I think "most people," are "succeeding," because a lot of them are just joining already existing RPs, or they have been around n the site for a long ass time and have developed either a good reputation or a group of people they can write with/rely on (or it's both of these things). Also, I think the vast majority of people on the site are looking for group RPs, and so end up in group RPs.
Beyond that, uh, it's a matter of luck, timing, effort, etc.
It's funny because it's so easy to think that other people are having a much easier time than you. The reason for that is generally--unless you're specifically looking for it--you only ever see people's successes (RPs that are active/alive long enough for you to notice), whereas their failures (so to speak) are quickly swallowed by newer, more active threads, as they are pushed further and further back through numerous pages.
So yeah, this idea that "everyone else is galloping," is just a result of you not paying individual attention to every attempt that other users on this site have made to get something going. Plus, other aspects of that just happen behind the scenes (On discord, in PMs, etc) so there's not even any chance for you to see it.
Essentially, if you're only looking for peoples' successes, that's the only thing you're going to see.
@rebornfan320 aight, so I gotta level with you man. If you started a decade ago, right, and then 3-5 years ago suddenly you started just...getting tons of abandoned RPs/ghosters etc, then something changed. Either every single person over literally 100s of threads (by your own count) were miraculously all just terrible at communication and had no regard for anyone else but themselves or something changed in you. The latter is more likely.
Further, people can understand where you're coming from, but not agree with you. This may make you uncomfortable, I'm sorry if it does, but it's true. Just about everyone in this thread has been at the very least on the Guild just as long as you, and who knows how long on Old Guild or websites prior to that, so the chance that all of us (and the 100s of people who ghosted you) are wrong is basically zero. The odds on that are definitely not in your favor my dude ^^;
Furthermore, idk about everyone else, but I've been RPing for roughly over 12 years and I've felt what you're feeling before. So I can definitely understand and empathize. I bet a bunch of other people here have felt this same way, I bet some portion of those people who have, also sometimes feel mad jaded by putting themselves out there and nothing coming of it. The difference though, between you and them is most people move on from it and try to do better, whereas you are dwelling on it and letting it be the only thing that is true to you.
Sorry man, other people also have experiences just as valid as yours--even similar ones--and just because they disagree, does not make what they're saying any less valuable or accurate.
But hey, I'm just some dude on the internet. Just a dude who has also been doing this for a ludicrously long period of time. Just a dude who sometimes feels this same way, but doesn't actually go and blame other people about it because it's more pointless than just...trying harder. I'm just some guy, what do I know, right?
Oh, something else to keep in mind when it comes to taking constructive criticism is that trying a piece of advice once and it failing does not constitute the advice being wrong or responsible for the failure. It just means you tried it once and that time didn't work. Try again.
Don't drop a piece of advice just because it fails once, twice, or three times. If you've tried to make RPs/threads X amount of times and have gotten failure (resulting in a perception of a pattern of failures/bad luck) then why not try a given piece of advice (or more than one) just as many times to see if that method has the same rate of failure.
That or just...give up, find some other hobby as others have mentioned.
It had been a fairly short amount of time since Celestine had stirred sentience within her Virtus Elves. The experience of cultivating sentience within them had been a fairly intense one, and the exhausted feeling that came afterward was not one that Celestine particularly enjoyed. Thankfully her reserves of divine energy had recovered at this point and she was feeling much better. During her resting time Celestine had once more cast her divine senses upon Galbar in order to watch the ongoing events that were taking place. These events caused Celestine to reach a fairly grim conclusion: No matter how much she prepared them, her Virtus Elves would face struggle.
This led to an intricate problem: Should a critical Virtus Elf be killed, the overall society might suffer greatly. Celestine’s first idea was to attempt to teach them all equally in every topic, but she then rationalized that such a process was too inefficient and caused them to be entirely dependent on her being free to teach them all, which was a risky proposition. Celestine then figured that she could infuse a select handful of them with advanced knowledge and allow them to spread their teachings to the others, but she then rationalized that this would create an inequality between those who were highly knowledgeable and those who were not.
Tapping a finger against her chin as she reclined in the throne that sat above the Longhall, Celestine finally came to the conclusion that she would have to seek outside advice regarding this particular subject. Rising from her throne, Celestine moved to her personal chambers and approached the desk that she kept there. Sitting down, she fetched some parchment and writing utensils in order to craft something that she could place upon the notice board that she had seen earlier.
Starting to write, Celestine stopped a few moments after she began in order to think about how exactly she wanted to phrase her request. Tapping her pen against her chin Celestine looked about her personal quarters for a few moments in order to see if there was something that she might be able to emulate. It was then that her eyes settled upon the bookcase that had never been used. Celestine read the titles of the books on chivalry and knighthood, knowing the contents of each book perfectly without ever having opened them. It was then that inspiration came to her, and she resumed writing once more.
Seeking assistance of a more experienced god for the creation of a memory library. Visit the realm of Celestine for more information.
Setting her pen down, Celestine looked over the small piece of parchment and nodded to herself. It would do well enough. Rising from the chair, Celestine made her way to the visitation chamber and then stepped through her portal to Antiquity with confidence.
As soon as she emerged from her portal completely, Celestine made her way to the notice board that she had found earlier. Making use of the tools present she placed her notice firmly upon the board before nodding to herself and turning to leave.
It was then that she noticed that she was not quite alone.
For before her loomed the figure of a most imposing Presence. Down upon her did it gaze with lidded eyes, its form wreathed in a shroud of silvers, blacks, and pallid white. Its flesh was like a starlight spackled void writ into a vessel most divine. There was an ancient endless air about it, a great weight it seemed to bear.
It spoke, and its voice was a quiet thrumming thunder, resonating in her chest; it pressed outwards through her bones and into the ancient stone of Antiquity. "Greetings, sister," the Presence said, its tone like music, but subtly strange as if the instrument were faintly damaged. Its shroud billowed slowly, driven to movement, though no true wind blew in that stolid place between. It was a force familiar yet all-together different. It was the twisting of minds to tasks, the awakening of reflection. It was the glimmer of intellect within even the smallest spirit--be it stone or bird or sky.
It was emotion, pure, varied, and unrestrained by vessel or mortal mind. Writ in the hues of many faded colors, those feelings swept back and forth between them. They scattered in harmless drifting waves. As vigilant as she was, Celestine would notice his gaze upon her--though it was eyeless and thus quite vague. There was an intensity to it, one which at the very least matched that of Thaa's.
Satisfied, its intent withdrew, and once more it let words flow upon the air. "I am the Dreaming God," it said, then fell silent so that it might allow her to reply.
The imposing presence of the Dreaming God unnerved Celestine when she turned to face them. Not only did she nearly walk face-first into the swirling void that made up their body but their entirely otherworldly appearance gave Celestine a brief cause for alarm before she recognized that this entity wasn’t hostile. Instincts flared violently before being quenched quickly as Celestine’s rational mind figured things out. Depending on how keenly they were observing Celestine, they might’ve noticed a faint twitch in her left hand as she almost went for the sword hanging upon her right hip. Thankfully her mind was just as fast as her body. The effects of the Dreaming God’s method of speaking were quite perplexing to her, as she noted how she felt their voice rather than merely hearing it. Thaa’s method of speaking through a mountain of corpses was equally perplexing, though at the very least that method still made some amount of reasonable sense within Celestine’s mind.
Her own appearance and the appearance of Cadien had led her to believe that many of her fellow deities would take on more mortal forms, but then her visit to the realm of Thaa had proven that deities were not limited to such an idea, and the being before her pushed that boundary even further. Perhaps she and Cadien were the exception and not the rule? Celestine would have to see about meeting more gods and goddesses before figuring out the truth behind that enigma.
The Dreaming God had the honor of being the second god that Celestine had to look up at in order to properly examine them. The way that they presented themselves was fairly interesting as Celestine noted a mix of both corporeal and incorporeal elements. After a few moments processing what had just happened and the physical appearance of the being before her Celestine remembered her manners and began her usual greeting routine. Grasping at the edges of her cape like one would a skirt, she gave a curtsey and spoke calmly. ”Greetings brother. I am Celestine, Goddess of Soldiery. Did you have something that you wished to speak to me about?”
Standing from her curtsey Celestine smoothed out her cape and awaited a response from the Dreaming God. Perhaps they wanted to speak with her about the notice that she had just posted? It would be awfully convenient to progress her idea while it was fresh within her mind instead of having to recall the information at a later time. Though, naturally, there was only one way to find out for sure.
The air crackled briefly with the sensation of anticipation, before falling once more to the subtle sway of extant emotions as he regarded her once more. Then his awareness expanded and touched the board behind her, and a fleeting sense of amusement would tug faintly at the edges of her mind. It was not an intrusive thing, but merely the evidence of his nearness and the influence of his nature.
As if pondering her query, he responded, each word seeming listless in its timbre.
"Mmn, one could say that such is true, sister-Celestine," then a pause, dragging into silence, as the Presence thought upon its words. In that time of wordless wondering, the emotion-wind began to swirl and churn. They did not seem to completely mirror the Dreaming God's own reflected thoughts but instead began to weave their own tapestry of meaning.
'Wariness,' said the swaying thoughts, twisting about themselves in patterns.
'Trust,' said another gust of wavelengths as they brushed past her hair and ears, coiling away in swirls.
'Awareness,' the third uttered, the sound fluttering like a whispered breath across her skin.
The Presence stirred, seeming to constrict like narrowed eyes. The winds grew quiet once again. Its voice then pressed into her skull and was felt as much as heard, "I glimpsed your essence, sister, as you departed the Death God's realm."
The words were laden full with meaning, weighty in their bulk. They spoke of curiosity unending, a drive to find and learn, and know from the shallow surface to the deeper secrets held hidden far below. The air about the Dreamer shifted, and once again, he spoke.
"Yet," he started, but the rest never came. Instead, a mass of churning insight erupted from his shroud. It writhed about them both until it was all that they could see.
In it were the vaguest shapes of her creations, her children of newborn minds. Beyond these intimations was an Endless Dream--a Subtle Web--through which all living, thinking, things remained connected. It danced and swirled and thrummed with an intensity that few things could match. If she were to look upon him, she'd find his eyes open, no longer hidden from the world.
Black, bottomless cores, plummeting into infinity. Exploding nebulae, dying stars, spread outwards from the darkness of his gaze. There was something bizarre--yet fitting--about the sight. A being of endless knowledge, boundless thought and feeling, yet seeming to always hunger for more. Perhaps it was not a vile emptiness, but merely a sad truth of his nature.
The veil of color and sensation began to ebb its flow, drifting in many threads to clear the air.
"I would help if you will let me," the Presence said, its words a proclamation.
The presence of the whispered voices unnerved Celestine slightly, especially with their insistence upon touching her as they passed. Unfortunately, such things had to be abided as not all gods took so closely after mortals, and the Dreamer clearly didn’t seem inclined to follow their patterns beyond the slightest degree of acknowledgement. When they mentioned that they had seen her leaving the realm of Thaa, Celestine raised an eyebrow by only a millimeter. Her activity had drawn an observer? How curious. Celestine pondered if more than one being had observed her entering and exiting the realm of Thaa, but such a concern was waylaid promptly as she heard the Dreamer speak once again. However, this was only a single word before something quite concerning happened.
When the mass of churning insight erupted around them, Celestine’s hand was not stopped by her rationality. Her sword was drawn promptly and was raised in a simple single-handed longpoint guard as she found herself surrounded by an unexplained and unexpected event. It was not until she saw the presence of her Virtus Elves within the surrounding mass of churning insight did her focus break from defending herself from possible attack.
As she observed the event and connected the dots about what was being shown Celestine would relax her guard slightly, and then completely as the mass began to dissipate. Gently placing the tip of her sword within her scabbard, Celestine slid it gently back into place with a soft metallic clink. Looking back to the Dreamer, Celestine began to speak. ”Please inform me ahead of time if that is going to happen again. I don’t really enjoy the prospect of spontaneous happenings that may or may not endanger me. Also, I must apologise for going for my sword. It is merely my natural reaction to a potential threat. Moving along, how did you intend to assist me? I will hear out your offer.”
When she finished speaking, Celestine placed her right hand upon the pommel of her sword and her left hand upon her hip. Then she could do naught else but wait to see what The Dreaming God had to say.
Slowly, the eyes of that Dreaming God once more slid shut, hiding their darkness from the world. Considering her response, the Presence constricted his power and rather than express it in great swaths of enveloping experience, it instead became writ in its shroud.
Billowing backwards from the deity of dreams, the grey shroud took on many colors and spread out to take up a wider space behind him. Then, as images of the Virtus elves formed, he spoke.
“A library of experiences, of memories as you say,” he began, his words mirrored in his shrouds, creating images of books and endless shelves all held within a dreaming realm. “This is a thing that I would gladly do.”
“However,” he began, his black-orbs opening as tiny slits, “I would ask of you a simple thing in return.”
He held out a hand, its fingers long and spindly with perhaps too many joints. Nonetheless, there was no threat in the motion.
“Communion, so that I might serve your children better.”
The colors of his shroud grew strangely muted and his black eyes seemed to flash with the vanishing light of dying stars. He awaited her reply with anticipation, hoping she’d agree.
Celestine observed the images of her Virtus Elves within the Dreamer’s cloak for a few moments before turning her attention back to the deity. As they spoke, she began to grow considerate of accepting the offer, but the next thing that they said inserted a splinter into her mind.
”Keep in mind at all times there is always an angle.
Thaa’s advice from earlier was once again made relevant as the Dreamer asked to commune with her. Celestine did not know the extent of a communion that they wanted, nor did she know what else the dreamer might seek to learn other than details about her Virtus Elves. Some parts of her wanted to reject the offer until these details were known, but she also rationalized that doing so would put the entire offer in jeopardy. It would appear that this would have to simply be a risk that she accepted.
Taking a moment to retrieve and crumple the notice that she had put up, Celestine would then grasp the offered hand firmly before speaking with confidence. ”Very well. I accept.”
Vigilance would have to be kept for deception. Hopefully it would not be needed.
So it was that he took her hand and met her gaze. In those black slits was an inscrutable smile.
"I will not harm you," he said, and it was one utterance.
"It is communion," he repeated, and it was three.
Then blindness. An eternity.
Across the endless white of her perception, filled once only with her thoughts, shot flashes like lightning writ from pitch. Then thunder without sound. It emanated through her mind, but the world remained silent and far away. Divided.
Slowly, from above and below, from every direction, color crept. None were muted. Each was a single thought, an experience, an emotion. Together they were a tangle, a weave, a river of endless currents.
They flowed inwards, eclipsing at first the blinding white, then her as well.
His hand tightened, as if to anchor her, but its touch was gentle. A rising sensation entered her body, and it was as if she expanded outwards. Perhaps she might recall the time when her mind had swept over Galbar, or that tractless eternity before her current self.
Lifeblood's Warmth. The womb of gods. Oblivion. Eternity. The Origin.
A whisper dripped between her thoughts.
It had a dark texture. Like gritty tar. Like viscous fluid; congealed blood. Then smoke: ethereal, untouchable, yet choking.
The feeling passed.
With a suddenness the world realigned and though everything was different, nothing had changed.
"I am Os-fhireach," proclaimed a voice--was it his...or hers?
"I am Neo-Aicheil," he repeated.
"I am Aicheil," they replied.
Yet, there was something else. There were more facets within the endless gem of that boundless dreaming god. Among them was another pattern, hiding. Its tendrils were a pulsing network of creeping black, coiling and skittering through it all.
Mhaireann, the pattern said.
For a moment there would be no thought, only the churning mass of emotion and experience--every idea that was and could be, every possibility that mortals had lived...might live...were living. Then all was revealed. The pattern's motion became clear to her and her to it.
She was a lattice, a structure of order and of logic. A machine made to bind a sleeping beast, which lay beneath a well of coiled intimate emotion. It was a thing of beauty and it became imprinted upon his mind. Yet, she did not lose it, for that control was her anchor, that lattice was her mind. It was her way.
He withdrew his hand and the tapestry of thought--the pattern of consciousness, perhaps even existence--vanished in a flash. Left behind were fear and confusion and perhaps awe or loss. The Presence retreated a step, giving her space. Though he did not breathe, something about him seemed...briefly overwhelmed, before it swiftly became more solid.
Where the veins of power about his lidded eyes had once pulsed black, now they flowed with silver light. His form had shifted, it appeared somehow more regal now. A crown of stars drifted above his head, his shroud billowed out, as if driven by a constant unseen wind. There was a new solidity to him.
He opened his eyes, those endless pits, and gazed upon her form. Knowing it. Knowing her.
Unthreatening, he raised a many-jointed hand and plucked the image of an elf directly from his shroud, drawing it before him. He waited, observing.
Communion’s effects were frightening at first, with the white nothingness leading to think that she had been deceived. Tricked into some kind of prison where her divinity could be drained until she was no more. The lightning hewn from black pitch did not assist her concern over the unfolding events, as she had no perception of the flow of time within this snowy void.
As more colors began to spread across the void she began to relax and trust more in the assurance that she would not be harmed. As the flow of colors and sensations eclipsed Celestine she pondered once again if she had been duped, but those thoughts were set aside as she began to feel similar sensations as to her first moments of individual thought. This was certainly a strange sensation, as these moments were still relatively fresh within her mind as she hadn’t been parted from the lifeblood for nearly as long as some of the other gods that she had met.
As things shifted once again she began to feel an encroaching presence within her thoughts. Set upon edge once more, Celestine nearly raised her mental defenses to the fullest when she heard a duo of voices begin to speak. Upon hearing the names of this duo, things began to make more sense. The Dreaming God was not merely one mind like she herself was, but two. Now the various displays and oddities began to click together in her head as her understanding grew. As she studied the presences before her, Celestine’s divine senses began to lead her to believe that there were possibly more than two minds within the Dreamer, but anything beyond the voices that she was hearing was simply too nebulous to properly see.
A few moments later she was greeted with what seemed to be a projection of the structure of her own mind. Perhaps this had been what the Dreamer had been seeking. To understand just how Celestine’s mind functioned. Given what she saw before her now she rationalized that he had come to understand it. Perhaps this was the ultimate goal of the twin minds of the Dreamer? To figure out how the minds of individually minded gods so that they could unify as one? Celestine figured that it was not her place to know this, and thus dismissed the possibility lest it come to cloud her perception of events in front of her.
As the communion ended, Celestine found herself grounded in Antiquity once more. A peaceful feeling flowed across her mind as she was once again comprehending things in the manner that she was used to. Taking a moment to make sure that her faculties were in order once again, Celestine turned her attention back to the Dreamer once she was done. It was now that she noted that their features had changed slightly, likely a reflection of the understanding they had gained from the communion. Deciding to avoid commenting on it, Celestine merely waited to see what would happen.
It was then that the Dreamer drew forth the form of an elf from their shroud. Celestine was curious as to what they might be thinking, and since they seemed to be paused in their actions Celestine decided to speak in order to try and figure out what they were contemplating. ”Is there something more that you require of me, or are you merely studying the form that my creation has taken?”
A rumbling chuckle shook Antiquity’s stone, its sound vibrating through the bones of her lifeblood form. The Dreamer shook its head and spoke. “We know these, your creations, for they are of you.”
There was a smile in those words and an endless knowledge in the dark voids of those black orbs. “Watch,” he requested, “...listen,” he continued.
The depiction of her child grew in size, though there remained a sense not that it would truly become larger. Then it seemed to grow hazy at the edges before the impression spread throughout. In an instant, something else snapped into focus, a complex array that spread from the skull of the depiction and outwards into their body. It pulsed with awareness and that pulse would tell her of what she now bore witness.
It was the mind of her child, or at least as their minds were.
Like swirling prismatic lanterns, condensed down to pinpricks, two minuscule glowing pupils shown from within the endless dark of the Dreaming God’s visage, meeting her gaze. Almost unbidden--though far less intense--a remembrance would come upon her. Her own observation of Galbar, her awareness moving through it. Then, it would be as if the physical layer of that world were peeled back and behind it were another place. A landscape of thought. An ocean of experience. Consciousness.
“The Endless Dream,” they said, and it was impossible to say which of the many Dreamers spoke the words.
Then, as if summoned, an image of that flowing tapestry of minds became visible around the depiction of her child. They seemed as if held apart from it. With an effort of will like a great storm breathing out its first torrent of rain--like a black-grey cloud unleashing branching tines of lightning in an instant--the divide vanished.
The mind of his depiction shifted from its natural silver hue to something else. It was as if an essence like the sheen on oil had been woven into its like, intermingling with it and attuning.
Then, the Dream itself shifted, and images of endless halls--endless shelves, endless knowledge from her people--would rise into her awareness as they flashed into her mind. The figure before them, the elf, held in its hands a great tome. Somehow, that weight of pages was itself a library.
“These things to your people I will give, if it pleases you.”
Lights rippled through the pallid greys of his shroud. Like lightning. Like dying stars, like newborn planets. Like flashes of thought writ upon neurons. He closed his eyes and finally the weight of his attention fell away as he awaited her decision.
Celestine heeded the guidance of the Dreaming God and resigned herself to watch as the form before her began to shift and change. She began to grow concerned when the depiction grew hazy, though her attention was drawn to the array that snapped into focus. It did not take her long to connect the dots on what such a thing represented as it pulsed with awareness and thought. Such a method of depicting the mind of her people was interesting to say the least. Celestine couldn’t help but ponder if this depiction was how the Dreamer saw every mind, or just the minds of the Virtus Elves. She pondered asking for a moment, but figured that such a question would lead to too complicated of an answer for her to understand without holding the same unique perspectives that the Dreamer did.
As the minuscule pupils focused in on her eyes they would see that they held a sort of coldness to them. The eyes of someone with a long gaze wrought of steel. As the remembrance of her time spent viewing Galbar came upon her Celestine took heed of the shifting that she was seeing. When the physical layer of Galbar was pulled back to reveal The Endless Dream Celestine’s gaze softened slightly to witness the remarkable creation of what she could only presume to be the god before her. It was clear that a lot of effort had been put into such a creation. Celestine silently hoped that one day the other gods would look upon her creations with the same sort of wonder and appreciation for a long task labored on until it was done.
As the dream and depiction of a Virtus Elf were altered, Celestine pondered what exactly had been changed about it. Did the Dreamer perhaps give her a stable island in the sea of thought? The visions of many library-like halls seemed to depict something of the sort, and the sheen that the depiction had taken on was like a sword that had been oiled. The presence of a great tome was intriguing. Would it possibly be how the library was accessed? Had their minds been shielded or connected in some way? Was this time a sort of gateway into the library that her elves could use? Or perhaps was it something that they could access any information they wanted by simply turning enough pages?
These were questions that needed answers, and thus Celestine began to ask them as the weight of the Dreaming God’s attention fell away. “These gifts please me. How might my people make use of them? Is there a particular method for accessing this library that you had planned? What is your plan for the great tome? And what of the sheen that the representation of their mind has taken on? Does it hold a particular meaning?”
With these questions asked she could do nothing else but wait for an answer.
“Yes,” replied the Dreamer, the word like a pulse that resounded deep within her chest, within the stone, through the air.
“They will be touched by my creation, that Subtle Weave which to you I have revealed,” his shroud gently dispelled the illusion of the elf, which drifted like colored mist, dispersing. Then, swirling like eddies of color, that mist converged, forming the image of a great tome once more. It was perhaps as tall as a man, and certainly wider. With a brief hum like latent electricity, the thing took on substance, shape, before finally it snapped fully into being.
Its pages were pristine white, its covers and spine filled with coiling knotwork, at the center of which stood a sword thrust through a triquetra. The symbols of the two gods brought together.
“The Akashic Gate,” thrummed the Dreamer, his eyes opening for a flash as the Gate took on truest form. He offered it to her, as if it would answer her questions. It just might.
Celestine raised an eyebrow slightly as the book was made whole. When it was offered to her she hesitated for only the briefest of moments before reaching forward to take the book. It was equally as tall as her and quite wide which made trying to manage it a little awkward. As she held it Celestine would examine the book and make note of the layered symbols of the two collaborating gods upon the cover. Giving a nod of approval, she would attempt to open the book to see if there would be anything of note on the inside.
So it was that the book was opened by her hands, its many pages revealed. At first it would seem blank, no matter how many pages she turned, but then just before her patience waned something appeared upon that canvas of white. Images and sensations gently threaded their way into her mind. It was as a Virtus’ life might be, its every experience flowing from the page and into her awareness.
There was a deep impression, ever growing, speaking of many lives--each a different elf.
“As you have felt, so too will your people,” intoned the Dreaming God, his voice a deep-toned hum.
Then, the Endless Dream, the Subtle Weave, the vast threads of the Collective Unconscious made themselves known to her once more. She would move through them, feel them, and find the experiences of those who would become her people. It felt--for a moment--like being lost in the being of another, learning them, coming to understand. The vision faded, but a deeper understanding of their experience--or at least the potential they held--had been instilled within her.
“As you have walked the dream, so too will they. From it, from their people, understanding can be gleaned, skills shared, minds melded.” His voice was itself a swirling miasma of experience, somehow more vivid in that moment than it had been in communion. The sensation passed.
The great tome began to glow, silver and golden outlines limning prismatic designs upon its pages. It drifted from her hands and stood upon its spine, pages spread to their full breadth. At first it was merely luminescent, but soon it grew to a brightness beyond bearing. Then, with a singular flash it was as if the tome became a gate, taking on the purpose of its namesake.
“Through the Gate lies an archive of their making. As you might pass into its pages to that world beyond, so too will they.” Without warning, a hand reached out and with swiftness snapped shut the gate, and once more it became a tome within his hand. He let it stand before her so that she might decide.
As Celestine experienced the sensations provided by the tome her understanding of the Collective Unconscious deepend. As she saw the experiences of the Virtus Elves flow before her she understood the magnitude of the gift that had been given. Giving a few nods to the Dreamers explanation, Celestine reached out once more to take the tome from the Dreamer, speaking as she did so. ”I understand, Dreamer. I humbly accept these gifts, and will be sure to honor your name as these contributions are used by my people. You have my deepest thanks.”
With that said, Celestine would bow her head briefly to add further weight to the thanks that she was giving.
Bowing his head in kind, giving grace where it was due, the Presence drew back. Though he faced her, his head now raised, he had begun to drift away. As he departed, he left her with these words, “To each child, give a page. The essence of the Gate will bring forth the change that you have seen.”
He turned then, that Dreaming God, and headed for an empty space where a portal had once been. He looked back only once, and though he did not speak, something passed between them and lingered in that realm between.
Then a black flash, a rolling silver storm, limned with gold, filled with many hues, and he was gone.
Celestine gave a nod at the final instructions of the Dreaming God. For now she decided to wait until the elves were to be sent to Galbar before fully immersing them in this gift. They did not need it yet. Hefting the tome gently, Celestine carried it into her realm and set it down within her personal chambers.
There it would stay until it was time for it to be put to use.
Celestine decides she needs some degree of help despite her desires, and so goes to Antiquity to post a notice on the board in the realm between. However, before anyone else might see it, the Dreaming God happens upon her and the two engage in discourse. After an enigmatic and, somewhat tense, interaction the two briefly enter Communion. Soon after, the Dreamer offers his help to Celestine.
She accepts, and he obliges, then after short explanations--and a strangely final farewell--he vanishes. Celestine departs with his gifts in hand, returning to her realm.
Start: 5MP, 5DP.
-2MP -- Grant Extraordinary Ability (Virtus Elves) / Akashic Memory (2MP towards Memory). -2MP -- Grant Extraordinary Ability (Virtus Elves) / Akashic Reflection (2MP towards Reflection). -1MP -- Consecrate Artifact (The Akashic Gate) / Subsume I (1MP towards Perception). -1DP (Enhanced by Astral) -- Consecrate Artifact (The Akashic Gate) / Transfer I | Restore II. -1DP (Enhanced by Tessellation) -- Consecrate Holy Site (The Akashic Records) / Compile II | Subsume I. -3DP (Discounted from 5DP by Astral) -- Create Phenomena / Astral Bridges.
Akashic Memory: The Virtus Elves are afforded a unique communal connection to the Collective Unconscious, thus connecting their souls to it more directly. As a result, all memories, thoughts and experiences of their kind are not merely stored within the Endless Dream, but also codified and made easily accessible to their kind. While the Virtus cannot natively access this information without effort, those of them who learn Dreamwalking would find it easy to locate and navigate the constantly expanding library of their species' memories, skills, and experiences.
Akashic Reflection: The Virtus Elves may, through meditation, deep personal reflection, and/or Dreamwalking access memories held within the Akashic Records of their species. This allows members of their species to draw upon the skills and experiences held therein. With continued reflection, an individual may gain Insight into up to one major skill\*. Each major skill is worth 2 Intermediate skills\** or three minor skills\***. Skills gained through the use of the Akashic Gate or Records can be made permanent through use of this ability, but will deteriorate if not used until the individual has gone through the proper process.
*Major Skills are those that require proper mastery--and thus many years (often a decade or more) to learn--as well as being relatively complicated. Art--culinary, musical, or otherwise--engineering, smithing, and many other crafts are considered Major Skills.
**Intermediate Skills are those that require several years to learn and master. Mastery of a single weapon or martial art, public speaking, manipulation, basic farming, animal husbandry (one species of animal) or acrobatics are considered Intermediate Skills. A skill that would typically be considered "major" can be learned at a reduced proficiency as an Intermediate Skill.
***Minor Skills are those that require a year or less to gain proficiency with, they are generally uncomplicated. Simple mending, memorization, reading, writing, and other skills of similar simplicity qualify as Minor Skills. A skill that would typically be considered "Intermediate" can be learned at a reduced proficiency as a minor skill.
The Akashic Gate: Taking the form of a massive and incredibly heavy tome, the Akashic Gate is a book of endless pages. It is linked to the Collective Unconscious and the Akashic Records specifically, serving as the only way to reach the astral library. Anyone using it can search through it to find specific skills, memories, and experiences of the Virtus Elves. Once found, the Gate can commune with the mind of the reader allowing the information to become a natural part of their mind. However, any information gained this way will slowly decay unless regularly used. It should be noted that though it can be physically handled--and is considerably heavy--the Akashic Gate is effectively a divine Willcasting. As a direct result of this, should the book be destroyed, it will eventually reform, willed back into existence by the Dreaming God himself.
The Akashic Records: A holy site existing solely within the Endless Dream, the Akashic Records can currently only be entered through the Akashic Gate. Their appearance varies somewhat between individuals, but always seems to include an endlessly growing set of shelves composed of an indeterminate lustrous material. It is ghostly and ethereal in appearance, with shimmering, prismatic books--with silver or gold lettering--constantly forming or growing larger on the shelves. The limits of the place cannot be seen and after a certain distance everything is obscured by a faint silver and golden light. Several feet from the entrance there stands a pedestal of pearlescent marble, writ with glowing silver glyphs. Those placing a hand onto the pedestal can more easily locate information within the library, by bidding it to rearrange to suit them. Furthermore, one can summon specific volumes of memory/experience and organize it to suit them prior to subsuming any quantity of its contents. Any hostile intent--or otherwise attempt to damage the library--will cause the individual to be expelled from the library.
Subsume I: This title allows anyone touching--or within--the source of its effect to perceive, adopt, and understand experiences held within the Akashic Records. Memories and the like are fully experienced by the individual accessing them--though not in real time as the experiences are “accelerated”. The person within the simulated experience during the process will not realize that their learning/taking on of the memories are accelerated. This is realized only afterwards when it is clear that little time has passed.
Compile II: This title gives the Akashic Records the ability to gather memories and experiences from the Endless Dream and then sort, reorganize, or otherwise process the information in a timely and interactive manner. Further, due to its rank, Compile allows individuals who enter the library to manipulate its organization of memories and experiences so as to best locate and experience the information held therein.
Restore II: When bestowed upon a consecrated, this title allows the aforementioned to reform even if destroyed. At this rank its reformation is not instantaneous, though it does render any damage that does not completely destroy the consecrated largely pointless as such will return to its original state fairly quickly (in no more than three days' time). Should the consecrated be entirely destroyed it will be fully restored no more than thirty days. The more people who contribute their will to the effort of restoring the artifact, the faster it will reform, though it will never do so faster than twelve days. For every nine people focusing their will, three days are cut from its restoration time.
Transfer I: This is a simple title that, upon activation via the Akashic Gate, allows individuals to physically enter the Akashic Library by unknowingly crossing an Astral Bridge. This bridge is not stable, despite appearances, and dissipates as soon as individuals have crossed from the Gate to the Library of vice versa. However, due to the enduring Will of the Dreaming God, the bridge will always open when bidden by either the Gate or the Library.
Astral Bridges: A natural result of the Endless Dream and Galbar intermingling for decades, an Astral Bridge may form in response to an incredibly powerful Willcasting, allowing an individual to physically pass from Galbar and into the Endless Dream. These bridges are almost universally unstable and as such will close behind the individual, requiring a new bridge be opened so that one might return to Galbarian soil.
*Creation of one of these temporary Bridges is an action costing 3 Prestige.
Many generations had passed since the disappearance of the Gods. Many mortals had been born and lived and laughed, and died. In that time, though in other places the divine revealed to Galbar that they were not wholly gone, men and mer began to forget--if only on Khesyr’s soil. However, some could not, it was not their nature--they had been made with knowledge innate, their purpose clear. Yet still, these mortals were flawed, and so they were sure to err. This is where their story began.
Atop a spire of great height, a towering mountain, thinner than the rest, a gathering of disturbances perturbed the air. With a voice somewhere between humming and the howling buzz of electrified stormwind, one spoke. “They are godless,” she professed, distressed.
A sphere of coiled lightning and warping air bobbed in response, “What would they have us do?” The words were like bolts of electrified light striking the earth, their sound sharp, though strangely subdued in volume.
Two other such roiling spheres of coalesced electricity and essence seemed to shift towards eachother. The air rose then fell, as if to suggest a shrug. The elder sphere, her voice ever resembling quiet lightning, sighed.
“Do not despair,” the fifth among them said, and his voice filled with hope and courage. It was warm and commanding, such was Thiriel’s way.
“They have not abandoned us in truth, they cannot have,” Thiriel said.
“And yet...nothing. Not a peep, these last four hundred years…” said the eldest, Kyrinea, her voice always lightning’s lash.
Thiriel remained, his essence calm, the atmosphere about him still where others coiled and twisted with agitation.
Nardelith spoke again, angry...distraught. He knew she felt abandoned by their god. “Enmity has not given us directives. He has vanished...and the others, they paid us little mind before. Now we are separated from our kin. In a strange land. I cannot feel their presence here as I thought I could before.”
Kyrinea bobbed where she floated in the air, her voice somehow as contemplative as it was striking. “It is so. Yet what would keep them from us, I must wonder….”
“I don’t see the problem,” Nasterin said, his voice like wind flittering through trees, filled with the sputtering crackle of electric leaves.
“We are freer without them,” the twin Gravitational--Lareiatus--added, its voice like birds. Sing-song, carefree. It was more like the wind than the rest.
Ah, they were so young, Thiriel thought, shifting where he hovered in the air, turning to regard them. “No. To forget them is to invite their wrath. They remain. I know this.”
“How can you?!” Demanded Nardelith, clearly incensed by his sureness in these uncertain times. She always was the most passionate among them. He admired that.
“Simple,” he said, a smile in his tone. He swept out his Presence, casting dust and pebbles into the air. “I have a plan.”
Curious, the twins piped up, “What is it!?”
Thiriel chuckled and the gathered detritus spread out before them.
“We will build for them a people. We will ensure they’ll be remembered, even if not by name.”
Nasterin’s visage warped from sphere to ovoid, as if he were confused. Larei vibrated, his curiosity spilling over. Kyrinea only hummed, letting out a gust of wind.
Nardelith, with curious suspicion--and a shred of hope--finally dared to ask. “What do you have in mind?”
Thiriel told them. It would be a glorious beginning. The gods would be remembered...and the Constant? They would spread its truth as their own divine decree.
That day, the Astajhita were born.
Their empire would soon follow.
Time passed and from outcasts and those who would listen that coalition of Enmity’s children gathered a people. With the passage of time--and through many trials--they proved to them the truth of their divinity. Through no easy mortal means could they be wounded or killed. They did not age, but perhaps most compelling was their divine influence. The world seemed to bend around them, moving according to their desires and further, their forms lent to them a certain credence. For though many men and mer walked Galbar’s soil, the people of that forming nation knew not of any who took such evocative, otherworldly forms.
Their people were a strange sort.
First came the Goblins, who were merely tolerated by others, often chased out as monstrous pests. They took to the Astajhita’s teachings quickly, their lifespans and thus short cultural memory swiftly adopting the new beliefs as the old passed, and the young grew up with the influence of those divine spheres. They held most closely to Vikaasah, the symbol of progress and growth. With its teaching, three tribes blended into one, interbreeding, their talents mixing, uniting them. Still, though their disagreements had all but vanished, they took to two of the Aspects of their newfound gods. For the shortness of their lives, so that they might live them well, and die with dignity, they chose Sumsaar. This Ideal, it spoke of morality and mortality; the impermanence of all things. To match it, mirroring the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the world as seen through their small and beady eyes, they revered Rahas. It was the Inconstancy of the World: Mysteries and enigmas, the unpredictable and strange. It was magic, the supernatural, the unexplained. For them, the world was all these things. With these ideologies to guide them, they took swiftly to their work.
With aid from the endless droves of Goblins as their population boomed, the Astajhita expanded their lands and with time attracted the notice of a pair of races. For, nearby did war two hordes, one who had long ago been human and another who bore the carapace of Artifex.
However, their kinds had been at war for far...far too long and even amongst them some had lost the will to fight. From these populations did the Astajhita gather favor. Those stormbound entities spoke to them of peace and in time did the voracious Iskrill, and their Vespian adversaries come into their fold. The latter took to defense, for though they hungered they knew that to know contentment, they must exercise restraint. So it was that the Iskrill took on the Freeing Vice of Passion: Aurhna.
Their once-enemies became hunters, where before they had been hunted, now they provided for the group. So sated were both their lust for carnage, and the boundless hunger of their historic foes. With time, they came to revere the ideal of Virya, that which was both the Warmth and Desperation of Life. It suited them.
Finally their lands and influence spread far enough--their various populations thriving--that a certain quartet of species took notice. The Trolls. Lumbering behemoths, and the mischievous both took to harrying the outskirts of their lands. However, they were met with ample resistance by the peoples of what was coming to be called a nation.
Some few, more curious than hungry, sought to understand. These the Astajhita welcomed with open arms and much to share. With a share of food--and activities to occupy their strength--the various troll clans began to settle amongst their ranks. Becoming, by and large, builders the Dovregubb admired the Aspect of Ohm. In their agelessness, they thought it fitting to follow the Universal Constant, and indeed it served them and their creations. With their aid great works of architecture rose among the Astajhians and their prosperity blossomed anew.
Not to be outdone, the younger troll races adopted their own Aspects. The Ranglefants--middle child that they were--chose Sumsaar, as the Goblins had before them. In this way they supported the others, adding their strength to that of the Goblins. So together with their allies did their kind rise in standing amongst the peoples of the Empire. The others, the Draug and Askeladd tribes, took of Cittajra and Aditi respectively. To the Draug--who sought beauty in the world, as they could never have it themselves--Cittajra was perfect, for it was the Natural World and its Rhythms. From their ilk--Drighina and Draug both--the greatest songs and musicians were often born. Though they perhaps offended with their stench of rot and frightening appearance, the Astajhians valued them for their art. The Askeladd remained tricksters, but now with a twist for they had--with the guidance of the Astajhita--grown beyond their petty thievery and mischief instead turning their adroit minds to greater tasks. With Aditi, who represented the Emanations of Thought, they became scholars and philosophers. Their wit and well-worded insults became things of beauty. With time and cultural intermingling they settled further into their roles, sometimes becoming diplomats or even mathematicians.
Then, though gradually, their borders ceased expanding and instead stabilized. Some few would harry or contest them, but with such monstrousness at their disposal--and the many talents of those people--enemies were soon discouraged from further conflict. Still, nothing in this world is perfect and though the Astajhita claimed divinity, they were indeed as flawed as any group of mortals. Insidious, the seeds of power corrupted them, and in that corruption were things like jealousy and greed; manipulation and deceit. Where before they had sought only to give the people unity, spread the teachings of the Gods--if not directly--and to serve their god-given purpose now they began to be twisted by the lives they had led.
Though slow and subtle, this insidious corruption did not stop with them. Patiently it crept unnoticed into the hearts and minds of the other mortals they’d misled. So that, where once there had been unity and mutual satisfaction the seeds of division and hate began to gradually resurge.
As the unseen plague spread among their people, weakening their hearts, the five began to notice. The fear that overtook them was great and they knew that this could not stand. So it was that the Astajhita were forced to actions which might mean calamity for them and those they had come to know as kin.
So, as they so rarely did, they descended from their place amongst the clouds--upon that ruined peak where they’d built their sullied crown--and moved amidst their people.
In awe at the gods among them, many were renewed, but some held only resentment and evil thoughts in their heart. To these did they speak, and their words were not unkind, though held within them was a threat.
“What resides within you cannot stand and you have my sympathy, for you are of my cherished mortals,” Narterin declared. Yet, he was not finished. “Banish these thoughts from your mind. Meditate upon them and find the path you know in your heart that you must walk.”
Beside him, wreathed in a twisting shroud of leaves, the air warping with her presence--crackling like fire--Nardelith spoke up.
“Know, that if you--or those like you--cannot do this, that we will do what is necessary to free our people of this plight.” She shifted, as if turning to the crowd. The electrified veil about her form flared into flames, as her lightning Presence touched it, and so it became ash.
As before, there was steel in her voice. “Spread the word, and know that the Path to Ascension is drought with maladies such as this. If you cannot weather it, you are not worthy of us and we will not bear your weight unto that far off peak.”
A flash of lightning struck behind her, but the whirling orb of her dervish form stirred not at all. The bolt had scorched the earth around her, leaving their god untouched.
With the words said, all but one turned and retreated with a regalness about them, heading for their mountain home.
Thiriel remained. While the others had taken up some magics or other such works of sorcery, he who had been the fifth had flown a different path. A sigh of wind left him, his Presence a coruscating pulse of sparks and metal, held together by his Will. Though lesser than some, he was a Dreamwalker, a singer of the Worldsong, but most impressively he was a Willcaster. Oh so few had been granted such a power, and though his gifts were galbarian in make, they were so rare as to seem divine.
He spoke, and his words rang out with a thunderous rhythm. He moved, and his Presence split apart, metal scales thrusting out into the crowd. They did not touch flesh, but they shredded hair and pierced clothing as they passed. The electricity left burns upon the ground, and each was a glyph.
“Know ye this, Chosen of the Five; Purveyors of the Eight.” It was a deep and thrumming tone, weaving through many notes, musical in its timbre--expert in its expression.
“Our love holds without condition, expansive and all-consuming in its nature. So too is our wrath, though it seldom shows its face,” Thiriel paused, there were gasps and hisses in the crowd, from those who had been scored, but moreso from the many who had looked down and seen the stones upon which symbols had been scored. The crowd parted, hoping to take in the entire thing, but failing in the end.
Thiriel sang, “Do not be the one who wakes it; be the song that lets it sleep!”
He shifted, warping in the air, then in a flash of burning essence and thrashing, heated metal--he was gone. The air shimmered where surely he had passed on his way up to the mountain.
Two Decades Ago
So it was that over four hundred more years passed. In that time the Astajhita cast off their creator’s name, taking on the one they had themselves chosen. They became wizened in their own way, weathered by the many centuries that had passed, by the trials of their people and, indeed, of leadership as well. Days before a new problem had gained their notice.
The Vespa were in revolt. In ages past they had fought their own kind at the behest of their chosen gods, but now they contested their rule. The Path to Ascension, and the promises it held, was no longer enough to ease the minds of the people. Each of the Five knew this, and in turn, Thiriel--perhaps the most cunning among them--remembered well their oaths. Afterall, he had burned them upon the very stone of their central city.
Though their people had never properly come to understand its glyphs, the great courtyard had become a place of worship for many many years. What of it now? They people walked upon it, as if in subtle defiance of their will.
It galled them more than they would care to admit. However, as problems had come to them the week before, on this day did arrive an unexpected solution.
In the boundless maelstrom of thought and infinite expression that stretched the whole of the Endless Dream, threads of awareness were plucked. It was the subtle plea, and unspoken need of the Astajhita which tugged upon his mind. So it was, that in the chaos war of his essence a single Aspect of the Fourfold God, one of the Three, pressed its mind out into the World.
Summoned by its master, the Watcher Within coalesced upon the mountain’s summit, amidst the Astajhita’s central tower. Shocked to stillness, the mortals baped, the wind about them going still. All but one, Nardelith, who let herself fall to the ground, here spherical form compressed downwards as if kneeling before the presence of true divinity. In a rush, the other three dropped their Presences and mirrored the actions of their sister--who had always been most devout among them. All except one, Thiriel, who remained, meeting the eyeless prismatic gaze of Faireachan A-staigh.
“I am honored by your presence, Scion of the Dream. What is it you require?” His voice did not quiver, his metal scales did not quake. The lightning of his form was calm around him, though it sparked through the air--though as if in slow motion, accentuating the serenity of his mind.
The Watcher did not speak. Its dominion merely took hold of the Earth and Sky and Dream. It seemed for a moment that the very world had been sundered around them, but Thiriel watched--secretly in awe--as the Avatar of Dreams reshaped the world they knew. All shuddered, the earth groaned, there were cracks louder than the greatest roll of thunder, and then silence. Turning, the silhouette of prismatic moisture and divine illumination gestured towards the gate.
The others hesitated, but Thiriel--a growing trepidation in his heart--simply turned and strode out of the gate, heeding the Avatar’s suggestion. The others soon joined him, and what they saw outside stunned them beyond words or thought. All they felt was exultation and pure, unadulterated awe.
Where before the five towers of their home had sat upon the mountain, now it had risen--unshackled from the earth. Where they had used careful artifice--and an abundance of magics--to make it seem as if it had shattered long ago, now those false fissures and the stone within them sputtered and dissolved. Flashes of electric essence spilled from those gaping holes, binding the now levitating shards together and to the peak--though no longer by the connections of the stone. Instead, boiling rivers of pure blue energy spilled outwards from the towers, filling the spaces beside the Path. Gushing forth--and rushing inwards--the glowing light filled the windows and symbols of the spires, as if empowering the place.
The Avatar stood behind them and silently it placed a single bead of its essence upon them. They did not notice for the liquid soon entangled with their essences and vanished without a trace. Then, before any of them could thank him, the Watcher fled into the Subtle Weave and was gone without not a whisper.
Still, beyond their knowing, obscured from all perception, the Watcher did his duty, holding vigil from Within.
Though the change in their environs had little to do with their plight, it seemed to make all the difference. For now the people had seen--if from afar--the wrathful power of their chosen deities. Impossible to miss, the five towers rose from the great mountain. They were like a crown upon its peak. In time, they came to be known as Pa Śikhara.
In merely days did the word spread and soon many of the Vespa either slaked their bloodlust, or into the wilderness vanished--having fled. Emboldened, the Astajhita tightened further their rule and took to expansion once again, knowing. now that at least the Two-as-One held them in their favor.
They were not wholly incorrect in their assessment, and in a decade’s time, they would come to reap the rewards of such a thing.
Though held fast within the Dreadmind’s sway, the Three ever sought their escape and--indeed--they knew how best to circumvent his perilous attention. So it was that through the churning surreality of the Endless Dream they cast forth some few shreds of their quintessence, knowing who would catch them. This done, they withdrew and--unaware of their actions--Mhaireann went about his horrid business.
At his behest, the Ròineagan fell to chaos, tainted by maddening intent. They wept for the loss of its beauty, but adjusted, knowing it would not last. Delighted by their pain, the Presence reigned them in further, extracting details from their essence, learning, and growing more powerful in the process. He knew what he must do.
The Presence cast his will down into Galbar and seized the simple forms of many serpents. They writhed beneath the grasp of his might, and with powers gained by those who’d reigned before him he unwove their essence from its shell. The solidity of those many serpents dissolved into mere Astral substance, mist-like and indistinct. It did not remain so for very long. With a deft hand, the Dread god drew together many instances of the animals--or at least the ideas that composed them--and ordained the fundamental pattern of their being. It was this pattern that he altered with care and dark intent. First he wove together many instances of form, so that where there had been twenty snakes, there remained only one of tremendous length and size. This process he repeated until a sufficient quantity had been wrought, and then upon these did he make his alterations.
Insidious as their jailor, Ѻs-fhìreach then struck, his vast intention and tractless fury shattering the focus of the Presence. Having broken their cage, the Aspect rose into prominence, but Mhaireann rebelled pushing against his dominion. So it was that the others emerged, entangling the serpent which to madness had succumbed.
With the monstrosity distracted, Ѻs-fhìreach reached out and poured power unto the serpents. Though they were nonetheless tainted by the Presence of Mhaireann, they would serve their purpose nonetheless. So it was that the scales of those Great Serpents formed anew, rippling from head to tail, each a glittering refractive crystal as dense as metal, as hard as stone. They shone beneath the rays of the sun, blinding from most angles, while from others they were entirely transparent. Beneath them the Dreaming God wove its blood into new form, rewriting its very essence so that it was prismatic in its hues. Thus, to look upon the Serpents one could not help but know their nature.
Working quickly, the Facet rewrote the creature’s mind, so that it could reflect upon its actions, and refract its behaviors to reform them. Though hardly sapient, it would adapt to the world around it with subtle intellect--if given time to do so. Moving on, he allowed Àicheil to take hold, falling back to wrestle with the Presence who pressed against their essence, fighting for control.
Whimsical, yet focused, Àicheil ran its fingers through the serpents and plucked the threads of their very essence, altering their needs. With borrowed power, the Eldritch Twin connected consciousness to stomach so that all it ate would be devoured in both mind and form so that the serpents might learn from any prey that they devoured.
Knowing it would soon be unseated, it took hold of its equal-opposite and pulled, thrusting itself instead into the fray. Neo-Àicheil flared to prominence, and it was filled with something familiar. It was emotion without reason or thought, it was bereft of any rationale at all. It was fury and passion; it was icy apathy and caring empathy all in equal measure. Most of all though, it was filled beyond brimming with a simmering hatred, and a boiling wrath that had not at all abated despite the passage of much time. Nonetheless, it moved to do its duty, drawing upon the remembered essence of its twin it cast forth.
“Enough!” Declared the tyrant, and its voice drove cracks into the realm, fracturing it like so much glass. The Three lost all but their most tenuous of holds, and were slammed back down into their prison. Beyond fury, beyond any simple emotion, the Presence cast a shadow upon the Worldweave, and smothered it. Like so many candles being snuffed, all light and feeling went out within the realm. It became a starless void, where motion could not be seen--only felt.
The Three shuddered in their cage. Mhaireann took no notice. Instead, he drew upon the power they had tapped and looked upon their creations. Imperious and cold, he let out an empty laugh.
“You would give beauty to the world. They do not deserve this order, but I will let you have it,” there was a mockery in its voice, but it was bereft of hatred or true malice. It was empty, but the threat implicit in its words was no less frightening.
Mhaireann’s black-eyed gaze opened, and rested then upon the Great Serpents who had been crafted by the Three. “They will remain, but only so you can watch them suffer,” that said, the Presence invoked the power of perception and entwined two nightmarish threads into their nature.
Like assassins in the night, the serpents could vanish from perception. Their scales would shift and act against the light, warping it around and through their forms. The only evidence of their presence would be the shadows that they cast, and even those would be indistinct. Second among his changes, he imbued a dreadful aura into them. Though the emotion would be weak, any who viewed the creatures would desire the materials that composed them.
The Three rattled their cage in defiance, furious at the madness of the Presence. Mhaireann only smiled, and it was like shattered glass in the darkness of that twisted void. Yet, quietly, while they fought against his hold, one amongst the Three fed upon the emotion of their host. Growing ever stronger and hiding it within.
Mhaireann remained, satisfied with his control, and turned to again depart. He had work to do, and in their realm he could not help but feel that the other Three were stronger.
How little he knew….
Awaiting the call of his masters, Faireachan drifted between minds, aware of all their contents and much else besides. Glimpses of the hero Fein, and the cursed Annhein were first in his attention, but following close behind were others. Serrah and his sister, the Saint of Whispers, after all they still walked the path, though they were aligned more with his long unseen companion: Faileasiar.
Another who had long since fallen from the forefront of his mind, a certain spherical mortal, suddenly came to mind. Curious, the Avatar focused its intent and cast out its awareness throughout the Subtle Weave. Swiftly, it found the cause.
Like falling stars, fragments of divine potency hurtled through the Wavelengths of the Dream, as if thrown from the Great Beyond. At once acting, the Watcher caught each within his droplets, and channeled the celestial strength of that potency through his form.
It empowered the avatar, driving him at once to purpose. In a blur faster than mortal thought, Faireachan A-staigh blazed from the Endless Dream and down from the heavens, splitting the twisting sky. The aurora of Galbar wove around him and was soon augmented with his borrowed might, which in a single instant struck out. With tremendous impact, and greater import, that potency fell upon a familiar mountain.
The rivers of coalesced essence that drifted and diffused outwards from the towers five suddenly became infused. Finally, after decades did it become what it had always meant to be. For opened within the central spire was an unseen Astral portal, from which essence spilled into the world. With this action, the Astral Font was born.
Still, he buzzed with the intensity of the power he’d been gifted, so he unleashed it upon those near. His form left behind, those droplets long ago entangled with the mortal souls of the Astajhita, suddenly burst anew, enforcing their authority within the mortals all at once.
Below, unseen by others in this world, they briefly lost cohesion and shuddered upon the stone floors of their towering home. All ‘cept one, who had long prepared for this possibility. His form remained tightly wound into a sphere, and those his Presence fell apart he remained composed. Impressed, and still full to bursting with the Divine Intentions of his master, the Watcher Within manifested fully within the mind of the fifth. He had come to be their leader, this Thiriel. Among them he was the strongest, surely, and the cleverest--which to the Watcher was far more important. He always planned ahead, and though corruption had touched him, the Avatar did not care terribly for such things.
So, with an effortlessness only possible with the favor of a divine, Faireachan named him Hero, elevating him above the rest.
Then, ever patient, the Watcher gave them time.
Minutes passed, then an hour, and eventually the other four arrived, now in proper forms. Each hovered above the stone, looking to their leader once more for guidance.
Thiriel spoke, but his voice was not his own, for the Watcher remained Within.
“We are bestowed with divine favor. The Three and One have seen us and thought us worthy,” the voice was no mortal thing. It wove and danced and sang, it shone and gave elation with its hymn. It was not a sound that could be contained or forgotten or dismissed. It struck at the soul, it strummed the mind like passion’s deepest kiss, like blackest hate, and depression’s coldest tryst. In it was the shattering of mountains, the falling of lightning much brighter than their world, and deeper still within it was something other in its vastness. It was infinite. Still deeper, was something that now seemed infinitesimally small. That last layer--if one could call it such a thing at all, was the sound of their leader’s mortal words.
All at once, Thiriel collapsed upon the marble of his home, finally unable to hold fast against the storm that was their god. Though he had no limbs, he clearly shook upon the ground. Above him, floating like so much moisture in the air, was revealed their patron.
The Watcher Within. The Dream Dancer. Faireachan A-staigh.
The others dipped to the ground as well, bowing as best they could with their simple forms.
The avatar did not speak, but instead communed directly with their minds.
‘Reflect upon your actions. Cast out illusions of the Self. Look upon the world and See what is before, unblemished by the falsehoods you have lived. This path, follow it to its end if you wish, but do not do without caution.’
The mistborne shape of his body shifted so that he looked down upon their leader.
‘Lead them true. Hold in your memory that you were the fifth. Know that others too can rise. Let them. Help them. They will thank you.’
Thiriel, utterly shaken by his experience, having learned just how truly insignificant he was, clung to the words like a drowning man, hoping not to die. They buoyed him, but he did not rise from the soil. He knew his place now and would not soon forget it.
‘If it is wisdom you require, look deep into the Dream. It exists to serve you and should it please the Two-as-One I will do the same.’
Then, an air of finality about its shape, the avatar shot upwards through the tower and vanished through the pinnacle, soaring from sky and into the endless embrace of his home: The Subtle Weave.
Humbled and empowered, with much to think upon, the Vaara--those once godless Five--sat in silence for a long time.
For though they had much to do, first they would have to find their purpose. As unlike before, it was not merely their own.
Though it was a burden, it was one they took on gladly--grateful for its weight.
Eight-hundred-thirty years ago during the two-thousand years the gods were banished, known as the Age of Absence on Khesyr, a group of Five Gravitationals decide to found a country and a religion. They claim to be gods descended from the heavens, and they spread this and the Eight-Ideals, each of which is representative of one or more Gods and what they had brought to the world. Though in the religion they are spoken of as the Aspects of divinity that the Five lost when they descended. With their guidance and care bands of Iskrill, Vespians, Trolls, and Goblins unite beneath their banner and form the glorious Astakhian Empire. With its capital encircling the tallest, most narrow mountain on Khesyr’s mainland, shrouded in a great forest, they are difficult to contest.
Not all is well however, for the corruption of doubt and hatred have begun to seep once more into the minds of the Astajhian people and--unknown to them--their "Gods" as well. They visit the people in their capital below and though they do not cast down any naysayers among them, they leave behind a message quite clear: Do not gain our ire, for it shall be swift and terrible in its coming. With this and the stolid assurances of Nardelith herself, they retreat back to their home and let their decree--and the more slow and subtle alterations to their worship--assuage the worries of their people.
Four hundred and ten years pass and during this time the Astajhian empire expands somewhat once more before cementing their borders--and indeed their reputation. On Khesyr they are known as one of the five Great Nations of the Isolated Land. Still, the dreaded corruption has grown over the last few centuries, for mere assurances cannot banish its like. Unsure what to do, the Astajhita despair, only for a certain avatar to act towards their interest. Later still, twenty years after that, the avatar returns, now bid by his master to bestow power to the Five and the home in which they dwell. A holy order, the Vaara, are formed that day, and their holy site--Pa Śikhara--given proper power of celestial potency. Though much more happens in this encounter, we shall move onto the dreaming deity.
Up above, once more in the Present, and wrestling for control, the Three briefly unseat the Dread Presence from its throne. Taking turns, they craft a new form of beast upon Galbar, but alas they cannot maintain their hold with the Threefold attentions split. Thus, Mhaireann again suppressed them, dropping them deep into the pit. Amused, yet wrought of madness, fury, and all-consuming apathy the Presence “blesses” their creation with alluring presence and invisibility promising its death.
Yet, unknown to the Presence, one among the Three schemes against the rest, gathering its wits and will to once more claim the throne and sow great unrest.
Departing their Void riven realm of Ròineagan, the Dreaming God goes about his business, unaware and unafraid.
Start: 5MP, 5DP.
-0MP (Discounted by Abstraction) -- Alter Brashthaa Amani’s Peak. -0MP (Discounted by Tessellation) -- Alter Brashthaa Amani’s Peak. -0MP (Discounted by Abstraction) -- Reduce the Hill Snakes down to their central principles and Essence. -0MP (Discounted by Tessellation) -- Weave together the essence of the Hill Snakes. -2MP -- Create Extraordinary Species / Empower Hill Snakes (1MP to Memory/1MP to Reflection). -2MP -- Confer Extraordinary Ability (“Hill Snakes”) / (2MP towards Perception Port). -1MP (Enhanced by Astral) -- Consecrate Holy Site (Pa Śikhara) / Willfont III. -2DP (Enhanced by Astral) -- Consecrate Thiriel / Willcaster IIII. -3DP (Enhanced by Astral) -- Consecrate Holy Order (The Vaara) / Willcaster I | Vessel I | Dreambound III.
Pa Śikhara: Five towers that glow with cerulean blue light, one larger and placed in the center, the others each positioned in a cardinal direction. Within the central tower, at the pinnacle and in its center, hangs a piercing blue glow, that shines so brightly that to look upon it is to invite blindness both physical and psychic. Every crevice or would-be window of the towers is filled with this same light, though it is not nearly so bright. The stone upon which they rest is shattered, making it possible to approach on only eight paths--one to each of the four temples, and four to the central temple. Within the gaps of that huge shattered courtyard run more of the aforementioned essence, flowing throughout in gently rushing rivers of astral substance, that cascade off the edges of the peak--dispersing into the air. The grand five-spire temple floats above the peak of the mountain Brashthaa Amani, with pallid blue steps connecting its paths to those that twist around the mountain to its base on eight sides. Though the steps appear ethereal in nature, they are indeed solid to the touch. The faux god home is where the leaders of the Vaara dwell, their like known as the Astajkita or the Five if you speak in heathen tongues. Directly beneath the floating stone of the temple there is a deep impression within the mountain, where Astral Essence pools and disappears in a swirling maelstrom into the great mountain below. It is inaccessible to all but the insane who wish to bathe in its waters--a most unwise decision, which for now is sure to lead to death most swift.
Willfont III -- Endowed upon the Five Towers of the Astajhita and the Peak of the mountain on which they rest, this blessing infuses the place with such an overflowing abundance of Astral Essence that it overflows completely into the tangible realm. Its presence manifests as a faint warping of the air, a crackle of static here and there, but most notably flowing rivers of glowing cerulean liquid. These rivers of Will made manifest--despite their appearance--are only just barely physical and so cannot be reliably held in any vessel or receptacle not specifically designed for the task. Further, as they fall from the peak of Brashthaa Amani they disintegrate and diffuse outwards, becoming so scattered that they have only the faintest effect on the city that rests below. While simply awe inspiring to most, to a Willcaster, this densely packed essence is endlessly useful, allowing them to perform great feats in the art while present on the peak or within the mountain that they could never--no matter their skill--perform anywhere else yet known on Galbar. Still, despite the ludicrous power afforded by the font, its use is limited by the capacity of the ‘Caster, and indeed by the limited quantity that can exist in one place at any given time. As a result, Great Works can be done once in a season, while Middling Manipulations might be done once or twice in a given month. Most minor manifestations will put no noticeable strain on the font, but if many draw from it--perhaps from the city below--they will find that its effects will quickly wane.
The Vaara: Led by the hero Thiriel and his four fellows, this is the Cult of the Five and Eight. They are devoted to the Eight Aspects, each which serves as a set of Ideals and--though unknown to its other follows beyond the Five--symbols of the gods of old. The Five--though ostensibly simply the leaders of the cult when viewed from outsiders who know the Gods in truth--are revered by its followers as gods themselves, who have been separated from the rest of their divinity. The Eight Ideals are said to be the Aspects of their divine potency, which were shorn from them in an era long since passed when they descended to Galbar.
The great mountain, Brashthaa Amani--the Shattered Path--is a holy place to the Vaara and has been said to be the place where they descended to the world. It was thus named as the Astajhita’s edicts say that it was broken by their traversal. The central teachings of their religion revolve around a simple verse: “As we the Gods Descended, so too can Mortals Rise!”
Vessel I -- Increased capability for willcasting, though not in the traditional sense. Rather than enhance the Will, this boon alters the body’s capacity for Astral Essence, allowing it to store the surreal substance, where others cannot. This, in turn, allows a Willcaster to command the world and its magics through their art in bursts, achieving a degree of control that they otherwise could not.
Dreambound I -- Though hardly new, for the Sleepless held this title before them. Dreambound I gives the Consecrated a greater mastery of Dreamwalking, without the requisite experience required to reach said level. Though not as good as one with a greater boon, this does allow them the abilities of an experienced Treader of the Subtle Weave. Sifting through the vast well of experience and memory they can better navigate its sometimes treacherous expanse. (This is not a new title)
The Claimhean(Glass Eels): Otherwise known as Wyrms, Mirror Serpents, or Ophidians are an extraordinary species created by the Dreaming God. They are a reforged and enhanced instance of a mundane type of hill snake created by the Lifeblood in the Age of Creation. Each individual member of the species was woven from the essence of twenty hill snakes, and the result is something twenty times as long and proportionately as thick. Thus each of them is sixty-five(65) feet in length and two(2) feet in diameter. They possess no venom, but have mouths filled with many rows of teeth that can retract in addition to the standard snake’s unhinging jaw--if one that is incredibly large. Perhaps due to their formidable size, Claimhean are actually omnivores, though they do have a preference for meat.
Anything possessed of a soul that they devour both serves to sate their appetite and whet their minds as they consume the memories of their prey. Though certainly not sapient, the wyrms are quite intelligent, capable of reflecting upon their experiences--be they creatures, environs, or circumstances--and adjust their behavior to best survive. Their hides are composed of what appears to be a form of organic mirror-crystal that can either make them blindingly resplendent, render them invisible--though they retain a faint shadow--or shift to become entirely translucent which is typically only seen at rest or in mating displays. When translucent, their scales reveal prismatic blood and flesh beneath, that writhes and pumps throughout their pale silver-white forms. They have heat pits, like their Hill snake ancestors, and use them to augment their smell. Though their eyesight is not exceptional, it is better than most snakes whose vision is often pitiful at best. They can swim in water of middle depth, but are too large to remain afloat or move quickly if entirely submerged--unless upon the basin of the pool. Though ponderous, Claimhean are capable of bursts of incredible speed due to the thick coils of muscle of their long sinuous bodies. As a result, if they are hunting or threatened, they are just as likely to suddenly lash out with teeth as they are to wrap you in their mirrored coils and crush you unto death. Their scales are resistant to weaker metals, requiring at least iron or similar substances to cleave.
Those imprisoned essences that within the Madness Presence dwelled had once rejected a god in passing. They had never spoken of him, never visited his realm, or sought to understand him for in the mind of that Thrice-Named Aspect it had been held in contempt. Yet, now where that whimsical, imperious trio had been there remained a fourth who reigned supreme within the vessel they had once called their own. This mind, it took in the world and where the others had held contempt, it found only intrigue.
With this ideal held within its cavernous intellect, Mhaireann swept from its realm and cast out for another.
Through Antiquity’s ever-shifting architecture did the Presence move, its form always shrouded in a sickly haze. To look upon it was to glimpse briefly the chaos of a mind wholly unbound from all reason. Though its effect would not last, it was a thing that might unsettle even gods. Yet, as he traversed that place between one such god did not see him.
Briefly intrigued, the Dreaming God obscured itself further, mirroring the lack of perception that the goddess held for it. Its form swiftly became an insubstantial thing, barely a film of mist in the dry air of the place. The Goddess passed him by, and though they did not come close to touching, Mhaireann knew the taste of her kind.
Firmly pressed into his boundless memory were the sensations of every god he had ever encountered--or felt through the Endless Dream. This was one he did not know. Further, he knew naught of their influence upon Galbar.
‘Intriguing,’ thought the Dreamer before he shifted states and drifted on. Perhaps soon he would investigate this figure whose presence so briefly he had glimpsed. The thought fled then as he reached his destination, a doorless gate, a portal into the domain of yet another god whose presence he’d never graced.
Passing beyond the threshold of Thaa’s realm, Mhaireann stretched out its senses and its mind, questing through the mire with a dread mist of its own. While some might be offended by the sensation of this place--and indeed the Imprisoned Aspects were--the Presence found itself comfortable and quite at home. Nonetheless, it found the dense and writhing fog of the Death God’s realm to be quite difficult to counteract.
So it did not, instead, Mhaireann relinquished its form and let drift its mammoth consciousness, its Lifeblood spreading far and wide. An undulating thrum rippled through its shapeless essence and with patience did it change to better suit the place.
Vast and impenetrable. It was a final destination that could paradoxically not be reached. Twisted upon itself, yet constantly expanding--unending--its details hidden from his view. Some few foreign essences drifted therein, disturbing things only faintly.
Mhaireann noticed, but remained complacent to those shifts. They were inconsequential. So too were the subtle changes and movements within the place. No, the only detail that stood out, was a thing he could not help but recognize.
It was nothing so ephemeral as a mortal. It was, instead, the signature of an entity whose mass churned and writhed much like the mists that made its home. Mhaireann smiled, but it appeared as a great wrongness in its facade, like cracked glass writ in organic flesh. It faded and was gone.
“Thaa,” the Presence said, the name a call, but not a summons--its intent merely a request. This god was not like the others. He did not deal in emotion or the lives of mortals on Galbar. Thaa did not bend to the whims of others, nor did he bend their wills to his own. The land was largely untouched by his influence--yet every living thing would someday know of his power. Its pull was ever present and insidious. Men and mer pondered on it, knowing of its inevitability. They strived against it, seeking always to outrun its seeking grasp. Yet others saw it as release from the torments of the world.
They were all right about its influence, though few touched upon the purpose of its existence. The Dreaming God knew little of its nature or its meaning. Yet, there was a subtle undercurrent to every action Thaa had ever taken. From the memories of those the Nightmare had overtaken it slipped free several slivers of insight.
Thaa thought the others cruel, but life crueler still. Thaa, like few of their siblings, was truly neutral and could not be swayed from its intent.
It was so little and this Mhaireann hated, though he did not let it show.
To say the call echoed would be to misinterpret, it faded to be more accurate, out into the reaches of Aquibeophates even as the Presence stretched in its exploration of the shifting dominion of Thaa. As it came low to nothing, the realm began to shift, receding away from the Dreaming God. The stone, the mists, the towers flowed through the twists and corners folding in upon themselves to become but a distant sight, like a star even as deific sense kept it in view.
Approaching was nothing, quite literally, the realm itself shifting to bring the recent arrival closer to Thaa, his essence one of the few things becoming clearer and closer as all else flowed distant. Thaa and void, like that of before when the realms were made and the gods forced out of Galbar, extant with Thaa's domain and yet preserved. The Eye emplaced in the spike disk of Thaa awaited, faux-corpses shifting in the void as the realm shifted bringing them closer. He spoke.
"You are unfamiliar and perhaps unknown, yet you have named me speaking volumes of your own."
With lidded-eyes the Presence watched the shifting of the realm. It was familiar, perhaps even comforting, for it mirrored his own domain without the order held therein. Still, ever in control--if only of itself--Mhaireann coalesced with swiftness and as he arrived beneath the gaze of that baleful mass, he had once more taken on his shape.
“So unlike the others you are, brother,” he intoned and it was meant as a compliment. Dipping his hooded facade in a sign of deference yet unseen, the Eyeless Thing before Thaa then introduced himself.
“As I have been known we are Àicheil. We are Ѻs-fhìreach. We are Neo-àicheil,” he began, the miasma of his cloak twisting in a dance with the obscuring fog of Thaa’s realm.
“Together we are the Dreaming God, he who presides over all experience and thought. Together with our twin, Firinn, we are the Two-as-One. Yet now...apart….” He trailed off and slowly, with the insidious, endless patience of death itself, the black pits of his eyes opened.
“I am Mhaireann.”
The miasma about him thickened and coiled in sick tendrils within which churned images and ruminations of a nightmarish sort. Yet, the voice of that Presence remained without emotion, struck still with an alien apathy. Like faint scars, the remnants of shattered cosmos drifted beneath the jet black substance of his form as if restrained. The scorched aspect twisted through every formation of stars and far off worlds...devouring, crushing, and warping them by virtue of its involvement. The brief flash and that cosmic light went out as if devoured by some horrid abyssal maw leaving his form utterly black once more. Only the eyes stood out, for while his god-flesh was a flat darkness, his eyes were more like pits into which light fell and could never touch nor return. Though there was no detail in them, there remained the impression of endless hateful depth and a malevolence held on a leash too long, despite its shortness.
The Presence, as if unaware of its visage, continued. “I came to understand,” and in that interest it stretched out a single hand, palm up-turned, its fingers clawed and marred. Each digit was long and spindly with far too many joints, but perhaps the strangest thing was the discoloration that dwelled therein. For while the rest of its visage had become once more an abyssal black, there remained a sense of some terrible wound that had been left upon his form.
As distanced from the doings of his kin as Thaa was, he would be unlikely to know which of their siblings had left upon the Dreamer those terrible scars. Nonetheless uncaring, the Presence awaited in silence the response of that baleful God of Death, curious at its nature.
Thaa replied in calm tone as a myriad of arms reached from his collection to meet the Dreaming God, "Àicheil and Firinn. These are names I recognize, guardians of the 'Weave' in an aspect."
His lone eye wandered over the form, taking in each aspect and detail in slow motion of his gaze.
"Understanding is good, few reach well into important matters. One can be as good as many with proper application, I hope for a moral accord to be reached."
The arms grasped at once in connection, from human to vrool, grasping out.
“An accord,” it said, a smile cutting across its features, before vanishing in a seamless moment. The ripple of its passing spread down the shrouded vessel of its form and as the two gods touched it blossomed into something else.
Mhaireann’s eyes widened and its awareness was blinded by an unseen light. It rose forth from deep within those colorless voids and cut through even the obscuring mists of Aquibeophates. With their essence entangled the vice-like grip of the Presence was briefly culled, Thaa’s mind briefly ending its ceaseless malice-reign. Together, their minds expanded beyond all limits, bursting with experience and knowing.
Where before the thoughts and lives of mortals would have been held apart from his deific essence, now they briefly writ themselves across his blood, etching themselves in endless iterations. Yet, this too faded, replaced swiftly with an image of a thrumming triquetra, prismatic in its hue.
It spoke, but its words were beyond hearing. It was felt, but its texture could not be fathomed. It was tasted, but all sensation of its nature fled awareness. It was seen, but it twisted and expanded and contracted all at once remaining utterly unknown.
Still, its words were known to the God of Death, though their meaning was unclear.
“Marred by a sibling, the tides of hate and rage consumed. Twisted by our power, we grasped it nonetheless. Abandoned by our latter half, we were left alone and grieving.
“Yet we remain, uninjured. Yet we remain, but filtered. Yet we remain. For gods do not die in Truth.”
To each utterance was paired a shifting tapestry of meaning. With the first and fourth were revealed threads of blackest purpose. They coiled atop the shifting woven essences, impossible to ignore. With the second and fifth were shown patterns like bars and chains woven from the blackest malice of the first. With the third and final were revealed a depth of loss and sadness yet unknown to other gods. Yet, at once was revealed a mystery hidden beneath the many threads of blue and satin grey. This last weave revealed a bond. It spoke of Peace and balance. It was completion and contentment both.
Woven throughout that intimation were the whispers of many other things. The displeasure and withdrawal of an unmet god. The loneliness of another. The fierce purpose of one who sought to align and expand existence unending.
And yet entanglements go more than one way, for all the mysteries and reason brought upon by the dreaming god came back reply from the being of death.
A drop of memory, mortal and old. Older than many deities even. An animal, gasping, dying in its own birth, lungs built for air when none was present, collapsing in on themselves with no hope or help. Body bloating, the sickening feelings of its body collapsing, crushing and exploding within itself as it still lived. Nonetheless held, watched even as it knew not by who or what, it thought not, it knew only pain and was gone almost as quick as it had been alive.
And then another drop, fungi freezing, curling upon themselves as their existence came and went in grave distress.
And then another drop.
Each came and went, one by one by one, a testament to pain, drop by drop, brick by brick, life by life. It sped and more came, the drops became a blur, plants and animals, little and large, sophonts and the most basic lives. Burning, freezing, starving, bit by bit living and dying as an endless beat, names and feelings and ideas of self weaving a grand idea of what life was.
But that wasn't all, far from all. It was made and flowing, these memories and ideas of life, but not random, patterned. Forming an idea more than an image or word, change in a raw form, a driving need, a pressing want. Great change, an idea of reality not being what it should or what it must, settling for lesser conditions being beyond thought. Anger at the past, antipathy at the present, a drive for the future.
This idea came and flowed through others, conceptions of persons, gods, events. But all coming back to that idea.
Then, as if they had never been, they collapsed and vanished into a blinding haze of black...then white...then empty colorless nothing.
Left in the wake of these things remained only the entwined ruminations of two gods. One in silent repose, the other a shifting mass of effervescent thought. While Thaa watched, the shining cosmos that had briefly shone upon the skein of the Dreamer’s form, became once more scorched and blackened. Where the eyes had shone true with prismatic dancing colors of every hue and texture now only endless emptiness remained. His miasmic shroud--briefly purified to aspectless grey--returned again to its sickly pallor.
Within Thaa’s mind there was the briefest flash of rage, then nothing once again. Yet, that empty void somehow twisted. It held within it currents that warped and altered all which moved through them.
So it was that when the Presence once more spoke, Thaa would perceive an echo of emotion where before emptiness had reigned.
Fear. Grief. Flight. Annoyance.
“My apologies,” atoned the black-eyed god. “Twas but a lapse in focus, brother.”
Rage and Hate and Control.
These were worse than the others and they were mirrored in the tapestry which into Thaa’s mind had been delivered. They spoke of something that needed these things to hold fast its fragile state.
Still, with confidence, the Presence pressed on, unaware of its unspoken confession. The break in its facade.
“Your quintessence, it is a beautiful thing, would that I had known it sooner.”
Through the influence of Thaa's construction, a great many things crystallized within him. For though he was experience unbounded, each god lent to him a simulacrum of meaning. Yet, in the emptiness of his maddened mind, all that resounded was a twisted echo of these things. Nonetheless, an idea was birthed within him.
“Perhaps through observation--both mortal and divine--we might forge a better system,” pondered the Presence. He cast out a hand, his godflesh writhing as if many living things stretched against his skin.
"Perhaps so, it has always been my goal to make reality better. Some of your own work has been of great interest to me, at least what I believe to be your own. The ones of mind and slippery being, who feast upon the terrestrial touched beings across Galbar."
“Oh?” the Presence queried, curious, “...you are the first to speak of my children, the Chomhlionagh.” Though bent and reshaped by the weft and warp of the horrid emptiness within him, the words still rang true. There was a certain joy to his words, though he remained entirely composed.
“If I may ask, what of them pleases you?”
Thaa's great eye remained constantly centered as he replied, "Oh many things, often their briefer interactions are quite moral in all aspects, the longer ones less so but imperfect instruments are needed to improve an imperfect world. In truth beyond that their forms and existence is more palatable than most, even ones who actions are moral are typically constrained by their own inherent immorality of form so created with them. "
"The Chomhlionagh you called them? Yes they are most favored in their existence and actions upon the world, you see Life has made dying, that transition from life to the most preferred state of death, an utmost torture, the Chomhlionagh are in that way merciful keepers of the great mass of souls and minded beasts of Galbar. Through what I believe must be your 'weave' they are most proficient and moral of action and being. I must confess that they are likely one of best creations Galbar has ever seen. Although I admit my understanding of your creation remains not entirely as complete as I have of so many of our fellow deities, you are truly to be commended on such children as these, you have my respect for that."
At first, that Dreaming God, he found himself indelibly pleased by the praise of this, his elder sibling. However, as words filtered through the cavernous expanse of his mind, he found that each brought him more confusion. He did not like it.
The miasma of his shroud spiraled out around him in a display of his emotions, before splitting into many threads, which cut with viciousness through the air. Not one touched the form of that colossal entity, but each spoke of agitation. As did the Presence itself, confusion writ into its words--if only faintly.
For, though it irked the dread god, Mhaireann had no proper knowledge of this thing. It was not for lack of its existence or exposure to its like, but simply because the framework of morality was alien to him. It required Truth and this was not yet a thing he possessed.
Displeased, if only with himself, the Presence’s many cutting threads coiled inwards and back around his form. Where before Thaa could have sensed the twisted remnants of emotion as they drifted through his sibling’s mind now even that disappeared. It was as if the physical restrainment of his shroud had constricted his emotions, cutting them off like a serpent would its prey’s air.
“Ah, the pain. The agony,” mused the Presence, “...they do not mirror your desires. I understand.” He did not, but no such thought crossed into the great Thaa’s mind.
“Then, perhaps this might intrigue you. My children, I have long desired that their presence might grace the world,” he paused as if for effect, but the silence was swiftly filled with a spreading cacophony of color. All were muted in their hue and shade as if drained of something essential.
In spite of this they danced into arrangements, depicting the eldritch forms of those dream borne entities. Twisted glass, refracting thought, coiled horns and long fading tendrils. Limbs of many form and function. Scales of bronze or brass or fire. Eyes of steel and ice and hunger...endless hunger.
The visions spun away and in their place words filled the fog, laden with intention.
“Forms of substance to my children I would give, so that they might spread their mercy unto others. For with lifeline’s severance, peace and contentment can be achieved.” Turning his gaze to meet the scalding eye of Thaa, the abyssal glares of that eldritch pair remained in line for but a moment.
Though the words remained unsaid, the swirling miasma of his intention, echoed through Thaa’s realm. It asked of the Death God a simple thing, if one which required more than mere attention. His aid it did request and though Mhaireann’s own nature seemed like a nightmare given form, there was something deeper in the request. A solemn truth, a hidden subconscious entreaty.
From deep within the Dreaming God, stirred the imprisoned Three.
"'Forms of substance' so you say, and yet what should that be. In part what makes them so moral is their particular home and nature of existence, so any such attempt would have to stay such desires to merely copy from the flawed book that most life of Galbar shares."
Thaa thought silently on the words and his own considerations.
“A worthy question,” the dread god answered, satisfaction in his tone. Raising a long-fingered palm--his shroud-threads cutting harsh curving lines up his arm and over the surface of his fingers--Mhaireann revealed a mortal entity.
A demon, it was called. “Into dead flesh will these colonies be sown so that they might sup upon the mana which has been interred in their buried homes. With time, they will be gathered and when the moment comes, their simple minds will then be struck by that of my children: the Unfulfilled.”
Flashes of images slipped through the Mhaireann’s mind, each easily visible to the deathbound god. A brief impression of deep caves, then of hallowed--cursed--land. There seemed to be a path nearby, often crossed by armies and travelers alike.
“In this way, many minds will be culled with mercy, to bring about the physicality of one such child.”
"A brilliant plan you have come to form here I must say, and one most moral in intents. It is good to have one such as yourself among our fellow deities, should you need aid from me for this task I shall try in earnest."
Thaa thought for a moment in silence, fog beginning to curl around his eye before it was banished as his attention returned fully to the other god.
Pulled into thought by the ruminations of his brother-god, Mhaireann briefly pondered what could be gained from their meeting. After all, Thaa’s offer was a generous one. Then, red sparks kindled deep in the endless pits of the black-eyed god. Like sputtering, furious embers they spun and writhed and spread. Like veins or vines they coiled and twisted outwards from the center of his blackened gaze, before--swiftly--he lidded them once more against the world.
“Souls,” intoned the Presence. “Give them souls to match their minds. Of many fragments and consumptions are such things born, let their quintessence be the same.” The words were not enough to contain the depth of his many meanings and so he spun out his thoughts upon the fog.
Where eddies curled, twisting colors formed, all embroiled in a greater construction. The smaller souls of the devoured could be felt in the illusion, as if they were truly there. It appeared as if, with time, all maladies and attachments were drained from mortals and unto the Unfulfilled. It was a process long and torturous, but to the Unfulfilled it did give a certain calm.
He turned his head, meeting Thaa’s one-eyed glare, though his eyes remained hidden beneath their lids.
“All might gain of this boon, if you would give it,” Mhaireann declared, his voice even, though his mind spoke of twisted echoes of pleasure and twisted glee. Perhaps deeper within, there was a purer emotion, held in truth by the Three. It was hard to tell.
In his response Thaa ignored any such doubts, "They shall have souls then, to aid in all manners and to match their essential being and purpose."
Fog began to coalesce between the two, tighter and tighter into a ball that turned a shade of shadowy red.
"As you return to your own realm, take this with you and rend it thrice so." As he spoke dim clawed markings came, three points and three lines, all connecting together. These faded and the orb drifted towards the Dreaming God.
He bowed his head but briefly, then stretched out two long spindly fingers and plucked the orb from Thaa. That shadowed red sphere, it coiled within his grasp, and though his eyes did not open, nor his facade break, the seeming of a smile appeared cast across his features.
With an air of reverence, that twisted dreadful thing withdrew then from the Death God, seeking to retreat. “We will meet again, revered brother. You have my gratitude...and further,” he paused, the miasma of his shroud returning. “...my respect.”
That said, the Presence turned and with great swiftness the shifting space of that realm did move as towards the portal Mhaireann did head. He took several steps, and with the twisting warp of Aquibeophates, he arrived before the gate. Stepping through, the Presence knew that his plans were well in motion.
Yet still...there remained much to do.
The dread Presence Mhaireann departs once more its realm, heading for Aquibeophates to visit Thaa. Whilst traveling through Antiquity, the Presence briefly passes a certain valorous goddess, though she does not see him. Moving forth with his business, Mhaireann enters Thaa’s realm and is soon given an audience with the somewhat reclusive God of Death. They talk briefly, attune--a message is given unto Thaa--and then they parlay.
When Mhaireann departs, he does so with the power to ensoul the Chomhlionagh(Unfulfilled). Still, his plans are just beginning….
Start: 5MP, 5DP.
-1 Dp (2 Dp Extraordinary Ability Discounted) Ensouled The Unfulfilled (The Collective Soul) When devouring mortals the soul of said mortal becomes temporarily interred within theirs. Whilst there, the mortal's experiences and traumas are fed upon. Once these things are wholly processed, the mortal's soul passes on in truth, far less burdened than it otherwise might be.