The Worldeater Saga, Part XLIII: The Pantheon’s Choice

Upon the six-hundred-and-thirty-first day of the Creators’ Monomachy, a desperate pantheon assembled to see to the salvation of a fading world. Alabaster flame blossomed atop the summit of Mount Memonaransa, its crackling mass twisting into a gateway from which Damariel mot Lanosaryon, the Unbound Lord of Truth stepped forth. Across from that fiery entryway, narrow arcs of argentate essence responded in kind, carving across the mountaintop before shaping the outline of a portcullis that swiftly rose to allow Bamathis, the Favoured Son, to stride forth into the Court.

Pressure and tension conspired as Sapience’s thinning reality strained to obey the manifest will of the Divine; though this thick, ominous weight stubbornly refused to abate, yet more wavering gateways bloomed into being along the crest of the ancient mountainside. From each portal arrived another of Varyan Celestine’s children, His divided pantheon assembling in single ranks that stared across at One Another with grim intent. The potent essence that constituted Their conveyance smeared across the sky, joining the brilliant obliteration that even then gnawed through Sapience’s distended skyscape. Tension reigned with the arrival of more and more Gods, the division sown between Monomachial champions put on full display. Like a heavy blanket of fog, the atmosphere lingered in thick waves over the ancient mountaintop, billowing clouds circling the summit in a symbol of grim portent.

For all the terrible potential of the day, feral Lurli and mighty Jakrasul possessed eyes only for one another. Ill-constrained bloodlust rippled outward from the Nightmare in inky whorls of murderous emotion, crashing like waves against the palpable aura of jade – a corona forged from spite and anger – that exuded from the ancient Goddess of Might. In a union reminiscent of ancient days, Death and Earth stood side by side in silence, flanking bestial Herno. The Wild God’s scarcely-restrained ferality cleaved the air in a savage snarl as His eyes landed upon those arranged against Him, His Kin, and His Father all.

Last to arrive was Memory, Her Djeiri form coalescing within a cyclonic vortex of purple-white mist. Lexadhra eyed the gathered congregation with Her typical air of insouciant curiosity, loudly making note of the absence of both Tyranny and Pride while making no mention of the too-absent Severn.

“We will do what We must to safeguard Father’s Creation. You, Father’s Divine children who are loyal to Him, lend to Me Your strength, and together, We will bring about Our salvation,” Bamathis soon demanded.

Unwilling to aid His murderous Brother, Damariel was swift to reply: “I will not hamper Your efforts, Bamathis, but nor will I lend to you My strength. Those Who stand with Me and fight for the Eschaton, the true Creator: lend Your might to Me instead, and We will see this done.”

As One, the Two Sons of Varyan Celestine then gestured towards Their supporters, Their collective gaze already lifting up towards the endless warfare projected upon Sapience’s sky-dome.

The trio at Damariel’s back – Ethne, Slyphe, and Omei – nodded in unison and closed Their eyes. Frenzied waves of Immortal power exuded from Their figures as They drew upon the tumultuous entirety of Their unveiled domains. Calescent shimmers swirled within the currents of oceanic might, their entirety conducted as if hanging upon thin threads limned in prismatic essence. Tangling together into a single, shining skein, that outpouring of all-encompassing might washed over the Unbound, suffusing Him with blinding radiance.

Those four yet still loyal to Their Father turned Their attentions towards Bamathis – and the sword clutched within His grasp. Haern and mighty Chakrasul unleashed Their power in tandem, investing the blade with Immortal potency. Jade and viridian entwined into a brilliant sheathe that girded Caelestis’ edge, deleterious rot and eternal growth warring as an incisive force that bolstered the weapon’s destructive potential.

Even as Bamathis’ blade ascended in might, so too did the Warlord Himself. Dhar and Ivoln turned Their collective gaze towards Their Father’s chosen enforcer, Their cold stoicism matched only by the almost oppressive aura of divine energy surging all around Them. Somehow profound in Their implacable silence, the inevitability of death laced a charnel thread about and through the unwavering mastery of war and earth, infusing the Silver Son of Autumn with a unified strength unseen in millennia.

Such a convergence of Immortal force only heightened the shrieks echoing from the world superimposed upon the celestial vault, as if the presence of the Gods hastened the destructive effect of the Monomachy’s final days. Every groan of the damned world overhead served as underlying percussion for the symphony of cosmic cries issued by Sapience’s waning bonds to Aetolia. That dread music did naught to break the focus of the Gods, however, even as its tempo and volume heightened to deafening levels.

A multichromatic aurora unfurled across the sky, its radiance defying the shrinking boundaries of Varian’s Creation as it leaked out into Aetolia’s overall firmament. At the heart of this breathtaking phenomenon stood Damariel and Bamathis, bound to Their Siblings by a sharing of essence unheard of even within the unblemished annals of history. Truth and Strife mustered the entirety of Their vast might as They looked upon the shuddering otherworld that separated the two Creators from Their Creations, grim determination etched upon their features.

Like an eidetic memory writ in Immortal fire, a glimpse of the twice-doomed world once more dominated the senses of all mortals.

It was then that all life within Aetolia beheld a world enclosed on all sides by obliterating pearlescence. One realm, one continent, one land yet still remained – a final battlefield composed of ragtag nations clinging to a miserable, militant existence. Surrounded by the shambles of a once-expansive world, those kingdoms struggled over resources and faith through bloody confrontation. The last battle between broken, fanatical peoples commenced beneath the watchful eye of two divine generals, even as another final battle unfolded beyond the bounds of Their arena.

Having long since cast aside subtlety, the twin Creators ceaselessly meddled with the lives of those mortals allotted for the damned purpose of warfare. Ethereal blessings and infusions of long-forgotten power saw to the ascension of champions and gods within the last dregs of that broken sub-reality, each shattered landscape consumed by the annihilating light of an unwinding world.

Wielding His invested might as a hammer and subtlety as His chisel, Damariel lifted His hands toward the forsaken world bound to the skies and thrusts His palms forward as if subjecting the entirety of that broken existence to an almighty shove. Reality wavered then; truth and subjective understanding warred amongst themselves for supremacy, the former championed by Truth’s implacable will and the latter upheld by terrified mortal thought. The doomed world strained akin to a boil beneath a surgeon’s lancet, stubbornly refusing to yield its place.

His silhouette superimposed upon the horizon, Bamathis whipped Caelestis downward in a savage swipe, its lethal edge shearing into reality’s fabric. Fecund growth and wasting rot aligned into a catastrophic thrum of Immortal magic as the sword made contact, visiting wasting ruin and natural consumption upon whatever it touched. The distant world’s ethereal borders swelled and sagged in an effort to distribute the Immortal force exerted upon it, resulting in a deafening groan that rattled the Worldspine. It pushed back, repelling its assailants amidst prismatic flickers and thunderous rumbles.

Lost now in the thrill of His inimical purpose, the Favoured Son delivered an avalanche of brutal blows to the edges of the rippling reality separating Him from His Father. Each strike elicited a shriek from the world fabric sutured to Sapience’s own existential tapestry, though each wound proved short-lived for they soon scabbed over with the rapturous essence of Creation.

Within the bounds of that secondary world, Varyan Celestine betrayed no notice of His Sons nor Their destructive labour. His chilling poise and timeless tranquillity suffocated entire cultures, toppling empires and concealing their collective legacy beneath the callous sands of time. A single gesture from Him weaved the demise of thousands, their lives unspooled into essence to further His aims.

It was then that Omei’s feral countenance betrayed a reluctant frown as She observed Her Brother’s work, though resignation soon won out and weathered away Her displeasure. The flows of Immortal power briefly diverted through the Nightmare, staining the once milky essence into sevenfold hues emblematic of Astral glory before they extended back to infuse Truth with yet more power.

The Unbound Lord cried out in Esmari, invoking the ineffable majesty of the Merciless Light as He reached for His greatsword. Lightkissed fire illuminated the stark length of His dejanite blade, its vehement calefaction stoked by the unified essence of His Siblings. Damariel hefted the sword with one hand, its lethal point facing the distended border of the crumbling world fastened to heavenspace. Fervent prayer spilled forth from His lips, each syllable lost to the deathrattle winds of Aetolia’s impending demise.

Though many mortals watched on and saw naught, those sworn to the Light as vessels of shining symbiotes heard the Unbound Lord’s words echo within their mind as if He stood shoulder to shoulder with them. Each sacred syllable uttered found its mirror at their own lips, a solemn plea for order, for salvation, for justice and a dawn destined to come. Soon, He discarded subtlety in favour of desperate measures and swiped His greatsword through the air as His prayer ceased. A calamitous torrent of lightborn ruination manifested in the wake of Truth’s inelegant motion, its searing devastation carving into the alternate world containing all the catastrophe of two warring Creators.

Another cosmic shriek drifted up from Aetolia. Another terrestrial groan escaped from Sapience’s heaving bounds. The sky rippled tremulously, but it did not yield to the zealous brutality it met by Damariel’s hand.

Oblivious to the destructive efforts of Its foe’s progeny, the enigmatic Eschaton remained focused upon the warfare within the crumbling realm encapsulating Its majesty. The brilliant pinpricks of nebulaic light dappling Its silhouette flickered in time to a noiseless tune, bathing landscapes in the ethereal radiance of Its will. Each faint flicker ingrained every witness into a tattered tapestry of ages soon to scatter to destructive winds, each inexplicable pulse of labyrinthine luminosity uplifting Its beleaguered cults into the heavenly heights of ascendant power.

Outside the bounds of that false world, the Unbound and the Warlord retreated from Their place within the firmament as exhaustion threatened Them with dissolution amidst the raging tides of Immortal power. Though They knew it to be beyond Their grasp, stubborn refusal of defeat reigned upon Their visages.

“We are not as We once were,” the Unbound Lord remarked bitterly as He tightens His grip upon His greatsword. “All the power We invested in the prisons – gone, stolen. By Sevren. Only He and I recall the true extent of those places. Only He and I remember the details of their construction.”

As Damariel sought to master the raging tides of Immortal investiture, He pressed on in a voice taut with fury: “For His greed, We are denied Our strength.”

Then, wisps of animate darkness boiled up from cracks in the marble court.

Penned by my hand on Gosday, the 1st of Omeian, in the year 0 AC.