Summary:Imrama, Lucent, and Varanim call upon Lytek to answer some nagging questions.

XP:I1, L1, V1


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Varanim "To talk to Lytek," Varanim had said to preface the whole thing, "we have to go to my treehouse. To pray."

Varanim That was before she'd knelt and slapped the earth with her left hand, prying open the Shroud for a moment and depositing herself and the other Exalts in Netheos. Before the trip to the crevice in the earth, down the climb into someplace that felt deeper and darker than merely underground, and through a few unsettlingly undulating tunnels.

Varanim The cavern that opens before them at last is large, swirled magma on the floor, sharp magma on the ceiling above, and something about the contours and whorls of the floor seems to suggest a careful city plan in miniature--but all is dominated by the tree in the center, rising up with massive trunk, wide-spreading branches, drooping fronds, and a cathedral solemnity hanging around it all.

Varanim Scattered through the branches are five rooms or platforms: one shaped from the embrace of the trunk, two in the branches--one dizzyingly high, one nestled at the fork of the broadest limb--and two hanging suspended, little rooms connected to the main body by coiled rope-like threads that suggest the outlines of delicate spiral staircases.

Varanim "Treehouse," she says, unnecessarily.

Imrama "Very impressive." Imrama smiles, taking in the striking scene.

Lucent "Breathtaking design, Varanim the Last."

Imrama "And where do we go to speak with the Daimyo of Exaltation?"

Varanim "Yeah, s'what I hired a Twilight for. I hear they're nice at that." She points up to the room in the trunk. "We want Enmities, up there," and she leads the way on the climb.

Lucent follows. "Verbena? She has done impressive work here."

Varanim Inside, the wooden walls of the room are ridged and rippled, forming what seems like a writhing interlocked series of shapes around the room. On one side of the door they're all tightly coiled on themselves, the suggestions of angry faces and grasping hands holding something close, but a sense of looseness sets in around the halfway point until the frame for the other side of the door is...

Varanim ...just loosely flowing woodgrain.

Varanim Through the center of the room rises a thin sprig, its top nearly bowed down by the thumbnail-sized seed growing there, surrounded by a foot of smooth floor where the arc of the wood makes a strange sort of resonance point.

Varanim "Oh Lytek, most fabulous functionary of Exaltation, something's up."

Lucent "Never thought I would see you praying." Outside of bedroom play, that is.

Lucent "Do you need help?"

zahara smirks

Imrama raises his left eyebrow.

Varanim "No, you do, otherwise I hope you wouldn't have bothered traipsing all this way." She folds herself down into a seat, considering the listening post and its ornament in the middle, growing from the little ring of finger bones that keyed this part of the manse construction.

Lytek After a long moment, the voice carries over the gemstone. "Please," the God's disembodied voice says, "tell me more."

Varanim raises her eyebrows at the others, clearly exhausted of her stock of prayers for the moment.

Imrama "With pleasure, O Steward of Heavenly Election. As you well know, the mightiest of the many fanes of the righteous have been ensnared by the foes of Creation, divided into crumbs to make a middling many from a glorious few. The question we have come to ask you, the query only your wisdom can divine, is this: 'what happens to the Solar shard fragments when a god exalt bites it?'"

Imrama seems to have gotten into the spirit of the thing.

Lytek "Ahhhhhh," the voice says, "an excellent question."

Lytek "Here's the part that's difficult: I'm not... 100% completely certain."

Varanim "He's very good at his job," she says to Imrama in an exaggeratedly loud whisper.

Lucent "Oh great god of God's Fire Gifted to Man, what great conjectures have you drawn from this terrible fact in your infinite wisdom?"

Imrama ::Hush you::, Imrama mind-chuckles to Varanim, while maintaining an outward reverent silence.

Lytek There is a brief sound of shuffling papers. "The Bequeathals are supposed to be... indestructible," he says. "Crafted out of first principles. Their durability built into the very structure of the world, using secret words long since forgotten by all but the Incarna."

Lytek "But they were somehow divided up -- which means that something was used that made an end-run around that -- around immortality written into the world itself." There is a swallowing sound.

Lytek "The pieces they've broken the Bequeathals up into still must work somewhat like they're intended to -- that's why they were using them to anchor their... 'work.'" (There's a moment of professional disdain.) "Which means that the parts should still be doing what they're built to do."

Imrama "Most auspicious servant of a secret flame, forgive the mental limitations of your most humble penitant. But it comes to mind that, among the many things that the awesome and radiant Bequeathals should be doing is returning immediately to your most holy cabinet when not in use. So are they doing that or what?"

Lytek "If this problem is anything like what they've... what they've done to those... Abyssals" -- he pauses to cough -- "then they are probably still doing the same thing, just... going somewhere else."

Lucent "Most radiant of servants of the great incarna, I have a request, if I could. It has come to my understanding that I may not... be an Exalted. I would like to return your radiant gift to me which I have taken in my humble existence, and ask you to materialize or aid us, through my friends, in discovering the nature of my existence."

Lytek "Hmmm," the voice says. "Give me a second." And it does, indeed, take a second -- Lytek is not a prompt and punctual god --but after a long delay, the faint manifest image of Lytek appears, hovering nearby.

Lytek Leaning forward, Lytek's image taps Lucent lightly on the forehead, and the eyes he once granted seem to grow molten and run out, dripping down Lucent's face and into Lytek's outstretched palm, where they recongeal into a perfectly spherical stone again.

Lytek Turning his head askance, he gazes at Lucent carefully -- very carefully. "Hrm," he says. "There's something funny going on here. Imrama... could you take a look?" He lays one phantom arm on Imrama's shoulder.

Imrama 's eyes flash with a pale orange light for a moment, and the Old Realm character for 'Chosen' appears over them for an instant. He surveys Lucent with the Daimyo's own understanding of what makes an Exalt.

Lucent appears somewhat uncomfortable under his scrutinity. "Should I take the armor off?"

Lytek Imrama stares and squints at his friend, growing used to the information rushing into him through Lytek's view of the world. As he looks at Lucent, he sees what caused Lytek to exclaim a moment ago.

Lytek Where Lucent's status should be quite clear, instead there's something... insubstantial about it. All the information that Imrama sees -- that he looks at a Solar Exalt of the Zenith Caste, that the shard within matches the information Lucent has provided inthe past -- seems to check out,

Lytek but as if he's looking at something through a thick tank of water, or a gauzy and translucent sheet of silk.

Imrama "All of the details are there, but there is a distortion, a bluriness about you, my friend. Lytek, I assume you've seen what I see. What do you make of it?"

Lytek "His heart, as they say, is in the right place," he says, prodding Lucent in the chest with a hazy finger. "Everything seems like it lines up; there's not a hair out of place for this soul-structure fitting what you claim to be. And... I don't have another Shard Eos-Se-Ala" -- he uses his own internal designation here -- "sitting in my Cabinet." He blinks, moves closer to Lucent, and looks at him very carefully.

Lytek "If I had to guess, Lucent, the question isn't whether you're Chosen of the Sun or not -- that part seems quite clear. The problem I would worry about is whether you actually exist."

Lucent touches his front, as if to reassure himself he is still there. "I... see."

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Page last modified on July 07, 2009, at 08:54 PM