Flux is directly connected to my story - Beyond the Veil. My original intention was to make Flux a series of "patches" for the second game of the franchise Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. It was supposed to consist of a couple of chapters that fixed a few weaker plot points and flash them out more. In the ended I partly did that, but also added great many things that were meant for for Beyond the Veil, but interrupted the narrative and shifted the focus in my opinion. I could be wrong about that, nevertheless I've moved them all to this Kiancentric story. Enjoy.
There is something otherworldly about the voices of Chantresses joining in a song, a hymn to the Goddess. Kian has always felt so. Whether it is the song itself or the skill and technique with which they weave their sacred art, they have the ability to reach a man's heart. He appreciates the serenity they bring to the shrine, standing like marble statues on a dais, behind a thin white veil. He kneels before the oldest known image of the Goddess, in what is allegedly the very first temple ever built in Her glory.
"Leave with haste" is a very clear order, one the meaning of which cannot be mistaken and misunderstood, and Kian was instructed to do precisely that. But it is also his duty to pray and make due sacrifice before embarking on his mission. This is his usual place of choice. There are other temples in the vicinity of his humble abode, grand and beautiful, adorned with unparalleled, intricate ornament, exquisite detail, but simple loveliness of this one appeals to him in a strange way. Its old age brings the ancient histories to mind, of the Six Prophets of Her wisdom, the first who learned Her ways and taught the rest. It is not known for sure whether or not the temple is old enough for them to have set their feet in it, but if any temple is, it is this one. He feels the connection in his heart, every time he steps into the prayer room and lays his eyes on the ancient mural of the Goddess, depicting Her with features more humanlike than any other mural he has laid his eyes on, as She creates this mortal world and the Pure One that comes after, where all her loyal children are destined to find eternal bliss. Her figure is depicted at the top of all, Her lovely face raised to the ceiling, eyes closed, Hands outstretched, holding a disc shaped world, shining with Her light just like She is, the promise for her followers who earn reaching perfection. Below her feet is the land tainted with shadow, the land of moonless night. She hovers above it, shrouded in pale aetherial cloth, radiant and serene.
"You know, scholars kept debating for ages whether or not this depiction of the Goddess was cannonic", a deep voice rumbles. Garmon Koumas stands beside him. Kian's not surprised. He heard the footsteps, very careful and quiet for a blunt man like him.
"I know the history", Kian murmurs, hoping against hope his master has not come here to argue with him.
"Of course you do", he says, voice not betraying emotion. For a while neither speaks, it is all Kian can do to wait patiently for Garmon to reveal his reason for being here. He finally does. "Do you ever consider it that those whose words you put your complete faith in weren't quite so sure of their own words themselves?"
It was perhaps a milder kind of argument, made gentler for the reverence the temple deserves, but Kian's not even up to that. "Until they did find their faith in their truth", he says quietly. "Did the Goddess not give them signs to show them the right path?"
"They all believed She did."
"You think they were wrong."
Another pause. Kian is aware of time, he can only delay his departure for so long. It is better to cut to the point. "Are you here to try and make me doubt the mission, master?"
"No," Garmon sighs, "that's not what I'm here for. I've had a word from an old friend. He told me they're going to close this shrine for restoration and renovation. It's safe to say that the next time we're allowed in here, it will look very different."
"Oh", Kian is unsure of what to say or how to feel about it. The building is in need of thorough repairs, that much is obvious, but he's not sure they will try and preserve its unorthodox features. Would they preserve this marred, pale image of the Goddess with faded edges? Or would they repaint Her in the same ornamental cannon as the rest? This is not of the essence, he reminds himself, these are but images, there to remind us of Her light and love, they are not the Goddess Herself. Thus he ignores the twinge in his heart, "It's a good thing too", he says with all the conviction he can muster, "it would be a shame to leave an old shrine like this to fall to disrepair."
Garmon scoffs softly, "You're a real piece of work. Oh well, I suppose you are right to a certain extent. This roof clearly has a leakage problem."
Kian lifts his gaze all the way up to the ceiling. An artist, or artists have painted it as a starclad sky, but elements have penetrated it and water has added patterns that were never supposed to be there, crude shapes of ominous storm clouds. He can even see wet glistening patches here and there. Dim, dancing candlelight makes it shimmer almost as if it were a calm sea. This is simply unbecoming. He becomes aware of how stuffy the air inside is too, every breath a touch more difficult to draw than what may fit in the range of comfortable. Of course some form of renovation is in order. He realizes he was being sentimental about the loss of something of less import and was failing to see a bigger picture. This is not the mindset to keep at the beginning of the mission. His sacrifice has already been laid at the altar, the traditional offering: white rose petals and burning incense on the silver plate, simple and pure. But he adds extra, the scent washing over him and the entirety of the temple. Garmon raises his brow at the excess of the offering, but for once he does not question the breadth of Kian's devotion as he has the habit to, busying himself with his own prayer and allowing him to practice the way he feels is right. After the blessing of the Goddess this is perhaps the best gift he can receive at the start of his journey.