Summary:Varanim checks her listening post, and begins to delve into Exaltation mechanics with Lytek.



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Varanim makes the commute--from Solaria, through a Shadowland, to the Labyrinth crack, down to the treehouse--with a light step and a few whistled funeral tunes, and a sandwich in her bag. You never know when you're going to need a good sandwich.

The defenses that Varanim painstakingly put into place seem to be holding, and the Essence structures developing and richening nicely -- her treehouse stands, unmolested by the energies of death and necrosis that surround it on all sides, waiting for her return visit.

Varanim "Baby," she beams up at it. She stands for a moment just to take it in, smile fading into a thoughtful look, then she makes her way to the listening chamber to rattle one of the distant seeds.

The contents waiting for Varanim are disappointingly thin: minor talks of governance and bureaucracy, little to even suggest the importance of the individual the Twilight had so cleverly placed under surveillance.

Varanim shrugs philosophically and slouches comfortably into a seat before speaking aloud. "Oh most glorious and munificent Lytek, Daimyo of Exaltation, may your desk never want for paperwork. Varanim the Last, humble somethingorother, does beseech you with prayer. Did you keep the seed?"

There is a pause, and a shuffling of papers, and then after another long pause: "Oh. Oh. Yes. Hello," a voice says in response to Varanim's incredibly honest prayer.

Varanim "Peachy. I need to talk to you about what makes a person Exalt. Oh, do I need to keep adding groveling for this to reach you as a prayer? Transcendent Lytek of the tackily colored robes," she adds the last as an afterthought.

"Yes," he says, somewhat shiftily, then (not quite smoothly) changes to an overly grand explanatory tone. "The topic of Exaltation is a great and irreducibly complex matter, one which an almost unimaginable array of factors contribute to in every waking moment of the universe. Can you be more specific?"

Varanim "Oh Lytek of the diamond-brilliant wit, how vast your godly perceptions must be to notice that Exaltation is a big topic. Really, that's great. Specifically, I want to know what person or agency decides who gets beaned with the colored light next."

"No one," he says, having swung all the way 'round to curt answers.

Varanim "Really? It's absolutely, one hundred percent random?" she asks, her eyes narrowing. "Because that would explain a lot--like me--but seems like a fairly stupid system in the long run. Not to mention boring for you."

"It's not random," he says. "It's deterministic. Have you looked closely at a Crystalline Bequeathal of Divine Right?"

Varanim "Sure, who hasn't?"

"So you've noticed that there's a unique series of hooks extending beyond the crystalline outer shell of each, composed of Essence motes carefully arranged in unique patterns that are modulated through all five directional motonic states?" He pauses for a moment. "You're getting fuzzy, by the way, you might want to step up the praying."

Varanim "Lytek, whose soothing pedantic tones are like the gentle rain to my parched mind, yes."

"And as a necromancer you are undoubtedly aware that each individual human hun has a unique geometry originating from its beginnings amidst the Soulfont in Letheon, which when combined with the unique topography of a po produces a distinct and individual person."

Varanim "Yes, we're all unique and special and beautiful, only some of us can shoot lightning out of our eyes while we're at it. Continue, Lytek of the regrettably academic leanings."

"A Bequeathal needs two things," he says. "It needs a suitable space -- that is, a person whose soul geometry matches its hooks. And it needs an opening." She hears papers shuffling on the other end of the line. "If it can't find the first, it doesn't have anyone to join with. And if it doesn't get the latter, someone can be a perfectly good match and still never be Chosen."

Varanim "What makes an opening, besides the 'try to get yourself killed doing something excitingly stupid' option that's apparently so popular?"

"It varies. There are no fewer than five varieties of Celestial Exalted, of course. In the case of your kind, of course, it is grand action: to reach, without self-awareness, into that moment in which only the use of Essence, the native birthright of all intelligent creatures, might bring you to victory rather than destruction."

Varanim "Making it as useful in the long run as most other grand actions, yes. Now, what about the Shadeborn?" She remembers to keep her prayer signal up and adds, "Boy, isn't it cool talking to the Daimyo of Exaltation who knows all these answers and surely is just dying to share them."

"Much alike," he says, "but with those who are already dead. The opening is borne of the committment to reparation -- the certainty that one might undo what was wrought in their living state, and then go properly on to rebirth, unlike those who linger purposelessly in the dead state."

Varanim makes a thoughtful grunt, is silent for a few moments, then says, "How do you tell if a person has the right soul landscaping? Or to be more exact, how would I tell?"

"Well, you've got two options," he says, and she hears him clearing his throat -- clearly an affectation he picked up from a mortal somewhere in his millennia of existence.

"You can do what the Sidereals love to do, and try to work the whole thing out by tenfold complex astrological calculations, cross-referencing grand destinies and auspicious signs until you can find a date of Exaltation on your star map." He snickers as if in great dismissiveness of this approach.

"Or you can pick a Bequeathal, learn all about it, figure out the subtleties of its hooks, and then go and find someone who'll match them."

Varanim snaps her fingers with a metallic sound. "What would I need to do to get a good close look at an empty Shadeborn shard?"

Varanim hears sounds through the seed that appear to be the sounds of furtive looking. Then: "You're... you're breaking up again..."

Varanim "Oh, hell. Do continue, gentle Lytek, whose dire peril is surely matched only by his bravery in speaking to me, et ceterea and so on."

"Well," the voice says, "there's one that I think is still outstanding." He pauses for a long moment. "I... could see what I could do."

Varanim rests her head on her arms and stares at the ceiling, eyes agleam with possibility. "Naturally you're a busy guy, your time is valuable, all that. If there were anything that a humble village girl or her gang of ragamuffin sidekicks could do to make your life easier, I'm sure you'd mention it."

"Of course, of course," he says. "I'm just flattered that you asked, of course." But she can tell that this is something that he intends to call in later. "I'll send something your way," he continues, "you'll know it when you see it." There's a pause as he shuffles some papers around again. "Is there something more?"

Varanim rolls her eyes and moves her hand in a sockpuppet-talking motion when he courteously acknowledges the favor, then shakes her head unseen at the end. "One last thing, then you can get back to eating the crumpets of the gods or whatever."

Varanim "The problem with not being able to see the cause of the shard flaws because it's outside Creation--there's still some evidence to check, though it's indirect. Specifically, the Second Herald left a mess when he came, and Zahara knows more than probably any other person about the particulars, since she's been fixing it. Could you use a copy of her notes?"

There's another long pause, then: "....yes. Yes I could."

Varanim "Right, then. I'll be seized by religious feeling again soon, I'm sure."

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