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Aeon (updated 10/9/14)


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Cheiromancer

Adventurer
Hlioth sighed. The presence of another. A void with many tendrils. She saw Queen Soneillon quietly walking towards her, even as an annihilating fire consumed her.

"You have seen too much," the witch whispered, as she expired.

Was Soneillon consumed? Did Hlioth expire? Or do I have the wrong antecedents for these pronouns?

"Enitharmon will be in flap," Teppu pointed out.

Nehael nodded. "I anticipate he will send episemes to penetrate the Hahio. I might need to have words with them."

Is the Hahio another name for Shvar Choryati?
 

Was Soneillon consumed? Did Hlioth expire? Or do I have the wrong antecedents for these pronouns?

Hlioth was both consumed and expired; I have edited the text to read more intelligibly.

Is the Hahio another name for Shvar Choryati?

Hahio is the 'Green' matrix of which Tree is an aspect; including a multiplicity of 'Spirit' planes, 'Faerie' planes etc. Tramst enters that reality when he agrees to let Nwm reincarnate him. Enitharmon pushes the panic button and sends exalted celestials in to look for him.
 

Samnell

Explorer
Sepulchrave II said:
Hahio is the 'Green' matrix of which Tree is an aspect; including a multiplicity of 'Spirit' planes, 'Faerie' planes etc. Tramst enters that reality when he agrees to let Nwm reincarnate him. Enitharmon pushes the panic button and sends exalted celestials in to look for him.

"Hey, quit kill-stealing our incarnate mystagogue, you dirty Green bastards!"
 

Roman

First Post
"Invoke her," the Preceptor said.

"Nehael," Tramst whispered. A supplication.

"Rest until the morning. I will wake you at sunrise." With a strong twist, Nwm snapped the Sela's neck.

!!!!

The 'Green' is getting good at stealing Oronthon's followers - now possibly stealing even a part of Oronthon himself!

"The certitude of diminishment, or the high likelihood of extinction. You may remove that token from beneath your hand; you must learn more finesse if you are going to cheat at this game." He played another yellow trifoil.

"And if you choose to risk extinction, and yet persist?" Mei inquired, unabashed that her subterfuge was revealed.

"I fear I might be forgiven. From my perspective, this is the worst possible outcome."

Very interesting, now we are learning more about the Adversary's motivations for his recent actions and disposition.
 
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Interpenetration (Mostin In Machinam)


The air rushed past the Ahma as he rode along the sward above the Hynt Coched. As Shvar Choryati had made its first dimensional lurch toward him, Eadric knew that its attention had become focused on him. Having considered that he would be able to draw it away and outpace it, the Ahma had veered sharply south. It quickly became apparent that he had miscalculated.

Some distance away, Mostin turned his arcane sight around him.

Wild magic danced intermittently in the air; auroras generated by the interplay of a half-dozen potent spells. Nearby, the wall of Prahar's Utterdark loomed, impenetrable to his vision; south, the vastness of the Pall of Dhatri was now visible in the moonlight. He gazed west: Naatha, Guho and the hierophants were almost upon them.

Eastward, where the plain rose away, Eadric blazed a path faster than any wind walker, opening a gap of over two miles between himself and the consuming blackness. The phenomenon shuddered forward again – and a little east – ripping the fabric of reality and stretching the Quiescence of the Spheres until it squeezed through, and the dimensional lock snapped back into place.

In an instant, the void sprang forwards almost mile. Mostin's foresight informed him that the Ahma wasn't going to make it. A series of presentiments impacted on his mind.

Mostin cursed, dismissed the Quiescence, and invoked a time stop. He teleported to a point immediately ahead of Eadric, opened a gate, and hopped through. It was a strategy which the Alienist had previously used to extricate Mulissu from Graz'zt's clutches.

Time recommenced.

Eadric blinked, saw Mostin beckoning toward a serene vista, and was instantly transported.

*

The Ahma, sat astride Narh, was high on a mountain; a narrow path wound downwards and away from him. Monasteries clung to the wooded lower slopes; isolated hermitages were perched on bare, snowy shoulders higher up. Below, wide vistas stretched to blue. It was an idyll, as if stolen from a dream he had once had in an innocent youth: a view of the Blessed Plain from the Beatitudes. Now, he seemed to be awakening from a nightmare; he removed his battered helm and breathed. The air was sweet and sharp and full with energy. All was pristine. The sky seemed composed of tiny motes which danced before his eyes, until he focused his sight.

High above, uncounted myriads of archons and devas whirled in the sky. Spheres of increasing brilliance seemed to issue up and away from him, defying laws of distance and perception. Beyond, the Magnitudes pulsed. The light – refracted through the planes of four interposing heavens – was still too overwhelming to gaze upon.

Ahma, the celestials sighed into his mind with one voice.

The massive vibration made Eadric shake.

Mostin stood looking back through the gate into the darkness of Shvar Choryati as it oozed around the portal, unable to penetrate. His pseudopod flexed nervously.

"Mostin…"

"I know they're above me," the Alienist said through gritted teeth. "That's why I'm not turning around and looking up. "

"No. How did you..."

"We had to come a long way in. It might have followed you anywhere else. Believe me when I say I can think of more agreeable locales."

"I need to get back to the fight."

Mostin sighed. "That's precisely what you don't want to do, Eadric. It wants to eat your 'soul' – or whatever you term it. You need Nwm. This is out of your league."

"But the Sela…"

Sela! A pulse which made the mountain tremble.

"Tramst is dead," a familiar voice said.

Eadric turned to face Rintrah, Oronthon's Messenger. He was clad in a simple white gown.

"For the time being," the celestial added. "He is in transit, under Nehael's protection. There is some disagreement amongst the Host whether he is safe or not."

"Disagreement?" Mostin asked, averting his eyes. The notion amongst celestials was a novel one.

"Do you believe him safe?" The Ahma asked directly.

"Yes. But I am in the minority, and my opinion matters little."

"Ah, a demonstration of Empyreal initiative," Mostin sneered. He continued to look through the gate; the blackness had passed over, and was gravitating back to a more reliable source of light. There seemed to be no activity in the immediate vicinity; Shvar Choryati had scoured all bare. A ruddy moonlight had returned to the battlefield.

"I am fallible," Rintrah answered, unfazed. "Enitharmon, less so. How could I deny this basic fact?"

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?"

"Enough!" Eadric's eyes flashed. "You forget where you are."

Wrath! Thunder echoed in the spheres above.

Mostin quailed – an expression which quickly became a pout – and turned back to look through the gate, positioning himself again so as not to observe Rintrah directly. Evidently, Eadric possessed some kind of home ground advantage.

Things seemed to be quiet through the portal.

"I'm done here," Mostin announced. "I'm going back through. As you're staying for a while, Eadric, maybe you can ask..."

"I can tell you nothing of the Aeon," Rintrah anticipated him.

"Whatever," Mostin grumbled. "I'm assuming you can figure out a way back. Mulissu was just as appreciative when I did the same for her."

Mostin vanished and the gate snapped shut.

"We should go this way," Rintrah smiled to Eadric. "The view is good."

"Rintrah, I cannot stay…"

"Certainly, you can – for a while. Mostin is correct in one thing; you can no longer meaningfully influence the outcome of this battle."

Gone.

"Gone? Who is gone?" Eadric asked.

Rintrah raised an eyebrow. Evidently, this was also news to the Messenger. "The seven seraphs who entered Viridescence."

"Seraphim?" Aside from Enitharmon, none among the highest choir had left their Altitude since the Fall.

"These are eventful times," Rintrah nodded. "It would appear that Nehael has appropriated them."

(A Migration of Light).

Eadric was dumbfounded. Apparently, others amongst the Host were inclined to join them. A few – perhaps too eager – fell catastrophically, striking the plains below and vanishing.

Rintrah smiled. "Stay focused on the path ahead, and don't be distracted by what transpires above. Do not concern yourself too much; in Consciousness, all events are allegory. Let us walk a little way further; there is a tree I would like you to see."

"In the face of calamity, you seem in no hurry to act."

"I sense no diminishment in the quality of the light," Rintrah said wrily. "It is a prodigal spark which counsels action as the only means to induce motion. I am not here at Enitharmon's behest: I am His Messenger."

"Forgive me," Eadric nodded.


**


As the Quiescence of the Spheres dissolved and Mostin vanished, Ortwine, Lai and the remaining wizards found themselves in something of a predicament. The sidhe had quickly screened them, and Jalael had immediately disjoined Prahar's darkness in order to gain a better appreciation of the tactical situation. It was bad.

Temple units, who had been unable to endure the presence of Shvar Choryati, were routing to the north and west: great, curved swathes of lifeless corpses marked the passage of the Eater of Light.

Prince Tagur, who commanded the rearguard, had deployed a screen of knights to cover the retreat. Prahar led a vicious pursuit. Squadrons of death knights roamed and slew at will, cutting down stragglers and hurling themselves against any remaining pockets of resistance. Three large knots of Templars and their allies remained, but many of the doughtiest warriors – those in whom the light shone brightest – had been greedily devoured by the enemy.

Some distance away, outside of the zone where flight had been dampened, what remained of the Dark Choir – the arch-devas Irel and Shokad – gyred in the sky, locked in furious but inconclusive combat with Prince Orcus and a number of lesser demons.

Ortwine's perception identified Naatha, Guho and their wind-walking cabal half-a-minute distant. A hundred yards away, a demon materialized. And another. Rishih was active, and the teleportation circles were opening again. The consuming darkness – distracted momentarily a mile to the southeast – was moving back towards them. News of the disappearance of both the Ahma and the Sela was beginning to spread.

The sidhe turned to Mulissu.

"Remind me why it is exactly that you're here again?" She asked.

"Hlioth seems to think that some kind of evacuation is both possible and desirable."

Ortwine raised an eyebrow. "The witch?"

Mulissu nodded. "Her foresight is erratic, but occasionally inspired."

"I suppose so. I will negotiate some breathing space." She handed Mulissu her box of shades.

"You seek to parley?" Mulissu was incredulous. "At this juncture? Why would they listen to you? And why do you pay heed to Hlioth, of all people?"

Ortwine laughed.

Prahar, she spoke directly into his mind, but also into the thoughts of those other immortals who were present. I've got Sibud's talisman. Call off your dogs. I'm willing to make a deal.

[Guho + Rishih + Naatha]: Wait!


**


The Alienist glanced around nervously and licked his lips. He was nearing the point where he was becoming vulnerable; a decidedly undesirable situation. He reached out with his mind to contact Sho.

Moments later, the Infernal Tower appeared immediately before Mostin, rearing above him with its gate facing him.

[Sho]: I recommend that you embark quickly.

Mostin didn't need telling twice.

[Mulissu]: Mostin! Where the hell have you been? Never mind. Get to Kustus and what's left of the Flamines. Get them out of here.

[Mostin]: Why the hiatus?

[Jalael]: Ortwine is ceding the field and negotiating the safe recovery of casualties.

[Mostin] (Mad Laughter): Safe? I notice a certain chthonic void seems undistracted by any diplomatic protocols. And since when did Ortwine become the chief ambassador of Wyre?

[Mulissu] (Irritated): Since she could lie better than anyone else! Now make haste!


**


"A weregild, so to speak," Ortwine smiled easily. "Or reparations if you prefer. Or simply bribery, if we can speak more directly."

Her apparent nonchalance belied her caution, and she was ready to sidestep into Faerie at the first sign of treachery, or if any magical energies were suddenly gathered. Before her, four great Cheshnite immortals – Prahar, Guho, Rishih and Naatha – were arrayed, surrounded by dozens of undead and demonic retainers.

Ortwine was alone. She was also surprised to find that Sibud's token was attracting this much attention, and lamented the fact that she might be grossly underestimating its value. The sidhe scanned the opposition.

Naatha, she had encountered before, but the others were new to her. Guho writhed, a festering heap of corruption; larvae – which seemed to comprise her entirety – shifted and flowed in shapes which paused at times to resemble that of a mortal visage.

Prahar was mounted on a black monster of approximately equine shape; he was clad in full harness, but his raised visor displayed a shrivelled countenance; one which indicated both a malice and a madness of unguessable depth. From his jaws – punctuated by rows of razor-sharp teeth – a sticky secretion dripped. He raved and slavered, and seemed barely in control of his faculties.

Rishih – who stood slightly to one side, with obvious distaste for his peers – appeared human; albeit one ancient and wicked. A weight of being afflicted him, as though he craved annihilation; he wore only an ascetic's garb, but bore a staff of tremendous power.

Before them all stood Anumid, grudgingly invoked by the immortals as arbiter. His veneer of civility was thin.

"But to which oaths can I bind you?" Ortwine continued. "I suspect that each of you is as inclined to malfeasance as I in contractual matters. The answer is none, of course; hence I continue to speak."

"We give you one hour," Anumid spat. "I do not speak for Shvar Choryati. Give me the talisman. There are no assurances."

"Prahar should first dismiss his spell," Ortwine said reasonably. Within range of her deific sight, Mostin's tower had materialized again. "It will expedite our retreat."

Naatha, also sensing the relocation of the infernal device, immediately assumed treachery and targeted Ortwine with chains of antimagic.

The sidhe had vanished before she had even raised her hand.

Too bad, Ortwine's voice echoed in their minds, moments later.

Prahar became enraged. The others withdrew from him.

"Fortify your position before sunrise," Anumid hissed to Rishih and Naatha. "Let the maniac be concerned with any pursuit. Consolidate. The field is ours."

Anumid scowled, but felt an inward relief that Sibud's token was not in Prahar's hands. At least his own presence had averted the immortals coming to blows with one another. That had to be worth something. For the moment, at least.

*

Jalael had conjured a teleportation circle – the only one available to any of the remaining collegiate mages – through which the remnants of the Temple centre were fleeing. Tozinak had opened a gate; Mulissu a shadow avenue. Temple scrollbearers and flamines were being ushered into the Infernal Tower against their better judgement. At Mostin's suggestion, egress from the battlefield was being offered first to spellcasters; others – who weren't as strategically important – would have to make their own arrangements.

Demons harried them in droves; banishments were discharged.


**


As the very first light of dawn stole over the battlefield, a pillar of flame appeared amid the slaughter, at the same spot where Saint Tahl the Incorruptible had self-immolated. Fiery wings – briefly appearing and then vanishing – cradled Tahl as he corporeated again.

Looking around him, he wept.

"Come," Hlioth said, appearing from nowhere. "Before they do. We have lost much tonight."

In her hand, she held Drengh, Ninit's spear.

*

Eighty miles to the north, perched on a rocky crag, Nwm – in the form of an eagle with a battered aspect – awoke and screeched. His head hurt. He remembered little of his exhausted journey to his roost.

As he stretched his wings, he started. Squatting motionless on her haunches above him, perched upon an outcrop and staring southwards at the Pall of Dhatri, a lean figure; sable-clad, with scarlet hair flapping in the wind. She said nothing.

In his mind, another voice.

[Nehael]: About time. You have a busy day ahead.

Nwm groaned.


**


Temenun relaxed in his suites at Jashat. A victory, to be certain. He apprised a Naztharune servant that he had a visitor, and to admit Yeshe the Binder. She entered calmly.

"What do you know of the Urn?" She asked.

"It reaches beyond the Veils," he replied.

"You incited Visuit to interrupt my meditation?"

"Her instinct for war needs no prompting," Temenun purred.

"And the Urn?"

"Is safely buried in the deep again. Gu-Kaama has recovered it. Mostin inadvertently empowered her."

"Shvar Choryati is out of control. It drives northwards now toward Wyre. The Enforcer will eliminate the Anantam who are implicated in its conjuration if it passes her threshold. I assume that you have some contingency in mind?"

"I have a while yet to consider," the Tiger said smoothly. "And always time to indulge your curiosity, Yeshe."

"You are most gracious, brother," Yeshe smiled insincerely.
 

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