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The Iridescent Decade

Shataina, Speaker for the Fair, Lady of Legends, tells the tale:

As the Fair Ones were beaten back, and the Defense Grid of the Realm was at last perfected, the gambits attempted by the creatures of the Wyld to infiltrate Creation became more and more desperate. At some point that is undetermined (for reasons that shall become clear), the Fair, seeing that they were almost beaten, came together, pooling their power, and worked their greatest glamour upon the populace of Creation.

Ten thousand scholars, it is said, have come up with reasons for the Fair's creation of the Iridescent Decade, and all of them are different. Many accept that it was, in fact, an attempt to lengthen their stay in Creation, but we cannot know with any certainty; they are the Fair, after all, their motives unknowable by all of us not born of chaos. Perhaps the Iridescent Decade had no purpose -- or perhaps it did, and perhaps it attained that purpose.

We call this time the Iridescent Decade, but in truth, we are simply not sure how long it lasted. During that period, time itself shifted and became mutable. It became possible to, with the barest effort (or even the most random of chances), shift backwards, sideways, or even forwards in time. It has been theorized that this effect was a mass hallucination and that everyone of the time, in fact, only imagined that they were moving about in time; but this ignores such physical paradoxes as the Amaryllis Tokens, which have been thought wholly destroyed more than thirty-nine times, only to be found again -- with the faintest of telltale iridescent shimmers.

For that was the mark of the Iridescent Decade: the "age" of a person or thing -- measured in the elapsed time they had experienced -- was measured no longer by appearance (for they could simply regress or progress this at their whim); it was measured by a faint sheen to the skin, a shimmer that intensified the more one changed and abused the fabric of Time.

The only creatures unable to take advantage of this shifting ability within the time-stream were the gods, down to the smallest of spirits (and, perhaps, the Primordials and their kindred experienced the same effect); but even the gods, though they could not "move within time", were not immune to the glamour. Those gods who existed in those long-ago days remember the Iridescent Decade with confusion, unable to isolate a linear timeline or recall how long it lasted. When asked to recite events, they universally claim that all events seemed to happen at once, and that the most such a "recitation" would give would be a mishmash of impressions and random happenings of randomly varying importance.

It is thought that a Sidereal Exalt, a Chosen of Endings known as Wine-Coloured Edge, is the one who finally reversed the glamour and "fixed" the flow of time. None can be certain, however, for Wine-Coloured Edge herself disappeared at some point "during" the Iridescent Decade, and although she has been seen at scattered intervals since (and some claim even to have conversed with her), there has been no positive confirmation of either her death or her survival. Even my extensive knowledge of my own domain can tell me nothing of the ending to her tale.

Long after the Decade had "elapsed", Lord Flawless Mirror discovered the existence of such iridescent-skinned people as remained. He fell in love with their skin, declaring it the "most exquisite of leathers", and hunted down those who had such a marked shimmer in order to take their skins and have them tailored into further clothing for his expansive wardrobe. To make matters worse, Lord Flawless Mirror claimed that only by removing the skin while the owner lived could it be perfectly preserved, and the suffering of his victims was terrible. As a result of his horrifying purge, there are no known survivors or descendants of survivors of the most prolific time-manipulators from the Decade, save those few immortals powerful enough to call upon the Hierarchy for their protection; and many of these masked or disguised their shimmer in the times since.

Though the aftermath of the Iridescent Decade has, by now, been mostly comprehended and controlled, there are still troubling echoes, even unto our own time. The Amaryllis Tokens have already been mentioned; there is also the matter of the Years of Artistic Frenzy, which can be precisely quantified by none. The shortest time the Years could possibly have lasted is approximately thirteen seasons, but there are sources which claim that they lasted as long as four centuries. Those who actually lived through the Years and can still be questioned today either refuse to talk about the experience, or give an estimate that differs from every available other.


~ Shataina

See also Shataina's other Lexicon entries