbed. “It would seem to be contrary to your interests in all regards.”
“Because you are the Ahma, Ahma. You are incandescent: I see you with clear eyes. I am mad – didn’t you know?”
“And you trust that I will not somehow use this information against you?”
“Dear Eadric,” Soneillon touched his face. “Trust has nothing to do with it. Do you not understand? You cannot hurt me unless I allow it – which I might, in a certain context, if it gave you pleasure. At least, you cannot hurt me yet. I am beyond your power. You still insist on seeing things in terms of good and evil; we and they; this and that: you need to put these notions behind you. There are simply factions in the World: they move; interact; communicate. But the World itself is an innocent playground, Eadric. Things are as they are.”
“And what is your agenda with regard to this spell?”
“It is through me that the shadow of Cheshne seeks to manifest; and thence, through the Urn, to bring an end to reality. But there is something which you need to understand.”
“Why do I get the feeling that this is the crux of your argument?”
“It is not my agenda. I do not want this, Eadric. I have no desire to be the architect of the annihilation of the World. I do not wish to marry the Cherry to the Blackthorn in myself; to invoke the Apparition and bring an end to all things. I have avoided the Cherry for that reason, amongst others. ”
“Then what do you want, Soneillon?”
“I want to play, Ahma. I just want to play. I like things just as they are.”
“You are beyond mad, Soneillon. And you intimate at ‘truths’ which I can barely begin to comprehend, much less accept. Tell me this, and this simply: why should I believe you?”
“Cheshne is not her shadow, Eadric. Nor is she her cult. And, as I said some time ago – and had you been paying attention, and less intent on smiting me, you might have heard it – The Void Shines; still, I would not deny you your passions. I precipitate both pain and joy, Eadric, and in bliss transcend both. I am the Fruit in the Void; the Mango in Cheshne’s Mouth.”
“You may be the most dangerous entity I have ever encountered.”
“I am flattered, and will not argue the point. But you answer me this,” Soneillon fixed him with her gaze – and he knew that it alone might deprive him of his very existence, were she so to choose. “Have I ever, to your certain knowledge, either directly or indirectly, caused an innocent to come to harm? Unless you count Hlioth amongst the innocent, which would mark you as an idiot in my mind.”
“There are tales…”
“There are many tales, Eadric. Answer the question.”
“No,” he groaned. He knew that whatever the Blackthorn had caused to pass, was beyond her power to control.
“And if not by my action, then how will you judge me?”
“I cannot,” he conceded.
“Thank-you,” she said. She rose and replaced the Urn in its hiding place. Her humour seemed to have left her.
“Think on it, Eadric. In some ways, it was a disappointing night; in others, it was all I needed. Besides, I am patient. I should probably leave, now – I would hate to cause a scene.”
“Why do I…”
[Shomei]: You asked to speak with me directly, Ahma. May I translate to your location?
[Eadric]: Very well. Give me a minute. Come alone.
“Eadric,” Soneillon spoke swiftly and earnestly, “if you come to Deorham, I will act as guarantor of your safety. You need not fear the scion; I can ward you from its influence. I have not interfered with the chapel; it is no less holy to me than to you: something which was difficult to impress upon your brother. Also, the mattress there is larger and more comfortable.”
She dissolved into mist.
Orm? He sat for a moment in a state of utter confusion.
“Another devil to see you, Ahma,” the voice of a messenger spoke presently from outside of the tent.
He closed his eyes, and breathed deeply. “Show her in.”
“Sandalwood?” Shomei caught the scent in the air. She glanced around, absorbing the minutest detail of the tent’s interior in an instant. It seemed barren; her host was half-clad.
Eadric looked at her. He had not seen her since that fateful day in Afqithan when three of the Akesoli had dragged her screaming, dissociate form into Hell. Ortwine had encountered her since, but Eadric found the sidhe’s description – however eloquent – did not do Shomei justice.
A robe of purple so dark as to be almost black shrouded her slight frame; within it, fields of stars seemed to fall in perpetual torrents. Upon her forehead, she bore the intimation of a mark or brand which, if observed directly, faded from view. Her features were otherwise her own – although in some fashion she blended the qualities of her two simulacra, as though they were her precursors and not her magical progeny. Infernal now by nature, without question, but also much more; she was at ease with her own power in a way which he had never before thought possible. Something about her – and recently, Eadric knew – had simply ignited. She was sheer, dynamic force.
“You cannot trust her,” Shomei said directly.
“Perhaps not. Questions of trust seem to preoccupy me of late. You do not bear your rod.”
“I am not here to coerce you, Ahma.” She retrieved Lukarn from the pallet, slid it into its scabbard, and handed it to him with a raised eyebrow.
“No,” Eadric took the weapon. “You are here to ask for my permission – my blessing if you will – for an assault upon Soneillon. I cannot grant it, Shomei. It would mean the destruction of all of western Trempa.”
“She sits on an army of demons; I cannot believe that you would simply endure this imposition.”
“Demons which have yet to demonstrate any ill-will toward my….subjects… on the part of their mistress.”
Shomei looked sceptical. “If she has found her way back into your bed, Ahma, you might also consider that your judgment is impaired.”
“Ngaarh!” Eadric groaned.
She inspected her surroundings, looking for a place to sit.
“Ahma,” Shomei ventured, choosing to redirect the conversation, “your accommodations are spartan and unwelcoming. If I might…?”
“I had not given thought to it; I require little. Do as you wish, if you would prefer more easement.”
She made the briefest gesture, and the interior of the tent transformed into an opulent pavillion, festooned with deep blues and vermillions. A table lay replete with exquisite wines and confections; sumptuous leather chairs, chests, wardrobes and velvet couches appeared; his pallet became a wide bed, draped with furs. Eadric’s armor sprang from the ground onto a stand, perfectly burnished. Exotic rugs from Bedesh carpeted the floor, and incense burned upon a small altar; the scent of cinnamon hung heavy in the air. A purplish light – with no discernible source – suffused the place.
“I confess, I like my creature comforts,” Shomei smiled, seeming to relax. She poured a goblet of kschiff and handed it to him.
Eadric took it suspiciously, then downed the liquor in a single draught. His head span.
“Whatever she said to you, Ahma,” Shomei continued, offering him a candied chestnut, “it would be unwise to afford it too much credence, until you have had time to reflect. I don’t doubt that she evoked some compelling vision of the World, with disparaging – and highly plausible – remarks made regarding my disposition and motivation.”
She opened a dresser, and presented him with a heavy robe of ermine.
“That is an accurate assertion,” Eadric nodded in gratitude, drawing the vestment about himself, and sinking into a chair. “Shomei, I should like to ask you some questions.”
“Of course,” she sat opposite, hands folded lightly in her lap.
“How do you propose to overcome Hummaz, Shomei?”
“You have spoken with Nehael, then?”
“No – yes. But it was Soneillon who informed me of your plan.”
“I do not have a plan yet, Ahma. Merely a direction; a course which I must inevitably chart. There are signs along the way – I write them myself.”
“And Pharamne’s Urn is one of these signs?”
“Indeed,” Shomei nodded. “I would venture to suggest that this artifact is also far safer in my hands than most others.”
“Others such as Soneillon?”
“Soneillon is advised by Vhorzhe, Ahma – a monster who was once Mostin’s mentor, and who now persists in a state of pseudodaemonic insanity. Uzzhin penetrates every aspect of her mind and her formless form. Would it be correct for me to assume that she did not evince this particular aspect of her psychology – nor her physiology, in fact – in your recent exchange?”
“She did not,” Eadric admitted. “Presumably in order to spare me undue stress.”
“That would be one way of explaining her motivation,” Shomei gave a small smile.
“Soneillon is fully conscious of her own psychosis, Shomei.”
“Yes, Ahma. She is. Doesn’t that fact concern you?”
She held the flask of kschiff above his glass and gave an inquiring look.
“Your intervention in the Temple is causing a stir,” Eadric remarked. “The Irrenites are already enshrining your words as doctrine.”
“In which case they are missing the point entirely,” Shomei sighed.
“Your revelation is rather opaque.”
“I should hope so. The principal point of revelation is to make people think.”
“And you do not believe your act was rather…presumptuous?” Eadric inquired.
“Yes. And necessarily so. Many of those who practice Saizhan are slipping into a kind of existential torpor. They need to wake up.”
“Is it your understanding that Oronthon inspired you to this course of action?” Eadric asked.
“In a manner of speaking; although I do not locate Oronthon external to myself after the fashion of Orthodoxy.”
“I understand,” Eadric nodded.
“Let me ask you, Ahma: has the Sela made comment on my actions?”
“He inquired as to the aesthetics of your inscription.” Eadric smiled.
Eadric laughed. “Upon hearing that your script was in keeping with the prevailing design of the Temple interior, seemed satisfied.”
“Good,” she poured more kschiff.
“Do you have an erotic interest in me, Shomei?”
“You are drunk, Ahma, and it is not even mid-morning. Perhaps you should stop.”
“No, pour me another. The question stands.”
She sighed, and refilled his goblet. “I see things primarily in terms of alliances, Ahma; I am rational, and eminently practical. I enjoy physical recreation as much as the next devil, but I am not driven by my carnality, insofar as I do not let it dictate my choices.”
“Not dictate,” Eadric suggested, “but inform?”
“Perhaps,” she acknowledged. “But I have no need of a lover, Ahma, if that is what you are suggesting.”
“I am not. You have infernal servants who fulfill this role?”
“And as to a spouse?”
She set her glass down. “That, Ahma, is an entirely different proposition. Marriage is an alliance. Connubial duties must be taken very seriously, especially amongst immortals – where a dispute can last for decades, and the results of a spat be felt for a millennium. Is this interrogation leading somewhere specific?”
“No,” Eadric said hastily. “I am merely attempting to ascertain your motives with regard to me. Both Nehael and Soneillon have suggested that our association goes beyond conventional friendship.”
“You are the Ahma and I am Shomei the Infernal. We are both agents of cosmic change. How could it not?”
“The old order has vanished, Shomei, and I am still unsure of my place in the new. What is my role in your reality? What is the Ahma to you?”
She pondered briefly. “A few days ago, I etched words into the archway in the Great Fane in Morne; I burned yet more into the solar orb. I planted a Hazel scion within the Temple precinct…”
“You did what?”
“A Hazel, Ahma. I assumed you would have heard. Regardless, my acts and words describe a vision – my vision – of how things should be. When I stood upon the threshold, a great force moved through me; it was of me, and yet not: Will was manifest in its fullest form. It was directed at the Illuminated who were gathered there, and sought to enkindle them; to bring their Flames to realization. It was inadequate to the task. I revised my strategy, in the light of something which I already knew to be fact: my energies must be devoted toward my Self. If I deviate from this Truth, I will fail.”
“And now you have set this fire in yourself,” Eadric observed. “It is immediately apparent.”
“It is a beginning,” Shomei said softly. “And I am always beginning, Ahma. As to your role, consider those of Morne who returned from the Serenities. Because when your Flame ignites, Ahma, you will illuminate all of Wyre – and beyond. It will induce a torrent of Radiance which will make the cascade at Khu appear as a child’s squib in comparison. God will breathe into them all.”
Eadric stared at her, incredulous.
“And yes, I would consider an alliance with one such as that desirable.”
“As for compassion,” Shomei added, “a topic which I am grateful you have avoided to this point: I believe that it is something which I would be willing to learn to practice, in the interests of preserving good relations.”
She smiled, and took a long sip of kschiff.
Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Monday, 12th December, 2011 at 03:44 PM.
Sunday, 11th December, 2011, 04:26 AM #1124
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Thank you for the update, Sep!---and have a wonderful holiday season!
Editor and Project Manager
Black Blade Publishing
http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html for my Greyhawk site
Sunday, 11th December, 2011, 05:44 AM #1125
Did Shomei just propose to Eadric?
Singer of Songs
Sunday, 11th December, 2011, 01:06 PM #1126
Gallant (Lvl 3)
I'm dizzy from trying to follow the conversation. Wonderful stuff, Sep!
The mind boggles as to how you guys play this game!
D&D, frankly, is the most fun when you get your ass handed to you but you still manage to find away to come out on top of the pile of corpses, looking like a typical Conan novel cover. - joachim
Sunday, 11th December, 2011, 07:04 PM #1127
happy holidays indeed!
"My infinity is bigger than yours." - Mostin the Metagnostic
Monday, 12th December, 2011, 04:07 AM #1128
Guide (Lvl 11)
There are several people on these boards that I would like to have as my GM. Sep is without a doubt at the top of the list.
What would Kirk do?
Wednesday, 14th December, 2011, 07:36 PM #1129
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Eadric can't marry Shomei! Shomei isn't even a succubus... or is she? They're devils, now, aren't they?
Excellent update as always. This was particularly satisfying, though. It seemed to collect a number of threads, simplifying the situation rather than complectifying it.
Thursday, 15th December, 2011, 04:37 AM #1130
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Some thoughts coalescing over the past two days of re-reading the new posts, and everyone's comments thus far....
I wonder if Eadric is going to be forced to choose between his three "girlfriends"---a la Paris with Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera before the Trojan War? If so, how can he choose?:
- Neheal - first love - former succubus/demon - now a Nature goddess; Neheal doesn't really seem very interested in Eadric as a lover/spouse any longer, though, and in light of Nwm's attitudes toward the outer-planar interlopers polluting the Material Plane, I'm not at all sure that Neheal can really accept Eadric unless he undergoes a Green transformation like she did?? - her role is empathy, though, which does align well to compassion; hmmmm
- Shomei - friendship with mutual respect perhaps angling toward spouse - the only one of the three that Eadric has known as a _human_, so there's a stronger connection there vs. the other two being divine/infernal/whatever; if Shomei becomes the new Adversary, and Eadric as the Ahma marries her, does that reconcile Heaven & Hell (and then, if they have children [chemical wedding??], what's that do to Orthodoxy and Saizhan?---some new savior-like figure, perhaps?); both are also huge change agents, and offer complimentary perspectives in a possibly-reconciled long-term: Shomei focused inwardly (self/challenge), Eadric focused outwardly (others/compassion-pity)
- Soneillon - the only consummated love - a succubus and so much more! - offers two conflicting stances: a) she's trying to maintain the status quo (which puts her at odds with both Eadric and Shomei as nodalities/catalysts for change); b) destroy the world/universe (what Chesne wants Soneillon to do, but which she doesn't want, and presumably no one else does either); it doesn't seem like either are viable, long-term prospects for Eadric, to me....; she also represents discord I suppose (to play off of the Eris/apples idea), too
If Eadric is forced to choose one of the three (and I'm not sure that "forced" is the right word, but it does seem like he's the monkey in the middle between them all), does he risk rekindling the war between Heaven and Hell (the Wyrish equivalent here of the Trojan War)?
Based on my (likely faulty) intuitive analysis, it seems like Shomei is Eadric's only long-term route for happiness here, although I can easily see him choosing any of the three by preference. Hrmph.
Need to think more
Editor and Project Manager
Black Blade Publishing
http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html for my Greyhawk site