Summary:Plans for dealing with the Deathlords and their minions are hatched.

XP:S1, V1


< The Fate of Nations | Sol Invictus Logs | Do I Need To Keep Groveling? >

Varanim comes by the dojo on her way back from town, banging on the door with her usual indifference for the hour.

Spring sits up, blinking, and pulls the door open with a gesture.

Spring "Yes? Ah, Varanim."

Varanim "Two thousand fucking years to breed," she says as she comes in. "You'd think a few more of them would've thought of being celibate monks."

Spring "Who?"

Varanim "My idiot ghost army," she snaps, holding up a thin sheaf of papers in one hand and smacking it with the other--it appears by structure to be a long list of names, with a very few crossed off at the top. "My personal favorite of the messes inherited with this shard."

Spring " have an army of ghosts?"

Spring rubs his eyes. "Is there...something you wished to speak with me about?"

Varanim "Yes, there's a clever little spell that binds a human and all their descendants down the line to the service of a shard. Isn't that neat? Rhetorical question, it's a very nicely designed spell."

Varanim She wads the papers into her pocket and throws up her hands. "I'm probably the only Solar in history with access to Void Circle Necromancy. Do you know what that is? It's a footnote. There are a minimum of thirteen people way better at this than I will ever be. Or, hey, you love talking about threats to Creation. The Lacuna is a hole in the world--big deal! We've already got one."

Spring "The Abyss. Yes."

Spring "A topic I am eager to investigate further."

Spring " many ghosts?"

Spring is struck by something else. "Are you suggesting there might be more thirteen Deathlords?"

Varanim "Thousands. What do you want to know about the Abyss? Kind of by definition, it's empty." She's pacing now, back and forth down the length of the room.

Varanim "Hm? Maybe. It's not like most people who study necromancy keep great records, on account of so many of them being batshit crazy."

Spring "Varanim. Are you drunk?"

Varanim stops to look at him, surprised. "What?"

Spring "I apologize if that was rude. I have never seen you with quite this before."

Varanim "Actually, it's been a fairly sober month, what with the nightmares on vacation and all." She runs her hands through her hair and then going back to pacing. "I spend most of my time not saying what I think. It's going to take me years just to take fix the living names on my list, the dozens of Shadowlands scattered around the world, and so on."

Varanim "And the punchline: it doesn't matter how fast I work, because the Deathlords are lined up pissing in the river upstream."

Spring "The Deathlords."

Spring "Is there a particular thing the Deathlords are engaging in that causes you dismay, or is it merely their distaste for life that concerns you?"

Varanim stops again, a slightly bemused look on her face. "I think I now know how you feel when I ask why the war for Creation is my problem."

Varanim "It's like this..."

Varanim "Distaste for life isn't an interesting problem; it's shared by any number of living folks, including most of the ones with big armies. But your average petty tyrant isn't connected at a fundamental level to the death of the universe. I'm not being really metaphorical here--each and every one of them is a thin mask over a hole in the world."

Varanim "By existing, each moment they drag us all a little closer to the edge. They're not capable of making plans that don't further the end, anymore than you can plan a battle based on, say, the nonexistence of air. Does that make sense?"

Spring "...yes. Yes, it does."

Spring looks somewhat grim.

Varanim "So if I seem distracted when you talk about the seriousness of our situation, it's not because I can't imagine terrible things that people would care about stopping; I just need some convincing to reorder the very long list."

Varanim lets out a breath and stops pacing again. "I'm sorry."

Spring "Do not be."

Spring "I am sorry for not being aware of your concern."

Spring taps his fingers against the ground.

Spring "We do not know, as yet, how to destroy a Deathlord -- much less all of them."

Spring "Do you have any suggestions on the topic?"

Varanim waves a hand at his apology, but abandons any comment on that for the second point. "That's why I want to talk to Pluto soon. If there's any use for a big god, it's in cleaning up the small messes." She smiles then, and her eyes glint. "I want to know if he can turn off necromancy."

Spring blinks.

Spring "What will you do with your time?"

Varanim shrugs. "I think there are lots of potential consequences more interesting than that. But it's still an open question whether he has, or can steal, that kind of jurisdiction."

Spring "This is true."

Spring "An ingenious approach."

Spring pauses.

Varanim "But?"

Spring "Oh, I have no quibbles, except that the Incarna are rather difficult to deal with. But they have been known to give in, in their own ways." He glances at his finger. "And Pluto does owe us a rather significant debt."

Spring "As it happens, we know that Rosada was the first Deathlord -- he who became the First and Forsaken Lion."

Spring "Sixteen ghosts awoke, around the maw of Oblivion, and Rosada offered them the power of the Neverborn."

Varanim "Try not to put Pluto's problems in any of your other body parts until we get that one sorted out, please," she interjects helpfully.

Spring "Rosada was a Solar, in a sense, and his shard was hidden away during the First Age, and appeared again during the War of the Red had been intended to hide longer, til the Lion could find it, but instead a young shopgirl seized it."

Spring "Kai Buckthorn."

Spring "You have not met her, because she has gone missing recently."

Spring "You may remember, though, that the Lion was hunting her."

Spring "Loss of Innocence sought her, and found us."

Spring "Of course, Loss of Innocence is...lost."

Spring clenches his fist. "There are too many pieces, and each is just a little out of our reach. Something has been happening for years, and we still know nothing of it...."

Spring "But if we must learn more of the Deathlords, and learn to face them and destroy them, we must start with the First and Forsaken Lion. They are, in the end, his tool, and he is the tool of the Neverborn."

Varanim "Hmm." Varanim looks like she has a thought, but isn't sure if she likes it yet. She blinks at Spring, though. "You sound almost angry."

Spring "I am frustrated."

Spring "There are too many things happening, and they are all too important."

Spring "I need more information."

Spring "I always need more information."

Spring glances at his finger again, then up at Varanim speculatively.

Varanim looks at him oddly. "Can I help?"

Spring "You certainly have the capability."

Spring "I understand that the Circle met an Abyssal in my absence. A Doctor."

Varanim "There was some hilarity about that, yes."

Spring "Perhaps you could assist me in getting into contact with him."

Spring "I have one or two things he might be interested in. An Exalt who was once an Abyssal, for example, or a sample of an Incarna's Essence disease."

Spring "And he has some things we might like -- such as first-hand experience of the First and Forsaken Lion, and knowledge of his plans and designs."

Varanim "Sure, we talk. So long as you remind him to give back my arm while you're there... wait, are you going to give him Innocence?"

Spring "No." Spring speaks flatly.

Spring "I have heard that diplomacy consists primarily of offering people things you do not intend to give them. I will depend on our resident diplomats to exercise that skill."

Spring "But she will not be hurt. If an Abyssal is tempted into trying to spirit her away..." the corner of Spring's mouth turns up, and his hand clenches slightly.

Spring "Yes, your arm. I have need of that as well."

Spring "Hopefully this meeting will also give me the chance to learn more about the disease after all."

Varanim "All right, then. I..." she pauses to look just slightly boggled at his last request, then shakes her head. "Sure."

Spring "Did you have something else you wished to suggest?"

Varanim "Nooo, that'll be fine."

Spring "If you have any other method of gathering information about the Deathlords, feel free to put it into practice. They are hugely powerful immortal undead ghosts, but they are only ghosts."

Spring "And yes."

Spring "Let us meet with Pluto as soon as it is convenient."

Spring "Let me know if I can in some manner expedite this."

Varanim "I'll put it at the top of my dance card," she smirks, heading for the door with a thoughtful expression, then pausing to look back. "I, uh, sorry about the sleep thing. I just noticed it was late." She looks a little like she's trying to practice remembering these things.

Spring smiles slightly. "Have no worries. I am glad I could help."

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Page last modified on March 16, 2009, at 08:36 PM