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[A.N.T] Main Thread 1: The Arrivals

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Words were dangerous in settings such as these. Anyone could be a spy, even the man from Norkotia, which is why he had to be careful about his choice of words.

"For many years our people have suffered under the despotic rule of King Damien, while Odin Haze did nothing." Cassandra looked down, her heart feeling week at the thought of those dark times, when anyone could vanish at a moment's notice. "Our independence was given to us by the Emperor of Taen, and for that we will be eternally grateful. You may take that as you will, Chairman. We don't hate any one person, but we also remember those who stood by and watched our misery."

Clearing his throat, Oscar continued. "Anyway, yes. House Karadeen is a good match for your business, but I think you will enjoy having Port Mars available to you and your associates. Pirates have been making quite a few bold moves as of late, with no one quite being able to catch them. I think you would appreciate a safe place to lay anchor and rest."

Copperbeard would have to be contacted after this meeting, as the pirate should have learned about this and passed it on to him. Surely during his plundering and robbing he would have noticed the kind of foreigners that might have been aboard a Karadeen ship? Pirates are always such an unruly lot, hardly disciplined enough to give regular reports on their activities. Soon enough he would speak with him, and make certain he understood just who it was he worked for. Without an open relationship between them someone was going to slip up, and then they would both be swinging from a tree.

Cassandra meanwhile was struggling to lift herself out of the melancholy her memories brought out in her, her heart aching over the friends and family she lost during those wretched times. Two uncles, a sister and her beloved son Henry, all dead thanks to that monster Damien and his iron grip upon the nation. Did they truly have to die because of him? Did her uncles have to die because they spoke out of turn with one of his officers? Did her sister have to be whipped and hung like an animal for refusing to allow those beastly black knights to enter her home? Did Henry have to die in order to defend that ruthless bastard? None of these questions she could answer, all she could truly do was hold back the tears and straighten herself before re-entering the conversation.

"Excuse me for a moment, I need to go to the powder room to freshen up, I'll be right back, Oscar." She kissed him upon the cheek, then hurried off to the nearest bathroom, where the tears came unrestrained.

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@Ataraxy @ourlachesism

Milorian disliked being enamored by the woman; her opal eyes were dazzling when she laughed, and she had casually run her fingers through her flower ridden hair, a sign she cared little for her current appearance. He disliked that she was your typical cliche, a woman of beauty who feigned ignorance to it to better focus on other things - heroics and the sort. Inside that little chest of her's is a heart that's been punched, painted black, ruined for the rest of the world, wrapped up in layers of lace and guile. 

He was able to squeeze the story out of her about the crescent smacked on her forehead. The golden patch was very much of the woman's person, but he had mentioned it looked like a silly sticker a child would use to decorate their room. Primera had gone silent towards the evaluation, only to burst into a fit of laughter that snagged the elf into its orbit. He laughed with her, though he wasn't sure if they were laughing at the absurdity of the comparison or if she was trying to hide her disdain. Either way, he disliked it. Too much honey to this woman and he was too much of a fly to ignore it, too weak to not get stuck in the sticky stuff. 

The couple was interrupted with the arrival of Titus, who offers his hand to Milorian. Eagerly, the elf took the man's hand and shook it gracefully before the attention was put on Primera. The redhead smiled prettily before bowing fluidly at the waist, a work of grandeur sure and if time had permitted, Milo would have asked painters to capture this scene of Grand Kommadant Primera bowing.

"The pleasure is all mine!" Her voice was a dancing sonnet full of pretty sounds and equally lovely words. 

"Thank you for the warm welcome; I'm sure we are in for a night full of colorful individuals."

So many more poured through the doors, all gone ignored though for his audience currently resides with Primera and Titus. 

"I appreciate being allowed to dally with others. It's not often I find myself with the opportunity to speak with those outside my kin."

Her syrupy words made the elf roll his blue eyes, though they did twinkle a bit with amusement. This little dance of her's was getting a tad confusing for him; he didn't know if he should accommodate her or leave her to dance with others. Primera had said she comes bearing no gifts, no promises, and entirely no terms, yet she spoke to Titus with a hopeful little tune to her voice that could be a little too welcoming for the weak. Was this her political play or was she just this naturally deceiving? Or was she playing him like a fiddle and he was too lost in the song?

Paranoia broken, he turned sharp eyes towards Varda and her flowers. He noted her clothing and frowned becomingly - a typical look if you understood the Mythal's. Somewhere in his mind, a marble of information rolled around, knocking against walls, ruffling a few other parchments of importance.

"They are from Milorian's lush gardens throughout the Free Marches. He was kind enough to entertain me with decorations and be victim to my personal touches."

Primera took the offered rose, her earlier smile melting into one of genuine that reached her sparkling eyes. She liked kindness of any sort from any person; she will not deny this young lady her sincere appreciation. 

"Lady Hildebrand."

Milo interrupted sweetly, taking his time to sound sincere (a struggle, honestly) and show it through his minor actions. He took a flower from his hair, offering it over to the Lady. That marble of knowledge, he was able to grab it finally.

"House Mythal sends their condolences on your loss."

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The red-haired woman—Grand Kommadant Primera of Renovatio, she believes, as the emperor had called her—takes the rose with a lovely smile, and Varda is charmed by her acceptance. Behind her, she hears the entrance of a few other nobles and rulers, reminds herself to greet each of them personally later. For now, she focuses on the three leaders before her.

“I should like to visit Renovatio someday, my lady,” she curtsies to Lady Primera: voice hushed, eyes lowered, head bowed. “I've never been outside the borders of my homeland.”

When Lord Milorian offers his condolences for her father’s death, however, the smile on Varda’s face freezes, shrivels up like dying roots in the burning sun.

You are Lady Hildebrand, and there is no room for grief.

Taking the flower he offers her with shaking hands, Varda adds the peony to her dark hair and gives Lord Milorian a white rose of his own, a fragile smile blooming limp on her lips. “Thank you. My father was a good man.” She closes her eyes in remembrance of her father’s exuberant, aging smile. “He would've wanted to come here in my place.” And he would’ve been here if he hadn’t been murdered, she thinks furiously. Varda bites down the sob growing in her throat, turns towards Lord Titus with a respectful bow. “But I am grateful to have been invited here and to meet with all of you.” She extends another white rose to the emperor of Taen.

She is Lady Hildebrand, and there is no room for grief.

 

@Aleksei @Ataraxy

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“I think the world of these people, Irene.” Roen said, curious. “That they are enamored with their masks is endearing, like children with toys.” 

He turned his hand and touched her cheek with his fingertips, her lips and nose. His was a tactile disposition, ever fervent to lay hands on the world around him, and one of his favorite things to touch was her. Her face, her shoulders, her belly and thighs, there was not an inch he did not covet, regardless of circumstance. But this was a subconscious thing; he minded her words with thought and speculation. 

“We all wear masks, Irene. I sometimes pretend to be a gentleman and a king, and you sometimes act like a colically little girl. But these are masks all the same. You’re the Black Queen of Orisia, you are abject eminence, and I, well..,” he trailed off, his gaze lowering, his attention moving down the curves of her mouth, her pretty chin, the slender column of her neck until it vanished into fine tailoring. “You and I both know who and what I am. Self-awareness is a beautiful thing, and there are very few things as beautiful as a thing true to itself.” 

Roen flicked his gaze back up and took his hand from her face, savoring the cool of her skin on his fingers until the fever within burned all trace of her from his touch. He straightened, and in his baring was the shifting of conversation from philosophical to practical. He had struck her with words, and she had delighted him to the extreme by ringing true, her true feelings hidden beneath the veil of sweet acquiescence. He had expected to see hurt on her face, but to see a hint of resolve, of character, that was something that deserved reward. So he softened and grew conversational, letting her in to his machinations as he would a contemporary, which he was grooming her to be. 

Turning, he offered the Queen of Orisia his arm, and once she took it, reached over with his other to lay a hand across her own. Hard and heavy, calloused by the labors of the martial and mundane, he held her fingers as a lover was wont to do, kind and gentle, and gingerly, near almost affectionately led her eminence from the sun room now that the star had no interest for him. One needn’t a celestial body, not when he had her. Keeping his voice low and companionable, he chose to ignore her quip concerning his ability and the lack thereof for diplomacy, and moved into their purpose here tonight. It was not her or he who had to perform, but they together, as a pair acting in accord. There was no greater flattery or homage he could pay to his chosen than to consider her equal in part and play. 

“It has ever been my desire to rule the world,” he told her, their footfalls echoing across the hard, polished floors. His eyes roamed their surroundings idly by, taking into consideration foodstuffs, drinks and the like. He was tempted to meander them both over to a tray of sweets and cakes, but restraint kept him in check. Now was not the time to indulge in his baser of impulses - unless of course he saw something particularly appetizing, like the cheesecake over yonder. He glanced away, pretending he hadn’t noticed. “I put that ambition on hold to pursue you.” Again his eyes fell upon her, but there was no judgement in his gaze, none of the dislike or outright vehemence she could have expected by this point. This was only a statement of fact. 

He had left everything behind in his pursuit of the Orisian Queen, and now the world they inhabited - the world Phillippe was to grow up in - required his active hand. Years had passed since last he took an interest in current events. That apathy was gone, now. Had been gone since he had nearly sent the Kadian emperor, his one-time Roanist Knight, to the depths of Hell without his eyes and ears. Oh to even think on that night filled the Outsider with such a fury, he had to quickly move passed it before he grew piqued. Exhaling slowly, he pressed on in both conversation and step with the Black Queen. “We are here because there are people concerned about the future of Terrenus, which I can and may well use to unite the nation under my rule. If I can secure the backing of these interest groups, it may make the war to come that much less bloody.” He paused, making sure she understood and was able to digest his words. He spoke on when she did so. 

“There are some already avowed to my purpose, others who may be pressed or cajoled into doing so. The rest, my sweet girl, are undefinable and unknown to me. It will be your task to convince them to throw in with my lot. You are charming and beautiful and of unimpeachable honor, your Grace. You will make them love me.” He said the last as a whisper, bending and turn his head so that the warmth of it tickled the outer edges of her ear. The promise she had made to him long ago, fulfilled here, tonight. He hummed, half-tempted to kiss the side of her head but quickly deciding against it. Now was not the time or place, not by far. They weren’t alone enough. Passing men and women, both foreign and domestic, the Outsider walked Irene around, his tail swaying low behind him, showing not only her off but their renewed pairing as well. His companion, yes, his contemporary and chosen, but his prize, too. His possession. His treasure. 

“War is coming, Irene. It will descend from the Black City and pour out from Marlboro Keep like a great deluge of flame, but it is what this world needs: a fire to burn the dead undergrowth. From the ruin of the old world will rise up a better one. From chaos, there will be order. And we will have peace..,” he sighed. “A war to end all wars. A long night to lead into a new day. We are here to convince them of this, and as for those who we cannot..” 

He looked away, a frown tugging his lips. He said no more. There was nothing else to say. 

The threat was implicit. 
 

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They were cautious. Smart, given that even though the Terric regime as a whole was weak, that did not mean they were completely absent. With all that had been going on lately, it wouldn't be surprising if the Terran government rapidly devolved into paranoia and overreaction, particularly if they feared any given neutral party could become the next Legion of Doom, or worse. And that didn't account for all the other noble houses that may seek to capitalize on the slightest of verbal slip-ups. Lord Uldwar was a warrior and man whose character was in question because of his actions under the disposed king, so it made a lot of sense for him to play things close to the vest. Even so, what Lady Uldwar shared was telling enough, and what it told was only encouraging to Tynes. Once they learned to trust them, maybe he could coax that warrior back out again...

But first things first.

"Your offer is most generous, Lord Uldwar. Currently though, Norkotia's landlocked position has left us with no seafaring ships of our own, so we're reliant on the Karradeens or for-hire vessels to provide us oversee transport. Someday, I hope to remedy this, but it's hard to build ships when the nearest ocean coastline is thousands of miles away." Tynes laughed, "Still, it will be good to know there is a friendly port available to us."

He didn't feel it necessary to mention Norkotia's experience sailing on Sidereal Lake, or Garrison Lake as it was known to the Norkotians, since it was completely landlocked and had no access to the ocean. Though it was a pretty large body of water, it wouldn't be practical to move any of their larger lake craft across twenty-five hundred miles of land. Maybe they'd be able to commission some seafaring ships down the road, but for now, the Karradeen fleet would be adequate for their oversees needs. And if Uldwar was willing to supplement, all the better. As far as Tynes could tell, Uldwar and Karradeen were not on negative terms, unlike some of the houses were with one-another. That was another positive to this potential alliance.

The Lady Uldwar excused herself at that moment, leaving the two alone. The anguish was clear on her face as she kissed her husband, then vanished to other parts of the castle. It was apparent her mind still dwelled on the earlier topic, and that that topic brought her great sorrow. Perhaps he had made a very unintentional misstep here, so it was best to make clear he didn't mean to be insensitive.

"I apologize if I broached a sensitive subject." the chairman said to Oscar, deciding against following-up that apology and instead choosing to allow the Uldwar Patriarch to respond to it first.

@Grubbistch

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Although Titus found himself slightly taken aback when Primera bowed, it wasn't all that surprising. Had he been in her home then it would have only been proper for him to bow before her. Titus returned the gesture with a deep nod and a sincere smile. The simple act of bowing his head before another within his house was itself a testament to the respect he had for the woman before him. 

Hearing Milorian's words, Titus couldn't help but to laugh. "I believe those words to hold quite the truth. There are many things which can be said about the leaders of Terrenus, but parallelism is not one them." Almost as if on cue, the newly placed head of House Hildebrand was making her way to their little group. Before she spoke, however, Titus responded to Primera with a silver tongued sentence of his own. "But of course, Lady Primera. In fact, it is I who should thank you for your attendance. It isn't often that Andelusia is graced with such a powerful woman." From her words, Titus wouldn't have been surprised if Primera had already deduced that he hadn't invited her simply for the prestige of her position but for something a little more beneficial. To the both of them.

Upon his final syllable, Titus' eyes shifted over Primera's shoulder ever so slightly. Speaking of powerful women, it wasn't like Roz to be tardy. Though to be fair he hadn't seen her in years prior to his awakening. It was possible his recollection had blurred.

"Indeed he was," Titus murmured quietly. The war to overthrow Damien had cost enough lives on both sides. The fact that such a capable leader had been murdered not even a year into the new era of peace was something that burrowed a hole full of sadness within Titus. Despite not having met the previous lord of house Hildebrand, the man's reputation had proceeded himself to the point where it filled many of Ursa Madeum's citizens with sorrow. 

When Varda bowed Titus nodded politely and graciously took the flower. At a later date he would have some words with the new lady of Hildebrand and find out the real reason behind her father's death. Something told him there was more to the story than what he'd been told.

But that was a talk for later. "Fortunately for me however, he left quite the promising protege in his wake. I'm looking forward to your future accomplishments Lady Hildebrand. Meanwhile, enjoy the food!" he exclaimed, motioning toward a table filled with delicacies. "Everything you see was made and grown right here in Ursa Madeum."

The rustle of robes and a rather unique scent alerted Titus to an incoming presence. One that he'd heard quite a bit about in recent times. The emperor of the Datsuzoku Dynasty, Koji Datsuzoku. One of the more enigmatic persons of the conference. When the man began his introductions, Titus turned to face him while making sure not to turn his back to those he spoke with either. 

"On behalf of the Datsuzoku Dynasty,  hail and welcome. To our gracious hosts, I am humbled to have been granted audience with you all for however brief." Though Koji seemingly spoke to all, Titus had no doubt the words were meant mainly for him. Shifting his own greeting from the formal bow given to the Lady Primera, in return Titus respectfully cupped his fists with a gentle nod.

"Welcome to Ursa Madeum, Emperor Koji," Titus said, attaching Koji's proper title as a show of respect. He'd been slightly informal with Primera's title only as he'd seen her close acquaintanceship with one of his own noble houses. "I trust the journey here was not rough? I imagine the journey across Terrenus is not quite so easy these days."

@Csl @ourlachesism @Twitterpated @Aleksei

Edited by Ataraxy

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Giving a small sigh, Oscar knew the conversation had upset his wife dearly. Many loved ones were lost during the heinous reign of King Damien, and even a faithful servant like House Uldwar were not spared. The Lichyard some distance away from their manor in Andelusia were home to many loved ones who died because of that dirty little rat, including his own father.

It was a dark day when his father barged his way into the courtroom, pointing right at the king and denouncing him in front of the entire court. Damien was furious, and those who swore to help him stood silent while he was forced to watch his father beheaded on that very spot. Such was the price one paid for insubordination, and it was what solidified Oscar's loyalty towards the tyrant, in fear of his life and the life of his family. He wasn't certain there was anyone alive who came out of this regime as clean as they were before it.

"It's all right, Chairman. Life has been difficult for us, with many of us still healing over the wounds of the past." Oscar grieved in his own way, with his sights set firmly on a crown, where he could set things right, and make certain history knows the truth of it.

"Consider yourself formally invited to Port Mars, Chairman Tynes. There we can speak more openly and I can show you the oil fields we've claimed so far on Misral." Hopefully in time they would be able to claim more, but for the moment what they had would have to do. Claiming resources meant more wealth, which meant more power in the long run. His hope was that with this monetary clout, he could shield his loved ones from the fallout should his crimes ever be discovered.

"For now I am going to wait for my wife. You should go and have a drink, perhaps speak with other dignitaries from the mainland? There's sure to be many others interested in Norkotia and it's ways." In truth he wished to be by himself, to ponder on things and try to understand those that walked these marbled halls. Any one of these people could be potential allies, or potential threats, and he needed to remain vigilant.

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21 hours ago, Ataraxy said:

"Welcome to Ursa Madeum, Emperor Koji," Titus said, attaching Koji's proper title as a show of respect. He'd been slightly informal with Primera's title only as he'd seen her close acquaintanceship with one of his own noble houses. "I trust the journey here was not rough? I imagine the journey across Terrenus is not quite so easy these days."

He was severely pleased to hear a reputable leader such as this one refer to him by his preferred respective title. For many upon the face of Valucre cried Emperor, but few actually afforded the luxury of meaning it. First the Grand Kommandant herself respected his title, and while reinforcing its validity at that. What ever level of respect Taen Empire harbored for her, Koji likely had more. Fortunately it was no competition, and she was not the peoples he needed to appeal to on this day. Despite this he would certainly make it a point to speak to her prior to departing from the island. Hopefully their shared respect and relations would serve purpose in helping Koji to facilitate an extended alliance proposal. Though he'd like more, if he could only manage himself into one alliance this day, it would certainly be with those that proposed the meeting to begin with. The Taen Empire, and Ursa Madeum by extension.

With mention of travel in Terrenus being difficult, his blank slate of a face found a peculiar smirk. While sadistic, it was a sincere and jovial one. The former being his helpless nature of existence. He flattered himself with the thought that he moderately contributed to the unbalanced state of Terrenus, though he too understood that the current happenings were inevitable; Even without his direct influence. Still, between the happenings of his wedding dayreports of such between the public media as well as the Terric Military, and his inevitable travel through the continent which was easily about two years ago now, he wouldn't be surprised if any of the new faces here were already aware of him to any degree. Especially with his current power grab at dominating the Midlands formally, and his complete acquisition of Oo'Xora in Renovatio.

"In any case, I assure you it is more than worth the trouble Emperor Titus. Your invitation came at the best of times, considering I wished to pay you and your nation a visit much sooner. Fortunately for them, your invitation came just days prior to myself dispatching an Emissary on my behalf. Surely wearing similar shoes as myself, you understand how miserable of a time it is to get away without jeopardizing any of your hard work."

He paused as he had a feeling. You know, that feeling he was being watched. Without looking, he refreshed his grin, allowing it to grow ever so slightly. From his preternatural sense, he surmised that the legendary Slayer was the culprit that gazed upon him however brief. Such was a testament that the Slayer as more like Koji than he would perhaps like to admit. He had bathed in the blood of countless demons, thus turning him into one himself, even if he wore man's hide. Checking for any new arrivals, Koji took note of Roen and the Black Queen first. He had never formally met either, though he had always had a sneaking suspicion that the former was a highly desirable asset to him. This lead him to the most peculiar presence amidst him on this fine day. Red Yusuke. Still he maintained eye contact with Titus and spoke as if his focus was not divided.

"It appears you know the Lady Primera as well. I wish I had known she was attending, she would have been quite favorable company on the journey here. I don't know much of her predecessor, though I believe she will perform just as well if not much better than them. I have the pleasure of calling her my first formal ally, hopefully by the end of my visit I'll be able to call a few more of you such a thing."

Currently possessing real-estate in both Genesaris and Tellus Mater, the next move was to secure such in Terrenus. This would serve to have him planted within every Continent on this world, in which he could begin the next phase of his plan. Without the comfort of his Empress any longer, Koji shared the burden of his ultimate goal none. If Raven was keen enough to catch on in the first place during all the confusion, there was a chance she knew. Though if she had, she hadn't made it obvious. Ironically enough, said goal was identicle to that of one of the other visitors, though like him and like he said; He wore a mask.

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In the short weeks following the coup, and the subsequent command that Roen appeared to give her in public only to hoard it viciously in private, she had learned something about stillness. She became stone-like in moments like these, when his curious fingers brushed across her cheeks, or traveled down the length of her nose, or even crossed her lips, pulling them apart for a glimpse of her white teeth. During these moments, he was childlike in his curiosity, or so she reasoned later when she was alone and left to reflect. It wasn’t love or affection that drew him in so close, but rather a need for satisfaction that was only achieved through tactile methods. And sometimes, like at this very moment, her eyes would shift and she would examine him -- for he was so very lost in his own examination of her -- that she could comfortable see how taken he seemed to be with what he touched. He appeared like a blind man, committing something precious to memory in the only way he knew how.

 

Much to her surprise, he was not lost in a haze of sensory input. He spoke up and it caused her to quickly avert her gaze from his face, back out the window and beyond the distant line of trees that was steadily growing darker and darker.

 

“We all wear masks, Irene. I sometimes pretend to be a gentleman and a king, and you sometimes act like a colically little girl. But these are masks all the same…”

 

The weight of his gaze rolled down from the swell of her lips, over the curve of her chin, down, and down, her narrow throat and into the neatly tucked fabric of her white blouse into her fitted jacket. There was an urge to swallow, but she resisted, knowing his eyes were keenly set on detecting the slightest of movements she might make. Sometimes she felt afraid to move around him. There was something extraordinary predator-like about the devil, and she like any creature that was interested in self preservation had learned to adapt. She became still to avoid stirring too much of his interest or his ire, for it did often feel that even the motion of taking a breath would offend him.

 

“...Self-awareness is a beautiful thing, and there are very few things as beautiful as a thing true to itself.”

 

She didn’t reply. The statement was loaded, and she didn’t know where he meant to take the conversation. He wasn’t often in the mood to converse. He barked orders, issued commands, held her close or pushed her aside, but talking? That didn’t often happen between them these days. And it wasn’t so much that she savored his words, but there was a touch of something in her -- hope, perhaps. He, in turn, took her silence as an invitation and wove his hand through her arm, linking her securly in his hold and leading her away from the sunroom. She had had the absolute pleasure of giving the manor a small tour before Roen ushered her away into the private space they used to talk, but she was quite content to be moving toward the sound of lively chit-chatting.

 

Under Raphael's protective rule, she had been hoarded away in locked chambers for her own safety. Her days as a figurehead for the country that she held near and dear to her heart were over, according to him. She had runaway too many times, she had proven herself an unreliable leader -- regardless of his own hand in the matter. He took great pleasure in ‘releasing her from the ugly bondage of a man’s world and giving her the freedom of her rightful and true place as a mother to their son.’ He thought very little of her abilities as a politician, less so of her abilities as a queen. But this, this moment just before re-entering into that world of intrigue, of negotiations, of purpose for the sake of others,  it felt oddly exciting and she couldn’t resist the razor sharp edge she began to feel cutting her ego to a sharp, fine point.

 

She had to do well. Not for Reon’s sake, but for her own, and for her son -- and the world she hoped to leave behind for him.

 

“It has ever been my desire to rule the world,” he said calmly and thus, effectively threw a heavy wrench into the gears of her turning mind. She nearly scoffed at him, and in attempting to keep from openly ridiculing him she missed a single step that lead down and out from the doorway of the sun-room and nearly fell. He caught her, of course, and steadied her with a strange look on his face -- as if he found her lack of grace to be disturbing. She did too. But he went on, “I put that ambition on hold to pursue you.”

 

He looked at her with sanguine eyes, and she looked at him, her expression somewhat taken aback by the confession. She would have never assumed to be the reason Roen had stopped being Roen. She remembered that man, the ambitious Crimson King and his wicked plots of conquest. For some time now, she had figured that man dead and buried. She supposed, with a little frown, that it would make sense for him to make a reappearance now that everything was set in order within Roen’s world.

 

It was a short walk to the lounge, which it seemed Roen intended to cross in order to bring them into the grand room. She saw his eyes shift toward a tray of sweets that was being carried about by a pretty servant. Anyone who didn’t know Roen might think him guilty of wandering eyes, but she knew better. He had made quite the impression before the Orisian court during her first masquerade when he stuffed himself silly with sweets and then threw them all up in some lonesome corner of the ballroom like a diseased-sick dog.

 

Her lips had pursed into a pout.

 

“...You will make them love me.”

 

“You have to actually be loveable for that to happen -- or try to be, or pretend to be -- whatever is actually plausible for you” she snapped, still put off by the memory of Roen spewing whipped cream and candied fruit. She hadn’t witnessed the incident, but she could very well imagine it.

 

Rather than being angry, Roen seemed oddly amused by her words. That’s not to say that he brightened any, but she could tell -- he shifted his head just a little bit toward the light and cast off some of the heavy shadows that drowned his crimson eyes. She heard his tail swing from side to side, the merry jinggling of metal dancing in their wake, a fond memory of better times as well as a dark reminder of awful, terrible times.

 

“A war to end all wars. A long night to lead into a new day. We are here to convince them of this, and as for those who we cannot…”

 

She stopped, and in turn caused him to stop as well. It brought his gaze back her way, which is exactly what she wanted. Her brows were scrunched up in that tortured sort of way she had perfected, and her lips were pressing together hard. Her long hair had been done up into a loose braid, her favorite styling with pearls of different sizes strewn about the woven mass. The end of her braid was bound with black ribbon, set with crimson jewels that glittered when they caught the light as her hair swayed with her inertia of her sudden turn.

 

“You’ve brought me here to be a warmonger?” she posed the question quietly, intent that only he hear it. Her arm had unraveled from his and now her hands hung by her sides. “Not only is your plan ridiculous, it’s ridiculous to think I would or even could advocate for war, more so ridiculous, is the notion that you think anyone might take me seriously! I am the twice deposed queen of Orisia, the smallest country in Valucre. I will not inspire people into bloody mayhem for a multitude of reasons, not least of them because I literally have no skin in the game.”

 

She was shaking her head, her arms had crossed just below her breasts, which were neatly hidden behind the thick, fabric of her coat. She looked concerned, but not upset -- she looked like she was having a very important conversation with the King of Patia, and she was. No one here could have begun to imagine the horrors that Roen was planning, and no one would ever know the effort she was about to expand to change his mind before he actually convinced anyone to follow him.

 

“You’re not saying that you expect a war to come. No, you’re saying you will bring war -- a needless war -- because you believe the world needs to be cleansed. That’s utter madness. Does the suffering of common people mean nothing to you? The famine, the chaos of anarchy, the horror of military occupation... You speak of war as if you haven’t even thought of these things.” She turned from him, she began to walk, but she wasn’t leaving -- she was pacing. People turned, some looked, she cut a fine figure in her black breeches, in her coat, in her stance. She walked with perfect posture, with her braid swaying like his tail swung. When she caught someone’s eyes, she smiled, but quickly her face fell flat again, until she turned and returned to Roen. “Thinking that you conquered Orisia has given you a very false impression of the world and your abilities within it, Roen. You didn’t have to fight. I lost the support of my friends, they abandoned me and left me to you, imagining -- more than likely -- that you would end my life. They were false friends, but had they remained true and loyal, I don’t believe you would be alive today. That being said, you have won Orisia. You have done so in the days following your coup. You’ve done so in how you manipulate the law, the media, and the bureaucracy. If you come to these people with a promise of war, I promise you that they will all unite -- but not for your favor.”

 

She let that hang in the air, before looking away. Her arms were still crossed, her profile was serene.

 

“I am going to get a drink. You think about what you want, Roen and then tell me what you really want me to do here.”

 

Gabriela smoothed her jacket, and fixed her cuffs, and then walked away from the devil, pursuing a servant she had seen walk by with flutes of champagne. She desperately hoped she might bump into someone and that it would give Roen enough cause to leave her alone to work for a while.

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"Consider yourself formally invited to Port Mars, Chairman Tynes. There we can speak more openly and I can show you the oil fields we've claimed so far on Misral."

"Thank your Lord Uldwar, I will be sure to arrange a visit on my return voyage to Norkotia. I look forward to seeing what you have to show." Tynes nodded, pleased at the implication.

"For now I am going to wait for my wife. You should go and have a drink, perhaps speak with other dignitaries from the mainland? There's sure to be many others interested in Norkotia and it's ways." Oscar Uldwar continued.

The man evidently desired to be left alone now, ostensibly for his wife, but perhaps for other reasons. Tynes could only hope he hadn't come forth too bluntly with his intents, but he supposed that as long as the invite to Port Mars held true, it meant that at least the lord was open to relations. The chairman would make sure not to strain the man's patience any further by lingering, so he elected to make a quick departure.

"A fine idea. It was a pleasure, sir. I look forward to our future meetings." Tynes gave a single nod, more of a light head-bow, before allowing the man his privacy.

The entire interaction was a net-positive, he concluded, and hopefully future ones could be handled with less awkwardness. Tynes was not so much a politician as he was a populist figurehead, a rallying cry for the people in his homeland that felt abandoned or threatened by the powers that were. His dealings with the other local politicians did not require him to show as much restraint as his interactions with foreigners here would.

Speaking of the foreign leaders, Tynes began to make his way back into the common areas, which were increasingly filling-up with new arrivals. Up in the grand room, he could see the Taen Emperor engaged in conversation with one of the other noble house leaders, though he couldn't quite remember her name. Lord Uldwar had stuck with him the most because he seemed to offer the most benefit to Norkotia and Tynes's agenda, but that wasn't an excuse to ignore the other houses. Still, he didn't intend to inject himself into that conversation, as it appeared a large and involved one that included several other rulers whose identities were entirely a mystery to the chairman. He'd be sure to greet and thank his host in time, but he would wait for a time when the emperor could be spoken to in a more private manner.

"I suppose I should find a drink." he muttered to himself.

Tynes rarely, if ever, drank. He had done so a few times, in very careful moderation, during certain political events or meetings, when it was a bit of a courtesy to do so. He never had a taste for alcohol, and for that matter, had little regard for its existence in general. It may be a long Norkotian tradition to have things like beer or whiskey on-hand, but if there were any traditions Tynes would not mourn the passing of, alcohol was one of them. Still, he had been advised that the alcoholic drinks were the least dangerous beverages here, as Gaia only knows what was in the water around here. The islands were a bit too primitive in many regards, so it would be difficult to trust the drinks that did not have the purifying influence that alcohol provided. He'd just have to exercise caution.

As he went to flag down a drink-carrying servant, he noticed an familiar individual out of the corner of his eye. Not familiar in the sense that he had ever seen or met them in person before, but familiar in the way that one knows certain likenesses from books or news media. If there was any doubts in the chairman's mind about the person's identity based on his facial familiarity, they were quickly cast aside by the sight of the tail swaying back and forth behind him. Tynes had read about Patia's devil-king during his years studying in Blairville and Hell's Gate, and he knew well-enough that the man, if he could properly be called a man, was nobody to trifle with. The Norkotian chairman was a mere mortal, with neither superhuman physical attributes nor impressive magical powers. He was a common man who led a nation of common men, and in their current state he knew them to be worth nothing to the likes of devils or demons or demigods. As such, Tynes preferred to avoid the Crimson King, as well as his consort, a woman who's identity was a mystery to him. Gabriela DuGrace might have been known in international circles, but to an isolated local leader like Tynes, whose knowledge was largely based on self-education in libraries and book stores, and whose focus of education was on Terran leaders specifically, she was a complete unknown. Either way, her affiliation with the devil, and her vaguely unnatural appearance, had the chairman convinced she was no human, and likely no friend of such.

So he turned away and sought-out the servant again, intending to snatch one of the glasses from the tray, then resume circumventing the open areas of the castle. There were still other leaders to meet and greet, no doubt, and he wanted to make sure he know who all was here, so he could make an educated choice on who to address next. He failed to notice Roen's companion making her way toward the same servant...

@Pasion Pasiva

@Grubbistch @Roen

Edited by Tyler

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Slowly but surely the Grand Hall was filling with Kings and Queens and Lords and Ladies, while glazed crimson eyes watched blankly the beautiful landscape and foliage that was the back acres of the estate. A serene half smile that spoke of the calm her exterior may have given, how still and peaceful the Queen—No, Spoken Empress of the Scarlet Kingdom seemed by herself just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature instead of the growingly crowded common room. Kahlan wasn’t truly watching what was beyond the deck, her thoughts were keeping her rather preoccupied without the distraction of beauty. Not far on the same side of the castle she’d felt the King of Patia and the Black Queen of Orisia, one in which she was never formally introduced, and the other she knew all too well yet seemingly not at all. It wasn’t her intention to pry upon private conversations, so she didn’t even with how plausible it could have been.  

 

The newly crowned Regent of Medain Sari had arrived, more so a cover of sorts so James Eredas could base more secretive Order operations out of the remote island off of the Terrenus shore. It had been planned the two arrived together, but as most things go it hadn’t worked out the way she’d wanted. Eventually she would meet up with the Daemon Slayer, but her wandering mind took a keen focus to another individual that the woman hadn’t expected to see so soon, or at all. The twitch of a smile fell into nothingness, an anger began to broil deep within her chest over the sickening presence. Koji, the son of one of her dearest friends and the murderer of her other dear friend. The brother-- 

 

The simple shallow smile returned yet didn’t touch her eyes, leaving her a ghostly expression that was a tell for nothing underneath. Blankness, a trained visage that left nothing to be seen of the inner workings of her thoughts nor feelings other than a false happy, one many took to the blonde as pleasant and kind. Using one of her hands, she pushed herself from the soft cushion of the chair in a rather wobbly grace, her other hand falling gently to rest on the rather noticeable swell of her pregnancy. There had been a scare months ago, one directly following the Spring Hanami Festival in Port Caelum, one full of doctors and nurses, pain and agony, and since then the Queen had strayed from the publics prying eyes. It was rumored that Red’s pregnancy had been false, that it was no more than a publicity stunt and the sudden trauma at the festival was a way to end the claims of child. It hadn’t been, and it was likely that none in attendance would have known of the child still, even with only months to go.  

 

Rolling her shoulders as she stood, the woman smoothed the creases of maroon fabric and began inside, since it seemed most of the guests had arrived. Kahlan made no move to head towards anyone in particular, instead she walked with a slow gait that held no purpose. Still pleasant with smiles, she let her eyes wander over the faces and listened to snippets of conversation as she passed, hearing introductions and names, so many false pleasantries spoken behind masks such as her own blank one. It was mandatory for rulers and leaders alike to lead with nice things said, to compliment other people within their same ranks to make them feel better about themselves and to feel known, to feel they had purpose.  

 

It sickened her.  

 

A small press against her hand from her belly gave her pause, the false smile turning genuine for a moment as she stopped and felt the little one inside moving—Still something Kahlan couldn’t get used to. Her thoughts turned to the father, about how he’d missed much of these moments due to the responsibilities they both held. Saddening, yet necessary. Once the little one had settled she started on again, moving through people with the false smile covering the pure joy she felt from the small, tiny life she was going to bring into the world. The small life that would be the heir to the Scarlet Empire.  

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Varda smiles wider as Lord Titus nods and accepts the flower from her grasp.

"Fortunately for me however, he left quite the promising protege in his wake. I'm looking forward to your future accomplishments Lady Hildebrand.”

She stops a frown from blooming on her face at his earlier words. Her father leaves her as only half a promising protege: the mind without the means to articulate well is only half a leader, in her eyes. Varda swallows down the bitter aftertaste of regret, grins hopefully with the promise of her future accomplishments. "Thank you. It is my honor to serve the people, my lord."

“Meanwhile, enjoy the food! Everything you see was made and grown right here in Ursa Madeum."

She spares a thought to wonder whether some of the food were from the very fields her family tends, from the very land she tills beneath her hands, and her heart warms in her chest: a bright, proud little thing.

At the arrival of a silk-robed stranger, Lord Titus shifts his attention to him, with Varda following suit: a deep curtsy and a quiet smile. She will introduce herself to him later, she decides, after she takes a few moments to enjoy the night’s fare.

Bowing to Lord Milorian and Lady Primera before making her way towards the food-laden tables, her footsteps slow as a blonde woman in a red dress catches her attention, her gaze passing curiously over the swell of her belly. Varda can’t quite recall who this woman is, exactly, but she is definitely not part of the nobility of Ursa Madeum. A sinking feeling in her chest aches at the thought of being seen as inept, for not being knowledgeable about other rulers.

Jasper would know who she is, she thinks bitterly.

Well. Varda straightens her shoulders and quietly turns to walk towards the woman instead. Her lack of knowledge can be rectified immediately.

“My lady, if I may,” Varda begins when she comes near the blonde woman, extending a white rose to her with a shy smile, “I am Varda Hildebrand of House Hildebrand. It is a tradition in our family to greet others with flowers.” The words fall, practiced yet shaky with anxiety. Varda bows politely to cover the nervous gleam in her eyes. “May your lands be peaceful and your fields prosperous, as ours are.”

 

@Red the Ambivalent @Aleksei @Ataraxy

Edited by ourlachesism

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@Ataraxy @ourlachesism @Twitterpated

"You and Lord Mythal are conspiring against me! You continue to speak so fondly of me; you'll get the rest thinking I'm a woman worth the attention."

The woman laughed with understanding breaching her curious eyes. She knew what her invitation entailed, but she will continue to play her part as an accessory upon the elf's gentle arm. Too much attention can be a bad thing, especially when that attention can come from those you'd rather ignore. Primera does not need to expand her borders and even if she did, how would she ever acquire a piece of earth beautiful enough to be added to Renovatio? Who would have the strength to lift it?

"Our borders welcome strangers of all kinds. If you ever find yourself in need of some fresh air, don't hesitate to reach out to me."

If conversation were to wander outside the realm of propriety, Primera would have spoken with the young woman about loss and its ilk. 

There hadn't been a chance for the Grand Kommadant to truly grieve the loss of her mother, father, and a variety of others that had given shape and reason to her delicate life. Though, in retrospect, it was probably for the very best that she was forced into her titles at such a young and early age. If time were allowed to grow between her, she would not be standing here at Milo's side accepting a pretty flower from a grieving woman. No, she would probably be somewhere ... doing things and stuff, not at all making poor attempts to better her homeland.

There is still time to run away though, she thought fondly to herself while Milorian maneuvered the Lady Hildebrand through painful conversation.

"While this meeting lacks his presence, it won't lack his exuberance. He has given us you, and in my opinion, that is something worth admiring."

The elf is a recluse by choice, preferring to focus on reconstructing the Free Marches and the things attached to it. The Tyrant King was kind enough to withhold his killing long enough to put his attention on the Mythal household, which could have been taken as a form of flattery. It's not often you're given an opportunity to show gumption in front of a King with bloodied hands, but when an opportunity arises, one shouldn't run away from the tide. House Mythal suffered damages from the flooding, but it was repairable and repair they will. The knowledge of Lord Hildebrand's death came to him on the winds of conversation; thankfully he had tucked that gem of wisdom away instead of just throwing it away.

Then their little crowd began to break apart. So many people were already making their way into the home, which meant that there would soon be a flourish of different conversations to happen. Varda departed, and Titus switched his attention to the Emporer Koji, a man Primera had spoken about to Milorian and his family. The Grand Kommadant wasn't known for her connections - hidden or not - so her stories of specific individuals piqued his interest. He wondered what tone she used around this Emporer, what she had said and done to acquire his attention.

"If I knew he would be here, I would have brought a plus one."

"Oh? Who?"

Primera gave a half-smile, and he knew she had every intention on not telling him the full truth. Instead, she was going to dance around the subject, dragging him along the whole time, and he knew that he was going to enjoy this.

"Someone I think you'd like."

"And how do you know what I like?"

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For the present, Rozharon had decided to concern herself with four things.

At any given moment, of course, she concerned herself with multiple things: manipulating and reviewing information, processing the images in her vision both seen and unseen, measuring the dance of the celestial bodies, decoding the slow waves of transmitted signals from across the continent, mapping the intricate fabric of connections woven around her in the strings of society, history, geography, all the elements that

But for the moment, as she sat a handsbreadth above the floor in the Great Hall’s second floor, suspended by her power, wings curled around her body – her face, her hands, her feet, - most of her attention was directed to these four.

First: the Syngraf. It was a constant practice, one she always dedicated a sizeable amount of her attention to. Their messages came rarely, and for now, her purpose in this world was unknown. She had been sent to liberate planets from tyrants. She had been sent to rule with blood and steel. She had been sent to claim artifacts, head religions, manufacture cures to diseases, spread plagues, advance civilizations.

Valucre was an interesting case - a converging point of many, there were more variables here than the usual. It would be more difficult, but she patience enough to watch stars collapse into singularities. Pride was not a thing of the Thaumelin had; as wise as they were, they would be fools to claim they know all.

Second: House Singlace, and Ursa Madeum’s nobility. The school incident had been amusing, even to her. Bad luck and misfortune weren’t concepts she was fond of, but Singlace suffered terribly from them. They’d planted themselves in a violent community, acted without consideration of the Ursa Madeans’ culture, and fought back when attacked. Her intervention, she knew, was something they didn’t want, but it had opened the most possibilities for the future. Nobility gave them authority; at the least, it would give them the pull and resources to accelerate advancements in infrastructure. At the worst, they’d be a scapegoat for pent-up frustrations of the commoners. If they entered any unethical or illegal activities – given the nature of their trade, it wasn’t unlikely – Taen would have an easy target to crack down on, a visible sign of the ruling powers’ authority, willing to dispense justice even on their own. House Singlace was an experiment, a raven sent to survey the flood, an unpredictable element thrown into a previously-closed system. Taen

Third: her daughter. Rozharon had witnessed Teresa’s outburst earlier. The Thaumelin knew the actions to take to ensure the girl would behave; young adults had predictable motivations and took simple steps to manipulate. But she was hesitant to simply do what was required. The girl was her daughter, after all- she’d like to be genuine

Fourth: the alliance.

She had been monitoring the proceedings on the ground floor as she sat, poised, patient. She watched the leaders arrive, sense the red-gold, green-blue blooms of their bodies through the distance and the walls as they entered and wandered, walking, talking.

The fact that Titus had proposed the idea was endearing. He was learning, leading. It had been pleasant to find that he now directly ruled two lands (of course, she had made adjustments when he had slept, but it was delightful, nonetheless). Pride was an appropriate emotion for this, Rozharon felt, though mostly she had been curious. She had yet to wander far in Valucre, though a meeting with those who led the nations would be beneficial.

Her ignorance about the world at large was a hindrance, though. She had procured a crystal computing device connected to a Crook and accessed the Storage Movement. She had spoken to many about the state of the world, read all the books in Andelusia’s library (Teresa had stumbled upon her once, surrounded by books suspended in midair, pages turning, as she read multiple tomes simultaneously)

But for now, she watched. It was preferable to be familiar with the battlefield before entering it, viewing all the pieces placed before making a move.

Rozharon watched as groups drifted together and broke apart, watched individuals moving, watched the paths they set and those they would intercept.

Those from Ursa Madeum’s nobility, she could easily identify, as she’d already seen most of them on her trips here. Humanoids’ height and build were distinctive, as were the infrared waves they gave off. Cassandra and Oscar Uldwar were speaking to what seemed to be a regular human bereft of any traces of magic. Chairman Joseph Tynes of Norkotia, likely. Their weapons were unique and masterfully engineered. Trade with Norkotia would be greatly beneficial, though it appeared that they had previous trade relations with Ursa Madeum. She would investigate that soon.

The Norkotian and the Uldwars soon parted ways. Now, this was interesting: he was heading towards the vampire woman who had just finished talking with her companion, his arrow-tipped tail swishing. Gabriela DuGrace and Roen. The queen of Orisia and the Devil, as some referred to him. It would be, she reflected, a strange sort of irony if she conversed with him- her wings, unlike Titus’, could not be easily hidden, and she kept a golden circlet fixed in midair behind her head as a crown.

Titus was easy to pick out from the crowd, conversing with an elf, a woman, and the girl from House Hildebrand. Flowers were exchanged. Eventually, another man approached, and the Hildebrand girl left, heading towards one of the women who had refrained from interaction. She was pregnant, her body subtly displaying the signs in heat and form. At the moment, Rozharon could not discern her identity. It was either the Renovatian Grand Kommandant, Empress Raveena, or Empress Red Yusuke of the Scarlet Empire.

Three had remained unaccompanied from their arrival up to the present– one woman in the library and two armored men. The men were likely James Eredas and Chastity from the White Hand – fighters by nature, defenders from different types of darkness. By elimination, that meant the man Titus was speaking to was Emperor Koji of the Datsuzoku Dynasty, and a decent chance that the woman was Renovatio’s Kommandant.

Satisfied that she had learned all she could, Taen’s Empress silently set her feet on the ground, wings sweeping back to fold neatly behind her shoulderblades. A hand rose towards the amulet Kryvo resting on her neck, fingers brushing against the greenish metal. With a touch, she transferred the attribute of size into Kryvo. At her natural height, she towered above most; for now, she would stay at a more conventional six feet.

She stood, smoothing the folds of her dress with her power’s invisible touch, drawing the pale, gauzy veil over her upper face to conceal her eyes.

Rozharon descended from the Grand Room’s second floor, her stride purposeful, her gait smooth, countenance pleasant, giving courteous nods to those she directly passed. As she walked by the others, she kept her gaze straight. Still, her supernatural field of vision allowed her to quietly take in their appearances, comparing images to faces and confirming identities, noting choices of dress, symbols, posture, expressions. One’s cast said much about their identity. Those information would be useful.

She approached Titus first, pausing to position herself beside him, half-facing the robed man. The dress and logo of the Datsuzoku Dynasty confirmed her earlier presumption.

“Aᴘᴏʟᴏɢɪᴇs ғᴏʀ ᴍʏ ʟᴀᴛᴇ ᴀʀʀɪᴠᴀʟ. I ᴡᴀs ᴀᴛᴛᴇɴᴅɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ᴍᴀᴛᴛᴇʀs,” She gave a slight bow to the other man, hands clasped, bending at the waist, wings extending ever-so-slightly at the motion. “Iᴛ’s ᴀ ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴜʀᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴇᴇᴛ ʏᴏᴜ, Eᴍᴘᴇʀᴏʀ Kᴏᴊɪ.” Here - this man – his was a culture of respect, if she had studied correctly. She’d done her best to model the bow from similar cultures she’d encountered in past worlds; the gesture was subtle enough to be insignificant if it was missed, but the show of respect was purposeful.

The two armored men were in her view now, visible with visible light, near the entrance. Now that she could see their uniforms, it was a simple matter to determine who was James Eredas and who was the White Hand from Yh’mi.

She would need to discuss the mountain. Perhaps she would be able to acquire a firsthand account of the Last Chance attack as well.

Rozharon gave Emperor Koji an apologetic smile, “Exᴄᴜsᴇ ᴍᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ.”

Off she strode, heading towards the pair. Soldiers and fighters both were, clear by the practicality of their wear and the way they stood- pragmatic, no-nonsense, direct-to-the-point. Rozharon let her manner shift subtly: strides widening, shoulders squaring, arms falling to her sides – the walk not of a queen, but of a warrior. These roles, after all, were not mutually exclusive.

She extended a hand to the old man first. “Cʜᴀʀɪᴛʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Wʜɪᴛᴇ Hᴀɴᴅ? Iᴛ’s ɢᴏᴏᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴇᴇᴛ ʏᴏᴜ. Hᴏᴡ ғᴀʀᴇs Yʜ'ᴍɪ?”

 

@Ataraxy @Twitterpated @jaistlyn @Fierach

Edited by Csl

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After a few minutes Lady Uldwar returned to her husband, kissing him on the cheek and thanking him for waiting so patiently. "Without you I would be lost in such places, my darling." He said, smiling at her as they started walking back into the crowds, her arm looped around his elbow as they stayed at each other's side.

Oscar could not help but notice how well his wife hid the evidence that she had been crying in the bathroom. Her cheeks were clean, her eyes looked well, and even her nose looked dry. Either she was very talented at making it look like she hadn't been crying, or she simply wasn't saddened in the first place. He rejected the possibility of the latter notion, knowing his wife too well too well to believe such a thing. Cassandra felt deeply about those that she lost during the reign of the Tyrant King, she would never disrespect their memory by using them to justify fake sorrow.

"Oscar, do you see that man in the armor?" Lady Uldwar said, gently directing his one eye to the elder in plate mail.

Sure enough it was him, the warrior priest known as Chastity. His exploits reached far and wide throughout Terrenus, even to a country put into a vice like grip like Ursa Madeum. Lord Uldwar had always seen the man as one of his personal heroes, and so he chose to approach and converse with him a while. "Hail, sir knight. Are things truly as dire in Yh'mi as I have heard about?"

They were both familiar with the situation, keeping close tabs since the fall of Damien. Should the defenses fall in Inn'sth, Ursa Madeum was likely to experience the brunt of what was to come pouring out of there. All the political scheming in the world didn't matter when the monsters came knocking on your door. Such was the reason why they kept such a close eye on their neighbors to the north.

@jaistlyn

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