User has no status, yet


User has no bio, yet

Most Recent Posts

Since we're already posting CS's, here's Celestine, goddess of war.

Here I am and here I will say that I will once more join Divinus.
And Then There Was Silence

Looking down across the bridge of The Divine Palace, Ruina blinked slowly. The planet teemed with demons. Small pockets of resistance could be seen here and there, but ultimately the battle for Galbar had by and large been lost. Not that they didn’t fight, but simply through the fact that for each demon they had put down, two more had taken their place. The simply endless numbers had taxed what resources they had and, in the end, retreat was the only option that ensured survival.

The Galbar had been ravaged by the presence of outsiders, insidious and vile as they tainted each land that they came across in their search of Aspect-Shards to steal and the prison of their monstrous master. Orsus was entrapped by the weavings of a terrible arachnid that unleashed its hungering spawn upon the life there. The Tree of Harmony was poisoned, transforming mana into a deadly plague that eroded all it touched. The seas became toxic sludge and the earth disgorged its filth; mangled corpses and nightmarish monstrosities. More fiends fell from the sky, and the influx of demons spread farther across the Galbar.

Unfortunately, their retreat hadn’t stopped until they left the planet entirely. Now trapped in the one place that could not yet be reached, there was only one strategy left that made sense: Wipe the board clean. To achieve this Ruina had been storing up energy. She would need every ounce of strength for what was asked of her.

A motion behind her drew her attention, and Ruina turned to face Calamitas. For all the power that she had been given, and all the demons her spear had split, not even she had made a dent. Even after thousands of kills. Calamitas regarded Ruina silently, and Ruina spoke softly, unsure of who or what might be listening. ”The time has come. You have been given all of the tools needed to execute our plan. Go. When I join you, Galbar shall be no more.”

Calamitas nodded before turning away. With several strong flaps of her wings, she ascended upward, and soon a more divine aspect took over her flight as she headed towards the inky blackness of space. Ruina watched as she left, making sure that nothing was following. Once several minutes had passed and Ruina was sure there was no pursuit, she turned towards the doors to the throne room of The Divine Palace. It was time.

Walking softly, Ruina entered the throne room. It was there that she saw Homura and the still-imprisoned Monarch of All. Stepping forward, Ruina announced herself. ”I believe it is time, Homura. Are you prepared?”

“No, but we do not possess enough time for me to properly prepare. I believe we have enough strength at our disposal to prevent our enemies from claiming all of our world though. I shall summon my champions now.” Homura answered, shifting her gaze from the fallen Monarch of All to Ruina, concealing the eye that held the sealed Elder Brother behind a black ribbon.

There was a pulse of celestial power, as three portals opened and connected to various locations scattered across the cosmos. The risks were mitigated, considering that the majority of the portals reached realms or sanctuaries away from the threat of the demons, yet there was still ever the danger of an outsider or intruder slithering through undetected. Homura glanced at Ruina with a subtle hint of apprehension, warning her to be ready for whatever stepped through.

Through the smallest portal came a very small figure, adorned in an ornate attire and with many aspects of her appearance resembling Homura. She was not alive however, but a lingering remnant of Voi’s creation: A soul that had come from the afterlife.

Emerging from the other two larger portals were figures much more identical in features akin to Homura; the same face and regalia, with one even wielding a spear similar in design to Daybringer. The nearly indistinguishable duo each wielded divine power, though they both lacked Aspect-Shards that granted them the strength of deity with greater command of the cosmos.

With the arrival of the three, the portals were closed behind them.

The smaller champion refrained from speaking, merely observing her new surroundings with evident awe, but the other twin simulacrums of the red goddess moved closer to each other and wore guarded looks as they stared at both Ruina and Homura. The two demigoddesses each wielded artifacts that were incredibly powerful considering their lesser might, and their cautious demeanor was swiftly becoming more hostile.

“We will fight you, if we must. Let us leave. Let us end this, and there will be no need for bloodshed.” The demigoddess wielding the silver spear stated in a voice exactly like the voice of her maker, and it was as though Homura were merely talking to herself in front of a mirror.

“It’s a… pleasure to see you again, Mother.” The soul of the small champion said hesitantly, as she slowly strode forward and bowed respectfully to both the red goddess and Ruina in an attempt to undo the aggressive atmosphere coming from the other two that were summoned. “Your grace.” She added, with evident reverence to the Goddess of Destruction.

“You have yet to be introduced to each other. Sister, these are my champions; Desire and Harmony - two that have ascended and attained the power of the Divine, though it seems they intend to use it against me. The small one is Pride; my sixth champion and the Keeper of Keltra.” Homura announced, and her words were accompanied by the roar of flames within the brazier that held the Phoenix. Rivers of pearlescent fire surged forth above where the Monarch of All lay, and coalesced into the colossal six-winged spirit.

“I was wondering when I would see you again, little one.” Charis sang as she interrupted, the chorus of otherworldly voices that was her song echoed faintly, before there was the sudden sound of something shattering originating from the chthonic spirit, and then the Phoenix was standing among them clad in a vaguely human visage that she had conjured for herself.

Ruina looked first to the twins that appeared, and frowned slightly as they both proclaimed hostility. Speaking aloud herself, she did her best to quell their bloodlust. ”There will be no fighting, at least if all goes well. Today is different. You will both see, in time.” Ruina then looked to the smaller of the three new arrivals and gave a slight bow in return. It was good to see that even in less-optimal times manners had not died out. That would make things a bit more palatable. Speaking again, she offered a small greeting in return. ”Greetings to you as well. It would be better if we had met under nicer circumstances, but at least we had the opportunity to meet.”

The simulacrum called Desire that currently did not wield a weapon pointed at her maker simply let out a sigh. One of her eyes was noticeably a different color, an emerald green instead of ruby red, and she chose to shrug. “A family reunion, great. We’re not coming back though. That’s not what we desire any longer.”

“Let it be known; we are not your enemies, but we have forsaken you just as you have forsaken us and the Galbar.” The one called Harmony added, without lowering her spear.

Homura sheathed Daybringer within her palm, and then let her hands fall to her sides as she stood exposed. “I mean neither of you harm, but I require your power to protect what remains of our world.”

“You did not protect us when we needed you before… many times… Why should we aid you?” Harmony asked with her bitterness hidden beneath the impassive mask that Homura so commonly employed. It was difficult to discern how obstinate she would be.

“I have done what I must to ensure the survival of as many that could be saved. You do not comprehend the threat of annihilation yet, despite the gift of divinity.” Homura rebuked, as the subtle hints of her anger were felt as a wave of restless heat spread through the throneroom.

“Allow me to make amends for the times I was absent…” She intoned afterwards.

Homura raised a hand wrapped in ribbons, and gestured towards Pride, as divine ichor poured forth from her bleeding palm and washed over the spectral champion. The ethereal essence that was Pride’s soul was once more enveloped in a body, restoring her to what she had been before her demise.

Neither Homura nor the two demigoddesses that opposed her spoke, as Pride expressed both relief and joy upon being given her life back; she breathed in the balmy breeze that passed through the divine palace, and felt the warmth upon her skin. Pride closed her eyes, and smiled slightly as she murmured reluctantly. “I forgive you a little, I suppose. Only a little…”

“You’re going to bribe us?” Desire asked with a hint of ire, that quickly became amusement, which was not a sentiment shared by Harmony.

“If you wish for our cooperation, then do not treat us like children. Explain why we should assist you, and what our assistance will entail.” The second demigoddess demanded.

“To stray from the Sacred Path would lead to our annihilation. You must aid us because there is no other alternative. I would give you greater power, and together we could create a renewed world removed from the danger of demons and despair.” Homura answered, as she began to walk towards Desire and Harmony.

“Stay where you are! Do not come near us, lest we strike you down!” Harmony shouted, and the enigmatic mask she wore was shattered, but Homura did not cease coming closer and closer as she spoke.

“You will not strike me.” Homura proclaimed, as she brushed aside the sharp point of the silver spear and stood before the two demigoddesses. With an unseen yet overwhelmingly potent force, she brought both Desire and Harmony into her arms and embraced them. Neither of them could fight back or resist. Desire only let out a laugh as she joined her sister in uncontrolled tears as they were held against their will, the latter dropping her useless weapon to the floor.

“I am your mother, and you are my daughters.” The words were quiet, though possessive of a firm resonance that enveloped the three of them. Pride demurely glanced towards Charis and Ruina, before rushing to join her mother and sisters, wrapping her arms around Homura’s waist from behind. The strange family exuded a paradoxical aura of love and hatred, as pain and relief melded together.

“Monster… someday we will be free of you…” Harmony whispered with defiance, despite the docile state of submitting she still struggled against.

“Hmm… perhaps.” Homura mused, stroking the heads of both Desire and Harmony with the shadow of a smile.

“How irksome.” Pride muttered joyfully, and ever ironically, content as she was not alone.

They remained entwined in each other's grasp for a time, until Homura described how the Galbar must be sundered to prevent the demons from tainting it further. She did not promise solace or salvation, only an opportunity to begin anew. A chance to create a better world.

“Return to me, and let us be reborn. From great Destruction comes new Creation.” Homura affirmed, stepping back and shifting her one-eyed gaze to Ruina as she awaited an answer from her children.

“As you have said; there is no alternative.” Harmony relented and agreed, aware that Desire and Pride had already decided to align with their manipulative mother.

“Then let us begin.”

It was here that Ruina spoke up to explain what would be done in the coming hours. ”As goddess of destruction, the cleansing of Galbar’s surface falls to me. I have been storing up energy, but it is nowhere near enough. What is going to be requested of everyone here today is that you will all funnel your combined energy through me, and with it I will be able to essentially revert Galbar to its original and unmodified state. Think of it like what a river will do to a rock submerged within it over time, except the time is going to be much shorter than that when water does the work. When I am finished, Galbar will be as a blank sphere once more. With hope, nothing will survive.”

With the plan laid out, Ruina folded her arms and waited to see the reactions from all that were presently gathered.

“The taint has seeped beneath the surface, sister. The core must be destroyed entirely, or else the insidious demons shall take shelter in the depths once again. The origin must be sundered.” Homura impassively remarked, while the others were still processing what they had been told. There was a shifting of worried looks, careful consideration, and somber acceptance of what must be done among the trinity that had chosen to aid in the destruction of the Galbar.

“I have watched and prayed as you began your quest to collect those that could protect themselves across the Galbar. You have rescued so many more mortals, but now we must swiftly retreat and finally conclude this cosmic conflict.” The words from their stoic mother eased a little of the regret and stress exuding from Harmony and Desire, but mere words would not be enough until their task was complete.

“We are ready.” Harmony said, as she and the other two champions of Homura stepped forward and showed their resolve. “Our strength is yours.” The trio proceeded to proclaim, before the influx of their remaining power was halted by their mother when she raised a hand.

“Your mortal halves cannot channel the amount of energy we need. I shall bestow upon you Aspect-Shards, granting you complete status as a deity. Accept these!” Homura declared as she reached within herself and retrieved the shards of War and Protection which she offered to the two demigoddesses.

Desire claimed War, as Harmony received Protection, and upon touching the sacred crystals of the cosmos they were cleansed of their mortality. The two shards sank into their flesh which was no longer merely a molded mingling of primordial materials, but a manifestation of their minds that would allow them to appear before the mortals that could not comprehend the true shapes of the Divine.

Homura remained silent as she observed the two goddesses that were familiarizing themselves with their attained aspects and abilities, until her gaze shifted to Pride who stood alone as a mortal amidst multiple deities. The childlike champion stayed quiet, content with her current position and power, but faltered when her mother approached her. “Your time will come, daughter. I have a separate task for you and Charis…”

Once more, Homura reached within herself and retrieved two of her Aspect-Shards; her Souls and Stars, before bestowing them upon Pride and her Phoenix. The two shards were kept within the brazier that Charis commonly resided inside, as Homura softly added after assigning the two of them an arduous quest. “Stride ever onward upon the Sacred Path.”

Pride simply smiled when she and Charis departed the palace to complete their task, as Homura returned to where she had stood before and addressed all that had been gathered and remained. The one-eyed goddess looked at each of the other deities, before setting her sight upon Ruina. “We would now forge you an artifact that should possess enough strength for you to succeed in sundering all that has been created and all that has been corrupted.” Homura tilted her head with a hint of concern hidden behind curiosity. “As Aethel once said, the power you will wield shall be overwhelming - Are you prepared?”

Ruina stood silently as the shards were handed out. She recalled the time she had watched Ea Nebel take hers, and pondered on where she might’ve gone. Regardless, that was something that couldn’t be dwelled overly on right now. As she was told that she would hold power overwhelming, Ruina nodded before speaking up. ”I am as ready as I shall ever be.”

Taking a moment to stretch and roll her shoulders, Ruina waited to see what would come.

Homura arranged the other two goddesses, asking for all of them to stand in a specific formation as she summoned the shard of Symmetry and manifested a myriad of mirrors between all of them. The red goddess and her simulacrums vanished, however their presence could be sensed just beyond the mirrors that suddenly all shattered and revealed three exact reflections of Ruina herself staring back at her and each other.

“The aspect of Destruction, empowered fourfold.” The Ruina where Homura had stood said as she held her hands outwards, close to each other and palms upraised. The reflected shard of Destruction that she possessed began to stir as it poured immense power into the center of their formation, which slowly coalesced into a vague and shimmering shape. The third and fourth Ruina joined in the ritual, providing more and more of their own strength into what was burgeoning before them. The sacred weapon that would obliterate the Galbar and all those that would taint it. All that remained was the true goddess of Destruction’s contribution and command of it.

As the reflections each contributed their power, Ruina began to feel more and more disconnected from herself. She was still in control, but now it was almost as if she was looking down at herself rather than through her own eyes. Once all of the donated power was in place Ruina turned and began to carefully walk towards the main gate of the palace. Each step left behind a cracked outline of where Ruina’s foot had been, and Ruina herself took a moment to pause. Was she walking too hard? Or was her ability to destroy so profound and incontestable that even something wrought by The Monarch of All was merely dust to her? Still, she needed to see this through.

Making her way to the main gate, Ruina tried to push it open carefully. The wood cracked and splintered at her touch, and the gates were flung open with far more force than Ruina intended. But now she looked down upon Galbar, and slowly raised a hand. As her hand stretched outward, she felt her finger tug against what felt like a film overlaid across her vision. As she saw this film wrinkle slightly at her touch, she saw the warping of space and time around the crease. It was then that she understood. Even the fabric of reality was at her command.

Smoothing out the wrinkle her touch had made to restore things to what they were, Ruina reached out carefully for Galbar. As her hand eclipsed her view of it, a massive shadow overtook the planet. Then Ruina closed her hand. The response was immediate as dust began to spray from between her fingers. When Ruina released her hand, Galbar was cracked and broken, but still recognizable.

Then she brought her hands together, eclipsing the planet in shadow once more. With a thought, a bright red light began to filter through her fingers, and a deafening sound echoed throughout the universe as the once crown jewel of the cosmos ceased to be. But Ruina’s work was not finished. Batting aside the small dust that remained, Ruina turned her attention to the now orphaned moon. It too was crushed and destroyed in much the same way, and it was here that Ruina’s work was done.

But with such devastation finished, Ruina felt the channeled power begin to wane. She had little time left, and there was yet one more thing that she wished to do. Turning now, she looked through the mirrors of herself and at the deities behind them. Stepping forward, she approached the ragged frame of Homura and leaned down.

Planting a platonic kiss upon Homura’s forehead, Ruina unmade her worn and broken form for a brief moment before recomposing it by erasing her non-existence. There Homura would stand, untainted by the actions of containing the brother to The Monarch. Yet for all of Ruina’s efforts, Homura’s eye was still black.

It was here that Ruina felt the last of the power diminish, and now things seemed to shake and reverberate as Ruina began to look through her own eyes again. Blinking as she felt normal once more. She spoke softly. ”It is done. Galbar and its moon are no more. And Homura, I have done what I could to ease your suffering. You are not free of your destiny, but at least you will be able to meet it on your own terms.”

“Patience is ever a virtue, and I appreciate your kind generosity, sister. Yet… there remains only one thing left, and I ask for your aid again.” Homura replied, before gesturing to the incapacitated Monarch of All as she further explained. “He must be imprisoned akin to His ill-brother, until we bring balance back to the world. Our combined power should hopefully contain Him long enough while we work towards this equilibrium.”

Ruina nodded, feeling slightly groggy as normality was restored for her. Raising a hand, she spoke gently in order to try and hide it. ”Very well. Lead the way, I will do what I am able.”

“We shall forge a Locus with our remaining power and Daybringer as a machina. It will be weaker than the cage that holds His brother, but since He is still impaled by Warbreaker, He should not be capable of freeing Himself.” Homura said, as she began directing her celestial spear while it extended forth and intertwined itself repeatedly around the Monarch of All.

Harmony began entrapping the dethroned King in Heaven with her silver spear as well, weaving around the golden sections of Daybring and melding into a singular shifting spear of shimmering white metal. Desire retrieved a large red sword from her palm, and momentarily considered her involvement before joining as her blade surged forward like a sea of rubies splashed against the developing cage, slowly seeping into sections of it which became more reinforced. Unlike Harmony’s artifact which was consumed by the process, Desire’s weapon was returned to her and shrank back into her palm when she was finished. Both goddesses had expended the last of their strength and stepped back afterwards.

It was then that Ruina stepped forward. Placing a hand upon the developing cage she allowed some of her own power to flow into it, causing it to hum as it took on a deep red hue and began to have small arcs of electricity flow across its surface. Nodding to herself, Ruina stepped back before speaking. ”I believe it is finished. And I would caution against touching it.”

“Further tampering will have to wait as we are all too weak to handle any potential consequences. You have my gratitude. All of you.” Homura said, turning to face each of the deities and offering a respectful bow to them. The fatigue she felt could be heard in her voice, still imbued with divine authority, but tired after all that had been done and undone. She addressed Harmony and Desire with a content sigh. “We shall speak later. Return to Skydancer and speak with your sisters. We have gained a respite for now, so enjoy it.”

“We will talk later then?” Harmony repeated with hesitation and evident uncertainty, but composed herself quickly. Desire smiled slightly, and nudged Harmony from behind. The goddess of Protection nodded at her mother, before she and her sister departed for the ark that still soared outside the Divine Palace, leaving Homura and Ruina alone.

“I imagine you shall follow your daughter now. This is farewell then?” The red goddess asked, glancing at Ruina with an enigmatic expression.

Ruina nodded before looking upwards towards the infinite darkness of space for a few moments. Once she had looked back down, she spoke again. ”Yes. I have given her the tools needed to craft a sanctuary outside of perception where I will reside to watch over things. It is not death in a sense, but I will be very hard to reach. So. Yes. This is goodbye. I am sorry if you wished for me to stay, but… You’ve seen what I am capable of if given the opportunity, and I would want to spare whatever new generation of deities comes around from having to witness it should someone revoke mastery of myself from me.”

After a few moments pause Ruina would raise her arms slightly before speaking again. ”I will, however, give you a farewell hug if you wish.”

“I am told it is tradition, hence Honor requires such.” Homura moved to embrace Ruina, and further mentioned, with her incoming words causing the ethereal emerald to glitter as it visibly appeared before concealing itself. “I shall contact you through the star-stones if I have need, and you can contact me through the same method in emergencies, or if you simply wish to return. You will ever be welcome here, sister.”

Ruina nodded softly as she knelt down to properly hug Homura. Her tail even wrapped around the much smaller goddess to enhance the effect. She was silent for a few moments before nodding slightly, but even then she had less fortunate news to share as she leaned back to place her hands on the goddess’s shoulders. ”I am afraid that even that will prove difficult. If you wanted to make the connection, I would have to leave my sanctuary. But fear not, for I will always be watchful.”

Reaching for seemingly nothing, Ruina grasped the circlet that she had been given so long ago. Holding it gently, she spoke again. ”I have taken the time to slowly work His power out of it and replace it with my own, and in so doing I have increased where I am capable of seeing. Thus, what I wish to see, I will. Even when I am hidden away. I will keep tabs on you, and will intervene in the event that things seem dire.”

Releasing the circlet, Ruina would return her hand to Homura’s shoulder before speaking once more. ”So… I will be very difficult to reach. With this in mind, do you want anything else from me before I depart?”

Homura held her gaze, and answered slowly. “I would want you to remain here, but I do not wish to impose myself upon you… so there is no more that I could ask of you. I suppose, pray that we find peace and prosperity, wherever we go… until our paths cross again.”

Ruina nodded a few times before standing up, her tail unfurling from Homura. Speaking softly, she offered an assurance to the goddess. ”Fear not, for I will be watchful. Farewell, and good luck.” With that Ruina’s wings appeared, and she too left. Following the same path that Calamitas had taken earlier Ruina made her way towards the building sanctuary outside of even divine perception, and after a while neither she nor Calamitas could be found.

The red goddess stood alone now.

The pantheon had dwindled to so few still remaining alive after the apocalypse, with a handful among the Divine choosing to leave the Galbar and reside within realms of their creation where outsiders would not hunt them, while others had simply perished during the season of strife either murdered by the many monsters and traitorous siblings or slain by the taint spread by the Stigma. Homura let the silence in the heavenly palace linger as she pondered the troubles abundantly found in the past, and the troubles that would definitely be found in the future, for she sought the wisdom that would be required to proceed farther along the Sacred Path with its many arduous trials and tribulations. Homura sighed to herself.

This ending was just a new beginning as well. The beginning of another life filled with sorrow and joy, both beautiful and brutal in its wondrous way - another story to be told. Time passed, and the Eternal Cycle would continue its journey of endless death and rebirth, and only the secrets discovered in the unknown awaited with an answer that could truly conclude the return of repeating iterations.

Homura began her walk to Skydancer where she intended to speak with her daughters. After all that had happened, she did not wish to be alone anymore.

Ruin creates a champion.

Location: The Celestial Palace.
Interacting with: Homura (@Chris488)
Mentions: None in specific.

Ruina let out a concerned hum as she looked outward from the palace and down at Galbar. Things were going quite poorly, it would seem. Holding aloft the circlet of seeing that she had been given so long ago by The Monarch of All, Ruina still had an amount of hesitance to put it on again. However, she could slightly circumvent that problem by looking through it like a magnifying glass instead of harnessing its full power. It wasn’t ideal, but Ruina didn’t want the vengeful Monarch to have something to lash out at her with.

Even through this limited lens, the devastation that Ruina could see was rather bleak. It was excessive and unrefined. There was no opportunity to rebuild in a better and more refined way, no way to push people to reach beyond the boundaries that they believed themselves to have and attain strength previously thought impossible… Just death and finality. How uncivilized.

Sighing, Ruina spoke to herself gently. ”I suppose that since I am destruction incarnate it rightfully falls to me to see these blights removed, doesn’t it? But I wonder what I alone might do…” Setting aside the circlet of seeing, Ruina began to pace about the plaza as she considered what might be done. It was entirely possible for her to let fly orbs of destruction and coat Galbar with waves of raw destructive power enough to send anything back to the oblivion it came from… But would that then not make her the grand threat? Most likely, so it was off the table.

But to go and challenge these threats herself would likely be equally foolish. She didn’t know how they worked and if they would be vulnerable. What if they just ignored her capabilities entirely? What if they stole her powers from her? What if they stole her suit? These questions and more were left unanswered, and so Ruina resolved that perhaps it should not be her that went down to face them. But it could certainly be something that she made.

Turning to the main body of the plaza, Ruina began to focus. Raising a hand, she slowly traced a circle into the air, causing a glowing ring to appear upon the ground and fill with all manner of lines and runes. It was time for destruction to turn to creation. But as she began to bring the design of her champion into its final stages, she began to realize that she was not entirely alone…

“I had been wondering which path you would wander. So then this is your choice, Ruina?” Anath Homura asked, as she approached and gestured towards the runic ring with Daybringer, and continued impassively. “I confess, I am curious regarding the details of your creation.”

Raising an eyebrow at the sound of Homura’s voice, Ruina looked away from her work for a moment to make sure that it was indeed Homura before nodding and looking back to the circle before speaking up. ”Yes. I am going to attempt to measure just how vulnerable they are to me in order to ascertain just how useful in the coming conflict I will be. But since I do not wish to have my all taken from me, this will be more of a… Remote measurement.”

A pulse of red light came from the circle as bone, cartilage, and muscle began to weave themselves into shape. There was a thick and sickening sound of bones breaking and fusing along with muscle tearing and mending into form. Horrifying method of creation aside, the results were quite efficient, as the champion was stitched together quite firmly from the efforts. As things flowed, Ruina spoke once more. This time it was much quieter, as she was hesitant to deviate her concentration too much. ”My design for my champion is similar to that of my own suit, though hopefully different enough that anything they bring to bear will be less effective if tried against me.”

The forming champion had reached about waist-level by now, with strange digitigrade legs giving way to a surprisingly slim and feminine torso. In silence, Homura languidly strode along the perimeter of the circle, conveying no expression nor offering any comment on the process. She merely observed, neither interrupting nor intruding, yet her presence remained ever visible and closeby.

With little further commentary from Homura, Ruina focused her efforts on the creation of her new champion. With the torso now complete, the arms and head began to take shape. Wings of bone emerged from the beings back, and winglike protrusions of bone emerged from her head. Finally, in stark contrast to the more grotesque muscle and bone construction of the rest of Ruina’s new champion a pair of white feathered wings emerged from behind the wings of bone, being shielded from attacks by their presence, though of course the disturbing nature of the champion carried itself through in the form of a pair of four eyes appearing on the inside of the wings. Whether or not they truly contributed to the vision of the champion wasn’t entirely clear.

Now, at last, the champion moved under her own power. Turning her head side to side and appearing to look around, the being looked to Homura, and then looked to Ruina. Her vocalization came out as a series of almost incomprehensible sounds reminiscent of more organic sounding robotic beeps, but even though she didn’t use words she could still be comprehended through them. ”What is the task I am created for, mother?”

Ruina did not give an immediate answer to the question, instead taking a moment to walk around the champion slowly, nodding a few times at her handiwork. Once her brief inspection was done, she spoke up to answer her question. ”You, my daughter, are going to be the vanguard of the defense of Galbar. But you will not be going unprepared…”

With nothing more to say at the moment, Ruina began to craft something else. A spear of bone, quite similar in appearance to Ruina’s champion, began to take shape in her hands. For now Ruina was quiet, but Ruina’s champion now turned to look at Homura, studying her silently as she waited for whatever gift would be coming next. The red goddess tilted her head as she was staring back, before she spoke. “Have you chosen a name?”

At the question Ruina let out a hum before falling silent again. As the spear was finalized in its construction Ruina held it aloft for a few moments before offering it over to her champion. The champion took it firmly before holding it aloft, measuring its heft before lowering it to a neutral pose and nodding in approval. Now Ruina pointed at the glowing circle beneath the champion’s feet before bringing her finger sharply upwards. Tendrils of crimson energy began to flow into the champion, and Ruina spoke softly to answer Homura’s question. “I dub you Calamitas, my daughter. Bringer of calamity and destruction to the newly appeared foes, and give unto you my last gift.”

Following this, the symbol began to fade as the remaining energy was infused into both Calamitas and their spear. Afterwards, Homura held up her hand as she slowly approached Calamitas. “May I?” She asked, glancing upwards to meet the gaze of the much taller champion of destruction.

Calamitas looked down to Homura, silently weighing a response before gently leaning forward and holding the weapon out for Homura to examine. Shimmering limbs extended from behind the red goddess and accepted the spear, lowering so that it was held out afore Homura as her hands wrapped in ribbons reached out to touch it. Three aspect-shards in her collection began to exude a great aura that was visible to the eyes of the Divine; Honor, War, and Crafting.

“Hmm…” Homura stepped back as she grasped the spear, similar yet different from the weapon she primarily wielded herself. Daybringer receded into an iota of its previous size, sinking into the palm of the red goddess, as she started flourishing and twirling the Spear of Destruction. Time stood still as she began to dance, swirling with graceful serpentine strikes, and lithe pirouettes where she stood. Otherworldly music accompanied her performance, accentuating subtle motions with euphonious rhythms and evocative sounds that swifty summoned the near stars to the Divine Palace. The celestial children sparkled with radiant excitement as they whispered amongst themselves, the more lively amidst their number singing along with the ethereal music. Homura beckoned them with her serene visage and alluring gestures, calling for the one that would be worthy as the melody reached the crescendo. An amethyst came forward, and was accepted as the red goddess respectfully bowed when her performance concluded.

The Spear of Destruction was enveloped in a blinding white light, before sections of the sudden luminosity burned away, and Homura had guided the gemstone towards the weapon. Shifting symbols manifested upon the amethyst as it was set into the bone that comprised the blade, where the three pointed tips came together. The remainder of the light dispersed, and the weapon was as it was prior to the red goddess touching it, with only the addition of the amethyst. The numerous stars departed the Divine Palace, as Homura walked towards Calamitas and returned the Spear of Destruction to the champion. “I give unto you my gift as well.”

Calamitas sat idle as Homura added in her own contribution to the spear, only moving once the spear was offered back to them. Then she moved slowly and with a surprising gentleness to retrieve it from the much smaller Homura. Holding it aloft once more to inspect the amethyst that had been added to the weapon. Nodding in approval Calamitas spoke again, their biological beeps once more translating themselves into words in Homura’s mind. ”You have my thanks for this gift, Homura. I will use it to slay the enemies of Galbar.”

With that particular bit mentioned, Calamitas now looked to Ruina and spoke again, asking a simple yet critical question. ”When does my task begin, mother?” Ruina smiled slightly before speaking up once more. ”Soon. I must discuss with Homura where best it would be to send you. In the meantime, if you wish to practice with your weapon, there are many hundreds of unused rooms within this palace, and any of them would do fine for you to exercise.”

Nodding, Calamitas left to the maze-like interior of the palace to find somewhere to practice. Once she was out of earshot, Ruina turned to Homura to speak once more. ”Speaking of that, where would you like her sent once she familarizes herself with moving around? I would imagine that simply trying to fight the biggest thing out there would not end very well.”

“It would be foolish… I cannot see where our enemies dwell, and I cannot act against them from afar. I am trapped as a spectator to their deranged slaughter, compelled to remain here in order to protect our weakened Lord from predation.” Homura glanced away, one eye flickering with a hint of guilt as she spoke. There was often little the red goddess did to indicate her concerns and anxiety, but it was evident she felt troubled by the dire situation: the necessary sacrifice of many mortals and even their divine kin during this season of strife. “I have sensed three more cuts upon the Tapestry, and shadows obscure my vision over the continent of Orsus, the Tree of Harmony, and the Forge of the World. I am left to assume that the devastation that occurred in the North and Convocation will repeat in those three locations.” There still were words left unspoken, yet Homura became quiet.

Ruina nodded at the information given, taking a few moments to consider where might be the best place to contest. It was plain to see that the situation eroded Homura’s mind, though Ruina unfortunately didn’t have anything that she felt could ease the red goddess… At least not immediately. When considering that Homura said her vision was obscured, Ruina had an idea come to mind. Departing briefly, Ruina returned, hovering the circlet of seeing that The Monarch had given her so long ago above her hand. Holding the ring down towards the red goddess, Ruina explained. ”This is the circlet of seeing. I was given it by Him shortly after my creation in order to scan the surface of Galbar for things to test. After our subduing of Him, I’ve felt a bit of hesitance to wear it in full and truly harness it lest I open myself up to some form of retaliation, but given that you seem to have plenty of ways to subdue His power, I would imagine that you could likely make use of it in full. Perhaps with this you would be able to circumvent your lack of vision?”

“Even the power of prescience is not enough to perceive where the anathematic demons dwell, for they do not exist as we do, it seems. I have gazed into the future, yet they remain hidden until then they reveal themselves to wreak devastation, before vanishing once more. With sorrow, I have realized that the Galbar has become a haunted realm… There is little hope. Alas I appreciate your offer, but I cannot accept such. The sole remedy to my predicament is acquiring more allies; to aid me in battle against the demons and to provide salvation for mortals. We cannot let life be annihilated.” Homura said, then stepped closer, and stared up at Ruina with an ever enigmatic expression. Her hand, small and still laced in ribbons, reached towards Ruina at a sedated pace.

At the declining of the gift for its offered purpose, Ruina let out a hum. That was going to be a bit of a problem, then. Ruina thought carefully about what else she could try and do to aid Homura, but unfortunately things came up blank. Letting the circlet of seeing hover out of reach as Homura stepped forward, Ruina returned her gaze to the red goddess in time to see the rising hand. Curious as to what Homura meant to go do, she merely blinked and allowed the red goddess to reach towards her. Did she, like Ea Nebel, merely find her suit fascinating in this moment? Or was it something more? Was there something Ruina could not see? It was difficult to say for sure, so Ruina opted to merely wait.

“May I give you a gift as well?” Homura asked.

At the question, Ruina could not help but blink again. A gift? She didn’t suppose why not… Normally she would be quite opposed to people tampering with her suit, but with the things that Homura had been gifted and the looming threat to Galbar, perhaps it was time to set aside that usual hesitance. With that in mind, Ruina gave a nod of approval, and braced herself for what might come.

Homura set her hand upon Ruina’s stomach, and began to shimmer. Soon the red goddess subtly pulsated with otherworldly power that flowed forth from her palm and across Ruina’s suit. Only a single shard in her possession was activated, as the aspect of Protection stirred and bestowed its blessing on the armor that was once another deity. Despite the influx of divine energy, there was no danger, nor pain, and Homura’s hand swiftly receded when she had finished further imbuing the suit with strength and resilience. The empowerment manifested as an ethereal emerald where her hand had been, glittering with a gentle glow.

As the flow of divine power entered into her suit, Ruina let a small shudder run through her body as a chill ran through her spine. She and the suit were so closely bonded that modifying one was almost modifying the other, to a degree. As the aspect of Protection stirred and gave its blessing, Ruina felt a rush of energy flow through her nervous system, or what would’ve been her nervous system had she truly possessed internal organs like mortals did. But it felt as if every nerve in her body had a chain of steel wrapped around it, only to then melt and harden into a protective shell as her suits ability to protect her was amplified. Ruina herself could only gasp and stiffen as a sensation of energetic cold ran through her being, and after a few moments she crumpled to the floor, gasping for air.

This, naturally, caused a flurry of motion as Calamitas returned, sliding across the ground as if skating on ice. Her spear raised to strike at Homura, but she froze as if time was stopped when Ruina raised a finger towards her, even her momentum seemingly vanished. Standing up as she caught her breath, Ruina turned to her champion briefly to explain. ”Do not be alarmed. I am well. This was a gift that was offered and accepted… I just did not expect such a feeling.”

Calamitas lowered her spear wordlessly before nodding, and Ruina turned to Homura to explain. ”Apologies, she can sense what happens to me, as I can her. It was something I did in order to amplify our ability to fight together. It… Can have drawbacks, as you have just seen. But the benefits that such a bond can give are numerous enough for me to accept the risks posed.”

As Ruina flexed and moved in order to make sure that everything was working as it should’ve been, she felt the glowing emerald fade, and nodded before speaking again. ”My thanks for this gift, I am sure that it will come in handy at some point.”

“Indeed. My gifts are similar in nature to the bond you two share; as when star stones are whispered to, they may direct your voice to another of their kin. We each carry a star stone, hence we may communicate to each other regardless of the distance between us. Amidst battle, there may be times when I cannot open a portal due to the danger of our Lord being targeted. Now we possess a more efficient means of communicating without risk.” Homura said, motionless akin to a statue and evidently pensive where she stood. The red goddess glanced towards Calamitas, the champion reflected within her sorrowful ruby gaze. “I am opposed to heedless sacrifice… as we are aiming for a way of vigilance and preservation primarily. She should not seek a victory she cannot attain - as a repetition of lost relics and resurrection will lead to our defeat.”

Homura was a combination of concerned rigidness and celestial elegance, yet she continued to speak, returning her one-eyed sight to Ruina. “Hmm… Forgive me as well, sister. It has never been my intention to harm you.” A chorus of otherworldly voices suddenly spoke from the burning brazier held aloft by ethereal limbs behind the red goddess. “Oh, you would feel my wrath then, Mother. Alas, I have yet to receive an apology after you assigned me the tedious treatment of your other victim.” The Phoenix within the brazier had brazenly remarked, like a precocious child complaining about the banality of chores and asking for a reward. Homura said nothing, and simply stared at Ruina.

Ruina nodded, finishing up her stretching routine before speaking up. ”I see. Then it will prove quite useful should I need to get in touch with you, and if need be I can use my own link with Calamitas to ferry messages between you and her.” As Homura spoke of opposing heedless sacrifice, Ruina could only nod in agreement. This move was, interestingly, shared by Calamitas herself. She too, it seemed, was not going to fling herself into death with reckless abandon.

As Homura returned to apologize for what Ruina had felt, Ruina simply shook her head before responding with a slight smile. ”Worry not. My suit and I are… Very closely bound. I should’ve spoken on that particular front a bit more. However, it has passed, and I am all the safer for your gift. Be at ease, no harm has been done.”

In order to further cement her point, and something that Homura probably desperately longed for but would never disclose, Ruina knelt to put herself on a better level with the much shorter Homura, and gently wrapped the red goddess in a hug. Even her tail wrapped gently around Homura, and Ruina spoke softly once Homura was fully bound. ”Treasure this, for I do not give these lightly. You have accepted a weight that none of us ever expected to have to bear, and I am sure that for every trouble you share, there are ten that you do not.”

“It is solely my burden, but I hope that I will never have to carry such a weight alone... and I have sworn to speak the truth, sister. I cherish your company, for it banishes my sorrow.” The impassive voice of Homura emanated from everywhere instead of from the held goddess herself, her small shape simply embracing Ruina. Cosmic warmth exuded from Homura, accompanied by the cackle of flames, as the fire within the red goddess danced vigorously and was burning away the mortal body she wore. Through their close contact, the pain of an illogical internal combustion could be discerned, it could be sensed so near, and it was evident that Homura was hurting her own form.

At the feeling of this internal conflict, Ruina blinked. Concern creased her brow as she leaned backwards to look at Homura in detail. Taking in the wear and tear that her form had undertaken. And now here it was ripping itself apart. Ruina, even though she was half-fused with the corpse of her sister, shuddered slightly at the thought of having herself be torn apart from within. Blinking softly at the statement that her company chased away Homura’s sorrow, Ruina pulled the smaller goddess into a hug once more. ”Then I will say, as often as I am able, you may call upon me at any time. I will take you into my arms as often as you need.”

“In the past, I would clasp hands with others to symbolize our promises. An embrace shall suffice as well. I did not expect to find consolation here, but I have become more and more pessimistic with time… I predicted this disaster long ago.” Homura said, as her swathed hand reached up towards the onyx orb that replaced her right eye, and covered the endless black void found wherein something seemed to watch unseen and unheard within its bleak depths. Residual traces of immense otherworldly power combined with the cosmic might of multiple aspect-shards were more clearly visible upon Homura’s features from such a close view, and it was evident that the red goddess had attempted and failed to heal herself of the stigma that continues to corrodes her arms, as well as whatever it was that had severely scorched one of her eyes. The affliction could be potentially hindered, but it was inevitable that Homura would perish.

“May I call upon you as well, Ruina, O beautiful goddess, to take me into your arms… in my time of need? Even once… would completely rejuvenate myself - without faltering, I could cure the wounds of numerous fallen kings and tainted anarchists…” The nearby Phoenix inquired from her celestial brazier, languidly circling within its confines while nonchalantly tending to the Monarch of All’s injuries to prevent the Lord of Creation’s unintentional death. The chthonic voice of the six-winged spirit stirred Homura into motion, and the red goddess stepped back before she closed her eyes and stood still in contemplative inner silence.

As Homura stepped away Ruina stood, taking a moment to stretch as she did so. Looking at the chatty phoenix she blinked at them once before speaking. ”I would like to observe that if I were to touch you at this very moment it’s entirely likely that your flames would burn me quite severely. Besides, you’ve got a cozy brazier to reside in. Surely that would be better for you than my arms?”

Looking down to Homura once more, Ruina would ask an inevitable question. ”So, Homura… What is the next step of your battle plan? I would want to save up what energy is granted to me to ensure I have it on hand for when the time comes that it needs to be used.”

“I will… replenish our vigor, and we shall strike our foes before they assemble. We are severely outnumbered, and more will come… but we can attempt to divide and defeat each of them. The Forge of the Worlds and the Tree of Harmony should be our first targets.” Homura answered as she swiftly stepped towards the Monarch of All, and ascended - her ethereal limbs extending outwards and lifting her higher up where she stared down upon the incapacitated King of Heaven with ire. It was beyond difficult to discern the difference in their sizes, as both Homura and the Monarch of All seemed to repeatedly alter their dimensions, though the latter always remained much larger than the red goddess.

The nigh-infinite number of edges and points that was Warbreaker were writhing and quivering with anticipation as Homura grasped the twisting hilt of the terrible weapon. There was thinly veiled delight for she who had stabbed Him the with the shifting blade that pierced All, the accursed sword that had spread through each vein and artery of the Monarch until every section of His body had been cut and wounded, and only by slowly shredding all of His flesh could the blade with many edges be unsheathed from His form. Her other hand reached towards her throat, and Homura began to strangle herself until her unusual smile faded and she spoke with seething anger.

“O Imprisoned King of Nothing, Eternal Emperor of the Fathomless Void, Banished Brother of my Maker, grant me mercy and might!”

Homura steadily descended towards the Monarch of All until her smaller form lingered intimately over His head, and she peered into the blank canvas that was His face where only two truly resplendent orbs could be perceived, and those eyes seemed to be staring back at her with incomprehensible divine wrath despite the evident hysterical agony inflicted upon Him. Her open hand caressed His iridescent skin covered in numerous dancing lacerations, and instead of tapping into the power within Him, she suffused the fallen king with an unfamiliar force that felt anathematic to Ruina. The vile energy violently flowed from the scarred palm of Homura, and soon she grimaced too as the otherworldly process continued.

The ribbons that concealed the wounds on her hands all vanished, and the vicious markings of the Stigma afflicting her were immediately visible. The grotesque pigmentation and texture of the vile energy that Homura channeled and the disease she suffered when seen beside each other made it clear that they were similar in their abominable nature. The presence of cascading vitriol triggered a response in the body of the Monarch of All, as He became brighter and brighter with cosmic radiance which retaliated against the evil threatening to completely taint Him. It was akin to when He was preparing to defend Himself against Homura when she first assailed the Divine Palace and challenged Him.

The flesh of her fingers on the hand wielding Warbreaker was peeled away, revealing the light of her scarlet inner flames fighting defiantly. Homura let out a single echoing shriek, as she struggled to remove the hand that touched the head of the Monarch of All, and broke free from the physical contact with an abrupt explosion of prismatic light that threw her back. No further damage had befallen the Divine Palace, and Homura herself recovered from being thrown as she stood in pensive silence once more near the still restrained Monarch of All.

“Ever an enigma, healing and harming, weakening and strengthening, living and dying… akin to a beautiful fire burning brightest before suddenly dwindling, and only ashes remain.” Charis commented, as tongues of pearlescent flames engulfed the Monarch of All and Homura with a salubrious warmth that offered some solace to the second smaller deity. The red goddess was becoming revitalized as the skin on her hands returned and was quickly hidden beneath conjured ribbons to conceal the Stigma. Homura then gestured to the creator of the Divine.

“Our vigor originates from our Lord, but He cannot create it alone… Only through interacting with His imprisoned Elder Brother can further power be produced… Only when the two come together. Perhaps…” Homura said ever-solemnly, as an immense amount of cosmic power poured forth from the wounded chest of the Monarch of All, like a limitless font of sacred water spilling from a majestic celestial fountain forged from the eviscerated being barely clinging to life. The essence of sacrifice, embodied by a god’s suffering.

“A new cycle…” Anath Homura quietly proclaimed, as the world was suffused with divinity once again.

The red goddess gazed at Ruina with a subtle smile, and slightly bowed her head. “Ruina, Goddess of Destruction. Answer my question, and receive your portion of the power that belongs to this pantheon… Sister, will you aid me in sundering the Galbar, for a new world to be born?” Homura asked, as she straightened and stared at Ruina with her mismatched eyes alight with incandescent focus.

As Homura ascended to withdraw more Vigor from The Monarch of All, Ruina watched with a silent curiosity. So this is how it was done? But as the ritual grew more intense and Homura’s already battered form broke itself apart even more, Ruina almost intervened. But then logic stopped her: Homura probably knew what she was doing, and failing that interrupting the process would probably produce disastrous consequences. So Ruina stayed her hand, and beyond that the hand of Calamitas.

Calamitas could sense the urge to intervene from Ruina, and started to move to accomplish such a deed, but a firm hand from Ruina put a stop to that. Shaking her head, Ruina spoke softly as Homura began to scream. ”Patience. She knows what she’s doing.” Indeed as Homura finished the rite Ruina relaxed, and through Ruina, Calamitas also relaxed. As a new cycle was announced, Ruina nodded. But as Homura posed her question Ruina found herself somewhat stunned. Had she heard that right? Subject all of Galbar to raw destructive energy? Looking to Calamitas, Ruina issued an instruction. ”Go and practice, Calamitas. I will summon you when I need you.”

Calamitas nodded, and left. Ruina looked back to Homura and spoke plainly. ”So… You want me to assault Galbar without restriction or remorse? To see all life purged from its surface so that we may begin anew? Or at least as close as we could possibly get to that?” Trailing off for a moment, Ruina considered the logistics of undertaking such an affair. It would certainly be possible… But would it be the right choice? To wipe all of the creations her fellow deities had worked so hard on away was a tall order. But how many of them were even left to defend their creations? So many had vanished without a trace. Perhaps this was the right thing to do, then? And she was the one fit to do it… Blinking and nodding to herself, Ruina spoke again. ”Very well. I will undertake this task. Though I will need a vast amount of energy to accomplish it. To wipe Galbar clean of every creation is… A monumental task, to say the least. But I am the one qualified to do so…”

Perhaps that had been her role from the beginning? Had The Monarch given her life for this purpose alone? Did He know that she would ultimately need to sacrifice everything they had done for victory? Or perhaps, even more frighteningly, was her birth a mistake? To surrender the shard of destruction was to surrender the capability to easily do this Himself, but perhaps The Monarch simply wanted someone to scapegoat? To feel less personally responsible for the destruction of all that everyone had worked so hard on?

Ruina would never know, but she awaited Homura’s answer.

“The Galbar must be purged before our enemies taint every aspect. Our kin do not have the strength to defend this world, and we will not have the strength to defend this world if it becomes corrupted. So we shall enact simultaneous operations; depriving the enemy of things to turn against us through Destruction, while swiftly salvaging what still remains. Know this, we are not alone, and you will hopefully acquire the combined power you need…”

Upholding her oath, Homura raised her hand and the flow of otherworldly power that poured forth from the Monarch of All like a river of divine strength being directed shifted towards Ruina ready to replenish the energy she expended.

As the flow of energy hit Ruina she shivered slightly. The proliferation of Vigor within her being was a rush of energy, and it took a great deal of effort to remain still while Homura worked. But while the energy flowed, Ruina felt limitless. The fabric of reality was at her fingertips, and it felt so delicate and frail to her destructive hands. But as soon as this feeling of limitlessness started, it began to fade, and Ruina felt normal once again. Nodding in thanks, Ruina took a moment to stretch before she spoke again. ”Very well. But for what you ask I will require more energy. But I will not ask you of this for now. Go and rest. Recover what you can. I will maintain watch should the enemy find their way to our gates.”

Not wanting to give Homura an option to protest, Ruina turned on the spot and left to watch over the bridge, allowing the red goddess to remain alone with her thoughts.

Ruin gives a gift

Location: The Divine Palace
Interacting with: Ea Nebel.
Mentions: Iqelis, Homura
Important note: This posts takes place before the beginning of Cycle VI

Not too long after the ceremony had been finished, Ruina approached Ea Nebel. With a nod, she would move to speak plainly. For a few moments Ruina internally grappled with what exactly she should say now that Ea Nebel was fully divine. Was ‘sister’ appropriate? Cousin? Newborn? Perhaps just her name would be for the best. ”Greetings, Ea Nebel. I would have words with you if you would have time. Would you care to walk with me for a bit so that we may speak?”

Ea Nebel laughed lightly. As Ruina mentioned walking with her, she held up an armoured hand and gestured to the palace at large, indicating that she had plans to wander the palace for a bit. Ruina’s tail was neutral at this point, resting casually behind her.

“That sounds wonderful, Ruina. It feels good to stretch my legs like normal again.” Her step was buoyant under her gown, and she held a fistful of the fabric to keep it out of the way of her shoes. “This palace is beautiful, and there are things I’m curious about.” Her smile dimmed, just slightly, as she turned back to glance at the grand high doors of the Monarch’s throne room. “Things we should consider elsewhere.”

Ruina nodded at Ea Nebel’s reply, noting the slight shift in smile. Something she was curious about? Interesting. The dimming smile hinted that this something was potentially the beginnings of something larger. Things were indeed best discussed elsewhere, and with that Ruina would place a hand gently upon Ea Nebel’s back for a moment as she began to walk down one of the many twisting corridors of The Divine Palace before speaking briefly. ”Come then. I shall show you to what is currently my favorite room. I found it not long after my birth into this world, and it is quite nice to relax within, at least personally. You may ask me all manner of questions as we walk and when we are there.”

With that said, Ruina would begin to lead Ea Nebel towards the greener room with the stream that she had found some time ago and met the monarch in briefly. As she walked, Ruina allowed her tail to trail behind her a bit more lazily than she usually did, an accommodation for Ea Nebel to have a few moments more to trace her movements in the maze of halls and rooms that made up the palace, were she still dizzy from her ordeal.

“I think… things are more clear to me now. I have my answers. I just wish I knew what the questions were.” She stared out of a window as they passed, watching a field of blue zinnia ripple in a wind that came from nowhere, its borders lined with peony. “I’m sorry, Ruina. For my words. It was not my place to say such things.”

At Ea Nebels first statement Ruina would give a hum of understanding before speaking. ”I believe I understand. Like a veil or shadow that has been lifted from your mind, yes? I have had similar experiences at least once when I rid myself of my sister's influence, though that is itself a far cry from your ascension, but regardless I believe I understand somewhat. Before I mastered my suit I consistently found my nerves aching and burning, and it always felt a bit uncomfortable, but now it is truly an extension of myself. It and I are one. I would like to believe that this is similar to what you are feeling.”

Grief tugged her sleeves, feeling fabric between her fingers. Whatever she murmured to herself or unseen listeners was inaudible. Still, her apology had given Ruina pause, allowing Ea Nebel time to come and stand beside her in full. After a few moments of contemplation, she would speak once more, but not before laying an assuring hand upon Ea Nebel’s shoulder. In her enormous shadow, Ea Nebel’s height was reduced to the lankiness of a girl. ”I cannot be angry at you. You spoke as your heart felt. That being said, I would share a viewpoint when we arrive so that it has an inkling of privacy.”

“...Thank you. You’re patient. I will be patient also.”

Ruina began to lead Ea Nebel once more, and a few moments later they arrived at the room Ruina had mentioned. A soft murmur came from the stream, and stones covered with soft moss greeted them. Ruina moved to sit gently upon one of the larger stones, her tail curling around it firmly as she crossed her legs. Gesturing for Ea Nebel to make herself comfortable within the room, Ruina spoke up briefly. ”Please, make yourself comfortable. I find this room to be quite excellent for that purpose.” With that said, she waited for Ea Nebel to do as she pleased, which was to laugh once more.

“It’s… delightful. I don’t know why I expected anything different. It’s like the forest I stole for my own courtyard.” She smiled and sat directly on the little rolling hills of moss, sprawling even, her gown a gleaming spill of black ink.

As Ea Nebel was now comfortable, Ruina would begin to explain the viewpoint that she had mentioned before. ”To explain, as I said I would, something that I have noted is that Iqelis seems to take his job quite seriously. Overly so, in fact. From what I have seen he would take any stumbling or wound to anyone to mean that it is time for their doom to be at hand, even if he would be the one to actually push this doom into motion rather than anything else, like I found him attempting to do to Homura before I interrupted him. Thus I would propose the perspective I hold: Iqelis takes his job too seriously. For all I can tell he sees an end to everyone and everything and is overly eager to see things to that end, not realizing that once everything has met their doom then there would be no more to judge. To phrase it another way, I look at myself...”

Ruina would take a moment to hold aloft an orb of pure destruction she produced from nothing, crimson red and swirling with raw power. Studying it, she would continue speaking. ”If I were to just start destroying everything, not only would I be the enemy of everyone, there would come a time where there is nothing left to destroy. One could argue that I would have fulfilled my purpose as the goddess of destruction, but would I not have also served in enabling the destruction of myself? If there is nothing left to destroy then I am also destroyed, and if I remain then not all is destroyed, and so on and so forth. Thus I use my destructive capability with a large amount of restraint through my tests, lest I find myself the enemy of myself. It is this lack of restraint that fuels my distrust of Iqelis. It seems he does not know when to stop, and seemingly will not stop or hesitate when things might be better suited to a less violent hand.”

Dismissing the orb of destruction, Ruina would lower her hand to her lap before posing a question. ”Does that make sense? It is a strange concept that I do not feel like I am able to entirely properly explain, but I would hope that you can grasp the meaning I intend.”

Ea Nebel’s head had drifted down to a tussock of cool green feathermoss, and when she shrugged, it was with her eyes closed, her back on the ground, lying down like a pale moss herself. “Thank you for taking the time to explain- It does make sense. You are wrong, but it does make sense.” She opened her eyes but didn’t move them, looking up to the dappling light of the ceiling somewhere above. “I understand my father better than I understand you, Ruina. But I think I do understand you, at least enough. You are a judge. A destroyer, a warrior. A maker of swords. A tester of strength. You take to your task with a firm hand. You have hard eyes.” She met those green snake-eyes with her own, just for a moment. “I don’t think my father is any of those things. Not under the skin. Iqelis is a god of Time.” She inhaled, and spoke softly, lyrically, with rhythm.

“My father is a sea that reflects no stars, a sea to which all the Creator’s imperial rivers flow. A sink to His source. My father’s role is not to make the waters come- they come anyway, always, in the end. Every living thing finds its grave. He doesn’t take his task seriously- I don’t think he has a task. Not like you. Or- my mother. Or me. He is a different sort of god- He is a glorifier, a monument, an embodiment of the path of Time. He is joyful. He is a dancer on the surface of the sea.” She lifted her hand, and a leaf fell, spinning, twirling in place atop the tip of her long, straight middle finger. “A dance for all of us. You, me. Galbar. The Monarch of All. All our rivers open to his sea. It’s the Flow.” The leaf burned away, leaving a blackened skeleton of veins, glowing hot at the tips. “He’s not eager to destroy. He’s mad with passion- passion for the dance. Only he has Seen the Flow- who could possibly contain that Sight? What Eye could withstand it? If you were the only goddess in all the world to See the ultimate truth, wouldn’t you try to show us all? Would you not dance?” Suddenly, she laughed a third time, and this time not softly; loudly, shaking, buckling together as the leaf crumbled. “Maybe I’m mad too. Ahah! I know my sisters are. But why wouldn’t we be? Ahahahaha… Oh, never mind. It’s too hard to explain.” She sighed happily, catching her breath. She rubbed her teary eyes, black as pearls.

“...He has always restrained himself, for me. I know that Time will Flow for me, so there is never a need for my father to remind me, as he has reminded others. Be patient with him, Ruina. Please. He is only a fly, dancing on the end of Time. There’s no need to be afraid, so long as you do not forget. Memento mori.

As Ea Nebel explained things from a more sympathetic view of Iqelis, Ruina did, truly, pause to listen. To be told she was wrong so abruptly stung a bit, but the explanation that followed carried with it perhaps a few grains of truth. In light of this, Ruina saw fit to make a new observation, one that shared a grain of her own history on the subject she broached.

Touching the scar upon her face as she spoke, Ruina explained something that had come to mind. ”But what if this dance were not to be for all of us? What if some of us were to reject that fate and persist even beyond the time where we were fated to die? I have done so once before with a large degree of luck involved, and I would choose to do so again. My life is mine, and it is my choice as to how it ends, even if it does not end at all, is it not?”

A knuckly hand touched the folded shell plating Ruina’s shin. “A clock doesn’t stop ticking when it strikes midnight, Ruina. We are all small in the face of eternity. Even our family… Things end. A flame only shines as its fuel disappears. A river cannot flow without a sink. You are alive, now, with me. Time passes for both of us. The clock will keep ticking forever. We will not.” Ea Nebel had been staring out into the unmoving fronds of a tall fern, looking for things that weren’t there. “But there is no appointed moment. Not for us. Not even for mortals… Your life is not fated to end in any one place, in any one way, in any one season. It is yours, Ruina. So is your death. If you are resolute, then you can choose the hour. And I know you are.” She smiled, but didn’t look up again. “I hope it’s a long time from now.”

At the sudden touch upon her shin Ruina’s head snapped downward at speeds that would shatter the neck of any mortal, but when she saw that it was just Ea Nebel’s hand her gaze relaxed and she paid it no heed. Turning her focus to what Ea Nebel had said Ruina let out a hum as she found herself lacking a meaningful reply. Ea Nebel promptly hummed back.

A thought come to mind. Ruina spoke up, and made an offer to the newly forged deity. ”I hope so too, if it happens at all… But something that comes to mind: Your dagger is a gift from Iqelis, correct? I would bring forward an offer of another gift: I offer you a weapon of my own make, something which cannot be taken from you by your father should he decide to deprive you of his gift in a fit of rage. Something that will allow you to choose the hour, or lack thereof, of your demise under your own power rather than the whims of any else. Accept or decline, I judge you not, but my offer stands regardless.”

Ea Nebel looked up, frowning even as she smiled. “But I-” She shook her head. “No, there’s no need for that. I trust my father. I will trust him, no matter what the Monarch puts between us. It would feel like I’m betraying him.” She gripped something hidden in her sleeve, as if for comfort. “Thank you. I know your work is without equal.”

Ruina nodded at Ea Nebel’s reply before giving her own. She was disappointed but understanding of where Ea Nebel was coming from. ”Very well. I shall allow the offer to stand for a time in the chance that events conspire to change your mind.”

She nodded. Then she sat up, crossing her legs. “There’s something else, too. Something you, I think, should know, more than anyone. When I knelt before the Monarch’s throne, I heard a memory, echoing from the tiles. It was a memory of death. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t, not while He was watching. It wasn’t her real grave. All I heard was… Ao-Yurin, the old water-god. She died there, alone with him.” Her voice became low, deep. “It was a memory of betrayal. I think He killed her, Ruina.”

Ruina let out a hum as Ea Nebel described what she had seen. Blinking gently, Ruina had to actually take a moment to recall Ao-Yurin. She had hardly seen them before their death, though granted it might’ve been due to the fact that she did subject Ao-Yurin’s oceans to the first and only test to actually occur. Perhaps they had rather disliked that… Ruina would never know. Still, the news was troubling, and after a few moments of contemplation Ruina spoke up. ”That… Is an interesting observation. I was never aware of the circumstances of their passing, merely that it happened. To learn that it happened at His hand is concerning indeed.”

“My uncle- Voligan, that is- told me the story. He was witness to it. The Monarch summoned him, Sala, and Yoliyachicoztl, the Lady Heat, to where Ao-Yurin lay dying at the feet of His throne. The salting of the seas had poisoned her, and Sala was called for her comfort… Then all three were dismissed, and Ao-Yurin was left to die.” Ea Nebel frowned. “The Emperor charged Sala with deicide. He refused to acknowledge anything my uncle said to the contrary. I don’t doubt that she was poisoned, and that the Sun sees further than any of us… but now Sala lives on in guilt and debt to her father, and, just like Iqelis, loyal heirs were called to witness her humiliation. And this I know, also: it was not poison alone that destroyed the Wellspring.”

Ruina fell silent as she pondered over the news that had been delivered. It was quite troubling to hear that He had laid one of His own children low, and to think that He could perhaps choose to end any of them on a whim? It was with that thought that Ruina decided something: If He made an attempt to end her life, she would not go down without a fight. The lack of individuality and formless nothingness that made up her existence before being separated was not something that she was willing to return to. Taking a breath, Ruina spoke up again. ”I will keep this information in mind for the future, and I thank you for sharing it.”

Ea Nebel nodded. There was a pause then, a long one. And once it was done Ruina held up her armor-clad hand and studied the suit that made up most of her body before asking an interesting question. ”If I might ask… Have you ever seen visions of my sister? I have a morbid sense of curiosity since we are speaking of endings and death.”

All of a sudden, the light little laugh was back; weaker now, but here. “Aha! That curiosity- it hit me the moment I first laid eyes on you. That was why I touched you, when we met… You didn’t like that, but I couldn’t help it.” By the sound of it, morbidity was nothing but a joke for Grief. Or, perhaps, a dance. “I saw her first death, and her true death, and what became of her flesh each time… Painful memories. Very painful. They fascinated me. She was raw and hungry and alive and… free, in a way. Blind hate, a hate like a sun, hate without limits. Except for you, of course. You stopped her.” Her fingertips lay lightly on the grey shell of Ruina’s shin.

“I saw you, of course. You were always there. There was wild, terrible envy around you. Desperation, lack… an animal feeling, hard to describe. You were whole and complete, and she- it- was only an embryo. A whisper of what she would have been. She stole the seed of hatred from you; you crushed her, and it was over. I saw nothing that you didn’t live through. I can only borrow old memories, but you saw it all with your own green eyes.” She looked up and searched them again.

As Ea Nebel searched Ruina’s eyes, she would find them to be a bit softer than their usual hardiness. Iron rather than steel, as it were. Once Ea Nebel explained what she had seen, Ruina paused for a moment to think and compare things to what she knew. In truth Ruina had not wanted to kill her sister, but the crime that she had committed in jealousy and hate could not go without an answer. Still, what was done was done, to contemplate what could have been for eternity was somewhat… wasteful.

At Ea Nebel’s further touching of her suit Ruina stopped to contemplate something else for a moment. Her fascination with it was certainly something, and perhaps that was a topic that deserved further exploration. Speaking up, Ruina would pose a question. ”You seem to be quite interested in touching my suit, might I ask why? Is it mere curiosity or did you have something else you wished to gain from it?”

“Oh? I just touch things. Bones. Knives. Rocks, and things. Sometimes I catch a memory, sometimes I don’t. I like weapons. Yours is the best.” There was nothing more to it.

Ruina smiled slightly as Ea Nebel complemented her suit. She didn’t have the heart to tell her that each time she had touched her suit Ruina had to stop a reflexive instinct from jabbing a spike outward into her fingers. It was a measure to maximize her own survivability. Send out a spike at an incoming attack and destroy the offender before it was able to do anything. That being said, perhaps there was a solution to her problem and a favor to be gained?

Holding aloft her hand, Ruina willed the suit to shift and change, growing a thicker layer of bone plate upon the back of her hand. Once the growth was finished, Ruina willed it to detach.


With a slight grunt as she felt the chunk of hard bone detach from herself, Ruina studied her hand for a moment as things regenerated. There would be no gift giving that damaged her suit, after all.

Once things were back as they were, Ruina took to shaping the chunk of bone into an oval before examining it once more and nodding to herself. Holding out the chunk of bone, Ruina spoke calmly. ”Then as a gift to welcome you to being a full deity, I shall give unto you a rare thing: A fragment of my suit, shed willingly. Take good care of it, and beware what tricks it may do. My sister left at least one small fragment of herself within this already, and I do not know if there may be more.”

Ea Nebel’s hands were leather-gloved now, and still, pressed together at the wrist to steady their tremble. She took the flake in her fingertips, as though it were an eggshell. Her arm tensed, and she paused, frowned, tensed it again; when the gloves still refused to melt away, she held the fragment in one hand and pulled off the other with her teeth, finally exposing her long, bony fingers and grey skin to the surface of the shell. It lay there, motionless but alive, alive and changing; like a coral it grew, spiking up and withering away, a densely textured web of pits and spines wrapping itself around her middle finger, between the knuckles, three segments of wild bio-metallic filigree ending in a needle-blade over her fingernail, connected by a thin hinged wire to a band on her slender wrist. It had not softened even slightly as it moved. She bent her finger, which had been held very still, and found that the ornament added no weight at all to her hand, nor restricted her movement even slightly.

The needle then retracted at some unseen signal, disappearing without so much as a twitch of a muscle. Immediately her black glove returned, thicker than ever. She shook it until it dissolved into angry blowflies and rolled over her hand to admire the grey bone on grey skin, forming strange textures on her finger as her blood-diamond ring sparkled beside it. Her gaze had not left it once since it had detached from Ruina’s hand. “I… I don’t know what to say…”

Ruina watched with an intense curiosity as the piece of bone shaped itself around Ea Nebel’s finger, waiting to see if the new goddess cried out in pain or fear as something she didn’t appreciate happened, but when all that came was admiration she relaxed some. Things were going to be alright, then. Good.

At the mention of lacking something to say, Ruina smiled slightly before rising to her feet. Stretching a bit, she spoke gently. ”I am glad that you appreciate your gift, and that is enough of a thanks. Unfortunately I feel it is time for me to depart. I have been rather lacking with the tests I am supposed to be administering, and it is time for me to correct this lack of tests and trials. If you wish for anything in this last moment I encourage you to speak your mind, I will answer or abide as I can.”

But Ea Nebel did not speak. She only rose on her two feet, and embraced her cousin in a flurry of black silk and joyful tears.

Ruina could not help but smile gently as she was embraced, and returned the hug softly. Her tail even wrapped itself around Ea Nebel, however briefly. Unfortunately their time was cut short, as Ruina’s divine senses picked up on strange fluctuations of divine power within the palace that headed for the throne room of The Monarch of All. Almost instantly the kindness from her face vanished and she looked up towards the door to the room. Something was wrong.

Stepping back and grasping Ea Nebel’s shoulders firmly, Ruina issued a cautionary command to Ea Nebel. ”Something is wrong… Very wrong. I will go investigate, and I urge you to hide yourself. Someone has come with violence on their mind, and I would rather not have your first test as a full divine be combat against another.”

Leaving essentially no time to respond, Ruina darted out of the room and began to head towards the throne room

Ruin prepares for conflict

Location: Somewhere on the seafloor in the central ocean-hole.
Interacting with: No one.
Mentions: Yudaiel a little.

Ruina blinked softly as she observed the wall of water that surrounded the area. She could sense her own power holding the wall up, but strangely felt no pull from her divine power. Was it self-maintaining? Perhaps. She did not know for sure, but it was unimportant for now. The swirling water produced interesting patterns, and the occasional creature that flit by was moderately intriguing. What was more intriguing was the message she had gotten back from Yudaiel. With a dazzling display it had warned her to tread carefully, but seemed to carry nothing more. With no more responses received or visitations had it would seem that her warning would garner her no immediate allies.

She would have to do things herself, then. Fair enough.

Even with her taking a moment to lay low and remain unimportant, Ruina's senses were not blind. She could sense the death of at least three divine beings, and it was a natural assumption that she might find herself rather disliked by her divine peers for her chosen role in life. Perhaps then it would be wise to invest in her own capabilities before an attempt was made upon her life. It was fortunate, then, that she knew of someone who possessed an instinct dedicated to the slaying of divine beings: Her sister.

Even within the womb of creation, before their minds had fully developed and awakened, her sister had done her best to take her life. It was only by the random whims of fortune that Ruina had survived such an attempt, and even though the mind of her sister was long banished Ruina could sense the lingering murderous instinct within the suit that she wore. Knowing that what she was about to do was risky, Ruina looked down at her hands and upon herself for a few moments. What if the instinct turned against her once again? Could this idea just be one that her deceased sister had somehow implanted within her mind as a way to gain revenge from beyond the veil?

There was only one way to know, but to march on with reckless abandon was unwise. Perhaps there was indeed a more thorough way to go about this. Sitting down with her legs crossed, Ruina wrapped her tail around her legs before closing her eyes and folding her hands in her lap. Turning her divine senses inward, Ruina began to examine the instinct within the suit. At first it lashed at her, and Ruina’s brow furrowed as she entered into a brief mental battle with the suit. Dodging away from its assault, Ruina kept moving and twisting away from the assaults that were launched at her remorselessly.

After a few moments, Ruina began to follow where the attacks were coming from, and soon thereafter saw an ominous black sphere that oozed with hatred and malice. Twisting away from another volley, Ruina steeled herself. If she was to be the sole master of this suit, it would need to be taken care of. There would only be one chance, and Ruina held the impression that if she failed, she would cease to be.

Waiting for an assault to begin, Ruina moved out of the way again before launching herself forward. Twisting and dodging as she approached the sphere, Ruina found herself capable of laying a hand upon it, and so she did. With only a word, she ejected the sphere from within her being. ”Perish.” With this command given, Ruina sent a pulse of destructive energy into the sphere, causing it to vanish.

Ruina’s eyes snapped open, and she began to cough harshly. Grasping at her throat and crawling upon her hands and knees, Ruina coughed for several moments before vomiting up a small black sphere the size of a marble. She recognized it immediately, and wisely decided not to touch it. Taking a moment to catch her breath, Ruina rose to her feet and examined herself once more. For the first time in a long while, the suit had actually felt comfortable to wear. No longer did her nerves ache and burn at random, and the suit felt like a true extension of herself at last.

With this newfound mastery of herself, Ruina decided to test the capabilities that she had gained. Bringing her arms forward, Ruina jabbed her elbows backwards as if she was seeking to ward off an ambush from behind. A painless twisting sensation formed along her arms, and with a slight pinching sensation Ruina felt a pair of bone-like spikes grow from her arms and jab behind her. As she brought her arms forward again, they vanished as quickly as they emerged. These observations were repeated a number of times with various motions: Attempting to smack someone with her forearm resulted in a row of spikes growing. A punch caused a trio of spikes to emerge from between her knuckles. These growths weren’t limited to just her arms, either. Bringing her knee up sharply resulted in at least a dozen small spikes forming, and a roundhouse kick caused a large blade to emerge from her heel.

Even her tail was weaponized now. Before it was merely a blunt hammering weapon, but now it could produce spikes, blades, and even a stinger. Indeed, her entire form had become weaponized. With a bit more practice, the creation of these additional weapons was also brought under her mastery. Now she could create them at whim, and choose not to create them if she found them unnecessary. Good. Her mastery of herself was now fully complete.

But still there remained one small hazard that Ruina was not about to forget. Using a tiny spark of divine power Ruina pointed at the orb on the ground before telepathically bringing it up to her eye level. She examined the formless orb for a few moments before erasing it from existence. It was too dangerous to destroy in any other fashion. With that remnant of her sister now gone, Ruina felt the arrival of Voligan in the area. Feeling the area fall under the influence of his divine power, Ruina assumed that the land was about to be shaped and changed. Perhaps it would be wise to avoid being here, then…

Picturing the divine palace once again, Ruina teleported away. Likely before Voligan even knew that she was there. She found herself once more in the courtyard. Thankfully, she was alone, at least for now. Using the artifact granted to her, she began to scan Galbar as a whole, catching up with what she had missed during her brief time of hiding.

Ruin is put to the test

Location: The Celestial Palace.
Interacting with: Iqelis (@Oraculum), Literally everyone. Please check the bolded/italic text.
Mentions: Rosa

It wasn’t too long after her resting period and meeting with The Monarch of All that Ruina found herself wandering The Celestial Palace and contemplating her next test. Through the gift that she had been given she took the time to observe the surface of Galbar and the creation that was taking place upon the blank canvas of a world. The many things being created at once all deserved their proper tests in time, but they all seemed so… Infantile for right now. To test them at this state would be akin to asking a child to lift a boulder. Doable, but not fair.

It was then that Ruina realized that perhaps she was focusing too much upon the surface of Galbar and paid too little heed to the creations that weren’t bound to the surface of the world. Perhaps she needed to look beyond… Closing her eyes to the vision that the artifact provided Ruina glanced upward and, with a few moments of consideration, found the target of her next test: The moon that now hovered around Galbar. With a flick of her tail, Ruina spoke with a divine voice that would reach the ears of all who wished to hear. ”Creator of the moon, your creation shall be tested! Witness now if your creation will crumple or withstand!”

And with that, Ruina stopped walking in the main plaza of The Celestial palace before pointing upward towards the moon. Red energy began to gather and flow around her, spiraling upwards and gathering into a sphere that began to form just above her hooked fingertip. Soon it would be ready for fly towards the moon and deliver a wrathful blow to the surface to see if the moon would survive or shatter.

A sound of clinking, scraping footsteps approaching from behind momentarily drew the corner of her eye. The gleaming black figure of Iqelis had descended from the loose clouds of haphazard debris still drifting overhead and alighted in a series of leaps, clawed feet leaving gouges in the courtyard’s paving. He drew near, his gaunt shadow sweeping over her before being cast back by the sanguine glow of the coalescing destructive energies, and raised one hand of many to point up at the lunar sphere.

”That cosmic bauble, sister, is the doing of our dear Yudaiel, whose gift is foresight,” he crackled, ”Already her ambition overreaches her bounds. With this toy, she yearns to place herself at the same height of exaltation as the Lord of All Things, perhaps to surpass him. Be sure to show her that the worth of her moon will not carry her that far. Do not hold back in your trial.”

The sound of an approaching onlooker did not, at first, draw much attention from Ruina. If they were there to observe, then let them observe and not be observed. The test did require keen focus, after all. But then the onlooker spoke, and those words brought a frown to her face. Someone who wished to stoke a personal conflict? That wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all. Lowering her hand, the sphere of raw destructive energy remained unspent, and Ruina turned to affix her gaze upon the speaker.

Ruina’s eyes had taken on an intense glow, likely a byproduct of her holding onto such a magnitude of destructive energy condensed into a small sphere. At first the sphere hovered just beyond her grasp, but after a few moments Ruina reached forward to grasp it firmly. Was she worried about it being stolen, or merely diverting her focus away from keeping it where it was? It was difficult to say. Regardless, after a few moments Ruina would speak and address the onlooker. ”You presume that I hold back in my trials? I will inform you that I do not. Regard the holes in Ao-Yurin’s ocean if you disbelieve me. But I would question something of you, why so eager to see the moon tested? The spectacle of them I cannot and will not deny, but your comments make me think that you have a different motive. If you wish to start a conflict with Yudaiel then I would have no part in it. My duty is to test. Nothing more, nothing less.”

With that said, Ruina would affix her gaze firmly upon Iqelis to await their answer.

”I would not expect you to care about our discordances of vision,” the dark god’s dozen arms spread out in nonchalant dismissal, ”But this goes beyond any mere feud. There is an order to things. The more a masterwork is exalted by its maker, the harsher must judgement be to ensure its place in creation is deserved. Excellence must be earned. If that trinket is to stand beside the Monarch's own abode, its worthiness of such grandeur can only be proven by the sternest test of all, to exceed even what you have visited upon Galbar. Would you not agree, you who ought to know the ways of trial?"

As Iqelis began to speak and explain their reasoning for wanting her to do as she usually did Ruina remained silent. She kept a calm face and the orb of destructive power remained firmly grasped in her hand. But as Iqelis asked her if she agreed Ruina gained a distinct feeling of irritation. Iqelis was explaining things that Ruina already knew quite well, and perhaps Ruina needed to remind him that she was the master of the test, not he. ”Listen well to my words Iqelis. I am the master of these tests, and I do not intend to give such a space to anyone else willingly. You stand before me, injecting your own agenda and your own beliefs into my trials. This I will not be tolerating. I do not care if my tests will make you satisfied in some way by happenstance, but I do not and will never accept a mantel of pawnhood in the games of another. If you’ve an agenda you wish to pursue, pursue it alone or with another. I will have no part of it.”

As she spoke, Ruina’s face grew hard and her gaze became icy. Iqelis had tried to take command over Ruina’s role in the universe mere moments after she had decided it, and she was having no part of his agenda.

The One God drew himself up, and like a stretching shadow he seemed to grow longer and darker as he did. His faceted eye met her glare with a mocking gleam.

”Little fool,” he chuckled, the chilly sound of a saw biting into a glacier, ”Did you think you ever were anything but a pawn? Since before your miscreated halves began to devour one another, you have been a pebble at the whims of the river of fate. I took pity on you and would have guided you through currents more favourable, but if you want to remain planted in the muck of time until you become one with it, so be it. Do as you will, and mourn when inevitably your designs will turn to dust in your hands.”

With those words, he stepped back, letting his four arms rest at his sides, but his unreadable stare remained fixed on Ruina - or, rather, the ominous force coalesced in her grasp.

Ruina’s eyes narrowed slightly as Iqelis taunted her. She knew that she wasn’t at full power, and he likely was. But even if she was at full power picking a fight with another god in single combat wasn’t something she was keen on doing. Tapping into the artifact that The Monarch of All had given her, Ruina scanned across Galbar and found a large swath of untouched land right in the middle of the created continents. This would do well enough to hide for a bit while she prepared for the repercussions of what she was about to do.

There was no fighting Iqelis. Not here, not alone. But to merely run wouldn’t do. She needed to be gone promptly. Setting her plan into motion, Ruina crushed the sphere she was holding, regaining the vigor that she had pumped into it and promptly vanished from the palace grounds with little more than a blur denoting her departure.

An instant later Ruina touched down upon the barren ground of the exposed sea floor in the center of the continents. Step one of her plan was complete, but now was the critical second step. Raising two fingers to the space between her eyebrows, Ruina closed her eyes and harnessed her divine connection to the other divine beings, including The Monarch himself, with a critical message. ”Fellow divines, this is Ruina. I come bearing news which I find important. A god named Iqelis sought to attempt to dominate my plans, and likely intends to try and dominate more given time. I do not trust them, and I would advise caution in dealing with them. Yudaiel, your moon is spared from its test for now. I will not be a pawn in the games of another.”

Included with this message was a mental image of how Iqelis presented themselves, as well as the memory of how the conversation went so that all could be laid plain for everyone to see. Ruina was not going to willingly fall prey to the great games of another, no matter what they governed.

In the Palace's courtyard, a diamantine eye turned to amusedly glance at Galbar's distant surface. It briefly tried to follow where Ruina had landed through the rippling patterns visible only to itself, then abandoned the attempt midway and swung back to the yet unblemished moon.

"How wretched," Iqelis mused aloud, one hand moving up to trace an imaginary line along the pale silhouette overhead, "And to think that our would-be Master saw potential in this one, somehow. A poor servant, befitting her blind king!"

He strode to the spot left vacant by the departed goddess, arms splitting and multiplying as he moved, and when he came to a halt he raised a forest of clawed hands heavenward.

"The cravenness of another will not delay your doom."

The hands rose and spread like an obsidian flower, funneling the flow of time into a tight stream before leaving it free to burst out in a spreading tide. New scores of shadowy limbs continued to grow the intricacy of the figure, winding the root ever tighter while the mouth blossomed with ever greater force, and then there was a push -

Darkness seemed to sweep over the Palace's grounds for an instant, before rising like a noxious wave and rushing across the immensity of space to the moon, a small and helpless speck of white dimly glimpsed through the surge of gloom. The shadow crashed against it, immaterial yet terrible in might, for the entirety of the pale orb was now quivering and crumbling, its perfect shape coming apart into the primordial disorder into which it was fated to return. For a dreadful moment, it seemed that it was about to come undone. But then the darkness passed, and the moon was full and steady once again; yet, alas, never again beautiful.

Though the hand of doom had not torn her out of the sky, its touch had savagely scarred her face. Great cracks and ragged fissures raked across the once pristine visage, enveloping it in a hideous spiderweb that was all the more glaring against her brightness. Forevermore, the hours of the moon's greatest splendour would also be those of her greatest shame, for at her zenith every eye would behold the tracery of her looming demise etched into her skin as it was into the skein of destiny.

"Let all who see this mark remember the transience of all things, and be humbled as before a monument to mortality."

With nary another moment's delay, Iqelis leapt away, out of the courtyard and into the darkened Ring, and then he was lost among the stirring colours of the Galbar.

Ruin takes center stage

Location: The Celestial Palace.
Interacting with: Aethel (@Bright_Ops). Zelios (@Not Fishing)
Mentioning: A lot of people. Basically everyone else that's posted. Like seriously if you've posted you're probably mentioned SOMEWHERE in this post as Ruina watches and thinks about whats been going on.

As the god of cold came to exist briefly before the Monarch of All Ruina nodded in greeting towards him, though with how quickly he left she didn't find the time to say much of anything in his direction. Perhaps sometime later, then. Turning her attention away from the Monarch of All briefly, she saw more divine beings descending and arriving around The Monarch of All. One of them even called out for contribution so that they could design a grand continent for all to leave their mark on. Unfortunately for him, such a thing did not interest Ruina. At least, not for now.

She watched as a few of the arriving divine entities fell to the planet of Galbar with some amount of force. Sending huge waves of water across the surface of the planet from their impact. Another god called upon them to transcribe what they liked into a codex, and the thought gave Ruina pause. Should she? Or should she not? If she were to record her wants and desires within such a codes then perhaps her future endeavors would be less surprising... But at the same time, was not the point of a test to be surprising? If it was made clear that their creations would be tested, would it not be in the interest of all to make their creations test-proof? Such an undesirable outcome was not deemed desirable by Ruina, and thus she left the book free of her touch.

Indeed, Ruina knew of her purpose. Despite the fact that Ruina had not received any direction from the Monarch of all yet, it was a purpose that she found threaded around the core of her very being. Why else would The Monarch of All, so intent on witnessing creation, allow for the birth of a goddess whose sole purpose was to destroy? Clearly he meant for her to ensure that things were kept neat and tidy, cleanse Galbar of the things that were left unfinished or abandoned to the whims of random chance. Perhaps even test the things that were finished, to ensure that they would be worthy enough to earn the gratitude of The Monarch of All.

Yes. Her purpose was clear: Judge. Evaluate. Subject those unworthy to punishment so that they would improve and please their collective master. That was her duty, and she accepted it gladly. It wouldn't make her popular... But it would make her valuable.

Witnessing another god come to write in the created codex, Ruina barely had time to even consider offering them a nod of greeting before they left promptly. So many so eager to dive down to an empty planet and begin their work. That was all well and good enough Ruina supposed. It would make for plenty of testing to be done when Ruina began to make her moves. Ruina herself thought about beginning her descent to see just what was going on when the divine being next to her began to sing praises over Ruina's appearance.

Not used to such flattery Ruina could only smile as it was delivered with gusto. Once the divine being before her gathered their senses and introduced themselves properly, Ruina gave them a similar bow to the one that she gave to The Monarch of All before speaking up. "Greetings, and peace be with you Aethel. I am Ruina, and it is equally nice to meet you. My thanks for the complements, they are most kind. As for what you may call me aside form name, I would suppose that the term sister would fare well enough if you desire to use it."

As she finished speaking and listened to Aethel describe the stage that they would be working on, Ruina resisted the idea of informing them that she already knew exactly what her plans were. It would be rude, and perhaps it was just a bit of their prior eagerness slipping back in. They seemed to have a lot of it. As they turned to speak with The Monarch of All, Ruina noted that The Monarch had simply vanished. It was mildly annoying to lack in specific direction for her testing efforts, but Ruina was confident in her ability to ascertain a general guess as to where to begin. All she needed to do was set her plans into motion. And what plans they would be.

Witnessing yet another deity writing something within the codex that had been set out, Ruina turned to speak with Aethel before another god made their appearance and introduced themselves. Nodding in greeting, Ruina returned the bow, even though it was not directed at her, and gave her name as a courtesy. "Greetings Zelios, peace be with you. I am Ruina."

And that was that, a simple introduction. Ruina didn't feel the need to say more than needed. Fortunately her simple and short introduction didn't have time to be commented upon before another goddess showed up... And promptly copies her appearance. That was certainly quite something to behold, as Ruina was quite surprised that someone would want to choose her appearance to mimic. Still, it was a fairly accurate replication, down to even the scarring. This one would likely need to have an eye kept on her.

Before Ruina could say anything Zenia, as she had introduced herself, ran off once more. Blinking a few times, Ruina offered a soft smile. So much energy. It was then that an explosion echoed from the surface of Galbar, and for a brief moment the waters that Ao-Yurin had placed were briefly disrupted. Now that gave her a bit of an idea on how to carry out her first test. But that would come in a moment. For now she watched the explosion of... Salt? Salt across the planet. Then the formation of ice rings from additional explosions. How interesting that giving the planet rings was something that came around.

Beyond this was something more interesting, a landmass. And one not created from the pool of energy that Voligan was building. Too bad that Ruina's plan for what was coming would likely devastate it. Perhaps it would weather the approaching storm with grace, or fall and be destroyed as something unworthy. She would certainly see when the time came. For now, something much more interesting was happening.

An event of almost cataclysmic proportions took place, resolved only by the direct intervention of The Monarch of All himself. Quite interesting to say the least, how the power of dance might undo the world puzzled Ruina, but it was something that certainly seemed to almost do the trick. Perhaps she would have to try it one day.

And finally, another new god appeared. This one also making his way over to the codex that had been created. He seemed to be having issues with his balance and speech as words slurred out of his mouth. Ruina watched as he scribbled about in the codex for a bit before staggering their way into the middle of the court. It was then they they introduced themselves to what Ruina could only guess to be The Monarch of All... But they weren't here. Though perhaps they were and Ruina couldn't perceive them yet? They had vanished nearly instantly when Ruina and Aethel had been standing there and speaking to him, so perhaps that was simply the way of things?

No matter. Ruina had a mission in mind now. The first of what would be many tests. Bidding farewell to Aethel and Zelios, Ruina approached the edge of The Divine Palace and took a deep breath as she summoned forth her divine energy. Thankful for the boon of it that The Monarch of All had granted to his creations, Ruina planned on using it well. For this particular effort the energy flowed easily. It was in Ruina's nature to destroy, after all. The time of the first test had come. Not needing to be subtle, Ruina raised her hands above her head and allowed the summoned divine energy to coalesce into a striking sphere of red. Lightning flashed within it, and the surface bubbled and stretched as if yearning to break free. Looking squarely at the Ocean, Ruina took upon her face a wicked grin and announced the beginning of her testing for all to hear, but in specific she sought the ear of Ao-Yurin. "Creator of the mighty ocean, hear my challenge! Though others might have temporarily disrupted the surface of your creation, I will put it to its first true test! If aught remains, this creation of yours shall be dubbed worthy!"

And then Ruina released the huge sphere of energy, allowing it to float towards Galbar. It moved slowly at first but was quick to pick up speed as it began to approach Galbar's infinite ocean. After a few minutes of travel it split into a mixture of large and smaller spheres before each of them impacted into the ocean. At first nothing happened, and it seemed like Ruina might've just been full of hot-air. But then a chain of explosions rocked Galbar, forcing the planet to shudder and making the previous tsunami's and waves look like a child stomping about in a puddle. If anything aside from water was present on Galbar at this time, it was slammed with a torrential wall of water that seemed unending and merciless. A secondary test to judge their validity as well.

It would take some time, but after a few hours the ocean would be calm again... Save for the fact that where these orbs impacted across Galbar they left holes in the ocean. Places where the water simply did not recede. Scars in the ocean from Ruina's test, exposing the sea floor wherever they existed. As this chaos unfolded, Ruina watched with her arms folded. Her tail flicked side to side idly as she waited to see the results of her first judgement. When the storm settled, Ruina spoke to all the divine ears that would hear her once more, delivering the news of her judgement to all at once. "The test is finished. Ao-Yurin, your ocean is considered worthy."

And with that, Ruina turned and walked deeper into The Divine Palace, eager to find a place to rest off gathering and expending that much energy all at once.

The dawn of Ruin

Location: The Celestial Palace.
Interacting with: Aethel (@Bright_Ops) and the Monarch of All (@Lauder)

As the shards spilled out of the Monarch of All, there was one in particular that seemed to be just a bit odd. It battled itself, seemingly unsure of how it would come into being as the connection was sundered. Within this shard a battle raged, one that would likely never be known to anyone but those involved for some time. Within the shard, two forms coalesced. One of a beautiful woman, and the other of an amorphous blob. Launching itself at the beautiful woman with what could only be described as a scream, the amorphous blob sprouted something akin to an arm, and upon that arm was a claw. Taking advantage of the fact that there was not yet any resistance from the coalescing goddess, the blob clawed at her face, attempting to both slay her and steal away what divinity it could.

The soft and supple flesh of the unfinished goddess gave way to the rending claws with little resistance, and the sleeping woman’s face was forever scarred. From these scars the blob gained a tiny spark of divine energy as a trophy for its kill. Clutching this spark greedily, the blob looked to the presumably slain goddess and began to shape itself in their image. As its own form began to coalesce and it moved to finalize its emergence it found itself clutching at its head. Something was wrong.

Letting out a shriek that no normal ear could withstand the form of the predator went limp. The sleeping goddess, thought dead, had been healed by the abundance of divine energy. Lowering her hand, she approached the corpse of her would-be killer and touched it gently. The limp form split apart, and slowly the scarred goddess donned it as one would clothes. Once everything was in place the scarred goddess let out a scream of her own as the flesh of her would-be sister bound to her own, bringing the two together to form the one.

Ruina stepped into existence from just behind the great jade throne that had been crafted by the Monarch of All. Clearly her would-be sister did not intend to stop with just murdering her. Walking across the fine wooden bridge. A light click emerged from each step as Ruina’s talons impacted upon the ground. With each step her tail shifted behind her, maintaining her balance with ease.

Instinctively approaching the Monarch of All, she heard a faint fragment of conversation as she approached. Something about wanting to spend time with them before they left. So someone else was also present? Interesting, but not problematic. Walking with confidence, Ruina walked around to the front of the Monarch of All and unknowingly mimicked Aethel by bowing. Her tail unconsciously moved to ensure that her deep bow did not throw her off balance. Looking briefly to Aethel Ruina would give her a brief nod of respect before turning her attention back to her creator… Or would father be a better term?

Speaking up, Ruina introduced herself, primarily to the Monarch of All and secondarily to Aethel. ”Peace be with you, Monarch of All. I am Ruina, and I am at your service. Instruct me as you desire.”

Rising from her bow, Ruina could do little more than await a reply from her creator.

© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet