The End... Nov 11, 2015 22:54:52 GMT
Post by ashenmoon on Nov 11, 2015 22:54:52 GMT
There are many stories of what happened those days of the Eclipse and the final hours. As sliver after sliver of the setting sun spread its dim light over the world the survivors looked around themselves as if waking from a dream. What had seemed unending suddenly was as fleeting as a half-forgotten memory. Battles fought, friends lost, dreams crushed. On the surface, nothing had changed. The Republic had failed in its quest.
But at the same time, nothing would ever be the same.
Vast tracts of Falor were in smoking ruins, its ancient walls reduced to rubble by the cannon blasts. For days after the Eclipse, pockets of Republican resistance still fought on. District after district, building after building, room after room, they were all rooted out in the end. The fields north of the city were littered with dead watched over by the proud flags of House Sistorian, the remains of the last great battle of the terrible campaign. The banner of General Garrek was found in the mud, but his body was never recovered. The First Citizen was known to have been present until the moment order in the Republican army was shattered - when the Sistorians charged - but had escaped with elements of the Inquisition. Most of the rest of the high commanders of the Republic, such as general Haunheim, were captured or killed. It was for the longest time believed that Black Jack - Taniel Corso - had been imprisoned by the Inquisition the night before the Eclipse, but weeks later he would resurface on Jovinium and take up command under his father.
The Lord of House Sistorian and his brother, Lord Torval, never entered Falor again. It was the young Prince Kansar - who had led the charge that had, by all appearances, led to his older brother’s death - that entered the city close to nightfall and took up the mantle of command of the Dominion.
Accounts of the final events in the Palace of Light were confused. Some said the High Inquisitor and the Last Warden had subjugated Radiance, broken him and bound him to their will as a common daimon, a defenceless and apathetic slave rather than a God-King - and that the despairing High Palatine had pulled the High Inquisitor with him as he committed suicide. Others said the desperate Republicans had gambled their all on a last bet, had been betrayed, cornered and cut down until all that remained were terrorists - out only to drag as many with them as they could into the Hell they so vividly imagined. In the end, the High Palatine was dead, as were the two Seraphs and the High Inquisitor with them. The Last Warden - who, some said, had been possessed by the Mockinglord - was nowhere to be found.
And Radiance remained.
Through it all, he had never spoken except once, before the battle began. Accounts differed on whether he had ever moved or done anything at all to defend himself.
Seating himself beneath the unresponsive Radiance, Kansar Sistorian prepared to rule over a broken nation.
Even among those who had answered the call to defend Falor, conflict had been rife. The Lanterns and the Suns, the Jahimis, Surens and Sistorians had all had their differences. Zealots who had sworn allegiance to the fallen Palatine revered him as a prophet: others sneered and blamed him for the entire disaster and the death of Lightdancer. He had tried to save the Dominion with fire - with gunpowder mercenaries and the blackest of sorceries the Burning Man could invent - and it had earned him many enemies along the way. His clashes with the Seraphs, and the possessed Jahimi princess, would live on in apocrypha for millennia to come - as saviour or villain, history would decide. Of the latter, some said that the Jahimi princess had been freed from her possession and her House received a full pardon for her crimes. Tilan Jahimis would come to play a part in Falor’s future, but his daughter was not seen again. Seda Suren took her brother’s place as head of the House and caretaker of his children, but soon left the city for the privacy of mourning.
Thus, with an emptying city and only half of an army remaining to him, Kansar Sistorian had no easy decisions ahead of him. Most of the Dominion had never even answered the call to defend Radiance and were, technically, rebels. In the east, Silhouette of Stars was creating a new Dominion - conquering the Holy City and earning, or enforcing, the allegiance of archon after archon. Perhaps Radiance and the High Palatine could have created in Varantium a counterweight to that menacing threat - with their burgeoning allegiance with the Burning Man and the North Wind had the Republic been repelled.
But at what cost?
Tomas de Campo, former Inquisitor-Tribune and acting High Inquisitor, was leading the First Citizen’s party southwest through the mountains when he saw a man sitting by the side of the road ahead. It appeared to be an injured Dominion soldier, but how he had come to this place - far from any of the fighting Tomas had been aware of - he could not imagine.
Though at first the man had seemed nearly dead, too far gone to pose any threat, Tomas’ sorcery-enhanced vision picked up a disturbing detail: the man carried the garb of a Warden of the Arbiter.
Alarmed, he gestured for his few remaining Inquisitors to fan out - as much to surround the man, as to put some distance between each other. Whatever black magics the Dominion had invented to scourge them, the Inquisition would continue in the face of adversity. Gori’s vision - to liberate mankind from the daemonic oppressors - would never die, not as long as Tomas or any other Republican yet drew breath. Now that admiral Timbale was dead and the First Citizen was at the mercy of the Inquisition, Tomas knew he had the opportunity to seize the power he needed to carry it through. No matter the cost...
The injured man stood up, slowly and unsteadily, and greeted them:
“I have come to propose a deal…”