Campaign of the Month: July 2011
Sins of the First Age
Rage of the Discarded
Much like the rest of Deheleshen, this place was both familiar and alien. Those denied reincarnation sought ways to return to their old lives by recreating them in the Underworld. But recreating a factory cathedral was more complicated than just building a structure that looked like one.
The craftsmen had done an amazing job, but even to her untrained eyes Mnemia could see places where the building differed from the one in Creation; in Lookshy. Yet despite the difference Mnemia felt an uneasy sense of recognition. But whether it was because of her time in the Kadon’s factory cathedral to the east, her brief time in this one’s mirror in Lookshy or some deeper memory she was wasn’t sure.
Wasting little time within the eerie structure Mnemia let her sure strides take her deeper into the facility. Showing no hesitation she moved past and through decontamination rooms, workshops and offices before reaching her destination. But as her hands wrapped around the handle to the final door between her and her goal her body stopped moving, her mind racing back to the conversation she had had with Sextes Jylis on the other side of Creation.
“What you ask is a simple thing. But what you want and what you ask are two different things.”
Mnemia had resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she responded by asking him what he had meant. Why did everyone think it so important to talk in riddles?
“Kadon is an exceptionally intelligent man, but there is an element here he failed to consider. Certainly you will need the prayer scroll you seek to prevent your body from rejecting the artifact, but that’s only half of your concern. You are attempting to forge a bond between your body, your tattoos, the artifact and your anima. It’s not enough that your body not reject the procedure, your exaltation must accept it as well.”
The conversation had continued for a time in the round about way of dealing with the extremely powerful, but the conclusion was fairly straight forward. Reaching down to her side Mnemia felt the form of the scroll case against her hip. Inside was the incantation she needed, the ink drawn in her own blood to forge the bond between it and her own life force. A similar bond with her exaltation would need to be formed, but drawing a suitable “ink” from her as he had her vitae was not feasible. She needed the essence of her exaltation given form.
Not entirely unaware of what was beyond the door in front of her she brought several charms to life, mostly precautionary ones. Then with a settling breath she pushed open the final barrier. Before her was a large, elaborate chamber. The solars of the past never did anything small, and as the heart of the factory cathedral this place had to be suitable impressive. But for all of the beauty around her (impressive even for the copy that it was) her attention was focused on a single object in the center of the room. The rectangular platform rose roughly four feet from the ground and was maybe three feet by five feet. In the center there was a small depression, the holding chamber of a hearthstone that would never form within this shadow simulacrum. And standing over it, head bowed and hands pressed against the stone, was a figure. As the door came fully open the man standing there looked up. And even knowing who would be waiting for her Mnemia could still not avoid a sharp intake of breath.
He moved fast, faster than she had expected, climbing to the top of the pedestal, the sacrificial alter, and launching himself at Mnemia. A scream of pain and anger escaped his lips, but despite the speed and savagery of the attack the gesture was largely symbolic. Not bothering to move Mnemia flared her anima banner, bringing forth the Phoenix Born of Blood. As the light burst from her the creature that was Raxin, but was not, came up short, trying to cover his face with his arms. Even as fear began to overwhelm the other emotions in his cries Mnemia drew her essence in and then forced it out along her arm, forming a grand daiklave out of coalesced light. And as the man in front of her hissed his defiance she burst forward, the tip of her blade pressing effortlessly through his chest and out his back.
It was the quickest death she could give them.
As the form of Raxin collapsed it began to break apart, as if the body had been made of mud and clay. Not bothering to draw her weapon from the unrecognizable body Mnemia simply dismissed it. Then, kneeling down, she drew the scroll cause from the pouch on her hip; opening the case and withdrawing both a section of parchment and a quill. Begin careful to avoid the rapidly dissolving form she set the parchment upon the stone floor before dipping the quill in the remains. Turning back to the prayer she began tracing the rust colored characters Sextes Jylis had previously drawn.
But the macabre scene was not all that it seemed. For countless years Raxin had brought his children to this place; expendable resources for his convenience. Killed upon the mirror to that alter in Creation, their life force was what kept his factory cathedral pumping out the weapons of war he so valued. And as each of them had died they had come here, denied a rebirth by the violation and betrayal of their death. Once across the veil they were little more than feral creatures of instinct, their limited life providing little fuel for their existence on the other side. In most cases all that was mortal wasted away within a few weeks. But what was exalted was more stubborn. Because they were his children, there was always a touch of the divine that remained. And after 1500 years all that still lingered was the undiluted essence of Raxin’s exaltation; Mnemia’s exaltation.
This poor creature, a shadow of greatness that had only ever known rage, pain and betrayal, was the reason this section of Deheleshen was empty. Even the dead had feared its feral wrath. But now, what little consciousness may have remained was at rest. That Mnemia had to use it’s “blood” for her own purposes made her feel more than a little guilty, but she continued to tell herself that had she learned of this construct even without having a need of it she would have done the same thing. After all that it had suffered, peace was all Mnemia could offer and it, they, deserved no less.
The process done, Mnemia rose to her feet, turning her gaze away from the dissipating ectoplasm as soon as she was able. This was an unpleasant business and she would be glad to be done and gone. Besides, she had asked Zis to perform a distraction so she could get into the area unseen and unopposed. And what the abyssal would be doing in a city full of ghosts in the Underworld as a “distraction” couldn’t be good.