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Phoebe

Poetry by the Fountain

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Under the moonlit night, all was quiet in Predator's Keep. Most of its citizens had gone to bed, seeking a rest before the early rise of the next day's work. The soft breeze funneled down from above the canopy of the surrounding forests, diving through the gate and drifting throughout the city; rushing along empty streets into houses, offices, restaurants, and finally, a fountain.

Addison sat with a pen and a notebook, quietly observing the stars as the playful wind toyed with her hair. Her eyes seemed to lapse in and out between phases of focus and relaxation. Her polished grieves and breastplate reflected the light of the moon, casting curious lights in various directions as she turned her body every now and then. It would be apparent to any onlooker that this woman was one of the military line of work. Strapped to her belt were several cylindrical batons, a hunting knife of no small importance, and an embroidered shortsword sheathe, the blade tucked firmly within.

The quiet humming of the Master Knight filled the air. Flowers seemed to rise to attention as she devoted her nightingale song to the tranquil nightlife of the busy city.

@Diremast

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At the end of his journey, she stood as a humble beacon of unfolding destiny before him, quietly basking in the gentle glow of the moonlight. He studied her with the utmost attention in his approach, taking careful note of her modest movements, as if almost enthralled by her subtle grace. A breeze of leaves masked his steps as he danced forth to his destination and then came to a quiet halt. His beautifully crafted silver mask, hides his emotions effectively. His expensive elegant silk and ornate polished metal attire, speaks volumes of his need to acquire. 

“A hushed saunter down forsaken streets, the weary traveler’s memories bleeds.” Departing his gaze from the Master Knight, he kneels by the edge of the fountain among the blooming flowers.

“Whispered thoughts paint a discreet melody, tales of promises broken in divine heresy.” He plucked one of the flowers, rose to his feet and observed it for a brief moment before he would continue. 

“Shackled and overburdened by long past deeds, guilt has been proven and become decreed.” The white petals of the flower moved as a mild gust of the midnight air swept through the area.  

"To atone for sins never seen, the tired wanderer welcomes the swift embrace of the guillotine.” He extended the flower over towards the woman he had come to meet.

“My name is Ulysses Graham Sinnett, and I have come a long way to make your acquaintance.” His arm remained extended, while he waited patiently for her to take the flower from his hand. For it was a gift and a symbol that all beauty is destined to one day wither and die. 


@Phoebe

Edited by Diremast

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Addison's gaze lifted from her book as the man approached with his elegant prose.

She quietly kept the book, tucking it into her back pocket.

"Hello," she smiled with a dainty nod of her head, reaching forward and opening her palm for the man to place the flower within.

"Your acquaintance is most welcome," she responded, standing up from her fountain, her woven green cloak unfurling from around her waist. The loud crack of armor joints rotating against each other resounded in the air. She straightened her back, fully extending her posture to meet the man eye to eye. "How may I be of assistance to you?"

@Diremast

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“I have come with a proposition.” He withdrew his hand and it rejoined at his side once more. 

“A beneficial arrangement for the both of us, if I may be so bold to say so myself.” He turned from the Master Knight and looked up into the night sky just as she had done previously, gesturing his arms to the alluring glimmer of the stars while speaking.   

“For you see, just as this mask that shelters the truth behind my charred skin, people wear masks to hide their own blackened faces and the vices that come with them.” Although his face remained covered, it was not difficult to notice the smile behind his words. 

“Never underestimate the lengths people will go to in order to keep their secrets just that.” He returned to face her once more, taking a few steps further in her direction. 

“A faint whisper in the night, if left unchecked, may become a catalyst of glorious fire and chaos as the sun rises.” He spoke with passion and personal conviction.  

“That is my craft, to conjure from nothing… Power.” He paused for dramatic effect, as if he was performing a private play just for Addison. 

“This is what I offer you, Addison Nacht, Master Knight and Governess of Bastion City.” He offered her a bow, signifying the respect and admiration befitting someone in her station.  


@Phoebe

Edited by Diremast

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"To know what my enemies seek to hide, and to protect what I wish for them not to know?" she replied in earnest. "I presume that is the cause for your presence, and gladly so."

She followed the man's gaze into the distant skyline, before returning back to him with deep curiosity.

"Mister Sinnett, if you wouldn't mind me asking, tell me a bit about yourself! What of your exploits, your past work, and your knowledge."

Her dainty cheeks dimpled as she offered him a wide, hearty smile.

"Share your wisdom, for I care to hear."

@Diremast

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He provided her a gentle nod in reaction to her statement, there was no verbal response required for the purpose of his private audience having already unraveled itself beautifully. 

“My profession is subtle discretion, thus it would speak ill of my competence for you to know of my past exploits.” He returned her smile and took steps around the fountain.

“Nevertheless, I assure you that I am well versed in the art of the cloak and dagger.” While he talked in a humble and elegant manner, the truth was that his gloves had stains of dried blood upon them. For such is the price of pragmatic ambition.  

Sometimes, the end justifies the means unconditionally. 

“You see, the constitution of truth is not fixed matter nor as objective as people would claim. Like all things perceived, it’s a subject under the laws of perception.” There was more depth to his words that came to the surface, but he refrained himself from diving deeper into such an philosophical  discussion. 

“Killing an individual is simple, during my days I have killed many men.” He paused for a second while reminiscing past memories. 

“But smothering an ideal before it blooms into a full scale revolution requires a delicate hand.” He gestured towards the flower that he had offered her. 

“Tell me, what ideals form your perception?” Before providing time enough to warrant a reply, he continued. 

“What ambitions guide your hand, milady?” He left the question open in the air. It was with intention that he had danced around her request to learn more about himself. 


@Phoebe

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She cleared her throat and thought for a moment.

Quite simply, Mister Sinnett, the preservation of what is good and kind,” she finally replied after a few seconds of deliberation.

Her fingers seemed to tighten around the fountain’s ledge, as if the very words she spoke filled her with enough resolve to split the hardened stone in her hand into pieces.

I believe in justice, and that those who seek to bring about what is right should have the tools to go to the lengths necessary.

Her voice seemed to quiver briefly, harped onto a recent memory and obsession that had been plaguing her. She smiled blankly, her emotions suppressed under a mask of neutral friendliness that would otherwise have gone undetected to the untrained eye. Eventually, she calmed herself and spoke again.

I also believe in meritocracy, Mister Sinnett. That those who perform well should be rewarded according to the degree of their performance.

She looked at the man expectantly, having believed to have answered his question.

And what beliefs guide you?

@Diremast

Edited by Phoebe

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“Such noble ideals, I would expect nothing less from someone like you.” He spoke with a hidden smirk while taking careful study of her struggle to smother whatever haunted her. Ulysses recognized the brief glimpse of emotions she could not manage to remain shackled from sight all too well. But their origin remained a mystery, for now. 

“Look around yourself, milady.” He turned away from the knight and gestured to their surroundings.

“We build grand monuments to cover up for our sins, on broken backs we attempt to buy ourselves divine wings.” He observed the structures around them for a moment, before turning back to face her. 

“The strong and powerful will always strive to govern the weak and feeble, it is simply survival of the fittest in its most primal form.” He had seen proof of this too many times to remember, but he did not judge them, just as he would not judge a lion for hunting down its prey. 

Because he knew that we are all subject to our own nature.

“For some to be rich, others need to be poor. For some to be strong, others must be weak in comparison.” From his experience, such was the balance of the world. 

“You intrigue me, Arbiter.” His gaze became fixated on the woman while continuing his speech. 

“I wonder, what are you prepared to sacrifice in order to create such a world?” He did not allow enough time for her to reply, instead he continued. 

“Would you allow your soul to be blackened?” He left the question open in the air and fell into silence. 


@Phoebe

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No,” she replied plainly. She raised her hands to her collar, tucking the edge of her cowl over the top of her dress such that it draped over her shoulders like a loosely worn scarf.

If you know that I am the Arbiter, then you must know that I wield the Sagi-shi no Fudo, and that I cannot be lied to,” she stated, her irises flashing briefly with intricate arcane symbols, turning her eyes blue for a fraction of a second. She seemed to read him, judging him by every nerve and hair that stood or shifted with each breath that he took and each word that he said. She gave him a curious look, as if one glance at his posture had intrigued her immensely of the great enigma that he posed.

Then you must also know that I can pass any lie and have it be taken as truth,” she continued, lifting her palms to her collar once again and tucking the cowl back under the fabric of her dress. “I believe that sacrifice should be made warily. Too many succumb to grand notions of heroism and glory. Power calls out to them when they are most vulnerable, and they resort to unnatural means to acquire it, deviating further from the purity of their initial goals.

She raised her fist and closed it tightly, her tendons straining visibly below the metal.

I intend to keep a leash on that power. It takes great strength of will to wield it and even greater strength not to be corrupted by it. My sacrifice is that I will bear this burden until the day I too inevitably succumb to it.

@Diremast

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Much to his masked approval, she had refused to consider the idea of training her soul to realize her mission. For such things were truly below someone of her statue.  

“While it’s my job to seemingly know more than I actually do, the truth is that there are some things that elude even the most perceptive.” He smiled under his mask again. Their conversation served to introduce more than just his identity, but also to showcase his capacity to perform his chosen profession. But there was no use to play charade, for if what she told was true there was little point for further theatrics. 

“I know only your title and the rumors that accompany it. What people divulge to others secretly in confidence, thinking that nobody is listening.” He had carefully watched her as she made her statement. It was true that greed or overzealous ambition often serve to lead idealism astray. 

“With great power comes great responsibility, to contain it.” Unchecked power would always sooner or later become primed for chaotic eruption, it was simply a matter of the natural order of things. 

“Secrets lose their worth when revealed. I can help you keep them unseen in shadows. Safely tucked away and out of grasp from those who would abuse them against you.” He concluded his offer and fell back into silence. 


@Phoebe

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"Consider your services, desired," Addison smiled, standing up and off of the base of the fountain. Her posture straightened and suddenly, she met him eye to eye.

"Kneel, Ulysses Graham Sinnett, and I will bestow upon you the mantle of service into my armed force. Your life will by no means by simple or easy any longer were it so before. However, we will accomplish great things together."

She folded her notebook, slipping it into her pocket before taking in the man's enigmatic demeanor, his cold and calculated mask seemingly offering everything she could possibly desire in an agent.

@Diremast

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He elegantly placed his right knee upon the ground in response to her command, allowing her to perform his conscription ceremony. Although he would serve under her, they would both see their motivations come to life and blossom. When it was completed he would again rise to his feet. 

“The road to universal eminence is long and will surely be trailed with great strife.” He paused momentarily while regaining his posture with renewed resolve.

“For tranquility to endure and order to be retained, it must be molded and shaped by hardship, loss and despair. For such is the burden to to possess the potential to change the world. From what history has taught me, it is simply inevitable.” Though his words painted a grim picture of their future, he truly believed in it. 

“But I shall serve to help shoulder this burden.” He tilted his head slightly to nod at her, to reassure that while she was their leader, she would not stand against the tides alone. 

“Cowards die many times before their death.” There was no place she could aim to lead him, that he would not follow her. 

“But not us.” He concluded.


@Phoebe

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