Roleplay Forums > Temples > Antikythera: The Machinarium > Kougetsu [P]
Chevalier

Character Info
Name: Sylvain Albaret
Age: 500+
Alignment: LN
Race: Vampire
Gender: Male
Class: Blademaster
Silver: 163
[OOC: This thread is a combination of the perspectives of three people–Sylvain, Auron, and Shiloh on an event that took place early in the latter's godhood before any of their children were born. These short vignettes give some background on changes in their relationships with each other that I haven't been able to explain in my other threads.]

The early days of Antikythera were not what most remember. Shortly after I and Auron were drafted into her service, a terrible and bloody incident took place which only we and those who were present can recall. It is something that neither my wife nor the Steward's husband know in full, and we have chosen to keep it that way. Once upon a time, the white marble halls of the Machinarium were stained with blood. It began after returning from gathering information with Nerine in Abed. Auron had encountered the elusive beings marked with the crimson moon during his trip gathering information in Canelux and narrowly avoided a grisly fate. Shiloh herself had found traces of their presence in Nisshoki, specifically Menomori. These were beings who devoured others–humans, elves, orcs, vampires, werewolves, any sort of sentient creature. Like ghouls with far higher intelligence. They were crafty, capable of blending in to hunt their prey just like vampires outside of Kurayo. However their insatiable appetites did not stop at just blood. 

One day she called me aside. We spoke in private, none of the other employees and attendants were nearby. There she told me without any precedent that she was dissolving my contract with her and I was free to leave. Under past circumstances I would have jumped at the chance and would have never looked back, however this was all too sudden. For someone who was hell-bent on ensuring promises were kept it made little sense for her to simply drop it all. I refused, demanding a straight answer. Why end the contract now when she could have ended it at any other time? She went silent for a while before turning to me. I still remember that face and how coldly she said those words.

She told me of a time when she encountered a vampire, before she became a deity. How he pretended to help her as pretense to twist her words and use her trust. When he asked her what sort of punishment those who had intended to sell her like cattle should receive, she said that she wanted them to know the weight of their sins. At her 'request', he proceeded to torture and kill an entire group of cultists. And when he was finished, he made a mockery of her wish knowing full well that wasn't what she had asked for. The name and face of that man was forever burned into her memory, and though the years went by she never forgot that man's cruel manipulation. Turning her back to me, she mused that was why she forcibly placed me under contract. When she had met me, she saw the shadow of that same vampire and sought to do unto me the 'favor' she wished to return to him. Before she could keep going I stormed out; furious, indignant, betrayed. That was why she had kept me, as a way to indirectly get her revenge back on that hated man from her past. 

"You've met with a terrible fate haven't you?"
Caranthir

Character Info
Name: Auron
Age: 120+
Alignment: CN
Race: Flame Malak
Gender: Male
Class: Illusionist
Silver: 86
Something was off. When she came up to me and told me my debts were annulled out of the blue, it was a sign. Normally I'd be overjoyed knowing I wasn't bound by contract, however I had grown wise to the way Shiloh worked. There were a few things I had learned about the deity. First, she never did anything without a reason. It might not be something we could comprehend–or want to–but never done on a whim. For someone who seemed to enjoy putting me through trials and tribulations this sudden turn of generosity was incredibly suspicious. I half expected it to be another obscure test or a practical joke. When I saw Sylvain storm by in a fury, that nagging suspicion became serious concern. Personally, I liked to stay clear of the vampire, especially when he was hot under the collar. But I needed to know why, and I had a good guess it was related to Shiloh.

Going after him and grabbing a hold of the man's arm, I pulled the lord aside. With an uncharacteristic level of boldness for someone such as myself, I began drilling Sylvain for answers. Sylvain repeated the terrible things she had said about forcing him under contract. The lord was about ready to leave when the realization hit. "You dolt! Are you really going to just believe what she said?" Anger was still burning in Sylvain's mind, and he turned to demand why not. I was shaking my head in disbelief. "Isn't it obvious? Ugh, I can't believe… Of course she'd tell you something like that! Don't you get it? The only reason why she called you in for that 'big reveal' is because she knew you would be so infuriated that you would have to leave!" It was so blatantly easy to see. Shiloh, for all her strangeness, was a terrible liar. But even the truth could be deceptive with the right framing and selective wording. While I wouldn't confirm that her claims of a twisted revenge weren't false, I at least understood her real objective. "This isn't about releasing us from our contracts–she's trying to push us away. For all the harassment she's given me on paying my debt, suddenly declaring it void doesn't make a lick of sense."

But why? Why go through all this trouble to craft this charade? For someone who never acted without purpose, there had to be an ulterior motive. Deliberately forcing us away with offers we couldn't refuse and insults to our pride, it was like she was afraid of something. Knowing that, I was even more determined not to leave. I wasn't going to let her have her way and throw us out without a straight answer. We might not be as powerful as the deity, but we deserved a little credit for surviving more than a century. Whatever she was trying to hold back from us, we could take it. We aren't children.   

'First comes the blessing of all that you've dreamed–but then comes the curses of diamonds and rings…'
Shiloh Kyrie
Deity
Moderator

Character Info
Name: Shiloh Kyrie
Age: Appears 20
Alignment: LN
Race: Deity (Fae-touched Human)
Gender: Female
Class: Rogue
Silver: 6587
I had pulled all the right strings, pressed all the right buttons, said things you couldn't take back. Yet despite all of my calculations–I failed. This wasn't supposed to happen! I thought I had everything planned out. When I saw Sylvain storm out I was sure he'd leave Antikythera and Auron would've left when I told him I had absolved his debt. They were the ones with the greatest reasons to leave, but even after all that I put them through, they wouldn't go. Auron confronted me today about trying to set them both up into leaving. I should've known he would have figured it out. I rushed the process and he caught on. I should've started it earlier, gradually pressuring them over a longer period of time. But I still can't tell him, even if it kills me.

Ever since we started learning about the mysterious ghouls that were killing people around the world, I had a feeling we'd just kicked a hornet's nest. For creatures that seemed nigh-invulnerable and could devour lycanthorpes and vampires alike, the only thing keep us from death was the rising of the sun. The Kougetsu clan, especially their progenitor, was depraved and ruthless. From the information the Onizuka clan's religious branch gathered through scrying and divination, we were able to shed some light on how awful abominations like them came into existence. It all started in Karith, the center of alchemy. There was a man who like most alchemists of the time, sought the secret to eternal life. Through some mad stroke of luck, he made himself into the first ghoul when an experiment of his 'succeeded'. However the success of his discovery was short-lived when he was nearly killed by the rays of the sun. Shunned by the heavens for his violation of the laws of the nature, in turn he gained superhuman regeneration and the ability to change the very structure of his body. The high-ranking ghouls who made up the Kougetsu's elite were turned by accepting his mutagenic blood. Even though they can't reproduce, with enough numbers they could wipe out entire kingdoms and seize power. Fortunately most ghouls could care less about increasing their members since they'd have more competition for food sources. That leaves the clan's elite and the progenitor as our biggest threat. And if my assumptions are correct, it won't be long before he sets his sight on the Machinarium, even if it means usurping the seat of a god.

Geographically speaking, Antikythera is an ideal fortress. The constant storms and barren landscape make it difficult to siege, while it's situated between Gobethio, the Tori Mountains, and Nisshoki. This would give them an easy spot to attack Gobethio, Komiteia, the Savannah, and even Iria if they wanted. Lightning strikes aren't much of a problem for creatures who can only be killed by sunlight and regenerate from other types of damage. However, as long as I'm inside my own territory I have absolute control over everything, so if we want to wipe the Kougetsu clan out once and for all it'll have to be on my turf. As soon as they breach the Machinarium's defenses they'll be gunning for me. My only chance will be to find a way to lure them into a false sense of security. And in order to do that…I'll have to fake my death.

"When all else fails, move on to plan B. And when that plan fails, move on to the next plan."

Looking for alchemy or synth items? I might have what you need: Synth and Alchemy Surplus
Extra event synths here: Event Synth Clearance Sale

Shiloh is the Ruler of Onslaught and the Thundering Tempest, or the Overseer of Luck and Misfortune

Her God Powers are:
I. She can utilize spatial distortion to redirect attacks aimed at her to target something else.
II. She can create a paralyzing stasis field with a diameter of 30 ft on a person or a fixed point within her line of sight.
III. She is able to reverse the polarity of one's misfortune into fortune, or vice versa.
Chevalier

Character Info
Name: Sylvain Albaret
Age: 500+
Alignment: LN
Race: Vampire
Gender: Male
Class: Blademaster
Silver: 163
When we confronted her and said we refused to leave her face went pale. For a few brief seconds I saw an emotion I thought the woman was incapable of–fear. No, it was more than that. It was absolute terror. Then right after she proceeded to act like it was of no consequence, as if she was disappointed at our stubbornness. There was something about that reaction that felt wrong but I didn't know why. Why did she become afraid when we told her we chose to stay? It wasn't long when we found out for ourselves. 

The only word I can find to describe those following months is 'hell'. Suddenly without any warning–Antikythera was breached by the Kougetsu Clan. There was no way they could have tracked us all the way to Railoch; Shiloh would have sensed them as soon as they set foot. They must have laid low, waiting and watching until the time was right to invade. For fiends who didn't die from magic or weapons the storms outside were nothing. Lightning would do nothing to slow them down. The attendants in the Entrance Hall were torn apart alerting Shiloh we were under attack and everything fell into pandemonium. The same look on her face when we refused to go was there when one of the sentries informed her on what was happening. She forcibly sealed off the outer entrance and the Marble Corridor but I could tell that would only be a temporary solution. The enemy was already inside and they couldn't be stopped. It was then that Auron and I came to the same chilling realization behind why she tried to drive us out. Even if we hated her she was willing to do anything to prevent us from becoming involved.

She had asked Nerine to go ask for certain information in Arri weeks ahead, likely for something she knew wouldn't be easy to find. That left Auron and I as the last two besides herself who weren't automatons in the Machinarium. The Marble Corridor wouldn't hold them back for long, and Shiloh turned to run into an empty workroom. I followed but before I could get in she sealed the door shut. I pounded on the door, tried to wrench it open with my hands to no avail. The last words I heard from her were: "Sylvain, get out while you still can. I'm sorry." I shouted and screamed clawing at the doors until I heard the dull sound of something being cut followed by a thud. There was a terrible silence from the locked room after that. Even though I couldn't see it I could smell blood. Instead of triggering hunger the scent made me sick to my stomach because I knew whose blood that was.

"You've met with a terrible fate haven't you?"
Caranthir

Character Info
Name: Auron
Age: 120+
Alignment: CN
Race: Flame Malak
Gender: Male
Class: Illusionist
Silver: 86
I heard the sound of something being shattered, the sound of stone being smashed. Panic was thick in the air as the automatons were running into the Marble Corridor before the Entrance Hall was sealed off. It was like boulders were being thrown against the walls from outside, the usual howling of the winds were drowned out by the shaking. I didn't know what was going on, none of the automatons had a moment to stop and tell me anything. In the mad dash through the Corridor I found Sylvain pounding on a set of shut doors, screaming at Shiloh to open them. "OPEN THIS DOOR, YOU ACCURSED GOD!!" His face was already ashen, but I saw the fear in his eyes. "What's going on Sylvain?! Where is she?!" Breathless, he pounded his fists on the doors again and braced himself against them. "She ran in and locked herself in there. Auron, I smell blood." 

"You can't be serious! Why would she–she wouldn't do something so drastic!" But would she? With Antikythera seemingly falling apart, there was no telling what Shiloh was capable of. For a god to commit suicide in their own temple… Then, it all made sense. When the realization hit, the strength in my body drained away. She was trying to drive us away not out of spite or hatred, but because she felt she couldn't protect us. Even with her status as a deity she always acted as if her existence was expendable. Because we failed to leave before disaster occurred, she fell into despair. What good is a god who can't ensure the safety of her own people? The silence from the room was broken when metal was twisted apart and the sounds of fighting were quelled in an instant. Something slammed against the doors from within, unlocking them in the process. Sylvain yanked them open for a mangled torso of an automaton to crumple at his feet. The damage done to it was horrific, like it was forcibly torn off. But that wasn't what Sylvain was staring at inside the room.

Standing in the middle in a pool of blood was a ghoul of the Kougetsu clan, with Shiloh's mutilated body below. The ghoul's face was stained with blood, fangs forming a wicked grin when she saw us. Sylvain screamed and threw himself at her in a rage, missing her with the slash of his claymore. Cackling, she escaped into the Corridor and he gave chase, then Coppelia rushed in. "You need to leave, now!" Her metal hand grabbed my arm, dragging me by force out of the workshop. I resisted, but an automaton's strength was far greater than mine. "NO!" I shouted, "Let me see her!! She can't be dead–Shiloh can't be dead!! She's a god! She can't be–"  I kept shouting over and over in denial, desperately trying to reach her as the other remaining automatons came in and took her body away. Before I was completely pulled out of sight, I caught a glimpse of them carrying out a stone and steel casket while the pool of drying blood no longer had her remains lying within. 

'First comes the blessing of all that you've dreamed–but then comes the curses of diamonds and rings…'
Shiloh Kyrie
Deity
Moderator

Character Info
Name: Shiloh Kyrie
Age: Appears 20
Alignment: LN
Race: Deity (Fae-touched Human)
Gender: Female
Class: Rogue
Silver: 6587
Galatea was the one who came up with the idea. Although I would be their primary target, we had an advantage over the ghouls due to being a newly-ascended deity. When Parvpora forsook polytheism for science and rationality, most knowledge of the gods of old were lost or buried. We knew more about them than they did about us. In order to make this plan work, it would require several months of preparation. The first step would be a complex bait-and-switch impersonation. Galatea suggested to swap places with me in the event that the Machinarium was breached as both of us never encountered the ghouls directly. As she and I shared similar height and build, the next part would hinge on circumstantial manipulation. To lure an animal into a trap, one must use the right bait. And there was no better bait than an opportunity the Kougetsu clan progenitor could not refuse. If he wished to make himself a god, then why not let him? Then when they were lulled into a false sense of security, they would leave themselves completely defenseless. Although we Parvporan deities are weaker than those in Canelux, within our own temples our powers are absolute.

Long before the day of the attack, I would draw out a small portion of blood and set it aside every so often. Gradually I collected just enough to make a crime scene believable. Using my own blood for the trick was key. To ensure this all went smoothly I would have to fool both the ghouls and Sylvain into thinking I had bled to death. The place where we stored the blood kept it in a state of suspension so it would stay fresh. The following steps were more difficult. When it was time to put our plan into action, we would only have a small window of time to switch our places. Once everyone saw my 'body', we would have to switch again to prevent anyone from realizing it was mechanical. The other automatons would take Galatea away while I would enter a casket and it would be carried to a secret chamber constructed within Antikythera. Once everything was all in place, that chamber would be sealed off so no force living or otherwise could access it. To complete the deception, it would require me to put myself in a state near death so not even the other members of the Conclave save for Angela or Dalanesca would know. 

When the attack started, we had to move quick. Galatea had already entered the closest workshop to me and she confirmed her location when I sent her a telepathic message. All the other automatons were informed and they moved into position for us to begin the ruse. I sealed the doors before anyone else could get in, however what I didn't expect was for the Kougetsu ghouls to tear through the Entrance Hall myrmidons so rapidly. I completely shifted the structure of the Machinarium to buy us a few seconds more of  time, sealing off the towers and access to the docking bay holding the Clepsydra. All other wings were then spatially detached from the central portion of Antikythera to ensure our enemies were concentrated here. Time was ticking as I could hear Sylvain on the other side of the doors, and I created a single ventilation duct for one of the weaker ghouls to 'find'. Once I felt its life signature inside, I sealed that off to prevent more from coming. The last and most risky part of the final deception would require one of the ghouls to be a witness.

She burst through the metal grating like it was nothing, but we were already waiting. Galatea moved in front of me while I trapped the ghoul mid-air in stasis. Her last thoughts before being suspended were of the automaton preparing to defend. With our witness frozen where we wanted her, we took out the containers of blood and slashed into them. I had been practicing weeks ahead with water and paint, so recreating a convincing blood splatter was easy. We spread it on the floor, flecked drops on the walls, even stained the ghoul woman's face and fingers. I took on the appearance of Galatea and she used the remaining blood on herself before slashing her own torso. A Reynash's mimic potion was more than enough to make her a splitting image of myself, and she laid down in the pool of blood to finish the scene. Now it was my turn to put the illusion into motion, unlocking the workshop doors and releasing the ghoul from stasis while enforcing false memories of her successfully killing me. Broken replacement parts I had set aside for fixing made it look as if the automatons who were with me were destroyed.

When Sylvain stormed in he didn't see me behind the back of the door. All he saw was the ghoul, the blood, and my supposed lifeless corpse. The ghoul ran taking Sylvain with her, and then Auron tried to rush in to see my 'body'. I warned the other remaining automatons and Coppelia was quick to react. Archytas and Erasmus joined in, all three taking Auron away while Diomedes and Pygmalion brought the casket. In front of Auron they opened it, and began lifting Galatea from the floor. With the first phase of the deception complete, we carried the empty casket to the secret chamber. Putting it in place, I drew my sword and closed my eyes one more time…before plunging it into my heart. The blade stayed in to prevent my body from fully healing the wound. No blood was spilled, another reason to keep it in. They helped me into the casket and I could hear the lid slowly grind shut as my senses were fading. There I would sleep in silence until the time came for the Kougetsu clan's divine retribution.

"When all else fails, move on to plan B. And when that plan fails, move on to the next plan."

Looking for alchemy or synth items? I might have what you need: Synth and Alchemy Surplus
Extra event synths here: Event Synth Clearance Sale

Shiloh is the Ruler of Onslaught and the Thundering Tempest, or the Overseer of Luck and Misfortune

Her God Powers are:
I. She can utilize spatial distortion to redirect attacks aimed at her to target something else.
II. She can create a paralyzing stasis field with a diameter of 30 ft on a person or a fixed point within her line of sight.
III. She is able to reverse the polarity of one's misfortune into fortune, or vice versa.

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