Transcript of Meeting Aleph-57-Sigma of the Triumvirate Council of the Dusk Outpost
part 3 of 17
Halberd, High Priest-Technician of Brahma: It was certainly an eventful conversation. I'm simultaneously surprised that the impossible half-drow wouldn't want us to vivisect them for the future of our people and surprised that they ultimately let us do so, albeit only after some rather mercenary haggling.
Warmaster Shen, High Priest-Technician of Parvati: Hmph.
Lucita, High Priestess-Technician of Yama: Honestly, I don't expect to find anything useful in the biological and biographical data they provided. The secret appears to be some loophole or defect in the mechanisms that converted our souls from being designated cargo to becoming technicians. A loophole exploited by one of maybe two gods capable and willing to do so.
Shen: I was more interested in their conversations with Kali. She seems to have taken a personal interest.
Lucita: Hardly surprising. The gods have been getting desperate, and elevating groups like this one far beyond their level of competence is just one example.
Halberd: Oh, I don't know, I was impressed. So was Magister Delg, at least in his reports of their journey here. Whether they are aware of it or no, their very presence is creating ripples.
Shen: Not always for the best. The… speed… at which this new cult of Chinnamasta is springing up may cut decades off our anticipated survival margin, especially if the new devotees manage to actually succeed at permanent suicide.
Lucita: sighs. Well, I'm not sure the warriors who are so soul-blasted that they throw themselves into the arms of suicide are notably effective in our war in any event… but there is some value in simple numbers, you are correct. I am still baffled at Ballast and its… attitude. I don't understand why Brahma would hand such a momentous decision to a single being, particularly it.
Halberd: laughs. It makes perfect sense. Of all the priests and paladins of the Four Faced Lord I've ever met, none have had Ballast's level of… self-belief. Understand, Brahma doesn't actually want to enact this plan. It will shatter thousands of years of alliance between him and Parvati. It edges right up to violating his very purpose as a god. It also undoes his finest and most subtle creation… me, and the other Forged, in our current facsimiles of life. He just doesn't see any other choice. By putting the choice in the hands of a mortal, particularly one who sincerely believes itself to be… better than… the gods, he is gambling that it may well actually succeed at finding an option that doesn't flood the Underworld with countless thousands of undead.
Shen: Hmmm. I see. That makes… sense. My own goddess revels in the idea of her faithful dead engaged in glorious war, but even she has expressed… misgivings… subtle ones. I think she would prefer a war involving the truly living.
Lucita: Speaking of which, did you hear Laith's summary of what Kali said to her when she was dead? It would seem that the goddess of death doesn't consider us to be… alive, not in the same way that the cargo is.
Shen: Yes, I caught that. It did not surprise me in the least. I have long considered us something akin to the undead already. We are outside the Law of Birth and the Law of Death. We fight an eternal war, eternally living, in violation of everything the godswar was about. Our bodies may function, our hearts may beat, but I agree with Kali, we are not truly alive.
Halberd: I love these chats with you, Shen. Always so uplifting.
Lucita: sighs. Well. Soon they will finished with their… cultural exchanges… and I will bring them to speak to the Guardian. If I was one to believe in omens, I would be concerned. Two impossible children, the descendant of Ravana's original breakthrough protected down the long years by Yama, a Forged granted power over the fate of its entire species, a priestess bringing hope of death to our people, and a warrior who, rarely for cargo, seems to truly understand the existential stakes of this war.
Shen: Let's not forget that they are also confidantes of a woken Dragon, and that they have been to Elemental Earth, the very shattered Archive itself.
Lucita: How could I? Well. For better or for worse, our tedious existences have been enlivened.
Halberd: Agreed! I haven't felt… anticipation… for a very long time.
Shen: It is… disquieting.