New Exalted Snippet, this time Involving Sidereals.

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He is standing on the balcony, overlooking the grand cityscape of Heaven laid out before him. Glorious and horrifying in equal measures. It reminds him of one of his few trips to Malfeas, though he'd never actually speak that. Too risky politically, never mind the potential threat if they thought him an Infernal.

So he wait, arms resting on the railing, and reflects. Not on what he's actually seeing, but on what brought him here. To his present circumstances.

He was one of the lucky ones, or so they say. With so much to do, and so much chaos, potential Sidereals aren't found till a scant few years before they exalt, a few even exalting before that. And some aren't found at all, dying through some random act. Maidens, but one relatively recent Chosen of Endings survived fighting in that whole Bull of the North Debacle.

A twinge of guilt there. It has seemed like such a rational and easy task: the house legions were getting too strong, and so the Empress wanted them blunted without showing her hand. Reasonable, and quite within Heaven's abilities, what with the Bull just starting his rise. So the legions were sent, and the Sidereals hampered them, Child among them. Then everything happened at once. The Empress dissapeared. The other houses, seeing Tepet vulnerable, pounced, and the Bull proved more powerful than thought. Next thing you know the Tepet legions are destroyed completely, not blunted. A huge political shake up in the Realm, only overshadowed by the Empress's disappearance.

Few really care about the thousands dead, on both sides of the fight. Even fewer about the Sidereals caught in the crossfire. Child does, though. It's one thing to have people die in order to save the world: Child's hands have more than enough blood on them from those, but they don't bother him. Not in the same way. But this, those men, they died for nothing, and Child helped kill them.

Before, he had been a rising star in the Bronze faction. The gold were hopeless dreamers and fanatics, after all. The Bronze had a plan, a method. They had kept Creation running for over a thousand years, and would do it for a thousand more. The campaign against the Bull changed that. He didn't turn to one of those brain dead Gold fanatics, but he couldn't trust the Bronze faction either. The Realm without the Empress was nothing, and no one lasts forever. And yet, no one had set up contingencies. There was no plan, just mad dash solutions to paper over the problem.

So he worked, doing his duties to the Bureau, but staying away from both parties. And he watched the world fall apart. Thorns. The Silver Prince. The Realm continuing it's slow crumble to Civil War and oblivion. The Solars and Lunars, back in force for the first time in memory. Every day it became more clear that if the Bronze faction ever had a plan, it wasn't valid any more.

"Brillant Boy's getting called into the headmasters office? Quick, someone make sure the Yozi are still in Hell."

A little start. He hadn't realized he was that out of it, for Starfall to sneak up on him. The little teasing does get him to relax, though. Turning, Child makes a little tossing motion as he chuckles.

"Hah. The only time I get called into her office is when I'm cleaning up after one of your messes. I have an appointment. Though, with you up here, maybe I'll be called in anyways...."

"You wound me," holding his hands over his heart, Starfall steps back, fake consternation on his face as he says the words, before dropping the smile as his eyes grow serious. "Honestly, though, I've been hearing rumors-"

"I'm fine. Just taking a sabbatical."

Starfall's jaw drops, and the balcony is silent for a long moment.

"You, Mr Work-A-Holic. Mr Didn't leave His Office for 3 days straight. You put in for leave?"

Slightly embarressed, Child rubs the back of his head. "Well, yeah. I guess I finally decided that I needed some time off. Hell, my hair's going grey, and I'm barely in my 5th decade."

Clasping Child's shoulder, Starfall gives a true smile. "Good for you. You've been working to hard, time to relax a little. Plus, now I know why the note that called me here was so happy."

"Oh?" The door to the office opens, a secretary god motioning for them to go in.

"Ayesha won the pool on when you'd finally give in."