The Book of Soltana: Council – 61

Council

Underrealm

Genius Loci

 

He fluttered along in his betafly form, contemplating the events that just happened. It was better than he had predicted. Ruth was stronger than last time, giving him a good impression of what the mother of his child would be. He felt his daughter was in the right hands. There was another Seal holder looking after Ruth, among her other friends that had rushed to save her. He was a bit miffed he couldn’t get the dwarf dugrum, but that was a luxury. He had simply been testing Ruth’s resolve. He would have ‘bungled’ it by having her escape. Can’t have something grow in a prison. Going by Soltana’s statements, they were all good friends. He would have to tell the others about the surviving Lambent. He had also defeated the Fallen angels, capturing one of them. The angel was still time locked outside of the landing zone awaiting his return. He had wished to have gathered up the arrogant half-clap angel, but again it was a luxury.

“It was interesting she would rather call me father than husband. She chose the least personable title. Oh well! They did warn me of the family drama. It’s only natural for her to hate me at first.”

He flapped his wings lazily, staying aloft. He made sure to keep a presence as exact as any betafly could, you never knew when clever beings such as Diniel were around. Even that was a test of the angel’s awareness.

He was proud that Ruth, his love, found them.

“Yeah, he’s going to be a good mentor to them. I definitely left them with the fear of god; hopefully that will winnow the weak willed from staying.”

He thought about the two leeches. While they did rush to help Ruth it wasn’t their main reason. His presence found them lacking. And now there were two less parasites to potentially harm his baby.

Ultimately he was testing the resolve of Ruth and her friends. Those that were weak would flee, those that were strong would most likely stay. He needed only the best to care for his newborn.

“It was pure coincidence that two Seal holders landed on the same planet. No doubt about it. No such thing as providence!” Genius Loci stated to himself sarcastically.

Even with His supposed ‘death’, Adonai still had sway in this realm. Although to have a repaired Lambent in the Underrealm was a mystery that was begging to be solved. It was too much of a temptation to take the dear Soltana and extract the answer. The way she fought, how her Seal worked, even to the point of stopping one of his weak attacks dead. His presence did little more than wash off her adamantite body and mind. He had to nip that temptation to take Soltana and let it ruin his other plans. She had even damaged him, a first in ages. His body didn’t take well to holy infused solar cannon shots. The fact she was an exorcist which tied to her Guardian calling was truly astounding. While damage he dealt never healed, indirect damage would leave the little Lambent needing repairs from simple sources. A millennia of experimentation on that ability made him a god of it. His internal clock going off was a good excuse to leave. The lack of follow-up threats was also a good excuse to leave. Everything was in place.

“Yup, Ruth my love, you are in good hands- Hand? What’s with all these cripples?” He said to himself, thinking of Soltana’s sole hand and the fallen angels.

There he flew as a comet to the ceiling. He could have fallen for hours from this height, but now was not the time for entertaining himself. That came later. He gazed at the massive house sized glow worms as they clung to the ceiling, their flesh gone dark as they slept. He reached deep inside his being, extracting the conclave spell. His consciousness ascended to the heavens.

Their ‘heaven’.

Which was more or less just a small round table. Genius Loci, dressed in his emerald suit spun the tall chair, fluidly sitting downing mid rotation He set his well tailor shoes on the table, seeing the two other beings greeting him.

One was a being clothed in a robe of burgundy, his face shadowed. Another was a being whose hair appeared to be made of slick black oil which covered most of her face apart from her mouth. She wore an oversized red hoodie and pajama pants.

The robed one sat stiffly, hands clasped inside his robe sleeves.

The other was laying her head on the table, resting and mumbling.

“Is this it?” Genius Loci was the first to break the silence.

“It would appear so. Noir is in dispose and Gold is also quite busy. Empty and Ivory have not shown in an age,” The burgundy one spoke with a soft wispy voice.

Genius Loci knew they spoke with chosen code names. They all knew each other’s names, but never spoke them in public or even in their meetings. You never knew if one would listen.

Or dream of them.

“What is your update, Neon?” The burgundy one asked.

“I did it!” He declared.

“It’s complete?”

“You bet! The host is thriving right now! Even under my testing she never broke resolve. She gathered new friends as well. Burgundy, she even has a name now! She! My child!”

Burgundy let out a gentle laugh at that.

“I have more, but I first need to hear from you, old man!” He jabbed.

It was always fun to try to rustle the older god. He was gently impassive as ever.

“Slate. Awake. I have news for the group.”

“Hmm- wha? No I wanna sleep,” Slate mumbled.

Her head shot up as she looked to the group as she finally processed the news. She looked to Genius Loci, her obscured gaze boring into him. She always had the stronger presence of the group. And the least desire of subtly hiding it.

“It worked?” She asked with a bored mutter.

“Of course! A maiden of pure beauty graced my barren planet.” Genius Loci began, palming his cueball head in pseudo emotionally intense acting.

“Alas, as she joined my games, she ruined the plans I had!”

“What.”

“She discovered my mysterious cult and completed their dark work.”

“And?”

“And she stole. My heart.”

“Oh. Neon found a girl.”

“And now she will bare an infant god.”

“Already?”

“Her name is Maw.”

“When’s the ceremony?”

“That is quite good news. Eons of work now produce fruit,” Burgundy interjected.

“Will there be cake?”

“No more interruptions, Slate,” Burgundy said calmly.

Slate folder her arms and pouted.

“My news is that I have discovered the Location.”

“Really now? Just like that?” Genius Loci replied incredulously.

“Just. So.”

“It was stowed away in an archaeology museum on Magara. It was an antediluvian shipping manifesto- of all things I have to hand it to her, She used me for the experimentation of her new creations. It had worked better than intended.”

“I was expecting a grand map. Made of threaded gold,” Slated interjected.

“Think more of a crystalline screened manifesto tab of the early old world. I had someone jot it down for us. Human tech tends to detests us,” Burgundy happily stated, tapping the table.

“Crystal is like diamond- close enough.”

“Regardless, we now know the Location. Based on the legends and rumors, it is well guarded.”

“Like What? Fleets? Some angels? Demons?” Genius Loci asked.

Any of those would be a blast.

“Try an Archangel.”

“Oh.”

Genius Loci nodded in thought. Archangels were not small things to fight. They had never vied for open combat against them in the past, even together. Now with the power they accrued it would be different. A single Archangel could level a galaxy, if there were so inclined. Having a single one guarding a single planet was beyond overkill.

“Of course it ain’t going to be easy!” Genius Loci joked.

“Absolutely, which brings us to the second part of the plan. There is a group of well endowed and well fleeted pirates that would jump at the chance of discovering the Throne of Adonai.”

“Throne of Adonai?- Ohhh! That is wicked.”

“What?” Slate asked, looking from one to the other in confusion.

“Just spread rumors of a Throne of great power, have them go and be the fodder we need. We also reduce the galactic pirate population. It would force the Archangel to reveal itself. We gather all of us to battle it.”

“Battle? Do we have to?” Slate asked with a whine.

“Yes, and then you can go back to collecting.”
“Speaking of collecting, how are you doing, Slate?” Genius Loci asked.

She let out a gentle sigh as she explained.

“Well I got the Tesseract as you all wanted and then locked away that planet with Azrael inside.”

They all nodded at that. The plan had gone splendidly. While Azrael was technically a retired angel, her power over death, decay, and entropy made her equal to an archangel. Or possibly above one.

“Well I then sent myself inside, gathering up the souls of the inhabitants. Azrael didn’t like that and created her own circle of life and death to keep the souls in her domain.”

Genius Loci instantly knew where she was going and let out a scoff.

“And you did that in the expectation she would eventually fall from exhaustion,” Burgundy added.

She nodded tiredly. She continued, but was caught by a stiff yawn.

“But the people have all begun to change. They’re undead now.”

Genius Loci burst out in laughter, the shrieking noise of a goat rang out in the room.

“That’s amazing! A new species of something, to study!”

“Then what is the issue, dear Slate? Why the hesitation? Was that it?”

“No. It’s because one of them is a Seal holder,” She said, her voice going to whisper.

The others went silent, in thought. They gazed at her with intensity. Slate wilted under their gazes, letting a whining sigh as she slumped to the table.

“That bad?” She asked.

Genius Loci was the first to crack, busting out with more laughter akin to firecrackers. Burgundy followed suit with a quiet wispy chuckle akin to a roiling fog.

“What?”

“Seal holder! Can you believe this kid?” Genius Loci was the first to mock.

“Oh.” Slate responded, understanding flooded her.

“Seal holders. Why would that be of any consequence to us? The remnants of an absent God.”

“You haven’t met one yet? I’m swimming in them! The love of my life, mother of my daughter is a Seal holder! She’s friends with another Seal holder!”

Slate shook her head.

“I don’t think I ever met one…” She muttered.

Genius Loci turned to Burgundy, smiling broadly.

Burgundy explained with a sigh.

“You know I had one. He interfered with the ceremony and now that Seal holder boy is lost to me. Empty has been unstable as of late, manipulating more of our universe. He and her together-”

He’s going to love this! The Emerald god thought.

“-And the second Seal holder is a Lambent,” Genius Loci interrupted

Burgundy’s head snapped to Genius Loci.

“Lambent? That shouldn’t be possible.”

“Oh but it is!”

“Is it those robot angels you fought?” Slate asked, brushing her inky hair back, revealing her eye.

“Quite. They were supposedly eliminated with my allies incognito.”

“Those guys? How did any survive then?” Slate asked with a yawn.

“She was rescued by a flock of intergalactic ducks. Does it matter? We could guess for eons and she would still be running around!” Genius Loci shot back.

Slate huffed at that, crossing her arms.

“What we do know is that she is a Seal holder. She’s protecting my love and my child. Her name is Soltana. And She’s adorably short!”

“Ah, so that would mean-”

“Don’t mess with them! Not yet anyways.”
“And speaking of daughters, I met one of your creations on Magara. She had little memory of that fact, your work I presume?”
“Man, they’re all over the place now! Do you know her name?”

“Afraid not.”

He could tell. It was a lie. He let it slide. He could wring out more entertainment that way. Perhaps it was the one who dreamt of-

“Oh well. They were unsuccessful experiments. Only Ruth, my love, and Maw, my baby are the grand success!”

“And you’re keeping tabs on them?”

“Of course, I gave the Lambent my true name. She will invariably tell the others and possibly those of leadership. I can track them now.”

“And if she doesn’t?”

“Oh well! Makes it more interesting. I suspect the Seal holders will stick together.”

“Oh yeah! Do you know of a being called Lucifer?” Genius Loci asked, deciding to try to figure out the master of the Fallen angels.

“Lucifer? She was an Archerubim trapped in The Lake of Fire. One of our own foolishly freed her and the others, thinking he could control them; it was before everyone’s time. Who knew she hated our kind so much?”

“X’elphona was his name. He occupied your seat, Neon.”

“She’s a holdout of a dying myth. She will gather power, but not nearly as quick as us. She will only drive more to our plan.”

Genius Loci nodded. He felt a pang of disappointment at the mystery vanishing.

“Which finally gets me to my final update. I have gained two more planets under my wing.”

“Willingly?”

“Of course. While you attempt to birth gods, which helps us gain more of our kind, I intend to assist the demons who have not been so blessed.”

“I know, I know, the cohabitation plan.”

“Exactly! Demonkind and humanity living together. Demonkind can absorb the passive spiritual energy emitted by humanity and others. Without the need for bloodshed on either side, their strength will increase as will their odds for survival.”

“Creating an artificial environment that will produce more principalities? And you added two more planets? I thought it was crazy!”

“You can never get everyone aboard, of course. What about detractors?” Slate asked with a yawn.

“They eventually see my way.

“You mean you’ve been doing this without any destruction?”

“Not always, Neon. There is little reason to destroy- except in the case of Magara.”

Genius Loci tilted his spherical head.

“And you keep the demons under control via contract- I thought that was brilliant! Keep them in control when they’re young, and the contract stays even when they ascend to principality!”

“Just. So,” Burgundy responded, a sharp grin forming under the dark hood.

Genius Loci could sense that gentle smile underneath Burgundy’s black veil. Any demon that wished to live alongside humanity on one of Burgundy’s cohabitation planets needed to sign a contract while humans did not. They were free to come and go as they pleased. A contract would be set in place until canceled by Burgundy himself. A demon ascending higher would still be bound by contract. What Burgundy intended was for demons and humanity to live side by side, with humanity’s spiritual essence siphoned off to the demonkind. A nation of principalities and gods was the goal.

“Are we done? I want to sleep again,” Slate said with a whine as her head slumped on the table.

“Yes, yes, We are finished here. Once your planet is conquered and Azrael falls, you can let it out of the Tesseract and collect the species. Neon would probably love to look into what has changed and what undeath would bring.”

“Now you’re talking! Hey Slatey, once you release and collect them, hit me up!” Genius Loci stated.

A whole new world of genetics was opened up with this supposed undeath, the true effects of Azrael’s powers were wholly unknown. An environment of suffering and destruction had created a new being. Genius Loci needed to inspect the specimens.

“It won’t work like that.”

The others picked up on that in an instant.

“She doesn’t have the Tesseract Catalyst,” Burgundy stated blankly.

“Nope, doesn’t have it.” Genius Loci agreed as they both turned their gaze to Slate.

“The Watchers are always ahead of me, you know that.” Slate stated as she sat up, pursing her mouth.
“The very same Watchers you managed to take the Tesseract artifact from in the first place, Slatey?”

“You should have told us sooner, Slate,” Burgundy rebuked gently.

“We thought this whole time your were collecting them! Slatey!.”

“Whatever, I’ve checked everywhere. It’s like it doesn’t exist,” Slate responded with cooly as she placed her head back down on the table.

“The Watchers are of no consequence. They may hide and flee, but can not oppose us actively. They are an antiquated guardian for an era long past,” Burgundy explained.

Genius Loci thought of that statement. While it wasn’t entirely accurate, the Watchers had made no moves to stop them. The information they had on them was sparse as any place they discovered was abandoned when they arrived. They had avoided her perfectly apart from the Tesseract Throne they retrieved. It was a two piece, the Tesseract and Catalyst. Burgundy suspected they kept prisoners inside, but for what purpose was lost on them. With the only use they could find was the ability to store matter and people, but could not retrieve anything without the Catalyst. It was a personal favorite experiment of his when Slate stole a planet; Chiridon II held billions in population and an angel that was tied to the planet. They confronted Azrael the Angel of Death and stored the planet with the intent of leaving an angel without her calling to protect the planet.
The angel surprised them by slipping inside the Tesseract, sealing herself inside. The rest was history, with Slate being given responsibility for the Tesseract and extracting the people.

“What I would do to get just one Watcher…” Genius Loci said dreamily.

“Their future sight is problematic, I suspect you had caught them in a bind, either sacrifice some of their own or protect a Throne.”

“Not to mention someone else stole the rest of those Chiridon planets.” Slate added, turning her head sideways along the table to stare at Burgundy.

“It was beneficial to us as it kept the Church and their dogs scrambled.”

“Cardinals! Those guys are always giving me a good laugh. They just trashed my planet, too! Not like I need it anymore- but still! Loyal followers are always hard to find!”

“Well- not hard to find, but do you know how annoying it is to remember new names and faces?”

He felt Slate’s humorless deadpan gaze. Followers always flocked to them, one way or the other.

“I’m going back to sleep. I’ll keep poking at the Tesseract and maybe open it without the stupid Catalyst. Huh, looks like someone is bothering one of my missing Compilers. Jorga? Wait. That’s the Compiler I gave to her! Ok-bye,” Slate finished as she faded out.

Genius Loci looked at the vanishing Slate with curiosity. Slate was good friends with her. He’d have to follow up later.

“I will update you when I can find a good meatshield to head to the Location for us.”

“And I shall give you updates about my love, whether you like it or not! Ah, my darling babies.”

“Do not let this attachment cloud you,” Burgundy warned.

“Yeah, yeah! I know the method to repeat the process. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a race to resurrect!” Genius Loci replied with a large smile, tapping his pitted cueball head. Burgundy cocked his head in response.

Genius Loci faded from the celestial meeting room, returning to the ceiling of the Underrealm.

He grinned internally at his clever conspiracies taking fruit. Except for the sad fact he would never survive to see the fruit of it.

“Huh?”

A massive mouth formed just underneath him, disguised as the ceiling rock. It snapped shut, instantly devouring the emerald god.

The rocky mouth trembled and spasmed, shrinking down in size. It broke down to a smaller ten foot tall form. The rocky flesh and skin became a victorian suit and jacket, with well tailor slacks. The rock spherical head took on a polished sheen. The nine fingered hand adjusted his frock. The rocky flesh gave way to new emerald flesh.

Genius Loci smiled from cueball to cueball.

“Ah, sorry about that. Can’t have my copies running free. You were a good one, let me tell you.

He had always had backup plans. You never knew if something bigger waited in the ancient depths of some planet. Best to send a duplicate. His flesh flowed, becoming the minty green betafly.

“Now about that ‘dead race’.”

He fluttered off the ceiling to his secondary objective. He remembered Praetarca and his meddling ways and the Scarabaeidae he protected. He flitted down to his new destination. To a race of beings who once traveled the stars as a cloud of trillions. A race whose glory had waned to extinction. A race buried under the roof of the Underrealm.

I’m sure the locals won’t mind with their new neighbors leaving, Genius Loci mused.

This was why he left Ruth and Soltana so suddenly. Once he believed everyone in the Underrealm took his bait, Diniel and the Fallen angels included, he left. The Fae worried him, especially the Bean-Sidhe and her fearsome war ending reputation. However they had their weaknesses, such as as tea parties. And right now they were stuck in the storm of their own glamor, unable to break free for a time. He had half mind to go join their revelries.

No.
I’ve overstayed my welcome.

Besides, a certain angel is waiting for me. Can we get him to speak? Why do I always get the broken ones? I mean- its my first angel- but still!

Maybe if I collect enough of them I can piece together a whole one.

He floated along a gentle upcurrent of air to his destination.

He chuckled the whole way at the bizarre circumstances and strange future.

He traveled to Hive Vulnerado.

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