Aeon (updated 10/9/14) - Page 120


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    Been following this story hour for years. After this last installment my hunch is that Shomei is probably going to be on the recieving end of a whuppin. The question is of course by whom?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelenor View Post
    The question is of course by whom?
    I'll take E - All of the above.
    What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nath Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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    She'd better hope someone intervene's or her dominate works or something happens to stop Eadric from attacking her. I suspect if he decided to and nothing stopped him that he'd carve her up like a Christmas Turkey.
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    I read that as the Dominate DID work, which was why she shed a tear at having to do it...

    I think it is Shomei to instigated their disappearance, but it wouldn't surprise me overmuch if it was some other agent coming to lay the figurative whooping down upon the Librarian of Hell...
    Neither evil tongues, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall eer prevail against us. --William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

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    A very interesting development! Can't wait for the next chapter

    Sep: at this point are you guys still playing, and if so, how far behind are you in story events vs. play events?

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    great stuff! i can't help hoping for more.


    i love this section from part III. shades of rhialto and ildefonse?

    “Oh very well. This is irregular,” Mostin nodded. “Some our punctilio with regard to brokerage may need revisiting. You should convoke the Collegium. A course of action must be decided.”

    “As Chancellor of the Academy,” Ugales added, “and President of the Collegium, Daunton the Diviner is also allowed unrestricted access.”

    “Oh? Really?” Daunton asked, gazing through the doorway. “Come Mostin, we must inspect these forbidden tomes, to determine if they represent a threat to our work here.”

    “Quite,” Mostin agreed, as he followed him through.
    have you ever retired a human by mistake?

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    I was just thinking about the sudden whisking away... a Dominate on Eadric would be a perfect condition for a contingency and just something Soneillon would guard against. Hmmmmm?
    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

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    Obsession – Final Part



    She hung, naked and motionless in the void, gazing at the world. Behind her and beyond her, an infinite expanse of emptiness stretched.

    Wyre was blanketed in snow, a heavy veil which pressed upon its wide provinces and muffled the verdancies which pulsed beneath. It ranged from gold through deep crimson, west to east, as dusk stole across the frozen landscape below.

    Further south, greens prevailed; and then a great fume of corruption, surrounding a perfect circle of blackness: the Pall of Dhatri. A red dart was moving within it, like a surgeon’s knife attempting to excise some cancer, the roots of which ran too deep. Nehael, yet not. Suuratamanyu?* she considered; an obscure and ill-defined bhiti – if such it was – or merely another manifestation of Aliikaghana?

    She did not care.

    She turned her eyes to the Sun and observed it impassively; she understood its radiance: no longer feared it. It regarded her with disinterest, as a parent who has surrendered a child and watched it grow separate, but from a great distance. It did not offer anything, and all she had gained had been apart from it. But neither did it condemn: its judgment was suspended, as though in regret of previous choices it had made. An admission, perhaps, of its own fallibility.

    It began to sink over the Western Ocean, and an intense display of color ensued; the atmosphere split the light into its component parts like some deific prism: every element of the spectrum was revealed. For the briefest moment, the rumor of an Idea: a vast wyrm – serene, yet energized; a perfect, infinite potential – coiled around the world. Then, just as suddenly, it was gone. The luminary vanished. Beyond – now free from its glare and glamour – the ruddy Eye of Cheshne pulsed.

    She descended through aurorae, plunging rapidly through the thermosphere. Meteors flashed to incandescence around her; she outpaced them, dropped through noctilucent clouds and felt their crystals caress and cool her. Her plummet came to rest at an altitude of twenty miles. She cast her glance downwards.

    Lights were kindling in a city: an unfolding sevenfold symmetry, spontaneous yet inevitable. Her eyes followed a thin line which ran south and west into rolling hills, apprehending an involuted knot in a deep hollow.

    Then she remembered that she was a demoness, and that she was angry.

    *

    [Soneillon]: You have one hour to evacuate the Academy.

    [Many Wizards]: !

    Sendings buzzed across Wyre. Twenty minutes elapsed.

    (Far to the north and west, in an obscure corner of Nizkur).

    [Mostin]: This demonstration is unnecessary, Soneillon. Shomei has marginalized herself by her own actions.

    [Soneillon]: Oh, there you are.

    Soneillon appeared within his study, a writhing mass which pinned Mostin, spreadeagled, above the fireplace.

    “Don’t try and wriggle, Mostin,” a childlike face materialized, and then a body. “Or I’ll have to hurt you. You may have more tentacles than I, but mine are far nastier.”

    A tendril reached inside his robe, flipping open pouches in his belt of many pockets, and searching until it retrieved a sphere of adamant, ten inches in diameter. She shook it vigorously, until Graz’zt’s countenance appeared.

    “Well, look who it is,” she smiled. An expression of horror crossed the face of the demon prince.

    Her form became fully humanoid – that of a small child, which she had chosen in previous dealings with the Alienist – as she secreted the globe on her person. Mostin dropped unceremoniously onto the floor.

    “Now that that’s settled,” she hopped into a chair, and dangled her legs, “you have around forty minutes to convince me not to level the estate. I will not name her, and would advise the same of you: it would draw her attention here – funny how that comes around. But she has my boyfriend, and I want him back.

    *

    Mostin sighed. “Destroying her former abode would achieve nothing, Soneillon – except, perhaps, to irritate her.”

    “That would seem as good a place to start as any. You are fuelling my argument, Mostin, not dissuading me. You need to think more like a demon.”

    “She may also invoke the Hazel,” Mostin continued. “In which case, no effort on your part will penetrate its cordon. And do you really want an Academy unified in defense under her leadership? She has been seeking to co-opt the ritual pool; this would hand it to her on a plate. And in defense she would even receive the sanction of the Enforcer.”

    “That is far more persuasive,” the demoness conceded. She issued another sending.

    [Soneillon]: I’ve changed my mind.

    Three hundred miles away, scores of wizards breathed a collective sigh of relief.

    “Less than a minute. Not bad, Mostin.”

    Mostin groaned. “You had no intention of destroying the Academy, did you?”

    She shook her head.

    “You tracked my sending to its source. Circumvented my obfuscations. You are a devious one.”

    She hopped down, and ran over to him. Her form changed, and she threw a dozen tiny tentacles around his knees. She looked up with multiple huge, doe eyes welling with tears.

    “Will you help me get Eadric back, Mostin? Please?”

    “You are insufferable,” the Alienist replied.

    “You are not an erotic creature, Mostin; I must adjust my tack accordingly.”

    “I am no more paternal than I am erotic,” Mostin observed.

    She sighed, and once again became a succubus. “Will you help me or not?”

    Mostin shook his head. “She is within Hell’s library, Soneillon; it is separate – part of the prior infinity. Eadric is also there. There are two doors, and both lie within the Hazel’s ambit. You cannot touch her while she remains there. I have been inside, with her approval: she may come and go as she pleases. There is a tight net around the ‘front door’ – a cottage very close to the Hazel scion itself – the area where she performs her conjurations. The ‘back door’ – so to speak – is within the library of the Academy. Only Ugales has permission to enter and leave; he retrieves obscure spells and tomes for ambitious mages in return for outrageous pledges. The back door is currently closed anyway.”

    Soneillon gave a suspicious look. “How do you know that Eadric is in the library, Mostin? Presumably your divinations cannot penetrate it.”

    “A wizard does not reveal all of his means.”

    “And how did you anticipate certain events in Afqithan?” She persisted.

    Mostin sighed.

    “Do you have a thing which helps you?”

    “Yes,” he grudgingly admitted.

    “Can I see it?” Soneillon smiled.

    “Well…”

    Soneillon raised an eyebrow, and slowly revealed Pharamne’s Urn. Mostin’s eyes rotated in his skull.

    “Mostin. You have to show. No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend.”

    “Very well,” he produced it. “It is called the Web of Motes. Although I think every wizard in Wyre knows I have it – I’m surprised that you didn’t hear already.”

    She shrugged. “I tend not to mix with wizards, Mostin. They are usually dull – present company excepted, of course. And you will help me. With this mote-thing of yours, you can determine whether or not she is in her library, am I correct?”

    “Yes, but it makes no difference. How difficult is this to explain…”

    “Because you can help me,” she smiled. “In fact, I believe you are the only one who can.”

    “You are not listening, Soneillon.”

    “Yes, I am, but you’re not. She is a devil. I cannot conjure devils, Mostin. But you can.”

    “She is magnified, Soneillon. Binding such an entity is a different proposition altogether.”

    “My reservoir is deep, Mostin. It is yours.”

    He considered; Shomei had gone too far, there was no denying it. His mind rapidly processed transvalent algorithms, finding various solutions.

    “You will not annihilate her,” the Alienist exhorted.

    “Mostin, be reasonable…”

    “I mean it, Soneillon. She is a colleague, and a fellow intellect. Let me handle her.”

    “Oh, very well,” Soneillon sighed.

    “I will need a week to devise the formula.”

    “A week? Wyrish wizards are so slow.”

    “And I will need the Urn,” Mostin smiled madly.

    Soneillon’s eyes narrowed. “No you don’t, Mostin. We both know that.”


    **


    “Do you purpose to keep me here indefinitely?” Eadric raised his eyebrows. He sat easily in the posture of saizhan within a forcecage in Shomei’s study. A fire – of cut hazel logs – burned slowly and steadily in the hearth.

    “Only until I have the Urn, Ahma,” Shomei was curled nearby in a comfortable chair, reading. She did not meet his eyes.

    “And you still address me by the religious appellative. You are an unlikely abductress,” Eadric observed. “And an even more unlikely Adversary.”

    That moniker is defunct,” she sighed.

    “Your actions would indicate otherwise. Should I officially brand you as such? I do determine doctrine, after all.”

    She shifted her position, and took a sip of kschiff.

    “If it would be easier for you, I will be silent. Or perhaps you could dominate me again.”

    “I take no pleasure in depriving you of your will, Ahma.” She raised her head and looked at him. “Of all things, that, at least should be clear about me.”

    “But you did, Shomei,” he replied.

    “I must judge necessity, Ahma; for my Self, no other can.”

    “And, in hindsight, was your judgment correct?”

    She placed the book down, open, on the table beside her. “If you are asking whether I have experienced remorse, then the answer is yes: I am not beyond that. But what is done is done. The question of what to do next preoccupies me now. Such is my nature.”

    “You would seem to be missing a moral compass, Shomei.”

    She gave a small smile. “I do not need one, Ahma. My lack of kindness is perfectly balanced by my lack of malice. My temper needs some work.”

    “And if jealousy and hatred come to rule you? What then?”

    “Then you and I will have both failed, Ahma, but for different reasons.”

    “Yet jealousy and obsession have characterized many of your actions of late.”

    She stood, approached the forcecage, and knelt, drawing close. Her presence was intense, focused and calm. “Are you speaking of my reaction to your liaison with Soneillon, or to my efforts to gain the Urn?”

    “You do not take well to being thwarted, Shomei. And the union of opposites is something which you yourself once gave me advice regarding.”

    Ahma, there are many hieroi gamoi. Some are fleeting; some enduring. Some take place within a paradigm; others – such as that of the Reconciliation – span infinities; others beyond infinities even into the ineffable. I do not deny your experience of Soneillon; it is, in fact, an articulation of truth far beyond Magnitude as the Urgics would understand it. But it is not ultimate in the sense that nothing is ultimate, and whether it is even enduring remains to be seen. I am pragmatic, and could only offer you a paradigm, Ahma; to shape the reality which we inhabit. To make it better.”

    Eadric laughed bitterly. “Something which Azazel and his two hundred legions can help you achieve, I presume? Your argument is beginning to sound more than a little deluded, Shomei.”

    “Do not interpret the transparency of my thought to you as an articulation of intent; there are other avenues which I would prefer to exhaust first. Understand that I began with the most moral from your perspective: an alliance with you. I do not practice saizhan, Ahma. My method is otherwise. It is for me, and me alone. It can be neither learned, nor taught. I must invent it myself as it evolves; at critical junctures, I have looked to others – including both you and the Sela – for help, but the solution must always be mine.”

    Eadric shook his head. “Your reaction to my anathematization of you – to engulf me in hellfire and coerce me – would suggest to me that this relationship is far from clear to you. My word is Law; but you accept none but your own.”

    “It is a paradox I grapple with. I do not wish to be branded your Adversary, Ahma. To become what you most hate. I strive only to realize my potential.”

    “And you somehow insist that I am capable of a similar feat; this awakening of my potential to which you refer. Yet it demands embracing some harsh and violent truth for you; a willing sacrifice of your own humanity. Something which I am unprepared to make.”

    “I am a fiend, Ahma,” Shomei smiled.

    “But you were not always so.”

    “Nor were any others. Deep down, I have always wanted to be a devil, Ahma. I think you know this. And no such sacrifice is necessary from you: you are the Ahma. One reason why seeing you confined thus saddens me.”

    “Then you might release me.”

    She sighed. “If you were to affirm that you would make no efforts to assail me or escape, then I might grant you exit from that box. But I would prefer not to dominate you again.”

    “I will so vow. Although I am unsure if my assent is tantamount to my endorsing your actions.”

    “Life is full of paradoxes, Ahma.” The forcecage vanished.

    “A little freedom is a precious thing,” he stood and glanced around.

    She gestured. “The library is that way, Ahma. All the devils are gone; I’m the only one left. Call me if you get lost. I will hear you.”

    “I cannot help but like you, Shomei.”

    “I know. It makes it difficult.”

    She returned to her book.







    *Wrathful Mercy


    **
    Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Sunday, 8th January, 2012 at 06:58 PM.

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    I love this story :-)
    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

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    It just gets better all the time.
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