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  1. #471
    Somewhere Beneath Taroc in Western Rekōdo: The Hidden Fortress of Alain LeCavalier

    Attachment 2138

    Nalia al'Vatar

    How many crimson coats does he own? Nalia felt as if she had seen him in little else since she's come to know him. She remembered these coats as one remembers a moment where they walked through a portal of change in their lives. Reverence. It was a warm day when she first met him. There was a cool breeze coming off the lakes and the forests beyond. Clouds littered the sky like soft, drifting cotton. The crimson coat was billowing in the winds, blowing away the smell of smoke, ash and death. Trying, so hard, to sweep away the feeling of death all around. Everything was charred black, but that coat was bright, like embers of fire, among the ashen ruins...

    Nalia smiled distantly, gently, sadly.

    "I would expect no less from either of you" she said quietly, of Alain and Olivia. Serving a greater good she sometimes felt she did not entirely understand. Serving the people of Taroc above all else. The people before himself.

    Nalia looked up at Alain and her expression was grim as she was sucked back into an unfortunate, mental reminder of what they had just done. A crushing guilt threatened to overwhelm her that she, not Darmon, had been the one to unseat the great Alain LeCavalier from his vows that set Taroc at his heart and sight. She was grateful she'd had the foresight to sit.

    "I will make arrangements to accept trade with all provinces so that the strain is not Taroc's and O.K.'s alone, though I cannot imagine many will publicly display their trade until they see how King Heron will manage what has happened. Mindoka may. He is silently bold in that way. Astral will not. Maginus will not, if they choose to at all. Da'Jinn, as always, is a mystery."

    The gentleness of his confession of what he would give made Nalia's look change for a third time. Hers mirrored the softness that she saw of his. The mirror provided a degree of separation that had it not been how he observed her, she would not have risen as she did when he spoke of the Elder Guild's support for building a school on Capios. It added extra weight to her rise and gave it more energy. A little joy. That joy was stymied by the change in his tone. Slight wounding at the thought that he cannot help his people, even if it is only a handful.

    "Enchantry will do what it can to heal and protect those of Taroc who seek her aid." She told him softly. She took a step forward to meet him as he came to her, but she stopped before he did as if there were a wall before her that she could not cross.

    "It is all I can give you" she all but whispered as she looked at him. The delicate facade of strength threatened to unravel itself right before his very eyes.

    "It is all I can give you" she repeated in a voice that seemed impossibly soft. So much so, that he might have thought he imagined an echo to her words. Nalia cleared her throat gently, looked downward to compose herself before looking at him again.

    "It will be morning soon." she said much more strongly. "I must return to my people."
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
    *Dexter to the Core|Council of Guidance|Matriarch of Poetry*
    -Official #2 fan of Greg Land|#1 fan of Reesha Teramu & Nevole|#3 fan of Gareth|#4 fan of Arwyn
    1656OF56**Beeber Heads Unite!**4270

    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  2. #472
    [QUOTE=Qwaring;232761]Alain LeCavalier

    Alain's Hidden Fortress...

    Alain can't help but smile when Nalia refers to her people. He remembers a time when he couldn't even imagine her ever feeling like she belonged anywhere or with anyone. Now she is a leader of people. The heart and soul of a new society.

    Alain steps closer to Nalia. He wants to take her into his arms, but he halts himself before he can get within reach of her. He can't hold her. He can't give in to such feelings and urges ever again. They can only ever have this one moment of weakness. If they're lucky none shall ever discover this mistake, and it can be one of the many near-disasters that is lost to history.

    He doesn't embrace her. Alain merely stands at arms length away from Nalia and smiles warmly at her.

    "And I have my endless parade of meetings to endure," Alain lightly replies.

    He reaches into the inside pocket of his coat and recovers a small brass charm. The charm is a chunk of opal wrapped in coils and swirls of brass. It hums slightly and the colors of the opal shift with the illusion of movement inside of the stone. Alain tosses the charm to Nalia.

    "My fortress is protected from teleportation and portals. This trinket will allow you to leave and go back to Enchantry. The trinket will crumble to dust once you are gone from here," Alain instructs her. The trinket was created as a one-way pass out of the fortress that will destroy itself in order to leave no sign of its existence, or leave any trace for enemies to study and replicate.

    Alain gives a graceful bow to Nalia.

    "Farewell, Nalia al'Vatar, Guild Mistress of Enchantry."

  3. #473
    Somewhere Beneath Taroc in Western Rekōdo: The Hidden Fortress of Alain LeCavalier

    Attachment 2138

    Nalia al'Vatar

    His smile fills her with warmth, like a fine Astral Rose Wine and though there is a space between them, memories of a roaring hearth and the sound of buttons raining on a stone floor turn that warmth to fire. Though there is a supple space between them, Nalia swallows the sudden, parched dryness in her throat. His smile is not returned. Nalia is slowly regaining her composure and, with it, the controlled calm that was a source of ire for the Guild Master of Maginus. Her reflexes are entirely Astralian as she swiftly caught the Totem he tossed her way. Her emerald eyes honed in on it the second he removed it from his pocket. The hum of it was welcoming in her palm, but hearing of the Totem's short lifespan made her tsk him lightly.

    "A pity. I would love to study such a treasure further."

    It is for the best. She cannot have a way back in to this place. Alain's bow is met with a well manicured curtsy, low and respectful, the likes of which were never given to her the other half of his mentorship over her. Her head dipped and she rose, not bringing her eyes back up to him until she had completely risen to her full height. The bow was ancient and formal. She knew he disliked her and all her formalities. So much of that had been scattered to the wind tonight. So many things had changed.

    "Farewell, Master Alain" she replied gently. Her eyes locked onto his and in a burst of emerald light, she was gone. The burst hovered for a moment in the air as to allow him just a few seconds longer to imprint the contours of her body into his memory before the sparks of emerald fell to the ground and died like embers of a fire. Like buttons raining down on a cold, stone floor before a roaring fire.

  4. #474
    Alain LeCavalier

    Alain's Hidden Fortress...

    Soon Nalia is gone. Only an emerald starscape in her shape is left to linger for a moment, but even that eventually fades.

    Alain is left to ponder what he has done. To wonder if he has set a disaster in motion or simply added to one of the many minor mistakes that are forgotten and will forever evade the pages of history.

    ~You've doomed us all...~

    Alain shudders as Clow's voice spreads over his mind like a wrathful flame. The Guild Master wants to explain himself. To throw around the words and bargains that any self-respecting politician carries in their quiver, but Clow doesn't give him a chance to think up a single syllable. Alain feels claws digging into his psyche as the spirit within him tries to take hold of his mind. The man doubles over and staggers back into the wardrobe. A jolt of intense pain shoots through Alain as the enraged spirit seeks to beat upon the thoughts of his host and force him to submit to Clow's control.

    ~You would destroy all that I have built and sacrificed for! You foolish child! You stupid beast! You've doomed yourself, you've doomed me, and you've doomed all of Taroc! The land and people you have sworn a thousand oaths to serve and defend! You've betrayed everyone and everything!!~ Clow's every word is a thunderclap pounding down upon the landscape of Alain's mind. Alain stumbles around the room, his body trembling and unsteady. Eventually Alain collapses onto one knee.

    Alain manages to raise his mental defenses. He pushes back at the vengeful spirit, and tries to parry every spiritual attack. Clow fights against Alain with every bit of power, skill, and rage that he can summon. As Alain's body collapses onto the floor the two souls of the Guild Master fight a war of wills.

    "No one will ever know!" Alain snarls back at his attacker. "It will never happen again. Stop this before you get us both killed!"

    ~No! You are not fit to lead. There can be no forgiveness! We are the leaders of Taroc. We can not make mistakes like this. There is too much at stake. No second chances, fool!~

    Then something snaps within Alain. Until now he only sought to survive the attack and restrain his attacker. Now Clow has said the wrong thing. Now it is Alain's turn to be angry.

    He lashes out at Clow, striking the spirit and knocking him back. Alain takes hold of something the spirit would recall being a memory of a throat, and forces Clow deep into Alain's mind. Clow tries to fight back and yell at his host, but Alain simply shoves and drags the spirit through a jungle of memories. It's a long and difficult struggle. They fight across reaches of Alain's mind that Clow has never before been allowed to tread.

    Eventually, Clow finds himself being pushed through a wooden door. The door is a patchwork of rotted wood. The room beyond is a dank hole of darkness, mold, and filth. The stench of this place is a monster beyond description. Alain forces Clow to kneel beside a bed that is little more than a nest of long-discarded blankets and sheets.

    Lying in this bed is a wasted husk of an old man. This ancient creature is a pathetic thing. He's shriveled, starved. His wrinkled skin is pallid and yellowed with disease. Paled eyes drift in unseeing delirium. Hands tremble as great agony rattles within his wasted form.

    "Alain... ?" asks the old man. His voice is little more than a rattle from a chest that has nothing left to keep it breathing other than whatever spirit hangs on to this wretched form.

    "Harbin- " whispers a younger version of Alain that rushes into the room and kneels beside the bed.

    Clow looks upon the scene in absolute shock. All of this is a memory. Something Alain has buried and kept out of Clow's reach. Clow stares upon the old man. He can't believe it. This is Harbin?! Clow saw Harbin. The spirit's former host met the old warrior many times. Harbin was a large, powerful being. The pride and glory of Taroc given the form of a man.

    "I've been looking for you everywhere. I need to take you home. Why are you in this place?" the memory of a young Alain says to Harbin, while taking hold of the old man's hand.

    "I found out where you got the money for the apartment. I'm not going to die in a home bought with criminal money. I'd rather die here- I- I- " Harbin tells his grandson before the act of talking becomes too much for him. He is left gasping and trembling. Filthy rodents scamper across the old man, as if he were just another pile of trash for them to navigate their way across. Young Alain swats the vile creatures away, and rests his head on Harbin's shoulder. The young man is sobbing now.

    "Shh," Harbin softly replies to the boy. He somehow finds the strength to lay a hand on Alain's head. "I kept you safe. You're still a secret. That was the mission, my boy. I'll happily die knowing that I succeeded in that much. Now it's up to you to carry on. You do what you need to do to keep yourself safe."

    Clow looks upon Harbin's hands and now notices a faint glow in the blue spots on the back of the old man's hands. He instantly recognizes these spots. ~Etheric fever? That was curable- It- ~

    Clow immediately knows that if Harbin had gone to any hospital to seek treatment the seers of the hospital would have recognized him. Once Harbin was identified, Guild agents would have been dispatched to capture him. They would have forced Harbin to reveal Alain's existence. Clow recalls thinking up the protocols for locating and capturing any LeCavalier that entered a hospital, Guild building, academy, or fortress.

    He brought the proud, glorious Harbin to this sorry state.

    Young Alain no longer lays his head on Harbin. He looks upon the old man. Both trapped in this horrid place, drowning in terrible sorrow and agony.

    "Stay strong, my boy," Harbin whispers. He smiles at his grandson. "Gods protect Taroc. Gods protect Clow. May they find the strength and wisdom that my sword nor my kin can- "

    Then silence. Harbin falls limp. Whatever kept his body going slips away. The pride and glory of Taroc dies.

    ~We were tricked... We couldn't know... ~ Clow mutters. The words are ash in his mouth. He knows there is nothing he can say to rationalize any of this.

    "Gods protect Taroc. Gods protect Clow." Harbin says again. Clow looks up to see the old man dying again. Then again. And again. Every time Harbin ends with his half finished prayer for the land, people, and spirit he loved and defended. Harbin never loses his belief and dedication to Taroc and Clow. Even after they both turned against him, slew his entire family, hunted him like an animal, and drove him to die as this shriveled-up husk in this filthy hole. Harbin's dying wish was for the continued protection of Taroc and Clow.

    Again and again the moment plays out for Clow.

    The spirit tries to recoil from this. He can't stand it. The words tear at his soul. The sight brings only pain and shame. He needs to get away. Alain, the older man that forced Clow to this place, struggles to hold the spirit in this memory. The man and soul fight, but in the end Clow can't slip free from his host's grasp.

    ~Are you insane! Surely this is tormenting you as well! It must hurt you a thousand times worse than I. Would you endure this agony just to hurt me?!~ Clow pleads with Alain.

    "No forgiveness... remember," Alain whispers to the spirit. "We are the leaders of Taroc. We can not make mistakes like this. There is too much at stake. No second chances."

    Clow hears his own words, spoken from Alain. The man's voice shakes. Being here in this memory is a pain beyond any other, but Alain remains here to condemn Clow to this torment.

    And that's when Clow understands the rage and pain that has always burned within Alain. It's this moment. This is why Alain fought against becoming Clow's host. This is why Alain was so demanding of the spirit, often treating him more like a servant than a mentor. It's why this memory was kept in such a secure place. This is a hell Alain crafted for Clow. The spirit helped to make this trauma, and now Clow has pushed Alain too far. This is the wrath that Harbin could never bring against the spirit he was eternally loyal to.

    ~Stop this. He wouldn't want this,~ Clow pleads. ~I might deserve this for what happened to the LeCavaliers, but you don't. We should leave here. Alain, please.~

    "No forgiveness..."

    Alain's eyes snap open. He's lying on the floor of his bedroom within his secret fortress. And he's in great pain. Alain recognizes this pain. He's been struck by lightning?

    As stars and flashes fade from Alain's sight he becomes aware of someone standing over him. It takes the man a moment to focus on this figure. It's Lydmila. In her hand she holds a freshly fired storm pistol. There's anger and disappointment written in her steely gaze.

    Gradually, Alain understands that out of anyone in Taroc, Lydmila has a strong enough connection to both Alain and Clow to be able to see that a confrontation this cataclysmic was going to happen. She's also one of the few that has unrestricted access to the fortess. She must have sensed what was happening, come here, and shot a lightning bolt into Alain to jolt him back into the waking world.

    ~You're both too stubborn and stupid for your own good,~ Lydmila telepathically tells both Alain and Clow. She cocks back the hammer on the storm pistol and aims it towards Alain. The man can sense the potential of her firing upon him with an elemental shot that would do much more than wake him. In Lydmila's hands an elemental weapon could possibly kill Alain. ~Either you both stop this nonsense or I'll end this stupidity as fast and painlessly as I can.~

    Alain silently looks up at Lydmila. He's honestly unsure if she would follow through with her threat. Alain can feel Clow within his mind. The spirit is silent. Is there anything more for Alain and Clow to say to one another. There definitely is, but not tonight. Now it might be best for them both to retreat and recover from the wounds they inflicted upon each other. Hopefully time will heal the damage that has been done. Maybe there can be forgiveness.

    Alain raises his hands, surrendering to Lydmila's violently presented wisdom. Lydmila lowers the pistol's hammer, and tosses the weapon onto the bed. She shakes her head at the foolish Guild Master and spirit, and walks out of the room.

    Alain and Clow are left to silently ponder matters, like recently scolded children.

  5. #475
    The Aile Bones: On the Hillside of Capios


    Nalia al'Vatar

    The coolness of the early dawn was the first thing she felt when she silently re-appeared within her enchanted tent. Then came the sound of the ocean’s tide upon the shore and with it the strong smell of salt and surf. Light is beginning in the east, far across the Bay of Rekōdo, over the cliffs of Maginus and the hills and mountains beyond. To the west, the stars are still bright, and the Heli’Dom glows like a bright beacon in the southwestern sky. Here, on Capios, enchanted tents and torches from the High Guard’s watch littered the hillside. The mist of the Aile Bones has yet to be burned away by the sun. It makes her new world feel otherworldly, and she like a soul, long passed, forgotten, and lost to the forward march of time. The sound of wind in the tall grasses reminded her that she was still present and needed air. She inhaled the smells of these wild lands, looked out from her tent at the rolling, green hills and dark oceans and felt safe. On the beaches far below, she had been shot four times, for the Glory of Maginus, and once more to save her from it.

    It was only hours ago and since then she had given herself to a Guild Master. Nalia looked down at the sleeping, carbon copy of herself in her bed and whisked it back to her memory with a wave of her hand. Then she looked at her hand, remembering where it had been, what it had touched. She closed her eyes against the memories and then looked downward as if seeking refuge, but all she saw was the sheer fabric of her bodice and how truly enticing a dress she wore. Her emerald eyes stared downward and as her lips parted to make a soft, distressed sound, Nalia put a hand to her mouth to silence it. Then she took it away and brought her hands to the buttons at the back of her dress. She felt enclosed by her mistakes- yes, that’s what they were- claustrophobic, like she could not breathe. It had to come off now. Now. Her hands began to shake, everything in her tent began to tremble in response. Amid her own personal earthquake, the dress became ruins on the ground around her. Buttons went flying and fell like pebbles upon the floor. They bounced and the sound reminded her of a crimson hearth, the heat of it, of him, and the sound of buttons falling under his grip, like rain.

    Nalia’s breathing became ragged and she turned around wildly to look for something, anything else to cover her. Alone, in privacy, she stumbled forward and knocked things awry. Things of this enchanted abode, which expanded to look like it contained many rooms and accommodations, broke upon the floor. She finally found a robe and pulled it over her naked body. She could not make her hands work to tie it closed before she fell to her knees on the floor. Her fingers fumbled to tie the cloth shut. She could not breathe.

    The Nightmares frothed at her inner chaos. They baited and cheered on her dark thoughts and woes. Nalia gave up the fight to secure her robe and put her hands to the earth that trembled beneath her palms. She hung her head and tried to clear her mind, but she was assaulted over and over by the sounds of howling, writhing, nails scraping against rock. She could not think anything beyond the dismay at what she’d done. He was her teacher, her mentor and soon he would be a fellow Guild Master. She could not allow herself to care. She could not open herself, or him, to the consequences that could follow if she was foolish enough to repeat one of Rekōdo’s worst, forgotten mistakes in its history.

    The ground began to crack beneath her. Dark, bubbling things began to reach and froth out from between the crevasses. Tar-like hands coiled around her wrists and slithered up her arms. They chained her to the broken earth and tugged her downward. Nalia’s eyes opened wide as she stared down into a giant, dark maw of Nightmare teeth. She opened her mouth to scream.

    “Lady Nalia?”

    She stared down into lush, green grass. A fresh, ocean breeze whipped up the steep hill and into her tent. Window-holes and the skirts of it fluttered and flapped gently and wafted the salty, wet scent inward. She was gasping for air. She was shaking. There was a pause outside her tent. She did not recognize the voice. One of the High Guard from Rekōdo City sent by the King.

    “Lady Nalia is everything alright?”

    He lingered, just outside the flap to enter her tent. Clumsily, she lifted her hands form the earth and managed to knot her robe shut.

    ”Yes” she responded hoarsely. She cleared her throat. ”Yes. Everything’s fine.”

    Nalia sat back on her knees and touched a hand to her heart. She could feel its erratic drumming through her ribs. The Guard remained for a moment longer and then moved on down his path.

    ”It was just a Nightmare” she whispered to herself.

    She did not sleep the rest of the night, but sat on her cot, facing one of the larger windows that overlooked the sea. She sat with her knees to her chest and rested her cheek there. Her fingers and legs were cold with the incoming air, but she did not care. Her mind full and restless. It was active with intimate memories. A hand placed there. Lips here. Noises and wishes. Words they shared. Something she had never shared with any other man or woman. It had been taken from her by her first man. At those memories, Nalia closed her eyes against the beautiful, moonlit sea and bowed them into her knees so that not even Alain’s beloved stars would see the tears that marched in single order down her cheek. It was the same act, the thing she’d done and the thing done to her. Both creating entirely different feelings and both forbidden for very different reasons. Nalia struggled to wrap her head around them both. Darmon had whispered things to her as he moved above her. Of things done properly between men and women. Of those things that he would do to her. Alain whispered no such plans for her. What they had done was different. It felt different.

    But neither would happen again. Nalia looked up from her knees, out at the sea and the cliffs of Maginus and Taroc and made a vow, for the sake of Rekōdo, for The Guild Master of Taroc and for herself.

    It would never happen again.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 08-07-2015 at 08:43 PM.

  6. #476
    The Grand Palace of Rekōdo: In the Halls of History


    Nalia al'Vatar

    It was midday, but not yet too warm in the throbbing heart of Rekōdo. The gates were open, as they always were in times of peace. There were no curfews, certainly not at the midday hour. The massive doors to the gates or water canals were clearly labeled with the Province that would be entered upon leaving the city. They were labeled with stone and banners of color to mark in case one could not read. As the people who pilgrimed here entered the gates marked with the symbol, banner and name of Rekōdo their magikal signature was registered within the Great Palace as well as in a never-ending book within the Central City Library’s Book of Attendance. But, as formidable and strong as the walls, layered outward with a centuries-long need for expansion, were the there were two things that dominated the massive skyline.

    The blue-tiled dome of the Central Library gleamed like a smoothed sapphire on the bottom of the highest point in the City. Its reflective pools and orb-like lights up its pathway glistened and reflected the bright sunlight as it peered through white islands of clouds that sailed peacefully through the sky. Farther up the hill, through well-preserved trees as old as the kingdom itself, was the Grand Palace. The many streets were exceptionally crowded by the throngs of people that moved, drawn toward the energy that hummed around the center of the City, to the hill and the palace on top. Here was the home of Kings and Queens and the High Councilmen in their deliberating Chamber. The palace was sculpted similar to something out of a fairytale, with buttresses and towers. Eight towers total. One in the center and heart of the palace had carved upon it a dragon. It seemed to crawl up the spire of the tower. With it were carved faeries, unicorns, merfolk, centaurs and at the top a pegasus, all were carved creatures in tribute to powers far older than man.

    Then were the seven towers of the Provinces. Five had fires alight at their peak, fires that could be seen for miles like a series of beacons in the light polluted sky. The Tower of Taroc, The Blessed Province, flickered with fires of red and gold. Atop the Tower of Shamaa, The Earthen Province, were fires of blue and brown and for Astral, The Exotic Province, were bright, clashing fires of yellow and purple. For the Tower of Da'Jinn, The Fateful Province, billowed fires of orange and green. Lastly, the Tower of Maginus, The Formidable Province, billowed dark flames of black and the darkest blue. There were two towers that were silent and faceless. There were no carvings to announce their Province's name. No smoke to signal fires once vivid long gone out. Their faces were destroyed and no names were left to be read on the walls of the tower. It was written that those two towers stood for the Forgotten War and the Great War, as a reminder of the consequence of dissent and destruction to even the most powerful in Rekōdo’s history. A rumor had been circulating of making one of those towers bear fire of green and black, for the soon-to-be founded Guild of Enchantry as its own separate entity. It was met with much debate, by those who did not like change and those who did.

    It was midday and in an hour, history would be made. A spot had already been created on the ever-expanding hallway that chronicled the History of Rekōdo from its before its conception to the present. Panels of words were the walls, with stained glass images that continuously shifted and moved like colored shared of a puzzle, as if they were an animated glimpse into the past in sculpted form. The hallway seemed endless. They as beautifully lit by the light that always seemed to filter and angle itself inward through the large, round stained glass window that was visible by all of Rekōdo City. It faced south so the sun moved across it at all times of the day. It depicted a map-like image of the Kingdom of Rekōdo, its five provinces shaded in with their dual colors. Banners with their symbols marked their place, a star at their capitals. At the heart of Rekōdo City was the infinite diamond symbols, for unbreakable unity and eternity. All around the circle were eight points and at each was the symbol of each province with the symbol for Rekōdo at the top. The two points beside it were empty, so that none were favored over the other by being closest to the infinite diamond. One of the blank points would be pulled loose today, for the first time since Rekōdo’s founding. It would be replaced with the simple symbols of Enchantry: A T-shaped tree and a line for the ocean’s horizon above it. Earth and water were all to be seen on the Aile Bones. She more than any other knew what the earth and ocean there hid.

    Very little had been seen of her since the attempt on her life several weeks ago. Alain was correct in saying that the life of a Guild Master never ceased. It kept no nightly hours aside for sleep, nor did it set aside minutes for personal use. It was better that way, she’d concluded when she’d had a spare moment to think after a meeting with her Head Architect over the structural designs of the Guild. She only gave a moment to lament the lost days of adventures that lead up to this. She couldn’t afford to give them, or him any more thought. At least, she had sent letters of her progress whenever meetings could not be scheduled. So much had been accomplished, but there was so much more to go.

    At this moment, the sun was almost directly overhead. The deep blue and purple hues of the Great Swells tainted the light and cast pale shadows of color into the room. There was a hint of green from the northern-most reaches of the Hundred Year Plains that stretched like a sash of honor from Rekōdo’s southwest to its northeast, but it was overshadowed and eclipsed by the dark hues of Maginus.

    Nalia stood in the Hall of History and watched a particular frame of history as it shifted through a series of events to inform the viewer of important events of this era in time. It was toward the end of the Second Era, nearly two hundred years before the Great War, whose end marked the beginning of the Third and current Era of Rekōdo. The time frame she watched was what many historians considered the first point of measurable imbalance in Rekōdo’s economy and culture that began its descent to the Great War. Guild Masters began to bicker and ignited rivalries and hatreds that were ever-bitter from Rekōdo’s founding. There was no large-scale historical event noted. Just a sudden shift in economic balance, the dissent of the High Council and the failing health of the King of the time.

    The mixed colors of Maginus overshadowing those of the earthen greens that would become her banner toyed with the emerald color of her Enchantress robes. It was these that she had adopted shortly after the flight to Capios and the failed attempt at her assassination. She wore her usual, lightly polished cut of emerald stone on her forehead that dangled from terribly fine threads of silver chain that wreathed her head. The piece of stone was cut from a Totem gem and would be given to each high member of Enchantry upon their ascension past being a Novice. They contained charges of teleportation and energy and would later go one to be used to help power the protective dome over Capios of Nalia’s design.

    There was a belt at her waist that was ribboned with the dual color of ones home province with those of Enchantry. The symbol of Enchantry was prominent in the middle of the belt, with the province of origin at the right and the infinite symbol of Rekōdo at the left in a triad. Nalia’s only had two symbols overlapping each other: Rekōdo’s under that of Enchantry’s. The clasp of Nalia’s cloak was centered at her neck and displayed a brooch of Enchantry, not a symbol or rank to one shoulder as her appointed Council and hierarchy did. A dark green bodice, gown and long sleeves embroidered with intricate, runic designs and spells were hand-stitched on the hems. A simple, white blouse was worn underneath. These would be the official robes of those who passed the novice level to become and Enchanter or Enchantress. The Novices, those not yet skilled or raised to the level of Enchantress, wore simpler green gowns with a simpler belt displaying the two colors of their province wrapped about their waists, elbows, and hems. They were each assigned to a sister, an Enchantress who would teach them the ways of the Guild and guide them as they honed their skills.

    Nalia’s mane of long, dark curls were free and spilled over her shoulder to one side. Her hood was down and she was bathed in the colors of the window. Despite that, her expression was grim as she studied Rekōdo’s history as it played out before her. In a few hours history would be made. The only Guild to be founded since the Forgotten War that began Rekōdo would be proclaimed by the King. She would be among the stained glass here, as a part of history to be read with grimace or grin as time’s wheel turned on. Nalia was a pale, white beauty among so much, possibly too much color within the room. She breathed deeply, but raggedly.

    In an hour, history would be made.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 08-07-2015 at 11:09 PM.

  7. #477
    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace of Rekōdo

    History, no matter if it is of the past or the future, is written all around us. Or so it is said in Taroc. Those with the gifts of sight are taught how to read these histories in the world around them.

    The most common form of divination is the cards. Reading the cards is taught to most Taroc school children. Even if they dedicate themselves to other forms of divination, the cards always acts as the foundation of their training.

    Alain learned how to read the cards. It was all of the training in the divination arts that he could get during his troubled childhood. The lack of money and avoidance of Guild operated academies made learning any more extremely difficult.

    Alain likes reading the cards. It's order out of chaos. It's a challenge that must be solved through wisdom and intuition.

    Even now, within the palace chambers that are reserved for the Guild Master of Taroc, Alain sits at his desk and reads the cards. Every member of the council is granted these chambers within the palace. They act as offices for Taroc business in the palace, and personal quarters to retreat to and rest between days-long council meetings and debates. Sometimes, they are a place where Alain can sit back, relax, and read the cards.

    Though, he doesn't give his full attention to the cards on his desk. He doesn't need whatever deeper meaning they are trying to tell him. Simply observing the tale told by the images on them is enough right now. However, within Alain's mind, Clow mutters to himself as he can't help but glean vast, ancient secrets from the arrangement of randomly drawn cards. Alain isn't paying much attention to the ghost either. He thinks Clow is probably unlocking secrets of some lost mystical tome, or some such boon to the arcane academics. Alain doesn't really care.

    It's been too long since he's seen Nalia. He misses her. She had been a welcome presence in the Heli'Dom for a while. Now, the halls and chambers of the ancient observatory-palace feels empty. The view from its mythical telescope seems less dazzling.

    Alain sighs. It's for the best. Distance will protect them from temptation. This is the sacrifice that needs to be made. Another sacrifice in a lifetime of them. That's the role of the Guild Master. It's the fate of the LeCavaliers.

    No matter how badly it feels, this is the path that must be walked.

    Alain gazes up from the cards and looks upon the wooden box that sits on his desk. It's a simple container. It is large enough to rest comfortably in two hands. It has hinges, a latch, and a few runes of gold. The wood is a deep red-brown in color. The box itself hums with ancient magic, and yet there's a hint of new magic whispering just beneath the surface.

    ~It's a good gift. Everyone will like it,~ Clow assures his host. The ghost recalls giving away similar boxes back in the days when he had hands to give gifts with. He remembers having seven boxes made. Five were handed out. Clow doesn't recall why the extra two were made. Surely there was a good reason for them. Only this box, of those remaining two, survived the ages. The other box had burnt out. Clow doesn't recall when that had happened. It's as if some malicious creature had burned all of the magic out of the box, leaving it a charred, dead husk.

    Thoughts of the dead box leaves the spirit feeling oddly sad.

    The box sitting on the desk has remained perfect, just as it is now. Every particle of magic is as it should be. Giving this box away feels right. It's as if it should belong to someone.

    "I hope she'll like it," Alain mutters as he gazes back down at the cards. The cards tell him the celebration will begin soon. He'll get to see her. Be near her. Hear that voice...

    Alain gathers up his cards. He doesn't need them to tell him what's going to happen. He already knows his path. Now it is up to him to find the strength to walk it.

  8. #478
    The Grand Palace of Rekōdo: In the Halls of History

    Nalia.jpg Attachment 1780

    Nalia al'Vatar and Heron, King of Rekōdo

    "You will become a part of our kingdom's history."

    The voice from the beginning of the hallway made her start and turn toward it. She had been deep in thought, intently focused. She was not one who was so easily surprised. When she saw whom it was that spoke, Nalia dipped low to the ground and bowed her head in obeisance to her King.

    "Soon the foundation of a new Guild, the first since Rekōdo's beginning, will be chronicled here, in this hall and in texts for all to see and read long after we both are but dust among the other dust on the earth."

    She could hear his boot steps as he approached. Slow, methodical. She could hear him pause over portions of the history of their world and then continue on. What events caught the eye of a King who knew more details of the life of Rekōdo than any other? Nalia did not rise from her bow, not even when she could see the toe of his boots stop a few feet from the hem of her cloak and robes. She felt her heart begin to race.

    "How does that make you feel, Lady al'Vatar? To be such a pivotal part of history."

    Nalia swallowed. She remained, unwavering as an Astral-born would, in the deep curtsy she had offered him. He had not yet permitted her to rise and though it was not unacceptable to do so without specific permission, her instincts told her to remain low before the King.

    "I feel nothing for being remembered. History is viewed through rose-colored lenses. I take pride only in offering something beneficial to the people of Rekōdo who, like me, are without a true place in this world."

    "Only?" He sounded amused by that, but not playfully so. She did not elaborate or offer another explanation. They were alone, the two of them. He brought no guards with him. He motioned patiently with a hand and Nalia finally stood erect from her bow. She was met with the stern scrutiny of the King's weathered, brown eyes.

    Heron clasped a gloved hand behind his back. He still stood tall with a strong, proud back to support him, but he was unable to walk with a strong man's gait without the support of a heron-crested cane. He had earned the need to carry it at the almost accurately named Battle of King's End. He had gray in his beard, mustache, and hair. His brown eyes were lined with age but pronounced with clarity in their gaze. There was always that stern expression, one of always thinking about every one and everything. His son had inherited that same expression. Upon the King's brow was a golden band of rule. Beneath a lined cape he wore the royal blue clothes of the royal family's males, with golden trim and a white tunic underneath. At his neck was a golden medallion with a pearlescent heron in flight across its middle. His personal seal. He wore a ceremonial sash across his chest and there was a sword belted to his waist. He'd carried that sword during the Great War. It belong to the First King of Rekōdo and to every ruler after.

    "There are two things I want to make very clear to you before the ceremony instating your Guild commences" he said to her, unmoving in emotion.

    "I believe I have an understanding why you felt a need to assert your place in history. We both know what that is without a need for expression, am I correct?"

    They were alone. He was being very cautious. Nalia nodded slowly. She did not speak.

    "Good" he continued. "The first thing I want to make unmistakably clear to you is this: I admire the courage of what you are doing. Do not take that to heart because what you are doing is also foolish. You caught a glimpse of history that no other but I know. A glimpse, a fraction. Do not presume that you will be allowed to continue righting any other historical wrongs with which you sympathize. I have rebuilt so much from the ashes of war and I will not have my final legacy be that I salvaged this kingdom from self mutilation only to toss it back into ruin."

    Nalia knew exactly of what he spoke and she felt herself go suddenly cold. The idea of Enchantry, of rebuilding what once was, stemmed from passion. So much of her great, renowned actions stemmed from the woes and joys of it. Enchantry had ben a thought, a dream, something that seemed slightly tangible because of a secret knowledge that such a thing pre-existed already and worked. Had there been no such Guild before, would she have been so bold to take this risk? If she had, and it had been successful, she would not be having this conversation with the King of her land now. To the Forgotten place and people she had not given any thought at all. She felt a sick knot twisting within her stomach for what he spoke of and the great depth of what she was beginning.

    "It is not my intention to insight rebellion. Truly, Enchantry is made with peace in mind" she stated in a hoarse, quiet voice. It had not been her intention, nor would it be. She intended it for her own personal peace and freedom, for the freedom of others. But now that she recognized the deeper meaning of re-birthing this Guild and its name, she would not let the memory of it go. All her actions from this point on would be for Enchantry and its people, forgotten and those to be.

    The King seemed satisfied enough with her reply. Nalia swallowed again. She needed to reclaim some of her spirit.

    "And the other?" she asked more strongly, boldly. The King noted the change in her tone and countered by taking several steps forward.

    "You are going to take many oaths today. The same oaths as the Founding Provincial Ancestors did with Rekōdo's first King on this very summit over a century ago."

    The space between them was rapidly depleting. It bordered on uncomfortable, which was his intention. When he felt he'd gone far enough, the king stopped.

    "When you take these oaths today" he said with precision and clarity "You are going to lie."

  9. #479
    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace of Rekōdo

    With cat-like grace, Alain hops from one of the castles many balconies and lands on a lower balcony. This lower balcony leads into a ballroom where many of Rekōdo's wealthy and political elite are gathered to drink and mingle before the big ceremony.

    Normally, the Guild Master's, their Seconds, and other important members of their office of power would gather in the upper levels of the castle to socialize with one another before such a ceremony. Alain, however, grew tired of Darmon glaring at him from across the hall. It annoyed Alain to no end. Alain had joked with Mindoka that he would rather leap out of a window rather than endure Darmon's ghoulish visage a single moment longer than was necessary. Mindoka laughed and said that even Alain wasn't brash enough for such an act. One leap later Alain proved he is very much brash enough, and he is also one floor away from the annoying glare of the master of Maginus.

    Alain tugs his coat back into place and slips into the ballroom. He makes his way through the elegant crowds. There is an excitement in the air. Everyone seems to be basking in the glow of newborn history happening around them. A new guild. A new chapter in the grand book of history. Alain drinks in the glow of everyone. There are no political ambitions or secret machinations here, only great interest in this bold new world. It's refreshing to be away from the Guild Masters that only seem to ponder how they can turn new changes into something they can exploit or stamp out of existence.

    Alain collects a glass of champagne from one of the butterfly-winged trays that flies its way around the ballroom.

    ~Maybe you should wait before 'celebrating,'~ Clow warns his host.

    ~I have magically enhanced stamina. I am not as susceptible to alcohol as others,~ Alain reminds the spirit.

    ~I seem to recall you holding down an old brewery against a Maginus siege. A hex had rotted out your supplies. You seemed quite susceptible to alcohol when you and your comrades subsisted almost entirely on ale for a day.~

    ~I seem to recall that was a successful battle.~

    ~You were so drunk that you marched out without a stitch of clothing and fought an entire platoon of Maginus.~

    ~Correction: I defeated a platoon of Maginus. And I may have been wearing a hat. I'm not sure. That battle is hard to remember.~

    The ancestral spirit simply sighs and shakes his head at his host. It feels right to have the old banter back. For a while after the 'incident' with Nalia, Alain and Clow hardly spoke. Gradually, the two have learned to bury their anger and return to something resembling the status quo. Clow knows that they will never be able to truly forgive each other, but they can form an unspoken truce and find a way to continue to serve Taroc together.

    "Master Alain? My, my. Your halograms hardly do you justice," a female voice purrs from behind Alain. The Guild Master turns to face his admirer. He intends to meet her with a charming smirk and witty reply, but when he looks upon her all he can manage is a mesmerized stare.

    The woman is a luscious beauty in a long crimson dress that embraces her every curve. She gazes upong Alain with bright blue eyes. Her long hair spills out over her shoulders in shining raven waves, like an ocean of gleaming onyx. Her flesh has the appearance of carved ivory. There's a playful grin upon her ruby lips as she stares at the dumbfounded Guild Master.

    ~What is it with you and Astral women,~ Clow gruffly complains. This woman in the red dress, with her seductive voice, graceful movement, and sensuously curved figure, is obviously born of Astral. Yet there is some haunting glow to her. Something strange, and alluringly dangerous. ~Nalia, Adaya is always throwing herself at you, and let's not forget that Astral showgirl-~

    ~Hold on, old ghost,~ Alain defensively replies. ~In public, I may take the blame for the showgirl, but we both know that when she started to spirit-travel it was you that embarrassed yourself.~

    ~It was your foolishness that put us into that situation in the first place.~

    ~The trip to Astral was your idea.~

    ~Wait... You haven't said anything to this woman yet, have you? Are you just standing there looking at her?~ Clow realizes. Alain becomes aware that while he has been distracted by Clow, he has been mutely staring at this luscious Astral woman for nearly a minute.

    "Uh- Hi. I'm Alain," Alain replies while offering his hand to the woman in red.

    ~Ah, the old LeCavalier charm is as sharp as ever,~ Clow dryly observes.

    "I know who you are," the woman replies while taking the offered hand into both of her slender hands. "I am a big fan."

    The woman looks down at the gloved hand she now holds, "It's a shame you wear these gloves. Just imagine what fun we might have with your big, naked hands set free."

    "Um- I should go- I've got- uh- things- " Alain stammers. He gently tries to tug his hand away from the woman in red. She stubbornly maintains a hold of his hand as she leans towards Alain. An intoxicating realm of perfume fills Alain's senses.

    "I'm O.K.," she whispers to Alain.

    "You certainly are," Alain mutters.

    The woman in red steps away from Alain. With a finger she spells out the Taroc letters for 'O' and 'K' in the air, as she repeats,
    "I'm O.K.."

    Alain quickly shifts from bewildered, to shocked, and then to outraged. He gives an annoyed shove at his old friend while whispering to her, "What's wrong with you! Why would you- Who are you supposed to- "

    O.K. lets out a melodious chuckle at Alain. "Sorry, LeCavalier. I couldn't help it. This is the first time I've taken Otelia out for a night on the town. I must say, if I knew I could have you eating out of the palm of my hand so easily I may have worn an Astral 'outfit' sooner."

    "How did you end up with an Astral 'outfit,' or do I want to know?" Alain asks as he regains his composure.

    "Don't worry. She was a retired dancer that owed some money to a Da'Jinn merchant-baron. I helped her out, and when she passed on, due to natural causes, she gave me all of this. I've modified her. Reduced her age by a few decades. Made enough changes so no one will recognize me. And I even made a few improvements."

    ~Yes, LeCavalier has noticed a couple of those improvements,~ Clow dryly comments within Alain's mind.

    "Not funny," Alain replies to the spirit and Otellia's attempt to flirt with him. "This is a very important day. We can't sully today with childish pranks and public humiliations."

    Alain then glances around to make sure none are paying attention to him and Otellia. He's thankful that no one is looking their way. Soon he's doubly thankful when he notices someone enter the ballroom.

    "Look, it's Ryth. Quick, go say 'hi' to him. I want to see the look on his face when he finds out it's you." Alain gleefully whispers to Otelia.

    "Now. Now. There will be plenty of time for fun later," Otelia playfully replies. "I think you're needed elsewhere. Don't tell Nalia that I'm here. I want to surprise her."

    "Fine. But let me know before you talk to Ryth. I have no doubt his reaction will be hilarious," Alain tells her before making his way through the gathering and approaches Ryth.

    "Hey, boss," Ryth greets Alain. "After you left, Darmon started eyeballing the rest of us. I decided I should come get you before I start strangling the old gargoyle."

    "On your best behavior, soldier," Alain reminds his old friend as they make their way across and out of the ballroom.

    "Yeah. Yeah. It's Nally's big day, I know," Ryth admits. Alain can't help but smirk as Ryth still uses the nickname he had given to Nalia when she was a child. Nalia always disliked that nickname, a fact which Ryth seems to still be unaware of. There's much about Nalia that Ryth has decided not to know. To this day Ryth still insists that there's no way a child could have done the dark things Nalia has been accused of. It's not within the man to believe such things can happen.

    The two men exit the ballroom and make their way through the halls. They move quickly, being allowed to pass into sections of the castle that the public is almost never allowed. Soon they arrive back with the gathering of the High Council, Seconds, and high ranked Guild officials.

    Alain doesn't even look in Darmon's direction. He has decided to not allow the scowling of the ancient vulture to annoy him any longer. Alain will not let anything spoil today.

  10. #480
    The Grand Palace of Rekōdo: In the Private Chambers of the Guild Masters

    Darmon of Maginus, Herotus of Astral, Jinai of Da'Jinn, Mindoka of Shamaa and the Seconds of the Provinces

    "Why in cursed Clow's name do you think he made that barbarian his Second?"

    It was a question asked matter-of-factly, as if the person they spoke of was insignificant and the conversation was as ritual to life as asking how the weather was faring for the day. The man they spoke of was unique in appearance. There could be little debate as to the attention drawn by the Second of Taroc as he sat peaceably on a balcony that extended off the large, main area of the private chambers of the Guild Masters' wing of the palace. For one, he was terribly tall, almost unnaturally, and lithe the branches of an Astral Willow Tree. His long, red hair spilled like a crimson waterfall over the thin hood and ranger-thin cloak that draped his shoulders. Delicate horns, small and more like the thorns on a rose, parted the scalp of his red hair like a wreath or a crown. A vague hint at tribal tattoos starting at his shoulders could be seen beneath his tunic of a deep, dark crimson color, touched with gold. Taroc colors. This man, who strummed a long, thin-necked guritar, was the Second Darmon spoke of. Alain's Second. The Second of Taroc. Contenedly, Arion bar Sohil of the Wilderlands plucked gentle notes form the strings of his crimson and black lacquered instrument with one knee propped up and the other dangling over the ledge. All around him bobbed the wisps and trails of Animal Spirits that had been called forth by Mindoka of Shamaa and his Second, Zareb. Being of a people who once roamed Shamaa as freely as the waves travel across the Liar'Adon, the Animal Spirits were attracted to the passive Second and his music and hopped or swam or flew about him curiously. An occasional note that seemed plucked from the core of their existence drew one kind of Spirit near, then another. Mindoka spoke quietly to his Second over on a large couch that had been placed beneath a shaded canopy on the balcony. The largest and eldest of the Guild Masters leaned down in private conversation with his Second, whom sat cross-legged on the floor. The ground, typically, was more comfortable and natural to the Shamaa and the three men seemed at home with the pale blue Spirits bouncing and bounding effortlessly around them. None heard the remarks of Darmon of Maginus to his Second, Charold.

    "It is too early in the day for such remarks, Brother Darmon" came the sharp, accented tongue of Jinai of Da'Jinn. Her dark brown eyes moved over from watching the three tribal men to the pale-skinned Magini man across the room from her. She sat poised elegantly on a couch, straight-backed and covered in intricate veils and jewelry from head-to-toe as was proper for a woman of her culture. The only skin to be seen was what one could vaguely discern from her face veil, her eyes, and the tanned skin of her hands. She was still considered young by many, and beautiful. Untouchably beautiful, as was reminded by the hulking, intimidating presence of Majed ibn Eyad, her Second, who stood guard behind her. Darmon scoffed lightly and re-adjusted his arms, folded heavily in the dark blue and black colors of Maginus across his chest.

    "We would not be here to listen to him complain had you not cast your vote in favor of allowing her to start her own guild."

    A female voice threw itself at Jinai, laced with contempt of an kind unnatural to its owner.

    "You might warn your sister, Herotus, that she oversteps her place as a Second of Astral" the Favored Lady called to the long blond-haired man who leaned annoyedly against the wall behind her and to her left. She glanced back over her shoulder at the terribly handsome, muscular man who looked to be a chiseled statue brought to life. His herculean garb left little surprise about what was found to be favorable in the male appearance of the Astral. His twin sister, with her waves of honey-colored hair, glared hotly at Jinai and crossed her arms over the low cut of her deep purple robes.

    "As my vote implies" she reminded him in sharp, precise words "I voted for what I thought best for the people of Rekōdo... not in a relapse of hurt feelings from the past."

    Darmon turned his icy, blue-eyes stare on Jinai, but she was preoccupied with the silent, mental exchange that rapidly took place between the twin siblings of Astral. Adaya looked at Herotus. He rolled his eyes away from whatever inanimate thing he decided to study in attempts to pass the time and looked at her. A look of annoyance crossed Adaya's face. She muttered something at him under her breath and he waved both she and Jinai's comments away and went back to avoiding the lot of them.

    "Yes, yes, the plight of our people is so easily dismissed by someone who is content to sit back and watch Rekōdo fall apart and then swoop in on waves of golden sandmen to plunder the pieces. How noble your interest in the well-being of Rekōdo was then."

    Jinai waved the insult away like a camel's tail waves at desert flies.

    "It is past, Darmon. Surely you should know to leave the past behind you and have your eyes ever forward. After all, it is your pupil who ascends to such a proud station. Why not bask in her glory and claim what portion of it is yours?"

    She was goading him. Everyone here knew of his hatred for Nalia since her abscond from Maginus. Really, if they cared to put voice into it- which they did not- his hatred of her stemmed back to the day Alain LeCavalier found her and asked the Council and King to allow her sanctuary within the borders of Taroc. Anything the Guild Master of Taroc loves is an instant target for Darmon's menace.

    "I would rather kiss a Taroc Seer than claim any stake in this mess" he retorted. "Were it not voted upon most unfavorably and be considered an act of treason against our King, I would descend upon that wretched island and put an end to all of this once and for all."

    Jinai returned to facing toward Darmon and his stony-faced Second.

    "Did you not already try that course of action?" she asked in faux-innocence with a manicured finger to where her lips lie beneath her veil. "Tell me, brother, how did that fair?"

    Darmon pushed up from the wall and let out something akin to a growl at Jinai. He opened his mouth and pointed a threatening finger at her. Her second reached for the hilt of his curved blade and-

    "You could just push him."

    Darmon stopped before any obscenities could fly from his parted lips. Jinai's brow furrowed and she turned around to look over the back of the cushioned couch at Herotus, who continued to lean drearily against the wall. He looked out the balcony now and watched the light blue summons bounce around Arion and the Shamaa men happily as if all were right in their world with the creation of Nalia's guild.

    "If he bothers you so, why not? He's already half off the balcony as it is."

    Herotus was, decidedly, in a very bad mood. Adaya, on the other hand, let out a very feminine giggle at the thought and peeked around her brother to peer at the exotic Second of Taroc and the shirtless, tattooed muscles of Mindoka of Shamaa. Jinai blinked her large, painted eyes at Herotus.

    "Did you just say push?" she asked of him incredulously. Darmon lifted an eyebrow at the Master of Astral.

    "That's the best idea you've had since joining the High Council, Herotus" he said in an unsettlingly cheerful tone. "At least it would completely ruin LeCavalier's day. That would add at least some joy to all of this."

    Then a door opens and into the sitting chambers strides Alain and Ryth. Darmon rolls his eyes and makes a drastically moody noise. Jinai bows her head lightly in greeting to Alain and Herotus offers the Guild Master of Taroc only a miserable glance before looking back toward the balcony.

    "I'm not in the mood, Adaya" he said annoyedly as she silently transmitted her thoughts on the return of the Guild Master of Taroc to the room. Her honey-colored eyes stared deliciously at him as she watched him walk in. A sensuous smiled painted her lips as the corner of them turned upward sinisterly. She reached back and patted her brother's arm affectionately.

    Darmon made a noise of disgusted annoyance.

    "Insolent harpie" he muttered and then shouted an offense at Alain. "Drinking away your woes today, LeCavalier? So sad to see your little sheep going astray of your safe borders? Don't let the shame she will inevitably bring upon your Province dishearten you. She'll always have a home in Maginus!"

    Arion could hear Alain approaching the chambers. He could hear him wherever he went, throughout the castle and most of Rekōdo City. Alain's Soul Song was unmistakable. All of the Guild Masters were, even if they did not have the amplified chorus of their Ancestral Spirits behind them. Arion's almond-shaped crimson eyes glanced up at the door as Alain and Ryth entered. He had spoken quietly to Mindoka of Alain's return to the room. He plucked a few noted on his guritar that caused a stallion Spirit to rear up and gallop contentedly in spiraling circles around him before racing off on a tight curve of air to greet the Guild Master of Taroc. Both Mindoka and Zareb stood at the entrance of Alain and both offered him a formal fist over the heart and a bow.

    "Be welcome in this most tumultuous company, brother" the Great Stag murmured with a deep voice that echoed like distant thunder. Arion continued to play. His manner seemed slightly distant, if not distracted by something.

    "You don' suppose 'erotus would ever actually fin' i' in 'im to push me off the balcony, do you?"

    Mindoka's stern face regarded Herotus, who turned his head away from Mindoka's scrutinizing sight. The leader of the Shamaa shook his bald, tattooed head.

    "Herotus follows where he should lead. He speaks with anger in his heart, but I do not think he is capable of such treachery. His feelings toward Lady Nalia cloud his words and his judgement."

    Arion's crimson eyes glanced at Darmon as he shouts obscenities at Alain. The Second returns to plucking the strings on his instrument. The mood of what he played shifted slightly to something slower, sadder. The Spirits slowed their joyous movements as if to listen. He played a sound that blared loudly at the forefront of Darmon's Soul Song.

    "Will i' begin soon, Alain? I am tired of 'earing Darmon's Song."

    Arion had never told Alain about Darmon's Soul Song. He didn't like discussing it. It was too haunting. It was a cacophony of noise. Of several melodies piled haphazardly atop one another with each one vying to be heard over the other. What bothered Arion, and made him so decidedly distracted, was the melody he heard above all others, more loudly and clearly than he'd ever heard it before. He hadn't had the heart to tell Alain what he heard.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 09-25-2015 at 08:11 PM.

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