Summary:On the eve of battle against the First and Forsaken Lion, many old debts are called in.

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


< It Waited For You | Sol Invictus Logs | Some People are Just Skittish >

The preparations were complete.

On the plane of Atomnos, a Primordial, once on the brink of death, now drinks of rebirth's sweet waters, and he stands ready to act once more in defiance of the machinations of his former comrades.

On the plane of Letheon, a child in a white gown hovers, swarms of dutiful ghosts at her beck and call -- ready, at a moment's notice, to unleash the healing powers of her home, finally, to counteract the long-unchecked diseased touch of its opposite number.

On the plane of Meru, forces gather, an army drawn upon more nations of the world than have ever gathered for any purpose before, all under a singular banner: that of the Exalted Deliberative, the warriors of the living in unified resistance against the creeping legions of the dead.

And on the plane of Netheos, in a castle the size of a mountain range, a Deathlord watches, waits... and laughs.


In the Labyrinthine Cascade, the Solars complete the last of their preparations before striking out for war against the First and Forsaken Lion.

Spring is absent, briefly across the Shroud to quickly contact Harel before the end.

leliana taps her nails against the table.

zahara taps her nails against the table.

Imrama produces a bottle and starts handing out glasses.

Spring finds the location he arranged to leave a signal for Harel when the final assault was ready to begin completely undisturbed, and he ties the black cloth around the third rock, precisely as indicated. A response should come quite shortly thereafter.

zahara "What is there left to do?"

Imrama "Toast our boldness? If it proves to be hubris, we may not get the chance."

Cerin "I still need to find my opposite number. They will, of course, be as invisble as myself. But I have an idea to find them," he smiles a little.

Some of the other individuals that the Solars called together for the beginnings of this final assault begin to trickle onto the terrace below, where the Solars can observe them unnoticed from the tearoom they currently share:

a harried (but surprisingly calm) Bertrand, Her Highness Tepet Ejava (outfitted in her finest jade plate), Karal Linwei (prouder than the Solars have ever seen her, now that Lookshy has been restored to her), and an elegantly glowing Ssithumi-an-Tohatep.

zahara "Well, that ought to be amusing." She smiles at Cerin.

Cerin "Should be, yes."

Spring walks into the tearoom, carefully brushing off his hakama.

Imrama raises his glass. "To the Circle of the Sunlands! May its name be remembered in fame, and not in infamy." As Imrama finishes his toast and drinks, a huge sphere of swirling light erupts in the courtyard far below. Out of the glowing mass stride four great Aurochs, stooped to carry the poles of a grand orichalcum liter, on which sits

Imrama Mighty Ahlat, Southern God of War and Cattle. Imrama swallows, and goes out to greet his father.

Lucent "Ssthumi looks good. If she could destroy a Solar before, our shadowy mirrors will hopefully not prove undaunting." Lucent toasts, finishing his drink in one go, face full of glee. "And I would not worry, Cerin. You WILL find him! Hello, Bull God!"

Cerin Joining Ahlat there were other Gods of War. None quite so mighty as he, but important none-the-less. There was Tra'so'la, clad in plate of seashells, and wielding a spear tipped with the tooth from a saika who had once swallowed ships whole. She was accompanied by her crab warriors. These would sail upon the waters of lethe, once they poured into the underworld. Then there was Sharanesh, an Eastern snake god, with his own

Cerin serpentine followers. He was wielding a sword of odd green glass, which caught the light in impossible ways. And others too, called to arms at Cerin's word...

On the dais, the other Exalts nod in greeting to the Solars who come to join them, and Ahlat takes his spear in hand and holds it, arms extended, crosswise to his body towards Imrama -- the gesture given by one warrior to another when the two have no conflict with one another in the Bull tribes.

"Auspicious greetings... son," Ahlat intones loudly to Imrama, and grins.

Imrama extends his hands, unarmed, returning Ahlat's greeting in the mode of deference. "Good day, my father. Welcome to Solaria. I shall have to show you around, sometime."

Lucent The Last Lantern Line walked after the Gods, carrying the impossible sunlight-forged weapons and armor, Crow and Ember walking in front with attires half-light, half-dark. White-and-gold robes with black-and-red beneath, a blade of soulsteel in the hands of a woman in gleaming orichalcum armor, both walking like an eclipse as they took their places for the offensive. And Lucent waved to Crow and Ember!

Lucent "Worst comes to worst, we have our Deathknights as well."

Varanim At this meeting as at so many others, Varanim is apparently dozing in the corner with her hat pulled low over her eyes.

Lucent hands Varanim a drink, about half of it spilling in her as he does so! "You missed the toast! Come on, Nim, we have a daughter and will SAVE THE WORLD!"

Ahlat laughs as he surveys the vast Solar city. "Yes," he says. "We must hold ceremonial wargames here, in celebration of a grand holiday, on the anniversary of our coming victory." He grins even wider, and his litter-carriers nod in agreement.

Varanim Some time previously, she left a note at the normal contact place with Piercing Ivory, giving the time and date of the gathering and saying "Might be funny; bring friends if you have any."

Ember nods very, very slightly to Lucent from below, while Crow seems to be steadfastly ignoring him, what seem like mixed emotions clear on her face to any who stop to look.

Varanim A few seconds after Lucent spills the drink on her, Varanim stirs enough to set the rest of it aside, raising her eyebrows at him. "In order: I don't toast, no we don't, and keep telling yourself that if you'd like."

The other gods stand in proper deference to Ahlat's superior position, though clearly each of them itch in their own fashion for war to begin.

Spring stares down, lips pursed, at the growing collection of Essence wielders in the courtyard below, slotting each new arrival into the calculus of necessary force growing in his head. Untangling the intertwining network of relationship lines, he arranges his order of battle, and nods once, then turns to smile at Zahara.

Spring "Are you prepared to save Creation once more?"

Lucent ::We totally do. Also, you're missing the deity parade. You can't tell me moletown had those!::

zahara shrugs. "If you INSIST."

Spring "Did you have other plans? Perhaps we can reschedule."

zahara "I was thinking about taking a mid-afternoon nap"

zahara "But I suppose I am not that tired."

Bertrand breaks from the group and begins moving over on a path to speak with Zahara. He's almost over to her when suddenly, a piece of the ground breaks open, bluish-indigo rays of light pouring upwards from it, and a figure claws his way out of it:

Piercing Ivory, his faint blue glow paling to almost white in the bright light of day -- and as he crawls up, he drags another figure after him: the near-unconscious body of a severely injured Harel, seemingly minus several key appendages.

zahara "Spring, isn't your friend supposed to have more limbs?"

Spring "He often does, yes."

Spring kneels and touches his heart and forehead, easing his breathing, then waits for him to open his eyes.

zahara nods a greeting to Ivory, and steps around the two to greet Bertrand.

"You... told me... to get into the medical experimentation rooms," Harel says, and laughs, coughing up a little greyish blood.

Lucent "It's... SPRING'S FRIEND!"

Lucent runs up to help Spring

Spring "You chose a unique approach."

Bertrand, meanwhile, seems surprisingly unperturbed about the whole affair, given historical precedent -- perhaps coordinating a vast, multinational war effort has calmed him a little -- and he sidles up to Zahara. "At the risk of choosing the wrong moment," he says, "I have been thinking about how to present the Sunlands' role in this war."

zahara laces her fingers together behind her back. "If you always wait for the right moment, nothing will ever happen. What is it that you have been thinking?"

Varanim raises her eyebrows at Piercing Ivory, making a little 'well?' waving motion with her hand.

"I think you lost this," he says helpfully to Spring, before standing up, brushing himself off, and walking over to Varanim. "Well, I've done what I can," he says. "The news is mostly good."

Cerin ::It's time for me to go, while everyone is distracted with the new arrival.:: Cerin announces to Zahara. Then there is a footstep behind her, a brush of lips on her cheek, and then nothing. Bertrand sees nothing of this, of course.

Bertrand continues his quiet chat with Zahara. "Right now, the most important thing is to win. But afterwards, we want everyone to know how central the Sunlands was in this campaign. That means two things are in order:"

"Our soldiers have to be at the forefront of the conflict, and those who survive must be treated as heroes upon their return; and you, the Empress, must strike such a blow against the Lion that we can spread in story and song as the most glorious final strike of this vast campaign."

Harel, soothed by Spring's gentle hands, is able to halt his coughing and speak again. "It was difficult escaping from the Thousand with one leg and one arm missing, and moreso doing so with a document of troop formations, but I somehow managed to do it. Check my pocket," he says, "I... can't quite reach myself."

Spring removes the documents from Harel's pocket and flips through them, before swallowing them. "Excellent work, Harel."

zahara nods, "Very important points..." She looks out at the armies around them. "I will see what I can do." She gives him a half-smile. "In this company, though, I may not stand out well enough for song AND story."

Piercing Ivory, meanwhile, continues explicating to Varanim.

"There are 32 of us now. Eight of us are off doing something Important and are out of contact. Four are too new to be of much use. Two refused for reasons that are unclear to me. And three of us I... don't necessarily trust on this sort of thing." He shakes his head. "But I pledge myself and fourteen other Shadeborn to the cause of defeating the First and Forsaken Lion."

Spring "And the other thing I asked of you? Is it in the experimentation rooms?"

Harel nods faintly. "It's in there alright." He grins with broken lips. "They're never gonna find it."

Spring "Good."

Ahlat looks down on the wounded Death-Touched Exalt. "Your soldier laughs at his wounds," he says to Imrama. "A true warrior, that one."

Spring "He does not fear death."

Varanim nods to Piercing Ivory, then without glancing up throws her soulsteel arm up. A moment later the crow, looking a little more ragged around the edges than usual, settles on her forearm and drops a half-broken pebble in her hand. Rolling it between her fingers, she reads in the cracks, "watching/talk later" and recognizes Vojec of the Sunset Order as its previous owner.

Ejava takes this moment to speak to Spring. "The forces of the Viridian Kingdom stand ready at your command," she says, a strange tone creeping into her voice.

Spring "I depend on you, Your Majesty." Spring offers his hand.

Bertrand chuckles at zahara's statement. "Your efforts to cultivate a sense of modesty are proceeding well, Empress, but they are not needed at just this moment. I am sure you will do what is necessary."

zahara grins. "I'll have to practice more, I suppose."

Ember also takes this moment to speak briefly with Lucent. "I have it on reliable accounts that the Lantern is well-equipped and fully operational," he says. "Every member is slavishly devoted to your cause."

zahara claps Bertrand on the shoulder with something like warmth. "You have done well. Thank you, Bertrand."

Bertrand nods. Meanwhile, over across the dais, Ejava pauses for a long moment, and then shakes Spring's hand. There's a tiny spark as she does, and she pulls her hand back, one eyebrow raised in irritation.

Imrama walks among the ranks of the Brides of Ahlat. He greets each by name, with the deference due to his father's wives.

Spring smiles blandly, and turns slightly away. "And the Sidereals?" he remarks apparently to thin air.

Lucent places a hand on Ember's shoulder. "Thank you, brother. Did the sun talk to you? Did it say anything?"

One of the servitors who's been moving around taking care of menial tasks on this dais as this great meeting of powers convenes looks up at Spring and, what a surprise, it just happens to be Berwyn! "We've done as many fate-readings as we can stand."

Spring "You should probably do at least one more."

Imrama's integration into the ways of the Harborhead tribes seems to have gone remarkably smoothly, to the degree that one could easily forget he did not always walk amongst them thusly. "Ishadhi," say each of the brides in turn, honoring him in turn.

"On it," Berwyn says. "Just make sure not to eat any pork between now and the start of the battle, wear green and purple together, or first spot the Thousand from your left eye alone," he adds. "That would be inauspicious."

Spring looks a little guilty and turns away from the buffet table. "That should be no problem at all."

Ember shakes his head at Lucent. "No," he says. "But I think the Sun must look down with approval on this venture. It is another that I would be concerned with," he says, and taps Lucent on the forehead square with the tip of his index finger.

Lucent "Well, I am sure Glimpse is at odds with Auna. I know."

Lucent "I think."

Lucent ::I... should take a moment to talk to him.::

Ember nods.

Spring "Thank you, as always, for your inestimable service, Knight of the Chrysanthemum."

Berwyn nods too. "This is what we were made for," he says, simply.

Ssithumi looks over those assembled with a strange, far-off look in her glowing spirit-eyes.

Lucent "I will do it soon." He nods to Ember, moving to talk to Crow and the rest of the lantern, distributing hopeful speeches like cotton-candy before he gets to Ssthumi.

Lucent "Taking Rathess back must feel like a walk in the park now, hmmm?"

"There is always more work to do," the olchilike says to Lucent. "But I am glad we are here to do it together."

Lucent "Just do the negative noon cry if you find yourself turning into amethyst again, alright?" He looks over the people from the Ssthumi's side. "I will make sure to do the same if I find myself facing an Abyssal Sword-God. Sun knows having unbreakable skin helps less than I thought."

Ssithumi nods, smiling. "I will."

zahara walks over to check on Ebon Blade of Vengeance, "Are you ready?"

Ebon, standing shrouded in the shadows far to the side of the gathering, nods, a blade already in his hand and a black cloth shrouding the bottom half of his face. "You freed me of my bondage, Zahara Zhan, and kept to the oath we swore in pain and blood. I stand ready to destroy anything you desire, in the name of the Empress."

zahara bows lightly to him. "I have never regretted the decision to free you, Ebon Blade of Vengeance. You have been more than I expected."

Ebon holds his blade up in a brief salute to zahara, then fades back into the shadows.

zahara then steps up into the air, the wind catching her ethereal dress (this one is made of stardust mixed with fine ash) Beyond the horizon she can see the air shifting. Soon the reason is apparent for both the slight warping and the ironic twist to her lips, as a selected army of Fae fly to Solaria on impossible mounts.

zahara As they approach, among the myriad shapes, colors, and sizes of Raksha, a few faces stand out. Riordan has returned to Neshi's court to retrieve some of his friends. Rovash the Infinite has of course, returned, blowing kisses. But then, Zahara frowns, perhaps not quite believing. The faerie with the bells that had escaped her in the Wyld was one thing but...

zahara was that Tevezst?

Imrama finishes greeting the last of his father's wives. ::Empress, I recognize that Fae's name. Do you want me to shoot him?::

The crowd of fair folk gather in a great circle, floating above the others gathered here in a wide-arcing circle that hangs over Solaria like a beautiful and immense rainbow soap-bubble, raw chaos Essence floating off of them in thick hazy lines, so freshly have they journeyed here from the Wyld.

zahara ::No... not yet.::

There's a hush as the Exalts and Gods below look up, waiting to see what the gathered Fair Folk will do -- for many gathered here know that the fae aligned themselves with the Lion once before, and do not lean towards trusting the capricious beasts.

Imrama ::Very good. Let me know.:: Imrama walks over to Rovash and shakes several of his hands. "Hello old friend."

zahara ascends the air until she is even with some, slightly higher than others. "You have come to join the army of the Sunlands against the First and Forsaken Lion." It is more statement than question.

Then, at the top of the circle, Riordan bows on bended knee (in mid-air, of course), to Zahara -- and then to his one side Rovash does the same, and to the other, finally, so does the one known as Tevezst. "We have, Empress," says Riordan. "The Fair Folk stand with you against the dead."

Rovash wastes no more time on formalities once the big moment is past. He shakes Imrama's hands enthusiastically. "Isn't this an exciting moment?" he says proudly.

Imrama "Very much so!" Imrama agrees with a smile.

zahara inclines her head in acceptance. She lifts her hand to her chest and there is a warm glow of essence. The glow resolves into an intricate goblet in her fingers, which she raises in toast to the gathered Fae.

zahara "Together we will create a story that will resound through the ages."

An inchoate cheer rises up from the gathered fair folk in response.

zahara turns then to the assembled troops, "Look around you!" she says, her voice carrying. "Humans from many nations and one, Exalts of gods large and small, the gods themselves, faeries and demons. Look and see how we are all united with one purpose, one goal. Mark today in your minds, for beyond the minor fact of the defeat of the First and Forsaken Lion - for that is inevitable with our strength - is imminent, today is the day

zahara today is the day that the peoples of Creation, Yu-Shan, the Wyld, even the Underworld, stood together."

Spring ::Except for the Hundredfold.::

zahara ::Yes, I had to edit out the word 'all' from my speech::

No sooner does Spring have time to think that thought do three flighted figures appear on the horizon: like tiny birds, at first, it seems....

zahara ::...Reaver?::

A moment later and three figures come into focus: Reaver -- taller and lankier now, though still quite short by human standards, with several strange bandoliers and tassels strung across his chest and strange bangles on all of his many wrists -- and two full-grown adult aalorai at his sides, each with a glowing feather-blade in its hand.

zahara resists the urge to run over and sweep her little ambassador up into a very undignified hug.

Spring ::I must apologize. It seems our little diplomat has brought results.::

zahara ::Yay!::

The three aalorai alight on the side of the Cascade, behind where zahara is standing, and one of the adults speaks. "As representatives of the Ai-Kaedashi, we do pledge our support to those forces that oppose the lingering dead." The way he says it makes it clear that "the Ai-Kaedashi" in no way speaks for anything like the aalorai -- thus the relatively small delegation -- but it's something.

zahara "We welcome the support of the Ai-Kaedashi with gratitude"

zahara makes the closest she can come to the gesture of respect between Aalorai with not enough limbs for the job.

Reaver looks over at Zahara and makes his own slightly clumsy attempt at the same gesture.

zahara ::Reaver, you are looking fine and strong. Welcome home.::

zahara slips him a bit of conjured metal for later.

Reaver beams, then tucks it away into one of his various sashes.

Spring smiles.

Bertrand smoothly slips back over to Zahara's side. "Excellent work, Empress. I knew you were being modest."

zahara chuckles. "I have my moments."

< It Waited For You | Sol Invictus Logs | Some People are Just Skittish >

Page last modified on May 04, 2010, at 03:57 PM