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  1. #581
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens...

    Alain smiles and gives a small bow to Pasce. Clow is instantly abuzz with protocols for meeting the heir. Alain ignores the spirit and instead offers his attention to the girl. There are times when people matter more than traditions.

    "Thank you," Alain replies to Pasce confessing to liking the stars he summoned for the cleansing spell. "It was a special occasion, in order to better honor Nalia and Enchantry I made it as spectacular as I could."

    Alain nods when she speaks of her gifts from Taroc, and looking forward to learning of the cards.

    "I look forward to that," he tells her. "I'll teach you how to read them. Once you can read them, it's the cards that will tell us both what we can teach each other."

    Alain glances back at the sparring match. He can hear its conclusion coming. His smile fades somewhat as he knows what's coming. Alain is half tempted to intervene and spare his friend a moment of embarrassment, but he reminds himself that Heron is made of stern stuff, and will survive this moment. Every seer must learn that sometimes events happen for a reason, so it's best to step aside and let life play out.

    His attention is pulled back to Pasce as she speaks of Zareb, Mindoka, and the Shamaa. Alain's earlier smile is now entirely gone. His expression grows softer, somber.

    "In Shamaa it is believed that there is immortality in the tales we inspire. If we live good lives, help others, and bring honor to our people and ancestors, stories should be told about us. Stories that will live on when we are gone. The more these stories are told and retold, and the farther they spread, the longer the dead will live.

    "Mindoka has many wondrous tales of Zareb. Anyone that knew Zareb knows only good tales of him. If you wanted to, when Mindoka does come to see you, you could ask him to tell you some of those stories. By carrying those stories with you, you will help the Shamaa people celebrate the man Zareb was, and what he meant to us all."

    Alain turns to look at the sparring a few moments before Heron stumbles and falls to his knees. The guild Master approaches Heron as the king calls on his aid. Alain offers his gloved flesh and blood hand to Heron. The king will know he can put as much weight onto that hand as he needs to. Alain's titanic strength is always at Heron's disposal.

    "The weak are those that don't know when to call on their allies for aid," Alain begins telling Heron. There's something in Alain's tone that the king will recognize as Alain speaking in his grandfather's voice. These are the words of Harbin LeCavalier. "The foolish are those that don't know what lessons to learn from life's many hardships."

    Alain offers Heron a warm smile, and words of his own, "You, my friend, have never been weak or foolish."

    "Growing old, however," Alain whispers, "I'm afraid I don't have any words of wisdom that can guard any of us from that."

    Alain helps to guide the father and son to the nearest bench. It's up to Heron to decide if he wants to sit down.

    "The young prince's skills with the sword have improved quite a bit," Alain tells Heron. "My senses tell me it's best never to underestimate his dedication to his training. Give Eri a few more years of such dedication and we'll have ourselves a master swordsman."

    Alain then addresses Eri, "Though, if you should tire of the Rekōdo dueling style, I could put you into contact with some of Taroc's best swordsmen. They could teach you a few techniques that just might surprise Genard."

  2. #582
    Capios of Enchantry in The Ailes Bones: The Southwest Shores of the Isle of the Island of Capios


    Nalia al'Vatar of Enchantry, Fateema of Ordh'u, Merriam of Clow and Representative of Enchantry

    It would rain soon. Even here, among the fresh smell of saltwater at the shore the miasma of it could be plucked from the air like a pearl from an oyster. She wore pearls at her throat today, to honor the style of the O'aris for their honored visit to Capios. The clouds had thickened along the horizon but had not yet come to take away the beauty of the summer sun. It was a rare thing, to have such warmth on the Ailes. The mists had thinned. No even they could compete, but the breezes off the sea still added a cool element to the air. Cool with the coming rain. Nalia looked out to sea from the farthest southwest tip of the island toward the oncoming clouds. She took out a scrying glass and measured their movement with the horizon of the ocean, the way Alain had taught her. A woman next to her did the same. She always liked someone to check her math and Fateema of Ord'hu had proved to be brilliant in this and many things. The Da'Jinn had done the same to measure oncoming sandstorms along ridge lines of dunes. The way Fateema's lips pursed indicated that she saw as Nalia saw: The rains were coming fast. it could be quite a storm.

    "It shouldn't be long now" she said quietly to herself as much as the three women beside her. She had thought it best for the O'aris envoy to be received by a small contingent of women. They were a matriarchal society and this was a private greeting, a gathering of allies. The O'aris had said they would come to Capios when Nalia had become their Atararim. Honored mother of Capios. She had been given little notice of their impending arrival. Yet here she stood, cloaked in what had become the traditional robes of Enchantry. She was the only one here with only two symbols at her belt: the earth and land lines of Enchantry and the infinite diamond symbol of Rekōdo. The belt was woven in threads of emerald, with just a hint of Taroc crimson and gold on one side and Maginus blue and black on the other, to honor both lands that called her their ward.

    "Will the O'aris come if it storms?"

    Fateema's voice held an accented edge of concern. She held the throat of her head scarf closed to keep the cold out of her blouse. Her native Ordh'u in Western Da'Jinn was hot and arid as it sat on the precepiss where the Hundred Year Plains melted into seemingly lifeless sands and scorching winds. The cold was hard on her, the rain more-so. The Ailes received more annual rain than all of Da'Jinn hoped to ever see in ten. Nalia glanced back at the strong, dark-skinned woman who lifted her head and proud almond-shaped eyes in the face of her Guild Mistress and offered her an encouraging nod. Of course they would come. What Fateema asked could almost be considered a jest if the serious Da'Jinn woman ever jested. Merriam of Clow, much plumper and slightly older in years than the woman beside her, was much more affectionate and gave Fateema a pat on her arm. It was an almost motherly gesture as Merriam's broad smile and creamy skin beamed up at the much taller woman.

    Behind them banners of Enchantry were tied to the tall whistling reeds of the southern shores. They were harvested from boggy inlets where they whistled out long notes depending on the winds that blew through them. They had been staked at intervals up the hillside back toward the construction of the palace that would house the Guild Mistress, the Council and collections of Totems discovered on the Ailes. It was incomplete. Nalia had made it very clear that the housing for everyone who would remain on the Ailes be the first thing to be built. That had been completed month ago according to her design. Everything on the Ailes was done by her design with careful attention given to detail. It was odd, but everything built seemed to fit, as if it had been meant to be exactly where it sprang up for centuries before. The School of Burning Clarity for afflicted Taroc natives was nearly complete. The docks, the roads. So much had been accomplished in the six months since Enchantry had become an established name of Rekōdo.

    Somewhere, up the winding, hillside paths that lead back to the heart of the blossoming city, The First Enchanters and Enchantresses to wear the Emerald Cloak waited with those that would be their novices waited for their honored guests to arrive. No one, not even Nalia, knew what to entirely expect. She had trained them as best as she knew how on the O'aris culture.

    And then, from the grayness of the dark water, the first banner poles and spears of the O'aris pierced the frothing waves. Nalia nodded to a fair-haired woman who bore the colors of Maginus in her belt. the woman's hood was drawn, but as she turned to relay the message of the arrival to the others, a hint of scars upon her cheeks could be seen. Nalia turned back to the water as more spear-tips broke the water's surface and many humanoid sentries began to emerge. She inhaled a deep breath and led her small contingent forward.
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  3. #583
    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens

    Attachment 2308 Attachment 2309

    Heron, King of Rekōdo, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo

    Her father had told her that there was wisdom in the words of others and that if we listen, there is always something we can learn from them. Remember what was said to you and who said it. Such things mattered. They were important. SO when the Master of Taroc spoke of Shamaa tradition with reverence, she listened. She would ask Master Mindoka to speak of Zareb when he visited her.

    When her father stumbled and fell, Pasce's hands came to her mouth. She went very still and watched as the Master of Taroc approached her father and lent his aid. Slowly, she steps from the gazebo and as she does, the star points leave her long, blonde hair. She heard her father let out a short laugh as he took Alain of Taroc's hand.

    "Your grandfather was a wise man, and you are the wiser for remembering and passing on his wisdom. Even to an old man like me."

    That is twice her father referred to himself as old. She had never thought of him as such, but in the light that shone through the taller deciduous trees, she could see his hair had become more gray than she remembered. It blended in beautifully with the same shade of brown her brother had inherited.

    "I am glad to always have an ally in Taroc." the King said and used Alain and his cane to both support and pull himself upright. Eri stayed by his father's side as he rose. He had grown taller since the ceremony of master, but he had a ways to go before his reached his father's height. The king was a few inches shorter than the great Alain LeCavalier, but what he made up for in inches, he gave forth in presence. The King commanded here without voicing a command. In a ballroom full of guests, his place among them was always known. He could convey with a glance, silence, bid one to speak, sympathize. Here, he conveyed a Herculean amount of respect upon the Guild Master of Taroc. It was not so much in the firm hold his serious brown eyes had upon the Guild Master, but with how hard he gripped his forearm as he shifted his cane to find balance. He placed a tremendous amount of his own weight and footing in the hand of the much younger Guild Master. For anyone it could be a source of scorned pride, but it was a great showing of trust for the King to forgo his presentation of strength and dignity and rely on this man to keep him upright.

    It took only a few moments for the King to find the balance he needed. When he did, he stood straighter but he did not release the Guild Master's arm. He give's Alain's arm a gentle shake, a gesture of testing his strength and finding it to be true.

    "Not yet, old friend" the King said to the Man of Taroc with his own smile. "but there is still time yet."

    When Alain speaks of growing old, the Prince betrays inner thoughts with a glance down at the ground. He remained at his father's right and was there as Alain and he helped the King walk with greater limp than before over to a bench. It was carved, hewn beautifully out of a tree that had fallen some time ago. The King chose to sit and his son looked on with a great weight upon his shoulders as his father sat and closed his eyes. The King stretched out his left leg and ran a hand down the muscle of his femur. The Prince knew there was a scar there that ran across the entirety of his upper leg just past his hip. The King exhaled a breath that would let both Alain and his observant son know he was in some pain.

    "Perhaps it is not growing old we need to guard against, but how quickly time seems to run before the end comes for even the greatest of us."

    Heron opened his eyes and leaned forward as much as his pain would allow. He could see his daughter in the gazebo, starlight in her hair like diamonds. She held onto one of the pillars and watched him. He could tell even from this great distance that she was worried for him. He motioned for her to come and she did so, a flurry of pink pastels and long blond hair.

    "Yes" the King said distantly as he watched his daughter approach. She looked so much like his fair I'yana. He remember the day she passed. The tiny pink child she'd brought into the world at his wish. She had been fine with just one son. That pregnancy had been difficult, but he could not let it go. Rekōdo needed another so that if anything should happen to Eri as had happened to his brother Ehrin...

    She had died within a week of Pasce's birth.

    His daughter came to him and hugged him. The King closed his eyes and allowed it and the moment of tenderness expressed by his daughter. He then nodded to her and she went over to the Taroc maples where she'd left her books and ribbons. One book was from Taroc to compliment her cards. One was a study on Shamaa Spiritualism: A Guide to Animal Spirits. The third was Old Runeology. A personal, handwritten text: a gift from Enchantry. The Princess sat upon the branch of the Taroc Maple and opened the book of runes. The King watched her fondly for a moment. He gave Alain's words a thought.

    "If such study will improve my ability to fulfill my Oath to the Princess, then I accept Master Alain." The Prince paused a moment and then asked something of Alain. "Are you not the best swordsman, Master of Taroc? Why would you send others in your place?"

    The King piqued a graying eyebrow at his son. He then shifted his amused gaze to Alain. He made a slight gesture with his hand that the Master of Taroc could deal with his son's questions as he saw just.

  4. #584
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens...

    "There are some techniques of traditional Taroc fencing that I have not yet mastered," Alain admits. He holds out his right hand and a blaze of red fire blossoms out from his palm and deposits a Taroc fencing sword into his grasp. His left hand now holds a dagger. Alain then adopts the opened stance of a Taroc fencer. Sword held far forward and the dagger held close to the body.

    Alain demonstrates some of the simple strikes and parries that are common to the Taroc sword fighting traditions. He swings and stabs at the empty air. Parrying imagined attacks, and retaliating with quick strikes from the dagger. The sword is used primarily as a defensive tool, only striking out to lure an opponent out into a position for quick strike from the dagger. Gradually the dagger is meant to wear down the enemy until eventually the sword can then be used to deliver the killing blow.

    "We LeCavaliers have our own fighting style, and that is what I've mastered." Alain tells the prince. Red fire consumes the fencing sword and the dagger, teleporting the weapons away. Alain now only holds a larger, heavier sword. He effortlessly twirls it in one hand. He demonstrates a few slashes and stabs. Alain's movements are swift and graceful, like that of an Astral-born dancer. Every motion of his body is perfectly timed and balanced to strike down enemies while also making Alain difficult to hit. The LeCavalier fighting techniques are able to bring great force with incredible speed, in order to overwhelm an enemy before they can raise any defenses or a counterattack. However, when performed by Alain the movements seem entirely natural. It's as if the man were born for such movements.

    Soon his brief demonstration is over. He takes hold of the blade of his sword in his stone hand and holds out the handle of the weapon for Eri, so that the prince can examine the weapon. It's a sword of the LeCavalier clan. The hilt and blade are covered in runes of ancient Taroc. It's heavier than the swords of Rekōdo, but something in the balance makes the holder feel as if they should be moving forward or lunging into action.

    "I sought to learn everything of Taroc fencing, but the masters of the craft have been reluctant to share their secrets with me. I think they like having a few tricks to throw at me whenever they can challenge me to sparring matches.

    "Every culture has its own way to fight. I have found it's advantageous to learn as much as I can about all of them. You never know which province your opponent will be from, so prepare to face them all.

    "I would advise you to learn from the fencing masters, and then I will teach you how a LeCavalier fights. It will be up to you to figure out which technique to apply too your own fighting style."

  5. #585
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Lieutenant Lydmila Pavlich

    The Ailes Bones: An Encampment Near the Northwest Shores of the Isle of the Island of Capios...

    Lydmila had stayed. After the crises and drama of Enchantry's first days. After Darmon's attempt to halt the first migration, and the assassination attempt on Nalia. Even after the high guard of Taroc and guardians of Rekōdo had moved on. Lydmila remained on the island.

    A few weeks into her stay on the island, Alain asked her why she was still there. Lydmila only answered that she had something to work out. It was a simple, yet vague answer. Between Alain and Lydmila such answers are usually all that's needed for the one to accept the decisions of the other. A right hand doesn't usually question the actions of the left, they simply coexist and work together without pondering the why's of their activities.

    After spending one night on this island, Lydmila could feel something scratching at the back of her senses. It felt like a vision. She knows if she was in Taroc it would be a definite feeling. In Shamaa, under the influence of their herbs, it would be a dream. Here, swimming among the ancient chaos magic of these islands it's an elusive notion of something. If she could only touch it she's sure it would be too slippery to grasp, or possibly evaporate like a puff of smoke. However, if she's going to understand what her mystical powers are trying to tell her she will need to spend time here. She must live within this chaos magic, and figure out how her gift of visions works in this old and baffling place.

    Besides, Alain is always saying it would do her good to spend some time away from that old house of hers.

    Lydmila is returning from the beach with her sniper rifle slung over her back, a fishing pole balanced on her shoulder, and todays catch inside of a net held in one hand. Lydmila grew up on the Taroc coast, fishing is second nature to her. She can catch, prepare, and cook fish almost as well as she can field-strip, reassemble, reload, aim, and fire the rifle she carries.

    She returns to her camp, which is composed of a small, simple tent, a dim camp fire, and at this very moment a rather confused man standing amidst the camp site. Before her senses fully registers that there's someone in her camp, Lydmila's hand reaches for the revolver she has holstered to her hip. She has one hand on the handle of her weapon as she slowly approaches the man.

    She immediately recognizes him as that Astral healer Olivia brought here. It takes Lydmila a moment to remember his name. Elvio. She saw him poking around the beach just over a nearby ridge at around this time yesterday. Lydmila didn't think anything of it then. This Astral man seems harmless enough.

    He's a slender, blonde man. His eyes always seem as though they're seeking something. He's dressed in Astralian robes of dark plum coloring, and golden trim. Resting upon his shoulders is a jacket with fur lining. Lydmila can't identify what animal that fur came from. Probably some Astralian animal specifically bred to be made into the best looking and feeling clothing. It's not quite cold enough for such a garment, but Lydmila guesses Elvio has never encountered a northern autumn, and is completely unaccustomed to the slightest hint of cold weather. Or he's wearing the jacket for purely aesthetic reasons.

    Lydmila purposefully steps on several fallen branches and leaves, making some noise as she approaches the camp and the man curiously looking it over. Elvio hears the noise and twirls around. Despite being confused by the camp and startled by the noise, the man's turn is perfectly balanced and effortlessly graceful. Astral to a fault.

    "Oh, my- Hello- " Elvio nervously greets Lydmila. He seems to be working at peeling away at her appearance like layers of an onion. The immaculately groomed Astral man first notices, and instinctively judges, the state of Lydmila's clothes, hair, and skin. Though, Lydmila has done what is needed to keep clean, she has been living out in the wilderness for several months, and looks quite nightmarish to an Astralian man that has never been without the creature comforts of his families home in Dayena. Elvio has never even contemplated the idea of living outdoors, in a tent, and without the glories of indoor plumbing and exceptional laundry services.

    After struggling his way through the thorn bush of this 'wild woman's' clothing and grooming, the man's attention falls upon the weapons she carries. Firearms. Elvio doesn't like firearms. Such barbaric, backwards things. He's been told that the Tarocs, Maginus, and some of Rekōdo city use such things. Why, Elvio even saw a crazed Taroc woman use such a weapon to cauterize Nalia's- Oh! Elvio finally recognizes Lydmila. She's that crazed Taroc woman that used her firearm to treat a wound inflicted by another firearm.

    Elvio stiffens. A crazed, gun-wielding Taroc woman is living out in the wilderness like some kind of animal. The man is suddenly quite afraid. With fear comes a need for the only thing in his life that has always brought him comfort and true joy, he reaches into a cloth bag hanging from his belt, and pulls out a silver and brass music box. He clutches the ancient music box to his chest. The humming of it's old magic sooths him, as it always does.

    "Hello," Lydmila replies. She tilts her head slightly, watching the man hold the antique music box to his chest, like a child seeking comfort in the embrace of a teddy bear. She takes her hand off of her pistol. This man is probably more of a danger to himself than he is too others. Lydmila then continues with her daily routine. She hangs the net of fish on a branch and moves to put her fishing gear away in her tent.

    "I'm- I'm Elvio Caelius Linus," Elvio continues, as touching the ancient music box restores some of his courage. "I did not mean to intrude upon- um- upon this place. I saw it and thought some kind of native savage of these islands lived here. I know they say none live here, but I didn't think anyone civilized would live like this, especially with shelters available in the ruins. Sure, the shelters are a bit barbaric, but I have been assured that once more buildings have been restored or built that we will all be moved to much better accommodations.

    "Though, I am not one to shy away from harsh living conditions. Certainly not. I have been on several archeological digs in Astral. Those summoned cabins we had to live in were quite Spartan in their way. I mean, the bath tubs were much too small, and there was hardly enough space for a full range of shoe options."

    It is at this point that Elvio pauses in his ramblings to pay some attention to Lydmila. Currently she is seated in front of a tree stump located near her now fully lit camp fire. On the stump she is using her survival blade to debone and prepare her fish for cooking on the frying pan she has positioned over the fire.

    "Sounds terrible," Lydmila absentmindedly comments on the lack of shoe storage.

    Elvio looks around at the crude camp site and has a rare moment of self awareness. He suddenly realizes that he must sound very foolish to this woman living out in the wilderness. He looks down at the music box he clutches as his cheeks burn red with a rare moment of embarrassment.

    "I am sorry that I have intruded, I should be going," Elvio softly tells her.

    "What are you looking for?" Lydmila asks before he can make another one of his effortlessly graceful turns. She has no interest in why the man is out here, as she's only a guest on this island. However, if she can prevent him from stumbling through her camp any more than is necessary she will put forth the effort of investigating what brought him here today.

    "What? Oh. I'm scouting locations for a possible research facility. I want to make a proposal to Mistress Nalia. A facility designed specifically to catalogue and study totems. So much of the ruins is being designated for homes, that Taroc school, docks, and other things. I thought if I could pick out the perfect place that's off on its own I could- I just really want to start studying the totems buried on these isles. I help with the healing, and with the day to day labor- and that's fine, I am happy to be a part of helping build this great new Guild, but I need to start studying totems soon. It's why I'm here. I feel like if I can't study them I might go out of my mind."

    "East of the city," Lydmila replies as she places the prepared fish onto the frying pan. She reaches into a pocket to recover a folded up leaf. The leaf is filled with various herbs she picked from the surrounding wilderness. She sprinkles some of the herbs onto the cooking fish.


    "There's some ruins buried under some dirt. There must have been a mudslide long ago, which covered it up. It's east of the city, about fifty paces from the tents the merchants have been storing the freight they've been bringing in. If you get that facility made it will be in those ruins."

    Elvio stares at Lydmila. The crazy wild woman is telling him of the solution to his problems. He isn't sure if she's reporting on some forest-hallucination or- No, she's Taroc. One of the Guild Master of Taroc's trusted soldiers or agents, at least that's how it seemed that horrible first night on this island. She must have some special sense or vision of this. Elvio's desire to study the totems is great enough to push him into infusing hope into any possibility he is offered.

    "Thank you," he excitedly tells her. "If these ruins are where you say they are, they'll be perfect. I was not looking forward to walking so far away from the city to do my research. I once heard wolves howling, I would hate to encounter such a beast on my way to the facility."

    "Wolves aren't so bad," Lydmila comments while placing her cooked fish onto a tin plate.

    "Uh- Yes, I suppose- um- Well, thank you for your help," Elvio nervously, and confusedly, replies. He almost turns again but pauses as he realizes he's still holding his music box. He glances down at the box and then up at the woman, who seems more interested in her meal than him or the item he holds.

    "You didn't ask about the music box," Elvio comments.

    "Nope," Lydmila replies while recovering a piece of bread and a can of peas from her ration supply. She glances up from adding the bread and peas to her meal and looks at the Astral man, who is baffled by her lack of curiosity and seems to expect more of her. She offers him no more than that glance.

    "It's just that everyone always asks about it. You're the first not to- Some back in Astral would laugh at me because- It- It's my grandmothers. Or it was. She passed before the War. It's a totem. This box has been in my family since ancient times."

    Elvio holds up the box, as if it were a sacred item blessing him with its very presence. His features light up as he speaks of it. His features light up if he speaks about any totems, but there's a hint of something more in his voice as he talks of this music box. A hint of something warmer, something nostalgic and beloved.

    "When I was a small boy, my grandmother used to tell me tales of this box. Grand sagas and legends. Humorous tall tales. She had thousands of stories... She made them all up. She didn't know where the box came from, or what it does. Nobody knows these things. The box is so old that anyone that knew these things crumbled to dust long before my grandmother's grandmother was even born.

    "But she loved making up those stories. And I loved every one of them."

    He pauses. Staring at the music box. Staring back at a loving old woman entertaining her grandchild will her fanciful stories, and he adoring every second of it.

    "I always wanted to figure out how to open it. To find out what's inside, what it does, where it comes from. I always wanted one story to tell her... I know I can't tell her now, but it would be nice to have one story of my own."

    For the first time since Elvio has been talking to Lydmila this evening, he has her full attention. She sees more than just a pampered oaf of an Astralian man. She sees some hint of this man's soul. The thing scratching away behind her thoughts tells her not to get too attached to this one, there is no happy ending to this story.

    Once more, Lydmila only gets a hint of a vision the wild magic of this place is keeping out of her reach. She's frustrated, and worried about what cruelties fate has in store for this man.

    "I wish you luck in finding your story," Lydmila offers with as much sincerity she can muster in her moment of frustration and sadness. "You should probably get back to the city."

    "Yes, you're right. I have duties to perform back at the clinic. Thank you, once again, for your help. Good bye."

    And with that, Elvio turns with his effortless grace and trots off towards Capios.

    Lydmila is left alone with her meal, and this feeling of a vision that these islands keep just out of her reach.

  6. #586
    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens

    King Heron Younger.jpg Young Prince Eri.jpg

    Heron, King of Rekōdo, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo

    The Prince of Rekōdo listened to Alain intently. His serious brown eyes became more intense- if such a thing were possible- upon the young, respected Guild Master. The Prince stepped forward slightly, into the path of danger as presented by Alain of Taroc's swords. He stepped forward and in the way of his father. There was no need. He knew that the Master of Taroc was not a threat to his father. It was simply a reaction, the reaction of someone who was being trained to run at danger for the sake of another rather than away from it. Even without the sword and dagger as Alain had, he would matched the Guild Master's stance. He watched his movements, the simple strikes and parries and attempted to mimic a few. The Prince paused to watch Alain with his natural sword and technique. He noted the fluidity of his movements, the deadly grace. His lips pursed. It did not seem possibly for just any man to do.

    The pursed lips turned to a look of determination as he took the blade by its hilt from Alain's stone hand. The Prince lifts it and turns it to examine the blade in the light. He swung it to feel the weight of it as it arced and then held it out to test its balance. Once the dynamics of the sword were examined, the Prince looked with interest to the ancient runes upon the hilt. It was known that both he and the Princess enjoyed the study of ancient runes. The Prince's brown eyes dove into deciphering the many carved markings.

    "May I write to the sword Masters of each province, Father?"

    Heron had encouraged his children, when they were affluent enough in their script, to write their own letters and requests for tutoring to the Masters they implored. The King inclined his son's request with a nod.

    "If you are to fulfill your Oath to your sister, then seeking knowledge as Master Alain suggests would be wise."

    "There is little I desire more."

    The Prince said this while looking over at his sister. She still sat upon the low-hanging bough of a Taroc Maple with one text opened in her lap and the two others close by. She was looking through the Runeology book with a furrowed brow. She looked to it, then over to the starlight gazebo, and back down again into the text. Even so involved in her search through the text, she was the closest to the pathway through the hilly, forest-garden. It was she who saw the runner first.

    It was the custom of the king and kings past that this garden was a sanctuary for him and whatever children he sired. There were no horses, so magik summons, no outside interference of any kind. If something were to happen that the king were to know about immediately, one of his Watchmen would have to run through the garden and find him. And one was. One saw the Princess in her pastel dress sitting amongst the bright red colors of the maples and the lush green grass dotted with their foliage. He saw her and picked up his run again. She looked up from her text and sat up straight.


    He voice sounded worried.

    The runner was wearing a banner of Rekōdo across his chest above his armor. His cheeks were red. He'd searched for his king for a long time. He paused to catch his breath and bow to the Princess before continuing on to the King at the bench. Pasce stood from the maple tree's bough as the Watchman soldier handed his King a scroll of parchment with the Watchmen's seal. It was a mixture of all the symbols of the Provinces and the infinite diamonds of Rekōdo. He bowed to the King, to Alain, and then he departed the glade where they were. He went far enough to be out of earshot, but not entirely out of sight. If his King needed him to run a message back to the palace, he would be the one to take it.

    Pasce remained beneath the tree and held her closed tome to her waist tentatively, waiting. The King sat up straighter and unrolled the parchment. His weathered, brown eyes moved across the cryptic wording of the writer. His brow furrowed as he read. When he was done, he held the parchment out for Alain to take. He moved his fingers and the runes re-arranged themselves on the paper for the Guild Master so that he might read plainly the encrypted message to the King.

    "I would like you to read this message" the King said with an interesting tone to his voice. He looked over at Alain as he handed over the parchment. "It concerns Enchantry."
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 10-15-2018 at 05:44 PM.

  7. #587
    Capios of Enchantry in The Ailes Bones: The Southwest Shores


    Nalia al'Vatar of Enchantry and Representatives of Enchantry

    The rain had come, as they knew it would. It managed to wait until the end of the tour of what had been named the Island of Capios. The Oaris banners flapped in the wind and the wet as it came pouring down. They were oddly agile on the land, after they had shed the rhythm of the sea and grown accustomed to the land's stillness. They were slightly taller, paler but retained their webbed hands and feet. They walked barefoot, in a mixture of pearlescent armors and sash-like drapery. What had surprised them most was that the one Nalia knew as Halya, the Princess of the O'aris, was well with child. Nalia had spoken of her pregnancy, but admitted to knowing nothing about gestation or customs concerning birth of the merfolk. Quietly, Nalia expressed concern. They were to do a great deal of walking, but the Princess of the O'aris seemed unperturbed by the hills before her. She simply touched a webbed hand to her expected child and assure Nalia of Enchantry that the land would not best her. She had told her she would come when she laid claim to this land and come she had. The squid-ink and pearl-dust markings that ran up her chest and across the freckled line of her cheeks shone with iridescent color as it caught the light. It rippled, like the glittering scales of a fish in motion. She wore a large, pearl ring on her finger. It was one of many jewelry pieces studded with pearls. There were pearls strewn through her hair in a net of fine wire. Her hair was long and wavy. It seemed forever frozen in a damp appearance. They all did.

    What was it the Nimphel had said to her? With such things as these... Nalia of Capios said you call them... Totems? In the same way they allow you to be here, we can be on the Land where men dwell. We simply choose not to. Long ago our kind and many others of the sea and land abandoned the land to men. They fight too much and we have no desire to be drawn into such conflict.

    The Princess of the O'aris and Nalia, Mistress of Enchantry, first of her station walked ahead of the others. The spearwomen and banner men followed behind Fateema and Merriam, two of Nalia's own, who walked at pace behind the two leaders. Their pace was slower than they'd like and the two women kept looking back at the horizon to try and pinpoint the rain's coming without the aid of a spyglass. Halya had many questions about the land structures. Nalia's emerald eyes saw it with every stop they made. A tightness in Halya's face, a greater struggle for breath. The Princess was offered a moment to rest, but she insisted they press on. She wanted to see Enchantry's beginning. She was keen on touching the white stone that lay about in organized fashion, ready to be used to rebuild. She seemed fond of the pure, white stone, as if familiar with it.

    The O'aris had dredged it up from the deep for Nalia. How she repaid them for such a debt was unknown.

    The rains came finally as they finished the tour. They came with winds leading the way and a rush of suddenness. It slowed their progress as they descended the hill. It drenched them and the land as they precariously wound their way down the slope toward the shore. They never made it back to the sea. They made it as far as the wet sand before the labor pains of the ambassador from the sea became too great. She came to her knees in the sand and lifted her head to the rain and the wind. Her cries of agony were lost in the downpour, no matter how loud her desperation. Several of the banner women and their mates took off at a dead run for the water, dove in and disappeared with the slash of a sea tail. A handful remained behind, but it was Nalia who came to her knees in the sand and guided the suffering Princess to lean her back against Fateema's chest. Her back arched upward with each new onset of pain. Behind them. the banners of Enchantry snapped in the wind and the reeds to which they were tied sung a lifting song of chaos and eerie sea-like notes. Runners were coming down form the hilltop. Nalia's raven curls were plastered to her face as she yelled to Halya above the torrential storm. She braced herself, readied herself as the heir to Nu'Alu pushed forth her final effort and, somehow, amid the storm, the first cries of a baby rose up.

    The next ruler of the O'aris was born on the shores of Capios.

    The tale of the child's birth was scribed by a Watchman to the King onto parchments and delivered to the Grand Palace in Rekōdo. It was a girl-child, a new Princess and the name given to her was Silvyan.

  8. #588
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens...

    Alain contemplates the young prince. Eri states there is little he desires more than guarding his sister. It's a noble sentiment about a sacred cause. However, Alain sometimes wonders if the boy and his sister are too young to already have their whole lives set in stone. He sometimes wishes they had a chance to experience a normal life before deciding if these roles are what they want.

    Clow does what he can to dismiss the moment of concerned thoughts in his host. The spirit reminds Alain that this is the way of things. It's how it's always been and always will be. The children are of Liar'Adon's blood. They are made of stronger stuff. The will and wisdom to rule is their birthright.

    Alain accepts what the spirit says. It's not accepted as the best situation, only as the reality they all live in. One man wanting to see children live and grow to become anything they desire won't change how things must be. Even the great Alain LeCavalier can't change something stars and gods have set into motion.

    Soon Pasce's voice directs Alain's attention to the arriving Watchmen. Clow has told Alain of the Watchmen, a group of elite spies and messengers for the ruler of Rekōdo. They're able to slip into places and collect secrets that few others can. Even Olivia, Alain's own master spy, has spoken of the Watchmen with reverence. Though, Olivia never replies when asked if she's ever encountered one of these royal spies on one of her missions. Alain suspects there's a story to be told, but his agent won't be the one to share it. When Olivia wants to keep a secret, very few powers in the world can discover them.

    Alain studies Heron, as the monarch reads the message. He's seeking some clue as to how he can serve or advise Heron. Eventually, Heron hands the letter to Alain, and the Guild Master finds what he seeks on the page.

    After a swift reading, Alain returns the note to Heron.

    "It would seem the tour of Capios has been an eventful one," Alain lightly comments. "I'm afraid I lack the expertise in O'aris customs to know if sending a gift to the new mother and her child would be the right thing to do."

    In Taroc it's customary to offer gifts whenever someone predicts a mother or child will be in need of something. A Taroc parent will sometimes find toys, food, clothes, books, and blankets arriving to their home, sent by friends, family, or even complete strangers.

    Alain knows this is a custom that is native to Taroc, and possibly not shared by other provinces. Although the other Guild Masters have taken to sending gifts to the royal family every time a new prince or princess is born. The other Guild Masters refused to let Taroc's silly customs win them any favor from the royal family.

    The Guild Master plucks a leaf off of a nearby tree. He gazes at the leaf and gives Clow a nudge. The spirit immediately knows his prophetic talents are being called upon. Clow reads the shape of the leaf, the lines and veins, how the light filters through it, the colors, and finally how it falls when released. Eventually, the spirit shares what he predicts.

    Alain reports on what Clow sees,
    "If a gift is welcome, I would recommend a rattle. Princess Halya has an affinity for items from our culture, and the rattle will entertain the baby on those restless nights ahead."

  9. #589
    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens

    King Heron Younger.jpgYoung Prince Eri.jpg

    Heron, King of Rekōdo, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo

    The King is oddly quiet after Alain spoke. He had taken back the scroll as the Master of Taroc studied the leaf he's plucked and re-read the filtered lettering across the parchment. He knew the sight of Alain and Taroc's Spirit mulling over the predictive properties of one thing or another. He gives them the time they need. As he re-reads, his normally stern expression grew grim. His already down-turned lips beneath his mustache and beard, draw further downward. His brown eyes left the parchment and were distant for a moment more before the King waved his hand above the parchment. The letters lifted in a light blue light, reserved by whatever powers for the line of Liar'Adon's use only, and rearranged themselves back to their originally cryptic message. The King re-rolled the scroll closed and passed it back to the Watchman. The armored runner bowed low to the King, then to the Prince and loped back along the route by which he'd come. He stopped before the Princess, the heiress to them all, and gave her her own bow. The banner around his armor fluttered like the wings of some sort of fabled creature as the Watchman ran back toward the palace. No magik would allow him to portal in or out of the King's garden.

    The Princess watched the Rekōdo banner disappear through the foliage. The colors of the King were not the colors of the forest and were easy for her to track. The Princess seemed worried, maybe unnerved. The Watchmen made her uneasy. She's been with her father when he's lifted a parchment received from them only to have it snatched by a hand come from nowhere and disappear once more. The Princess shivered lightly.

    Eri's attention seemed to be wholly upon Pasce. His brown eyes were framed with worry for her.

    "Father" he asked, looking back at him "May I- ?"

    The King waved his son off and Eri jogged across the grass and sat beside Pasce on the low branch of the maple. He leaned close and whispered something to her. Pasce hesitantly answered him with her own hushed voice. The Prince put an arm around the Princess and hugged her close to him. Heron rubbed his temples between his thumb and his index finger.

    As the Enchantresses afterward learned, and as it was scribed to the king now, it was the custom of the O'aris to come to the land when it was their time to give birth. Half on land and half in the sea, to honor both heritages that continued their culture onward. They scouted beaches and secluded coves in advance, the sight of them close to shore often memorialized in fisherman's tales. In some cases the pregnant mothers returned to the portions of sand where they had been brought into the world in their time. The Princess had already chosen a place to deliver, but the rigorous journey saw her to deliver on the shores of Capios.

    It was a girl-child, a new Princess to follow after her mother, and the name given to her was Silvyan. Just as it was promised deep below the Sea of Rekōdo in the underwater city of Nu'Alu. Silvyan Tel'Arrnad Rastea Tel'Tolor en' Tarairim. It was her name in a tongue considered Common to the O'aris before the Modern tongue of the world came along. Silvyan of the Storming Shores of the Isles of Scales. A large name for a newborn, but the O'aris gave full names to all their girl-children to denote where they were born and what manner of day or night it was upon their arrival. Much was said to come of such things.

    Such was scribed and delivered to the King of Rekōdo. Such was traveling back to the castle to be brought with utmost care to the Central Library of Rekōdo to be house among the Forbidden Text, only accessible by the Ruler of their lands.

    "I will seek Lady Nalia's opinion on such matters. Thank you for the suggestion."

    No such relief as was desired came from rubbing his temples, so the King sat back straight on the bench and rested both his hands atop the heron-crest of his cane. Beneath his thick beard, he set his jaw.

    "The Princess of these Merfolk- Halya you say?- has such an affinity for our culture that she named her daughter after Lady Nalia's mother?" There was an odd tone to the King's voice. Digging, curious, slightly perturbed. "Does she understand fully the depth of such a name?"

    The King shifted his cane under his weight and the tip of it dug lightly into the ground. He glanced over at his children. Eri had worked his magik, as he always could with Pasce, and the two were worry-free and pouring through her book on Runeology together. It brought a smile to the King's face, a temporary one that faded as slowly and delicately as the last light of the sun fades into night.

    "Have you spoken much with Nalia?" A bit of amusement touched Heron's face again as he glanced sidelong at the Master of Taroc. "I spoke to you brother, Darmon, and he insisted he would have nothing to do with Nalia or Enchantry so long as he had breath in him. I reminded him that we had several High Council Meetings scheduled for the fall."

    He tapped his cane three times, similar to rapping on the table to indicate a meeting had begun.

    "So far, she has handled much of the conflicts that have arisen since the inception of her Guild with dignity and calm. The Trials she endured by each of you, the folly of Darmon's anger, the many conflicts with Maginus, the assassination attempt" he noted to Alain. "But they have all been external conflicts."

    He looked at Alain now, but deeper, at Clow.

    "Every Guild at its birth has had a struggle with internal conflict. It is part of the inevitable clockwork of things falling into their places."

    The King's brown eyes blinked and he, once again, was focused fully upon Alain.

    "When it is Enchantry's turn, I wonder how it will fair."

  10. #590
    Capios of Enchantry in The Ailes Bones: The Emerald Palace onthe Isle of the Island of Capios


    Nalia al'Vatar of Enchantry, Fateema of Ordh'u, Lord Morholt Caradoc, and Evalynn Agravaine of Maginus

    The light of Capios lit her troubled face in a glow of exotic, rainbow colors. The hundreds of colored star drops moved in the pathways of each living person on the island as the three dimensional map of Capios hovered just above the table before her and her Council. Prosperity is what their movements spoke of. An idea that had blossomed into successful fruition. There had even been children born on the island starting with, of all things, an exotic O'Aris princess born on their shores. Enchantry was still young, but already it felt like there was a deep history rooted in the Guild. Behind it all was a deeper, more painful history than any of them knew. It was a history she had almost died to bring back.

    Nalia winced as her mind echoed with the memory of four gunshots that followed that cry. She had woken up too many nights re-living that nightmare. Every time she got up and paced until she could no longer stand the confines of her quarters. On those restless nights, she walked the island. The sound of the ocean repeatedly playing with the land and the fresh smells of the tall grasses and salt of the sea soothed her. She sometimes even heard the echoes of wolves howling on islands farther offshore from Capios. It reminded her of her childhood home in Astral. There was always a slight chill to the air, one thing that differed very differently from the exotic lands of southeastern Rekōdo, but there was something about this island that hummed a siren song to her. Nalia looked out of the many windows that dotted the high rotunda where they sat.

    It is amazing what had been accomplished in the half year following the night she almost died. The hillside below the cliffs was dotted with white-stoned buildings now, fashioned eloquently from the white stones she'd dredged up and cleaned from the ocean floor. That had been even longer ago, years ago, when she had learned the truth behind Enchantry. Everything was ready to be put back into its place. Every stone was chiseled precisely into her flawless memory. She sought to restore as much of the Old Enchantry as possible. It had all come together seamlessly.

    So why did something feel amiss?


    A strong, psychic nudge brought Nalia's attention sharply back from the window. Fateema's almond eyes were narrowed to dark, chocolate slits and her pouty lips were drawn down into a deep frown.

    "This is my area of expertise, Fateema" Caradoc said with a tone of impatience to his voice. "It would be wise to let me handle-"

    "A few sporadic murders on Capios are not the same as the dark blights you hunted in Maginus, Master Caradoc.

    "Sporadic is your first mistake, Head Architect. Murder is always, always calculated and plotted out, even if it is committed with no thought prior. The act to decide to take a life is decided even if it is only moments-' Evalynn glanced over at Nalia. There was uncertainty in her wide, blue eyes. She was trying to control her breathing, and only barely managing to do so. Caradoc waxed on about the purposeful impulses and predispositions one goes through before committing an act of crime. How once a decision was made, however impulsive or irrational, that there could be no other alternative than premeditation.

    Fateema's almond-shaped eyes shifted to Nalia briefly and glared at her. She brought her sleeve to her nose and, without looking at it, tucked it back at her side. Against the green, embroidered sleeve of her arm, Nalia saw a stain of rich blood. A moment of guilt held her heart. Fateema had no love or power for telepathy. The idea of one beside herself having any sort of access to her mind was a source of great displeasure for the Da'Jinn woman. She would have had to have gone through Evalynn to reach her as she did.

    "So whether you truly think they are sporadic or not, with my experience I am, by far, better equipped to handle these sort of situations."

    Fateema laced her fingers together on the humming tabletop before her. She said her overly annunciated words slowly and carefully.

    "You are designated by Nalia to help uncover so-called Dark Totems. Idris and Shaldar will handle Security, as they have been appointed to do so.

    "Lady Fateema, I think it an invaluable waste of our resources to-"

    "Do you disagree with your appointment?" Fateema piqued a fine eyebrow at the gray-haired man. "Perhaps you should consider removing yourself."

    "Someone seems to think herself the Guild Mistress. Perhaps she should be removed before her treasonous words give her tongue cause to be cut out!" Caradoc's voice echoed into the dome of the rotunda. When it dissipated he continued. "Is that not how things are done in Da'Jinn, Lady Fateema?"

    Fateema slammed her palms on the table and stood up so rapidly that Evalynn jumped. Nalia could hear Caradoc's gloved hand grind into the hilt of his thick, Oakenwood staff. It reminded her of Darmon grinding his hand on the hilt of his own Dragon Staff. Nalia lifted a hand quietly.

    "No one is being removed from their appointment on this Council." Fateema's eyes narrowed at Morholt. Her already down-turned lips deepened into a formidable frown. Nalia's peaceable hand remained in the air.

    "Lord Morholt."

    The Lord of the Hunt took his eyes from Fateema to regard his Guild Mistress.

    "I ask that you remember the oaths you took upon joining this Council."

    Morholt's eyes narrowed as he turned to face Nalia.

    "This place is a refuge from the ways of our native Provinces. Threatening other members of our Council or any member of our Guild with capital punishments they are familiar with will not tolerated."

    "You presume me to be threatening?"

    Nalia remained in her seat, poised erect yet graceful and calm.

    "You are no threat to those present. Just the dark things of your Hunt. Use your words with caution and trust in my judgement. I assigned Idris and Shaldar to investigate the most recent of murders because Idris's past-sight gifts and Shaldar's ability to sense past actions on the land through the Earth are invaluable in finding out if there is a pattern, a singular person to these crimes."

    Their powers both reminded her of Alain's. Edrianna Idris hailed from Cajos on the cliff sides of Taroc and could see battles of the past, battles lost. She discovered her gifts during a time before the crystals hewn from the Caverns here provided relief to the people of the Stars. The Burning Clarity often ended with cruel death. The body of a dear friend had washed up on Cajos's southern end, where the cliffs gradually came down to meet the shoreline. News had spread quickly. People gathered at the shores. Edrianna went to her friend and upon touching her saw the last, torturous moments of her friend's life. Overcome and distraught by the blinding madness of the Burning Clarity, she had run to the cliffs and thrown herself off. Edrianna witnessed everything down to the sudden dark that took her friend as she met the crags of rocks in the waters below. Such a power was uncommon among the Taroc and her people seemed unsure of what, exactly, to do with such a gift.

    Shaldar of Ardhin in extreme southern Shamaa was a good partner for her Taroc cohort. Shaldar's gift spoke to the earth and sea's memory. He could see pathways of both, and could use the memory of the land and sea to track and hunt. He was prolific in his craft. There was a daring boldness that complimented Edrianna's quiet intelligence. His brown eyes had a tamed wildness to them that reminded Nalia deeply of Arion. The Second of Taroc had mentioned something about frequenting Ardhin. Perhaps that was all it was, a little piece of her past in Taroc coming back to visit her in a different form. Idris and Shaldar's combined efforts made them perfect details for the Security of Enchantry. This was not their first assignment. It was not Enchantry's first murder.

    "Their abilities have yielded nothing. We are no closer to answers with them leading this charge. If you could just see the wisdom in allowing me use of the Dark Totems we've deciphered-"

    "And taint the island?!"

    "There are countermeasures we can use. Other Totems-

    "And we put the lives of everyone here at risk. One mistake with those Totems-" Nalia shook her head. "No. We cannot risk it, Morholt."

    "But it would solve everything!"

    "My answer is final. On this, I will not move."

    "You are afraid." Fateema and Evalynn both stared at Caradoc with shock. The words left his mouth before he could stop them, so he kept going with the unwaveringly cruel bluntness Maginus was known for. "You are afraid of the dark things inside you. It clouds your judgement and limits your ability to protect this island and everyone on it. You coward."

    If Nalia was as shocked to hear his words as the others, it did not show. Her hands were laced in her lap and, like a mountain against a howling wind, she did not move. Evalynn lifted a hand to air write her intended response, but Morholt Caradoc of Arx snapped in her direction to silence the silent.

    "You protect her!" he spat at Evalynn while speaking of the Council as a whole. "You coddle her and her fears fo the things we can use against our enemies and you should be ashamed!"

    He rapped his staff heavily once upon the marbled floor, shot Nalia a final glare, and stormed toward the wide, doors of the room.

    "Lord Morholt."

    The call was light and so heavy with the weight of formality that the Lord of the Hunt immediately stopped in the doorway.

    "This Council is built on a foundation of respect for one another" she said calmly from her seat. "In this, we differ greatly from most who sit at the High Council Table of our King. It is a simple, and often difficult requirement to be kept, but it is necessary if you wish to remain vocal on important matters concerning Enchantry."

    Morholt turned his head slightly over his shoulder when she finished speaking. He said nothing, though, and continued out the door. His loud boot falls and the heavy rap of his staff upon the floor echoed his leaving. In his wake, there was silence. Evalynn's hands pressed down so hard upon the table top that ghostly imprints were left behind as she peeled them off. Her wide, blue eyes looked at Nalia as if begging her to speak.

    "Where were you today, Nalia?"

    It was Fateema whose voice cleaved the silence, but her tone sounded no less displeased than Morholt's had.

    "This could have all been avoided if your head was present with us at this table!"

    Nalia lifted a hand from her lap in submission to onslaught Fateema's words.

    "You are right. The fault for this is mine. I was distracted. Something about the murders does not sit well with me."

    ~He should not have spoken to you like that.~

    Evalynn's violet-colored words scrawled in her neat script into the air.

    "Of course not! But it could have been avoided if this conversation was not allowed to get out of hand! That man cannot be allowed to take over security for this island. He is insane!"

    Nalia raised a hand again, more forcefully.

    "Remember your oaths. We come from different lands and would all tackle this problem from different angles. Morholt's is more direct and dark than the majority of us like, as are the ways of Maginus. The Dark Totems will not be used. When we hear from Idris and Shaldar, we can decide from there what our next course of action will be. Morholt was at least right about finding out if they are connected or random crimes."

    Fateema's scowl deepened. She crossed her arms beneath her small chest and conceded to Nalia's words with a curt nod. Nalia looked at Evalynn who also nodded a silent assent. Nalia lifted her left hand and brought it down to knock three times on the cold rock of the Council table.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 03-27-2020 at 02:20 PM.

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