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  1. #261
    Outside and Inside of Rekōdo: Zinna's House, in the Vision Domain

    Udaya of Shamaa

    For a long moment after Doraen speaks of Zinna's departure, Udaya is silent. She continued to stir the large, copper pot before her in the silence left in the wake of his words.

    "Dey are never truly gone. You have had proof of dat in front of you de whole time you followed de one with too much strength and no sense."

    Udaya swivels her head around to glare out the kitchen door. The oar is taken from the mixture in the pot and pointed out that very doorway to the seemingly empty couch.

    "But more sense den dat one over dere! Even if de strength is not de same, I like de living better dan de memories. Sometimes de memories are no good at all. No good says Udaya!"

    She rapped the end of the oar loudly on the floor of the kitchen, sending beads of soupy mixture flying off and onto the floor, her feet and her worn, faded apron of many pockets. She seemed unbothered by it and made no move to clean up the mess she'd made. Udaya slumped slightly, hunched a bit more than before as she turned back around to the pot. She reached down into a pocket with a river symbol on it and began dousing the fire around the pot with the carefully cupped liquid within her leathered, wrinkled hands. She paused a moment to consider Doraen's words and then shook her head with a puckered face.

    "Old Udaya does not get herself into Circles... Dey are too confusing! Which way is forward? Which was is backward? Am I going de right way? Which way are we traveling? I do not know because I am walking in de Circle."

    The Circle was a voice of Clow, a group dedicated to the Ancient Spirit to the point that they missed the paths they should have walked. Their Circle had the ability to lead them forward, but they constantly sought to go backwards to what was, to Clow so much so that they got turned around and forgot which way it was they should go for the goodness of Taroc. They became blinded to their doings. Out of context, Udaya would sound utterly insane, but, having gotten an actual focused response form the Shamaa woman, what she said might actually sound appropriate. At least it might make a little bit of sense.

    Udaya had gone back to dropping handfuls of water on the fire around the pot. Steam hissed upward and filled the air with swirling, white mists. Rather than completely lift to the ceiling, the steam seemed to settle along the floor of the kitchen. It grew so thick that it obscured the tiled floors. The old woman paused for a moment as if listening to something. There is a slight tilt of her head so that one of her ears was facing the doorway out of the kitchen. She hesitated with her hand partially submerged in her pocket before she shook her head and continued her work at a whisper.

    "Dey would hate each other, if de man could see de memory and de memory could see de man."

    Udaya sighs tiredly. The fire is snuffed out and the room is filled with fog. It rolls out the door and into the living room where Berlix and the echo of more-than-a-man sits.

    "De are like the Circle... One would not stand de odder if dey knew dem, but the odder is needed more dan he can ever see stuck in de circle dat dey all run."

    And then she lapsed back into sounding too close to insanity to be taken seriously. Udaya looked annoyed and tapped the paddle on the rim of the copper pot, cause it to hum and clang. She cupped the other hand to her mouth and shouted into the adjoining room.

    "Oyi! Rude girl and de bossy one on de couch! If you want to be eatin' dis food right here den you'd better come before Zinna's boy gets it all!"

    Udaya went back to the pot. The gumbo-like concoction within would need stirring so it did not grow cold. She shoved the oar back into the mixture and her arms shook with the strength needed to gain enough momentum to go. Once she got up speed, the liquid moved easily with her, bubbling and swirling and churning over itself in radiating waves of varying colors- like the Tiarna Wood petals. Striking golds, crimson reds and oceans of blues and purples all around. If Doraen could see as he set the table, the stirring began to make shapes in the thick stew as it folded over itself again and again. One, continuous, long motion of a pointed infinity symbol placed within something else. Something round, definitely circular, but with comma-like clefts carved in the middle. There was a tiny section of the mixture that never once felt the pull of Udaya's stirring movements. A tiny rift in the middle of the entire pot. Without the gentle, continuous motion to shift the liquids, they began to settle and cool, turning a dark, dark color. Udaya seemed not to notice or care. She squinted one eye until ti was completely shut and pointed a crooked, tattooed finger at Doraen.

    "Tell me what news from de wakin' world, boy, and what you gonna do wi' dis here house?"
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 05-25-2018 at 02:22 PM.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
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    1656OF56**Beeber Heads Unite!**4270

    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  2. #262
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Attachment 2335

    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Nalia of Enchantry

    Nalia made a small noise, a half exhale and a half expression of discomfort as Eliona helped her to rise. One of Nalia's hands came up to grip the Astral Healer's other arm and steady herself. The noise, if Ryth was too lost in his drink to hear, would be reserved only for Eliona's ears. She did not object to Eliona's current hold on her arm. Now that she'd stood, she felt the dizziness of her blood leaving her to rush to support her legs. It was a moment, part of it with her eyes closed against the dizziness, that Nalia needed before she was able to take the walk away she so desired. There was only a slight hesitation and a glance at Eliona's sure-hold on her arm before she started forward. She tried her best to stand straightly, spine resolute in the cool, calm presence she always exhibited, but her limbs objected and with every movement reminded her of how exhausted she truly was.

    "Per'aps" Arion offered gently as he aimlessly strummed his guritar and looked throughout the Heli'Dom's observation area "Alain 'as a reason why 'e's bringin' Darmon to them?"

    He had made it a point to leave out the word 'good'. Not all Alain's ideas were the best, but they somehow always worked themselves out in the end. In his aimlessness, he begins to play a familiar tune.

    "The call is mine" Pasce asserts squarely. "With his passing, Darmon of Maginus has moved beyond the punishment our laws. I assure you, Master Ryth, that the Uru'Loki will take every restitution they are owed from him."

    The Princess grew silent a moment. She was inwardly considering Olivia's advice concerning the plight of the High Chronicler. Outwardly, it appeared as if she were contemplating the words she'd just spoken.

    "From where" the Princess asked the group as she turned to face the southeast once more "do you think humanity learned how to Quiet?"

    Just as her lifetime was being scrawled second by second in the pages of the Book of Memories, so she could recall everything she scried from it in perfect clarity and detail. A trading of lifetimes, knowledge and lineage in exchange thats he too might be added to the collection someday. The Princess's voice grew very soft and distant as she stared toward the far brightness of Rekōdo City.

    "No, Master Ryth" she said gently and agedly despite her terrible youth. "We are not so clever as to have come upon such a power ourselves. That spell was taught to us."

    Nalia's walk brought both she and Eliona to the northern face of the Heli'Dom. From the crenels and merlins there she was able to view what little the mist let her see of the northern Ailes beyond Faraking. Capios and Enchantry were to her right, but she did not want to look at the darkness where light once stood radiantly like a small star. She made herself. It was her Guild. Her people. Her darkness. Her fault.

    "I will be fine here" she said without looking at Eliona. Gently, she moved her arm closer to herself within Eliona's grasp. It was faint as if testing her grip to see if she would let her go. If she didn't she would not fight her. The air was fresh and crisp even with the Heli'Dom's accommodations for its occupants. This close to the edge, she watched the snow fall. The world below them was blanketed in white, providing clear definition between what was land and what was sea.

    Distantly, Arion's tune shifted. It was subtle, quiet, something familiar. The Princess turned from Rekōdo. She went over to a nearby table and, after placing the Da'Jinn tome on the table, grabbed parchment and ink and began to write. Even in haste her scrawling handwriting- in ancient runes no less- was impeccable and elegant. She'd had the best tutors in Rekōdo. As she wrote, one of her fingertips pulled the blood-stained note from the tome and allowed it to slide free enough for Olivia to be able to read the blood-writing.

    "Master Ryth" the Princess said as she wrote. "I have an urgent task that I am trusting to you."

    She finished her writing, applied a keeping spell so the ink would not smudge or wash off and then folded the parchment closed. She put a fingertip to her mouth and drew a symbol there. The fingertip glowed a light azure blue, the colors of the Royal Family's magik and, as history believed it, the remnant of Liar'Adon's power within their line. She took the fingertip and pressed it to the fold in the parchment and it blossomed into a symbol that sealed the papers shut. The symbol was her own, of her own creation and endowed with a spark of her power. There was a circlet beneath her royal seal. The only way to open it would be to place your finger there, the finger needed to open the parchment.

    She lifted the envelope she'd made so that he would see her emblem.

    "This parchment needs to be delivered to my brother so that he knows I am alive. Our bond has been severed and he will think me dead."

    Pasce left the tome purposefully on the table for Olivia, the bloodied note half slide out from its cover. The note contains further instruction from the High Chronicler of Rekōdo. The lamps needed to be melted down, disposed of. He wrote instructions on how to complete such a task so that the Master of Shamaa, Astral and their Ancestral Spirits would be freed.

    "You are my emissary" the Princess said as she drew the same symbol that had been placed upon the parchment in the air. She motioned with her hand and it floated over to him and threaded itself onto his left shoulder in a glyph that was like azure starlight. The glow of it dimmed as soon as it was upon him. "Eliona. You will accompany Master Ryth and ensure his injuries need no further treatment."

    "There are instructions that must be delivered to him. Can I trust you both to complete such a task?"

    Now alone at the floating turret's ledge, Nalia allows herself a moment of silent grief. She bowed her head before the dark sight of the fallen island that housed her Guild. Music lifted into the air gently, softly, and the tune of it denied her a full allowance to her grief. Arion strummed his guritar and whispered to the Heli'Dom quietly as he did. With her back to the room, Nalia could not see the grin spreading across Arion's face. He could hear something the others could not. Music that was loud, blaring, prideful and strong. It was a concoction of music, of a mortal man endowed with the power of the Ancestral Spirit of his people. He knew that Soul Song. He could pick it out of a city of people. He played a rendition of that Song now in the backdrop of everything else going on. It would be barely perceptible, but it would inspire courage, hope, everything LeCavalier inspired within his ranks during the darkest moments of the Great War.

  3. #263
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Doctor Doraen & Berlix Ruelle

    Zinna's House, in the Vision Domain...

    Years ago, when Doraen first met Udaya, he loved decrypting her seemingly mad ramblings and discovering the wisdom hidden beneath. Now, he's exhausted, old, and feels like the mysteries of the world are weighing him down like boat anchors. He struggles to memorize her words for future pondering. Hopefully there will be a day when he isn't battling with weariness and tragedy.

    Once the table is set, Doraen looks through various cabinets until he recovers a loaf of bread. The bread is a swirl of earthy colors. It smells of the various Taroc spices that are baked into it. He sets the bread onto the table and then makes his way to the icebox. He opens the mystically chilled container and stares into it. Doraen is looking for something to drink with the meal. However, his eyes don't seem to want to focus. He's been preparing for the meal on autopilot. Now he can feel even the will to do that much is slipping from his grasp.

    "Memory?" Doraen mutters as he still tries to capture Udaya's words.

    Berlix is seeing a memory? Whose memory? Doraen follows the thought. The book's from the temple of unspoken prophecies are filled with visions and memories that are too dangerous to be contained within a mind. Berlix read a memory that's too dangerous to be remembered. The doctor ponders ways of removing such dangerous things from someone's mind.

    As he puzzled his way through diagnosing Berlix's ailment, and coming up with a potential treatment, Doraen had recovered some lemonade, spring water, and red wine and collected these bottles in the middle of the table. His body had performed the task while his mind crawled itself through the many problems that the man feels buried beneath.

    Both Doraen and Berlix jump when Udaya strikes the pot. They had each been lost within their own thoughts. Doraen lets out a sigh, thankful to be brought back into the world. Berlix stands up from the chair and enters the kitchen. Cautiously, she keeps her distance from the strange old woman, and makes her way around the room and sits down at the table.

    "No need to yell," Berlix responds to Udaya. She then adds under her breath, and in Taroc old-speak, <You old nut.>

    The memory figment remains in the living room. Staring at Udaya with his red, ember-like eyes.

    Doraen, sensing Berlix's nervousness around his old friend, takes Berlix's bowl and brings it to Udaya and the pot. He'll get the girl her food first.

    "The world?" Doraen mutters in response to Udaya. "An undead Darmon is attacking Enchantry with an army of Nightmares. LeCavalier had a plan to fight Darmon. The rest of us drew away as many of the Nightmares as we could in order to buy LeCavalier and Capios time. I- "

    Doraen falls silent. Words seem to evade his mouth for a few moments.

    "I- I- I do not know if any of them live," Doraen whispers. For all he knows his friends could all be dead right now.

    Berlix, glances through the kitchen door and at the red eyes that now look at her. If what Doraen says is true, Alain, Ryth, Arion, and Verona might be in trouble. They might need her help. She could offer them more help if she had more power. The same power her hallucination promised to her.

    "The house?" Doraen asks as he looks around at the room. Udaya had asked him of his plans for the house. He tries to focus on that much. "The house goes where Zinna needs it to go... Needed it to go."

    Doraen takes in a deep breath. He fortifies himself from pain and doubt. This is a time of strategy and action. Just like so many tragic days in the War, Doraen must set aside the things that threaten to crush his soul and instead focus on walking down the path of survival and salvation.

    "The house will know my path," Doraen informs Udaya. "It will know where I need to go next. We can enjoy this meal, and then the house will take me to where I need to go next. You're welcome to join us, if you like, Udaya."

  4. #264
    The Unsettled Lands: Vasa Pinnath in the Dragon Range


    Sacha, Shepherd of Souls and Darmon, The Returned

    Pure hatred, seething and in its rarest form are returned from the glowing, undead eyes of the man beneath the dragon's claw. Unvoiced words of malice and challenge were thrown Alain's way solely with his eyes.

    Karythar's eyes locked on the white-haired Master of Maginus. Sacha's body winced, but he forced his blue eyes to steel and look upon the Dragoness strongly. His eyes narrowed moved slightly in reaction to whatever words were being given to the young Guild Master. Hiding his facial reaction, like not speaking aloud to someone who communicated to him telepathically, were all things he would need to learn and internalize. After a moment, Sacha's body relaxed and he looked down at the ground. He breathed heavily and held tightly to his Shepherd's Crook. He made no offer of a bow to the Dragons present. His eyes remained lowered. His stance was tight as if angry. Karythar and Curucuar seemed to not notice. The one-eyed Dragon's mouth opened wide and let out a sound that implied every foul horrible thing that would be done to the Hated Man beneath him.

    ~Go in peace, Children of Liar'Adon.~

    Before Alain's energies could completely remove them from the cold mountains of the Dragon Lands, Sacha's holding spell upon Darmon was released. The last sound Alain LeCavalier would hear was Darmon's wrathful, choking defiance as he shouted the Taroc Man's name. The echo of it voice sounded more and more desperate as it faded away from them and left him to his fate.


    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    He had not thought about leaving the mountains himself. It was something that should have occurred to him. He was a Guild Master now and h was responsible for the Ancestral Spirit of Maginus. He was reminded of such when they appeared within a place he did not recognize. He was certain it was not of Maginus origins. Such was made abundantly more clear as Arxus ripped into his mental psyche about teleporting blindly with a man who was the enemy of Maginus. He could have teleported into a trap meant to kill him and detain Arxus from heading to a more intelligent host. One, he was told bitterly, that would not lead him to his permanent demise and unravel all of what they and Tradisius had done to ensure Rekōdo would continue on after them.

    In hindsight, following Alain of Taroc with so little knowledge as to where they were going was a foolish move on his part. A mistake he was able to live from and learn from. Sacha eyes immediately and rapidly seek to intake every detail of the room around him. It was done quickly and stored just as fast. In the Blood Sport, such assessments of the arena and the opponent had to be taken in and processed before the opponent for the match was able to move. He would not be alive now if he hadn't been able to utilize such a valuable skill so hurriedly. His eyes noted the only living figure in the room, the physical with her gray bun and notepad to her stance, character, attitude and potential role in being here waiting for them. She seemed as startled to see him as he was to be in this place of Taroc. His assessment of the spacious luxury, the doors and all their paths about him and the chair with clothing on it- Maginus clothes- were wrapped up as the Guild Master of Taroc began to speak to the woman before them.

    Sacha's eyes moved between Verona and Alain and their seemingly incomparable ability to finish each other's sentences and thoughts. Assessments were made. Information was took-in. Once again, the woman that had been demonized in all of Maginus society was being called a hero.

    ~It seems unfitting~ spat the Spirit of Maginus ~that the traitor of Maginus is alive and being called a hero by Taroc while my former Vessel is being fed to Dragons!~

    This place made Sacha uneasy. He felt like he were at sea, but they were most assuredly not on a boat. He had never been outside of Maginus with the exception of the trip he'd made to Da'Jinn for Aramil. To Sahil in the north by the Sea of Serpens. He did not care for the desert. Too hot and too much sand. While they were not presently in the East, they were most definitely in Taroc. A Maginus man of his stature had no business being in the Land of Taroc.

    Sacha glanced at the Aide to Taroc uneasily as Alain touched the walls of this place. The walls, eh'd noted, were rounded. Were they in a palace of some sort? The tower of turret of such a structure? He tried to run through a list of structures he knew in Taroc, ones important enough to need such lavish embellishments. The list of what he knew was slim. His job was in dealing with Spirits, the dead. He was ashamed to find he knew very little of the living.

    The groan of the structure made Sacha tense. His feet took a wider stance, arms splayed as if in preparation. His white brow knit at the Guild Master's words. Adrift? Were they on a ship after all? He spoke with reverence to the room as if it were a living thing. The runes beneath Sacha's hand upon his Crook begin to glow faintly. Sacha's hand tightened around the shaft of the iron-wrought crosier to snuff-out the glow. Sacha looked up to find Verona staring at him. His slowly moved his arms into a more relaxed pose, but his body is tense. His blue eyes, dangerously sharp and intelligent, do not moved from Verona. He is suddenly overcome with a feeling that a Maginus man has not been a welcomed guest here- wherever they were. He could see it in the woman before him. Sacha began to feel entirely uneasy. He had been thrust well outside his zone of comfort in too many ways for one day. He desired nothing more than to go back to the Temple in Windfr'te and get lost in prayer or in guiding the Souls of the Departed to their eternal homes.

    It was unfortunate, but there would be a lot of Souls needing his guidance.

    Sacha's eyes seceded from their staring match with the Aide to Taroc only when the Master of the land spoke to him.

    Did... Did he say over Faraking Island? The Heli'Dom?

    ~In case you are wondering, which by the way, I can hear that you are~ intoned the forever bitter-sounding Spirit of Maginus dryly ~No, a Guild Master of Maginus has never been inside the precious Heli'Dom of Taroc. You are the first.~

    There was a moment of silence as both the Spirit and the Vessel considered this. Sacha could almost hear Arxus smiling in a parasitic sort of way.

    ~This could make for a very interesting partnership, Shepherd.~

    Sacha had already considered that he was a first among Masters in Maginus to ever come here. His mind had already moved on to the next piece of information Alain LeCavalier had revealed to him. Arxus just had not kept up with him.

    ~The Princess?~

    Sacha looked more than alarmed. He looked between Alain and Verona and would have refused, but Arxus raised his voice.

    ~A new Guild Master always presents himself to the ruler of Rekōdo~ Arxus scoffed as if he could not believe Sacha would refuse such a thing. ~Refusing to do so would be a dark spot upon the noble presence of Maginus for generations! Don't they teach you anything of importance in that backwater Temple of yours?!~

    Sacha exhaled slowly and bowed lightly to the silver-haired woman when she was introduced. Wait, was he supposed to bow to an aide to another Guild Master? No, she was beneath him, right? A step below a Second? Did he have a Second waiting for him back in Maginus? If not, could he chose? The Shepherd of Souls doubted her would get along with anyone appointed by Darmon. Wasn't Taroc's Second foreign born? This was not Alain of Taroc's Second. She was an aide. And he'd bowed. Too late. It was done. Sacha became painfully aware that he was wearing tattered rags that had once been priestly robes. His eyes moved from his robes to Verona and finally Alain.

    Sacha gathered the robes on the chair and started toward the adjoining bathroom door. He hesitated and turned to say something to Alain, and further paused to contemplate his words before speaking them.

    Since he was a guest here, he was not sure of the protocol: If he should bow to Alain, excuse himself or something else entirely. He remembered hearing Darmon say once, at a large dinner gathering of all the higher and lesser Priests and noble blood families in Arx that he bowed to no one except royalty and barely even to them. It had earned approving laughs and smile-laden whispers among the Priests and nobility in attendance. If anyone was uncomfortable with such a sentiment, they did not voice it there. The new Guild Master of Maginus definitely had concerns about meeting a member of the royal family since he could barely figure the minor pomp and circumstance out.

    ~My name is Sacha~ he said to more to Alain than Verona. ~We were not properly introduced before.~

    It was well-known that Darmon very rarely conversed with anyone outside a terribly small and ever shifting circle of bodies. He'd heard it whispered at his Temple that it was Darmon's lack of communication with his Second, Charold, that caused him to lose his title and too much more. The man had all but disappeared from Maginus society. Sacha tried not to dwell on the thought. He looked down to the robes draped carefully over his arm and seemed to consider them.

    ~Thank you. These will do~ the Shepherd of Souls offered in a quiet, contemplative voice. He then turned and went to the bathroom of the vast room and shut the door behind him. The Maginus robes he put on were simple, and he was thankful for that. Even as a Priest of Maginus, with the ability to wear all manner of adornments to denote his high, though unglorified station, he chose simple robes with only the necessary embroidery around the hood and hems. This lacked even that and did not reach the floor as most Priestly garb did. The garb was of typical, high-collar fashion initiated by Darmon a decade or so ago. It would be helpful to keep the cold wind and snow from biting the entirety of his body. The sleeves were long with a simple cuff of dark blue. The knee-length garb fastened shut over the right shoulder. The breeches were long, always long as it never truly got warm enough for anything shorter in Maginus. They tucked perfectly into his boot, the only thing of his inner our outer garb that he was able to retain. The rest would be good enough only as scraps to start a fire. He did his best to clean the dirt and grime of battle off his face and hands, the only real visible parts of his body now. His shock of white hair remained somewhere between a windswept hazard and roguishly handsome. It seemed so much whiter, an appallingly curious trait given his youth. The white of his hair and the pale fairness of his skin among his dark clothes made his Maginus-blue eyes seem all the more intense and striking. He re-appeared from the bathroom in much better condition than when he'd gone in.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 05-28-2018 at 07:04 AM.

  5. #265
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Eliona, Filip Ryth & Olivia Kuhrson

    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

    Pasce's words on Alain handing Darmon over to the dragons brings an end to any further complaints from Ryth. He may not agree with any of it, but he's been a soldier long enough to know when he can't argue with a superior. Especially when that superior is a member of the royal family. Instead of continuing his gruff objections, he returns to quietly nursing the remainder of his drink.

    He falls into silent contemplation as Pasce speaks of the origins of Quieting. He had never given the source of the ritual much thought. He simply assumed it was one of the countless inventions of the human species. It's been Ryth's experience that people are incredibly skilled at creating ways to kill or inflict suffering upon one another. He didn't think they needed the help of dragons for that sort of thing. He wonders what other cruel magicks have the dragonkind cooked up for, or even against, humanity.

    Eliona offers Nalia as much assistance as she needs. The healer is reminded of her earliest days as a student in the White Towers. The newer students are often given the many of the tasks that are beneath the actual healers to perform, such as helping patients with tasks they are too wounded or ill to perform for themselves. Eliona had to help many patients out of their beds and to the various healing and diagnostic chambers that they needed to be taken to.

    The Astral woman enjoys a small smile as she aids Nalia on her journey across the room. It reminds her of simpler times that had slipped away from her life long ago. For a moment she can recall what it was like to have a deeper sense of purpose.

    Nalia's arm slips from Eliona's grasp when Nalia pulls the limb away. Eliona looks at Nalia for a moment, unsure if she should accept this small hint, or try to offer more aid and company. Nalia is a vexing patient. Hard to read. Guarded in ways Eliona has never encountered in someone of Astral lineage. After a moment of thought, Eliona accepts that after the hardships she has had to endure in life Nalia has every right to be as she is. She concludes that this has been a part of how Nalia has survived her journey through darkness and tragedy.

    Eliona offers Nalia a small smile and a accepting nod. She then returns to the room with the others, but remains close enough to hear if Nalia asks for any help.

    Meanwhile, Olivia reads the note that is left bared to her notice. She's a master spy and a necromancer, it's difficult for her to resist a note written in blood and left unattended. She uses her skills of discretion and stealth to read through the note without making it apparent to the others in the room that she is reading it. These are similar skills she would use when infiltrating Maginus camps during the Great War, and she would absorb every unattended military document she could find, all without alerting anyone to the acts of espionage.

    Olivia eventually retreats from the note and the Da'Jinn tome. She returns to the table where her bag sits. There she begins to dig through the mystically contained contents of her bag, and begin seeking out components that might be needed for breaking down genie lamps. She doesn't have everything. There are some materials that are useful in Da'Jinn rituals that have no place in works of Maginus necromancy. However, Olivia does operate a massive smuggling operation, and is already plotting out how to obtain such items.

    Ryth rises from the couch when Pasce announces that she has a task for him. He abandons his emptied glass onto the nearest table and is standing before the princess like a fresh recruit standing at attention for their commanding officer. For someone that has been hunched over, wounded, and seemingly collapsing in upon himself this entire time, Ryth now stands tall and broad, like an ancient, unmoving monolith.

    Ryth had effectively abandoned his role in the Taroc Guild and military, yet his sense of duty and training as a soldier are so completely hardwired into his mind and soul that he quickly falls into the role of loyal warrior for the crown.

    Ryth accepts the sealed envelope and the glyph imprinted upon his shoulder with his head proudly held high. He nods and sharply replies to Pasce,
    "Yes, ma'am. I'll make sure he gets your message."

    His head lowers and the pride in his feature gives way to a heavy concern, as Pasce mentions that her connection to Eri has been severed. He had not suspected the brother and sister were no longer connected. Nor did he think Eri was under the belief that his sister was dead. He takes a moment to feel sympathy for the disconnected siblings, and the wrongfully mourning prince, and then redoubles his determination. Eri needs to know his sister still lives. Ryth won't accept any other outcome for this mission.

    Eliona steps forward when her assistance is asked for. She looks from Pasce to Ryth. The healer hasn't seen this dutiful, standing at full attention version of Ryth before. She would find this new side of him somewhat amusing if she wasn't worried that it might be putting unnecessary strain upon his stitches. Eliona steps beside Ryth and gives Pasce a deep, graceful bow.

    "Yes, Highness," Eliona politely replies.

    Olivia looks up from her bag, and the task of planning out the ritual to free Mindoka, as she hears the change in Arion's music. It sounds strangely familiar. Olivia glances to Ryth, and sees that he recognizes it. Ryth has spent enough time around Arion and Alain to recognize Arion playing Alain's soul song. Something in Ryth's expression changes. It's as if the soldier were mentally steeling himself to confront a potential enemy, or at the very least someone that deserves an endless stream of yelling, curses, and possibly punches.

    Olivia takes hold of her guild badge and holds it up towards Ryth and Eliona. Her badge glows a moment. A Taroc military portal pops into existence beside Ryth. The portal of red and gold light sweeps over Ryth and then Eliona, absorbing the two of them and sending them off to their mission. With the two sent away, the portal evaporates.

    Olivia steps forward and stands beside Pasce.

    "They'll handle it," Olivia assures the princess, while also trying to steer attention away from the fact that she just sent Ryth away the moment he realized Alain had returned. Olivia effortlessly continues moving past the removal of Ryth, "I do believe the ritual to free Mindoka and Herotus is very possible. I can summon whatever spell components I don't currently have. There are a few logistics to work out. Such as who should be involved in the ritual. Any suggestions?"

  6. #266
    The Island of Capios: The Entrance to the Caverns

    Dyani of the Border Forests and Evalynn Agravaine of Maginus, Sisters of Enchantry

    Evalynn could wait no longer. The urgent need she felt to get to the Caverns, to find Shalla, was exasperated by Kali's cry for them to move. Evalynn's hand grabbed Vucan's arm. As she grabbed him, she spun around him to grab his other arm so that they were face-to-face. He would see her move as if in slow motion. The rest of the world seemed to slow with her. The sounds of battle were elongated and exaggerated. The movements of the Dire Wolves, the crew of the Raven's Triumph, the Anchor of the Captain swung overhead, the firing of a sniper rifle played out before them at a speed by which they could capture and commit to memory every detail. When Evalynn came to face Vucan and she looked up at him with her always unsure blue eyes, they glowed. The world around them burst into colors as each thing each person disintegrated into the components that made it up. They swirled around them, upward like a cyclone until everything blended together and became cloudy and ashen. The violet hue of her eyes made up the color that began to swirl in to the cloud around them. Streaks of Spirits zipped upward through the mists around them. Some made noises. Some wailed, some screamed, some just watched the two travel through the Spirit World and then disappeared as the vortex and ethereal color dissipated into the color scheme of the living world once more. She and Vucan appeared standing arm-at-arm before the entrance of the Caverns. it caused the Sisters beneath the white domes to start and nearly topple into one another at the suddenness of their appearance. Evalynn released Vucan and stepped down the steps and onto the stone dais so they would see her and know her for who she was. Her hood was uncharacteristically down. Her long blond hair snaked in the winter wind.

    ~Into the Caverns now!~ Evalynn's mental voice raped strongly in their minds as if she'd spoken the words aloud herself. Already the sky above them was being blotted out by the regrouping hoard. Farther above them Dyani lifted one of her fighting knives from Kali's back. She straddled her and raised the glowing weapon aloft as she let out a fearsome cry in tandem with her Spirit Animal as they rose with Kali to deliver the final blow to the hoard by the Caverns.


    The Island of Capios: The Final Front

    The Dire Wolves of the Ailes

    Every morsel of vision sent their way is snapped up and collectively shared in a frenzy, a hive-like mind scape that would be maddening to most. The pack shifts and adjusts as a whole unit as needed. Individual move to prevent ill-fates for the others, fates snatched from potential futures and given to another. They move around her attacks and compliment them in the worst way for the Nightmare beasts. Lightning followed by the deafening toll of thunder.

    The Alpha corals his pack, making sure to keep the sanctity of their communication out of the reach of the Souls with which Lydmila also shares her information. They do nothing to hinder the fight of the Souls, but fight beside them as a unified front with Lydmila as their general. They are an opposing wall by which the Nightmares can run afoul. Spirits at one end, Lydmilla at the other, Wolves filling in every foreseeable gap in between.

    ~These are not our women any longer.~

    A static image would appear with the thought. A picture of green-cloaked women like the ones Lydmila would know of, but something about them was different, off. No belts containing the colors of the Provinces from which they hailed, a slightly wilder feel. Something more elven or nymph-like, like out of a fairytale. Something much older. Just when she would start to put her finger on it, the image would fizzle out. Re-appear once or twice more and then go completely.

    ~We do not abandon those beside whom we fight. We remain until the end.~

    Then a brightness filled the sky so bright that it blotted out even the snow as it fell in silent observation of them all.


    Beneath the Sea of Rekōdo: Aboard The Sunken Vessel of the Empress of the Sea

    Shalla of Tuah and Laelis of Lymes

    As soon as it appeared, gazed curiously into the porthole window and saw that she was awake, the face disappeared. Were she not from Astral, the fact that she was entirely bare to the eyes of the curious onlooker might have bothered her profusely. Instead, Laelis went very still and watched the blinking of a very non-human set of eyelids study her humanity with intrigue. Flaps of skin fluttered opened and closed along her neck- a judgment of gender based on the constructs of her feminine face and long hair. Laelis, slowly overcoming her initial fright, sat up and watched the face that observed her with as much discovery and wonder as it had had for her. Then, in an eye-blink, it was gone.

    Laelis blinked several more times after that as she tried to process what she had seen out the porthole window and where she was. Carefully, she crept back up to the window and peered out. In the kelp forest with its glowing orbs inside sacs attached to its long, elegant stalks, she saw the flurry of motion of fins. Hints of their beautiful scales reflected in the glowing light, a shiny weapon of some sort, a fluttered of long hair. Laelis tried to peer upward, but the porthole only allowed so much in the manner of visibility.

    Slowly, she sat back down. She was beneath the water. Far beneath judging by the lack of natural light and the slow movement of the kelp. No tidal breaks close by, nothing to bolster their rhythmic movements. And she was on- what? A ship? A sunken ship? None of it made sense. The last thing she remembered was fighting. Nightmares. Laelis's body shivered with deeper subconscious memory than it allowed her to completely see. She was hurt. Her hand went to the scar that started at her left shoulder. Her gray eyes watered. She made it to The Caverns. Vucan. He had brought her. He was with her as she fought. She had lit the beacons so the others could come-

    The others.

    Laelis had no way of knowing if the others were alright. She reached out tentatively through the connection Nalia had taught them all. Nothing. Panic set in and she nearly jumped when her back touched the still warmth beneath the crimson sheets of the bed. Slowly, afraid of what she might see, Laelis lifted the red coverlets.

    "Liar'Adon's adoring heart" she whispered with relief and alarm. "Shalla!"

    Laelis threw back the cover from her fellow Enchantress's body. Shalla was as without clothing as she was. Her body was warm, but she breathed so slowly it frightened Laelis into thinking she was not breathing at all. Immediately, one of her hands went to Shalla's throat and to her wrist to feel. Her heart beat, but again so slowly. She had not a scratch on her and appeared otherwise unharmed. Laelis's fingertips glowed gently as she touched Shalla and her eyes closed to inwardly search and feel for anything amiss. She shivered as she opened her eyes. There was nothing wrong with her, but she would not wake.

    "Shalla" she whispered loudly as she shook her gently. "Shalla... Please get up! Please!"

    Wherever they were, it was not Capios. She felt the hum of Old Magik all around them, but this was not their island. She had to get back. The White Light was needed to quench the darkness.

    It was mere seconds later that there was a gentle, but awkward sound at her door.

  7. #267
    Outside and Inside of Rekōdo: Zinna's House, in the Vision Domain

    Udaya of Shamaa

    "Mmm" Udaya mused in response to Doraen's first inquiry as she continued to stir the pot. "He be more like an echo of what once was. De ting he cannot be anymore because he has outgrown him."

    Udaya lifted an eyebrow at the eclectic drinks the good Doctor procured. She smiled gayly. Her smile sours when Berlix enters. She watched the young Seer enter the kitchen. Her squinted eyes remain on the girl every step of the way. When she entered the kitchen entirely and took her place, Udaya gave her a firm nod. Udaya turned then, slowly and made eye contact with the crimson-eyed vision in the living room. She stared at him for a very long time with her squinted, aged eyes. There was a slightly sad look to her face. The crow's feet that had largely taken over the corners of her eyes drooped slightly. She turned from the echo only when Doraen started talking again. She turned around- hopefully avoiding smacking the oar on anyone's head- and puts her hands on her hips. The oar swings out as she does so. Her puckered, pouting face is fixed on Doraen.

    "If you are so worried for dem, den why are you still here?" She tapped her foot in an impatient manner, but got distracted by something only she could hear. Her eyes looked up to the hat atop her head. Now she was clearly annoyed.

    "Of course dey are fine! Why would Udaya send him back if de world was eaten by de dark tings? Udaya is not so cruel!"

    She stuck out her lower lip, then sucked it back in in irritation.

    "It is different dis time. He was not greedy! Dis time he did not take de power dat was offered back to him. He is just himself. Not like dat red-eyed troublemaker in dere!"

    Udaya crossed her arms.

    "De rift should not have happened in de first place! If all dem children embraced both halves of demselves den dis whole mess would have been just fine."

    Udaya goes silent a moment and glared up at her hat.

    "Well what do you know anyway! You are just a hat now!"

    She huffs loudly and then looked at Doraen. She smiled sweetly to him as if she were silently apologizing for the rudeness of the argument that just took place.

    "Dat would be just fine for Old Udaya. I can keep de place clean when it needs it. Udaya has helped Zinna keep dis place clean for many, many years before dis Circle mess. No more of dat now."

    She reached for one of his hands holding Berlix's dish with one of her own and patted it gently.

    "Come" she said to him. "Let's eat dis here gumbo before de world needs us back."

    Udaya set the oar aside the ledge of the large copper pot. She reached into one of her pockets, rifled around for a moment and procured a wooden ladle. She dipped it into the spiced stew and drew forth its contents. It's a purely Shamaa dish, but she season the fish and ingredients with Taroc spices to give it a homier taste. It would taste like a dish native to the southern, Shamaa city of Ardhin that bordered the Wilderlands.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 06-06-2018 at 11:18 AM.

  8. #268
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Nalia of Enchantry

    It had seemed unfair, she had originally thought upon discovering the Book of Memories hidden in a Dragon's cave in the World of Dreams, that all these memories vital to the continuation of their unified lands remain locked up from the eyes of the world. Why shouldn't all of Rekōdo see what her fathers and mothers before her had seen? Only when he had seen the book and gleamed from its pages that she then knew: It was too much and there were too many people. There would be too many opinions, debates, studies and dissertations. The amount of differing opinion that cast a heaviness to the atmosphere in this, otherwise, heavenly place was almost growing burdensome. No, the world did not need to see all the secrets of the past, but that did not mean she could keep a handful of chosen ones from them.

    She had not known the origin of the Quieting spell until she had read from the book. It had been given to mankind with trust that it would be used sparingly. The knowledge of that made Pasce's heart inside her fill with an aching grief. one she masked with a slight raise to her chin and a physical swallowing motion to accompany the inward one she forced.

    Pasce did appreciate Ryth and Eliona's willingness to assist her. She was still only a Princess and not the crowned ruler of Rekōdo. The High Council would need to decide if she were to undergo her Trials of Ascension again of simply re-do the Coronation. For now, her elder brother would rule in her stead until she was given a proper ceremony.

    The Princess of Rekōdo stared at the spot where Ryth and Eliona used to be before a teleportal swallowed them and sent them, however unwillingly, on their way.

    "Go with my blessing" she afforded them quietly, even though they, at best would only hear the echoes of her voice in their current travel. Olivia, beside her now, had a bette chance of hearing it than they did. It is a long moment before Olivia's assurance gained an answer.

    "I know they will."

    The sudden removal of Ryth and Eliona went unspoken-of by the Princess. Her thoughts were on Emit, her brother, their grief and their suffering.

    "Taroc and Shamaa will perform the ritual" she said to Olivia. "As will I."

    There is a hesitation. Olivia will know that a Province referred to as a person, a name, in this matter would mean their respective Guild Masters. Mindoka was one of the people trapped within the lamps at Arion's belt. Branwen would take his place.

    "Taroc and Shamaa are both affected by the Masters imprisoned in these lamps."

    One was the Guild Master of the Shamaa people, the other was the one who had betrayed the soldiers of Taroc and warriors of Shamaa into death. Jinai of Da'Jinn was still out there, somewhere. She would need to be dealt with. She would not ask the regent to be involved. He was not a Guild Master. Maginus had no Guild Master, none living, and Astral had no standing at all.
    Enchantry would be busy with restoration and grieving. There would be many dead to be numbered on that Aile.

    "They must be the ones who take part in the release of the Master and the Traitor."

    Traitor. Herotus's fate was sealed. A royal member did not use that term lightly, but what Herotus had done was unforgivable.

    "It can be done then?" she asked of Olivia. She had never attempted such a spell or anything like it before. She doubted Alain and Branwen would have either. It seemed unnecessarily complex.

    Arion's playing grew a little louder now that there were less voices in the room. The Princess paused to listen to the tune he played, finding it familiar to her ears as well.

    " 'e's back" Arion whispered to Nalia. "Bu' you already knew tha', didn' you?"

    Despite his strumming, he'd come up upon her quietly. Nalia jumped at the sound of his voice, something that made the Acting Guild Master of Taroc frown. Nalia was no one to be startled. Gently, Arion took a hand from his instrument to touch Nalia's. She looked down at his touch and then up at him with a stern furrow to her brow. Arion rarely touched her. The way his crimson eyes stared down at her were more disconcerting. The fingers left on the belly of his instrument subconsciously changed to, to something of a mixture of she and Alain's Soul Song's. Something strong peppered with grace notes and harmonies of her lilting, sorrowful tune. They blended perfectly, something Arion heard in tandem for couples who had truly found their match in this world. It would be something like what their child's Song sounded like before it developed a Song of its own. His fingers moved swiftly, without flaw or fault as she stared at her. Nalia felt all her breath catch in her throat and the child within her move. She let out her breath in a rush and with a sound of discomfort as she put a hand to the lower curvature of her torso. Arion's playing softened again and transitioned back to a one-handed improvisation of Alain's Song.

    "You need more rest" he urged of her quietly. He squeezed her hand tightly in his before releasing her. Nalia took the hand from the merlon where it had rested and tucked it protectively back near her body.

    "I know" she said, betraying the fatigue she felt in her voice. "I will rest when I see him and know he is safe."

    "More than tha', Nalia" he reprimanded softly. "before th' child comes."

    Nalia looked down from Arion then and then away.

    "Tha's an order."

    She looked back at the tall, red-haired Second. He offered her one of his wolfish smiled and then shrugged.

    "I' was worth a shot" he returned his second hand to his instrument and joked amid a more fluid, soothing tune for the resting Heli'Dom. "I 'ad to ge' one las' order in there before Alain returned."

    He smiled to her again and then stepped back out of her space. He was delighted to see her tiredness break into a smile and a small sound, like a laugh. It did not last long. Her eyes were drawn to the dark island that once shone with the life of her Guild. Arion watched Nalia a moment and then sat on the crennel beside her. He continued to strum his guritar for the Heli'Dom and for her that they both might heal and receive rest through a bit of the peace brought on by his playing. Nalia resumed her watch over Capios and grieved silently with the Acting Master of Taroc at her side.

  9. #269
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Alain LeCavalier & Verona Aliester

    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Alain seems entirely relaxed in this place. It's as if he weren't in the company of the new leader of the people that he had fought such a bloody war against decades ago. Alain is calm and patient.

    "It's good to meet you, Sacha," Alain says with a polite nod. "I should tell you that I meant what I said to the dragons. This is the start of a new chapter. My conflict has always been with Darmon. Now that he is gone, it is up to you to decide how I will treat you and your people. If you seek a war with me, I will oblige you. However, if you want peace, I will work with you to ensure our people have peace."

    When Sacha exists to wash up and change his clothes, Alain holds his hands out in front of himself. A burst of crimson fire teleports Alain's mystical coat of arms into his hands. The weapon containing garment was left pinned beneath the statue on the island Alain had confronted Darmon on. Alain shakes some of the dirt and dust off of the coat before handing it to Verona.

    Verona swiftly folds the coat and drapes it over one arm.

    Alain speaks out to the room Sacha is changing in,
    "During Princess Pasce's coronation, Jinai secretly tried to steal the ancestral spirits and magical power of the other Guild Masters. Her methods were undetectable, so none of us knew it was her doing. She succeeded in removing the spirits and power, but her body was not strong enough to contain all of it. The spirits and power, including Jinai's, were immediately drawn to the only one that could host it all.

    "Pasce became the host to all of our spirits and power.

    "The High Chronicler, following instructions from Pasce, took her into hiding. Pasce had foreseen chaos ahead of her. She knew this chaos might bring her at odds with the Guild Masters, so she planned to evade us until she could find some way of overcoming this danger.

    "Tonight you got a taste of how Darmon deals with those he believes have stolen something from him. Though I know Mindoka, Nalia, and myself would have treated Pasce fairly, it's within reason to fear the others would have acted out of similar hostility. Running and hiding may have been the best strategy.

    "The Council decided to hide our loss from the public. We knew the truth would lead to strife within our provinces, and chaos would consume the kingdom.

    "Unfortunately, Jinia was the first to find Pasce and the Chronicler. She captured them, and tortured them. She then abducted Mindoka and Herotus, and transformed them into genies. She used them to tear their lost spirits and power out of Pasce. Both Guild Masters have their magic and spirits restored, but are still trapped as genies.

    "When my Second learned of Pasce's capture, I gathered a group made up of the Seconds from Shamaa, Enchantry, and Astral. Together we entered Jinai's palace, defeated Jinia, her Second, and her warriors, and freed the Princess and the Chronicler. Jinai and her Second managed to escape and go into hiding. Adaya, driven mad by the journey through the portals of Da'Jinn and the enslavement of her brother, took her own life shortly after the battle.

    "Pasce and I have restored some order to Da'Jinn. We established a provisional government to rule without Jinai. That's when Darmon attacked Capios. I entrusted Pasce with Nalia and one of my agents, and I went to Capios to deal with Darmon.

    "You know how events with Darmon played out. Arxus can tell you all about what happened with Pasce.

    "Now we have Jinia out there somewhere, no doubt with her power restored and continuing to scheme against us all. Caldur has the dragon staff, and is trying to claim control of Maginus. And- Clow is telling me Arxus believed Caldus could use the dragon staff to take the ancestral spirits... Which might explain the difficulties my agent had in trying to free the spirits from Pasce. It also means Caldur may have been able to claim some of the spirits and their power for himself. This will make him more dangerous."

    When Sacha emerges from the bathroom, cleaned up and in fresh clothes, Alain gives the other Guild Master an approving nod. Verona shows no change in her calm, controlled expression, but her grasp on the coat of arms does reflexively tighten.

    "That looks much better," Alain comments. He pauses, and waits to see Sacha's reaction to all that he's been told.
    Last edited by Qwaring's clone#1; 06-09-2018 at 07:07 AM.

  10. #270
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Eliona & Filip Ryth

    Rekōdo City: The Prime Audience Chamber of the Grand Palace

    The prime audience chamber is a large space with cavernous ceilings and pristine white marble columns. It's a long room, with dark, tall doors facing each other from the opposite ends of the chamber. One door leads to the depths of the palace, and the other is a visitor's door. A carpet runs from either door. The carpet leading to the palace door bears the colors of the royal family, and the visitor's carpet colors itself to match the province of those who seek an audience with the royal family. These two carpets meet in the center of the long room, where a conference table and chairs sit in quiet contemplation. The middle of the table presents an ancient map of the kingdom of Rekōdo. The northwest corner of this old map shows signs of recent alterations to add the presence of Enchantry.

    The carpet opposite of its royally colored twin alters itself into a mingling of scarlet, violet, and various shades of gold. Moments later a hasty Taroc military portal sweeps over the space right in front of the visitor's door. The portal deposits Ryth and Eliona into the chamber. Ryth is turned around and glaring at the sudden change in surroundings.

    "That son- or daughter of a %*^@&!" Ryth curses at the necromancer that has banished him out of the Heli'Dom. His enraged voice echoes through the large room.

    Olivia's swift actions has deprived him of a chance to confront Alain. True, they had a brief confrontation in the fortress, but a battle was looming, and Ryth had to hold back his full fury. Now it seems like he'll have to restrain his anger for a bit longer.

    Eliona, on the other hand is very quiet as she steps further into the room. She gazes up and around at this majestic place. Lanterns of silver glow with an amber light around the new arrivals, bringing illumination and renewed life to this place. There's a soft hum to the lanterns, as they send a mystical message up the chain of command of the palace guard to inform them of the new arrivals. Such a message will be brought to prince Eri. Eliona looks down at the multicolored carpet she and Ryth stand upon, marveling at the mingling of shades and the interesting pattern the colors have arranged themselves. Her attention drifts over the carpet and eventually rediscovers Ryth.

    Eliona rolls her eyes when she notices the old soldier is apparently barely restraining a tantrum.

    "This is the nicest place we've been to tonight, and you're still intent on ruining it with your foul language and very short temper," Eliona scolds Ryth.

    He turns around to glare at the Astral woman. She responds by holding her arms wide apart and gesturing at this wondrous place. Ryth's glaring eyes soften, and his expression relaxes from its naturally fitting grimace as he realizes where they are.

    He's been to the audience chamber before. Often times accompanying Taroc regents and government officials as they bring matters of state to representatives of the royal family. This place is meant for business that are below the direct attention of Guild Masters. Or for lesser representatives of a province to meet with someone of the royal family.

    Guild Masters and their Seconds are allowed to meet with the royal court in the council chamber or other places that the king or queen chooses.

    Ryth takes in a deep breath and looks down at the glowing glyph Pasce had placed on his shoulder. He rests a hand on the symbol. It restores some sense of pride and duty that he shed from himself when he quit being Alain's High Guard. It feels right to serve once again. It makes swallowing his rage a bit easier.

    "The lanterns will let people know we've arrived with official business," Ryth tells Eliona. "They'll sense I'm carrying a royal letter and let Prince Eri know about it."

    Eliona nods. She glances up at the shining lanterns. The astral woman can hear the light fixtures humming as they happily perform their duties. She enjoys a small smile and hums along with them. Her humming is pitch perfect. Gradually, she notices her reflection in one of the tall windows that lines the sides of the chamber.

    Her reflection is not a flattering one. Ryth's is catastrophically worse. She turns to look over the old soldier. He notices the interest and looks down at his dirty, torn, and blood stained clothes.

    "You're definitely strangling the life out of the last vestiges of my reputation," Eliona dryly comments. "Having our princess see this horror show is embarrassing enough, but setting foot in the palace while looking like this is too awful to bear."

    With a wave of her bandaged hands Eliona covers herself and Ryth with violet mists. Ryth tries to step back and out of the mists, but it swiftly follows him. Moments later the mists fade away. Ryth and Eliona's clothes have been changed, and they have been cleaned from any traces of the battles and hardships they have had to face on the road to now. Ryth is now clothed in something vaguely resembling a military uniform, but with traits of a royal emissary crossbred into the style. Ryths outfit bears the faded colors of Taroc, but accented with the colors of the royal family. Eliona wears an elegant dress that is a mingling of the healers robes of the White Towers and the sheer, flowing gown of a master sorceress of Astral. Her dress is dark violet with highlights of gold. Eliona's bandaged hands are covered with arm-length gloves of dark purple silk.

    Ryth looks down at the change in clothes. He opens his collar and paws at the outfit, trying to force some comfort out of something he wouldn't have chosen for himself to wear.

    "I don't need your purple smoke playing dress up with me," Ryth gruffly complains. He begins storming his way down the carpet and towards the conference table.

    Eliona ignores the soldier's complaints and enjoys a brief twirl around. Her flowing gown swirls around her as she basks this moment. She's never been to the royal palace before. True, she's met the princess, but it was difficult to truly take in the importance of that meeting since so many people in the Heli'Dom were pointing guns at each other, performing unholy rituals, or on the verge of dying. Now Eliona has a quiet moment to fully realize the importance of what she has stepped into.

    Eliona follows after Ryth. Her agile steps quickly brings her to the man's side as he stands before the table and chairs. He's still muttering complaints about his new clothes. Eliona pays no attention to him, and instead marvels at the map on the table. It's beautiful. She can detect the hand of ancient Astralian artists in the making of this map. There's an exquisite melding of perfect details and creative flourishes in this image that the artists of other provinces could never truly master.

    "When the prince gets here, let me do all of the talking," Ryth tells Eliona. She looks up from the map and gives Ryth a raised eyebrow to challenge his idea of being the better people person here. "This is official business. I have experience with that. And I've met the prince before. I helped him and his guards set up his recent stay in the fortress. Taroc was a refuge to him in his time of need. Meanwhile Astral isn't so popular with people these days. Trust me, Eri loves the Taroc people, he'll be happy to see me."

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