The death of a god is not a peaceful moment.
It is loud and violent.
The fabric of Creation tearing itself apart, leaving a gaping broken hole. From the Palace of the Sun in the highest point of Celestia, to the Castle of the Moon in the lowest layer of Gehenna, to all the mortal kingdoms of Mordin, a god’s death is felt.
When a god dies their domain is erased and remains out of reach until another is ascended in their place.
That is why on the day the Royal Sun dies, the sky darkens. The once golden sun now an orb of black, twisting and writhing in the sky, like a living mess of darkness. But it is something more than darkness, it is void, it is the absence of anything; a visible bleeding wound in Creation’s song.
Asterius is painting with Pluma in the kitchen when the shockwave hits. It shakes his very bones and sends his paintbrush harshly across the canvas, a dark black line now staining the portrait of his sister.
“Master?” Pluma asks softly, as though he’s afraid to draw attention to himself, carefully snuggling his griffin body up next to him, “Are you okay?”
He nods, but to be honest… he’s not sure. Asterius remembers reading about this event, but it was summarized in a brief few paragraphs. It’s different now. He can feel the frayed edges of creation now, the empty bleeding hole where a bright light should be. It's distressing enough in its own right but with the added trouble of this god being Asterius’s -his- father… he would be concerned about his mental state if he didn’t feel confused.
“Master,” and Cadeyrn is there, shadowing Asterius further as he stands over him. From this angle the only feature of the demon he can make out are his eyes; silted and red, emotionless. “We need to depart for the Palace.”
[Host!] The System reads as he slowly gets to his feet, abandoning the ruined painting where he was sitting, [it’s time for the first mission!]
Pluma shifts back into his Vessel Form, tucking his small hand into Asterius’s own, the angel looks worried, a deep frown tugging at his face, clinging onto Asterius like he’s afraid the monster under the bed will get him.
“It’s okay Pluma,” he soothes, carding a hand through his golden curls, “will you help me?”
Pluma brightens at that, happily nodding and beginning to tug him upstairs.
It had taken Asterius longer than it should have to realize the angel was desperate to be wanted. Once he figured that out, many of Pluma’s behaviors started to make sense, and living beside him had grown easier. He gets vague warnings from the system sometimes for being too OOC, but it’s worth it to see the little seraphim brighten and shine like a sunflower.
With Pluma’s help, he slips into the complex mess of ceremonial robes. Even though they knew this day was coming and had prepared the outfit in advance it still takes a painful 30 minutes to get everything on.
“There!” Pluma beams, stepping back to evaluate his work with a proud nod, “Master’s all ready to go!”
Asterius looks over Pluma’s shoulder, staring at the reflection that he was slowly getting used to seeing. In the dim candlelight of the bathroom, Asterius really earns his title as the “beautiful god of stars”.
His outfit is complex, with too many ribbons and ties to count, all a light gauzy purple color. The main robe itself is a dark blue, similar to the color of his star-filled eyes. But on top of the half dozen layers of robes, there are over a hundred knitted tassels and strung strands of beads. It makes him feel more like a Christmas Tree than a dignified god.
His long silver hair has been left mostly as is, minus the new addition of several crystal hairpins adorned with small dangling stars. Asterius is quickly able to identify them as the stars from the mural, he’s not entirely sure how that magic works, but it does make him feel a small bit better to know they will be joining him. Pluma had asked to come along, but the System had given him a stern warning and he sadly had to turn the little angel down, at least Cadeyrn would get to come with him.
And said demon is waiting at the bottom of the stairs, dressed in a dark black suit, well-tailered to his form. Along with a dark blue tie the same color as Asterius’s robes and a large star-shaped brooch pinned to his lapel, made of the same sparkling crystal as his hairpins. Despite the dreary situation, it makes a faint blush rise to his cheeks. He never went to prom, but from all the cheesy romances his sister forced him to watch, this scene feels like it's ripped right out of one.
Cadeyrn doesn’t act overly gentlemanly like the male leads of those movies, doesn’t offer him a hand to help him down the stairs, or complement his good looks like he’s reciting a poem, doesn’t even get the door for him; but he does break his impassive mask to send him a small smirk, obviously planning something Asterius will definitely not like latter. It’s not meant to be comforting, probably meant to wind him up even further with worry and paranoia, but it settles him instead, he’s not doing this alone.
[Is system invisible now?] the text box pouts, [Host is a meanie! ☹]
He stifles his laugh in his sleeve, trying to pass it off as a cough, by Cadeyrn’s raised eyebrow he failed, but the system isn’t going red so he should be okay for now. ‘Sorry System,’ he thinks, falling back into step with Cadeyrn, ‘Thanks for being here too.’
[System is still mad!] It reads, [but System is above such things and will still help Host with his mission.]
He decides to humor the System and plays along, ‘Ah yes, what would I do without my kind and brave system to help me?’
[Host would definitely be in trouble!] it agrees, [Good thing System is here to-] the text box statics and then there’s a new one right in his face [You Evil Host!] it reads in bold [You don’t mean any of that!]
He can’t stop the laugh this time, this silly system might not be that great at its job, but it was good for lightening the mood.
“Master,” and Asterius looks up into Cadeyrn’s face, once again the shadows obscuring his features, leaving only his eyes visible, “we’re here.”
From over Cadeyrn’s shoulder, he can see the majestic castle, smooth uncut white marble and polished gold accents. Large windows flank the entrance and some of the towers are entirely glass, reflective and shining in the dim sunlight. Candles, torches, and lanterns are hung all over, some even floating in the air, leaving not a single wayward shadow. The building itself almost seems to glow in the faint light of the darkened day. It is the Palace of the Sun for a reason.
“Right of course,” and he raises himself up a little taller, slipping back on the indifferent aloof mask of the original Asterius.
He begins to move past the demon but comes to a stop once his arm is grabbed. He glances back over his shoulder, there’s a complicated mess of emotions on Cadyern's face, nothing he can easily decipher, still he calls out, “Cadeyrn?”
The demon startles, locking eyes with him for a second, something he can’t define quickly washing over his face, before the impassive mask is back. He lets go of his arm like he’s been burned, the edges of his sleeves glowing a faint white light as the bindings react. “It’s nothing.”
It’s obviously not nothing, but he lets the conversation drop. He can already feel the judging eyes of the other gods watching them, Asterius is a major god in Celestia after all, not to mention the oldest son that refused to visit his dying father. Vae had warned him that people were talking, it’s no surprise he’s garnered such interest.
[Host must be extra careful today!] the System warns, as they start to head inside, gods and angels shift out of his way, not overly so, but enough that his walk forward is uninterrupted. [Does Host want System to run over the plan one-,]
‘System!’ he thinks, trying to keep a straight face. ‘Stop distracting me!’ he scolds, as they arrive at the several-story tall front doors, ‘Besides we don’t have to even be here for the ceremony, just long enough-,’ his thoughts scatter as they pass the threshold.
He can feel the shift in the air, some sort of teleportation magic that ushers them to a different part of the castle, as between one step and the next they are in a large glittering ballroom, filled with inhuman guests with feathered wings, multiple eyes, and pointed ears.
Obviously, this is where the ceremony will take place. And he stops to appreciate the beautiful ballroom. The white marble floor is decorated with a complex golden inlaid map of the Heavens.
Ceilings as high as skyscrapers tower over them, filled with floating glowing mechanisms that resemble the three suns of Celesita. The artificial Royal Sun shines brightly, giving the illusion that nothing is wrong, that the Emperor of the Gods is still among them, it is an impossible wish.
But it's the walls that catch his attention. For they are covered in murals from famous scenes from Celestial’s long history, like the birth of the gods from the weave of creation to the godly war with Gehenna. The scenes are vivid and while most are pretty tame, there is one that catches his attention. The background is a bright red, with smoke and fire dotting the landscape. A victorious Solveig, standing atop a pile of corpses, golden blade held high. An army of angels at his back. A shiver runs down his spine at the overly gory scene, he’s sure it’s meant to honor their victory in the war, but it’s also a stark reminder of the setting he’s been transported into. Thankfully the war was long over before he came into this body.
He glances back at Cadeyrn, wondering how the demon is taking the obvious untasteful representation of his people. But Cadeyrn isn’t even looking at the wall, in fact, his eyes are glued to the floor, an uncaring and bored expression covering his face.
[Host,] The System says, appearing in front of his face, with a vague red tint crawling up its pastel green screen, [Host needs to dismiss Cadeyrn before the mission can begin.]
“You are dismissed,” he says, voice softer than he meant, tone smoothed by the obvious worry. The System glows red, and before he gets scolded, he quickly fixes his tone, making a vague ‘shoo’ motion, “Do what you will.”
A slight smirk tugs at Cadeyrn’s lips but he still goes along with formality, giving him a bow, “Of course, master,” and heads off into the crowd. Quickly he’s surrounded by an eager crowd of angels and minor gods, all excitedly talking to him, and pulling him further into the ballroom.
“Guess I was worried for nothing,” he mutters, minorly stunned by how well Cadeyrn fits in among Celestia. People avoid Astreius as though he had the plague but flock to Cadeyrn, a literal demon. Funny how the world works sometimes.
[The mission Host] The System reminds, and he tears his eyes away from Cadeyrn, [remember to keep in character] it scolds, as he moves further into the room, subtlety glancing around him at the interesting collection of vaguely human gods and angels.
‘Do I start the mission now?’ he asks in his thoughts, suddenly overly aware of the eyes following him. They aren’t friendly stares, and he has to stop himself from shuddering under the intense weary and hateful gazes. He knew Asterius wasn’t liked, but he didn’t think it was this bad.
[Host can’t start the mission] the System says, turning its screen every which way as though it's looking around too, [It's not time yet].
‘How long do I have to wait until I can give the prophecy?’ he asks, watching the other Celestials quickly stop their hushed conversations as he passes. Even Cadeyrn had happily been taken into the fold of chatting gods and angels. If he didn’t feel like an imposter before, he certainly does now.
Obviously, there is a subdued nature to all their conversations, as this was technically a funeral, but just as it is a day of grief, it is also a day of opportunity. For the hierarchy of the heavens will change, godly seats exchanged, some will rise and others will fall. It's no surprise a few are already jumping onto the ship early, trying to get a few last good words in before the new Royal Sun ascends. At least that's probably what they are thinking, too bad Astreius is here to ruin all their plans, no Emperor of the Gods will be crowned today.
[There needs to be 90% of Celestia present before Host can start the first mission.]
‘And how many are here now?’ he asks, quickly scanning the room, hoping to spot one of the main characters. He’s probably supposed to be with them anyway. Asterius’s personal feelings about his father aside, the family of the deceased should gather together, right?
[There’s only 63%] the System informs him. [and no, Asterius does not gather with the rest of the family.]
It takes physical effort to stop himself from sighing, guess he might as well get comfortable. Time to be a wallflower at his own father’s funeral.