Zg Session 117

Aleith|DM: Spring 4th, 502 AOV
Aleith|DM: Your flagship flies through the skies, arriving in the late morning outside Alais Primos.
Aleith|DM: Alais Primos is framed by a crescent of verdant hills and low mountains, foremost among them the volcano Enzyo Mons which rises high to the south. Half a mile tall and three miles from the city center, Enzyo Mons is accessed by a trail of shrines and chapels, with one devoted to every god in the Clericist pantheon, no matter how minor. At the edge of the caldera stands the Cathedral of Triegenes, devoted to the founder of the Clergy who they claim ascended to godhood upon death.
Aleith|DM: A stained glass window above the cathedral’s rostrum is continually back-lit by the glow of the lava in the caldera, and a broad balcony behind the cathedral overlooks that pit of fire. Traditionally, priests have held ceremonies to cast into the volcano any items believed to be possessed of evil. They also cast in offerings of gold and jewels.
Aleith|DM: The mountain is not particularly tall in the grand scheme of things, but its obsidian black face stands out starkly, making the rolling green hills around it seem even more beautiful by comparison. Due to the prayers of the faithful it has not erupted in over 700 years.
Aleith|DM: Aqueducts feed water down from the hills into canals, which flow through the city. Alais Primos is roughly divided into four sections: three sprawling harbors along the coast, the cathedral district which is circumscribed by the old city walls, the common neighborhoods that ring the cathedrals, and finally the sheltered farmlands that lie between the city and the hills. Beyond the semi-circle of hills and mountains many more small towns and farms lie scattered, while a few beautiful churches rise up from garden islands just off the coast.
Aleith|DM: Hundreds of small chapels dot the city, normally places for confession and prayer, but today the squares in front of nearly every chapel are filled with burning pyres. A constant stream of smoke rises from Enzyo Mons; this blocks out the sky, but the dull orange glow of the city's fires reflects off it, making it seem like the city is trapped inside of an oven.
Aleith|DM: Throughout the cathedral district and beyond, church windows are destroyed, shrines defaced, and black banners hang from rooftops. The bitter scent of funerary incense rides harsh on the wind, mingling with sulfurous fumes.
Chandrasekhar looks upon the city. His face is, of course, invisible, but the cast of his body - hesitant, half-turned away, fingering the Hook hanging at his neck - belies the funny expression it'd be wearing if it weren't.
Garrett‘: "Reminds me of home!"
Zane: "They really aren’t handling this well."
Chandrasekhar: "I like to believe that somewhere, down there, some poor son of a bitch is piecing together the first few lines of a companion piece to the Chant."
Aleith|DM: While thousands have fled the city, even more have been drawn by news of the god trials, and so the docks are overflowing with ships. Nearly all the military vessels have already departed for the invasion of Risur, and the city doesn't have any forces strong enough to maintain order.
Phyllis: "I left because I could no longer cope with the charlatans and grifters within the Clergy. I fear they're responsible for this, too, maneuvering to whatever is most convenient for them, aligning themselves with Nicodemus' vendetta."
Chandrasekhar: "Their faith is only in that which keeps them in their position of power."
Zane looks everything over with a small frown. "No military, hardly any police or guards, rioters and looters rampant… This is going to be an exciting stop." He opens his cloak and stards adjusting his weapons for easier access. Fuck subtle.
Garrett: "The chaos should lend us some cover, at least."
Phyllis: "Should we start with the trials and act as … loathe as I am to say it, defense?"
Gerald: "Why exactly would we care about their crisis of faith?"
Zane: "Well, in the grand scheme of things, if we dont calm these morons down it'll be bad for the global economy. Including our economy."
Phyllis: "I fear there may be metaphysical, planar ramifications."
Garrett: "First, figure out who's still pulling the levers around here. Need to know who's could hold off the last of the armies leaving."
Garrett: "Case the Grand Librarium, and suss out whether we're obtaining the Axis ritual legally or extralegally."
Gerald: "Aha."
Garrett: "And then see if we can't turn two gears with one crank, most likely investigating the deicide that is apparently going on."
Garrett‘ crosses his arms. "…we can see to Ashima-Shimtu afterwards. She can hang about a bit longer."
Zane chuckles.
Aleith|DM: When you enter the city, heading inside you hear a town crier:
Town Crier: "Open your eyes, citizens! The gods protect us no longer. Bear witness to their failures, for they are all around you. Behold the theft of our sun. Taste the bitter fruit of wilted vines. Smell the soot of the hells themselves, rising up to claim us!"
Town Crier: "Bring these false gods to face the people’s judgment for their crimes, and bring their snake-tongued priests to Plaza Hyperion. A generous bounty awaits champions of the people. The Prime Cardinal has fled justice, but every other bishop and hierophant must be brought forth to face their accusers."
Town Crier: "Even the Arch Secula, hidden away in the library, shall reap what she has sown. Though she claims distance from the governance of our religion, her hands reek of the same filth as the hierarchs. The greatest bounty of all shall go to those who bring her in."
Town Crier: "And if you cannot hunt the gods, fear not! You can still levy judgment. At the twelfth hour, join our march to the crown of Enzyo Mons, where all present can help decide the fate of the prophets who lied to us. Testify to their crimes, and we shall cast their evil forms into the maw of the mountain!"
Zane: "Oooh can we go?"
Garrett` glances over at Phyllis and Chandrasekhar.
Gerald: "Wow people here sure do whine a lot."
Ernst: "I’m pretty sure we shot the Cardinal, what's he going on about?"
Zane: "Thats what happens when you expect gods to do the heavy lifting and they don't."
Garrett: "Wouldn't be the first time someone got possessed post-mortem and hobbled about in their skin."
Ernst: "Considering the whole building is basically full of undead…" He shrugs halfheartedly.
[OOC] Zane: the Prime Cardinal is an Ascian!
Garrett: "…Oh?
Zane: "Wait hang on. define 'the building is full of undead'."
Garrett: "Why… why is it full of undead? I'm not usually a library kind of guy."
Phyllis rubs her forehead, trying to think, then marches up to the crier. "A word in private?"
Chandrasekhar: "They're never satisfied unless -someone- is bleeding. It seems today, they're the ones bleeding by their own hands…"
Ernst glances at Zane before shaking his head. "Bound dread wraiths. Nine statues that watch the entrance to the vault. The Bibliogeists have their souls bound to the building and can sense anyone invisible and tend to shreik like a banshee if they see anyone. Loads of divination magic in the place to conceal this stuff too so it seems more normal."
Town Crier: "…what?"
Ernst: "You'd be hard pressed to find anything living in there to be honest."
Aleith|DM: There's usually a bunch of (living) scholars, too.
Phyllis: "I used to live here some time ago. Not actually religious, I studied at the arcane college."
Ernst: "The vaults keyhole is also obscured by illusion magicks, I know where it is but we'd need either cooperation or a locksmith to get it open. Each item is stored in a seperate demi-plane and if it's not opened in the precense of the Arch Secula or the Prime Cardinal it'll lead to a stasis prison of sorts."
Phyllis: "Yet I don't think you and I even agree on what the gods of the Clergy are."
Town Crier: "Yeah, well, piss off then. I've got work to do."
Aleith|DM: He turns and heads off down the street.
Garrett: "That's an argument enter if I ever heard one."
Phyllis: "The Prime Cardinal is dead! By our own hands, even!"
Aleith|DM: The crier raises his hand over his shoulder, one finger raised from it.
Phyllis: "The institution of the Clergy is not without fault, no, but this is madness!"
Aleith|DM: He doesn't seem to believe you.
Phyllis restrains herself from further outbursts. Charming him would be so -easy-, but wrong.
Ernst: "The statues also act as a relay system and telepathically confirm with the figures present if they are acting of their own free will. So if they're coerced by magicks but present when the vault is opened it'll also lead to the stasis prison. So if you want in there at all, you're going to need the willfull cooperation of the Arch Secula I'd reckon."
Phyllis returns to the others. "Perhaps just speaking with those on the street is not the best approach."
Garrett‘ winces.
Zane: "Well. Simple enough then."
Garrett: "Yeah, that files our concern down pretty nicely."
Garrett: "Although…"
Garrett` looks up and down the street.
Garrett: "…do we want to stop a few prophets from a terrible fate?"
Zane: "It might give us some leverage with the Arch Secula."
Phyllis: "Yeah."
Garrett` nods. "Then let’s find a local place for muffins and get a good perch."
Ernst: "From my perspective, their cooperation seems like the only sane option. So anything that could assist with that is fine with me."
Chandrasekhar: "…they are of the world which we wish to repair. And it will make us look good. So that's at least one good reason."
Zane shrugs. "I'm more than a little out of my element here, so I'm willing to go along with other peoples plans until its time to start dropping bodies."
Gerald: "Yup."
Garrett‘ attempts to find a bakery that isn’t on fire and then will discern the best way to the Enzyo Mons base.
Aleith|DM: In the Cathedral District, towering cathedrals with grand domes and black-veined marble loom as ominous landmarks between streets marked with shrines on every corner and at the edge of every canal. In the district center, the Plaza Hyperion connects four great civic buildings.
Aleith|DM: Itself a wonder of architecture and landscaping, the plaza's mosaics depict the rise of Triegenes and his defeat of the demonocracy, with a central rosette displaying his ascendance to godhood encircled with the fish that the humble fisherman once caught. Arbors of grapes and honeysuckle lining a circular canal once provided shade from the hot sun, but now the plants have wilted.
Aleith|DM: At the plaza's north and south ends rise academies devoted to the study of war and to magic, while the eastern end is home to the ecclesiastical governmental palace known as Praetorio Urbis. At the western end squats the Jenevah Grand Librarium, the largest repository of written knowledge in the world.
Aleith|DM: Huge crowds gather in Plaza Hyperion to seek news of the god trials or to bring in priests for bounties. Others simply beg for aid, since many basic civic functions of government have fallen apart. Even amidst the fervor there are brave souls who come to the plaza to lend aid however they can.
Garrett: "(This place is pretty amazing, artistically.)"
Phyllis: "(Whitewashed, gilded tombs, the lot of it.)"
Aleith|DM: As noon appraoches, the dull roar of the crowd in Plaza Hyperion can be heard from over a mile away, though you're much closer than that. A makeshift stage has been assembled from toppled marble masonry, rising ten feet above the rest of the plaza. Atop it, eight armored priests, their platemail doused in volcanic ash, hold the ends of chains. Together they watch a feeble manacled prisoner—an old deva woman wearing tattered priest robes.
Aleith|DM: Legate Savina Tullius paces around the accused. A tall, beautiful elf, endowed with spells to fascinate the crowd, Savina is making a grand show for her audience.
Savina: "You have all gathered here to bear witness and hear the crimes of Velkali, the goddess who shelters travelers and offers rest at oases. What oases? I note from an epistle of the ecclesiarch Stella Amphora, who wrote in the year 157 B.O.V. that Velkali was welcomed into our pantheon by the request of the people of the northeast. Any traveler who has gone there knows that land is dry and parched, its people dead. Today that waste has spread throughout our country, and aside from this sheltered garden that people have crafted, our nation is unsafe."
Savina: "What did this god do when the great calamity struck our people? Nothing! Not a finger was raised to provide succor to her people in the hour of their need."
Savina: "I quote from the holy poem of Agraman, sacred to Velkali, 'And she said to the desert folk / let this pledge be never broke / that in your lean and hungered days / your suffering I shall assuage.'"
Savina: "I ask that this tribunal take this as evidence that Velkali has forsaken her core vow. She is derelict in her duty."
The elf makes a sweeping gesture towards the crowd. "Who would bear testimony for Velkali? Any?"
Phyllis nudges Chandra.
Aleith|DM: None of the assembled crowd step forward, and the crowd jeers.
Garrett: "(Uhh… hm.)"
Phyllis takes a step forward, wracking her brain for a defense as she does so.
Garrett: "(Okay, well, time to play it smooth.)" He steps forward!
Phyllis: "What of those lending aid right now?"
Aleith|DM: The crowd just boos you down.
Aleith|DM: Saying stuff like 'helping of their own accord' and 'no godly power driving them to do it'
Zane: "So because there's no god behind it, charity has no value? I'm pretty sure a copper will buy a loaf of bread, divine or otherwise."
Garrett: "Hush ye to a man! The heavens themselves moved, and the gods with them!"
Garrett: "Would that you remember your gods teachings and act in their stead, and not braying like a lost ass in the reeds!"
Salina: "And how is that any defence for their lack of aid?! In this terrible time, they have not supported us as they should! Velkali's succor is nowhere to be found!"
[OOC] Aleith|DM: *Savina rather
Garrett‘ . o O (Is there anything I should know about this person?) he asks of his comrades.
Garrett: "You would wrench blood from turnips, and spit it out when you claim it is but juice!"
Phyllis: "What manner of understanding do you have of the Clergy’s pantheon that you do not acknowledge the spark of divinity that lies within us all? The origins of Triegenes, the very symbol of the Humble Hook?"
Phyllis: "If you are not lending succor yourself, who are you to judge?"
Zane: "Is Velkali your dad? Are you all a bunch of helpless babies? When times are tough, you'll find help. But you have to *go find it*, not sit on your asses and expect it to be delivered to you!"
Savina: "We are the ones who have been doing the work. But it is not mankind on trial. It is the gods! And Velkali is found wanting!" The crowds cheers in agreement.
"And thus it is so," says Savina. "The god has not done was she was pledged to do. Even the humblest tailor can complete their task given to them. Should we not expect any less of gods? Take her. We march for the mountain."
Phyllis . o O ( She wasn't a Legate when I immigrated out of here. She's from Risur, and trained as an orator in Ber. )
Garrett‘ . o O ( Dang. And I can’t exactly say that she isn't putting a god on trial, because I mean… priests kinda are, right? )
Aleith|DM: The crowd parts as the armored guards drag the chained priestess down from the stage.
Zane: "it should be mankind on trial. We're the ones that ruined the world. Why should we expect the gods to clean up our mess?"
Chandrasekhar: "…my people learned quickly how to handle being bereft of our Goddess, our sun. We learned to carry her spirit within us. That even dead, Her spirit could live on, within our hearts, as we survived. That our fingers would touch the world, in Her name. May you all swiftly learn the lessons we had to learn in order to survive."
Aleith|DM: The crowd appears to be deaf to your arguements.
Aleith|DM: The whole mass of several hundred people heaves out of the plaza and onto the road that leads to Enzyo Mons. Many sing an old song that prays for condemned men as their souls head to the afterlife. (Of all the gods in the Clergy pantheon, no one disputes that the god of death is doing his job.)
Phyllis: "…"
Phyllis: "Has a hivemind formed?"
Aleith|DM: Nope.
Garrett: "Kind of impressed it hasn't, to be honest."
Chandrasekhar: "Only the hivemind that this nation spawned forth without any outside assistance so many times in its past."
Garrett: "Well, let's… follow them. See if there's any other theological openings."
Aleith|DM: The trek takes a little over an hour. On the path up the mountain various shrines and small chapels have been toppled or burned down, and crude wooden grave markers erected with the names of dead gods. Between these, beggars huddle under blankets and hide their faces as they hold out pleading hands for alms.
Phyllis: "(Or room for a daring rescue, if it comes to it.)"
Aleith|DM: The cathedral of Triegenes looms at the edge of the volcanic caldera, and shining forms circle in the sky above—angels, called to serve the Clergy, their armor and blades reflecting the hellfire light of the lava.
Aleith|DM: The crowd marches through the open doors of the cathedral, where priests in soot-dappled armor and monks in funereal robes watch for signs of dissent. The monks intone low hymns, slowly repeating what you recognize as parts of the chant for the sacrament of apotheosis.
Aleith|DM: Ten-foot wide fluted columns rise eighty feet to support the ceiling, from which statues of holy figures hang, their eyes turned skyward. Some of them have been recently cracked and removed, their white marble pristine beside the ash-coated surfaces of the rest of the ceiling.
Aleith|DM: Rows of pews stretch the length of the building, which is constructed with a slight downward slope akin to stadium seating. Aisles flank the pews, lined with ornate statuary that depicts the life and ascendance of Triegenes.
Aleith|DM: Grand stained glass windows beyond the rostrum permit crimson light, but where a traditional cathedral would have a back wall behind the pulpit, here the building opens to a wide balcony with pitted and burnt stone tiles.
Aleith|DM: Grandiose fountains lie on either side of the balcony, each consisting of stone sailors on boats, holding silver chains that end in harpoons and fishhooks, the symbol of Triegenes. A railing encircles most of the balcony, but leaves a fifteen foot wide section open, perilously overlooking the burbling molten rock in the mouth of the volcano.
Aleith|DM: From the moment one enters the cathedral, a single figure is visible all the way down the length of the building, standing at the precipice. Silhouetted by the fiery haze, Aulus Atticus raises one hand and beckons the mob and the condemned to meet him on the balcony.
Aleith|DM: The crowd fills the cathedral and many flow out onto the edge, though priests stop the group before a dangerous number press through. The onlookers form a half-ring around Atticus as Legate Tullius and her priests guide the priestess of Velkali to the edge. Ritual components have been set up, identical to what you witness in the memory event at the top of the Lance of Triegenes.
Aleith|DM: Atticus begins to speak, and as he does, his fellow monks bring out vials of blood and begin to paint symbols on the priestess.
"I understand," Atticus says, "that the tribunal of the people has found the goddess Velkali guilty of forsaking her pledge to protect us in our time of suffering. Before you lay sentence, heed this sermon, children."
Atticus: "I have faith. I know you do. Say, do you have faith?"
The crowd murmurs in agreement.
Atticus: "Do you have faith! Don't lie."
A louder, pleading response from the crowd cries yes.
Atticus: "I hear your uncertainty. I feel it too. I do not wish to see those who I pray to be shown as liars. I pledged my life to the gods, foremost of all to Triegenes. The core of our faith is this. A man can overcome adversity to become anything he chooses. A hero. A king. A god."
Atticus: "But too many of us choose the wrong path. We become braggarts. Blackguards. We swagger and slander and become tyrants over whatever small world we can grab."
Atticus: "And this new world, this dark and damned world we see around us? I tell you it has changed because those who once led us were lying to us for years. They did not trust us. I tried to find the truth, and they killed and cursed righteous friends who would have pulled their schemes into the light. And their scheme, I tell you, was to decide what we would be. They decided what they thought was right. And they did not give us a choice. They did not let us test ourselves. If the meaning of life is to choose what you become, they tried to eliminate it. That's as good as killing us all."
Chandrasekhar stares daggers, grateful for the mask.
Atticus: "Our hierarchs betrayed their vows to us. I'm sure the king and philosophers and sovereigns of the rest of the world did the same to their people. They should be punished, and we, the children, should retake a world they have stolen from us."
Atticus: "I say to, none of us is different. Our leaders abandoned us. The gods? They abandoned us! And you, each of you! You know you have abandoned your brothers and sisters. Do not think we are better because we sit in judgment. We are all weak."
Atticus: "But we are all strong too, in that any man can rise above his frailties. Any ruler can be just. Any god can obey his pledge to this world. I shall ask you to lay sentence, but know when you judge, you judge yourselves as well. Have you, children, risen to what you could be?"
Aleith|DM: He pauses for a long moment of silence.
Atticus: "This goddess, Velkali, is guilty! She has forsaken us, and like a soldier who leaves his post, her crime cannot be forgiven. Tribunal, what is your sentence?"
As one, the crowd roars, "Death."
Chandrasekhar softens, somewhat, as the rhetoric goes on. It's… extreme, but his skin -is- covered with glamoured burns and scars, after all.
With swift confidence, Aulus begins to chant. He grasps the priestess's head and somehow compels her to intone with him, "Before I was nothing but words. Now I am all that is believed. I am faith made flesh. I am flesh made a god."
Aleith|DM: The monks remove the chains on the prisoner, who falls over, gasps, and begins to swell in size. Blue-white energy arcs off of her body in fiery blazes, and she staggers to her feet, fifteen feet tall, with long blue-green hair flowing and rippling like water. She looks down at her hands, then lifts her gaze to the crowd.
Aleith|DM: She opens her mouth to speak, but beside her Sigismund has planted his feet solidly, and he lunges into her, pressing with one hand. The blow hurls the goddess off the edge of the balcony. The crowd holds its breath. Sigismund draws himself up straight. The red haze flashes bright orange for a moment just as a heavy impact and splash sound reaches the crowd. A column of blue-green light lances into the sky, the mountain rumbles, and in an insant the light is gone.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: -Sigismund +Atticus
Aleith|DM: Some in the crowd seem to faint.
Atticus says to the crowd, "Go home and pray. Pray that the gods witness us and know that they will be held to account. It is not too late for them to live up to the faith we have placed in them."
Garrett‘ gasps, a moment of realization across his eyes.
Zane is watching impassively. His voice is flat. "They have gone mad."
Garrett: "(…I should have seen that coming, as we saw the real deal uh… not too long ago.)"
Aleith|DM: After that the crowd disperses and heads back to Alais Primos. Legate Tullius and a few dozen priests and monks remain behind to confer with Aulus. The angels who circled above land and silently pick up the bodies of those who fell.
Phyllis: "(Seen what?)"
Gerald` .oO(So uh… wasn’t there a dragon heart in the components for that ritual…? Where the hell are they getting enough for this if it's been going on for weeks?)
Aleith|DM: Some of the components seemed rather mummified.
Garrett: "(Like the whole… ritual and all.)"
Chandrasekhar shakes, quietly, with rage, and… something else.
Phyllis: "(What, that it would be their execution method? Or something else about it?)"
Garrett: "(The former.)"
Phyllis: "(… I thought you'd have figured. I would have said something if I knew.)"
Gerald‘ .oO(At any rate, this guy seems like he’s in charge now. Should we go introduce ourselves and negotiate? I'm pretty sure he'll remember that he doesn't have much power against us at least.)
Garrett: "(Well, I mean… they just seem to do it so easily.)"
Garrett: "(Is what I was taken aback by, at least.)"
[OOC] Aleith|DM: Well, this IS the 8th god they've killed
Phyllis: "(Mummified components or preserved blood. Possibly kept for just such an occasion.)"
Garrett: "(Well. I'm not actually sure we should talk to this guy. I mean… we're still kinda at war, albeit a delayed one.)"
Phyllis: "(Can we be a bit of a fly on the wall, at least?)"
Garrett‘ stops whispering so much. . o O ( Yeah, in observation. )
Zane doesn’t bother with whispers and subtleties. He looks at Atticus and asks the question that nobody seems to have thought of. "What happens when you run out of gods? Who gets thrown in then?"
Garrett‘ . o O ( I mean he at least seems to be presiding over the slaying of gods, but…)
Aleith|DM: Atticus steps up from his seated prayer pose. "Then my job will be done."
[OOC] Aleith|DM: *picks himself up
Zane: "Sure, but you dont really think the mob will buy that do you?"
Atticus: "We will have to make a new start, without the gods."
Phyllis: "Why is death the punishment in the first place? If they abandoned you, why the need to kill them?"
Phyllis: "Why not just … move on?"
Aleith|DM: Some of the monks step forward to usher Zane out, but Aulus holds up a hand, stopping them.
Aleith|DM: However, the angels hover in the background, and another one lands nearby, much larger than the rest. While the others are ’traditional' winged humanoids, this one towers eighteen feet high, its body composed of androgynous armor. Its lower body resembles a four-legged lion crafted from steel, its upper body that of a humanoid, with two massive wings of steel with sapphire feathers. Divine light glows out through the joints of the armor.
Gerald‘ sizes up the angel.
Aleith|DM: Well, it’s not Fey Titan, but it looks like it could take a few shots, at least.
Zane holds his hands out nonthreateningly. "You think you can do that? I mean, honestly? These people are howling for blood and answers, in that order. And when the gods are gone… you really don't think they'll turn on you? On the ones that put the gods on trial but never got any response?"
Gerald: "Not quite as big as the last handful of things we had to kill… but I guess you're probably more than intimidating enough for normal folk." Gerald nods to the angel.
Atticus: "I believe it is my sacred duty to continue these trials until we are finished. Maybe some will prove true. I hope, at least, that Triegenes proves his worth. But even if he is found wanting, I will fulfill the duty that the gods will not."
Zane: "You don't think this energy could be better served, I dunno, actually helping the people instead of this dog and pony show?"
Phyllis glances over at Savina. "Those that would normally provide aid and succor and keep order are on their way to war against Risur."
Phyllis: "Have you looked at the stars in the sky disappearing as your trials go on, as well? I fear you're making the situation worse."
Phyllis: "I mean. Our planar, metaphysical, sunless sky situation."
Atticus: "Some are providing aid, and Legate Tullius oversees those in the Plaza, for instance."
Garrett: "Yeah, we saw that…"
Atticus: "There remain no stars in the sky to fall but those new planes, from what the scholars see."
Atticus: "Is there something you are here for, foreigners? I can hear our accent on your voice, miss, but the others aren't from here."
Zane: "Trying to understand how a whole country could just lose its mind."
Atticus: "And how would blind faith serve us in these times?"
Atticus: "The grape withers on the vines while the gods rest on their laurels."
Gerald: "I mean I duno how your deal up here works,"
Gerald: "But we just beat ours back into submission and had them start doing their jobs after the realignment got their all riled up."
Garrett: "Have there been any gods who have answered their prayers?"
Garrett: "Any that have escaped a bloody fate of the tribunal?"
Atticus: "All of the trials so far have ended with a guilty verdict."
Zane: "Well I mean, just as an example. 'And she said to the desert folk / let this pledge be never broke / that in your lean and hungered days / your suffering I shall assuage.' Its like people expected her to literally show up and hand out glasses of water. But couldn't that just as easily be her will reflected in simple acts of charity? Giving a beggar enough coppers for a meal and a bed? Do
Zane: your gods make a habit of showing up and doing things? I figured it would be more signs and intermediaries, their will manifested in mortal actions. "
Phyllis: "Well, it is possible for gods to walk among us. Yet it seems they get shoved in lava as soon as they manifest in-person around here."
Atticus: "We have records of their miracles written down. And yet they do not repeat any of them now, in our time of need."
Atticus: "These acts of charities carried out by random people are signs that they follow the teaching of Triegenes, to better themselves, not necessarily a sign of any greater power directly at work."
Gerald: "Isn't…"
Gerald: "Your like… core tennet about bettering yourselves and not relying on Gods anyway…?"
Gerald‘ scratches at the back of his head.
Phyllis tilts her head. "See, that’s where we differ, and I'm from Crisillyr originally. I encountered two types of Clergy - true believers who followed the teachings, and charlatans who paraded in the street with illusion magic, scaring people with images of the Bleak Gate."
Atticus: "But what good are gods if they do nothing?"
Zane shrugs. "Maybe they expect you to try and stand on your own a little bit first."
Atticus: "Then we don't need them."
Phyllis: "Do you need to kill them, either?"
Gerald‘ rolls a shrug. "Just seems like a lot of effort to go through for something that shouldn’t matter, but eh."
Chandrasekhar: "What good is the -concept- of light, that humans must work iron and glass into torches with our own hands?"
Atticus: "We gave them centuries of worship, and in return we get nothing? I fail to see how that is right."
Gerald: "At any rate. Who should we be talking to about negotating a stop to this war that's being cooked up while you're in the middle of… all this?"
Garrett: "Also we'd like your permission to check out a book."
Chandrasekhar: "You do not believe in justice. You are children. The world falls around you, and you lash out at that which could be your respite. You would rather bleed yourselves dry in a festival of death than do the work of survival."
Atticus: "You may as well speak with me, then. The Arch Secula is hiding amongst the books right now, afraid of being lynched."
Chandrasekhar: "Cynicism is truly the world's most supine moral stance."
Atticus: "I take it you're from Risur, then?"
Chandrasekhar sounds disgusted.
Gerald: "I figured the comment about beating our gods into submission would have given it away, but yeah."
Zane: "In general, yeah."
Atticus: "We killed your god already, heathen. Now the first of many," he says snidely to Chandrasekhar.
Garrett: "Okay, okay, I don't think we need any of that, Auri."
Atticus: "As to the war, I'm not invested it in. That was the last order of our former Prime Cardinal, before his demise. I heard Risur had something to do with that, in fact…?"
Phyllis: "I will concede that you have a point, somewhat, about no longer relying on gods or great men. It was always my stance in the arcane colleges here that the teachings were meant more to guide your actions than to receive direct intervention from the gods."
Garrett: "Okay well -someone's- got to have their hand on that lever still, yeah?"
Gerald: "Yeah he was kind of making a hivemind run rampant and was about to destroy everything around him so…" Gerald makes a shooting motion with his fingers.
Phyllis: "I worry that our world is merely tilting toward another Great Man."
Garrett: "Also Risur is totally innocent and great. And destroyed that rampaging hivemind that basically slaughtered that whole congregation of conspirators."
Garrett: "We're sorry for your loss."
Atticus: "You mentioned something about a book?"
Chandrasekhar refrains from murdering him on the spot.
Phyllis: "You want us to fix the sunless sky?"
Gerald‘ pats Chandra on the shoulder.
Phyllis: "There’s a ritual in your library that we need to do so."
Zane rolls his head on his shoulders. "That was more than a little rude, Atticus."
Atticus: "Really? Which book is that, praytell?"
Gerald‘ turns to Ernst.
Chandrasekhar: "(I have been called worse by better. Let it pass.)"
Garrett` turns to Ernst.
Garrett` . o O (Did it have a more scholarly name other than ’Axis Seal'?)
Zane: "(For now. For you.)"
Ernst . o O (Not as far as I'm aware. I only know of the inner workings of the library, not the book in particular. There's many things stored in that vault.)
Gerald: "Don't know the name but we'd recognize it if we saw it."
Garrett: "Axis something-or-other."
Atticus: "Hmmm. Well, how about this. You help me finish the god trials, and I will see about getting you that book and calling off the invasion."
Gerald: "I cannot imagine how we'd be of any help, you seem to have things pretty well in hand."
Garrett: "Uh, so question-"
Garrett: "Just how true is the fact that the prayers of the people keep Enzyo Mons from erupting?"
Zane: "Sure hope nobody loses faith in that…"
Phyllis: "I will note that you said 'finish' and neglected to specify any particular verdict"
Atticus: "There's been centuries, millenia even, of prayers here. I can only assume they have some part in the wards on the volcano."
Atticus: "Triegenes is to be the final trial. Aside from your display earlier, none of the gods have had anyone defend them. You could prepare a defence for him, and we can even move up his trial if you insist."
Atticus: "I admit that I want to find my own god innocent, but I will abide by the decision of the tribunal of the people. I would advise you to do your best on the defence if you accept."
Atticus: "You would also need to find someone willing to stand in for Triegenes as his surrogate."
Garrett‘ looks Atticus directly in the eyes.
Zane smiles slightly. "Why don’t you do it?"
Garrett‘ . o O ( Oh man look out. We’re gonna form a hivemind at this rate.)
Atticus: "Because someone has to carry out the sentence."
Phyllis glances up at Chandra.
Zane shrugs. "We know the ritual. If you're guilty, we'll invest you and throw you in with everybody else."
Atticus raises an eyebrow. "Several of the others also know it, so I'm covered there. How did you find out, if I may ask?"
Chandrasekhar: "…and yet prayers are meaningless, and the gods are silent. Do you suppose it's one god in particular holding back the flood? Or is it a collaborative effort, and one god's death will be the proverbial straw…"
Atticus: "I can only hope that if enough of them die, the rest might actually do something."
Zane shrugs. "We lead an exciting and complicated life."
Phyllis: "We witnessed Srasama's death in a recreation. Long story how that came to happen."
Atticus: "I've heard rumours that the Vekeshi can do something of the sort."
Zane: "Also, I think you've been going about this wrong. You dont put a mortal on trial, invest them, and kill them. You should invest them first, let the god defend itself, and then render your verdict."
Atticus: "What, that they may do something in their final moments just to cheat death? Why must we bring them down here to bring their miracles upon us, instead of before that?"
Chandrasekhar: "If they were seekers of truth, rather than of blood, perhaps."
Gerald: "Well."
Gerald: "I guess that depends on if you care more about killing them, or getting the aid you want out of them."
Zane: "I don't mean to belabor the point here but… look at the world. Look at the sky. What is to say they can even act at all after everything went to hell in a handbasket?"
Atticus: "Then they are of no use to us, as I too have said."
Chandrasekhar: "This is like talking to a wall. Save your breath."
Garrett‘ waves a hand. "What was the method of which the previous sacrifi- I mean, person-turned-into-god chosen? Were they a priest volunteered of their own volition?" he asks.
Phyllis holds a hand up. "How would you expect it to work otherwise? The sacrament of apotheosis is a means to make any social construct real, not just religious figures. They primarily exist in your mind, as nouemenon, and don’t exist in the flesh until the sacrament forms them, as the phenomenon."
Phyllis: "The gods exist because of us in the first place. Yes?"
Atticus: "Volunteered by the people that dragged them from their temples, cowering from the crowds that would topple the pedestal their false god was placed on."
Atticus: "Ah, you must be Ms. Lenz. I've read some of your writings. It's no wonder you left us when all you could write was that drivel."
Phyllis: "Plenty of concepts exist that people place their faith in blindly. Tell me, do you use currency?"
Chandrasekhar stares at Atticus blankly. (Literally. Because his mask is an utter mirror-sheen right now.)
Zane cracks his knuckles. "That's two."
Atticus: "The gods proved themselves, supposedly, once upon a time. They are not a mere 'ideal'."
Phyllis: "When they were flesh and blood people! They only ascended because of the impact they left, the echoes in peoples' minds!"
Gerald‘ glances around the room, then clears his throat.
Atticus: "And their believers make them manifest with the sacroment, yes."
Gerald: "So what I’m hearing…"
Phyllis: "And how else would they manifest?!"
Gerald: "Is that Phyllis would love to defend your Gods, and you'd love to avoid a pointless war and help us realign the planes."
Phyllis: "Yes!"
Garrett: "Straight shooter as always, Gerald."
Atticus just shakes his head. "Yes. Let me know when you have your defence ready, and we can organize it for the next day."
Garrett: "Give us a bit and you'll have your trial. Thank you for your audience."
Gerald: "Great. We'll be in touch. Any recommendations for a place to rest up for the night?"
Chandrasekhar inclines his head to Gerald in a pleased, subtle bow.
Atticus: "No, sorry. I've spent most of my time in Elfaivar until recently, and spent most of my time here since then."
Gerald‘ does an admirable job not errupting into laugher upon remembering their encounter in Elfaivar, nodding instead. "Alrighty then. Take care."
Garrett` nods to Atticus, the angels, and turns to leave.
Garrett` waits until they’re on the way down.
Garrett: "Alright. So. How the hell do we prove the gods aren't dead without becoming one."
Gerald: "Hell if I know anytime I've run into one I've had to shoot it, visions of the past I couldn't interact with nonwith standing
Phyllis: "Except they kind of are and aren't, like I was saying. Money, like religion, is just some construct that humanity decided to make up. It is of artifical construction, but we still interact with it in a real way."
Phyllis: "It's like your very kingship, I suspect."
Chandrasekhar: "…there are artifacts in this world imbued with the will of the Gods."
Chandrasekhar touches his sword… then touches, briefly, the hook at his neck. "It decided. It chose. That indicates a presence in the world."
Phyllis: "As I said, you still interact with it in a real way."
Garrett‘ pauses at Chandra’s words, and then resumes descending.
Garrett: "…let's see if we can't find the Arch Secula next."
Garrett: "Since we need both of their approvals and it'd be nice if they were alive to give it."
Gerald: "Sounds like a plan."
Phyllis taps Chandra on the shoulder and hands him the Book of Kelland.
Chandrasekhar takes the book with careful reverence, glances at it curiously. "Study material? Or…?"
Phyllis: "There are artifacts in this world imbued with the will of stories that people tell and pass down."
Chandrasekhar smiles.
Phyllis winks. "But sure. Study material. That too."
Aleith|DM: A large crowd is gathered outside the Jenevah Grand Librarium, booing and jeering the Arch Secula and demanding she come out. In the current environment, only dignitaries and guards are allowed into the librarium…

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