Exalted: Modern – Yu-ShanMay 12, 2011
Yu-Shan is in ruins. Oh, the shiny buildings made of ivory and orichalcum still stand, perhaps are even still clean. Gods still walk the streets, the rivers of transport still run, and flying vehicles and individuals of every shape and size still fill the air. But the holiest of all cities is holy no more. The bureaucracies, never efficient, have shut down in all but name. And the streets that were once safer than any in Creation are now haunted and fraught with peril.
The Bureaus themselves took the largest hit. When Creation folded in on itself, most gods found themselves suddenly unemployed, as their purviews were not merely destroyed, but in fact utterly ceased to exist. It is one thing if the god of Halta has his domain stripped because Halta is ravaged, sieged, and burned, and another thing altogether if there is no Halta.
Furthermore, the flows of ambrosia and quintessence dried up almost overnight. A system of gods who had once been wealthy even in poverty suddenly found themselves abruptly unemployed with absolutely no currency whatsoever. Apathy struck almost immediately. The sealing of Yu-Shan by the Sidereals only added to the malaise. The gods had never been industrious, as a rule, and now even those who were motivated to adjudicate their domains could not. An entire continent of immortal beings suddenly found themselves purposeless.
Gods dealt with this in different ways. Some remain at their desks, patiently awaiting the flow of paperwork to begin once more. Others looked for a scapegoat, and found Chejop Kejak. Many of these have spent the last eight millennia gleefully torturing him with whatever methods they can find, blaming him (not wrongfully) for their current predicament. Still others have fought merely to survive, eking out a bare existence among the streets of the Heavenly City, dodging street gangs and the ever-growing number of deiphages who turn on their brethren for Essence.
One god, Ahlat, could not merely stand by. After several idle centuries, he began a push to forge Yu-Shan into a single, united nation. As a war god, Ahlat was not subtle about this. He began to conquer territories of Yu-Shan, and to date holds just over a third of the city under military control. When asked about his ultimate goal, he simply replies that he intends to unite all of Heaven. He grows infuriated if pressed about his plans post-war.
The truth is, Ahlat has no plans. None of the gods do. Those who follow him do so for personal glory, because they share his ideology (however flawed), or simply because they have nothing better to do. They have no worship. they have no job, and no way to do their job even if they had one. The only gods with a purpose in Yu-Shan are the Pattern Spiders, who continue with their daily grind as though nothing had happened.
Throughout all the turmoil, the Jade Pleasure Dome has remained a constant hubbub of activity. The Incarnae have not so much as glanced up from the Games of Divinity. Their hangers on grow daily as more and more gods decide to watch their idle sport rather than spend their time in pointless business. Even the Celestial Lions have abandoned their posts, save for a few dedicated souls, to come watch the Games. The streets of Yu-Shan grow more lawless by the day.
Now that the Exalted have returned, all that is about to change. The Sidereals no longer have a place in Yu-Shan, but the Loom of Fate remains their exclusive purview. The return of the Solars has shattered the barriers that sealed Heaven away from Earth. Many gods turn hungry eyes to the mortals of the world, seeking worship once more. Quintessence has begun trickling in as Exalted begin restoring worship to the Incarnae, and even Ahlat looks down and wonders what glories might be his if he could but return to Earth.
Yu-Shan is a peach, ripe for the plucking. A charismatic Exalt of any stripe could well find fertile ground for his schemes within the disgruntled deities of Heaven, but opposition is not lacking. It remains to be seen whether Yu-Shan will pull itself together and be an asset to the returning Exalted in the preservation and reformation of Earth, or whether it will be an impediment to all their plans.
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Shouldn’t It Be “Theophage?”
Yes, yes. The term should technically be theophage (or alternatively, deivore) to avoid mixing Greek and Latin etymologies. But that’s what Compass of Celestial Directions: Yu-Shan used, and it’s good enough for me.
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