Lords of Creation: Sheltering Darkness (IC Thread)

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You, darkness, of whom I am born –

I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.

But the darkness embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations–just as they are.

It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.


I believe in the night.
~Ranier Marie Rilke


A long, long time ago, in the place that was between the places that were, in the time between the ticks of the clock was a house of simple wood and brick, with smoke that was not smoke puffing steadily out of a chimney into the void.  It is here that our story begins.   

Our tale takes us into the building and to a table, where two beings, one tall and impossibly bright, the other short and, despite the radiance filling the room, shrouded in shadows, sat playing a game of Rimple.  Every so often a laugh of delight and triumph or a grunt of worry and defeat would come from one or the other as they sat in silence, patterned tiles sliding this way and that across the table before them as he attempted to get past her pieces while she attempted to capture his.
The smaller goddess (whose name is Vega) made a move and looked up to meet the gaze of the god(whose name is Altair).  Altair smiled in reply, enjoying how he could just barely make out the color of her eyes despite the radiance he gave off, then looked down.  His final Pyla had been surrounded by Vega’s pieces, and defeat was inevitable at this point, as a Pyla was necessary for victory.  Altair's grin widened and he shook his head. 


“It appears that you won again.”  The God said contentedly.   “What is it, seven in a row?  I must be getting rusty.”


“Now now,”  Vega clucked, wagging her finger at Altair.  “None of that.  You still hold the record of thirty seven wins in a row.   I should be allowed to have seven in a row every once in a while.”


Altair chuckled and reached across the table to lay his hand on Vega’s.   “And do you recall how many games we had to play before I beat your record of thirty six?”


The gods laughed at that, remembering those many, many games, played over the days, years, centuries, seconds they had known one another in this space that Time did not know.  Altair basking in the memory of his victory, Vega laughing because Altair didn’t know that she had let him win.
Eventually, the two stopped laughing and merely sat in silence, enjoying one another’s company, for while they seemed to be opposites, she Dark and he Light, they knew the belonged together in some way that defied reason.  This had been how it had always been, and how it would always be.  And it was Good.


“Another?”  Vega asked after an indeterminable time (a minute?  A century?), reaching for the pile of Pyla she had captured and begining to lay them and their attending Syl on the board. 


“No… not now.  We can do that after.  Lets go out.”  Altair replied, shaking his head as he looked down at the Rimple board and pushed the Ol tiles back towards the center of the board for their next game. 


Vega grinned in response.   “The usual?”  She asked eagerly.


Altair grinned back.  “I don’t see why not.  I’ll count to ten.”


Vega glared at him.  “Its hardly fair.  Ten  is-"


“One.”


With a giggle of glee, the goddess raced from the room and into the darkness that was the void.
Altair waited until he had counted to ten (seconds?  Millenia? Plank-Times?), and then got up and strode out of the house, grabbing his cloak and mask such that the game of hide-and-seek would not be too easy for him to win.   Today he would start in the District of Forever.  That seemed like a good enough place as any.

Endless days they’d had together. It was true. They were gods; mightier beasts that any. They’d had months, years, ages together. They'd had eternity together. But they had barely known each other. Such is the way of gods. Perhaps if it had never happened, perhaps if the flame of her leaving had not caught, had not lit the world and inflamed it with bright, accursed, consuming Time, they could have been together forever and for forever again. But Time, oh Time! It was the ending, for them, before they started, for how could they ever have been? They’d rode the morning together, and now they never knew.

She'd hid in the Crook of Nowhere, along the Avenue of Somewhere, just past the River of Something in the District of Forever. It was a cozy place, and she was Darkness, so she'd huddled in the interstices, the between-places, and waited, eyes shut tight like a child. As though believing in some foolish, wonderful fantasy that, if you cannot see, then so too can you not be seen. The darkness of the space, of her closed eyes, was peaceful, gentle, like a warm embrace. Darkness was not bright and commanding as it's cousin, Light. Darkness was soft and sweet.

She'd dared a peek beyond those ebony lashes, at the void of swirling somethings. It was a odd thing, the void, something that, despite the comfort of darkness, she'd always been curious about. Darkness was happier, cooler and more welcoming than Light, but it had none of its stark revelation, its stern judgment of all that was. Darkness had always been pulled to secrets, or perhaps it was secrets to darkness pulled. And so Vega was drawn to the secret of the void.

They say that there are secrets that should never be revealed, secrets not for the telling. Their telling ripped the world apart, forced it into two worlds: the World Before and the World After. There was the blissful ignorance of Before, the stark reality of After. Who could choose between these two? Who could decide which was better? Vega stared into the void and saw its secret. She saw the world Before, she saw the world After, and she had her decision ready as breathing.

Time caught fast on the canvas of nothing. It burned and rippled across its surface like spilled paint, brightening, yet horribly, irrevocably defining. Altair could sense it, in the sudden burgeoning of consciousness, of awareness of location. He’d been riding the sky with his beloved, had he not? Mere moments before? But what were those memories, those paltry things against the onslaught of time? Their impossibility, their fleeting longevity faltered and broke beneath the heat of his realization. And Time arrived, crashing like some mad behemoth, into his world. And his beloved was nowhere to be seen.

But there was a person in the Time, he was more aware of that fact than he had ever been of anything. The strands of it all led to this being. He could see them knitting together, and their twitching fibers were the being’s to command, for they followed him. Not his hands or arms, but him. For they were him. And he spoke.

“You wife is gone my friend,” said the being, and Altair saw that he had a form. Sights, sounds, even the feel of the void on his skin (for he seemed to now have skin) were settling slowly upon him as the advent tide of Time arrived in full-force.

The being shifted, and Altair became aware of red robes falling to just past the being’s knees (for he also seemed to have knees). The being looked at Altair, his face blank, his gaze stony, for he looked out from two black pits set in a blank face.

“Your wife foresaw a time when life would people this blank void. She saw men and women, children. She saw light, she saw the petals of flowers parting at its touch,” he paused, “And she saw you, Steward of this bright, happy world, and her heart filled with love. But the vision was fading. And rapidly. This nothingness, this false realm of potentiality in which you have both been living, it was slipping away along with the dream. Reality was ripping at the seams. She would lose it all soon enough, so she threw herself into the void, threw herself into this happy future. So great was her wish, her love for this perfect future, that this happened.”

And now the being cast his gaze about, not at the Void, for that was no longer, but at the Time stitching together around them.

“And Time came to give her what Void could not: a future, one of happiness and joy for you and all your children. It created Time and Space where once there was only potential for such. It bound reality together, and set a foundation for her dream. But before she cast herself into the Void, she created me, the last vessel for her lifeblood, the one Steward of Time. And I await you here, as I have from the Dawn of Time, asking you to please give your wife the future she deserves.”
Altair froze, not quite understanding both the words spoken to him and the sensations that were wrapping around him, a collapsing of potentiality into reality.

"I-  I do not understand."  The god stammered, looking around wildly, light flaring from the seams of his robes as he pulled the mask from his face, illuminating the world around him.   "Where is She?"

Around him, Time stitched together the universe, and as it pushed through the Place between Places, Space found a home along with Time.  Turning, he saw his house, his and Vega's house, shred into pieces as the wave of Space-Time hit it, throwing its potentiality into the universe.  Wood was squeezed of its Water before bursting into Fire, Brick broke apart into Earth and  smoke spread as Air and all of it was flung across this new creation to take its necessary place now that all things must have a unique place in both Space and Time.  And just like that, the universe was complete, and the Place between Places, the Time between the movement of the clock, was gone.

But Altair did not notice this, did not care to notice this.  Brilliant light shone like a spotlight from his cowled face, illuminating one corner of the universe after the next as he attempted to find his beloved.  And yet, even as he searched, he felt the memory of her vanishing, draining down hidden tracks of his mind until all that remained was a dull ache and a deep sense that something was Wrong.

"How-  I-"  The God blinked, unclear on what it was that he had been doing.  Had he been looking for someone?  A woman?  But...  A name slipped past his mind, brushing against his conciousness as he tried to grasp at it.  He stared at the God before him for a long moment.

"What must be done?"   He finally asked.
But the being was barely listening. Even as the Bright God watched, the Red One twisted and pulled at the threads of potentiality, the essence of things that were, what could be and what never was. And again there was that impression that he did not physically move the strings, but that they were a part of him, moving with him, flowing through him. They seemed to weave through reality, holding it together, and leading back to him. He was a sort of junction for the potential threads of existence.

He seemed to be examining the fabric of the universe, checking it over for flaws or holes. Here and there he pulled at a stitch, carrying along some mote of existence, some potential phrase or thought. He seemed to be searching for something.

They cast an odd pair, those two gods, hovering above creation. It had seemed as though they had been standing, or at least supported by something, just a moment ago. But then, that was false. In that moment, there had been no need for support, and so there had been none. But now in the World After, in a space with Time and up and down and ground and limits and boundaries, the perception of the mind shifted, and just as an eye fills in its saccades, the mind filled in that space before with support. But now, here they were, one in Red patiently examining creation, and another, forged of Light, distractedly examining the Red.

Down below, the earth stretched out to the horizons, a natural effect of this Space business. All the potential for earth, air, water, had been split apart. Wind, as it does, took the world above. It spread over the world like a bubble, a canopy. Below was earth, flat as earth is wont to do, with jutting rocks and sunken valleys breaking up the landscape. And around it, at the edges, was the water.

The Red tugged at a stubborn string of the world. He had been searching the tapestry that these threads all formed, and isolated the bit he desired. With a bit of pulling and prodding, he pulled it free from the pattern, and set it into the world.

A pair of children formed, one white, one black.

The Red looked up at Altair. 
The two small children glanced around them, bewildered. The last they remembered, they were playing quietly in the house between the ticks and the tocks, their parents having stepped outside not long before. Then, they found themselves here, with their father glowing confused before them alongside a red robed figure.

The smaller child, the boy who, like his mother, seemed to be wrapped in shadows, nestled himself closer to his sister. Her brilliant hair cascaded over her shoulders and provided a fine hiding place for him. In fright he dropped the toy he had been playing with. It was a small, furry creature that, as it left his grasp, grew still in the near-void and began to fall apart. The girl glanced between the two adults, her gaze casting light upon Red Robe.

"Father," she asked, her voice small and smooth. "What is happening? Where is mother?"

PP

2PP - Fashion Death: Vasa and Vion accidentally create the Death domain in their surprise and confussion of recent events.

"It is quite simple, really," said the Red Robe, "I plucked the mote of potentiality out from the fabric of the universe. That is to say I fashioned the possibility of your existence into reality."

The other three being could practically see the Red Robe pushing metaphorical glasses up a metaphorical nose.

"And that is why you are here, with all the memories of your mother and father and you," he turned his gaze up to Altair, "Do not." He paused, "Or, I don't know, do you? Remember these two?"

The being shook his head slightly, as if to say that was neither here nor there. Which in fact it wasn't. Instead he turned his gaze to the task at hand: the world.

"I brought you two here because I envisioned a Time wherein you would be necessary,"  he shifted his attention to Altair, "I suppose I am not wrong in assuming they will be, ah, helpful?"
Altair looked at his children.  Strange.  He did not remember having children.  It had just been him and Vega in their house.  And then she had left and he had followed and then... this.  But where had she gone?  And why did he remember children laughing?

"Your Mother has gone away, Vasa.  Do not worry, I am sure she will return.  She has left us a gift."  He said, mustering the most composure that he could to get out those three sentances.

And yet in his mind, those last scenes played out over and over again.  Vega had grabbed her black cloak and slipped it around her shoulders... no, she was black as the cloak, no, HE had grabbed the cloak, and had left.  He had followed, that he was sure of... was it immediately?  No.  He had waited.  Oh, why had he waited?  If he had not waited, she would still be here.  He could have protected her... did she need protecting?  Yes, she had.  Clearly she had.  His beautiful... blue (grey?) eyed goddess had dissapeared.

Suddenly he was full of anger.  Where had she gone?  Why had this place taken her from him?

"WHERE IS SHE?"  He roared, ripping off a glove and pointing it into the darkness.

A spark caught in the night, flickered and then flared into existence:  a sphere of fire, dimly illuminating a small area in the blackness, not even reaching the world below.  It was not enough.  

A band of brass appeared, ringing the sphere and rotating slowly around it.  At it circled, it fed energy into the sun and it shone brighter.   It was not enough.

Another band, circling in another direction, and the orb grew even hotter and brighter.  Then another and another.  Four rings now circled the nacent sun and light shone throughout the heavens and onto the earth below, blocked every so often by the slowly rotating rings.

Altair lowered his hand and looked around.  Below stretched out a barren landmass, surrounded by salt water.  Above the earth, air clung like a blanket.  And above that was the sphere which cast light both down at the world and up towards the empty heavens... was that a smudge of light in the distance?  Altair made a note to explore that later.

But there was no Vega.  Not below, not above, nowhere.  Perhaps it wasn't bright enough?

Another ring appeared and the orb grew brighter and hotter still, becoming slightly unpleasant to watch.

Nothing.  She was nowhere.   The mindless rage bubbled upwards, filling Altair as he pointed at the orb once more.   If this world had taken Vega from him.  It would suffer until he held her again.   A sixth and final ring appeared around the sphere, which grew incredibly bright and hot as a result, sending its angry rays down to the world below.

"Of course they will be helpful." he snapped at the one in Red.  "Everything is helpful at some point or another.  Do you have more advice, Stranger?  I do not even know your name yet you seem to know me far better than you should.  If you do not, I will take my children and leave."

PP

3 PP:  Shape Artifact:  The Sun.  The sun is a roiling ball of fire that is a bit too bright and a bit too heavy on the UV rays for life to happily exist on the surface without protection of some kind.  Unprotected skin will sunburn within twenty minutes, blister within the hour and die within three.  Despite this intensity, the world is not any hotter or colder than it would be with a normal sun (that is, the world is not all desert).  It *can* provide Harm PP to any group that does not account for this increased intensity.  Surrounding the sun are six rings that circle it like a gyroscope, slowly rotating both along their length but also rotating around the sun as well.  It is these broad bands that provide the day-night cycle to the world below, as they rotate and periodically block the sun from shining down on the world below.  

picture

Yes, this is borrowed from the Game of Thrones TV show.  I thought it was awesome and wanted to play with a version of it!




"I meant no disrespect, sire," said the being, bowing deeply, "I hoped merely to indicate my reasoning. You see, I truly was left here for nothing more, and nothing less that to serve the rightful lord of this realm. The true King Among Gods. And to my understanding, that would indicate yourself. And thus, I must pledge myself, wholly and truly, to your whims. Further, I am Eago, sire, a lowly servant."

The being known as Eago straightened up. His gaze shifted and fell upon the rapidly expanding pool of light cast by the new "Sun". His gaze travelled along the coasts or this newly revealed world, across cracks in the land. It followed the passage of waves, and took in the invisible movements of the winds.

"That is quite a beauteous creation, what do you call it?"
"My Servant, you say?"  Altair chuckled, glancing over at his two children momentarially to gauge their reactions.   "Never really considered what I would do with a servant.   I thought you called yourself the Steward of Time?  Does this mean you know its secrets?"

He then considered the Orb.  "I had not thought to give it a name.  It is A Sun." 
"Issohn! What a marvelous name for a piece of land!" exclaimed Eago, completely mis-attributing his master's comment, "It shall be sung from the mountain-tops for decades to come!"

Eago bowed again, once again showing his knack for creeping civility. His head rose up and an arrangement of sigils and figures presented themselves before him, their golden, gently quivering icons completely indecipherable. Eago, however, seemed to recognize it, for after a quick appraisal, he nodded satisfactorily, and another phrase added itself to the jumble.

"I really should write all this down someday," he noted, as the sigils faded into air, "But on what? And with what?"

As he spoke, something shimmered in the air around him.

"Oh yes, I had nearly forgotten," he said absently, and with a mental tug, the shimmers solidified into solid states, "The Tempora, Time-Worms, if you please, parasitic by-products of this lovely thing called Time. Invisible to regular folk as a general rule, but capable of speeding up time and slowing it down. Generally at moments when such an effect is undesirable."

The Tempora were curious creatures, golden-scaled and looking like some bizarre hybrid of eagle and fish. Or perhaps is was more accurate to say that the eagle and fish were distillations of the Tempora's purer form. It had an extremely long, smooth tail, and whispered along through the air, utterly silent and, as Eago mentioned, completely invisible to mortals.

Eago diverted his attention back to Altair

"Well I would have assumed my function was self-evident. I am the Steward of Time for that is what was appointed to me. I serve you in that regard, but I am also skilled in other matters. For example, the legitimizing and authentication of your reign, including your laws and creed. It simply won't do to have a King Among Gods if he can't be respected or followed, now can it?"

Eago nodded sagely.

"It shall be easy to record and realize your Code. But legitimizing your reign? Perhaps a task I should set my mind to at once."

PP
1 PP Spawn - The Tempora
 
"No!  THAT is A Sun."  Altair said crossly.   

"This can be..." A flash of memory, a woman in white silks to match his black cloak, a flurry of feathers...  "Sericea."

Sericea Map and Maplib Link

 

Please recall that your changes to the world don't count unless you put them up on maplib!
www.maplib.net/map.php?id=12931
Just put a pushpin or draw a box around the area you are changing and in the popup put what change you made.  When we come to races... I'll have a few more instructions


Altair eyed the Tempora as they swam through space, barely perceptible even to his own eyes.

"Parasites?"  His lip curled as he tugged on his gloves and reached for his mask.   "I am not sure that I find much value in parasites."

He waved his hand, and below on Sericea there appeared a number of tiny, softly glowing lights.  Closer inspection would reveal large insect-like creatures buried such that only a bioluminescent orb at the end of a long stalk dangled above the surface.   The Tempora (and presumably other, not yet realized things) would be drawn to these lights, curiously approaching only to have the entire beast lunge forward and grasp the hapless creature in its powerful jaws.

PP

1 PP:  Spawn Creature:  Myrmeleon.  Part Ant Lion (grown to a large size) Part Angler-fish (In that it has a stalk that glows), the Myrmeleon is a large lurker-style monster who hides, buried in the ground aside from its stalk that lures prey into the vicinity before the monster surges out of its rubble-filled nest and siezes the curious creature.  They find Tempora particularly tasty.
 


 
Vion peeked out at the worms and frowned. He left his sister's side and tromped over to one. "Quit it, you're doing it wrong."

He took the thing by its tail and it was unmade. There was no corpse, no decaying mass, just it was there one moment and the next... not. "Vion," his sister said with a warning in her voice, but the boy waved the warning away, indicating to give him a moment.

"You do it like this..."

A few droplets of water from the world below flew up to the boy's hand and he wrapped them in his shadow. In a moment he revealed them and the others there could see tiny things swimming around in the liquid. Vion split the water in half and threw part of it away. In the past, when the twins had created life, it vanished as soon as it left their hands, but this time the cells remained as the water fell back to Sericea. Vion wrapped the remaining water in his shadows again, and when he revealed it there were tiny organisms swimming around in it, plankton, and the water had a greenish color to it from algae that, now exposed to the light, was thriving. He split the water in two again and tossed part of it aside. He covered the remaining water again, and when he revealed it there were two things of note. One was a stalk-y plant that was already withering in the light of his father. The other was a sea worm that writhed in the brightness.

"See?" the boy asked. He let most of these creatures fall to the world below as well, joining the other things that had been created. The seaweed and worms seemed to enjoy the saltwater well, and as time passed in ways that Vasa and Vion did not yet understand, the creatures lived, died, and diversified. Soon tiny fish swam the oceans, feeding on microorganisms, and plants gave shelter to other creatures while, in the cool embrace of the water, they turned the light of the sun into energy for others to consume when they in turn were eaten.

However, he had kept one worm, to replace the one he had destroyed, and he offered it to Red Robe.

Vasa pulled her brother back to her, away from this Eago person. She didn't trust it, it didn't seem like something mother would have sent them.

She turned to Altair, "That is a wonderful sun, father. I am sure mother will love it, when she returns."

Vasa shot a glare at Eago. The look was full of defiance.

PP

1 PP Nourish: Oceans - A basic level of sea-life is created. Generally it is quite primitive, but it has the potential of supporting more complex forms.

5 PP remaining
"We must remain vigilant, Vasa.  She may return at any moment, and until she does, I will not stop looking."

Turning, he regarded his son.

"Those are very nice, Vion.  But is it wise to create things that die so quickly?  Is that not sad?" 
Eago shrugged, "They are not purely my creation. Truthfully, I bear little emotion towards them. They are merely a natural part of the universe."

"Now if will excuse me, I am off to serve my purpose,"
he paused and, with a little bow toward Altair, "I suggest you perhaps do the same? Master, your eternal servant." He turned to Vasa and Vion, "Little masters, forever yours."

He moved away from the other three, his gaze lingering curiously on the children. Then with a sigh, he turned, and departed.

He sunk through the canopy of air, and his feet came to touch the rough stone of the ground. But his thoughts were still up above the roof of the world with the children. He chuckled. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps that life was too fragile for this world. But he found it hard to create life. He hadn't been lying, those creatures were not his invention. Yet another gift from Vega he supposed. He laughed again. The exhalation sent whorls and ripples of dust through the air.

Now that he stopped to look at it, he realized how very dusty the world seemed to be, how plain. The water, the wind and earth had split, yes, but perhaps too rigidly so? Life may be fruitless to pursue, but this... this was doable. And it served a dual purpose. Two masters would be sated this day.

Eago raised a foot and brought it down. The limb slammed down, and with a great groan of heaving earth and cracks of slitting stone, the land itself seemed to split apart at the impact. It was new earth, soft earth, and came apart easily. His touch was like a knife slicing open the ground. He pulled at its progress, made the crack wider her, made it curve there. Soon he was straddling a great wide cleft in the rock of the world. He stared down into it.

"Into the rock we go."

PP
2 PP Mold Land - A large crevice opens up in the continent.
 
Vion seemed disappointed that Eago didn't appreciate the worm more. Wasn't it a good worm? The twins had a lot of practice making life to entertain themselves, or, at least, they had memories of doing so. If that was real or not wasn't a question that consumed them. What was existence in the space between the ticks and the tocks of the clock anyway, except what one experienced and remembered?

His father's comment distracted him, though. Since the worm in his hand was still very much alive, he was confused at first. Then he noticed that the other things he had created hadn't disappeared, as they always had before. Time seemed to have a strange effect on things. Odd, ridiculous concepts like the past and future seemed possible now. There was more to the creatures that the Twins created than the moments of attention that they gave them.

Vion directed Vasa's attention below and together, hand in hand, they tromped off to look at the things that were existing without them noticing that they were existing. It was strange, foreign, but delightful concept. The two watched the creatures swim, grow, and consume one another. They did indeed easily die quickly. Part of that, however, seemed to be the fault of their father's sun. Anything that swam too close to the surface injured itself, as did any plants that grew too high. The algae seemed to do alright, but even the top layers of that grew burnt and brown.

As the two children watched, they learned more about how this life grew, and of death. It was so sad, that when a creature died it left behind only an empty shell. At least when the Twins had played, they remembered the toys that they created because they had watched them, paid attention to them. But now, with creatures living and dying regardless of their directly making it so, those creatures passed beyond recollection when they passed beyond life. Nothing of them remained.

After watching the things live and die for so long, Vasa and Vion decided to change them. They took some seaweed and planted it on dry ground. It withered almost instantly in the dry air and the bright sun. The Twins caused the walls of its cells to grow thick, stiff, and dense. The seaweed was then able to protect itself from the harsh light, but it was still withered as the ground was dry. They took its roots and caused them to dig deep, down through the soil to the watertable, and from their draw moisture. When this non-sea grass seemed stable, they took it in turn and stretched it, until it was non-sea bushes. These they stretched further, until they were non-sea trees, with wide branches and thick leaves. Though it was hard for the things to grow, they gave wonderful shade below their canopy. The twins spent much time in this shade. Their near-toddler like forms gave way to older ones as  they grew older in the plant-y twilight.

PP

1PP Nourish - Land Plants: basic forms of plant kind are introduced to the land of Sericea. The plants of this world (at least, all descended from these forms) are particularly fibrous and "woody," as their stems and leaves are designed to resist the strong light of the sun. Likewise, all plants from this ilk have impressively deep root systems.
0PP Cantrip - The Twins claim their starting passive domain, which is "Twilight," the mixing of light and darkness.

4PP remaining

As the others wandered away, for the first time he could remember, Altair was alone.  

He looked to his left and saw the Sun burning down on the earth below, embossed scrollwork covering the brass rings that glinted in the light.  He saw a wave of blackness cover the earth as the rings converged, then watched as they spun apart and light returned to the world below.  He looked to his right and saw some Tempora eying him cautiously.  He waved a hand and they scattered.  He looked down and saw the world below.  A rift in the earth had opened up where Eago had gone, and patches of greenery had sprouted up along the coastlines of Sericea.  It was, he admitted to himself, quite beautiful, but not nearly as beautiful as Vega, whose... he could not remember the color of her eyes.  He frowned and shook his head.  He then looked up and saw nothingness.

He concluded he did not like being alone.

He floated down to the surface and his mind was uneasy.  Without even noticing, his divine presence called up the earth below him until it formed a mountain which bumped the back of his leg.  Surprised, he spun and a blast of light knocked off the top of the mountain, which grumbled and sighed almost as if it was alive as it finished rising.

Altair sat down on the edge of the mountain and began to contemplate how he could fulfill his wife's wishes.  She had (had she?) often spoken of such a future, but he had never thought it more than just a game she had played... coming up with a fantastical new world as a way to keep them entertained.   Had she really forseen all of this?

Troubling.

PP

1 PP: Mold Land:  The Blasted mountain:  A mountain with a flat top is created!
 
"Hello my master," said a voice, "You seem troubled."

Eago was beside him, as though his troubles had culled him from the air itself. But something seemed different about the man. Where before he seemed servile to the point of creepiness, now the worry in the man's voice, which was low and almost anxious, seemed quite earnest. The man came to sit upon the edge of the mountain, and gazed out as well upon the world below.

"Beautiful, is it not?" said the Red One, and he sighed, "Your wife would have wanted this."

Now when the man spoke, all the briskness and business-like tone of earlier was gone, replaced with a curiously choked aspect. He seemed genuinely moved by Altair's sadness.

"Do not mourn the passing," he said gravely, "It isn't as though you're alone. It isn't as though you don't have a piece of her, with you always."

His gaze shifted to the twins, working with their nature in the distance.

"Besides, I come bearing gifts," remarked Eago, with a gentle shift to his normal briskness, "Gifts from the one of whom we speak."

Altair could almost imagine a sad smile on the Red One's blank face.

"These things seem to keep coming through," he said, "It's as though she isn't quite done giving. Here."

And from the folds of his robes came three objects. He did not hold them up, but rather they floated, suspended in the air. They weren't quite spherical in shape, one end of each seem more tapered. They were, Altair concluded, what he'd dub "egg-shaped" for that is what they appeared to be. Eggs. They were smooth of shell and faintly shimmering, as though a bright light were cast upon them, a soft light that cast its glow across their matte surface. One was a deep gold, warm and bright. One was a pale green, a more muted shade than the plants of the twins. The final one was the colour of a wave: turquoise, but marked with veins the colour of sea-foam. These Eago handed to Altair.

"It seemed foolish for me to keep them," he said, "They were, after all, hers... and now... they are yours..."

There was a special sort of sadness in his voice as he said this, but Altair couldn't define it. Irony? Resignation? He took the three eggs from Eago.

"I have been examining the world," said Eago, his eyes on the ground below. He did not seem to want to look at the eggs any longer, "Down beneath the earth. It seems this world is full of surprises."

From his robes was produced a shard of something silver, shimmering, not as the eggs had done, but more mundanely. Like the eggs, it floated in the air before them, more an effect of Eago than anything else. Nevetheless, the shard of 'metal' as it were was strangely intriguing. As Altair watched, its form became malleable, and it warped into various shapes. It became an eagle, a circle with jagged edges and something less easily definable. A face? Altair couldn't be sure.

"See?" said Eago, "This world isn't all bad."

PP
3 PP - Forge Artifact - The Three Eggs - Each egg will birth a god, separately three time, contributing one PP each time. The artifact will work three times in total, and then will disappear.

1 PP - Nourish Land - Iron and other metals are found beneath the ground.
Altair looked down at the eggs.

"They are beautiful, Eago.  I feel her near them, if you know what I mean?  Thank you for giving them to me... as long as they are here, you are correct, I do not feel quite so alone."

His eyes looked down to the south where his children were playing.

"Eago, I do not know them."  He said at last, lacing his fingers together and resting his chin on them as he stared across the world.  "I mean, I know them, for they are my children, but I can barely remember anything about them.  I feel... I feel like I should formally adopt them or something, make this tenuous connection from Before into somethign real, just as the world was made real.  You are constantly writing things down... could you not make up some form of contract for me to sign?  I know it would be a completely foolish formality, who would deny it among the four of us?  But... it feels correct." 
The twins strolled along the shore of the eastern continent, the shore of the western one visible to their godly eyes. Vion bent down and scooped up a tiny fish from the water. He brushed his hand over it, letting some of his shadows sink in, and its fins grew strong. He set it down and it began to make its way over the mud, back into the water, then back out. Vasa smiled at the sight of it, but it seemed lonely on land, among the reeds that were newly growing out of the shallows. She took another sea creature and burned away what she didn't need. It was left with a small, black body, hair-like limbs, and translucent wings. Soon flies were buzzing about the reeds. The mudskippers seemed interested, but were unsure how to get at them. Vion took one and passed his hand over it again. It was left with a bulbous body and its fins had become thick stubs. He let the frog go and soon they were swarming just as much as the flies. Vasa laughed heartily and placed a hand on her slightly rounded stomach. If Altair's god-keen ears could hear, he might have thought he heard Vega's tinkling voice, as their daughter was much like her mother in that regard.

In no rush, the two gods meandered their way from south to north, creating life as they went for the amusement of each other. There had never been Time before, so it was strange to have time to spend together. Vion found Vasa's presence pure bliss. They were young gods in a young world, what happiness could exist that wasn't their's?

PP

1PP Nourish: Vasa and Vion create a wide variety of amphibians and insects, which populate both the waters of the world and the lands.

3pp remaining


***

"Father?"

It was Vasa's voice that spoke Altair's affectionate title, though it was an older voice. The sweetness of youth was less in it. It had been lost, a little, in the time that she had spent away. In its place was the beginnings of the quiet ripples of adulthood, like water sliding over smooth stones. When the Lord of Light turned to look at the fragment of time that would have been his daughter, he saw a young woman in the place of the child that he had first seen. Her hair was longer, and curled into ringlets that framed her face. Her features were strong, like his own, but her nose was like that of Vega (though only his eyes could see such details).

Next to her was Vion, taller now, though still not as tall as his sister. His eyes were still soft, but his wild hair seemed to be more purposeful now. Some of his youthful slapdashery has perhaps gone away. He his darkness well, it seemed, though it was hard to peer deep enough to see the details. And in his arms, Vion held a small object. It was smaller than even the twins had been when they first appeared, but it seemed to have the same general shape, except instead of radiating it reflected the light cast by others. Its skin was a pale green, like the new buds of a tree, but its head was covered in a mass of leafy-hair. Two brown, fuzzy nubs grew out of its forehead.

"Father," Vasa said again. "We wanted to bring our child, Althas, to you and to ask for your blessing upon him."

As Altair looked at the child it seemed as if he could see it grow right then and there. This would be a strong one, to be sure.

PP

2Pp Beget Minor - Vasa and Vion produce a son, Althas. Anubis, as soon as Toph has a chance to respond, you are free to start posting. Base weekly PP is 4, but all new gods get 8pp for their first week of existence. To note, while I indicated that Althas is just a baby right now, I tried to indicate that he'd be as much of an adult as you want as soon as you want.

1PP remaining.
Vasa's voice broke the silence after Altair had spoken 

"We shall finish this conversation later, Eago." he said, turning to greet his children.  Having watched them from afar, he was not surprised to see them older, but from up close it was remarkable how mature and poised they had become.  Had they not been children just a little while ago?  Now Vion was showing him something.  A child?

and just like that, with no warning at all, Altair was a grandfather.

"Oh Vasa, Vion.  How wonderful.  If only your mother were here."  A wave of sadness passed across his face, but he let it run its course and continued in the same tone.  "And Althas.  Welcome to life, child.  Have my blessing and if you give me a moment, I have a present as well."

Altair
 reached forward and laid his hand on the baby's head, feeling the nubs under his palm before he brought it back to his side.  Turning slightly to the side, he worked for a moment and returned with a finely crafted bow and several arrows in a simple wooden quiver.

 "Had you given me more warning, I might have been able to do better, but here, Althas, take with my blessing.  The string may be a bit too hard for you to pull now, but keep practicing and you will become strong!"

Smiling, he gave Vasa the bow and arrow, knowing that she would give it to the child at the proper time.

PP

0 PP:  Cantrip Forge Artifact:  Practice Bow and Arrows.  A wholly normal longbow and arrows, suitable for a God just learning how to use it.
 
He was the first. He somehow knew that deep down, still being a child. He was the first of the new, the first of the world. And so She was as much his Mother as the god who had begat him.

All the other gods were from the Before. Before the world, before existance, before the loss of the goddess that his Grandfather had called his wife. They were all apart from it, seeing it as some new thing they could play with as they willed. And they were right... it was new, and it could be played with. It HAD to be played with. It was the only way it would grow, the only way it would get stronger and more vibrant. But it... SHE... was old to this new child. The first one to be born to see it this way. To see it as all that had ever been, and all that would ever be. And so, She spoke to the child of this importance, so that he would forever be a part of Her and work to make Her complete.

Such solemn thoughts were not becoming of a child though, let alone one barely older than a babe. But then again, any thoughts were elusive to the child! Barring the slow, solemn hymn of the world that seemed to be at the back of his mind, the world was a new and distractable place! What were those fluttering thing? Did they taste good? Mmm it was warm, why was this god warm? This god was one of his Fathers weren't they? Or did he have a Father and a Mother, and another Mother? Who was this person, and why did it hurt so much to look at them? Did they- oooo presents!!

Laughing happily, the baby... toddler perhaps? Of that age where the two began to bleed together... reached out for the bow, but... the god wasn't giving it to him, he was giving it to his Mother! Pouting, the toddler crossed his arms, but... soon enough became incaptivated with the light man and reached out to try and bat at his brilliance.
Eago gazed upon the child, and there was something appraisatory in the look he gave it. There was appraisal, yes, an assessment perhaps of the quick, keen eyes, of the freshness, newness of his look, of the way he seemed inherently a part of the world. But there was also something less easily definable. Was it triumph? Pride? Certainly there was some sadness as he viewed this scene, this small familial unit. He was an outsider, truly, but there was something tender in the way he looked at the child that betrayed a certain emotion. Was it love?

His tone was more brisk when he spoke, as though recalling the others somewhat from their joy, their wonder at the creation. But he did it with at least a marginal air of reluctance.

"Well then, Althas, a lovely name to be sure," said the Red One.

He called up those glowing sigils, and seemed on the verge of adding the name, when he paused.

"Not Issohn, perhaps?" he asked, his eyes betraying a frown as he studied the golden figures, "No, I don't suppose so. Regardless, I shall find something to do with that name. You know how bothersome they can be when left to their own devices."

He gazed down at the child.

"Well then, it's official!" he declared, "I now christen you Althas!" 
Altair shot a glare at Eago as the god more or less prattled during this tender moment, but reached out an arm to the One of Red.   

"Come closer, Eago.  Come and see."

For a long time, the Gods stood and talked and played with young Althas, passing the child back and forth as they spoke of the world and the future of it all.  And eventually, Altair excused himself and floated upwards, away from the earth.  Below, he could see the twins and Eago still playing with the child, and a pang of deep, heart-rending sadness came over him as he thought of how much Vega would have enjoyed all of this.

She was not dead... he was fairly certain of this.  But she was separated from him by impossible distances, by space and time itself, he on the inside, she on the outside, or hidden behind the world.

He continued to float upwards and soon the Sun behind him grew faint and blackness surrounded him.  Blackness... and a dim light up ahead.

"Now what could that be?"  Altair murmured, accelerating towards the light.  He traveled for a very, very, very long time, until the world below faded and his Sun was but a dim twinkle in the distance, when finally what was before him became apparent.  Still quite distant, what was before him was... disturbing.  A vast, spinning mass of dirty grey water carrying within it flecks of fire that would not be quenchd.   Here and there, black glass erupted from the waters, reflecting the light from the fire and then fell back into the murky depths.  And in the center was a darkened orb that floated through the night.

What was this?  Altair thought, staring at the abberation before him.  Thinking back, he came to a possible conclusion... that this was the last bit of space and time to stitch together to form the universe, and that final process had produced this from the maelstrom of energies that had flowed towards this point

But if this was the place where space and time had sealed together... perhaps it was weaker here than elsewhere.  Perhaps he could find a way Through, a way beyond this place and to Vega and Potentiality again.

And so Altair foolishly reached out with his mind and poked the fleshy mass at the center of the Very Strange Thing.  And Behold, the Very Strange Thing did not like that very much.  Altair felt energy draining from his being as a connection was made and only by pulling back quickly was able to prevent the Thing before him from draining him completely.

As he pulled back, a thousand thousand eyes opened on the planetoid, orange irises glowing in the dark with their own fire as they blinked once and then as one focused on the God before them.

PP

2 PP:  Ascend God:  Kyoaag N'gaas.  Altair was dumb, and now there's a galaxy sized sentient Abberation with divine powers floating around.  Ooops!   (you start with 8 PP, Ary!)



Playing was fun! Especially with so many people. His Father, his Mother, his Grandfather, and... the odd man who didn't like his name. He didn't like this man. He seemed... strange.

But playing couldn't last forever. Or rather, he had a job to do while doing so! Managing to worm out of his Mother's arms, he attempted to crawl on the ground... then found doing so far too unwieldly for his liking, and so grew big enough that he could wobbly get to his feet and walk that way. There, much better! Now he could play without being passed around all the time, and also- FROGGY!

Laughing happily, he dove for the surprised toad, wrapping his arms around it as it struggled furiously to escape his grip. This was fun! Some part of him knew this was a part of nature... the strong capturing the weak, the weak being at the mercy of the strong. Most of him thought thought it was just in good fun!

But... hm... the frog seemed distressed. The toad rather, there was a difference! Maybe he should make it up to them? And at the same time make the local toad population stronger. Strong was good.

He had to let go, his little godling arms too small to hold the toad as it errupted in size and stature, growing several horny profusions as well as becoming far, far bigger than any toad had ever been before! Croaking in surprise, the toad paused... before beginning to hop away. But Althas wasn't having any of that. Laughing, he grabbed ahold of the creature's horns, causing it to ribbit alarmingly and begin jumping around to try and throw off the youth!

PP

1PP Spawn - Althas turns toads into Dire Toads, larger versions of their smaller kin that dine primarily on both flies and smaller toads.

7PP Remaining
Watching the joy of the youth was becoming overwhelming. Conflicting emotions leaped up inside Eago like the angry jumping toads. He fought to keep it down, to keep the beast at bay. These weren't, after all, his emotions.

A hand, shimmering and incandescent, passed through the folds of his red robes. For all intents and purposes, it was Eago's hand, for it clearly led to his shoulder. But it couldn't have been. For one it was clearly a woman's hand. In fact, the whole arm could have belonged to the young Vasa, for it was thin and supple, smooth and pale. The fingers were long and delicate, the tapered nails far too long for any male, far too well-kept. Secondly, the arms was fully and totally transparent, shifting oddly in the scorching light of the sun. And finally, only Althas seemed to be able to see it, the eyes of Vasa and Vion merely passed over it, unseeing. But the youth could see it, and it seemed as though it was for him that it appeared, for it reached towards him lovingly. But when Eago spoke, suddenly and rushed, the hand, and indeed the whole arm,
 disappeared, vanishing on the wind.

"What a lovely creature you have there," he said, and he might have been smiling. There was perhaps a hint of a smile in his voice, at least, "But I am afraid I must be off. Much to do!"

And with a swirl of crimson cloaks, he was off, muttering absently to himself about burbages and agrarian contracts.

 
Vasa was glad that Red Robe was gone. She still didn't trust it. If her father hadn't given the child to it to hold, she would have been happy to exclude the creature. She turned and watched Vion for a moment. He was absorbed in, in turn, watching over Althas. Every now and then he would flinch as the dire toad took a wild leap with their child on its back. It was silly, really. How could a creature, crafted from their own thoughts, hurt their son? Yet, when she looked at the green child, she couldn't help but feel a little worried at some of the toad's more insane leaps.

Unfortunately, such coddling wouldn't do. Althas was to be strong, stronger than any living creature. How could this come to pass if he always had a parent waiting to snatch him away from danger?

She took one of the amphibians and burned away its gills. In the place of its membranous skin she gave it scales. She went through many versions, casting each aside to populate the world as it might, until she rested on one that seemed to suit her purpose. It was long and sinuous. It lacked legs or fins, but instead moved along on its stomach.

"Althas, dear, I have something for you."

She calmed the dire toad and  took the snake over to the little boy. It wrapped itself around him and tried to squeeze, although it was still too small itself to overwhelm the child.

"I made you this to play with. It will help you grow stronger."

She withdrew as the child seemed engrossed with it for the moment. She placed Althas' bow and arrow not far away, where he would find it. Vasa then placed a hand on Vion's shoulder and the two withdrew, reluctantly. The dark god glanced back at him, trying to burn the image of the young god riding a toad and wrestling a python into his mind. The light from the sun cast a green hallow through the boy's hair. This he would remember, but it was time for Althas to become the god he was meant to be.

PP

1PP Nourish - Vasa creates a variety of reptiles. She creates snakes, and pythons in particular, to serve as foils against which young Althas might hone his skills.

0PP remaining
The Thing's eyes unfocused and rolled back.

The flesh of the planetoid rippled, and the from its black ossified pits erupted a bubbling roar filled with rage. It echoed across the void and back. The roar seemed endless, as another sound began to rise within the cacophany. A sound like cracking thunder, like the universe was ripping apart. Lurid orange light bloomed in a shattering explosion across creation, bathing everything in the fire that did not burn.

As the light passed, flickers of other places, faces, and times crashed across vision. Strange words and speeches punctuated with clashing metal and claws.

And suddenly silence. The light fades. The thousands of eyes focused on Altair.

"I awake again before you," the galaxy rippled with the speech, words pouring out as if spoken by a mountain choking on the earth's blood.

"We hope the recursion can be avoided again...such a thing...I think it was..." The eyes become unfocused, wandering, before returning to the subject.

"I have created possibility. The events before us are now, hopefully, beyond the simple lines of our past. We are amongst a sea of Moment. Floating through an anomalous sea of fire. What happens next...I can hardly tell. I hope, it is my escape." There is a thin laugh, followed by a deep sigh, "Now, what do you want this time?"

 

PP

4pp craft (Major): Alternate timelines now exist. The differences between them can be small or large. There are an infinite number, each one beginning on a "butterfly-effect" difference. Objects and beings can travel between timelines using Moment (more on that later). However, time spent in a foreign timeline slowly degrades an object or being. This degradation manifests as a slow petrification into a black glossy stone known as Doomstone. Doomstone is not reactive or magical in any way, though is fairly strong. Degradation is faster in objects or beings the more important they are. Thus, gods and artifacts can spend only a few moments in a foreign timeline before dying, while mortals and minor items might spend a week or so at a time.

Paradox duplicates of items and beings behave similarly in regards to degradation. Resolving into Doomstone.

3pp forge (Greater): Moment is made. Moment is temporal energy that can be harnessed. It is usually invisible unless one with knowledge of it makes effort to see it, or someone harnesses it; at which point it manifests as orange light. Moment is made by the fracturing of a timeline into infinite possibilities. Thus, only one small mote of moment exists, truly. However,  Kyoaag has cursed this mote to warp across time, creating paradox duplicates of itself over and over until a large quantity exists in all timelines. This "fire of time" leaves behind small miniscule atoms of doomstone as motes degrade out of existance, like soot. 

Using Moment grants 1pp toward time-related events.

Altair had done a Not Smart Thing in awakening the Large Strange Object, but he was no Coward.  Or at least Not Much of One.   He bravely stood his ground as the beast (for that was the best word he had to describe it) roared its rage to the heavens and Sericea.

But when the thing spoke, Altair felt his very soul quiver at its voice, a voice which seemed to grate and tear at his mind.  He listened as the beast rambled for some time about... possibilities and recursion and quite honestly a number of things that he was not very certain about as he was still struggling to understand the words that came from it.  In the end, though, there was a question.

"This Time?"  Altair asked.  "Have we met before?  I certainly think I would remember meeting one such as..."  he paused to try and come up with a descriptor, and failed.  "...yourself"  he finished lamely.  "Do you have a name?" 
Weeeee! This was fun! And... oh his Mother was coming over to him? What did she have there? Althas frowned up curiously at his Mother. "Mommy?" he spoke for the first time, having frown in order to ride his new toad properly! What could she possibly-

"Present!" he laughed happily as the creature attacked him, struggling against it playfully, letting the creature constrict him before pulling at it to dislodge it. The snake only ever got the upper hand when he let it. Even as a child, he was strong enough that the creature was but a play thing for him!

He'd long ago fallen off of his toad in order to wrestle the snake properly, rolling around in the mud with it. The toad, grateful for it's freedom from the strong armed youth, hopped away desperately! The boy simply let it go, he had a new toy to play with now after all! But... the boy frowned, letting the snake completely restrict itself around him and attempt to crush his ribs. Always when he played, his parents had been there at his side... but now... he sat up, looking a little comical with the snake wrapped around him and beginning to dislodge it's jaw to swallow him. Where were they now? They were... gone? He was all alone...

He tired of this. Growing a little, he caught the snake by the neck and threw it to the side. He was... too lonely to play now! At least like this... he was... all alone. No-one was with him, and... to go from such a happy gathering to all alone so quickly was devestating.

Wait... not alone... he could feel it. Feel it speaking to him. The child, for child he was now and not a babe, stretched himself out over the earth, and put his ear to it. He could hear it... the earth spoke to him. The very planet was with him... he wasn't alone. The very planet needed him... he was needed. He had a task to do, and a role to play.

Nodding, the boy stood back up, walking casually over to the bow and arrows that had been left behind for him and sligning them onto his back. It was too soon to use them, at least how they'd been intended... he could use them to get stronger and play his games later. For now, he just needed to take them with him so he'd have them when he needed them.

For that very moment though... he set out and walked. He had a ways to travel to get to the right place if he had heard the earth right.
"I did not meet you. I have met many of you...Kyoaag N'gaas is what you see." The immense bulk rumbled, and sighed. "And now it is my question: How many of us stand? Have they mentioned a waning? When you made the sun, did it hurt? How many bodies of earth are there?"
"You have met others like me?  Tell me, did you see a woman of darkness pass by at any point?"  Altair asked, suddenly as eager to converse as he had been eager to flee a moment earlier.  Had this beast seen Vega?

"As to your questions, Kyoaag N'gaas.  There are me, my children, my grandchild and Eago, and my wife, lost from me.  I know of no wanings, and there is but one body of earth.   For the pain of the Sun.  Do you mean physical pain?  Then no.  If otherwise, then yes, I felt great pain... feel great pain."

"I have never met anything like... you.  Where did you come from?" 
The galactic body shuddered with laughter, rippling out into its arms, the embers of light afloat it flaring; then, a dim and long drawn out sigh.

"There is time, then. But...there is always time." The eyes wander, and return. "There are so many things cloaked in darkness...but there is a woman, the one I suspect the you of this breath refers as wife. Hah. Oh how you pine for her. Oh how you wish and long, hahahaha! Such a small thing! And you consider it pain to be apart!" Again, the beast laughs, though harshly, barbarically, devolving into a roar of hatred.

"I have heard her, I have heard her countless times. Countless. Can you conceive of countless ages? I think there was a time where I thought I could, in my divine pride. And even in my earliest memories I presumed an idea. I've learned though. I've learned we have limits. That we can bend. That we can break. I've lived countless ages. I have lived the beginning and end of creation many times beyond my imagining. I didn't come from somewhere."

All of the planetoid's eyes focus and burn as the words hiss from its pits, "I have always been here."
Altair's eyes narrowed behind his mask as Kyoaag spoke before him, feeling his anger rising to the surface once more as the beast belittled his emotions.  But it was the last phrase that caught his attention, his eyes going wide as the words grated their way through his brain.

"You have always been here."  The words came out softly, nearly a whisper, but beneath it boiled great emotion.  "You speak of hearing her cry, over and over again.  You laugh at my pain.  You speak of having seen creation come and go, yet such a thing is impossible, for I have always been, and I have never seen anything such as this, such as you."

"Therefore"
, an edge entered Altair's voice,  "I can only conclude that you know where she has gone, and I suspect that you, personally, are the cause of my grief.  Where have you put her?  Where is she trapped?  I command you to release her.  Immediately." 

The flames fell away from its eyes as they began to loll and wander. A low and constant exhalation spilling from the black pits dotting its surface.


 


“Sometimes....” The beast rumbled, eyes beginning to roll back towards the visitor, “Sometimes I kill her. I've scourged the essence from her mind many times in many ways. Tricked her into dispersing herself in vain sacrifices for the sake of creation. Made her choose between love and life, which, you may find comforting to know that she always chooses love.” Its laugh boils like pitch.


 It sighs, the flames dying, "...it's never ended the infinite though..."


"But..." stirring whispers bark, “Sometimes. It's Him.” It poured, cackling darkly.


 


“Tell me. Who was the first Other you saw? Do you find it odd that He just appeared and then your wife was gone? I'm always surprised at how often you stand by and let it happen. He just waltzes in, shuts her out, and you turn away. Maybe it's the children.” The last word whispered in husks, “Maybe they're meant to distract you...I don't think I ever tried that one....though....memories are.....” Words drift, and suddenly find ground, rolling like thunder, “Whether your wife is dead or not, whether she's in pain or not, I cannot know now. I've told you all I know. Now.”


 


There is a deep rumbling from within the planetoid, as its thick words pour, “But you neglect to tell...what you want from me.”

The Words of the beast washed over Altair, but, truth be told, much of what was said made little sense to him.  Kyogg at one point admitted to killing her, to killing her over and over again, but then spoke of another as doing the act, as if somehow the two states were both possible, could both occur.  

His memory of the Place between Places was fading as he stayed longer in this world, but what the Beast said reminded him greatly of how life had been in that place of Potentiality, in which things could both exist and not exist, move and stand still, age and grow young simultaneously.  

While the words said by Kyoaag N'gaas were troubling, in the context of experience rooted in the Potentiality, it made some sense.  It was what *could* be, not necessarially what *was*.  He would have to have a talk with Eago, though... find out more about those crucial first seconds of his (and the world's) existence.

"You are clearly an ancient being from beyond this shell of Reality, Kyoaag N'gaas."  Altair said.  "I would request this from you:  Find her.  Fray and rend the fabric of this reality if you must to get at what lies beneath it, what lies through it.  Find me a way back to my Vega, and I will reward you to the greatest of my abilities.  This I swear." 
"Then it is your word," It roared.

A tendril of gray water darts from the spiral arms before the Visitor, slowly pouring into the form of a crude four fingered hand.

"And mine..." It bubbled.

The hand opens, outstretched.

"A pact..."
 
Altair looked at the hand for a long moment, recalling what had nearly happened to him the last time he had attempted to touch it.  Finally, he pulled off his glove, causing the beast's thousands of thousands of eyes to squint and dilate in the sudden brightness.  Cautiously, he reached forward and grasped the hand of water, ready to pull back at any moment.

"A pact."  He agreed.

"I feel I should return to my family..."  The God said after a time.  "Do you have some means of communicating over long distances, or must I return here if I wish to speak to you further?" 
A small lantern bereft of glass slowly appeared out of Doomstone dust. It was no larger than the smallest finger, with eight sided bases. It appeared as if torn roughly from a volcanic mountain, all sharp edges. Spread with no apparent pattern upon it were carved odd symbols composed of deep circular divots connected by curving lines.

"This is a Laangquor. Hold it over something alive, and speak towards me. I will hear. I will speak."

The device drifted towards the Visitor.

pp
1pp forge (Lesser): Laangquor. An artifact which harnesses Moment to perform supernatural feats, or contact beings immersed in the Moment.


 
Altair took the object.

"Then we will speak again at a future point."  he said/intoned, turning and heading back towards the surface.

As he arrived, he said softly, knowing his words would carry to their intended target:  "Eago, I have need of you." 
He travelled a long time. It seemed like a long time anyway. In the world, to a god, with so little life aside from the odd plant and fly or the odd python worming its way between plants trying to find some shelter from the merciless sun, time had little meaning. With the Tempora, odd things that only he seemed to be able to see of all the creature's of the world, time had even less meaning, slowing down or speeding up whenever one came near to him.

Eventually, however... he arrived. He didn't know what this spot had that was special. It was another bit of wasteland in an entire continent of nothing but bits of wasteland. But he could FEEL that it was different. The earth told him so. The earth sang to him, and told him that this would be where the first seed, the heart of all seeds, would be planted. Or placed, rather.

He sunk down onto the ground, content for a moment to let the music of the world wash over him. But She was impatient... he needed to get to work. Grabbing a nearby python, he cracked the protesting creature's neck, before wringing it like a cloth, letting every ounce of blood he could find drip down onto the bare earth. Tossing the snake to the side, he collected the blood much and shaped it with his hands, moulding it. He new the shape it needed... and he also knew that he needed to pick some of the nearby seaweed like plans and mixed them in too, shaping the thing with both his hands and his divine gift.

And there it was... looking down at the object in his hands, he nodded in satisfaction. This would do... for in his hand was a simple looking heart made of blood wetted earth. And yet, it was so much more... it seemed to flow with power. Containing the very essence of the seditary earth, the very primal force of blood and dirt. It... it WAS strength, and growth given physical form. And even as he came to realize the fact, the object began to beat in his hand. Acting like the heart it was. No not the heart, The Heart. It would always be known as that... The Heart of The Wood.

The Wood... the words came to his mind unbidden, but... they felt RIGHT. Like they had always been there... and had just needed the proper time to come forth. It was a place, and a concept, and... a home. It was all those and more. And with this Heart to set in it's center, and the power of the world and the young god... it would also be a reality.

Getting back to his feet, he held forth the Heart before him... letting the World itself work Her work through his power. And so it did... the ground shook, and cracked, and out from the cracks came forth... TREES! True trees, thick with white bark. Trees which seemed to dwarf the world, that would take ten of him holding hands to even circle the smaller ones. Trees with lush, green leaves that sheltered them from the harshness of the sun, protecting their vital roots from ultraviolet radiation.

Trees... nodding, he walked to the largest tree in the center of The Wood, and set The Heart into a small hallow that seemed to have been made with it in mind. The Heart beat contently, pumping The Wood with new strangth and power.

And so, The Wood was born, and for the first time the World began to truly live.

PP Expenditure

3PP Forge Greater - Althas forges The Heart of The Forest, a beating heart made of damp blooded earth entwined in plant life. When placed in the center of any kind of ecosystem, it provides 1 Nourish PP to that ecosystem per reset. This PP will always go towards making the system grow outwards and spreading when possible, though it also goes towards making the ecosystem more lush and livable.

2PP Nourish (Mold?) - Althas creates The Wood, a large forest made of larger trees that provides a lush ecosystem more or less free of the sun's wrath due to the thick canopy.
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