Monday, January 22, 2018

Page 1499

((Double Monday -- Page 1 of 2))
There was a long bout of silence as everyone waited for Malast to respond in some way, but the self-proclaimed God of Boredom merely continued to appear exactly so. Bored.

Malast’s expression didn’t change at all. He didn’t shift in his seat. He didn’t stop resting his cheek on his hand. He hardly even looked like he was paying attention.

But at length, he finally deigned to say, “...That’s nice.”

We’re losing him,’ said Garovel privately. ‘This might be our last question, unless we can regain his interest somehow. Ask him if--

Eleyo wasn’t waiting for anyone’s permission, though. “Would you like it if I became a god?”

Malast looked at him. “I would. What would you do if you became a god?”

“I don’t know,” said Eleyo. “It would depend on the exact nature of my godliness, I suppose. The precise limits of it.”

Malast narrowed his gaze at him. “That’s a lie. You already have a very good idea of what you would do, don’t you? Your answer doesn’t count if you lie, you know.”

“I am not lying,” said Eleyo.

“Even if that’s true, then you still have not answered my question,” said Malast. “Which means I get to ask a different one.”

Eleyo took a step forward. “Go on and ask, then.”

“Are you reconsidering my offer?”

“I never turned you down.” Eleyo took another step. “What must I do?”

Malast grabbed the jar in his lap with both hands. “You need merely to accept this of your own free will.” He held the jar up, grasping the lid but not opening it. “Do you understand that you will cease to be yourself, by doing so?”

Hector,’ said Garovel, suddenly urgent.

Somebody stop him,’ said Yangéra.

But Eleyo stopped himself. “No, I do not understand that. What do you mean? I will cease to be myself?”

Malast sighed again and brought the jar back down to his lap. “You will be a vessel, like I said--a conduit through which an otherworldly being may experience this one.”

Eleyo took a step back now. “No. You said I would become a god. Not be replaced by one. Those are two very different things.”

“He will not replace you,” said Malast. “He will transform you, and you will transform him. Together, a new being will emerge. A new god, as some would describe it.”

But Eleyo was still taking steps back.

Malast smacked his lips and gave still another sigh. “Yeah, that’s about what I figured...” He slumped down in his stone chair. “I knew that Ettol was just getting my up hopes again. The wily bastard.”

As Eleyo shrunk back toward the group, Carver stepped up to replace him.

“How do you know Ettol?” said Carver.

Malast eyed him a moment and sniffed absent-mindedly. “It’s not your turn.”

Carver was undeterred, however. “Ettol is my uncle. I have known him my whole life, but I must confess that he has always been something of an enigma to me.”

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Page 1498

Impulsively, Hector wanted to ask why Malast wanted to contact him, but he knew that wasn’t going to get answered. Then Hector started trying to work out the best lie he could tell here.

But wait a minute.

How could Malast contact Rasalased? Hector didn’t actually know the answer to that. What, would the two gods be able to start chatting away as soon as Malast touched the Shard? Probably not, considering Asad hadn’t been able to talk to Rasalased yet.

Though, maybe Malast had some weird power that would make it work.

But Hector didn’t want to assume that.

And more importantly, he didn’t want to throw away his excuse for being able to honestly say, “...I don’t really know. The circumstances that led me to meeting Rasalased were, uh... kind of an accident.”

“Mm,” said Malast. “That is disappointing. But if you are unable to answer the question, then I should get another one, no?” He looked over his audience for approval.

Hector would’ve liked to refuse him, but as he thought about it, he realized that Malast would be able to just say “I don’t know” to all of their next questions if they didn’t follow this new rule.

And perhaps Eleyo came to the same conclusion, because Hector heard him say, “Very well. Ask again.”

“What was this Rasalased like?” said Malast.

All these questions about the Dry God were beginning to form a rather obvious pattern. Clearly, Malast was interested in meeting Rasalased, but this question in particular was surprisingly... mundane, Hector felt.

“Well, he was, uh... he was very...” Shit. Not easy to describe was what he was, but Hector tried his best. “Rasalased was very... wise. And thoughtful. And considerate. And maybe a little scatterbrained. And kinda scary. Uh...”

“I see,” was all Malast said.

So this Seyos, then--’ tried Yangéra, but Eleyo interrupted her, doubtless because he couldn’t hear her.

“Why does this Seyos person want to kill us?” the Hun’Kui man said.

“Because he has long wanted to become a god, though he is an unsuitable vessel,” said Malast. “He would therefore see the two of you as a threat.”

What the hell?’ said Garovel. ‘So these two here are “suitable” vessels? Why? What makes them more suitable than anyone else?

“It’s not your turn.”

Fuck this guy,’ said Garovel privately.

That nearly made Hector laugh openly. If he was pissing Garovel off so much, maybe Malast really was a god--or at least as much of a god as Rasalased had been.

Malast took his time asking his next question. “What will you do with this treasure, Iron One?”

And Hector was surprised, because that had nothing to do with Rasalased. He looked around and found everyone watching and waiting on him again.

Great.

At least he more or less knew what he wanted to say, this time.

“I will try to... build a strong link between the surface and the Undercrust. And then... use that link... to help and protect as many people as I possibly can.”

Holy crap, it was embarrassing to admit all of that. He felt like everyone had just seen him naked. He was again glad to have his armor to hide behind.