Kejak Dies

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Gensh
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Kejak Dies
  • Kejak Cries
  • Kejak Lies
  • Kejak Spies
  • Kejak Ties

Kejak Cries

Each Fate-Chosen had a preordained time to die. Certainly, they sometimes died early. The light of less orderly heroes could obscure Fate's vision, and the various creatures beyond the world could sometimes sneak quite far inland before the ripples were noticed. They could easily slay a Seer and unravel a plan centuries in the making. But the point was, those Seers were still dying.

Kejak Chejop was cautious. Some would say too cautious. Now, he had done it. He had lived to the ultimate extent a Seer could. The thread of his destiny had ended at this year's close. Calibration had begun. He was still alive, but he knew from his own weariness that he would not live to see the next year begin.

There were still so many things to be done, things which he could trust only himself to accomplish. He had spent an utterly full lifetime to get this far, but it was not enough. Perhaps no human life would ever be enough. Tasks of such grandeur as ordering all mortal affairs had required all the celestial bureaucracy to function in harmony. Not even the great Kejak Chejop could keep those wheels spinning when a gear refused to turn.

He had tried training successors and assistants in myriad ways. Each such experiment ended in failure and produced some sort of new entanglement which wasted his time. Ayesha had gotten it in her head that she could control the returning God-Kings, and Anys Syn was distracted with… something, to say nothing of the less interesting failures.

Officially, Kejak had already divided his duties among those he trusted best to not drive them into the ground. He had made no announcement that his end was due, but he had taken no extra steps to conceal it. There were plans in place. Unlike that fool girl, he had special protocols which would activate and disseminate his final testament should he ever become indisposed, by death or otherwise.

At last, he could rest. He could await his destiny's end. But that sat ill with a man who had dedicated every breathing moment to turning the wheels, and so Kejak Chejop stewed in his office, alone.

There came the fainted knock on the door, just as expected.

"Please, enter," he said forcefully, as if a demand.

Almost silently, the old wooden door slid open. A blue shroud made of countless dangling bandages drifted in and somehow shut the door behind it.

"You're leaving," it whispered.

"Yes, to find a proper successor. The only one I can trust to handle everything without issue."

If the empty pile of rags could look incredulous, it would have. Instead, it simply hovered more aggressively.

"Your next incarnation," it whispered again.

It was not a question. Nara-O, the God of Secrets Only One Person Knows had this in its files. It did not need to view that record. It knew by long experience exactly the sort of self-aggrandizing hubris Kejak had.

It continued: "What do you plan to do? Surely, you will not linger as restless dead? How can you trust even your successor, if you are not there to guide yourself?"

It was hard for Nara-O to project tone, but likewise Kejak was familiar enough with his co-chair to know when it was being sassy.

"I suppose I must improvise."

"And that is why you have left such bait in my records?"

"Such is my faith in you."

"No."

Kejak focused especially hard on the paperwork he wasn't reading.

"No," he said after a moment.

"You will take my life."

"Yes."

"There is no way I could persuade you otherwise."

"Not unless you gave truly compelling evidence you are not the Royal Relic."

A moment passed. Kejak frowned.

"I will miss our talks," he said, rising.

"As will I."

The floating shroud had not moved, but now it hovered almost somberly. Kejak stood just before it, then knelt. He pressed his brow to the floor.

"Speak the vow, Prince of the Earth," the god whispered.

"Hail evil, ruin me!"

One of the strips of cloth comprising Nara-O's body fell away.

"Again."

"In Mu, Her evil ail!"

"Twenty-two-and-one times!"

"I mull, naive heir!"

It didn't take long before the phrases stopped being anything resembling pretty. But it was a ritual. It wasn't about being pretty. It was about suffusing the air with mysticism and droning away the conscious senses. It was about lulling Heaven into complacency.

Twenty-two key phrases Kekak spoke. His tongue became drier with each utterance, and he soon felt as if he would die of thirst. Yet he persevered. At last, the "god" lay unveiled, one of the great mysteries of the Department of Secrets. Nara-O was the Royal Relic. A single blue eye hovered above the hero. It seemed human enough, but closer inspection would reveal that to be animal mimicry. In truth, it was a horrid, faceted thing which did not focus or turn.

"Finish the rite, Kejak. Return me to my place. It is the only way."

The perverse sense of the irresponsibility of the whole affair washed over the ancient hero. Kejak Chejop was cautious. Some would say too cautious. But he did not waver. Never again.

"I release you from your service to the Bureau of Destiny, Nara-O. I release you from the terms of your surrender, Leftmost Eye of the Queen of Heaven."

The man shuddered as he finished the rite, as he called the name of the thing which had died the day he was born.

"Nihilem Ruvelia!"

The eyeball fell to the floor and bounced three times. It ruptured slightly, and royal blue blood began to drip free. After a moment, the blood began to truly flow, quickly forming a pool over the floor. A lifeless face with one missing eye and a mouth frozen in a death grin bobbed to the surface as if rising from deep water. Half the face was beautiful and pale in the way only the prepared dead could be, but the half with the missing eye was the bluish-white of a cadaver abandoned to the snow. The fresher side had black hair, which turned shock-white on the other.

A body bobbed to the surface next, garbed in some shimmering black robe. Still more of the royal blood spilled from twenty-two-and-one wounds on the body and head. Only, the blood which spilled from the frozen side began to freeze in turn, and the cold of the Void overwhelmed the eternally temperate air of Heaven. The body shifted into a kneeling pose.

Time flowed backward, and a gleaming golden blade attached the fallen head. The blood pouring from the twenty-two-and-one wounds turned to bindings. At last, the young woman seemed to animate. She fumbled in the pool of her own freezing blood for her lost eye before slipping it into the empty slot. The royal wings of a Monarch burst from her back, one of rain and one of snow.

The Queen of Heaven was dead, but the echo of Her corpus had returned in glory.
 


Commentary:

One of my plotlines that I evolved shortly before dipping out of the community and the core difference of the Royal Blood shard. As with Nara-O being Ruvelia's leftmost eye (of six), "Royal Relics" are among the most fought-over artifacts. You never know where the Eye of Autochthon is going to go or what it's going to do. Body parts collected from the grounds of Ruvelia's execution, however, are more or less predictable. They introduce something of a more traditional relic hunt minigame for players who are totally jaded by all the Solar tombs. And an excuse for Deus Vult memes before those went wrong.

In particular, I started a campaign focused around a chalice of the blood from Ruvelia's beheading. The original objective was to deal with a particularly spooky Lunar who had gained unspeakable powers from it. However, one of the players realized they could gimmick him, and the party beat him half to death during what was intended to be an interactive cutscene.

More importantly, however, only one of the PCs realized what the chalice was and smuggled it out of the scene. She... drank the whole thing and is now potentially the most powerful character in the setting. That said, we immediately rolled up a new party since all the characters ended up hating each other, and the loss of the main villain was a convenient excuse to start a totally different campaign.

This is as far as I've written so far, and I mostly did so in order to commit it to paper before I forgot it all again. If there's a want for more, I could potentially continue, but this was an actually awful scene. I hate how short stories sometimes compel these lengthy, contextless dialog dumps.

Also, everyone has kind of different ideas for Ruvelia, so I was leery of posting it at all rather than just keeping it for my own archives.

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