17 posts in this topic

My daily writing warm-ups have been turning towards cosmere-fiction of late, probably due to the re-read (and listen! <3 the audiobooks) I've been going through again. With Sanderson's wonderful worlds on my mind, it's hard not to probe their secrets just a bit deeper.
I thought perhaps you guys might enjoy my short forays into these familiar realms.

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

To Hate: 1
---------------------------
Kill them, God said. Kill them all.
Sambion had the power to do so, he could feel the strength in his limbs and the heat raging inside him. The powerful warriors around him wouldn’t stand a chance against the onslaught he could unleash.
But he ignored the voice, for now.

Metal struck metal. Pain blossomed in his mind, the screams of the man atop him drowned out by the roaring swelling deep inside him. The spike pierced his flesh, pushing through Sambion’s skin and muscle with ease as the rhythmic pounding of a hammer drove it deeper. The pain was unbearable, he could feel the metal driving through his body, pushing aside bone and tearing through organs. But the pain of his body was nothing compared to the pain that burned in his veins. A gentle breeze against a tempest.
The pounding stopped, the man tied on top of him had fallen still, leaking blood from a gory wound. There was a dull sense of soreness that throbbed in Sambion’s chest as his brethren untied the corpse and threw it to the ground with a wet thud.
“Did it work?” one of them asked, an ashen and insipid question that barely registered in the hush over the room.
Fingers roughly pulled at his eyelids, the pupils beneath contracting in pain. A gravely voice accompanied the inspection, “He’s alive. We must have succeeded, at least in part.”
“Brother? What do you feel?”
He sat up and looked around at the inquisitive faces around him, meeting their metallic gazes with a flat expression. He lifted a hand and touched the cold spike-head that protruded from his chest.
The throbbing of pain didn’t subside, like the rest of his spikes had after they were placed. Instead it grew until it beat like a rhythm in his head. Drums on the horizon, calling him to action. He turned and lowered himself off the table silently, stepping over the bloody body carefully. He looked at the deep red pouring from the vicious wound and spared a small thought for how pleasantly the rich color accentuated the black-and-red mottled skin of the corpse.
“Did anyone else see that flash of red? Like a little bolt of lightning, right when the spike pierced flesh?” Another voice he ignored, the vast booming in his head drowning out words and thought.
They all regarded him, questions plain on their distorted faces, black robes hanging from their twisted bodies.
What’s this? A new voice said. Deeper, more malevolent. Ohh… This will be interesting indeed.
Sambion smiled at that, only distantly aware of the tortured scream that dwelled somewhere deep inside him. He reached down and hefted an obsidian axe from where it had hung at his belt.
“Sambion?” One of his companions said again. “Are you alright? Did it work?”
Kill them, The new God said. The words rang with a hatred he had never felt before. The words had always been hollow and booming, echoing with a sense of a large, empty room. Now… Now they thrummed with emotion, loud and close. Full of loathing and malice.
No… Don’t kill them. Destroy them.

The air misted with red as he obeyed with glee.

 

 

To Hate: 2
http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=150137

 

 

 

To Hate: 3

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=150358

 

To Hate: 4
http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=153062

 

To Hate: 5
http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=187159

 

To Hate: 6
http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=211692

 

To Hate: 7

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=303224

 

To Hate: 8

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=394677

 

To Hate: 9

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?p=399306


To Hate: 10

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/12248-to-hate/?do=findComment&comment=576133

 

Edited by Zmann966
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To Hate: 2

---------------------------------

The world around him hummed with life.

More than that, there was a deep, underlying rhythm to the bustling cacophony of the city. Sambion could feel it now, a distant beat just at the edge of hearing. He sat at a restaurant, watching the crowds flow by, listening to the individual tunes of conversation that swept past. Hundreds of voices layered atop each other, tumbling in and out of distinction through Sambion’s ears. They formed a melody of sorts, a breathing chorus against the low harmony that beat in his chest, somewhere behind his heart. He would have found it beautiful, a vast and complex symphony orchestrated by some immeasurable consciousness.

Of course, he knew that consciousness, knew it by name, knew it by the low intent he could feel boiling through his veins. All in sync with that deep rhythm. It was why he couldn’t find the world beautiful, why the garish colors around him seemed to clash so terribly.

They were disgusting, vile people flaunting their frivolous colors on the streets of this equally flamboyant city. But Sambion could see beneath their make ups and costuming, he could smell the stink of them, the underlying filth. They weren’t beautiful, they were disgusting. And he hated them.

He set down the iced drink he had been slowly sipping on, a juice of some fruit that grew in the nearby jungles. He could feel the stronger, louder beat of his quarry coming closer. He closed his eyes and flared his bronze.

The sensations of life burst alight around him, it was more than the fast, chaotic rhythm he had been listening to. There was an intricacy to it, a depth of detail that spiraled down into infinitesimal notes and patterns. He could feel it so closely, like the air around him was choked with gnats.

“It’s all the damnation investiture on this forsaken planet.” He muttered, “Though, with a name like Endowment you have to expect it to sweat out of every filthy urchin.”

But there was a presence above the rest, a booming drum amidst the muffled chimes. It was approaching on the street.

Opening his eyes, Sambion watched the middle-aged man pass. He wore the robes of one of those Splinters these people called gods and he moved with a sense of self-assured importance. Though he could barely notice how the colors around him deepened and more vibrant, he could almost feel the man’s bronze pulses like a physical thing. Strong, very strong.

The man passed, but Sambion didn’t turn off his bronze. Instead he set a few coins on the table and stepped into the swirling crowd. At first people looked at him oddly, noticing the brown and gray of his clothing that seemed a scar against the violent colors of the crowd around him. Their eyes always crept up to his face then quickly away, the ornate tattoos around his eyes and temples making them uncomfortable.

Eyes still locked on the back of his target, he began to fill one of his metalminds. Immediately, people stopped noticing him. They didn’t try and walk through him, as if he were invisible. They simply stopped staring, pushing around him as if he were no more important than a bench or tree. He didn’t mind filling his duraluminmind in this city; while such extreme inattention on another planet would be suspect, and therefore defeat its own purpose, in T’Telir people just assumed he was a drab. Amusingly enough, Sambion was a drab, but not because he had given up his breath. He simply had never had one. But that was about to change.

He burned pewter, letting the warmth flare inside him and fill his muscles with strength and poise. He had always envied pewterarms and their fluid grace, the unnatural way their bodies moved and the feats of great strength and dexterity they performed with such ease. The relatively new sensation of pewter inside him, fueling his body into that lithe grace would have made him giddy.

He kept his stare on the back of the priest’s head, following a few dozen paces back as the man continued down through streets lined with shops and packed with people.

Giddy. That was an emotion he hadn’t felt in a long time; so long he could barely remember the feeling, struggling to put a sensation to the now unfamiliar word. He hadn’t known it since before… Before he had come to this humid damnation of a city, before he had fled his brotherhood and his god, before he had entered the Canton, before his house had collapsed…

He pushed the thoughts aside, focusing on old mistakes and past hurts did him no good. He survived all of it, succeeded even when others prayed for his failure.

And now… Now he was in a privileged position. But giddy? No, giddy didn’t describe him.

The priest stepped in front of a small alleyway and Sambion made his move. He took the few, graceful steps up to the man and set his hand on the robed shoulder. “Jerel? I thought that was you!”

The man turned, confusion blossoming on his face as he looked up, taking in Sambion’s baldness, ornate eye tattoos, and his stern gray eyes. “I… I’m sorry, do I know you?”

He tapped his metalmind, drawing from the thick duralumin bracer he wore on his upper arm. “Of course you sly eel!” He burned brass and nudged the man’s suspicion and caution a bit. “We met at the last assembly! Mercystar’s high priestess introduced us!”

“Ohh… Yes, that’s right…”

Sambion gave a little push on the priest’s pride and let his humility take forefront.

“I’m sorry, I seem to have forgotten your name…” He said, shaking Sambion’s proffered hand with a slow, unsure motion.

“Sambion, don’t mention it. I’m sure an important priest like yourself meets dozens of dye merchants a week. I can’t fault you for not remembering us all.”

Recognition dawned on the man’s face, as if he could remember if not Sambion directly, then someone who could have been. It was downright impossible to go around in politics with the Obligator tattoos, even as a soother and connector, things like that stood out.

He clapped the priest on the shoulder, drawing more heavily on his duraluminmind, “I seem to recall offering to take you to lunch at a delightful little cafe I knew of. If you’re not busy now?” He let the question hang and raised an eyebrow. “They have the best crab stew in T’Telir. Please, I insist.”

He could see the man’s smile growing inside him before it crept onto his lips. Flattery and an offer of a free meal. Some men were so easy. He could sense the priest didn’t even notice Sambion’s lack of breath, not questioning why such a wealthy merchant would be a drab.

“I am free right now! I would be honored to take you up on your offer.”  

So easy… Sambion thought as he led the man down the side-street and into a darker section of the alley. He began humming, letting the priest prattle on beside him as if they were childhood friends. He slipped a small glass knife from a pocket at his side and felt his humming change as he attuned the rhythm of excitement.

With a jolt, he stopped short, The Rhythm of… what? He didn’t know how the name came to him, or how exactly he could hear it, but he could feel the melody beating along inside him, a vast movement to an endless song. It felt like bronze pulses, in a way. But such a complex and alien pattern wasn’t some allomancer burning tin a few streets away. This was new and raw, powerful and distant. He couldn’t explain it, didn’t understand it entirely. But he didn’t need to.

The knife flashed in the darkness, a wicked smile creeping onto his face as the rhythm of pleasure began to drum in his mind

 
Edited by Zmann966
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This is Creepy.

 

Keep Writing these. I Like.

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This is awesome, and creepy. Great work. Can we have some more Cosmere mashups? :)

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Thank you for the input!
I usually put down a few paragraphs as warm-up before moving onto my actual projects, which means I only finish a "chapter" every few nights or so. I just happen to have a few in reserve piled up from a few weeks, so I'll attempt to post with a semblance of schedule.

For now...



 

 

To Hate: 3

---------------------------

“See, that’s the problem about mercenaries,”

“What this time?”

The two men sat at the bar, nursing mugs of chilled wine. Their voices carried in the nearly-empty restaurant, forcing Sambion to roll his eyes with every sarcastic comment.

The smaller man took a long swallow and gave a smile, “Everyone expects us to be uncivilized and rough, to spit and curse and drink ale.”
“But we do spit and curse and drink ale.” The larger man said, lifting a morsel of bread up to a large, colorful bird perched on his shoulder.

“Yes, but we don’t have to spit and curse and drink ale.” The thinner man took another long pull from his mug, “Sometimes we like refined conversation over a cup of nice wine.”

“That’s true. But would anyone consider this,” he gestured to the two of them, “Refined conversation?”

No fool in damnation would consider you two refined. Sambion thought, continuing to flip through a small ledger in the light from a small window over his table. He attuned the Rhythm of Irritation unconsciously, the men’s discussion distracting him from his work.

“Why wouldn’t they? We’re discussing the higher philosophy of conscious perception and the role of mass stereotyping in a culture.”

Sambion raised an eyebrow at that, turning to finally look in the direction of the two men. He caught the thin man staring at him, locking eyes across the room as he spoke.

“See, everyone has these preconceived notions about mercenaries. They expect us to act a certain way, to speak a certain way, and live a certain way.” He downed the last of his wine and stood, one hand on the hilt of his thin sword.

Sambion didn’t drop his gaze as the man wove his way through the room and pulled a chair up to Sambion’s small table. He lowered himself into it with practiced nonchalance, leaning back in it precariously as he inspected the Obligator’s eye-tattoos.

“That doesn’t seem fair, does it?”

It took a few moments for Sambion to realize that the sarcastic comment was directed at him. “Judging anyone before establishing a basis is not what anyone would consider ‘fair’, though it does seem to be common protocol in most cultures.”

It was the man’s turn to be surprised, letting his own eyebrows raise as he considered the words. “I can agree with that. The world isn’t always fair, why would people’s reactions be any different?”

Sambion closed the book in front of him, setting it on the table surface gently. “Do you find your lot in life unfair? Or at least your profession suitably unfair compared to that of anyone else?” He didn’t have to turn on his bronze to sense that this man had only one breath, his new acquisition of power did that for him without relying on his allomancy.

“I don’t think I’d mind falling asleep among piles of money inside a vast mansion with servants to wait on my every need.” He shrugged, “But I kill for a living. I take men’s lives and am encouraged to do it as often as possible by people who do live inside such mansions. Yet here I am, barely a few coins to my name and no soft feather bed.”

Sambion eyed the man closely, searching out more details about this mysteriously sarcastic figure. He was decently dressed, if sporting more subdued colors than normally seen this close to the God-King’s court. His sword wasn’t ornamented or inlaid with any precious metals, simply wrapped with a raw-hide handle. The epitome of functional. His boots were well-kept but obviously had more than a few dozen miles on them. And there was that air of grace about him, as if he didn’t need the sword to be deadly.

This man was a killer, through and through. The sense of danger practically radiated off of him, an intangible sense of lethality Sambion knew well from his days training under the Canton of Inquisition.

Before he could reply, the large man chimed in from the bar. “I don’t like feather mattresses, too soft and squishy. Give me a nice cot any day.” He didn’t turn to speak, simply made the statement to the room. His bird gave a noisy squawk of agreement.

 

“Do you consider your employers to be above you then? By virtue of their wealth?” Sambion raised his own glass of chilled win to his lips and took a small sip, not taking his eyes off the man.

“That seems to be how most people view things, isn’t it? Caste systems form more around economic variables than anything else in most cultures.” He waved a hand idly, “But do I think a man above me just because of his wealth? That would be silly, then every two-bit merchant could be considered better than me.”

“Better than I.” The large man corrected to the empty room.

The mercenary scowled at his companion seated at the bar, but continued. “And that doesn’t seem right. Any person could be born into wealth, does that make half the newborns in Hallandren better by some divine right?”

Sambion set his cup down and steepled his fingers, becoming more and more intrigued by this conversation each passing second. There is far more to this man than he would have you believe. More than his clothes give off, more than his occupation would suggest. More even than I may know. He prided himself on his ability to read people, read their emotions and pry out their secrets. He may not have the inclination to play with people like a Soother his whole life, but he’s always had a pension for digging up mysteries and knowledge. He attributed it to the habitual trait of a Seeker to grow accustomed to knowing everything around him. When you could read anyone’s allomancy from an early age, not knowing something eats away at you like nothing else. Soothers and Rioters may consider themselves the masters of emotion, but Seekers were the masters of knowledge. “How would you determine class and value in society then?”

The man leaned further back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head and staring at the ceiling. “You know, I’ve had a lot of time to think on that. I’ve considered and tossed out dozens of ideas, everything from intellect to piety.”

“Have you come to a conclusion then?”

He lowered his eyes to meet Sambion’s, “Not entirely, though I’m leaning toward physical prowess. If I can kill you, I’m better. You kill me, you’re better. Makes everything pretty simple, not to mention it puts mercenaries at the top of the food-chain instead of the bottom. A man could enjoy that.”

Sambion shook his head, “What about assassins and others who use deceit and treachery to kill? Then even the most powerful warrior is beneath a sly elderly woman with an eye for poison.”

“That’s a good point,” the man said. “I hadn’t considered that.”

“How about duty?” The burly mercenary gave a large belch from the bar, “Seems like people put a lot of emphasis on doing what’s right.”

Sambion raised his voice to address the man from across the room, more and more caught up in the conversation. “How does one determine duty then? Is each man solely responsible for his view of what is right? What is justice for one man is vengeance for another. How do you decide who is right in their actions?”

“Protect a flower, kill the pests.” The thin man muttered, eyes distant.

“Exactly!” Sambion said, “What is the universal morality you judge by? What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. Every man is the hero of his own story.”

That elicited a chuckle from the mercenary as he thumped his chair back to the floor. “I like that, every man is the hero of his own story. It’s true, even if a bit simplified.” He smiled at Sambion and gestured back to the bottle on the bar. “Care to join us? We can debate the vast complexities of universal morality some more.” There was a dangerous glint hidden in his eyes. Sambion saw it and had to fight down the urge to burn pewter, the Rhythm of Tension building within him.

Instead he waved his hand and looked out the window. “Unfortunately I cannot. I have a meeting I must attend very soon, and should probably be going.” He made to stand but was stopped as the other man rose in a fluid motion and caught his arm.

“Please, I insist.”

Destroy him. God said in his mind, the Rhythm of Destruction beating steadily behind the words.

At that moment he wished he had finished his induction as an Inquisitor before fleeing Luthadel and his brethren. Feruchemical speed would be invaluable in a situation like this, but it lacked subtlety, took the fun out of dangerous interactions. If only they had waited until he was a full Inquisitor before finding that odd little black-and-red man with his quiet demeanor and even odder power. Instead Sambion flared his brass and smothered the man’s emotions with a burst of power, leaving only his sense of fear and self-preservation. He stood and loomed over the man, letting his full height and tattooed stare make his displeasure known. “Remove your hand.”

Surprisingly, the man did not move. He simply met Sambion’s hard glare with an astonishing resolve. “What are you going to do? Try and awaken your robes and bind me? I’ll have my sword out and in your chest before you can utter a word.”

Sambion chuckled at the man’s threat. He knew of the breath, had the whole time. He probably planned to get me drunk and steal my new acquisition from me. That’s all he is, a petty bandit. But there was that cold brutality behind the mercenary's eyes that stopped him short. No, more than a bandit. Someone far more dangerous than that. It made no matter. Sambion didn’t need his store of breath, just as this man didn’t know the situation he had put himself in.

Pewter let Sambion pull the man’s fingers off of his arm deliberately. “I recommend you rethink your intent, mercenary.”

He didn’t show a hint of surprise at the strength that pulled his hand away, instead he yelled over his shoulder to his companion, who hadn’t moved. “That’s another thing people always get wrong about us,”

“What’s that?”

He pulled his hand from Sambion’s grip and levelled a big smile. “Everyone assumes we’re trying to rob them.” He said.

“That’s funny. We’re mercenaries, not thieves.”

He adjusted his sword belt over his coat and turned to walk back towards the bar, “I was just trying to buy you a drink, no need to get all sore over it.”

 

Sambion made a small bow, “And I’m afraid I must decline.” He gathered his things and left the restaurant quickly, pausing at the door long enough to acknowledge the gesture from the mercenary: a raised glass and a nod of the head. He nodded back, humming to himself as he stepped onto the street “What you failed to realize is that I’m not the hero of this story. Not by any measure of the word, my dear mercenary.” He took a deep breath of the muggy air and felt the hundreds of biochromatic breaths he had taken energize him. “I may appear in history books for this task I set upon… If any histories remain.” A small red bolt of light shot out of his chest and circled his head in the bright morning light before disappearing in a flash and jolt. “But I will never be a hero.”

 

Edited by Zmann966
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I'm afraid I have no constructive criticism, since I basically loved it. I will re-read soon and try to nitpick out a detail or two in an attempt to be of some help, but basically please keep posting chapters of this.

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Denver Comic Con broke my chain of 'X's of progress on my calendar, and as such delayed the practice warm-ups as well.
This one took me a few evenings, but I have no idea where I'm going with any of this. I like the idea of this super-charged hemalurgic badass running around the cosmere causing chaos for Odium, but where's the overall story come in?
I don't see it quite yet. All this is, essentially, improvisation when I sit down to it every night...

 

 

It unnerved him more than it should.

The blood, the gore. The merciless killing and grim torture. He should revel in it.

The Inquisitors would have. That shred of Ruin bolted to their fractured minds enjoyed the visceral destruction of a bloody death with an eerie pleasure. The One Who Hates didn’t necessarily enjoy death; in fact the longer Sambion was tied to this intent the more he believed that the Shard didn’t enjoy anything. It simply hated, and was satisfied when that hate was exacted in a physical way.

The rise and fall of the obsidian blade, the sound of ripping flesh and the spatter of warm blood should have found that sense of fulfillment deep inside Sambion. It didn’t.

Perhaps it was Resolve in the back of his mind, humming away with a solid contentment. The Rhythms of Destruction or Fury would have been far better catered to this type of work, but the dutiful commitment of Resolve plodded on.

Perhaps it is the failure of my personal duty that plagues me so. He could still remember that duty, even the months of twisted corruption could not erase the thoughts of his time in Luthadel.

The Hasting Trials, the Canton of Inquisition, the Sliver of Infinity. They were warm memories, fond ones that even the furious sense of hate burning inside him couldn’t extinguish.

He abandoned them though. For all the fondness and his one-time pride of his loyalty, he had fled his duties and his oaths. If only we had stopped before that foolish pride took us too far. If only we had listened…

Perhaps they wouldn’t have discovered the new metals, perhaps they wouldn’t have stumbled across powers better left to divinity.

He caught himself stroking the end of the spike embedded in his chest, idly rubbing his thumb across the small bump and smearing bright-red blood onto the front of his robes.

That blood was too bright, too vivid even for the intensity of daylight filtering into the secluded garden.

What Heightening caused the aura? I should have paid attention to that squat little mouse of a man while he spoke. Before I tortured him and took his Breath. Before I killed him. No matter, he knew how much he needed to achieve his goals. He was close, so very close. Then he could leave this filthy planet.

Though… If he had learned more about BioChromatic Breath he may have learned how to actually use it with Awakening. He had overheard a few conversations and read a handful of books on the subject, but for all his efforts he could not give even the most basic commands to a mommet, even one made of flesh and bone. The Breath would drain out of him, but the commands just wouldn’t take. It was irritating.

Perhaps it is my non-native heritage. My soul might not be fit to this particular brand of investiture.

It was a lot of ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’ with Sambion recently. It unbalanced him in a way he never thought possible. This was a man who, from the day he snapped as a Seeker had known his path. Without hesitation, without reservation he pursued, he sought, he chased. Everything that hadn’t come easily to him had come with blood, sweat, and tears. And he paid the price eagerly.

Hadn’t that been why the Inquisitors chose him? Here was a man who, when pointed at a goal, shot out like an arrow and let nothing stand in his way.

But these betrayals of ‘possibly’ and ‘not sure’ were beginning to infect him. There was something deep inside him that was beginning to question, probing at the depths of his mind in search of… Something.

With a sudden realization he jolted from his internal musings, the distant scream inside his mind disappearing along with the Rhythm of Remembrance as he caught himself and hummed to Skepticism instead.

Two-thousand, he thought, wiping the gore from his axe with an edge of his victim’s cloak. Two-thousand Breaths and I can be gone. Which means I only have about a thousand more to collect… He had originally thought it a galling task that would take him years. After that first priest, which only gained him a few hundred, he assumed he’d have to cut a swath of death through Hallandren.

But his time as an Obligator wasn’t wasted, nor the training he underwent to become an Inquisitor. In order to hunt prey you must go to where they seek shelter, where they settle down and feel safe. Observe them, find their patterns, and strike when they least expect it.
It was the mentality of a stalker, an alpha-predator with killer instincts. It was how the Inquisitors had found and mopped up Skaa mistings and half-breeds. It was how Sambion was trained, and now it was how he hunted.


Pulling off his bloodied robe, he tossed it atop the body without a glance. The glint of metal pierced the garden’s foliage as glimmers of the spikes in his chest found the sun’s light through the trees. There were three of them piercing between his ribs, all of different metals. But it was the small, brightly-slivery spike through his heart that he rubbed at unconsciously.

He pulled another robe out of a small knapsack and pulled it on over his head, the dark garment falling to cover his Hemalurgy.

He paused for a moment, looking down at the mauled remains of what had once been a man in richly-dyed religious robes. “No. I am definitely not the hero of this story. No hero does this.”

This is not your story, child of Preservation. You are nothing more than a piece of a much larger story. One more vast than you could imagine. Continue your task.

The voice shocked him, before this it had barely spoken a handful of words to him, rarely anything more than the command to destroy. This… This felt like an actual dialogue, and he could almost sense… Yes! There!

His bronze was good, the best the Inquisitors had ever seen. Many Seekers eventually became savants, constantly using their Allomancy to hear the pulses of mistings around them. Sambion was a savant within two months of snapping, the desire to prove himself as more than useless driving him to discover things he assumed no other Allomancer knew. He had trained and struggled with it, but his bronze was as sensitive as a dog’s ears.

And he could detect… Something. Something was behind that voice. A presence, a mind he only vaguely could place. It was like recalling the lyrics to a song he had only heard once: familiar but unknown.

“I am the villain here.” he said. “And so are you.”

There was an immediate pressure on him, pressing down from all sides as if the air was suddenly thick cloth. He could feel it on his bones, on his mind, on his very soul. Suffocating, forcing. Continue your task. Destroy them.


Minutes later Sambion exited the cultivated garden, stepping past manicured hedges and back onto a small, cobbled pathway. He waved away the comet-like red flash of light as it swirled around him. That was another thing that was beginning to irritate him, whatever this damnation thing was it was constantly pestering him.

He finally decided to ignore it and turned down the street, headed toward the sound of voices. He turned a corner and stepped into a crowd that had gathered, waiting at a massive set of stone gates. There was a debate today, apparently the Godking himself would be in attendance. He didn’t care too much for the politics of these so-called ‘gods’, scoping out his next target would be his primary goal.

The body wouldn’t be found for hours yet, and likely the Godking would be sequestered in his palace for weeks after one of his priests was discovered dead just outside the palace’s walls. This might be the only chance Sambion got to observe the man with his own eyes.

“He better be damnably impressive-looking; the strength of his investiture makes it near-impossible to sleep in this equally damned city.”

He stepped into line as the gates opened and let the masses flood into the court of the gods.

 
Edited by Zmann966
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Alas, I have no real excuses for a lack of updates, simply that I have been focused on other endeavors (starting a business, especially a film production studio, takes a lot of time and energy.)
Yet now that I am going full-tilt on a set of scripts for a TV-series, I do need to warm-up again before I crunch down to the real work... So I have another chapter for you guys, bit of a cliffhanger on this one...

Though I still am just kinda writing this for fun and with abandon, even I'll have to see where Seeker-turned servant of Odium is going...


 

 

Booming.

A voice in the night. Screaming.
Thunder in his ears.


Sambion started awake, sitting up in the darkness of his rented room. He threw off the sweat-heavy blankets and jumped to his feet, eyes scanning the darkness wildly. His heart was beating with a frantic pulse, the Rhythm of Anxiety beating away behind his ribs.

There was a presence in the night, a voice so strong that Sambion had to resist the urge to clap his hands over his ears and extinguish his bronze. It was overwhelming, deafening.

He moved to the window and pulled back a curtain, peering into the shadows of the street below. Standing there in the darkness, he waited and watched for long minutes.


Eventually he pulled away from the window and shrugged into his gray robe. He grabbed a handful of vials from the top of the chest of drawers and downed their contents one after another. He placed a few more into pockets in his robes and left the room, making his way down to the empty streets below.

There was a scattering of people, mostly drunks and revelers wandering from tavern to tavern. He began filling his Duralaminmind and didn’t pay them any mind. There was a thrumming in the night, deep in the city, and Sambion was focused on its distant echo like a hound on the scent.

As he made his way through the night, following the general direction of the voice, he couldn’t help but wonder at the new presence.

It isn’t the Godking. He thought, That blasted creature’s Breath is an uplifting choir over the city, the bronze pulses weave a hymn of power beneath the melody of the thousands of civilians and their Breath. This…

He couldn’t place it. It was different enough to give him pause. The sense of power was unsettling; the only stronger presence Sambion had sensed in T’Telir was the Godking, but this new presence wasn’t that strong. It wasn’t as grand or outstanding as the Godking’s, but it was unique in its own right. It was the tone of the voice, the way it screamed at him. The way it struggled against the soft lilt of the Iridescent Tones and played a sharp, jarring counter-rhythm to the rest of of the city.

It was unlike anything he had felt, not a Returned, not a Lifeless, not an Awakener. It wasn’t Allomancy. Nor the similar voice of Feruchemy. Few know of that little trick, he smiled inwardly. Not even the Inquisitors and their breeders had the finesse to sense a Feruchemist filling or tapping their metalminds, it was a skill he had kept well-hidden from his canton brethren. He was positive there was a way to sense Hemalurgy as well, or at least the pulses given off by the invested spike itself, but he hadn’t yet discovered the secret.
Perhaps when I am done in this humid hell of a city I can find some participants for that experiment.

He was jolted out of his musing as he turned a corner and felt the overpowering presence surge against him.

An empty market square. Not a ripple disturbed the silent pools of light that fell from warm windows and lay across the cobblestones. Sambion paused at the edge of the square, standing between two buildings and peering into the night. The screaming in his mind did not diminish, and he knew the source of the voice had to be near. After a few minutes of undisturbed observation he decided to move into the wide street, and was just stepping towards the courtyard when rough voices stopped him.
A group of men stumbled out into the night from one of the taverns, spilling onto the cobblestones in a cascade of light and noise before the door swung close and left them staggering through the night alone.
Sambion stood and watched them as one dragged himself over to a decorative flower bed and began to relieve himself against the massive stone leg of one of the warrior statues that dotted the city. The Obligator frowned, the Rhythm of Irritation straining in his chest and moved to find a way around the men before a shout stopped him.

The man who had been emptying his bladder had spotted something leaning against the stone and was hefting it into the moonlight.


It was a sword. A long, heavy thing clasped tight in a silver sheath. The man was exclaiming over the find to his friends, and they all moved closer to inspect the weapon. The lucky man continued to prattle about his luck until his hand fell on the long, dark hilt of the sword. He fell silent and cocked his head, as if listening to a voice only he could hear. Sambion watched with more than a little interest and cursed his misfortune for not taking a Tineye before leaving Luthadel.

The man stood transfixed, still as a mountain while his friends murmured around him in a sea of chatter. Sambion could still feel that loud, booming voice coming from the courtyard, but couldn’t place it exactly. One of the men? Could one of them…

He watched as the man unclasped the sword and began to pull it from its sheath. His mind shut down and he clamped his hands over his ears ineffectually as the voice inside suddenly crashed against him, a physical force that drove him into the ground.

DESTROY!
With a struggle he yanked at the bronze within him and extinguished it. The world went silent.
He panted heavily into the humid night, only dimly aware of the sounds of scuffling and muffled shouts of alarm coming from the square. Wearily, and with the aid of pewter, he pulled himself to his feet and slowly pushed down the pleading, weeping sensation of the Rhythm of Terror that had risen within. Sambion regained his senses and turned towards the courtyard, feeling blind and thick.
All the men were dead. Brutally bludgeoned to death, their massacred corpses lay scattered around the grisly slumped form of the man who had picked up the sword. He had drawn the weapon, exposing only an inch-worth of the dark blade before attacking his companions. And a half-inch was all that still showed despite that the weapon, sheath and all, was impaled through his chest.

Hesitantly, Sambion stepped into the courtyard, drawn to the morbid scene. He checked his emotions carefully, and was surprised to find the Rhythm of Curiosity slowly giving way to the Rhythm of Appreciation. There was a beauty to the gore, a sense of rightness he couldn’t quite put a word to. It just felt… Like the voice of God. The old god, Ruin.
Eyes fixed on the protruding sword, he drew near the weapon, stepping around the dessicated corpses. He paused, fingers outstretched, and gave himself another internal check. He desired that sword, wanted it, needed it. That wasn’t an emotion he was used to experiencing…
He drew back hesitantly, and continued to assess himself logically. With slow realization he found he could sense a slow and insistent pulsing coming from the sword, despite the fact his bronze was off. It tugged at him with that growing intent, a hidden beast with a vast hunger.

He held his hand back in reservation, but leaned in to inspect the sword. The grotesque and twisted form of the man’s body, still dripping blood around the silver sheath, did not deter him.
Hello. A small and innocent voice said, would you like to destroy some evil?

 
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This is freaking awesome!

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Thank you!
Apologies for the long delay, you know how writing goes. And unfortunately all this must take a back seat to the paying work.

Here's the ending to that cliffhanger for ya ;) 

 

 

Hello. Would you like to destroy some evil?

The voice caused Sambion to jerk back with a start. He didn’t look around wildly, or wonder where the voice was coming from. He was a seeker, one of the best. If he couldn’t tell the difference between a real voice and one in his mind, he may as well hang up his bronze in disgrace.

“Evil?” He said into the thick night air.

Ohh yes! I want to destroy it. Would you care to join me?
Sambion looked around, mostly at the surrounding bodies and moved closer to the sword, reaching out with one hand. He paused, however.
“Why do you want to destroy evil? Were these men evil?”
There was a hesitation, a silence that yawned between him and the black weapon. Ohh yes, definitely… Probably.
Sambion left his hand hanging, fingertips inches from the blade’s hilt. There was an overwhelming desire to snatch up the weapon, to pull it from it’s sheath and wield it. He could tell it wasn’t natural though, there was a tugging on his mind from the sword. He’d been trained against emotional Allomancy too much to fall prey to unnatural urges.

The constant tension was pulling at him though, gnawing away at his resolve. The sword was powerful, extremely so. Sambion could sense the overwhelming strength even without his bronze. It was annoying, almost irritating how insistent it tugged at him. He took a deep breath and wished that he had taken a Smoker before leaving Luthadel.
He paused, watching that idle thought go skittering across his mind. A Smoker? Since when would I want to be one of those cretins? And why? To simply guard my emotions?
The idea concerned him, it was such a deviation from his normally straight-forward logic that the Rhythm of Fear began echoing hollowly through his chest.
That, more than anything, shook him out of his ponderous thinking. The Rhythm of Fear was new to him, completely alien and unlike anything he had felt before. It brought with it the fractured notes of uncertainty and hesitation, a sour and sickly beat that ground against his very being.
“No.” He breathed, “No. What do you know of evil? What can a sword possibly know of the destruction that taints a man’s soul?”
The voice seemed to pause for a moment, as if considering. Evil is simple. Evil wants to destroy good things.
“You seem so certain. Then how do you determine what is good?”
The sword seemed to hesitate longer, trying to find an answer that didn’t exist.
“Let me tell you a story, and you can tell me what it means. Maybe you’ll find our answer” He took a seat on the ground, leaning against a nearby D’Denir and giving a small berth to the sword and it’s grisly pedestal.
“Long ago, before time as you or I know it began…”

Vasher says I don’t know what time is.
“Better for you then, but hush, I am speaking. Long ago, two friends entered a pact together. A deal struck to create something beautiful. But neither had the power to do so alone, they could only create together. One of them was a protector, forced by his very nature to be unchanging and to keep life. The other was a destroyer, forced to reduce everything to nothingness. So the bargain was struck, it was agreed that in exchange for helping the former create, the latter would be allowed to someday destroy their creation.”
Sambion leaned back and gazed into the night sky, letting his eyes fixate towards one twinkling star in particular. “However, when the masterpiece was complete, the protector deceived the destroyer and betrayed him, trapping him so that he could not destroy what they had created together.”
He turned to look at the sword to gauge a reaction and smiled at the ridiculousness of the motion, a sword does not have a face.
“So what do you make of it? Which of the two are considered good? Which one is evil? One is, by normal interpretation, good. He wants to protect and preserve. The other wants to destroy and tear down. But it wasn’t the bad one who broke his promise… He was betrayed for wanting to fulfill his duty, his pre-determined role as a force for entropy. By universal morality, one is evil and one is good… But by relative morality…”
Both.
Sambion snapped his jaw shut with a clack. “Both?”
Yes both. One may be considered good and the other evil, but it is apparent both are capable of doing evil. Therefore both.
“Can two sides in a conflict both be considered evil?”
Yes. Sometimes there is no right answer.
“By that logic then when in a situation with no right answer it is better to do nothing at all, rather than be evil.”
Yes.
“But not everyone has the luxury of doing nothing. Sometimes you must do something.”
Ohh…
“We are forced to follow our nature, are we not?”
Yes. Destroy evil. That is my command.
Sambion’s eyebrow twitched at the comment, mind flicking to the little he knew about Awakening. “So how do you judge good and evil then? Universal morality gets so messy…”
Then maybe evil is only perception. If you have a reason, maybe you are not evil. But I know what evil is, when men try and wield me, or steal me to do bad things to other people.
“Now there’s a good thought. Evil is personal isn’t it? What saves the flower destroys the insects.”
Vasher has said something like that before.
“This Vasher of yours seems like a wise man. Is he coming back for you anytime soon?”
Ohh yes, he was just here a few moments ago, it should only be a few more before he returns, he’ll be so happy to hear what I learned!
Sambion sat upright, glancing into the night and unconsciously turning on his bronze, searching the shadows for the telltale pulse of Breath. Ohh wait… No concept of time.
He did notice, however, that the insatiable lust for the sword had diminished during the conversation and the booming voice in his head was no longer shouting at him.

“I am glad to have helped you, then. Can you answer one last question for me?”

I would be happy to!
“If a man was forced against his will to do something he knows is evil, and doing nothing is not an option… Is he considered evil?”
Does he want to steal me and use me to kill people?
Sambion stood, cracked his back and reached out, grabbing the sword’s hilt. With a gentle rasp, he pushed the sword back into its sheath and closed the clasp.
“No. He does not.”
Then there is hope for him.

 

Edited by Zmann966
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Wow, just... wow. I loved all of it but I think the last paragraph was the best. 

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A short segue here,

More like, I found this chapter half-finished when going through old writing blurbs and decided to finish it up and upload it.
​Again, this is all simply exercise and practice. I have nothing planned out for Sambion, so regular updates are, unfortunately, at the whim of desire.

If people want more I can write more, but as of now it's simply when I get the urge to step away from current projects and have some fun in Sanderson's Cosmere.

Enjoy.

 

 

An explosion of light.
Burning in his chest.

Sambion struggled to the surface, coughing and sputtering. He labored to the edge and heaved his aching body out of the pool, retching lungfuls of water onto the sun-baked stone.
His muscles were sore, as if he had swum a great distance. His lungs gasped at the cool air, pumping against the torment of near-death. But the worst was his spikes. They burned where they pierced his flesh, searing with such pain he was surprised he couldn’t smell his own burning meat in the air. Pain beyond imagining, pain beyond even what he felt when he received the spikes so long ago in Luthadel.

He sat for a long time, staring into the empty blue sky, simply breathing. Inch by slow inch the pain receded, his vision clearing of the darkness that had threatened to take him. It seemed like hours before he finally rolled onto his side, pushing his way to his feet and stretching cramped muscles.
It may have very well been hours, as he noted his gray robes were no longer damp and just a little stiff where they had dried under the sun. His head cleared as he stood, getting his bearings in this new land.

He was on a mountainside, far enough up that he could see for miles around. Fields and farmland lay to one side of the mountain, but on the other... A massive city crouched beneath him, swallowing the slope in its looming, square walls. It teemed with life, voices rising through the crisp air where they wove into a dull murmur as they reached Sambion’s ears. It was life. So much life that the Obligator was almost overwhelmed.

It wasn’t the simple number of people that awed him, Lutahdel’s skaa districts had ten times as many in an area half the size. And it wasn’t the bustle of big city commerce, T’Telir wasn’t so far back in his mind that he could forget the sheer economy of it all. No it was life in a way he had never felt before, but one he could feel himself remembering. Like the call of a long-lost friend, reaching out in the night.

For beneath the noise of crowds and masses, beneath merchants and customers, beneath the sound of religious leaders calling out to their congregations and the responding chants, there was another voice.

Loud and singing, it echoed through the large city, bouncing off the walls and multiplying like ripples with every man, woman, and child it touched. It shouted out to the coast and over miles and miles of ocean that spread to the horizon. It resonated deep in the rock and turned with the seasons.
The little flash of red lightning spun around Sambion in a swirling pattern, as if in response to the wide grin that split his face. But it wasn’t a smile of glee, nor of joy. It was hunger.

Devotion. The voice roared in his mind, I have found you at last.
 

 

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Ohh boy, Bands of Mourning and Secret History have a lot spinning within my mind on the larger ramifications and possibilites of the cosmere... Alas, I can't just have Sambion go skipping through time and worlds to suit current official releases.

No, Sambion will make it back to Scadrial eventually. That's a fact. But for now he is still before of the Lord Ruler's fall, let alone Wax & Wayne. Unlike the beauty of Brandon creating new characters and new books and leaping about around the timeline... Sambion must take the long way around... And that means he's going to need a few more tools at his disposal...

 

 

Laughter bubbled at the edge of thought, echoing through Sambion’s skull as though from a great distance.

Red filled his vision, and his body felt leaden and heavy, ignoring his attempts to move.
The laughing sounded familiar to him. Odium, he thought. Even now he mocks me. It would explain the pain he felt and the blood in his eyes, the wrenching in his bones and the burning in his flesh. Sambion’s new god reveled in pain and destruction in a way that made Ruin’s tendencies look tame.

A face appeared, sharp angles and strong lines frowning down at him.
Sambion’s vision faded, his consciousness wavering with the jolts of pain that wracked his body. People appeared and disappeared during his brief moments of lucidity, and as he drifted in and out of consciousness he could hear snippets of conversation.
“... Don’t care if he’s not Derethi, Wyrn himself insisted…”
“... Metal spikes all over… Don’t even know how he’s alive. Should we remove them or inscribe around them?...”
“...Yes. Laughing. I’ve never seen the like… We may have broken his mind...”

After what felt like hours, Sambion clawed his way to sensibility long enough to take in his surroundings.
He was in a small room, lit only by a few, flickering candles. The walls were rough-shorn stone, and no windows broke up the dark, glistening rock. A rough, wooden table in the middle was the only furnishing, and it was upon that he found himself strapped. Trying to rise he pulled at the thick ropes that restrained his wrists and ankles. Those won’t last long… He reached towards his metal reserves, searching for pewter and…
Empty!
With a sudden shock he realized that all his metals were gone. Including bronze.

Fear gripped him, the pounding of his heart taking up the Rhythm of Panic. He felt blind. He felt deaf. Alone and empty as the world closed in on him. Claustrophobia clamped down on his lungs as they pumped frantically. Air! I need air! I can’t breathe! Air!
He began thrashing at his bonds, struggling against the coils until his skin chafed away and blood welled at his wrists and ankles. He tried to scream, but found his throat unable to produce the sound, vocal chords protesting under his terrified hyperventilation.
He began rocking, hoping he could knock the table over and free himself. As his struggling reached a crescendo, he noticed the flash of red lightning swirling around him. In a fear-induced desperation he reached out for it, mentally pleading with the… whatever it was, to help him.

 

The spren reacted.

It shot into his chest, sinking into the flesh with a flash of light. His mind snapped, recoiling form a burst of energy as a jolt of pain seared behind his eyes. His spiked burned in his flesh, the atium through his heart growing so hot as to begin smoking, sending curls of scorched meat pouring from the wound.

His screaming came in full force then, splitting the air and tearing his throat ragged.
 

Red filled his vision. Not the thick and heavy swelling of blood, nor was it the hot intensity of rage. It crackled in his eyes, an electrical surge that coursed through him, begging to be released. He could feel it in his muscles, coursing through his veins with a raw untapped energy he had never felt before. Sambion couldn’t fight it, he knew he couldn’t. So he did the one thing he had always found difficult. Even amidst the smothering lack of bronze, he did what he had rarely been able to. He submitted.


The pain disappeared, leaving only the fading smell of burning flesh. The laughter was back though, a drumming inside his head that rose with a manic fervor. The Rhythm of Amusement danced along inside him, and off counterpoint to the screaming voice that was with him always.

He felt his muscles strain against the ropes that held him, testing their strength. Anger rose in him, a furious thought he couldn’t contain nor discern the origin of. And yet it felt familiar.
They restrain ME?!

Power welled inside him, building quickly to a painful climax. It surged from him a crackling energy that leapt from his hands and burned away the ropes around his wrists and ankles.


He sat up and swung his feet to the side, heaving his aching body onto unsteady feet. Looking at his hands Sambion could see red sparks dancing between his fingers, arcing across his knuckles with uncaged energy. He also took not that his forearms were… Unnatural.

That was the best word he could find to describe the grotesque twists and knots of muscle and bone that strained beneath the numerous scars on his skin.


He flexed and felt power in those arms. Raw power, carved deep into his bones. It was unlike anything he had felt from Allomancy or Feruchemy, it was more primal than the vitality he felt holding thousands of Breaths. There was more to it that pure physical strength, however. There was something… “Dominating. That’s what it is.” He smiled to himself as he found the word.


He had little time to revel in his new strength before the thin curtain separating the his cell from the hallway was pulled back. A man in a red hood poked his head in and grew wide-eyed when he saw Sambion up and about.

“You’re awake? That’s unheard of! Why if…” He noticed the destroyed bonds on the table, and fell pale.


Sambion didn’t need the voice in his head to prompt him to action. With an unnatural burst of speed, he crossed the small room and grabbed the red-robed man by the neck, easily lifting him off the ground. Destroy!

He stopped himself from crushing the man’s windpipe, cocking his head to listen to Odium’s booming. He found it… Lessened. Not as overwhelming and demanding as the god’s presence usually had been. He found that, with a small effort, he could resist the commanding voice. Push it away into the back of his mind.

The thought made him smile, a true and deep smile that had nothing to do with the Rhythm of Joy the spren beat inside his chest.

Spren? The word came to him unbidden. He almost couldn’t place its origin, but it felt right somehow. He could feel the presence of it within him, pulsing along with a vicious joy that reminded him of the pulse of that demon sword he encountered in T’Telir.


He pushed the knowledge aside and regarded the gasping priest clutched in his hand. Destroy! Odium boomed at him. Destroy! The spren inside him cackled. DESTROY! The memory of the sword rose in his mind.

“Of course I’ll destroy him.” He said. “But in a moment. Answers first.”

He found that he couldn’t take as much pleasure in the fear that crept onto the man’s face as he once had. He would need to find other ways to sate his bloodthirst in the future. No matter, he thought. With all the cosmere at my disposal I’m sure something will challenge me.


But for now he took pleasure in watching the Derethi priest squirm under his gaze. “Tell me, my good man. What exactly did you Dhakor do to me?”

 
Edited by Zmann966
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Thanks!

I had an idea I wanted to write, but couldn't place it in any of my original stories. I got caught up in it and began to write it withing the breadth of Sanderson's cosmere... so Chapter 9 comes right hot on the heels of 8.

Please forgive any oddities in the timeline, I've realized that in order for certain things to work out properly, some of the earlier chapters would have to be rearranged a bit... But again, this is really just a writing warm-up most days, so I'm gonna cheat a bit and call it "cosmere mumbo jumo"


Also, I realized after posting this that it's a doozy! Apologies for the long chapter. Without any actual editing, my rambling doesn't get cut.

 

 

 

Sambion knew something was wrong the moment he felt the change in the universe.

It was a subtle change, something even the most talented of Seekers couldn’t have placed. But Sambion was no ordinary Seeker. He didn’t move. Didn’t start or jump at the sudden change, merely opened his eyes.

He had been meditating, sitting cross-legged on an outcropping of rock near the top of a mountain. It was a mountain he had never seen before, on a world whose name he didn’t know. He hadn’t cared enough to learn it when he arrived, and still didn’t.

It was a way-station. A middle point. Why would he bother? After all, it was merely a set-piece to his journey, and a doomed one at that. If Odium had its way, the entire cosmere would suffer a fate worse than death. Perpetual and overwhelming hatred didn’t allow for a pleasant existence. Still, the island upon which he sat was pleasant enough, and hosted easy access to the Cognitive Realm. Just not important enough for him to learn its name. I could have just as easily stayed in the Cognitive Realm, he thought. It would have been far easier and less time-consuming had I not sought out a perpendicularity to re-enter the Physical.

But staying in the Cognitive could be dangerous. When he took his body there physically, it was subject to all the normal passages of time and the effects of the natural world. Hunger, thirst, and of course, bodily harm; he would be susceptible to all of it. No, better to find a world he could stop at than remain in the other plane too long. He could always visit through meditation. Which he had just been doing when he was struck with the wrongness.
 

It was an oddity, one he couldn’t initially place. He opened his eyes and looked at the world around him, attempting to identify the weird sensations he felt.

The sky was a cloudless blue, and out over the vast expanse of jungle directly beneath his mountaintop, he could see equally-blue ocean. The air was cold and crisp, and he imagined he would be shivering were it not for the complete disconnect his mind had with his body while meditating. He drew a long, deep breath and exhaled sharply, watching the ice form in the air in front of him. So very like the mists of his home, yet so fleeting and weak. He was reminded that the next time he was in Luthadel, he should find a Feruchemist and take their brass. A middling comfort, but a valuable one should he encounter a world with extreme climates.

As he inspected the world around him, the red bolt of lightning flitted into view, dancing to and fro in front of his eyes. His gaze followed it through the playful zigzags it flew in the air, then he cocked an eyebrow.

“Must you constantly zip about? It is quite distracting you know.” He said.

The spren stopped before his face, crackling and vibrating with an… Uncertainty.
That was odd, Sambion thought. In his time since he had fully bonded with the spren and escaped Dhakor, it had never given him a sense of… Emotion.


It was yet another oddity. But unlike the earlier sense of wrongness he had felt on the Cognitive, this one could be pushed aside. The spren had stuck with him for the last few dozen decades or so—ever since he had received that stake from the odd black-and-red man on Scadrial—and he didn’t anticipate it leaving any time soon. Answers to those questions later. For now he had to focus. Focus on the shudder he had felt ripple through the cosmere just a moment ago.

He tapped his Bronze and opened himself to the universe.

Bronze wasn’t like other mistings made it seem. To them it was little more than its namesake, a metal for seeking. It relied on the Allomancy of other mistings, only being of use when trying to find users of the metallic arts.

But it was more, so much more.

Sambion let his Bronze burn, flaring it as he always had, savoring the raw awareness it granted him. He felt the cosmere. Not just pulses of Allomancy, or the far more subtle thrumming of Feruchemy. He sifted through the numerous points of investiture coming from the jungle below, and ignored the cognitive aspects of sentience emitted from humans on the surrounding islands.

He quieted himself and listened to the rhythm of the three realms. Breathed in.


The rock beneath him slipped away. The mountain, the island, the entire world seemed to disperse into nothingness.

He was alone in an empty expanse, nothing but darkness below and a star-filled sky above. Alone except for the crackling thunder that roared in his ears and the red lightning that pulsed around him.

He knew the sight of his spren on the cognitive plane, he had visited many times before both physically and spiritually. Here it wasn’t the annoying, flitting little bolt of red light. This was its home, and here it flourished. Rippling with an angry energy, it hovered around him, crouched like a curious predator considering its next meal.

Sambion ignored it, pushing it away like he did the other distractions.

The bright glowing of his spikes had been difficult to get used to, shining a white-hot that he couldn’t stare at directly for too long. His metal minds had been easier, once he acquired them. They shone brightly too, but in a far more bearable manner.

The humming luminosity of his skin had been disconcerting at first, the pulses of rainbow light rippling over his body had given him pause when he left Nalthis. But he eventually grew accustomed to the colors, cascading in waves to some unknown song. Well, previously unknown.

The blinding streaks emanating from his arms had been the worst though. It had been years and still they throbbed with a violent desire, making it near impossible to focus on anything else. The carved symbols in his bones seemed to itch when he was on the physical, and burn when he was in the cognitive. He pushed the thoughts away though, and focused.

The shudder had been jarring. No, not jarring. That was sudden and abrupt, like having your jewelry hit by a coinshot or lurcher. This was more… Discordant, he smiled inwardly, that was the word. It was a slow, tilting upheaval, like being in the presence of a rioter and soother at odds with each other. It pressed upon you like a smothering blanket, leaving you uneasy and your stomach twisted in knots.

He shook his head and did away with the metaphors. He reached out with his bronze and listened closely. The musics of the cosmere sang to him, in all their shattered glory. He could hear the furious song of Odium and the nurturing melody of Cultivation. Behind those he could even place the softer, limping chant of Honor.

Devotion and Dominion sang a haunting duet to each other, equal parts elegy and dirge, their voices fading into the background noise and becoming little more than a whisper.

Endowment had her place center-stage with an uplifting aria that struck notes Sambion could never have imagined existed. He still couldn’t wrap his mind, as expanded as it was, around that particular shard, and his comprehension of her voice suffered for it. Perfect pitch could only help so much in a song of this magnitude.

He listened to the cosmere for long hours, sorting through the orchestra of gods and men, trying to find the source of the divergent voice. It eluded him in a frustrating way, and he pushed harder at the three realms, hoping to pierce their veil.

Until he noticed it. It wasn’t so much something singing off-key as it was a hole in the larger piece. With sudden, dawning horror he realized what was missing.

Preservation was gone.


Not broken, not splintered like so many other shards. Gone.

With a jolt, he fell out of his meditative state. Panic overtook his mind, and it was difficult enough to enter the cognitive with calm conviction. He opened his eyes and expected to see the world burning around him, jungles aflame and the sky on fire. But it was all still a calm, serene blue. A perfect day.

He jumped to his feet and looked around wildly, seeking the path back down the mountain and to the shardpool. He had to figure out what had happened at his home, had to get back and find out what had gone wrong.

Had Ruin finally won? Did the Lord Ruler fail in his duty and let the force of entropy escape from his prison? Would Scadrial survive Ati’s wrath?

All these questions ran through his mind as he sped down the rocky path. The thick wall of jungle met him a quarter of the way down the mountainside, and he barely cared for the dangerous flora and fauna he pushed aside as he ran. He didn’t think too much of the people he had left behind in Luthadel. How long had he been gone? He didn’t remember exactly, but anyone he had cared about was probably long dead and gone. Not that he had cared about anyone.

But getting more hemalurgic spikes would be very difficult if everyone was wiped from the face of Scadrial.


He turned a corner in the trees and climbed through a stony crevice in the rockside, splashing through the small stream that split the passageway. As he pushed out of the rock and into the large clearing, he stumbled. Water splashed as he went down in the knee-deep pool that occupied most of the open space. His fall sent a colorful flock of large birds to wing from where they had been resting amid the branches of a large nearby tree.

He lay in the water, staring at the sky with wide eyes.

Ruin’s voice had just disappeared from the cosmere.


What happened? He attuned the Rhythm of Pleading and, when he found no solace there, felt the Rhythm of Terror slowly creep into his soul. What could have caused both of the gods on his home world to die? They weren’t splintered or fragmented, even Odium’s wrath couldn’t end a shard completely. But there was the silence, staring back at him, empty. Gone.


Suddenly, Sambion felt Odium’s presence. As if the god had heard his thoughts. Pressing down upon him like it so often did, he could feel hatred’s voice boom around him.

Do not go to Scadrial.

“I... I must! I must find out what is happening!” Sambion hated the pleading, whimper his voice made. But the Rhythm of Terror and the sensation of hopelessness wouldn’t let go of their grip on him.

DO NOT GO TO SCADRIAL, Odium roared, YOU MUST NOT FALL UNDER HIS INFLUENCE.

Sambion couldn’t move. Tried as he might to ignore the voice, it pushed at every fiber in his body, holding him down.

I have a task for you. Go to Roshar.


He lay in the water for what felt like ages, unable to think and unable to move. Odium had left him alone after ordering him to Roshar, but Sambion hadn’t yet mustered the will to move. Instead, he closed his eyes and meditated, letting the orchestra of the cosmere flood into him. Ruin and Preservation were gone but…

The obligator’s eyes shot open. He had heard something. Quiet and timid, like a new bride on her wedding night, there was a hesitance to the voice, but it was there.
He sunk back into the cognitive realm, calming his mind and listening intently. The shards he knew intimately—the ones who had granted him his allomancy and, eventually his feruchemy—were gone. In their place he heard a new voice, soft and contemplative. It was growing in strength, becoming louder and rising against the subtle music of the cosmere. The voice felt familiar to Sambion, as if he had known it forever. There was a beauty to it, one even his hate-filled mind could appreciate. The notes were ascendant, rising and falling with perfect melody. It was as if a thousand choirs were singing a hymn directly to him. And in that music, Sambion felt Harmony.

 

 

 

 

I also just realized that the forum post don't keep my paragraph structure/tabs... Boo...

Edited by Zmann966
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    “Now, we understand that the Ardentia draws many sorts to its ranks, and we certainly don’t care where you came from—so long as you profess faith in the Almighty’s teachings…” The rotund little man turned to Sambion, letting his words hang in the air with the implied question. When the tall Obligator made no response, he pushed his spectacles up his nose and continued walking, prattling on.
    Sambion tuned out his words and kept his eyes forward, doing his best to ignore the ardent. Roshar was… Alive. It was a thunderous echo in his mind, and even with thick walls of stone between him and the highstorm, he could feel it.
    The investiture on this planet was immense, and the way it raged across the land freely… Sambion shook his head, amazed and stunned at what he felt. This was the power of a Shard. One of the most powerful entities in existence. Responsible for creating entire planets and peoples. His people, no less. That had come as quite a shock to him, early on. That Preservation and Ruin had created humanity on Scadrial. They had copied from an original species, of course, but that didn’t diminish the fact that he was the result of two ordinary men wielding god-like powers. It was humbling, in a way. And yet…
    And yet, even with the highstorm raging across this world, just a dozen feet from where he stood, he knew that this was the power of a dead god. Even a being as powerful as Honor could be killed. Could be shattered. 

    “—You’ll have to give up any property, of course. You’ll be property yourself, should you pass the training and be accepted into one of the devotaries…” 
“What?” Sambion asked, snapping out of his musings and focusing on the ardent.
“Property. All ardents are, essentially, slaves to their masters.” He said. “It’s a simple matter, and mirrors a greater metaphor of all men serving the Almighty. It also gives the people peace of mind, knowing that something like the Heirocracy can’t happen again—”
    “The Heirocracy? Priests don’t hold governorship here?”
“Of course not!” The little man looked abashed. “After the Sunmaker crushed the corrupt priests of the Hierocracy, Vorinism has… Adapted in order to be able to remain here for the people. And we’re not priests, thank you, we’re Ardents.
     
    It was an oddity. An abstraction from how Sambion understood culture to function. From his own experience on Scadrial under the Sliver of Infinity, he knew the kind of stability religion granted when allowed to rule. It was something he had come to assume was a universal truth. Religion was designed to unite people, and the best way to do that was to rule. Hallandren not only worshiped their gods, they formed their entire governmental system around them. Shu-Dereth granted Wyrn and his empire a divine right to rule, and even Korathi priests had influence over the politics of Arelon. To hear that not only had Roshar thrown off it’s religious leaders, but owned them as property…

    “You look shocked, Child Sambion. I guess that you are new to Vorinism and its histories. Most come to us after many years of study and contemplation. May I ask what drew you to the Almighty in the first place?”
    Hunger. Power. Hatred. “Curiosity.”
    “Ahh. Yes that’s a common cause to seek faith.” The squat ardent said. “Questions. Questions about your place in the universe, questions about your calling and what the Almighty has in store for you. A common desire…”
    Sambion let the man continue to ramble, but his mind was aflame with the implications. Here, in Alethkar, gods didn’t rule. The leading caste didn’t vie for power with the priests, nor did they feel threatened by a church with too much power. At any time they could cast their ardents out, or even sentence them to die.
    It was ridiculous. It was horrifying. It was brilliant.

    For a man who grew up in a strict religion, he never had questioned that his god was all-powerful. The Lord Ruler was immortal, unquestionable, the Sliver of Infinity. 
    For the last few decades, ever since he had left Scadrial, he had been unable to silence the massive voices of the gods, calling to his bronze from across the cosmere. He had found no exemption, no refuge from them. Their altar was creation itself. To exist was to be under their thumb.
    And yet, here on Roshar it was different. Odium may have killed their god in eras past… But these people had done more than just kill the Almighty. They enslaved it.

    The gears inside Sambion’s mind began to turn, and out of the tumultuous chaos of his revelation a plan began to form.
    He turned to the ardent next to him, a grim smile forming on his gaunt face. “Thank you, Brother. I accept your tutelage. I would be honored to join the Ardentia.”
 

 

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