CLOSED SIGNUPS Roses and Stars

Discussion in 'RONAAN'S REALM' started by rissa, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. The House of Jan’Visil was a beast of many hides - from outside it bore the same stoney construction as the other great buildings of Caershire. What lay within, however, was a monument to the vanity of the late Jan’Visil and his sizable brood; fourteen children, all of them rich, and all of them encapsulating the very best and the very worst of excess. The walls were the white of hardened, harvested ivory, somehow skillfully coalesced with the black of ebony. Splotches and stripes of black on white, or perhaps white on black.

    Those who paid homage to Jan’Visil paid homage through currency. Currency, and silence. Not true silence, but the soft ambience of whispers. Whispers, the Sons of Jan’Visil decided, were welcome. Pure, black silence was stoic and too solemn by far. Hushed whispers, on the other hand, sounded almost reverent, almost like prayer. Scores of patrons sat upon seats half-ebony, half-ivory, in worship of the only thing that mattered to them: currency and the power it held over the wonders of this world.

    The Fourteen Son of Jan’Visil was born Runa Jan’Visil. Now, he was Master of Auctions. He spoke in slow drawl, measuring every word and - Aarcon believed he could almost sympathize in the following regard - savoring every syllable. There was little in his speech - the part and parcel welcomings of the elite rich - that required deliberation, but Aarcon could almost hear the satisfaction in his voice. The almost seductive feel that came with powerful people hanging on one’s every word.

    “Welcome, to the sixty-eighth gathering. The House, of Jan’Visil, cordially greets each, and every one, of its esteemed patrons…”

    Ruven Ralow was too base by far for an ‘event’ such as this. There was something approaching desperation in the way Ruven Ralow shifted in his own seat, impatiently waiting for one word to fade away into the next. Aarcon could only chuckle. The average Auction Master spoke at blistering pace, the Auction Masters of the House Jan’Visil spoke slowly, to reaffirm the crux of their House. The items did not matter - not to Jan’Visils sons, at least - but the House mattered.

    A great many artifact and wonder was announced, at a pace Runa Jan’Visil deemed brisk. Twin blades of gold and platinum. A miniature sky-ship that hovered indefinitely within a container of glass. The fastest steed in all of Orcosi - though Aarcon had his doubts, and four tigers from opposite the world. That had been a scene, as the fiercest tiger of the four had mauled the unlucky servant of its purchaser, to the uproarious applause of the House’s patrons. A tiger without bite, after all, was no wonder.

    “The Tome,” said Ruven, eagle-eyed despite approaching a state of bored slumber, “Of Roneeya Rochaan. What’s the plan here? I’m thinking increments of five thousand. Ten thousand if they press us. Abstain for four or five bids, then jump in.”

    Two thousand.
    Two thousand four hundred.
    Three thousand.
    Three thousand five hundred.

    “Four thou-” Ruven began, before Aarcon stood, like a bent flower unfurling against the wind.

    “Twenty thousand.” He intoned, almost dispassionately.

    The veil of whispers was broken, as the House of Jan’Visil and its patrons burst into uproarious applause, and Ruven Ralow inquired as to ”what the fuck is wrong with you?”. To a rich man, sound business savvy was commendable. To a flock of rich men in a House built on vanity, to spend without inhibition was aspirational.
    #41 Shizuochan, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  2. Iskaya Skarrat

    The Ka'Lene glanced about her nervously. This was absolutely the last place she wanted to be, stuck with a knight's escort headed towards a rather imposing lady up on the hill. She had to get back to the rendezvous to meet with Bellamy to enact his absolutely, positively, most definitely insane plan, but she was unsure how she was supposed to do that with Master Shiny right next to her. There was also the fact that there was possible evidence of a certain missing princess stuck in this cart, a fact that would surely have her head lopped off with a rusty, dull ax.

    Her hands tightened on the reins as she led the horses in the direction that the knight had gestured her towards, her face carefully composed into a mask over the panicky feelings she felt rise within her. She did not believe so much in the rule of thinking beings, but she did believe in the power of a good club to the head with the pommel of a sword. She wasn't about to get out of here by dashing away. No, she would play their game for now until she had a moment to go her own way.

    "I ask again, is there a reason why you happen to be leading me towards you superior? Pardon, but it makes me nervous to reach this 'rendez-vous'. I am perfectly capable of protecting my own cart," Iskaya stated flatly, flicking the reins to her horses to speed them by. Behind her, the centaurs seemed to have finally calmed down.

    @Dismas @rissa
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  3. Alora Fortune

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    We wish to speak with the volqaar.” Bellamy said in their raspy tongue, repeating the Baron’s command forcefully.

    The centaur flicked his tail and motioned the pair of them forward. The earthy musk would be overwhelming to one who never experienced it before and while not repugnant, the scent was strong. The rest of the horde allowed them passage, stepping aside and looking down at them with large almond eyes. Their faces were human-like, with equine features and an abundance of hair. Though their torso was shaped like man's, they had the proportions of such a beastly creature.

    "Why are you here?" The volqaar said in the common tongue of RoNaan's Realm. "Son of Khalel has done nothing since the the Battle of the Hills. Why?"

    The centaurs nearest stomped their hooves and snorted loudly, their eyes burning with rage. But with a wave of the volqaar's hand, they fell still and she continued once more, this time turning her eyes on the young princess. "By what name does the Mistress of Water call herself? You are his mate, yes?"

    "I am Princess Alora Elianna Fortune of Gabranth..." Her eyes flickered briefly to Bellamy and for a moment lingered, remembering well his words as they approached the petrifying throng. Breathing out, she returned her gaze to the centaur, "And yes. I am."

    His hold on Alora tightened, if but for a moment when she replied. It shouldn't have made him feel so... good, to hear that come from Alora, but it did, and ever so softly his lips rose into a lopsided grin. It was hard for him to tell if the volqaar noticed, and truth be told he didn't care as long as she believed them. And perhaps she did, because the elder didn't have them executed.

    Nodding her head, silver and black tresses that almost reached the ground swayed until finally she gave a command in her native tongue and beckoned them forward. The surrounding centaurs backed even further away while the volqaar turned and waited for them to reach her side.

    "A union worthy of Southmar." She replied in a short rasp, bowing her head slightly. "Barlq, with me. Tormut you will lead the tribe back to camp. The machine is not worth our time anymore." In the common tongue once more, the volqaar said, "Far from home you are and with a fool of a king. Why you here? Have you come to fulfil your forefathers oaths?"

    It was Alora's turn, then, to tighten her grasp, however it was not excitement that betrayed her reaction, but shock at the words spoken to her. Fool of a king... but surely...

    "...I... I suppose I have, yes." She answered, then nodded.

    The volqaar squinted her eyes in return, wondering if the young woman was telling the truth. And after such desperate measures. She turned her eyes on Bellamy, her stare hardening. She still hadn't forgiven him, not after half a century. He fought valiantly, true, for their side, but he left them without a way to secure their victories, and not soon after were placed back under oppression by the crude survivors of the crumbling Southmar Empire.

    "Trust. Important to us. Is it to you? How do I know you speak the truth? How do I know you wont turn?"

    She glanced at Alora, her eyes softening ever so slightly. "You look like one of them. One of the Scepter's women. She's yet to find a mate though..." Trailing off, she turned and spoke to the black stallion on her other side while Bellamy whispered down to Alora.

    "Do you know what the oaths entail?" Bellamy asked in a rushed whisper, his eyes widening ever so slightly. "If we make a deal with them it must be fulfilled. And with centaurs you never know when they require it done. It could be a year from now, two months, or tomorrow. Tread careful--"

    "The Scepter's people has given us what we need. But they murder. Our Mothers do not like them. Will you fulfill the oaths of your forefathers? Will you cast peace across the minds of my people?"

    Without looking to the man beside her, unsure she could hold her composure if she did, Alora instead kept watch on the centaur, her voice quivering with emotion, but utterly devoid of deception, "I've no desire to see anyone suffer. I will do what I must."

    The volqaar made an odd expression, her tail flicking absentmindedly as her brows furrowed and further elongated her face. She turned to Bellamy and spoke in her native tongue.

    "Why did the machine send you, Kahlel?"

    "He didn't," Bellamy mumbled, annoyance leaking into his features at her use of that name. "Alora and I offered to come... To find a way to end our mutual bloodshed."

    The volqaar snorted and shared a glance with her mate. He made a comment too low to hear which in turn caused her to furrow her brows deeper in thought. After a moment, Bellamy cleared his throat and made a risky move.

    "Scepter?" He asked in the common tongue so Alora could understand. "Who is Scepter?"

    "You'll soon know." The volqaar replied in a clipped tone. For a few moments she was silent, her eyes distant and unfocused. They stood in a shallow clearing, a fair distance from the retreating centaur horde. The many hooves against the ground was an earthly melody that Bells focused on. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the volqaar spoke once more.

    "If what you say is true then I will believe you. I will not call off the Scepter until your path is fulfilled: so be warned-"

    "Call off?" Bellamy interrupted, unease washing through him. "What do-"

    "Silence yourself. " Barlq snapped haughtily.

    The volqaar glanced between both men before turning her eyes on Alora. There was a stillness to the clearing that was palpable in this moment as the two shared a look. The volqaar walked forward, her silver and black recesses swaying, matching the dappled silver of her hindquarters. Bell squeezed Alora's hand in the only moral support he could currently give her.

    "Will you, Princess of Gabranth, Mistress of Water, full your forefathers oaths and bring peace to my people?" She extended her bony hand for an embrace. "Will you bring back Southmar of Old?"

    Alora straightened, and as Bellamy tightened his grip on her hand, she returned the gesture with a lighter one... her voice a stream of gentle determination, no fear evident, despite the subtle tremor that coursed through her. Her eyes fixed on the centaur woman and slowly, she bowed her head, "I will. You have my word, I will."

    The volqaar nodded her head and grasped Alora's right hand with both of her bony hands. At the moment of contact a warm rush of energy would travel through Alora's arm and throughout her body. It wasn't painful, though it may be alarming. Smiling, the volqaar stepped away, glancing down at her wrist. Upon it, a thin gold and black band appeared, glowed for a moment, and then faded into her skin. Alora would find the same marking on her wrist.

    "I will take my people and depart, back to our home lands, per the oaths conditions. You have six months, Kahlel and Alora... Six months. May our Mothers guide you."

    As they returned to the raft through the passage Alora had created, the princess stared at her wrist with a curious expression. There were so many questions... Too many questions, and most of them had something to do with what had happened, but one in particular burned in the back of her mind. Reaching their destination, and returning back on board, Alora let the waters fall back into place before she turned to Bellamy, fixing the man with an expression that suggested it would not be in his best interests to argue, "...We need to talk."

    "I..." He shifted his weight from one foot to another before glancing back at her shly. "I agree. Just ah... I should talk to the Baron first. Would you like to.. stay on deck or retreat inside to talk...?"

    "Inside. I imagine you don't want what I have to say overheard by just anyone."

    Clearing his throat and nodding his head, Bellamy withdrew the key to their room and handed it over. "I won't be long."

    Taking the key, Alora nodded. For a moment, she hesitated, almost uncertain, before she turned and made her way back in the direction she had come with the Baron. She found the room, after a pause and stepping back inside, sank down on the edge of the bunk, the key still clenched in her grasp like a lifeline, keeping her from the grip of panic.

    Relaying the events to the Baron didn't take long at all. The Baron wanted to get further down river, his implanted drive urging him forward now that the raft was out of danger. He left him under the scrutinizing gaze of the Doorman who wanted each and every detail. As quickly as he could Bellamy made his way to the room. He took a deep breath before entering, feeling anxious and dreadful and resigned all at once.

    He barely glanced at her as he walked into the room, unsheathed his sword and settled himself on the floor, back against the wall and facing Alora. "So," he said with a small chuckle despite the tension he felt. "Where do we begin?"

    Her eyes moved when he entered, and he had barely sank to the ground before she spoke, her voice sharper than she meant for it to sound, her gaze boring into him with certain and unyielding focus, "Who the hell are you, Bellamy? I'm not stupid enough to think that they weren't talking about you back there. And I seriously doubt that the Centaur are even capable of humor. King? I want the truth... Who are you, and what in Ronaan's name is going on here? What oath did I just make?"

    "My name, my real name is Renwyck Kahlel." Bellamy mumbled, his shoulders caving. "Heir to Southmar of Old. The lost prince, pft." He huffed out, eyes distant from his surroundings. "After my father was murdered, the High Lord of Gabranth, a priestess of Emeraldy, and Lord Marloe of Marbalea met with the Centaurs almost a century ago. You see, at the time we were at war with Vashskara and they knew they couldn't win against us all. That's why the murdered my family, I think; the line of Summer Kings had kept peace for too long, united us against them. We fought foreign invaders on one front and relentless Centaurs on another...

    "They met with volqaar Rahkesh, the very one we just spoke to. She took the path of reason, made them take an oath to see Southmar reunited, to ensure that her lands, the Hills of Marbalea were no longer encroached upon."

    Bellamy shrugged, "We know they didn't succeed, obviously. Due in part to my own selfishness; no one knew I was alive... Everyone assumed they killed me too. Nevermind they never had a body..."

    Taking a deep breath, he looked up at Alora with desperate eyes. "I can't be the person this country needs, but I... We can do our best to reunite what once was, by whatever means."

    "Southmar..." The word was whispered, as Alora traced the spot on her wrist where the marking had appeared after her promise, the color draining from her cheeks.

    "You... you knew. You knew what the oath was, and you let me... You let me make it. I've just agreed to destroy everything my family has. To overthrow my own kingdom. My own father and you knew! Is... is that why you... Why you brought me along?"

    Turning her gaze to him, her eyes narrowed, "No. You will be the person this country deserves, Bellamy. Or I will have no part in this. It your duty... And I will not unseat my father, if you are not willing to do your part."

    A great heavy sigh emanated from Bellamy and for a moment, a wide range of emotions flashed across his face. His eyes darkened and he shook his head before covering his face. There were too many variables he had to deal with as it was, the last thing he needed was to worry about an empire a hundred years diminished. Besides, if he succeeded, he could help usher in a way of life even better than what was.

    "I've told you already, the intentions of my people and why you, specifically, are so dear to our success. I may have not elaborated... But yes, Alora, if you and I succeed, your father will be the last King of Gabranth. Your brother will not inherit the throne as there will be no throne. Don't you see? There will be no kings, not even me!"

    Eyes red, he gazed up at Alora, searching, wondering why she couldn't see what that meant. "Southmar can be reunited Alora, but on our terms. And our terms include what is best for everyone, not just those who are high born like you and I." He sighed once more, shoulders sagging against the weight of what seemed like impossibility.

    "I will keep you safe Alora, protect you with my life... but I need you to witness why this world must change."

    "No kings? Bellamy... Are you mad? What do you think will happen to the people with no one to rule them? With no one to guide them or protect them? Do you imagine that those who oppose you will just lay down their crowns and give up? If you leave even the smallest margin for them, they will take full advantage. My brother... He... he's dangerous."

    Shifting, she wrapped her arms around herself, eyes cast down, "I've never met anyone who scares me the way that he does. My life isn't the only one at risk here. He will go to war before he gives up his throne. But to try and remove the monarchy all together? To leave nothing in its place? You're opening the door for catastrophe."

    He snorted and let out another one of those barking laughs. "I may be mad, yeah, but c'mon. I'm not a complete idiot ya' know." He rolled his eyes as a shadow of a grin passed over his lips.

    Shaking his head slightly, Bell grew serious once more. What she revealed troubled him, if it didn't necessarily surprise him. War was inevitable, that much he knew. That much he banked on. But against who? Each other? Or foreign foes? And the bit about her brother... the way she drew into herself like that. Bellamy frowned, choosing his words carefully.

    "I never intended to leave my people without protection, without guidance. In the monarchies place we wish to see an inter-realm council. A council filled with members chosen by the people in their own realms. Marbalea, Emeraldy, and Gabranth are sister kingdoms, Alora. No matter how hard we fight against each other, we're connected, we always have been. It's time to reunite them in a way the line of Summer Kings never could.

    "And it's people like your brother... People who would do anything, even jeopardize their own people for the crown... We cannot grow with people like that ruling us. They'll stifle our freedoms and will to create new visions of the world until we no longer know how to rebel and fight for something new."

    "But who governs the council, Bellamy? Who ensures that they're doing their job?" Looking to him again, she studied him for a moment, her gaze curious, "...There is nothing in this world that I would not do to see to it my brother doesn't gain one ounce of control... not over anything. But how do you plan to stop him? How do you plan to stop any of them?"

    "Laws are being drafted by defectors of all three kingdoms," Bellamy said dismissively with a wave of his hand. "At this point, none of that matters... nothing at this point matters except ensnaring the minds of both high and low born folks.... At the Solaeya Solstice.

    "Hundreds of thousands of people gather there, Alora. They flock to Marbalea in the hopes that something will change. And finally, this year it will. Once we arrive, it'll be easier to explain the intricacies..."

    He looked thoughtful as he digested the last of her words, and a flash of fear ignited in his eyes before he continued.

    "There are some who believe in this cause that will stop at nothing. I... I just want to see my people safe, but I fear it will come to war no matter what happens."

    "You've missed the point, Bellamy." With a sigh, she shifted off the bunk, moving to kneel before him, her eyes holding his, determined.

    "Whatever you think the people are capable of... they are too accustomed to being led, to being ruled. You'll entrance them with the pretty notions of self governing, but in the end, they won't understand. They will look for a king. They will always look for a king, Bell. And if you aren't willing to step into that position, someone else will. Someone like Tennison, who will not hesitate to turn your vision into his own twisted tyrannical utopia."

    Lowering her gaze, she shook her head, "They aren't ready to exist without guidance... As much as you think they are." Looking at him again, she reached to cup her hands over his, "That is not the first time you called them your people. If you show them that same devotion at the galas, they will follow you?"

    For a long while he said nothing, did nothing except stare at the delicate hands holding his. Memories of the past swirled within his mind's eye and for a moment, he wondered if his sister's hands would have been unblemished... perfect as Alora Fortune's. Almost shyly, Bellamy glanced up into Alora's eyes and let the remainder of his walls crumble around him.

    "I was barely eight years old when they came for my parents..." Bellamy said softly, eyes shifting away from Alora's face as he let go of his past. "My father used to say something similar, ya'know... He used to tell me that he wished for a simple life, one without so much responsibility-- But I suppose it is my responsibility, like it was his, to protect and guide my people...

    "I just... It's been a long time Alora, I don't know how to be king anymore."

    Slowly, he brought Alora's hand to his lips and placed a soft peck against her knuckles. "I am sorry... About all of this."

    "Which part?" Alora asked with a small dry smile, "Kidnapping me? Or involving me in some master plan to overthrow my family?" Eyes moving to his, she swallowed, color creeping into her skin.

    "I'm sorry, too. About your family. Whatever it takes, Bellamy... I will help you put it right again. Even if it means teaching you how to be a king, again. Your family... They will not have died for nothing. I swear it..."

    "Both," Bellamy said softly, his eyes reddening once more against his will. "And t..thank you."

    With a great sigh, he forced himself to smile, to let go of the past once more and stare not only at the beautiful woman before him, but at the hope that presided within. There wasn't much time... but maybe, just maybe they could change the world.

    "I don't know about you," Bellamy said through a yawn, "But I didn't get much sleep last night and the raft won't deliver us to our destination for a few hours more. Maybe bugger the Baron for some food after a quick nap?"

    Bowing her head, Alora rose again, returning to the bunk, "Sleep might do us both some good. Will..." Knitting her hands together, she lowered her gaze, her fingers brushing her wrist again, "Will you stay close? After all that's happened, I'm not terribly fond of the idea of being on my own."

    Returning the smile, Alora watched him for a moment, curiously, before sinking down onto the cot.

    The weight of exhaustion was a creeping, heavy thing and before long she had sunken into it, drifting off. Unfortunately, it was not to be long lived. Before the hour was up, with a quiet whimper, Alora had begun to toss and turn. The soft murmuring turned more noted, frantic and desperate until with a strangled scream, she bolted upright, hand pressed to her heart in terror.


    Half asleep, Bellamy jerked himself into a fighting stance, left arm sweeping out to draw his sword. It took a moment for him to realize no one could have broken into the room and that her screams were from an entirely different threat.

    "Alora... Everything okay?"

    It took more than a moment to shake out of the grip of the dreams, and as she pulled her knees to her chest, quivering, Alora shook her head, her voice squeaking out in a whisper, "I'm fine... It's nothing..." Breathing out, she raked her fingers through her hair, before leaning her forehead to her legs, "I'm fine."

    Sleep faded fast and rubbing the last of it from his eyes, Bellamy took a few steps forward. He placed his sword on the table and moved one of the chairs closer to the bed. He sat down with a soft sigh, brows furrowing softly as he watched Alora collapse within herself.

    "Doesn't seem like you're fine... C'mon, what is it?"

    Breathing out, she tipped her head to look at him, her lip curling in a gentle frown, "It was... I know it was just a dream, but they're so real, sometimes. I feel as though I'll never wake. Sometimes it's so bad, I fear I've seen the future..."

    "What did you see?" Bellamy said softly, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the bed. His eyes found hers and he nodded softly, urging her to continue.

    Swallowing, she looked away, her voice breaking on a note of fear, "My brother."

    "Earlier I thought he made you nervous, but... You're afraid of him, aren't you?" Ignoring formalities, Bellamy seated himself on the bed and reached out for Alora's hand. He liked the way it melded to his own.

    "What has he done," Bellamy asked softly, "For you to be so afraid of him?"

    Flinching at the thought, she stared down at his hand, her own trembling in his grasp, "...Tennison... He... he isn't quite right. He's never been. There's something wrong with him. Father pretends that it's just ambitions, but I've seen things in him. The things he says and things he's done to others... But it's more than that. I... I used to think he hated me. Yet as I got older, he only paid more mind to me. The way he looks at me... It's not proper. And he was so angry, when Father agreed to my engagement... Furious." Breathing out, she looked up again, her eyes damp, "He's obsessed with power, Bellamy. Political power... power over people. He wants what he can't have and he will stop at nothing to get it."

    Squeezing her hand against its trembling, Bellamy listened to Alora speak with rapt attention and a speeding heart. He couldn't stop himself from wondering what horrors a prince could commit against his own sister, however. He had witnessed (and intervened) one too many acts of atrocities, especially at the hands of men-- against the flesh of women. And if he despised anyone, it was those kinds of men.

    "I'm sorry, I can't imagine..." Bellamy replied finally, unsure if that was even satisfactory. "May I ask you something?"

    Blinking, she looked up with a small nod, "Of course..."


    A sharp knock rented through the small room and Bellamy flinched, smacking the back of his head against the wall. He stood with an apologetic frown and opened the door. The Baron was waiting with a large serving tray laden with food and the commoner woman from outside stood at his elbow, a silver pitcher in her grasp.

    "No charge," The Baron said with a dip of his head. "Place the summer-wine there, Oleyne, and let us depart."

    Bellamy dipped his head in thanks, retrieved the tray and placed it in the middle of the bed. The door clicked softly into place and after grabbing the wine, sat directly across from Alora.

    "So, eat first and then talk? Or both at the same time?"

    Alora had jumped at the knock, heart giving a jolt, and even as the Baron arrived with food, she did not seem comforted. For however hungry she was, the lingering memory of the dream still clung, destroying whatever appetite she might've had.

    "I can manage both.." She answered, nodding.

    Smiling softly, Bellamy helped himself to bits of this and that and only when he reached for one of the two silver flutes resting upon the tray, did he continue.

    "Before we were interrupted, I was going to ask if anyone had stood against Tennison before." He poured himself some of the Baron's infamous watered-down-wine and motioned towards the other flute, inquiring silently if she wished to have some too. "Surely someone has had to! He sounds terrible, no offensive of course," A slight flush creeped up his neck as he continued. "It's just... well, it sounds like he needs a rude awakening."

    Reaching for the flute, Alora held it in her hands, which had finally ceased shaking, "My father is afraid of him... His rage. It's terrifying. But more than his anger, it's his manipulative behavior. He's got my mother wrapped around his finger... And he can be quite charming when he needs to..." Lowering her gaze, she touched the rim of the glass, absently drawing a circle, "I would not ask you to endanger yourself, for my sake, Bellamy."

    Lifting her chin with his finger, Bellamy smiled softly as their eyes met. "I'm not sure if you've noticed, love, but endangering myself is what I do best."

    He leaned back with a wicked grin that quickly dissolved as his brows furrowed. "Besides, it is men like your brother whom I must stand against if we intend to carve a path for the new world," Bellamy shook his head with a small huff of a laugh. "You Gabranthian's love your duels, maybe I can ask 'em for lesson or two." When he smiled again there was a hardness that radiated from his eyes.

    Her cheeks flushed at his words, lending color to pale skin, but the corner of her mouth turned up slightly and she shook her head, "Doesn't mean you ought to do it on my account..."

    Biting her cheek, to took a pull from her glass, "We'll leave those thoughts, perhaps... Until they prove necessary. Though if it's a lesson you want, I can give you one. Father would die from the shock if he knew... But I've been studying. I find it rather fascinating, and why shouldn't women learn, after all?"

    Leaning forward on his elbows, Bellamy flashed Alora another grin. He would keep talks of chivalry and duels at a minimum if... "Absolutely," Bellamy replied quickly. "Men and women both should be taught warfare. It was something my father believed in too. He, like me, had a trusty, womanly, right-hand. Iskaya-" He flinched slightly, remembering Alora sausaged within the rug. "She's not as ...rough... as she might seem, but y-yes, I've found women are just as, if not more capable than men.

    "And I'd love to spar with you, Alora. Consider it done, y'know, as soon as we arrive at our destination."

    "She's terrifying... But I'm entirely sure she means to be. You though... You're not what I expected." Smiling faintly, Alora shrugged, "I disdain violence... But swordplay... It's always been enticing. It's so much like a dance."

    Humming thoughtfully, she leaned forward in her chair, "I shall try my best not to thrash you, entirely."

    "I look forward to it," Bellamy quipped, leaning in once again. His face flushed slightly and he busied himself with a few choice pickings from the tray. After a moment he glanced up and with a wry smile asked, "And what... exactly did you expect?"

    "Well... One generally has a predisposed notion that their kidnappers will be horrible, wretched people. Of course... I suppose this isn't an average abduction, either." Sitting back, she studied him, a brow quirked, "You're refreshing, Bellamy. A far cry from the sort I'm normally forced to endure. And charming..."

    Smiling, she shook her head, "To be perfectly honest, this all feels more like a rescue, than a kidnapping."

    "Originally, that's how this... debacle was supposed to take place." Bellamy said softly, fighting against a terribly infectious smile. "And thank you, I uh, I know this journey didn't start off too well, but I swear on my honor it will get better."

    There was a drawing silence before he continued. "We should have started our mission in Gabranth, ya'know, you could have helped us immensely these past few months... And I could have done something about that brother of yours."

    "...I'm sure it would have been better than being wrapped in a rug, anyway." With a small sigh, she sat back, "Maybe it's better this way. A few months ago, I was someone very different. I thought the world only existed within my little bower, and I was content believing that. Something changes within you, when you start to see things for what they actually are. And not enough people will ever reach that point. I almost didn't."

    Lowering her gaze again, she shook her head, "I don't want to go back to the way things were. With you, maybe I stand a chance of doing something more worthwhile than bearing children for a man twice my age, who thinks reading is for men and women ought not to be seen or heard." Smiling faintly, her eyes turned back up to his again, lingering, "...I suppose you really did rescue me, Your Majesty."

    There was a moment, too small and insignificant to take conscious notice of, where his heart skipped a beat. Your Majesty. How long had it been, since someone addressed him as that? Glancing away with a flushed and indecisive face, he bided time by draining his flute of summer-wine. Almost shyly, Bells smiled and looked over at Alora.

    "I will see to it you have every opportunity to seize your fate."

    "...Why?" The word was spoken quietly, and for a moment, Alora lowered her gaze, tracing her fingertip along the edge of her glass, "I know you have need for me, Bellamy, or I would not be here. but beyond your intentions for this council... why would you..."

    Smiling faintly, she set down her glass, looking up at him, "You've so much to concentrate on. You shouldn't worry yourself about my fate."

    "Why not?" Bellamy said the words almost confusedly, his brows furrowing in thought. "Why would I allow a woman, or a-anyone for that matter, in need to go without?" With a sigh, he shook his head sadly. "Since I was young people have always told me my kindness would be my downfall, but without it, without me offering aid to those who've needed it, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be the same person I am today...

    "Not to mention you deserve to be free, Alora. You deserve happiness of your own choosing. Everyone does."

    "Free..." With a small sigh, the smile faded, "I'm not even sure I understand what that means, anymore. I used to think I was free. But I suppose we're all beneath one thumb or another. For what it's worth, I'm glad you didn't listen to them." Reaching out, she cupped her hand gingerly over his own, "Whatever you decide... whether it's to rule, or simply to be the catalyst for a new age... you are a good man."

    "I- ...thank you... Alora." He didn't know what to say, so he twisted his hand until he was holding hers and gave it a gentle squeeze.

    For the rest of the morning the pair hunkered down in the room, talking and reminiscing until finally the Baron's voice announced their arrival in the township of Carvalho.

    TAGS || collab with @rissa
    • Thank Thank x 1

  4. Anuleisa Rochaan
    The last of spring’s chill was diminished as afternoon broke across the Caerdean landscape. A cloudy lilac-blue sky stretched on forever as Anuleisa continued her trek through the heart of Caershire. She had refused an escort, vehemently, and relished in the quietness that was her own. It gave her time to think, especially after receiving the news from this morning. Persephone had departed in the dead of the night, with nothing but a single apology scribbled on the scroll Anu had given her.

    That of course meant finding Baba Ya was on her shoulders…

    With a sigh, she made sure Anne Marie was being fitted for her armor before making her way across the district.


    Anuleisa slipped into a seat beside Aarcon. Most of her face hidden by a veil, but her lips were visible, painted a dark red and she wore a smile that belied her true feelings of House Jan’Visil. She wore a slinky gown of rosewood chiffon, half-covered by a knee-length fur coat, and covered her mouth with a jeweled hand fan before speaking.

    “You should have bid forty thousand,” Anu whispered to her left, in Aarcon’s direction. “Lady Gabriola might have just fainted from admiration.”

    From the podium, Runa Jan’Visil called out for any further bids.

    “My plans have altered,” Anu continued softly, “I was wondering if I could steal you away from your lovely assistant for the rest of afternoon.”

    Carvalho Commons
    High Lady Amabelle rode alongside her guards, despite having been told numerous times that ‘it’d be safer within the carriage, my Lady’. Nerves ate away at the woman and it could be seen in the tension of her shoulders and in the way her eyes darted to and fro.

    Nothing had changed in the few hours since their departure from the Three Sister’s River, nothing except having received a missive from a large brown-and-gold bird the moment after she sent her knights to escort the commonfolk to safety. Ever since, the foreign noble had been acting skittish.

    Not long after Reynauld and his men returned from her given orders, did Lady Amabelle gather those involved. Her tongue was uncharacteristically sharp when she inquired the reason for Reynauld halting Iskaya’s carriage. His fellow soldiers looked at the lady in hesitant confusion and sent discreet, sympathetic glances in Reynauld’s direction. But her ire teetered out shortly after that and she made her way, finally, back into the carriage.


    The ride to Carvalho would certainly be more comfortable for Iskaya once the knight returned to his charge. If her keen eyes stayed true, she might even see the curious reprimand. But outside of that and the twins never ceasing chattering, the going was just as simple as it had been with Bellamy and Alora.

    But as the trio neared Carvalho, there was an unexpected visitor. A sudden jolt overcame the carriage when a familiar face literally jumped aboard, out of nowhere. His shaggy dark blond hair didn’t match the amber coloring of his skin, but he didn’t seem to care as he draped an arm across the back of the driver’s bench. The little brother of Bellamy’s third in command, they had crossed paths more than once.

    “Hey there Skaya.” Derrin mused, his voice sickly sweet. “Want me to take the twins off yer hands?”


    The breadth of the Carved Road was tested as a steady procession of carriages, wagons, mounted men and women, and even the few stragglers afoot crept their way into the capital. The going was noisy, as could be expected of hundreds of people travelling together in such close proximity. But the resonance of the city grew near as well.

    Reynauld and his fellow knights would have a difficult time keeping stragglers away from High Lady Amabelle’s entourage. The horses unique golden coloring seemed to attract unwanted attention. Their orders not to act still remained however, and as the Commons grew ever near, that attention would likely double.

    “We should be able to see them coming,” Bellamy said over the din, looking to Alora. “Since we stayed on the Sisters, we travelled farther faster. Will you help me find them?”

    They were both seated in the back of a wagon, surrounded by bales of funny looking fruits. The owner of the wagon had been generous however, especially when Bellamy handed him two gold pieces.

    Ahead of them, the beginning of the procession began it’s trek through the Commons, one of the many communities that had settled around the city’s outskirts. In the distance the Marbalean Towers stood proud and welcoming.

    Aboard Amaleyia
    Rubbing his chin, Garek glanced between Kas and the stowaway with furrowed brows. He had a million and one questions for his niece, starting with how in the hels she managed to meet a halfling when she was supposed to be aboard the ship while he was away. He sighed, pulled out his book and flicked through a few pages.

    “Kas, I have a job for you.” Garek said with a grunt. “Go to my room, grab my wax and seal stamp, and meet me in the bridge. Now, preferably.”

    He then turned to Grin, squinting suspiciously before speaking. “If you wanna stay aboard, I reckon you make yourself useful. There’s plenty of cleanin’ to do in this pigsty,” Garek said with a wistful glance around the galley. “Shit, if you can cook, make my crew a damn feast.”

    And with a turn, he and his leather bound book made the short trek to the bridge. He settled himself into his usual chair after grabbing a spare scroll and ink pot from Toan’s stash.

    Kas's expression drooped as she understood that Garek was not going to be as accepting as she thought of her friend. "Sure thing, Gramps." She said with a sigh, disappearing with a turn of her heel and heading down the hall to Garek's room. She knew he kept his wax and stamp in the top drawer, and scoffed at the amount of empty liquor bottles that he had across his room.

    Once she had retrieved the items as requested she headed to the bridge. "Here you are, good sir." She gave him a little laugh and held out the stamp and wax for him to take.

    "Sit." Garek said with a grunt, retrieving his seal stamper and preferred red wax. "Take this," He said with a wave of his hand, pointing to the unadorned scroll and ink pot. "And transcribe what I say."

    Kas rolled her eyes. "I'm not your servant, ya know. You've got two workin' hands." Still, despite her complains she picked up the scroll and ink. "Is this because my handwritin's better than yers?"

    Yes, he thought to himself, And your hands don't shake nearly as bad as mine.

    "Still a member of this crew, ain't ya?" Garek spat, the edges of his lips turned upwards, however. "And yes, I need it to be legible. When you're finished transcribing, send it with a raven."

    Kas sighed, even as she returned his little smile. "Alright, capn." From out of her hair, she pulled one of the many feathers and dipped it in the inkwell, a suitable quill. "Do yer worst."

    "Anuleisa," He began, clearing his throat as he went. "I hate to always be the bearer of bad news, but Amaleyia and her crew will arrive later than expected."

    Kas diligently etched the paper, dipping the quill back again every so often. She chuckled to herself at his statement, but said nothing else and continued to write.

    "The conjurer wasn't as easy to find as you made it seem, dearest. But I managed to locate him through the Spider's contacts. You should be happy to know that he's in one piece." Stopping to clear his throat, Garek waited until Kas' last flourish and then held up his hand for her to stop transcribing for the moment.

    "How long do you think it's been, Kas, since we were in Lyf last?" Garek wore a thoughtful face, his eyes and mind focused elsewhere.

    Kas stopped chewing on her lip to answer this question, resting her hand for a moment as he stared off into space. "I 'unno," She said blandly. "Long enough for ya to call Anuleisa dearest." She snickered.

    His eyes took a moment to focus but once they did, they settled on Kas, confused and startled, as if shaken from his thoughts forcibly. "What?"

    Kas continued to stifle her laughter as best as possible. "Yer an old lump. Want me to write that down?" She said, picking up the quill once more and dipping it in ink.

    "No," Garek scoffed, rolling his eyes to the heavens.

    Twirling a finger and signaling Kas to get ready, he continued. "A few months have passed since we last saw each other. I know Amaleyia will not disappoint. There's been a few additions to my crew and all but a few are trustworthy, I believe. If not we can send 'em flying…

    "Wait, no don't write that."

    “Too late. Already written.” She said with a smirk.

    Garek rolled his eyes and continued, transcribing the rest of the letter for Kas. Reading it over swiftly, he nodded his head once and used the warmed wax to seal it closed. He uttered something to low to hear and then handed it over to his niece.

    “Straight to the ravens, now. Don’t fuckin’ dwaddle, ya hear?” Shooing her out, Garek pinched the bridge of his nose before burying himself into his ledgers.


    The ravens were stored away on the third floor. After having lost their five ravens not once, but twice when they penned out on deck. Whether it was due to mischievous scoundrels or pesky corvus cleverness, no one was too sure.

    Off in the corner of the storage room, where the cages have stood for months, something was amiss. Usually both doors were locked shut, but in this moment they stood open, swaying softly with the motion of Amaleyia herself. That wasn’t the only indication, however.

    Scattered around the room were blue-black feathers. Some clustered together, unintentionally forming odd patterns and designs, while others laid lonely by themselves, as if guiding you onwards. Behind a large crate on the opposite side of the room were four dead ravens, their feathers torn and disheveled. Curiously, other than being dead, there didn’t seem to be a cause of death.

    A faint rustle of feathers could be heard from somewhere above and emanating around the space was a saturating sense of unease.


    On deck, where Toan continued to catalogue the goods from the crates, a gale swept over Amaleyia that rattled even the machinery. Frowning and rolling his loose scrolls nice and tight, Toan pointed to Kydris and then at a single square package, wrapped tightly with twine and parchment, and then over at the bridge.

    “Take that to Garek over there in tha’ bridge, goods from the QN that is. Be careful with it and hurry back out.”

    Turning to the newly hired Halfling, Toan groaned internally before continuing. “All the crystals need to go below deck. Third floor. You wanna’ go grab Keev or Spire to help ya’?” Toan hollered over the unnatural wind. “This shipment was heavier than our last and there’s a few parts up here they’ve been feignin’ for. Don’t want you and the kid breakin’ your backs.”

    The Priestess of Oraheim
    The night was silent, still, and bright with silvery moonlight. The High Priestess of Oraheim, Amoret Larocque, took in her surroundings with a drawn out sigh. They were surrounded by flat fertile lands and beyond that, an undulating horizon. Though sprawling their temple was, they were alone in every direction for leagues. To the east were the salty Sylphaerian Straits and the nearing springtime Galas…

    When she was a girl she yearned for those Gala’s, for something more than the stone and brick temples to which the Unattuned belonged to. So few of her brothers and sisters across the world were free from temple life. So few were able to live the way they wished; unhindered by tradition and expectation from those above. Protected and Guided by the Sylphaerian’s, the Unattuneds gather and live in temples all across RoNaan’s Realm. They prayed, chronicled, studied and searched, experimented and invented…

    Atop the temple Oraho, in the sacred gardens of the Elysia, Amoret waited for the younger priestess with an anxiety welling in her heart. The moonlit waters illuminated the garden with a silver glow and despite the serenity of the hallow place, there was no stillness or peace to be found. For weeks she bore witness to a disturbing cycle. She’d sent word to Sylorah just two days prior and received an almost immediate answer. The quickness was unnerving. It was as if the Sylphaerian’s had expected her.


    In the darkness of brick and white stone, a novice ran through the maze-like temple structure. It sprawled for miles, both up, down, and around. The priestess’ all slept above ground, signifying their hierarchy within the temple itself… But getting there in the dead of night without being seen was difficult. Her Mistress insisted she stay hidden, that there was a reason she called upon her hummingbird.

    No one knew the temples like young Jazamene. A ward of the temple, nearing her thirteenth year. She was a favorite among many, if dangerous to replicate. She had a sailor’s mouth, a pirate’s courage, and enough will to sway the Judge himself below. From a young age Amoret had sponsored the girl, had been given secret counsel afterwards that her choice had been correct. The same stood true for the woman she was being sent to collect.

    Clara Elergy.

    When Jazamene scaled the short, open brick window into Clara’s room she landed with barely a thud noting her arrival. The soft white canvas blew in the wind and she crouched until they closed. The moonlight was bright and Clara’s quarter’s faced the eastward seas. Slowly, on nimble barefeet, Jazamene whispered her name.


    Clara was awake. Of course, there was little surprise in this. The young priestess was often up at odd hours of the night. There were two windows in her room, and she had curled into the frame of her seat in the first, the red book perched in her lap, charcoal dancing across the page, staining her skirts, her hands, her face - the countenance of which could not have better reflected her effortless joy.

    She loved her life in the temple, but it was little mystery that Clara longed for more. For life on the outside - to explore, to discover… and not just because it was their calling, but because her own curiosity demanded sateing. A life of apathy, studying and gardening, holed up in the stone walls that had surrounded her most of her life was a sentence, and she was only too ready to shed protocol, proprietary… to spread her wings and take flight.

    From behind a curtain of curing flames, she glanced over to the younger girl, slate eyes lighting up, brightening warmly, “Jaz…” If she was startled, either by the girl’s presence at all, or the odd decision to enter by such unconventional means, it didn’t show in the pleasant smile that stretched across her lips.

    “What is it?”

    “It’s Mistress Amoret,” Jez whispered back, her face splitting into a smile of her own. Taking a few silent steps forward, she made a gesture for Clara to step away from the window.

    “She’s atop the temple Oraho and she wishes to see you.”

    Frowning softly, Clara slipped from her seat and rose. Why Mistress Amoret would send the girl in such a secretive manner, she couldn’t wager a guess, but it seemed hardly consequential to the practical minded young priestess, “Am I to go out the window, in your stead?” She did wonder aloud, with a bit of a mischievous smile, “I’m afraid I’ll wind myself up in quite a mess if that’s the case. I’m not nearly as adept as you at climbing.”

    A soft giggle escaped Jaz as she shook her head and beckoned Clara forward once more. “We can leave through the door, Clara, we just can't be seen.”

    While it seemed like an elaborate game to Jazamene, something danced in her dark eyes that knew, without understanding or words, that it was nothing but.

    “Quick, fluid movements Clara. Like our water dances… we’ll start by heading towards the temple Borro and then traverse the hanging garden to cross over to the Oraho courtyard. From there we take the steps as fast as our feet can go.”

    Jaz smiled an infectious, mischievous and conspiratorial grin. “Are you ready?"

    If she were honest, the answer was no. She wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of sneaking around, nor did she understand why it was necessary, but it was better, at any rate, than sitting around in boredom, so with a nod, she grabbed her cloak from it’s peg by the bed, and set her charcoal and palette back into her sack, slinging it across her body.

    It occurred to her then, that she had packed as though she were not intending to return to her room, and while she couldn’t say why, she didn’t rectify it, turning to Jaz, “Ready. Lead the way.”

    Jaz nodded and turned to the door behind her. A long open hall, filled with identical doors, stood before them and Jaz waved Clara forward. Once the pair were through the threshold, Jaz closed the door as softly as she was able, grabbed Clara by the hand and took off down the hall. Her bare feet against the soft white stone felt nice and cool and it wasn’t until she passed through three separate halls did she finally release Clara’s hand and motioned upwards.

    “The priests down below don’t want us to know, but there’s a hanging bridge just past the greenery of the gardens. We’ll have to climb the vines to get to them though… Clara, just remember, you must only grab the night vines. They’re the strongest… Otherwise, you’ll grab one and it won’t hold you. That’s how I fell last year…”

    Pushing her bag behind her, Clara glanced to the younger girl, a brow lifting in thought as her mouth turned down in a frown, “...The night vines. Of course. Jaz…” She started, as she glanced up at the path before them, “Why is Mistress Amoret being so secretive about this?” Dusting off her hands on her skirts, removing any excess charcoal, she started a careful ascent up the vines.

    Jaz gave a shrug of her shoulders before grabbing a thick silver vine that shone in the moonlight. Night vines weren’t native to the western hemisphere, but they fared well in the Oraheite climate. The sweet scent, reminiscent of blossoms, became stronger the higher they climbed. After a minute or two, Jaz spoke in a soft voice that would nonetheless travel to Clara beneath her.

    “I… Listened at Mistress Amoret’s council door last night… I know I shouldn’t have, but she’s been acting strangely… Like waking in the dead of night with cold sweats and frightened screams. I couldn’t hear much, truth be told, but from what I did hear, she’s worried about something, something that’s been happening.”

    Jaz kept climbing, growing near the secret bridge. “We’re almost there, Clara, how’re you faring?”

    It was an alarming admission, both because they were by nature curious people, but eavesdropping had never been encouraged, but more importantly because of what Jaz had heard. And where Clara fell in to all of this she couldn't hope to guess, but it seemed odd that she would be called upon so abruptly, or at all… given how important it all suddenly seemed.

    “Well enough…” she called back, quietly, continuing with carefully placed limbs up the vines, “Though far less anxious to get there, rather all the sudden…”

    Though she was young, Jazamene had a frightening clarity of the world around her, of the world that she'd one day travel. It was innate. Given to her by God, the priestesses said. But she didn't care. She wanted nothing more than to divulge the secrets hidden in the world, like the secrets Mistress Amoret kept locked away.

    She wasn't a fool though, she knew what she did was wrong and what woke her mistress up in the dead of the night was nothing to be excited about... And perhaps that was what hushed Clara's voice. The realization that the whatever it may be, would be too overwhelming... too dangerous to fathom...

    After a few minutes passed, Jaz would suddenly disappear from view. From her position, if Clara looked up, all she would see were bulbous hanging bushes, vines that shone in the moonlight, and small, gold colored blossoms that smelled like jasmine. Suddenly a tanned brown hand poked through the bushes, waving at Clara.

    "Keep climbing, you can't see it from that angle, but the bushes have been trimmed so you can climb straight up. Be careful where you place your feet, the bridge is hanging off one of the temple spires."

    Clara continued up, and as she reached the top, swung herself up as carefully as possible, turned round only a moment to gaze in the direction they had come. It was, truly, a concealed path and one she might never have found on her own.

    "Clever Jaz... Well done."

    The young girl beamed in the shadows, her teeth like pearls. She beckoned her forward with her chin, onto the bridge. It swayed, but only slightly, and was near fifty feet across. When Clara started forward, Jaz glanced upwards and took a deep breath.

    "I'm not allowed to go any further. Mistress Amoret told me to deliver you here and instruct you on how to get to the upper levels. It's easy, really. Once you cross this bridge you'll be on the seventeenth floor of temple Oraho. It's the same level we sing our daily chords, Clara, so you'll know the way to the top once you hit the seastone stairs. But you'll need to move fast, Priestess Lesleigha likes to stroll through the gardens on the twentieth floor. I'm not sure what goes on up there, though I'm sure you do," Jaz laughed, mainly to displace her growing worries. "Once you pass it, you should reach the top without anything to worry about, it's only three floors above that."

    All of a sudden Jaz threw her arms around Clara's waist and wrapped her in a tight hug. "Be careful Clara, okay? Whatever Mistress Amoret sends you to do, just be okay." From within her pocket she withdrew a small pendant depicting a lily, made of pearl, strung with leather. "Take it, Clara. It's always kept me safe..."

    Blinking, eyes misting over, Clara returned the girl's embrace before she reached out to take the pendant, suddenly and efficiently terrified as she clutched it, "I will..." She whispered, then leaning forward, she kissed Jaz on the top of her head, "Behave while I'm away, dear heart..."

    Slinging the pendant around her neck, Clara nodded, before she turned, making her way along the path that Jaz had indicated. It was slow going, and at times confusing, and with her eyes full of tears and her heart pounding, Clara nearly lost her bearings more than once... But finally, after far too long, she arrived...

    Amoret Larocque was waiting near the silver pool, still pacing about it with a maddening unease. When she noticed Clara, she beckoned the young priestess forward, to a pair of gilded silver-white benches. Resting on one were a mess of items and scrolls, scattered hastily here and there. Amoret sat upon the other one and gestured for Clara to sit beside her.

    "Were you awake when Clara came to fetch you?"

    Smiling gingerly, Clara held up her hands, smudges of charcoal still present where she hadn't been able to brush them off, "I was drawing. You know how caught up I can get in my sketches..."

    "Destiny shows us the way..." Amoret mumbled, forcing a smile to her lips. "What do you remember of your childhood, Clara? What do you remember about your visions? The ones that came from the Eye of Hamman?"

    Considering the question, Clara lowered her hands... "I saw birds... Blackbirds. One of them called to me, told me to follow. I did, and he took me to a temple in the clouds. The sky was black... Starless. Then at the foot of the temple, a woman appeared, shining and brilliant. There was a great wind and all at once the sky burned with millions of stars, again. That... That's all I remember."

    "The Eye of Hamman only shows us individual futures." Amoret chuckled, perplexed at how the past was rushing forward in so many ways. "Seems you'll help birth something new, Clara...

    "I think it's your time. B-but there are things I need you to do for me Clara, things I need you to complete before you begin your Archiving." Amoret whispered urgently.

    Nodding Clara straightened, "Of course. Anything. What is it?"

    "There are those who wish for me to stay silent; those who believe I'm overreacting. But I've already sent word to my contact in Sylorah. She requests someone to be sent to her, so she can read over the documentations herself. I trust no one but you with this matter Clara, no one but you."

    Blinking, Clara's mouth opened, then closed again as she studied Amoret. When she did speak, there was a reverence to her tone, but also a subtle twinge of anxiety, "...Wh...what are they? The documentations?"

    Amoret swallowed, "Obituaries. Hundreds of entries that list time and cause of death... Ones that match precisely to a single scroll, yellowed by time, that the Oraheim Archive has had stored away for many years. Others contain documented demon sightings, all separated by kingdom and province. They are proof of her claims, Clara, and you must deliver them with haste."

    She wanted she ask why it had to be her... But she knew better. Amoret knew, too. There were callings in life... And it never did to ignore them, "You've my word. Absolute haste."

    Smiling gravely, Amoret nodded her hand and reached over to envelope Clara in a warm embrace. "May the ones above protect and guide you on this journey, Clara, may they bless you..."

    Almost awkwardly, Amoret released her charge and turned to the other bench. Gathering the needed scrolls, she handed them over to Clara one by one, indicating which was which so she would know when the moment presented itself.

    "There is a staircase, at the back of this garden, that will lead you to a tunnel that crosses the entire complex. It will grant you access to the southern exit, one that not even the Judges below know about. Hurry, Clara, before it is too late."

    Amat and Noma Scrie
    The gates swung open the moment it recognized Noma’s seal. A small grunt of disapproval was whisked away and within moments another pair of guards were revealed. They looked them over with hesitation before beckoning them inside. Neither said a word as they were taken towards the center of the compound. After a minute, Amat realized where they were heading and spoke to the guards in a hushed voice, though plenty loud for Lore to hear.

    "We don't have time to record our arrival, Noma has great need of his presence."

    "Rules are meant to be followed, Amat, you should know." Rehn, the tawny-winged guard said softly, though his eyes were sympathetic. Still, he led them to the Edge of the Realm, a road elevated above the ground that led to the center of the main temple.

    "Things have happened since you were gone Amat," Rehn said in a whisper, sparing a glance to eye Lore. "Noma has sent for another, an Unattuned priestess from Oraheim. Her cher has sent disturbing news. She and the others have been in Court for seventeen hours...

    "I-Is it true you're attuned to divination?" Rehn asked Lore, his eyes hesitantly curious.

    He tried not to eavesdrop, but their voices carried to Lore's ears a little too easily even in their whispers. Perhaps that was the point, at least with Amat as she spoke to the guards softly. Something has happened in the time Amat had come to send the summons, and as the question of his magic was posed Lore couldn't help but feel a tinge of guilt for not having such attuned divination to have foreseen whatever it was that the guard spoke of.

    "Yes," he answered with a slight inclination of his head as he felt a flush of embarrassment. "I believe that is why I have been summoned."

    Rehn eyed him wonderingly, his eyes wide with awe and respect. For even among the Sylphaer, an attunement to divination was highly regarded. The two guards were silent for the rest of the trip to the temple.

    “I’m sure their session will be done with soon.” Rehn said supportively, glancing between the two behind him.

    Reaching forward to grasp the ornate handle, Rehn yelped when instead the door swung open and a councilman surged through the threshold. The man was flustered and within his grasp was a seal that Amat recognized.

    “Oh! Amat, good! And this will be the Kalvisi heir, I assume?” Wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead, he handed the seal over to Amat and continued on quickly. “Noma has asked you to escort the Unattuned priestess through the gates. She should be arriving at the north gate shortly. Perhaps you two can pass the time together until our session is over.”

    The man turned to head back inside, but Amat growled out in frustration.

    “He’s had a long flight. I’ll escort him to Noma’s quarter’s before I depart. Unless it his is wish, of course. But what do I do with the Unattuned when I have her?”

    “You bring her to us.”

    GM Notes (open)

    @CloudyBlueDay @Elle Joyner @Effervescent @Doctor Jax @Shizuochan @Red Thunder @Radio Jelly @Ner0 @Dismas @Tyrannosaurus Rekt

    the post that never was is finally here...........

    so there's a lot going on in this gm post! a lot of choices and discoveries to be made. if you have questions shoot me a pm/dm/tag me in the rr server! depending on how the next few replies/collabs go, there may be one more gm post before this chapter comes to an end! the next chapter will bring us into the soleya solstice and the gala's and intrigue within. feel free to work on individual plots/secondary characters if the muse strikes ya.

    and as if that post wasn't long enough:
    Garek's Letter to Anuleisa (open)


    I hate to always be the bearer of bad news, but Amaleyia and her crew will arrive later than expected.

    The conjurer wasn't as easy to find as you made it seem, dearest, but I managed to locate him through the Spider's contacts. You'll need to mull things over after the Solstice. But you should be happy to know that he's in one piece, like you asked.

    A few months have passed since we last saw each other. I know Amaleyia will not disappoint.

    There's been a few additions to my crew and all but a few are trustworthy, I believe. If not, we can send 'em flying... after our cause.

    Repairs have been made and though the material for the additions you requested were only delivered today, they'll be done before we leave Orcosian airspace. I have three of the finest engineers on board and they're always up for a challenge.

    Due to our tardiness, I must regretfully decline the tour of your armory. Though I have no doubt I will regret it during the weeks to come. There will be little enough time to recharge and refuel the engines before we must be off again.

    Please, be ready.

    Garek Ruehar

  5. Questions
    A Collab With @rissa

    “Take that to Garek over there in tha’ bridge, goods from the QN that is. Be careful with it and hurry back out.”

    Toan's voice snapped Kydris out of his glyph-induced reverie, and reminded him that--for whatever reason--he was still doing menial chores for his captors. He would've done it happily for a coin or two, but the elf was morally opposed to free labor. The babysitter compounded his irritation, and Kydris wasted no time in letting him know.

    "Sure thing, friend. Is there anything else his lordship would like delivered to him? Perhaps a cup of tea, or a warm towelette?" Despite himself, Kydris paced over to the parcel and begrudgingly hefted it into the crook of his arm as he spoke. Without waiting to see if Toan heard him over the wind, Kydris strode out of the room and back towards the main deck. The journey was fairly uneventful, though the conjuror did have to restrain himself from trying to delve into the captain's personal mail. Toan had told him to be careful with it, but he made no great effort to. In fact, he traced his steps across the ship with haste, not bothered by the feeling of Garek's goods jostling about under his arm.

    The elf slowed his momentum eventually, as the gale that had started to assail the craft began to penetrate his thin clothing. Kydris shuddered, and wrapped his arms around himself before hurrying on to the nearest open door that he could see. Eventually, Kydris managed to locate Garek's quarters, though not without a slew of confusing--and, sometimes, contradictory--instructions from a handful of crew mates he passed by. For a moment, he stood at the door motionless. A part of him wanted to give Garek a taste of his mind, but the elf knew better than to sour a relationship with the only person capable of explaining who really hired him. Especially given how the two were, by no means, friends.

    I'm sure this will be just delightful. Absolutely delightful.

    With a deep breath, and a quick massage of his nose-bridge, Kydris gingerly lifted his right hand, and wrapped on the wooden door three times in quick succession.

    "Who is it?" Garek groaned out towards the closed door of the bridge. "And what do ya want?"

    Kydris rolled his eyes, but put on a placid smile nonetheless. With a quick roll of his shoulders, and sharp intake of breath, the elf replied. His tone was saccharine, airy, and just as obnoxious as he could have hoped for.

    "It's Kydris, good captain. I've traveled with the utmost expedience to deliver upon thee this fine package..."

    It was only at this point that the elf bothered to take a good look at the thing; he turned the parcel over in his hands a couple of times, noting how utterly plain it seemed. Kydris was almost disappointed after all the time he had spent digging through crystals, and trying to break through magical containers.

    "Toan said it came from the Q.N. I suppose that means something to you?" Kydris waited impatiently for only a second before quickly adding, "Can I come in and drop this bloody thing off?"

    Shuffling loose pages into a neat stack, Garek brushed them into his book and set it aside. Still seated at the booth he shared with Kas, Garek sighed, rubbed the bridge of his nose, and wished he had a drink.

    "Come in then." Gared replied, slightly louder than before. "From the QN you said?"

    Kydris pushed open the door, strolling into the captain's quarters with inquisitive eyes. In fact, as he made his way over to Garek, the elf examined every part of the room but it's inhabitant. Only after getting a read on the place did Kydris seem to hear Garek's question, which he answered with a start.

    "Aye, it is. Who the hell is QN?"

    Kydris placed the parcel on the table without ceremony, and instead took a moment to note the weathered look in Garek's features--the exhaustion in his eyes. His captor had been unnerving from the moment he stole Kydris away from the Spider, but he held an air of authority that seemed to be rooted in his notable experience. Still, tough as Garek may have been, the elf was hoping to squeeze more out of him before the day was done.

    "Seriously? 'Who the hell is the QN?' You ever read a book or step out of the Clam?"

    Dismissing himself with a wave of his hand, Garek rolled his eyes and pointed to the other side of the booth. "Sit. I got a few minutes. You got something to ask, now is the chance. Once we dock in Caershire I won't have time."

    Waiting to see if the conjurer took his offer, he pulled the unadorned package to him, picked it up and shook it. Curious, he waited for Kydris to make a move by plucking a knife from his boot, and opening the parcel.

    "I'm afraid Lyf isn't the academic hub of Ronaan's great realm. I'm sorry if my education displeases you, m'lord." The conjuror gave a facetious flourish before moving to sit besides the captain, somewhat affronted by Garek's flippant disregard for his question, and embarrassed that he asked.

    Unable to contain himself, Kydris peered over his nose at the parcel as Garek began to cut into it. It looked plain enough, but Kydris had seen his fair share of strange cargo that day.

    "To be frank, every minute I spend on this boat, I find myself with more and more questions. I suppose the first one I have is who really hired you to kidnap me? You can't expect me to believe you know the heir to Ronaan, let alone that she hired you to find me?" Even just saying the words caused Kydris to break into a short giggle, though he kept his eyes trained on Garek for any break in the man's posture.

    "She didn't hire me just to find you." Garek scoffed as he cut through the last of the twine keeping the parcel together. "You were just on the way."

    And then, exasperatedly, he pointed with his blade to the package Kydris had delivered. "QN. The Qova Nations. It's where I'm from. You got another question or are you going to waste my time questioning me? I've known Anuleisa for almost fifteen years now.

    "And you'll be meeting her soon."

    Kydris's smile faltered just a little bit, but his widening pupils belayed his true horror. Kydris knew many liars--he himself was a rather accomplished one--but Garek wasn't lying. As realization dawned on the Roanite, he found himself speechless for the first time all day.

    His mind fumbled over a thousand responses, but he had a hundred more questions then he had before he entered the room. Whether it was a waste of Garek's time or not, Kydris was about the farthest thing from satisfied he could be.

    Kydris stood up, and began to pace back and forth with a furrowed brow and his confusion plain in all of his features.

    Why in the hells would Anulesia send for me?

    "You say that as though it's the most normal thing in the world. In Ronaan's name! I was hoping to come in here for answers but now all I have is more bloody questions..."

    Kydris stopped walking, his mind settling on another question that he had planned to answer himself, but was now less sure he could. There was far more to Garek than he expected, and the conjuror was markedly less interested in messing with him given his contacts.

    "One more question. The halfling and I were unpacking boxes like you said, and I found a peculiar couple of containers. Didn't open no matter what I did--nearly drove me mad, to be honest. Found a rune on one. What secret cargo is this vessel carrying that could be worth going through so much trouble to begin with?" Kydris barely expected Garek to tell him, but he hoped that perhaps the promise of Kydris's swift departure would be incentive enough to sate the incessant elf's inquiries.

    "If you can figure out the the master rune, you can keep the box and what's inside." He ran a hand through his shaggy hair as he continued, his eyes red from lack of sleep and too much Oma. "I still have a bit more time. Any more questions? It's yer last chance."

    Garek leaned back in the booth, his brows furrowed softly as he watched the kid decide what he wanted to do.

    Kydris looked at Garek for a long moment, appraising his weathered features and tired gaze. It was obvious that the sky-ship captain was less than excited to be answering Kydris's bevy of questions, and it was beginning to show. The elf rubbed his chin inquisitively for a moment or two before deciding not to further test Garek's patience.

    "It wouldn't be any fun if I had you answer all my questions here. Just one more, then." Kydris shot the man a sly smile, before stepping towards the door.

    "Is there a place on this ship an elf can find some ale after a hard day of cargo categorization?"

    A faint smile graced Garek's lips and with a small incline of his head, he let out a grunt that sounded suspiciously like a laugh.

    "When the cargo is all unloaded and Toan gives ya the okay, hit up the galley. Got Oma, fire whiskey, that halfling piss Keev and Spire like, and plenty of ale and wine. Your choice. Consider it payment for your services."

    "Payment?" Kydris pretended to weigh Garek's offer with an exaggerated look of long consideration before giving the captain a nod and a wink. "Yes, I suppose I could consider those favorable terms. Back to the babysitter it is, then."

    The Roanite slipped out of the room, the promise of liquor--and lingering mystery of the master rune--put a bounce in his step that wasn't there before. He wasn't particularly anxious to continue the menial chores Toan doled out, but Kydris had been pleasantly surprised by how quick Garek was to honesty. In some small way, it made Kydris's gruff captor more likeable, and therefore the whole debacle a little more tolerable.

    As he stepped back out onto the deck, the thoughts of a warm drink became more tantalizing than ever between the unrelenting gusts of wind. Thankfully, he was able to move faster on the return trip without a package under his arm, and it wasn't long before the young elf neared the cargo hold again.
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  6. Clara Elergy

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The world outside was not entirely what Clara had anticipated. She had been careful, most of her life, to avoid unrealistic expectations, but even at her best, it was impossible not to imagine, not to wonder. And her dreams had done her no favors. She had fancied a vision of the world in glittering, shimmering glory - where men were noble and honest, kind and generous. Where every deed and every thought was measured in such a way as to aid those less fortunate, those in need. Where morality and mercy were the strength of kingdoms and the people rejoiced before their benevolent rulers.

    She had envisioned beauty of all manner... in trees and rivers, in villages and towns. Brilliant sun and warm, whispering winds. And laughter... always laughter, bubbling in brooks and stream and from the mouths of children, playing without fear or limit in fields of wildflowers. She had envisioned these things... and the world had let her down. In truth, men were appalling. Their words and deeds were violent and insincere, their villages filled with dirt and noise and the foul, lingering stench of poverty. It was utterly appalling... And it was heartbreaking.

    Had her mission not been of utter importance, she might have turned back, but as it was, she continued on, stopping as little as possible. She walked until her feet hurt, until her shoes were worn through and the rocks bit at her bare heels. She walked, hardly sleeping, barely eating and nothing in the world could stop her.

    So worn was the determined young priestess, that upon arriving at her destination, she could scarcely recall why she was even there. Her mind whirled and her head ached, her stomach churning from hunger. The world swam in and out of focus, but Clara pushed herself, further and further, and finally... finally, she arrived. And with just enough strength left, she announced herself as a messenger from Oraheim, with information of a most vital nature.

    Then, slinging her bag around to find what Amoret had given her, her knees buckled and with a grimace, Clara collapsed in a heap.

    TAGS || collab with @rissa, @Effervescent
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  7. Aftermath

    Reynauld's ardent stoicism proved a sturdy shield against the Lady Amabelle's stinging and unusual reprimands. They were so out of the ordinary that it sparked a sense of forthcoming danger in the Knight. Once Her Greatness was finished with him, Reynauld retreated back to his guard duties. He paused between waypoints to entertain predictive thoughts. What was the cause of Lady Amabelle's bizarre behavior?

    He promptly stopped at his last waypoint and drew his sword. Reynauld buried the tip one inch into the ground and placed both of his hands on the hilt, with his left hand resting on the pommel. The Knight then lowered his head and started whispering a prayer under his breath. The words were only intelligible to him, but he stopped for a moment to look over his shoulder to the others in the encampment so he could include them as well. The prayer ended with a hearty exhale and an audible "Give us foresight and strength."

    Reynauld then raised his head and regained his composure. "Men! Do not let your guards down!" he exclaimed and turned around. "Keep your wits about you! Our duties are not over yet!"

    The Knight sheathed his sword and resumed his patrol.
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  8. Half Effort, Better Than None
    a collab between @rissa and @Red Thunder
    “Nah, my back t’aint the issue, Tall’un.” Adrianna stared up at Toan with a condescending look in her eye, as if she were explaining something blindingly obvious to a child who was stubbornly refusing to understand just what the hell was happening. The way the Halfling placed her hands on her hips and jutted out her chin didn’t help the impression. “The clock swings south, ‘n fast too, yeah? You want this done in two and a half shakes, then my self is gonna need another two hand pairs.”

    Nodding as if she’d explaining quite clearly and succinctly what should be done and why, Addy bent down and began herding the crystals together unceremoniously, shoving them lightly with her feet or pushing them more purposefully. The wind made the work difficult, to say the least; even if it didn’t actually knock around the crystals, thanks to their low profile against the deck, Adrianna was definitely just tall and light enough to be buffeted most unpleasantly. But she grit her teeth and stuck to the job. Rhiannon, for her part, clung tightly to the Halfling’s curls. This wind may as well be a gale to the pixy, and she had no intention of being blown away.

    After a few moments, Addy looked back up at Toan.

    “You gettin’ me help ‘er what?”

    “I asked if you wanted to go an’ get some help, halflin’.” Toan replied haughtily, just barely able to keep the scathing tone at bay. “If you need it, run down to the third floor.

    “I mean, unless you don’t know where it’s at. Ya need an escort or something?”

    He received a wide grin in reply.

    “Sorry, Tall’un, but there’s a handsomer one as grabbed my eye. No ‘ffense, but you ain’t like to escort nothin’ but a donkey.”

    With a broad wink, Addy rushed off for the stairs, not eager to wait around to see whether Toan figured out what she meant. The retort, buried in sass and charm though it was, had leapt out of her faster than she could give it thought. She wasn’t quite sure what sway old Toan had with the captain, but she needed this job badly; the pay was good enough, and she got to travel legally and without fear of reprisal, which allowed her as ever to look for her family. Sliding across the deck and only just managing to keep herself upright in the overbearing wind, the Halfling skittered down the stairs to the third level, occasionally calling out for the two people Toan had mentioned.

    “Keev? Spire? You gallywags spittin’ crumbs and duckin’ the job what needs doing?”
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  9. The North Gate

    There had been a strange air about, tense and chaotic only stirred by Amat’s shift in disposition. Her suggestion struck Lore oddly in a way, though not overly so to the point where he would express more than the faintest flicker of a furrow upon his thoughtful brow. He eyed his companion, and then the messenger who brought the news of the unattuned guest at the north gate.

    “There is no need to keep them waiting,” he said as he looked to Amat. “I will accompany you to the gate.”

    A brief, almost confrontational look overtook Amat's face and it was clear, if but for a moment, that she didn't approve. But it was meither her place or the Sylpharian way to argue.

    "If you so wish," Amat drawled, grasping Noma's seal tightly. "The north gate is this way."

    Unfurling her wings and rolling a few kinks out of her shoulders, Amat took a few bounding steps forward and leapt into the air.

    Lore followed Amat in flight, black wings beating in the wind in leisure. In all this business he enjoyed the moment to appreciate Sylorah in its grandeur and wondered if perhaps he would see it again after his destined Walk. But as they neared the northern gate, the wonderment of their surroundings faded a bit as he noticed a heap of slate blue fabric strewn before the slats of the gate and the guards at their posts who presented a further stir at their distance. Lore landed, glancing to Amat in concern as he stepped towards the gate.

    “What happened?” he asked as his fingers curled around the metalwork. So close now, he could see the curls of brown that cascaded from a fair face. He had never seen another race before and yet apart from a lack of wings she nearly looked just like them, and a strange fascination overcame him into momentary silent observation.

    Like the gate Lore entered through, it was guarded by men of flesh, blood, and magic. Amat landed wearily and gestured the guards forward so they could see Noma's seal.

    "Open the gates," Amat said as she took a moment to explore Lore's expression as he observed the Unattuned. "Have you never met one before?"

    As she poised the question the gates swung open and with a tentative glance at Lore, nodding reassuringly, stepped through the threshold towards the fallen woman.

    His head shook slightly in his answer as he stepped away from the gate to allow it to open. Lore watched on, distantly at first, almost as if Amat were approaching a feral beast. But he relaxed a little and approached. “Is she still alive?”

    "Yes," Amat repliedn "Look, her chest is rising and falling." Crouching down, Amat laid a tentative hand on the Unattuned's wrist.

    "La cher? You've arrived, la cher, your task is almost finished, don't give up just yet. Come back to us."

    With a sharp breath, Clara's eyes snapped open and shifted swiftly around, their weight of weariness overpowered only by a striking expression of fear. Fingers uncurling, she pushed herself up with a grimace, "I... I have a message of utter importance... From Amoret of Or--"

    Beyond the shoulder of the woman, Clara spied the second Sylphaer and bright green eyes widened, as she inhaled, "My blackbird...?" She half whispered, before her arms, quivering, gave out and she collapsed into a heap again.

    The moment their eyes locked gave Lore a sense of unease only furthered by the accompaniment of the woman’s words. It was a rather strange term to say to a stranger, and he supposed for a moment she was in a hallucination brought about by her physical state. “She...” His steps carried her closer, and he looked at Amat with bewilderment evident upon his all too thoughtful features. It was then he caught the scent of lavender, and he paused almost suspended in animation with the recognition of the scent that had stood out in his muddied vision.

    “Perhaps she needs refreshment to soothe her incoherent babbling,” he suggested, and leaned down to scoop up the woman’s form. The dead weight was more than he anticipated, but with the right positioning he managed to stand with her in a sturdy hold. “I suppose she may be in need of that room. Is this allowed? It does not seem she will rouse to record her arrival.”

    "I'm not sure if it's allowed." Amat said nervously, eyeing the woman now in Lore's protective hold. "The councilman told us to bring her to them..."

    A thoughtful expression crossed Amat's face and acting on her thoughts, she dug through her flying pouch and removed a small bundle wrapped in cloth. Gingerly unwrapping the bundle, she revealed a brown-gold substance reminiscent of hard-candy and broke off the tiniest sliver.

    "Can you take hold of this?" Amat asked in a low voice. "When she wakes again, have her hold it against her tongue, it'll draw her mind back into clarity."

    Stepping forward, Lore precariously shifted Clara’s weight in his arms to reach out and take the substance between two fingers. He drew it into his palm and looked back through the north gate into Sylorah, lips drawing to a slight frown. “So she is to be presented to the council unconscious?” he asked. The notion would have been more humorous had he not been holding the subject in his arms, and for a brief moment he imagined setting the human down in a chair like a rag doll.

    "If that's their wish." Amat said uncomfortably, her weight shifting from one foot to the other. "Let's hope she wakes before we reach the temple."

    Flashing Noma's seal to the gate guardian, despite them still being open, Amat started forward, back to the temple. It would take longer on foot, but it gave them a chance to wake the unattuned.

    As they walked, Lore focused moreso on his hold around the human’s frame. Her cloak was gathered in a way that folded in ridges across his forearms, and he could feel the muscles in his arms flexing to keep their cradling position. If she were awake, the weight would be far less significant, and while he was a man of some strength, he knew the hook of her arm around his neck would lessen the strain. He would feel the stress on his muscles later, for certain.

    “Do you know her name?” he asked Amat. “Maybe that will bring her to wake. For such a small person she feels like a block of iron. Are all humans so dense, or is it a trait of the unattuned?”

    "Oi... I heard that..." Her vision swam in and out of focus as again, Clara clung to the strained consciousness, "And it's Clara. Where are we? Did I make it?"

    Chuckling softly, Amat turned round as she walked, her preceptive eyes meeting the bright green of Clara's. "Yes, you made it to Sylorah, la cher." Pulling her gaze upwards, she eyed Lore before answering his questions.

    "It is us," Amat clarified, "Our bones, though stronger than theirs, are lighter, allowing our wings to keep us aloft."

    Looking from Amat to the now somewhat conscious Clara, Lore shifted the ambrose in his hand. It would be difficult to give to the woman as he carried her, but Amat desired the woman to take it upon waking. “Are you well enough to walk, Clara?” he asked.

    "Thank goodness. I was so afraid I'd gone the wrong way..." Her eyes shifted and smiling gingerly, Clara nodded to the man, "Think I could hold it together, long enough."

    With that, Lore set her down on her feet with care, the lavender scent still apparent and lingering even after slight distance was gained. He held out the stick of ambrose to the woman in offering, head inclining respectfully in a bow. “Take this to your tongue,” he advised. “It should help with your fatigue.”

    Her feet touched earth and she grimaced lightly. They hurt, but it would be worth the pain if her mission was a success. Reaching out, she took hold of the odd offering, blinking bemusedly, "What is it?"

    "Ambrose," Amat supplied with a reassuring nod. "It will ease your fatigue and clear your mind."

    Clara nodded, hough whether she understood or not wasn't exactly clear from her expression. It was a cautious glimmer behind her eyes, as she looked to the stick in her hand and bit her lip, "Here's nothing, then..."

    Apprehensively, and with a small breath, she popped it in her mouth.

    A Collaboration with @rissa and @Elle Joyner
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  10. Alora Fortune

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Something had changed… within those few hours that she and Bellamy had spent alone, something had changed in Alora. Sitting in the wagon, it had never been more apparent, and her mind wandered back to their conversations as she tried to grasp just what, exactly, had shifted. So distracted was she, that when Bellamy spoke, she nearly jumped, turning her attention to him with a small bob of her head.

    “I'll let you--” Her gaze had shifted as she spoke and with a smile, she trailed off, gesturing to the pair seen at a short distance… the distinctly familiar woman, “Well… There you are.”

    Turning to Alora, lips raised in a skeptical manner as if in disbelief, Bellamy turned and looked to where she was pointing, his mouth slowly falling open and into a lopsided grin.

    Farther down the road, it was obvious that something had amused Iskaya, as she did not have her eyes on the road, but was rather happily telling someone to evict a certain pair of twins. However, as she turned to face forward, she seemed to catch a glimpse of someone she knew -- and she kept her expression carefully blank as she neared, as though she had not seen them at all.

    “Well what do ya know.” Bellamy replied, nudging Alora in side. “You have some good eyes.”

    He scooted closer to the edge and extended his hand. Directly behind the wobbly carriage was open space for quite a few yards, and then only a few men on horseback.

    “Think you can land on your feet? Or should I have the driver stop?”

    Looking to him, Alora nodded, and with a small smirk, reached for his outstretched hand, “I should be alright. Just don’t tell my mother. She wouldn’t even let me open the window in our carriage.”

    They took the leap together and Bellamy, still in most of his armor with a blade strung to his back, landed a little tilted. He steadied himself and then grabbed Alora’s hand, pointing towards Skaya and the carriage.

    “Let’s make haste. Be a waste to get trampled.”

    “Is life with you always so dull, Bellamy?” Alora asked, in jest, before following cautiously and quickly alongside him.

    TAGS || collab with @rissa
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  11. chapter one: the solaeya solstice

    Into the womb of the world we go,

    Across the boisterous din of Marbalea children could be heard singing, the elderly praying, and the working men and women chanting away the hours until the Solaeya Solstice arrived. Streamers of Marbalean gold and green floated across the warm breeze and every night for the past week, fireseed stars lit up the night sky in earnest celebration. Days leading up to the Solstice had been spent leisurely browsing the Market of the Sun or Oldtown Bazaar, drinking aplenty in one of the many taverns and inns, and if of Fae Blood, holding Court with a flock of hundreds. Noblemen and women from all across the Allied Countries of RoNaan’s Realm gathered in Marbalea. Some had arrived months in advance and some had yet to arrive.

    The Gabranthian prince had arrived earlier in the week on his father's behalf, requesting an entire wing of the Old Castle for his quarters; but the Rochaan entourage arrived not a day later, and his demeanor became frigid when the Caretaker refused his demand. Noble guests who couldn’t find a spot in the Old Castle rented out rooms in villas and estates from native Marbaleans or suites from one of the many reputable institutions that called the city home.

    But not everything in the city was good and well.

    Seedier parts of Marbalea were teaming with life and celebration too. Mhiri’s Teats and the Harrows swarmed with bandits, sellswords, and men of deception. Grifters lay in wait, shining their boots and pressing their suits. Thieves took their time preparing, acquiring the knowledge they needed without worry. Soldiers and knights like Reynauld Courtright were tasked at keeping the peace alongside their duties of protecting their Lords and Ladies. One could never be too careful…

    The Solstice brought more to life than just celebrations. And a trio of foreign travelers, who would very much be an anomaly in these parts of RoNaan’s Realm, would be aware of just what kind of horrors could come to life.

    Standing in a gown of cream and gold, Anuleisa stood on the east wing balcony, staring at the sun hanging a few hours above the horizon. Night always fell slower in the south, or at least she always felt it had. With a sigh, Anu turned away and traced her steps back to her solar, which adjoined three suites. The Consul and the Conjurer shared one, the Spymaster and the Alchemist shared another, and the last was given to the Halfling and her Pixy, bunked with Anu’s handmaiden, Carise. Toan, a good friend of Garek’s who insisted he stay behind to watch over Kastlyn, had taken claim over a rather large wardrobe room off the solar.

    She settled comfortably before the fire, waiting patiently until their last conclave before the Solaeya Solstice was scheduled to begin. The following morning would be a whirlwind for them all, dressing in elaborate, outlandish gowns and costumes for the masque that began at noonday. A feast would be provided afterwards, and that included another wardrobe change… Dinner would be laced with political subterfuge, but it would end with the finest of fireseed fireworks, imported from Kingsport itself.

    Still, in her heart there was a sadness she had not expected. Nearly forty years before her birth, one of her aunts had been slain in this very castle. In one of these very rooms. Her husband, the last King of Summer and their son had been slain as well… Time crept quickly and soon Anu was reaching to bring the fire back to its former glory and warming a few kettles of Oma. When she was nearly finished, she called for Carise and asked for her to retrieve any confidants who were not in their suites.


    When all were gathered and comfortably seated in the large, but somehow cozy solar, Anu began to pour each of them a small glass of Oma. “I know most of you still have many questions, but I do wish to begin with reminding you of our goal here.”

    Thankful for Carise’s reminder to spell the rooms, she continued unhindered and unafraid of eavesdroppers.

    “We’re here to uncover the truth of these dire whisperings. I’ve had word from contacts on each of the Three Known Lands that all say the same thing: Something is going to happen tomorrow.

    “If you happen upon anyone suspicious, do not engage. Not unless you must. Otherwise, come find me, and we’ll continue together. And do not forget to tread carefully around the nobility.... Not everyone who claims to be allies truly are.”

    She let the warning hang in the air for a moment before she continued, speaking in a more somber tone. “By the end of this conclave, Carise will have finished preparations on what I promised you all: a way to definitely tell if someone is telling the truth. It’s dangerous, and must be used with extreme caution and care…

    “Demone’s tongue is a poison, I’m sure we all have heard of it, if but in stories and tales. But what one doesn’t often hear, however, is its ability to induce candor as the toxin courses through their veins. I’ve heard tell that it increases their suggestibility, their… willingness to cooperate. But beware, it is still a poison, and you should use it with utmost discretion.

    “Cerise is in knowledge of an antidote that her great-grandfather crafted nearly half a century ago.” Nodding to Aarcon appreciatively, she continued with a small smirk. “Outside of Dust, I’m not entirely sure what the recipe calls for, but I myself can attest that the concoction works. No more than three drops of the Demone’s tongue, preferably dribbled into sweet wine. The antidote is a fine powder, one that can be taken by dissolving on the tongue, stirred into a glass of water, or inhaled.

    “If we are not careful, the ramifications will spread farther than you can imagine. Political and economical, surely, but there are some circumstances where not even I can sway those in power. So please, choose your victims wisely, my friends.”

    Clearing her throat and taking another sip of Oma, Anu ended rather abruptly. “Any further questions or requests?”

    High Lady Amabelle had volunteered to oversee last minute preparations, and so, a few hours before dusk, she and her knights stood watchful as servants, craftsmen, and florists alike scrambled about the once-famous Gardens of Glae. Banquet tables were erected and so too were benches, bars, and segregated seating areas all across the garden. Water mages were still purifying the many fountains and ponds and distinguished earth mages continued their careful restorations on statues created nearly two centuries ago.

    The atmosphere was serene, almost boring, and yet there was a light in the lady’s eyes that hid the tender crows feet time had brought upon her. “It’s a shame, honestly,” Amabelle said aloud, though to one in particular. “These gardens… I’ve never seen them in their prime, of course! But I’ve seen paintings… and my grandmother, may RoNaan be with her… She used to tell us children all kind of stories.

    “My favorites were always about the Gardens of Glae. She used to whisper of an enchantment laid upon the water fountains, one that would never le-- Oi! Florist! Why are you placing the orange lilies on the banquet tables?”

    Inhaling sharply, High Lady Amabelle strode forward, intent on her desire for perfection. But not a heartbeat later was there a shout from one of the guards guarding the north gate. Turning towards the commotion, Amabelle saw a man dressed in dirty, tattered clothing, muttering something incoherent rather frantically. He collided with a pair of earth mages taken unawares, so in tune with the arrangement of a beautiful floral arch over the dais. Neighboring workers shot glances over their shoulders, unnerved but unwilling to quit working.

    And then suddenly the man screamed, his voice echoing across the Gardens of Glae.


    A knife, no bigger than a child's hand, slid into his palm and he rushed forward, tackling a man unawares. He stood only moments later, and Amabelle screamed as she saw the knife embedded in the man's chest. The madman stood, eyes red and palm bloody, staring around the gardens with wide, almost manic eyes. Beneath him, the dais darkened with the lifeblood of an innocent man.

    “Only death…” He whispered, “Only with death will this end…”

    And silence overtook the courtyard as a man laid gasping his last breaths. High Lady Amabelle took a few hesitant steps backwards before she turned around and began to run. “Sir Reynauld! Knights!” High Lady Amabelle screamed, her soft blue eyes wide and brimming with fear.

    “Catch that man, chain him up! Lock him in a cell!”

    Her command turned shrill as she threw herself behind the statue of Sir Magyar and screams ignited across the gardens once everyone in attendance realized what had transpired. It caused a frenzy, a frenzy in which the madman tried to blend into.

    The Market of the Sun was vibrant. Alive in every sense of the word; the market knew how to exhilarate, to calm, to inspire… Most of the faces that could be seen were cheerful and full of excitement, more than ready for work to halt and the celebrations to begin. Small amounts of rations were given to local institutions to be given out the following day, too citizens of the lower caste, just past dawn. But people weren’t waiting to retrieve their foodstuff and celebratory goods. And neither were they waiting to drink their fill of ale, or puff from the finest cigars Marbalea had to offer.

    A mix of races could be seen within the incense-filled Market of the Sun, but with so many Roanites in sight, many spoke behind hands and in hushed voices, surprised to see a Ka’lene strutting about. But Iskaya would not be stopped or harassed in any way, free to do her business as she pleased. At least, until…


    She was there. Somewhere in the city. The notion of having spies had never been particularly appealing to Tennison, if only because if spies could be bought by one coin purse, another could sway them in the opposite direction. But those that he employed were, in nothing else, loyal to his coin for the moment, and their procurement had paid off. The news could not have come at a better time, as his arrival within the city had been imminent already. She had been seen... traveling with an odd pair - a handsome, roguish man and a boyish elf.

    The elf, in fact, was a woman, though with her lack of a figure and the stance by which she asserted herself, he could understand the confusion. She wasn't unattractive, not really, if one found appeal in overly-tall, round-bottomed, surly looking boys. There was very little about her then, that suited to Tennison’s tastes, but for the time being, she was alone, and on her own, she was of considerable use to the Gabranthian Prince.

    Having left his sweeping entourage back at the castle, Tennison strolled with a casual ease through the market stalls, handling this and that as he went, but ever aware, the steel-blue of his eyes watched the swarthy elf until ultimately determining it was the right time. There was no air of circumstance to his approach, and it was, in fact, with an almost casual quality that he arrived beside her, plucking up a ream of crimson silk, holding the luxurious fabric the length of his arm.

    Slowly, his eyes flickered over to the woman, and a smile crept to his lips, “I’m sorry to interrupt. It’s just the damnedest thing. I’m meant to be procuring fabric for a gown for my sister, Dear Lady, and I’ve only just realized I’ve no bleeding idea how a woman ought to be measured. Do tell me you’ve some clue you might impart to a desperate stranger?”

    Written by @Elle Joyner, @Doctor Jax

    Morning came and went, dissolving into a beautiful afternoon that craved to be touched. The closest Bellamy Ryn could get, however, was the secluded atrium in the middle of the estate. Surrounded by multiple sets of walls, hallways, and stone fortifications, it was one of the safest, if smallest, safe houses he and Iskaya had under the radar of the Order. A small moat ran through the perimeter of the yard and pooled in the center of the atrium. Birdsong whistled through the small enclosed garden and Bellamy took to pacing across it’s marble and stone perimeter, mind full of worries and doubts.

    The twin’s disappearance still wore a hole in the bottom of his gut, and he everytime he closed his eyes he saw Brigya and Caleyia’s distraught faces when they all put the clues together. Everyone at the Order’s compound who had not escaped were slaughtered… nearly a hundred men.

    Sighing, Bellamy raked a hand across his cheek as he realized there were much more pressing matters. Like having to attend the masque tomorrow, disguised as anyone but his true self- and escorting a kidnapped princess. He nearly fell onto one of the stone benches, his pockets significantly lighter as he had sent Iskaya on a few last minute errands.

    Alora, meanwhile, had spent the last few days in a state of perpetual uncertainty that bordered on panic. She wasn't accustomed to hiding, but understood the need for it, every moment lived, waiting for someone to recognize her...

    What Bellamy was doing was important, and over time, he had become important... And her fear of failing him, coupled with the anxiety of what it was he wanted her to do was nearly too much for the princess to handle.

    She sat a short distance away, her fingers fiddling idly with the lace hem of her dress sleeve, her eyes on the door as if waiting for someone to burst through at any moment, only half aware that she was no longer alone in the room.

    It took him a few minutes of quiet reflection before he realized, across the birdsong-filled atrium, Alora sat upon his bench’s twin. He stood rather quickly, desperate to focus on something other than himself. Soft soles tread across the atrium courtyard and the closer he got to her, the more he could see the distress painted across her face.

    “Alora?” He asked softly, taking a few steps closer to her. “You look distressed, what’s wrong?”

    So deeply lost in her own thoughts was the young princess, that when Bellamy's voice interjected, she nearly jumped, her eyes moving to the man with a wide-eyed glimmer of surprise, "Oh! Bellamy. Sorry... I didn't... I didn't mean to... Ah. Just... It's not so far off, now, is it? The Gala. I suppose it was easier to be brave about it when it was further away, you know?"

    Moving to sit beside her once the immediate surprise fled from her face, Bellamy sighed, reaching for Alora’s hand. “I know what you mean. I- It feels weird, you know, to think I’ll be in that castle again, a-after everything that’s happened. But maybe that’s for the best.

    “Your brother will be in attendance tomorrow, won’t he? Maybe we can have our little talk sooner than expected.”

    Her fingers slid through his, her eyes falling to their hands as she nodded, "It's definitely strange... Though I imagine more so for you." As he continued, a wall closed across her features, "He'll be there... But Bells... you mustn't approach him. Not... not at the Gala. He would... if he exposed you, too soon. Even without knowing... It could spoil your plans."

    “With the Order incapacitated they very well may spoiled,” Bellamy began softly, a small smile hinting at his lips. “But I wouldn’t count on it. The Alliance spreads across countless nations and the Order, sad to say, was just a means to an end… I cared deeply for the men that were killed, don’t get me wrong- they raised me, but they never wanted peace. Especially peace in Marbalea, where they received so many of their contracts.”

    He let out a shaky breath, squeezing Alora’s hand in reassurance before continuing. “Besides, it’s easier to be brave when you’re distracted. There isn’t much that we haven’t done in preparation. The only thing to do now is wait… And see what RoNaan has in store for us.”

    "I'd much prefer a distraction..." She mused with a small, sheepish smile, "Waiting feels a bit like torture, if I'm honest."

    Bellamy laughed softly, agreeing with Alora's sentiment wholeheartedly. "A walk would be nice or maybe even a skirmish..." Closing his eyes and leaning back against the bench, he exhaled deeply, a bit shaky near the end. "What do you usually do, Alora, when you're in need of a distraction?"
    "A... Skirmish?" Looking him over, her smile brightened, "At the palace, normally I read. But I'm afraid that wouldn't be nearly enough to distract me from all of this..."

    A brow lifted and slowly, she rose to her feet, "But a skirmish. That sounds intriguing. I do recall offering a practice duel..."

    A broad smile broke across Bellamy’s face and an almost thankful glee overtook his eyes when he opened them, mildly surprised that the princess suggested a training session. A swarm of guilt, guilt over the twins, letting Iskaya out of his sight, kidnapping Alora in the first place… He stood quickly, keeping his smile in place despite his worries.

    “I do remember something along those lines…” Grabbing her hand, Bellamy nodded toward one of the entrances that led back inside. “Let’s find some blades and begin, shall we?”

    A collaboration between @Elle Joyner & I

    A month would pass before Lore Kalvisi and Priestess Clara would see land again. Most of their time had been spent upon a large deep sea vessel named Mairfen, whose quirky captain would ask abstract questions whenever given the chance. The crew was rather solitary, preferring to stick to their duties and their quarters, but all treated their guests politely. The deck was large enough to trek across and being free to explore the ship was another grateful boon. Unfortunately, the open sea had been rough for the young Amat, and so she had taken to the skies as often as she could to alleviate the droll ache that the ship set upon her. It caused her stomach to swell with guilt and unease, knowing she was leaving direct orders from her Mistress left undone. But Lore was a fellow Sylphaerian and she believed him more than capable enough to provide care for the young human woman.

    Still, she kept near the vessel whenever in the sky, preferring to climb higher than reaching too far out. This continued for a seemingly forever amount of time, but finally, a day shy of an entire month, Amat was the first to spot land.


    The port city of Lynlin was relatively small, but it boasted an occupancy that nearly breached its limit. Though they made great use of vertical space and many of their buildings went far into the sky, with platforms stretching across the barren space to connect them, the city felt captivating, cramped, chaotic…

    Amat had never seen anything like it. She glanced at her two companions for their reactions, wondering if they were just as overwhelmed as she was.

    When all their belongings were together and they said their goodbyes and thanks to the captain and crew of Mairfen, Amat shared a look between the two of them before speaking. “I nearly forgot, Mistress Noma entrusted me with some coinage for our journey. We should split it and resupply before we reach Marbalea. I suppose if you’ll be dressing for the gala, this might be your last chance to get any suitable clothing.

    “But first, I think we should find someone who can ferry us to Marbalea. Will you aid me?”

    @Bears @CloudyBlueDay @Dismas @Doctor Jax @Effervescent @Elle Joyner @Radio Jelly @Red Thunder @Shizuochan

    It's been awhile, HI!!! Sorry for such a long wait, but here it is!

    To help explain a few things: I've went ahead and crafted a timeskip, to hopefully keep up the roleplay's momentum! If you have any questions or concerns about your characters or their current situations, don't hesitate to ask!
    recap of events
    • The Consul and Anuleisa managed to strike a deal with Baba Ya and acquire Dust, the deadliest venom in the world. Persephone returned inexplicably and rejoined their ranks, just in time for their flight upon the skybarge Amaleiya.
    • The package from the QN was a summons from Garek’s king, one that is non negotiable; he must attend. Because he’s a registered pilot, he’s been given leave to drop off passengers before returning home. He tells Kastlyn and Toan his projected return is in one month. Be sure to remember their rings!
    • Before reaching Caershire, the crew and passengers aboard Amaleiya finally discover what killed their messenger crows: a cat-like golem that managed to escape back to its creator with any information it may have gathered.
    • Anulesia and Kydris have a conclave and she explains why she has need of him. Radio, if you want to collab this, just shoot me a DM! You can post it as a flashback attached to your current IC-post, or not, your choice! Just let me know and I’ll shoot you a starter.
    • Reynauld has been in confidence with High Lady Amabelle since her outburst. However much this deals with regret for her actions or fear and paranoia for the tense atmosphere, is up to Reynauld’s interpretation.
    • Bellamy, Iskaya, and Alora have been bouncing around their safe houses located in Marbalea. Bells returned two days after his departure with no word from the twins disappearance with Darrin. However, two weeks ago they were informed that every man, woman, and child who didn’t escape the compound were slaughtered.
    • Lore Kalvisi and Priestess Clara held Court in Sylorah. After giving their testimonies and being very nearly forced to rest, were given the responsibility to relay the information revealed at the Solstice galas in Marbalea. They travel by ship! If either of you would like a route let me know. DM me for details if you need them or let me know if you’d like to backtrack and collab the court scene!
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