Pharamne's Urn (updated 4/25/12) - Page 117




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  1. #1161
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    Obsession – Part 1


    Mostin stood with Hlioth in what remained of his rose garden the day after Shomei’s passage. He had surprised himself by the fact that he had contacted her – a significator in the Web of Motes had prompted him. He had been astonished when she had actually accepted his invitation.

    “Despite her protestations to the contrary,” the Green Witch said to Mostin, “she is, of course, jealous. Not necessarily in some conventional, lovestruck way – I am not sure that Shomei is capable of experiencing romantic feelings per se – but rather simply because she cannot get what she wants. Actually, on consideration, they might be the same thing anyway. Regardless, she is exhausted, unhinged, volatile…and very, very dangerous. She is utterly fixated on the Urn, because it is the most direct route to power. I might also add that the heiress of Hell is twenty-seven years old; she lacks a certain perspective which millennia bring.”

    “How old…” Mostin began.

    “None of your business,” Hlioth interrupted.

    Mostin bit his tongue. The crone seemed relatively agreeable today, and her demeanour was notoriously fickle.

    “In any event, she is also vulnerable – just shut up, Mostin and let me finish – specifically with regard to the Holly, which has yet to show its face beyond the Thickets and the Realm of Hummaz and which she must, somehow negotiate.”

    “No more trees,” the Alienist moaned. “Please.”

    “Yes, Mostin,” Hlioth smiled disagreeably. “More trees! There are a lot more trees and you’d better start getting used to the idea. Now, you may be one of the most abominable creatures within the confines of the creation, but – or perhaps, because of this fact – you also have a certain relationship with Shomei which may allow you to curb her excesses.”

    “By and large, I rather appreciate Shomei’s excesses,” Mostin sighed. “But in this case, you may be correct.”

    “And what, may I ask,” Hlioth inquired, “prompted you to seek my advice in this matter. I assume that is what you are doing – am I correct? It is not as though you and I have had a glowing friendship these past twenty years.”

    “An intuition prompted by the Enforcer’s intervention in my spell formulations,” Mostin admitted. “But one subsequently corroborated by the Web of Motes: that Shomei intends to challenge the Articles. I projected a catenary which took her straight into conflict with Gihaahia – although she needs both possession of the Urn and mastery of Hummaz in order to secure certain victory in this confrontation; she may attempt it without the latter. I am of the opinion that the Injunction is worth protecting; the fact that you and I are having this conversation is testament to that fact.”

    “Are you suggesting that the Claviger is implementing some kind of defensive contingency through the Academy?”

    “It may have been its plan from the outset,” Mostin nodded. “We cannot gauge its prescience. Gihaahia is not invulnerable; the Claviger itself currently dreams – it is containing the Second Effluxion.”

    “Well,” Hlioth breathed a sigh of relief. “Perhaps things are not as bad as I anticipated.”

    “Perhaps not,” Mostin nodded. “Mei – I should say Pseudomei – is a test case; you should see her: she is so beautiful. But consider multiple Mostin pseudosimulacra. And how beautiful they will be.”

    A look of profound horror crossed Hlioth’s face.

    “The formula is based on Gihaahia’s own premise,” Mostin continued enthusiastically. “I am glad that the Enforcer – in fact, the Claviger – is finally looking to Uzzhin as the source of ultimate unmeaning. Anyway, Mulissu’s inside: let’s have some tea; you’re not such a bad old stick, after all. And as you’re here, Hlioth, do you think you could repair my shrubbery? I’m not very good at that sort of thing.”


    **


    “Eadric’s problem,” Ortwine opined, “is that he cannot relate to women. As a woman who was a man, I have a unique perspective in this regard.”

    Nwm nodded. Ortwine had consumed an excess of infernal wine over the course of several days. The Faerie Queene had lost all of her inhibitions, and seemed the very model of one – or several – of her former selves.

    “Allow me to continue,” Ortwine smiled. “Consider Despina – yes, that’s a name you haven’t heard for a while. He placed her on a pedestal; notions of courtly love – fine amour – and all that chivalric bullsh*t. Unreachable; unattainable. Unrequited love. ”

    Nwm nodded. He had consumed no small quantity himself, relaxing his normal guard against inebriation. It was, after all, the winter Tagamuos.

    “When she disappoints him,” Ortwine continued, “he demonizes her – let’s dub this phase Nehael I. Nehael I is the realization that she is bad, but may be trying to be good. Are we in accord?”

    Nwm nodded.

    “You intercede,” Ortwine smiled. “Good job – at least, I think. Nehael is removed from the humdrum divide between Heaven and Hell, and becomes Nehael II. Did they get it on, I wonder?”

    “You can ask him when he gets back,” Nwm interrupted. “If he ever gets back.”

    “’I don’t think so,’ is the answer.” Ortwine sighed. “Nehael II is abducted – unattainable again, you see?”

    Nwm nodded.

    “He broods, and encounters Soneillon – let’s call her Soneillon I. Sound good?”

    “Aren’t there prior iterations?’

    “Just think like Eadric,” Ortwine replied. “Soneillon I is one hundred per cent wicked and naughty – he likes that. But he can’t be that. Is that a fair assertion?”

    “I must concur,” Nwm nodded.

    “Simultaneously, he develops an ‘intellectual’ cameraderie with Shomei – Shomei II, I suppose, after you reincarnated her. Now, let’s be honest, Nwm. When has Eadric developed an intellectual anything?”

    “He’s not stupid,” Nwm objected.

    “No. But he’s pretty green – especially when it comes to women. Anyway, Soneillon I dies – or whatever she does. Shomei II is lost. What does he do?”

    “He wages war?”

    Precisely,” Ortwine smiled. “Except he’s encountered Nehael again, and now he deifies her. Nehael III. Note that he still can’t have her.”

    “And Shomei?”

    “When she reappears, she will be inserted into the conveniently vacant role of Adversary,” Ortwine touched her nose. “Shomei III. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Mostin invokes Soneillon – Soneillon II – from wherever she wasn’t – in order to fuel his magic, and then sends her hurtling into delirium. She quickly becomes Soneillon III and then Soneillon IV in short order – the crazed, Urn-bearing Soneillon whom Eadric is now brutalizing in some awful rite. By now, Nehael has also become Nehael IV – I assume you felt what happened the other night? At this point, she is utterly beyond reach.”

    “Where is this leading, Ortwine?”

    “You seem to forget, I am a goddess, Nwm – Ortwine IVa – and I have a perspective you cannot. The energy isn’t flowing in the direction that Eadric, or Nehael, or Shomei – or Soneillon, for that matter – expected. In fact, maybe she is now Soneillon V. Because Cheshne is waking. She no longer dreams.

    Nwm stared at her.

    “Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as you think. But my original assertion about Eadric and women stands. All of which brings me to the real question,” Ortwine raised an eyebrow. “What do we know about Eadric’s mother?”

    “Not much,” Nwm perked up. “But now I think we might be getting somewhere.”


    **


    Qematiel wheeled in the air, a mile above the Academy and its grounds. The Hazel scion – tucked in a remote corner of the thousand-acre estate and obscured by a distortion – had cordoned an area in its vicinity. It was a lattice of interwoven demiplanes which formed a perilous snare around Shomei’s cottage, itself a portal to the labyrinthine repository of diabolic knowledge which she had inherited – or appropriated. Many powerful devils – and more recently-fallen celestials – abode in the skies nearby, preferring to remain invisible, awaiting the bidding of their mistress.

    Below, the diminutive figure of Shomei the Infernal walked deliberately across a wide lawn, and stood before the doors to her former abode – now the seat of Wyrish High Arcanie, with the Articles of the Injunction displayed prominently above its entrance. She inspected them briefly before making the merest gesture; the valves swung open silently, and she entered within.

    To her approval, the infernal aesthetic was largely unchanged; midnight blues, indigoes and maroons predominated. Columns of black marble, shot through with streaks of carnelian supported lofty ceilings. A soft light overspread the interior; all elements blended into a harmonious whole. A spined devil flapped past quietly on some mundane task, its eyes wide at seeing its former mistress returned. The atmosphere was calm, subdued and studious. She paused briefly and inhaled. There was value here, she knew; but more concrete and purposeful direction was required.

    A young mage exited a study hurriedly, almost colliding with her. He froze; his first instinct was to worship her. With a thought, she quenched the outward signs of her Fire: mortals were apt to overreact when in her presence, and she sought no veneration. Shaken, the wizard moved away slowly, his eyes still fixed on her.

    She made her way to the library: the vast collection which she had acquired in a previous lifetime, now swollen yet further by contributions made by other mages. It seemed paltry. Lesser wizards cast sidelong glances at one another, or whispered to colleagues in nearby booths: she was known to all by reputation; to a few – whose heads remained conspicuously lowered – in person.

    Shomei selected a blank section of wall in a nook beneath a mezzanine, and set forth her power, causing an archway to appear. Those nearby craned their necks to see what might lie beyond: shelves which seemed to go on forever, crammed with scrolls and codices. Her thought summoned Ugales – a devil of mild temper – and placed him behind a desk beside the newly-forged portal.

    She spoke directly into the mind of every arcanist within a league:

    My other library is now also available. There will be a fee.

    She passed through the portal. Abruptly, a door of adamant appeared and slammed in place.

    The devil smiled benignly, and began to sharpen his quill-pen with a pocket knife.



    **
    **



    All was Void. Perfect. Empty. Absolute. It was timeless; an aeon of aeons. A moment.

    Breath moved, and a light kindled. It grew to fullness, and blazed, sovereign. A rumour became; formed around it. Refulgence drew her forth.

    Ens crystallized as a violent spasm.

    Blood – ichor – her own, she knew – soaked everything. He sat in the meditative posture to which she had become accustomed; his blade rested across his knees. It and he were drenched with her.

    The gore vanished with her passing thought.

    Anvashochah. Maa. Tvayiv viikshya Varca,” she murmured, because she felt it.* And then she questioned herself; whether her words were real, or were spoken merely to comfort him.

    He moved to leave; she reached out and gripped his wrist. Please. Stay.

    He nodded.

    She smiled languidly, and drew him toward her.

    And wondered if he hated her.







    *You are lamenting. Do not. In you I have apprehended the Sun.
    .
    Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Saturday, 24th December, 2011 at 06:41 PM.

 

  • #1162
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    I'm now expecting Ortwine and Nwm to attempt confronting Eadric with German-accented psychoanalysis.

    And is Shomei seeking to indebt/subvert the academy to her faction in the impending conflict?
    Pursuing irrational ends by any means necessary.

  • #1163
    I'm wondering just how bad the fee is to use the library.

  • #1164
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    It's all kicking off again :-)

    Thanks for the updates and answers, Sepulchrave. Have a great Christmas... or apppropriate Cthonic holiday-of-choice :-)
    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

  • #1165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II View Post
    Soneillon's, I think. I haven't really considered the sexuality of chthonic balors.
    I doubt that balors are motivated by carnality. Pride maybe. Frustrated and turned to wrath. Like that of Achilles, perhaps. Maybe that pent up anger is what explodes out of them when they die? Dunno- but I think there are probably distinct ways that chthonic fiends relate to the void.

    I'm still suspicious of Pluto being a "real" astrological planet, but I concur with the correspondence between Scorpio and Death. The Sephira of Binah is, in my own system, the source of Scorpio/Death. I wonder if Binah can be identified with Chesne? The vertical path of Mars/Destruction is also linked to Binah, as is the horizontal path of Fire/Justice. All of which correspond nicely to the story-line.

    Speaking of which-a new update is waiting to be read...

    edit: Fantastic! I laughed at Ortwine's line about Eadric's mother. And at Mostin's request to have his shrubbery repaired. And at the new Library annex - the wizards are so Vancian! - and it occurs to me that Soneillon's cycling through non-being is like an alarm-clock going off for Chesne. Sooner or later she is going to stop hitting the snooze button!

    Altogether a highly enjoyable update.
    Last edited by Cheiromancer; Saturday, 24th December, 2011 at 08:52 PM.

  • #1166
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    Random Thought About Scale

    There is an annoying error in a previous post, which describes Narh as having been ridden 600 miles in a day when it should read leagues – i.e. 1800 miles: this is approximately the distance of a round trip between Galda and Qinthei on the ground. Narh is fast; he also wears horseshoes of a zephyr crafted by Jaliere. Anyway, it got me thinking about scale, and how there are no computer-available maps of Wyre. One day, I’ll buy a scanner.

    It’s always tempting to overlay Western Europe onto any fantasy map; it’s a habit picked up from Robert E. Howard and Tolkien, in an effort to legitimize geographical locations within an historical context. But as an exercise in visualization:

    Deorham is the starting point in this fruitless endeavor, because Dyrham really exists – it’s a village north of Bath in England at 51° 29' north, 2° 22' west. Trempa Town is approximately in the location of Sarum/Salisbury.

    Morne would be in north Devon. Hethio, approximately extending through the Bristol Channel as far as the Irish Sea. Nizkur forest, stretching West from Ireland out into the Atlantic. Ialde, in the very North of Wyre, is half way between Shetland and Iceland. The Thrumohars would describe an arc between Iceland and Scandinavia; the plateau of Tun Hartha is north of here.

    The “Southern Marches” of Wyre would extend down into the Bay of Biscay, with Thond and Jompa – the northernmost of the Thalassine cities –somewhere in the Basque country.

    Jashat is approximately at the location of Madrid, with Fumaril closer to the border with Portugal. The island chain of Pandicule stretches south and west, through to around where Madeira is in the real world.

    Siir Traag is at the location of El Hierro in the Canary Islands; Khu is somewhat south of Siir Traag, off of the coast of the Western Sahara – its latitude is around 26°N. Bedesh would be in the location of the Cape Verde islands.


    /end pointless exercise.

  • #1167
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    Scanners are cheap. And if you had a tip jar, I'm sure people would chip in. Dunno how to get one, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II
    There is an annoying error in a previous post, which describes Narh as having been ridden 600 miles in a day when it should read leagues – i.e. 1800 miles
    I've edited the copy in the archive thread. But please don't say the exercise is pointless. It is art- it is an intrinsic good.

    ****

    I suppose it was implicit from even the earliest posts what is going on in the story, but I found the following quote especially revelatory:

    "Eadric," Nwm sighed, "Unlike the Ahma, I am wise: I see little purpose in burdening objective reality with my internal processes."
    But look how Eadric's mercy (and compassion!) towards Nehael resulted in the following scene (from 1-21-2002)

    Arriving in the capitol an hour later, outside of the orangery of the Archbishop's palace, the Paladin and his friend were greeted by a minor functionary who eyed the Druid suspiciously. Unfortunately, the Archbishop was indisposed, having just gone on a meditation retreat.

    "How long will it be?" the Paladin asked.

    "We are not sure," the official answered. "He is communing with Oronthon. Apparently with some urgency. I am not sure why. He seemed concerned, as if some great event challenged the very structure of the church."

    The Paladin groaned.
    So Orwine's and Nwm's speculations about Eadric's psychology is all very much to the point. These conflicts are acted out in the world. Not that they are Eadric's doing, exactly; he seems to be a visible sign of an invisible reality:

    The liaison between the Ahma and Soneillon – it was suspected – was merely a physical symptom of the articulation of Nothingness within the Ideal realm.
    (07-11-2004)

    The nature of this conflict is alluded to by Mostin:

    Mostin groaned, and turned to face the celestial, his expression one of nausea. "You are trite. You appeal to hierarchy to avoid responsibility: you are fundamentally disingenuous."

    "I wish you were capable of understanding otherwise, Mostin…"

    The Alienist became red and twitched. "Would it avoid the World being wracked because Oronthogorgon is having another existential crisis?"
    (06-12-09)

    So, the crisis is ongoing, but the conflict with the Chesnites seems to be dying down a bit. Another set of issues is arising with Shome and Mostin, involving the Injunction. I'll have to think about what all is going on here. It does seem like Will incarnate would be opposed to, and desirous of subverting/overthrowing, any kind of ultimate Law. Mostin, interested in his own apotheosis, seems to regard the Injunction as valuable. It will be interesting to see them fight for the soul of the Wyrish Academy. Self-transcendence... the struggle between being and not-being... yeah, it all fits together.
    Last edited by Cheiromancer; Monday, 26th December, 2011 at 07:01 PM.

  • #1168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II View Post
    Anyway, it got me thinking about scale, and how there are no computer-available maps of Wyre. One day, I’ll buy a scanner.

    *Ahem*

    Glances at locations...


    I could be persuaded to, ah, loan a scanner I'm not using.
    Last edited by Baron Opal; Monday, 26th December, 2011 at 10:28 PM.
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    Sometimes you just have to add spices without a recipie."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheiro
    Scanners are cheap. And if you had a tip jar, I'm sure people would chip in. Dunno how to get one, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Opal View Post
    I could be persuaded to, ah, loan a scanner I'm not using.
    Gentlemen, you are kind, but my obstacle is motivational rather than financial.

    I'm also shy about my cartography - which is hand-drawn and rather personal.

    But it's something I'll consider making available at some point.

  • #1170
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    As we're being personal - or I am, at least - the inspiration for the chapel at Deorham is here; in winter here. It is St. Mary Magdelene's church (appropriately enough) :/. The tower is 12th c. Norman, but the body of the church is older, with Saxon elements. It is my favorite church ever.

    The dark tree on the far right, is, in fact, a yew - there are two in front of the lichway, and they are ancient: two yews to the east and south of a holy site in the UK generally reveals a pre-Christian origin; if a yew is planted in each corner of a church-yard, it is indicative of the established Christianization of the area. As a religious site, Langridge is very old. The trees are probably 1500+ years.
    Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Tuesday, 27th December, 2011 at 01:15 PM. Reason: Removed inappropriate innuendo

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