RP The New (little) Dark Age


Staff member
Music could be heard playing.

This was not unusual, the denizens, like their gods, were musical creatures. Even in this time of great uncertainty and confusion, many still chanted and beat out ballads to calm their nerves and strengthen their resolve. Normally, Salah Djerid would have danced and chanted alongside the others, perhaps even allowing a few songs of his own heart to echo through the waves of emotion they all felt.

But today was not normal, and many of his brethren felt it too. The goddess had died. This was not an unprecedented event, seven centennial celebrations prior the goddess had a very loud and very public 'disagreement' with the Eldest of them all. The Eldest had shown then, to the eyes, ears, hearts, and minds of all denizens, that there remained only one supreme being in the compendium of Spheres. SHE-

Sal shivered. Even thinking of the Eldest's closest name sent ice to his hearts. His body, a great mass of limbs and flesh wrapped tightly around a single, large void eye, gently shuffled across the scorched flesh of the Sphere-That-Hates and toward the massive makeshift amphitheater. The greater Bishops had assembled platforms and sitting areas from the bones of their own step-vessels so that none of authority might be left out of the proceedings.

Sal sat in the highest sections, among the lowest Bishops. While he was treasured among the people of his Sphere, as evidenced by the vivid colors he wore over his orb-form, his Sphere, the Sphere-That-Struggles, was not of a size large enough to command great authority. Not like the gods who sat in the middle, beings of power simply through virtue of worship, or the nine Greater Bishops who stood, imposing, at the lowest sections.

Of the nine Greater Bishops, the newest was the subject of the most scrutiny. Self-appointed, He-Who-Sees had taken the position of The-Eyes-Unblinking without the appointment of the goddess. Without the backing of the new Goddess, the entire religion of goddess worship on the most important of Spheres, the Sphere-That-Hates, would collapse. More than just powerless, He-Who-Sees would be disgraced for untold decadal ceremonies, restricted to life, and unable to reincarnate. A fate Sal would not wish on him, but one entirely out of his hands.

Shifting in his seat, he looked out to the palace where the lower bishop Al-Jarad could be seen descending the tower- alive. No one had really expected him to come away with his form, indeed the mere act of approaching this new entity was considered a form of Annihilation. But Al-Jarad expressed great shame in hunting the previous form of the new Goddess, Annihilation would've been too good for him in his own eyes. Yet, he had been seemingly shown mercy...

Rebirth was in the goddess's nature, it was one of her duties. When it was heard that she feuded with the little she, no one had expected this outcome to occur. The little she was not really an object of worship from most of the denizens, another reason Sal's cult was considered weak. The little she granted no boons, she gave no blessings, and if you attracted her attention then it usually came in the form of the great worms that devoured the flesh of the Sphere. A terrifying beast, she was. But one the goddess controlled.

Until now.

The denizens had seen their goddess feud, die, rebirth, and do so again over the many millennia of their histories. What they had never seen, what was completely unprecedented, was her usurpation. Everything was going to change now, even if nothing changed. Starting with-

"Great Goddess!"

Kitab Algor, the greatest of the Greater Bishops, spoke first. He presented himself before a massive raised platform prepared for the Goddess to stand on above them. Kitab was a terrible thing to look upon, an assembly of writhing beams of light and tiny crawling beings, he was simultaneously difficult to see and impossible to ignore when he entered a place. Despite his appearance, he was the kindest of all Bishops, leading the goddess worship on the Sphere-That-Desires.

"We beseech your mercy, for our approach is jarring. Waiting is unlike our nature, and your actions have brought -our- steps to -you.-"

Distinction made between 'us' and 'you,' a wise choice. It was an innate emotional appeal that Sal could feel even back here, emotions of supplication, of surrender, and of reverence. A clear message to say 'we do not dare think ourselves better than you.' Though, perhaps this Goddess would hate that? Who's to say, for they had no basis to work from in this appearance of a new supreme deity. Kitab was not perfect, either, his hubris slipped out in the statement that it was the Goddess's actions that had brought this on, almost like a consequence.

"Would you deign yourself to speak, to instruct, your awaiting flock?"


"Ooh, I haaaate public speaking."

Cait was - for now - yet to ascend the great dais, lurking for just a moment in the tower and staring down at it through a window-that-wasn't, contemplating whether or not she had made a horrible mistake. Eldritch beings and miraculous powers were one thing, but talking in front of a crowd? Yikes.

Brian put his hands on her shoulders from behind, pulling her in close. "You'll do fine. Just... pretend they're horrifying flesh amalgamations who might destroy your existence by not believing in you."

Cait giggled. It probably wasn't quite like that, but it was at least a little like that, and at least it made her feel better. "Thanks."


"Yeah, I... yeah." A nod, firmer this time.

"Relax. I've got you," Brian told her soothingly, then pushed her out the window.

Ilbrahim was there, of course, edited in by some conjunction of Brian's connection with it and his ability to alter video footage for security purposes. Cait stepped down onto it, lightly, letting it float down to rest on top of the platform. A spiderweb of ichor spun out beneath her into a staircase of sorts, letting her down and onto the dais.

She walked forward, listening to the beseeching of the Greater Bishop, closer and closer until she sat down on the edge of the platform, directly in front of him, dangling her legs over the edge and leaning back on her hands.


It wasn't exactly a religious pronouncement, but it worked for her, tinted with joy-at-meeting and her natural exuberance.

"Seed-pods-of-the-orchid at a subnominal temperature." Cool beans did not translate well, not at all. Cait thought that was awesome. "So, what do you want to know?"
  • Good
Reactions: Ira

It spread like the blood of the Spheres, pumped powerfully and instantly through its vessels to its nodal consciousnesses. A near instantaneous and simultaneous reaction from each and every denizen that stood before the new Goddess. She descended on the back of a step-vessel that moved from the control of a remote pilot, an impossibility, yet it happened nonetheless. Strands of silken web strung themselves before Her feet, allowing Her to step closer and closer to Kitab Algor.

Then, She spoke, and Her feelings moved themselves among those gathered like a spreading warmth. It muted the fear, a little, but it could not stifle it completely as that had not been Her intention. The denizens could not resist their natural inclination. The new Goddess was simply terrifying to behold.

The old goddess, now referred to as she-denied-life among a few of the lesser bishops, had a terrifying appearance as well. But at least she could be seen. This new Goddess, with bright hair and lights of various unknowable colors among Her accouterments, held the innate appearance of a hunting, predatorial beast. Sal could see others struggling to behold Her and forced himself to keep his eye upon Her. It would be disrespectful beyond acceptance to look away after begging Her audience.

Kitab seemed to be unable to tolerate the closeness as She graced his presence, stepping back and taking a knee before Her. Her nonchalant, relaxed attitude did nothing to assuage fears. Perhaps She did not know, but she-denied-life often acted this way as well right before enforcing Annihilation upon those that vexed her. Then again, even thinking that there might be something She did not know would be heresy, so perhaps this terror was intended.

It was quiet for nearly a full minute, no one daring to answer yet, but this would not last. As Sal himself moved to gather the courage to speak, a voice rang out from the crowd.


Then, like the opening of an aortal valve, the flood of questions flowed out from the gathered denizens.

"Yes! Heresy! Husks! What of Voidspawns?! Calendar dates! Manufacturing of the Red-of-the-Sphere! Bishop affirmations! Chosen gods! Personal preferences! Centennial celebrations! No- Decadural celebrations! The Seat of Authority! Forbidden thoughts! Forbidden shapes- the Heresies! I said that! Pack the Greater Bishops! Remove the Greater Bishops!"

It was loud, it was maddening, and Sal sat back on his hands among his peers jumping and shouting. Quietly, he asked, "What shall we call You?" He was not intending to be heard, but he hoped eventually that could be answered as well.

Ira had set about repairing the furniture in her- no 'their' bedroom. It was not 'her' room anymore at all, it was not just Cait's room now either, it was to be shared. It was not a bedroom in the 'traditional' sense as Cait would know from Earth, nor was it a bedroom in the sense that Ira knew it as a place to rest. Well, considering all of that, it wasn't really a 'bedroom' anymore at all.

It was just a room. A nice place for the two of them- the three of them with Brian, to share. It was not in Ira's nature to share, to be kind or to be welcoming of outsiders. But it seemed to be in Cait's, so it neither angered nor annoyed Ira that Brian was already a part of their lives. He had been there for Cait before Ira, after all. This personality change- it didn't upset Ira, but it felt weird. A good weird, a weird Ira could enjoy.

Ira needed to fix this place. She could've simply desired it to be finished and it would be finished, but that didn't feel right. She wanted to pick up the bone shards herself, place everything into a pile, then redesign and repair it. Plus, she didn't want to present herself to the denizens just yet. They would feel her presence, but they had always felt her presence when she was with Dea anyway, it wouldn't be strange for them to sense it with Cait.

But if they saw her, laid their void black eyes upon her form, Ira feared she'd drive them to insanity- or worse, Annihilation. No it was better that she was up here and Cait was down there, plus Cait had Ira's mind still settled about her just in case. That 'just in case' seemed to come quickly as well, as the denizens barraged Cait with demands and questions.

Ira did not stop the questions and words from being heard, but she did stymie the flow of information. Every topic they brought up had a hundred thousand words, feelings, and thoughts attached to it from a million billion denizens across their cosmos. Ira wished for Cait to not be overwhelmed, so she restricted the flow a little bit, attaching little notes for Cait to simply ask her for details and Ira would provide them.

The only aspect Ira directly let flow unimpeded was the ideas of heresy of shapes. Dea had rules in place for what forms could be taken, and what shapes denizens could be born with. Her rules had been strict. Those born outside of their race or half-bred were to be returned to the cycle of reincarnation, killed, but not Annihilated. Those who had taken a shape even close to that of the goddess herself, Dea, were to be utterly Annihilated.

A reason for more than a few researcher deaths, Ira would add to Cait's knowledge. If she wished to change that, now would be the best time, though such a change would be jarring.

Ooooh, boy.

Well, Cait was used to scaring people. She'd been doing that since she was a kid. It was what had gotten her sent to L-9, after all. She wondered if the Sphere-That-Hates had an L-9 equivalent and if she was going to get sent there, but in all reality, its L-9 equivalent was probably just wherever Cait happened to be at the moment.

So, that meant she was right at home, yeah?

It was quiet for a moment, the quiet before the storm - and then voices rang out, one and then another and another and another. Eventually they trailed off, except one small question from the background.

Cait giggled. Oh, this was fun. It was just like being in a room full of senior researchers. She took a breath, blinked her eyes - all of them, one set at a time - and nodded to herself before she answered:

"Yup, totes, yup, yeah bunches, I think they're cute, no dates, I have a boyfriend, have you considered purple, yay bishops, go team, I won't assume your gods if you don't assume mine, novelty and chaos, time for that later, I'm an authority and I'm sitting here, I am not the thought police, Geometry is as malleable as physics, You totally did and you are so valid for it, the greater bishops are not travel-sized for my convenience - but they probably could be, and how about that's on a case-by-case basis." She ticked them off on her fingers, each one in order. This wasn't a god-thing; she'd done this to researchers before. It made them pause and think about letting her actually answer one question before answering the next.

Her upper eyes searched, finding the one who'd asked the very last question, very quietly. That deserved a separate answer.

"You can call me Ghost." She was, in a lot of ways. The replacement of a dead goddess... it fit well enough. Also: "It's what SHE calls me."

Not what Ira called her, but that was something different. That was a privilege, to be earned.

"I know. You have so many questions, and those answers were not enough. There will be better answers, later - but first - the first thing that we are going to do is we are going to have a minute of silence."

Not a minute-that-was-hesitating, the minute from earlier when they'd all been working up the courage to speak, and vying to speak all at once. A different minute, and the hush fell over the sphere, the music, for a minute, stilled. Only her voice remained, soft, and it too would trail off after she spoke:

"For The-Eyes-Unblinking. For the husks-that-were. For the little millenial-feeler-hunter. For the Goddess. For those that will live again, and those that will not - but just because another life will come does not mean that there is no value in the one that was. So, we acknowledge their silencing with a silence of our own."

She could have used the quiet to think about what to say next, but instead she just let her thoughts drift to all the newly-dead, all the corpses that had piled up to bring her where she was right now. There could have been more, there could have been less. The numbers did not matter so much, though she knew them exactly.

Eventually, she let the sphere sing once more, its own chosen song, not forcing one upon it.

"Thank you. Now - celebrations and calendars and dates. The next celebration will be tonight - in honor of her birthday."

Because a birthday was the day you got older. The actual date of it, Cait thought, mattered less than that, especially here. Ira was a little bit older, a little bit bigger, and that meant it was her birthday. Besides, some sort of celebration was in order, and Cait didn't want the first one to be about herself. That would be weird.

"Music would be appropriate, I think. And dancing. And... cake. Definitely cake. You do know about cake." They would, whether or not they hadn't before. "There. Now. Questions - one at a time - and in complete sentences. Please."

Brian was, of course, with Cait. He waited behind her, at the ready, keeping watch over her and over the myriad assembled in case she needed to be whisked away somewhere or protected. That was his job, after all, and he was going to do it - in whatever capacity he needed to. She was his to guard, as that was the order she'd given him. Admittedly, the command structure was somewhat questionable at the moment, but if Cait needed him to watch her back, then Brian was going to watch her back, and that was the end of it.

In the tower, Ilbrahim turned away from the space that had once not-been a window, contemplating his current appendages for a moment - but that was not something he needed to be concerned with. It was not to be changed, and he knew that much. Still, he remained, with the little she, watching her through strange eyes as she picked over the bones in the room, sifting fragments into something for later creation. He wondered what it was she would make this time, but did not share the feeling. Perhaps the little she would know it anyway, but he would not force it on her. That was not his place.

Instead, he picked up one of the shards of bone in his hand, feeling it liquify at his touch, letting it resolidify once more in its same shape upon the pile she was building.

Protect her from herself.

This, too, was what must be, the command line passed on from Felix. He would guard the little she, because Felix had asked it, because Cait had made him so, and because Brian obeyed Cait. So, she shifted the bones and sifted the bones and he picked up another, dissolving it as well and letting it reappear, whole-once-more.
No one spoke as the new Goddess- as Ghost spoke. They listened as children before their beloved parent, following each tick of her fingers and each answer addressed before them. Among all gathered, only one took more than a moment or two to refocus and listen.

Sal sat down, shaking. She answered him. She answered him directly, '-You- may call -me- Ghost. It's what SHE calls me.' It was not exactly what She said, not exactly how She said it, but it was how the denizens would hear it. It was a singular granting of a name to a lesser Bishop from a barely known Sphere. If the Goddess Herself were not still sitting before them, the denizens would have set themselves upon Sal with praise and honor.

But Sal didn't care for the praise and honor of his peers, he cared only for Her, for Ghost, who deigned to speak to him.

The denizens continued their silence. They knew of time and minutes and their measurements of time, such things were HER domain and SHE was not to be disrespected with ignorance. So they hushed in reverence alongside the very movement of the Sphere beneath their feet, quiet for the Bishop-who-was, for the wholeless, for the little loved things, for the perished Goddess and for their own wholes that rebirthed.

Then, as Ghost- for now that had become all Sal could think of Her as- released the Sphere beneath them once more to sing, it reverberated a new emotion. The Sphere-That-Hates did not hate, or rather, it did not hate at this particular moment. It seemed filled with a maddened excitement. So the song that it pulled from within itself, the song it played by breathing great gusts of red miasma through thousands of perforated spines, reflected its feelings.

Sal could not bring himself to move, not yet, but the denizens around him did not hesitate. The new Goddess spoke of a celebration that changed their calendar and added a particular date. If the denizens were passionate about one thing above all else, it was celebrations. They whooped and hollered and croaked and cried out in joy as they moved to retrieve the accouterments of celebrations.

Cake was a necessity, of course.

Less than a dozen remained within a minute, a few honor guard, a few Greater Bishops, Kitab of course, and Salah. Kitab watched the others move with his many eyes, though he did not yet rise from his kneeling position before the Goddess. Looking back to Her, Kitab asked.

"Goddess, what shall we call you? We of the Bishops and we of your new children. Do you desire a name for us to know, or a name for us to choose? It is, of course, acceptable if you do not."

Sal slowly made his way down the steps of the ampitheater as Kitab spoke, seeking to close the distance between himself and Ghost.

Perhaps Ira should have known what Cait was planning- no Ira did know, she just didn't acknowledge it. It was habit from back when she and Dea were one, to ignore her greater half as her greater half ignored her. Yet, Cait was not Dea, and in Cait's first clear decree, she honored Ira...

Ira wasn't sure how to feel...

Confusion, sadness, a strange feeling of undeservedness, and a sharp pang of joy. It was painful joy, not soft and not necessarily enjoyable. Ira was happy to be thought of, to be considered and honored and loved, but it hurt. Why did it hurt? Weren't joy and happiness supposed to be warm and soft feelings? If so- why were they sharp and painful?

These feelings were not internally reflected, not thrown back and forth against a mirror until they became unbearable, Ira was not alone anymore. She shared them with Cait as she finished assembling a table, asking 'why'?
Last edited:

Oh, good, these people already knew how to throw a party. That meant Cait wasn't going to have to spend a whole lot of time explaining that whole thing. She watched them go and start their preparations, not interceding, merely observing. She was a bit - okay, this was Cait, more than a bit - curious about what they were going to come up with.

She did still have to deal with the rest of them, though, like the ones that thought what she'd just said didn't apply to them, because they wanted, what, a more special name or something? Cait fell back on old habits, giving them the innocent gosh did I say something wrong, because I feel like you didn't understand and that's so hard for me and so sad for you look that worked so very well on way more senior Foundation staff than it should have. "Oh, Ghost is fine for all y'all."

Spoken lightly, with just the right amount of oopsie my mistake for not being clear!, but firmly nonetheless. It had taken her a little while to find a conjugate for all y'all, but it was enough a part of her lexicon after L-9 that she'd figured she might as well - and it was such a good phrase. You could cover a lot of ground with a well-placed all y'all.

She wasn't going to go about handing Cait out even if it wasn't technically her Name - it was still her name, and that was for friends. Maybe some of these people could be friends - she hoped they would be - but they weren't there yet. Also, it was probably hard to make friends when you were apparently a deity. Maybe she should have thought that one out a little bit more.

Maybe she should have thought a number of things out a little more, but if she had, she wouldn't have been herself, and being herself was so very important to this whole process, because if she weren't herself, she was going to end up being the dead Goddess, and that wasn't going to be any fun at all.

She supposed from a certain perspective, Ghost-Goddess probably wasn't a whole lot better, but it was better in her head. Way spookier, anyway. She could work with that. Besides, if she knew anything about any religions, she'd probably have a dozen monikers by Tuesday.

Speaking of, where was he? Oh, up with Ira. Well, that was fine, he could keep his little eyes on her. And Brian. Ilbrahim. She found the Brian line in all of the mess around her and gave him a discreet hey yo your spaceship's stealin' your body maybe do something about that sort of nudge. It wasn't exactly like that - more like curiosity and opportunism and wanting to help, she thought - but also that was the sort of thing that they should probably not encourage.

Agent Weber was going to kill her. Probably. Possibly. Just hopefully not quite yet. Cait wasn't done yet. She had a whole world - a whole dimension, a whole people, a whole sad-panda-little-goddess at the edge of her periphery.

Okay, better deal with that last one, yeah?

Firstly, because you deserve to be celebrated. That was absolutely the main reason, and Cait wanted to make sure that little-she knew it. Because little-she lived and little-she grew, and little-she brought joy to others even if little-she didn't always feel it herself.

But, because little-she had also been lied to a lot, or at least had the truth concealed from little-her, Cait let the rest of it be transparent as well, not defense, but merely in explanation. Also, because they deserve it. Today, for them, can either be the day of your growth or it can be the day of Her death. I would rather have them be happy. A pause, somehow indicative of a mental shrug, Also, better to distract them a little, what with everything else going on right now, yeah?

'Hey look, it's the little goddess' birthday!' as the divinely mandated equivalent of 'Hey look, a squirrel!' was a great mental image - this, too, she shared.

And if it's too much for you, you can always be mysterious and bow out early and I'll distract them for you instead of with you.
Ira reached up as she listened to Cait's voice in her head, feeling the wetness of her cheeks. Had she not cried enough? Why were the tears coming once more? Sitting on the floor, she wiped her face and groaned as a grin spread across her face. She was happy- she was happy! It was ok to be happy, it was ok to be crying, it was ok to not know what she was feeling.

It was ok because she deserved to be celebrated, and because Cait was absolutely right that they needed to set this occasion down properly before the denizens took it to be a day of bad omens. The denizens were a superstitious bunch, though perhaps it couldn't be called 'superstition' when their Goddesses meddled so often in their lives.

Standing up, Ira responded quietly, a still, small voice in Cait's head, 'You're right. You are right. But- I have other fears.' Walking over toward the half broken balcony, she continued, 'I've never shown myself to my children, at least, not physically. The first time I had been manifested -here- separate of -Her- was, well.'

With you. On the beach.

'I don't know what they'll think...'

The new Goddess, Ghost, seemed to be somewhere else in her mind after She spoke to Her new children. The bishops slowly stepped away, moving to gather their flocks to attend the party. Information transmission between worlds required a complex combination of step-vessels and emotional capsules containing their messages. It was better if they involved themselves directly, the entire universe was about to party, after all.

But Salah stayed. He had connections in the minds of a few of his vicars. His church was not so large that step vessels and capsules were necessary, he could communicate to them and they to their priests and they to their flock and so on and so forth. He decided he would rather be among the first to see Ghost's actions for Her first day as Goddess.

And She was beautiful to look at. Beautiful and terrifying, a perfect picture of a being crafted in the image of SHE-the-Eldest. However, that line of thinking raised more questions. Was Ghost crafted by SHE-the-Eldest? She was certainly connected to the greatest of the three, but She had simply appeared one day among a group of similarly shaped sentients who killed the old goddess...

Was there, perhaps, an entire dimension of space beyond the perceivable universe filled with such god killers? A race of beings identical to their creator, all of them powerful enough to slaughter gods and destroy everything they pleased? It was a terrifying train of thoughts, of outer beings and unknowable horrors, and shaped like their new Goddess.

But such thoughts would not be allowed to linger for long, for a challenger appeared.

It was at least ten feet tall and skinny as a rail. Sal could see red miasma escaping under pressure from a thousand interlocking steel plates that comprised its skin. It strode with power and certainty toward where Ghost sat, Her legs kicking freely, and declared from its twin mouths on either side of its head.

"False Goddess! Know me, Yama-! As your doom!"
Last edited:

Ira was still worried. Cait pushed a sense of reassurance at her - reassurance and togetherness, because of course she'd be there. You don't have to manifest if you don't want to. Why would she need to? Ira was a goddess, after all, and goddesses didn't need to explain their choices. If she wanted to be mysterious and not show herself and just be Present, that was fine, or if she just wanted to watch from the tower, that was also fine.

She sent a little nudge to Brian as well, since he was up there with her and he was... well, at least tangentially involved in all of this. Cait suspected that he hadn't expected a found-family of divine beings when they'd started dating again, but he was ACF, wasn't he? He'd sort it out. Somehow.

And she still had some people to deal with. Some of them were wandering off to deal with their own things, but a few of them remained. One was the one who'd asked her for a name, and his thoughts were full of questions - so many questions. He'd make a good researcher, she thought. Did they have researcher-priests here? Because they were about to. Researcher-priests would be awesome.

She'd have to save that thought for later, though, because someone else was approaching, and it was more closed-minded than curious. It announced a challenge, full-on anime style, and Cait sat up, cheerfully echoing "Doom-doom!" Okay, so she probably couldn't think about the various denizens as Pokemon - and she supposed it would say Yama-yama anyway, even if doom was cooler.

It wasn't going to get the reference anyway, but she could still giggle about it. And be a little Oddish. "Hi, Yama! Wow, I'm so glad you're here, things were going well and it was like, wow, where's all the chaos? But now we're back on track again, so that's spiffy. I love chaos. How're we doing this? You wanna have a dance-off or something?"

"She's right, you know." Brian had found his voice again, or his body, or whichever one he'd been distant from for a while. He could still be there if Cait needed him, but... well, it looked like she was having fun, and she probably needed it. If he interfered she would just start complaining about him being L-6 again.

Sometimes, though, a little of that could be a good thing. Security was important - and secrecy was important, especially if... if Ira thought it was. He still wasn't sure about using the non-designate, but Cait was suggesting he get used to it, and he could already tell he was going to lose that battle.

"There are plenty of gods that never show themselves, or show themselves only once or twice to select people. If you aren't feeling up for it, don't - or if you want to try it for a little while, I'm certain we can secure you an exit if you decide you're done with it."

He leaned against the broken window, looking down at the plaza and watching Cait do whatever it was she was about to do - probably get into trouble, or at the very least get other people into trouble. "I don't really like being in front of people, either. It's different, with the team. But everywhere else..." He trailed off, shrugged, not sure how much he wanted to say, or how much it mattered if he actually said it or not. There were a lot of reasons that his armor had a camouflage mode, and it wasn't just because it was good for hiding from enemies.
Last edited:
Sal heard what he heard, and he saw what he saw, but-

He could not believe it.

A challenger had presented himself, an upstart minor deity with less than a billion worshippers, but with a name that certainly commanded respect on some worlds. Yama, the lord of the inland Seas, was certainly a being not to be trifled with. Sal had even heard of instances where Yama had temporarily destroyed other minor deities that challenged him.

Of course, nothing about him could hold a candle to the Goddess. So Sal expected Her to flick Her fingers and Annihilate him where he stood. From the looks on the faces of a few denizens returning with draperies and minor celebratory objects, they too were shocked with the Goddess's response.

She was offering to fight him through, dance?


Yama, throwing back his shoulders as one might discard a cloak, shouted unintelligibly. It was not that he screamed a language that anyone present did not understand, rather, he was simply making a sound that didn't have any linguistic meaning behind it. Without hesitation, he swept a leg out in front of him to assume a strong posture and began to dance.

His four arms shot up into the air, as if to form twin sets of pillars, and began to vibrate gently. The iron plates of his skin shook and clinked together like a thousand bells as his hips, feet, and body shifted and moved as though each piece of him was a separate sentient entity. His movements were fluid, strange, and mesmerizing for Sal to see.

To Cait, it might look similar to Bollywood dancing. Not that Sal would know that, of course.

Ira sat down in one of the reconstructed chairs of bone, smiling at the reassurance from Cait and Brian. She considered their words carefully. Ira wasn't really sure what 'other gods' did, or even what that concept might mean. Unlike the denizens and the old Goddess, Ira was so far removed from those around her that 'other gods' might as well have meant 'Denizens-of-special-shape.'

But Brian's empathizing moved her. He didn't like being in front of people either, but he did it when he had to. Ira didn't think this was the perfect time to reveal herself, but a perfect time might never reveal itself. If Ira was truthful with herself, a party thrown in her honor marking the day she grew up- a no more perfect time than this would ever appear.

Standing, she stepped toward Brian and brushed her hand through his hair gently. Even with her growth and Brian's changes, her fingertips would still feel electric with strength. Quietly, she whispered, "Thank you both. I think, I think I should grow. Just, a little, a little more. It would be, good, for me."

Moving toward a nearby wall, Ira brushed her hand across it to reveal the wall moving itself out of the way. A reflexive reaction from the deceased insectoid palace. Ira would need to handle that soon, but the palace deserved better than a snap-of-the-fingers revival. It deserved reverence, a party of its own, and thorough cleaning. Stepping into the closet, Ira shut the door behind herself.

It was time to change clothes.

Oh, wow, that had actually worked.

Cait had not expected that. Not that it wasn't great, it was just that she hadn't expected it - that never worked. Well, it probably would have worked with the Fae, but that was on the list of Things Cait Is Not Allowed To Do, because some people were boring.

She didn't interrupt, nor did she say anything. Instead, she just sat quietly and gave the dance her full attention, because that was what it deserved. It was fascinating, in its own way, and she loved all the weird movements and the way the weird body moved.

After a few minutes, he had finished, and Cait clapped - quietly, but with genuine appreciation. "Hey, you're really good! That was neat." Maybe there would be more of that later on, at Ira's party - she'd have to watch all the different styles. It was going to be great.

Ira herself was... changing, she knew. Less like put on my party dress and more like caterpillar-sludge-butterfly, maybe. Become as goo. Or, well, whatever she was doing. She seemed to need a moment, though, so Cait didn't feel bad about tapping her watcher for a minute, or a few.

Because of course he had always-

Well, no, Brian hadn't always been there, because reality bending didn't work in the Dark Dimension, so there was a sort of a glitch, a sense of deja-vu, and a faint flickering of green numerals in the dimness. But he sat next to her and held her hand and watched the dance with her, and whether this was the first time or the second was a theocratical question anyway and didn't need to be answered.

"Hey, you're really good! That was neat." Did she say that already, or didn't she? The Waking World might never know.

"What're we doing, here?" Brian spoke in the sort of tone that implied that he knew, and hoped he didn't.

Cait tilted her head back, with a capricious grin. "Dance."





"N- Wait, what?"

"Yes!" Cait hopped to her feet, holding out her hands for Brian, who was giving her a very skeptical sort of look, which she was certain she didn't completely deserve and only probably mostly deserved. She stretched herself out into the Sphere, pulling the arena into the form she wanted, screens upon screens upon fucking sc-

Okay, just two screens, then. Two screens, in various shades of darkness and the unlight that didn't light the place, the vibrancy of hues in which the denizens saw - and, because this was Cait, with falling arrows outlined in terrifying electric neon. The stage tiled itself, arrows upon arrows upon fucking arrows, because constraining things to a single pad was just boring, and so each set of four had an associated rgb-value, because Brian was a terrifying nerd - and they were all very neon, because Cait was just terrifying.

"Come on, you wanna see if we can full combo this thing?" She knew he did, of course, because now it was a video game, and Brian wasn't going to be able to leave that alone. That, and they'd spend plenty of those early dates sneaking out to play DDR, back in the day. Like, last week or so.

"I don't even know how this works."

"Oh, I'm making it up as I go."

"You always are." He got up, though, walking over to one of the screens, which apparently they decided was a touch screen, scrolling through music that might not have been there before he'd started looking for it. Cait left him to it, figuring the least she could do was let him pick out the song, even if it didn't end up being one of her faves. Besides, it'd keep him distracted long enough that he wasn't thinking about being in front of people, and once they got started, he'd be fine.

"What are we doing, anyway? I'm not doing Nirvana."

"Oh, just whatever you feel like that has a good beat to it."

"You sure?"

"Always and never." As it went.

Cait fed the power of his choice back into the Sphere, letting it absorb the notes like rain, in preparation for whatever growth came out of it.

He held out his hand to her, and the Sphere reverberated with the first notes, and the competition and the audience and everything else suddenly ceased to matter, because for a few minutes, there was only and always the two of them, together.

They didn't have a style - or, rather, they didn't have just one style. It started as swing, or something like that, but somehow transitioned seamlessly through Lindy Hop and Charleston into Irish Step, each measure simply taken from whatever they were feeling at the moment - electric slide, ballroom, a few bits of 70s disco that had Cait giggling, though not so much that she lost track of the steps they were doing, each one landing on an arrow as it flashed below them. Neither one of them had to say anything, unless they started singing along with the lyrics - they knew the song, and more than that, they knew each other. Communication happened below the surface, and Cait just had to trust his lead and follow along - even during the tricky bit where the arrows were too hard to get to and he had to liquefy them both for an instant to get them into the right position.

It didn't matter. They'd put their lives in each other's hands enough times before, why should this be any different? The song ended, and Cait let the lights fade away, and Brian faded away with them, in that quiet way of his - lurking back with Ilbrahim, or ready to go to Ira if she was ready for company, or ready to go to Cait if she needed him. She didn't worry. He wasn't her weakness. He was her strength.

She didn't look at the screens, nor at her challenger. Instead, she looked within, and if looking within seemed a bit like staring up at the tower and wondering what Ira was growing up to, well, that was all right as well.