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Old Jin

Excerpt from a record of a public performance by Shataina, Blood-Red Blossom, Lady of Legends

... "And so," the goddess continues, voice softening, "Dialahai-Jin, the Sanguine Wyrm, was bound by the enchantments of Lord Flawless Mirror. And as she sank to the ground -- so softly that the earth barely stirred beneath her huge weight -- these were her last words ..."

She stands, spreading her arms in a gesture of helplessness; the Lady herself seems disarmed and powerless as she speaks for Dialahai-Jin. The room is silent as her voice shifts, deepening, sounding -- somehow -- both with the crackle of flames and the thickness of blood:

"'Oh, my Lord. I feel it now upon my limbs -- the leaden debilitation of the Lassitudinous Code. I see it now ... of course, too late, I understand everything. How ironic that it was I who tricked it from my mother ... and not merely that, but also the great Ashen Vengeance. Oh, my Lady -- how I have betrayed you, and for what?' The behemoth keened, and her great head fell upon her crossed claws. 'Was it even necessary that I be the one to take her secrets and her greatest prize, my Lord? Or did you merely persuade me to do it to perfect yet another of your mocking jests?'

"Dialahai-Jin's voice grew fainter as her eyes fell closed ..." and here the goddess also softens her voice, yet again, so that the entire audience must lean forward, barely breathing, to catch her words ... "... and one of her vast scarlet talons, so threatening once, reached slowly out to Flawless Mirror in a gesture of supplication. 'My Lord,' sighed the behemoth. 'I understand what you wanted. My body -- the only place where kravelt occurs naturally. And if I sleep forevermore, you may slice open my insides and mine my very self.'"

The Lady steps forward and snaps up her head, suddenly, her hair sweeping back across her back; her voice rises and the audience jumps, terrified, momentarily, of the ferocity in her gaze. "'But even you, my Lord, cannot use me so,' cried the Sanguine Wyrm, and all who heard her trembled; even against the binding magic, she opened her eyes wide to stare at the Lord Flawless Mirror, her beautiful enchanter. And even he -- even he, he who had seduced and tamed her, took a step back.

"'I will have my revenge,' growled Dialahai-Jin. 'Even bound by the magic you spun from my mother's cursed Code, you cannot hold me forever. Even somnolent, I can find a Champion. My champion will find my siblings -- and together they will all find you. And then they will take my revenge. They will take revenge, both upon you and upon your damned favourite, Chopakta. Fear it, my captor! Do not forget my words! They will be your downfall.'

"And at last, with an exhausted sob, Dialahai-Jin closed her eyes for the last time." Lady Shataina lowers her head. "'But still,' she murmured as the sorcerers around her came forward, closing in like vultures, 'even still, my Lord, if you had only asked -- there was nothing I would not have given. If you had only asked.'"

[Editor's Note: Lady Shataina appears to be retelling an antique myth about the origins of Old Jin, a long-lost mine. It is certainly known to have produced quantities of kravelt, and understood that Lord Flawless Mirror devoted a great deal of his time to maintaining it. Its ruins have never been found -- although it is known where they should be, they are not there. It would be helpful if the Lady herself would expand further on what she knows of the story, but when asked, she -- as she so often does -- merely, infuriatingly, produced a beautiful smile and left without a word.]


~ Shataina

See also Shataina's other Lexicon entries