- With a location selected, the Exalted set to work attacking the project.
- Sparrow and Unari do a lot of the technical work, alongside the laborers of Hatiq and Bright Alarum Carillon.
- Lion and Akeva do some of the heavy lifting.
- Dusk goes gremlin-hunting with Vista.
- Finally, everything is ready:
All around Hatiq, the dozen ways out break loose, the interior structures—floors and walls and ceilings inside snapping inward to provide structure and support
The buildings of the lower level shift positions one last time, not to defend against invaders, but to provide optimal structural integrity against the pressures the patropolis will soon face.
And then, with a squealing sound like a prelude to the coming destruction, the wall to the aft of the Roar begins to tear open, blunt segmented tentacles pounding their way through.
The Ascendant Nimbus Roar begins to cruise away as the walls tear open wider and wider. The main external body of the city is partially visible now, a great wall of white jade slowly applying pressure, tearing open the Machine God more and more.
As the Patropolis tears free of the wall—something that takes several minutes, being miles in diameter—it places its tunnel-tendrils (tundrels?) down to some invisibly dark floor, the ruins of its neighbor that Athyrfer crumbled away months ago. It bears a slight resemblance, one might imagine from a distance, to an octopus or marrotte. Or a covered stadium on many flexible legs, depending on one’s inclination.
“At this time, citizens, the Essence of Hatiq is greatly restricted. The Luminors ask that you understand as visibility may be impaired for a while.”
The city follows the Roar, teetering slightly as it does so; as it comes to the point where the Exalted of Creation first entered—the tunnel large enough for the Roar and the Imperative to fly side-by-side—the patropolis pauses. The city carefully tears open the tunnel, widening it by a factor of ten to begin to even begin to squeeze itself in.
As it enters this final corridor, the city takes its limbs and wraps them around itself, angling the joints to shred the great hallways of the Machine God. Vista, tied down and facing up, looks pained.
The city glows with green light—its own anima, one supposes—as it begins to churn. Custodians begin to leap in at Hatiq, defending the body of Autochthon, only to be torn apart by the Alchemical’s defenses.
- The progress of the city seems to be going well, until the Roar reaches the end of the corridor. The first time they were here, Raphares opened the way in with words in honor and prayer to the Machine God. Does anyone know the way out?
“So,” muses Dusk, “do we fire on the bulkhead?”
“…command acknowledged.” Intones the ship. “Deploying weapons.”
“WAIT!!!” Sparrowsteel cries out.
“We have weapons?” Akeva blinks.
“Pause.” Says Dusk. “I asked a question of the captain.”
“Of course.” Responds the ship. “You did not issue any orders.” Says the ship, even as its crystalline projections begin to shine and hum.
“We only fire if we can’t find a place to get out of Hatiq’s way.” Suiting word to action, Sparrow is already pulling up the scanners and looking for any sort of passage big enough.
The weapons continue to build in pitch, but do not fire. “Warning.” Says the Roar. “Weapons will discharge in ten seconds. At close range, a shockwave may result, as well as impact by shrapnel; please brace for impact.”
Now Sparrow is pissed the hell off. “Stop! Who gave the order to fire?”
“Not me.” Asserts Dusk. He looks across the systems for a method of pausing the assault.
“Five. Four. Three…” The voice of the ship continues to calmly count down.
“Roar, CEASE FIRE!” Shouts Sparrowsteel. “STAND DOWN!”
“Cease fire, damn it!” Commands Akeva.
“Roar, stand down!” Orders Unari
“Two…One…” The Roar drones.
“MANUAL FIRE!” Shouts Akeva. “Gimme the controls!”
“…Denied.” Says Roar. And then there is a crackling, ringing cry like the scream of a thunderbird, and everything goes white.
“You son of a bi-” Akeva grumbles, before the rest of his words are drowned out.
- The explosion opens the way with minimal damage to Roar’s structural integrity, allowing the ship, her crew, and their passengers to escape.
- The Roar is not forthcoming with the identity of the one who ordered it to fire. But perhaps there are more pressing concerns…
Above, the balled-up mass of Hatiq pushes at the hole torn in Autochthon’s body again and again, widening it more and more, until finally, with you miles below and out of the way of a direct descent, the city pulls free.
It teeters at the edge for a second—afraid, perhaps?—before rolling, taking the plunge. The surrounding tendrils spin around, writhing, and the city rolls in the air like a ball pitched with a spin. It falls, falls, falls, plummeting as it shoots to the East.
It descends in a swift arc—for certain values of “Swift”, anyway—hours of freefall, etc.
The plume of dirt and stone as it strikes the ground is visible even from this far up. The ground ripples like a wave for hundreds of miles around. Hundreds of camps of Tear-Eaters are torn apart in the ensuing impact.
Far to the south, a sound like a peal of thunder races through the camp of the Bull of the North, and his tankard splashes as the ground shakes. Yurgen looks up, and to the North.
Six stands amidst fallen cultists and demons in the northern wastes. She takes a deep breath as finally, everyone is still. Then the roar of an impacting city hits her, and she collapses, holding her hands to her ears.
Across the Haslanti City-states, people hear the noise.
Even in Nexus and the Blessed Isle, men and women will plainly hear the grumble of a world forced to greet an unwelcomed visitor.
And there, at the heart of it all, in the middle of a crater where all trees and grass have been blasted away as far as the eye can see, as though tilled by the passage of a mountain, rests the city of Hatiq.
Slowly, the tendrils upon which it walked unravel and pull away. As it does, it pulls apart its shell—the shattered canopy and walls to which the force of impact was mostly distributed, opening up the patropolis to Creation like a jade flower.
Slowly, with the city’s permission, people begin to leave. And for the first time in thousands of years, they see their ancestors’ sky.
Clouds. A sun. Even a crystalline rainbow crosses the heavens.
Perhaps this is the world welcoming them home.