Pan Post 109 opens in the Royal Palace of Discharding where Princess Damask Rosenbite awaits her lover to arrive. When Highemperor does appear he makes a request of her - he wishes to see the power source for the Engines of Discharding. She takes him through the palace to the focal point that the gaseous astral flux coalesces. Seeing the determination on his face, Damask grants him permission to use the gaseous astral flux. He travels back in time to the point that Ameryl and Imeryn Hypericum are fighting for the throne of the Hypericum Empire. Peysiant Guril is there but Highemperor, in his past, has already left by this time before he would rejoin them and marry Imeryn. With the astral flux he joins himself to the three women and for a brief moment love binds them together as he had hoped. But emotions stir and the astral flux is broken. He failed to change fate but from the union a child of the four of them is created and he leaves with the baby. Imeryn uses the distraction of mind to suddenly strike Ameryl down and emerge victorious.
Daunting Duel of Destiny & Creation of Cosmic Crux
In the small universe of Discharding, Victorian[Ext 1] style steampunk[Ext 2] towers rise to the orange sky, as zeppelins sail through clouds of steam. The Royal Palace is not only the tallest, but the widest, structure here, and at its heart turn the cogs of the Royal Engine, that supreme reality-manipulating device that exerts control over all Discharding, and has since time immemorial.
Every 500 years, a new sovereign is elected by the nobility to rule them, with the Royal Engine enforcing the king's dictates. The king's daughter, Princess Damask Rosenbilte, has been living in the palace for a hundred years, remaining eternally youthful as do all members of Discharding nobility and royalty.
But before her father was elected king, making her a princess, Damask had a lover, an exotic wanderer from another universe. The exotic man is a fabulous lover, and she adores him, and awaits his visits eagerly every time he leaves.
He has just returned, and after a steamy night of passion, he makes an unusual request of her, one that now has them walking quietly down to the cellars beneath the Palace in the dead of night.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: But I don't understand why you want to see this. It's more or less useless in this form.
Highemp: So no one will mind if I borrow a bit of it, then, surely?
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: I suppose not. And as princess I do have some ability to grant royal permissions.
Highemp: Thanks, love. How much longer?
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: This is the last stairwell.
The descend the spiral staircase, the sounds of clanking cogs growing fainter from above, and Damask opens the final door. They walk into a cavern lit only by the soft silvery-blue glow of a strange mist that pools in the center, swirling lazily about.
Highemp: So that's the magic mist that powers the Engines your people make.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: It's not 'magic mist', it's gaseous astral flux. Our dimension contains many such growths of it, and this is by far the largest. It has supplied the Royal Engine for ages, and will continue to supply it forever.
Highemp's tone is amused.
Highemp: Gaseous astral flux? So it's transdimensional farts? Easier to call it magic mist.
The princess giggles despite herself, but quickly adopts a stern expression.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: But it's not magic at all. It's totally different and alien from magic. I mean, yes, it can serve as an energy source for conventional technology or spellwork, but it also obeys a completely separate set of intercosmic laws that can be exploited to create and power our reality-warping Engines.
Highemp: It does things that are virtually inexplicable, and which can't be explained by science. So close enough.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: The same can be said of your powerplaying, yet you maintain that it's not magic, or at least not just magic.
Highemp scowls, and Damask giggles again. He chuckles.
Highemp: Alright, you have me there, darling. Now, if I just gather up a sample of this...
He opens his hand, and some of the misty light swirls into his palm, which glows bright silver for several moments before vanishing.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: Unless you've learned how to construct an Engine, that won't do you much good. Yes, it's powerful, but in that state it's barely controlled.
Highemp: According to my research, it's possible to get even more potent results from the raw stuff of the magic mist - excuse me, the gaseous astral flux - than even the Royal Engine, reacting to one's desires if said desires and one's willpower is strong enough.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: Yes, but desires are fickle and treacherous, and the willpower required is fantastically strong depending on the result you want to achieve--
She stops, seeing the look on her lover's face.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: This is something you want very badly, isn't it? Or someone.
Highemp: Several someones, darling. Split apart by a feud and cruel fate.
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: Then you have my blessing. Stay the night before departing, love?
Highemp: For you, princess, I will...
Mystic bolts whiz across the courtyard. Conjured constructs stomp around and crash into one another. Elemental magicks clash. The crowd, watching from the bannisters all around, is hushed; they are afraid to cheer for either side, lest the one for whom they cheer turn out to be the loser.
Twin sisters are dueling, bringing to bear all of their mighty sorcerous capabilities. A poor lowborn girl, now clad in a fine dress, wrings her hands as she watches, horrified over the two women she loves being torn apart in this manner.
Ameryl weaves her hands in complex gestures and mutters arcane syllables to summon a mighty spell, when Imeryn flings out her hand, and flaming meteors rain down on Ameryl. Ameryl breaks her spell in mid-cast to summon a protective shield.
Ameryl: That's CHEATING! You didn't even use magic words or casting gestures for that!
Imeryn: It's not cheating, it's winning. I'm powerplaying, dear sister.
Peasant Girl, still wringing her hands, is agonized. She wants to scream for them to stop, she loves both of them, but she knows it is too late for words. Imeryn is too far gone with jealousy and lust for power to share love with her twin sister any more. Then, there is a distinct pop of displaced air beside her, and the young woman gasps to see a familiar man appear next to her, one she has not seen in a couple of months, since the fateful night they met atop a palace tower roof.
Peasant Girl: Highemp?
Highemp's heart aches with love for Peasant Girl, as well as Ameryl and Imeryn, but this is his past; in his personal timeline, he has already left Peasant Girl and Imeryn with their 8 year old children, to save them from the whims of his writer. But now, he dared to defy destiny and change time.
This is Peasant Girl before she was in love with Highemp. She will not see him again for a few more months, when Highemp returns through the portal in the royal fireplace from the Pan Cosmic Command space vessel and marries Imeryn.
But Highemp loves her. And he loves Imeryn. And his heart breaks as he looks upon Ameryl for the first time in a long, long time. He has been unable to approach her, thanks to a narrative lock enforced by his very own damnable Writer. But now, by traveling back in time, he hopes to change all that.
Highemp: Peasant Girl, you love them both, and you want them to reconcile and for us all to love each other peacefully, don't you?
Peasant Girl doesn't quite understand the implication of Highemp being included in this love circle with her, but she knows that he loves the princesses just as she does.
Peasant Girl: Yes.
Highemp: Then help me. Focus on that desire, with all your heart and all your strength. AMERYL! IMERYN!
There is a sudden lull in the duel as the princesses hear his bellow, turning to look at their onetime lover with astonishment. Highemp holds out his hands, palms forward, and glowing silvery-blue mist swirls from them. The mist pulses brightly, and grows to fill the courtyard, and there is an outcry of surprise and confusion from the crowd on the bannisters above.
Energy crackles in the mist, which veils all vision and senses. The emotions and souls of the four lovers down in the courtyard - Highemp, Imeryn, Ameryl, and Peasant Girl - swirl together and merge in a joining more intimate than anything possible through physical communion.
For one brief moment, utter love unites them. Then it dissolves into a storm of jealousy, lust, ambition, regret, and fate. An eternity of their mingled emotions rages around and in them before an astral wind whips through the mist, shearing the brief connection apart as the gaseous astral flux begins to dissolve.
As his vision clears again, Highemp knows that he has failed, he could not change this fate. But maybe, in some small way, he has succeeded in a manner he could never have foreseen.
In his arms is a baby girl. Creation of all four of them, conjured by their astral communion. He takes one last sorrowful look at the three women, and then vanishes. As the last of the magic mist--
Princess Damask Rosenbilte: Gaseous astral flux!
--aren't you supposed to be in Discharding? As the last of the, ahem, gaseous astral flux - because that's not a pretentious name or anything - dissolves, the three women's brows furrow, as they struggle to understand what just happened, or even to remember.
Then Imeryn launches a bolt at her twin sister, sending her sprawling, before pouncing onto her and binding her with mystic locks.
Imeryn: Victory is mine.
Her twin sister gazes at her with utter sorrow. She knows she is defeated, yet she also knows that there was no outcome to this battle that could have been called victory. Imeryn does not hear her murmured reply, as she accepts the accolades of the crowds.
Ameryl: Victory...would have been not fighting at all...