"Divinity, true divinity, is like unto a wave insurmountable. One cannot attain it through force of action nor violence of ascent. Nay, only by submersing oneself in it and learning its every twist and turn may one see where the path to true godhood can be found."
— 1st Canticle of Meros
Zalyr blinked as his mind rose from the abyssal depths of slumber, the gentle sloshing of water the only sound to fill the desolate space in which he found himself. With the faintest of groans he made to stand, stumbling slightly as the water beneath him quickly solidified, much to his surprise. After a moment's pause to keep himself from diving face first into a full on fall, Zalyr had finally managed to get his feet under him again, though it would seem that his trials were far from done. For soon he was clutching at the sides of his head as it had become subsumed in unimaginable pain. Memories from a life long since passed came flooding back in a dizzying rush, carrying with them flashes of faces, places, peoples, loves, and times all wrapped up in an existence death had parted him from long ago.Death...
He could see it, his final moments on that world all those years prior. It was not a pleasant thing he was reliving, but then again being murdered never was. Every pierce of the blade and thundering of the club sent pulses of white-hot pain flashing across his vision until at last the memory was done and he found himself able to focus on his surroundings once more. Zalyr never did find out why those men had killed him back then, what their reasoning might have been, but it certainly hadn't been for his purse. He was the furthest thing from a wealthy man one could imagine, only able to afford the most modest of robes, and thankful when one of those didn't succumb to wear and tear and rot. No, something afoul had definitely been afoot. What that might have been, however, he still couldn't say for sure. This line of thought raised yet another question for him, though...
he recall his death? From everything he'd been told, dying was not an event one just so happened
to remember. Then, seemingly in answer to his question a slab of translucent glass rose up from the watery ground below, coming to a halt just above the crest of his head. Stepping forward, he peered deep into the surface of the rectangular pane, watching as it began to emit a luminous glow. One that brought with it a total understanding of what had led him to this point. To this here and now. It was then that Zalyr realized he had once been a mortal yes, but upon dying he had ascended to become something much more. A Living God. A being of nigh-infinite power not surpassed by anything else within the Verse... an inferno of raging supremacy. Taking a step back, Zalyr pinched the bridge of his nose with an exhausted sigh, only for more mirrors to appear around him as soon as he'd lifted his gaze. These were different from the one that had originally manifested before him however, the glow of which had long since faded along with the slab itself, as each contained what appeared to be fragments of his personal alchemy.
Approaching the first mirror to his right, he gazed upon its latticework deeply and found himself presented with a cascade of choice unparalleled, albeit only the first in this long journey of self-discovery. He could not say how he knew this, perhaps it was a feeling implanted in him by the panes themselves, only that he did. Thus he ran his fingers along the glass and began to change the first aspect of his newly formed divine being, aligning himself with the sign of the Inheritor, a final culmination of power eons in the making. A cosmic birthright requiring the deaths of many of beings far less powerful than he, all for the express purpose of bringing him forth and into being, though for what purpose or grand design he could not yet say. For Zalyr himself lacked the ability to comprehend the sheer expanse of possibility lying in wait before him. Despite this he pressed on, moving to the second aspect that surfaced most strongly in the depths of his mind, that of Royalty. Royalty in this instance is not something revealed nor learned, but conquered, for the sigil is only attainable by those who desire it least. Zalyr knew it would be something he would have to confront and overcome if he were to attain his destiny as laid out by his cosmic forebears.
At length, however, he moved to the next pane. Confident in his paths of transcendence as they presently stood, for through Inheritance he would achieve Royalty, and thus the ability to bestow his powers upon another when his time on this level of existence was done. Casting his gaze upon it, Zalyr stared at the glass intently as more fragments of himself slowly drifted back to the surface, carrying with them a series of conflicting drives and desires. Before long however, the trickle had morphed into a torrent, one that would have drowned him had he not made a conscious effort to shield his mind and filter out some of the more uninteresting choices. Withdrawing deeper into himself, he examined what was left, only to find himself drawn to the same goal time and time again... Amaranth. Or finding it, rather. There was just something about it—about reaching a state of enlightenment even higher than the one he was currently at—
that fascinated him.
It was because of this that he chose it.
Because of this that he exalted the attainment of Amaranth above and beyond everything else, though this was not to say that he lacked any other desire, it was merely that his desire to achieve Amaranth took the greatest precedent. Zalyr eventually found other drives emerging in its wake; the most powerful of which were a desire for freedom to do with his life and his powers as he pleased, an unquenchable thirst for adventure, and a need not just to show, but also bring benevolence to the most vile and hopeless corners of the Verse. Rocking back on his heels as the panel went dark and fell away, he plodded his way over to the next mirror in line with a newfound certainty regarding what he would doing with the rest of his seemingly infinite free time. Upon approaching it, however, Zalyr found himself struck with a wave of complete realization. Unlike the previous three panes, he knew exactly what the one standing before him did. To be honest, it made him just the tiniest bit excited, perhaps a tad too
much. This panel, pulsing violently with chromatic light, was what would let him tailor the full extent of his power and might, giving him access to abilities truly befitting of a Living God. Once he was finished making his selections, Zalyr moved on to the next pane, his knowledge and might having increased tremendously.
Upon reaching the next panel, Zalyr found his gaze stretching out over what seemed to be entirely different times and places. The specifics of which changed depending on the way in which he decided to view the glass. At this point it didn't take him very long to recognize what he was seeing. It was a series of resources available to him, many of which—such as the opportunity to have as many ideal partners, wives, husbands, and slaves as he'd like—
were quite tempting. In the end however, Zalyr decided to follow the path of wisdom, taking multiple stores of cosmic wealth so that he might have nigh limitless amounts of supplies at his disposal, followed by an army of self-replenishing and self-sustaining soldiers equipped with the most powerful abilities and equipment reality had to offer, vast hordes of technological designs, and lastly a single Palace World to serve as his base of operations. A massive garden planet that he named New Vesta. He would not get all of these things immediately however, at least not the armies anyway, for those would have to be conscripted sometime in the very near future. As for the rest, New Vesta would be the most likely place his Vaults would appear and thus he made a note to visit it as soon as possible, while the technological designs had been injected directly into his mind the moment he had selected them.
From here he went on to the next pane, floating just above the ground rather than walking as he had done before, a show of his burgeoning might. This one in particular was unlike the rest, for it showed him the faces of people rather than powers or things. And while he did not recognize them, he did recognize what this panel was for. These were the beings who would stand by him though thick and thin, people he could call allies and perhaps friends, though not any time soon causally speaking. While he chose them here, he would still need to find them out there in the nigh-infinite expanse of the Verse, and complicating matters was the fact that he had no idea who they personally were. Merely their titles and a vague description of their skills.
But that, of course, was where the fun lay.
In any case, Zalyr proceeded to make his choice. The first member of his future menagerie was the Attendant, a person skilled in overseeing all the tasks he himself would not be able to manage, the second a being known only as the Advisor, an individual he may defer to when a course of action is unclear, and the third an individual known only as the Herald, an unflinchingly loyal guard and warrior of immense might. With this done he dispelled the panel with the slightest flick of his wrist, skipping the next panel in line despite the vital nature of its contents. For it governed his relation to the various organizations and factions that inhabited the Verse long before his ascension, though in this one instance he decided to leave his interactions with them entirely up to chance. Thus he came to the last pane in his journey. The final fragment of his cosmic self. Gazing upon it, Zalyr selected what manner of phenomenon his adventures throughout the Verse would contain. Once he had chosen, he watched as the pane of glass shattered and fell away, revealing a shimmering portal to the Verse beyond.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped through...