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A World Called Eloise

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:08 pm
by Rebecca
With a blast of power that flattened the villages nearest the base of Mount Heart, the barrier separating Velmaneth from the Void fell. But at the epicentre the heroes who had striven to prevent this outcome were protected by a mysterious new presence known as the Lady Eloise. Her very words could reshape reality or unmake beings.

With her came a strange and remarkable sight: demons who were just and caring, who sought to help people and appeared free of their kind’s endless hunger for the pain of mortals. These were the citizens of Utopia. They exuded a sense of purity that felt utterly undemonic. It was explained that these were the Saved, the celestials whose lost Light had been returned to them. But soon the heroes learnt a different truth.

The Light of the First Dawn was indeed no fable. It had emanated from the birth of the major celestials, the brothers and sisters of Eremine, and Eloise was one of these firstborn. But it was the power of the Realms of Torment she used to wrest each mortal’s Light from them after death. Born to a life of pain and abuse, she had dissociated from humanity and awakened to her full existence as a Major Arcanum. She had taken it upon herself to return the First Light to her celestial children. As she saw it, the light that had been stolen and must be returned to those whom it originally belonged to, for it was Eremine’s sinful act of creation that had drawn the Light from so many celestials and debased them utterly.

With no new souls arriving the Hopewastes began to crumble. It was down there that the heroes discovered a remnant of Eremine’s original plan gone awry. A shadow of something that had already been dead when Velnashar created the Hopewastes, dreaming of life and freedom as it coiled against the jewel and cried its grief unheard. A world had been intended for the celestial children to know a new kind of wholeness, but had been engulfed and consumed by the nascent Velmaneth on the day of creation. With the weakening of the jewel the remnant of this light had come to consciousness and tried to reignite itself. But it was a blind, twisted thing; all it knew was consumption, and all it touched turned to ash. The Ür-Mind of the Underdwellers had told them: the cosmos was constantly eating itself. They must find a way out of this cycle if they wished to safeguard their reality. The heroes brought the remnant out of its nightmare of confinement and let it pass beyond. It blessed them in their struggle to save their world, granting them the ability to strike the element of torment from the Major Arcana and pleaded with them to reunite it with Eloise. When time flowed backwards, it said, shadow would turn to light. What was dead would never have died; it would pass back from the Hopewastes, through Velmaneth, and into eternity.

Even as disturbances in the fabric of the world spread from Eloise’s passing, the thing beneath would rise and meet her a few days thence. Eloise was utterly unable to see it, for she had been cut off even from her relation to its lost Light. She expected to meet the jewel and become the world, but with the heroes’ guidance would find another fate. All over Velmaneth there were pockets where time had accelerated or even regressed. Matter itself changed it properties: ground would not support weight and turned to air, plants released light at a touch, water would burn. With the upending of all things the lost Light would emerge.

As they prepared to combat the Lady Eloise the heroes gained access to realm-like manifestations of her personality. They taught her to value the choices of mortals and protected themselves from the terrible power of her words. She learnt to care for those who were upstanding and good who showed themselves worthy of the gift of Light, sparing them eternal torment, but condemned those who did evil all the same. She wished to maximise the just distribution of the Light. As fewer demons were saved to become pure celestials, they began to hunt unworthy mortals. Their options had been limited by the actions of the heroes, and Eloise believed that the former too had a right to choose and to fight for their own salvation.

She decided she would put the heroes to the test: they would stand for the all the people of Velmaneth and prove their worthiness of the Light. They would show her just how much it was worth to them by facing her in combat.

The night before the final battle, hordes of revenants spilled across Velmaneth, wailing their pain. In suppressing Eloise’s ability to reshape reality the heroes had inadvertently caused the death of her one loved one: the old manservant Horace, who had cared for her throughout the darkest years of her childhood. She had been using her power to maintain his life. With Eloise’s heart darkened by boundless grief, crystalline tears fell to Velmaneth and broke open Torment. Only when the heroes soothed this pain did the tears resorb themselves and cease to pour forth revenants.

The next day the heroes met with her terrifying strength, and still drove the power of torment from her. They proved their worthiness of the Light. A great beam of light erupted from the slopes of Mount Heart, spearing into blue distance. As it travelled it took form, a new world shining in the sky above. It was a world that was always meant to be: Velmaneth’s twin. The demons vanished from the world. Under the new planet’s gravitational effect land was pulled from the depths of our ocean. A new continent awaits exploration.

Torment has ended. She is at peace: beyond the sun rests a world called Eloise.