Narrator: It has come to be known that, eventually, death becomes a part of all things. Death will forever elicit a powerful emotional response from everything it touches. Death leaves an impression. Scene: Open aired-mansion located in the center of the Orchard of Souls. There are no walls to block the dreaded gaze of the Lord of the Dead. The Orchard of Souls stretches away from the base of the mountain on which the mansion has been built. The Orchard consists of a countless number of souls, each divine spark giving off a slight ambient glow, which casts the realm into a state of eternal twilight. Quite a distance from the mansion a bright light slowly moves through the Orchard. Mortis sits alone in the open-aired courtyard. The table beside him is laid with a bountiful feast. Beside him the symbol of Gethsemane flashes into existence and begins a slow rotation. The symbol of Gethsemane only holds its form momentarily before falling into a constant state of flux. The Lord of the Dead allows his gaze to waver from the bright light in the distance and he turns to focus on the symbol that hovers next to him. With a brief nod, the symbol flashes and a fat, plump dwarf steps into being next to the table. Immediately he sits down and begins to gorge himself. Mortis: “Welcome Gethsemane.” Gethsemane: A chorus of voices that melodize into one clear voice. “Always a delight to visit your realm.” The dwarf says between mouthfuls. He reaches for the chalice set before him and greedily gulps down the delicious wine, “You always have the best refreshments.” Mortis watches the dwarf for only a moment before focusing his gaze upon a shining light visibly moving through the Orchard in the distance. The dwarf continues gorging himself, making a horrible mess on the table, until finally finishing. He burps obnoxiously. Gethsemane: delicately states, “What official business brings me here?” pertly looking down her nose at the mess scattered about the table before her, as if it were Mortis’s fault that she was rudely seated at a messy table. The female elf’s copper gaze twinkles with mischief, “Have you finally decided to tell me how to create a Lich?” Mortis returns the female elf’s glance and appears quite shocked at the question, “No! Absolutely not.” The Master of Life grimaces, “I teach one lesson in the arts of Necromancy and suddenly mortals are mastering the secrets.” Gethsemane: The leaves of the dying Ironwood tree quake and shake as if defensively reassuring Mortis that it had no idea how such power fell into the hands of mortals. Mortis: No, I have asked you here because I have some mysterious information that is troubling to me. I believe that you could offer me some insight, as the information seems to pertain to the realm that you are. Gethsemane:
The pedipalp chatters and every eyestalk turns to focus on Mortis. There is no doubt that the Lord of Life has the full attention of this arthropod. Mortis’s voice takes on a lecturing tone, “The release of life by the divine is a most extraordinary event.” Somehow the pedipalp appears to be quite bored. Mortis does not notice because his attention is once more focused upon the shining light that glides through the Orchard at the base of the mountain. “The nearly simultaneous fading of Chronos and Calypso overwhelmed the Orchard of Souls and traveled deep within the depths of who I am.” A bony finger taps melodically against a rib bone, “Thoughts and emotions were projected upon my realm and it was more than a bit difficult to quell the echo.” Shaking his head the lord of death turns his attention to Gethsemane, “I could not understand everything because of the magnitude of power projected, but there was a bit of information known to both and this knowledge was revealed to me.” Mortis pauses in contemplation, “seemingly on purpose.” His glance returns to the Orchard, “The two shared a secret and there was no mistaking the differing passions surrounding this bit of knowledge,” the gaze turns on Gethsemane, “There is a great destructive force harnessed within a box,” Mortis points a bony finger at the pedipalp, “a box that you and I have both seen.” Mortis nods as the pedipalps shape becomes fuzzy, “A box that exists today and could, possibly, be used to destroy a divine being.” Gethsemane: The countless eyes of the Beholder, all of which are focused on the Lord of Life, blink simultaneously in awe. A sound, very much like, “Ooooooo..” issues forth from the monstrosity. Mortis: This box is strongly associated with the realm of Chaos; that I could easily discern, however the whereabouts of the box remains a mystery.” Eerily, glowing, green sockets, which are the eyes of the Lord of the dead, locate the brightness within the Orchard, “I imagine only one of them knew its exact location, if either of them did.” The dreaded master of decay turns his gaze upon the fading form of the Beholder. “That is why I have come to you. Who better to understand how to search for Chaos than my friend Gethsemane?” Gethsemane: nods Mortis: I began searching for this item of power the moment I realized it existed.” Mortis glances out over the Orchard, “but Vivoria’s decision to travel to my realm, and live with me, has been a most joyous occasion and my attention will forever be diverted.” Only Mortis could make the grinning of a skull grin all the more, “As the Orchard of Souls is expanded, the search shall continue, but I have not yet discovered such a power within my realm and I do not like the idea of delaying locating this object of power. Calypso and Chronos might have known enough to keep it safely tucked away, but they are gone now.” Mortis gestures between himself and the fading blind man, “The responsibility falls to us to assure that this power does not fall into the hands of heretics that would work against the divinity.” Gethsemane: Standing on the chair and leaning into the table, “What did you mean I’ve seen this box before?” Mortis: Do you remember when Chronos threw that huge celebration and proclaimed she had a great discovery to reveal to us all? Gethsemane: Give a blank look. Blink.. blink.. opening her eyes wide the silken haired dryad takes a deep breath and holds up a finger as if to say something important.. Give a blank look. Mortis: Sighs.. “It was during that time period when we thought Calypso had lost it. She was rampaging around and trying to change things “back to normal” as she would put it.. knowing full well that the items she was attempting to change were created specifically for what they were doing and had always been the way they were.” Gethsemane: Cackles and nods Mortis: Chuckling Mortis sits back in his chair, “Anyway.. it was at that party that Calypso freaked out. She snatched the box away from Chronos and went into fits. Gethsemane: “I remember. The funny thing was that Chronos didn’t even get a chance to open it. Nothing happened.. we just all sat around contemplating Calypso’s sanity.” Gethsemane shakes his canis head in exasperation, “I even thought Chronos staged the entire ordeal. She was always a bit of a lunatic.” Mortis: That was the box.” Mortis nods his white skull in agreement; “I was truly interested in what Chronos had to say so I studied the box the party was surrounded around.” Shoulder bones rise and fall in a grisly shrug; “I listened to her talk about it for sometime. Chronos said she had found it by examining the solidified parts of the tapestry, whatever that meant. She spoke of massive alterations within the tapestry and wanted us all there for assistance and protection if something went wrong.” Gethsemane: Shoving his glasses up on his nose, “Chronos spent her existence searching for the paradox of Chaos existing outside of Chaos. The idea of it sounds absurd, but paradox thrills me, and I consider it a definitive challenge. There is no Chaos that is different from the Chaos that exists within my realm. I am sure of that.” The scholar states assuredly, “No, if the powers of Chaos were to be quelled or harnessed then the most reasonable place would be to trap it within the static nature of your realm. That is truly the only place one would attempt to control the power of Chaos.” Mortis: Nodding in contemplation, “My realm is a massive realm and I shall continue to expand it.” He glances towards the bright glow that moves among the Orchard and his somber mood lifts a bit, “And I will do a great deal more to assure the happiness of Vivoria.” Mortis nods in approval and then continues while addressing the fading form of the scholar, “There is nothing within my realm that currently matches the feeling I received from the fading of the two deities. The presence of the box would be known to me, because there is nothing within this realm that could harbor such a power without my knowledge.” Gethsemane: One good eye rolls around crazily as the pirate talks, “Objects of great power obviously leave a trace within the Tapestry.” The false eye looks to the left and sticks there while the right arcs high and rolls about madly in its socket. Mortis: The dreaded gaze of the Master of Death jerks from his perusal of the distant brightness to focus on Gethsemane. The fading form of the crazy-eyed pirate, that is Gethsemane, stops his good eye from twirling and allows it to come to bare on the Lord of Death. Mortis continues, “Must we seek the advice of Loviatar?” the pirate’s eye rolls around in one full circle before Gethsemanes image blurs, “Vivoria is agitated by Loviatar and the Orchard of Souls becomes restless.” Gethsemane: Doing a tap dance, “Then by all means, lets visit Loviatar!” The brownie finishes with a flourish and while shaking his hands at arms length, proclaims, “Cha.. Cha!” Mortis: Hmm..” The Lord of Death nods, “I have the time.” Scene 2: Orchard of Souls: Vivoria is leaning over and whispering to a divine spark. The soul, though obviously dwarven, is twisted and absurd. The arms and legs are bent into awkward positions, the face is screwed into a look of intense pain, the mouth hanging open in silent scream, unfocused eyes that lay in odd position on the head gaze at nothing. However, as Vivoria reaches out and strokes the head of the dwarven soul, whispering softly to it, it begins to reshape. The soul rearranges itself and slowly forms into the image of a fully-grown female dwarf. The look of horror fades from the face and the mouth begins to smile in contentment. A look of peace softens the face of the dwarven soul that now hangs motionless before Vivoria. Smiling, Vivoria steps back to double-check her handy work and then nods. With a brilliant flash the soul vanishes. Vivoria, still smiling softly, turns and moves towards the next soul in the line, but as she starts to whisper and reaches out to the unidentifiable soul, it begins to shake and writhe. A sound of agony escapes from it and, soon, the souls along either side of the Orchard row begin to emulate it. Vivoria, shocked, takes a step back and glances around herself before a dawning realization overcomes her features. She turns to find the symbol of Loviatar hanging in the air between the rows of souls. Grimacing she pauses a moment before nodding with a sigh. The symbol rolls in upon itself and leaves behind a small black hole. From this hole a billowing red cloud flows into the realm of the dead and begins to puddle upon the ground. The rowed souls exclaim ever louder, their agony quite pronounced. Vivoria: Quite agitated steps towards the reddish glowing haze and reaches into it. “Loviatar, walk with me.” Vivoria’s hand closes within the mist and she looks up, floating straight upwards towards the sky, “What is the purpose of your visit?” Loviatar: Wry humor echoing from the haze. “Straight to business.” The haze shifts and folds in upon itself, creating the semblance of a female form, an arm securely in Vivoria’s grasp. Sharp, clear eyes appear within a molded head of mist. They gaze upon Vivoria and then at the hand that grasps at her misty arm. The eyes are not angry, however, but filled with humor, the eyes shift to look into Vivoria’s face. Narrator: The former Goddess of Life is the only being who has ever touched the Goddess of Vengeance without direct consent. The Goddess of Suffering has caused the entire Orchard of Souls to squall before, but only on official visits to the realm of the dead. This is a private affair between the former Goddess of Healing and the Goddess of Wisdom. It is not the first secretive meeting and it will not be the last. Loviatar: Her words are a hiss, similar to the sound that a fire makes when doused with water, “The tapestry has revealed a significant turn of events, Vivoria.” Vivoria releases the arm of Loviatar and floats backward, hovering, to look into the eyes that gaze back at her. The souls still cry out and writhe in agony beneath them, but their suffering is slightly diminished. “Even now your dread husband and the master of lies are planning a visit to my realm. They seek to ask me a question.. a question that, if brought to the master of the Night or the God of Day, will endanger our very existence. Neither Set or Vishnu will be able to resist the urge to make use of the box.” Vivoria: Diverting her eyes from Loviatars stare, Vivoria brushes at the white dress she wears, as if afraid the red haze shall stain it, Vivoria slowly returns Loviatars gaze, “What does that have to do with me and my work? You know that I despise being disturbed.” Loviatar: Humor echoing in the voice, “I know.” Loviatars eyes glisten, “They seek an object of great power. An object that I began searching for as soon as the Tapestry warned me of their coming.” There is no expression to be found within the hazy face, but the voice is tinged with worry, “I could not locate the hiding place.” The eyes blaze brightly in agitation, “that leaves only one answer.” Vivoria: And that would be? Loviatar: “The box is already possessed by someone.” The eyes and voice of the Goddess of Misery have become quite serious, “A box that I believe you currently possess.” Vivoria: Baulking at the statement. Vivoria opens her mouth and then shuts it again. The laughter that echoes from the haze irritates Vivoria, because Loviatar knows that the former Goddess of Life does not lie. “It empowers me. It energizes me. What care do you have that I possess it?” Loviatar: “I do not care beyond the answer to the question posed.” The hissing voice continues, “the answer can only be given safely to one. You must keep your decaying husband from asking the question. Only the lord of chaos can be privy to the answer.. only the lord of deceit will understand the truth of the matter.” The voice turns threatening, “If you wish to retain the box, and its power, then you must restrain your dead husband.” Vivoria: Contemplating what she has just heard, she boldly stares into the eyes of pain. There has always been a connection between the former Goddess of Life and the Goddess of Suffering. A tie that binds, and with it comes an inherent trust, “Very well, Loviatar.” Loviatar: The red haze, beginning at the feet, swirls upwards into itself, seemingly sucked into the eyes. All of Loviatar compresses and flows into the eyes, disappearing, until only the eyes remain. Until those too blink into nothingness, her voice echoing, “Until we meet again.” Vivoria: Slowly floats back to the ground, the souls relax their cries of agony and return to a state of stasis, she looks towards the distant mountain-mansion that is her and Mortis’s home, with an expression of apprehension, Vivoria begins her journey. Scene 3: Gethsemane and Mortis sit within the open-aired courtyard. Gethsemane: An antsy child that shifts his weight from foot to foot. “Then I suggest we be on our way Mortis. There is no time like the present.” Mortis: Nodding in agreement he stands. His gaze turns to the Orchard once more and, even though it is difficult for a skull to express emotion, the expression of Mortis is one of complete surprise, “Vivoria is returning.” The voice is a mixture of awe and glee. Gethsemane: The kestrel squawks in confusion and follows Mortis’s gaze to fix upon the glowing brightness that now moves quickly towards the Mansion. Vivoria: As Vivoria enters the courtyard the very air fills with an odd energy. Her presence is never ignored. “Mortis..” the pleasure in her voice as she gazes upon the bleached bones of her husbands body is not false. “It is so lovely to see you again.” Mortis: Still surprised Mortis approaches his wife and his ever grinning skull seems to grin all the more. “You know that I always adore it when you take time to visit the mansion. Gethsemane has come for a visit. He and I are off to visit Loviatar and ask of her something dreadfully important.” Gethsemane: The pitch-black scorpien blinks a few times and stares at Vivoria and Mortis as they approach each other. Vivoria: Vivoria pauses and then shakes her head, “And I wanted to spend time with you..” she reaches out to take Mortis’s hand. Her fingers do not close around a skeletal hand, however, as her hand nears his, the cold, bony fingers of Mortis turn to flesh and Vivoria’s hand falls into a grip of warmth. “Surely whatever it is he can certainly handle it by himself.” Mortis: Hollow, burning eyes flash briefly and Mortis nods, “I’m sure he can.” Vivoria: Continuing to step into the embrace of Mortis, Vivoria’s arm raises to allow her to touch the back of Mortis’s skull, yet.. her fingers do not come into contact with bone, they tangle in thick, ebon locks of hair. Closing her eyes and raising up onto her tiptoes, Vivoria’s lips do not touch the white teeth of a skull but press into soft, fleshy lips that devour her own in a kiss of pure wanting. When Vivoria opens her eyes, it is not to gaze into the hollow sockets of a bleached skull, but instead, to gaze into the beautiful, fiery-green eyes of a darkly handsome man. “I wish to spend time with you.. It has been so long.” She falls into his embrace and Mortis does not glance at Gethsemane again. Mortis: “Of course he can handle this alone.” Without even looking Gethsemane’s way, Mortis speaks to him, “Go .. Gethsemane.. find out what you can. I have other business to attend to.” Mortis’s eyes gaze deeply into Vivoria’s before he leans forward for another kiss. Gethsemane: The human noble is obviously insulted, but only for a moment, for the god of deceit recognizes manipulation when he sees it. The ever-changing voice fades off and the mouth twists into a wry smile. “Very well Mortis.” The eyes of the God of Treachery twinkle, “I will certainly inform you of anything I find out.” With that statement Gethsemane vanishes. Mortis and Vivoria are now locked in each other’s embrace. Neither the former Goddess of Life nor the God of the dead notice the departure of Gethsemane, not that either of them care at this point. Scene 4 Narrator: The realm of the Goddess of Suffering is forever hidden behind a haze. Mortals that gaze upon her realm are known to lose their sanity quite quickly. Even the divine are not privy to what is hidden within the mists of Loviatar’s realm. The large, magnificent eyes of Loviatar hang in the air on the edge of a cliff that seemingly overlooks a massive expanse of nothingness. Behind the eyes of Loviatar lay her realm, which is hidden in an ever-swirling mist. The nothingness that extends from below the cliff, before her, fades from the brightest of light into the deepest of dark. Gethsemane’s symbol appears near the blazing eyes, which continue to focus upon the expanse beneath the cliff, and the mist, that is Loviatar, separates to form a clearing. The eyes do not alter; there is no nod, yet Gethsemane appears because he is beckoned. Loviatar: Gethsemane is dwarfed in comparison to the massive eyes of Loviatar that do not focus upon him. Loviatar’s hiss is mingled with disgust, “I know why you have come Gethsemane. You seek knowledge of the box.” Gethsemane: An atrociously ugly, blind seer snarls in contempt, “You are always so perceptive.. my twin.” Loviatar: The insult is not lost upon the Goddess of Vengeance and the eyes of Loviatar shift and focus upon the God of mischief, even as they begin to grow smaller. Tendrils of mist swirl into the clearing and surround the shrinking eyes. The mist forms into the reddish-hazed outline of a female. Brilliantly burning eyes of anger, seemingly, give Gethsemane their full attention. “And I shall reveal a truth to you..” her hiss is mocking, “Oh charming one.” Loviatar reaches towards Gethsemane her female form loses consistency, and the mist that formed her shape now glides towards the God of Chaos and swirls about him, without touching him, in a large tornado type funnel. The eyes of Loviatar flow within the mist that spins about his form. Loviatar’s gaze misses no part of the Lord of Chaos. Gethsemane: Quite uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the Goddess the Salamae’s skin turns the same reddish copper as the smoky air that spins about him. He opens his mouth to speak, but is cut short by the demand for silence from the very mist the twirls about his ever-changing form. Loviatar: “I shall show you.” The eyes slow in their turning and come to reside just before the eyes of Gethsemane and the lord of lies looks through the eyes of the Goddess of Agony. Narrator: As the floating eyes of Loviatar place themselves before Gethsemane, the mist of her realm seems to vanish for him. The master of chaos is facing the cliff and can only catch the realm that stretches out behind him from the corner of his eyes. There he witnesses a most bizarre sight. Everywhere there are things and people popping into and out of existence. A woman crying and screaming kneels before an invisible attacker, her arms rising up as if to fend off blows. To the left he sees two men locked in battle, until one buries his sword into the other. The dying man vanishes before he hits the ground, leaving the victor to gaze at the ground in exaltation while gloating over the defeat of a foe. Animals pop in and out as quickly, some locked in battle with other animals.. Others simply dragging themselves along, their bodies caught in deaths painful throw. Loviatar: “Look out over the cliff Gethsemane.” Loviatar’s voice is harsh and unforgiving, “The reflections of life’s pain is none of your concern. The tapestry is what I wish for you to see.” Gethsemane: The form of Gethsemane is now as myriad as his symbol. His body changes into countless visages as his shocked expression gazes over the edge of the cliff. Narrator: The tapestry of life cannot be viewed in its entirety. To look to far to the right is to be blinded by light. To look to far to the left is to see nothing but complete blackness. The center of the Tapestry flows like water. Ever changing. The threads of the tapestry seem to shift as one attempts to focus on anything in particular. Loviatar: “Look closer.” The eyes grow before Gethsemane, magnifying the Tapestry, the view of the tapestry rushes towards Gethsemane. “It takes a certain fortitude to study the threads.” Loviatar’s humor has returned as Gethsemane is obviously taken aback, his shifting form speeding into a blur. “It is what lays beneath that you must witness.” Narrator: The threads of the Tapestry grow to enormous size and beyond. The view that Gethsemane perceives seems to be located within the tapestry itself. As Loviatar magnifies the view, the image of another tapestry, beneath and within the first, begins to take shape. Loviatar: “That is what you must concentrate on.” The hiss becomes soft as a whisper, “What do you see?” Gethsemane: The blurred image of Gethsemane stutters, “It.. it is motionless.. the second tapestry, within the first, is motionless.. solid.” The lord of deceit is obviously confused. Loviatar: It is only one of the infinite numbers of solidified tapestries. I no longer study them. I only study the living tapestry that resides without.” Loviatars voice is steady and sure, “There is only one living tapestry.” Gethsemane: I don’t.. I don’t understand.” The altering form of Gethsemane steps backward, the eyes of suffering creating vertigo that throws the God off balance. His back comes into contact with the swirling wall of mist and Gethsemane bellows in pain. Stumbling forward away from the body of Loviatar, Gethsemane almost falls into the eyes of agony. He manages to stop himself in time. Breathing deeply the God of Treachery attempts to steady his mind after feeling the searing anguish of Loviatars touch. Loviatar: Of course you don’t.” Loviatar’s laugh is one of superiority and it obviously galls Gethsemane for his form solidifies into that of a spectacled gnome and devious eyes focus with intent upon the unmoving tapestry. “The box encapsulates a box. The golden box that Chronos held is only the outer shell of the box that holds the power.” Loviatar’s voice reflects fear for the first time, “The chaos that Calypso thought she found was only the entrapment of the order that is the true power of the box. Order, that when released, solidifies the tapestry and destroys all plausibility throughout the timeline.” Gethsemane: The banshee stares wide-eyed.. an overly large mouth hanging open in complete shock. Loviatar: The living tapestry would be forced to reform anew if Order were released. The living tapestry would solidify and another would start to form. Gethsemane: The ghoul’s face reflects complete disgust, “How?” Loviatar: I do not have the answer to all questions, dear Gethsemane. Needless to say the recreation of the living tapestry will occur at the release of Order. The chances that alter reality will no longer exist. The order that lies within the box will not give one a choice as to what path can be taken, but forces the reality of what should have been taken. If the Order is released life will have no variation from what should be. Our choices will be non-existent. Gethsemane: His image blurring again into differing facades, “It has been released before?” Gethsemane’s ever shifting voice is filled with fear. Loviatar: Oh yes. The solidified tapestries prove that. Loviatar: Who knows what choices were made that allowed one to alter what should have been. I do know that if the Order is released the choices contrary to what should be.. would never have been made. The paths that diverged.. would never have existed.. from the very beginning of time. Time, itself, would start anew and perhaps.. just perhaps.. the choices that made you who you are, would not be.. and you could be completely altered from what you are now. We all could be. Perhaps we would not exist at all. Gethsemane: The Sand Horror stares in horror, “What can be done?” Loviatar: Keep Mortis from locating the box.” The swirling mist moves away from Gethsemane quite quickly. “Mortis will feel it necessary to inform Vishnu and Set.” The eyes do not turn; they simply refocus within the mist that halts its spinning about Gethsemane and returns to reform and surround Loviatar’s eyes. “Vishnu and Set will agree to end the ultimate battle by allowing Order to decide the fate of the cosmos.” Hovering before Gethsemane, the translucent form of Loviatar addresses the master of lies, “Probably with some last minute help from you.” The smirk is reflected in her voice, “At the moment I can guarantee the box is protected by forces that neither Set nor Vishnu could easily overcome, but only if they are not aware of the existence of the power. They must only think it exists.. they must not know.” Gethsemane: The golem stands stoically, “But where is..?” Loviatar: Cutting Gethsemane off, Loviatar turns her attention, once more, to the empty expanse that stretches away from the base of the cliff. The tendrils of mist that make up her form flow into the mist that is her realm. The eyes of Loviatar expand once more, growing to magnificent size. “In good hands.” Gethsemane: The gremlin’s eyes narrow, “You will tell..” His voice squeaks and dies as he realizes the clearing he stands within is shrinking. The mist of Loviatars realm begins to close in upon him. Loviatar: The Goddess of Wisdom offers her advice, “Leave it be.” Gethsemane: His form vanishes quickly as the roiling mist rolls into the spot where he stood. Loviatar: The Goddess Loviatar’s attention is once more focused upon the endless Tapestry that stretches out beneath the cliff. Her voice is lost within her realm.. heard only by herself, “I know you will not leave it be, but now I have time..” the massively beautiful eyes of Loviatar narrow, “.. time to plan..” Stage fades to black.