Time: Unknown: Great Tree of the Goddess of the Night Wind, Throne Room
Ariuk sat and tentatively sipped from her goblet as she once again entertained the Lord Talib; whom patiently awaited the arrival of the Goddess. Things had not been going well since he had arrived. When the Goddess was gone Ariuk had thought she had total dominion over the plane, her powers had confirmed that as she had been able to conjure food, control the temperature the weather and create whatever was requested or needed. Things were somehow different now. For one she noted as she sipped the wine; it had changed, her preference had always been for the lighter chardonnays. Instead now every bottle poured was a thick room temperature merlot. The wine was bitter and had metallic notes, but Lord Talib and his retinue seemed to love the stuff… “A texture that reminds us of lost mortality” he would say whenever he took a sip. Other things had begun to change as well… the leaves on the great Oak had turned yellow and red; Aruik had not planned for it to be autumn and yet autumn came. The temperature inside and out seemed to drop as well. Aruik had willed the temperature up, had conjured wood for fire places and kept them roaring, but still, there was a distinct wet chill in the air. Aruik looked around the dining hall, the colour had seemed to have drained from the room over time, everything here was in shades of grey or very muted; the instruments never seemed to hold a tune and when they were played, their sound became more grating then joyful, it was not long before they were largely ignored. Aruik had found that over time she just didn’t seem to be able to do anything right; the raptors had become less settled and more feral, and even her commands could barely keep them in line. This lists of what before had been friendly requests from new souls joining the afterlife now became an endless series of complaints and demands. S’Nara rarely came home, and often when she did, she was to worried, tired or injured to speak, she would skulk to her quarters hiding under quilts until the goddess summoned her away once more to do battle with her enemies.
“A lovely evening Ordinal Ariuk, we again thank you for being such a dedicated host to us” The Lord Talib send while raising his glass across the table to her. His ghoulish companions who ranged from absurdly pale to grotesque murmured similar sentiments raising their glasses in turn. Ariuk could to little more than nod. Her will to banter to chat, to even be gracious had all seemed to drain away. What was wrong with her? She should have sat on the Throne today, should have checked in on Curtis or Hagnon or even a few of the others, but instead she couldn’t bring herself to do it, it just seemed so, so… so hard.
“What is wrong with me” she managed to mumble as her hand held her way to heavy head up from the table, her hair drooping into her face.
“It is quite simple My Lady, if you think about it” Her question had been rhetorical, she had not expected Lord Talib to answer. She mustered the dredges of her will power and managed to lift her head up to look at him. He was handsome, and well dressed, sitting straight and tall and the far side of the table. He seemed to take eye contact as a que to continue. “You are dying… this entire place is… but you will go first I am afraid… I have seen it before”. It shocked her, shocked her to her core; had he poisoned her? Was she under attack, instinct caused her hand to raise to her back where her great sword often hung, but she recalled it was not there, she had left it by the throne days ago, as it had been too heavy to haul around.
“You?” she managed to croak out? “You’re doing this?” her words were met with laughter, the sound was pitch perfect to any bards laugh and yet there was a hanging sense of malic within it.
“I… no, I have not killed you…” he said standing and walking towards the poor Ordinal “Allow me to surmise it for one of your… special intellect” he offered placing a hand on her back… she could not suppress the shudder and chill that ran through her. “I have not killed you dear Ariuk… your Goddess has; you are as a flower, delicate and fragile, and she is your Sun… without her you will weaken and fade… perhaps in the presence of other deities that… accelerates; but it is the same on most planes. It hurts me to say it Ariuk, but your Goddess does not love you; she has abandoned you for her own pleasures and whims, and you face a very difficult time… unmaking is the most painful of deaths… as I have been led to believe” he mused stroking his beard as he contemplated it.
“no…” she had meant it as a yell of defiance; it surfaced as a whisper of despair “She loves me?” again she had not meant it to be a question, but it came out as such.
“She is a God, Ariuk… you are but a thing, perhaps one of her favourite things, but a thing none the less, and when you are no longer useful she will just conjure another to replace you…” He looked around the room “The plane is somewhat primitive… not had for a first try, but lacking in depth and emotion… perhaps she chose for this plane to be wiped out so she could start fresh without having to look at her mistakes every day”
“no…” Ariuk said, meaning to stand up and slap the man for speaking that way about her Goddess, but she fell from her chair her legs having no power in them as she fell to the cold stone floor. ‘Why was the floor of a tree stone?’ she thought to herself as she lay there tangled in her own wings and legs… perhaps it was a poor design… perhaps she was”
“It is a shame Ariuk… you were not unpleasant to look at…” Lord Talib said walking out of her view “Don’t get up… I can show myself to my quarters… while they still last” he laughed with a few of his servants as she heard them leave the table and walk out of the hall, talking excitedly among themselves. Her head drifted looking at the throne… why had the Goddess abandoned her… why?
She mustered the last of her will and forced herself to crawl forward, inching her way across the throne room desperate to reach the mighty throne. She was near exhausted when she reached it. She did not have the strength to sit in the throne… did not know if the Goddess’s Throne still had any power in it. But she placed one hand on the armrest and called out with her thoughts.
“Curtis…. Curtis… Pray For Help… Pray Curtis” her hand slumped down as for the first time since being created to lost consciousness against her will.