Before the Matrix.
Banks of clouds roil about here. There are 10 cylindrical chairs of transparent crystal here. Encircling the area, a wide crystalline table sits upon a line of balustrades here. A statue of Elostian stands here, memorialising His noble spirit. There are 22 Sentinel Deputy Commissars here. The graceful, translucent form of a bird of paradise dances in the air, the insubstantial image shifting through a constant stream of vivid colours. Radiating with an incandescent brilliance, the Matrix floats within the circular walkway, slowly turning and revealing flowering geometric patterns. Wind whipping through his wings, Fraesic Sunfar, Keeper of the Matrix is here, face upturned to the chill breeze. There are 2 storm-coloured greyhounds here. In the shape of an open palm, a metallic sigil lies here. There are 10 Guardians of the Dodecahedron here. A package for carrying food has been left here. Surrounded by forks of white lightning, a scintillating gold thunderbird spreads his white-feathered wings here, grey eyes alight with a considerate intellect. Motes of icy white energy flutter about within a nebulous volt as it drifts about, humming with faint static. Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory is here, surrounded by a flurry of white feathers caught in a perfumed breeze. She wields an auroral tower shield of the Sun-in-Glory in her left hand and a delicate crystal staff in her right. Violist Pipra is here. She wields an aerodynamic viola hewn from sapphire in her left hand and a silver octagonal greatshield etched with webs in her right. Serenguard Turnus Windwhisper stands at the ready, his face adorned with colourful warpaint.
You see exits leading northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest.
Zyphora Windwhisper smiles brilliantly at you in greeting.
You smile and say to Zyphora, "A most wonderful occasion indeed, and one that I must admit that I
did not expect to see."
Shedrin arrives, following Primus Ileein Shevat.
Sparkling, essence-traced calculations precede Ileein as he drifts in from the southwest.
Ileein enters at the head of a procession of the Fellows of the Institutional Society, resplendent in academic regalia, and with crystals glinting in orbit around them.
You laughingly say to Zyphora, "And may I say that it is a pleasure to see you for once outside the Domoth Realms. You have been so hardworking in claiming and upgrading all those thrones and such lately."
Formally, Primus Ileein Shevat says to Falmiis, "The Institutional Society of Hallifax for the Improvement of Temporal Knowledge presents its compliments to the Chairman, and to the Ascendant-to-be."
Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory says to you, "It is a pleasure to see you too. I hope that the domothean realms eventually become nearly as familiar to me as the bridges of Hallifax."
Sylandra arrives from the northwest.
A glowing sphere buzzes in and circles several times around Sylandra. Glowing gemstones flash before a door opens and shoots a dignified dingo origami into her hands.
A glowing sphere beeps several times before buzzing away at great speed.
A dignified dingo origami unfolds and sings to Sylandra, "Greetings, my love. I wish to inform you that citizen Lochlioc intends to join the Symphonium. He is newly awoken from a long slumber, and I gather the transfer will facilitate his reintegration. He is likely to seek out the guild staff himself, but you may wish to keep an eye out for him. May you be well, and your efforts fruitful!"
A dignified dingo origami flutters apart in wisps of vellum and disappears from Sylandra's hands.
Sylandra looks up into the air for divine inspiration.
Lady Sylandra Shevat, the Winter Sonata says, "Ahem."
Falmiis peers at Sylandra unscrupulously.
In a calm but commanding voice, Falmiis Shevat says, "Citizens and guests, today we are gathered to celebrate. Through the collective efforts of all of our citizenry, from our humble indentured servants to our most accomplished scientists and artists, our city has flourished. This can be seen in how quickly the reserves of power in the Matrix have grown."
Falmiis turns and takes considered steps towards the Matrix. Reaching out, a mote of energy leaps from the Matrix and swirls around his fingertips. Withdrawing, he turns around to face the crowd once more.
With greater vigour, Falmiis Shevat says, "Service to the Collective is an honour and due to our labours we are now capable of granting one of our citizens the opportunity to serve Hallifax at perhaps the highest level of service possible. You have spoken and today we ask Provost Zyphora Windwhisper to accept the great honour of being raised as our next Vernal Ascendant."
Turning to face the Aeromancer, Falmiis Shevat says to Zyphora, "The life of a Vernal Ascendant is one of expectation, sacrifice and selfless service. Know that this is can be a thankless existence. Our citizens and allies will inevitably look to you for guidance and leadership and just as our city is the Beacon of Harmony, you will become our beacon in our quest for greater harmony."
Solemnly, Falmiis Shevat says to Zyphora, "You will be forever bound to serve, protect and enrich our great city and to represent the Collective with pride and dignity. Our city has chosen you among all others because they believe your lifelong service to the Collective demonstrates that you are worthy and capable of all of this. Do you accept this great honour?"
With great solemnity, Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory says, "I accept."
To the audience, Falmiis Shevat says, "Citizens of Hallifax, do you have any words at this moment to speak in honour of Zyphora's rise to Vernal Ascendancy?"
Shedrin Windwhisper says to Falmiis, "If I may, Chairman."
Falmiis Shevat says to Shedrin, "Please, High Exemplar."
Shedrin Windwhisper says to Zyphora, "Provost Zyphora Windwhisper. You have been chosen to join a line of individuals who have dedicated their lives to Service. We of the Collective have deemed you worthy of this, and we trust that you will serve dutifully."
Shedrin ponders the situation.
Shedrin Windwhisper says, "I shall make a personal comment. I have witnessed the Provost from her young days as a Zephyr, and her growth and leadership has been exactly as I expect from a paragon of Collectivism."
Zyphora smiles softly.
Shedrin Windwhisper says to Zyphora, "I shall follow you into your domotheon conquests and other operations, and together, we the Collective shall prevail."
Shedrin Windwhisper says, "That is all."
Falmiis Shevat nods in agreement with Shedrin.
Falmiis Shevat says, "Do any others wish to speak?"
Stepping forward and inclining his head fractionally, Primus Ileein Shevat says, "If I may, Chairman?"
Adjusting his crisp black and gold stole and addressing the audience, Primus Ileein Shevat says, "The raising of a Vernal Ascendant is no small matter. Since a small, uncertain crowd gathered to raise Prav Objevit a century and a half ago, Hallifax has raised many an Ascendant, but it remains no less grave a consideration."
Sylandra nods solemnly.
Primus Ileein Shevat says, "Both the Board of Directors and the citizenry at large, by necessity, gave the matter their utmost attention over a period of more than two years, and that process is now coming to a close."
Primus Ileein Shevat says to Zyphora, "Provost Windwhisper, I will not speak overlong on your qualifications, for in your selection as Vernal Ascendant, they are implicit. Any Ascendant of this Collective must be all that the Collective can be, and I am entirely confident in the selection that has been made."
Primus Ileein Shevat says to Zyphora, "That said, understand that while the position of Ascendant is a weighty one, is not necessarily a lonesome one. You are a representative of the Collective, embodied, but not that Collective yourself. We all stand beside and behind you, and will do so whenever we are required. For that is our duty."
Primus Ileein Shevat says, "Recall that, should the burden weigh upon you. 'From each according to his ability,' Provost, and no more."
Stepping back with a grave nod, Primus Ileein Shevat says, "That is all."
Falmiis Shevat says, "Would anyone else like to speak at this time?"
Irillia taps a delicate crystal staff against the ground with a clarion, chiming sound, wordlessly requesting permission to speak.
Falmiis Shevat says to you, "Please go ahead, Archmage."
You say, "Thank you, Chairman."
Turning her gaze toward Zyphora with a gentle smile, you say, "Today, we celebrate an auspicious event indeed. Zyphora, you have become one of the most respected and admirable citizens ever to belong to Hallifax, a luminary in art, poetry, theatre, and leadership and now a force to be reckoned with in the Domoth Realms."
You laughingly say, "Unlike the Primus, I -shall- dwell for a few moments on your many accomplishments and strengths."
Sylandra's eyes sparkle with amusement.
You say, "You have served faithfully and well for many decades as the Provost for the Centre for Aeromantic Engineering, longer than any other Provost in the modern history of the Centre. Your example as an artist, a playwright, a teacher, a leader, a tireless civil servant, and a friend has inspired generations of Hallifaxians to write, perform, serve, and dream. Your light has helped the Beacon of Harmony shine all the more brilliantly to the rest of the Basin as a paragon of art, beauty, peace, and unity."
Zyphora Windwhisper returns your smile with one of deep fondness, her eyes glimmering with silent
Her smile deepening as she continues to speak, you say, "I will be proud and happy to see you represent the city of Hallifax as a Vernal Ascendant, and I am certain that you will continue to bring honour and recognition to the Collective with your usual flair and charm, both on and off the battlefield."
Irillia Shevat raises a delicate crystal staff high in the air in a salute to Zyphora, causing swirling winds to surge through the vicinity and surround her in whirling helices of wispy white clouds.
Mica steps out of the Matrix, trailing sparkling motes of light.
You say, "Thank you for listening, everyone."
Borne upon wisps of condensation, shards of coloured glass drift in from the southeast, shaping an aesthetic mosaic which shimmers as Aeral steps through.
With a flourish of her arm, Aeral bows deeply.
Mica drops an embarrased curtsey and scurries into place.
Zyphora raises her crystal staff in response, smiling as the winds surge gently around her.
Lifting her gaze towards the Provost, Lady Sylandra Shevat, the Winter Sonata says, "I, too, wish to speak, if I may."
Falmiis Shevat says to Sylandra, "Of course."
Her voice betraying an almost maternal pride, Lady Sylandra Shevat, the Winter Sonata says to Zyphora, "It is difficult to say anything that has not been said by those who have spoken before me. However in lieu of others to speak on behalf of the Symphonium, I wish to speak on behalf of my guild, for even though you are not a Symphonist yourself there is much in you that the Lady Jilai and Lord Crys would find worthy in an Ascendant."
Lady Sylandra Shevat, the Winter Sonata says, "To face obstacles with grace and with poise. To wield great power with the balance of responsibility. And always, to exalt that which is higher within the self and to overcome that which is base. Only through mastery of the individual self can one contribute wholly to the Collective. Zyphora, your artistry shines as brightly as your individual spirit shines for the Beacon of Harmony. We are all the better for your radiance."
Lady Sylandra Shevat, the Winter Sonata smiles and says, "I stand as both representative for House Shevat and representative of the Symphonium here to welcome you in this new role as Ascendant. I have no doubt you will serve the city well, as you always have."
Sylandra steps back to allow others room to speak, her piece finished.
Falmiis Shevat nods slowly at Sylandra.
Zyphora flashes Sylandra a joyous smile.
Falmiis Shevat asks, "Does anyone else wish to speak?"
Speaking in a low growl, Serenguard Turnus Windwhisper says, "I would."
Falmiis Shevat says to Turnus, "Please go ahead, honoured guest."
Zyphora Windwhisper turns her attention to Turnus with mild surprise.
Speaking in a low growl, Serenguard Turnus Windwhisper says, "I'll be brief. I'm not as good with words as everybody else here, and I'm no Hallifaxian. But Zyphora, I know you'll rise to the occasion as you always do in all things you put your mind to. Ya are one of the most dedicated, and hardworking person I know, and I'm so proud to be standing here as you reach new heights and recognition of all that ya've achieved and I know will achieve."
Turnus grunts once and then nods as he steps back again.
Falmiis Shevat says, "Does anyone else have words for this occasion?"
Mica raises her hand, glancing at her father and mother in turn with a shy smile.
With an encouraging smile, Falmiis Shevat says to Mica, "Go ahead, Mica."
After some hesitation, Mica Windwhisper-Dewcrest says, "It seems I take after my father in this.... I have no impressive speeches to give, but I do wish to express how proud I am that my mother has been chosen to serve the Collective in this way, and that she will always have my faith and support in all that she does. I am proud of you, Mother, and I am proud to be your daughter. May this new stage in your life prove fruitful for all."
Mica nods once to signal the end of her speech, cheeks flickering red and a smile spreading across her lips.
Falmiis Shevat smiles, nodding at Mica.
Zyphora fans her wings at Mica, causing a gust of air to pull at her.
Falmiis Shevat says, "Are there any others who wish to speak?"
Falmiis Shevat says to Zyphora, "Our citizens and guests have said many great things for you. Would you like to address them at this time?"
With a warm smile, Zyphora inclines her head briefly before stepping forward to address those gathered.
Her voice ringing with vibrant clarity, Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory says, "Comrades, I thank you deeply for placing your faith and trust in me. I am enheartened, humbled, and most of all honoured by the outpouring of support and encouragement you have given me. As your Vernal Ascendant, I know that great things shall be expected of me, just as they were of all those ascendants preceding me. I shall tirelessly strive to meet those expectations, and by the grace of the Gods, go above and beyond those goals."
Zyphora briefly conjures the illusory image of a queenly bird-of-paradise in the cupped palm of her hand, a delicate echo of the colourful avian depicted by the nearby shrine.
With a faint, contemplative smile, Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory says, "My beloved Goddess Lady Isune believes that the Beauty of Hallifax does not lie only in its spires and architectural wonders, but in its people. Indeed, the Collective's strength - not only that which is shown outwards, but also that which is harboured inside - depends on the harmonious collaboration among its citizens, in peace or at war."
Zyphora removes her attention from her fabricated bird-of-paradise, allowing it to evanesce into the aether.
Allowing the weight of each word to linger in the air, Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory intones, "Compassion. Sacrifice. Truth. Honour. Love."
With unwavering conviction, Provost Zyphora Windwhisper, the Sun-in-Glory states, "Over the course of a lifetime, I have gained a deeper understanding of the higher emotions inspired by these beliefs - an understanding derived not only from their literary definitions, but supplemented and enriched by the Collective's words and deeds. I have learned much and received much from all of you, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve you in return. Thank you."
Radiant as the dawn, Zyphora languidly raises a hand skyward, motes of twinkling sunlight scattering from her fingertips.
Aeral preens towards Zyphora, as her crystal body glows a deep royal purple.
Zyphora Windwhisper lowers her hand, nodding at Falmiis to continue as the motes of sunlight dissipate into the atmosphere.
Nodding as a small smile creeps across his face, Falmiis Shevat says, "Then, with the support of the citizens of Hallifax and the Board of Directors, I formally welcome you as Hallifax's newest Vernal Ascendant and look forward to your future accomplishments on behalf of the city. Step forward and rise, Ascendant of Hallifax."
Zyphora steps towards the Matrix and places her hands on it, causing the mandalas within to suddenly turn and around and around, creating ever more complex fractals. Starting at her feet, lines of power rise up, wrapping around her and forming a brilliant helix. Face aglow with rapturous visions, Zyphora suddenly stiffens as she is suffused by incredible powers and rises as a Vernal Ascendant!A new Ascendant rises! By decree of Emperor Falmiis and with full support of the Board of Directors, let it be known that the Grand Empire of Hallifax has this day imbued Zyphora with the energies of the Matrix, raising a Vernal Ascendant!