Summary:The Solars decide what, exactly, to do with their captive Deathlord.

XP:C4, I4, L4, S4, V4, Z4


< The Greatest Hunter of This Age | Sol Invictus Logs | What Would You Do >

It is the 15th of Resplendent Fire, the first day of autumn, and the weather is unseasonably cold -- so the Solars have gathered on the sun-baked eastern brunch terrace, where the powerful effects of their benefactor heat jade tiles that radiate out throughout the day, allowing them to dine comfortably out-of-doors even in the chilliest weather.

zahara runs her finger around the rim of her crystal glass, sending a soft humming chime into the cold air. "Hmmm, so much to do, so little time."

Spring sighs, and spits up another law book.

Spring "What shall we do about the Mask?"

Imrama stretches and leans back in his chair like a lizard perched on a warm rock. "Why not let his victims decide? Once the people of Lookshy and Thorns are free, I imagine they will have a number of creative ideas."

zahara "But," she objects, "if we free them before the Mask is convicted, won't we be undermining our own system of justice?"

Imrama "How so, Empress? The Mask is not a member of the Deliberative, nor is he eligible, being a sworn enemy of Creation. We said as much when he applied for admission. It seems to me that his right to hold nations captive by force has no protection under the law."

Imrama turns to Long-Awaited Spring. "Spring, you are something of a scholar. What is your opinion on the matter?"

zahara "Then why bother trying him at all? Is it not somewhat hypocritical to put on a trial for someone who does not get protection from the laws?"

Spring thins his lips, then turns to look at Imrama.

Spring "What would you do if we turned the Mask over to Lookshy, and they found him innocent?"

Imrama "A fair point, Empress. I suppose 'trial' is not really the right word to use in this case, as it implies multiple possible outcomes including both conviction and exoneration. Perhaps 'convene a court to decide the best method of punishment'?"

zahara nods, "That sits easier with me, Admiral. I have no doubt the Mask could twist our words in a so-called fair trial."

Varanim Varanim's crow has been swiveling its head back and forth for a few minutes from its perch on a branch, and now she shuffles out, looking as well-groomed and awake as usual. "Make sure to let the spectres vote too, that's always fun."

Spring "I thought you were relatively anti-spectre."

Varanim "Relative to what?" she wonders, sidetracked for a minute, then shrugs. "If you lot are cooking up some justice of the people, it's just in the interests of completeness."

Spring "Why is the disposition of the Mask of Winters a democratic decision?"

zahara "Mobs tend to get more creative than single people."

Varanim "Oh, I'm assuming I've wandered into some alternate universe where we're talking about consulting anyone besides the other shiny people, so I was trying to play along until I found the door back home. You know, blending."

Imrama "The Mask has enslaved, tortured, and murdered hundreds of thousands. How else are the countless aggrieved parties to get some satisfaction, if not through collectively deciding his fate?" Imrama shrugs. "But if you have a different outcome you would prefer, please elaborate."

Spring "If Lookshy decided the best method of punishing the Mask was to set him free, what would you do?"

zahara idly wonders at her current total. "We would convince them otherwise, or simply veto the suggestion."

Spring "Exactly."

Spring "Why do we suddenly feel the need to pretend that their decision matters, when we would overrule it if we disagreed with it?"

zahara shrugs.

Imrama "Why allow a mother raise her child? You know that there are potential choices a mother might make that you would find abhorrent, and be forced to intervene in. She is never fully free in how she chooses to treat the infant. If she decides to bash its head in on a whim, you will stop her. Yet, because of the intimate relationship the she shares with her offspring, you believe that she will,...

Imrama ...most likely, choose to treat it with care and kindness, as great or greater than what you might have shown it yourself."

zahara tosses a bottle of wine of indeterminite pedigree to Varanim.

Imrama "I see the matter of the Mask as basically the same situation, except entirely reversed."

zahara chuckles. "Reversed indeed."

Varanim catches it, sniffs experimentally, then gives Zahara a thumbs-up and cradles it gently in one arm just as Imrama is completing his mother/child analogy.

Imrama "But I don't mean to be overly strident; I am far from resolute on this matter. What course would you set for us, Spring?"

Spring "Your analogy, while apt, does not answer its own rhetorical question."

Spring "I am merely concerned that the course we must take with regards to the Mask is hardly clear or easy."

Spring "He cannot be killed. He can hardly be contained. It will take all our consideration merely to decide what we ought to do, much less to convince Lookshy of it."

Imrama strokes his chin. "A wise point. Perhaps we might arrange some manner of carefully choreographed public humiliation of the Tyrant then, for the people of Thorns and Lookshy. Here I am merely attempting to be pragmatic: they will be hungry for blood. Or whatever fluid can be wrung from his immaterial form."

Varanim takes a drink and slouches down into a comfortable spot, kicking back and tipping her hat over her eyes in her usual meeting-attending posture.

zahara "I am not averse to some sort of public disposal of him."

Spring "I can understand their feelings."

Lucent "Neither am I." Lucent states as he steps into the room.

zahara nods to Lucent. "I thought you might have an opinion on the matter." She smiles a little.

Imrama "In that case, the question of what is to be done with the Mask seems to be best left to the Essence-Savants among us, on whom we will depend either to discorporate him or contain him indefinitely. The immediate next step, it seems to me, is to dismantle his infrastructure of terror by liberating his Dominions."

Lucent "Anyone who has known him for a while does." Lucent says as he takes his seat. "Countain? CAN we do that?"

Lucent "He happens to be stronger than us. Which is rare. And dangerous"

zahara "He is also imprisoned."

Imrama looks at Lucent over a delicate cup of strong coffee spiced with cinnamon. "It seems we must find a way. He is our enemy, and I do not believe it is possible to change that, nor do I particularly want to. There can be no peace with him, so we must either destroy or contain him. Of those two, destruction appears to be the more impossible. Hence, containment."

zahara "Personally I think we should kill him and THEN contain his weakened form."

Spring "We would have to find it first."

Spring "Or, at least, locate the spot where he will reconstitute."

zahara "Cerin can track his soul."

Lucent "... this plan seems perfect." After all, it involved him watchin Quen die. And Quen not-dying. Best of both worlds.

Spring "How quickly will he regain his power after his death?"

Lucent "We can give a message to all. A big public execution... and maybe we can attempt to change him, later."

zahara "An interesting question to which we will soon find the answer."

Lucent "When he is countained."

Spring "Perhaps it might be as well to find out the answer before it is too late to act on it."

zahara "How do you propose to find out?"

Spring "Research?"

zahara "Who else has killed a Deathlord?"

Spring "Nobody yet. Unfortunately, that is not actually a very good argument in favor of being the first."

zahara "I was imagining a solution similar to that of Siram - except without the jamming soulsteel spikes into your new eyesockets part."

zahara "Did I mention I'm in favor of liberating his dominion while we think this over?"

Spring "A fair point. Shall we be about it, then?"

Lucent "With haste. Anything to piss him off."

Imrama "Agreed!"

zahara laughs. "Excellent."

MaskOfWinters ~~~~~

Imrama Out of the darkness, there comes a light. Soft at first, faint and distant, it hangs in the shadowed sky above the captive city of Lookshy like a newborn star. What eyes below heed its arrival are forced into impatient waiting as the speck of light grows slowly, building until its brightness outshines every star in the Underworld sky. By now it has become obvious that something of import is...

Imrama ...about to happen, the the rising glow accelerates tremendously, outshining the light of Creation's Maidens and eventually surpassing even Luna. When the radiance finally reaches its peak, its source becomes clear for the first time: it is the vessel of the Sun, the chariot of deliverance for a people in chains. The Fable of the Reconstruction has come this night to the city of Lookshy, to...

Imrama ...set her people free.

Varanim At the rail, one of the messianic figures washes out the taste of expensive wine with the last of a cheap cigar, and pulls on her work face. ::Any special requests besides 'the fewer of them kill us, the better?'::

Spring ::Try not to break too many of the highly advanced remnant military weapons.::

MaskOfWinters The metaphorical chains hang heavy upon the city as the Fable breaks into sight far above. The grand fields before the city are burned and gouged out by vast machines; the outer walls of Lookshy stained with black ichor; zombine centurions and ghost dogs stationed throughout streets otherwise empty of signs even superficially resembling "life."

MaskOfWinters A low, dull roar echoes out from somewhere in the city, loud enough to rise up to the Fable's position far above.

Imrama "Certainly the authorities know we are here. Lucent, how do you feel about making a general announcement to stir our supporters and put fear into whichever of the dead are still capable of that emotion?"

Varanim Behind the mask, Varanim's lips move in the rhythms of a dead language, and after several long moments the crystal is lit by a bloody red glow, not seen since the tunnels under Chiaroscuro. ::Zahara, do you want this Shadowland?::

zahara ::I'm quite content with just the one small one.::

Lucent "... I think it is a great idea, Imrama. It is about time someone put the Fear of the Sun in them."

Lucent "Can we get a little closer? Not too close, but..."

Spring ::Can you make it a Brightland? Or even some other hypothetical kind of land.::

Imrama ::How about a land land. That is a good type of land. You know, for people to live in.::

Lucent ::Would people not live BETTER in a Brightland?::

Imrama answers Lucent. "Well, there is the likely range of their remnant first age artillery to consider, but I can move us in a bit." He does so.

Lucent "Thank you." ::People love brightness. They love us, after all! And the sun. And Exalted. Aren't we all about brightness?::

zahara ::So long as they don't all go blind, I suppose.::

Lucent allows the Coronal to slide out of the Fable's openings, describing an image of Lucent's anima in the sky as he FLARES as bright as he can - - as if to make that point - - and projects his voice to be heard for miles! "People of Lookshy! As promised by Heaven. As promised by the Sun. As promised by Karal Linwei in our holy writ. DELIVERANCE STANDS UPON YOU!"

Lucent "This parody of life shall cease. This is a land of dragons, a land of light, of all Creation's colors! Those of you who still remember your fighting spirit... rise! Be DRAGONS once again! Those of you who would think themselves lords of undeath... we hold the memories. Of Dragons. Of Defiance. Of Strength. Of Discipline. Not the corrupted desire to survive, but it is the LIGHT of death that shall fall upon you!"

Lucent "You are lords of nothing but worms, to work the land or be crushed underfoot."

For a moment, deep in the city, the low roar that filled the sky just shortly before... stops.

Varanim ::I like repurposing the dark teachings of slumbering god-corpses as much as the next Solar Void Circle girl, but it turns out it would be a much better idea to test that away from population centers.:: She shrugs the crow off her shoulder, and tangles one hand in its neck feathers as it explodes horridly to its proper size, carrying her aloft on the corpse-wind from below.

Lucent "This is the part where they begin to worship me. Or shoot me. Or both."

Lucent ::I thought you knew, like. Good Necromancy? With... nobility? Niceness? Puppy-souls?::

As if on cue, a moment's pause gives way to an angry response, and as the roar rushes back into audibility, it is accompanied by the first sign of resistance from Lookshy's conquerors: a hail of fizzing, blueish-green pyreflame arrows from sentries stationed all about the city's outer walls.

Spring ::I am pretty sure summoning the mutilated souls of dead puppies would not be good per se.::

Lucent ::No nice ghost-puppies protecting their owners after death?:: Lucent makes a face like a Dynast told the Giant Toy Factory on the elemental pole of air is not real, and there aren't any Puppies of Valineth.

Imrama steps casually to the rail, draws his guns, and begins launching phoenixes of dazzling sunlight at the undead archers. They erupt in bursts of scouring brilliance, burning away all creatures of darkness but leaving the living, and the city's infrastructure, unmarred.

Skeletons burst in huge explosions of fiery sunlight as Imrama's bolts strike true, though even as he eliminates the archers, other lines of defense begin to mobilize within the city walls...

Varanim Under the fireworks and pyre-flame, Varanim's ride glides raggedly toward the center of the Shadowland, and to any ghost-faces turned up toward her she says only, "Be still."

Lucent "... where is Varanim?"

zahara "Casting a spell from crow-back I think."

Imrama "We should make sure her path stays clear." Imrama gives his crew the order to follow behind Varanim, carefully matching her speed so as not to overshoot her.

Lucent runs to the rail, back-to-back with Imrama with his thought-guided arsenal to stop anything that might threaten her!

Lucent ::... what Crow?::

zahara ::She seems to have acquired a size-shifting crow familiar from somewhere or another.::

Varanim ::From an egg, unless you know some other place to hatch them.::

Lucent "... whew, and I thought she was riding an Aby..." He begins to joke with Imrama, then stops.

Lucent ::... you have a pet and never told me about it?::

Varanim's conveyance carries her neatly over the outer walls and into the innards of the city itself, where broad streets run up and down the gentle hills between the vast manse towers. As she glides down towards the ground, she's able to see the next line of defense rolling into place against the exterior assault:

massive catapults and ballistae crewed by the dead, all armed with Void Circle-enhanced soulsteel projectiles.

Imrama responds to Lucent's half-sentence without turning, still scanning the horizon with Kilauea and Pentecost. "You mean Algorab?"

Varanim ::Let's pretend I have other things to concentrate on and we can fight about it later, Lucent. Also, topically, rain of soulsteel coming up.::

< The Greatest Hunter of This Age | Sol Invictus Logs | What Would You Do >

Page last modified on May 04, 2010, at 03:56 PM