Bite-sized Backstory 44: Sjur Eido (Destiny)
In the years following Queen Alis Li’s abdication, the position of Queen still existed, but it became a much more ceremonial role. Where Alis Li had ruled a large majority of the Awoken population, the role of Queen now shrinks to become little more than a guide for the Awoken’s artistic and spiritual needs. In the place of a singular Queen, the Awoken people turn to a large group of scholars known as the Gensym Scribes. Officially, these scribes trace their lineage to Kelda Wadj, the Allteacher (who will come up again eventually), but really you should think of them more as a bunch of Asher Mir’s each controlling her or his own little areas of interest. We are told that they are:
…scholars who sent their knights on mad quests to test the consistence of reality.
If you need any more proof that this group is maybe just a bit nuts (brilliant, but nuts) read their praise of the Distributary…
It is sweet-watered, and there are no poisons upon it. The temper of the climate is even. Great broad-pawed cats stalk the shallow glades, and brilliant blue flamingos promenade upon the flats. The air is thick and warm, suited for flight, and the wind tastes of forest. No dawn has ever been as glorious as the salt glade dawn, and no dusk has ever moved women to weep as deeply as sunset in the Chriseiads. Corsairs sport upon the open seas, and where they waylay freighters rather than each other, they give rumor and assistance to their prey in proportion to the quality of the chase. Beloved are the stories of young lads and lasses who leap across to the corsair ship for a life of adventure! Beloved also are the terraced farms of the Andalayas, mountains so mighty and so dense with radioactives that they subside year by year into the crust. Most beloved are the fissioneers, who vaulted us to power on a world without petrochemicals. May they forgive the many stories of horror we have told in their memory. May they in particular forgive the lurid stories of the molten lead reactor, and the twelve who were impaled to the ceiling by their control rods, and the Core That Stalked.
Yeah… Now, we know where Asher’s rantings all throughout Destiny 2 came from. It’s also amusing that the Io destination armor set that Asher gives out is called Gensym Knight armor. :)
So now, instead of a Queen, the Awoken now have a bunch of brilliant but egotistical scientists calling the shots. And, for the most part, the Gensym Scribes take on the Sanguine position that the Distributary and the Awoken themselves are a gift from the universe. It seems at least one of the two views that caused the Theodicy War is still around a good while after the war itself concluded.
But, the Gensym Scribes are not the only holdovers from the Theodicy War. Previously, we saw the Awoken learn that when both you and your enemy are effectively immortal, it is all too easy to hold onto past grievances. Now, in this new age of peace, we see this play itself out again when a tall, physically powerful Awoken woman enters the courts of one of the Gensym Scribes. This warrior is furious and grief stricken, and she is armed with a longbow so large that it can only be strung if she twines it around her body and uses her whole mass to bend it. She calls out:
I am Sjur Eido, and I accuse Mara of the ancient murder of my lady the Diasyrm. In my saddle, I have a weapon with only one death remaining. Take me to Mara, and I will deliver it.
The scribes are mortified. Sjur is one of former Queen Alis Li’s Paladins. She is a legendary warrior from the old days and it is clear that she means business. But… well, Mara is Mara. A public feud between the two could kick off a new Awoken civil war, and that cannot be allowed. So, after consulting and debating with each other (the Awoken are now at a technological level at or near our modern day, so this debate is almost certainly accomplished by digital means) they decide to give Sjur Eido all the information they can about Mara’s whereabouts and activities… which probably isn’t a lot.
We come to learn that Mara and Uldren are out traveling the world. They’ve started talking to people and are collecting old rumors and portents. It seems likely that they aren’t staying in one place long, and it’s probably pretty tough to pin them down. Just as there are some Sanguine adherents left, there are also some who used to be Eccaleists. This group seem to think that Mara is gathering up information and favors in order to bring about a day of reckoning where the Awoken will finally be able to finally fulfill their ultimate purpose.
But then, after many decades of the Gensym Scribes running things, Queen Nguya Pin suddenly reverse course and makes moves to retake the power that the position of Queen once held. This isn’t an out of the blue decision or a random power grab. Instead, it looks to be a political maneuver by someone else as the queen only does this after being visited by a mysterious woman who hides her identity behind a mask and under a hood. Nguya Pin doesn’t just one day start giving commands as a spoiled tyrant. Instead, she shocks the Awoken world when she out and out declares that she is now an Eccaleists, and that she plans to lead the Awoken back to the stars so they can figure out exactly what kind of debt they owe for their salvation.
As mentioned above, the Awoken of this age have advanced to the at least to the point of having aircraft and nuclear reactors and ocean going vessels and modern cities. And coffee. Coffee is mentioned specifically. Now, thanks to Nguya Pin, a large portion of the Awoken people devote themselves to mastering the space age. The Queen mollifies the Gensym Scribes, whom she just usurped, by providing them with ample funding and her grand court facilities as a place of research and development. The previously bickering scribes delight at getting all the resources and recognition they could ever want. Soon, they are all working together towards the common goal of spaceflight.
This is an exciting new age for the Awoken. One where it feels like they are finally on a path to fulfilling their destiny… and then, Sjur Eido shows up at the Queen’s court in secret. You see, Sjur realizes that out of all the Awoken on the Distributary, only Mara could convince Sanguine Queen Nguya Pin to become an Eccaleists. Over the next few days, Sjur determines that the true identity of the masked and hooded figure is, indeed, Mara Sov. Eventually Sjur find Mara and follows her back to her laboratory intending to kill her. But, when she finally gets the chance, she doesn’t attack.
Sjur is frozen as she watches, perhaps from some distance across a crowded room, as the timeless, elegant, knowledgeable, and beautiful Mara Sov works to prefect some sort of advanced sensor meant to detect gravity waves. Sjur struggles against herself. She carries with her centuries of anger and grief, but the person she was determined to kill is simply too regal and too awesomely splendid to murder. With her heart about to burst at the contradiction, Sjur throws down her Maltech laser in dramatic fashion to make her presence known and then issues a dangerous challenge:
Mara Sov! I cannot live while you live, but I cannot bear to kill you. I challenge you to a duel to the agony. I will fight your most beloved companion to the death and leave you forever maimed or else die in the attempt.
For some reason, Mara agrees to this challenge. Why? Well, we already know that she at least had some role in birthing the Eccaleists movement. We certainly know that she ended it. And while we don’t know if she really did kill the Diasyrm or not, surely Mara feels a good deal of responsibility for the Theodicy War, even if it was a part of her plan. So, in her stead, Mara orders her brother Uldren to fight for her. And she does so without any sign of hesitation. We’re told that there is a ruthlessness about Mara now that maybe she didn’t possess before. Maybe because she is getting nearer to her goal and is not about to let anyone get in her way?
Uldren, being Uldren, gladly carries out his sister’s wishes. And, in true melodramatic fashion, he responds to Sjur in this manner:
We cannot put it all upon a single fight. Too much would be left to chance. Such an old grudge deserves to be tested well. I propose we fight with blade, with rifle, and with fifth-generation air superiority fighters.
Heh. This mix of haughtiness and timelessness and out of left field advanced technology is almost the perfect encapsulation of the Awoken as a whole!
Sjur agrees to Uldren’s terms, but before they can even prepare for their first match, the entire Distributary beings to figuratively fall apart!
Household turned against household, sister against brother, wife against wife. The whole world clenched her fists.
There’s a bunch of things happening at once, all of them bad:
- Queen Nguya Pin is at a loss for how to properly welcome such a renowned warrior such as Sjur Eido. But, Sjur’s unannounced arrival is seen as a major slight against the Queen and her followers.
- Sjur is known to historians as a fearsome warrior, but also as one of Queen Alis Li’s Paladins who defected to the Eccaleists cause. (Could Sjur have been the person Alis Li was so upset at during the funeral at the Shipspire? Was it Sjur who killed one of the 891 with a matter laser?!)
- The Gensym Scribes, who gave their hushed approval for Sjur to murder Mara, are terrified that their secret will soon be revealed. They quickly depart in fear that Mara’s death will be on their heads.
- The great industry of cooperation and advancement that had taken hold of the Awoken for the past several decades almost immediately begins to collapse as the Gensym Scribes and various cooperations, contractors, and suppliers all begin pulling out of Queen Nguya Pin’s reach for space. Once again, the queen and her follower are furious and see this as a betrayal by the Sanguine.
Finally, as the entire Awoken world holds it breath, Uldren Sov and Sjur Eido face each other. Depending on who wins, the Awoken might again crumble into civil war and Mara’s might be forced to flee her homeward with her plans in ruins...
...so, of course, we’ll cover the contest between these two champions next time.
- Bite-sized Backstory 44: Sjur Eido -
- Raga is such a tease. -
- The stopping point is always based on word count! Obviously! - Ragashingo, 2019-01-08, 13:06
- Raga is such a tease. - MacAddictXIV, 2019-01-08, 13:04