Summary:The Solars forge an agreement for further assistance from Atomnos, and receive an adorable emissary.

XP:I4, S4, V4, Z4

< I Was Extremely Unkind | Sol Invictus Logs | One in Ten >

`Imrama The Aerophone Ravine is a very useful shortcut in the Deep Wyld, connecting as it does to all points defined by pride and fear. But only sound is permitted to pass between its narrow cliffs. And so, for the length of one long note, the Fable, its captain, crew and passengers, all dissolve into music. A regal violin plays counterpoint over a drunken dirge

`Imrama A xylophone plays back and forth over the same two notes, unable to make up its mind, while an airy flute plays in and out of the distant beating of drums. And then, with the time for music past, the concerto congeals back into flesh, and the Circle of the Sunlands arrives once more in Atomnos.

Though the interior of Atomnos' vast planar body remains oppressive and claustrophobic, the environment here has improved notably since the Circle's last visit.

Far overhead, the sky-fires burn with renewed fervor, leaving less smoky residue behind them as they swirl and loop underneath the vast rocky dome above. Below, the quicksilver sea seems largely free of the tendrils of black Essence that had corrupted it. In the distance, the crystalline tower of Avixos, the heart of the plane, glows faintly, and no longer appears ready to crumble utterly at any moment.

Altogether, the plane now looks healthier, though by no means more pleasant.

`Spring taps his ear with a frown, hoping the ringing will go away.

`Spring "Is this plane defined by pride, or fear?"

`Imrama "I would say that until recently, it was the later, but in restoring its former glory, we have allowed it to return to the former."

`Imrama pilots towards Avixos.

One of Atomnos' Crystalline Host, albeit one unfamiliar to the Solars, awaits them on the edge

awaits them on the edge of Avixos' huge translucent base, the place where the Solars once set down in a past visit here: a spinning, whirling cloud of refractive glass fragments in the shape of a man, a Malakim of the Third Circle whom Imrama's eyes identify as being called Kaelesh.

`Imrama "Hail Kaelesh, Malakim of the Great Maker. We have come to treat with your Lord."

`Kaelesh "Children of the Sun," it says, floating up to just in front of where the Fable hovers.

`Kaelesh "What business have you with the Great Father today?"

`Imrama "We come as the Necessary Architect's physician and his entourage. He is due for a check-up."

`Kaelesh The malakim considers this claim for a long moment, but ultimately finds nothing too problematic in it to interject. "Land your vessel, and disembark upon Avixos," it says. "I will accompany you into the depths."

`Varanim ::Did you really just describe Zahara as someone's entourage?::

`zahara ::It's fine - I'm pretending I'm on vacation today.::

`Varanim ::How's that working out for you?::

`zahara ::So far, better than the last time I came here.::

`zahara tips her wide-brimmed straw hat back on her head and briefly studies the malakim.

`Imrama "Varanim: a careful study of First Age literature on the subject tells me that sometimes, one or more members of an Entourage may grow to be as important, or indeed more important, than the individual around which the unit originally formed."

`Spring has no apparent reaction to Imrama's description of their party, possibly because most ways to express surprise involve eyes.

`Varanim "Just checking."

`zahara hops over the railing of the boat and waits for the others.

`Kaelesh Kaelesh is like, yet unlike, the demons whom Zahara has worked with so extensively. He is quite powerful, to be certain, and his Essence bears unusual marks -- almost assuredly the signs of both the freedom, and the near-death state, borne by his patron. She makes mental notes about what she has observed for potential future use.

`Kaelesh As Zahara alights on the crystalline surface of the isle, Kaelesh taps several spots on the exterior of the great tower, and a familiar doorway containing a downward staircase opens smoothly upon its cracked surface. "Enter," it says.

`Varanim Varanim, on one of her rare passive-aggressive clean laundry streaks and thus drab but moderately presentable, hops down after Zahara.

`Spring hesitates, then, as the physician, steps over the railing and starts down the stairs.

`Kaelesh The stairs lead down about a flight, and once the Solars have all entered, the passageway "moves" by the wall at the bottommost end folding back to reveal more stairs even as the topmost stairs are hidden behind new rock that folds out of the walls to encompass them... and so they go down, some distance, to a chamber far below the tower.

`Kaelesh The chamber in which they find themselves, however, is not where they last met with Atomnos: instead, they find themselves in a smaller alcove, a curved room of amethyst, perhaps fifty feet across, at the center of which sits a polished table of black marble and on the outer walls of which are carven strange geometric sigils.

`Kaelesh At the center of the table sits a rocky face, maybe three feet tall, with extraordinarily rough features -- simple in appearance, but whose (relatively) immense Essence output makes it clear that this is indeed the (still much reduced) Godhead of the Great Maker Atomnos.

`Spring "Good day, Atomnos. How are you feeling?"

`Kaelesh my existence continues to strengthen, think-speaks the massive metaphysical life-structure that is Atomnos.

`Spring "Excellent news. Have you been feeling any residual numbness or self-destructive rage?"

`Kaelesh The stone face blinks, slowly and unamusedly, at Spring.

`Spring turns his blank face slightly towards Imrama as he says, "We have come to borrow a small quantity of your Essence."

`Kaelesh for what purpose do you wish such a thing he says, and Kaelesh looks over at the Solars with what might be -- it's hard to tell when looking at a being whose face is made entirely of tiny shards of glass -- a look of slight concern.

`Imrama "The cosmos has been beset by a wave of metaphysical maladies of late - of which your own was among the greatest, but not the only one of great concern. We believe that having access to a small portion of Primordial essence will assist in curing another of these ailments."

`zahara sips a fruity drink.

`Kaelesh the use of such essence is dangerous, the face think-says, and Kaelesh nods knowingly in agreement.

`zahara offers a second fruity drink ::It's spiked:: to Varanim

`Spring "Danger is our middle name, in a purely metaphorical sense."

`Varanim Varanim's interest in the proceedings perks up noticeably as she takes a drink.

`Kaelesh The Godhead of Atomnos looks stony-faced at Spring, and after a moment, Kaelesh interjects: "The use of such Essence would also bear the significant potential of proving dangerous to the Maker."

`Spring "As dangerous as being poisoned by Oblivion?"

`Kaelesh "No," says the Malakim, "certainly not. But the Maker has only recently recovered from his ordeals. The Crystalline Host will demand... assurances." He nods, as if to himself.

`Imrama ::I suppose we could change our unofficial title to the Circle of Danger and the Sunlands.::

`Spring "I am sure an Exalt more diplomatic than I would call that not unreasonable."

`Imrama hears his cue to interject. "We always wish to ensure that our allies remain assured. What do you have in mind?"

`zahara "So long as the assurances are reasonable," Zahara poses idly, taking another sip.

`Kaelesh Kaelesh continues to speak for his lord, his own full existence apparently finding it easier to speak than the still not-fully-reconstructed Godhead. "A liaison to accompany you for the duration of your use of such Essence. An accounting of its use to said liaison over the time in which you make use of it. And an oath to leap to the Maker's aid should your use of said Essence create a situation in which his existence is imperiled."

`Imrama ::This strikes me as a manageable agreement - do you think it will interfere in your medical work, Spring?::

`Spring ::I am not a diplomat, but I am somewhat concerned about the vagueness of the word "imperiled."::

`Imrama ::Atomnos is a key ally. His being is tied directly to the restored Gate Network. I can't easily conceive of a situation in which his existence would be imperiled and we would not involve ourselves."

`Spring ::Then we should agree.::

`Imrama "We are amenable to your conditions."

`Varanim takes another drink.

`Kaelesh nods. "You may touch the Godhead."

`Spring grimaces slightly, then steps forward and rubs one finger against the great stone face.

`zahara ::Am I the only one who thinks that sounded slightly dirty?::

`Spring ::No.::

`zahara eyes imrama ::I'm still on vacation. You sanctify it.::

`Imrama ::As you wish, Empress.::

`zahara pours herself another fruity drink from the sealed carafe she brought, topping up Varanim's as well.

`Imrama puts his left hand on Atomnos and his right hand over his own heart. There is a glow of condensed sunlight all around them both and the faint sound of chimes in the distance.

`Varanim ::Come on, she's got the fruity drink and every... thanks, don't mind if I do... really Imrama. She was making this one easy.::

`zahara ::Thanks 'Rama::

`Spring immediately taps on the side of Atomnos's head, then pulls his hand back carefully, a single pebble clinging, as if by static, to his finger. He pulls that pebble off, makes as if to swallow it, then, frowning, hands it to Zahara.

`Kaelesh The Godhead, although physically changed not at all, appears relatively satisfied. it is done then

`zahara ::Oh sure, give me your dirty dirty essence. You know I like it.:: she says deadpan as she accepts it with a solemn nod towards Atomnos.

`Kaelesh now you must take your emissary with you

`Spring makes no response, possibly out of pure incapacity.

`zahara manages not to crack a smile as she secures the Essence in a mostly indestructible vial - she has long since learned that nothing can truly hold that descriptor.

`Spring "And...who will be our emissary?"

`Kaelesh snaps his fingers and there's a puff of smoke, out of which emerges a small creature: a crystalline sphere, about a foot across, with two googly eyes and a variety of awkward, tiny limbs sticking out of it. Imrama is immediately aware that its name is "Dom."

`Spring "How adorable."

`Imrama "Hello Dom. I am Imrama. It is nice to meet you." Imrama waves.

`Kaelesh The small creature looks up at Imrama and waves in an awkward but enthusiastic fashion.

`Varanim grimaces and drinks faster.

`zahara blinks a couple times at the critter and copies Varanim.

`Spring examines the critter's Essence.

`Kaelesh It appears to be a first-circle malakim of Atomnos, with no particularly great ability but, clearly, a great deal of enthusiasm.

`zahara idly compares its essence to that of the big one

`Kaelesh zahara is pretty certain Dom and Kaelesh are third cousins, the former descended from a different Third Circle malakim.

`zahara "Do you have any beaches?"


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