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Lunar Castebooks Retrospective

Chapter Text

A hooded figure walked the subterranean tunnels of Chiaroscuro alone with sure steps. Above, a battle raged; dust fell from the ceilings of the tunnels when battering rams struck the gates. Every gate on the land-sides of the city at once. The defenders could not hope to repel them.

After a bend in his path, the hooded figure met a bent, diminutive woman leaning on a cane. She was shaking, and the closer the hooded figure came, the more he guessed it to be rage. Grandmother Bright accosted the lone figure. "Tamuz! You will not leave Chiaroscuro when she needs you most!"

Tamuz paused in his escape, and lowered his hood. "I will and I must, spirit. You have gained from my presence so long that you take it for granted.” He paused, but kept his eyes on the small spirit. “Everything changes."

"You brought this war here! You told them they would win their freedom!"

"And like children they believed me. The first rebel against an Empire is always crushed. Only later may freedom be won, when the heavy arms of a great nation are tired."

"You lied to them!" Grandmother Bright burst into radiance haloed around her small frame, lighting up the cavern.

Tamuz remained resolute. "You cannot see outside these city bounds, spirit. There are greater games in motion. I must play them."

"You will address me as your rightful god, worthy of the worship you've given in the past! Or, Luna's Chosen or no, I will smite you!"

"Even now at the height of your power, bolstered by the fevered prayers of your people, you cannot hope to overcome me, spirit."

"Address me by my name and title, Grandmother Bright, City-God of Broken Glass, Mother to Chiaroscuro!"

"Taste the wind, and you will remember your manners."

The spirit in turn kept her eyes on Tamuz as she clasped raw air in her hand and licked her fingers. The taste of Essence brought a change in her, kept her from glowing so brightly, from shouting so loudly. "My, my little Tamuz. When did you grow so?"

"In human time, that is when."

Grandmother Bright whispered, "And, what need have you for learning the true death of spirits?"

"The need to keep ghosts from rising again. If you let me go, that will be all I need it for today."

The spirit and the Lunar stared at each other for some time. Tamuz let the god deliberate as she needed. He was in no direct danger, with feet of earth between him and the soon to be sacked city.

"My advice is to meet with the invading general. He may spare portions of the city you hold dearest if you negotiate a surrender. Like the Plaza."

Grandmother Bright shed some few tears of rainbowed glass. As they thudded into the solid earthen floor, she nodded, and vanished, in the way of spirits. Tamuz walked to where the tears had fallen, knelt, and picked them up. "I lament this, too, Mother to Chiaroscuro."

Tamuz pocketed the tears, raised his hood once more, and continued on his way out of the city. Above him boomed the assault of the Realm, unceasing in its cadence, inescapable, sounding from every direction.