And in his deep introspection, Love felt an echo of divinity. A resonance. A feeling of hope, and the faintest scent of apples. The wind stirred, a breeze through apple trees, and then there was the faintest whisper, "Sister..."
Catching the familiar scent of the lustrous fruit, from recent rebirths, from an age long past, from a time yet to come, Love knew a kindred spirit. "Hope? Freedom? By what name may I know you sister? My darker-eyed brothers tell me there must be a gathering soon. Will we see you there?"
"I am the Fourth. The Creator, the Sustainer, and you, my dear Sisters and Brothers, have long held the balance. Now all three are tinged with despair. Every path leads to destruction, to the end of things. But I am Hope, the ash of Worlds. And when I am released, the world must end."
An Old Flame:
Wind, the taste of apples, the smell of the hellfire cannons as the Les Majesté rockets across the sky. Lust smiles as she sits on the prow, thinking of the coming revelries among the high and mighty of the world, as Love looks forlornly at the fallen ships of their gnome pursuers, pondering another lost in time. Suzette. That one meant more to his last life than any other save his mother and sister. Where could she be now? Sipping wine in her manse in the arms of some fur covered rake? Running the woodlands on all fours in search of a stag? Reclining further he lets his mind wander out over the planes reaching for her...
Ourevel apeared to Suzette Malveaux in her bed-chambers much as he always had, save for the lack of physical form: a little flamboyant, a little coy, and a lot under-dressed. With a sweeping bow that sent a plume of apple blossoms scattering across the floor, Love presented himself to his lady and then took a relaxed, if weightless, seat at the foot of her bed. "M'lady, I've missed you, but I come bearing news."
A ring of fire appears hovering over his left hand. "Of course you know by now that we have slain the false god Tzaluth. All the children of the First Betrayer will know this of course." A second ring in the form of a snake devouring it's tail appears over his right hand. "Some of my companions are a little frightened though, for we have been summoned before the great Council, supposedly to stand trial for upsetting the balance, creating a void of order and an excess of chaos in the world as it were."
A third ring appears in the air over his hands, this one composed of seven apple blossoms, intertwining with the other two. "Neither my friends nor the council have any idea of the true extent of this imbalance. I wonder...how many of the old believers, do you think, could find solace in the embrace of a new god?"
The Distant Past:
A warm wind blew through the halls of House Ahashtyn, bearing the smells of death as it usually did these days. Despite the sound of the summoning bells, Lust did not hurry, his mother would wait for him, she always did, and the thought of the annoyance on the others' faces pleased him. Strolling through the halls, he bit deeply into one of the apples he carried. His mission had been more than successful and his mother would not miss just one of the luscious fruits. "Besides," he thought, "she only really needed the white ones..."
The sweet taste of the brilliant red fruit filled his mouth and clouded his mind for a brief moment. Images of ruby-red throne, of a bawling child of the servitor races bearing a flaming sword, and of his own broken corpse lying at the base of tree he so recently had departed filled his vision briefly. Shaking his head, Lust looked down at the apple and devoured it hungrily, seeds and all, not knowing why, before rushing on towards House Ahashtyn's audience chambers.
Striding in, the scent of apples filling all of his senses, Lust bowed low before Betrayal, his mother. "My Lady, I have here the fruit of the trees of Life and Death." Standing he looked at all those gathered, all the scions of his phratry, those privy to their plans, those souls that could not be bound in this world: his sisters, Pride, Discord, and Deceit, his brothers, Gluttony, Wrath, Greed, Sloth, and Envy. "Mother, if I may? Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to undergo the ritual that is so oft prepared for our servants. We will go to sleep in the temple of the House and awake when this trivial conflict with Targos is over. We have the Seeds of Creation and Destruction, when we awake we will unmake Arva and rule as gods!"
As the scions of House Ahashtyn make their way to the temple that had been prepared for them, Deceit and Discord glide up beside lust, sliding their hands about his waste. "Brother," the twins speak in unison, "you know you will forget all your grand schemes when you go into this sleep mother has prepared for you. We know you love mother, but have you not thought about this? She is not undergoing the ritual. Do you really think that we will be the ones who rule once Betrayal has destroyed the world?"
Nibbling on Discord's ear as they walk, barely paying attention, Lust finally realizes what the twins are saying. "I sometimes forget our mother's nature, sweet sisters, but I can no more trust words from the two of you. It is best that we all stick to the plan we have formed and trust in the bonds of common desire." He clutches playfully at Deceit's breast as they enter the ritual chamber and gaze at the sarcophagi waiting for them. "Still, perhaps it is best if a few of us do not go into Exile. That is what you are asking, correct? Mother will not be pleased, but the pair of you are a more sweet and subtle by far than the rest of us. You might do well to find a place with what remains of the People and wait for our awakening. We may need a reminder of our former life and cause when the ritual has been completed."