Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 973
While Vahn was enjoying a leisurely and fulfilling life, the Denatus was still underway and, after the first relatively tense day, things had come to a head after Ouranos opened the floor to discussion. This time, instead of a single god rising to their feet to bring a matter to attention, a large portion of the congregation rose, following after the entire table of the top 10 gods. At this point, each of the most influential gods were part of the Alliance and, after spending a great deal of time and effort, most gods stood in support of their cause. There were even some who were unaware of why they were standing but, not wanting to be the odd one out, ended up rising with expectant and confused looks on their faces.
As the assembly slowly fell into silence, Ouranos' eyes were fixed on the main table, his focus shifting between each god and goddess. His gaze lingered the longest on Hestia who, without any sign of wavering, showed a confident and supportive smile on her face as she fully supported Vahn's rise. Though she wished he could just be happy and content without worrying about matters outside of the Manor, Hestia would never stand in the way of Vahn's dream. However, whenever he was tired of dealing with politics and associating with other people, she swore that she would be there waiting for him. Even if he grew weary of the world itself, she wanted to make a safe place where, at least for a brief moment, Vahn would be able to find peace and comfort...
Feeling a subtle pressure from Hestia, Ouranos almost allowed a smile to break his stone-faced expression but managed to remain unperturbed in the eyes of the congregation. Once silence had completely taken over the crowd, his thunderous voice echoed through the vast chamber as he asked, "Tell me, what matter would concern so many gods...?" He was fully aware of the Alliance's intentions but, as was always the case, Ouranos had to go through the motions to officiate things to fulfill his role as mediator. In response to his question, Loki, being the primary representative of the Alliance, stepped forward and said, "Times are changing and, for the first time in History, the means for the entire Continent to prosper have been provided by a singular individual. As gods, we have an obligation to recognize the capabilities and contributions of mortals and provide adequate rewards to keep them moving in a direction that ensures the survival of all sentient species..."
Even before the gods had descended to the Mortal World, they had watched over its inhabitants, often giving genuine blessings to those who had won their favor. Even the system of the Falna was designed around this principle as, without having an achievement to your name that had earned the recognition of the gods, it was impossible to Level. As Loki had stated, Vahn's contributions to the world weren't something they could overlook, especially after he had helped dozens of goddesses give birth to healthy Demigods. If it had been in the past, before gods had descended, there would have been nothing to stop Vahn's rise as the genuine leader of the Continent's peoples, something Loki intended to make sure every god was aware of...
After giving a large speech, painting Vahn as the very image of a messiah figure, both to mortals and gods, Loki concluded by saying, "In truth, we gods have already gotten in the way of the world's progress for our own selfish ends. It is time we start earning our keep and helping to regulate how other gods live within this world instead of allowing the selfishness of a select few to lead the mortals astray. Though we come together like this to make decisions for our respective Familia, it has never been enough as the larger population of mortals still exists outside of our influence, often without us paying them any attention at all. As a result, there have been many travesties that have occurred, even though we had the responsibility to try and prevent them from the outset..."
Loki gauged the various reactions of her fellow gods, noticing that many didn't outright agree with her but could still understand the basic reasoning behind her words. Then, after a momentary pause, Loki added, "We had a thousand years to figure things out yet, even with hundreds of millions of years to prepare, we failed to guide mortals onto a path of true prosperity. Now that someone capable of guiding them has appeared, it is our responsibility to aid that person and guide their decisions so as not to allow our mistakes to be repeated. It is time for mortals to take responsibility for the lives of mortals while we gods, once again, support the development of civilization without directly interfering with its affairs..."
At this point, Ouranos knew his own part in this little play so he asked, "Tell me, Loki, who do you believe is capable of guiding the surface world better than we gods? How will we guide the person you have recognized to avoid a catastrophe from occurring...?" Without exception, every god within the room had seen the rise and fall of countless civilizations. However, that was before the direct interference of the gods so Loki smiled confidently and explained, "We will form a genuine council, comprised of gods who possess a primary Divinity related to specific elements, forces, and concepts. Our purpose will be as a purely regulatory force, determining if the policies and laws that are being implemented are truly for the benefit of the surface world. These gods will become known as the Divine Council and, as our first and only act of direct interference, we will recognize the person we believe to be capable of guiding the surface world to prosperity..."
Those who weren't in the know before showed expressions of genuine shock when they heard Loki's words but, seeing that the majority were silent, they too kept their opinions to themselves. Even if they were gods who placed a heavy emphasis on their own importance, the Alliance had already grown to the point where nothing could really derail its momentum. Unless they wanted to be forced back to Heaven, where a life of extreme boredom would become their 'norm' once again, they would have to abide by the decisions made by the Alliance. Ultimately, even with the Divine Council coming into power, not much would change for many of them. As a result, only a few outliers were truly troubled by Loki's words and how things were progressing...they simply couldn't do anything about it.
During the small chaos that followed her words, Loki's gazed passed over several key individuals before she focused her intent onto Ouranos once again. He gave an almost imperceptible nod in response before saying, "I know of the mortal you speak and, though there are some actions I would have advised against, it is certainly true that he is an exception amongst all mortals that have come before and, very likely, all who will follow. The world has always been in flux, cycling through a series of changes where true progress was often the exception, as mortals simply aren't suited to coming up with policies that will have lasting benefits. With the existence of the Divine Council, so long as it has genuine power and authority over the person you have chosen, I believe this could be the first sign of true change..."
Though he couldn't say he outright supported the idea, Ouranos' words made his intentions clear to all but a few of the gathered gods in the congregation. To prevent naysayers from gaining any kind of advantage whatsoever, he then added, "In order to prevent the Divine Council and the person you have chosen from going astray, I will have you agree to allow the Guild to stand on equal footing with both parties. By having a system with three parts, we will be able to maintain a proper balance instead of having two parties at loggerheads with each other. This will also allow those who wish to follow a different route a second option, though they will also be strictly regulated, as has always been the case..."
Since it had already been discussed that the Guild would be the third power in the world, at least for the time being, Ouranos readily offered his 'compromise'. This allowed him to continue serving as a mediator and, with his presence, there were few amongst the gods who could offer any complaints. Like all of the Primordial Deities, he was simply on a different level than almost every god who had come after as, unlike the 'fractured' gods that came into existence after the formation of the Three Realms, he had a whole and perfect Divinity. With nearly a billion years showing him as an impartial party that observed the world and helped maintain the balance, nobody had grounds to call his motives into question, at least openly.
Though she put on a show of being bothered by the compromise, Loki eventually nodded her head in agreement after conferring with the other gods that would make up the Divine Council. They then announced their candidacy to the Denatus before taking vows, Ouranos standing witness as they each came under the influence of the World's Laws. There were also a few gods who offered up their own names for candidacy, smelling an opportunity to garner greater power and authority during the inception phase of the Divine Council. Without exception, they were all shut down rather quickly after a quick tongue-lashing from Loki as she explained why they were unqualified for the role. Since even goddesses like Anubis and Artemis wouldn't be on the Divine Council, she had a lot of leeway in justifying what qualified others for the role...
Though the Denatus was generally used to talk about various matters, the establishment of the Divine Council had taken center stage, eating up most of the second day's time. Once everything was settled, a few servants were tasked with rearranging the seating within the chamber. Now, instead of there being a table for the top ten most influential gods, there was a much larger table that could easily seat the thirty-nine potential members that would represent all gods in the Divine Council. More than a third of the table was empty, giving some of the gods present ideas about how they could gain a seat for themselves, but that was a matter for later. Currently, there was a bit of a festive atmosphere in the air as everyone discussed who the Divine Council would choose, even though everyone present was keenly aware of who the most likely candidate was...
As the most 'senior' member of the Divine Council, Hestia ended up becoming the de facto leader, even though Loki was still the acting representative. The structure of the Council would have every member enjoy the same status but, at least for the time being, there was a basic hierarchy in play that depended on seniority and the purity of one's Divinity. Since these things were the basis for why the members were selected, it was important to make a point of this matter during the Council's creation. As a result, Hestia was seated closest to Ouranos and, looking decidedly less nervous than she would have in the past, she sat ramrod straight on an elevated chair as she said, "The first act of the Divine Council will be to recognize Vahn Mason as the Emperor of Eden. He has already laid a strong foundation that has the potential to lead the entire continent towards greater prosperity. He already has more followers than even the most prominent gods and, with his various contributions to both mortals and gods, I can see none better suited to the position...!"
Hestia got a little too excited towards the end of her words, using the table to support her rather lively exclamation. This caused a small bout of laughter among the other gods in the Divine Council, leading to Hestia's face turning scarlet red as she struggled to keep her composure. Fortunately, Hephaestus quickly raised her hand, a cool smile on her face as she unhesitantly stated, "I support the election of Vahn Mason as the first Emperor seated by the Divine Council..." Her words expressly supported Vahn's rise but, as many of the gods present noticed, they also left wiggle room for other potential Emperors in the future. Few knew that Vahn was genuinely immortal so, in the event that he lost interest in leading directly, the core members of the Divine Council had already created a way out for him...
Following Hephaestus' words, every other member of the Divine Council made their support for the decision known before turning to Ouranos, obviously intending for him to speak on the issue. As the 'third party' in the situation, Ouranos also had the right to speak so he gave a simple nod before saying, "In recognition of his accomplishments, I can see no reason to impede the decision of the Divine Council on this day. Henceforth, Vahn Mason will be known, not simply as the Sage Aldrnari, but the Sage-Emperor of Orario. His final title will be the decision of the Divine Council and the Sage-Emperor himself..." Ouranos actually found it rather fitting that the first Emperor was also widely recognized as both a Saint and a Sage. Though those titles would pale in comparison to his position as a genuine Emperor, he felt it was only proper to combine the two since Vahn was a rather unique existence in the endless stream of time he had observed...
Finding Ouranos' recommendation rather appropriate, Loki looked towards Hestia and, seeing the latter nod, smiled rather wickedly as she said, "I vote that Vahn's official title and name become Sage-Emperor, Aldrnari the First. His full name will be Vahn Aldrnari Mason...!" Though it would have been more appropriate to change his last name to Aldrnari, Loki knew this probably wouldn't go over well with Vahn himself. He likely wouldn't complain about the decision but, knowing his past, there was a good chance Vahn wouldn't outright accept it either. None of them wanted to cause him to experience any great melancholy or sadness so, even though she was very tempted to tease him a bit, Loki quickly compromised in a way she knew Vahn would easily accept.
With Loki's outburst, the second round of discussion began before it was ultimately decided that Vahn would officially become known as the Sage-Emperor, Aldrnari. He would no longer be the Captain of the Hestia Familia, as the position became somewhat irrelevant, but would remain as the Supreme Commander of the Alliance which, at least for the time being, wouldn't have its structure altered much. Ultimately, the Alliance would become the backbone of Vahn's Empire but, on the surface, it would be considered the extension of the Divine Council. It was Vahn's title as Supreme Commander that would grant him authority over the Alliance, something that was only allowed due to the discretion of the Divine Council itself. Like this, it would always appear as if the two were meant to balance each other and, as that was Vahn's actual intent, things would remain this way for an indeterminant amount of time.
After Vahn's title and name were deciding, the festive atmosphere that had been building up finally exploded into a full-scale celebration of sorts. Though there were many gods that experienced various levels of trepidation, Vahn's popularity wasn't limited to other mortals. He had already enjoyed a great deal of fanfare from most goddesses while many gods who had joined the Alliance had also grown fond of him. They considered him a truly exceptional mortal and, without any real justification for opposing his rise to power, they quickly joined the celebratory atmosphere since it ultimately didn't matter to them who was in charge. They only thing they really cared about were their individual Familia and appeasing their Divinities, both things that had become much easier after joining the Alliance...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Politics are very boring...!','Fake it till you make it~!','Vahn is very 'popular' with the goddesses o3o~')
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