Circles Shattered and Reforged
The Other Lions
Sesht has a tattoo like Lion’s, except the gate opens up to the brilliant green skies of Malfeas. Also, the skin texture is…weird. Smooth and hairless, but not in some normal way. Almost like scar tissue.
She has Lion’s tattoo, too. And Lion may well have hers. Adam Mock: A gate has two sides.
The skin on her back was literally turned around. (This is probably a side effect of her time in the chrysalis rather than something actively done.)
It contains both outcomes.
It was never intended to do something directly on its own, but Lion’s attempt at escape was entirely intentional. At this point, the Gate would come into play: It contained both unqualified success and perfect failure, which would cause great damage to the Loom of Fate as it tried to process this terrible impossibility.
It would probably also obliterate Lion. Or so Schaefric (The demon who inscribed Lion’s tattoo. Details here.) hypothesized. This was irrelevant. The only problem was that Fate…was more resilient than that. I went back and forth on the full ramifications of this.
Regardless, the end result is this: Lion is obviously the “Success” outcome. But if the other Lion remaining behind was merely “failure,” then her next attempt to break through would either be successful (because the gate had already done its thing), or fail (because that was writ into her being). So…if anything, Six—who upon becoming Infernal is no longer in any way subject to Fate—is the “original Lion.” Though she has certainly given up that crown by now.
(Clarification: Sesht was not the failure outcome. She was the original contradiction preserved.)
PC Lion’s own memories are hers. And there isn’t any real difference in continuity as far as she cares, and if she considers the other Lions people, then so too is she. She was SOMETHING enough for the Sun to acknowledge and Exalt her. She doesn’t have her father’s soul. But—as Zsofika commented at her birth—she does have his nose.
NOTE: Malfeas exists outside the normal cycle of reincarnation of souls, and so normally people born in malfeas get souls of those who died in Malfeas. So I wasn’t kidding earlier about Lion (Or I guess Sesht) having her father’s soul.
Six was all sorts of broken. Do you have any idea how much she tried to kill Lillun? She stabbed her again and again and again and again and again and again but she’s burning and screaming when she has lungs and she’s coming back together and burning and exploding all at once and coming back together and she can’t help her
There were five escape attempts.
- PC Lion.
- Special Lion.
- Unpretty Tya Sailor Lion.
- Shaman Lion.
- And Dead Lion, who Solar Lion saw on the slopes of Meru.
(Dead Lion is what happens when Zsofika turns up when Lion’s about to escape, grabs her by the arm, and tells her to stop doing this because she’s hurting herself, seeking something not terribly worthwhile, and that Adorjan herself tells her that it won’t work…And then Lion responds by grabbing her mother’s knife, pulling a Guts, and hurling herself through the gate that was just right there.)
She was a dessicated natural mummy by the time that Lion found her. Years in the chilly dry air of the Imperial Peak will do that.
So, if you ever wondered why Lion 5 had apparently had a freshly severed arm when she died, and that Six/Sesht had the same arm crafted out of the jadestuff of Autumnal Tetrateuch…That’s why.
If Six had died…
Six continued to be a time bomb, in a sense. If she had died, especially in Lion’s presence, it would have created at least a temporary Serious Loom Fault as the Loom tried to reconcile Living Exalt Lion with Dead Exalt Lion—who, being an unExalted corpse, was no longer so outside the Loom—which would have been something like a miniaturized Time of Cascading Years. A lot of you would have ended up in personalized situations which presented things from different angles—Dusk in a world where Cicadas in Silence had Exalted as a Night Caste and hunted him down for the murder of their mentor. Lion seeing the world from Six’s point of View. There were others, but those are the ones that I remember the best.