Here Be Dragons

The Path Ascending

A Pilgrimage to Pyris

My travels to the heights of mount Carilis were duly uneventful until I ran into a rather peculiar terrestrial hailing from the immaculate monastery Northeast of Cadia. He dwarfed my entire honour guard and myself included, and rode atop a majestically loping cat-beast, considering the potential lethality of my destination he was honestly a welcome sight. The news that he bore, however, was not so comforting. He explained that the mines that I had recently told factor Yanxing I would consider selling to him have some sort of profound arcane power within them. This is a significant revelation for a few reasons; firstly he would like access to it, secondly the Dutchess will doubtless be aware of this, and thirdly this wellspring of power sounds exceedingly valuable. I may be glad that I entered into the trade with some caution, opting to evaluate the hills rather than accepting the deal outright. This requires further investigation. He is clearly up to the task of excavating and exploring whatever is to be unearthed however, as I witnessed him create a grand earthen domicile with his bare hands as though it were idle play in waiting for Pyris. He is truly exceptional, and I hope to come to better understand him.

He lacked the typical pomp of a prince of the earth at first, though he hit his full stride once we had entered Carilis keep and met those who hold vigil over Pyris’ sanctum. In typical immaculate fashion he argued that a God should not be delivered worship by those moved to worship them but should instead adhere to their damned connect-the-dots-prayer-along sheets. In fact, the very idea that these priests would worship Pyris alone appeared to be sufficient for him to depart. The very idea of scripted and obligatory prayer of every god on the calendar is to me the opposite of any kind of heartfelt worship, but I suppose that’s their point. Then again… maybe that’s what these gods deserve after all, to be yoked to our carefully meted prayer rather than having it the other way around.

The words of the abyssal ring painfully true to me. I am a resurgence of an entire caste of people forgotten by their gods. Are we all sheep to the gods? Are they loving shepherds or do they lead us to the slaughter for their own profits? The weight of the armour I instinctively wear seems a hint to the latter. There is only one way to be sure, and that’s why I stand before Pyris today.

Many would default to ritualistic barbarism to appeal to her. I had sacrificed no lives, and caused no suffering to summon Pyris. I had my assistants place ten candles each eight feet fall three feet apart outside of Pyris’ temple. Performing the thousand cuts kata, I arranged the candles such that they fell meeting at an angle to form the ridgeline of a mountainside. Finally, with a single strike from end to end, I lit the candles and the red wax within poured forth under the amber light of the sizzling wicks. I then prayed for her to come so that we might discuss the safety of her peoples and mine. She did come, and so she has passed my first test of humanity. She was driven to act by love her home conveyed through my art, and the welfare of her people. That I can admire, that I can hold onto.

Upon entering her sanctum through what appeared to be a solid stone wall, I was greeted with an utterly complacent god in a poorly maintained first-age mess. At first she seemed not to take any great heed for the urgency of my message, but so very much is riding on this. I tipped my hand as to my true identity, and she seemed intrigued. When I told her that I could repair the machinations that had fallen into disuse in her home, it piqued her interest.

Now that I have, and now that we explore the hidden corners of her mind together, let us see of what cloth Pyris is cut, and if she can be gently guided to value the welfare of mortal men.


for 2nd last session:

Pyris’ sanctum contains more secrets than either she or I are aware of. The completed machine appeared to funnel molten lava through its channeling, and in doing so forged a mighty obsidian ship. The stern volcano goddess finally broke, and I could see glee in her eyes. She ran through the many decks and halls of the ship as might a child at the fair, but there was more to it. There was a hunger and a yearning to know herself.

She’d proven more amicable after we had explored the ship, and discussions began. Two matters remained on the table, the first being the restaffing and restructuring of her temple in Dominaria. I have been appointed a new staff, and she has agreed to stay her hand in the sacrifice of mortals until we evaluate whether I can deliver on my promise.

Her recent declaration that she will destroy one state in Jugashi with the eruption of Mount Carilis stopped my heart when I heard it. If it truly is the place of the gods to incite fear and suffering in mortal man for their gain, then our gods are not worthy of worship and it is the duty of every able-bodied mortal and every soul ignited by the spark of exaltation to cast the gods down. I don’t want to believe it, so my promise to Pyris is as much a test for her as it is for me.

Dominaria will build a grand industrial edifice on Mount Carilis. The magma that would spell the death of thousands will instead provide a source of wealth and material gain for the people of our nation. They will worship for the first time in recorded history out of love, and the qualitative fabric of that worship will touch Pyris. I have to believe that.

She has agreed to channel the magma into the structure if we can build it in time. Every moment is precious, so many innocent lives are at stake. My soul needs Pyris to be benevolent under all of that armour.

To be continued…

The Path Ascending
RandomWord greghmaclean

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