2019-10-14: My Impetus

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  • Cutscene: My Impetus
  • Cast: Neriah Parringer
  • Where: Cathedral of Arius
  • Date: October 14, 2019
  • Summary: Left behind on Filgaia, Valmar's high priestess has come to an understanding... and put plans into motion.

"I can never forget what it was like to be a girl who had nothing but a burden."

The click of her heels echoed through a world removed from that - through dark-bricked corridors, crimson carpeting, high ceilings. Salvaged from a misty past, they'd been given a new life, abuzz with activity at most hours.

She'd been the one to give them that life. To uplift them and move them here - not merely the bodies, but the entire structure. The place she'd come to call her church. Stopping at a window, she gazed down into the valley far below, misty and dark. The continent was becoming more familiar to her with each passing week.

The mere act of moving something so massive would have been far beyond anything she could have conceived when she was that girl.

"People like that don't survive very long in this world. After all, this world is cruel. You go along with it or you get weeded out. By someone."

She stepped past the doorway to the garden, standing for a moment in the arch of the former monastery's hall. The once austere space had been utterly changed, given over to a common area, a fountain and statue at the centre. Not a misshapen one, nor one of Althenian stature - a statuesque woman with her hand held high.

Seeing herself carved in black marble felt oddly satisfying. Even moreso than she'd felt about twisting Althena's white marble effigy in the nave of Felkirk Cathedral.

Again, something she would have thought beyond her.

Then, she'd needed his help for it to work, and the consequences had been severe for the first one to follow her. Not so anymore. She'd advanced - left those things behind.

"I hate both of those choices."

From her place atop the wall of her temple - she had named it for her progenitor - she held her right hand out to let the high-altitude wind play across her bare palm. Slowly, she turned it upwards.

Consciously, she let go of some internal limit. Sensation pulsed through her hand, thin lines of ghostly light drawing out a familiar jagged shape. Once upon a time, it had drawn blood - an agonizing burden for a girl who didn't know any better.

Now, the mark pulsed to life with no pain or difficulty - only a natural feeling. As the light faded again, she drew one of her left-hand nails over the mark, tracing a little shape in the centre.

The number eight.

"Maybe that's why I'm NUMBER EIGHT. Because the Impetus needed someone like me. The Chains could only be broken by someone who was ready to break chains in general. Not just the Chains of Arius, but the chains on the world."

"I needed to take that path to truly accept Valmar, didn't I? I'm glad. I think I finally understand his purpose."

"And my purpose. My impetus."

"And I can finally begin to make it real."

The soft cushions and high arms and back of her seat practically embraced her in luxury. She'd toyed with calling it a throne at first, but it seemed a little too decadent. Not that decadence was outside her bailiwick these days, but getting too comfortable wouldn't do.

After all, too much decadence can trickle down into stagnation. And stagnation was the last thing she wanted.

Long fingers brushed through the pages of the old tome in her lap. A smaller book, leather covers badly worn. She'd pulled it out of a place long since lost to time and memory, forgotten by all but a few local legends, its import unknown to virtually anyone. But what she'd found there was just what she needed.

Whispers of her inheritance. The relics of NUMBER ONE.

"I know now where my path leads. Why I was put on this world. Why I'm the one who can break Filgaia's chains. End this shitty cycle of sad conformity and broken dreams. Solve all the problems that old bastard Rhadamanthus talks about, but not through half measures like him and his shitty army. Filgaia needs someone to do what's necessary to stop this miserable ball of dirt from circling the drain again."

"I don't feel bad about tearing most of it down. There are some signs of hope. But the rest of it never did anything for me or anyone else."

"It's time to change things."

The heavy thud of the reinforced door closed behind her. With a nod, she dismissed the young caster she'd tasked with looking over the other occupant of the chamber, letting him ease his way back from things.

Moving smoothly forward, she stepped out onto one of the wider beams of the interlocking iron grate that made up most of the floor. With each tap of her shoes against the steel, ripples of blue-black runes danced out as the wards she'd cast upon the bars and the pit below danced in mild protest of the intrusion. Soon enough, she had found the circular hatch in the centre of it all.

With intent eyes, she stared down at the immobile figure in the pit, deceptively small and human-shaped - and yet, not human. Far from it, even before the abominable addition.

Neriah bit her lip for a moment. Then she smiled thinly.

"...And you, dear heart, are going to help me do it."