Summary:Cerin takes Innocence on a field trip to a brightland, and Spring joins them to raise some philosophical questions.

XP:C1, S1


< This is a Place of Life | Sol Invictus Logs | It May Be A Heavy Burden >

Cerin sits back and goes over the details of his visit with Innocence, looking from every angle at the interactions he had gone to study -- the nature of her Essence interactions.

He watches, in his mind's eye, the manner in which her unflavored motes came into contact with his own Solar energies, watches in repeat slow-motion far beyond a mortal's sight as her Essence seems to maintain some sort of odd... edge, perhaps, as it was functioning...

He notices how, when the effect it brought into being is concluded, the Essence almost immediately seems to lose that same edge, and to acquire the flavorings of the other Essence it's in contact with almost instantaneously...

And he notes how, where with other Exalts, the core of their Exaltation is a filtering system -- a net or pool by which all Essence passing through their bodies is properly aspected and tinted, to properly align with the nature and purpose of their shard -- at the core of hers is instead something he might best describe as an accelerator.

Cerin finds Innocence in one of the orangeries close to the Labyrinth Cascade. He smiles in greeting "Hello, Innocence. Are you busy at present?"

Innocence seems to have been engaged in various orange-related experiments. He sees before her: seven small oranges (ranging down to the size of a kumquat); five big oranges (up to the size of a large melon); red, blue, green, and black oranges; cubic, cylindrical, and dodecahedral oranges; even one orange that seems to have a straw inserted into it.

"Hi Cerin! No, not particularly," she says, cracking the skin on the blue orange and placing an azure segment into her mouth

Cerin: "What does a blue orange taste of?" He feels compelled to ask.

"Here, try a slice," she says.

Cerin tries a slice of the blue orange. "Hmmm, it tastes like ... raspberries?" he chews and swallows it.

Innocence smiles.

Cerin: "I was wondering if you might like to take a trip slightly further afield than the boundaries of Solaria."

"A field trip?" She grins. "That sounds like fun." She pauses. "Is Spring going to flip out about it?"

Cerin: "Possibly," Cerin conceded. "But he will flip out at me, not you."

"Oh, well," she says. "I'm sure you can take it. Lead on!"

Cerin: "Feel free to bring your oranges along, though," he says, as he leads Innocence back into the Cascade, and into the hanger where they kept the airships, selecting the small one he normally uses. "It will just be a short flight."

Innocence brings a sack with her, just in case.

Cerin flies southeast, to a location he had discerned through the reports of the Realm Defence Grid, setting down in a jungle clearing just outside what he believed to be a 'Brightland'.

Cerin: "We're almost here," he notes, as he steps down into the jungle.

Innocence: The location Cerin has scouted seems to fit the description. Compared to the surrounding jungle, there's something oddly... vibrant about it; the colors are stronger, the smells more powerful, the sounds more melodic, and there's a feeling like a tiny jolt of electricity as Cerin leads the way into the area.

Innocence: "Oooh," she says. "This isn't much like Solaria at all."

Cerin: "There are considerably more trees, yes," he says with a small smile. "We're now in what is best described as a Brightland."

Innocence: "What's a Brightland?" She steps over a particularly enthusiastic vine, that reaches up to snap after her heel like it was a rabbit.

Cerin: "Do you know what a shadowland is?" Cerin asks, as vine makes a snap for him, passing straight through his leg.

Innocence: "Hmmmm..." she says. "Nope."

Cerin: "Hmmm. Well, how much do you know of the planes of Creation in general?"

Innocence: "Spring made me dig some out of the library with my eyes closed." Her eyes flip upwards as if she's trying to remember something. "...'Messes You Make Leave AleXander Needing Extra-Testy Big Wyverns.' That's the mnemonic, right?"

Cerin smiles "That's one of them, yes. Okay, a shadowland is where Meru and Netheos ... intersect. They are places where the dead can cross over to the lands of the living. A Brightland, on the otherhand, is where Letheon and Meru intersect."

Cerin: "If we were to return the way we just came, instead of returning to the ship we flew in on, we would instead travel further into Letheon."

Innocence: "...huh," she says. "How odd." She looks around at how oddly bright and pleasant everything is. "I guess that's why the light is all strange here."

Cerin: "Just so."

Cerin notes, as he studies Innocence to see how her body is reacting to the motes of the new plane."

Innocence: Simply being exposed to the energies of the Brightland does not appear to be enough to alter anything about Innocence, as her internal energies still seem to churn away, unaspected, just as they did in Meru proper.

Cerin walks through the brightlands until they find another clearing within the forest.

Innocence: There is a space, bordered on all sides by oddly vibrant trees, in which Cerin can look up and see the sky -- pinkish-yellow, quite a bit unlike what one would normally expect within the bounds of Creation.

Cerin "Would you like to explore a little?"

Innocence looks around in interest. "Yes. Let's."

Cerin smiles and goes to one of the trees on the edge of the clearing, scaling it swiftly and then having a look around for anything more interesting than forest.

Innocence In this section, where the two planes intersect, there is earth and rock underfoot and trees growing within it, but some distance away, beyond the borders of the brightland, the plane of Letheon is visible in its untouched glory.

Innocence Before, the Solars had journeyed to the area near the Soulfont, but the vista here makes it clear that there is far more to the plane of Letheon than that.

Innocence The brightland seems to exist as a floating island in emptiness. On its edges, the rock breaks up into smaller pieces that grow yet smaller as they are placed further and further from the largest spot, and as they do, they become less "real" and more abstracted, boiled down to their essence:

Innocence jagged, uneven rocks become smooth and pure; trees change from rough, gnarled living things to increasingly abstract shapes that seem to suggest tree-ness, as if as the pieces move further from this island they are shedding their "real"ness and undergoing the smoothing and stripping away of accumulated experience that characterizes the process of rebirth.

Innocence In every direction, other objects float, of many sizes and shapes; where Netheos is filled with the painful memories of lost glory, here seem to be things that served their time and are being eroded away by Letheon's winds into abstracted, happy memories:

Innocence rough stone castles blown into line-drawings of fairy palaces, broken carts sanded down until beautiful cubic carriages are revealed beneath...

Innocence Elsewhere, on strange structures of unusual geometry, composed of solid light assembled at strange angles, vaguely humanoid soul-forms trudge about in circular patterns, one occasionally vanishing or appearing and causing the others to adjust their speed to match.

Cerin "So, is there anything which particularly catches your eye?" Cerin enquires of the woman who has surely climbed alongside him.

Innocence "It's... wow," Innocence says, having actually made a piece of the jungle floor rise up to carry her to Cerin's height. "There's so much going on here," she says, with a smile on her face. Then, after a moment of thought, she frowns. "It's oddly familiar."

Cerin "Oh?" he enquires, and then leaps to a newer and slightly more abstract tree. "Do you think you might have been here before?"

Innocence follows on her hovering rock. "Yes. Yes, I do."

Cerin "That does make a certain amount of sense," Cerin conceeds, and leaps to another tree, heading to one of the castles in the distance.

Innocence seems strangely quiet, lost in thought as she considers the matter.

Innocence The castle is just as odd up close as it seemed from a distance. Reality seems to be peeling off of it directly under the influence of Letheon's winds of rebirth, and the part on the more abstract side seems altogether less real and more like a realized version of a childhood story.

Cerin "Do you know where you were in here?" Cerin inquires, as he studies the effect of long term use of other essence on Innocence.

Spring ::Cerin? Can I speak with you for a moment?::

Innocence "No," she says. She casts around with her eyes, trying to pin something down. "It's really bothering me, actually."

Cerin ::Certainly, Spring::

Cerin "Part of the purpose of this place is a new start, so that might not be too surprising."

Spring ::Where is Innocence?::

Cerin ::She is currently not three yards from me.::

Spring ::And where are you?::

Cerin ::Outside the Castle of Radiant Winds, or at least what is left of it, in Letheon::

Spring ::...why?::

Cerin ::Most immediately: It looked interesting from the top of a slightly idealized tree. To consider the more long term: I though Innocence might find it interesting to see somewhere other than Solaria.::

Spring ::I see.::

Spring ::Were you not concerned about the effects of Essence from a plane outside of Creation on her?::

Spring ::We have no idea what the results could be.::

Cerin ::Minimal, it appears::

Spring ::That does not address my question.::

Cerin ::It would be more accurate to say that I was curious.::

Spring ::pause::

Innocence pokes one of the walls of the castle experimentally; it does not fall down.

Cerin ::And so I introduced her to cross-planer essence in a Brightland, rather than sudden transition to the heart of a plane. And further more, I choose a Brightland rather than a Shadowland.::

Spring ::Cerin, I have recently had a rather difficult conversation with Zahara regarding Innocence's right not be used as a torture subject. I am concerned to learn that I must have a similar conversation with you regarding using her as a laboratory animal.::

Spring *not to be used

Spring ::I appreciate your caution, such as it was.::

Innocence "Who are you talking to?" she says, as she cuts out a single brick with her finger and then holds it up to examine more closely.

Cerin "Spring is flipping out at me," he remarks as he too studies the brick.

Innocence laughs. "He's so protective. It's nice... but kind of funny too."

Cerin ::I asked her if she would like the trip. She has a right to experience, too.::

Innocence "You should get him to come. He might think it's kind of interesting. Plus nobody seems to be fighting anyone else here."

Spring ::What would you have done if it hurt her?::

Cerin ::Stopped before we crossed the brightlands border::

Spring ::Hm.::

Cerin "I'm not sure how long it would take him to get here. It was not a short flight."

Cerin ::Innocence suggests you might want to visit.::

Spring ::Ask her if she can bring me there.::

Cerin "Spring wonders if you can bring him here."

Innocence "Hmmm," she says. "Where is he right now?"

Cerin ::Where are you at present, Spring?::

Spring ::In Innocence's room. I was looking for her.::

Cerin "In your room."

Innocence makes a face; she looks like she's concentrating pretty hard. "Tell him to--" She stops, makes another, even more screwed-up face, for a long moment, then: ::Spring, step through the portal in front of you. That should get you close enough to travel the rest of the distance.::

Spring ::...all right.::

Spring A few moments later, ::...thank you.::

Innocence goes back to examining her brick. She seems oddly lost in thought, still. "What's your earliest memory, Cerin?"

Cerin considers. "Returning to a village and finding it dead," he says, perhaps oddly not that emotional about it. "I remembered more once, but those memories are no longer mine."

Spring is visible in the distance (and has probably been visible to Cerin for quite some time now), hiking towards them with alacrity.

Innocence folds her forehead as she sets the brick spinning, unaffected by gravity, in the air, and pokes it occasionally to change its path. "I also remember as my first memory something not long ago, and everything that has happened since." She taps the brick again.

Cerin "When you emerged from Spring, or before?"

Innocence "Darkness," she says, "and distant muffled sounds, and... not having a body, or not knowing I had it," she says. "Then, pain, and then... meeting each of you," she says, then: "Hi, Spring," as he is about to arrive.

Spring "Hello, Innocence, Cerin."

Spring "How are you enjoying this visit to Letheon?"

Cerin "Greetings, Spring."

Innocence taps her brick, and it, suddenly affected by gravity again, plunges downwards into the infinite space beneath. "Something is bothering me about it, Spring."

Spring "Do tell."

Spring glances around with interest, beginning to lose his frustrated air.

Innocence "I feel like I've been here before."

Spring "Hm."

Spring "Letheon is the plane of rebirth."

Cerin nods

Innocence "Do you think that's it?" she says.

Spring "It is not impossible that you might share a certain affinity with it."

Spring "Indeed, it might explain..." Spring frowns in thought.

Cerin "Hmmm."

Spring returns to the moment with an effort. "If you are set on discovering what your feeling of familiarity derives from, I am sure we have the capability to help you do so."

Innocence "How?" she says.

Spring "That, I am not necessarily sure of. Allow me to consider, and I will do what I can."

Innocence nods. "This castle is nice," she says, apropos of nothing.

Spring "It has a certain ideal quality."

Innocence "How about you, Spring? What's the first thing you remember?"

Spring takes a brick and examines it, then eats it.

Spring "Losing Alahwi at the battle of Golbai, perhaps. The timeline is not quite clear to me -- most of the things I remember are not things I have experienced in this lifetime."

Innocence nods. "How can you tell them from your own memories?" Without waiting for Spring's answer, she ducks into the castle through a window, clearly expecting the Solars to follow.

Cerin follows her in. "In my case it is not that hard."

Innocence The inside of the castle is oddly empty: the stone structure remains, but anything that humans might once have brought into it, to better live, is absent, giving it an uncanny feeling.

Spring slips through the window, then turns to land on his feet. "They feel...different."

Spring "The person you were is not the person you are."

Innocence nods. "The person I was...."

Cerin "Yes, that is true."

Innocence " haven't told me that much about where I came from, Spring," she says. "...darn, there isn't really anywhere good to sit around here. Or anything to eat."

Spring is silent for a few moments, looking at Innocence, then coughs up a picnic basket and a cushion, and offers them to her.

Spring "No, I have not."

Spring "Rebirth is complicated."

Innocence seats herself and opens the basket. "It sounds like it is," she says, "based on how you talk about it for yourself."

Spring "Well, some are more complicated than others."

Spring "What would you like to know?"

Innocence "Where did I come from?" she says, setting out the picnic and offering a snack to Cerin. "Why? How?"

Cerin "Thank you," he accepts the snack.

Spring "I consumed your previous incarnation using my ability to hold things in my stomach indefinitely during my previous incarnation."

Spring "Upon my sudden rebirth due to sorcery, the living creatures I was holding in suspended animation were also reborn, including you."

Spring "How, exactly, this occurred is not immediately clear. It unforeseen interaction of sorcery and dragon-line manifestations."

Spring "Does that clarify things?"

Innocence "Sort of," she says after a long pause. "Why... was my previous incarnation in your stomach?"

Spring "Pique."

Spring "We had a fight, which I won."

Innocence "And why were you fighting?"

Spring "We disagreed regarding the ideal fate of the universe."

Innocence grimaces. "You remember that stuff I said when I woke up, right?"

Spring "Pain and darkness?"

Innocence nods. "And I told you some things... about a Lion," she says.

Spring "Yes."

Cerin "The Lion."

Spring "Things we badly wanted to hear."

Innocence "I have no idea why I said those things," she said. "I don't remember anything except words. I don't know who this Lion is."

Spring "Do you prefer that?"

Innocence She looks at Spring and raises an eyebrow. "I... have a sneaking feeling that if I was going to be happy to know more, you'd have already told me."

Spring "You should trust your feelings. As an Exalt, they are frequently accurate."

Innocence looks a little upset, but nods and goes back into the picnic basket.

Spring "...but. Sometimes we benefit from things that do not make us happy."

Spring "I do not want to overburden you with information about a past life you may no longer identify with, and I was also curious to see how much you would remember on your own."

Innocence "I don't want to, but..." She stops rummaging for a moment. "I think I need to know more," she says.

Spring reaches into the picnic basket himself, but comes out empty. "I have been arranging a meeting with some of the Exalts that you once associated with."

Spring "They are what is known as Abyssals -- corrupted Solars. They serve the dead Primordials, and want nothing other than the destruction of all that lives."

Spring "I hope to thwart them in this pursuit."

Spring "Would you like to meet them?"

Innocence thinks for a long moment. "...yes."

Spring "I am glad."

Spring "Afterwards, we can talk more...about the First and Forsaken Lion."

< This is a Place of Life | Sol Invictus Logs | It May Be A Heavy Burden >

Page last modified on March 23, 2009, at 02:44 AM