Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Moons of Riskail Part Two: Voj

Riskail has two moons.  Duleeb is a captured asteroid and Voj is a cometary core that has been sealed into a hydrospheric sheath, allowing a low-gravity lunar ocean to form around the icy core of the central cometary mass.

Voj and Duleeb are set in opposite orbits, their paths set to exactly coincide so that they line-up at Midnight directly over the Great Rift.  The two moons become wreathed in a nimbus of blue-green aurorae that briefly reveal a flickering after-image of the orbital reef-forest that grows outwards from Duleeb as a protective screen all around Riskail.  On those rare occasions when some stray meterorite impacts the reef-forest of Duleeb during a lunar conjunction, the sky comes alive with all sorts of shimmering colors and it is considered a very auspicious moment well suited to conceiving children, incepting clones, and generally celebrating the continuations of life and fertility.  The Eryxian Hereticants are notorious for unleashing their recombinant orgies along the Low Esplanades during these extremely sacred times.  Hundreds of by-standers can get subsumed into the writhing, amorphous mass of perversely commingled flesh that results from these unsanctioned acts of theological terrorism from which few are ever fully recovered and none unchanged, often in startling and bizarre ways.

From a sorcerer's standpoint, Duleeb is an embodiment of the lunar expression of earth and fire conjoined, while Voj is the embodiment of the lunar expression of water and air conjoined.  Ah, but that would mean nothing to you until after you know of the Planetary Tattvas.  Soon.  Very soon, those will be revealed.  When you are ready.

Voj is quite different from Duleeb in almost every possible way, while remaining a manifest part of material existence, and even then, they differ quite a bit as Duleeb is multi-phasic and extends out across a multitude of planar layers as any good forest or reef does naturally.  Voj, however, is not a forest, nor is it a reef.  It is a rich and elegant ocean of crystalline waters of such pristine purity that one can see through them to the very core and heart of the moon with unaided eyes from the surface of Riskail.  The waters of Voj are clear, cold and ultimately sterile.  Only the glittery-strands of autonomous nanocultures glide across the cometary core, harvesting the minerals and impurities deep within the ice and mobilizing them for use by the Vestals who traverse the various sheath-layers in their tear-drop shaped hovering shrines that follow the delicate tracery of hyper-faint ley-lines only they can detect.  The contrails of their shrines form strange sigils which radiate a tenuous comfort to the forlorn and the lonely who look up to Voj at Midnight when it occludes Duleeb, as it does every night, whether they offer-up some brief illicit prayer, sacrifice some colorful water-flowers, or whisper a furtive petition that the Vestals might look down upon them in kindness and maybe, just maybe, help them to find or to feel or to remember the innocence that all children once had, no matter their womb-source, mother's social class, or what terrible, horrible things they may have done.

Immaculate, inviolate and pure beyond reason, the Vestals are possessed of a compassion and clarity that cannot be misled or misappropriated.  Devoted to the asceto-monastic bodhisattvic paths, the Vestals have removed themselves from the world that they might serve it the better as beacons of purity and radiant founts of forgiveness and acceptance.  They are the immortal and incorruptible priestesses of a withdrawn faith that remains ever-present, ever-accessible and ever-observant overhead.  They have never turned their backs on anyone, ever.  They make no conditions, no demands, no requirements.  That is not their Way.  The Vestals confine their asceticism and discipline solely unto themselves, that they might shine like stars, sending forth the rays of blessing and belonging unto All.

The Lunar Gates leading to Voj are piled with flowers and surrounded by clandestine offerings of candies set out on small pieces of white cloth, pearls of the most lustrous sheen, and candles floating in bowls of purest water.  Many, many candles and all sorts of vessels and containers of clean, clear water set out to capture the beneficient rays of the moon so as to capture some vestige or essence of the energies emanating from Voj and the Vestals of the Blessed Blue Moon.  All of these things are freely available to anyone in need, and not even the meanest vendor along the waterfront would dare to try to sell even the least of these things.  The Vestals are always watching.  They would know.  And besides, there's no point in trying to sell the blessed waters or the tokens of observance from the Voj Gates, because there are too many of such things just sitting there for the taking.  If you want one, you take one.  No one cares.  It's just one of those things.

Voj is a beautiful, shining jewel that glints with the reflected light of spiritual purity open to anyone and everyone.

Who could object to such a thing?

What sort of a creature would reject the blessings of the Vestals and seek to corrupt the purity of Voj?

It is rumored that there is at least one secretive cabal that gathers each Noontide to plot the infiltration and spoilage of Voj.  They call themselves The Fertile Crescent and they mutter darkly together when the moon is directly on the other side of the world and the Vestals cannot see them, or so they believe.  These reprobates and mean-spirited thugs come together to debate spurious philosophies and to selfishy fight over matters of doctrine and esoteric trivia.  They always argue and fight amongst themselves, fragmented, factious and filled with strife, these beings are filled with self-loathing and twisted notions of what life ought to be like, how things should be done, and what they can do to bring about change, to usher in a new age of real and lasting transformation through the magic interpretation of their petty, competitive and spiteful wills.  It is good that no leader has yet arisen to unite the various sub-sects of The Fertile Crescent into a cohesive organization.  Should they ever become something more than a half-earnest debating society grumbling and preaching half-baked and beer-soaked political theories in their preferred cellars and grotto-bars, who knows what mischief they might attempt, let alone what they could possibly accomplish? 

There are also reports of a new cult down along the Twelfth Tier Harbor Basin.  This new cult seems to have evolved from a schismatic offshoot of some deranged and milk-addled droog-gang but has taken on a disturbing new character.  Their raving non-prophets and their repetitious chanting calling for hyper-violence would normally just be another of the less than savory bits of local color, only they aren't just a bunch of droogs any more.  Roachers and other genetrash have gravitated to the new group.  They are reprogramming thralls and subverting autoi.  There are whispered rumors that they might even be attempting to hack the Infrastructure.  The Sibyls of Kallendra are muttering of dark times ahead and the Sacred Hags of Ashadan have left the cities of Riskail to seclude themselves behind the bristling walls of their ancient thorn-holds and will receive no visitors.  Something is going on.  Something deep, dark and dangerous.


  1. I don't know. I kind of have to side with guys that argue over "esoteric trivia."

    And milk-addled droog-gangs? Real horrorshow.

  2. It's not the arguing nor the esoteric trivia, it's the selfishly slopping beer over each other as they bellow loudly and wildly like braying asses in their rathskellers, usually about things they knw little to nothing about.

    You and I might have fun debating esoteric trivia and even enjoy a few beers, but spending some quality time with the magical equivalent of Ernst Rohm and that chicken farmer obsessed with Ultima Thule might not be quite so stellar. These are some nasty pieces of work. And those brown shirts really clash with the fancy plaid pants...

    Droogs = A Clockwork Orange. They have a Milk Bar that Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson probably would have enjoyed.

  3. Yeah I caught the Clockwork Orange reference :). Which is why I said "real horrorshow", horrorshow being the Nadsat (the slang spoken in CO) world for "cool."

    For what its worth, "droog" is borrowing in Nadsat, coming from the word (druk, pl. drugi) for "friend" in Russian.

  4. Yep. I was very happy that you got that reference, but I thought it might be a good idea to take the opportunity to point it out to other readers.

    I appreciate the Nadsat slang. It made me very happy to see that someone caught that one.

    You pointed out the Droog= Russian: Friend thing just a little too soon...I didn't fully introduce the Friendlies yet (which might be a trifecta of cross-references)...they are the droog splinter-sect just after the Fertile Crescent. They're going to be trouble down the road.


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