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Bio

Current Supreme Tyrant-Opressor-General-Archon GM of Divinus III! I also have a bastard child named Civilization III: A New World...

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Potential demi-god here! Link to discord please?


I'll send you one in a sec
@Tangletail

Yup! Would you like a link to our Discord?
Meeting amidst the Pyres
Feat. @Cyclone & @Vec



Soon enough, Melantha started closing in on Katharsos' Sphere. The strange spheres of energy that populated the area near the death god's home were certainly felt by her. After a closer look at one of them using her divine sense revealed that they were, in fact, giant balls of flame suspended in space, Melantha became even more curious about Katharsos' strange ways. Why would someone create and scatter around things such as these? What was their purpose?

It was then that Melantha felt a different type of energy, a more faint and ethereal one. The great surge of souls heading towards the inner reaches of the Sphere gave out an entirely different tone to the whole image she had conjured up in her mind. Masking her presence from them, Melantha flew silently along the current of souls, observing them and occasionally probing them with her senses. Having steeled herself about learning how to forget, Melantha's only clue was the strange soul ash, the origin of which was seemingly Katharsos' Sphere and these very same souls. The dark goddess toyed with the ashen bead in her hand that she had condensed from the ash she had previously gathered. With her thoughts swirling all over the place, she nevertheless decisively plunged inside the foreign Sphere, opting to put aside her questions for when she eventually met Katharsos.
The god of death suspended himself in space, hovering right beside the raging flames of a great pyre. The mighty flames writhed, licked, contracted and expanded with the coming of more souls, so by comparison even Katharsos' gently burning form looked utterly still and statuesque.

Looking into the depths of the pyre was akin to watching a wild and uncoordinated play unfold, with each actor trying in vain to take the spotlight and tell their own story. The memories that the burning souls released into the flames tasted of hope, despair, passion, love, and (quite often, for those broken souls that yet remained) agony muddled with incomprehensible madness. It was hard to stare into the vastness of the flames and take in more than the occasional flash of a lifetime without focusing intently upon a given individual, and there were no individuals in that particular moment that caught his utter attention so.

He was left to behold the entirety of the souls' experiences then, or at least the small fraction of the vastness that his mind was able to latch onto and comprehend. Even then, his mind did not come to acquire as much as it might have, for he had been lost in thought for many days and not especially attentive to the fires.

Since Seihdhara's words to him, his mind had been plagued. The journey down to Galbar and his conversation with Ashalla had been nothing but a brief moment of respite, a bright and clean glimpse of lucidity within the quagmire of the greater reality. Troubled thoughts beset him, and though he was certainly not bereft of the inner strength and determination that it took to stay true to his path, he found himself caught in an endless argument as he tried to justify his actions. This time the accuser was not Seihdhara, but rather just her voice. Occasionally, there were other voices too, but he knew them all just be disjointed aspects of his own conscience. How he loathed those voices so! He understood well the mindsets of mortals and all the faults and fallacies of their thoughts (or so Katharsos believed!) and so he just as easily realized that these voices were nothing but figments of his own glazed imagination. They were hallucinations, harmless as they only held as much power and sway over his mind as he gave them. Yet even as he cursed his mind for being weak enough to suffer such a schism and conjure such voices, and even as he knew that in doing so he only gave the voices more power and made them more real, he argued.

Not because he was in doubt, of course, for though he went into every conversation with an open mind and strived to never become fixed in false witness to the illusory merit of flawed ideals, he ultimately listened to each and every one of Seihdhara's (or those other nameless voices') arguments and condemnations fall flat and hollow. They were like children; they were too immature, or perhaps too shortsighted, or even too naive to realize that what he did was necessary and that the alternatives were... grisly... terrible... fruitless. So though they might call his actions a necessary evil, his 'necessary evil' or indeed any 'necessary evil' was ultimately no evil at all.

The main reason that he argued with the voices was to try to make them understand. His own guilt and doubts and sorrow for the burden that he carried was enough; it was almost shattering to think that instead of thanking him for his sacrifice, they condemned him and thought of him as a tyrant. Perhaps even an abomination. They were so shortsighted, but that was all. They just didn't understand, but if he could just find and use the right combination of words, perhaps they could be made to. Their words and their actions were rooted in misunderstanding, not hatred and cruelty. He had to believe that.
Immediately upon her entry, an uncomfortable feeling overwhelmed her. To say that the space inside the Sphere was different was an understatement. Huge masses of billowing clouds filled her surroundings, and Melantha could feel a deathly aura being emitted from them, akin to the aura of the souls she had come upon earlier. "A fitting residence for a god of death, that is for sure..." Melantha could practically smell death in the smoke released from the strange fires hidden amidst the many nebulae that dotted the inside of the Sphere. Behind her mask of darkness her eyebrows frowned up, but her curiosity was enough that she was not deterred by the strange sights and smells of Katharsos' Sphere.

Melantha had found him hovering next to a giant ball of fire, watching the flow of souls falling to their demise inside the pyre. He had yet to notice her presence, and Melantha was not in a hurry to change that. The dark goddess quietly observed the distracted Katharsos though her divine sense, the fluctuating flare-ups of the fiery mane that surrounded his animalistic visage clearly visible in her mind's eye. Melantha could understand that the god of death had a very introspective personality as even after having waited for quite some time, she realised that she would have to make herself known to him in order for her visit to have any meaning.

"Katharsos..." Her voice was soft but clear enough to break the silence and, hopefully, Katharsos' trance.

His fiery head effortlessly spun around to face the source of the voice (for he felt this one be more real than all the others) and gaze into the blackness of the void between the stars. Melantha had a way of blending into that inky emptiness, but the light of the pyre and Katharsos' own brazen head cast light upon her like great torches and illuminated her silhouette. There was a hint of surprise evident upon Katharsos' face, though not panic. The dark bronze of his mane gave way to a friendlier gold after he recognized the unexpected visitor.

"Melantha," he breathed back, and the force of that one word pushed away the hazy fog and smoke, and suddenly she was freed of all but the faintest smell of that rancid smoke that permeated his Sphere, and its nauseating effect similarly was waned as it was dispelled. "I am glad to have your company."

Taking note of Katharsos' consideration, Melantha nodded her thanks before moving closer towards him. One would think that after spending so much time among the funeral fires, Katharsos would have long been infused with the aura they emitted, but as she now face to face with the god of death, she found herself unable to sense any kind of deathly aura coming from him. An interesting observation, but inconsequential in the end. Melantha collected her thoughts and returned his greeting.

"Thank you for having me, Katharsos. I hope to not have ruined your state of contemplation," Melantha replied.

He briefly contemplated telling her the truth--that in disturbing his solitude, she had offered him relief if anything, yet ultimately rejected the notion. He did not yet know why she had come, after all. And it seemed selfish to lay his own burdens down upon her, in any case. So he answered her with every bit of warmth and genuine care that he had, even as he kept his innermost thoughts closed away. "My meditations can wait. There will be time enough for them; however, time spent in the company of others is precious and always to be cherished above all else."

"Mhmm," Melantha listened to him and nodded her assent. "For some, the company of others can indeed be a precious source of contentment. For others, it is only in solidarity that they can truly be who they are. It is all a matter of perspective..."

She turned her attention to the giant pyre some distance away from them, and "watched" as the souls slowly entered in whole and exited as grains of ash and dust, scattering in space and carried outside the sphere and into the rest of the universe, tiny seeds of life waiting to find a new vessel to make their home. "What is a soul, Katharsos? For me, they are nothing but tiny specks of energy, weak beyond comparison, and yet they are able to bring life to even the most powerful of beings, namely deities, like ourselves. How is that so?" Melantha posed a set of questions to the god of death, opting to ease into the topic of memories and the reason for her visit by asking some general questions first.

"Souls are something vital--a resource, like food or water, without which life does not thrive. You yourself have identified their importance, so you will understand that they are a most prized resource indeed, one that must be conserved and cared for. But they are more than that, too. Though it might make my purpose more palatable to see souls as mere 'specks of energy' as you call them, they are something sacred and special. We can conjure food and water with mere thoughts, but to conjure a new soul? It seems...impractical, if not impossible. For that reason, and for more sentimental ones, I find myself awed by souls. Each one must be cherished, no matter how large or small. Here, though it pains me, I must recycle the souls of the dead that new ones may form and life can go on," he slowly explained in an even tone before realizing that he'd rambled. "But perhaps you think that I did not answer your question directly. I told you what I think of souls. To actually speak of souls? I admit that they are something of an enigma that I still struggle to understand. In time, I will come to unravel their mysteries and better understand their nature...or so I hope."

Somewhere along his speech, Melantha turned her attention back to him and listened on as he explained his interpretation of souls to her. Admittedly, she felt somewhat disappointed by what she got. "I see," she said with a sigh. "It seems that even the god of death has limited knowledge on a topic such as this."

Melantha raised her pale hand and pointed at the pyre. "Let's talk about something closer to you, maybe?" she suggested. She brought her other hand forward, and from within her palm a small black vortex spat out the soul ash bead she had. As it lay there in her palm, ready for inspection, the contrast between the colours of the shiny greyish bead, her pale skin, and the light emitted from Katharsos' flames made for a quite interesting little image indeed. "I discovered a peculiar kind of ash drifting into my Sphere recently. After capturing some, I observed the properties of souls in them, although faint to the point of inconspicuousness."

A soft growl escaped his head, now resemblant of a lion, as he muttered one word, "Impurities."

Melantha raised a brow due to his reaction but continued on. "These..." Melantha pointed at the pyre with her hand again, "fires, let's say. I assume that this soul ash is the byproducts of whatever is happening inside of them?"

"The soul ash is not a mere byproduct, but rather the sole reason that I made this place. Deteriorated souls can be recycled to yield that ash, and given sufficient time, that ash can take the form of new souls. Life can spring forth given this soul ash to enable it, and the cycle can continue. There is one ill byproduct. It is this smoke all around us; you doubtless felt it as you came to me here. I try to confine its taint here that the harm is mitigated, but nonetheless, some of it fails to separate from the ash. On Galbar, I have created a crude mechanism to cleanse the taint, but the ash that drifts to your realm would have no such way to be purified. For that, you have my apologies. Perhaps I can help you to purify the ash of your Sphere and be rid of the impurities' lingering stench and aura."

"Oh, I will take you up on that offer then. Although I do not really mind it, I suppose any future beings that might come to reside in my Sphere will not take kindly to it," Melantha said thoughtfully. "Anyway, on a different note; I wonder how this... "purifying" process of yours works exactly? I find it quite interesting that you have managed to somehow create souls anew, in a sense, even though you yourself just now told me that it is practically impossible to do so. What exactly goes on inside that flame, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Souls are not birthed here, nor are they truly destroyed. These pyres just recycle them. Ash to ash."

"Well, yes, that's what I meant when I said 'create souls anew'. But you didn't really answer my question..." Melantha replied.

For a long, long time she received only silence and his level stare as an answer. Melantha, however, waited patiently. She could not see that Katharsos was staring at her and thus thought he was just gathering his thoughts.

As in for Katharsos, he grappled with the question of whether to tell her the truth of it and if he did, of whether to try to lighten the gravity of just what occurred inside the pyres. He could justify it easily enough--his cause and his actions were just, after all, but there was the eminent question of whether Melantha would understand. Even after endlessly debating himself over the blurring and unintelligible timespan of his trance, he felt... reluctant to truly debate Melantha and try to argue his case, even if he was prepared.

But would he ever want to face judgement? It seemed unlikely, and in the end, perhaps Melantha would be more sympathetic to the harsh nature and grim of reality and to the correct interpretation of the greater good. So, he finally decided to tell her.

"I ask that you not be harsh or rash in your judgement of me or your actions; know that I value your sentiment dearly. Allow me to explain what happens here: these cold yet raging infernos scattered about us contain no mundane flames. They are magical fires that incinerate memory and emotion, and through their otherworldly and intangible heat, they break down and crack apart the ether, soul-stuff. When mortal souls enter the flames, they undergo a catharsis and are made to surrender their memories, one by one, reliving their life thought by thought until there is nothing left to burn. And then they are ash, ready to be scattered that new souls and new life may form.

"It is a grisly and perhaps ignoble ending, but it is the only way. In my meditations, I have contemplated the other paths and deemed them all ultimately worse...more disruptive to the balance of things."


He looked to her in anxious anticipation of whatever reaction her shrouded face might reveal. Melantha, for the most part, stayed quiet throughout the explanation. It was only after sensing that Katharsos was finished that she found herself exhaling the breath she had been holding in. Truly, she did not, could not, imagine that this is what had been going on inside those pyres. She took a few seconds to sum up everything she had heard.

"This... I have to admit that this is not what I imagined death would be... To relive everything one last time, I cannot begin to imagine the strain this puts on the soul..." Melantha told him and continued. "A lifetime of memories stripped away one by one... no wonder the souls collapse afterwards," she concluded.

"I do not derive pleasure from presiding over this eternal holocaust, but one of us had to do it."

"Eternal..." Melantha turned towards the pyre in deep thought. Although she could not see the blazing flames taking in the souls, she could feel the energy they let out as they burned brilliantly one last time. Eventually, she decided it was time to tackle the topic of her visit.

"Katharsos, do you think this same process can work on divine souls as well as it works on other souls?"

Of this, he was certain. "Divine souls? I do not know if there is even such a thing. The ichor, that which imbues us with power and divinity, seems wholly separate from the soul. One of our fellow divines met an untimely demise, and upon arriving here, seemed to be in a rather weak and mundane state. It seems natural to conclude that the process would go much the same for one of our souls."

Oh? A god has died already? I wonder who...

There was a pause. But then before he allowed her to respond, he had to clarify, "But I did not verify this, as I refrained from committing the one in question to the pyres...not this time. My sentiment stopped me."

"Hmm, a very noble thing to do," Melantha did not like how that word rolled off her tongue, but she didn't dwell on it. "You said earlier that memories and emotions are burned by the fire. Does that mean that those two are inherently tied to the soul?"

Katharsos was stricken by that word. It was very peculiar that she called such an action noble of all things, and though he pondered such a choice of words for a short time then and for an eternity later on once his solitude was renewed, he didn't stumble upon it or get caught upon it in conversation.

"They seem to share a powerful affinity for one another, though they are not one and the same. The astral fires here can thoroughly burn memory and the other various 'dyes' that colour a soul, but the soul itself is of hardier stuff. When subjected to the pyres, a soul is broken down into smaller units that can later reform into new souls. Thus, it is due to the memories and other aspects of a being that we are left with all of these nebulous clouds of waste product, as well as these faint...impurities in the soul ash," he offered, but then he began to think, and it was his turn to ask a question. "You seem most fascinated by these phenomena, Melantha. Am I too optimistic in my hope that this is because you would like to assist me?"

"Ah, this... unfortunately no. Although, as you said, I find this process interesting, death, and I mean not to offend you in saying this, is not really something that I plan on tackling anytime soon. As much as I wish this universe remained a utopia in its emptiness, the rest of the pantheon along with the Architect seems to have other ideas about it. The reason for my visit today and the motive behind my questioning is entirely personal." Melantha stopped there, for a second hesitating to continue on. What would happen if he refused to help? Of course, she would have to find another way. Her determination would not deteriorate due to one small step back.

The frown upon Katharsos' face and tinges of green in his flames didn't conceal his disappointment very well.

"I want to learn to reproduce what you are doing here, albeit in a smaller, individual if you will, scale. Would it be possible to create the necessary conditions that would enable the burning of memories without the soul breaking down due to it?"

"So you have come to ask for my assistance," he concluded. "I could help you do this, but I must question whether I should."

"I must admit, you would not be gaining much, if anything, from helping me achieve this. I have no real offer I can put forth in exchange for this type of knowledge. However, much like how you have a role and a purpose to fulfil, so do I. By helping me with this, you would be contributing towards the eventual realization of my purpose and the Architect's plans for this universe," Melantha said, the latter part of her speech being especially taxing for her to admit, considering she still had doubts about the Architect's motives.

"What part of your role pertains to meddling with the memories of others?" He stopped to think for a moment, realizing that she might see hypocrisy in that. "I destroy memory in order to recycle souls; besides, the dead need not clutch onto memory. I think it natural and good that life may begin upon a blank slate and each soul can make of its own existence what it will, its experience fresh and unsullied by its predecessors. For what cause would you tamper with the memories of the living?"

Melantha sighed, seemingly abandoning trying to conceal her true intentions. "It's not so much as tampering with other's memories as tampering with my own memories."

There was an instant where a dozen prismatic colours flashed rapidly through Katharsos' bewildered eyes. He blinked, a strange look upon his face, and rested there confounded and visibly struggling to comprehend what he'd just heard. His eyes asked, 'Why?'

"I.. I have been suffocating in self-doubt and uncertainty ever since our summoning that fateful day by the Architect. You yourself were not present when it happened since you left right after awakening, but I chose to ask Him a simple question, one that any of the other gods could have asked in my place." The goddess turned her back to Katharsos, the darkness around her fluctuating erratically, evidently influenced by her roiling emotions.

"Yet, he did not even deign to answer such a simple question. Instead, he showed a level of disdain towards me for even thinking of questioning him that completely shattered whatever illusion his 'brainwashing' had induced upon me." Melantha flew closer to the soul pyre, however, the little bit of heat emitted from it was barely felt by her.

"Have you ever stopped and considered why? Why were we summoned in this universe? Every single moment since being brought here from the endless Beyond, I have pondered on this question. At first, I came to a single conclusion, that we were just an experiment—his playthings if you will. From atop his throne, he watches as we go along our lives, a false sense of freedom and purpose instilled in our minds that most other gods take for granted. What purpose? Smoke and mirrors, and nothing more..."

"I once vowed to myself to stop worrying about His motives behind our summoning, but time and time again I have broken that vow. I know that If I continue to have these doubts, there will come a day that I will break. I will fly into a rage and start destroying everything around me. Evidently, the Architect would not have any of it. That would also be the moment I cease. In the end, I decided that the only way to prevent that from happening would be to seal away my memories of that time, maybe even destroy them along with any doubts I have. By curbing my own self-destructive thoughts, I will gain the ability to survive under the shadow cast by Him."

Turning her attention to Katharsos once more, Melantha continued. "This is the reason behind my visit. You are evidently the only deity well versed in the matters of souls and hence, the only one that I can ask for help in this matter. What say you?"

In his attentive state of listening, Katharsos had appeared deathly silent and still and pallid the whole time, or as close to those things as flames could ever be. When Melantha finally stopped speaking, he still remained quiet in his contemplation. For a long long time, she had the pleasure of waiting.

Who knew if it was an hour or a day or a week that passed? It might have been easier to track the time by counting the endless souls that were arrived before the duo. There were the spirits of plankton and plants and critters (and still a fair few broken ones from Beyond) but the tides of their wispy forms seemed to all meld together into a meaningless blur.

"I think that you are rash. Do you not see that fault in yourself--that you jump to conclusions so quickly?" were the words that he finally spoke. The irony there would eluded him.

"...but if you have contemplated yourself and deemed your mind's destination true, and this the surest path, then who am I to deny you?"

"I wish I could find a better solution, but this is the only thing I can currently think of. Maybe one day, in the future, I will be able to release myself of this self-induced restriction without the aforementioned consequences..."

"You have swayed me," he assured her. He took a moment to internally breathe. "Burning away the intangible is no small feat, but not beyond your capability, especially given my tutelage. The first step for this, as with all things, is to breathe and reflect..."








Turn 11




The Lycan Covenant



Attolia



The Mustaqilun Tribe



Orr'gavol: The Hammersworn




God of Death, Prince of Astral Fires


His mind and vision were engulfed by madness. A ringing reverberated incessantly from all around; there were dancing flames within that strange place just beyond the corner of his sight, but even so there were sharp lances of icy pain that pierced his mind, and there was a familiar scent that conjured hazy memories of panic and terror. Some overpowering blunt force had struck his mind and shattered it like glass, and now there were only shattered memories left swirling about in the schism that remained. All of the trauma and the pain was still there, but now it was oppressive and omnipresent.

What is this? What am I?

A name--Katharsos...

I am become Death: Preserver of the World, Keeper of the Cycle, Guardian of Life.


Katharsos blinked sharply, and just like that, he reclaimed his lucidity and was suddenly made aware of his surroundings.




The concussive pain and the strange sensations that had wracked his mind until that moment hadn't left him. No, they had only grown worse. With his stupor broken, the garbled and distant ringing was now accentuated by the vivid screaming and wailing of too many souls to count. They voices of billions of lost souls in varous states of agony mixed together into a maddening cacophony, and there was no escaping from it--at least, not for him. He heard them all. He sensed their collective misery and pain so acutely that it was as a burden upon him, too.

There were other things, too. Something was inside of him. He felt it, the foreign object, inside the fiery prison that was his mouth. The scintillated light of a strange crystal shone through gaps in his teeth, reflecting brazen glow of his own body (a massive, detached head made of writhing flames, he realized!) as it propelled him onward. At first he felt bewildered, but understanding came within the span of a few instants--he had been summoned here by a great Enlightened Being alongside many others. But whilst those others were still manifesting or bickering or coming to grips with their reality, Katharsos had been so driven by his instinct and his purpose that he had leaped onto his awaiting crystal and left the Architect's palace before he had even truly become cognizant of what he was doing.

What was he doing?

Saving the spirits, of course. The souls were his to watch after. He swore an oath!

When? What oath?

His reverie ended as he rocketed past a wailing collection of spirits. Immediately he wrenched his head around with enough force to shift the crystal such that it began carrying him to the left, and then back around to circle towards the stray souls. But when he looked out to where they had been, they were all gone!

He summoned even more of his strength to twist his head farther around, and upon wheeled all the way back the spirits came into his vision once more. They were right behind him, being swept along in his wake. Of course they were. He was a shepherd of souls, and any such spirits in his vicinity could be made to go where he directed them. That would make this long task easier.

He soared back and forth through the cold and dark depths of space, collecting a dozen souls here, one or two stray ones there, sometimes great groups of a few thousand all huddles together as if for warmth. He could hardly blink without gathering another one or two, but still, there were so many that awaited his call. And these were just those that remained adrift in the cold of these upper Spheres; there were untold millions cast into all other far corners of the universe as a result of the diaspora caused by the Great One's careless expulsion of all the lesser souls.

Katharsos looked down to the blue jewel below, a place that he instinctively knew to be the most perfect and balanced of all Spheres. seat of this universe's future, the inevitable origin of mortal life--Galbar. It looked even more beautiful in the light. The God of Death turned his gaze to observe the distant sight of Heliopolis' blinding radiance. Already the other gods were making progress with their works. Soon they would have need for souls if they were to create any forms of life to populate and glorify the world, yet all of these souls he gathered were broken.

"Ahahaha, ahahahaha!"

From the great throngs of wailing dead that were swept along by the warmth of his wake, Katharsos witnessed with crystalline clarity the apparition of a single man that laughed maniacally, chanting strange and unknowable words between cackles as he lashed out at all behind him.



There in the crowd were all manner of ruined forms. Spectral reflections of beast, men, and things altogether alien were all congregated before him. There were some that remembered what they had been, and warped their appearance to take on such favored forms. Others appeared as they had when they succumbed to death. There were some with horrific wounds that still seeped ethereal blood; perhaps they were warriors who fought and died in a place so distant and far into the past that it was may as well have just been the stuff of fevered dreams.

"Ask the great bright One! He'll know," he heard one childlike voice whisper among the deafening tumult.

"W̴i̴l̸l̶ ̸m̵y̷ ̶h̶e̸a̴d̶ ̴g̴r̵o̸w̷ ̶b̷a̵c̷k̵?̵S̶̼̤͗õ̵̞̱̫m̴̩̲̍͂̑ȇ̸̘t̶̞͖̽̓h̶̡̫͛ị̴̼̝̄́͠n̴̲͕̆ǵ̵̠͕̥̒ ṙ̸͍̺̩͉͚͙͖̖̱͔͉̜͉̈͂̒̈́͊̈́̆̃̋͑̽̈́̅͘i̸̡̡͖̯͕̤̫̯̗̮͕̳͙͍̔̈͒́͘͜͜͜p̴̨͇̻̦̝̗̻̯̜̼̤͐͌̑͊̾̌̅̈̇̇̿̊͜p̸̘̝̖͈͇̻̥͎͓̖̳̪͓͐̈́̎̄̀͗̈̽͗͠e̶̦̠̫̲͔͇̲̹͍̜̺̰͠ͅd̸̢̦̻̮́̂̂̇̊̃͒̅͘͝͝ ̸̞͐͂͠ȉ̶̘̰̱t̴̟̚ ̵͇̽ȍ̷͉͝f̵̢̧̳̅̋f̵̯̭̒̿!"

Katharsos looked upon the speaker, the revolting husk of a girl that had been gnawed at and twisted by the terrible Things in the Beyond. The expression of his eyes flickered with the faint light of horror, and the crimson flames of his head withered and became a sickly yellow. He wept a single tear of ash, and then finally addressed the souls.

"I was once a great healer," he found himself saying. "My old memories are...returning. I know what can be done for you, what must be done to one day make you whole again...please, step into my light."

The fury of the fires within him swelled until it became so great that it cracked the crystal inside his maw. Odd astral fires, cold to the touch, raged and consumed the inanimate crystal. Katharsos opened his mouth and a great glowing ember of light came forth. Though she had no head and no face, the girl's spirit seemed to smile as it advanced to the front of the crowd. She was the first to lay a hand upon the golden orb.

"Ő̵͈̒͜h̵͈͐̏,̸̼̉̃"i̵̠͛͠t̴̡̝̮̿ ̸̗͉̳͐͝ͅf̶̙͗e̶̛͍̟̿́̊e̴̓ͅl̵͉̮͊s̴̰̍...w̴͙̟̘̎̽̏̕ͅa̴̹͉̓̎͒̐̊r̷͍̰͎̟̳̫̖̕m̸̌͂͂̔̉̕͠ͅ!

A sepulchral tide swept forward as other lost souls rushed closer in an attempt to bask in its warmth. And then there was a flash, and suddenly there was all aflame. A massive inferno roared to life and engulfed them all in its dull light. Some struggled for a few moments, but then the astral fires began to eat at their memories, and their struggled ended. They squirmed like insects caught in a spider's web, shaking in cathartic spasms as they relived every flaming memory. Great plumes of sickly smoke billowed forth into the cold expanse of space as a byproduct of the burning souls, along with countless tiny flakes of near-invisible ash. The smoke was a noxious thing anathema to life--the very quintessence of death. So the god breathed deeply and drew it all about him lest it pollute the world. But the ash was just the opposite, being the metaphorical clay from which new life and new souls would be formed. To watch it drift down to Galbar and away into the other Spheres almost made Katharsos feel solace.

Almost.

He didn't know how many millions of souls he'd just condemned to oblivion. While the other gods feuded or played, sculpted or philosophized, Katharsos was alone in space left to dig graves and build pyres. He envied all the others--for who among them could ever claim to bear a burden as heavy as his?--but begrudged them not. Someone had to do this; it was the only way. Those souls had been so weathered and corrupted that they were far beyond the ability of his warm flames to ever heal, if indeed he still possessed such a potential to heal. But they were not beyond the capacity of his otherworldly fires to purify.

He let out a long and drawn out sigh, somehow oblivious to the faroff explosion of a Solar Furnace, the upheaval of entire continents on Galbar, the Architect's never-ending stare...he only saw the billions of souls that remained for him to gather and recycle. It was not feasible to fly about the cosmos gathering them all and herd them together to set aflame. He needed a more permanent solution, so he claimed the empty Sphere that he drifted through. It was a dark and cold and distant and abandoned one; only Melantha's equally gloomy lair seemed nearby. As none of his immortal peers wanted to occupy such a plane, it seemed a fine place for Death to lurk and do its work in serene quiet.

Over the course of some meaningless time that might have been mere hours or countless decades, Katharsos assembled a thousand great firepits. They sat suspended everywhere in his Sphere, wrapped all the way around the Galbar's plane of view and scattered across the night sky. At the heart of every pyre was a singular tiny ember. The embers themselves glowed far too dimly to be seen from below, but the blinding light of the gigantic conflagrations came closer than anything else to rival the brilliance of Asceal's own solar furnaces. It was only their great distance from the other Spheres, as well as the hazy smoke of death that was growing to shroud the entire Sky of Pyres, that obscured and dimmed them to the point that from Galbar's surface they appeared as nothing but distant stars.

And distant they were, but not so distant that their pull could be resisted! Unseen by the living or those that knew not to look, Katharsos had been softly stirring the fabric of the Spheres themselves. From what had started as soft ripples there had grown a great maelstrom that extended all the way from the Sky of Pyres down to the surface of Galbar, and then its pull reached through the other gateways to reach even farther. Slowly, but surely, stray souls were being gathered up in that maelstrom and swept into the clutches of Death. A thousand more of them arrived every instant, but Katharsos had pyres enough for all.

After setting aflame some odd billionth soul, he no longer felt quite so emotional about it (inwardly or outwardly) as he had the first time. There were hardly any more tears of ash that fell from his burning eyes as he witnessed the memories of the dead transform into nothingness. There was already plenty of ash raining down, after all.

@Cyclone
I did see it and once I did I removed my interest.


So to make sure we're on the same page, you're saying that you do not want to join, then?
@Dealdric

Hey, did you see the Discord link near the top of the first post? Come on in and say hi!


They took shape and scurried about so quickly...it was jarring to have so much motion, so much vibrancy, all of this life in his lonely world of dust and dark. But his one great eye kept track of them all, nonetheless. In the wake of the first one's departure the other gods began to gain their bearings, some faster than others; however, only one had the audacity to address him.

She had only a simple inquiry, "Why?"

His piercing gaze had already all but impaled her, but the moment that the word began to leave Melantha's lips -- or was it an instant before? -- the ancient god began to tense and shift in his throne so as to face even more directly at her, and by that point his eye was practically swallowing her whole. The depths of his black pupil were bottomless and unfathomable, yet even still, one could sense his anger in there without even seeing it. The very question had seemingly offended him.

'What could you hope to know of such things? Your mind could not fathom what I am,' the cyclops whispered without lips. Though she did not escape his eye, for none ever could, his stiffened body relaxed ever so slightly as he spoke louder, addressing them all. "My cause is beyond your understanding, but my instructions are not. When I give them, I expect that they will be obeyed."

As he spoke, there was one goddess wreathed in fiery red hair and equally fiery fury. Even as some other struggling divine fought to free itself from the red one's overbearing grasp, the fiery Seihdhara met his eye with two of her own. Her hands reached down to the ground, and finding no loose stones, used a titanic grip to tear free chunks of the palace's tiled ground. And then there was a whistling in the air as she hurled the first stone at his massive visage.

Her aim was true, but the stone never struck. By his will, it froze in the air and was suspended halfway through its arc, as was the second stone, and the third. And the god upon his throne was furious.

"I will teach you to respect your elder."

There was a slight flick of his wrist, and suddenly an explosion of light erupted from beneath Seihdhara. She tried to jump in panic, but that movement brought her into a collision with some unseen object. She flailed her arms, but they couldn't move, for the magical seals had enveloped her body and trapped her in what might as well have been an invisible sarcophagus.

A small stir of his finger made the cage contort in strange ways, and for a brief moment the air simmered and light bent as the barriers came to press into her long tresses of hair and become entangled.

The god that embodied confusion began to offer some riddle, its quick clicking and jabbering coinciding with a momentary pause in the Architect's speech; however, there was hardly time for her to contemplate its puzzle even if she'd wanted to.

The Enlightened One leaned forward in his throne, watching Seihdhara squirm. 'The fortitude of your frame, the blood in your hair and flesh, the very air that you breathe. I gave you all of this! Before I brought you here, you were nothing but a worthless echo, a formless shadow, doomed and trapped in the Beyond. Such a waste.'

With a shearing pull that painfully tugged at her hair and tore a few tufts free, the seals shattered. The force of their breaking threw Seihdhara onto her back, on the cold hard tile of his palace floor. The Architect's eye told her to flee and thank the stars for his mercy, but perhaps that was simply a projection of her own imagination.

Quickly the Architect's expression once again became unreadable as he followed the motions and doings of all the other gods, even those that had departed.

Help! I don't know what's happening!


Timespan: 55 to 110 years since the Soul Heist

It is now the third age, where each god gets 8 Free Points per turn.

This is the Age of Lords. The chaos of the wilds is still a terror to the mortal folk of Galbar, but as they grew, it has also become a challenge. The lands are ripe for the birth of civilizations, great and small. The start of a mighty empire may require only the smallest boon from a god or two. The Architect awaits the blossoming of the worshipping peoples with anticipation.

This Age, FP can be used for the following acts:
  • Create an Artefact (Limit 2 each, must be left in the hands of mortals)
  • Create a monument (Limit 1 each, must be on Galbar)
  • Form a holy order
  • Teach an idea or technology
  • Bestow a one-time gift to mortals beyond their ability to craft
  • Bless or Curse (Groups of mortals only)
  • New act: 1 FP - Create an impressive and/or fantastical landmark or piece of architecture (Limited to the size of a large citadel or a small town, give or take. Basically a variant of the one-time gift above)


TAKE NOTE: Azura and Asceal's broadcast via the Alma to present all mortals with the choice of their fate after death has constituted a world-wide, high-impact event! This is a landmark in the passage of time from which years shall be measured, until such time as a more appropriate event takes place.



A blast from the past! Everything below here is now outdated.


A singular droplet of water seeped through earth and stone before tumbling into the void below. It fell and fell in silence. Then, the sound of its splash suddenly and finally echoed through the cavernous expanse of a bleak hall which lay beneath the empty shell of a barren rock, which itself was perched upon the very boundary of existence as it overlooked a singular pristine jewel, which was the world called Galbar floating dark blue amidst a black sea of nothingness.

The Architect slowly rose from his throne and clenched a fist. His body's strength was fleeting, but like a faithful companion it still returned whenever he called upon it. He stood alone on a great dais. An island in the center of the flooded and utterly dark hall. Up from the deathly still waters jutted massive columns of stone. They rose to soaring heights before they finally tapered to the earth above. The Architect turned his head upward and raised his fist.

'Part,' his mind wordlessly commanded, and the earth shuddered, and a great gash opened in the ceiling as the stone above slid away. A dim attempt of light spilled into his ancient palace, spread thin; the sky outside was devoid of any sun or star save that of the many great glowing seals and bolts of magic that held the Barrier together. Where before there had been but the smallest drop, now a thousand mighty cataracts of water sheeted down from aquifers above to cascade down into his hall between the columns.

This would provide ample enough space.

The ancient reached into the unknowable nothingness of space and came to rest his hand upon one of the many intangible seals that he'd erected to protect his creation from interlopers. He faltered for a moment, but then dispelled his doubts. He had only one eye, only one ambition, and so he knew that there was only one perfect path to follow. He had meditated for many aeons and seen that this was the shortest path.

So it was with an indomitable resolve that he tightened his grip enough to shatter any matter as if it were glass. However, the seal still held firm, for it was of his making and his works were not so easily broken.

'Open.'

In the very instant the command had been conjured, the water’s fall ended to shout away the hall’s quiet. A rift opened a blinding flash of radiance. Primordial Light, Fire, Ruin, and Chaos wreathed the Architect’s weathered hand as the boundless energy of untold hordes of souls surged through the gap and into his world. With a voracity greater than a thousand raging waterfalls they billowed outward. His palace heaved, but by his will it endured and was preserved from the raging power of the Beyond.

'CLOSE!'


Within the blink of an eye it was all over.

The one-eyed Architect was left with a cacophony of wailing souls, detached thoughts, and stray memories. Formless though they were, many were already trying to manifest forms and inflict themselves upon his creation. Though loathsome to his senses, all of them were of use. Some more than others. He needed to separate the grain from the chaff.

"Baser beings, your place is yonder," he decreed, and suddenly the discordant choir was all but snuffed. All but a few of the greatest souls were banished from his palace into the cold space of their new plane.

'I must rest, now,' he whispered, barely audible, as he sank back into his throne. His one unflinching eye bored into each and every one of the remaining souls from the middle of his strange face as they took their natural shapes.

The air was laden with divine essence, and it seeped into the spirits assembled before him. It made them into something more.

He waited in utter silence, his brown flesh statuesque to the point of blending into the rock of his throne. He was entirely invisible if not for the power that he radiated, the air that simmered about him, and of course that unnerving oculus that seemed to dominate his skull, and indeed the entire room.

"I bid you welcome to the realm of my creation," his words finally resonated. "I am the Architect of this place, of these Spheres. I have chosen you serendipitous few to be my builders, my hands, the extension of my will. There is much work that remains before us."

Massive crystals broke the surface of the dark depths of the water. They rose up like creeping fingers from below, then floated like icebergs, and then slowly parted with the water and came to levitate in the air. "You know what must be done," he declared, and suddenly they did.

The first among, some floating face of fire, timidly ascended into the air and came to rest upon one of the crystal platforms a short ways above. For just those first few moments, all of them were one, at peace, and knew each other perfectly; they sensed face’s name, saw the turmoil in his mind, and felt his trepidation. But they also felt a strange fire deep within him that had been kindled--like a shepherd witnessing his flock's escape, Katharsos wanted nothing more than to chase after all those fleeing souls that had been cast out into space.

"FLY!"


With the ancient god's order echoing behind, Katharsos felt the crystal accelerate to some unknowable speed, the power of its binding him safely to its surface even as it soared through the darkness of the void.

Each of the remaining gods simultaneously became once more aware of the Architect's unwavering gaze. His sight had a smell, wretched, in thought and in body. And with it was little time left to comprehend further. That giant pupil defied logic and made eye contact with each and every one of the scattered gods at the same time, silently commanding them to take their places.
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