Summary:Spring cleansed of his corruption, the Solars come together to determine their next steps.

XP:C4, I4, S4, V4, Z4

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`Spring "Perhaps one of you could untie me?"

`Spring "We probably ought to do something about the Sun."

`zahara "Until you decide to betray us again?"

`Spring "Believe me, Zahara, it was not my intention."

`zahara "And yet, you have unleashed some impossible plan upon the world."

`Spring "As Cerin can no doubt tell you, when you are possessed, you make poor decisions when viewed from a non-possessed perspective."

`zahara "When did the possession start?"

`Spring "I suspect we might need a necromancer to answer that question."

`Spring "I believe it should be evident that I am not possessed now, however."

`Cerin examines Spring to determine this, looking deep into his essence-structures.

`zahara looks to Cerin for confirmation, her own study of his essence far less advanced

Cerin can see that Varanim has done good work: the malevolent structure which was previously present in Spring's essence pattern is entirely excised, about as effectively as one could possibly expect: every trace of death-aspected Essence, of Essence touched by the Mask's dark pattern, or unusual structure not normally present in Solar exalts is now entirely gone. Even the disease previously in Spring's finger is now effectively removed.

All told, Cerin would estimate that at this time, the total intersection of Spring's current Essence pattern with evil necrotic deathlord patterns is noticeably lower than probably at least half of the circle.

`Cerin "He is ... remarkably clean of all forms of necrotic essence. Even his finger looks well."

`Spring "What? It does?"

In categorical Essence terms, Spring is definitely a Solar Exalt of the Twilight caste.

`Spring tries to lift his head, then tries to lift his hand, then kind of wriggles.

`zahara "Hm... excellent job Varanim." She sighs a little, and then releases the bonds which hold him to the anvil.

`Spring sits up and holds his finger up to his eyeless head, pauses, then tilts his head slightly, and looks alarmed.

`Spring "I did not expect that."

`zahara "I required tainted Orichalcum to match your essence pattern."

`Varanim looks moderately bored with the whole affair, eyes unfocused and shrugging her now-stump of a shoulder in apparent fidgeting. In reality, she is lifting the precise memory of her soulsteel arm, and raising in her fingers for inspection the equally meticulous recollection of the mote she had plucked from Spring's Essence.

`Varanim To understand a part is to know the whole, and other such metaphysical calisthenics that annoy her. With a modest flex of mental conditioning, she casts her mind back into the past of the mote-memory.

`Spring "You will need ordinary orichalcum again now, i am afraid."

`zahara "Yes, I hope to never need this particular modification again." She frowns.

`Spring "I am truly sorry to let down your trust again, Zahara. I had a plan, but, well...," he frowns, and does not finish the sentence.

`Spring "I fear I underestimated the Mask of Winters."

`zahara "The Mask of Winters... I suppose that would explain the name."

`Spring glances down with interest at the Lethe-infused anvil, and leaning down, picks a blade of grass that has been thirstily soaking up the waters of rebirth and chews on it thoughtfully.

`Spring "I am afraid I have delayed us at a time where we can afford no delay."

`zahara "Would you like a new hammer?"

`zahara offers the instrument to him. "To make up for the eyes I had to melt down."

`Spring takes it politely. "If the eyes cannot be restored, I suppose we will have to do what we can."

Varanim traces the history of the mote, perhaps the finest-tuned work of psychometry she has yet performed, watching the path that a now-gone piece of Essence smaller than the (mortal) naked eye could even see pass back through its own history, through the twists and turns of its strange existence.

`Spring "After our last encounter, I cannot help but suspect that the Mask of Winters has yet more cards to play. We must be careful -- but for now I fear we must move forward on curing the Sun."

`Spring **never mind that line it sucked

Varanim sees the story in reverse: the extraction of the mote from Spring's body, and before it, the twisted and unpleasant process of its integration into his soul, as its tendrils stretch out and insinuate themselves into every corner of his soul -- but all in reverse, of course.

It all rolls back through, as she watches the unpleasant and suboptimally personal details of Spring's inner Essence anatomy reverse-recoil at the threat of the expanding mote -- until she reaches the moment where Spring himself falls backwards out of the Void again, and the mote sits, untriggered and immobile, in the center of his frame.

From there, there's almost nothing of significance for some time -- until, finally, she sees the scene of Spring standing in the constructed Essence jail, speaking with the imprisoned Deathlord --

and while Spring makes one deal with the Mask, an agreement to disrupt a portion of the Lion's infrastructure while the group assaults the Thousand, she sees the mote surreptitiously insinuate its way out through Spring's finger and to a location where, hours after Spring leaves, the Mask carefully de-ensconces it.

`Varanim widens and squints her eyes several times, readjusting them to normal shapes and scales. "He's been possessed since he made a deal with th e

`Varanim Mask to target the Lion.

`Varanim "

`Cerin "Not a short length of time, then. Do you have any idea of your plans, Spring?"

`Spring frowns. "Not clearly. Since I fell into the Void, things seem...clouded."

`Spring "I talked to...Verbena. Innocence. Fierce Red Star."

`Spring "I took the Grim Reminder...and the Twilight Seal."

`Spring "I know where they ought to be now."

`Spring "One hopes they are still there."

`Spring "Oh, and your arm." Spring nods to Varanim almost furtively.

`Cerin "I can help with a clouded memory, with your permission. I have, as you are aware, some skill in the use of Essence for interrogation."

`Spring frowns, and nods. "If it will work, you should certainly attempt it."

`Varanim "I can't tell you how charmed I am that it's become some kind of necromantic luck talisman. I expect the next time I see it, one of the Neverborn will be using it to rub its naughty bits."

`Spring "Hopefully it will not become so popular that they come looking for the other one."

`Cerin "Very well," Cerin nods. Then he concentrates, and feels a very brief stab of pain. And then Spring will answer everything he asks. And so he proceeds to ask him everything about his plans, intentions and conversations since the possession.

`zahara snickers at Varanim's comment

It's clear quickly that there was still some compartmentalization in play, because Spring seems to know little about the underlying motivations of his actions during his possession even with Cerin's "assistance," but otherwise he delivers a full and carefully explicated listing of every object which he sole, every individual whom he spoke to, and every action he took while he was possessed.

What does come through are the elements of his motivation which did come through to Spring's hazy consciousness: to select figures and objects that would prove useful in bringing the prophecy focusing around the end of Calibration to its optimum conclusion.

`Spring "Hm."

`Spring "We are suffering from an excess of prophecies."

`zahara "I thought you were in charge of the Sidereals. Can't you do something about that?"

`Spring "I suspect they would only make more. But we can certainly call upon them and discuss the intricacies of fate."

`Varanim "So your plan for a quick decision is to put it to committee? Maybe I took out a little too much."

`zahara "Wait... it's those damned Five Who Are Fallen isn't it?"

`zahara "I hate those guys. Why did you have to steal them?" She stomps her foot in irritation.

`Spring " not sure I stole them in general. We might want to check on Fierce Red Star, though."

`zahara "Well. That guy."

`Spring points suddenly to a tree on the other side of the clearing. "Berwyn?"

`Berwyn Looking unruffled and poised, Berwyn steps out from behind the gestured tree. "You needed something from me?"

`Spring "The Mask of Winters seems to be concerning himself with a prophecy to take place at the end of Calibration. Of the various prophecies involving that period, can you identify which we need be concerned with?"

`Varanim leans back and folds her arm behind her head, looking suddenly thoughtful.

`Berwyn looks over at Spring with interest. "What are the options?"

`Spring "The list goes on," Spring comments with a deadpan tone that perfectly conveys to Berwyn the variety of foretellings available to him.

`Berwyn ducks around the corner into the trees for a moment, and emerges again with a rather large perambulator, in it no fewer than three conveniently-aspected Sidereal infants.

`zahara edges away from the babies.

`Berwyn With an elegant lilt to his tone, Berwyn begins to go into detail, repeating in storied tones to the children the innumerable prophecies under discussion:

`Berwyn the prophecy associated with Varanim's former soulsteel arm, the future attached to the Varangian structures Cerin investigated, the repeated references to Twilight Solars, the details of Zinnobia's repeated references to Varanim's "destiny"...

`Spring furrows his brow at this, not actually knowing about the prophecy associated with Varanim's arm, and cocks his head in her direction.

`Spring "Wait, Berwyn. What prophecy is there about Varanim's arm?"

`Varanim "Its full capabilities come into being at Calibration, when attached to a Twilight. Now seemed like a reasonable time to sink it in Lethe."

`Berwyn The three children each lean forward and bring their tiny hands together, and there are tiny sparkles of light in yellow, blue, and purple, as Berwyn looks over at Spring. "Ah."

`Spring "Those are all the same prophecy."

`Spring "Well, possibly not the one about Varang."

`Berwyn "I suspect that is what my subordinates are about to tell you," he says. And at that, one of the babies begins tugging on his sleeve. He leans down to hear its whispered answer. "Indeed," he says.

`Spring "But how can the Mask command a destiny limited to a Twilight?"

`Berwyn "That is a good question," he says. "Here is what my Fellows here have been able to glean."

`Berwyn "These events -- the future of the severed arm, the rise of the Varangian cities, the involvement of a Twilight -- these things all seem to connect to an event that is also soon to come: the awakening of a slumbering, dead god."

`Spring "Oh. One of those."

`Berwyn "The Mask of Winters may not be the intended subject of any of these destinies -- but he hopes to position himself as a central figure in them regardless, and draw on the power that will come with shepherding in that return to achieve his own ends."

`Berwyn "He is looking for something, and he believes that being at the center of a maelstrom of destruction in this coming Calibration will enable him to find it."

`Spring "And how can he get the arm? I was under the impression that Lethe would not be healthy for him. Or it would be exceptionally healthy for him."

`Berwyn "It's unlikely that it would be particularly pleasant for him, yes. Though if his nature as an undead creature is as strong as it seems, he might be able to briefly cling to his mockery of life even in the face of Lethe itself."

`Spring "Where do these prophecies come from, Berwyn?"

`Berwyn sighs. "I hoped you wouldn't ask me that."

`Spring "You should have foretold it."

`Varanim "Remind me, since I've been busy recently cleaning up your mess, at what point did everyone go from suspecting the Mask might possibly return someday to assuming it had already happened?"

`Spring "I saw him. In my head...when he possessed me."

`Spring stops moving.

`Spring "And he said...he said he would see me very soon."

`Varanim "Good of you to mention that."

`Spring "He is not gone. Somehow, he has returned again."

`Spring smirks.

`Spring "I try to do my part."

`Varanim "Try less, in the future." She looks back to Berwyn with an impatient wave to continue.

`Berwyn shoots Spring a glare, although as always with Berwyn it's difficult for him to maintain any sense of true malice under his resigned surface. "Throughout the history of the Fivescore Fellowship, we have seeked to divine the future through the principle of the Luminous Triskele, the three-fold overlap of fate which enables us to learn Of Things Unknown to The World."

`Varanim "Son, I'm missing an arm, not a bullshit sense. Keep it short, because things will get unpleasant if I run out of booze before you're finished."

`Berwyn coughs. "There was always one aspect of this prophecy that was largely forbidden, even when the stakes were great, because of the danger it posed: Calibrative prophecy, which could foretell the most immense and terrible things, but at a great cost. It drew on the most potent threefold symmetry in the cosmos: the Cauda Draconis, the three stars that align with the three draconic Primordials."

`Berwyn shakes his head sadly. "There are two unfortunate conclusions you can draw from this. One is that the two elder Sidereals who were most well-versed in this form of prophecy... were Qian Mian and Seven Leaping Herons."

`Spring does something that, if he had eyes, would look like rolling them.

`Varanim takes a drink, looking at Berwyn meaningfully.

`Berwyn "The other is that if you had a problem with one Dragon at Calibration, and then you're about to have a second...." He shakes his head again.

`Spring "...that everything should more or less be settled forever?"

`Berwyn "Exactly," he says, and sighs.

`zaharra "lovely"

`Spring "Do you have any plans or suggestions, Varanim?"

`Varanim "I think we should leave masturbating over prophecy to the Siderals, and fix the sun before it goes entirely black."

`Spring "Reasonable."

`Varanim "Zahara?"

`Spring "I had a plan for that, once. It involved Essence from a Primordial. Since I suspect we cannot ask the Yozis, that leaves Erevel, Gaea, the two Primordials we never remember...or Atomnos."

`zaharra "I agree."

`Spring "Atomnos owes us his life, so I suspect he will be amenable, this time."

`Spring "Shall we?"

`zaharra "let's

`Varanim "Might as well."


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