Mana P5y1s07

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 5th, Year 1, Dryad's Day. The Tower of Jinn, the Chamber of Astronomy. Today, the Emperor is in some seclusion, having descended from his usual audience-hall on the top of the tower. Nevertheless, he does see some guests.
Alexander walks into the room, quietly, which doesn't match the volume of his voice as he calls out, "Uncle!"
Mana: The chamber of astronomy - the heavens, engraved in copper-plate, all whirring parts and orreries. The Emperor smiles over a book - he's reading at a lectern.
Mana: "Do come in!" The Emperor responds.
Alexander stumbles over a few words, unsure of where to start. Taking a deep breath, he asks, "did you ask the guards to let me by? I will admit this is better than speaking to a representative."
Mana: He smiles thinly, his white eyebrows straight. "So I did."
Mana: "Or at least, I informed them that they were not to attempt to obstruct you."
Alexander: "Thank you. The Ironclad would not have had as easy a time as they thought." He coughs into his hand. "Some new information has come to light, and I wish to discuss some matters with you."
Mana: "I wish this," The Emperor says, descending from his lectern. Ivory sandals click on the metal ring that encircles the heart of the orrery. "as well."
Alexander: "Let's start with something smaller first. I went with some of the others to check out what was happening with the Ice Breakers yesterday, since that iceberg is still sitting there. It turns out one of the Ice Breakers was assassinated, apparently under orders."
Mana: The Emperor turns, considers. "…" Apparently "…?"
Alexander pulls out the orders he received, calling for 'the death of one of the ice-men'. "It appears authentic, but the orders are very vauge. Turns out one of the Ice Breaker girls was hung during the night."
Alexander: "The orders were left in her pocket."
Mana: The Emperor takes the orders, inspects them.
Mana: "The only purpose of such an act… would be as a grave and mortal insult."
Mana: "To leave the orders on site, and to display the body visibly…"
Mana: "It's more of a ghastly joke than a proper assassination."
Alexander nods. The whole thing rubs him wrong.
Mana: "The only purpose of it would to be ensure that the ice remains."
Mana: "And, perhaps…"
Alexander: "Perhaps…?"
Mana: "As I'm sure you're aware, the ice people have a special compact with the Empire, dating back to their induction."
Alexander nods.
Mana: "Of the gifts held in this tower, theirs is the most precious to me."
Alexander: "Which gift is this?"
Mana: "The viewing-chamber for Heaven, that is."
Alexander raises an eyebrow. "They made that?"
Mana: "They brought it to me."
Alexander: "Interesting."
Alexander: "That would be a great insult to them, then, to repay them in that fashion. Do you know who could have sent out that order?"
Mana: "I have some suspicion, but I would not to act hastily."
Mana: "It would be a lightning-quick way of running out of officials, I imagine."
Alexander nods. "I would not wish to punish someone for something they did not do."
Alexander: "I suppose the ice-men would only be satisfied with the death of the person that ordered it, or possibly the assassin that carried it out?"
Mana: "…I imagine either would satisfy."
Mana: "But a life lost cannot be returned."
Mana: "In…"
Mana: "…most cases."
Alexander: "Hmmm. I would not act in haste, anyhow. I suppose I will have to ask around a little more. If you will not tell me outright, at the least I will come back and discuss it with you once I have discovered one or the other before deciding on a course of action."
Mana: "I suppose so."
Mana: "Though, in a pinch, you could always shatter the thing yourself."
Alexander: "The…apparatus in the tower?"
Mana: "The ice, I meant."
Alexander: "Ah. That's true. Cruz might be able to do it with our help."
Alexander: "I'll have to talk to him about it."
Alexander: "Ahem. On to the heart of the matter. Or the City Heart, I should say."
Alexander: "What is your plan with that, exactly?"
Mana: "It will hold. I will protect it."
Mana: "That is my plan."
Alexander: "Clearly. I suppose I should rephrase that. Why did you twist the world the way you did with the Heart?"
Mana: The Emperor takes a deep breath.
Mana: "Titania is… certainly, a tangle."
Mana: "But the natural flow of the world yearns for certain things."
Mana: "Time flows like a river, and history repeats…"
Mana: "…And the true history of the world is of bloody ascension, of magic that reduces all beauty to wasteland…"
Mana: "Of dreadful acts done in the name of the sword, the goddess, of mana, of love, for power."
Mana: "Does it not seem to you, at times, as if the very nature of the world thirsts for such things?"
Alexander: "Possibly."
Mana: "Titania is a twisted land that I sought to hide from the eye of the Goddess."
Mana: "Such a thing is foolish and impossible. And hubris and ambition…"
Mana: "One burns up, like Icarus."
Mana: "These are how the stories are written."
Mana: "A righteous hero must destroy. He cannot rule - he cannot change the world."
Alexander: "So you compressed it into a city?"
Mana: "So I did."
Alexander: "If we hadn't been successful at stopping the goblins, and they had destroyed the Heart…would the world have just snapped back outwards?"
Mana: "Titania, as it is, would cease to exist."
Mana: "Neither, however, would it be what it was before."
Mana: "You would find yourself, I imagine, in a new history…"
Mana: "…With a wholly different set of problems."
Alexander: "I imagine some of the problems would be similar."
Mana: "Yes. Time flows like a river, after all."
Alexander: "But yes, problems on a continental or global scale would be different than on a local scale."
Mana: "Would that it were so simple."
Alexander: "At the moment, we would rather deal with the local Angel problems. Anything that might happen to the Heart would be most certainly put off until after that. I'm just not…"
Alexander: "I'm just not sure why you would force Order on the world in such a way."
Mana: "It is an attempt to make a new story."
Mana: "One that has not been told before."
Mana: The Emperor pauses, and smiles.
Alexander puts a hand to his chin in thought. "Yes, I can see why now."
Mana: "That we can meet like this, and speak of such things… that the guards can let you past…"
Alexander: "I don't fully agree with that, but I understand it now."
Alexander nods.
Mana: "And that, say, you did not have to battle a knight on a flying motorcycle to do so…"
Mana: "…This is my will."
Mana: "This is the power of the City Heart."
Mana: "It is a miracle, that I hope it can still bring us."
Alexander raises an eyebrow. "Really?"
Mana: "But this hope is not lost yet."
Mana: "It's so!"
Alexander: "A flying motorcycle?"
Alexander: "Huh."
Mana: "Indeed. There's one in the treasury."
Mana: "It's ritually problematic, so I've forbidden its use."
Alexander: "Ha."
Alexander: "I don't mind circumventing tradition in these dire times to speak with you, Uncle. It's…refreshing."
Mana: "So it is."
Mana: "All old ways break in time."
Mana: "…One hopes."
Alexander: "Not all ways, certainly. Some deserve to stay."
Mana: "Yes. Some do."
Mana: And so it was written.

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