Starting in the year 447 MA, Sarita caught the eye of the Walker. They had a few interactions that culminated in her meeting Him in Albedos. As far as she could tell, He had just been playing some kind of game with her. He left her with one of the cursed coins, but ultimately never made any more moves that she could see. The knowledge that it could happen stayed with her, and she made a few attempts over the years to get rid of the coin, but mostly she kept it all a secret, telling only a handful of people who she felt might need to know. When Bamathis ascended, she shared as much as she could remember with the new Order.
Part one: The letter she wrote to Fezzix
The following is as detailed a recording as I could make of my dealings with the Walker.
On or just before the 17th of Lleian of that year -
It began with a cloaked figure approaching me in the market area of Bloodloch, bumping into me, apologising, and then disappearing before I could get a better look. I tried to follow it, but it was gone too quickly. It was only afterwards that I realised I had been left with the coin that I showed you when we met. It felt strangely cold and heavy, and it quickly became clear that it had no intention of leaving my hand. With it came the sense that something or someone was watching me.
My search eventually brought me to Bloodloch's pylon. The feeling had no abated. If anything, the presence of whatever seemed to be watching me grew even more intense and palpable, like a disgusting creature climbing on my shoulders, feeling every bit as heavy and cold as the coin did in my hand.
One of the Albedi researchers at the pylon, a Golba named Unthig, suddenly spoke. It was in Albedi, but the voice did not sound like his. He told me, "His eyes are upon you. He walks the land once again, unfettered and free of his bondage. You are blessed."
The other researcher, Mogrov Raf, seemed himself. He asked, "What the bloody hell are you pissing on about now?"
Unthig only looked at Mogrov, bleary eyed and dull-witted once again, and offered little more than a shrug.
I told him that I had wondered the same thing.
Mogrov then told me not to pay him much attention. That's he's thick, and was in his usual sorry state.
I said, "I see."
Mogrov asked if I was all right.
I told him that I was fine. I was just...thinking.
He responded quietly by saying that I looked a little worn. I suppose I probably did after all that had happened with receiving the coin, so I used a bit of my blood to bring more colour to my skin. I then asked if I looked better.
He said, "Suppose so, but...well, nevermind."
"But what?" I asked.
He shook his head. "Just seemed like something was weighing you down."
I said, "I thank you for your concern, but I am fine. Truly."
I thought I was, but was I?
He gave me a nod and said, "Of course."
Even then, I could feel the cold from the coin so strongly that it seemed to burn. It came in waves that struck deeply, into my very bones.
I then told him, "I suppose I should see about returning to my work. I feel at times like there is always someone who might need my attention."
Or maybe Someone? I had a slight idea that this may have been connected to my Patron of the time, Severn. After leaving the pylon, I used the powers He granted me to travel to the temple and search there as well. The search turned up nothing that resembled the coin.
This was the first of several attempts I made to find out more. I had no evidence that it was related to the Order, so I made inquiries about whether anyone knew of any civilisations that had ever used a similar currency in the past.
I also attempted to get the coin away from my hand. I was able to conceal it within the hand that held a shield or flail, but it was still cold and heavy. I tried nearly everything I could think of, from putting it in a pouch, simply dropping it, and even slipping some parchment between it and my skin. In all cases, it either resisted the attempt, or merely moved to my other hand. I was able to very temporarily part with it by tossing it in the air, but it seemed to know whether or not I intended to catch it again, and would only leave my fingers if I would.
Some time later, I had a meeting with the Earthen Lord, as I did from time to time as the Imperator of the Earth within the Teradrim. Most of what we discussed is not worth mentioning here, but He did comment that I seemed to be troubled. I made excuses, such as my Sire (then Abhorash, the Primus) giving me more work than usual. Lord Ivoln seemed to agree that Abhorash could be a cruel man, but He persisted in saying that I was not well, that I moved about like an old mortal woman, and He even went so far as to ask what I was hiding from him.
We argued over it. He thought I did not trust Him, and I thought He was being overly critical. Part of me also thought it may have been somehow related to my Order, and I knew that He disapproved of my membership there.
The coin took a toll on me over time. One childe of mine could sense through our Blood Bond that something was affecting me physically, and though I tried to control it, the damage was done. A few of the more prominent members of the time expressed concern, but I kept most of it to myself. I wanted to know more before I became very open with the details, especially if it proved to be related to the Order. Many Consanguine then expressed distrust of the Order, and I even went so far as to conceal my own membership from everyone possible. Many people seemed to assume that I was a follower of the Earthen Lord, given my position within the Teradrim, and while I did not say that I was, I also did not correct them.
Around the 25th of Haernos in the same year -
I found myself again the market of Bloodloch. As I went about my business, I felt a distinct pain in the palm of the hand that was holding the coin. It was then that a city guard (a scion of despair, if that may make any difference) approached me and asked, "What do you desire the most, Empress?"
I looked away from the shelf, for I had been distracted with my shopping, and had to ask, "Pardon?"
She said, "A simple question, but a question nonetheless. You have endured much, have you not?" She looked up at me, and I could not help but notice that her eyes had become black, oily pits set deep within her countenance. I confess that before then, I paid little attention to the faces of the guards I passed each night, so I could not say whether or not that was their normal colour. Her questioning continued. "Should you not be rewarded for your struggles?"
I watched her then. With the strange happenings surrounding the coin, I could not imagine her questions coming just after the pain being a coincidence. I said to her, "Everyone who wishes to achieve anything must struggle somehow. I imagine even you did."
She said, "But not all are equal--not all are alike--nor are their struggles, their hardships, and their wishes. Have you not surmounted your fellows? You stand now as a beloved childe; an Empress of your kind. Are there others equal to your magnitude and glory, Empress?"
That assessment was only partly true. Abhorash had indeed Embraced me as his seventh childe, but he had taken a sixth before me, Ezalor D'baen. I find it difficult to imagine that Abhorash chose the two of us out of love. In any case, I had to say, "You seem to forget that the Keeper of this very city earned Gift of the Primus as well."
She nodded. "Forget? No, I merely see him as he is, Empress. A pawn. You do not wish to be a pawn, you shirk its shackles, but he unwittingly, willingly tightens their hold on him and throws away the key he was given. No, Empress. You are not the same."
I really had no idea what to say to that, but if I were to learn more about the coin, I felt that I had to keep talking. "What exactly are you talking about?"
She said in reply, "The hounds are at his heels and he is hardly aware of their snapping bites, their lolling tongues. Would you do the same, Empress? Would you be so blind to the world beyond your doorstep?"
It seemed strange that a seemingly loyal guard of the city would be openly critical of its leader, but not quite as odd the next statement she made. "I do not think you would be so willingly blind. So willingly ignorant. No, I see your potential, Empress and I will reward you. You.. intrigue Me."
It was then I knew the voice was hers, but the words were not. The last thing It had to say through her was, "I walk these lands again free and unfettered. Find Me."
It must have left her then, because she staggered suddenly, as if struck from behind, her eyes wide and unblinking for several moments.
I was still struck by the way It had said "Me," while I still had no idea Who it was. While I had not been possessed, I found my body tense, my mind whirling as I contemplated all that I just seen and heard. Some powerful being seemed drawn to me possibly because of my Blood, but less drawn to others of the same or even stronger rank due to something related to my past and the way I had grown stronger from it.
Still reeling, I knew I had to ask, "What happened?"
She sounded confused. "Empress?"
I asked, "What is the last thing you remember?"
She said, "The smell of.. fire, or something burning. A strange sensation and little more."
So she remembered nothing beyond that. "I see," I told her.
The references that had been made to me, personally, left me less convinced that this was related to my Order, but the directive to find the source of the mystery was the only way I could imagine to find answers. Still, whoever, or whatever was behind it would be hard to find with the smell of a fire burning as my only clue.
Just as I was thinking about, the coin grew colder again.
On or around the 22nd of Variach in the next year -
I found myself in the outer library of the Bahir'an estate. This is the place frequented by Iannas Bahir'an, a Tsol'aan Consanguine of our Blood who makes himself available to our members as a tutor. He was the next to be possessed.
The voice he used was not his. "Do you always wander around so aimlessly, Empress?"
I had been about to read, and the suddenness of it nearly caused me to drop the book. Seeing only Iannas in the library, I knew at once what was happening. "Must you involve members of my own House now?"
He rolled a shoulder, as if adjusting to the skin he is now in. "Do you find Me so troubling, Empress? I haven't felt such ire in many years now."
I kept hold of the book. It felt like a flimsy shield between me and Iannas, and by then, even a stack of parchment felt better than nothing. "I dislike the feeling of being constantly manipulated. If you want my help, why not ask more directly and tell me what you and I both may stand to gain? Why the need for..." she pauses, adjusting the book so that she can extend one hand, palm up, with the coin showing. "Why this?"
He laughed, the sound light and airy, and not like Iannas at all. Then he said, "You think of me as a manipulator, Empress? Dear, dear Empress--I am not your patron." Then he leaned forward, placing a hand to his jaw as he offered a stark, tooth-filled smile to me. "Nor have I need of your help. I merely offer a chance of interest."
I had to look around the room, making sure no one else was there before saying anything else. As I mentioned earlier in this record, my Order was not public knowledge. Even though I saw no one else, I kept my voice quiet to lower the risk of being heard outside before asking "What do you know about my Patron?"
He extended his arms outwards, taking a step back. "I know the pull of shadow upon His heart, the darkness that clings to His limbs like oil and unwashed filth, the burn of hate deep within His bones. He is a strange, weak thing."
I asked, "And what of you?"
He said, "Of Me, Empress? What of Me?"
I could not wait to ask any longer. "What are you? -Who- are you?"
He leaned forward again, his eyes dark, oily pools. "You haven't entirely earned that yet from Me, Empress. No--not yet, you've much more to do before I'll grant you that. You've yet to give Me My part of this bargain."
"You have yet to tell me why I should give anything more," I said, and I know I was losing control of every bit of composure and control I normally try to show. "You would have me seek someone who now walks free, and give me no more than this as a clue about what I might find." At those last words, I lifted the hand holding the coin up once more, pinching it between her thumb and forefinger to hold it up before his face.
He said, "A gift, a blessing, and little more, Empress. You bear My mark. Some would call it protection, a boon, but you seem all together incensed by it. Another bore My gifts well, Empress. She changed your very world and she is all the better for it. Would you discard such a token of My adoration?"
I have thought long and hard about who this woman was. Given the interest in the Blood, it may have been Yrtez, known once as Belladona, but as she is now dead, I am not entirely certain I would say she is better for anything.
I would not go so far to say that I was incensed, but I was certainly losing my patience with all this, and I said, "The thing is this. Over the many years that I have existed, there have been many men who have noticed me. Some wished to woo or court me. Others supported me and lifted me up to higher power. Others still would have struck me down if they could. There are even those in such places as Enorian who would wish little more than to "cure" me, that I might grace their city and walk in their precious "light", where they might present me to the realm as an example. Knowing that you hold me in some esteem tells me very little when you consider that."
Lightly, he said, "And your patron? Which of these is He?"
I said, "Does that make a difference?"
He rolled a shoulder forward, the bones cracking with the movement. "You interest Me, Empress. You intrigue Me. You stand on the precipice of something much greater than this shrunken, febrile land that you so love. Why enthrall yourself to its doddering caretakers? Your Patron? Your.. sire? Do you trust so implicitly in their rule and vision? No, I do not think that you do," Hs voice was little more than a murmur, and he cast a darkened gaze to the ceiling above. "Ahh, this skin is so strange."
"You should take care what you say about my sire," I said, trying to keep my voice quiet. "It was his Gift alone that made me the empress I am today, the one who attracted your attention. Without him, I would merely be one of the many princesses roaming about."
Prior to Abhorash becoming my sire, I had been the childe of Zoharim, the first of Abhorash's progeny. I had spent the better part of my years as a Consanguine bearing that bloodrank.
He said, "And you are defined by this gift?"
Anyone reading this knows that while I am indeed a Consanguine, I am also a Teradrim, a woman with beliefs that sometimes contradict themselves, and a person with flaws just as any other. What you may not know is that I first tasted the Blood when I was only just 18, and it changed me entirely. All that I have become may never have come to pass were it not for that one thing. It may be that He somehow sensed that.
Even still, I felt justified in saying, "That is one piece of who I am."
The implication, of course, being that it was only a single piece.
He took a short step forward, pressing a cold, burning hand to your brow. "And what happens were I to take this piece away? It would be easy, Empress, and the gift would not longer be your yoke; your burden."
In case anyone reading this has any doubts, the Blood can be torn from the veins of a Consanguine without their consent. I have witnessed it myself, and knew of other cases of it happening before that instance. So I asked, "Is...that a threat?"
He offered a faint smile. "A gift, Empress."
For the briefest of moments, I felt something shift deeply within my breast, my lungs filling with air as I drew in an involuntary breath and my heart beat but once before the sensation faded and my senses reasserted themselves. Iannas merely smiled, his eyes dark and hollow.
He said in a low whisper, "Wouldn't it be exciting were I to do the same to him? Your world would -crack- with My passage."
That was enough to make me want to cut my own hand off to be rid of the coin, but I was able to remember that it was likely only move to the one that remained. Still, the use of my House members and now the threat against my own sire made me all the more determined to put an end to the madness somehow. I knew that I needed to find Him, and the constant feel of the coin made me look in the coldest places I could find in Sapience.
Around the 22nd of Khepary, in the year 448 MA -
I had searched everywhere I thought to look, but the efforts were in vain. Still, I continued to attend to my normal duties and try to carry on with my other usual activities. I found myself again at the city pylon, involved in some conversations related to my House and the Dominion when I was approached again, though this time the voice came without a body.
"Looking for something, Empress?" The voice whispered, cold and crisp in the afternoon air. "Or are we lounging about?"
Naturally, I looked around for the source of the voice. Seeing no one out of the ordinary, I stayed silent, but felt my hand clench almost reflexively into a fist around the coin just in case anyone were to arrive and see it. I tried to carry on the House discussion, but the disembodied voice continued. The researchers and guards seemed not to hear it.
"Come now, Empress. I'm hardly here to upset you. It's just all rather dull as of late and you've yet to visit."
Even though I was apparently alone, speaking out loud seemed to be the most natural way of communicating with this being. "I searched," I said. "I spent days in the tundra, on mountaintops, every cold place I know. I have even had others help me try and find out whether any culture ever used a green coin as their currency."
A skirl of frigid wind rushed past me, winding through the caverns with a keening wail.
I had been traveling on horseback when this all started, so I leaned closer to the neck of my stallion for some protection from the wind. Its mane muffled my voice, but I said, "I am fairly familiar with the land from my work seeking leylines, but I have yet to find any hints of its origin."
"But you did not find me. A shame," came the light reply, crisp and cold as the whistling winds. "I am not oft worshipped in these lands."
I asked, "...these lands?" I was trying to get my hair back in order, when I caught sight of the portal to our embassy in Delve.
"You think me one of Them still? No, Empress. I am much more."
Of course, I had by then abandoned the thought of It being Severn, or any of the other gods Who recognised His power, but I did remember some of the other powerful entities that had threatened Sapience over the years.
"I do not," I said, keeping my voice quiet. "Given some of the things said about Them, I thought some sort of demon or conjured power was more likely, like that which was buried beneath Hashan for so many years, or another power They have reason to fear."
"I am hardly so uncouth, Empress."
I said, "You seemed rather determined to give me little to work with in terms of guessing."
"It wouldn't be very interesting otherwise, Empress."
I held fast to the stallion, beginning to suspect that the search would have to continue a continent away. "Albedos, then?" I asked, eyes moving once more towards the portal. "Was I right at least about the cold?"
There is nothing more said other than a soft, rasping chuckle that resounds within the back of your mind.
I had nothing to say to that, and those working nearby still seemed to notice nothing.
"Take the leap, Empress. You might find something in the cold reaches."
I went through to Delve, and began searching outside the city. I Dramedo crags were the first place to begin looking, particularly among the high peaks, but I was much less familiar with the area. Eventually, I found a vast and ancient door set in the mountainside. It was an ominous place, with a partial humanoid skeleton.
As I approached, the air crackled around me in a fury and I felt the coin burn into a cold fury within my grasp. The door rolled to one side as tendrils of oil-slick shadow lashed outwards, bodily dragging me into the depths of the forgotten shrine. I instinctively tried to pull away, but that endeavour was fruitless.
The inside seemed to be just as old and forgotten. A makeshift plinth was in the center, made of weathered and shattered wood. The ground was covered in dust and detritus, and had cleared not been disturbed in quite some time, but among the debris was a coin just like the one I held. I seemed to be alone, but there was a mass of seething shadows and crackling air that I quickly suspected was the object of the long search.
Almost at once, something stirred unbidden in my imagination, and the forms of the now fallen civilization seem almost real.
The entire thing left me wary and silent, so at first, I only watched as a figure, tall and lanky, stepped out of the seething mass of shadow as it draped across him like a cowl of living darkness. The shadow pooled in inky rivulets as the figure stopped before me, arms held outward before looking downward with dark, hollow eyes. "Empress," the figure intoned, voice rich and coldly hollow all at once. "I am glad you found your way to me."
The way He spoke brought me back to my senses. This was my tormentor. I managed to look up and meet His gaze to tell Him, "You seem rather attuned to the shadows, for someone who so openly dismissed the one god of Sapience Who is considered to command them best."
There was a faint, flicker of shadow. A smile. "Does this offend you, Empress?"
I was distracted momentarily by the sound of a something clattering down one of the piles of debris. I looked away to find a pebble and found myself thinking aloud, "I suppose it seems fitting in a way." It reminded me of my purpose there, and helped me regain my confidence so that I could look back up again. "You seemed to enjoy hiding before, and shadows are a useful way of doing that."
"I can hardly help my appearance, Empress. I merely see no need to grace the less fortunate," he began, voice light. "What need have they of me? Little and none."
I asked, "So interfering in mortal affairs is little more than an amusement, or distraction?"
"Everything I do has a purpose, Empress."
I was more than ready to know what He intended and why. What the purpose of those long months of torment had been. "Am I allowed to ask questions now?"
"Of course, though I may not answer them," he replied, cocking his head to the side for a moment. "What would you ask?"
"If everything has a purpose, then what is this?"
I asked, "And what else?"
"Do you not trust me, Empress?"
I said, "In my world, blind trust can be a weakness. You've yet to tell me your very name."
The figure turned, draping a shadow-draped arm about the plinth. "I am called the Walker by some," he murmured, shifting to look back to me.
"There was a story about the Walker in a book in the Pious Wards of Delve," I said slowly. I watched Him closely as He moved. "Something to do with the eyes, if my memory serves. I don't recall it being the most favourable of tales."
He laughed, a good-natured chuckle, that shook his frame for a brief moment. "I am not much loved by the Ecclesiarchy of Delve."
"Have there been any groups to love you before, besides individuals who found your favour?" I asked before correcting the inflection in my voice to the sort that I would use for a god of Sapience. "Or Your favour, I suppose, is more proper?"
"They whisper my name in their dreams, their nightmares, as they wake, as they sleep, as they break their bread," the Walker intoned, looking down on me with his pitted gaze. "All gods are worshipped in one way or another, Empress."
I asked, "Your true name, or simply "Walker"?"
"The Walker will suffice, Empress."
"You spoke before of having been in bondage," I said.
"Mm, a terrible fate for any to endure, but I am afraid we've enough questions for now, Empress. I shall enjoy seeing you again."
The Walker offered something of a bow to me, stooping low before dispersing into nothingness with a CRACK of power. I felt myself tumbling, end over end over end into a bottomless void before finding myself before the stone door once again now shut fast and tight.
I then returned to Bloodloch to continue the discussion I had been having with my House. I shared a bit of information with one House member, Malok, about the events that had taken place, the possessions, the fact that He seemed to want something from me, but I remained intentionally vague about the identity of the Walker, preferring to refer to Him only as an entity of great power. I wanted him to know the signs of a possession in case it happened again, and we also spent some time trying to unravel a bit of the mystery about what He could want. We both agreed that if He were to offer me some sort of power, it would likely not end well, but without much more information, we did not come to any conclusions.
That turned out to be the end of things, however. While the coin remains bound to me, I have neither seen nor heard from the Walker again.
I continued to make occasional attempts to remove the coin, but it retains the same power it always had. It is as cold as ever, but I have never felt it change painfully in any of the ways I felt before. With the help of my then-sire Abhorash, there was one attempt that almost seemed to be successful once. He made my blood tear through the skin underneath the coin, forcing it off with the speed and suddenness of the flow. It fell to the ground and managed to stay there for a moment before throwing itself back into my other hand.
If I had to make a guess about the purpose behind all that happened, it could be that the Walker used me as a piece of entertainment for those months. If I had shown any more interest in the offers of power, it make have amused Him to continue stringing me along with various tasks and riddles. Even now, the fact that the coin still bothers me might be a long joke to Him. Still, I am unable to shake the knowledge that He could just as easily be using it as a means of watching me and gaining information that may have been denied to Him during His imprisonment. I imagine there are options I have not even considered, but whatever the case may be, I have no wish to be used as a part of His games or plots.
At one point, she had confided in Ivoln. A few IC weeks ago, it came up and she along a copy of the letter to Ivoln after being asked for more details. The Skythrone thing happened, and she started to get a bit concerned, leading to...
Part two: Dun dun dun.
13. Ivoln: "Maw."
14. Sarita: "I...I suppose I was wondering if anything came of the letters I sent earlier."
15. Ivoln: "If you are worried that you did something wrong, you did not."
16. Sarita: "I hadn't worried about that exactly."
17. Sarita: "I was not personally present for these events, but I heard that Lord Bamathis had the Atavs in the Skythrone who had connected themselves to a different Albedi god be destroyed for that connection."
18. Ivoln: "You worry He will come after you?"
19. Sarita: "I think I am more concerned that the physical connection the Walker established may mean there is no choice."
20. Ivoln: "This should be discussed, then."
You are transported by the power of the Divine.
A towering wall of skulls.
An oversized chair of porous rock overlooks the pit. Erupting from the ground and engulfed by a funnel of sand and stray earth, a lesser, clay statue of a wyrm thrusts upwards, an ebon egg clutched in its maw. A throne of skulls makes the apex of the burial mound, overlooking its acidic moat. The rib bones of a massive Earthen wyrm vault across the ceiling. An ancient fountain of the earthen sits here, quiet and still. A massive golem made of clay stands here. The monstrous form of Nerakh is here, his stony body towering over you. He wields a menacing flail in his left hand and a kite shield in his right. The monstrous form of Ivoln, the Earthen Lord dominates the area here in a seething mass of earth and stone. He wields the Earthen Blade in His left hand. A massive sandstorm threatens to choke out the life in this area.
You see exits leading southeast, south, and southwest.
Ivoln, the Earthen Lord says, "I do not like things hanging."
Ivoln, the Earthen Lord says to you, "We will take care of this worry today."
Ivoln, the Earthen Lord says to Nerakh, "Send me the concept so far. I want to see it before anything is built."
You have emoted: Sarita gets her bearings quickly, and almost immediately sinks into a graceful curtsey. "My Lord,") she says. Then, rising, she gives Ivoln a quiet nod.
He is an undead muscular Tekal Earthen of Horkvali heritage. A behemoth of golden sands and stygian granite, their monstrous form towers a little over fifteen feet tall, and even then seems almost a little too wide for their goliath stature. The stone that makes up their body is mostly featureless - the passage of their sands has eroded away any crags or identifiers, leaving behind only a smooth, dark surface. The sands themselves flow unnaturally, winding their way across the Earthen's great body in an unending river, flowing in between the joints and gaps of their segmented bodyparts. Even the boulder that serves as the monstrosity's head is plain and smoothed, if a little lumpy - the eyes are highlighted as the source of the sands, weeping them in an ever-flowing stream, but there are no other distinctive qualities to be found. He is suffused with the fervor of the Warlord, carrying His blessing.
(worn on the legs) : crisp trousers of lightweight linen
(tied around the waist) : a simple sash of gray silk
Nerakh, Warden of the Pillars says, "Allow me a moment to fetch some parchment, Father."
A towering wall of skulls.
The land drops gradually, acidic rivers trickling down the dunes, following their shape like the striations of contour plowing. The northmost edge of the cavern rises almost ninety degrees, and is nothing more than a horrific bulwark of skulls, the bones of too many species to count. The skulls pile up into a tumbling hill at the bottom of the pit, the lowest ones bleached pure white by the sulphuric acid. With a careful leap, it is possible to vault the pool and climb the hill of skulls, where at its apex, the bones ramify into the shape of a great throne. An oversized chair of porous rock overlooks the pit. Erupting from the ground and engulfed by a funnel of sand and stray earth, a lesser, clay statue of a wyrm thrusts upwards, an ebon egg clutched in its maw. A throne of skulls makes the apex of the burial mound, overlooking its acidic moat. The rib bones of a massive Earthen wyrm vault across the ceiling. An ancient fountain of the earthen sits here, quiet and still. A massive golem made of clay stands here. The monstrous form of Nerakh is here, his stony body towering over you. He wields a menacing flail in his left hand and a kite shield in his right. The monstrous form of Ivoln, the Earthen Lord dominates the area here in a seething mass of earth and stone. He wields the Earthen Blade in His left hand. A massive sandstorm threatens to choke out the life in this area.
You see exits leading southeast, south, and southwest.
Nerakh, Warden of the Pillars says, "I haven't written a draft with the bones yet, as I was not sure whether or not the Dragon would bequeath them to us."
Nerakh, Warden of the Pillars says, "I will show you what has been written."
Although she doesn't show it outwardly, Sarita's mind is a whirl of anxiety almost bordering on dread as thoughts about the coin circle through it.
Nerakh dips his head, awaiting permission to leave.
Ivoln dismisses Nerakh with a single flicked finger towards the exit.
Nerakh strides in from the south, his colossal form sending tremors through the ground.
He is followed by a clay golem.
You have emoted: Sarita folds her hands together and gives Ivoln her full attention in silence.
Nerakh kneels once more, offering up an elegant white letter to Ivoln.
Ivoln waits until Nerakh leaves before He speaks again. "I think the worry is needless. I am curious to My Brother's response anyway. I've asked Him to come chat." Absently, He takes the letter from Nerakh and glances down over it.
A shimmering line of argent essence suddenly splits the air a few paces away from over-sized throne, widening and twisting about itself until a gateway - large enough for a man - is visible. Bamathis steps forward, a cool rush of damp air following after Him before the portal snaps shut, closing off the brief view of some underground fortress within. "Brother," He states in a cold, impassive voice. His gaze - a sharp contrast of hot, raging silver to the iciness of His words - finds you immediately. "You desired to speak to Me?"
Nerakh lowers his head, casting his gaze away from Bamathis' divine form.
Waves of tension roll off of the Immortal, insidiously snaking through the room. It diverts away from Ivoln, visible by the brief, hazy distortion it meets around the Earthen Gods form, though does not make such allowances for you.
Ivoln gestures towards you. "Give a summary."
You have emoted: In a single, fluid motion, Sarita turns towards Bamathis and dips into a graceful curtsey. "I..." Her voice is almost too soft to be audible to mortal ears, but it slowly increases in volume and strength as she says, "I was never able to truly discern the true nature of the coin the Walker gave me. He only spoke to me on Sapience after it came into my possession, which led me to the possibility that it gives Him some sort of physical connection to me."
You have emoted: Sarita glances briefly towards Ivoln, then returns her gaze to Bamathis. "If that is truly the case, it might also stand to reason that any such connections would need to be destroyed if You are to destroy Him and any influence He may have here."
A pulse of strength flows through your limbs, emanating from your heart.
Bamathis's features offer only a flicker of change with the divulged information - though that minuscule tightening of His eyes, the barest furrow of His brow - serves to speak volumes. Both of His hands move to find purchase at the small of His back, and a quick glimpse is given of His hands tightening into balled fists before they disappear behind Him. He steps forward towards you, that raging conflagration of silver set deep within His eyes fixated solely upon you. "How long?" He demands coldly. He stands directly before you now, a single pace away.
think An almost immediate rush of fear floods Sarita's mind, but she manages to keep it visibly hidden.
An almost immediate rush of fear floods Sarita's mind, but she manages to keep it visibly hidden.
The proximity of the Warlord before you now only incites further the aura of tension that swirls ruthlessly around you. It is there, intangible, yet felt on a physical and metaphysical level both. Your heart - or what you believe might be your heart - gives an involuntary spasm, a clear shock given the centuries of dormancy it has.
Ivoln sits forward in His throne, watching the exchange with the impassiveness His skull lends to. Taking the paper, He holds it up towards Nerakh and grinds it between two fingers, shredding it. "No sparkling. Make it better."
A comforting wash emanates from the amber heart within your chest. A steady, supportive beat.
"It will be as You command, Father," Nerakh murmurs, his voice a grainy hiss of sand against stone. "Grant me Your leave, and I might have something better for You before You need leave to attend the Pillars."
You have emoted: Sarita's own hands clench together in front of her stomach, knuckles whitening as the skin stretches tightly from the force of the movement. "It was over three decades when You awoke, if You are asking how long I have had it, I mean." She manages to keep her expression steady as she speaks, but presses her lips together almost as tightly as her hands after giving the answer.
Ivoln nods towards Nerakh, then settles back into His throne, keeping an glowing eye tracking the conversation between Bamathis and you.
He is an Immortal of colossal height and breadth, His weight such that the ground buckles beneath His feet. His body is a study in geology, a humanoid shape emulated in hewings of striated rock. Ribbons of limestone and shale race across the planar slopes of the God's earthflesh, mingling with greater layers of basalt, granite, and mica. Ripped across His breast is a deep crevasse, housing a pulsing heart of amber that hangs in the dead space, emanating puissant force. His head takes the appearance of a leering skull, misshapen as if melted by a blast of heat, stuck in a permanent glower. Set into a deeply recessed socket, His left eye blazes with bright, gritty light. A gigantic, war-torn cloak is slung around His shoulders, which tends to flap about as the large God ambulates with power and terrifying speed.
(over the head) : a shattered bone helm
(draped over His body) : a tattered cloak
He is an Immortal and stands as the pinnacle of His Ankyrean embodiment. Pointed ears peek out from His long hair, midnight dark with a predator's gleam which drapes down His back and shoulders. Cut like almonds and cast in eerie silver, His eyes set the severe tone of His angular, slender face. Tall with a muscular physique, His light complexion has a nearly metallic undertone, as if His being was merely a pleasing veneer over venantium. A perfectly circular burn is set high up and center of His chest, a blackened mass of flesh roughly wrist width.
(worn upon the forearm) : an argent armband of oaths
(covering the torso, reaching His knees) : a long tunic cut from strange black cloth
(sculpted to His frame) : a gleaming cuirass of argent venantium
(secured over His shins) : polished venantium greaves
(strapped tight) : a warrior's reinforced sandals
"Excuse me, Father, Warlord," Nerakh intones, rising to his feet. He offers each god a small bow, then makes his exit.
Nerakh strides away to the south, his colossal form sending tremors through the ground.
He is followed by a clay golem.
Bamathis remains frozen before you, visibly struck by the information posed to Him. Finally, He takes that last step forward, now just a hairsbreadth from you. His words come forth in a soft, yet harsh, whisper, felt easily upon your face now, so close are they positioned. "How long?" He sounds almost incredulous, the coldness in His voice gone now - replaced with something that could only be called shock.
The tension around you freezes, neither pushing further or abating - merely frozen now, quiet - the calm before the calamity.
Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Good afternoon."
You have emoted: Sarita's gaze shifts very briefly in Ivoln's direction, but before it fully reaches the throne, she forces her eyes back to Bamathis' and letting her gaze linger there before she says very quietly, "Too long."
You whisper softly into Rebra's consciousness, "I can't talk now."
Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Of course."
Ivoln only interjects with, "She informed me a couple months ago."
think The masked fear begins to mix in with a distinct sense of apprehension at Bamathis's rapidly increasing proximity, but those feelings do not seem to be worry for her own safety. Instead, it feels more like a concern about the possibility of something bad happening to Bamathis if He were to get too close to the coin.
The masked fear begins to mix in with a distinct sense of apprehension at Bamathis's rapidly increasing proximity, but those feelings do not seem to be worry for her own safety. Instead, it feels more like a concern about the possibility of something bad happening to Bamathis if He were to get too close to the coin.
You have emoted: Sarita manages to speak up after Ivoln. "I told Fezzix as well, shortly after Your ascension. You directed me to him."
It is now dusk on Falsday, the 14th of Chakros, year 485 of the Midnight Age.
Bamathis visibly ripples before you, the barely contained rage there bottled tight and held back with twine. And then, it is gone. The rage, the anger - dispersed, replaced now with a growing sense of approval that radiates off of the Immortal in waves, mixed tightly with the tension that speaks to His essence. "Well done, Sarita," He finally declares. He reaches out, hooking your chin with a single finger of His own and dragging it upwards - more fully meeting you gaze. "I had to know if you were compromised." His voice grows louder now, calling out beyond Him - to His Sibling still quietly waiting behind. "If Anyone was compromised - or hiding it."
The pressure abates - however slightly - yet it abates. The tension remains, but now more akin to the normal affect of His presence, than the focus of His anger.
Releasing His grip and stepping away, Bamathis, the Warlord says, "He has been active upon Sapience again, after all."
"I heard. Which is why you are here." Ivoln states in His gravelly voice as He rises from His throne and comes to stand beside His Brother in front of you. "Perhaps we should talk later on what Your plans are."
You have emoted: Sarita's eyes widen at those last words and her eyes dart to the bracelet she wears before moving back to the two gods.
think Unbidden, the haunting memory of a shadowy figure in a dusty cavern rises from the depths of Sarita's mind. She pushes it away, forcing it back down so that she can focus on the conversation before her.
Unbidden, the haunting memory of a shadowy figure in a dusty cavern rises from the depths of Sarita's mind. She pushes it away, forcing it back down so that she can focus on the conversation before her.
"We will," Bamathis confirms in a quiet voice. His gaze finds you once more, though when He speaks it is clear the words are meant for His Brother beside Him. "Severn and I are still debating how to handle the infestation," He explains calmly, hands moving to rest behind Him once more. "I have pushed towards completely Unmaking them - those that the Walker has taken an interest in - or at the very least, permanent imprisonment." His lips twist in marked displeasure. "Severn believes it will only lead to more coins finding their way into yet more hands, and then we would not know who is at risk to being turned." He speaks all of this with a calculated, impassioned tone, as if the complete and utter destruction of the mortal before Him means nothing - is nothing.
Distastefully, Bamathis, the Warlord says, "Chakrasul's idea, imprisonment. I still lean towards death."
"Would destroying them not leave Us weaker? It seems to be our spiritual leaders that are being targetted," Ivoln speaks up, expression unreadable as always. His arms rest at His sides. "I have given Sarita something that is linked to Me. Perhaps all the targets should be linked to Someone. If that kind of corruption is detected, then death. This is what I would like to suggest instead of weakening all Our orders with the first two options."
You have emoted: Sarita's expression slowly shifts as she listens, going from almost no display of emotion to one of barely concealed horror.
think How am I only hearing about all of this now? How many others are there like me? And why? Why?
How am I only hearing about all of this now? How many others are there like me? And why? Why?
Bamathis's features twist once more - utter dismissal of the idea presented. "Do not give her too much of Yourself, Brother. I am loathe to allow any tangible connection to any of Us that the Walker may learn how to abuse." He sniffs once more, still eying you in the coolly dispassionate way. "I won't take her from You, Brother. For now. But ensure she realizes the importance of complete transparency - as a refresher." He continues to speak of you with no more concern one might offer a pet, you own desires or designs or plans irrelevant and judged unimportant by this Warlord. "I have things to attend to." He finally looks away from you, dismissed, His gaze finding Ivoln now. "Are we finished?"
You have emoted: Despite the apparent dismissal, Sarita remains standing in place, hands still clenched together.
Ivoln places a hand on Bamathis' shoulder before He turns to leave. "We will speak of this later. There are other options." He releases His grip, and then gives you a dismissive wave to depart. He departs Himself, steps thundering as He departs further into His temple.
Bamathis's gaze lingers towards you once more, a weighing, assessing glance. Then, that same gateway splits the air before Him once more, and He steps through. It snaps shut, providing only the briefest glimpse into His fortress before it does.
You have emoted: Sarita finally nods, acknowledging Ivoln's words. She offers a shallow curtsey before leaving.
You sent the following message to Ivoln:
With all due respect, that did -not- make me feel better.