[ASH] REPOST: ASH #120 - City of Night Part 1: Gloaming

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun Oct 31 21:01:56 PDT 2021

On 10/11/21 1:31 PM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:

> One possible consequence
> is that all of the unnaturalness of your collective existence will be
> transferred to a single person, who could gain power from it...or become the
> judas goat who dies to save the rest.

o.o; Well.

>       "Is that it?" someone in the crowd asked after the ritual had ended and
> silence had filled the hall for nearly a minute.  "I don't feel any
> different...."
>       Poniente nodded.  "I was hoping there would be no dramatic results.  We
> wished to gently ease you across the boundary, not smash through.  It may be
> days or even weeks for changes to happen, and they will hopefully be so
> subtle they will feel natural."

Oh. Good. o3o Anticlimax! X3

>       Throughout the initially-tentative but strengthening celebrations that
> followed, M'emba accepted thanks and congratulations, but largely kept her
> own counsel.  Secrets were something she had a lifetime of experience hiding,
> and she had a new one.  The ceremony had kindled new power within her: not
> the power over storm and death that she had once wielded, but power
> nonetheless.
>       But how could she have the power of a shaman when her dead gods had
> passed beyond death into total nonexistence?

oooooooh fascinating. :o

>       "Mmmm," Sharon sipped gratefully.  "I am so glad your version of Earth
> has chocolate too.  It would suck so bad if that was one of the holes in my
> memories...not only to have no chocolate, but to be unable to remember what
> it was even called!"

D: Hell indeed!

>       "There had to be a way to get godlike power without worshippers," Sharon
> interjected.  "Like how our world-killer mad god went from mortal to godly by
> devouring realities."  A shadow passed over her face at the recollection.
> The mad god had set in motion the end of all things when he set about
> devouring realities.
>       "Exactly.  These early godlings found a way to great power first, then
> got their faith batteries running later.  There's several theories on how
> this happened, but Primal gods are those who scholars think managed to tap
> into some sort of fundamental principle of the universe," Tina explained.
>       "Like death," Tom nodded.
>       "Right.  The 'portfolios' of the gods we know may well be a remnant of
> their origins as Primal gods, and those that lose worshippers are still
> strong if they can recall their connection to that source.

ooooooooh, I see. :o That's a good expansion of the lore here.

>       "Ah, gods running around making a mess," Sharon mused over her now
> half-empty second mug.  "Starting to feel more like home all the time...."


> The Chancellor's
> quarters weren't quite as old-school luxurious as the palace in Monaco, but
> new-school luxury had its charms as well.  Not that he would have minded a
> bare concrete room so long as he had the same company as snuggled up against
> him now.


>       "How?" Angelique asked.  "Amateur acting, decent visuals, but not much
> of a plot to it.  Big monster shows up, heroes arrive and beat it down.  All
> it was missing was bad dubbing from Japanese into English."
>       "True, as entertainment it was pretty weak," Derek admitted.  "But that
> was actually very good acting...if you realize that most of the characters
> were artificial intelligences."  [As seen in LNH 2027 #1 - Ed.]


>       "Anyway, one thing I've been trying to get a handle on has been our AI
> program.  Or programs.  We have a lot of very unethical computer scientists
> playing around with leftover TwenCen AIs and alien tech, and the net is
> littered with what amount to giant monsters.

Megavirus Monsters! :D

> Inspired by Heraclius's "children" and designed with help from Gimble, they
> would spread out and collect data, using microwave antennae to bounce signals
> off the planet's newly-formed ionosphere when a high-orbit satellite wasn't
> overhead.

Neeeeeat. <3

> Moving from shadow to shadow, becoming a living
> shadow, those were the powers that they trained her to use at the Academy.
> But she'd always been the best hider.
>       Even now, there was a temptation to go into the shadows and never come
> out.  The temptation came and went, but right now it was stronger than she
> could remember it being in ages.
>       "Gah, getting emo in my old age," she snorted, then got back into the
> scramjet and started watching the drone reports.

Cuuuuuute. <3

>       Fifteen minutes later the Sun hadn't risen, the sky was still dark, and
> the city was in a panic....


> Hopefully I'll get through the rest of the way to
> #125 without any other hiatuses!

I know that kind of declaration way too well. X3;

> I decided that if I was going to start up the
> veneramagnetic dynamo via magical handwave, slightly changing the rotation of
> the planet at the same time was a much lower-order handwave and would
> preserve the stories as written.

That's the spirit! <3

Drew "retcon early, retcon often" Nilium

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