DIVA: Plans Long Laid

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Sun May 16 18:07:29 PDT 2021

It's already May and this is my first DiVerse entry of the year.  But it's here!

Writing has been a bit of a struggle, as have many other things, but perhaps
that's to be expected given the recent environment.  As things start trending
toward sanity, I hope that my personal stability trends toward equilibrium as
well, and allows me to Make Good Art - now and in the coming months as well.

Also, this is a precursor to the crossover I mentioned a while back.  A HUGE


Plans Long Laid: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Felix



Hekel's quarters in the Temple of Fortune were rarely occupied.  The God of
Deception spent the greater portion of his time playing with mortals - as far as
he was allowed, under Dio's constant (and often irritated) observation.  Today
was one of those rare moments; but though he was present, his thoughts were very
much elsewhere.

Dio was the God of Time, and no one would ever contest this, nor trespass on his
domain.  Yet Hekel had always been just slightly more sensitive than his
siblings to the ebb and flow of the universe's timelines; and so he could
discern the little twists and turns where fate itself - destiny, the crossroads
of free will, however one might describe such a phenomenon - pooled.  Most often
these pools would stagnate and crystallize, as events bore out into
inevitabilities, or else they would rage against their own gravity, frothing and
spinning, and burst into a multitude of chaotic possibilities.

Yet on rare occasions, and with increasing frequency of late, Hekel had felt
those pools draining.  Potentia, the chaos of existence, extinguished and
replaced with... nothing; lifeless voids, where futures and pasts and presents
should by all rights have been.

Dio took care of these matters, shepherding history back into its rightful
course.  That was his duty, after all.  Yet Hekel could sense, too, the strain
on the God of Time - his irritability, his concern, indeed his /anger/ - and it
did not sit well with him.

And so, the God of Deception determined (not without some small measure of
delight), the time had come at last to accelerate one of his Grand Designs.  He
had many such plans, of course; not all involved the Goddess of Design, but this
one did.  Albeit not with her knowledge - not yet.  All things in time; not yet,

Hekel closed his eyes, smiling peacefully, and dreamed he was an Avatar.  Yes -
that one...


The day everything changed, the Priest of Design was working in his cabin on the
outskirts of town as usual.  Adjusting one lens of his tinker's goggles, he
peered into the depths of the mechanism resting on his workbench, and after a
moment's examination reached for his blue screwdriver.  Why someone would use a
star-type connector in something as rudimentary as this-

He felt a weight on his hand, and looked over to see the Guardian's paw resting
on it.  That was curious; the construct rarely moved.  Also, the glowing tracery
of lines along its metal body, normally solid blue, was now cycling through the
visible spectrum.  That was rare indeed; he'd only heard of it, never seen it.

And it was grinning at him.  That was /entirely/ new, and not a little

'Finish the job, Tau,' the Guardian purred, pulling its paw back.  'Then leave
this place and come with me, and we will create something amazing; something
that has never been seen before.'

Tau turned his head to regard the massive reclining feline with its spiky mane
and triple halo, the mysterious mechanical construct that had occupied his cabin
since before he'd been living and working there.  The previous Priest of Design
had told him of it, but without much detail, and so it had remained very much a
mystery.  It had spoken to him on other occasions, but now he could sense
something... momentous, ominous perhaps, behind its words - for the first time.
"Never before?  Truly?"

'Of that, I /assure/ you, young priest.  And it will bear your mark upon it - it

Intrigued, more than concerned, Tau leaned into the morning's work.  A few
minutes later, after making his final adjustments to the mechanism to restore it
to full functionality, the priest gave it a soft tap and nodded with
satisfaction at the smooth spinning of the gears.  He pushed his goggles up,
stood, and looked over at the Guardian.  "I must deliver this to its owner,
but... when I return, I will go with you."

The feline grin might have widened, just slightly.  'I would expect nothing


The day everything changed, the Priestess of Chaos was tense, like a coiled
spring.  Matters were tipping too far in favor of the Empire; after a single
surprise upset yesterday, all her advances over the last few weeks had
successively been undone, and it looked as though the Resistance was crumbling
again.  Perhaps permanently, this time.  She didn't have much left up her

Her poor Skygrinders could barely function now, after she'd pushed them to their
limits and beyond saving her people from the Empire police last week.  She
didn't regret it for a moment, of course, but that meant getting around and
attracting attention - drawing it away from everyone else - would be that much
more difficult.  The Resistance knew that, and so did the police; that very
night and into the next morning they'd flattened half a city block just to
remove the 'stain' of her beautiful murals (and doubtless to flush out the
people living there who might have supported her crew, too).

She was not happy.  She tried to suppress it for everyone else's sake, because
she knew the Resistance was looking to her as their guide in many respects; but
she knew that the frustration leaked out more and more the worse matters grew -
and they were growing quite poor indeed.

The first order of business, whatever else happened, was to get her transport
back in working order.  The Skygrinders - her beloved aerial acrobatic skates -
operated on rare magitech components, and she hadn't the slightest idea how to
fix them.  But she knew where to go: the only place in the City that was still
truly free, and technically neutral.  The Undermarket.

With a few terse instructions to her trusted lieutenants, she vanished down the
building's garbage chute and into the abandoned sewers.  It would take a few
minutes to get to the market, which would give her time to think...

Blue light shone in the darkness, and she whirled around to see a pair of -

'The City is beyond saving, Theta,' came a velvety soft purr, as a metallic
feline form stepped out of the shadows.  'But if you would see the Empire fall
and glorious chaos spring from its ruin, then come and follow me.'


The day everything changed, the Priestess of Deception was dazzling the crowd as

Fiery illusions danced upon her fingertips as she spoke in hushed,
conspiratorial tones to her audience. relating the story of the Celestial Three
- Wolf, Bear, and Tiger - and their battle against the forces that threatened
the cosmos.  Strange, twisted shapes in dark colors formed over her other hand
to contrast the flame-bright animals, and the shapes clashed, again and again -
but the Three were victorious, of course!

"And some say they still reside with us to this very day, children," she
concluded with a flourish and a brilliant showman's smile.  "That is..."

The audience gasped as from behind the curtain emerged a hulking yet sinuous
form, the blue-eyed, blue-lit metal beast of legend - Blade Tiger!  Friend of
Justice, Scourge of Evil!  It padded silently behind the storyteller, and
stopped - and gazed at the crowd, eyes shining, leaving them breathless.  Even
/more/ breathless.

"... if you know where to look!"  And she spun, and swung a leg over Blade
Tiger's back and mounted up.  "Until next time, children - keep this story in
your heart, for it is yours now, and none may ever steal it from you!"

She gestured grandly, and a cloud of smoke billowed up from the stage - and when
it cleared, the storyteller was gone, Tiger too!  And the children cheered and
applauded with delight, and the adults clapped too, bemused and smiling, and
wondering just how the trick was managed.

And then they dispersed, for the show was done when the storyteller left;
everyone knew that.

"You said today was the last show," the storyteller in question whispered to
Blade Tiger as she leaned into its mane, closing her eyes and clinging tightly
as they soared into the gray, drizzly skies and vanished into the low-hanging
clouds.  She never for a moment questioned the presence of one of her storied
champions, or its ability to fly, or anything else that had come to pass; as
Priestess of Chaos, she somehow /knew/ this was her fated path.  But she was
also loath to leave the stage.

'Not exactly,' Blade Tiger purred, in a playful voice unlike the one it had
yesterday, its body turning from blue light to prismatic.  'Today is the
/beginning/ of the last show - the last and /greatest/ show of all.  And your
name will indelibly be a part of it, Chroma.'

Chroma nodded, satisfied.  "Then let the curtain lift!"

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