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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2016, 06:19:46 am »
And so, he had invented conflict in The Oracle. How much more beautiful They were, duality dancing with itself inside of Them. The quiet strings pulled themselves taught inside the chambers of Their heart, and with that harder stretch, there could be resonance. He listened to the song that They had already explained to him with Their real lips. He listened to the name of the male and committed it to memory. "I'll turn over some rocks and twist the wind a few times to get him here." he decided.

"And I do expect your best." he explained, some serious echo in his voice. This was her promise to a god, after all. The sound from his tongue would sometimes divide, like two creatures speaking one sentence. Now, the lower one, a diluted lull of eternity, was clearer. That dreary halo around the center speech, the sound he'd picked for human ears, soon synced again. "You can even ask for my assistance, if you'd like, to make these two feel as loved as you intend." He'd not trifled with an oracle before, but saw now that they were wells of potential.

He called for the scythe and it came. It had no other reason for existence. It would have cut the world tree for him. He flicked a string attached to its ring, and it rung loudly, eagerly. Madmar's love, already fortified, thinking it was to be tied to Sylphie. Would They know this? It was a future that hadn't been set, after all. "Well, this was pleasant. You're not just a conduit, not just a voice box, are you?" The god said with satisfaction. Those who became of the gods without being gods always enjoyed some existential privacy, at least from his eyes. He should pay closer attention to the prophets also.

With lightness in his step, he stuck his head out the door to retrieve the tray of food the acolyte had ordered and brought. He balanced the meal on the broad side of the blade of his weapon as he came to where They sat up, and let the food slide off to lay by Them. "Tend to yourself, also. We can't play if you're more of Xeros's realm than this one ." He would have gone to see about a brewing war a few countries away, but instead sat down by the food, with every intention of watching, perhaps stare, while They took the nourishment.

-

Eou let her move, let the dark water rush into the space she'd occupied against him. "It speaks to me." he explained as he studied the tide of shadows and light on her face. "I'll learn about you." Her race, her own, private composition. All that was her. "And you'll have some of me in return." The features she'd made and put on him turned, slight puzzlement creasing the forehead. To him, there was just the purpose to coax and lift creation. He wondered why his priestess wasn't ecstatic with this gift.

The life felt it, swirling with its warmth to prove itself strong, and pleasant. It promised to be a good feeling, and tried a few sensations to win her over. The boastful thing seemed a bit overzealous in its pursuit of her approval, and its father had to reach out with three fingers to touch and soothe it, and remind it to listen to Sylphie's body, as well. Her sensory input wasn't to be used so much, even if the goal was to please her. "And you wouldn't have asked for it, Sylphie. Perhaps that is what makes you worthy."

His smile became gentle as he in turn circled her with a few instinctual drags of his arms. He seemed merry. "But it won't just be me. It'll be you, as well. It already is. That is the beauty of life made this way. The human preference." He was about to go on, quite a fan of reproduction through incubation, but Ia whispered to him. His arms lost their power, and his body, afloat despite the metals in it, cut through the water in the direction he'd propelled it. A dull sound accompanied his head meeting the side of the vat. Orange eyes were wide as he turned his back to the glass.

Phantom hands molested his center, weighing him. He looked at the imagery of his building guilt, a symptom of Ia's words, and then he looked up at his priestess. The life felt the father falter, and dug deeper into the mother. It rummaged through her memories to call upon loyalty she'd seen in her own parents. Perhaps, if she saw the sudden doubt in orange eyes, it could sparkle some attachment for it, a defense. It already loved her, after all, because it was created to, and intended to be with her, now that it had parted from father's body.

In an attempt to win her over, after having seen the love she had for the god of creation, it used his name, from alternative, apocalyptic scripture. "Mahu." it said in her head as it reached out, almost chaotically, to tend to nerves that might please her. It said its chosen name until it was a rhythm, and expressed its need for her by traveling her spine in unison with the beat.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2016, 04:42:14 am »
“I suppose that’s within your reach, isn’t it?” the oracle mused. That kind of fascination was dirty, because Sasu was a spider to bring Rhys to the slaughter. Nonetheless, it was hard not to marvel at that kind of sway over fate. Twist the plot of lives, when it does not suit or entertain. The oracle was the antithesis of that kind of power. Perfect submission to the clamoring voices and the ever shifting whims of the gods. At least, that was how the oracle had always felt. They wondered, now, if they had been fooling themselves on some level. That kind of doubt was the sort of thing Sasu must delight in.

“I’m not sure if I’m more. I suppose we shall find out. I don’t think I like the possible outcomes, either way.” The oracle said absently.

It was a little comical when the god brought them the food. The servant being served. It wasn’t quite so sweet, of course. More like fattening a pig before the holiday meal. Still, the oracle took note of the irony. Then again, Sasu had not been particularly typical of the godly sort. At least, he hadn’t been at all like Ryll and he sounded out of harmony with the sort of holy voices that thundered regularly around their brain.

“Lord Xeros.” The oracle echoed. “Our tradition tells that the Final One was smitten with Dark Ia. But, death is always in the wake of destruction. Destruction is active, therefore it can never be caught or superimposed with death. Death will always seek Destruction and follower her hungrily.” The oracle took a bite of the meal they had been sent. It was nicely prepared, as always. Saoirse had made some of it. There was extra care for the flavors the oracle preferred. A cruel game Sasu asked the oracle to play.

“I wonder if that’s true. That story. Or if our scrolls were being allegorical. Would you tell me, my Lord? What do you know of my goddess?” the oracle asked.

--

Sylphie held herself, fingers curling across her own hips. “My Lord, do you know what the feelings are that we humans hold for the things we create? We can’t create elegantly or on a whim, like you.” She asked softly. The blue eyes were large and imploring. There was a need there to make him understand precisely what he’d done to her.

Eou had said the being inside of her was part of him and that he could learn through it. She wondered if he could taste the wildfire of cracking emotions. Fear. A deep love for something that she had never met and barely felt. Anguish at the maiden’s life that had been abruptly cast from her. Confusion, still. “Is it a child, fully?” she asked, and her voice was even smaller and more concerned. “I’m no mother.” In many ways, she was barely a grown woman. She felt the life inside of her cling and seek, sending ripples through her already disjointed feelings. It was a bit like a drug haze, and she shivered at the dissonance. Eou’s touch stilled the life, to her relief.

But then something shifted in his features, a lack of surety that looked wrong on the god-face. Sylphie was frozen. She should have reached for him, her greatest creation, and addressed the shocked body that leaned against the glass. The being within her begged a different attention. For a moment, she was completely caught. “Mahu,” like a first snowflake turned to a white downpour, the name rang in her ears as the drug haze returned. Alien body in her own. Her own body with another of her own within and that creator without. Sylphie was a series of shells unsure where to crack.

“Mahu?” she said out loud, half to Eou, as if that word should have some magic to bring him back. Whether by curiosity of familiarity, she didn’t know. She didn’t like the doubt in his eyes. She was unsure enough for both of them. If she was in service to this god, he was also hers to lean on. Sylphie needed his confidence in this newness he’d thrust onto her. It couldn’t evaporate so fast. “His name is Mahu?”

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2016, 07:37:54 pm »
With his legs in a knot, he sat by the tray, his imposing stature still keeping him above Them, despite Their elevation thanks to the nest of softness where she had laid down. His fires receded to barely anything burning at all, white marbles there, within the now visible lashes. His shoulders swayed along to Their summary of Xeros’s connection to Ia. This was what people knew on this planet. Broad strokes. He chewed his own teeth behind closed lips as he considered what to give her, what might be relevant. His finger absently cut the space between the artichoke heart and a slice of meat on the plate before he put it in his mouth. He was enjoying the defining differences in the two, which was what made them tasty. If The Oracle tried either of those two particular morsels, they would appear bland, the bond in their careful pairing spent on his palled.

Gods had consulted with Sasu on occasion, but even they couldn’t be sure to get a good answer. He’d blame it on who he was, but some of the time he was simply a green, flighty bastard. No words that might explain why some worlds were crumbling, or why some energies poisoned others. But he wouldn’t dream of not answering The Oracle now, when they were being so civil with each other. He liked Their transparency. “She’s said to live a life with The Brightness, and to succumb by the tongue of some seer, off on some moldy planet with a single moon.” He said with level tone, but couldn’t contain the glee. His laughter would be unsettling, shrill screams from his throat and low breaths from his cheeks. Friction was nothing, if not many things at once. “Wouldn’t that have been an entertaining turn?” he asked Them, dreaming off to the side at the scenario. The gods rarely let their oracles have so much influence. He’d yet to hear an oracle be anyone’s direct demise.

“I knew of Ia and her twin when they were born. I looked at them over their mother’s shoulder, and congratulated and thanked her.” He started, honest, if They could tell. “Their story would be a great contribution to what I do, as your scrolls might have suggested. Her dealings with Xeros were inevitable. He is on one side of her, waiting for her shadow, while Eou is on the other, interacting, completing.” Smoke left his complexion to swirl in his hand, a gray tendril and a black one chasing each other, and a white system of clouds living on his thumb, feeding off dissipation off the black trail. He held up the scene for The Oracle. “There were times when Xeros would argue his bond to Ia, and he’s rather—loud. Everyone has a relationship with Death and his abode at the roots of the tree.” Surely she knew of the World Tree.

“At one point, Xeros wanted Ia so much that there was a great conflict. The twins overcame the trials of Death, when he invited them to his home. He fortified their love.” The palm shut, the actors smashed into failing vapor, gone soon. “Xeros is a bundle of pride, like some of the often  mentioned deities. I remember Eou especially detested pride because of it. Your scrolls should mention little of the whole affair because of Xeros’s pride. It is said he added another torture room in his nest where he keeps lovers he’s claimed. It is the origin of the sinful light cast on Lust, hie jealousy. The god Merle had words with him for smudging her concept.” And then Sasu shrugged uncharacteristically, feigning detachment at whatever he would say next. “Their love didn’t benefit their bodies. Their mother’s blood couldn’t keep them alive when their love burned them away. Xeros petitions for their bodies often, to The Wandering Goddess.”

He ate the relationship between the lettuce and a piece of meat, as well. “And now all this, with sewn together bodies in vats of life. I think earth will be quite the scene for me, as though I haven’t fed enough off Xeros all this time. Perhaps you felt some of it too. Sometimes he breaks his own quota. The disasters and the deceases. A flimsy race like yours, you should have known his wrath many times already. And his hatred for sibling love. Any great calamities?”

-

She was beautiful, like a mother, asking if he could know the scope of what he’d done by sneaking creation into her. He was lost in what she felt, the Life Child broadcasting to its father so he would have sympathy for its mother. These sensations soothed the him that felt like a betrayer, the cracks that Ia made deeper. He petted his own chest, as though his calm could invade her, subdue the guilt she was incepting. But he wasn’t carrying her essence. The ring she’d left on him glowed like her eyes. “But you are a mother now.”

He felt abandoned because of his own deceit. The Goddess he’d betrayed, and the priestess that had loved him enough to bring him back. His arms were wide with a plea. The god walked with his knees on the bottom to the mother that stood in the middle of life’s lake. She also looked lonely. He didn’t wait for her approval, some kind of acceptance with her hand on his head. He wrapped those limbs around her and pulled her occupied body to his face. It was warm, of course, like its father. She’d said its name. His name. Eou looked up at her, elation slow at first, but unfolding at a greater velocity over his features. The eyes were very much alive when steam came off them.

“Mahu.” He repeated. How could Mahu be a betrayal, when he was clearly a wonderful, new thing. “Yes.” He decided and stood up, his hold on her sliding. But he didn’t let go, he lifted her, her feet barely in the liquid, anymore. Whatever biological protocols the face had to offer, they played in the best formation they could to give off what the god felt. Not even Ryll had felt this way. “And you should rejoice with me, priestess. Sylphie.” It wasn’t an order from her object of worship. It was an opinion from a proud father. He could feel the chill in his bone compete with the happiness that heated the marrow. His face breathed on hers. It was a mistake to make life from two sources so recklessly, but now that it existed, it could have been no other way. For the moment, Eou was sure.

“Will you take care of Mahu?” When Eou was named Mahu, in the legends, his story was different from the main one. “He needs you, Sylphie. He’s made out of us.” She was worried, brimming and spilling with what he’d done to them, but he wanted her to know the accomplishment of harboring life.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2016, 05:01:51 am »
The oracle listened carefully. “The Wandering Goddess, when she came to me in answer, said that we should put the cogs in motion. Shining Eou would come, and then Blessed Ia. She said that Creation would reconcile with Death, before balance could return.” They turned their face in the direction Sasu’s voice had come. Or, at least, the direction most of it had come from. Even in an earthly state, the green god’s presence was something greater than human.

“I suppose that’s why I wonder. I thought I had understood what I was being told. The priestess’s work does touch the dead, as well. I thought her vessels were the reconciliation but my Blessed Lady remains silent.” The oracle took a bite of food and paused when it was tasteless. One eyebrow arched, but they said nothing of the matter. “Now I wonder if there was something more literal to your realm in all of it. It’s a frightening day for humanity when the Final One chooses to walk the earth. As you say, he has been zealous with us in the past. Calamities even without his physical presence.”

The oracle sighed. “Lord Eou is likely to come here with the priestess, soon enough.” They weren’t sure in what context they meant it. It wasn’t as if they thought to scold Sasu from their room for alternative company. It might have been a warning: some offer of preparedness for the trifling god, but that felt too congenial. The oracle inclined their head. “Are the other stories true, then? The ones our cult blot out, of the Lady Ryll’s children loving one another in body as well as soul? The Followers say that those tales are allegories of our universal balance but that their love was pure.” The oracle was quite sure the stories were true. There was a sense of something closer to reality tucked in the Sight that gave the seers a truer compass for dogma than most. The oracle had never had reason to seek that truth fully, though, and staying mute was a kindness to the cult.

Now, though the oracle felt they should ask. “If it is true, what then if our Shining Lord were to come to love something of this earth?” There should have been some fondness in the Creator for the priestess who had brought them new life. And Sylphie had been marked since birth. Before the oracle’s eyes had been removed, they remembered the Sight twining with their physical vision and leave glittering trails around the priestess. To be marked by Fate was only to say the gods would one day pay her mind. Whether it be in love or fury the oracle never had known.

--

Sylphie flushed as he lifted her up, her baser self keenly aware of her nakedness and his. “I... well… of course I will care of him.” She mumbled. “He is yours, and you are my Lord. It’s my duty. I’m your priestess.” She curled her fingers against his shoulders, more for her own comfort than in any real aid in supporting herself. “And, as you say, he is… ours…” she let out a tired breath, her forehead falling against his collarbone. “My Lord, you have not yet been in the world a full day and yet,” she paused and heard herself begin to laugh. “And yet you are Creation. I am sorry I question it.” Another sigh.

“Even so. You’ve gone and placed this life within me and not minded Lord Sasu’s arrival. I can’t believe that isn’t something dire, in one way or another. Your Blessed Sister’s oracle was spent to exhaustion over his break into our mortal plane.” Sylphie said. She had rushed to him for a reason, after all. It had not been with the intention of acquiring a god-child.

--

Ia’s cold made his metal bones ache, sharp protests to his happiness. She burrowed deep into his silicon-patched mind and wove along the grey matter and the white, nestling into the crevices and spreading like a fog. The goddess fell into him and fell into herself, walking her dreams as she waited for the strength to reach outward again. To touch her wayward Eou. He must be confused, she was sure. It was only because that woman was human. Because she was able to foster Eou’s creations.

“Xeros.” She called out into the void of her dream space. The Final One could touch all things from the roots of the Tree. Her dreams were no exception, so long as he was invited in. “Xeros, do you still love me, after this long eternity I have spent in a death other than you?” she asked into the deep darkness.

--

There was a time during the infancy of man that Ia had become interested in the strange soul fragments and their fleshy cages. She spent several centuries watching them from Heaven by day and thinking often of her dream. The one where there had been so much life she’d disappeared. At night, she would secret to Eou’s bed, as had become her habit, or wait for him to come to her own pillow.

In the great expanses of their lives they spent in the throes of a deep passion, Ia had never been unhappy. Eou was a light for which she was always hungry and she was that sweetness toward which all of his existence inevitably funneled toward. Still, in the years that she watched the humans, Ia learned discontentment.

One night, as she sighed beneath him, she had reached out and held fast to his hips, her cold blazing against his heat. “For all that you are, you can never overcome me, can you?” she had murmured, melancholy on her tongue. “We are a spiral that has no end.” There had been nights she had felt the stirring of his life spring forth inside her, and she had laid still to treasure that ephemeral swell. By morning, always, it was gone. The decay was euphoric as her body swallowed away the pure essence of creation, but with it now came her unrest. She dug her fingers hard into his skin. “Our only child is nothingness. The void itself.”

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2016, 06:18:29 pm »
While he knew the universe, Sasu was limited to his own totem, however spread it was. This was not a limitation set on The Oracle. They could tell him things he did not know, especially in matters of other gods. He listened carefully to what Ryll had said to Them. His concentration was broken when They tried the tasteless bit from the plate. A silent, open-mouthed amusement. “That sounds lovely!” Xeros was a fun god, when he was passionate. It would raise the war and bloom the cemeteries if Friction and Death were on this earth at the same time, They were right. He clapped his hands together, the start of something geological, the strength in him, but the green body pulled the power in before it could act on the country. He could barely contain his laughter. “Eou and Xeros reconciling? Oh, I should keep you in my ring.” There was a story not even Ryll knew.

“It might not be a too far happening that Death comes here, if he learns. Ryll has a spell on this blue orb, though, to keep it foggy to us. But you should probably not place hope on his civility with Creation. At least not if your Darkness does come back.” He rubbed his thighs in fleeting thoughts. “There is a reason Death is absolute. Your kind is fond of negotiation, and escape many things, but he plucks you in the end. He does it fully, closes his hand tight. You’re owed him, you see, since he tends to the roots of the World Tree, and it is fertilized with things that used to live.” He nodded and looked at his own palm, where the smoke theatre had been. “That’s his personality. He’s never forgiven Eou.”

He was fond of the thought of meeting Eou. What would the child of Ryll say, seeing his elder here? The lightness in the god, seen in his soft posture, went away, and The Oracle would be able to feel it like the spirit of a storm, occupying the room but residing mostly in another world. Apparently, Sasu had feelings about the taboo of Eou and Ia. It could be approving, hatred or both. “It is quite true.” He whispered. “Not all gods know this, so think about your safety, and the safety of your race if you repeat this.” It was not a threat, we was not a god to be appalled. The air was stale, his own spell to keep the secret between them. “Lovely, isn’t it? What delightfully twisted things goes on in heaven, no? And soon here, as you’ve promised me.” There was a new flare in still eyes. “Oh. Perhaps you can recreate it for me, with the brother and sister that loves you?”

He thought on Their next question. What would happen, indeed. “I don’t know. You’re the seer.” He offered. “But Ia gives Eou suffering, the way a lover does. I imagine this will be different only in scale. Do you think there something on this earth that would survive Eou as a lover, and Ia as an adversary?” His shoulder rolled. “There, dear Oracle, will be  your calamities.”

-

Sylphie’s words were a bit like abandon. But he saw it more like he had comforted her. If she trusted in him, she could still be unhappy, the way a body can be unhappy while still standing on steady ground. There was some lightness in her voice, finally. It was good for the Life Child that the mother be happy. “If you have doubts, I will try to soothe them for you. Come to me when you need. No matter the reason, you built me this new link to existence. I should calm your heart if I can.”

He nodded as he looked down at her, holding on to him. “Yes. You’re right. We need to speak with The Oracle. It is alarming that I haven’t felt his presence. It could be that he is intentionally keeping his arrival from me.” Who knew what Sasu was up to. He wasn’t as chaotic as some religions suggested, but his path, despite his clear goal, was often dimmed in the light of his whims. “Shall we go, then? Or is sister’s oracle too spent?” With the strength that she had given him, he easily walked them to the edge, and put her down on the floor. His long legs followed soon. The skin was already spending the last layer of liquid that held on. He stepped into the crimson cloth.

Ia’s sudden presence, though vague, almost toppled the man-god. A sudden flood of her to his mind. He staggered and faltered. It might be alarming to the technological priestess to see her creation and her worship fail to do something so basic. Before the weakness of his knees could become his spine’s demise, his endless arm caught him, fingers clutching the comparatively sharp ring of the vat. He felt Ia’s chill, and it had a deeper severity in this body, that needed warmth. He looked to Sylphie for answers at first, as he pushed himself back standing. His heart felt the dear torture he’d missed. What had he done? The more he rejoiced over Mahu, the more she hurt, in him.

“Take me to The Oracle now.” He said, eager to do something Ia would not protest of.

-

Xeros whipped up from where he’d been cradling a soul, that had finally matched its suffering to its bad deeds. His headpiece of smooth bones coiled lithely from where eyebrows should have been to surround his head. A king as well as a good, with a growing calcium crown. His lips were as black as Friction’s, but his waist was smaller in contrast to his shoulders. A deer design to his human form. His white skin was blushing with red highlights. So vibrant when he wasn’t deeply dead. Where Friction’s cloth was purple, his was black, of course, the triangle covering for modesty gray at the far edges. He let go of the soul, and let it slip where it wanted in the rooms of roots.

“Ia?” he asked, a burst of sound filling all the spaces that this nest provided. But she was not there, she was in his crown, in his head. “I’ll still love you when the gods have withered.” He pleaded with the air around him, generals of his cause fleeing for the volume of his self-conversation. “Tell me where you are. I can’t feel you. I’ll come for you. You’ll find my death much more accommodating.” He breathed deeply, looking around with frustration, scaring all those already condemned, and those waiting for reward. He could feel her scent, it was like him, but younger, and larger, more welcoming.

-

Eou had felt it too, of course. Sometimes, when she had teased him horribly, and given eventually, and his blood was hotter, the life had been stronger when it took home in her, thinking it would survive, and welcoming the darkness that was her. Her entity had loved this life back the only way it could. The sea, the sand, and the foam between them. There is never old foam. He’d bitten her when she’d reminisced over this searing hurt. “I would never wish to overcome you, Beloved.” He said into the caught skin of her shoulder.

But her words had made a scratch, not on his love, but on what he’d thought that love was. Life, the momentum of existence, can’t be stopped by anything but itself. The ocean that their mother had painted the cold bits of their hearts in, coiled a little calmer in him then, the blood he’d been given looking to do something else, finally. He hesitated in his sureness at her whisper. Perhaps he loved her with all of him. Perhaps he couldn’t keep away the side that wanted to engulf her, spend her, either.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2016, 06:54:38 pm »
Ia had been happy for the distraction of his teeth against her skin, that small kind of hurt a kindness in the wake of her deep and empty ache. “I wonder if Mother knew, when she formed us.” She had murmured absently, before wriggling out of his grasp so that she could maneuver to kiss his brow. Ia stopped watching the humans, after that. She accepted their void as a quiet anchor for their wilder passion. They were, after all, balance. It only seemed right that there be some dolorous edge to their happiness.

--

“I am sleeping.” The dark goddess said to Xeros. “I’m not strong enough to wake. Not for long.” She told him. She could picture the god of bones, austerely handsome in that he was her brother’s antithesis. Xeros had always appealed to her nature in the ways Eou had challenged it. She had a preference for the latter, but an honest appreciation for Deaths elegance as well. They were her bookends for all eternity.

“My brother walks the earth, though.” She said, and her voice was velvet and physical, reaching out to coil around Xeros’s shoulders. “There is a human woman there, with him.” She told him. “A priestess of our Cult. She has taken some of Eou’s Life.” The goddess hummed. “I, too, wish to walk the earth. I cannot take a body without decay, though. You, dear Xeros, could cut that priestess’s cord. You and my brother could give me her form.”

Ia had a mind for fairness, though. She had never loved Xeros, all that desire poured into Eou’s brilliance. Still, she didn’t wish to insult the Final One and his own passions. He was made of the same sort of shade as she, in the end. “Will you go to him? Claim that priestess’s body beside him and give me new breath in her rot?” she asked. “And when that frail human body can no longer contain me, I will be sent toward a human sort of death. Your kingdom’s grasp. I would walk the deepest paths beside you, in exchange for those few years with my Eou.”

--

Sylphie nodded. “Yes, we should go. I don’t know how the oracle is doing, but they are strong enough to endure for you, I think.” She moved to take up her pile of clothes, still crumpled where she’d left them. Her attention snapped back toward her Lord when he faltered, though, dropping her blouse and reaching for him. “My Lord?” she took his face between her hands when he had caught himself, and stared carefully into his eyes. His pupils weren’t overly dilated. His breathing wasn’t overly shallow. Yet, it was that same sort of vague panic as had been in his vat.

“My Lord, maybe it’s your strength we should worry about. Will you let me examine you before we go? You have nearly collapsed twice within such a short span. Tell me, are you in pain?” Sylphie, again a scientist hovering over her greatest specimen, had abandoned the blushing shame that had thus far accompanied her nakedness. “Please, come lay down for me. I will be quick, and then I will take you directly to the sanctum.”

--

The oracle felt Sasu’s heavy, and felt their own added to it. “I have suspected that truth for a long time, but never thought it wise to speak on. I can’t say my feelings have changed.” They said. A twinge of guilt over Saoirse and Rhys. Sasu had found play things he wasn’t likely to let go of, it seemed.

There were greater concerns, though. “The priestess and I, we were dedicated to the cult. We were supposed to be tools of earth and Heaven to keep the Followers a bit closer to our gods. That was always a place that seemed peripheral. We were never meant to be at the center of any divine plot. At least, we weren’t raised for it.” The oracle finished the last of the food on the plate, pausing here and there when the bites were oddly bland.

“The Sight has centered me to some degree, I think. For better or worse I fear very little for myself and what is to come. The priestess, on the other hand… she is dutiful but her heart was never in full submission to Heaven. She had her own kingdom of laboratories to occupy her mind in the spaces of the Silence. In the end, she is even more naïve than I.” the oracle said. Surely the priestess hadn’t questioned the love the Twin gods shared or her place between them, raising one and leaving the other.

“Well. I should wait and be ready for Lord Eou and the priestess to come, as she said they would. I will attend to Saoirse as you’ve asked, after.” The voice was flat, in some ways resigned to the tasks ahead. There was darkness in their dear friend’s future, they were sure now. And darkness for themself, as well. There had been so few tales about Sasu. The only texts the oracle could really recall had been succinct. For a simple human, Friction was a god best steered clear of. The oracle frowned slightly. That message was surely out of compassion for those closest to the unlucky pawn of dissonance.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2016, 11:08:21 pm »
While the god of death listened to the love that had not been his last she'd existed, the ghosts of things that were once vibrant ebbed back into the main cluster of his kingdom of roots. He gasped, it was a hollow intake that became a shrill whistle. Enough to make them all scatter again. His heart and the home he had, woven into the earth at the bottom of the world, were connected. When there was confirmation Ia was still alive, something rushed through the roots.

One of his strongest generals, Usher of the wrathful, came to him to ask. Xeros couldn't be bothered, staring into nothing, listening to her telling him about her brother and the female monkey he'd taken for vessel. The alabaster and rose entity reached out to the angel of metal wings, and the touch pulled the general in all directions, until he was a plasma, and that plasma was decoration. Xeros's head did whip around, toward an angel with leather wings, when he heard her suggestion. "Find the thread for me! It'll be partially orange now, like Eou!" he ordered, and Bodtelle ran through the chambers to do so.

Xeros couldn't deny her. It wasn't his place in the world, and it wasn't the way of his heart. All she wanted from him was that he hurt or extinguish beings he didn't feel or care for. There was a grating tail to her offer, though, one that would make this her sacrifice, as well. He'd dreamed of paying more to get less, but now, that their union would be a monument to Ia's love to her brother, he hesitated. He did not hesitate for long. "I'll cut the chord to pieces if it'll bring you back."

Bodtelle returned then, but the kingdom was creaking behind him, and the angel, known for the strength in his body, was roaring as his arms stuck out behind him, strung hard by the chord he'd wrapped his fingers around. Those digits were bleeding, some of them skinbare. "My Lord. My Death. It's not pliable. The life in it." he said, without complaint in his straining voice, the world of roots behind him bunched up and cut as he'd dragged the hard, stubborn wire through it. Xeros frowned and came to his angel, looking at the dark string, now woven with brilliant orange.

Blades grew on the belly of Xeros's fingers. When he clutched the thread it shrieked, a song of metal over metal, but Eou couldn't break. He hissed and waved for Bodtelle to let go. The sound resonated through the rustle of the kingdom being cloven by the string. "I'll come to Earth. I'll cut her myself." he said loud, as though to bridge their distance with the volume. Before the bleeding Bodtelle could protest, Xeros was gone from his home.

-

Eou looked at Sylphie, where she'd placed him, between her hands. The head she held shook away her wishes. The blue lock at his collarbones glowed with the will to appease her, but he wouldn't let her open him up. Not now. This was nothing in him that her science could mend. His lashes hardened to steel him from the inward reprieve at his decision. If he thought of neither Ia nor Mahu, perhaps he could find some kind of stasis. His hand, mirroring one of hers, stroked the side of her face. "I'm in one piece. Your work will hold up." he said before letting go. "Now take me to The Oracle."

With some sternness, he turned his features away. The touch left her cheek as he moved from her. Mahu, who had part of his father's entitlement, burned inside her. Eou should be content with his mother. Eou tried not to know what the Life Child was going through. In this state, Mahu couldn't possibly know what to feel. And Eou needed to see the oracle. Small legs, like the ones that had traveled Mahu's body to Sylphie's inner, slowly trickled out from underneath his other fingers.

-

Sasu leaned back, his hands behind him, as The Oracle presented the priestess's story. From what he could gather, Sylphie was destined for this. What a fateful relationship, between a god and his subject. Sasu had never known this bond. "Then the things that will come are her punishment for not having taken all of heaven into her heart." he suggested. "And she'll be perfectly happy with whatever outcome." He was teasing still. Sasu, if anyone, did not like such an abandon. Listlessness was his enemy.

Sasu felt his old partner on his way, jumping souls to get to this planet. The black rows of teeth parted in excitement. "Alright, Oracle. Good luck with the girl. And may I suggest you put your new eyes in? There'll be quite an event coming, and those gems will filter out some of it for you. They're protective, after all." When he stood and closed his hand, the scythe was there. Through the ring, he saw the scene of the god and his priestess. A black grin. "I would stay, and part of me will, but it's high time you entertain some new guests." he looked around as the smoke in him grew. "Is this room always so busy?" he asked before he was swallowed up.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2016, 05:18:17 am »
Ia’s chill slipped pleasantly around the bone god, pleased to hear he would move his inescapable fingers on her behalf. She would make good on her promise, one day. It would bring her brother to his knees, she was sure. His pain would be hers, but that breakdown was its own siren song. If Ia suffered in Xeros’s embrace, she was sure too that eventually Eou would bring her back. It was their eternity. The endless spiral.

She sank deeper into her own web of dreams, satisfied for the moment. If Eou felt her stillness, he should have questioned it. In their great and long love affair Ia had never been still. Even in her slumber she was a process, destroying the same realities in her dreams the Eou created in his. Even in their current separation, she had not been still.

--

Sylphie frowned. “As you wish, my Lord.” She said. Her concern bowed to her duty, despite what she felt was her better judgment. It was a curious thing, the antithesis her born role was to her made one. Curious too was the ache she felt when he turned away. It might have been that her god had cast his face from her, but Sylphie wasn’t one to lie to herself. She placed her hand over the stirring life within her. She attended to her clothes. Priestess. Creator. Mother. Woman.

As the door from the incubation room slid open, she paused and looked back at Eou. “I suppose… welcome to humanity.” She said with a faint smile. A creator’s sentimentality. Sylphie had imagined this event differently, the first emergence of her Lord to the world beyond this room. His rebirth had inspired such rapid events, though, she’d not gotten the chance to prepare something significant. She should have figured that Heaven’s schedules would not be sympathetic to her own. Again, her hand rested over Mahu’s soft warmth. So little was really under her control. She had been too prideful.

“The sanctum is this way, my Lord.” She said, bowing slightly. An odd formality, but it seemed appropriate. Sylphie folded her arms into the sleeves of her robes as she led him to the glass elevator and then down the long dark hall to the mouth of the sanctum. The door was another seamless construction, activated by her palm on the wall with a trace of light. “They will be in awe of you.” She murmured as she took him through the final set of locked entries. A brief flash of pride in her blue eyes. “If only Angel could see you.” She mused.

The hum of the acolytes went dead as they stepped into the sanctum. Gaping mouths and saucer eyes. The priestess of Eou lifted her chin. Regal, rather than prideful, standing beside her patron Lord. She let them stare, standing still, until she felt all the breath had sufficiently left the room. As with the robe, there was always some theatric to the practice of faith. It wasn’t so different with PanTech, though.

“Will you not bow to your Lord, our Shining One?” She said in the thick of the quiet. Knees buckled in unison, and the acolytes in the hall and the Followers who had come out from the middle sanctuary all fell before him. She turned toward him and bowed as well, at the waist.

“We are your servants.”

--

The oracle was silent as Friction departed, carrying with him the miasmic heaviness that had settled on their chamber. Perhaps he was right, amusement aside. Sylphie, just as the oracle, might deserve the fullness of this fate. Perhaps fate itself had conflicted her heart with an ambitious mind.

The oracle felt the sweetness of Eou’s Spring enter the sanctum mere moments after Sasu’s weight slipped out. They gripped the gem eyes tightly. The oracle took a deep breath and slipped them into their empty sockets, closing their eyes quickly and replacing their silk blindfold. Was that fear, slithering about their soul and hiding in the comfort of darkness? A true servant of Ia, then. 


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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2016, 07:33:25 pm »
There was a confidence on the shelf between the tips of his shoulders and his neck. The only creature but for his priestess and the already rebelling Mahu here. A confidence that isn’t bought, but only exists at the first stages of a separate genesis. When she offered him welcome to other things, other forms of life, he looked at her, registered her words a bit as a warning, whether she’d meant them as one or not, and stepped, ready into another room, another world, with some of that life gone from his upper body. The orange eyes became a faintly colored light mirroring the lights from above, when he was assaulted with all other probable and actual existences in here.

The chamber he’d awoken in had been clean. Here he could feel the mold in the walls, macroscopic remains of microscopic creatures. In every breath; illnesses that humans had grown accustomed to. His powers, that he’d thought sleeping, had simply not had enough leverage. Eou looked at the walls as though they were soldiers, and quietly trailed her as he kept the impulse to raise all of it. Mahu felt some of his legacy, raw, connective power, but felt his father’s elation over it more. He told his mother that there was something stirring in the following god.

In a fit of curiosity, and a certainty that what he found would be pleasant, he reached out for one of the walls, and dragged his fingerprints along the metal. Close to the skin there’d be light, electric fire, but the other skin would suck that heat up before it could rain in sparks down to the floor. He held that new knowledge, and the welcoming burn in his palm as he walked into the room before the Oracle’s chambers. Those who wore hoods still expressed with their being their surprise, fear and elation. To transfer some of his power, social, to his priestess, that he now realized he trusted the most in this world, he brushed the back of her head, palm still warm. A lingering touch so that they would see Sylphie was absolute, if he was.

The room was built smaller toward the door, growing to be grand in size toward the other end. Because there was where They were. Ia’s mouth, Ia’s eyes on this planet. Eou stood there and listened to their hearts play out of tune. It would  be impolite to walk passed them without addressing them. It was not the kind of god he wished for Sylphie, and so that was not the kind of god these people would know. He pointed to a robe that sat close. With his head down, the boy could not see, so Eou snapped his fingers, the flame of magnesium quality, searing his skin as it spilled out. That skin closed quickly, and the boy looked up. When the others did, too, Eou did not make them turn down again. With Eou’s hand out, the boy could do nothing than walk with quaking knees to him.

“In the beginning, this planet was plain. A rock.” He said as he twisted the boy around so they could see his soft face, close to adulthood. “Eventually, as it petitioner for and was granted life, there was oxygen.” An element he was fond of. It was his gift to earth when he knew their rule would be so flawed. “Oxygen is a weapon, and it killed many hopeful races, erasing their history before it could be conceived.” He brushed his fingers over the boy’s cheek, and the boy ground his teeth together and winced. “Liter is volatile. It hurts. Life burns.” He said to the growing agony of the boy. It was easy for the god body to keep the smaller one up when it wanted to buckle. A bouquet of fully grown, singular micro life was given everything it needed to become. The boy’s face, where Eou had touched it, sprouted flowers, combinations of existing species that the computer had shown him. The roots fed of the boys blood and marrow blood. He was a walking system now. “Life is the most important thing to those that follow me.” The boy was allowed to fall, and fold, and cradle his blossoming face.

That hand of creation came to hold his own arm, where the chill of his sister spread. He shook his head, worried about her silence. He needed to go to the Oracle, and he took the center of the room, closer to the chambers he wanted. The hand came out again, palm up. “are any of your in need of life?” he offered, looking around as though it was a challenge and a gift. The powers were small, infantile, but should be enough for those left completely at life’s whim.

-

A woman who still had the name of the man in the car trampled the glass toward the smoke from the crumpled metal. It was not her husband of six months that tossed the roof off the supposedly safe, large vehicle. It was a taller creature, bare torso, rosy with a white backdrop. Clean from the oil. The husband’s death had been perfect in time. The wind whistled in the prongs of Death’s crown as he looked at the woman, hammering his stomach with her fists. He saw this reaction often. She said many things through her slobbered lips and jerking sobs. “Would you like to go to him? He’s not to be rewarded, but he’s not to be punished either.” Xeros offered as he stepped past her. Before she had fully agreed his nails graced her forehead and she fell down. They would not be in the same place, she and her husband. While living life the way she had was not bad soil for the World Tree, attacking Death was. She would go further down the earth of the universe, so her energy could be cleansed and mature. The man would be buried shallow. Xeros had no mercy today. Angels work, now, if they were inclined, when their king tended to matters of the heart.

Three blocks away there was a collapse of a beam onto a blanket of screaming visitors. In the park children ran into the fountain, just a little too deep. The zoo lost half of its attractions.

The visions were there, spilling and looking for The Oracle, carrying the punishing edge that rightfully came with the coming of The Final One. The marbles in her head would dull that onslaught for her.

Death had come on a weekday.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2016, 05:35:55 am »
Sylphie was glad when Eou took his place. He did it naturally, grasping his divine right as the king of their sanctum with a word. She watched him and gasped with the rest of the room when the boy burst flora from his soft face. She wanted to kneel beside the child and touch the petals, to see what strange ecosystem Eou had conjured and to address the boy’s pain in harboring it. It seemed wrong to, though. She was in attendance of her Lord, now, not the Followers.
Saoirse, emboldened by her young heart and the oracle’s fullness there, lifted her face in the throng of acolytes. “I am.” She said to him. “Our sacred oracle suffers…” she began, and then stopped. Her eyes grew wide, realizing her error. She should not have thought to speak on the oracle’s behalf. Furthermore, she should not have dreamt of mentioning Blessed Ia’s name. Surely, it was a greater hurt to that brilliant brother god than to any earthly servant. “That is to say… I wish to better serve our oracle and the Dark Lady.” She stuttered out.

Saoirse bowed her head again, her cheeks taking on a shade deeper than her strawberry hair. Sylphie studied the girl. She hadn’t expected so much. The child was more deeply smitten than the priestess had anticipated. “The oracle is just beyond.” Sylphie said to Eou, gesturing toward the inner sanctuary in a gentle attempt to redirect him from the acolyte and her blunder.

--

The oracle could hear the voices beyond the door. Lord Eou. They wondered if his voice would have sounded the same in the gauzy realms of the Sight, or if the sound they heard now was a construction of Sylphie’s synthetic larynx. It was a new voice, either way. Just as Sasu’s had been. The oracle had not considered how truly empty the Silence had been. They had been assaulted with visions, still, but now bearing witness to Ryll, then Sasu, and now Eou in succession made it evident that the Heavens really had been chillingly quiet. The gods were so much more than whispers. The oracle touched their blindfold thoughtfully.

Then, there was a cracking cold and a lightning bright pain in the back of their head. If Sasu’s arrival on the earthly plane had been jarring, this was unhinging. The oracle clutched their head. Such a very deep void on the edge of the Sight. A hanging dread and endless hunger. This little ball of dirt was growing crowded and the oracle’s mind more so.

“Death walks?” the oracle questioned the emptiness of the room, just as the door swung open.

“Oracle? I’ve brought our Lord, the Shining Eou, to see you. My Lord, this is our only Scion of Blessed Ia.” Sylphie’s voice broke the droning wave that had been gaining volume in the oracle’s ears. The Creator god’s presence, too, was like a wash of summer sun at that proximity. It was clean. The oracle moved to hastily pull themself up from their cradle of pillows. A slight frame draped in gauzy grey, the body beneath playing in shadows beneath the delicate fabric.

--

Ia’s spirit reached, sleeping still, outward from Eou. The oracles were her channel on this plane. So close, the goddess’s aura flexed toward them like a drawn bowstring. Ready to snap back against Eou’s bones and let fly some arrow that might pierce her target. Even in her dreams, Ia could feel the pull outward.

The oracle’s expression said they felt it. That Eou was not alone in the clutches of the tempestuous goddess and her slumber.     


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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2016, 06:39:10 pm »
Eou, with his empty but powerful fingers spread, looked to the woman who had spoken. Her hair was insistent in its life. He would have thought something so stark should not be in darkness. He did not see the hypocrisy in this. The chemicals in her were almost on his palled, they were so plentiful. His brow hardened, not a stone god, not a distant god, anymore, when she spoke of his sister, but it was a tension of sadness, not of reprieve on his face. The hand turned down, nails up, toward Saoirse. It was not impossible for him to bring her closer to Ia. He made life, but there was a limit to how much physical life the human body could contain. Eventually the joint of  his shoulder released the ball of his arm, and the arm fell down, painting an invisible crescent in its wake. “You are torn.” He said. He heard her sing when she talked about the oracle, and simply say Ia’s name. A laughter, not kind, but not scolding either. “I’ll come to you, to chase away Sasu.” He said. It was an expression. Eou did not know how close that god was. “And make you more of the void.”

Then he went with Sylphie through the other doors. A god could service his followers. Followers should wait in the turbulence of their god. As They sprouted from the fragmented cushionscape, They were a paradox. Something so well emptied should not grow like that. They were blind, without eyes, or so their wrap suggested. He gave an approving nod at that. If They relied on the sight, he would be but a tendril of the picture that Sasu had been. “Oracle.” He offered, and drew a touch on Sylphie’s shoulder as he walked beyond her, closer to the seer. His mouth parted for the pleasure of his sister inside him, when he approached the narrow vessel.

“My sister knows you.” He said. It was for himself. He could not feel things the way They could, not yet, not as his body was now, but Ia vibrated in him, when Death arrived. Eou looked around, the tension that was amplified by The oracle became something else partially. It was palpable, but he couldn’t care, didn’t. Not when he was here, with someone so intimately connected with Ia. “It is impressive, for a person of this earth to have the sight.” Empty words, hollow, twine voices. He was calming cornered pray, even though They were not a deer that might kick him. Thin roots bleeding from beneath his nails. “Can you see her?” he asked, a last show of civility, when he was close enough to touch.

The Oracle was a slighter being than his Sylphie. The way he’d been built, this was ever clear now, his head dropped to look at her. The thread roots danced in clouds around his fingertips when he reached for her the same way he’d reached for the boy outside. “Would you like to know her?” he asked, expecting no answer as he lifted that weave of roots as he placed his palm, as though it was a mercy, on her forehead. The wicked beauty Sylphie had given to his face was a fact then, not just a aesthetical guess on old paintings. He knew there was suffering to resetting bone and deconstructing then rebuilding flesh. He’d put Ia’s color in the Oracle’s eyes. They were of Ia, there for They would be able to emulate her physically. Post would travel from the home in his forearm to make a home in her skin. She would have a very deep agony.

And none of that took place.

The Oracle themselves would see a flaring light, coiling and fanning from him. Sylphie, if she was in position, would see a confusion, a grated hurt, a bit of desperation in the way his forehead folded and his cheeks dropped. With a hiss he’d wrap Their head in the gossamer roots, twisting them hard. But the magic was that, a work of craft, not one of force. All the grip could possibly hope to accomplish was the suffocation of the oracle, with their mouth and nose against his oppressing hand, his fingers digging into the hollow of her cheeks. When there was nothing there to change into Ia’s likeness, the roots retreated, the way roots do, when there is no sun for them.

“What!” he roared, demanding the answer from the room of only two others. His hand was bleeding, having produced such potent seeds, so he curled it closed, watched the failure of his magic pour down his arm. “What other magic is this?” he asked, but in his voice, lower now, there was the belief he himself was falling short. The stones Sasu had given Them were of the Green God’s magic. The spell could not be challenged by an effort from Eou and what he thought he knew of life on this world. “Why can’t you carry her likeness?” he accused, eyes aglow with vapor tails.

-

Xeros breathed in the smoke of the car that had become his perch, the earth, all the rot, all the lives that had existed. Sasu was here, somewhere, and Eou. He could not detect Ia. If she was gone, the way gods were gone, then he wouldn’t. Magenta eyes, blood on linen eyes, casually counted the cars that had suffered from this incident, and felt the souls of the recently dead on this planet pass through him to be ushered to the bottom of the tree to become its nourishment. A girl, as tall as one of her mother’s arms, told her mother from the backseat who the god was. Her expensive school had made sure she knew, during story time. The mother was too occupied trying to find a way back, out of the congestion of engines and shells.

He was about to pinpoint the scent of the creation god when that trail disappeared. Before Xeros could look for it again, a blade came for his back. He twisted around, arm up and armored with tentacles of bone to catch the weapon. A scythe. Sasu. And it seem he’d hidden them from human view with this contact. Friction did cook up a good illusion.

“Can you believe their mythos supports a Death God with a scythe?” black lips asked.

“No time, Trifle.” Xeros said as the alabaster slithers crawled up to encase the sharp of the weapon. “I’ve got to get Ia.” Friction rolled the white fires.

“Of course, King of Bone. But you’re too early. There is a plot to be played out, yet.”

Death jerked to try and free the blade from its master. Friction shook his head and twisted the handle, shattering the brittle casing. “I don’t care about your plots! My beloved is here.” A storm in the wind for the people who didn’t know there were gods on earth. “She called for me.”

“Oh, I know. It’s a common case of heart over womb, or a variation of it.” Black teeth again. The blade came for Xeros’s throat. A shallow attempt, and so Death stepped back, out of its way, like Sasu wanted. “And you have to have death, the way I have to have collisions. So let me have my thing, presently, and you will have your thing, eventually.”

“You’re mad if you think you can keep me from her.”

“You’re mad if you think I’m not mad, always. Too mad to keep secrets.”

Death gasped. “You mustn’t. She wouldn’t trust me… and you were part of it. What if Ryll knows?” he demanded. He’d counted on some sense in Sasu when they’d stricken and carried out the deal.

“What if you practice patience and do not slay the priestess today?”

“I can still look for her.” Death said, red, rich veins glowing, their pattern radiating out from his eyes, covering his cheekbones. People were dying in a sickness no one had seen. The flutter of calamities were reaching the inner rooms of PanTech, with notifications from various devices. Perhaps this convergence of deities would be the end.

“But you leave the priestess be.”

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2016, 11:37:45 pm »
Saoirse, cheeks burning, bowed low so that her forehead pressed against the cold marble floor. His voice was untouchable. The young acolyte trembled at his promise. She wasn’t sure if she was to be glad or terrified that she’d been bold enough to speak. Was it closer to the oracle, to be more of the void? If she knew, she would have had an answer for her own tumultuous feelings.

--

The oracle pressed their palms together and bowed neatly for the new-skinned god. They were less awed by that divinity than Sylphie had been, brimming with pride and wonder when Eou had slid out of her roiling pool. Recently, the oracle had been chatting with gods too much, perhaps. “My Lord, Shining Eou of Creation.” The oracle said. “You honor this sanctuary with your presence.”

The god was not there for formalities, it was apparent, and the oracle was reminded of Sasu’s confirmation. This being was divine and man and machine, a bizarre trinity overflowing with new power, and he had loved that sister that could not be brought back. Love was dangerous in men and more so in gods. For this creature, love of the oracle’s goddess was deadly. That much had been proven in the Silence. The oracle was very still as Eou came close.

“No. I cannot see her. My Lady is still hidden from me. I feel her, though. In you.” The oracle said. An upturned face, some impressive fortitude behind the silk band, as if to look at Eou’s face. “My life has been in waiting to know her. I serve Heaven, but she is my patron Goddess.” The oracle answered him. Somewhere behind Eou, the oracle heard Sylphie shift where she stood. The atmosphere had become tense, some fate or another strung out on a wire. The oracle felt Eou’s heat in his palm, prickling contradictions to the cool of their forehead. Sylphie made a small sound. As if she had considered protesting. Dear Sylphie.

Then, there was Light.

Sylphie gasped. “My Lord?!” as the soft shimmer roots ensnared that delicate head, disappearing in the thick fall of snowy hair. Light could be painful. Light could burn. The oracle was remarkably calm, despite the physical assault. Somewhere in the twisting, their silk ribbon came loose. Bright gem eyes.

“Angel?” more questions without full intention, because that was all Sylphie could presently form. Her gaze swung between her furious god and the prisms playing in the oracle’s sockets. Sylphie had cleaned out those sockets, herself. She couldn’t imagine who had filled them.

“My Lord, you are not alone among the Divine in this realm.” The oracle said quietly, an unreadable expression made cloudier by the strange eyes. “I was, rather forcibly, given choice.” They said, offering the irony of Sasu’s insistent gift. “And yet,” the oracle reached to touch their own cheek. “I did not choose to deny you.” The oracle bowed again. “I am sorry.”

“Angel, was this Lord Sasu? Certainly it could not have been,” Sylphie began. Sasu was not known to favor humans with gifts unless they were part of some greater design. The thought of her friend in such a snare gripped the priestess’s heart with thorny fingers. “You are our Lady Ia’s oracle…” Sylphie wasn’t sure what to say. In reality, she wasn’t even sure what she’d said really meant. The oracle had always been under Ia’s name, but oracles were vessels of Heaven. Patron gods were simply part of that allegiance. And Ia was Silent.

The oracle wasn’t sure what to do, themself. In a way, they were aware that Sasu had protected their autonomy with those eyes. Whether that kindness had been Friction’s intent, the oracle could not have presumed to know. What was more apparent was that Eou had come with his own machinations in mind. The Panther, perhaps?

“My Lord, have I failed you?” the oracle asked. There was something shaken in the level voice, a small crack in the perfect servitude of their existence. Perhaps Sasu had left some mark. The oracle had some sense of self. Sylphie was at their side, reaching out to touch the oracle’s arm.

“What did you do? What were you trying to do?” Sylphie asked him. She, too, sounded a bit betrayed.

--

Ia was buoyed toward the surface, the great swell of emotion in that room appealing to her senses like a siren song. A bubbling chaos, like the first shifts of a sinkhole. Destruction, decay, and her brother’s passions were a dark and seeping fuel.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2016, 10:44:29 am »
Sylphie had been worried when he reached out and encased The Oracle's head and hair with his roots. It was only natural that Eou's priestess should be close to Ia's conduit. If he read the valley's and tops of her voice, he might have seen a possibility of interference, there. So the bond between them was strong. As he twisted his grip around his own wrist and looked at the two, The Oracle spoke. Ever transparent, this creature. The metal of his jaws creaked as he listened, folds on his face expressing a wolf's anger.

Sasu. He could believe that. Their eyes were green. Uncut gems with white prisms. There could be life in the trail of Trifle. Eou had used the march of that god for his own work on occasion. Perhaps not an alley, considered, but not a threat to Life. Now he could see the potential horror of Friction. "It must have been Sasu. Look at the eyes. Those are not the eyes of Ia." he pointed with fingers that were no longer birthing blood.

A huff of air from his throat when They asked if They'd failed in Their service to him. He did not think of heaven, then, or Their real role as reader of the coming tides. The wolf wrinkles softened to snake scales. Older than the human race, but he was a young god. There was something juvenile about the Life deity. "Do you think this is a success? Does it taste like one?" A calm rhythm with spikes of amused anger, ready to pitch. "Of course you've failed, Oracle." He spat her title. And without being there, Sasu was thriving between them, growing in the doubt and anger. This was his power, not in discord, but in dissonance.

His posture straightened when Sylphie wanted his intentions and motives for this. As it had been when mother had asked of his intentions with Ia, he felt a bit caged, provoked. The priestess was dear to him. He stood here by her hand, and she carried Mahu well. So the impulse to grow the living specks in her until she succumbed did not enter his thoughts the way it would if anyone else might question him. "I was conjuring Ia's likeness, and who knows what more of her." he answered, honestly.

In his short life as metal and beating organs, he'd longed for this, thought it was viable. He'd been denied. A blow, but not one he couldn't recover from. What was left of the blood he painted in a smile over his chest, flowers sprouting to become the necklace of red flowers he wore on their altars. "But now we'll have to wait, indefinitely." So scorned, the god. He turned, leaving the room boiling with his outrage, and his priestess, behind. The ring on his chest, usually blue, was a bright, searing red.

The anticipation in the crowd outside when he pressed mechanical doors open was exchanged for something less hopeful when they saw the fumes from his eyes, and the sinister color on the flowers he'd chosen. He cut his stride when he reached the middle of the floor in the lake of people, and looked at the one who had wanted his life. It was a hard moment for anyone who had the sense to sample the air, and then he moved out of the room with its high ceiling, hands clenched.

Was his senses so dulled that he could not feel Sasu here? Perhaps it was a more immediate concern that he stay alive until they could revive Ia. In Sasu's eyes, was Eou even a god, now? To Sasu, would it be a crime to crush him? Life did not fear the pain of death, but mother had given him this chance to rise, and he was going to use it to be reunited with his sister.

Without the careful guidance of Sylphie, he turned into more public corridors. The sunlight from the windows reminded him of life's construction here. Very few of the people he passed bowed, most of them rigid with shock. Eventually he found that his path lead him to his temple. It could have been coincidence, but he assumed there was an affinity between himself and this room when he opened it. It was odd, seeing their guesses on what he might look like. The room had a glass wall, the art on the farthest wall crossing to the adjacent room by changing hue. And mural of himself, reaching over the threshold for Ia. Artful, and sweet.

He placed himself in the corner where the warm paint of his depiction started to darken. As he sat he looked over at how they'd tried to create her. Eou dropped his head. "I can feel you." he said to his knees, arms around his bent legs. "But I can't touch you." A familiar pain, that she liked to cause, so he'd burn brighter. It was the closest they'd been in an eternity. His fingers dug into his shoulders, trying to find bone.

-

A snake, thick as an arm, crushed the tiles of The Seer Room. From the rubble mouth, Xeros climbed, his arm, the bone snake with the dragon head, enamel mane and multi jointed teeth, twisted around the room once, many times his own length. The blank, reptile eyes coiled to look at the priestess by Their side. The head attacked, teeth curling and straightening while waiting for the strike to land, large enough to eat half of Sylphie, at least. Smoke got in its way, and then the side of a blade. The handle was held by the green ocean that was Sasu. He turned to smile at the Oracle before forcing the bone monster back with a swing.

And all of this, only The Oracle could see. They were between heaven and humanity's reality, where this theater took place..

"Presenting Xeros!" Sasu announced as he spun around Sylphie to offer his own arm to the snake. As the flexible teeth took the god flesh, he pulled the head away from them again. "King of Bone. King of bane." he shook the monster off and pinned it to the floor with the bud of his handle, shaking his head at Xeros who seemed to calm down. "King of bore." he continued as the snake thrashed without success at escape. "As I understand it, your pretty priestess there is harboring a Life Child, courtesy of Eou." Then he let the snake go, foolhearted, brave.

Xeros coughed in frustration as the jaws opened but halted in front of the unknowing Sylphie. With a cuss, he pulled the monster back, the bone scales hiding in his skin until his arm was revealed again. Sasu smiled and stood between Death and the Seer. "He is here to slay this woman, so her body can be Ia's." A few steps took him to The Final One, so he could gently pat his chest. "I thought you should know that I am holding up my end of the bargain." he winked and then lifted his brow when he noticed Their new eyes. "Becoming, Oracle." His tongue lapped at the air. "Oh, you've changed a bit since I was here. Lovely."

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2016, 11:59:52 pm »
The oracle reeled backward as if they had been physically struck by Eou’s words. Harsh and juvenile, but the oracle was not one to judge the apparent maturity of gods. Sylphie, for her part, was willing to maintain a sharper edge. She had built that body, in the end. “My Lord! The oracle has been nothing if not a loyal servant to Blessed Ia for all their days.” She protested.

Sylphie looked wonderingly at the oracle. Could they see her with those peculiar eyes? “But you… Lord Sasu?” she asked like it had been a betrayal, because it felt like one. The priestess held her hands to Mahu’s warmth, a young mother’s desire to protect the life from the tempestuousness of this encounter and the ire of the father. Also, perhaps, to comfort herself.

The oracle attempted to compose themself. “I could not deny a divine wish.” They said stiffly. It was true, in large, but there had been some want to protect their dear priestess too. They could see Sylphie, somewhat. It had been years since they’d perceived her in any visual sense. Sasu’s eyes had given them something peculiar. An extension of the Sight back into the physical, but woven with the layers of other realms. The oracle could see Sylphie in an array of color, shifting as her aura shifted, and the shimmer of her Mark. There was otherness in her, too. A new and divine spark, which the oracle could not place. They wondered if Eou had given the priestess some gift, like Sasu’s eyes.

“And you, as well?” they asked. But Eou was speaking of the Dark Lady and Sylphie’s face was contorted in some deep hurt and horror.

“You would force such a thing, my Lord? If my vessel could not hold her…” Sylphie stopped herself. There was only so far she could speak up to the god, mother of his son and creator of his form or otherwise. “I would have brought that vessel to you, to try your divinity there if you wished.” She said.

“There was no existing life to be destroyed in that vessel” the oracle offered. Sylphie glared at them. At such a time as this, the oracle defended Eou’s efforts. Sylphie would have excused some greater effort at self-preservation. Not that it mattered. Eou was storming off.  The priestess watched him go, unsure of whether she ought to follow after him. Heaven was volatile. It didn’t follow the rules of her science.

The oracle gasped suddenly, reaching out to grasp Sylphie’s hand. “Angel, what’s wrong?” Sylphie asked, frustration usurped by an undiminished loyalty to their old friend. “Angel, talk to me.” Sylphie urged. The oracle’s head swung this way and that as the middle realms flexed with the fullness of Death and Friction exploding into a confined place.

Sasu was flippant, but he said things more dire than the oracle had ever anticipated for the poor priestess. They had known she was marked, but in such a way, two-fold even, they had not conceived. “Blessed Ia, in her form?” The oracle asked, somewhat dumbfounded as they pointed to Sylphie. For her part, Sylphie took a step back.

“Who are you talking to, Angel? What are you saying?” the woman shook her head. She had never felt quite so blind as this last day since Eou’s arrival. Even Angel, who had always been kind and spoke plainly of the twisting Sight on Sylphie’s behalf, appealed to the unseen and left the priestess alone.

“My Lord, Final Master, why is it this woman?” they asked. Sylphie the sacrifice, but to how many gods?

--

Ia danced along his nerves. In the quiet, she rose still. Xeros’s tumult was strong, reaching her at a distance because it was passionately on her behalf. “Give me the priestess. Let me touch you again.” She whispered. It was venomous and hungry. Without his countering light, she grew in her jealousy and the strength of chaotic disassembly. She wanted his weight, needed it, to pull her back together.

She hummed across his veins. Remember the pleasure and pressure. Remember the softness of her body and the gentle of her tongue. The dripping laughter and lazy sighs. “I won’t even take all of her away, she’ll still be there to serve you. Just as I will be there to love you.” Thick suggestions, more emotion than words. Slow blossoming, she unfurled from her dreams to settled her fingertips on the nape of his neck so that her cold shivered there. 


   

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2016, 12:29:42 pm »
He hid behind his own eyelids when she spoke. It was a soft, returning thing, so natural he was almost convinced she'd not been gone, like him, for so long. When she drew him to remember, his fingers traced her favourite places. It was pretty pretend. The god would look tempting, as though deliberately causing grvaitation with the splendid body Sylphie had directed, if someone had come in to worship. She liked to pet like a feather and whisper with barbed ends to her words. She liked to be generous with everything, little agonies, as well.

He thought of Sylphie. Pious, attached Sylphie. Her body for Ia. That collection of adorable flaws, set as ground for Ia to grow. He chased the shiver for as many rings of bone on his back as his arm would allow. "My priestess." he repeated. Ah, there it was. Reward within strain. There could be no other voice than hers that could have executed Ia's brand of love so well. With a pretty shadow the human would become, when she took Ia into herself.

It seemed illoyal to do it. He owed her more than this. Oh, but he could not be exspected to turn Ia down now, when she was being so gentle and so toxic. Hadn't he just tried to throw away The Oracle simply for the chance of looking upon something that resembled Ia? "Yes." he said, feeling dark, and feeling lovely. He breathed through his teeth, a despair and a delight. "I'll ask her. You can have her if I can keep her."

-

Death was pacing, body moving with different structures wanting to come out. Sasu was amused, but not lighthearted, with his scythe ready. He still stayed closed to the two. He stroked Sylphie's hair without her knowledge and then looked back at The Oracle. "She has questions." he noted as his thumb flitted over her lower lip. "So many things you don't know when you cannot see."

The bone crown grew more details, moving down to make a vicious, pointed mask for Xeros. "I can shut her up. I can make her mute and blind." he said, lighting the mask form inside, with a dark, magenta glower. "I can make her body beautiful." The hollow of the disguised eyes turned toward The Oracle. "I can make your friend a god. Don't you think she would want to be a god?" It seemed to Xeros Sasu listened to Them, somewhat. Blades linined Xeros's fingers and coiling on his palm, that he used to cut lives with, in his nest. "She'll be with Eou in ways only a god can."

"Temper." Sasu reminded and pointed to his own lips. "This human doesn't want that." This grated Death further, and the mask grew to overtake more of the blushing face. Then The Oracle asked.

"Why? Well, because she's perfect. Ia wants something that appeals to her nature. What's more perfect for destruction than life?" He gestured with both arms toward the unwitting priestess. "And look at your friend. She is teeming with vivacity." The shapes where his mouth would be on the mask curled into a frozen grin. "Shouldn't she get to choose?" he asked himself as much as them as he stood in her view. Friction shook his head for Death to stop his plan.

"Angel is speaking to me, Xeros." Death said as he pushed himself into physicality. The bone mask retreated into the crown so his blushes and his severity could be seen by the human woman. "You're Eou's, aren't you?" he asked, even as the now agitated Sasu readied his weapon to strike. "I'm here on Ia's accord." Xeros explained as Sasu swung. Death caught the blade with an armored hand, and the moment the edge stuck into the white golve, Sasu also became visible to Sylphie. "She would like to live in you, so that she can be with Eou." Those words were hard for Xeros to utter, and he washed them down with he pleasure of throwing the blade to the side. Sasu did not let go. "Wouldn't you grant your god that, priestess?" Xeros pressed.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2016, 08:19:36 pm »
Ia felt compliance in him, which settled her somewhat. She’d been nursing a black sort of bitterness over the priestess and her little Life. Eou would always whorl back toward her. Forever and for all eternity she was his end and beginning, just as he was hers. Her aura traced his fingers and danced in the soft flesh of the digits. Somewhere in the computerized portions of his physical vessel, Ia played across the synthetic synapses. She used to touch him just so. Sank her teeth into his shoulder to watch the skin grow back. Teased her hands over every bit of him except for where it ached the most, until he demanded her obedience. She rang in his ears, singing every sigh that had crossed his pillow.   

She vibrated in his sinews when he spoke aloud. All he had to do was say yes. Find his priestess and give her body over to Xeros. In the violence of it, she could rise. “Yes, your priestess. You gave her your creation now create in her a home for me. Or, do you love me no longer?” Ia’s whisper snaked with something sharp.

“Ask her?” There was frost in his spine. “You’ve never asked to create.” Nor had Ia ever truly asked to destroy. There was a long silence, Ia’s presence emptied from his mind. Then, quietly. “Go back to her, then. Give her body to be cut down, and I will rise. We will rise.” Ia urged. She couldn’t let the woman’s soul go in its entirety. It was a thread that might keep Eou’s offspring alive. Ia had learned over millennia that she could not cultivate that life on her own. Thus, if her brother was so fond he’d not have to lose her entirely. It was a disgusting kind of necessity, but she’d allow it for the chance to hold him again. Had she not already offered herself to Death himself? This was no more agonizing a sacrifice.

--

The oracle was glad, in some sense, when the two gods burst into the physical realm, the thick miasma of their weight in the middle realm dissipating somewhat. Sylphie would be able to see, too. That was a comfort as well. The oracle didn’t know that they’d have been able to reasonably explain. They shifted uncomfortably. In his brief time meddling, Sasu had shown the oracle more favor than their Dark goddess ever had. An unsettling notion.

Sylphie gasped, her hands flying to cover her mouth. She bit against her palm to hold back a cry. “Angel, what’s happening?” the priestess blurted, even as she fell to her knees. It didn’t matter the loyalties of a Follower. They were all mortal, in the end. The Final One would forever hold their deepest fears and respect.

“I didn’t know Heaven was so fond of giving us choices, once you’ve chosen to move your hands.” The oracle said slowly. There was fear and there was respect, but there was very little trust to be had for either god in the room. Yet, the crystalline green eyes still winked in those hollow sockets. “My Lord Xeros, I am Ia’s humble servant. That you come on her behalf for this dear priestess wounds me.” The oracle said. That Friction might have the most mercy here was greatly disturbing. “Have the priestess and I not served the Children of Ryll fully enough?” there was rebellion in that, the oracle realized. Some small crack in the cultivated loyalty, formed by Eou and spread now by Ia. Creation and Destruction, tearing slowly at the oracle’s faith. Not in Heaven, but in Heaven’s worth. They had never considered their soul’s will to be so fragile.

In some ironic twist, it was Sylphie who bent more readily toward divine will. Perhaps it was Mahu within her that made her more pliable. That gift, or curse, had reminded her to be small. “I am Lord Eou’s priestess, yes. I formed his body and I carry his child.” She answered Death. Honest and afraid as a saint ought to be. “If it were his will, I would have it. I failed to build a body that Blessed Ia could inhabit. If mine is required…” she glanced up at the oracle. There was protection for that one, as well, in accepting this sort of burden. “I would have that punishment. Or gift.” She touched her core, where Mahu grew. It had been much easier, building her kingdom in PanTech and tending to Eou’s sanctuary as if it were more ritual than reality. Gods stood before her now in bodies she had not built, though there was something viscerally familiar about Sasu’s form. There were threads of destiny best followed unerringly, no matter the cost. Ryll had come to her in dreams for the sake of both her children, not just her son. Still, Sylphie had never been weak. “But I would have that desire from my Lord’s own lips. I will not go to you before my time, if it is not for him.” She said, and looked Death in the eye.

The oracle reached for her, as if that might stop the wheels from turning their friend ever closer to her bizarre fate. To accept a lot so readily had been the oracle’s role, always. It was not the sort of character they had ever wanted to see in their friend. Further still ran the cracks in their faith. They looked toward Sasu. 

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2016, 06:20:03 pm »
”Of course I love you.” he said, tone low. It was strange, trying to reach her without relying on the strength of his sounds for attention. He was instead endeavoring to bring his bones along in the vibrato of his voice, because that was where he felt her the most. Ia disproved of giving the priestess a choice. Her silence was charged with that protest. Was he a lacking lover for having considered Sylphie in this? There must have been some resolve in the way he’d said it, because when Ia returned, she agreed. He wondered why this mercy was so important to him when he stood, relying on the glass wall for help. He was reminded of Ia now, his heat seeking out the trails of her ice where it wandered his skin again. His heart sang urgently as he staggered out, drunk on hope and nostalgia, from the room humans had made for him.

A priest dropped a silver tray of sprouts when Eou passed him. It should be enough to see one’s good sway, touching the large windows on his way, to make one weak in the hands. With some mercy, Eou bid the sprouts grow at the priest’s feet, becoming wreath around his ankles. “Life is coming.” He promised with a smile before moving forward, the way he’d come.

-

Sasu looked on as the oracle engaged with the god of death. Humans were an entertaining lot, the way they could be with the divine and still have such posture. Trifle kept his scythe back, still weighted with the string he’d promised to tie to Sylphie’s heart. He couldn’t see how that would happen now, with any finery. Perhaps he could dissolve that promise if Sylphie’s heart was not her own, anymore. He looked at the oracle and then at Xeros, who seemed to listen. There was something engaging with Ia’s voice on earth. Sasu himself had been intrigued enough to lend her his favor, after all, even though she might not feel so lucky.

The green god waited for Death to reply. He licked his black teeth as he tried the air. Xeros was ever passionate. It did not look like Death would be swayed from his hungry heart by the pleas of faithful servants, today. At least not ones that weren’t directly attached to the matter. Sasu shrunk so that he could put his hand on the high of The oracle’s spine when Sylphie herself took word. He laughed, delighted, at the grind that seeped through Xeros. “She’s almost as straight forward as you, Oracle.” He said, as they were both spectators now. “Are all followers this brave? Perhaps I should try and make a church for myself in this world.”

They relied on him to contribute to this conversation, or so he read in the eyes he’d given Them. Perhaps They hoped Friction had any power over Death. He didn’t mind involving himself. “well, there you have it, King of Bones.” He added to Sylphie’s concluding silence. He kept his hand on The Oracle’s back. “Trying to circumvent my plans like that.” He clucked his tongue and it was lake ice cracking from its own weight in the room. “Good thing Eou’s priestess is made out of strong matter.” He teased as the crown grew sharp spears with Xeros’s anger. “Now. I feel it’s only right you comply, and wait for Eou himself to ask her.” Sasu had no loyalty to The Oracle, but it might be a fine deceit, and lead to entertaining deltas in this stream of events if he acted like it, or better yet, if They believed it so.

-

How confusing it must be for the acolytes to see their god come back into the room. Some of them sat down on their heels as soon as they saw the lofty creature, Sylphie’s design, and some took longer to understand. Bright orange eyes touched their backs as he walked through. He brushed the head of the woman who had spoken before, of wanting life. It was a simple spell. Stems without thorns, from little, pregnant dust in her blood. A cage around her heart, swelling that space to hang the beating muscle by itself inside her. “There. Now you have her in your heart.” Emptiness. It was a small reminded of what Ia was. It was what she’d asked for. Frankly, it was all he had the mind to do, passing by her.

The red flowers shifted, the petal treasure pulsing around his neck and on his chest with longing as he came in through the doors. Quite the sight, with Sasu all but embracing The Oracle, and Eou’s own priestess, standing, facing the God of Death. Life felt like an intruder, on this decisive, high and low mural. “Gods.” He said, when he’d gotten used to this image. “Are you also here because you died, or is this visit out of leisure?” Eou’s tongue was not shackled the way Sylphie’s and the Oracle’s might be, out of respect. He did not know that he owed the two other deities even less than that. With some long steps he was by his priestess, since Death looked so confrontational.

He turned her away from The Oracle’s reach, and from Death’s gaze, so that he might look his priestess in the eye. His hands were on her shoulders. A human woman could not have the perfection Ia had, and still, now, he wished it was some other vessel that he would sacrifice to resurrect his love. Mahu knew what his father wanted, intended, and conjured fires on the god-body, to defend Sylphie. What the embryo could do, Eou could do better, and so it resulted in skin flaking with embers, but not enough to hurt permanently. Eou smiled, proud over his son’s will, and loyalty. Would Mahu accept Ia so close, if it meant some kind of snuffing for Sylphie?

“Will you, then? We would be together. You would be my love.” He said. Did Ia in his bones hear that? It was important to him that he did not falter when he asked. Sylphie deserved more than staggering words and half felt emotions.

-

Madmar heard, Eou among them, and came with news of the disasters in the city. He was not allowed inside the chambers, not he, when they knew that Eou was inside. For the occasion, he’d changed his suit for a robe. It would have been strange to have helped the cult so much and not gain position, so his robes reflected his elevation. Still, the acolytes clamored to his arms that he may not open the doors. “You’re telling me there is a god inside with Sylphie, and I can’t tell her death is in our city?” he demanded, feral. “I’m sure lord Eou wants to know as well!” he tried, thrashing. Some of them let go with this. Surely a god in the flesh was not omnipotent, like an astral god? They should not stand in the way of his information.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2016, 11:05:34 pm »
In the hallway, Saoirse had curled onto her side. The emptiness in her was foreign and cold. Organs liked to fill space and bathe in fluids together; her hanging heart shivered in its cage of vines. A couple of the other acolytes gathered near her to pet her hair and ask if she was alright. There was a little hesitance in their touch, as if they weren’t sure it was allowed to put their hands on something a god had contacted. Cruel and beautiful divinity. The Followers were in a haze, fearful and eager for more of their God. But he was gone, back in the untouchable inner sanctum.

--

The oracle wanted to accept some relief that Sylphie had defended herself that much. But, they were remembering the hard grip of Eou’s hand and the searing flash of heat. They weren’t sure if it would be more or less concerning if Eou had more mercy for Sylphie’s mortal form. Either end resolved in a tangled entrenchment with their resurrected god. Ryll had not suggested this sort of path. Then again, gods were never interested in comforting man. They had their own desires to fill their eternal existences.

Sylphie was trembling, despite the resoluteness in her soft-sky stare. She hadn’t stood from where she’d dropped to her knees. The oracle stayed quietly in place. They wanted to go to her, but she’d said her piece and it wasn’t the oracle’s place to weave their fingers into that destiny. At the least, the oracle appreciated Sasu’s meddling with the Final One. It was likely for the green god’s own amusement, but the oracle wasn’t going to argue with winds in their favor. At the moment, with the dramatic plays of Heaven abruptly crashing all around, the oracle thought it best to take what they could get. The Sight had always made Heaven seem so distant and austere, but maybe that had been more on account of the Silence than anything else.

--

Ia’s cold was radiant, flaring like a frosty morning ache in every joint of Eou’s being, the closer her drew to the Inner Sanctum and to Xeros. The intersection of her plots there, surging like some dark storm toward the small life and its mother.

She danced icy kisses up and down his spine. Perhaps she wished to chase away any doubt he might have. Just in case the priestess gave him sad eyes he could not resist, some attachment in his soul for the temple of his child. Ia was resentful the child had been given at all.

Ia had never perceived competition for her brother’s heart, until now. It shook her more deeply than it ought to. But, Ia saw that the woman could create, which gave her a sameness with Eou that she had never shared. It threatened the duality of their beings that she’d always regarded so preciously.

--

Sylphie’s attention snapped to Eou, the moment he burst back into the room. He had no reverence for the other deities, which simply made him more godlike in his own gravity. Her Lord, her creation. Her greatest accomplishment turned into the maker of her own destiny. A complicated mechanic.

When he touched her and pulled her into his gaze, only, she forgot the way he’d snared Angel. The way he’d stormed away from them. The way he’d lulled her into harboring Mahu as if it had been his right. His bright sun eyes reminded her she was his priestess before she was anything else. She had not built that hypnotism into him, but she’d suspected its existence since she’d given her naked body over to his inspection.

She didn’t understand why he was smiling, his flesh spewing cinders and Mahu’s discontentment so apparent. She could feel it, too, though it didn’t hurt. She wondered what sort of fantastic power their demi-god child already possessed.

Her lips made a perfect round, as if she were truly surprised, when he asked her if she’d fall under Xeros’s hand. Break so that she might hatch his sister back to life for him. Sylphie was his priestess first, his eyes had told her that and her own words had said so to Death. She’d already answered, on the condition he would ask. Sylphie waited, hoping Angel might interject. The oracle was silent, though. The whole room was silent.

Ia was not, though, her chilly aura swelling away from Eou toward the priestess. It was a hungry sort of thing, palpable to everyone in the room but the priestess, herself. Sylphie nodded slowly, when no voice called her away. She felt a dampness on her cheeks, tears that she wouldn’t have been able to fully explain. A bit of fear and sadness, but more than that she was deeply overwhelmed. Her patron God had asked for her service and she was obliged. But he’d also said they’d be together. That she would be loved. Surely it meant something greater than a simple death for Ia’s birth. For Mahu’s sake, she felt the stirring of confidence that it must be.

“If it is what you wish, I will do it.” She said, very quietly. It sounded as if she’d shouted it in the still of the sanctum. “Will I die?” she asked, though she’d already given him her answer. She didn’t asked about Mahu. She was sure, at least, Eou would not allow that. Mahu was his, after all. “Will all of me die?” she clarified.

Ia despised the priestess. As if that flesh creature had a right to ask for continued existence. But the goddess was long-suffering, if nothing else. It was her greatest vice to find pleasure in everything that tormented her, tasting her own destructive power. She whispered to the dark corners of Eou’s mind. “You could ask Xeros to spare her soul. Trap it inside of her, as she dies.” Ia whorled like lazy smoke to fog his senses. Better to focus on the haze than the big tears leaking out of the big blue eyes. “To protect the child, of course.” She conjured every memory she had of her long melancholy and the quiet they’d shared when she’d been unable to carry his life. It was their chance. Surely he’d understand she’d leave space for the priestess’s soul, if only to ensure Mahu’s life. “Let her die gently. Comfort her when she bleeds and breathe me into her.”

Ia neglected to tell Eou her deal with Death. That was a pain to inflict once the deed was done. Part of her felt he deserved it, taking such fancy to the human woman just because she’d built him some flesh. He’d wounded her with that. He should suffer with her when she went to lay in another’s possession.   

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #48 on: May 05, 2016, 12:17:10 am »
He had sympathy for the humans through Sylphie, then. First he thought of himself, climbing the mountain of a god's ego. How small they were, littering this one planet, with nothing to do when greater beings descended than to oblige and worship. But his priestess wasn't a product, or specs of mold on this earth that could shrug and annihilate her kind. At least not to him. Perhaps he'd imprinted on her when she was the first living thing he saw with provided eyes. Perhaps there was a bond here. Her magic, that she had painstakingly inherited from other first, and built on herself, had brought him back from a certain blackness. The gratitude he felt was not for her actions, her works of art. He felt grateful for her, simply.

He listened when she agreed, and it felt like a moment that would go out in time, back and forward, the way blood does in water. He shook his head as he burned, pieces of god becoming ash tendrils off his back and then nothing, never enough to flavor the air for long. God skin won't be plucked from the ground, even when a god child burns it. Mahu was hammering against her pulse, trying to communicate the hatred he had for his father, now. Eou shook his head to soothe her, ember lines living and dying on his cheek as he took her in. This was the beauty of humans, then. Their short lives could contain things that ushered them into a kind of forever. Were the god stories as grand, in proportion?

"You will die as much as I did." he said with a true smile, though Ia's malice made it harder to be so honest. Her cold met the sear of Mahu, and in a way Eou was spared. Not that he'd flinch now. Sylphie would know the death Eou had received had not been sufficient. He had every intention of giving her hope. The smoke from his eyes, vapor tears, became condensation in his hair when Ia spoke. He nodded and then lifted his hand, forbidding, when Death came closer. "You only have to guard her soul, and treat it. No need for you to take it." he said. There was a furious hymn hidden in that resolve.

It was not Death that came close, after that sung warning. Instead it was Friction, to stand behind her, and look Eou in the eye as he reached inside her back, to her heart. He had a promise to keep. "Don't send me away with spears you don't have in that brittle shell. I saved her when you weren't here. I have business with her." he said. Metal jaws complained at the pressure Eou provided, and even Sasu had to step back. But not before the string had been tied.

"Heaven will..." he started, but knew the sentiment would be wrong. "I will always know you for this." Even the innocent, transcendent love he had for Ia understood he should not speak to Sylphie like this. Perhaps he knew it was more than a gift to send her off. His skin, the warmth, traveled into her. More life, enveloping the particles of her blood. There is already decay in you, when you're born, and he blossomed that, and the life as well. Humans weren't made to contain all of life and all of death at once. Eou would follow here into the floor, clutching her in his lap when her flesh would surely falter.

She'd bleed, like Ia had requested. All her agonies, her senses flooded, he would try to keep away with his expression. There was a shroud around the infant Mahu, who was loosing strength, like a child does in grief, so the baby deity wouldn't be afflicted by life overflowing.

Sasu quieted the door and pried hands off Madmar with a thought. Silently, the frantic man was allowed in, and at once he was mute. Three gods, gathered around Sylphie. He wanted to perform the madness he felt inside and toss it throughout the room. She looked in peril, but Sasu smiled at him so knowingly he believed there was something more.

Eou touched her face, a forgetful reflex trying to heal her from all that was created inside of her. It wouldn't help. Instead, all he could do was continue. He leaned close, to drink that blood off her lips finally, that she could feel her god this way. With the contact, he would have made the bridge Ia needed to start rooting her destruction in Sylphie. The happiness he felt over love for Ia had never been darker.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2016, 08:02:04 pm »
“Sylphie. Find peace.” The oracle blurted. They wouldn’t have countered her decision, no matter what they felt. At least, in that much, they still held the reservations of their calling. They felt deeply for her, though. More deeply than the oracle tended to feel anything at all. But they had never grieved a loss before. It was one of the serene benefits of remaining disconnected. There was solitude in the Middle realm, if nothing else. To Sasu, then, “Is he lying?” they asked. As if the green god were any more likely to tell the truth than Eou. “She won’t be gone?”

But Sasu was going about his own business. The priestess would surely by torn apart by the interference of so many gods. The oracle could barely hold themself together when piecing out their voices, let alone their touch.

For her part, Sylphie heard nothing but her Lord. She didn’t protest when Sasu came to tie Madmar’s thread. She very well may not have even noticed. There was a thick rushing in her ears and she felt as if her vision were tunneling inward. The human body cannot withstand what gods can, or even manmade gods can. Her eyelids fluttered a little and she would have fallen had she not been on her knees and in Eou’s hold. He hadn’t even begun to play out her end. Perhaps it was a blessing that such an overload of tension would press her into unconsciousness.

Sylphie didn’t drop deeply, the rushing in her ears roaring louder even as her eyes closed. When she felt the warmth of Eou’s gifts, worming its way into her cells, her eyes snapped open again to search for his gaze in a panic. There was pain in human existence, agonies that made mortals wish for death, and there was divine pain. That frail body hadn’t been built to accept it, the way Ia’s had been.

As the priestess began to rot and bleed, Ia’s aura flared thick and ravenous. She was the elegance of a knife blade, crackling toward Sylphie’s soul. The oracle shuddered at the violence of that presence and the graphic of their friend’s disintegrating body. They wished they’d not put in Sasu’s eyes.

Sylphie’s lips were parted, gasping breaths between bubbling red. It dripped from her nose and her lips and her eyes and her ears, dark angry red. If she wanted to cry out, she hadn’t the capacity, though she writhed in Eou’s lap. She felt each cell tear itself apart, rot bloating her joints and snapping the tendons which held them. She must have fainted, somewhere in the deepest trenches of her agony, and it was fortunate it was before her skin began to turn. First white as she bled herself out on the floor, then grey with snaking purple trails beneath, and then the flesh began to bubble and curl, peeling itself away from her muscles. The oracle wanted to turn away, but felt they should not. They suspected Sylphie, if she was even Sylphie after this, would not remember this gruesome. It seemed someone should, on her behalf.

In the empty cavern of Sylphie’s dissolving brain, there was a spark when Eou’s lips found her. Something new, burning and flaring with a trail of smoke. Soft shadows, and a cold touch.

Ia ran her fingers along Eou’s brow and over his lips as she left him. She’d feel him, truly, soon enough. In the priestess’s body, she hunted for Sylphie’s soul. Xeros would have it locked behind her ribs, for safety. “Sylphie. Sylphine Winters. Priestess of my Beloved.” Ia hummed. In a suspension of nothingness that was the gap before true death, Sylphie felt the goddess’s voice vibrate through her.

“Blessed Ia, is it you?” she asked. “Am I dead?”

Ia laughed. Stupid woman. But she would be useful, to give this body and to keep Eou’s child tied to Life. She wrapped her aura around the small soul, expansive and unending darkness like the impenetrable night. She swallowed the little light in a rushing wave. “No, you’re not dead. You’re dying. I don’t exist in the End. I exist in the journey toward it.” Thin tendrils of haze ran over the priestess’s soul, learning. There was another laugh. “And Sasu has tied your heart strings, as well. You are certainly not dead.” She hadn’t anticipated the green god’s game. “Tied your heart strings to someone other than Eou, for that matter. How interesting.”

Ia’s aura receded somewhat. Ia had no desire to incorporate that blemish, however small, into herself. “What happens now?” Sylphie asked. Ia spread herself out, infiltrating every atomic space of the rapidly decomposing body.

“I bring us back to life. We will inhabit your body, together. Your soul will remain your own.” Ia said, as if it were all so simple. There would be some crossing, of course, a shared heart and mind could not leave two souls fully independent of one another. And there would be no secrets. Ia hesitated to mention it.

“What is it you’re not saying?” Sylphie asked. There was no formality. Sylphie hadn’t thought of it, when she’d said it. It didn’t make any sense for there to be, now. They were as much separate as they were together. There were no formalities with one’s self.

“You will feel everything I have ever felt, as we return to your world. And I will feel everything you have felt.” She said. The goddess was not heartless, regardless of her sentiments toward Sylphie. The entire process had been much more painful for the human woman than it could ever be for Ia. She would know the pain that Sylphie had felt, when they woke, but Sylphie would also know every pain and pleasure Ia had experienced since the dawn of the physical universe. The exchange would not be fair. “You should sleep. It will make the transition a bit easier for your soul. I will protect this body, when it is mended.”

She rushed over Sylphie like a sudden autumn wind and, as she passed, Sylphie’s soul flickered and dimmed in a deep slumber.

Sylphie’s tongue moved against Eou’s lips. It had been long minutes since the decay had begun to slow, her body slowly crumbling in Eou’s lap. Much longer and the mortal aspects of Mahu’s incubation would have been in peril. It was a kiss Creation would remember, like the first time she’d tasted him. It sought comfort and healing. Their forever pact. He would piece her back together for every time she fell apart.

That Life that had blossomed decay swung back on the pendulum, then, pulled back into alignment by Ia’s gravity. A dark haze, drifting around Sylphie’s body and teasing outward to envelop Eou as well as the crumbling arms reached upward to link around his neck. Like a storm cloud, cracks of light leapt outward from the gauzy embrace. Creation’s fire again met by Destruction’s winter and created a tempest.

When the fog dissipated, Sylphie was new. Her hair had grown long, tumbling over her fresh nakedness in thick, silky coils. As if years had passed. In some paradigm, they had. Time flexed in the realm of souls, and there had been a great rush of it as goddess and priestess absorbed into their beings every sensation the other had lived. When her eyes opened, slowly, they were violet.

“Brother.” She said to Eou, and it was a heavy and silken sound more ancient than Sylphie’s vocal cords had ever known how to render.       

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2016, 10:18:21 pm »
The group, joined by the mortal, petitioning lover, watched as the priestess's body went through all the possible tides of conclusion. The deep colors affected Madmar, and he was truly subdued by grief, and the fresh, hard fear that precedes sorrow's catatonia. Someone, Death or Friction or Creation, shackled him where he stood. The man felt old, and became mad with the need to go to her, to shove the human god away from her shifting remains, and to take her lips himself. More than kiss her, though, he wanted to hold her, press her to him, so he could feel the changes as her body was rushed toward extinction. He wanted to breathe her in when she became dust, and look at Sasu with all the anger and disappointment he deserved for having failed such an easy task, as to convince one heart to love another.

It was not Xeros's doing, these interlocking stages of rot's theater. He'd watched his share of seasons acting on things that would rather be alive, but this was artful, pointed. With a purpose other than to nurture the World Tree. It was enjoyable to him, fascinating the god that had lived so long, he was birthless. He had fallen into obsession with Ia because of this, and it had been long since he'd seen her perform. Without a connection to this priestess - why should he care about a human that chose Eou, a god that was dead when she was born - he was free to fully sample the craftsmanship. Ia did not disappoint. Death almost held out his hand to receive Sylphie's soul. Instead, when the critical expulsion would take place and didn't, all things purified around Sylphie's essence, he saw the reflection of a string, Sasu's mnemonic, glittering once in eternal light, drinkable only by god eyes. It was tied to the new human male.

Sasu had his place by The Oracle again. He had protected Sylphie from the jagged bone ends of The Final One, but perhaps They did not feel as though he'd kept Sylphie safe, with Ia's requiem playing out in Eou's arms. It remained to see if They thought the deal was still in play. The conflict in The Seer was delicious. Without much experience to taint the flavor of what They felt, he could feast on the worry and the sadness in a heart that should have been vacant by design. "She might live longer than you." he said to Them.

Mahu had fought all the things that came to his mother. He sent out surges of his own life to absorb the devouring light of decay. He hated his father, then, and loved his mother with the passion Eou loved Ia. Though his affections were molded to gravitate toward the goddess, he only saw his task of covering all the transgressions done to Sylphie's physical integrity. It was frustrating to the youngling to be so unsuccessful at something that he wanted so much. Through the emptiness that she was placed in, he tried to call to Sylphie. The expanse might be too great for his voice.

Eou had quietly watched the first thing he'd seen in this body tumble toward disintegration. It was nostalgic to watch Ia try and fit herself on the assembled, sapient parts. His fingers had followed her purple veins when they contrasted against gray, and his palm had caressed the orbs that grew as her flesh died further, but not completely. His bones were empty, truly his, when those nothing arms came up to hold him. He was excited, finally, to see his beloved again.

When she spoke, wrapped in her brunette blanket, and with eyes the color of star bridges, he was in awe, the way a lover ought to be in awe to receive their beloved back. He was grateful for her craft, and that she'd opened herself to his own. He'd not allowed this limited suit to falter when he let his own magic pass through it and into her. Of course she would get the best of particles to build herself with. Of course he'd made the relationship between the fibers perfect.

"Ia." he answered, the spoken name playing with the echo she had generated. He carried her as he stood, the hair tumbling down like thick shadow, away from her humming skin. There was a difference now, in his artificial flawless design, and her perfection of human complexion. Chrome carrying nature.

Mahu thrashed the inner, frantically looking for any signs of Sylphie. It was in the in-between, where he couldn't hurt the body. He called her Mother, reached out for her desperately.

"And once again, to answer your question." Sasu said to The Oracle, meaning the one she'd given him about whether the carnal rumors about the twins had been true. Surely, not even on this primal Earth, there were no siblings who were only siblings that acted so struck with seeing each other, even after a long time away. Mostly he admired the strength of the string, still unharmed, because her heart was unharmed.

Madmar tried to go past Death to get to the new Sylphie. An arm came out to keep him back. He tried again, but Death was immovable. When he looked at Sasu and could get no audience, he started whispering a swear. Before he could finish it, the arm that controlled him barged for his chest, easily flinging Marmar hard enough against the metal doors that they let him exit. He stumbled on the floor, sliding and burning himself before the momentum was spent. He held his shoulder, bleeding through the ripped garb as he stood, the acolytes staring at him with wide eyes. His own were also large.

"D-destruction is back." he said, mind weighted by his insignificance, even though he could feel the string connecting him to Sylphie. He pointed with the hurt arm, and the pain meant nothing. "And Friction is in there, consorting with our Oracle." The ruckus in the crowd was growing. He tossed the pointing limb out toward them, crazed. "Sylphie died but she's back. They're all gods in that damned room!" The onlookers, who were on the verge of becoming a screeching mob, suddenly held their breath.

Behind him, having ducked under the frame of the door that had cast Madmar out, towered Xeros. The blush was between every muscle and the crown was beautifully twisted, still growing its ring around his head. "You didn't mention me, Madmar Kenneth Olis." A large voice, painted in understanding. There was an endless ego underneath. When Xeros picked up the man by his bleeding arm, they started to scream. When the other god hand lifted, they listened to the gesture, and fell back into Death's silence. Madmar tried to scream in their stead, but he had no voice. When Xeros placed him against the giant god chest, he had not strength to fight. When bones grew like vines and roots around him, slowly absorbing him into the blushing, white torso, Madmar could only stare out at the acolytes who obediently watched the man be eaten.

Eou had his face to her temple, still not letting her feet touch the floor. His heart was full, of love and triumph. "Will you stay a while?" he said with mirth and spun her around, her hair becoming an impressive skirt for both of them. "There are mountains in this world, and the sea. Even its sky. I can learn to grow them, if you want to see them fall."

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2016, 11:37:30 pm »
In the deep void of sleep, Sylphie felt her child reaching. Her soul was so heavy, though, she could bring herself to wake. There had been so many sensations, taking on Ia’s existence. Passion like she’d never known and a grief as deep as the pain in her destruction. Had she been a breathing entity, she would have surely choked on the sheer magnitude of it. A need for Eou had rooted and webbed itself through every fiber of that soul. Yet, somewhere in the tangle of it, she became aware of a different tie. The one Ia had mentioned. Madmar. Sylphie reached within herself and ran astral fingers over the thread. How strange. It was nothing she’d cultivated herself. Nothing of Ia, either. That did not change the reality of the ache it left, though.

“I am here.” She breathed, what effort she could expend she spent on soothing her child. There was a surety in carrying Mahu, now, that had not settled in before. Ia’s doing. Ia’s heart. She understood how many centuries had been spent wanting the child. “We are.” Sylphie corrected. Mahu was Ia’s too, now. It was a desire deeply rooted in the goddess’s being, so it was deep in Sylphie too. Soul sleep was peaceful. She had been frightened, before, but she had maintained some sense of self and given her full effort for her Lord. There was a completeness in that. A sensation she was certain not many other mortals had ever had the chance to feel. “Don’t worry. I’m just resting.”

--

Ia laughed, beaming with a consuming delight. It was strange for the oracle to see. Sylphie seemed so distinctly foreign, now. But she was Sylphie still, without Sylphie’s modesty. The oracle bowed their head. She was also Ia, to whom they were sworn. Sasu spoke near, and the oracle didn’t know whether or not take comfort. These were heavenly designs the oracle had never imagined or prepared for.

“My love.” She sighed, pressing her face against his chest to breathe his scent deeply. “Your priestess made you a nice vessel, didn’t she?” she mused. They were both blossoms from Sylphie’s bud, then. “I will have to learn you all over again.” Ia said, throwing her head back so that she could look him in the eye again. She hadn’t a care for any of the others in the room. Nonetheless, she spared a glance in Madmar’s direction, because her heart string demanded it. A vague recognition for the man who was held back by Death. Eou was a stronger need than the man ever could. There was no divinity in him that could compete. She did shiver a little, though, when Death cast him from the room. Whether with pleasure or distress, Ia had never been able to parse out.

Saoirse lifted her head weakly from the marble at the ruckus. There was Brother Madmar, bleeding on the floor. And there was the fullness of Death in the doorway. She made to scream, then choked it back as everyone else in the did. The high priestess was dead and Ia reborn. Those words tumbled around in the girl’s head. There was no sense in them. Saoirse had not cared for the priestess’s dearness to the oracle, but the oracle’s goddess in her place seemed no better. An unfaithful thought from the acolyte who had always worshiped the oracle before she worshiped Heaven. She clutched at her chest, afraid the gods might know her for her impurities.

As if a carnal want was impurity to the twin gods. The priestess, vessel of the Dark Lady Ia, emerged in the arm of her brilliant brother. Bare and clinging to him as if it were the only need that body had ever known. Lord Eou himself glowed in a fullness that had not been there before. Complete, perhaps. Even as her attention was dragged violently back to the yawning chest of Death, devouring Brother Madmar for his disruption, Saoirse could not help but notice how little Creation and Destruction seemed to care. But then, this was their cult and any acolyte knew that the twins spiraled in their own universal balance. That other matters would lack the ability to perturb them was part of their divinity.

The crowd in the sanctum shifted, struck mute by Death’s taken sacrifice and cast into the full reality of their chosen gods. There, in the flesh, it would have been impossible for any of them to deny the truth that Sasu had already given the oracle. The gods themselves seemed disinclined to hide it.

“Of course I’ll stay,” she told him. “As long as this body can walk beside you, I’ll stay.” And, as Madmar’s heart became a thing of Death’s, the goddess peered at the bone crown. “And when this body dies, I will go to Dear Xeros, as his bride.” She nuzzled back against Eou’s chest. As if she hadn’t just spoken daggers. “You’ll find me beneath the tree, when you can, though. Won’t you? You won’t leave me again, will you?” she asked him. A cruel little smile. “I had to ask for help, after you gave your priestess the child. I had to make a deal to get back to you.”

--

In sleep, Sylphie felt Madmar’s thread shift. That was well. She hadn’t understood where it had come from to begin with. It went slack and then sprang tight again, sending vibrations through her soul self. Sylphie was too exhausted to pay it further mind. Perhaps, when she woke, she could think clearly about it. As her consciousness drifted into the fluid workings of a dream, the shadow of a great bone crown cast itself over her heart.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2016, 03:20:15 am »
His mother had changed. It was still Sylphie, as she'd known herself, but threaded with this other being. Mahu had a gift for wrath, creation is wrathful, without mercy. It was also in him to love Ia. Mother smelled like Ia now. He wanted to shake her, play the chord she'd become, play it out of tune to have an effect. It was an eager to be heard, and he couldn't let that hurt her. Instead he coiled around her, bringing about a calm over the little disturbances he'd created. He'd rest with her, and without knowing it, with Ia. "Protect." he said, if she wanted to feel the safety.

-

Eou's shell had been charged by residue of the rebirth. The ring at the meeting of his collarbones shone a particularly deep blue. When her head was on his chest, his cheek would rest against her hair, pining her to him. He needed to feel her tightly, wanted her texture against his bones. He would not be able to express the hurt of being apart, or the pleasure of being reunited. It was something for him, that Ia had been made again, into the woman, here. As it had been for Ia, that Sylphie had to give away her earthly self. There had been a balance for the two gods, with the priestess. A loving catalyst for them both.

And then she spoke as she did when they had stolen a moment to be sinfully entangled, somewhere in the chambers of Heaven. A little cruelty, as though it was a throw-away sweetness. He didn't hear the meaning at first, only the heat from her throat. Eou was about to dance with her, another lap, when the truth set root in his mind, and anchored the state of mind she might be after. The brother turned his head toward Death.

Xeros, larger than the thing Sylphie had created in her lab, looked back. Madmar had been bland, but the string was well conceived. Sasu played with all of the universe, he'd made sure to have good things for his toys. The crown curled a few calcium tendrils to underline the cheekbones on the already wondrous face. Warmth in the magenta eyes for Ia's new form. He supposed the priestess had been beautiful. Xeros was not afraid of Eou's vengeance.

Eou didn't fully believe vengeance was the right course of action, either. With her musings, sharing her heat, he wasn't free to decide what he felt about her contract. It was he who had driven her to it. If only there had been no Mahu, if only he had made other choices. The smarting facts came to his heart and stomach. Those were the tinges of her love. "Couldn't you have reached out for me farther? I could have waited." But if he could, there wouldn't have been heavenly emerald glass where The Oracle's eyes should be. Creation without Destruction is a desperate god.

Death did not like the way she spoke to Eou, when she'd been so gentle with his own heart, asking for help. If he heard her, he'd become an obstacle between them. Death didn't want to believe he was exactly that. But he couldn't scold a new Ia. Instead, he would have to lash at Eou. "You should take better care of her this time. Human's don't exist through a god's age, but their needs are small." A smile and a song in the string that tied Sylphie, and therefor Ia herself, to Xeros who had wanted her for more than one Forever.

Sasu held his palm to his black mouth. It was a good day for Friction. He had truly missed the twins. Without an imminent threat to the priestess, he could become small again, until he ran a knuckle over the Oracles shoulder. "These things will feed my purpose for quite a while." he said into her ear. All of the other deities could hear, if they wanted, but they were of course engaged in other things at the moment. "But don't forget, every little bit helps." he continued, meaning her little plot toward the two who loved her.

"You should think on that while you garden the World Tree." Eou replied, turning away from Death, to carry his sister toward the bed of pillows where The Oracle would sometimes summon her visions. He placed her down carefully, and remained with her, on his knees. "And there you can wait for the day her perfect body declines." Orange eyes a formidable hue as he looked over his shoulder at The Final One, his hand on her stomach, possessive. "Yes. While you wait for something that I'll heal endlessly to break." Eou wasn't always a polite god. It was just that very few other members of Heaven had quarrel with Creation.

The crown took over more of his face, creating teeth outside of his jaw as he angered of the insolence of the Wandering Goddess's son. White spikes grew on his shoulder, and the acolytes in the next room started to fall to the floor, simply for Death's frustration.

-

Outside, some had already fled over the toppled bodies, with the news and panic. Some of them would report only what they'd seen, Death, come to earth. The Death the The Ryll Cult had spoken of. Others would start the word of the prophet Madmar, who said there were many gods. All int he bowels of the PanTech building. What would it mean to humans, when their stage was shared with celestial, elemental beings? Rapidly, anxious heart would multiply into an uproar. The religion would suck up followers like a great fish sifting through the sea.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2016, 01:13:31 am »
Ia gave Xeros an interesting sort of look, as if she’d seen him for the first time. Curiosity she hadn’t expressed in her previous existence. It was brief, Eou’s light pulling her back into his orbit before she could think to linger on the bone crown. Had Destruction existed without her twin, she might have always been Death’s. He was, after all, the culmination of her art. Just as she was the prophet of his coming. That her heart had always run after the burning light was unfair.

The goddess ran her fingers over her new skin. “Would it have mattered if I had reached further, Brother?” She kissed Eou’s collarbone lightly. “Weren’t you already enchanted? That gift you gave wasn’t for my sake.” She mewed. She hooked her teeth against his skin. A small hurt followed by the sweet of her lips. “And in that time you spent in distraction, my oracle was taken by another. Maybe it’s your priestess I should blame?” wicked woman. Worse, because there were hints of the truth. She sighed pleasantly when he set her down in the bed of pillows. A sweet smile. “I’m here now, though. Your priestess was helpful that way, at least.” Had Ryll known, when she’d formed both of her children, the sort of storms she was brewing?

Ia was pleased with her brother’s bitter toward Death. Anything to bring him toward jealousy ignited a fire in her soul. If Ia had her bitter and venom, Eou had his spite and fire. They had hungered for the worst in each other, in turns. If only so that they might draw out the sweetest submissions from the vile. She nestled deeply into the pillows, her hair spilling like night sky rivers over the fabric curves. There was no Sylphie in the way she lounged, divine resplendence captured. She glanced over at Sasu. “I have no need for an oracle. I can speak for myself.” She mused. The dark eyes glittered. Destruction had no respect for the structures of the cult, nor could she blamed for the disorder that was her nature. “Their body was not useful.” She said.

The oracle did not bow their head, in the face of rejection from their goddess. Somehow, it was relieving to hear. Perhaps it made the oracle’s cracking loyalties less sinful. “I am sorry I could not be the vessel you required.” They said. Ia smiled slowly. She had not distaste for this tool of Heaven. It was simply the truth that she had no need for a voice when she walked the earth, herself. That the oracle had found boldness was interesting, which was enough to satisfy Ia. Her attention for humanity had been limited to its decay, that focus keener in her barren bitterness.

“Don’t feel you failed me, Oracle. You failed my brother more than you failed me. This body carried his life, not yours. I would not have wanted your destruction.” Ia said. The oracle nodded blankly. Whatever portion of their soul desired forgiveness found it, and they were set adrift without a master. Absently, they touched their face where Sasu’s gem eyes were nestled. When the green god himself leaned near, the oracle breathed deep. Master or otherwise, the oracle still had their duty to satisfy Heaven’s wants and they had made an agreement with Trifle. It was better than the alternative. Gifted humans with no master were prone to delusions of grandeur.

Ia hummed. “Sasu, have you made a friend?” she asked as she reached for Eou to pull him into the pillows with her. “Show me this new life, Brother. I’ve slept too long.” There was no darkness in that, just a deep adoration for her ever-anchor. “Take me to where you were born. Show me your beginning.”

--

Sylphie glowed with affection for her son’s efforts. Peace exuded from the slumbering soul, reaching out to meet Mahu’s own aura. Perhaps she was naïve, to think Ia was some sort of safety. Or that Eou was a trustworthy being. But the priestess had been snared deeper in their web, even as the oracle had been expelled.

Somewhere in the deep reaches of her dreams, the Wandering Goddess ran footprints over the priestess’s soul. “Priestess. You’ve served my children well. Will you be strong, still?” Ryll’s voice echoed through the chambers of sleep. Sylphie slumbered too deeply to answer, though she rippled with the presence of the ancient spirit. More strength? Sylphie couldn’t imagine what more the twins could require of her.
       


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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2016, 09:44:11 pm »
The distaste for Creation, that shadow on the young and well face of Death, retreated slightly, outer teeth ascending back into the outside jaw, that in turn grew back into the thick sprout of the bone crown. He had seen the embers threaded into her stare. Xeros was courted by a handful of gods, sometimes for his favor, and sometimes because of affinity, so he knew what was interest, and what was indifference. It was a small  victory that warmed the heart that had forcibly earned a new thread. So what Eou said, flaunting his claim on Ia, did not become a declaration of war - that Creation could not have won in his current state - but simply insolence, instead. Death could wait.

Ia felt appropriately cold to Eou. But not icy. The body that he’d helped rebuild was not divine, though its composition surpassed human parts. He’d not have his sister dress her soul in every-day sapien skin. Her tongue and play had not lost any potency or skill. His heart received familiar, expert flicks that rang throughout his body. How could he defend himself? Had he been pulled in by Sylphie? Was Mahu a gift, like a ring is a gift, more than he’d been a connection? Was it only the sting for being, in so many words, called a traitor to the love he shared with Ia, or was it a sorrow’s aria for having lost Sylphie that he felt when his sister practiced this familiar cruelty? The nostalgia of her spoken nails brought him down, when she beckoned it with her arms, to kiss her. It was also good to hear her spread her chill toward The Oracle. His beautiful, monstrous sister was back.

Sasu looked at The Oracle, and soaked in the conflict of what They’d become now, with what Ia said. “Oh, I think I have. I mean, it’s no heart-friend, like Eou’s little flame that warmed him when you could not, but They’re a pearl, still.” He said with some amusement, and ran a growing finger over the Oracle’s cheek. Soon he was back to his proportionate, godly size. “If you should waver, you can call me. I’ll be patron, when Destruction will not be.” to Them. Not a church, but a religion, he could be. Wouldn’t it be just like Trifle, to inherit the followers of others, in times of great stress? There was not much comfort in his shadow, though. “Now I must sow seeds, also.” He said and dragged the staff of his scythe along the floor, all the way to the Xeros. “Come. Friction and Death has work to do.” But the arm that Sasu took rolled out of his grasp. Death was still staring at the twins.

“I’ll not do your bidding, Trifle. Your playground is always filthy.” Sasu gasped at this, and then laughed. He wanted war with Xenos, of course, but not this easily. “I’ll stay on this orb, but not to dance with you.”

“So says The Bone King. His words is tombstone.” Sasu said and bowed, the fog in the ocean overtaking his form.

In the wake of Friction, Xeros brushed his bare chest. The string could not be felt. It was not a string of life, the he could feel and cut. He would not want to cut this thread, either. The way the siblings were entangled grated on him. They fit well, as an image. A godly abomination, their union. “Or you could just abandon this new life all together.” He said to his fated beloved. His hand infested with bone blades, the cutting grasp, reached for her. “You’d be a god again, in all your right.” The deal was that she live out this existence, spend this shell. That did not mean a human’s life time. Dead had stricken his fair share of deals to his own benefit.

Eou made a point out of not looking at Death. He kissed Ia softly, on her upper lip. “We’ll go. It is quite a commodity, this mortal assembly.” He said with a soft expression, holding her to him with one arm as the other shot back to whack Xeros’s offered, dangerous limb out of the way so he could lift Ia along. Intentionally looking through Xeros for something, as the pair were standing, his eyes eventually settled on The Oracle. He waved Them to him. “Your robe. Modesty for my sister, if she’s to walk through the acolytes.” Sylphie had taught him that much, at least. It was a cruel couple of moments for Them, if They harbored such a heart that could sense these things, to have been cast from Their goddess, and now, to be robbed of Their clothing. Perhaps Sasu would have liked this, if he’d not left.

Behind them, Xeros was mapping murderous plots for the insolent, human godling. The schemes were in the heated, exotic glow beneath the tendrils that created a bone mask around his eyes. Son of Ryll and Creation, maybe, but such behavior was hard to tolerate, especially from something so new that it couldn’t really hope to defend itself. Eou was not concerned. When moving, Creation is a volatile, selfish thing, after all.

-

Mahu recognized Ryll’s voice. He was alert, a bright energy encircling his mother, hoping to guide some of Ryll’s mercy there. When Sylphie was slumbering too deep, he coiled around her instead, settling into to everything about her, so he could be with her. Mahu was an affectionate existence, a little flawed eternity, human and god. “Safe.” He said, but didn’t try to wake her. He’d stay for as long as he needed, trying to lend her his power, to see if it could build her.

-

Outside, a fragment of the green god was jumping from soul to soul to feel what they felt. Even followers of Eou were most concerned about Xeros. You might believe in darkness before you believe in bliss. At least darker, frightening things are more acute. Xeros had also been his true, solid self in front of them. Eou had only been walking around in borrowed minerals and meat. Quite the show, ingesting Madmar for an audience. Vanity, it seemed, had a place in death. Gossip traveled faster than Sasu could spread. It had a delightful power. He played with it often.

People affected by the coming of Death and Friction started to gather around the PanTech tower. Sasu laughed to himself, in the in-between. He cut the flow of people with a sudden malfunction to the doors, once a man with the same color of hair as Saoirse had been let in. The audience became anxious, bubbling with worry, when a swirl of white and magenta twisted by the glass barriers.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2016, 11:31:40 pm »
The oracle glanced at Sasu. That was almost laughable. Sasu had not had a cult on Earth since the very beginning, and even then it had been small. It took a special sort to walk the path of Friction. Delighting in conflict was truly a godlier trait than a mortal one. Delighting in despair, however, was a vice of humankind. But then, so many gods in a room after ages of the Silence could hardly spell anything but a new genesis in faith or the end of the world. Or both. The oracle nodded, ever so slightly. “Thank you for your consideration, my Lord.” They said, because they weren’t sure what else would be appropriate.

Ia watched the exchange with interest. She could feel Sylphie’s attachment to the oracle and, thus, her own. Still, what good was an oracle when you have your own mouth? Sasu wasn’t an inherently cruel god. Perhaps his service might be a gentler one, in the end. Ia didn’t know whether or not she was inherently cruel, but her heart didn’t shy away from the thought. Her gaze slid toward Xeros when he offered her the fullness of her divinity.

“Dear Xeros, I wouldn’t dream of any greater godliness than Creation’s. We are balance.” She said, running her fingers through Eou’s long silver hair. “I will come to you, in time. I did make you a promise.” The goddess smiled and it was sweet. She leaned into her brother so that she could lay her cheek against his shoulder. “For now, if you love me, you won’t deny me my happiness.” She said.

The oracle didn’t hesitate long to disrobe, briefly considering their own shame before falling back on the comfort that they were, and had always been, a vessel more than a person. There was no shame for that kind of existence. At least, there was less. They slipped out of the gauzy robe and handed it to the twin gods with a bow. They could feel the sharpness of the request, stinging on the heels of losing the right to their purpose.

The twins were selfish and self-interested. It was no wonder that Ia had not broken the Silence to reach for the oracle. It would have been an expenditure of effort that was not beneficial to herself. In death, she had only moved when it served her. And now that Ia had risen, she had taken from her brother and been unconcerned with that which was her own. The oracle, had they been a more worldly being, would have been disappointed by the true fickleness of their goddess. Instead, the reality of Destruction had emboldened the unanchored mouth of Heaven.

“Please be gentle with Sylphie, my Blessed Lady.” The oracle said, before retreating from their own pillow throne. Ia allowed Eou to clothe her, watching the oracle as she was dressed. Strange being.

“What’s your name, Oracle?” Ia asked. The oracle folded their arms across their bare waist.

“I don’t have a name. Sylphie calls me Angel.” They said. Ia grinned.

“Angel. Don’t think I won’t remember you. Whether you are mine or not.” The goddess pushed herself to her feet. Beside Eou, she was dwarfed. A curiosity for the goddess, as she had always been very near her brother in stature. Destruction had always been a match to Creation. The disparity in their human bodies amused her. “Let’s go, Brother, I want to see your birthplace. I want to see this world.” She said and walked confidently from the inner sanctum.

When she exited into the hall, the acolytes that had not spilled out of the sanctum to spread the word of what they were already calling the Coming were met with their priestess reborn. A few fell to their knees to bow, but the reaction was unsettled more than anything else. She was not so incredible to see as Death or Creation, whose visages were more divine than human. Ia didn’t mind. In Heaven, she was a goddess of her own right. On Earth, her brilliance was defined by Eou’s sphere. The acolyte whose cheek had burst into bloom under her brother’s touch was near to Saoirse, both of the touched bodies weak in the aftermath. Ia went to him and touched the flora there. The flowers curled and died into a soft ashy grey, and more of his flesh with them. He cried out, though the decay stopped when the creamy bright of his bone peeked through.

“Don’t forget about us, Faithful, just because The Bone King has such wonderful tricks.” She said, and murmured rippled through the acolytes. More of them left the sanctum to spread word of the Coming. Ia grinned at Eou.

“There’s a lot on your shoulders, dear Eou.” She said. “A lot on us, perhaps, with Friction and Death playing.” Ia sighed. She ambled out of the sanctum with a purposefulness that said she knew precisely where Eou’s incubation chamber was. She had walked the path as many times as he had, after all, wound around his bones. Beyond that, she was as much Sylphie as she was Ia and Sylphie knew every corridor of PanTech, even in slumber.

She input the necessary codes and scanned her palm to open the incubation chamber. “I’ll need to get a new key card.” She said, and it was hard to tell if it were Sylphie or Ia.

--

Ryll sat in her briar patch throne in the heavenly hall. “My children live and I never cared for the earth.” She said with toss of her thick copper curls. “That Xeros and Sasu have decided to go play in the mortal realm has very little to do with me, either.”

Sinta blinked her three eyes languidly, universes spinning in their dark depths. “Perhaps not, but you’ve accelerated the weavings of Fate considerably. The Five have been feverishly spinning and twisting destinies and I suspect they are rapidly winding toward the End.” Ryll scoffed. Time was an enigmatic goddess, rarely bothering to consort with the rest of Heaven. She made Ryll look incredibly sociable, and that was quite not the Wandering One’s character. “Regardless, Eou and Ia walk in bodies bound within me, so they are of my concern now. The child, too.”

Ryll turned her face away from Sinta’s overbearing stare. “The End of those mortal creatures was inevitable. My children will exist beyond their bodies. All they needed was to be woken up.” Ryll said. Sinta shrugged.

“That woman. The one Ia is one with, now. She is the mother of the next generation. The next era of heroes. But humans only have want for heroes when their world is frightening. There will be turmoil in this apocalypse and Heaven will be drawn to it. Drawn back to their humans and to the fantasies they create.” Sinta folded two of her arms across her chest, the other two perpetually pulling at the fabric of the universe, expanding space-time, and letting it drip down like a waterfall of stars.

Ryll laughed. “We all had more fun in the last age of heroes. I don’t see why you should care.” Sinta frowned.

“You’re a carefree goddess. Self-absorbed as the rest of us. But you forget what it’s like for the diving to being tying themselves to mortality. To become anchored within time.” Sinta opened her mouth wide, the sharp teeth splitting around the dark cavern within. A sudden and eerie wailing poured forth. Ryll winced and Sinta closed her mouth. “You and Xeros are of the few old gods that remain. The rest became lost in me, don’t you remember?” Sinta asked, touching her chest. “It’s frightening, even as a god, to be cast adrift in the vacuum of true nothingness. Your children’s deaths were more forgiving, truly.”

Time laughed then, and it was chilly. “I wonder what beings will rise to take the place of the gods that fall in this coming age. Will they be kind to the old gods of this universe like you and Death? I should think not, if they reek of human blood.” Sinta held out her wrists, where thick scars banded the pale grey flesh. “I remember everything, since the moment Father dreamt me into existence. I have pulled apart many universes and as many pantheons with them. You are old, Ryll, but you don’t remember the First Beginning. You don’t remember the first mortals or the rise and fall of the gods before you. We are divine. Our aptitude for cruelty toward one another should not be underestimated.”

Ryll stood. “I think it’s best you return to your mountain, Sinta. My children are beginning a new life among the humans and I intend to watch their legacy unfold.” 

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2016, 05:09:57 pm »
To Death Ia’s voice was perfect. Her demeanor hadn’t changed, and translated better than he’d admit to what mannerisms the mortal body could afford. Destruction has its place in any vessel. So smitten was he, at the core of it, that Eou’s taunting did not incinerate all of his patience. The disrespect was still a test. Death could only find comfort in that this state would be finite, despite the threat from Creation, that he’d keep her alive forever. Was that not a way to earn immortality, to be loved by Creation? “Your happiness is everything.” He said to her, and meant it. “If you should tire of the light, I’ll come, even as a distraction.” The string sang to her heart, then. Death knew very well of the effectiveness of Sasu’s weavings.

Eou left with her, keeping her close with a hand on her farthest shoulder. It dawned to him to carry her again, because of their diverging statures, but even Destruction should walk for herself, if she pleases. He felt nostalgic, watching her strip away the incepted life on the boy’s face until there was skull underneath. A calm expression on Eou. Without the connection through Sylphie, he felt a mounting indifference to human kind's comfort, and a simultaneous rise in fascination of their agony. Would this world be rendered more alive, in fact, if the humans were sent into despair?  The acolytes parted to make a path for their gods. A woman raised her head as he passed, and asked what her god wanted from her. Her eyes reminded him of his priestess. “Perseverance.” He said before he was gone from the worshipping room. It was more kindness than he owed.

Ia was intuitive to every turn that he took back to his place of birth, as she called it. He wondered if he could have bid the metal to bend with only the insistence of his physical strength when she convinced the panel she was allowed in. A room between the outside and his chambers, and then the very stage for the genesis of his current form. “I woke up here.” He said and brushed the edge of the round vat as the computer lit again, projecting models of rock rising out of the ocean, and a quilt of other images where life was either thriving of becoming. Silver flickered in lines over his orange, and there was rotting trees and eroding boulders, as well.

Eou scooped up a handful of the thick drink and held it out to her. A first the shape was round, from arbor made, with all its winding, fat coils. The more it grew, the more it drank the soup. Soon the coils moved and stretched. It was a replica of a human child, sitting. A cheap, aestethic trick. It had no soul in its carved eyes or real feeling in the dark hair. Even its expressions and fixation on Ia was a shallow construction, and would cease without the power it borrowed from Eou. He held the wooden child out to her and smiled. “Quite potent. I think it is a good metaphor for what humans can do, combining the things they find on this planet.” The little thing that wasn’t sentient reached littler hands toward Destruction. “She made a body for you, as well. But you didn’t take to it.”

-

Conner was running through the reception, opposite way of the fleeing people. Some of them wore the sect’s colors. He’d been forced out of his taxi when a giant had interrupted traffic. He was still well enough read that he knew Death’s form. The other god, though, he’d not been too familiar with. The red hair was smooth and back as he pushed this and that body out of the way, the guards flooded and useless with this riot. Eyes lighter than his sister’s carried a small fright and an equal cargo of dissatisfaction as he advanced. PanTech was in an uproar. He needed to see Saoirse, needed to know she’d not done anything foolish in all this to protect Angel. His mouth became smaller when he thought of The Oracle. He’d not wanted to see her again.

-

The malweather outside of the building tightened into a pale, large creature. Sasu held his scythe, still, a beloved accessory and the conduit to much of his power, but the rest of him was white and blushed. His loincloth, as he was partial, was still a worn purple instead of the accurate black that Xeros preferred. On Friction’s head, a larger skull, lined with a spine with unnaturally long sprouts. He was effectively wearing a bone hat. Mockery can be friction, after all, and to people, gods are a magnitude, and not a silhouette. “To those who haven’t prayed and sacrificed something beloved, I say.” He started, voice loud rather than deep in their souls. A trick. It was enough to leave the noise to the next breeze, the crowd sunken into deathly silence. He could feel their minds battling what they were forced to accept. Such wonderful nourishment, they were, to him.

“That you will be damned in my kingdom of roots!” White fire underneath the atrocious head ornament. Some of the well-informed might find it odd, the absence of the warm color. The crowd protested. Sasu could hear some of them stomping each other. Fear was not pure friction. “But there is hope. Let me see someone who will give me their most loved thing, I will let you continue the path.”

And Death’s borrowed visage smiled with black teeth when a man held up his daughter. She was almost too old to be carried on his hip, the way she was, and almost too heavy for the man when he took her higher, holding her up to the truly false deity. What a delicious betrayal. “Is this your most priced thing, Man?” Sasu asked, the two filling him with what he wanted, already. The man nodded, miserable. “And you will give her to me, so that I can dissolve her and put her in the World Tree?” A loud, agreeing answer from the increasingly desperate father. “Ah, I see.” Sasu said before gesturing for the man’s building blocks to rejected one another. He became sand on a grainy beach, his form turning into mist and morsels. As the breeze and the fall took him, the girl fell into the puddle of remains, without his arms to hold her up.

There were questions from heavy hearts. Some of them cried but most of them simply wanted to be released from their confusion. Sasu swung his scytche in a circle, and he too started to turn to nothing before them. “Let this be a lesson.” He was not here to give them answers they could use.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2016, 10:09:59 pm »
Ia’s gaze was a little sharp. “You’ve grown fond of humans in such a short time?” she asked. The twins had contributed to the councils concerning the creation of humans, a testament to the vanity of the pantheon. They had even given their power, linking themselves to the natural ebb and flow of the earth’s existence and its species. But, neither twin had ever held a great love for the peculiar shadows of godliness. They were such short lives. Hardly a distraction when they’d had each other.

She watched him form the empty, replicate life. A pretty trick from her pretty brother. “So it seems.” She agreed with him, though the curl of her lips said she’d found no further love for humanity. It was best she didn’t. Destruction was most lovely when she was cold and unrelenting. Attachments blunted her razor edge. Ia was, however, always willing to indulge in whatever Eou gave her. When the little lifeless hands reached, she reached back.

Fingertips against the dark child hands, and the black life fluid began to bubble and contort. The infant form went up into vapor, shattering from the point of her touch until it was no more. She recoiled a little. “And so, it seems, there was no other way but to hold on to your priestess. For the child. This is the only body that would do. You were drawn to what that woman created. I needed a form that could decay. Everything I touch must decay, except for you.” Ia said. She reached for her brother, to distract herself from the insult the disappeared child-form had caused, and to sate the hunger in her skin that had been brewing since they’d been apart.

--

Sylphie would remain locked away, as long as Ia could maintain it. The slumbering soul understood that. It was a small death, in a sense, that she’d given herself to. But, she wasn’t alone. Mahu’s embrace was sweet and warm, like his father’s, and she regretted her fear over his conception. He was her anchor to this body, now. Aware of Ia’s mind, she understood it had been the singular purpose in letting her retain self. Mother reached out from sleep to embrace child. “We are safe, at least.” She offered him.

--

It had been two weeks since the twin gods had infiltrated the very heart of the PanTech tower and a False Death had propagated a new and incredible cult. There were riots outside the building late into the night. The acolytes had emerged from their hidden sanctum to the welcoming arms of the PanTech scientists. It was only fitting that they should swell the ranks of Ryll’s cult, adopting with their new faith the twin gods as patrons. Particularly when it was Dr. Winters’ face that had given form to divinity. It was the easiest path to accept for their unrooted souls.

PanTech had become a sanctum in its entirety; a peculiar obelisk of technology and celestial power joined. Eou was the fruit of that labor and Ia was its mother. Such a strange reversal of their natures. Saoirse sat on the rickety little bed in her room. She’d not moved out of the confines of the old sanctum. “I hardly know what to do anymore.” She said, looking at Connor as if he might have answers. She’d been so very glad he’d made it back before the whole city had gone into a frenzy.

“The cult is changing, with all the new Followers. I’m not trained to be a priestess and yet…” she gestured to her robes. The robes Sylphie had worn. The twin gods had become something unto themselves, the blossoming of their church hardly noticed. That Saoirse had been named their new priestess in Sylphie’s apparent death had been of very little concern to them and the church had been obliged to soldier on in their indifference.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do and the oracle is missing. Connor I know it’s hard but… won’t you find them? I know you still care. As much as I do.” Saoirse touched her chest, where her heart hung in a void. It was a peculiar empty she’d learned to breathe with. She still wished Eou had never touched her. It had been the reason she’d been named priestess, because the other acolyte had died in the days following Ia’s emergence.

“I’d go myself but the Followers would never let me out. Particularly since the oracle disappeared.” She said. “I’m sure they're looking for Lord Sasu.” Saoirse’s eyes were dark. The oracle had been tormented by the clamor of an awakened Heaven, since Eou and Ia had torn back the shroud of the Silence. The gem eyes had helped them focus, but they’d confided that Sasu had been entirely silent among the voices and that had caused them unrest. Saoirse hadn't been able to understand why, fully.

“The oracle is afraid for the world. I am, too. The oracle says  both Lord Sasu and Lord Xeros still walk our planet, though they've not appeared here since the Coming.” Saoirse shrugged helplessly. “I know they’re going on our behalf but… both Friction and Death are terrifying.” She looked pleadingly at Connor. “Won’t you please bring them back?”

--

The oracle pulled the hat lower on their head as they passed a man shouting on the sidewalk. Something about the End. The oracle couldn’t have argued the man was wrong, but they felt something closer to irritation than despair over the matter. This panic stank of Trifle. Perhaps it had become something greater than Sasu intended, but that hardly mattered. Besides, it might have been exactly what he'd wanted. The city had torn itself apart in a matter of days. Fear of Death. Fear of the End. Fear of the Gods. The unfaithful had become Followers when Heaven had revealed itself beyond doubt. That sort of conversion was foul in their mouth. Not that they could say much for themself. The Sight had laid Heaven before the oracle’s soul from the beginning. They’d never had room to question.

They stopped in a shop to order a coffee, tucking falling strands of their white hair up into their hat as they approached the counter. They weren’t of the mind to draw attention and it had become increasingly difficult to stay unnoticed with the sudden publicity of Ryll’s cult. The word had spread quickly, and with it the visages of the oracle and the priestess-turned-goddess. “Just a latte, please.” They asked. For as much as the city had gone into uproar, there were still the steady few that chose to carry on normalcy. A better tribute than all the ridiculous pandering and doom-calling churches, if the oracle had any say. They sighed. They hadn’t the slightest how to hunt for a god in the flesh and, despite the apparent presence of both Death and Friction in the mortal plane, the Sight was unhelpful in distinguishing the movements of either.

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #58 on: May 15, 2016, 12:18:25 pm »
In the gardens, of course. With belief running rampant, and the outer places soaking in the spreading faith, it would be hard to notice their new home. The park, where there had been a giant field of grass, and an artificial lake, was now tightly congested with vegetation. The city and its civil people, its civilization, was a shell for the bustling uproar. You could be holding up the keys for someone's car, and smile, and let go of the keys, while inside you were deciding between Death and Creation, and Destruction. And then your mortal mind would try to differentiate, and cram into your little, learned logic what was really the construct and convergence of at least three beings outside, and predating logic.

Eou had a touch of Ia on his body. The skin had been reforged so many times it was becoming clear at its places, the pigment spent. The pale and glow was now a silicone, here and there. Sylphie had been a good architect. It could not have been called anything but love, his suit of flesh and structure of metal. But without her care, and without his will to care, it had reverted to fending for itself. Her upkeep hadn't been complete, she'd intended for a few crucial adjustments before he'd become stainless. Not even Ia, with the fingerprint of the former priestess, could touch the blue circle and open his chest like a laid-down spider.

He wasn't affected much. The function of his limbs were there, and the revealing, transparent depth was more godly, though a testament to technology. Perhaps Creation could be hope to the technocratic human race, like this. Eou wasn't opposed to that. He was walking through the forest they owned, and touching trees that were both too young to be so tall and strong, and too new to be so decrepit. Some of the standing growths from the earth were metal, and some were plastic. He'd learned the patterns by the humans recipes. But everything in here was also Ia's, so it wasn't radiant. A forest of new things coiling around their own bitter end.

In the center, where the lake had been, there were plates held up by pillars he'd grown and she'd dwindled to perfection. He'd rather see this world with her, destroy it with her, but Mahu had other plans. The godling, the hero, was demanding more of them both, growing inside her. He should have been mostly like Eou himself, and a little like the human that was his first home. Somehow, incubating inside Ia, he'd become like her, as well. A thing in three.

"How are you today, beloved?" he asked, the godly voices that could be summoned were cut slightly by an askew blade in the voice box. It gave Eou a metallic tune, fitting of his recent robotic areas. He came to her, and brushed her abdomen where, in theory, Mahu should be. His nails let out hair-fine roots that nestled into her belly, through the skin, to feed the god-child, and to keep a balance between her decay, Sylphie's flaws, and his own building. Such a paradox, their son. Mahu, lately had become a rather volatile guest.

-

Connor hadn't needed to pray on his stomach, and serve on his knees again. His connection to Saoirse was enough to elevate him to her side in the expanding cult. With the flood of new followers, it was a good thing. He suspected he might have been diluted by the new bodies, enough that he might have had difficulty reaching her for an audience, and to help her.

At first he'd just contained the new masses, and spoke a few old sentiments he remembered from the scrolls. It was hard to be genuine when he carried so much hurt. Connor avoided speaking of The Oracle, even to the followers that asked. In these days, Death was more of a conversation, along the matter of the will of the twins. Some were hopeful that Ryll's children would be a counter weight to Death. Some just wanted answers. For most part, Connor only siphoned those he could away from Saoirse as she adjusted. Their cult didn't have any answers, they didn't control the gods, they only tried to calm the people that believed so.

He was wrapped in his own robes, listening to Saoirse. He shook his head, looking down into his lap. He'd come, the day of The Coming, to make sure she was free from harm. By some definition, he could say he'd done that. Perhaps he should leave again. This land was infected. Leave and drift. Then a string he didn't know of tensed, and his attention shifted back to his sister's well being, and his attachment to The oracle flared. Sasu's bonds were as potent as ever. "If I go find Them, will  you be alright?" he asked.

He'd not known Them to have sympathy. They certainly had not shown sympathy to his heart. What could he say that could bring Them back to the sanctum? They knew the twins better than he. They'd know if he lied. He ran his palm over the back of his hair. He groaned as he stood, looking at his down-weighted sister. "I'll find Them for you. Maybe bring some peace back to our cult turned wide-spread." The smirk was exhausted, and the sigh lifted and dropped his shoulders.

-

Mahu had grown. He was a giant, holding his sleeping, human mother. The aggression toward Ia had subsided. In some ways, he'd become older than an infant, inside Ia, and understood a war between him and Destruction was useless as long as she was his home. His father's son, it was also hard to dislike something so intrinsically bound to his affection. He'd always been an addict, fighting against his intoxication of choice, with this crusade. He'd whisper kind things to Sylphie sometimes, but mostly he basked in the nourishment and swell provided by the twins.

He was becoming restless. The time for his entrance into the world wasn't far.

VenomousEve

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Re: A rave of returning ravens
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2016, 05:07:23 am »
She was quiet, palms against her swollen belly, as Eou entered. The god-child had grown at an alarming rate. In two weeks, Mahu had taken the size of a human infant nearing the end of its second trimester. As if a virgin birth had not been enough glory for the new Hero. The father’s touch prickled pleasantly and it made her smile. When she looked up to meet his gaze, he was greeted with soft blue skies where Ia’s midnights had been. “My Lord.” Sylphie said. She looked just a bit sleepy, as if she’d just woken up.

Sylphie had emerged from her soul slumber earlier that morning. Mahu’s presence was a poignant one. His bond to his first mother had kept him whole, strengthened by his father’s feeding. His effect on Ia, though, had begun to cause the goddess pain. As in every forever, Destruction had hungrily torn at the child’s existence. The goddess, who loved Mahu as though Sylphie had carried no part in his forming, had despaired over her own tremendous exertions. Other parts of her had begun to decay, when she could not, or would not, destroy the Life. She had smiled at Eou, each time he’d given some of his Light to repair her eternal Grey, but in the last few days it had become apparent that she was suffering for her own desires. How very like her.

“Mahu and Ia are going to destroy this body.” She said to him with an apologetic smile. It seemed she’d misplaced some of her fierceness in her decay and slumber. “Ia has withdrawn. Until Mahu is born.” Sylphie explained. “She is worried that this body will be taken from you, if she and Mahu continue to move in it at the same time, so she’s retreated. Not sleeping. Just—“ Sylphie shrugged at him. “I’m here, for now. It’s better for both of us, and our son.” The priestess took a deep breath.

It was as if she’d never been gone, in some ways. She’d known what to expect, swimming back to the surface of existence. She’d known of her new home and the chaotic cloud that had descended on the city. Yet, it also felt like she’d been gone for ages. Time flows queerly in the space between life and death. “Your skin.” Sylphie said, standing from the lounge of half-dead branches and soft furs. She reached for him with one hand, the other still cradled against Mahu’s swell. She hadn’t changed all that much. She touched the places that had evolved translucence. A different sensation than the one Ia gave those same fingertips.

“Days without monitoring… this body still needed some stabilization. My Lord, let me take you back to PanTech.” She said. As if they could walk right back into her lab like nothing had changed. The blue eyes were serious. “It’s good I’m here. At least for a while.” She said, more to herself than to Eou. It occurred to her that the days leading up to Eou’s birth might be her last truly living. Ia was not want to share this mind unnecessarily. It seemed lonely, to go back to sleep if Mahu was gone. Much of the peacefulness of her slumber had been in the soft glow of her growing son.

--

 Saoirse nodded. “Of course I’ll be alright. The Followers are overly zealous but, in its own way, the cult has grown larger than anything I could be responsible for. Our faith has truly taken on a life of its own.” She said. “As long as I’m present, they’ll be satisfied to carry on in their own ways.” Saoirse suggested. It might have been wishful thinking, but there was some sense in it. In truth, the pining girl might have had a clearer head on her shoulders, with the oracle gone.

She gave her brother an odd look. “Connor, do you believe again?” she asked. Saoirse had not reached out to him when he’d left. It would have been poor conduct for an acolyte to do so, when he’d left the cult the way he had. She’d not had the chance to speak to him about it. Now, the question was almost strange, asked too late. Like anyone else, it would be a fool’s errand to refuse the Coming. Truth made plain was no matter of faith.

As if she felt she should rephrase, Saoirse waved a hand in the air. “I guess what I mean is… you know they didn’t mean to hurt you, right?” she asked. Saoirse didn’t know if what she said was true, but her heart told her it was worth believing. She suspected some reach of Connor must feel the same. He’d been forthcoming with her about the way he felt for the oracle, some time before he’d confessed to them, and Saoirse was sure he loved them as dearly as she did. He couldn’t possibly be all bitter. The girl shook her head. Maybe it was too much, without speaking for so long. There were distances which could not be bridged by their short time back in each other’s company. She was being presumptuous, saying anything at all.

“Be safe.” She said finally. Saoirse should have simply gone with that to start. “Come back as soon as you can. I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you again.”

--

The oracle sat at a rickety table for two, out front of the coffee shop. They took a sip of their latte and frowned. "Well, Lord Sasu, do you hear prayers like the other gods?" they murmured under their breath. "If you do, I thought you should know Saoirse's brother is back. Maybe you ought to take a break from tearing up this city. You did ask to see that girl and her brother." the oracle said bitterly to the air. It wasn't a completely true statement, and it was a vile thing to offer the two like some sort of sacrifice. But, truth be told, the oracle wasn't so sure the gods listened to prayers.