« on: October 24, 2013, 03:56:15 AM »
Bit of a Threadromancy but I've expanded on this a fair bit so here it is. Enjoy!
Eternity Warden Szeratops eyed the feathered Saurus suspiciously. Ever since the strange Son of Tepok had approached the Star Chamber of Lord Mazdamundi Szeratops had been cautious. It was not unusual for a spawning to show vibrant colouring, a feathery coat or a mark of the Old Ones on their hide. It was even known for Saurus to be spawned with peculiar attributes; uncommon swiftness, a keen mind, even resistance to magic. But for a Saurus to actually be able to harness the Winds of Magic, it was near unheard of!
Aki’Pterixx was immune to the aura of power that saturated every inch of the chamber. All but the oldest Temple Guard and the Eternity Warden himself, each who have endured a hundred years of exposure to the time warping currents, were slowed to a crawling pace. But not so the feathered Saurus.
The Skinks worshipped the Son of Tepok as an incarnation of the God. He certainly embodied the Inscrutable Protector of Sacred Places. He was covered in brightly patterned purple feathers, surrounded in mysterious invisible energies that seemed to protect him from the negative effects of magic, and was able to cast spells himself. Despite these peculiarities the most off-putting thing about Aki’Pterixx was the way he thought.
Szeratops instinctively didn’t trust him. How could one trust a sentient being who ignores the details of the world? Someone who is oblivious to all that does not concern them, their actions, or their own task. He had seen the stoic and emotionless Sacred Spawning of Tlazcotl stand fearless in the face of untold horrors, and the devout fanatics of Sotek unflinchingly put entire settlements to death but neither of them disregarded so much so naturally. They still at least acknowledged the majesty of the Temple Cities, the grace of the Slann and the loss of their kindred (even though they may not mourn their passing). But not so the feathered Saurus.
War Council was to be held in the Star Chamber, something that had not happened since before his predecessor had passed from this world. Standing opposite Szeratops and his Guardians were a troop of yellow and orange saurus warriors, the blessed of Chotec, led by a dark-scaled warrior of Quetzl. Skink attendants, normally twitchy and nimble sluggishly went about their tasks in the Chamber. A stone table in the shape of the continents of the world sat in the middle of the room. One the east side were the temple guard, on the west were the Saurus warriors. Between them, at what would be the south was a congregation of Skinks; Shamans, Priests, Chieftains, Heralds and Beastmasters from all corners of the Solar City. It was those who sat to the north that caused the most unease within the groups.
Aki’Pterixx of course was there standing beside the Skink High Priest. Behind them, above three stone plinths flickered the images of three Slaan Mage Priests, one each from the fifth, fourth, and third generations lending their astral selves to the communion. But it was the final figure that drew the attention of all. Seated atop a glimmering gold palanquin was an orange wrinkle-skinned Slann. Ancient, moreso than any gathered here by a measure of millennia. Atop his head sat a golden crown adorned with feathers and in his spidery grasp he held something no other Slann did – a weapon.
All in the room cowed before the mighty aura of the Mage Lord of Hexoatl. Even after near a century in service as the Slann’s Eternity Warden, even Szeratops felt the urge to kneel before the great Mazdamundi. No Slann ever required or commanded submission, but the desire to bow before the oldest living Mage Priest was undeniable. Although the Eternity Warden and his cohort managed to maintain their sober bearing many others in the room did not. The skinks made elaborate displays of individual reverence; the Saurus bowed forwards exposing their necks or took the knee thus exposing themselves as vulnerable in ways they never normally would. Even the ornery Quetzlite raised a claw to his chest in a gesture of respect. But not so the feathered Saurus.
As the rabble calmed the room darkened. Small orbs of coloured stone and pinpoints of light floated in the air throughout the chamber, each representing a celestial body or event. Aki’Pterix spoke first.
“We will claim victory for the Old Ones. Purge the Aberrations and the world will be set right,” the features on the map shifted and changed as the celestial bodies whirred overhead. Strands of light criss-crossed the miniature world forming a perfect and unbroken replica of the Geomantic Web. “Restore our power and Anathema will fail…”
“This has been the Great Mazdamundi’s goal for centuries,” chirped one of the Chieftains. “What you say is nothing new.”
The High Priest interjected “It is the details that now differ. Itza has always opposed an all out crusade, preferring to remain in Lustria to keep the great cities safe. Rarely will they or their coalition support Hexoatl’s wars.”
“It is the blood of Hexoatl that keeps the inner cities safe from the North. Itza’s refusal is an INSULT to the spawn-kin who die at our gates,” bellowed the dark Saurus. “They know nothing of the constant war against Anathema, the Aberrations and the Wayward Children. They are as useful to Great Plan as a slab of stone!”
Tension was palpable in the silence.
“Each stone in this world serves its purpose,” echoed the mental voice of one of the attendant Slann. “It can be built into a temple, carved into a plaque, chiselled into a tool, even dropped from the air to smite our foes. Itza has its place, and we have ours.”
“Yes,” sent another. “Itza’s reluctance to embroil itself in our wars is not for cowardice. They read different plaques, have different prophecies and a different purpose.”
The words spoken by the dark Saurus were more cautious, but the underlying rage barely restrained.
“If Itza refuses us what good are The First to the Children of the Sun?”
Deep rumbling words ground through the quiet that followed the Saurus’ words. Like the sounds of mountains colliding in the ocean’s depths punctuated by croaks and ribbits Mazadumdi’s words reached the auditory senses of all present. Although only the Slann understood the words themselves, their meaning pierced the minds of them all.
“Itza is The First, so too shall it be the last. We are the flaming sword of Chotec. Itza will not send aid, so we must hone our own edge.”
Everyone in the room flinched as Mazdamundi communicated his orders to them telepathically. The only ones unaffected were the Temple Guard, their orders unchanged.
“You now know your tasks. Go forth, and next we meet our purge shall begin.”
The celestial models vanished and light returned to the room. The chamber emptied, and all that remained where the Temple Guard and Szeratops. They dispersed throughout the chamber, taking up their posts once more. Szeratops approached Mazdamundi and turned to face the chamber door, assuming his regular stance.
“No. I have another task for you.”
Szeratops turned to face his Master, astounded that he would be addressed so in private.
“You are unique, as crucial to the Plan as Aki’Pterixx or General Zpakatax. You have a keen mind, just as the others gathered today. Unlike Aki’Pterixx you take in every detail, as all is relevant to you. Unlike the General you are calm and rational. You understand more than you know, and you are privy to secrets none other can hear.”
This was true. As Eternity Warden he was present in near all exchanges between the Slann and their attendants, even between priests in the temple. He knew things he should never have known, heard things that should never be spoken. It was his duty to never use what was uttered within the temple. These were sacred and secret matters that no lowly Saurus, no matter what rank, should know or act upon.
“I will give you a task Eternity Warden but first you must learn a secret known to none but the oldest of the Second Generation and the First of my kind. I will tell you of how the Saurus came to be…”