100 – Failure

“The Lunars.   I want to know the truth about them.”  The Tiger, who wanted to kill both you and Wanahton because you were young Sidereals.  The Desert Fox, who just wanted to be left alone to raise her child.   You had to know why the Lunars are indiscriminately hunted down.

Akachi walked through Wallport in silent.   You matched his long strides, becoming more and more annoyed with each step.   Was he actually going to fallback on his promise? When you got past the edge of town, he said, “I will tell you the truth, but you will not be happy with me afterwards. Do you still want to know?”  Akachi had said something similar with he taught you to sense the vibrations which precede violence.   Yet having Prior Warning of danger has saved your life many times over the past year.   

You stop by a fallen moss covered log.  “I don’t want any more lies,”   you declare, meeting your guardian’s eyes.

“Technically, I never lied to you….”  When you narrow your eyes, Akachi amends “though, one doesn’t have to lie to deceive someone.”

“What happened at the meeting with the Lunars?”  You are not going to give the Elder Sidereal a chance to weasel out of answering your questions.

Akachi sits down on a fallen log.  You straddle the log beside him.   Akachi rubs his face and folds his hands at his mouth.  “It was a Fiasco.”  Akachi seems ashamed to admit that, but he continues.   “ A few lunars were harassing the Dragonblooded dominions in the South.   Mostly likely in revenge of the Usurpation.  The Dragonblooded were already fighting among themselves; the Lunars were low priority.  One Dragonblooded warlord didn’t want to fight a war on two fronts, so she sent an Envoy to the Wyld.  Ayesha and I accompanied them.’

Akachi stares out into the distance, remembering.  “At first things seemed to be going well; after a century out of the Solars control, the Lunars did not want them to return any more than we did.  Nevertheless after a century of conflict there was bad blood between the Lunars and the Dragonblooded.   The Lunars did not trust them.   They believe the Dragonblooded would betray them as they betrayed the Solars.   Tempers flared and negotiations were starting to break down.   The Dragonblooded were about to give up and leave.“

“So, Ayesha and I decided to negotiate on our own.  The Fair Folk were beginning to nibble the edges of Creation.  We needed the Dragonblooded to stop fighting themselves.  To form up under a strong leader.  Perhaps what was needed to reunite the Dragonblooded was a Celestial Exalt.   We could not do it because of Arcane Fate, but perhaps Lunars would be our agents.”

“We revealed ourselves as Exalts and approached the Elder Lunars with our offer.  We would work with the Lunars to repair relations with the Dragonblooded.   In time the Dragonblooded would rally around the Lunars and rule Creation.”

“Erlantz, my wife’s Lunar Mate, sat silently through the proceedings with the Dragonblooded.  I knew Erlantz from before the Usurpation.   He was young then; still within his mortal lifetime.  Erlantz was always a reasonable man.”  Akachi pauses, finding it difficult to continue.  “I was a fool.  I hadn’t realized how much the Wyld and time could change a man.  “

“Erlantz’s  response was…. drastic.  He declared the Chosen of the Moon would be no one’s puppet.   He said he never believed the Dragonblooded acted alone against the Solars.   That he knew they had help.   He rallied the Lunars against us.   They hunted down and killed the entire Dragonblooded party.  Ayesha and I barely escaped with our lives. ”

“The attacks on the Dragonblooded forces increased.  Instead of a small group of Lunars, the entire host had declared war on the Dragonblooded.   At first we hoped Arcane Fate would shield us from our mistake and the Lunar did not remember Ayesha and I.  But they remembered the Star Chosen.   Not long afterwards, the Lunars were added to the Immaculate Doctrine as Anathema.   ”

“Has anyone tried to talk to the Lunars since?”

“A few times.   Arcane Fate makes it difficult.   Lunars have figured out some of the specifics about our curse.   They have no way of knowing which of us they have talked to before so have a kill on sight policy when it comes to Sidereals.”

You digest this new information.   “Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?”  Akachi asks.

You think for a moment.   It was getting cold and you were starting to feel hungry, but this was your only chance to ask Akachi questions.  Or was it?  “I want you to promise me not to hold back information anymore.  When I ask a question, you tell me the full answer.”

Akachi smiles ruefully.   “I have learned my lesson about lying to a Chosen of Secrets.”

“Yeah.”   You and Akachi start the long walk back to the Yu-Shan gate.   “I have one more question.  In Metal Gods, who is the Raven Haired Woman?”  Both you and Masaru have been arguing about her for months.  

Your guardian laughs out loud.  “Svante, you of all people should have figured out who the Raven Haired Man is.  He is a Sidereal.  Or at least as close as you can get to having a Sidereal character in print.”

“Ha!  I was right!”  Masaru was so sure she was god blooded.  

“When I created Metal Gods, I wanted to see how far I could push Arcane Fate.  The few issues with characters based on an actual Sidereal were lost, but if I had a mysterious and knowledgeable character….”  Akachi sighs.  “I suppose the Raven Haired Man isn’t much of a Sidereal, but it was the best I could do.”  

“I like him.  He is Masaru’s favorite character.”

“But not your favorite character.”   Akachi tucks his hands into his coat sleeves.  “Who is your favorite character?”

“Firebrand Sharise.”  you respond instantly.  

Akachi chuckles.  “You and your Fire Aspects.”

You don’t rise to Akachi’s bait.   “What’s wrong with Firebrand Sharise?  The Everburning Passion is the coolest warstrider!”

“Nothing, except she wasn’t one of my characters.  Too bad none of the early copies of Metals God aren’t around anymore.  Nashwa’s Desert Wind puts the Everburning Passion to shame.   It took me hours to draw all the details.”   

You roll your eyes.  “A warstrider is more than looks.  How many Essence Cannons did the Desert Wind have?”   

“Child, function is meaningless without an elegant form.”

((End of Chapter 6!   I’ll admit I have been waiting for Svante’s Trial of Endings since it was decided he was to be a Chosen of Secrets.  Chosen of Journeys Svante would have also gone through the Sorcery Trials, though with Ayesha Ura as the Instigator, instead of Chejop Kejak.   Now I can start planning out Part 2))

((I was going to add more to this post, but ran out of time.  I’ll keep the other topics in mind and bring them up as the Quest goes on.))>