Even throughout the battle at the Rift, the stars clamored loudly for Star-Bringer’s attention, seeking to divulge unto her their histories. Alarmed, she sought counsel from Isis. Isis took her aside, touched a star, and advised Sanura to listen. It immediately spoke with a clearer, louder “voice” to Sanura:
One day —
And then Isis touched her on the shoulder. Dawn was rising — hours had passed. She confirmed that she was paying attention to the star too, but it did not “speak” to her as it did to Sanura. This, however, is not unusual, as Hathor has a different experience of the stars than Isis does (as an aside, she recommended Star-Bringer speak also to Hathor about this). She suggested that perhaps these stars are so loud right now because Star-Bringer was only just now starting to listen. Finally, she impressed upon Star-Bringer that it’s of utmost importance to listen to the stars as this is her purpose in the universe — however, it’s not urgent, and it’s as important to ensure that she doesn’t get lost in the cosmos.
Taking Isis’s advice, Star-Bringer sought Hathor with more questions, particularly if the stars could be hurried in their tale-telling. Hathor told her that yes, they could, but to do so would be to change the stars which would change the cosmos and incur a reaction to harmonize with it which would be unpredictable. She, too, urged Sanura to listen to the stars, but also to spend time away from that so she will not be lost.
Digesting this, Star-Bringer proceeded from there to confer with Ken and offer her the same warnings that Isis and Hathor did, check on the gods, and check on the Found.
From there she arranged for herself a star-sabbatical immediately following her wedding and honeymoon, told her loved ones to “wake” her if they need her or if something important happens, and asked Morevuka to keep an eye on her. After settling in for some good star-listening, she singled out Sopdet/Sirius. The much abridged version of Sopdet’s account follows:
One day I existed. I felt [the others] around me. [We reached for each other.] Far away, a star died.
And then Sun-Bearer awakened Star-Bringer to inform her that Rose Thorn Child and Resolve were getting married four months hence and asking if she’d like to be invited. It turned out to have been almost a year since Star-Bringer had sat down for her starbbatical.
Seizing the opportunity, she caught up with her husband. (He missed her dearly, but was otherwise very happy.) Afterwards she sought Morevuka for information about what had happened while she was gone. She made clothes for Sigyn’s twins and Lake Isabella’s triplets, and an “official guide” vest and badge for Ginger. She also sought Sun-Bearer about her troubles with Lady Baker becoming one with Bakersfield and whether or not it had been her choice. The answers were inconclusive, and what they could do about it less clear. From there she checked in on Senbast, the Found, Quipatlatl’s family, and the Foundlings. Upon discovering that Jeff and Abel were the primary caretakers of Leliana and Summer, she attempted to impress upon them the importance of early childhood education and attempted to teach them how to do it. She also praised them for their courage and dependability.
Once all matters had been squared away to her satisfaction, she expressed that she planned to return to listening to the stars — however, not only did she want to be woken again for the wedding and any births in the family, but she wanted to be woken every six months.
Some time following the wedding Sanura was once more awakened. She took a week off to spend with her husband and her family.
The next time Star-Bringer returned, she saw that she missed out on a great deal of events going on in the Foundlings’ lives. Moreover, it was clear that six months was too long for Sun-Bearer to go without her if they were only going to have less than a week together. After discussing further the right balance to strike with Isis and Hathor, Star-Bringer decided to alternate every three months.
Given all that time, Star-Bringer decided to busy herself with crafting once more. She sought to reverse engineer Daedalus’s crafting table as she remembered it when it was in Bear’s possession. As she did so, the memory came easily and the plans came quickly. It all seemed to be easily within her grasp — every moment she spent was one which moved her project forward, and she saw the future steps and goals with a clarity she’d never experienced before.
And then Sun-Bearer worriedly snapped her out of her trance. She had spent two weeks nonstop working on the project. Immediately Star-Bringer shelved it, terrified that she would lose more time if she kept going (and, indeed, it tempted her deeply). Instead, she spoke to the workers at the shop about making them all new uniforms — and they agreed wholeheartedly that they would love new uniforms. That idle project occupied the rest of her time off.
The next time she spent away from the stars she decided to continue with Bear’s big project: making a book capable of housing all the collected knowledge of the cosmos for Thoth. She strictly alotted three days a week, from dawn to dusk, to work on the project, asking her husband to break her from her trance when he returned home from his duties as the sun. It was challenging for her, as it felt as if the project was drawn out almost unnecessarily, but she adhered to her schedule. Star-Bringer spent the rest of the time catching up with the rest of the Found, checking in on the Netjer, and spending quality time with Sun-Bearer.
The paths that unfurled beneath Ken’s feet were as insistent as ever — but not nearly as much as the path to the rift had been. Ken contemplated this briefly, but decided to tend to some more immediate matters before pursuing them.
Following the battle at the Rift, Ken gave the holes in the sky and his memory loop one last look-over. Deeming them stable, he checked on the Mother of the Lost. After ensuring her safety and sanity, he proceeded from there to check on Maciticaaltepetl. He found there some devastation — and nearby was a great gorge filled with water pouring from Kahele’s wounds. The wounds appeared to be caused by a machete. Blood clouded the water, coming from the bodies of Roger and Kahele’s whale spirit companion.
Ken sought Xelhua for answers, and found him bearing similar machete wounds as Kahele. Xelhua explained that after Los Angeles and Baltimore were united, a hole tore in the sky and Alejandra immediately left to fight off the monsters that were pouring out. He does not understand why anything happened as it did, but he described it: Rogers attempted to take sovereignty over the city and violently responded to any naysayers (as Xelhua’s wounds can attest). Javid stepped in and was immediatley struck down. Thereby Kahele seized Rogers and wrangled him out of the city wherein they fought to the death.
Given all that happened, Ken asked if there was any way he could help. Xelhua requested that he bring Alejandra back to the city. This was done, and Xelhua repeated his report for his wife’s benefit.
Having done what was asked of him, Ken reported to Morevuka and then went to the Drowned King, She-Who-Hungers, the Swan Maiden, and Angel and told them of his experiences and that he planned on following these paths indefinitely. (He’d assumed — rightfully so — that the message would spread to the others.) The Swan Maiden reminded him about Star-Bringer’s and Sun-Bearer’s wedding, and Ken eventually agreed with some consternation to stick around just long enough for that.
Given that time, Ken paid a visit to the Bogovi, met Triglav, and asked Yesen if she was experiencing something similar to him. She was. Nothing more was said.
He also checked on Ginger and her family one last time.
Exploring the paths took him to many a place but not many an event or person. But once explored they became less insistent, or became less insistent with the passing of time.
About eight months into his journey he came across a small subterranean town in South Dakota, wherein he discovered that his youngest daughter (now in her sixties), Diana, had survived the apocalypse and helped this community thrive. After getting to know this town and its people, he asked if they wished to be moved somewhere with fewer monsters and natural disasters. They all readily agreed — and their home was shifted to some ways outside of Bakersfield, wherein they could surface without fear.
Once he’d given her the tour, he decided to spend a month or so around town, catching up and helping out.
After learning about Captain Maria’s task, he arranged with her a magical oath that would allow her to forever have Ken’s protection and his ear — even when he is not there his power will shield her and steady her and give her strength. He also guided her through the process of setting up a similar oath so that she can share this protection to those she deems worthy.
Ginger asked Ken about getting superpowers. He asked her why she wanted superpowers — to which she expressed a desire to go everywhere and do everything. They got into a discussion about power and responsibility; and afterwards Ken arranged for Ginger to be Diana’s official guide around Bakersfield, Domochlovek, Caer Ùir, and then some. This brought no small amount of excitement to Ginger.
Eventually, Ken left again, expressing that he’d try to be back by December.
On his travels he found himself stopping in Monowi, Nebraska for a week. He met Elsie Eiler, who was still maintaining the city singlehandedly, and befriended her. Before he left he offered to take her to Bakersfield, an offer which she politely declined. He also found himself in the Titanrealm, traveling in endless sky. Luckily he managed to navigate it without attracting the attention of any Titans or titanspawn.
He continued on his journey, returning to Bakersfield once every so often when a path led him there, and lending a hand there where he could. He didn’t notice when Ginger and Coyote’s children successfully managed some mischief…
Following the Rift battle, Morevuka coordinated clean-up: she got the Mother of the Lost out of Extremity, informed her about the dragon’s request to see her, and checked in on everyone. From there she left food out for Mokosits, started practicing not being a goddess, caught up with the Mother of the Lost, and met her honored nephew Triglav.
A feeling like when she sought the moist, dark earth had overcome her, being a constant, distracting presence despite it having nothing to tell her (and yet somehow everything). Around her the shadows moved with her every movement, as a pack travels. Though they were not insistent, when she was still and listening an odd tension left the various connections.
She consulted Mokosh about this feeling. The normally talkative goddess simply listened and then drew her out into her garden, urging her to at least take off her boots and socks so that the soil might connect with her skin. Together they sat together, simply listening, for half the day. Finally, Mokosh interrupted their reverie to tell Morevuka that taking the time to be still and part of this was important, but perhaps not always urgent due to its prevalence.
Morevuka then consulted her siblings about their experiences. Yesen reported a feeling of being beckoned by the dreams, constantly, and some more insistently than others. She also described a place that was between, as if it were a veil over the “real world.” There things are more distinct, more powerful, and yet more distant. Dobrozhe described a sensation of constant burning — not of burning skin, necessarily, and not painful, but very hot. He said that he burned on the outside during the day and on the inside at night. The burning wants to reach — and when he reaches with it he is returned with images and impressions. Sometimes the events are so clear that it’s as if he’s living them in that moment.
With the help of her siblings, they arranged Power Practice Wednesdays (to follow Emotion-Having Tuesdays) and a daily morning meditation.
Morevuka then proceeded to rescuing all the pantheons. Occasionally she quietly checked to ensure Fury was alive and well.
The change with Jarilo and Morena alarmed Morevuka. She consulted the dark earth: it told her that these changes were occurring because Sweeping Day was coming and, moreover, Yesen, Dobrozhe, Morevuka, and Mokosits were all proponents of this sort of change simply by existing. Morevuka accepted this in her quiet way.
From there she continued her checkup on everyone and made sure that Lady Baker understood that she could use her for intel or interference if needed.
- Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer were wed at Danmairge, the Swan Maiden’s blessed festhall. There were no attacks and there was much sappiness. Thereafter they spent a week honeymooning at the house Sun-Bearer built singlehandedly for the two of them.
- The Drowned King and She-Who-Hungers were approached by the titaness Enodia (and her young son Opheodis, and her legion of tritons), who was delighted to have someone to speak to. She expressed a desire to stay nearby permanently. Lir was displeased with Enodia encroaching on his territory; therefore, with the consent of the Drowned King and She-Who-Hungers, Enodia pulled Caer Ùir and all its inhabitants into a pocket of the Titanrealm. They, all the spirits of the dead, and the various psychopomps and guardians now enjoy her permanent protection.
- After being approached by her sister about Mokosits, the Swan Maiden tracked him down. Some humorous deflection and hurt feelings and contrition later, Mokosits explained his experience with Svarog. The Swan Maiden listened, and then offered him a permanent place in Danmairge.
- Lake Isabella gave birth to triplets: Fox, Beaver Kit, and Trout Boy.
- The four suns (Black Sun, Sun-Bearer, Sasha!, and Angel) collided, sending forth a blinding flash and then descending the world into darkness. Svantovit and the Mother of the Lost were already at the site of the crash, whereby the Mother of the Lost proclaimed that each of the four suns would take turns season-by-season on the Bakersfield route. Black Sun was given summer, Sun-Bearer autumn, Sasha! winter, and Angel spring.
- The Mother of the Lost apologized to each of her children for forcefully ascending them. Deep communication and expressions of very mixed, complicated feelings ensued. (For most of them, anyway. The Drowned King expressed that he no longer trusted the Mother of the Lost and expressed a desire for space.)
- Galen kinda unofficially moved in with Aphrodite and the Theoi (though he proceeded to spend a couple nights a week at home with Jeff, Abel, Leliana, Summer, Senbast, and Leanne). Eventually, Athena quietly charged him with petitioning Triton to house Adonis. Triton accepted.
- Some time after the rift, Leanne attempted to approach Mokosits about continuing her lessons. He avoided her. Hurt, she relayed this to the Swan Maiden.
- Gianna was hospitalized due to gang violence. She spent some time in critical condition. Though she eventually recovered, her mobility was somewhat restricted. This gave Ginger a great deal more freedom.
- Senbast went on another trance quest, accompanied by Leanne, Ginger, and Crook.
- Leanne and Ginger began hanging out a lot more.
- Fox, Beaver Kit, and Trout Boy began causing mischief. Ginger came across them in the midst of this and joined in on the fun. Afterwards, she approached Lake Isabella about becoming a babysitter for her children.
- Ruben continued warrior training and continued attending what family events he could manage.
- Summer and Leliana, merely 5 and 4 respectively, slipped away from Jeff and Abel unnoticed. Somehow they made their way out of Bakersfield and crossed the badlands without coming to harm. Together, they made their way from where the Earth Meets the Sky to Acopa and proceeded to La Dama’s dwelling. La Dama brought them back promptly. Of course, they only turned around and did it again a few days later. Soon enough, another arrangement for their custody was reached: La Dama would have them throughout the week and Jeff and Abel would have them on the weekends.
- With help from Beaver Kit, Fox, and Trout Boy, Ginger managed to sneakily gain superpowers from Ken. She proceeded to use her superpowers to elude Gianna more easily and visit all the places she’d wanted to visit, all while somehow managing to fly under the radar. Perhaps something about minor outbreaks of chaos occurring wherever she passed would have something to do with it…
- On his 15th birthday, Ruben completed warrior training and returned home. A party was thrown for him, and he took the opportunity to rest and enjoy his freedom. This quickly turned stale, however, as he realized that everyone in his family had parted ways…
- After ensuring the safety of Bakersfield, Mokosits returned to solitude, albeit more as a man than anything else. After some time and space, Mokosh tracked him down and asked him what was wrong. He gave in (like a sucker) and told her. Lots of hugs ensued; and then afterwards Mokosh retired to her sauna to have a good, private (more or less) cry.
- Triglav was restored to his place among the gods, much to Morena’s (and Mokosh’s) satisfaction.
- Alongside Triglav, Pizamar conducted a semi-official welcoming ceremony to Dobrozhe, Yesen, and Morevuka. Stribog did not attend, but otherwise did not protest. There were no other objections, although some did not approve of the bold political statement this made.
- Come late summer and autumn, Jarilo oddly did not begin to stray from fidelity to his wife. Subsequently, Morena did not slaughter him in winter. To solve the problem of a lack of winter, Yesen drew Jarilo to a long slumber and then suggested that Morena cover him in a blanket of snow. She complied.
- A solemn funeral procession was had for Midir. The dark mood began to pervade the Tuatha as the reality of their impending doom faced them. It was not long thereafter that they returning to training.
- After some consideration, the Dagda gifted the lone remaining Treasure of the Tuatha, the Undry Cauldron, to Meadhbhín in recognition of her fantastic deeds of hospitality and commemoration of her hard work in restoring her Enech. It was a feature at the wedding of Sorcha and Ducarius — all were full to bursting and still the cauldron did not empty.
- At Monthu’s invitation, Abirakhet began regular hunting and sporting with his half-brothers and Monthu, Maahes, and Wepwawet. This ended up being a source of great happiness to Abirakhet.
- Given the deeds of those who were involved in containing the tear in the sky’s foul creatures, Tlilocelotlpilli had no choice but to award honors and nobility to all participants, including his ward Necalli, his half-sister Quipatlatl, and Ezmamacateotl.
- Quipatlatl’s eldest daughter, Eluia, was given unto Tlazolteotl so as to receive proper instruction as to what was expected of her as the child of a noblewoman.
- Huitzilopochtli mounted another attack on Tlilocelotlpilli after he’d crashed from the sky. Crippled as he was (for Tlilocelotlpilli had decreed that he remain thus), however, he was yet unable to defeate Tlilocelotlpilli. Thereafter he was punished to be left with two debilitating wounds daily.
- Mahquipia, accompanied by Ichtacahuazinatl, sought her father for permission to ask Ezmamacateotl’s hand in marriage; even as Ezmamacateotl sought the Mother of the Lost to being negotiations for Mahquipia’s hand in marriage. Though Tlilocelotlpilli initially refused, when Ichtacahuazinatl made clear that he had no good reason to deny his daughter such a politically advantageous marriage Tlilocelotlpilli gave in. Negotiations ensued between the Mother of the Lost and Xochiquetzal (acting as a proxy for Xipe Totec), with Centeotl and Tlazolteotl as cultural intermediaries. The marriage was approved and held in the growing season.
- Centeotl and Xilonen bore a daughter who was called Tlacotl.
- Upon Necalli’s completion of warrior training, Huitzilopochtli found himself without any duties, and unable to seek new ones due to his daily alottment of two crippling wounds. However, he saw that Ichtacahuazinatl’s daughters were stubbornly risking life and limb to get to her. He persuaded her to allow them to stay — and when she expressed trepidation about balancing her cosmic duties with caring for children, he offered to watch them for her. Later, he became a sounding board and occasionally offered advice on finding her equilibrium.
- Some time after Huitzilopochtli became a regular fixture around Ichtacahuazinatl’s house, Tlazolteotl approached her daughter and expressed her trepidation at the political and social statements this arrangement made. Although Ichtacahuazinatl heeded her, it was not enough for her to want to change anything — and clearly the same was true for Huitzilopochtli.
- Bolstered by the battle against the chaosbeasts, the Aesir warriors began training anew for Ragnarok.
- Eight months following the rift battle, Sigyn bore twin boys.
- Thor stumbled upon the Dagda during his training regimen. They got in a series of competitions as to who was the better warrior. After much hauling, hurling, wrestling, insulting, and out-and-out brawling, they came away utterly delighted and started meeting up to do it all over again. On a regular basis.
- Nanna could not hold off her deep depression, pining deeply for Baldur.
- Though Frigg sees all but says nothing, the Aesir took heart for she seemed to be taking for granted that one day Odin and Baldur would return.
- Triton attempted reconciliation with Athena. It went off to a promising start.
- Aphrodite, fearing Ares’s jealous wrath, sought legal protection for Adonis via Athena. Despite Athena informing her that she could not grant it, Eris went to Persephone of this development. Persephone demanded Athena uphold her custody rights of Adonis. Thereby Athena commissioned Galene to go to Triton for help. Luckily Triton agreed to extend his protection and hospitality to Adonis — anyone wishing to see him must be approved and supervised by Triton’s discretion.
- Ares, increasingly restless and jealously angry, began acting with insolence towards Athena.
- Athena, observing the friendly competition between the Dagda and Thor, went to each of the provisional heads of pantheons and, with their help, organized a god-Olympics. She arranged a series of war-related events and made a wager with Ares that he couldn’t win half of them.
- Aphrodite gave birth to a baby girl whom she named Euthalia. Ares bitterly proceeded to pick on Hephaestus for being a cuckold yet again.
- Some months after the Rift, tales of organized groups of bandits and monsters harrying the fledgling settlements and outer reaches of Bakersfield reached Captain Maria Jiminez’s ears. She immediately began to organize a guide/guard escort for travelers, and doubled posts and milita for the places suffering from these attacks. She was approached by Ken, who approved of her actions, and helped her formalize this organization, binding them all to a magic oath that charged them to serve and protect.
- Word of a bandit king organizing the bandits began to circulate.
- Seeing the alliances between Bakersfield and various other cities (such as Domochlovek, Maciticaaltepetl, Yaré, and Villingen-Swinnengen), and the rising prosperity and trade that entailed, Mama took advantage of this opportunity and began restoring her Rapture empire. She sought the bandit king, Isaiah Tooley, and arranged a truce with him in exchange for a cut of her profits. And, just because she’s generous, she threw in a cut of her goods too.
- Eventually the bandit king demanded a bigger share of Rapture. Mama convinced him that it was in his best interest to offer her compensation. The bandit king eventually began giving her a cut of his stolen goods, further cemeting her wealth and power.
- A fearsome dragon began plaguing the people of Domochlovek. Despite their best efforts, they could not drive it away. After spending a few days in fasting and prayer, Božena took up sword, ax, bow, and lance, and singlehandedly hunted down the dragon with Svantovit’s blessing. Three days and nights were spent fighting, and then three more hours, and then Božena managed to slay the dragon. She ordered the dragon’s parts harvested: scales, claws, teeth and bones for weapons and armor; blood for poison and antidote alike; meat for food; and spit for forge-fuel.
- A smith named Anatoliy Antonovich from a small village on the outskirts of Domochlovek forged a battleaxe so mighty and heroic that none could wield it. Many enterprising souls made an attempt; and eventually the people called for Tsarbog Zoric to lift it, only to find that not even their hands could swing it. And then, some time later, a shepardess named Mirsada Mišić used it in the defense of the village against chaosbeasts. the Tsarbog, impressed by her heroism, offered her a place in court and a position as a bogatyr. Humbled, the smith granted the mighty battleaxe to Mirsada Mišić.
- A beggar named Dimitar Velimich Trajkovski approached the Tsarbog and begged a place at court, claiming that he can smell lies provided he remain a beggar. After some testing, the court finds this to be true and Božena allowed him to beg on her grounds.
- Ana Tihomichna, a woman with no arms, no legs, and (very recently) no family made her way to court to ask the Tsarbog for a place among her bogatyr. When asked what she would offer the court, Ana Tihomichna demonstrated that she could spit a dry bean with such force that it could burst through a stone wall an arm’s-length thick. The Tsarbog granted her request.
- A funeral procession was had for Javid, Rogers, and Kahele. As they had died in battle, their spirits were sent to Acopa.
- Xelhua, Ramon, and the various elected officials of the city arranged a trade alliance with the nearby Bakersfield and Domochlovek.