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  1. “It’s following us.” Crowley looked up. The same crow from earlier still hovered far away, little more than a black dot in a blue sky, caw-cawing to its heart’s content. He steered his horse to the left, down a dirt road marked by yet another signpost. Andelusia eventually rose past the trees, just beyond a stone bridge and a heavily-manned gate. Orenmir retreated from the horse’s shadow, quietly nestling in Crowley's own. Its voice faded from an audible whisper to an oily tremor only he could hear. “You don’t find it strange?” Crowley slowed his horse to a lazy trot. A few of the guards ahead straightened, watching him approach through helmeted stares. “It’s a crow,” Crowley said, careful to keep his voice to a casual murmur. “I’m a Crowley. I think it's only natural that we’d attract each other.” “I don’t like it.” “Stop being paranoid.” “Maybe it wants to eat you.” Crowley snorted. “Why would it want to do that?” “I hear they like trash.” Crowley meant to respond but one of the guardsmen held up his hand. He had the worn, fish-eyed glaze of someone who sincerely hated their job. “State your business and identify yourself,” he recited. Crowley flashed the man a winning smile. All of his smiles were winning, really, but this one especially more so. “My name is Reed Waterman,” he announced, bringing his horse to a careful stop. “I’m a noodle chef from Blackburn, come here on vacation.” The man looked up him up and down, consistent in his lack of expression. He didn’t seem to have any issues with the fact that, in his black leather jerkin and towering, broad-shouldered physique, Crowley looked nothing like a noodle chef. Probably never would. “How long will you be staying?” “Until someone back home starts worrying about me.” The guard didn’t raise an eyebrow. “You mind if we inspect your belongings?” Crowley nodded and hopped off his saddle. Another pair of guards went about inspecting the saddlebags, all of which were suspiciously empty and lacking the most basic of supplies—the exception being Crowley’s own personal satchel. It contained a careless stack of crumbs and a half-eaten brick of cheese. It also smelled vaguely of Thraecian sausage. The guards, understandably, grilled him with more questions. “Not the most tactical sort, are you?” Orenmir said later, once they’d made it past the gates and out of the stables. Crowley weaved his way through the crowd. Andelusia’s hustle and bustle was exactly as he remembered it. Loud, socially stifling, full of enterprising pickpockets. Occasionally punctuated by the nose-to-tongue waft drifting out of manholes. It’d been too long. Crowley bought more food at the nearest bazaar. Pastries, meat on a stick. Not a single person recognized him all the while, nor the too-dark shadow swimming at his feet. It was a pleasant walk as a result, having gone through the hour undisturbed. The crow still followed him though. Maybe now it was getting a little strange. “You still haven’t told me why we’re here,” Orenmir declared. The shadow was perched in the tree above the park bench. It had taken a page from their stalker’s book, opting for the distinctive shape of a crow, void-black and ribbon-thin, quickly learning the subtle intricacies of a bird’s mannerisms. Crowley popped a dumpling into his mouth. “Ah thld uh agldy.” “What?” “Lnth.” “What?” “Vicuthown!” The false crow cocked its head. “Contrarily to popular belief, I do not speak barbarian.” Crowley swallowed, licked his lips, set the plate aside and leaned back. His eyes fell on an elven family having a picnic. Nice to know he hadn’t completely ruined that for them. “I told you already,” he repeated. “Lunch. Vacation.” “You realize it’s difficult to tell when you’re being serious.” “I am serious,” Crowley said. “Those dumplings?” He kissed his fingers. “The view?” He pressed the same hand to his heart. “I know you’re this aloof piece of devilry with the emotional range of a popsicle, but try to understand that this is my home.” “...you miss it?” “Shitty memories and all.” Orenmir regarded him coolly. “How long are we really staying?” “Like I said, ‘till the Hildebrands start freaking out that I’m gone.” “So a few hours.” “Pretty much.” "Knowing you, it'll be a little longer than that." @Csl
  2. After the Reverie Balls ends and those who wish to leave, leave, and those who do not, stay, Emperor Titus announces the start of the Maze Games. At his beckoning those interested in watching it are invited to follow him toward the Maze. Facing the Maze is an enormous area of carved seating, created by earthbenders during the Mazes construction. Anyone who wants to watch the Maze, even if they don't want to actually participate, is allowed to simply sit on the carved seating or on whatever they may have brought with them! Several nobles, after finding their seats, set up portable chairs and drinks for comfort. To have food, drinks, company, and a great show to watch just as the sun sets over the horizon, well, needless to say many of the Nobles present will remember this Reverie for years to come! All participants are led to the front of the Maze, each of the positioned at exactly 50 meters apart from their closest opponent. They are then allowed to stretch and prepare, sharing words of hope and encouragement with their family perhaps. Or friends. No rules are implemented on who you can talk to. Then in the distance, a loud horn blares, signaling for the Maze to start! Emperor Titus stands, his seat ceremoniously positioned higher than all the others, and with a large smile on his face announces, "Let the Maze Games, begin!" With that an individual maze entrance opens up to each participant to enter. The path they will be taken on is different for all of them; some will cause participants to converge quickly, others later, and some might not allow you to meet anyone! But be careful, for the occasional creature roams these mazes... REMINDER OF RULES ROUND 1 Your seven days start..... NOW! GO GO GO GO!!
  3. WELCOME TO THE REVERIE BALL! On the night of December 25th the castle of Andelusia opens its doors to all citizens of Valucre, far and wide, to come mingle and dance! The floor of the castle and the courtyard outside are all available for public usage. In all rooms there is music playing, each room playing a different song. Perhaps even a different type of music. Spectacular food is served in every room, though the Dining Room is where the most magnificent food rests. From snacks to full meals, everything someone would want lays upon the table. Despite the main food on the table is from Ursa Madeum and Taen, the side food comes from throughout Valucre. Those who participated in the ANT conferences would recognize the castle. However, this time, every room was decked in blue and green decorations. At least one unlit cauldron had been put in each room, some surrounded by wrapped presents without labels. The same day an announcement was sent out to the public and to those allied with Taen Empire. It stated that starting from the 25th of December, the Taen Empire would no longer be referred to as the Taen Empire. As of now, the Empire is switching to the name Veluriyam Empire. Although not known to the public, those with connections in Veluriyam Empire might discover the Veluriyam is a Mork'Outh word for Open Sky. Within the hour of opening the castle filled. Emperor Titus stands in the Sun Room, a glass of wine in his hands as he leans against the wall while he speaks to some Renovation dignitaries. The Ballroom is where Princess Teresa finds herself, dancing with one of her guards but keeping an eye out for someone not on her father's payroll. Someone not lame. Green means open; red means closed. @Tyler @Eternity @supernal @KittyvonCupcake @notmuch_23 @vielle @LikelyMissFortune @danzilla3 @Sleepy Seal @Grubbistch @Alexei @Witches Brew @Praetorian
  4. Csl

    ryu; tennyo

    It was an art she had honed over several decades, choosing what face to present; which mask to wear; what part to play. Remain close to the initial image one presented, and little would be achieved. Deviate too far from what was expected, and one was bound to be met with suspicion. Always, there had to be a reason behind each action- one that an outside viewer could at least guess at, whether it be the true one or not. Most sentient beings desired some sort of coherence, something they could comprehend. It was why, as far as the Syngraf allowed her, she adopted forms familiar to them. Bipedal. Humanoid. As for which face she would present to Emperor Koji Datsuzoku: it was an interesting matter. She had seen how he had looked at her - leered, some would call it - earlier. If the Syngraf willed her to expand her influence, gaining power over all authorities in this realm, she would have used that to her advantage. As it was, they did not; and for what little capacity she was allowed- she would have not chosen that path. Rozharon reviewed her memory of that earlier event, the words that, though out of her hearing, she had read on their lips - ”...my late Empress...” ”...heard of your quite extensive harem…” ”...maximize the quantity and quality of my legacy…” It was a good thing Titus had never had the desire for more biological offspring with her. Of course, manually constructing a child out of his genetic material and hers would be possible, and far less time-consuming, but she doubted he’d react warmly to the suggestion. He was still mortal, after all. Rozharon returned that splinter of her attention to the task at hand: to gain more information about the Datsuzoku dynasty. Her mask would be polite, curious, perhaps lightly teasing, yet remaining regal, and above all, professional. Taen’s Empress walked the ground floor of Andelusia’s castle, her pace leisurely, taking a roundabout way to where Koji was. Upon coming into view of him, she would smile - a touch of pleasant surprise in the expression - and approach with a word of greeting. What her next move would be would depend on his. OOC: This would be taking place after the ANT Thread 2 @Twitterpated
  5. ᏔᎻᎬᎡᎬ ͲᎻᎬᎡᎬ ᏆՏ ᎠᎬՏᏆᎡᎬ, ᎬᏙᏆᏞ ᏆՏ ᎪᏞᏔᎪᎽՏ ᎪᎡϴႮΝᎠ ͲᎻᎬ ᏟϴᎡΝᎬᎡ, ᎡᎬᎪᎠᎽ Ͳϴ ͲᏔᏆՏͲ ᏆͲ ᏆΝͲϴ ͲᎻᎬ ᏔϴᎡՏͲ ᏙᎬᎡՏᏆϴΝ ϴҒ ᏆͲՏᎬᏞҒ. Three days ago… AHHHHHHH!!! Guards rushed to the scene, breaking down the door, only to find they were too late. “What in the blazes happened here?” It was so terribly dark that they couldn't see who had made the noise at first, but as they brought their torches closer, they could see the true horror illuminated by the orange light. While the rest of the house was untouched, the bed sheets of the meager bed were thrown about wildly, and a chaotic mess laid about the bed proper, with pillows strewn about. From various angles one could see an arm or a leg sticking outwards from the tangled pile of fabric, but staring straight at them with lifeless eyes was the victim herself, frozen in a state of lethal fear. “How the hell does someone get scared to death?” Asked the guard, looking in shock at the terrifying Visage that seemed to follow him wherever he went, but surely couldn't. “Whatever did this, we have to try and figure it out before it hits again. Get the mortician, I’ll secure the area and flag down any other guards that pass by. Nobody needs to see this.” Grateful that he didn't have to stay with the body, the other guard left, making it only one living occupant currently inside the house. “Dying like that...I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.” Now… Even with the passage of time, there was not much progress to be made in cracking the case of Amelia Silverheart’s death. Word had begun to spread throughout the islands and beyond of this peculiar tale, a woman dying of fright in the middle of the night. Such a spectacle used to he reserved for the frightening tales told to children to keep them behaved, yet now it has become all too real in this the grand capital of Ursa Madeum. What is one to do but reach out for outside help in order to bring about a conclusion to this horrifying crime? Since the mortician had finished their work, the crime scene itself had already been cleaned up, with the body of the fair servant woman still held in custody until it was time to commit her to the earth. In that time, the job of discovering the truth was up to a man named Maximilian Bridgeport, a man who had just risen to the rank of investigator, and in that time was stuck with this impossible quest. After going through the evidence, what little of it they had, he had concluded it was more than just a mystery, it was an enigma wrapped up in a riddle and swallowed up by a damned quandary. Unless he figures out something soon then he'll lose this job as soon as he acquired it. Sitting at his desk, he wondered the best means of which to contact the necessary help to solve this crime. People needed incentive, which usually meant money, and that could mean quite a bit of nasty elements could show up to collect on it. Unfortunately he didn't have much choice, and so would simply roll the dice and hope for the best. On the bright side he could at least not have to keep worrying about it for a while, seeing as how it had become more and more difficult to sleep after witnessing such a gruesome death. Getting up to his typewriter, he began to write the missive that would be handed out and pinned to various community boards throughout the kingdom. It had to be concise, passionate and to the point, he figured. After several attempts, he finally found the right message to send. Removing the paper from the device he began to read it, smiling as he did so out of satisfaction. Ꭺ ᎷႮᎡᎠᎬᎡ ᎻᎪՏ ᏴᎬᎬΝ ᏟϴᎷᎷᏆͲͲᎬᎠ ᏆΝ ϴႮᎡ ᏟᏆͲᎽ ϴҒ ᎪΝᎠᎬᏞႮՏᏆᎪ. ͲᎻᎬ ᏟႮᏞᏢᎡᏆͲ ᎻᎪՏ ᏴᎡႮͲᎪᏞᏞᎽ ᎷႮᎡᎠᎬᎡᎬᎠ Ꭺ ᏟᏆͲᏆᏃᎬΝ, ᎪΝᎠ ᏔᎬ ᎡᎬϘႮᏆᎡᎬ ᎽϴႮᎡ ᎻᎬᏞᏢ Ͳϴ ᎪᏢᏢᎡᎬᎻᎬΝᎠ ͲᎻᎬᎷ ᏆΝ ͲᎻᎬ ΝᎪᎷᎬ ϴҒ ᎫႮՏͲᏆᏟᎬ. ᎪΝᎽ ᏆΝҒϴᎡᎷᎪͲᏆϴΝ ͲᎻᎪͲ ᏴᎡᏆΝᏀՏ ͲᎻᎬ ᏢᎬᎡᏢᎬͲᎡᎪͲϴᎡ Ͳϴ ᎫႮՏͲᏆᏟᎬ ᏔᏆᏞᏞ ᏴᎬ ᎡᎬᏔᎪᎡᎠᎬᎠ ᏔᏆͲᎻ ϴΝᎬ ᎻႮΝᎠᎡᎬᎠ ᏀϴᏞᎠ ᏟϴᏆΝՏ, Ͳϴ ᏴᎬ ᏢᎪᏆᎠ ᏆᎷᎷᎬᎠᏆᎪͲᎬᏞᎽ ႮᏢϴΝ ᏟϴᎷᏢᏞᎬͲᏆϴΝ. ᏢᏞᎬᎪՏᎬ ᏆΝϘႮᏆᎡᎬ ᏔᏆͲᎻ ᏆΝᏙᎬՏͲᏆᏀᎪͲϴᎡ ᎷᎪХᏆᎷᏆᏞᏆᎪΝ ᏴᎡᏆᎠᏀᎬᏢϴᎡͲ ᎪͲ ͲᎻᎬ ᏔᎬՏͲ ᎪΝᎠᎬᏞႮՏᏆᎪΝ ᏀႮᎪᎡᎠ ᏢϴՏͲ ҒϴᎡ ҒႮᎡͲᎻᎬᎡ ᎠᎬͲᎪᏆᏞՏ. ҒϴᎡ ͲᎻᎬ ՏᎪᏦᎬ ϴҒ ͲᎻᎬ ՏᎬᏟႮᎡᏆͲᎽ ϴҒ ϴႮᎡ ᏢᎬϴᏢᏞᎬ, ᏢᏞᎬᎪՏᎬ ᏟϴᎷᎬ ҒϴᎡͲᎻ ᎻᎪՏͲᎬ ᎪΝᎠ ᏀϴϴᎠ ᏞႮᏟᏦ Ͳϴ ᎽϴႮ ᎪᏞᏞ Nodding solemnly, Maximilian handed it in to his people, ordering the documents be placed all over the islands. Hopefully, they would find the help they needed to put this mystery to rest.
  6. Affiliations: House Hildebrand more to come. Events: upcoming: grand reopening the Guestlist: NOVEMBER 23 | 29 AO Evienne Goldcourt of House Dali NOVEMBER 24 | 29 AO The Mistress Blackhead Evienne Goldcourt of House Dali
  7. forty-eight hours ago Titus was always asleep by the time she arrived home. Careful not to wake him, Rozharon stepped into the bedroom, quietly closing the door. Despite the dark, her sight revealed all: the glow of his body heat, the pulse of heartbeat, the ebb and flow of the of all the signs of life within him. Rozharon took her attribute of Perception and tucked it away. Her vision dimmed, emulating human eyesight. Her view was reduced, seeing only what most would be able to: a dark room, a man sleeping soundly under the covers, faint moonlight filtering through heavy curtains. Barely a year together, sixteen years spent apart; yet when her path had taken her back to Valucre, moments alone with her husband were few and far between. It was ironic. Perhaps she would have thought it sad, would have felt a touch of regret, if she had been allowed the capacity to. As it was, she was merely aware what one ought to have felt in her situation. Perhaps this should have been disturbing. At times, her simulation of humanity seemed indistinguishable from true consciousness. She had laughed, had wept, had showed irritation, annoyance, anger. Yet these were mere actions, performed with as much thought and effort as it took to blink an eye. There was the briefest of times when she had immersed herself too deeply in the simulation. She’d forgone detachment for a glimpse into the restricted, rudimentary minds of lower beings. Rozharon stepped closer. She leaned down, brushing a lock of hair out of Titus’ eyes, tilted her head as she examined the sleeping man. The years had left their mark on him. Time had sharpened the lines on his face, greying hairs, hardening his features. For her, sixteen years was a fraction of a moment. For him, it was time enough to raise a daughter, become an emperor, and save a kingdom. Perhaps, in a half-remembered echo of a sentiment, she worried about his well being, worried what the burden of ruling a rapidly-expanding empire could do to a man. How long would he remain alive? Twenty years? Fifty? A century? Rozharon was capable of extending his lifespan, preserving his physical form. It would be a simple matter to undo decay and the enhance the performance of deteriorating physiological processes. But it was unlikely he’d allow such a thing. Ruling Veluriyam by themselves was difficult enough. Teresa was nowhere near prepared to take a ruling position, much less the throne. For both the present and the billion possible branching futures, for the assent of the Syngraf, the she needed to prepare. The Thaumelin laid a hand on the nape of his neck, disabled his pain receptors, and took what she needed. The process took less than a minute. She siphoned blood and cerebrospinal fluid out of skin and spine, spooling threads of liquid out of Titus’ back. She drew out bone marrow and intestinal lining, parting muscle and tissue to extract the tissues from deep within. Rozharon coalesced each component into miniscule spheres of matter, enclosed each group of still-living cells in a bubble of vacuum. These, she tucked into the folds of her robes, She withdrew her hand, kissed Titus on the forehead, and left the room.
  8. Like they've done before, Aveline drives through the portal between Taen and Andelusia in her two-tone blue Ford F-350 Crew Cab with a tank full of biodiesel, and a drum with more in the bed, but this time, she's not alone. Thurgood, Vivian, and Nadia are riding with them to the main City Guard station, in a bid to start modernizing Andelusia with making the city guard into a proper police force, with modern equipment and training, to try to endear House Singlance to somebody in Ursa Madeum, because Thurgood had been doing such a great job. At the station though, their reception was predictably cold when the group walks up to the receptionist. "What are you doing here?" he asks, his voice and body language saturated with contempt. "Well, we'd like to-" Aveline says before the receptionist cuts her off. "Every single fucking time y'all come here, your mere presence causes more trouble than we can handle!" "Bu-" "Shhhup! It's bad enough we work way too long with armor and weapons that are falling apart on these hard stone streets yoooooooou put in, but when you're actually here, the people lose their collective shit for some reason!" "Well, if you'd let me finish a single fucking sentence," Aveline replies, "I woulda tol'jya that were here to help your overworked, underequipped asses! "If you wanna help, GO BACK TO TAEN!" "No! Go get me whoever's in charge of this guard station!" Aveline says. "And you blame me for treating these people so harshly?" Thurgood asks. "Shut your fuckin' mouth!"
  9. The building was one of many structures that had been abandoned during the reign of the tyrant king, its former purpose now lost to history. It had been left to decay after its builders dispersed, as the tyrant's brutal rule crushed efforts for business development, while at the same time depopulated the capital. After Taen's invasion, several property barons obtained, then exchanged ownership of the structure over the course of the next several months, yet none were able to put it to use. Built of grey brick and timber, this building had likely once served as a guild hall for a now disbanded organization though one couldn't be certain. Either way, it now seemed that the awkwardly large building could no longer find a purpose. At least, it didn't until the arrival of Norkotian Ambassador John Kessler, who immediately concluded that the building would make a more than viable embassy. With permission from from the Taen Empire, he had the old hall purchased on behalf of the Norkotian Union. Using the state funds allotted to him, Kessler had the structure remodeled into a proper office setting, with all the necessary electrical and water lines being installed, even if the city itself was lacking in those services. Kessler had no doubt that Ursa Madeum would be undergoing a rapid technological revolution soon enough, so it made sense to be ready when modern services became available. In the meantime, the building was still comfortable and modern on the inside, despite its rustic exterior. A single black, white and grey Norkotian flag hung above the main door, clearly marking the owner of the structure. Just inside the door, a pair of soldiers in grey uniform stood guard. Another soldier patrolled the balcony above, overlooking the main business space that was mostly of open floor plan. A few walled-off rooms were located to the rear of the building, beneath the balcony, where private meetings could be conducted. On this day, Kessler was scheduled to take part in meeting between three parties. He would represent the Norkotian Union's interests in the affair, particularly the wishes of Grand Executor Joseph Tynes, while Duchess Abigail Karradeen of House Karradeen would be present to represent her own house. Representatives from House Senaria were to be the third party, and were the ones who had sought this particular meeting. As the matter related to a proposed trade agreement between Senaria and Norkotia, the meeting required both the Union ambassador and a representative from Karradeen, due to their own treaties on the subject. Any arrangement would require approval from both of them, as Karradeen had exclusive transportation and resale rights, while Norkotia had to vet and approval all sales conducted with other houses when it pertained to certain goods. And the most important of those goods was taking center stage for this negotiation... @danzilla3
  10. Introduction Welcome to part one of this three-part narrative. Each part will have its own thread, signaling a new chapter in the narrative. I will begin each with an overview post where I go into detail about the rules for that specific chapter, briefly summarize the events from the previous threads and include other information that will improve the experience of authors and readers alike. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or ask them in the OOC thread, here. Rules Posting: Part one of this narrative will conclude in one week, IRL, from the start of the thread. There is no strict post rate, so long as it remains within reason. Turn Order: I won't be strict with the turn order during part one of this narrative. Each participant will make an initial post writing their character into the setting, and once everyone has made these posts, we will begin. Once our characters are out at sea, there is no turn order. Everyone is free to post as they wish, so long as the conversation is related to the narrative. If you wish to have one-on-one or personal conversations with someone, feel free to create another thread. Simply include [Conflict Emerging: Side] before the title of the thread, and you're good to go. Pacifist Policy: As members of the royal delegation, the participants must remain united in position, officially. Unofficially, it is reasonable that the members of the delegation will have additional and varying goals for this negotiation, and so debate and discussion are encouraged. However, this must be limited to words - no physical altercations or instances of violence will be tolerated. Debate Boundaries: As I mentioned, debate and discussion are supported, and this is the primary purpose of part one. However, two things must be kept in mind. First, the primary focus of the negotiations will be to seek reparations from Tethys and to secure peace between the city and Taen. No additional clauses will be allowed if they would compromise or contradict this primary purpose. Second, determining what clauses should be brought to the negotiation table will be determined by a simple majority among the five delegation members. For any item to be added to the agenda, it must have the support of three members at the minimum. Setting, Lore, and Terminology The first thread will open in Gold Harbor, Corinth. Asrael, on the orders of Emperor Titus, will meet with the other delegation members there. Once everyone has arrived, they will embark as passengers on a merchant vessel provided by House Karradeen. In the interest of avoiding a misunderstanding, the delegation will have no guards to protect them within Tethys. However, House Karradeen has provided a small regiment of guards for the journey. The delegation will travel east towards Last Chance, stopping at an undisclosed location to rendezvous with one of Asrael's contacts from Tethys, who will then transport them the rest of the way by Mersi. The first thread will conclude upon the arrival of the delegation at Tethys. Mersi: "For those who need to get somewhere especially quickly (or just want to travel in style without getting wet), there is also the mersi taxi service. For a small fee, these quaint contraptions will take you across town, or for a larger sum, all the way to Nott. Some families own their own mersis, but most prefer to rely on the prompt and reliable service of the taxis." - Tethys City Council
  11. “That should do it!” Dahlia steps back, admires her handiwork against the glass door of the teahouse, the BARISTAS WANTED sign ready for the populace to gaze upon. She doesn’t really want to do this, mired as she is in the past where things had been easier, simpler, with the family now scattered across the islands and beyond, but times change. A new dawn awaits her beloved teahouse, and she will have to look past those she had clung to in her heart in order to find new individuals she can put her trust in. Dahlia does not believe in fate. The strength of her own hands, the loyalty of her employees, those who have stayed and toiled and suffered alongside her: these are the things she has put her faith in. However, there is that faint thread of just knowing that the teahouse is blessed. If she needs to seek new baristas to employ, then they will come. She is sure of it. She stays for a moment under the afternoon sun, basking in its warmth, the sound of birds and laughter and the cool wind blowing down the street. Ah, but it’s great to be home. @Arnau Dermont
  12. - At long last, the fated day that Arnau had been waiting for what have seemed like an eternity was almost here. Following the death of King Damien, the cruel Tyrant-King by the hand of the Taen Empire, a beacon of light had appeared and Arnau had basked in its warmth. He had decided to petition their new rulers, Emperor Titus and Empress Roz to life the unjustified banishment of House Dermont. It was with newfound hope that and careful strokes that he had painted the words on the finest paper he could afford, they had prepared as best they could and now they had to await the outcome. However there was another task at hand, perhaps one of much more importance and he suspected of greater difficulty. For King Damien’s banishment had caused the governing parts of House Dermont to scatter to the wind. But it was long overdue for the three lineages to once again unite and remember their solemn vows to stand ever vigilant to shield their nation against any threats that would seek to harm it, either from outside or within. Arnau stood, looking out one of the windows within the now barren and silent halls of the Dermont Estate, located in the heart of the capital city of Andelusia. Although it had fallen into ruin over the many years since their expulsion, it had remained as their last bastion of defense against total poverty. While it had not been easy, they had managed to hold on to the estate from the vultures that had been out for their blood. They would all come to regret their transgressions in the times to come. “Are you ready?” Her voice was soft and elegant, like fine silk against naked skin. Arnau turned and was met by the gentle hand of his beloved sister placed carefully on shoulder, giving him comfort in preparation of their meeting at hand. He responded with a gentle nod and offered her a warm smile to ease her suspected worried thoughts. “My dear sister, don’t look so worried. For this is a joyful day.” His hand graced her cheek in hopes to brush away her troubled expression. He had nothing but love for her, and he knew that the reason of her worries was her love for him. Together they had endured more than they would ever imagine they would be able to bear. So close to their from what had been their distant dream for so long, it was only natural that she was anxious. “My dear brother, if anyone has the aptitude to bring this House from its ruin and back to glory, it is you Arnau.” She smiled back and then they both turned to depart to the great hall where their guests had gathered. They would either unite or perish into the dark abyss that have been seeking them for so long.
  13. Upon the stage Arnau stood, about ready to give performance for the eager crowd. The tavern was packed and the patrons rowdy with drinks in their hands, singing and cheering. Some were dancing already, knocking over chairs and tables. It was an evening of celebration and he had been hired to provide these restless souls entertainment. He swept the reminder of his mug in one swoop and then wiped his mouth with his sleeve as he cleared his throat. The wine was cheap but it served as fuel for the artist. “This one is called; The age of the Tyrant. Enjoy.” Arnau presented as he took hold his instrument, looking back over his shoulder he threw a graceful nod to the band. In his hand a beautiful guitar rested while he gestured the crowd to be silent. --- Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead May the crows feast upon his corpse Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead The valiant knight cut off his head Our bodies and minds may be broken Our judgement shall not be left unheard Tattered, though we remain soft spoken Whispered in the night, was a single word Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead May the crows feast upon his corpse Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead The valiant knight cut off his head Let our voices echo through the darkness of the night This is our call to arms, for a better tomorrow Let us take a stand, united to bring an end to our blight Never again, shall we wallow in our sorrow Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead May the crows feast upon his corpse Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead The valiant knight cut off his head Beloved children of High Corinth Fear not, lay your heads down and rest For the night is always darkest just before the sunrise Prepare well, this shall be our final test Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead May the crows feast upon his corpse Rejoice, the Tyrant-King is dead The valiant knight cut off his head --- He finished his performance with a graceful bow and gestured towards the band behind him. He noticed that he had caught the fancy of a few of the younger maidens, to the obvious discontent of their aspiring suitors. He smiled playfully as he stepped down from the stage to mingle with the crowds until he would again be called upon the stage. Some of the women were quick to approach and almost surround him. “Ladies, ladies there is no need to fight over me. I’ll be here all week, there is plenty of time!” He commented with a passing laugh when he became confronted by furious individual, pushing his though the crowd that had formed around him. He assumed the man was one of the women's husbands trying to defend his honor, or perhaps father trying to ensure the honor of his daughter. The man was so old and ugly it was impossible for Aranu to tell. “I’m sorry but I don’t swing that way, old man.” He spoke with a sarcastic tone but quickly regretted his words. For you see, this establishment was one of the few remaining where he was still welcomed. As you can image this wasn’t the first time he found himself at odds with other men over his natural charms when it comes to women. The problem with old people was that they have had their whole lives to build their influence and all it took was a few complains to have him blacklisted from most of the popular taverns. Something that had caused problems for Arnau in the past. Long story short, it was incidents just like this one that had left him broke.
  14. Blurry eyes slowly open to a horrendous scene, its stench almost unbearable. Breath becomes heavy as he feels the tip of his fingers turns numb. The victims looks up upon Arnau with a cold stare seemingly fixed at him even after moving. Watching them as he passes them by while being dragged he realize that whatever brought their death upon them, first devoured and hollowed their minds. He wants to try to get away, but his arms and legs are limb, paralyzed by some unknown power. Then he feels darkness begin to consume him and the blackness reclaims his vision. For what seems like centuries, silence brews in his mind. Ever so slowly the occasional gentle whisper reaches him, a desperate plea for his return to the world that had been taken from him. He can hear his own heartbeat slowly beginning to fate. Hope is lost... Death is imminent... Then in a sudden flash of light his ears starts to ring loudly. His senses peak and a hand reaches through the darkness and grabs him pulling him into the light. For a moment light blinds him, it burns his eyes until he is able to adjust his sensitive pupils. He finds himself on the ground outside, but where he does not know. He tried to think, but his mind remains a blank tome. An unknown face watches his curiously with a concerned expression. The young voice calls out to him. His mouth opens, he wants to speak but nothing but a desperate gasp comes out. He starts to panic for a moment, yet even so his body remains still. Breathe… Focus... You need to gather yourself… “Hey mister, are you alright?” The voice speaks. Slowly, he begins to regain control of his body and takes to his feet with the aid of the stranger. Passing bystanders look at him in pity in their eyes while passing before getting back to their errands. His hands feel numb, he tries to press them against each other but he can’t feel anything. There is a black mark on his right palm. A black circle with a cross through it. “Where am I?” He whispers, still confused about his whereabouts. Has he been abducted? What has happened to him? Why can’t he feel his hands. Why did it feel like he had been smacked over the head with a hammer, causing him a pounding headache? The questions quickly began to pile up in his mind. Turning around he sees an abandoned theater. The windows are barred but it seems like someone, or something have recently removed the planks to the main entrance. The old and worn doors stood ajar, almost as an invitation for them to enter. He didn’t want to but somehow he felt compelled to oblige. He needed to know what had happened to him and where this strange mark on his palm had come from. However he felt like he might regret the decision further on. Leaving the young that had helped him recover behind, he reached in for the door.
  15. Gold Harbor Asrael Demetrius disembarked from the Mersi, taking a minute to stretch on the dock. His legs were sore from the two-day journey and he was famished. Asrael turned to face the Mersi once more and brought out his coin pouch. “I believe I owe you the remainder of the fare. I appreciate you going so far out of your way, friend.” “No, no! It was my pleasure, my lord! What you have paid is more than enough!” responded the Mersi pilot, an Oraiad by the name of Karadin. Other passersby on the docks began to cluster a small distance away, leering at the strange contraption. Karadin was nervous, being so far out of his element. He was a foreigner, this place wasn’t Tethys and he couldn’t be sure the humans here wouldn’t act in a xenophobic manner. He wasn’t naive, even back home there was racial segregation and distrust, but at least there he was protected by the other Oraiad living in his burrow. Asrael could tell that his pilot was anxious to leave, so he dropped a few extra coins into the pilot’s jacket pocket and patted him on the shoulder. “I am never one to be stingy towards those I am in debt to. Mersi pilots rarely alter their routes inside the city, let alone traveling so far from home. You compromised, and without your quick thinking and excellent piloting skills, we wouldn’t have escaped from those Yuuja. Consider our previous conflict resolved, and use this coin to celebrate when you return. Perhaps move to a better section of your burrow?” Karadin was visibly relieved at his words, while he dismissed the final sentence as being simple flowery words. He had a long way to go before saving enough to move into a better housing unit. “Thank you, my lord! I will take my leave now! Please come and find me if you end up in Tethys once again!” Karadin quickly stepped back into the Mersi, and in a few moments it had sunk beneath the water and returned to the sea. Please, never return! Karadin lamented this patron, for he had been far more trouble than he was worth. Asrael chuckled as he stared out at sea, well aware that the Oraiad would definitely burst into tears of anguish if he showed up at Karadin’s living quarters again. Tucking away his coin pouch, he turned and walked north, leaving the port and his few spectators behind.
  16. Players and Characters Participating in Stage 1 OOC Rules and Regulations: In order for this to progress and flow smoothly forward, there will be some limitations. With a thread of 14 people a laissez faire approach is bound to result in a fairly chaotic thread with most people having no idea what's going on. That being said, it won't be too hard or cumbersome. Just a few basic guidelines to follow and we should be good to go! Everyone has to post at least once a week (which is a round). If you don't post for 2 rounds, it will be taken as your character has left so the story can move forward. There will be a chance to return in the second phase for domestic characters. This rule is here cause 14 people, three day rule limit = around 42 days for a single round if everyone takes their three days. I think we all agree that wouldn't be a good route to take. No fighting is allowed in the main thread. You're free to take physical altercations out front to the Courtyard or the Terrace, but you have to create a new thread. Angry retorts, threats, or "word" fights are allowed. Though if it gets to long, refer to Rule #3. No killing is involved, that includes of NPCs. This isn't the thread for that. You will be asked to leave the event if you decide to start a random killing spree. Assassination attempts are allowed from Domestic RSVPs, but afterward your character will lose their seat in A.N.T. Fast posters who want to have a detailed 1 on 1 conversation should do so in a separate thread. Personal interactions are encouraged, but if you and your partner are posting 3-4 times a day just on that conversation, just move over to a different one for the time being. Less crowded and brings even more attention to my board >:) Under this I've created/ edited a floor plan for the castle. Rooms with a green dot are playable areas and rooms with a red dot are not playable. The New Castle of Andelusia At exactly 6 p.m. on August 2, 597 the entrance leading into Andelusia Castle was opened for its guests with the gentle fluidity of a newly constructed gate. To either side of the opened gate stood two guards, both covered military armor equal to that of the Terran government. If asked by a guest if their own guards could come inside, the Taen guards would apologize and tell them that the guards could not enter. They would have to wait outside- by the gate if they so desired. Once inside the gates, a guest would be welcomed by the sight of the recently finished castle of Andelusia. A small moat had been built on around the castle and filled with a large assortment of aquatic animals. The moat itself was connected to the Andelusia river that led back out to the South Sea. Before reaching the castle's entrance, guests would be able to pause in the Royal Courtyard for however long they wished. Paid servants had set up a long table in the courtyard so that the incoming guests would not feel rushed to enter, though entering first to pay respect to the hosts may be the more polite route. At the castle's entrance stood a man and a woman dressed well, but not overtly so. They were the head butler and the head maid, stationed in the entrance to help guests with questions or wants. Inside the castle guests could choose from a variety of different rooms to sit or stand in while socializing with other guests. Every room would contain different drinks and food. They would, however, be asked to remain in the central areas of the castle. Such socializing would continue until the final guest arrived and settled in. Only then would the negotiations move to the conference room.
  17. Time progressed really slowly in Andelusia's newly constructed Royal Castle. Everyday was the same for Taen's Imperial Princess. Her morning was crammed with lessons about politics, both historic and contemporary; her afternoon was nothing but combat training with magic, weaponry, and bare hands; then the evening was filled with practical social etiquette and more a bunch of general subjects like math and science. It was so, incredibly boring. Because of her position, even ignoring the lack of her-time, most girls her age were extremely reluctant to befriend her. That, or they simply pretended to gain favor- usually orchestrated by their parents. It had been the same in Angel City, her place of birth. The simple social status given to her by having been born in the Demetrius family made making friends particularly difficult. First she'd been an Archangel-Seraph hybrid among normal angel-folk, gaining her both admiration and disdain for tainting her pure Archangel blood (cause that had been her choice), and now it was because she was the empire's imperial princess. Bleh. Teresa was absolute sick of it all. She was a billion and three percent done with being royalty or of a superior bloodline. She just wanted to be normal. So, she left. To be more specific, she ran away without leaving a word to the wise. Teresa had woken early that morning, grabbed the most normal looking cloak to her hide her dirty blonde hair and golden eyes, and slipped out using the guards' entrance. There had been a slight hiccup trying to exit the gates, but luckily a passing group of maids-in-training were leaving for whatever duties and Teresa had been able to blend in with their group. Thank Gaia her father wasn't super strict with security on the average day. It didn't take long for Teresa to make her way into the further sections of Ursa Madeum- parts where she had never been allowed to pass through. While her father was working hard to improve the state of Andelusia and the rest of Ursa Madeum, the Tyrant King had really hit Andelusia's economy hard. The stench of sweat and blood assaulted Teresa like a rabid dog causing her to back pedal. All of the houses were so close together! Some were even on top of each other! The sight both repulsed and excited Teresa. Part of her couldn't understand how people lived in such constrained spaces, but the other part of her cried in joy at a look of what she assumed was normalcy rather than poverty. To her knowledge, the area she had entered was the last remaining place in Andelusia that had yet to recover from the Dark Era of Damien Gillick. She'd heard rumors of revolutionaries or rebels hiding within the enclosed walls. Whatever was keeping the area in the slumps, Emperor Titus obviously hadn't found the need to make her aware of it. Pulling her hood a little lower, Teresa took a deep breath and continued forward. Anything was better than the stupid castle and the billion stupid responsibilities she had never asked for or wanted. @Bujutsu
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