I am but a story, unfinished, I go on as long as there are storytellers, but some parts are finished, some parts of greater tales need to be set down. But know this: any tale can be amended so take from this only that it is part of a greater story, one that can never be finished and so never be told in its entirety. In the hour of darkest need, when even the Unconquered Sun was made ineffective, Venus ordered this tale to be written. In our bleakest night, when heaven itself was being rocked and changed forever, heroes were honored. When hope had abandoned us and all seemed lost, we are reminded of true heroism. But more importantly, what we fight for and its worth despite its cost.
The battle went on for all the five days of calibration, this is what happened the fifth day:
There were gods, elementals and exalt alike mixed up with demon and Raksha al across Yu- Shan. All a part of the Ebon Dragon’s wedding entertainment. He had left a gate open al owing a continuous flood of demons who craved slaughter to enter. But it was the ‘gift’ he’d left that was the real threat. It seemed to know somehow whenever a larger unit became united under one of the various war gods or militant exalts, it would move and strike, smashing the resistence with one massive blast or blow from a mighty fist. A few of the remaining scholars even recognized it; it was the Titan Aftershock. Its summoning energies had been the wave that caused the Lotus Massacre where sixty-six Sidereals were kil ed outright. All the most powerful warriors of heaven had been neutralized also, the Unconquered Sun had been locked single combat with Nemesis even before his death; the Maidens were mostly powerless with loom damage and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were severely injured besides.
In this the most dire of hours, there were several groups cutting swathes though quickly reforming demon hordes, holding against the rising tide, one of these is with Tybalt the Emerald Dragon.
Tybalt had entered heaven with his circle, Raishidda, their Dawn caste and her Lunar mate Reeve had gone to aid the embattled Bureau of Nature, and Solitaire, their Night caste was hunting third circle demons with a Chosen of Endings, which left him, Seven Thunders and Northridge with five Terrestrials and two gods, The Golden Lord and Five Days Darkness. An odd group to say the least but one most effective. With the Golden Lord and Northridge forming a roving bastion the terrestrials led by Ledaal Cartia forayed out striking and retreating while Five-Days and Tybalt forged a path and Thunders picked off stragglers.
This odd group had been moving quickly, slaying demons and restoring faith; showing the beleaguered combatants that al was not lost. Yu-Shan was burning. Putrid green fire rose form the Jade Pleasure Dome. Several Sidereals had unleashed the greater signs of the maiden, minor gods floated dead in the canales. The Unconquered Sun had fal en and several of his chosen lay with his remains. But that was hours ago. Seemed like days to the remaining Lawgivers. There were many of them, more than thirty, the most chosen of the sun to be in one place in more than a thousand years, but it not enough, fifteen had already fal en. Their names and titles would fil a great scrol of deeds some of those names; Reven Torve holder of the exalted shard known as Seven Thunders Distant Cascade, Raishidda So’Rugne once cal ed The Tempest of the Sundering Flame with her ever present Lunar mate Reeve. There were enigmatic Night castes Solitaire and Mitternacht, of unknown inheritance. Paradox Lore once cal ed Five Moons stood with several Twilights, Verloran the Lightning Scholar and Shwartzengger Iron Hands. The Red Prophet, Zeial prayed and held the line with other Zenith castes including Dancing Petals and the Bishop of Northridge, Cotavious Rictoven. They al held the lines against demon after demon trying to save the libraries and storehouses. Some Sidereals had not been trapped in the fate web with their comrades and helped, but they were young, the last elder Sidereal, Unspoken Axiom had remained to hold the last gate so others could make it to Yu-Shan and continue the fight. Some Lunars there were also, not many, most had gone berserk when Luna was injured saving Gaia. The section of Yu-Shan holding the Bureau of Nature, Luna’s division, was wild with blood frenzy and no one could be spared to see if they even needed help. Strangely enough several Abyssal exalts stood with the defenders of Haven, with names like Revenant of Where Shadows Fear to Walk in the Waining Light of the Abyss, and Fal ing Storms Last Dance of Sorrow Under the Constant Missive of What is to Come. In one place a trio of strangely metal ic figures, one Adamant and two Moonsilver danced a precise dance of slaughter.
It was a losing battle. It was the Titan of Death; a wyld twisted Primordial who consumed exalted essence. It was once known as the Aftershock Titan, or that had been the name of what had spawned the ichor and wyld tainted monstrosity that stood before them. He had seen it before. Tybalt the Emerald Dragon stood motionless, drained of power, having used most of it trying to keep the Jade Dome’s defenses intact. It had been worth a try. But the essence shield was drained and the beast had poured itself into the streets anyway. A part of him was active. An ancient part, for he was one of the few Solars who could recal the first age, or the last part of it anyway, but that same part that had offered insight was now screaming, the Horror! It’s the Horror that had taken her! He looked at the now forgotten and broken dome, where he had dropped his pack. Cascade had said he should have used a Cache Egg noted the calmer Tybalt side of his mind.
She would remember it al her days. Ledaal Catala Cartia, the most pure blooded Terrestial in her generation, the pride of her mother and grandmother, not a spel weaver, but a warrior like her grandfather and father, Takuya the Striking Wind they cal ed her. She never expected to be here, in heaven. But her family and her commander, Ejava said that she would lead the Terrestrial contingent to aid Heaven and her light wing of dragon bloods and elementals had aided the exalts in their fight. A battle that had awoken within her the drive, a furious unity not seen since the Primordial war; al exalts fighting the same foe. A strange synergy had formed and she knew where her troops were needed, she knew when they fel , and what to attack and when; it was glorious. Tybalt had been there. Their rekindled romance had take a strange turn when she found out that her former bodyguard, and yes, her slave and lover had been chosen by the Sun. But the stigma wore off quickly, even her mother, strict as she was about choosing companionship gave grudging approval; she said there could be worse choices. It had been a few good years as the Scavenger Lands had built itself out of the muck. Good years. And as much as she loved the heat, or in her aspect’s case, chil of battle she had enjoyed training with Ty more. His Emerald Path Monks, dragon-blooded and mortal alike had helped build that peace, even in the end joining with the Immaculate Monks that remained in the River Lands. But it couldn’t last. A mere eight years and the spawn of hel that cal ed itself the Empress emerged from the cesspool that was now the Blessed Isle. Ty. It was strange to suddenly think of him in combat . . . and then she saw him coming from the Jade Pleasure Dome. With some piece of equipment, a harness of some sort. When did he have The harness. He had found it in the care of the Golden Lord. Seemed the lord had gathered up al the objects that their Solar makers had never bothered to explain the workings of, or were to dangerous to leave in the hands of the usurpers. The Titan Harness. He had never gotten it to work as intended and never used it, but now . . . at first it was pure anger that had driven him to retrieve it, but now it was something else, a strange peace had overtaken him. He looked at the others, his circle, his friends, their friends, Cartia . . . he had thought he had made peace with his two warring sides, the Anathema and the Immaculate, the Boy and the Man, the Builder and the Warrior, Tybalt and the Emerald Dragon. But when he saw the Horror attack, the side that was Emerald Dragon roared in anger even as the Tybalt side was stil trying to understand what this was. But now the two sides were one, there was no time, the others didn’t even know that the beast hid their most dangerous foe, and there was no time to explain that it could kil them and steal the vary power of their exaltations. No more wil die by Aftershock this day.
For a moment there was a lul . Something in the air seemed to stil the battle, quiet the roar of death for just moment, then Tybalt the Emerald Dragon clicked on the harness and exploded with power.
First his anima flared to its ful height, something many had seen before, anyone who had seen him practice knew that he used his anima as part of his martial arts style, but the two golden-bronze green eyed dragons of his anima didn’t stop where they usual y did. They grew outwards, larger, more powerful than any had seen before the pure energy emanating from him was disorienting.
Paradox saw it happen. He saw Ty leave and rejoin the line but had not even considered on it; there were more pressing matters than why his old cohort would suddenly dart back to the Dome, but now the part of his soul that remembered the first age recoiled in surprise; that anima, that pressure, he had only once felt it, when a Solar Exalt at ful essence potential ful y unleashed his power, dumped al of his mote potential from the Tenth circle of power down to nothing. Then he made the connection and yel ed . . .
Ty crouched into a stance as the same time someone yel ed for everyone to take cover. Paying it no mind he launched himself at the horror dodging tentacle and essence blast alike. He yel ed as he drove at the heart of the beast becoming a thing of pure stored rage, thousands of years of rage so long unnamed now had focus; Ebon Dragon. He could see the markings of essence so clearly now, the Ebon Dragon had control ed the Aftershock Titan, he had hid it in the wyld where none could find it and attempted to use it to destroy creation, that was why no one was sure who his Jotun soul was, it was never there. It was out there al the time.
He drove at it, yel ing defiance yel ing his pain out upon it. Come on, you, you cant resist this, quashing my misery, tying up the last loose-end yourself.
They traded blows for minutes, minutes that seemed like hours to those watching. What they had thought to be a behemoth reformed into twin shadow dragon, almost a cruel mockery of Emerald’s anima, but Emerald intercepted attack after attack, and so did the shadow until a blow was landed and Emerald went flying back. His recovery was quick and response fluid but blood was now coming from a wound on his brow. Then his style changed. From the fluid motions of his signature Three-Fold Style he was now stabbing relentlessly, wildly with the hal marks of Raging Phoenix Style and landed his first real blow. It surprised everyone, as a smal shard fel from the beast, glowing with faint power. It shattered on the cobbled street and a wisp fluttered about, before jetting off toward the office district. Paradox Lore was as shocked as anyone at that result and his mind went into overdrive trying to catagorize that whisp and then realized . . .
“Terrestrial Exalted shard.” said Verlorn in a tone of shear disbelief. “What . . .” he started has Paradox cut him off realizing what it was.
Every solar was mad with energy, a parting blessing from the Unconquered Sun stil empowering them, but for Emerald this was more personal. He could see where it had consumed the exalt, the core holding this monstrosity of Wyld, Demon, Creation and Exalt together. The harness had worked, that was good; it had unlocked everything he had ever known, every martial arts styles he had ever known at any point, and that was most of them, every charm, spel and tactic he had created, used or researched it was al there clear as day. It was to much. It was forcing al that into him. It was breaking so many rules and ‘laws’ of creation that it was ripping him apart. Too quickly. He had damaged the beast but not enough, not near fast enough with its healing and . . . mote regaining. He spared a look at Paradox and smiled.
Dragon gave the beast a massive strike, it was as if essence of the area itself had just slapped his foe and it went reeling back stunned. Paradox was helping in the retreat from the epic fisticuffs playing out above them and was surprised to see a strange shadowy afterimage version of Emerald crouching beside him, “How many Adamant Circle casters are there here?”“Um, myself and Verlorn, that Adrianna woman, two or three others.” “Good. We need to drain the essence from the area around Aftershock or it’l just keep healing itself, get their help. Cast your most damaging, most powerful spel s simultaneously at it and I’l do the same.” it said before vanishing.
Six simultaneous Total Annihilations coming up, thought Paradox not remembering the time when Emerald explained that he only new one combat spel , Essence Inversion.
The explosion was massive. Not since the first war had anything even remotely resembling it happened. Six massive spel s first pul ed the very essence from Yu-Shan and directed it at one point, right where Emerald Dragon said. But that would have been that, six blasts, powerful yes, but not enough to slay Aftershock. It shook the remaining buildings of heaven down to ruins, little god and demon alike died, but the effect on Aftershock was profound; the spel s had drained the area, and the spel Dragon had cast stopped any essence from seeping back in; Aftershock could not heal by absorbing power from heaven itself. Then he struck with his charm. It was a simple one, one of Emerald Dragon’s unique Essence Manipulation charms, it was only a minor effect based off of the simple principle that an essence build up without channeling or containment has more potential energy release than just normal y applying essence. A simple basic fact that al spel casters dealt with even if they didn’t ful y understand it. Inversion, that’s what it was cal ed. And that’s al it took, dumping his own essence in a massive Inversion pulse while aftershock was unable to heal.
It was Cartia who found him, near the blast crater that now took up most of north-east Yu-Shan. He was laying there, breathing shal owly, rasping, the Titan Harness stil smoldering over the remains of his simple Gi. She knelt by him, tears fal ing lightly and spoke his name, his real one, Tybalt. She held his hand for some time before he spoke softly, “I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m sorry I won’t be there for you, for your, our, daughter.”“H-h-how, do you . . .” she started. “I know, I made sure, our daughter wil be Air aspected, just like her mother and grand mother . . . I made sure, sil y huh?” he said as his eyes fluttered weakly.
“No Tybalt, it’s not sil y.”“Oh good, I don’t like it when you’re mad at me Allishara.” he said as his eyes closed and a tone in a low whisper, “Are you free now? I know the answer, I know how to best defend creation; with our loved ones, its with our loved ones isn’t it?” Then a slight shudder pulsed through Tybalt the Emerald Dragon and said, “Oh good.” His last breath taken and his mouth turning a slight smile as the Titan Harness clicked and fel off Cartia felt a moment of confusion amidst her sadness but a voice said softly from next to her, “Don’t blame him dear, his lives have blended together and they have been long and interesting ones.” Cartia looked at the bearer of the voice in sudden comprehension of whose it was.
Either not knowing the source of the sudden look on the Dragon-blood’s face or, more likely, politely ignoring it she went on, “Take my word for it, he loved you as much as anyone can. I should know, I am the goddess of love after al .” Finished Venus.
“But who is Allishara then?” The blue clad goddess knelt down near her and placed a gentle, almost motherly hand on his brow, “She was his first love, the first love of the Exalt cal ed Sun Dragon and his Lunar mate Allishara, the first true love between exalts. Theirs was a shining example of why it was good idea to pair the chosen of the sun with that of luna and he sees anyone he real y cares for in any lifetime as his ‘Al ishara’. You’re quite like her in many ways, I see why fate drew him to you. Or you to him perhaps. Either case you were his balance in this life, just as she was in a past one.” she finished, pointing to where there was the pale ghostly outline of a woman, a silvery edge to her form hardening as she reached outward, toward Tybalt’s stil form. The apparition was seen by al on the rim of the crater, the simmering outline of Allishara, freed at last from the clutches of Aftershock and then the hazy outline of Emerald Dragon joining her halfway. Then it was over, the air stil ed as if paying homage to a fal en warrior. Everyone was surprised by what they saw next, some would postulate that it was an effect of the massive essence inversion, or of Venus’s presence, but even the most calculating among the gathered heros had to admit to the fitting end to one greatest tales of lost love in history. From the center of the crater a smal silvery light appeared, and then from Tybalt, a smal golden one appeared, they flew toward each other, danced around each other then sped toward the center of Yu-Shan. It was impossible, it didn’t work like that, exalted shards didn’t manifest, let alone dance around each other, but even the most heard-hearted among them had to admit to the poetry of it. The moment of wonder was broken as Venus moved into the crater and then stooped down, clearing off rubble to reveal a body. She took the form in her arms and carried it back up the slope to where Emerald’s body lay. The woman’s body was beautiful even in repose, long silvery hair fal ing down around catlike ears.
It was Five Day Darkness who spoke first, “Wel I’l be, that’s her isn’t it? Allishara, Five-Phases Ignoring him Venus spoke up, “Who wil help me take these honored heros to a proper resting The first voice was Cartia, “I wil . I wil stay with him.”Then there was another, and another; al the remaining warriors came. Then as the story of what happened spread more came, the Lunars who had went to aid Luna in the East Side came back joined by their patron, the few remaining Sidereals came and fel in behind their respective maidens and then gods, gods of al types, great and smal alike; by the time the procession found its way to the center of the Celestial City the honor guard of the fal en numbered in the tens of thousands with nothing less than the Incarna themselves at the head. The Golden Lord carried the four fulcrums of the Unconquered Sun, al that remained of the former lord of heaven. This silent procession halted near the center of the city and watched as Gaia shaped from her own essence a five-sided tomb of Jade braced with moonsilver formed by Luna, then as Crystal Arua the Divine Artisan, Goddess of Celestial Construction fashioned great Orichalcum plates and draped them over the tomb. The Incarna then placed each of the sixty-six Sidereals, forty Terrestrials, twenty-three Lunars, fifteen Solars, and final y, the four fulcrums of the Sun, into the tomb and then sealed it with starmetal carvings of their own sign, one on each side. This structure was then shaped by the magics of the Incarna so that when viewed from the top it held the seal of the Unconquered Sun with the signs of his chosen, flanked by the signs of the Maidens, ringed by the seals of Luna and final y inlayed with the great elemental dragons. That is how the tomb of the One-Hundred and Forty-Four was built, how a tale of lost love was competed, how the Emerald Dragon found his rest for a time, and how an age ended.



Thank You . . . to all for your financial support. Last weekend’s collection was over $1,400. . . also for your contribution to the Helping Others collection for Haiti. Like the week before, it was around $1,500. A cheque for $3,000 is on its way to Development & Peace. Coming Events Monday, Feb. 1 Pastoral council meeting in the office at 7:30 pm. All members are asked to do

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