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Photo by Dardan on Unsplash As funerals for royalty went, it would be a simple affair. The setting: a vine-draped castle north of Lunaris, one built in the same place Titus had slumbered for over a year, enclosed in the magic of Taen. Symbolic. The ceremony: held in one of the castle wings, an open hall lined with ivy-twined stone pillars that led out into a vast garden. The coffin was set where the stretch of marble columns ended, framed against the lush, wild greenery outside. Pale sunlight filtered through the spaces between the pillars, onto rows of pews for the guests. Afterwards: within the castle wing, opposite the outdoor hall, a room was set aside with food and drink for the guests: a place for the guests to linger, should they wish. Some - many, perhaps - would weep at the news. The Emperor of Taen, now Veluriyam, was a figure of legend. The image of him the citizens of Taen held in their minds was one of a just, righteous king. Perhaps the same could be said of the commoners in Ursa Madeum, so far removed they were from the squabblings of the nobility. Rozharon stood before the coffin (wood that gleamed like copper, intricately carved, left open), wreathed in black, hands clasped behind her back. People flowed inside the hall, coming down the stairs up in twos and threes, settling on the pews. Her back to them, she read their lips. She read the creases on their faces, the glint of tears, the redness of eyes. Titus had been respected (loved) by those he’d worked with, generals and governors, mages and doctors, friends and allies near and far. Perhaps many would weep. Rozharon would not. It wouldn't be too unexpected, considering the persona she'd woven. Those who had come to know her in the short time she'd walked this realm would expect nothing less. A solemness in her speech. A heaviness in her gestures. A dullness in her gaze. These subtle signs would be enough to suggest grief, and the world would be none the wiser. Her sons knew better, though. Pallas and Lenore mingled with the guests, exchanging greetings and accepting condolences. Rozharon knew she disturbed them sometimes, when the mask slipped and they caught glimpses of the way she regarded the world. Somehow, this bothered her. It would've been easy to mend the cracks, present them a perfect image of a loving mother: one that mourned and laughed and hated. That this image would be a lie didn't matter to her. But it would matter to them. Something to address later. When it was time, she left the coffin, exchanged greetings with those in vicinity, and sat at the front row. Her twins joined her on either side. A Gaian priest officiated the ceremony, one who’d been among the first wave of Terrans who had left their land found a home in Taen. He’d been there when the hydra attacked Lunaris. Had watched Titus strike down the beast. Had pledged his loyalty to an emperor seen and heard, one who fought for his people instead of sitting idly while monsters and men burned town and village alike. The priest was an appropriate choice, considering the melting pot of cultures that was their empire. Most of Taen's citizens were Gaianists. Her knowledge of funeral rites from Angel City, Titus' birthplace, was limited (he had been banished, after all), and Rozharon had no culture of her own to speak of. Rozharon settled back as the priest began speaking: of honoring life, not mourning of death. Of how death was an inevitability that claimed all. Of how all stories would end, eventually, but that what held meaning was the life lived beforehand. Snippets from Gaian scripture. A summary of the late Emperor’s life. The Empress kept only a fraction of her attention on the speech. Teresa was still missing. She busied herself reviewing the areas she’d covered, the wind currents at the time of her disappearance, ocean currents, the worldrift portals, possible places her daughter may have gone. Useless. The answer eluded her. Rozharon returned her awareness to the present. Ah. Time for eulogies. The Empress sat back to listen. @vielle @Thotification @notmuch_23 @danzilla3 @Twitterpated @Fierach @Aleksei @Tyler @Deus Ex Aizen @Roen @jaistlyn
Aveline got back from that whole noble house bullshit she left early just a couple days ago, and since then she's been putting the finishing touches on Lithist O'Malley's new treehouse, connected by a rope suspension bridge to the Mil Dot Lunaris. In all the activity in Ursa Madeum, she never really had the time to stop and take a good look at Lunaris. The latest rough population count put the place at around two million. Two million! When she got here, there was no more than a few hundred here after the hydra attack, and soon after, their house was only a 350-square-foot box in a tree. Now Lunaris is a proper city, and the Mil Dot is still the only place around with mechanical refrigeration for both perishables in the kitchen, and the rest of the building, and in the high heat and humidity of the jungle, it is nice. The thing that most surprises Aveline is that even though the city has exploded in size, the only buildings close are the Mil Dot/her house the Morrisons' house, and Lithist's new treehouse. All of Lunaris' residental and commercial expansion happened east, and even the agricultural lands around this little cluster form a wiiiiiide crescent around, as if nobody else wants to settle anywhere close to the Singlances, or actively want to isolate them. But there's a problem... ...electrical demand is getting dangerously close to generation capacity. With a growing population comes growing patronage, which requires the air conditioner to run much longer, and it was already their biggest consumer if electricity. They could set up more solar panels, but at this rate, they'll need to put a panel roof over Lunaris to meet their near-future electrical needs. They'll need something bigger. @SteamWarden
LORD RULER SUZERAIN "LORD SUZY" EMPEROR OF ALL (REAL NAME UNKNOWN) "Oh my, how wonderful!" The old man looked back to the giggling white-haired woman beside her. The ride to Taen had been rather uneventful and the old man was thankful for it. It was a request for assistance from his former students and the old man having nothing better to do was dragged from his wanderlust and plunged back into civilization. And that is why he is stuck here in this damnable city babysitting this white-haired woman beside him. Oh, how fortunate he is for being so helpful to his prodigies. Still, he figured it would be best to humor this woman-child. "Madame, is there something amiss?" he asked, his voice barely hiding his annoyance. Oh if only he can ditch this girl then his life would be easier. "Why so grumpy, Lord Suzy?" the woman retorted, the coy smile never leaving her face. The old man named Lord Suzy could only sigh. His role was to be the butler of this failure of a "madame" and he's not enjoying it one bit. He would have left but the Madame would punish him for it. Dealing with this kid was easier when the Madame was a wee little boy. Now that she's a real woman, Suzy is powerless against her eternal bitchiness. Yes, the Madame and her mother had more in common than Suzy had thought. "I gather you already have plans on the construction?" Suzy spoke after a while. The lull in their earlier conversation only made him more conscious of this city's changes from the last time he had been here. He still remembered this as a small settlement and back then he was already old. He hoped engaging this Madame in conversation would brighten his mood. Hopefully. "Actually, not yet. But I'll have one soon. I'll have to visit a few people first," the Madame chuckled, her yellow eyes transfixed on the path ahead. The streets here were better than the old man expected but he was sure the Madame had been her before especially with how confident she was in leading him to somewhere important. Well, somewhere that the old man expected to be important. He'd been with the Madame for a long time and she wasn't one to joke about her objectives even when she is making fun of everything and everyone in her vicinity. "Lord Suzy. shall we?'
The Syngraf had called, and she had answered, found herself adrift once more in the ocean-abyss whose true name none knew, amidst the bright pinpricks of blue and green of world-bubbles. Valucre was a world she visited once. It was here the tides brought her again, among rolling hills of blue, before a sapphire rip of spacetime. As for why- the Syngraf gave no indication. So a touch of Kryvos, reducing her size, and a cloak concealing her wings and eyes, Rozharon entered Taen. She drew youthfulness from her physical form, storing it away, and wrinkles crept across her skin, posture stooping. With this disguise she spent a few weeks wandering the city - Lunaris - watching and listening, stitching together an image of the story of this land and the state of its people. She traveled to the Jungle, conversing with the Mork’Outh, and learned their language after a handful of days. She visited the Xer’orians, had conversations with a few queens, then paid a visit to the desert wolves, who were quite hospitable. Then, she had conversed with the Genius Loci of Taen itself. Then, when all had been made clear, she had restored her physical form’s appearance, returned to Lunaris, and approached the Governor and those who ruled in the Emperors absence. “I know where Titus is.” Who was she, they had asked. How did she know, had she done something to him. “I am Rozharon Paralios, his wife.” It was not technically correct, but the most appropriate human term, the one that held the most weight in this situation. And they did have a child, after all. “I will be ruling in his stead.” Her tone had left no room for argument. She had shown the Governor where Titus lay, among golden leaves at the crown of a tree at the very edge of Taen, enclosed in a halo of wildlight and worldrift inches from the barrier of the pocket dimension. After that, the Empire was hers. Lunaris was nearing overpopulation. With the lack of bare land to build on in the jungle, and the Mork’Outh’s stance against cutting down trees, Rozharon entreatied the citizens to work with the Mork’Outh and learn wildlight. Now, Lunaris cityscape grew within, between, and atop the great trees of the jungle. More Mork’Outh began settling into Lunaris, providing a much-needed local source of food and resources. Paths for trade and travel had been cleared through the jungle - with the guidance of the Mork’Outh, of course. A small town had been established on the border of the swamp and jungle, populated by scientists and researchers who wished to study Taen’s unique wildlife and geology. Another settlement near the mountains grew into a mining town, extracting metals and rare minerals with the help of worldrift-imbued tools. It also served as an outpost for warnings against Xer’orian attacks, and a lookout for beasts from the heavenscar’s mountain. As for Ursa Madeum- well, she had improved the Mil Dot Lunaris plan to improve infrastructure and technology in that primitive kingdom. The presence of majority of the Taen Empire’s military in Andelusia would discourage any rebellions in the meantime. It was a better base for their growing forces than Lunaris, anyway - while the frequent Xer’Orian attacks were good combat practice, the military needed better training. But all that had been months ago. Now, Rozharon sat on one of the branches of the golden tree. Titus still remained asleep, encircled in golden leaves, surrounded by a nimbus of amber and sapphire magic. She had had Mork’Outh craft the tree’s trunk to include simple living quarters, a working place of sorts for her. The Thaumelin did not require sleep, but it served to pass time. Her time of waiting for him was nearly over. Carefully, Rozharon extended a hand into the globe of magic. The wisps of glowing color parted, allowing her hand to pass. Gently, delicately, she laid her hand on his, watching his face intently for a reaction. @Ataraxy
It was one thing to visit a legitimate noble family within Ursa Madeum, a whole other thing to visit an illegitimate one in a foreign land. Oscar knew it was important to gain the support of as many houses as they could to support their constitution, and as much as he hated to think about it, House Singlance held more sway than any outsider rightfully should. They were the ones appointed by the Queen of Taen herself as noblemen, and word along the grapevine said that the governors might be more welcoming to them than others of the same station. "It's nearly heretical, to allow such savages to be at the same echelon as us." Lord Uldwar said scornfully, sitting inside their carriage as they traveled through the portal connecting Ursa Madeum and Taen. Going into the magical gateway always made the lord feel disoriented, something about such large expanses of distance being covered in less than a second. Worse yet they weren't even on the mainland anymore, but a pocket dimension filled with more mysteries than he was comfortable admitting. While her husband stewed in his anger, Cassandra was enjoying the sights of the city while they made their way to the Lunaris Mill where House Singlance was currently located. "For all you know these people are perfectly fine, completely worthy of their title. It's not like they just give out nobility to anyone." "They might as well be, with so many of these so called houses being from foreign lands." His retort was met with a sigh, Lady Uldwar shaking her head before answering. "Remember where their spheres of influence lie, my love. They have the backing of the Taen government, meaning if we can convince them to support our constitution, then it would go a long way." Indeed it would, as they were hand picked by the governing royalty to be a political influence in Ursa Madeum. To reject said document that had the Singlance name on it could be a dangerous mistake on their end. "I suppose so, but I won't be happy about it." He said as they finally approached the compound, wrinkling his nose at the design of the place. "It's quite an ugly home to live in." @notmuch_23