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Dolor Aeternum

Winning Hearts and Minds or Vengeance

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~~~~Two Days after the events of Winter WonderlandRoyalty Never Walks Alone , and Wings of Freedom ~~~~


“Gramma. Is today the day?!”

“Yes, Elena. Go get your brothers. It is going to be a busy day today.”


Little feet scurried along a battered floor, rotting wood having given way to an occasionally porous structure but Elena knew this house well. For four years she had grown up here, mostly ignorant to the suffering of her elders. Elena’s grandmother grimaced at the pain that comes with old age but it curled into a smile at the prospect of what would be done today. This was for a better future….for all of the generations to come.


Elena knocked on several doors along the way, skipping with glee as she shouted.

“Wake up! Todays is the day! Today is the day!”


Moans tried to breach the thresholds of the brother’s doors.

“Just five more minutes…Ugh…”


Eventually three brothers emerged, close in age and height with similar features. Their freckled faces and long disheveled black hair clearly distinguished them from those who lived closer to the castle far away. The further away you were the worse off your life was in Orisia after all…right? Rubbing their eyes to try and wake up after several yawns, they began their complaints.


“Why so early Grandma?”

“Yeah do we really all have to go?”

“I don’t wanna!”


The grandmother quietly responded but the fact she spoke was enough to silence everyone.


“Quiet. Eat your breakfast, get dressed and do not forget the letters.”


The elderly lady remembered that fateful encounter two days ago, met with a knight that looked like the ones that had littered the castle so long ago. The one that she met while cleaning her small house near the docks that day held an ethereal glow and carried himself with purpose. She didn’t quite understand everything he had wanted or why he even chose to threaten her when he said he was doing this for Orisia’s own good but she remembered specifically what he said.


“In two days, take these letters and post them in the marketplaces or wherever Orisians gather. Then deliver this specific one to the castle. Do this to enhance the future of those like you. The forgotten…the discarded. All of Orisia will benefit from this action.”


It had been ages since she had something to truly believe in. She had instilled much of it into the Black Queen only to see her leave and then come back and mortify her poor grandchildren after luring them in with a snowy wonderland. She had been too old to go herself but she remembered having to console Elena after she had seen monsters clash and threaten. Something needed to change.


“Lets go children.”


So they set out today, posting letters in the central marketplace of Versilla as well as the fisherman’s market near their home. The letters were distinctly colored and stained with a black substance that shone oddly. One specific letter held a sigil, however, formed by Obtenebra’s ooze in haste but providing enough detail to suggest it was meant for someone with a title. It was hand delivered by the elderly woman and Elena while the boys posted their letters and then were allowed to purchase one item from the markets as a gift from their grandmother…..or perhaps just incentive to make sure they complied.


Reaching the castle gates, she was confronted quickly by an edgy guard.


“State your purpose here.”


“I came to deliver this to whoever is in charge…perhaps the Queen. Forgive me.”


She held her back and grimaced again. Walking took its toll on her. Nevertheless she extended her hand with the letter and Elena spoke.


“Please take it sir! It is important and we walked so far to get this here.”


The little girl’s smile was disarming but the guard took his time scanning the item before he decided it was worth taking. The strict protocol that would bring the message to whoever was authorized to read such things would be underway. The initial letter for the Orisian people would read as follows:


“The shores of Orisia, once inviting to those who sought shelter from tyranny or pleasure in its embrace, no longer provide comfort or peace. After the coronation ceremony, the Black Queen’s display was a testament to the cruelty she intends to wield. She abandoned Orisians and left you all with an inept ruler only to return to drive the wound of her abandonment further with her antics a few days ago. For the safety of all Orisians we gave you all a reprieve, abducting her before she was capable of furthering your torment. This was all in service to La’Ruta, the true lifeline of Orisia’s beauty and permanence. No queen, no emperor, and no Warlord can contain La’Ruta’s strength which connects us all. Even its formidable power and reach need to be nurtured, however.


So to restore el Equilibrio that La’Ruta deserves we stripped it of the Black Queen’s corrupting influence for we know that Orisia is more than its Black Queen and is capable of righting itself. It is our hope that you realize that you are all the foundation on which Orisia stands.


This is a call to all vampyres, humans, hybrids, or any creatures that calls Orisia home. Trust in the balance of your beautiful Orisia. Do not allow the empires of the mainlands of Genesaris or Terrenus to disrupt what has made Orisia more beautiful than them all. When your Black Queen returns to you, we hope that our efforts will have already ushered a new era for all of those the Black Queen and her predecessors have ignored. The downtrodden and those with ill fortune who deserve a better tomorrow. We urge you all to turn to the temple of Equilibrio and return to the values that Orisia should never abandon. Peace and balance…for all”


An added note would be within the one hand delivered to the Capital City, addressed to Rafael specifically. A similar note would have been sent to Roen though it was never delivered.


“Rafael Bartolome,


Should you wish to purchase the Black Queen’s freedom and recover from this harsh blow I have delivered to Orisia, then I suggest you organize what you believe she is worth to you and your Empire and send your response here.”


A small but elaborate map would be displayed near the bottom right of the letter, stained with what seems to be a black substance around it. It details an area just past the perimeter of the Anima Imperium’s lands within Terrenus, several miles away from the structure itself. Agony saw it best to leave this as a remote drop for messages should the need arise but given how resourceful Rafael was and the vastness of the pool he operated on, any sort of elaborate operation would be something Agony would confront away from the burgeoning structure Marigold was creating. Whatever the response, the amorphous ancient being would welcome it all.


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Rafael examined the small, oily parchment with growing disdain, fueled by sleep deprivation, hunger, and an insatiable longing – need – for vengeance. A harsh blow, they called the kidnapping of a pregnant woman-- the endangering of an unborn child? Insects and cretins doing their best to play the role of monsters, he thought. The frown creasing his lips sank further, and slowly, the red of the Elder’s ire worked its way into the blue of his eyes, turning those clear waters into bottomless wells of blood. “They seek to taunt me,” he murmured to the armored sentinel behind him, silent as the grave.

Matthias cleared his throat. “Such are the tactics of lesser men, my lord.”

Crumpling the letter into little more than a heap, the Elder discarded it into the fire of the hearth. He watched it burn, cooking and vanishing in the smoke and dancing flames. Firelight, anger, and cold certainty warred across his face.  “So be it.”

If it was a war they desired, it was war he would give them.

Matthias left sometime later to see the Duke’s will done. In hours and days that followed, all letters posted throughout the capital were torn down and burned, while those showing any manner of interest in the propaganda found themselves chained and shackled on the grounds of treason. The children that had posted the material, with their disarming smiles and bountiful spirits, and the grandmother that had commissioned them, were put to the sword without trial.

And while his forces garrisoned the capital for the second time against threats to the Black Queen, Rafael turned his sights toward Terrenus.

Let us see how they respond in the face of a real monster...

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