Scene 1: Atop Edyr’Mith
(The mountain that contained the Drow Mine).
A nude, morbidly obese woman sits on a boulder. Her arms are crossed and she scows. Beside her stands a beautiful androgynous individual wearing revealing robes, with golden eyes. “Sister, isn’t it grand?” the man-woman asks the obese figure on the rock.
The scowling figure responds, “I don’t like it. I don’t like it all. I’ve never liked your deal with the sky elves.” She looks to her brother-sister and points her finger in his-her direction. “If you weren’t my twin I would figure out a way for the harpies to take you!” she threatens. “Despair, sister, you take your work too seriously!” the figure with the gold eyes responds, his-her arms extended offering a hug.
Despair eyes her brother-sister for a moment, then shrugs and accepts the embrace. “Desire, I suppose I can acquiesce. The aftermath of your inspirations often keep me sated. I’ll continue to let you take tokens from my influence.” Desire kisses his twin on the forehead. Desire starts a monologue: “Sister, there will always be Despair and always be Desire: we are two sides of the same coin. When the mortals have experienced ecstasy; then lose it all, are they not the more lush for your heartbreak? And, when a downtrodden soul leaves your realm to return to love and lust, I promise you they are intoxicating.”
The fat woman shifts her weight and frowns at her brother-sister. As is her nervous habit, Despair uses a knife to make cuts on her leg. They heal moments later, but she clearly relishes the sensation. She responds to Desire “If I am too serious about my work: then you are a pervert! You enjoy the mortals entirely too much.”
From behind them a voice perkily chirps up “Are you two quite finished? I’ve heard this argument since the multiverse was young!” The two figures look to see a woman with light skin, dark hair, wearing a tank top and an ankh necklace. Desire speaks up, moving to embrace the figure, saying as he-she moves, “Death! older sister, its been a while.” Death hugs her brother-sister, putting up with the mild groping that he-she tends to do.
Despair speaks to the two, saying “I think your spheres of influence in this chapter of the verse are too great. Its always lovers torn achieving this, or near immortals doing that.” Death cuts her off before she can finish “what about all the sad pact spirits that seem to be everywhere on this world, or the almost constant threat of some kind of apocalypse?”
Death and Despair start a staring contest, as if a lightning bolt issues between their eyes they challenge each other’s resolve. “Sisters, Sisters! Stop!” Desire says while pushing them apart. Trying to prevent a fight Desire starts to lecture them both “We all have a greater influence here than the other verses. Don’t fight, just enjoy it. Let it happen, it may hurt a bit sometimes, but its well worth it.”
Death stops her brother-sister, who is clearly imagining something different from what they are talking about “Despair is right, you are a pervert. So help me if you say ‘spit on it’ your going to end up as a different point of view, very quickly.”
Desire conjures a cigarette and takes a deep drag. He-she is clearly enjoying the vision that just distracted him-herself. He-she blows a smoke ring, in the shape of a heart, toward Death. He-she asks “well, is your part done?” Death responds “Yes” as hundreds of ghostly silvanesti elves in miner’s gear, drow and destrons appear.
“Don’t bring them here! Ghosts skieve me out!” Desire howls wholely clenching his-her arms close to his upper body. Despair rolls her eyes, and scolds “quit being a sissy!” Death shakes her head and raises her hand to her temple in frustration.
She looks her brother-sister squarely in the eye, and says “you know good an well these aren’t ghosts.” Desire, feigning ignorance, while still avoiding touching any of the ghostly crowd that has appeared around them, says “What are they again? I forget so easily.”
Annoyed, Despair takes her dagger and stabs out her left eye. The aqueous humor dribbles down her check. Dagger still in the socket, she glances to her brother-sister and calls him a “twit.”
Death tells her brother-sister, for the hundredth time; “I have already taken each of these individuals, these forms were never alive, they are the memories of the land. They are the aether footprints of those who lived and died here” she pauses for a moment, then starts back in a harsher tone “if it wasn’t for them, there would be no salvation for the land, so none of your sky islands.”
Not really listening, Desire gawks at the form of a muscular, well built miner. Sizing him from toe to head, he-she focuses on all the ‘good’ details, until he gets to the miner’s head, which is fully smashed in. Desire frowns. At the same time, Despair also stares at the same ghostly miner, taken by the beauty of his head trauma.
Death throws her hands up in the air. Exasperated she scolds both of her younger siblings: “You two are impossible. As different as you are, you two really are entirely too similar!” Death takes a breath, and counts to ten in her head. “Anyway, I have to be off. Your elf is en-route to get the ball rolling. This one is going to be pretty: the mountain wants to have a family to protect. The memories are plotting a castle, and a lot more! I’ll see you two later!” Death says and with the sound of great flapping wings, both she and the ghostly forms fade to nothing.
Desire bows, and blows a kiss to Despair. He-she says “I’m off too. There is a wonderful orgy in Palanthas I want to go encourage” and fades away in a burst of obscene shadows. Despair raises her hand to ‘catch the kiss’ and tosses it to the ground. She speaks aloud to herself, “Let Desire have fun while it lasts. When Achroma finishes his plans, this entire world will be mine.” she pauses, “that stupid priest fancying himself as a king has made this world… interesting. I wonder what spells he is going to pray for today.” With the sounds of pain, and the gnashing of teeth, Desire fades away.
Atherion struggles to climb the steep ledge of the mountain before him. He laughs to himself at the absurdity of his current situation. He was born the spare, not the heir. His older brother, Magrathidal, had been groomed to lead the family. As a youth, Atherion was sent off to Solamnia to learn the code of the knights. Returning home, he discovered that a clash between the houses had thrown his family out of their former status.
Beyond the change in station, his family was in danger. His father was dead; however, his mother, brother and sisters were still alive: but only for the moment. The challenging noble houses were not above murder to advance their goals, and without the family’s traditional resources, they were left defenseless.
Atherion jumps from one ledge to another, and braces himself against the stone wall. His tight grip causes the soft stone to flake apart. Glimmers of mithral sand catch the light as they float to the ground, far below. He curses under his breath. Mithral seems to have become the fulcrum of his life.
Atherion and his fellow crew mates barely survived an adventure into the mithral mine under the mountain. By luck, during the mine adventure he and his team rescued a silvanesti high officer, ‘Rivalel en’Rugosa.’ A magnificent and powerful woman, Rivalel was also one of Atherion’s childhood friends. Her family was one of the few houses to still favor Atherion’s.
Rivalel, grateful for being saved, called in a long standing family favor owed them by Kaganest’s Parliment of Trees. The Parliament fast-tracked an asylum request, and granted keepership of a new island to Atherion, given his tale of the atrocities of Edyr’Mith being true.
Atherion wasn’t even quite sure what ‘keepership’ was. From his schooling he knew it was how the sky islands were formed from the mainland, but the rest always came across as ‘caster stuff.’ His only casting ability was throwing rocks into a river. He had heard from the knights that becoming a keeper was akin to selling ones soul. He honestly didn’t care, his family was his life. He would do anything to protect them, including his brother.
Atherion pulls himself up to another ledge. The muscles of his arms burn at the strain. “Why the hell do I have to do it like this?” he curses to himself. The missive from the Parliament had been very clear: he was to raise a location of which great pain had happened, and must ascend it alone and without gear. He curses again “how is me doing this proving myself to this mound of dirt?”
Atherion raises himself above the stable ledge, and lays out to rest. He looks up to the sky, and imagines he sees one of Kaganesti’s islands. Weeks ago, he sent his family with his crew mates to begin their exile. He received a sending from Shyvern that all was well, with both the ship and his family situation. If the ghost was back, then he was hopeful that things really could work out.
Still resting, his mind drifts back to the morning. Over the last few weeks, he had been in several meetings with the Speaker: the leader of his people, and heir of the most noble house. This morning’s meeting had brought his current situation to a head. He was only an under-noble now, but his dealings with Azidel in the past gave him the status of being a full emissary of Ice Razor, a station he used to its full leverage.
The noble house that held, and abandoned the mythrial mine under Edyr’Mith was one of the many that plotted against his family. Their declaration of abandonment stated the mine was empty. The hive incursion proved that not only was the mine not empty, it was flush with the valuable metal. The truth was that the miners hit a layer of adamant ore, and demanded reasonable pay to drill through it. The holding house didn’t want to play the living wage, and instead closed the mine.
During his first meetings with the Speaker, Atherion challenged the noble’s claim on the land. Neither that, nor the following meetings went well. The other noble family had an army of eleven lawcrafters who fought back on every point. The Speaker, unable to take sides, one day, privately asked Atherion his full plan, and final goal. The Speaker was moved by Atherion’s intentions.
That morning, the Speaker gave Atherion permission to execute his plan. The team had saved Silvanost from an alien invasion; and the Speaker decided to repay the debt in full. He declared the mountain and the mine were the equal property of the Horizon crew; however, Atherion had to take the property quickly, never mention the Speaker’s involvement, and never return to Silvanost, or for that matter any Silvanesti providence.
Atherion focuses himself. He makes a final push and with his mind still and steady, he makes it to the summit of the mountain. He spends a moment admiring the view, before he realizes that this is the official ‘low point’ the view will ever have.
The instructions of the Parliament had been very straight forward: be honest about land in pain, survive mounting its highest point, and break the locket. He snapped the metal chain that suspended a cameo of an earth and air elemental in an embrace. The cameo was the only physical object sent to him by the Parliament
He places the cameo on the ground, picks up a large rock and crushes it.
Upon being destroyed, the cameo’s center releases a radiant pulse of pure white light. A single point, no larger than the head of a pin, emerges from the broken necklace. It burns as bright as the sun, and drifts up above Atherion. The single point of light stops its ascent then begins to expand horizontally. A disc of light, miles wide, forms over Edyr’Mith.
Unbeknownst to Atherion, the disc is a portal to the para-elemental plane of dust. One of the many overlay elemental planes created by the endless known as Desire. Multicolored dust tinkles down from the disc, as the individual specks touch both him and the ground; a brilliance of light issues forth.
Looking up into the disc, Atherion sees two forms. The living individuals represented in the locket. Around him appears the count of an army worth of ghostly figures. As the dust touches the figures, they fade into a mist that sinks down into the ground. The elementals above Atherion say only this; “Good luck, and go in grace.” Upon saying this, Atherion feels the ground below him shake and the entire mountain of Edyr’Mith begins to raise into the sky.
Atherion, still glowing luminous in a wash of light; feels a connection to the mountain and the ghostly figures who vanished. He and Edyr’Mith are one. The summit he stands on begins to smooth, and as he walks down the peak a road forms beneath his feet. He continues to walk, as if he has known this path forever. He reaches what would be the center of gravity of the mountain, and watches as a castle forms from the stone of the mountain surface.
He walks into the home earned by both him and his team and thinks to himself “call me spare now.”