An Imperfect Circle

Session 12

The Five Days Darkness

At the gates of Firewander, Zakiti performed the ritual prayer to summon Tul Wan and peer into the spirit world to see his approach. She was surprised to see the River Whore following sinuously beside him, he lips stained black with ink. Tul Wan looked somehow taller and more gaudily decorated. The River Whore thanked Zakiti for the prayers in her name, pulled her hands from beneath Tul Wan's robes, and departed.

Tul Wan ordered them to take hands and follow him, leading the Solars through a winding series of streets until a doorway opened up into the courthouse of Hallow at the center of Firewander. The Solars could see the plaza was now scorched and the heat of the flames was somehow stronger. Tul Wan shuddered, and asked Zakiti to store him for safe transport out of the accursed place. She opened one of her spirit jars, and he flowed inside.

The Solars descended to the vault chamber and Zakiti once again examined the doors, mandala, and five statues around the room. Senka pointed out that the broken statue seemed to have some working of artifice within, and feared they may come to life. In a moment of frustration, Zakiti had a vision of the past. She was frustrated, unable to understand the working before her. How could her mentor expect her to solve a puzzle where nothing was visible? Essence moved within her and blossomed as a third eye, revealing the sorcery before her…

Zakiti opened her eyes, breath rapidly, and saw the sorcery before her; the ancient and powerful bindings of the mandala and the door, and a second pattern, drawing from the power of the first, and flowing into the statues. As the Solars took their places in the mandala, Zakiti prepared to redirect the energies from the statues.

When Kaveh took the final place in the mandala, each of them felt their essence swell within them, setting their caste marks glowing. The mandala and the doors began to glow with bright, golden light. An apparition, the outline of a woman in the light of the setting sun appear and spoke. She spoke the language of spirits and gods, but all the Solars understood her words. "The Deliberative has sealed the Five Days Darkness within. Withdraw or speak the words of unbinding." Genjo asked what the Deliberative was, but the apparition repeated her message. As she spoke, Zakiti seized the sorcerous energy flowing into the statues and twisted one to her will, cutting it off from the others.

The three remaining statues lurched to life. The first charged at Genjo, who drew on his essence to harden his skin and crossed him arms to parry the incoming blow. The force of the blow skidded him back across the floor, but he remained unphased. Across the circle from him, Senka drew on Treesplitter's might, firing an arrow that punched a hole though the statue charging at her. Drac and Kaveh moved to intercept the final statue.

Zakiti reached out to call her familiars and leaped into the air catching her agata's saddle. Materializing for the first time since its summoning, a greenmaw appeared and slammed itself into the statue knocked back by Senka. The green maw opened its mouth wide, preparing to devour the statue, but the construct wedged its arm in the elemental's toothy maw, parrying the attack. Senka and Zikiti continue their assault against the statue with arrow and throw dagger.

Genjo centered himself, preparing for a mighty blow with his fist. His anima began burning with the orange light of the noon sun. As the statue facing him began to strike, so did he, their fists meeting. The force of the combined blow sent out a shockwave, kicking up dust and debris. That statue went flying backwards, slamming into the wall. Behind him, a line of darkness spit the orichalcum doors as they began to slide open. Genjo surged after the statue, seizing its leg and twisting around to slam it into the ground, shattering it.

Drac and Kaveh finish of their opponent, Kaveh distracting it and Drac stepping in for the killing strike. The greenmaws tongue shoots out, wrapping around the statue as Zakiti and Senka continue their assault. Zakiti overbalances from her throw, and slips from the saddle of her agata, catching herself by the straps. The greenmaw reeled in the statue, and chomped down on it, beginning the long process of digesting the ancient metal.

With the final statue destroyed, the sorcery slowing the opening of the doors fail, and a wave of darkness emanated as the doors slid smoothly open. The light faded from the mandala, from the doors, and from the burning hieroglyphs coving the walls within the chamber beyond the door. In the center of the sealed chamber, a four-arm man made of darkness stood with his arms outstretched. The Solars who had received visions of their patron though the figure shared the bearing of the Unconquered Sun. Around him, five small statue-alters bore his panoply; a scepter, a staff, a circlet, a cape, and a sword. At the base of the alters were prayer-beads, sacred mirrors, offerings of incense and other holy offerings.

The figure lowered his arms and spoke in perfect Rivertongue, "I am the Five Days Darkness, and I have not existed for a very long time." After a few moments of silence, Genjo asked why he was locked away and the Darkness responded saying that the ancient Solars thought he was dangerous. He explained that he was the Sun's shadow and could not exist in His presence. They explained that they hoped he could help them, and he said he had understood, for he had dreamed the Sun's dreams. They asked if he could help them against the Mask of Winters in the freeing of Thorns. He call the Deathlord the ghost of Larquen Quen, said that he never liked him. Finally, the Darkness agreed to meet with Kratz, who he called a vizier, and urged them not to trust.

The Solars prepared to depart Firewander back through the Wyld, which was even now beginning to creep inward toward the courthouse…


Chazzminder Chazzminder

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