Whether by design or coincidence, Li-varili’s observation crystal opened Herself to the mortals gathered, and they to Her in kind. By huddling close as though before Her altar, mortals could whisper to Her their private thoughts and feelings, just as Hers roiled within for them to feel in kind. Some swore that Her coven stood at the ready; She needed only command. Some taunted Her, telling Her that She would reap what She had earned. Some others still offered Her other ways, if She would only cooperate and will Herself to find the right way out of Her predicament. Some, as the proceedings went on, reminded Her of Her every grievous wound suffered, and they begged Her to show no remorse – for She was sorely wronged, and the Divine still owed Her much and more in restitution.
The Elders of Lusternia are not wont to cooperate and gather in one place often or overly long, for each is a force unto Themself. Lacking any natural Mediators or Firsts to guide the conversation toward productive debate, They quickly fell in with the beliefs that They champion, arguing with one another using the very testimonies the mortals provided. Serenwilde’s Pantheon, represented by Maylea and Lisaera, argued strongly for consequences and took a protective stance in favour of the Forest They share. To the South, Glomdoring’s Pantheon, represented by Nocht, saw a useful place for Li-varili in the Wyrd, where She would come to know just what the Forest’s lack of mercy truly meant. Celest’s Pantheon, represented by Lantra, Terentia, and Carakhan, saw consequences while She still carried the trauma of Her past thousands of years as cruel and unjust, seeking instead to heal Her before punishment.
In other extremes, Drocilla spoke true to Her convictions, the beliefs of Her city and the members of Li-varili’s Bloodtide Coven. The Enchantress argued that Li-varili was harmed and persecuted, time and again, beginning with Keltari and Carakhan’s betrayal and that whatever Her crimes, She had paid for them in advance with Her time in the Morokeche Seat. Crumkane and Ein represented Gaudiguch, and true to the freedom-inclined assertions of its people, They in kind preferred a more hands-off approach, in turns observing and prodding the conversation along.
Old wounds were torn open time and again as the Mother of the nereids seethed with brine and bitterness. She saw every Divinity arrayed against Her, even Those who professed to care, hearing nought but lies and deception in every word uttered, encouraged by those mortals who whispered dark words of affirmation to Her. Indeed, though She sought to expose the hypocrisies of the Gods, She took care to listen to those whom She taught, those from whom She learned – Her Bloodtide Coven.
In the end, while studying Her, it was Ein Who put forth the idea that Li-varili might choose Her fate. Many of the Gods found the idea intriguing, including Lisaera Who stepped forth and demanded to know just what the Goddess would choose, were She thus empowered. Perhaps in seeing Her decision, They would best ensure Her choice is honoured but the consequences are reaped.
Not all Gods agreed with this idea, however. Lantra strongly opposed, for Someone who had known nought but suffering for as long as She would not make the best, most informed choice. Drocilla did as well, reminding Li-varili that She only needed to stand by the Enchantress’s side to avoid whatever punishment the others might conjure. Mortals whispered to Her, pleading with Her as Her temper stormed within. Choose Magnagora, they begged. Choose Glomdoring. Choose redemption and healing.
But nobody would choose for Li-varili, She had already determined. Nobody would decide or force a single thing for Her ever again. And so She took what She had learned from Her coven: their weaknesses, their usefulness. They were frail and so readily expired with the barest lash of Her power, that was true – but She was Li-varili. She would make a better fate for Herself.
And so She chose. She would be like them – but stronger. Better. She would be free. The Gods watched on with confusion, with horror, and – in the Elder God Ein’s case in particular – with fascination as She shattered Her Divine essence into hundreds upon hundreds of fragmented pieces. These shards of Li-varili did not flee but fell: for the meeting was held in the high reaches of the Divine Havens where no mortal may tread, and Li-varili had Herself irreversibly chosen mortality. Like falling stars, the newly born livari race streaked toward the Basin of Life below as the Gods shouted amongst Themselves in disorder and then in accord.
Li-varili had chosen mortality, They understood, and so She had chosen Her punishment just as They had bid Her. No longer would She be bound, but She would know thousands upon thousands of deaths, repeated over and over and over again, for the rest of time.