In the wake of Lord Severn’s fall, the air within the Theocracy of Spinesreach was rife with disquiet. Citizens moved through the streets burdened by a heavy silence, their thoughts dwelling on their home’s uncertain future. The death of their Ard-Dhasani was inconceivable to most, igniting fears that the dreadfully inefficient days of democracy might claw their way back to haunt the city and dismantle the celebrated order that their divine Manipulator had forged. Some stood in quiet reverence at altars, while others cursed the heavens for their sudden bereftness, and some fewer still cursed Severn Himself for failing them.
A week past Severn’s unforeseen demise, Litrix, a Xorali scientist within the city’s ranks, announced a change in the enigmatic pedestal left months prior by the Minotaur God (refer to the events covered in appendix a of the Worldeater Saga, post #372). This object, bequeathed to Spinesreach as their “Inheritance,” began to shed its obscurant shroud. Litrix calculated, with a certainty befitting his station, that its full revelation was mere weeks away.
It was just before dawn of the 11th of Omeian, Year 0 AC that the last of the shadows concealing the pedestal’s contents began to fail. Quickly spreading word to her compatriots as she witnessed it, Evlentesh called the rest of the Spireans to observe its unmasking. Though initially probed by trial and attempts to hasten the process, patience prevailed as the relentless light of a shadowless sun – a stark reminder of Severn’s absence – dissolved the final remnants of obscurity to unveil a spherical device, embossed with labyrinthine grooves with a beckoning aperture at their terminus.
Evlentesh was also the first to discern that the artifact responded to the touch of elemental shadow, yet her personal endeavours failed to stimulate the object’s dormant mechanisms. Shadow Warden Kagura rallied the Sciomancers as an entirety, whose collective channelling soon poured into the aperture in an attempt to succeed where one mage failed. After several botched attempts, Inkh facilitated a proper countdown that allowed Boube, Sheryni, Evlentesh, and Kagura to finally channel a congruent stream of shadow into the device, activating it to project forth a spectral image of the Manipulator.
The projection began to intone in a monotonous voice, requesting that a sequence of calibration queries be answered in order to align the simulacrum to the current state of affairs. Replies to the inquiry upon the nature of Severn’s demise were met with impassive acknowledgment by His image, which considered His death as nothing more than an inconvenience. When the topic of a new class A conceptual entity – terminology referring to the city’s goal of ascension – arose, the city confirmed the absence of such a divine presence within Spinesreach’s walls.
Regent Sheryni continued to lead the way on satisfying the simulacrum’s inquiries, confirming the activation of the Syssin Protocol and informing Reason’s construct that a ‘successor’ to Severn’s role as Sapience’s tether to elemental Shadow had yet to manifest. The simulacrum then poised a final calibration question concerning the identity of the reigning class S conceptual entity – the Creator who had won the recent Monomacy. Contemplating the answers received, the image of the Manipulator, a mere echo of the deity, paused, its substance wavering as it assimilated this new knowledge. The sphere projecting it gyrated subtly in tandem with its contemplation, its dizzying pattern rearranging itself as it aligned to its present reality.
As calibration completed, the artificial image of the Manipulator shifted to resonate with more depth of tone, proclaiming Severn’s secondary goal had failed, yet His primary objective was successful, and thus His contingency was in place. It emphasised its identity as a mere shadow of the god, a simulacrum with a limited purview of cognition and knowledge. It then announced its function to endure a mandatory questioning period, during which it would attend to the inquiries of Spirean inhabitants prior to delivering Severn’s final edicts.
Unfortunately, only a handful of such inquiries found answers. Primary among the clarified points was Severn’s utmost aim to avert a calamitous worldeating catastrophe at the hands of His Father through execution of the Syssin Protocol – a gambit that created a realm bereft of essence that would have made them otherwise attractive to consume. It was amidst this exchange that Boube, a Kobold of unrivalled ebullience and donned fittingly in a playful Ard-Dhasani costume, interrupted with a volley of eclectic questions. Though his actions were met with chagrin and mirth in equal measure by those acquainted with his characteristic fervour, the simulacrum invoked a lockout due to the barrage, curtly terminating the question phase to proceed with final instructions. Boube eventually made a sincere, if not pitiable, apology upon the Spirean news for his actions.
With a deliberate swirl of its internal mechanisms, the sphere once again altered its own intricate maze as the simulacrum transitioned into its phase of instruction. It commenced with reassuring the anxious populace that the Theocracy’s structure would persist. In the absence of the city achieving its goal of ascension, it declared that the metaphorical throne of the Ard-Dhasani would remain vacant, reserved for the first among them to seize it. The simulacrum then detailed an arrangement Severn crafted in anticipation of His own demise – a new pact with Tanixalthas, the namesake patron of the Dragon of the North, denoted by Reason’s image as a ‘class A conceptual-physical hybrid errant entity’. This deal supplanted the prior accord the two Gods shared, now rendered void with Severn’s death.
The simulacrum distilled the core elements of Severn’s final deal, ensuring the city’s continued stability with its provisions. Central to these terms was a safeguard for the Theocracy’s continued endurance: their draconic benefactor was empowered to devour any undeserving claimant to the Ard-Dhasani’s throne, thereby preserving the city’s hierarchy until a worthy ascendant arose.
Finally, the simulacrum conveyed distinct mandates to the city’s trio of guilds. The Syssin were designated as stewards of the Inheritance, its full potential left untapped until the rightful Ard-Dhasani emerged. They were charged not only with custody of this enigmatic device but also with the vital task of resurrecting Severn’s Executors. Within their orders was also a veiled riddle: that the Syssin Protocol held a clue to the rise of a class A entity, and they must look to techniques pioneered by the fallen Albedi city of Basrai – and then not only replicate them, but perfect them to avoid the catastrophe that laid ruin to the city. “Restoration of His Executors” was emphasised as their immediate priority, though further elaboration of what exactly that meant remained shrouded in secrecy as the simulacrum simply declared an end to the Syssin’s directives.
With the Syssin’s injunctions dispensed, the simulacrum’s address shifted focus to the Archivists, bestowing upon them a charge of paramount importance: to delve into the Source of Knowledge. This repository held His own expansive memories up to the moment of His death, granting access to His understanding of divinity’s ascent, along with the exhaustive annals of the continent and the ancient world preceding it. The custodian identified for this trove of wisdom was named as Lexadhra, the Indelible, the daughter of Severn Himself. While retaining Lexadhra as the Archivists’ patron was suggested, it was imparted as counsel rather than command, with an addendum foreshadowing Her foreseeable meddling in their scholarly pursuits. The Manipulator’s echo imparted a sardonic ‘good luck’ to the Archivists, noting that the Goddess of Memory would likely interfere due to the plans deriving from Him.
Attention then turned to the Sciomancers, whose mission was laced with the most urgency. The simulacrum’s calibration signalled a glaring absence, one that defied the ordained rules set upon Sapience by its departed Creator – no successor had yet stepped forth to anchor Shadow. It was unparalleled, a deviation from the historical cycle of elemental successors, and such an anomaly must be addressed immediately by the Sciomancers. Driving the urgent nature of the situation home, they were reminded of a chilling prospect: should Shadow’s presence continue to wane, the release of a devastating class B conceptual entity, the memetic virus guarded by the Revenants, seemed inevitable.
Despite the absence of the successor, the simulacrum instructed that vigilance be paramount upon Their eventual emergence. This new God would possess a distinct identity from Severn, necessitating that They be encouraged towards allegiance with Spinesreach. Above all, the Sciomancers were tasked with ensuring this nascent power avoided becoming ensnared by Ohlsana, the malevolent fundamental of Czjetija. Thus concluded the Sciomancers’ directives.
With Severn’s final orders conveyed, the simulacrum declared the fulfilment of its purpose and imminent cessation. In a parting message, it bequeathed a singular reminder, the last words from a divine Manipulator to His subjects: ‘Your goal, and My contingency, is still to surpass Me. Achieving this will make bringing Me back become a triviality for you’.
With these closing words lingering upon the chill Spirean air, the image unravelled into tendrils of darkness, the final vestige of the Manipulator dispersing into quietude. The Inheritance, now dormant, stood silent, awaiting its next chapter in Spinesreach’s destiny.
Penned by my hand on Falsday, the 13th of Ivolnos, in the year 0 AC.