Summary:The Solars beat the corruption out of Winter, and use Varanim's arm as a disposal mechanism -- but it has unforeseen consequences.

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

< You Are Now A Villain | Sol Invictus Logs | My Time For Death Is Not Yet Over >

`zahara "And no you can't have your eyes back."

`Varanim The place to which Varanim directs the transport of the unconscious Spring and several shrouded pieces of equipment is about fifty miles from Solaria, an unassuming little hollow ringed by trees. Nothing important has ever happened there, either good or bad, making it one of the extremely rare karmically neutral spots in the world.

`Varanim There she supervises the unloading of the first piece of equipment, and finally uncovers it: an anvil of unusual size, made not of metal but of shimmering self-contained liquescence, the waters of Lethe trapped in tangible form.

`Cerin Cerin, of course, knew of the contents of the covered item long before. But still, he waits until it is revealed to smile appreciatively.

`zahara brushes a speck of dust off of it, as if it were actually there.

`Varanim unwraps the second piece, a fragile-looking filigree rod of twined-together orichalcum, black and green jade. About a foot and a half in length, it widens at the top into a triskelion bracket that supports only air. She brings it close to the anvil and a crackling reaction of Essence springs up, a wild but contained whirl of motes forming a hammer head at the top of the handle.

`Varanim "Zahara, if you could handle securing Spring to the anvil, that would be best. I expect at some point he'll be awake and wanting to leave."

`zahara lays mister all-seasons atop the anvil, doublechecking to make sure the second, newly-modified collar is secure and working. After removing the artifact eyes, she had used one of them, now tainted by his deathly essence, to intermingle with the orichalcum and some soulsteel of a standard Abyssal collar, keying it directly into his signature. Of course the anvil comes with handy

`zahara shackles which when closed forget how to open.

`Varanim "Cerin, there'll be a lot of Essence flying around soon, and I want to make sure that all the deathy bits of it are discouraged from leaving this immediate area. Can you do that?"

`Winter As the shackles close on Winter's arms, one finger twitches, ever so slightly, as he comes awake, recognizes the situation, and lays still, waiting.

`Cerin pockets the rag, and the package. "I can do that," he says.

`Cerin From another pocket, Cerin draws his knife. He starts to carve a circle into the ground. The circle has five points, and at each of the points, he puts the blooms of three flowers; Hemlock, for death; Ashflower, for guardianship; Peach Blossom, for captivity.

`Winter "Have you considered night-blooming cereus?"

`Varanim inspects the bindings and the circle briefly, then nods. "Zahara, if I were to ask you whether you'd be willing to hit Spring with this hammer over and over again, as hard as you could and regardless of how much it hurt, what would you say?"

`zahara "We all do as we must, for the greater good," she says gravely. "That's what I'd say if there were anyone else watching."

`Varanim "Basically, you're going to be pulverizing and aerating his Essence. Good enough, or do I need a more elaborate cooking metaphor?"

`zahara "I'll make sure to be thorough. My soul still hurts."

`Varanim "Well then." Varanim takes a short drink, rolls up the sleeve all the way on her soulsteel arm, and shrugs. "Have at it."

`zahara As Zahara takes the hammer from Varanim, she shifts her vision to see the flows of Essence within the man shackled to the anvil of forgetful rebirth. "How many times will you do this?" she asks, though it is unclear who she is asking, as she raises the hammer. She almost hesitates, a flicker of... pity in her eyes. But not for long.

`Varanim Varanim's anima blossoms above her, and her soulsteel arm writhes to life with its usual peeling back of razor-edged strips of skin and flailing halo of chains. As the hammer blows and their reaction with the anvil begin to batter Spring's Essence into a motonic froth, she plunges her arm into the midst of it, bits of necrotic Essence starting to adhere like flakes of iron to a magnet.

`Cerin Cerin watches with interest.

`Winter "I suspect...I would have...employed a targeted Essence pulse."

`Winter "There is...after need to...cause unnecessary pain."

`zahara does not let up on the her part of the process, using precisely targeted strokes that cause exactly the amount of pain she intends. "That is entirely accurate."

The hammer slams into Winter over and over again, Zahara striking with immense and very carefully measured force.

Each strike is immensely painful and brutal on Winter's body, though its greater effect is on his soul geometry, where the unnatural and artificial Essence pattern within him begins to shudder and reshape under the immense spiritual onslaught.

Essence begins to squirt out in impressive volumes from Winter's prone form at each strike, sending out rolling waves of motes that break up and scatter into the air at first contact to the outside world.

The effect is much like repeatedly striking a large bag of water in which is placed a small container of ultra-concentrated squid ink: it only takes a strike or two until pretty much all the water is jet-black and will stain your clothing as it spills out, and here, huge quantities of necrotic Essence are spilling out and winding themselves around Varanim's arm even as the underlying structure has yet to budge.

`Varanim ::Cerin,:: she notes privately, ::your eyes are better than mine. Somewhere in the middle, there should be a root mote that the rest of this attaches to. Can you see it yet?::

`Cerin peers in closer at the roiling storm within Winter. His eyes track over the chaotic flows of motes, and deep within them. ::I think ... no. Ah. There it is.::

`Varanim Gritting her teeth as the accumulation of vile energy onto her arm continues, Varanim takes directions with terse grunts. After several agonizing minutes she pauses, fingers nearly but not quite clasped around something she can't completely see. ::Here?::

`Cerin ::A little to the, just grip tighter. You have it now.::

`Varanim nods grimly, and with one last unsettling flexing of muscle, the now-empty Hearthstone socket of her arm gapes open on her palm. She plucks out the indicated mote and clenches her fist around it, trapping that poison pill in the Hearthstone socket and waiting for the last of the necrotic Essence structure to adhere to it as she begins to withdraw her arm from the storm.

`Winter There is -- in a purely metaphorical sense, of course -- a sort of unpleasantly wet and liquid slurpy sound, followed by a tiny splishy-splashy sound, and then, as Varanim pulls her arm back out of Spring's essence structure, a horrendously loud and painful tearing and ripping sound, accompanied by Spring's body briefly sitting bolt upright with all its facial orifices as wide as possible, then falling back down flat and unconscious.

`Varanim takes a careful step back from Spring, checking to see that all of the problematic Essence is following her, and twining it closer around the arm as she goes.

`zahara gives the metaphorical orifices an extra whack

`zahara "Now that was just creepy."

`Winter It does indeed seem to have all come out: Spring on the anvil doesn't exactly look healthy, but at least he looks less unpleasantly death-y.

`Varanim "Right, then." Holding her freshly-blackened soulsteel arm out to the side, Varanim uses her other hand to extract her flask, uncork it, and finish it off in a disappointingly quick drink.

`Varanim Then she looks at Cerin. "I hope you had a chance to read those notes I gave you. Do you need to borrow a sharp knife?"

`Cerin "No, I brought my own," Cerin says. He had indeed. The orichalcum dagger he normally carries has been honed to a razors-edge. Essence granted him great strength and dexterity. And in addition to Varanim's notes, he could see through her flesh to the implant below. It was a simple matter to cut the seven tendons which held the arm in place. Then he just had to stick the knife in far enough to avoid the spur of soulsteel which

`Cerin went up into her shoulder. And cut her arm off.

`Winter Even for Varanim, who very much remembers the experience of losing this arm the first time, the pain is indescribably immense, beyond all her wildest expectations.

`Winter Even though only her arm is being lost, the feeling is far more intense: like a bundle of nerves that ran to every part of her body had been flash-heated to ten million degrees and then yanked out in a single brutal gesture that leaves every part of her living body burning and raw, even while the Essence patterns that had finally grown accustomed once more to the presence of a limb find themselves suddenly beggared once more.

`Winter After an eternal moment in which Varanim occupies only a universe of infinite pain, she suddenly realizes that the arm is off... and she finds herself back amongst her friends, in the regular universe of only nearly-infinite pain.

`Varanim Varanim's scream echoes briefly but piercingly around the clearing. A few seconds after it cuts off, she spits out blood, stands up from her knees, and staggers over to where a long-ago deadfall left the hollow of an absent stump. She inhales once, and her mind is focused on the pain; twice, and the pain recedes; a third time, and she hears only the lap of water.

`Varanim After several more moments of standing with eyes closed and lips moving silently, she kneels and touches her remaining hand to the ground, and the dim glow of a pool to Lethe opens. "Cerin, I'd be much obliged if you could pass me the arm," she says, distinctly though with some difficulty.

`Cerin Cerin, very carefully, passes her the arm.

`zahara "Huh. I did not expect you to do THAT."

`Varanim "Thank you," she says, and very gently presses it down into the waters as if the entire force of her soul and ego were united upon it.

`Winter The arm at first struggles mightily, resisting with an almost unbelievable force all efforts to shove it into the portal.

`Winter But then, there's a subtle change in the winds, a lightening of the atmosphere: and with not a second's more resistance, the arm sinks into the pool and within moments, has vanished entirely from view.

`Cerin ::That was not meant to hurt so much,:: Cerin points out to Varanim. ::I was not aware of quite how thoroughly the knife would cut you.::

`Lucent "VARANIM!"

`Varanim sits-slash-collapses back, a sickly but inevitable smirk making its way onto her face as she relishes the words every once-scholar learns to despise. "The remainder, as they say, is an exercise for the student."

`Lucent reaches to her, holding her before she can collapse and stopping the flow of the blood - that appears to flow backwards into her like it had been told to back a few steps by a stern voice!

`Lucent "Your old arm... you used a part of YOU in that..."

`Varanim ::I'm glad I didn't know either. Thanks, I owe you one.::

`Varanim "Oh, hey. Two birds, one omelet. Something like that." She leans back a little woozily against Lucent.

`Lucent touches her chest, his hands almost vanishing into it as he fills her blood with the sun's very breath. No pain, no pain at all, she could die and feel nothing but that warm, warm feeling

`Varanim "Ahh, that's the good stuff. Now go take a look at the village idiot, I don't think he's supposed to stay like that." She squeezes his hand though, before she pushes him away.

`Varanim ::Zahara,:: she says privately, ::I'm not allowed to enjoy what you did, but if I were, was it as much fun as it looked like you shouldn't have had?::

`zahara ::It was... immensely satisfying, I must admit.::

Spring_ ::Might I inquire as to the progress of the Sun's disease? Zahara seems to have stolen my eyes.::

`Lucent "Of course!"

`Lucent lets the Coronal out as spikes, each striking one of Winter's chakras, going through it in their immaterial way. Lucent, from afar, lows his arms as the spikes turn, all turning into keys, hopefully locking Winter's Essence at its exact point, without the void in it or anything else that might harm them going any further. Hopefully.

`Lucent ::Spring? You... you sound like Spring now!::

Spring_ ::Technically, I merely have a mental flavor you are more accustomed to, but yes.::

Spring_ ::Varanim...thank you.::

`Varanim makes no reply.

Spring_ ::Zahara, I suspect the actions you have had the opportunity to perform tonight were thanks enough.::

`zahara ::I am shocked that you would say that.::

Spring_ ::Can I please have my eyes back? For the good of the Sunlands.::

Bertrand? April 25, 2011, at 07:14 PM Elsewhere Bertrand? April 25, 2011, at 07:14 PM

Innocence steps outside of the increasingly claustrophobic interior of the second-circle demon that's been her home for the past few days, into the equally but distinctly claustrophobic darkness that surrounds it. She takes a few steps on the cold rock ground, looking around, with increasingly low hopes, for signs that this night will be different from the last.

After three laps around Kilanti's heaving bulk and a few glances out into the emptiness that surrounds in every direction, she

's about to return when she hears a sound, like a sickly throat being cleared. "Who's there?" she says, wheeling on her feet to look in the sound's direction.

"It's me," a voice says: familiar, yet somehow wrong: croaky and twisted, unwell-sounding, incomplete. "Although late, I have arrived for our meeting."

She squints at the darkness, making out the familiar shape of a head, only slightly visible amongst jet-black robes. "Really? You're actually here?" She bites her lip. "What ''took/ you so long? I've been sitting here in a demon's belly for ages and you didn't say anything about being late."

The speaker steps forward, at first hesitantly, but finally far enough to step into the illuminated circle of bioluminescent glow cast by Kilanti's exterior light-pods. His cloak still hangs heavy over his face, almost entirely obscuring it. "Something went wrong," he says, and begins gruffly walking towards the demon.

Innocence watches him with surprise for a long moment before suddenly scrunching her face up in irritation and pumping her fists. "Wait a minute! That's it? Hold on! You could at least say something more than that after leaving us all stranded here for this long!"

The figure abruptly stops his shuffling walk, and hangs motionless for a moment with his back turned to Innocence.

Then, he turns around. "My dearest Innocence," he begins, and he reaches up to remove the cowl that covers his face. Innocence notes his hands as he does so: one pale, even paler than she remembered Spring as being... and one gloved in jet-black soulsteel.

He lifts his hood, and she gasps, for though the face of Long-Awaited Spring is under that hood, the eyes of the speaking figure now are a solid wall of red, and every inch of his visible skin is horribly burnt and scarred. He concludes: " have no idea what I went through to get here."


< You Are Now A Villain | Sol Invictus Logs | My Time For Death Is Not Yet Over >

Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:14 PM