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Thread: Aeon (updated 10/9/14)
Friday, 22nd February, 2008, 05:43 AM #491
All through the updates (Updates! ) I was having an evilgasm. Until:
I am changing my colours...
Green and gold,
Friday, 22nd February, 2008, 09:39 AM #492
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I wonder...how much is Sepulchrave ahead with his real life story?
Sunday, 24th February, 2008, 03:20 AM #493
Gallant (Lvl 3)
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- North Fort Worth
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Jeremy
Thanks Sep! Your work is brilliant as always and never fails to entertain.
Sunday, 24th February, 2008, 03:36 AM #494
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 03:55 PM #495
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- Portland, OR
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Sepulchrave II
The overland passage to the Saivo – the entrance from Sisperi to its gloomy underworld, Rûk – was across a frigid and despoiled land filled with twisted trees, many of which had come to harbour malign intelligence. They wind walked, and although the Ahma was sure that they might have sped there immediately, he suspected that impressing the full magnitude of the corruption was important to Nwm. Or perhaps manifesting through one of the blighted trees was not an experience which Nwm wished to endure.
Ortwine's demeanour was serene and composed. Many strategies for dealing with Saes had crossed her mind, none of which seemed entirely satisfactory. Prior to her current state of insanity, the death-goddess had not been one apt to casual interaction with the other Nireem. As with most underworld deities, she had been content to dwell in morbid isolation with her shades, grudgingly releasing an annual quota of discarnate spirits so that the cycle of transmigration could continue in Sisperi. Whatever inducements Graz'zt had offered her ally herself with him – and the sidhe could only speculate as to what those might be – Saes had become unbalanced. Before he had been slain, Uort, the ferocious babau who had led the demonic legions in Sisperi, had intimated that Graz'zt himself had laid some curse on the goddess. The truth of the matter had yet to be discovered.
They descended, crossing over a steep arête; below them, a still tarn glistened darkly in the wan sun. Other lakes nearby were frozen. Not so the Saivo; its supernatural nature was immediately apparent. They corporeated a hundred yards from the lakeside within a copse of stunted black birch trees. Fungi of an unusual variety grew nearby, somehow inured to the cold.
"This place is truly miserable," Eadric remarked. "Was it always thus?"
Rhul nodded. "I am well-travelled, by any account. Few places are as desolate."
Ortwine hitched Heedless across her back and tied back her hair in a businesslike fashion. She seemed nonplussed, although whether her mood was genuine or not was, as usual, impossible to tell.
"We will get wet," she observed. "Fortunately, none of us will freeze. If there were another way in, naturally I would suggest we take it. Unfortunately, there is not: Rûk is an isolated bubble of reality, with no other entrance, and the whole plane is locked by deific power. There may be other exits though – at least Mostin seems to think so. If there are, then Saes controls them. Once we pass through this way, we have to find another way out."
Eadric twitched. "May be? If? Ortwine, I would feel more comfortable in this endeavour, had you done your research more carefully."
"Time is a constraint we have all experienced recently," Ortwine snapped. "I am no different. It is logical surmise: prior to her current episode of covetousness, Saes must have had some means to liberate souls within her guardianship. In any event, there will be demons. Lai says in the inverse of the lake, as well as within the vestibule beyond. The Saivo is deep – maybe a quarter mile. Its magic is such that the pressure will not crush us, however. When down becomes up, we will be half way to the other side; up will remain up thereafter, there is no going back down. Is that clear?"
"Perfectly," Nwm said. "May we proceed, now?"
Nwm transformed himself into a black dragon of enormous proportions, and bestowed water breathing upon them.
"Grab onto a horn or something; we're going down fast. If you're struck by a dispelling, hold your breath: I'll get to you as soon as I can."
Daunton looked worried. He sat in a plush chair in Mostin's drawing room, and poured himself another drink. "How long is this state of torpor likely to last? Is the Enforcer even safe, without the Claviger's direction?"
The Alienist stared blankly at him. "The Claviger cannot act directly, hence it needs an agent. Gihaahia's empowerment is for her own protection, in this regard; unmagnified, she would be vulnerable. I suspect it will last for as long as the current crisis persists."
Orolde entered apologetically, clearing his throat. "Rimilin is without. He wishes to take counsel."
"To pry, more like," Mostin scowled. "I suppose I can't fault him for wanting to keep abreast of events; virtually every other Wizard I know is hiding under a rock." The Alienist sighed. "Show him in."
"He is not alone," Orolde added.
Mostin eyed the sprite suspiciously.
"He has a succubus with him. She seems docile enough."
The Alienist tilted his head. Rimilin was not renowned for compacting fiendish lemans, given his particular circumstances. Perhaps he would shapechange himself…Best not to go there.
"Did he give a name?"
"Ilistet," Orolde replied calmly.
In the name of all that is unholy Mostin's eyes widened to obscene green orbs. His pseudopod twitched involuntarily, scattering candied fruit across the floor.
"Are you a complete simpleton?" He hissed at Orolde. "Do you know who she is?"
"She is Graz'zt's herald," Orolde was unfazed. "What does it matter? Rimilin has her under a compulsion."
"He damn well better have her mind blanked as well, and more," Mostin screeched. "I do not want the eye of Azzagrat turning here at the moment."
"Should I show him in?"
"Ngaarh! Yes!" He glared at Orolde, who left hastily.
Daunton stood. "I think perhaps it is time I…"
"Siddown!" Mostin barked. "We're in this together, remember?"
Daunton readied a teleport. "I will remain temporarily. We are also outside of the proscribed area, if you recall."
Rimilin barely nodded in greeting to Mostin and Daunton, and made even that gesture appear as though he were delivering some kind of benediction. His smile was as unctuous as usual, and he was laden with protective wards. The Acolyte began it: the negotiated exchange of information.
"My sources inform me that you plan to begin conjuring celestials tomorrow, is that true?"
"They are my new lackeys," Mostin decided to brag. "They will have bat wings, if their conventional form distresses you: it is their purpose which you should consider. I have been restricted to devas and archons; naturally I interpret that to include exemplars and episemes as well, as they were never specifically excluded. There will be no cascade; I am therefore relying on conventional tools."
"You mean to conjure the Princes of the Choirs? You believe they will come?" Rimilin couldn't help but appreciate the literalist manipulation of the contract. "Exalted celestials in the World of Men may serve to escalate the situation."
"We're playing catch-up. You have a demonic magnate dominated in my drawing-room; violating Goetic etiquette regarding compacts seems no taboo for you."
"I am establishing a temporal power base," Rimilin smiled. "It seems voguish; I didn't want to get left behind by the fashionable set. And who cares if I anger Graz'zt? He's in no position to assault anybody at the moment. His popularity as an ugra is waning amongst the convocations."
"You have walked among them?"
Rimilin merely smiled.
"They wish to establish a religious base in Wyre," Mostin reluctantly volunteered. It was valuable information, but would soon be common knowledge. "The Injunction does not apply to divine thaumaturgy. Eadric is understandably reluctant."
"He would rather send a continent to war?" Rimilin narrowed his eyes. "I suppose I will benefit, either way. Tell me of Visuit. Did she speak?"
"She grunted a few times. She is potent. She bore the sword."
"Yeshe is preparing to bind Pazuzu."
"How do you know this?" Mostin whispered fiercely. "How reliable is your information?"
"Very. She is wooing the convocations intently. Her rivalry with Sibud drives her."
Mostin's mind raced. Legend maintained that it was only at the very climax of the war with Durjan that Yeshe had conjured Pazuzu before. If she intended to make it her opening gambit in this one…
"What else do you know, Mostin? What of Prahar?"
"He was not present," the Alienist replied.
"That is not what I meant."
Mostin remained silent.
"Mostin? Fair trade, now." Rimilin's tone was unbearably condescending.
"He bound Orcus previously. So far he has remained silent."
"Do you wish to go higher?" Mostin asked. "There is one other piece of information: I set a tall price on it. Do you have something to match?"
"Perhaps," Rimilin answered carefully.
"Mine involves the Enforcer."
"Her magnification is already well-known…" Rimilin began.
"Not that," Mostin said. "Nehael says she appeared to the Cheshnite delegation and issued a warning. Certain articles in the Injunction have been amended."
"The theurges are excluded, then? That is news, I'll admit. Although not entirely unexpected. I know something of which may be of particular interest to you: it involves an Infernalist of your prior acquaintance."
"Do you wish to hear more?"
"Speak, lest our relationship grow rapidly sour," Mostin hissed.
"The schemes of the Nameless Fiend, Mostin. Perhaps he is nervous that the eschaton is upon us and is drawing contingencies against the possibility. Shomei is in Cocytus. She is most recherché." The hint of envy in Rimilin's voice left little doubt that the Acolyte of the Skin was speaking the truth.
Mostin sighed. The wizardly ego would always abandon discretion in favour of the need to appear better informed. It was why they made such terrible politicians.
Throughout the exchange, Ilistet remained silent; seething with ill-concealed hatred, but unable to act. Her presence was an overt statement of power by Rimilin, and the Alienist wondered if the Acolyte could break her to his Will; domination was an effective temporary measure, but Ilistet was unfathomably loyal to Graz'zt. He shrugged. It wasn't his problem. Mostin felt immensely relieved that he didn't have to deal with conjured fiends on an ongoing basis.
The wastrilith slid through the water surrounded by an oily blackness. It was a creature of prodigious size, plucked from a watery abysm by Graz'zt and deposited at the entrance to Sisperi's underworld. A school of bestial fish-demons surrounded it, ravenous for flesh, deranged by their captivity within the Saivo; all were victims of false promises offered by the Prince of Azzagrat a millennium before. They were prisoners as much as the souls which Saes had gathered to herself.
Nwm, alerted to their presence with his true seeing, gyred in the water as they closed and increased his speed further; Ortwine, who clutched a bony protrusion from his draconic neck, was struck by the elegance and efficiency of the movement.
Nwm turned his head casually, discharging a great gout of acid. He was powering towards some unknown surface now: down had become up, and there was no turning back. Eadric invoked daylight on himself, illuminating their surroundings; a mire of darkness encroached upon it, and was closing quickly. Faster, Ortwine drew Heedless and a wave of venomous hatred surged through her. She quickly mastered it, but Eadric shot her a suspicious glance.
Nwm shapechanged again, deciding to avoid conflict if possible. Reaching their goal unharmed was his primary goal; distractions such as these would only denude their energy. His form liquefied into that of an elemental, and cradling Eadric, Ortwine and Rhul in a torrent of churning water, he began to race upwards at breakneck speed. The demon – disinclined to let its quarry escape – paused and caused the water above them to suddenly freeze: it cracked and groaned as tendrils of ice rapidly formed into a solid mass. Nwm maneuvered around it easily, although in a motion which caused Eadric's stomach to somersault. As they outpaced their pursuers, Nwm felt a weak tugging sensation – a last, desperate effort to drag them down again – but one easily eluded. A mental scream of hatred and frustration followed it.
They broke the surface, and Nwm resumed his draconic shape, launching himself into the air. The vestibule of Rûk was a vast cavern; a single unsupported dome which reached two hundred fathoms above black water. The light emanating from Eadric was like a candle held within a geode, and sparked glistering veins of gold and gems within the walls.
Ortwine gasped despite herself. It was staggeringly beautiful.
Rhul spat water and raised an eyebrow. "It seems that our sister has kept more than a few secrets – and more than just souls – to herself."
Prince Tagur paced restlessly through the winding corridors and halls of the royal palace in Morne. It was two hours before dawn, and torches guttered in sconces. Sentries, posted at every doorway and at thirty-foot intervals between, eyed him cautiously as he passed. He had been unrelenting in his insistence that the palace guard remain alert and fully mobilized at all times; every thane of the royal household had been ordered to sleep in a mail shirt. Tagur had bolstered the defenses with another hundred hand-picked knights, and assigned stern taskmasters from amongst his own retinue to oversee them.
All utterly pointless, he knew. If the enemy decided to strike, what could they do to resist? The Prince passed the doors to the royal bedchamber and sighed inwardly. Now was the time for a warrior-king; instead Wyre had a fourteen-year old boy, cajoled by a group of greedy relatives who still didn't understand the magnitude of the threat.
At the Ahma's insistence, key areas had been hallowed by Tahl, and wards of forbiddance laid upon them; nothing could manifest directly within the inner donjon. But Eadric had been honest with Tagur, contrary to the perceived security which he had allowed other members of the aristocracy to enjoy: If they come for the king – I mean really come – it will not be enough. We can only hope that they deem it an inefficient investment of resources. Tagur had drawn some small comfort from that argument, at least. In many ways, it was to the benefit of the enemy that an untested boy remain on the throne.
The Prince made his way to his own chambers, and sat at his desk. Sleep still eluded him, something which an hour of administrative tedium might cure. He reached for his papers and froze; atop a pile of legal pleas, aristocratic nuptial agreements, warrants, and proposed exchanges of lands and properties, lay a single note in handwritten scrawl:
Beware. There are already tigers amongst you.
Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Monday, 25th February, 2008 at 04:10 PM.
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 04:02 PM #496
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Wow! That was quick! Thanks for the update.
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 04:05 PM #497
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
This is going to be a good week! Another update from Sep!
Hmm. Tigers are among you. Rakshasa reference perhaps?
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 05:23 PM #498
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 06:38 PM #499
Novice (Lvl 1)
great updates sep. completely pulled me from Faulkner for a while.
Monday, 25th February, 2008, 06:49 PM #500
"Before we depart, I need to contact Canec. I am changing my colours, and my device."
Nwm cocked his head.
"Green and gold," Eadric explained. "Tree and Sun. Viridity and Saizhan."
That last line is one of the best lines in the entire story!!
Thank you for all the updates.
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