The Inner Sanctum - Below Bright Chapel in Aurora (Treyna II), Greater Auralia
The temple pulsated with unnatural energies, violently vibrating against the walls of soft, white sky-stuff. Swirling strands of planar powers ebbed and flowed all across the circular room. A ten pointed star painted in blood lined the floor with an equal number dark robed men and women standing at each point. They all muttered doom and heresy beneath their breaths. It was all going smoothly, although they had lost quite a few priests since the ritual began. That was to be expected, no one possessed the will to withstand the constant, overbearing exposure to the warp It had taken days, but their determination had proved successful in tearing open a passageway to the other side, that plane of existence where the dead roamed. It was dark, forbidden, dangerous, and above all, heresy. If the higher powers in the Itempan Order of Auralia found out about this, they wouldn't hesitate to drop an iron hammer down on top of all of them. This is was far too important to abandon to caution, however. The realm had been reduced to but a shell of it's former glory. Those who now call themselves the "Auroran Remnants" have been trying for years to establish a wall along the outskirts of the twin port cities of Trenya but that operation has been postponed indefinitely. The people are needed, the citizenry, garbed in mail and shield, have been turned into city wide militias. Something gathers on the borders of the old Auroran province, and it definitely isn't peaceful. Countless deaths of hunters, merchants, and travellers have been reported, and not a single trader has come into the region for nearly six months. They have asked for aid, sending men across the sea to the the capital, yet help never comes. The Nine have been sitting in their Skye, feasting, and cajoling in comfort, while the people suffer. The ten who stand here, chanting and praying and incantating, as well as the numberless few who have died in the process, they have had enough of the neglect from their supposed, "Leaders". Seventy years since Matriarch Annarah's assassination, and seventy years of absolute turmoil.
No... No more. The Remnants of Aurora haven't come so far only to be extinguished in a fire they did not light.
At the peak of the ritual, the strands of planar energy coalesced into a vibrant indigo sphere that hovered in place a few feet above the center of the decagon, with clouds of black phantasmal tendrils swirling around it. The chanting in the room came to a fevers pitch, as the ten, as one, threw both of their hands at the sphere, emitting a surge of divine radiance that collided with sphere. The change was subtle at first, but the ten quickly understood what was happening. The Sphere hovered in place for only a second before collapsing into itself, becoming a singularity that relentless pulled in everything around it. The ten grasped onto bars behind them, placed specifically for this event, and held on for dear life. The torches promptly flew from their respective sconce, sucked into the nether that was raging before them. Books, candles, staves and wands that had originally littered the floor were also consumed in the process. The singularity raged for the eternity of twenty seconds before it, very abruptly, ceased it's storm. As the ten released the bars, they looked over at the figure of a man kneeling on one knee, fists forming depressions in the stone beneath him, his white long hair falling around his face, shoulders and back. His right arm was nothing but a mangle piece of what looked like bone, but upon closer inspection, it wasn't. His arm was pale, almost white, and hard as rock, yet possessed all the articulation joints needed. His hand was a clawed thing, having no nails, or thumb, just four pointed fingers. His skin was ashen, and grey, and his eyes, while open, showed no sign of comprehension.
Then, with the sick, crushing weight of clarity, the man's eyes widened and he screamed.
The last thing he heard was, "Calm, Lord Thanatos. You are among friends," before he fell unconscious. He sat now, on a hard bed, with provisions of water, and bread on a small table beside it. The room was small, but warm. He could feel the weather outside. He could sense the hard beating of rain overhead. He was thankful for the lodgings. He couldn't wrap his head around it though. He was dead. Torn apart and ravaged by his siblings. He sat here in utter silence as his memories very slowly flooded back into his mind. The main hall of Skye is where it happened. He had proposed his idea of expansion, of taking what should, by rights, belong to them. The men and women who had joined them had left entire towns and villages unpopulated. Think of the farmlands! he had said, Think of the resources! he pleaded. But no, his siblings didn't saw his logic. They told him his suggestions were barbaric. That they did not run from imperialism to become imperialists themselves, his sister Shani had persuaded. There are still people who own that land, Gorinn, his eldest brother had proclaimed. Yes, he realized now that he had overreacted but their solution was unforgivable. He was greater than all of them, he had given them the endless possibilities of divinity, he had given them the lives they lived! And still so, they killed him. They tore open his body and stole from him his power. As he sat here now, he could feel his inadequacy. This body was small... No, he did not mean that in the literal sense. He meant it in the metaphysical sense. He felt so empty. So devoid of anything of worth. Compared to his old self, he was but... A shell. An ornate, golden crested chest full of air and insects.
That's what he felt like. An insect. Minuscule . Powerless against the titans that walked above his head.
"Ah good. You've finally awoken." Thanatos glanced up at the door to him room open, and beside it stood a fairly sized man, grey beared, clad in dark robes, and grinning.
For the first time since he was brought back into this world, he spoke, "Who are you?"
The human walked further into the room to directly in front of Thanatos, and knelt before him on one knee , head bowed, "I am Eminent Pryce, my liege. High Priest of the Itempan Order, and Governor-Militant of the Auroran Remnants. I am yours to command."
Eminent? Itempan Order? Remnants? Thanatos had always possessed a brilliant mind, but all these words coming out of this old man's mouth were gibberish to him, "Rise, my child. Now you must elaborate. I have but just woken up from what seems like a century long sleep. I do not know these names and titles."
Pryce worked himself onto his feet and bowed his head again, "My apologies, my liege. It is unprecedented in our time, to have brought someone as powerful, and as old as one such as yourself back from the void. I realize you are... At a disadvantage. There is so much to tell."
Thanatos kept his face remote from emotion, and said, "It is all right, Eminent. Start at the very beginning."
And he did. Pryce talked for hours about the history of the Auralien Empire. The establishment of the Order which revered Auren, his god. Of the Atlus, about the good the Matriarch had spread across the land. About the countless wars and proxy wars and cold wars that had erupted over the centuries. He spoke of rise and fall of the Devlani people, who had once been their closest and wisest of allies. Pryce finished the tale at the construction and expansion of the Guild Orders of the remaining eight members of the Power Nine. Thanatos had absorbed it all, and as he did, two things sprouted. Pride in the empire he had set out to build, and the rage the filled him and blotted out all reason. This was suppose to be HIS empire!
But he kept his face neutral as he looked at Pryce, and through Pryce at the same time.