Maps Of The Problematique
Tag: Jeremiah // Feb 06, 2031

Two ends of the table held the alignment of ivory and ebony soldiers, all waiting for their king’s order to advance or defend. Royalty, pawns, and warriors stood guard to ensure their sovereign would not fall to the other. Jadeite had no other opponent than Jadeite, he’d been playing this game long before these pieces had even been arranged.

This was a chess game built around the idea of ‘choice’ and consequence. Each piece in his mind represented different levels of anxiety and trepidation, these were the black pieces. Over on the white, those had represented the choice itself. Choices for the people were represented by pawns, soldiers by knights, advisors were bishops, and financial by rooks. The battle between good and evil, and he didn’t even control what the white moves were.

Jadeite had articles from current news about Cyn, banking, and the Sailor Soldiers movement out in the world. Each time one made a major impact, it was time for a white piece to move. Then he’d wait for another news article to see how it impacted the throne or economy at large. Once the news stopped, he could look at the board and try to determine the next move for the other side. This could be in the form of advice or warning for Cyn herself, and the rest of the advisors.

The problem with this tactic was obvious, what about moves done in secret? This was all surface level, and it likely wasn’t the true shape of the board. That being the case, making a plan based on this shape could have dire consequences.

This entire game began when Cyn and Mason got married, why did that stir the pot? More love increased the potency of the Silver Crystal, the more she felt for Mason and he for her the greater power it had. But from that love, comes commitment - friendships can often fall away because of a union. Friends feel abandoned and left out, they get tired of competing with a spouse and know it’s shameful to voice their selfish intentions of wanting things to return to how they were.

Humans were introduced to the idea of the supernatural, and it didn’t take them long to want that kind of power for themselves. Cynthia made the right choice though, secret heroes couldn’t be relied on - humans found comfort in assurity and consistency, that which they can see and hear. They could now see and hear her, ask questions and she would have to have answers to those inquiries. Odd, a girl most of the world would give up on if they’d seen her daily life - and yet she ended up being their ruler, a testament to the purity of one's heart. In marriage, she was one with Mason, king, and queen each filling in the other’s shortcomings.

But the Black Moon had found those that became lustful for that same kind of power and corrupted the hearts of mankind. Those corruptions have been going on since this very day, leading the board to look like how it did now.

Jadeite had switched from cigarettes to coffee since his purification, one of his great sacrifices was ‘no longer incinerating his lungs’… and Mason more or less was grateful for this small blessing. Akari had made the decision to forget everything that had allowed him to be twisted, setting up mental barriers to keep his mind from ever being drawn down those paths again. Cynthia’s word had to be final going forward, he could state his position but any major resistances had to be staved off. All this incident served to remind him of was that kings and soldiers weren’t invincible in heart, that very assumption led to the breakdown. Just as he’d refused to see Cynthia as anything less than a queen, others refused to see her as anything more than Cynthia.

Sipping at his coffee, his finger orbited the black side of the board. It was on the queen, queen Metaria. His corruption had reached its apex after Jeremiah revealed the mayor of the people was the very woman who had colored their souls black before. He’d felt failure in that moment, despair that would have consumed him. It was what finally revealed that dark spark Danburite had placed in him, and now… extinguished.

If the marriage was the start of the game for the white side, then conquering Elyson had to be the first move of the black pieces. They’d played the game well, waiting for the soldiers and kings to get into their rhythm of everyday mediocrity. Before making their moves, they’d gained power and put themselves in a position of authority… passing policies that would attach even the best of people to their vendetta. 

So far his board showed a white team that was well defended but had little openings to start to push the attack. Meanwhile, the dark side looked poised to make large sacrifices to start to dig into their opposition's ranks, drill down to the king and queen.

“Cynthia saw it first, before any of us… A queen is an assault piece, she can’t stay behind these defenses. Her heart knows things before our minds can catch up.”

Worse yet, if the Crystal responded to those that loved her, then their love was the very reason she couldn’t start her assault. Until they believed in her strength, she wouldn’t get it back.

“ Silver Crystal, I align myself to Cynthia’s will. She is a warrior, we need her on the field of battle with us. May whatever impediment my prior hesitation presented fall away.” She wasn’t here, but Jadeite operated by making paths the moment he felt assured. Patience was a part of his nature, but once the true answer was found - he was swift to position himself properly.

Jadeite made his silent prayer, taking a knee while tightly clenching at his heart like his fingers might pry away the bars that kept his misgivings from raising up his queen. Odd, now that the darkness was passed… the fear he had of seeing her before, became a longing to have her before his eyes.

So this the experience people called ‘lifting of the fog’.

@Jeremiah Mercer

It had not been a surprise, though Jeremiah had been offended to find out about it. Though at the end of the day, he was not certain if it was because it had been Danburite that had planted the seed of corruption within Akari or that Akari had let himself slip that far.

The silver-haired man had not even bothered with an I told you so. Even if that was more to do with the fact that Jeremiah had been dealing with his own issues with Chaos when he had seen Akari at the meeting and so had missed the touch of it within the other Golden King.

It was not missed once he had awakened from his rest--the sleep that had initially been forced upon him, to recover from his stint of not sleeping and overusing his powers in so many ways (mostly purification but adjusting his metabolism to stay up was tiring as well)--and thus Jeremiah had taken care of it.

This meant that Jeremiah was also keeping an eye on Akari, much as he suspected Sevik was doing the same as well. They could not afford to let anyone slip away, not when the Dark Alliance was so capable of taking one of their own.

(Never mind that the wound carved into him with Saariyah's capture was deep, though the particulars of why it hit hard as it did--which was tied to his life as Jeremiah Mercer more than his corruption--was something not known. Akari having been truly corrupted and taken would have only made it worse.)

Jeremiah just ...

He really was not sure what to think about the board--nevermind the chessboard--that Akari was working on (Jeremiah kept such things on his tablet and such so that it could be easily referenced or put onto a screen for better viewing).

Just as he was a quiet, not yet noticed presence, watching and listening to Akari as he voiced both his thoughts and made his pledge. It was reassuring to hear him, to hear him pledge himself, in a lot of ways, though Jeremiah-

No, the thought was not a productive one and better left alone for the time being. As long as Akari's resolve was strengthened--as it should have been with both his purification and presence within the Crystal Palace--then things would only improve and the Golden King of Patience and Harmony would find his powers strengthening once more.

Finally, he rapped the knuckles of his right hand against the frame of the doorway, his left hand holding to his cane, to announce his presence.

"Akari," he greeted, opting for something more neutral to open with. "I trust your sleep was peaceful?" Even if his own had, once again, been plagued by dark things. That was, after all, one of the aspects of his own powers: when Jeremiah purified, he took the corruption within himself until it was dispersed. Which was part of the reason why Sevik had been particularly displeased with Akari's apparent corruption: not only had Akari been in danger, it meant Jeremiah was pushing himself so soon after what had happened to Saariyah.

Even if ... Well, his powers of healing and purification were stronger now (though why his powers had strengthened and he had not seen similar in the other Golden Kings was a mystery; something to think on later) and thus the corruption he had taken truly had only given him a minor issue.

Regardless, Akari would have felt immediately better once purified and with a night of rest (nightmare free, as he suspected Nasir likely aided in a night of dreamless sleep) and ready to once more face the world. More importantly: no longer weighed down by the ill-thoughts that corruption could cause.

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