[Private] Heliolatry

Locations: Moriya Shrine, Tengu Village, Kappa Village, Giant Toad's Pond, The Waterfall
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Youkai Mountain is easily the most massive mountain that can be found in Gensokyo. The mountain is so large that the beings inhabiting it seem to be largely segregated. At the base of the mountain live the peaceful Kappa, an semi-aquatic race with a fondness of engineering and architecture. Further up the mountain, one can find the airborne Tengu, who live in a village near the incredible waterfall. However, the most notable structure that can be found on the youkai mountain lies at the very top. Relatively new to Gensokyo, the Moriya Shrine simply appeared one day along with a sizeable lake. This shrine is home to the Goddesses of snake and frog, Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya. Suwako, the original goddess of the shrine, has recently been lying dormant while Kanako roams free, a result of Kanako subverting her in battle. The keeper of the shrine is a girl named Sanae Kotiya. Sanae serves a similar role to Reimu Hakurei, and in fact attempted to establish the Moriya Shrine as the dominant place of worship in Gensokyo before being stopped by Reimu and Marisa. Both the Kappa and Tengu, however, to seem to be starting to recognize the sovergnity of the Moriya Shrine.

[Private] Heliolatry

Postby Utsuho Reiuji » 24 Jul 2013 02:02

A shadow flew over the heights of Youkai Mountain, one that was still unaccustomed to being cast from a natural sun that hung in the sky, cast by someone known on the mountain, despite having never visited. It was almost noon now, the sun still high in the clear blue sky. Utsuho Reiuji, the scorching divine flame, flew on black wings over the lake by Moriya Shrine. She'd been directed there when she'd made inquiries, starting to question the origin of her god-given powers, and she'd been told to ask after another god, Kanako Yasaka, of Moriya Shrine.

Utsuho had come alone. Part of her had wanted to bring Orin along, for the support and to keep the creeping feeling of dread she was feeling as she landed on the path outside the shrine. She wasn't sure what to expect, really. She didn't know why she'd been given those powers, what they meant, or if the goddess had planned anything for her. Utsuho swallowed, steeling herself, as she reminded herself whatever the goddess' original intentions, it didn't matter, she was a god in her own right now, and she wouldn't be intimidated, but she would have answers, answers neither Satori nor Rin seemed willing or able to give her.

Some said that Kanako was terrifying, devious, intelligent and ambitious. Others said she was a philanthropist, spreading charity across Gensokyo to rally faith to her. However they spoke of her, it was with some form of reverence, whether in gratitude or fear, the reputation of a goddess. For a while she had been overwhelmed, she'd never been worshiped, feared by many but rarely held in reverence except by her own kind. But she was still Utsuho the Blazing Sun, a nuclear furnace in winged form. Besides, she was never alone, even if the god was dead, she had the Yatagarasu, her strength and fire. With that in mind she pushed herself onward.

Slowly she started to march up the steps, wings slightly apart, control rod ready, and trying to look as impressive as she could as she prepared to meet her maker.
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 26 Jul 2013 17:23

They are not the prime of existence
Nor are they of the other realm
They are not the mouths that breath life
When the heavens and sky were still not created
They were not the void or the light
Even asks Zarathustra, "Who are the divine?"
- Melechesh, Negative Theology


The goddess could sense the subtle changes in the air. The interactions between elements that betrayed Utsuho's presence. Something not quite unnatural, but more supra-natural. The hell-raven goddess was beyond her peers, beyond even her mistress anymore, if she had the wit and cunning to grasp it. Not that she appeared to. Kanako had been expecting this since she'd made the invitation to Rin in Old Hell, but quite so soon? And her handmaidens of the air whispered that the Kasha was not in tow. How interesting. The goddess was asserting herself, perhaps. She should not be kept waiting.

The doors of the shrine opened, a powerful gust of wind bursting them just as Utsuho set foot on the first step. The interior of the shrine looked to be well lit and welcoming. Quite the contrast to how Moriya perhaps was commonly thought of. Suwako and Sanae were not in evidence, as this was apparently to be a private meeting. The goddess herself was not visible until the hell raven entered. Not blustering as she usually did, trying to make a powerful impression. Instead, the goddess was seated at a low table. No tea or food was in evidence. Just a smiling, patient goddess.

"Welcome. I'd been wondering when you'd be calling on me, though I wondered if your friend would be in tow or not. You came of your own accord though, didn't you? Somehow I am not entirely surprised."

Kanako would let Utsuho stand or sit as she pleased, not making any special accommodations for her guest. The hell raven was a goddess in her own right now, and did not need to be pandered. Or so Kanako felt. Besides, this could just as easily turn into a rude brawl so why ruin the good China until she knew which it was to be...
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Utsuho Reiuji » 13 Aug 2013 03:09

Kanako Yasaka wrote:"Welcome. I'd been wondering when you'd be calling on me, though I wondered if your friend would be in tow or not. You came of your own accord though, didn't you? Somehow I am not entirely surprised."


As much as she hated to admit it, Utsuho felt a slight wave of intimidation wash over her as she beheld Kanako. She wasn't sure what it was about the wind goddess. Visually she may not have been on the hell raven's level, at least she didn't think so. She certainly struck a tall figure and had a cunning look to her. More than mortal to be certain. But it was something more basic, more primal that made Utsuho feel flustered as Kanako spoke. She was an older god, more ancient, more knowledgeable, greater. Despite all her bluster, for a moment, Utsuho felt like a fledgeling again, surrounded by her elders, and it began to peek through her voice as she spoke.

"I-I decided not to ask Orin to come with me...seemed like something I should do myself."

Already she was beginning to long for Orin's presence. But she stood by what she'd decided before, there was no going back now without looking like a coward and a fool.

"I came...because I wanna know why you made me what I am. You were that voice right? The one that told me to consume Yatagarasu? Why'd you do it?"

She stayed standing, trying to look as impressive as she could, even when she wanted to sit down and fold her wings together for comfort. She felt very much like nothing more than a silly little bird here. Why had she come? TO try and convince these gods she was one of them? She didn;t belong on a mountain or in some shrine. She was far out of her element. The underground, that's where she was meant to be, and where she had the overwhelming urge to fly. But she had to stand her ground. She'd come for answers, and she wouldn't leave without them.
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 15 Aug 2013 19:53

Kanako gazed at the raven for a long time. Those eyes. Nothing else in Gensokyo like them, was there? A curious hue of purple-red, like a deep wine that you could get drunk on. Razor thin black slits staring out from the depths. There was a quiet, judging expression to them, separate from her actual one. They saw too far, too deeply. Perceiving matters in a way mortals never could, seeing angles and possibilities in a simple tea setting. In an otherwise inauspicious meeting of two minds. What did she see now, in Utsuho's triple eyes? That third one that she'd been responsible for gifting her. It stared back, the gaze of a dead god. Yatagarasu saw farther than any other Raven. Such wisdom was of no avail when one of his lessers dethroned him. What good then, was the wisdom of a serpent goddess?

"Very brave of you either way, going straight into a snake's den. Especially when you're not sure how you'll be greeted, invitation or not. I applaud it."

She reached over, lifting a red sake dish that had been resting on the far end of the tale. Lightly rolling her wrist, letting the wine roil and roll about in the dish before sipping gingerly at it. How potent must it be, to be of any use to a goddess?

"I made you? Very presumptuous of you. I will freely admit I planted the suggestion in the soil of your mind. That I watered and fertilized the budding ambition, the desire for power. But do you know who finally broke the surface, who finally reached towards the eternal wheel of the Sun in the sky? It was you, Utsuho. You're the one that made the choice to do it."

And I will be the one to reap the harvest that is to come.

"Why did I do this? I did this because Gensokyo, while a dim image of a past long gone, must find its own future. It cannot do that by navel gazing at what once was. Maybe we won't go the same way as the Outside, but we should find a path that suits us. And we will need new gods to find it."
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Utsuho Reiuji » 23 Aug 2013 03:05

"I made you? Very presumptuous of you. I will freely admit I planted the suggestion in the soil of your mind. That I watered and fertilized the budding ambition, the desire for power. But do you know who finally broke the surface, who finally reached towards the eternal wheel of the Sun in the sky? It was you, Utsuho. You're the one that made the choice to do it."


Utsuho wasn't sure whether she felt honored or insulted, brave or scared. Far more likely it was a little of all of the above, and the welling storm of emotion did not sit well with her, not in the least. She was used to simple things, simple feelings, and while she had prepared herself for feeling unsure, she fretted that she was not prepared enough for this.

"Why did I do this? I did this because Gensokyo, while a dim image of a past long gone, must find its own future. It cannot do that by navel gazing at what once was. Maybe we won't go the same way as the Outside, but we should find a path that suits us. And we will need new gods to find it."


Utsuho did her best to pick her words carefully, something Orin and Satori had often admonished her for not doing.

"So...you wanted...you picked...you helped me become a...god...to make a new future to Gensokyo?"

She had a hard time figuring out precisely what that meant from the snake goddesses words alone, but she could hazard a guess. The kappa's were already harnessing the excess power from the Hell of Blazing Fires. What had once been a corpse-powered bonfire was now a raging nuclear inferno, much like Utsuho herself, and the kappa had been quick to monopolize what they could. Enough power to be harnessed, perhaps for all of Gensokyo. Who knew what would come then? She certainly didn't, but it seemed Kanako already had more than a few ideas.
Utsuho couldn't tell if she was simply one step in some enigmatic master plan, or if she had more of a part to play. Either way, she didn't like leaving that up to Kanako.

"I suppose I'm a bit grateful. Even if it was just giving me a push...I want to say thanks." She ruffled her wings uncomfortably. "But it's my power now, and I'll do what I want with it, like I always have."

Instantly she regretted those words, biting her lower lip unconsciously. She knew she didn;t have a particularly good track record when it came to responsible use of her power...but at least she was willing to take responsibility for it!
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 27 Aug 2013 21:39

The Avatar of Mountains and Lakes was very reserved after her short speech. She seemed intensely focused on Utsuho, as if using more senses than mere sight or scent. Or hearing. The Hell-Raven was so immensely bright even Kanako was nearly blinded to look at her this close up; the radiation emanating from her should have been fatal really. It should have been cascading off her in invisible waves that scorched everything around her, yet she held it in check with powers of primordial creation that the goddess envied to no end. It should have been hers. But it had been hers to give, not to take for herself, no matter how selfish she ultimately was. At the last, Kanako had bowed to wisdom, though it had galled her endlessly and she no doubt would regret it until the end of time.

So be it. But this bird thinks farther and faster than even her master credits her for.

"Really, you surprise me yet again. You're taking responsibility, and yet the words you speak are not those of Komeiji but your own. That gives me hope that I did not make a fatal error in pushing you to this. You are absolutely right: your fate is your own, and I think that is something many in this land do not understand yet. They are used to resignation to their destinies, but yours has yet to be written."

She paused to sip at her sake once more, before proffering the dish to Utsuho. There was a few heart stopping beats.

"Are you sure you don't want to sit?"

Kanako didn't see the world quite as others did; this likely colored her perceptions of reality and dreams immensely. Certainly, gods can see color and light. They see movement. They can also taste it. Smell it. Touch it. Feel it on a level that goes beyond mere human senses, which often led them to overlook the obvious or be fooled from time to time by humans of unusual or fortunate cunning. Would Utsuho develop these blind spots, as the human named Kanako once had? Or did her ājňā give her a leg up on this. The serpent was intensely curious but she didn't want to scare or agitate the raven. Slowly, slowly she would find out more.
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Utsuho Reiuji » 02 Sep 2013 21:46

"Really, you surprise me yet again. You're taking responsibility, and yet the words you speak are not those of Komeiji but your own. That gives me hope that I did not make a fatal error in pushing you to this. You are absolutely right: your fate is your own, and I think that is something many in this land do not understand yet. They are used to resignation to their destinies, but yours has yet to be written."


Utsuho wasn't entirely sure how to respond to this. Was the goddess congratulating her? It would have been better if she could understand half of what she was saying. Though she was confident she got the basics of it. Utsuho still had an eternity ahead of her. She was fairly old already, although age and maturity have little to do with one another when it came to hell ravens, and in many respects she was still fairly young. As a goddess, however, she was still a fledgeling, if she could be considered one at all. She had long suspected there was more to it than simply power. She had no temple, no worshipers, and she hadn't been created, but her soul was partially divine, and grew a little closer to the real thing every day as the line between her and the Yatagarasu became less and less distinct, and that had to count for something, right?

"Are you sure you don't want to sit?"


Another moment's hesitation and the hell raven sat down, crossing her legs awkwardly underneath her, trying not to scrape the fine temple floors with her concrete leg. Sitting could get uncomfortable at times. She took the dish from Kanako and took a sip. The taste was strong and not entirely agreeable with a raven's palate. Alcohol was one more thing on Satori's list of Things Okuu is Best Off Not Doing for Everyone's Safety, but she figured as long as she didn't drink too much she, and the mountain as a whole, would be fine.
She gagged a little as she swallowed it down, and then felt very much like a schoolchild being taught how to act and behave. It was a feeling new to her. Satori had always treated her like a pet, not that she minded in the least. She loved Satori-sama with all her heart, but it was a weird feeling nonetheless.

"I suppose..."She was starting to decide what to say more easily. "I want to do something with my power, something great, but no destructive. That would make people like me, rather than fear me."

Was it that simple though? Was the desire to use her power out of charity, or greed? Was the desire for approval a way to shake off the stigma of the underground, or some natal desire to acquire the love, admiration, and worship of others? These questions were barely even a seed in her mind, but that was enough.
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 04 Sep 2013 22:45

Kanako considered that for a few moments. She stared at the beads of alcohol clinging to the rim of the dish, as if hearing or seeing something no one else in the room could. Long beats passed before she finally spoke again, wrestling with her own doubts and thoughts in an empty space that consumed worlds. The goddess rarely spoke rashly, always concerned with how it might change things. Kanako was afraid of Utsuho, even the hell-raven had to see that. But she also had put much hope in her. Fear cohabited with hope, in a divine vessel that was one of the few that could directly oppose the new goddess, if she went astray.

"You want to do something."

It was a statement, more than a question. An affirmation of that intent, an acknowledgement of it. Kanako was recognizing her as a fellow divine being, however immature. However young. Even she had been young once, after all. Hadn't she?

"I think you have the capacity to do great things, Utsuho, the question is if you are prepared to accept that things may not go the way you wish. It is very difficult for us to see all ends, weal or woe, good or ill. You're going to have to live with the fact that you might end up hurting the very people you want to help. That is not a warning against wielding power, however."

Kanako leaned back a little, and it might be at this point that the hell-raven would become aware that her tongue was split, like that of a snake. Scales, formlessly flowing across her pale skin like a tide of glittering jewels. Was she showing more of herself? Or was Utsuho awakening to a more prescient state of mind?

"I feel you have the capacity to give Gensokyo a new future but you have to decide what that will be, and what role you will play in it first."
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Utsuho Reiuji » 11 Sep 2013 18:50

"I think you have the capacity to do great things, Utsuho, the question is if you are prepared to accept that things may not go the way you wish. It is very difficult for us to see all ends, weal or woe, good or ill. You're going to have to live with the fact that you might end up hurting the very people you want to help. That is not a warning against wielding power, however."


Utsuho bit her lip nervously at this. It wouldn't be the first time that had happened, the first and only time she'd gone completely out of control was the event that had made her infamous in the underground. It had seemed so logical, so straightforward at the time. Almost everyone underground was an exile, self-imposed or otherwise, and she'd never seen the justice in it. There were kind people, like Orin and Satori-sama trapped in the bowels of old hell because the people on the surface hated them, and what made them so great? The memories built up a anger in her belly like kindling on a fire. And back then it had been a bonfire waiting to set the world on fire.

It had been a mistake, she knew that much now, and Satori had told her as such repeatedly. That just because they had been exiled did not make the surface-dwellers bad people. Utsuho knew from experience now that there were good and generous people on the surface. She was still rather young by hell raven standards, though she'd now likely far outlive others of her species. And there were others who were likely a great deal smarter about a great deal more things than she was. Kanako was one of these people, it's why she'd sought her out in the first place.

Still, the chance for something to go horribly wrong again worried her greatly. A hell raven was excused from making a large number of mistakes through negligence, distraction, idle thoughts, or simply not paying any sort of attention. Utsuho couldn't make mistakes anymore, not big ones at any rate, and that thought kept her constantly on her toes which was, for a bird, frankly exhausting.


"I feel you have the capacity to give Gensokyo a new future but you have to decide what that will be, and what role you will play in it first."


It was true, she realized. She could do amazing things with this power, above and beyond things anyone she knew could do and, given time, who knows what she could be capable of?
Maybe salvation of the underground? Maybe becoming a proper and full-formed goddess, like Kanako.
Speaking of the snake goddess, Utsuho was beginning to notice changes about her. The ay her eyes changed from round pupils to slits, her forked tongue, the way the light seemed to reflect like scales across her skin.
Utsuho wondered if she ever did anything like that, though it was unlikely, the first steps to apotheosis had been dramatic, and Utsuho wore her divinity like clothes. After all, it wasn't entirely hers yet.

Finally, after long consideration, the hell raven nodded her head.
"I want to learn how to reach my full potential with the power of the Yatagarasu." She said. "I want to make its power mine. But...I don't really know how...can you show me?"
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Re: [Private] Heliolatry

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 18 Sep 2013 22:34

The air changed imperceptibly, charged with a fire that was veiled from the eyes of mortals. Kanako smiled more earnestly, which was a little unsettling even for the Youkai and gods that normally dealt with her: it was a smile of vindication. One that seemed to relish what had been exchanged, and had been waiting with anticipation for what was now uttered. She could scarcely conceal her delight, that naked glee. Wicked old goddess, but her happiness for Utsuho was not feigned nor was she insincere in her response:

"Without question. We should begin immediately."

The walls of the shrine fell away, as the sacred fire that burned at the heart of the shrine consumed all in a flash. It expanded outwards, engulfing them entirely along with all four walls. Only the mirror on Kanako's chest remained, shining in the darkness. Finally, a glint of light caught on the mirror and light returned: they were in a space removed from the world at large. A golden void that seemed to stretch on forever.

"'Appropriation is nothing new, you must understand. Everything that happens is of itself. What I mean to say is that taking of another is the way of gods. My power is one that I seized from others; Suwako was not the first. You are not the last. Reach heaven by violence."

This suggestion, taking the form of an axe shaped like fire, was impressed in Utsuho's mind: whatever ultimate end she had in mind, the beginning was crucial. It must be attended to with care. Shadowy things flared from the white light that suffused the core of the Void, all of Utsuho's fears and insecurities. All of her greatest rivals. All of herself, pouring from a gaping void of distrust in her own power and sense of self. And moreover, all the rivals and fears and shadows could be contained in one breath. Achieving heaven with violence was more than just swinging the greatest weapon: how she did it meant everything.

Meanwhile, the goddess watched from the center of the void with avid interest. Her hands, notably, were making the sign of Dharmachakra.
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