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Tenkai Matsumoto

[ Ravenspire ] A Chance Encounter

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Their server returned, taking orders. Raveena politely requested a steak and white cheddar panini, relinquishing her menu and waiting patiently for James' order before their server vanished again."Speaking of the Order. I have a recruit I need to arrange for you to meet some time. Ezekiel Glass. He's a fine man, I think you'd enjoy him in your ranks. He took a particular interest in my position, but that was apparently before, well. Everything else happened." By everything else, the loss of her memory. She had regarded James severely, and wondered how she had ever developed a crush on the man. She had thought him to be overbearing, constantly watching to see if she'd regain her memories. At some point, things changed. Perhaps it was that everyone gave up. Perhaps it was that she was more accepting of it. James was fine company, and they got along well enough.

"Though, now that I think about it. Tenkai in the Order...it could work, but...having just met the man, I don't know that I could work with him." She smiled and shrugged her shoulders, "I suppose it's good that neither of us are in the Order, then. I have my own military affairs to contend with. I am still an assigned Planar Warden. I will relay all that I can as I get it to you. How goes the Order, by the by? Branching out anywhere?"

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@Deus Ex Aizen

In an objective sense, it could be easy to see how Raveena originally developed a crush on James. He was handsome, charming when he wanted to be, possessed of a dry sense of humor and the sort of confidence bordering on arrogance that drew enemies and allies alike with ease. Whilst he admired Raveena's many fine qualities too, her tenacity, empathy, willingness to to make the hard decision and self-sacrifice, he had always kept his regard for his subordinate professional. 

In truth, they were both too complicated with too many problems for anything romantic.

"You'll have to introduce me then" he replied to her comment about the potential recruit, before turning to the server, and indicating his own order. He would have not one, but two of the sandwiches, accompanied by their house tea. James's appetite was quite boisterous. It was probably how he always seemed to have such endless reserves of energy.

"The Order fares well. The scars from the godling, Ertai in Sigil have fully recovered," he answered, referring to the attack by Ertai that devastated much of the City of Doors. It was one of the fledgling organization's first real tests, taking center stage after the godling's blitzkrieg to rally and take back the city, an aid in the rebuilding process. "We are currently in the midst of expanding to other worlds, with a permanent Academy on the water world of Bel'shir, numerous staging points and outposts throughout Gaia. Queen Red Yusuke has agreed to lend some land to the Order here on Valucre, from where we may build a Tower. The first of many."

He looked Raveena square in the eye. "Truthfully I hope that they will not be needed, but as the saying goes. Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it." 

Yes, there were wars coming. James could almost feel it. As much as he wished the Order to stay apolitical, sometimes it wasn't possible, especially when dark forces pulled the strings behind legitimate governments.


Edited by Fierach

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"That fickle woman and her many ill-willed lovers will be the end of her. My people were left in her care and she runs off to build a city by the sea, while Omi with his poisonous intents bring sickness to Predator's Keep. I had to evacuate my people from her domain before it could reach them and wipe them out." She had met Caps, and learned of the soothsayer's ability, and the prophecy he had bestowed upon her. He, and the children had come with her to Hyperion. "She carried the Devil's child at one point. I would not believe it had I not touched Roen and glimpsed it. And then she lost the child--which in of itself is a tragedy all feelings aside--and now Queen Irene is heavy with Roen's child. There are rumors that Red is with child by another but there's no proof to it. It is exhausting to keep up with."

Raveena sighed, drumming her fingers along the cafe table and shaking her head. As she would leave Predator's Keep, James would join in. That in of itself, was a shame. Some part of her did miss the Order. The semblance of a home, but she knew that James felt more at ease with her retirement and taking the throne. He didn't wish the Order's taxing ways on her, and she respected and appreciated it. "It's messy, James. I left it behind me. I don't know what happened--from before. Jesta' has told me thousands of times and I cannot help but wonder how this woman was a friend to me. She refused to give me up, and it cost my husband his life, and mine. That is not an easily forgivable offense." Here, she clasped her hands together and met his gaze squarely, "I respect what the Order is capable of, and how their neutrality works. I even respect your own personal views and ties to Red, but that is where we will part in that regard. I have mine and my own to concern myself with first and foremost. The Order is always welcome in Alethea, and Hyperion. I have ties to every major political, supernatural party in Valucre. I may be retired, but I am not against offering  my eyes and ears. They are everywhere."

Raveena was a woman of destiny, though she hardly believed in it. That she was made for greater things, she did not yet see it. Her knack for politics, her ability to inspire, and her own murky past had cleared and made way for something else. Every move she made, was for Matreya. Every ally she acquired, was for Matreya. The Kingdom of Alethea had become her own. She would not linger around anyone who was connected to someone who tried to win her over for her power, and then try to kill her off, "Roen has been implicated in the assassination attempt on Gabriela and myself. Until the air is cleared, I will have nothing to do with them. I will not support a weak-willed Queen who can barely keep her Regents in order. Her negligence to Akako's death has left the Imperator less than impressed. Keep an eye on her, for all sakes."

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"She refused to give me up, and it cost my husband his life, and mine. That is not an easily forgivable offense."

James frowned a little at that. Red didn't give her up precisely because they were friends. OXY attacked, did Raveena really believe that OXY would have let up, and let the populace go so easily even if Red has surrendered her? He might not have spent as much time in the company of the cruel organization, but he knew such people could not be trusted. Neither was the Red Queen the type to take the deaths of her people in vain.

It was unfortunate the way it turned out, but war was never a clean, fair business. Well, the old Raven knew that. 

Whatever. Her personal issues with Red was really none of his concern. It was precisely because Raveena left Red that James stepped in with other elements of the Order, to maintain a presence. 

"Keep an eye on her, for all sakes"

"You don't have to tell me that. I also have my reservations about Roen Jaeger's involvement in your and Gabriela's assassination attempt"

James would elaborate.

"There are many who wouldn't mind seeing Roen's head roll, myself included. As I also understand it, not only was Kadian security said to be pretty tight, especially in the aftermath of that fiasco at the Emperor's wedding, but your bodyguard Rowan Knight was around as well. If the assailant was capable enough to sneak past all of them, I doubt he'd have been unable to kill you (again) or the vampire. It seems like an absurd oversight for a supposed competent"

Edited by Fierach

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Raveena furrowed her brows, "Rowan hasn't been around for months now, six months as of the time he came to the wedding; we parted ways after the rebellion and my coronation and only just reunited at the wedding. He was not there on duty, but as my King Consort--and unexpectedly so. He was to meet with Corvinus to share our gifts and discuss old wars of past, and then to meet with Rafael to discuss a future alliance with Orisia and what it would mean for him." Raveena's chin gently brushed along her shoulder as she dipped her head, "I was simply at the wrong place at the right time. Had I not been there, I don't know that Irene would have survived more Kadian rounds than what she suffered from."

Sometimes pain blossomed there, a phantom of its former self.

Rowan did not answer to her, and people did not understand that. She did not hire him--in fact, she did not know he had been watching her for months before she was first attacked in Port Caelum. She did not even know he existed, until he had saved her. He studied her enemies--for he had dossiers on her most current and potential troubles. He disappeared for lengths of time, and reappeared like a phantom. He was a cold, curt man when he wanted to be, making little ties to those around him.

Or so she thought.

He had changed over the year and a half they had come to know each other as he carried out his job, often keeping her out of the dark of those details. She did not sign Rowan's paychecks and knew absolutely nothing of the person or people who did--and Rowan would keep it that way. He was less cold and curt than she thought. Lethal, calculating, Rowan was certainly deadly, but he was still a man. A man who would do bad things to protect the good if need be.

He was only just on his way back, having failed to meet with Corvinus and Leoa, but was on his way with Rafael when the shots had rung out. Both men collected their ladies and sought to tend only to their injured beloveds.

"The Lord Imperator neither favors nor trusts Red as the Lord Father has, and her negligence of Akako's death will not help her. Roen and his..." Raveena sighed, exasperated as she made vague hand gestures as if to grasp for the right way to describe what she intended, and failed in doing so, "...league of doom will likely spell trouble for the Order. Irene is heavy with child, and with Rafael and her choosing not to marry, I have no doubt that when Roen finds out, he will either feel foolish he tried to kill her, or go after her to win her back. That may create an upset with the Carmine Empire, it might not. Rafael would not stop Irene from her feelings, but politically speaking..." She shrugged. It was indication enough.

Their food had arrived, neatly placed before them and the scent of meat, cheese and spices wafted as her sandwich unkindly reminded her that she had been so busy, she had not eaten a proper meal in some time. She was dainty with her sandwich. Noble and Queen, and even future Empress she may be, she was still a soldier at heart, and unabashedly ate like one.

"Mm," She sipped on her drink thoughtfully and swallowed her bite, "Red is your concern now. Her nation is crumbling under weakly placed regents, and the Devil is losing ground politically. If my nephew is truly found guilty, there will be war, and I will answer. Corvinus is on the warpath with Patia, Roen was not welcome to the wedding from what I was told. They may soon find themselves embroiled in war, too." The truth is that Raveena found only one true friend among the entire lot since the fallout with OXY, and that was Xartia. It had been Xartia who came to find her, to make sure she was well, to ensure that even though she did not remember their relationship, that a new one was formed.

Not Red.

Not Roen.

Not Akako.

And not James, either.

She didn't fault James, because she understood the nature of his work, and they had reached a peaceful place in their relationship that she could joke about the Order. Her life now was less bloody, less tragic, and far more busy and hopeful. She was hard at work, and so was he, and she respected that. Raveena indulged in her sandwich with a content sigh. Things were better. She was better. Even with the metaphorical dark clouds on the horizon, things felt right for the first time since her return, and she hoped to maintain that throughout the rest of her tenure in Valucre.

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James simply took a deep breath on the matter of "more Kadian rounds then what she had suffered from". It would take more then a few blotched shots from a supposedly elite assassin to rid him of the nagging suspicion that something was wrong in that entire affair. To prove it would require him to stick his hands in something he really preferred not to. These politicians and their relationships, intricate tales of love and deceit, loyalty and backstabbery. Despite being the leader of a worlds-spanning organization, James disdained realpolitik and still preferred to be in the field, to be personally at the forefront of the fight. He brought a cup of the requested house tea up to his his lips, enjoying the peasant waft of its vapors first before taking a long sip. 

He would say nothing more either about Rowan, Raveena's "King Consort". A lofty title to be sure, to entrust to a man who kept many outright secrets from her. Then again Raveena's relationships, like Red's, were her own. The same reason he didn't care about the Red Queen's dalliance with the devil was the same reason he didn't care about the so-called Spider.

At least, until Rowan tried to claim his head.

That would be a fun fight.

"Her nation will be fine" James replied finally, with the sort of assured nonchalance that could only mean that he was more up to date on that specific bit then she was. "Even the plague afflicting the nation was resolved, by me" he added. 

The Daemonslayer put down his drink and took one of his ordered sandwiches in both hands, neatly breaking it in two before setting one half down and tearing into the other with the feral grace of a lion. A majestic lion? A king of beasts?

Whatever, he was hungry, and eating daintily was something he'd probably never do.

"As for Roen's League, I'm fairly certain I can cause them more trouble then the other way around. Most of his old allies were believers. It remains to be seen if the new ones are as well", he referenced the devil's old retinue. Ace was not present. Bellatrix Nox left him long ago, and Rou Ji was seen in the arms of a certain Kadian prince back at the royal wedding reception. 

Edited by Fierach

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Though she had received her food, she was less hungry than she anticipated, and took her time nibbling at it as she spoke.

The truth was that she could feel his doubt, his disapproval. She tilted her head back, eyes closed as she simply enjoyed the day. “At the end of the day, the Order was the closest thing to a family I had.” She sipped on her drink, listening to melting chunks of ice clink and swirl together. It was strange, how it all came down to this. How it came to this moment and time, the sudden discord between the two.

Suddenly, James felt like a stranger to her. Moreso than when she lost her decade-long memories. She wondered if this was how Risa felt to be around him. He would do what he thought was best, and she would do what she thought was best. “I will do what I can to keep you posted from abroad.”

There were a few contracts she had in place already, plans coming to fruition. Rowan, despite his initial detached nature, had slowly but surely shirked that mindset. He still didn’t work for Raveena, but he did work with her. “I have a mage guild I will be building. The Hyperion Academy, and a martial arts school as well that I hope will establish schools across the continents. I aim to make use of the training my Enforcers underwent to expand into a suitable military force.” She exhaled. Her mind was filled with ideas. Some she had to give up, others she wouldn’t let go.

Alethea had always been a small endeavor for the sake of the bigger one. And Port Kyros would assist her allies in Genesaris while maintaining overseas relations. “I’ve received word that the Council in Genesaris have requested assistance in building a major port in the Rising West." Building, Raveena discovered, was something she very much enjoyed. Laying a foundation, creating a home, with its own cultural niche in the world, was fulfilling in a way she had never known. "That is my next major endeavor. A sister port will be founded in neutral territory within Ursa Madeum to bring about more traffic. There’s much to do, and very little time to do it in, it seems. I’ve a feeling that the war with the Midlands will come sooner than later, and I won’t be caught unprepared.”

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