There is a space at the bottom of the world, where Earth and Ice and Shadow meet. It is cold, but not cold enough to kill; dark, but not too dark to see. A small round room, made of chilly black marble, lit by a dim and sourceless glow, with a spiral stair climbing the curve of the wall and a shallow circular recession in the exact center of the floor. The recession is maybe six feet wide by six inches deep, lined with something resembling pale frosted glass, and there is nothing in it.
"If our math is right we have months to a couple years, but our math was catastrophically wrong before. Moonshot might work. As a stopgap I could send somebody home with a letter, tell my friends they can try to find more worlds, and then I can concentrate on this one."
"Sure, we can swing by the capital on our way from Highpoint to Wildwood in a couple days and find a volunteer. I mean - I could wave my imperial seal around Dawnbrook until we find somebody willing to sit still for being voided into another world, but if it's somebody I personally know then I know more about - how they're judging the risks, how they really feel about it, so I'm more comfortable asking crazy things of them."
"I can wait a couple days."
"Okay. Good." He takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Wow, it has been one fuck of a day."
Wry smile. "Yeah. I uh. ...we had an immortal Emperor, until this morning. He was my best friend. That's probably - relevant information."
"Thanks. ...first thing I'm doing after we save the world...s... is figuring out if I can do resurrection with my creation powers."
"How do they work?"
"I have this book," he hefts the book, "and I can—record things in it—" he opens it and flips through the pages. Every page has a drawing of some object, exquisitely detailed, so realistic it feels like you could just pick them up off the page and hold them in your hand. A lamp, a book, the Emperor's swoop, a tray of tasty-looking food, the imperial palace. "And I can create anything that's in there." Tray of tasty food appears on a spare bit of table. "And I'm supposed to be able to use the stuff I record in the book to sort of - make a blueprint for the next world, so it appears that way when this one's done - and I already asked about putting people in the book, and you have to know them really well and even if you get them down perfectly it's just their - self, not their memories, and you can't just create people with the book, they come out as bodies without minds. So I could write Kanero into the next world, and I very well might if saving this one doesn't work out, he made a really good immortal emperor, but I couldn't bring him back right now even as far as 'same person with no memories'."
"...I don't see a way to help you with that with either of my destruction-themed power sets."
"Yeah. But saving the world will give me time to figure more things out, nobody's ever had longer than a year to work with this thing, and the spirits can only learn so much when they're not the ones using it... anyway."
"It's possible that your original destruction-themed power set could do something about the chains, but please don't try it," says Ravkesial. "I don't know what it would do to the system, and if it broke the cycle in a way that ended the world permanently..." She shakes her head. "I'd stay like this forever if it meant everyone else got to live."
"Yes, agreed," says Telarin.
"Oh, I was totally planning on trying as soon as I had a disappearance point that wasn't on my rapidly disappearing home planet," he says, "I'll - be more conservative, sure."
"After we save the world, if we do, we'll have time to pick the knot apart. Until then... we don't know how this system works but we do know it was meant to lead to an undying world, and I consider it of the utmost importance to get to that point before we start to pry at its moving parts with tools it is unprepared to encounter."
"Much as it makes me itch, that does make sense," Riale agrees.
"Should I like go wave my imperial seal and get you your own room," he suggests.
"That would be neat if you can do that."
"I will go and do that."
He leaves the room.
"It's strange having someone who isn't the creator able to see us," muses Ravkesial. "It's been so long..."
"Well, yep, I can see you. Hi. I saw you in the garden but I decided it would be creepy to watch you sleep so I didn't hang out."
...she smiles slightly. "Well thank you for that."