Summary:The Exalts deal with Bertrand's Essence disease, but the situation finally deteriorates into outright conflict with the corrupted Winter.

XP:C4, L4, I4, S4, V4, Z4

Sol Invictus Logs

`Lucent returns, flower in hand. "Are you EVER?"

`Bertrand continues to lie on the table, uncertain but very much preferring the inevitable certainty (one way or another) from attempting treatment to the current form of uncertain and awkward prodding by his superiors.

`Varanim "Pretend I don't know what's going on--actually, that's too hard, pretend you didn't know what was going on and you were explaining to yourself. What exactly is the plan here?"

`Winter "Since I am pretending I do not know what is going on, I do not know."

`Winter "That was easier than I expected."

`Lucent "Well, you are a doctor. You know how, when you are trying to cure a new disease, you just... have to see how things interact with it, based on what you know?"

`Lucent "We will see if we can make the disease be born in Sextes' flower, to bloom as whatever that is."

`Lucent "Worst-case scenario, we create a new Deathlord, I suppose! But we have our own to counter it."

`Winter "Hm."

`Winter "That is not what I intended at all."

`Varanim "Oh, yes. That's exactly how it works."

`Varanim takes a drink.

`Lucent blinks. "I thought it had been that? What did you intend?"

`Lucent sits down, puts the flower on the table and watches the stars

`Winter "I had thought we would use the flower to modify Bertrand's Essence, to slow the growth of the disease, so that it will not yet become whatever it intends to become."

`Winter "I suppose we can attempt it either way."

`Lucent "Yours' is certainly safer! We should try it before anything else."

`Lucent "Should we start it? Planting flowers has always been your thing."

`Bertrand seems to perk up a bit at the word "safer."

`Winter "Certainly."

`Winter taps Bertrand's chest a few times, exploratively.

`Bertrand It makes a dense thudding sound, as one might expect from a chest cavity.

`Lucent pokes Varanim's mental landscape ::... sorry.::

`Varanim ::Eh?::

`Lucent ::About last time. Just... sorry. Oh, and pay attention to this and warn me if he is going to hurt Bertie in any way? Please?::

`Varanim ::...don't worry about it.:: Then her mental tone revives a bit to its normal cheer. ::What on earth makes you think I can tell you that? I... oh, actually.::

`Varanim settles her pale eye on Bertrand, estimating whether his prognostication of death has changed drastically in the last minute.

`Bertrand So far, everything seems pretty steady: he is neither more nor less likely to die an immediate, horrible death now than he was shortly ago.

`Lucent ::Because you are smarter than anyone, of course.::

`Winter rests his forefinger thoughtfully over Betrand's sternum.

`Cerin "Modify Bertrand's Essence how precisely?" Cerin enquires.

`Varanim ::If you think cheap flattery will get you anywhere... well played, this time. But all I can tell you is that whatever Spring is doing isn't likely to kill anyone.::

`Cerin "Modify Bertrand's Essence how precisely?" Cerin enquires. Cerin is listening both to what people say, and the little extra additions they might add if they were being more honest.

`Lucent ::Thank you. I waited for you, you know.::

`Winter "It will be necessary to directly introduce the flower into Bertrand's Essential structure. This will allow the flower to partake of his Essence flows and in turn modify them. (It may, of course, be agonizingly and continuously painful.)"

`Varanim ::And I wasn't just ditching you to fan the flames of desire, you know. I have until Calibration to finish several things that will be just about exactly too hilarious for words.::

`Cerin nods. "I see."

`Winter nods. Turning to Bertrand, he abruptly picks up the flower and drives its stem through his breastbone and into his heart. Bertrand's breath stops for nearly a full second before rushing back in a great, painful wave of liquid-sounding oxygen.

`Bertrand gurglesplort "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

`Bertrand Bertrand? back two steps Bertrand?

`Cerin Warned by the tingling sensation on the back of his neck, Cerin's eyes flick briefly over to Spring. He briefly weighed possibilities, and then decided he should probably act on Bertrand's behalf anyway. ::Lucent, use your charm to take away Betrand's pain:: Cerin thinks in a commanding tone.

`Winter nods. Turning to Bertrand, he abruptly picks up the flower and drives its stem through his breastbone and into his heart. Bertrand's breath stops for nearly a full second before rushing back in a great, painful wave of liquid-sounding oxygen.

`Lucent ... and as he does Lucent's Maiden-Thorn Scalpels land like a rainbow over five pressure points of Bertie's body, filling it with a sensation of unlimited, perfect bliss. "... you should have told me it would HURT, Winter."

`Winter "Of course it would hurt. It is MEDICINE."

`Lucent "Medicine is not about pain, but its complete and total eradication."

`Winter "It will go on hurting until we find a true cure."

`Bertrand gurglesplort "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" -- pause -- "aaaaaaaaaaaah." Bertrand screams, then a moment later, sighs in analgesic bliss, slinking back down into a fully-relaxed position

`Lucent "We can do so without agony. We are not torturers. We do not rip people's arms to make them better."

`zahara "Most of us aren't, at least."

`Lucent "... oh. Um. Sorry. I thought that... I meant us DOCTORS..."

`zahara "Indeed."

`Bertrand breathes deeply as his face continues to glaze over.

`Lucent "Not a slam. Honest. I have the utmost respect for... well, not really... I really like you!"

`Winter "Desperate situations call for desperate action. I would think Helios Red Sands would understand that."

`Cerin "Perhaps if we could attend to the matter at hand?"

`Winter "Everything should be taken care of. The flower will modify Bertrand's Essence, thwarting the progress of the disease. Side effects may include dry mouth and anima malfunction."

`Winter "Shall we move on to the next order of business?"

`Lucent "Helios would, but he is not here, and even he would not cut such simple corners. It was not important that he not receive anesthetics."

`Winter "Time was of the Essence."

`Lucent "Did you see any time being lost by me cutting his sense of pain? Are Deathlords drumming down our doors because of that?"

`Lucent "If anything this argument will take more of our time than a simple warning or a stray thought torwards Bertrand's well-being would!"

`Winter "I wholeheartedly agree."

`Winter "Shall we now turn our attentions to the rapidly dying Unconquered Sun, of whom you are an anointed priest and about whom you should presumably be very concerned?"

`Bertrand (9:45:43 PM) Varanim: <Lucent> "That is why I brought the flower in the first place, you... you..."

`Bertrand (9:45:45 PM) Varanim: <Lucent> "What CAN you tell about the flower and his Essence, oh you Soul-Fire Savants among us?"

`Cerin Cerin sets about looking over Bertrand, attempting to divine just what can be said with certainty regarding the flower, Bertrand's essence, and the no doubt now highly complex relationship between them...

`Varanim "Actually, I have a better next order of business in mind. Spring, you have an Essence growth we need to snip."

`Bertrand A superficial examination seems to confirm a superficial description of the effect: the flower's essence has paused the growth of the burgeoning Essence pattern inside Bertrand's soul, though the constant Essence-washing process that it is utilizing to do so does indeed seem like it would be quite painful.

`Winter pauses. "What do you mean?"

`Varanim "You have a necrotic Essence structure, whose causes are a little obscure but presumably come from touching yourself too much. Unless you'd like to spend Calibration in the White Room, it needs to come out."

`Winter "Lucent?" Winter looks over at him, obviously expecting help.

`Lucent "I want Spring back." Lucent nods to Varanim's idea, giving Winter none of the expected support. "It needs to come out."

`Lucent "I will make sure it will not be given to The Doctor afterwards."

`Winter sighs, and puts his face in his hand for a moment. When he raises it, his expression is weary and firm.

`Winter "It has come to this, then. You have all allowed yourselves, slowly, to be corrupted by the forces against which we have striven for so long, and I have lost my allies and my friends."

`Winter "I am sorry. But I cannot allow you to tamper with my Essence, to corrupt me until I become a creature of darkness such as you."

`Varanim ::If you'd read the list,:: Varanim notes mildly to Lucent, ::you'd know that wasn't on it.::

`Winter "I have taken what I require, and I will leave the Cascade. I hope we will not see each other again."

`zahara "I don't think that will be happening."

`Lucent "No, no, wait, you are getting it all wrong! I just want you to be safe! You... you are not even Spring anymore! Remember? You used to make things bloom!"

`Winter The whistling of the wind, fluttering in loose spirals around Winter, accompanies this speech -- the sign, familiar to all the Exalts, of defensive preparations.

`Winter "I am, as I have always been, the person I was destined to be."

`Winter "I wish you could say the same, Lucent."

`Lucent "... a Deathlord? That is what you are, by any other name. I did NOT let Glimpse take over my very NAME."

`Winter "Which name, Helios?"

`Imrama "God-King of Wassiru, check yourself. Somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind, you remember that your name is not Winter, and that prickly as you might have been, you were never so dismissive of the suffering of others. Something has bent and deformed your compassion, and enslaved it to a sour temperance."

`Lucent shakes, the coronal coming to life around him. "It was not by my own will that I lost him! Malfeas took him from me! This is NOT. THE. SAME."

`Imrama "I rather like my friend Long-Awaited Spring, and whatever the case, the world needs him. So no, I can say with confidence that you are not leaving."

`Varanim stands silent in the uproar, looking tired.

`Winter "I am sorry, Imrama. But I cannot stay. Somebody has to save Creation."

`Lucent "Long-Awaited Spring would. You were always a sign of what is to come. The rebirth of the thirteen lights of heaven. The spring they brought to Creation in the dawn of the Third Age. But no. Winter will not come. If we have to pull back the wheel of destiny so be it, but Winter is not what will save Creation. It cannot be."

`Winter "Sometimes Winter must come, to pave the way for a new spring."

`Varanim "In that case we're being very auspicious, since I suspect you won't be exactly the old Spring when I'm done."

`zahara watches Winter with a clinical eye as she clicks a bracelet on her wrist shut while the others speak.

`Lucent "But this is not how the shadow comes."

`Winter slows a bit as the bracelet closes, Essence falling away from his muscles as he glances angrily at Zahara. The wind, however, does not diminish, but if anything increases in its eerie whistling.

`Cerin ::That does not quite seem to have gone as planned, my love:: Cerin observes privately to her as he observes spring openly himself.

`zahara "As I suspected. You are no longer quite a Solar."

`Winter "What matters is not the source of your power, but your willingness to do what must be done."

`zahara "I have always been willing to do what must be done, and needed no darkness to do so."

`Winter "Until now you have always had a surfeit as your inheritance."

`Imrama muses casually, almost absent-mindedly to Winter: "Whoever graced you with those ill-winds seems to have torn out your heart to make room for them. Tell me; are you are you seeking something specific that's impossible, or would you settle for any old thing?"

`Bertrand And at that moment, there's an awkwardly-timed interruption on the telepathy rings. ::...Zahara? This is Belladonna. Are you there?::

`zahara Not even blinking she replies ::Yes, Belladonna. What can I do for you?:: "And you have changed who you are completely three times since I have known you. Your opinion of what is necessary has changed each time as well."

`Bertrand ::You appear to be down some personnel.::

`Winter glances with confusion at Imrama, and hesitates.

`Winter "Have you found it, Varanim?" he asks, in an incongruous tone.

`Varanim The glass that Varanim was holding in her soulsteel hand cracks into three neat pieces. "No," she says mildly, after a moment.

`zahara ::Was the event preceded by wind?::

`Belladonna ::I'm not sure there was any wind, but at least three Exalts are missing. I'm trying to do a full headcount now and determine who or what else is gone. Do you have any idea who might've been able to get in?::

`zahara ::My best guess is Winter.::

`zahara mentally commands the Cascade to reconfigure itself to close off all exits

`zahara ::Cerin, we are missing exalts. Can you please see what's going on?::

`Cerin ::That is vexing:: Cerin says, as he focuses outwards, and starts to percieve everywhere within six miles simultaneously. ::I will have a look::

`Belladonna There's a pause and another ring-line comes in to Zahara. ::Zahara, this is Linwei. Did you change Atzeret's Essence output on purpose?::

`zahara "Winter, what are you doing to my Empire?" she says evenly

`zahara ::No. Move it to a safe location if you can.::

`Cerin (NB: This includes inside Winter's stomach)

`Winter shakes off the momentary pause and smiles bitterly.

`Winter "I am afraid I had a plan for this."

`zahara "What plan was that?"

`Winter "I believe you are now finding out."

`Belladonna ~~~~~~ Earlier.... ~~~~~~

`Innocence stands before Kilanti, the Wings of Broken Sky, Demon of the Second Circle, a little uncertain and waiting for the person who asked her here to show up.

`Winter walks in, hurriedly, and nods to Innocence. "Thank you for coming, my friend."

`Innocence nods. "I've been trying to get everything you asked for ready," she says, looking up askance at the sleeping demon that was intended to serve as her conveyance shortly thereafter.

`Winter "I am sorry to put so much on you, so soon."

`Winter "Have you gathered the items we need, for our work?"

`Winter "The arm? The books? Grim Reminder?"

`Innocence nods. "Although I'm still not sure why you needed any of this... or why you wanted me to get it." She gestures to the nearby table, where the gathered objects sit, an awkward collection of dusty mementos.

`Winter "We are relocating to a new location, for a secret project."

`Winter "It is very secret, so make sure not to tell anybody."

`Innocence frowns and crinkles her forehead in a cutely confused way. "Except the people who are now asleep inside the demon."

`Winter "Yes. They are allowed to know."

`Winter "And they all made it safely?"

`Winter "Verbena?"

`Winter "Ember?"

`Winter "Haral?"

`Winter lists off a few other, less notable Dragon-Blooded and God-Exalts, nodding as their presence is confirmed.

`Innocence "All here," she says. "But...." she bites her lip. "Why the two babies?"

`Winter smiles to himself. "I am sure you will see, in the fullness of time."

`Winter "They will not be too difficult to handle, I think."

`Winter "You had better go. I have a few stops to make before the meeting tonight."

`Winter "The White Room, first. I need to check on Fierce Red Star."

`Innocence nods. "You'll... be in touch?"

`Winter "Afterwards."

`Winter "I will see you soon. Do not worry."

`Innocence nods. She pokes the demon's belly and it slits open from top to bottom with a queasy splik sound, revealing the cabin within where the other Exalts sit sleeping, awaiting their trip. "Where... else are you going?"

`Winter "The Auric Temple."

`Winter "I left something there a while ago that belongs to me."


Sol Invictus Logs

Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:08 PM