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  1. #271
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom





    Sacha, Shepherd of Souls



    Alain's pleasantries are met with silence. Sacha's blue eyes look down, not out of humility or fear, but out of contemplation. It was a trademark of his and the Priests at his temple were said to know a proper time to wait before speaking again when this look came over his face. By nature, he was quiet, thoughtful and watchful. These, and the rapidness with which his mind could process and move, were two of three things that had kept him alive when he was culled off the streets of Windf'rte for the Blood Sport. His ability to fight efficiently, even ruthlessly, was the other.

    "What I spoke in the mountains was also true" the young Guild Master said carefully "I have seen enough bloodshed. I have no more desire to fight, but-"

    Again, he hesitated. Alain and Verona would see Sacha mentally chew through the words he was looking for until they were found.

    "There are many in Maginus who will not feel the same."


    ~Most.~ the Spirit in his head reminded him sourly. ~Most of Maginus would be glad see you rip all of Taroc's souls from their bodies.~

    Arxus was right. Most of Maginus would wish all of Taroc's souls to be rent asunder under the leadership of their new, young, and powerful Guild Master. If most of Maginus disagreed with him, very much could go very wrong very quickly. He would have to be careful.

    ~It is of no consequence to me.~ Arxus lilted bluntly. ~I will just find a better Vessel when you expire from a blood poisoning spell or whatever the nobility of Maginus decide concoct for your demise.~

    Sacha ignored the Ancestral Spirit in his head.

    "I felt the shift in power" Sacha admitted to Alain. "In the Temple, while I waited, I felt a great divide between the East and the West. The Spirit World was thrown into chaos."

    He looked down to the rags draped over his arm that had once been golden-hemmed Priestly robes and held them up slightly as if to offer a evidence to his explanation. He looked down again. Processing and mulling through Alain's explanation.

    He was surprised to head Jinai was behind the Massacre of the Two Provinces. It had been told differently in Maginus. Jinai's involvement was not mentioned. There was just the editorial elation of the slaughter of so many Taroc and Shamaa soldiers and the pro-opinions to striking while they were weak. There was a very heavy anti-Taroc/Enchantry slant in Maginus news.

    Sacha's eyes moved downward again, this time absorbing all of what Arxus told him of their harrowing escape- as he called it- from the Princess's mind. Sacha took what he said and combined it with what he learned of Caldur of Isolert from the Dragons and Alain. He stored the information about the Princess in the Realm Beyond with what he already knew of that place. He would need to have further conversation with Arxus about it and, if he could muster up such a thing, the Princess too.

    "If the Spirits are returned to their Vessels, the oaths of blood and magik will prevent him from taking them outright."

    Sacha offered this freely to Alain. His blue eyes were intent upon the Master of Taroc as he spoke.

    "If our lives are lost and he is aware of it, then there will be no Oath of Masters to protect the Ancestral Spirits from him. The bond is loosed in death and remade in the joining."

    Sacha looked down for a moment, thinking. Then he looked up again.

    "I can find out if they are in his possession" he offered quietly. "If he has claimed more than he should, I can find him through it. I will be able to feel it."

    Inside his head, Arxus pointedly reminded him that he should not give away all his secrets to the enemy of Maginus. He also showed much concern over his own safety while Sacha poked the very mechanism that sought to take all the Ancestral Spirits from their respected Vessels. His demands for wanting to know just how Sacha would pull this off without putting him in direct danger were met with silence. He felt Arxus pour over his spells and rituals with as much grump as there was interest. Then his demands shifted drastically to wanting a more personal matter between the Master of Taroc and Enchantry. Sacha shoved Arxus to the side and found the Spirit surprisingly moveable. It helped that Arxus was unprepared for the loyal Shepherd to so physically discard him, but such matters of which Arxus asked were none of his business. People would get into less trouble if they stuck to their own and kept their noses out of others'.
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  2. #272
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Doctor Doraen & Berlix Ruelle




    Zinna's House, in the Vision Domain...


    When Udaya asks him why Doraen's here if he's worried about his friends he doesn't have a good answer for her. It's always been difficult to explain to anyone. Doraen has always felt like a thread being woven into the tapestry of the lives of others. He's there for a stitch, then gone the next. It's sometimes random. Sometimes directed by the whims of destiny. Other times Doraen suspected it was Zinna guiding him to where he needed to be, just like she would direct the house.

    Right now he's sure if he was needed to help his friends he would be there. Although, the doctor isn't sure if this is him going mad or simply what his strange path through life has conditioned him to believe.

    Quietly he hands Berlix her bowl, then he gets food for himself. Berlix looks down at the gumbo. It's a food she has never encountered before. She looks upon it with as much doubt as she has shown the existence of the rambling old woman in the top hat. Who knows what this insane Udaya considers to be edible.

    Doraen places his bowl onto the table, but he does not sit. He's waiting for Udaya to seat herself first, it seems only polite to do so. Although, his expression changes to one of quiet confusion and concern as he watches Udaya argue with her hat. It's the same expression he always gives to her during these moments of conflict between the old woman and her hat. Even Doraen doesn't know the nature of the hat or whatever it might contain. Despite the many strange things Doraen has encountered or collected in his travels, he's never come across a piece of headgear that inspires this constant need for disagreements.


    "Thank you for staying," Doraen finally says to Udaya, as he tries not to contemplate the nature of her strange hat. "I think Zinna would have approved."

    Berlix looks away from the bowl and through the doorway. She gazes into the living room. The ember-eyed echo is gone. The teen only takes a small solace in the vision's absence. She can sense he isn't entirely gone, simply retreated back to wherever it is that hallucinations go when they aren't tormenting a crazed mind.

    Berlix glances at Doraen. It worries her to see the old doctor this way. He seems adrift. So much of his world has been broken and torn away, and he's lost in the currents of a life flooded by danger and turmoil.

    The teen lowers her head and closes her eyes. She needs to do something for Doraen. The doctor has done a great deal to help her and those she cares for, they all owe him more than they can ever repay him. Using her power is the least she can do for him. Berlix opens her eyes, they glow with a soft pink light as she summons a vision of distant events.


    "Alain is alive," Berlix reports. "Alive, with Clow and his power returned. He's on the Heli'Dom with Verona and some cute guy with white hair."

    Her head turns slightly, as she moves her gaze from the Heli'Dom and towards someone else.

    "Ryth is in the royal palace. He's with some Astral woman. It looks like they're waiting for someone."

    Again Berlix turns her head towards a third location. She can sense there is one last person Doraen is worried about. Her mystical sight soon locates Lydmila in Capios. The scene of the sniper battling alongside dire wolves and an army of ghosts against the hordes of Nightmares begins to come into focus. Lydmila looks away from the scope of her rifle and stares through Berlix's vision and directly at the teen oracle.

    The scene shatters and evaporates. Berlix is only left with Lydmila's voice echoing in her mind,
    ~Not now, girl. You're distracting me.~

    The glow fades from Berlix's eyes as she's snapped out of her vision. She's never had someone else end one of her visions before. It's a somewhat unpleasant experience. Although, she gradually realizes that directing her power onto Lydmila while the sniper is in the process of using her own prophetic ability would have been annoying for Lydmila. Sometimes the visions of two powerful seers can interfere with one another.

    Soon, Berlix recovers enough to look up at Doraen and complete her report,
    "Lydmila is in Capios. She's fighting."

    Doraen gives the girl a thankful smile.

    "Thank you," he whispers. There's a new lightness to him, as if a terrible weight has just been thrown off of him.

    Alain having Clow and his power once again does vanquish quite a bit of Doraen's concerns. Some corner of the world has been restored to how it should be. Plus, Alain's survival must mean that Darmon has been slain. LeCavalier wouldn't have left that mission unfinished.

    With some of himself restored, Doraen looks to Udaya and asks,
    "What news do you have of Shamaa? How fairs our southern brothers and sisters during Mindoka's absence?"

  3. #273
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier & Verona Aliester




    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Alain nods as Sacha expresses a desire for peace. Though, the mention of the Maginus people not wanting the same is met with a moment of quiet contemplation. The moment, and contemplation, doesn't last long. This is a journey Alain began decades ago.

    "Guild Masters must maintain traditional wisdoms, but always be open to a better way of life for their guild and their people," Alain states. Verona looks to Alain, as she recognizes the sentiment as being very much like something her father wrote down in his journals. He said similar words to Alain at the end of the Great War. Words that helped to convince Alain to end the War and seek out a new age of peace. "They're your flock now, Shepherd. If they don't know the path to the greener pasture it's your duty to show them the way."

    Alain is silent once again as he listens to what Sacha has to say about his sense of what happened to the Spirits, and his assessment of what power Caldur does and does not have over them. More pieces to try to fit together. Strategies slowly begin evolving within Alain's thoughts.

    "Your expertise in these matters will be useful in this conflict," Alain tells Sacha. "We should meet with Pasce. There is much to discuss."

    Alain gestures to the exit, and then begins leading the way out of the chamber and into the hall. Verona follows closely behind and to the right of Alain, like a lithe, grey shadow. As they walk Alain continues speaking to Sacha.

    "I would advise being open, relaxed, and honest when you meet with Pasce," Alain offers the younger Guild Master. "The royal family is taught to see through others, and find the truths at the heart of matters. Pasce, in particular, is extremely insightful. She has also carried all of our Ancestral Spirits, which will has granted her a greater sense of we Guild Masters and our provinces than any living being has ever had.

    "That being said, she will also need your guidance. No one can know everything, which is why a wise leader must surround themselves with those that can give them the knowledge and wisdom that they might lack. I sense there is a great deal of guidance that you can offer Pasce and whatever future shape our council might take."

    It is by this time that they have gotten close enough to the main observatory that Alain notices a few spots of blood on the floor of the main hall. Alain pauses to look over the spots, as if trying to read something in their presence.

    "Ryth," Verona tells Alain, as she notices what the Guild Master is looking at. "He was injured when he and Eliona arrived. His wound has been stitched up."

    Alain nods and continues moving down the hall.

    "Half of Taroc has to be stained with that man's blood by now," Alain mutters about his injury-prone, but seemingly unkillable, old friend. He enjoys a small grin, reassured that Ryth and Eliona survived their part in their recent conflict. Alain can sense Lydmila on the hunt somewhere out in the world, so he knows she still lives. He has also learned to never assume the worst about Doraen. The doctor always seems to have a knack to slip out of the jaws of certain doom and pop back up when least expected. Ryth and Eliona, however, were the only two Alain was still concerned about. Now, this concern can be dismissed and saved for the next time Ryth is sent charging off into another dire battle.

    As they approach the door to the main observatory, Alain pauses. He turns to Sacha.


    "Do you have any questions before you meet the princess?"

    It's an offer of experience that Alain wished he had been granted before he first met with King Heron. That encounter took place during the height of the Great War, back when Alain was young and ruled by a brash attitude and very little sense. Thankfully, the king was able to see through rough edges and see a fellow soldier of courage and honor. Though, it still would have been nice to have avoided a few of the more embarrassing missteps of those early conversations.

  4. #274
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen

    It felt good, even if for a moment that Branwen could alleviate some of the pain and stress from her family or allies. With a reassuring smile and a returned squeeze of Merriam’s hand, she opened herself up for the first time since the Nightmares attacked. Kali’s essence was like a beacon in the dark, so different and contrasting to Branwen’s own, and yet so familiar. She supposed largely in part because of their mother, and though Kali ever struggled with pieces of remembered past, she was undoubtedly the daughter of Alexis, as Branwen was.

    The contact would be brief, enough for Kali to feel Merriam through her, and if the woman of Enchantry so desired, to impart any brief messages. They all knew that they were not yet out of the wilderness and that long and lengthy reunions would have to wait.

    “Kali..”

    Through Branwen, Kali would feel Merriam and Fateema, as they were all momentarily connected. She hoped that it would bring some relief in light of what she knew had been a horrible time for all of Enchantry. The connection ended almost as soon as it began, and while Branwen was sorting through the emotions coming from Kali, her eyes followed the direction of Merriams current conversation.

    She felt the tug of another smile wanting to pull at the corners of her lips. It was good to see the Commander relatively unharmed and still with them. Her true thoughts were still out about the man of Da’Jinn as he approached as well. Branwen’s eyes were not the only ones trained upon the man, as Zarena addressed him.

    The mirth in her eyes was nearly as great as the laughter that nearly burst forth from her throat. Instead, of laughter, she hid it behind her responding remark.

    “It would be something worth considering, but he is well past his prime and the meat likely too tough to truly enjoy.” She replied to Zarena, with a hidden smile.

    As the moment turned back towards formality and back to the seriousness at hand, Branwen returned the greeting.

    “Of course, Zarena, I value your counsel.”
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

  5. #275
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Vucan


    So impulsive, this one. Vucan thought as Evalynn took hold of his arms. As they passed through the spirit realm, Vucan saw energy all around them, in different forms and colors. That’s all they really were in the end, without their meat suit and yet so many of these creatures were far too attached to it. So attached, that many of them remained trapped as spirits, while their souls moved on and their current meat suit rotted back down to dust.

    Perhaps it was cold and callous of him that he did not give these beings much thought. He was reptilian after all, and his mind was not stuck on this material plan. At least there were some, who showed the possibility of growing beyond their selves into something more. One such as the changing being before him, who even now could feel the tension within her from being separated from her mate.

    He paid no head to the startled guards at the front of the caverns, he merely followed Evalynn down to the stone dias to set up an umbrella of wards to keep any stray Nightmares from breaching the protective tunnel. He gave Evalynn one small glance, as his eyes danced sinisterly and a sudden roar of dragon’s fire engulfed the outer edges of the wards, licking and crackling against the magick barrier.

    They would be ready to protect the stragglers as they entered the cave.

  6. #276
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Sari & Ráichéal of Haven, Nicolette of Palios, Kiyoko of Rekōdo, Eilwen of Eloruh, Dominika of Krig


    Sari was exhausted, and though she couldn’t see it, she could feel it from the others. Her lungs burned, her muscles ached and she could barely keep her arms up. And to be bluntly honest, she could barely feel the whisper of magick coming from her.

    She didn’t dare look around and take her eyes off running as one with the group. The older women had seemed to pick up the slack where she had waned, but she knew there would be no reprimand. She was nearly spent and what little came from her to move to the barrier around them was so small it would not be missed if she withdrew all together. But that’s not what she did, instead she held her shaky arms up as high as she could keep them and wiped the sweat onto the sleeve of her shirt.

    In this moment, she felt detached from everyone around her, and yet strangely connected on a level she was sure she had never felt. They had merged with the remaining women in a seamless wedge, with those like herself protected in the middle with the fighters surrounding them on the edges. She didn’t remember do this, not with the group Dyani had gathered, and yet here she was, surrounded by sisters she knew by name, but not as well as the women she had been grouped with.

    Some chanted incantations to help bolster everyone’s waning strength, even though they themselves were in the same situation. Others recited bits of prayer, others encouraged those so spent you could see their stumbling steps, and yet in the thick of it all, she could hear the fighters amongst them shouting out directions, bolstering those under their protection and fighting stray Nightmares that chanced their luck on taking one of them down.

    Kiyoko’s voice always seemed the closest, like she was taking particular care of Sari herself. But that was silly, she knew that Kiyoko was there for them all, but in that moment, it felt as if she was there for her and her fellow sisters in her charge. She could hear the whoops and yells from Eilwen, somewhere up ahead and to the left of her. Nicolette and Dominika’s voices answered somewhere to the rear of the group, like some strange code only the fighters themselves knew.

    And through the thick of it all, was her older sister, Ráichéal. She was to her left, and Sari could feel her eyes slide in her direction from time to time. She could hear Ráichéal’s encouraging voice sound in her ear and inside her mind. She turned briefly, seeing how pale her sister looked and how her freckles stood out so pronounced on her face. Perspiration flowed unbidden from her forehead and her clothes stuck to her like a second skin.

    In that moment, as odd a time as this was, Sari laughed and spoke out in a strained, yet amused voice.

    “I think we need to start working out more. I can’t feel my legs, theyre like stumps of burning logs.”

    Ráichéal, turned her head slightly, giving her sister a strange look. Had she heard correctly? At the insanely young and silly smile on her face, Ráichéal felt her own smile give way.

    “Focus on getting to the cavern’s runt.” She laughed.

    Sari’s smile did not fade, not even when Kali’s dragon like roar vibrated her very being and momentarily frightened her. So close to safety!

    Nicolette and Dominika worked as one, so complete were they, that often their other sisters thought they were mated. They were best friends, sisters by bond, and though they sometimes shared sleeping space, or stood intimately close to one another, they were not lovers. Their love was much stronger. They were one of many in Enchantry that proved that Maginus and Taroc could live alongside one another, at least the women from their provinces.

    Runes flared with magickal energy, spells popped, sizzled and exploded with various noises as the Nightmares breached them. They hardly ever spoke in battle, but could read the other as if they were connected. It was a pleasure to watch the two spar, as it often times ended in a draw. The women were both extremely talented with a blade and equally matched, balancing each other’s weaknesses. Out of Kiyoko’s squad, they were the two that worked best together, rather than apart. Hence, they were usually at the front or rear of the squad, as no one would easily breach their guard.

    Despite the trials of the day, Eilwen was energized. Unlike some of her sisters, those from Shamaa where known for their stamina. It would seem at times like they were a never-ending ball of energy, charged by the earth itself; and perhaps, there was more truth to that than many realized. With same grace and stealth her spirit animal was renowned for, Eilwen moved with deadly precision and when the moment called for it the same silence a predator would have stalking its prey. Today however, she would not be silent, she would let these creatures know that her sisters would be avenged through everyone she cut down.

    A cry of joy sounded up from the front and washed their way in waves. The caverns were in sight, and Evalynn stood upon the stone dias, just before the stairs. Eilwen let out her own roar of excitement and called to Kiyoko.

    “Evalynn is at the mouth of the stairs! We are almost upon her!”

    Perhaps the most enigmatic of the group, and the quietest outside of her duties was Kiyoko. A trait she shared with Ráichéal, but for entirely different reasons. Kiyoko took no lovers to her bed, that the others had ever seen, she trained, taught, practiced and attended social gatherings. But she was never one to speak first unless it was of importance. Like the quiet sentry, Kiyoko was a watcher, someone who observed the world around her as she lived within it.

    At Eilwen’s cry of joy, Kiyoko bolstered the rest of the women, her hand briefly touching the two sisters of the white, as she had come to call them.

    “Stay close, push until you are at the water’s edge of the cave.” Her voice rose above the noises of joy and relief.

    Like a general leading an army, Kiyoko pushed them passed Evalynn and those gathered about her toward the stairs and into the cave. She would not rest until they were all in the water, every last one of them. Her focus, until they were at their destination, was to push the women toward safety. She need not worry at the moment about the things around her, the others would do their duty, and she would do hers.

    As they raced through the cavern to the water’s edge, she only stopped when they arrived. Her eyes touching upon the Orias with wonder and fascination, before she returned to make sure every last woman had arrived. Only when she saw and her eyes met those of Nicolette and Dominika would she allow herself to take a breath.

  7. #277
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    KALI

    Kali sensed it more than felt it, as Dyani lifted her daggers and rose to straddle her dragon form from her shielded position along Kali’s back. Dyani’s cry mingled with her spirit animals and the two became one, indistinguishable to the untrained ear, or those not of Shamaa. It was only natural that Kali automatically followed suit, allowing the dragon within her to take control, her eyes becoming distinctly reptilian as they zeroed in on the remaining horde.

    Bestial in nature, her mind was one with the dragon, her body, her soul. Kali’s spirit feeling freedom, and unadulterated union with all parts of herself as the dragon’s roar filled the air. Her communication with Dyani, was more feeling than words as another gout of flame kept the line to the caverns clear, adding coverage to the white protective barriers the sister’s held around them like a blanket.

    Splitting in two, the remaining horde tried in vain to regroup and attack the sister’s passing by Evelyn, Vucan and the ghostly Captain and his spectral group of pirates into the cavern. The rest of the Nightmares focused on Kali and Dyani, and the remaining group outside the protection of the white light.

    The dragon and her rider where a scourge in the air, plowing through Nightmares as if they were merely swarms of insects to be dispatched with a swat of their hand. They had one mission, one goal to eradicate as many of them as they possibly could, and allow their sisters to reach safety. They gave no quarter to the nightmarish creatures as they latched on to Kali and attached Dyani with a last-ditch effort of unleashed anger and viciousness.

    Kali now one with the beast no longer had words to speak, but feelings were all she needed to send messages to the others. Instinct alone would convey the message to Vucan, Blas, Kai, and now Evalyn, to get to the caverns, that she and Dyani would bring up the rear.

    From above, they kept the Nightmares at bay, as far away from those on the ground as they needed too. As soon as the last of them went into the cavern, Kali and Dyani would follow. Pin pricks of pain began to spread throughout Kali, as the Nightmares fought tooth and claw to pry their way through her scales, to the tender flesh beneath. She could hear Dyani on top of her, with her war cries and whoops of each victory against one of these fallen devils.

    She heard Dyani’s blades slice through air and Nightmare alike, their screams of anger and spite as she dispatched one after another filling the void of sound between war cries and dragon roar. The view from the ground must have been something else, as Nightmares swarmed the two like the thick pitch of a heavy fog off the coastal shores. Kali turned her head and a gout of flame spread across her body and over Dyani, casting the Shamaa warrior in an ethereal glow of blue flame. Nightmares burst into nothingness in the glow of a flying dragon and the Amazonian goddess that rode atop her.

    Until the others were clear, Kali and Dyani worked together to dispatch as many of the bastards as they could. The less they had to contend with, the likelihood they would finally have an advantage in this long days’ worth of death and destruction. Kali could feel her energy begin to wane, and she couldn’t imagine how Dyani felt. Keeping this form was sapping more of her reserves than she desired and they had yet to reach the caverns themselves and the water’s edge to safety. It would be over soon, one way or another and she would not relent until everyone was secreted away to safety.



  8. #278
    Rekōdo City: The Audience Chamber of the Grand Palace





    Prince Eri, Acting Ruler of Rekōdo and his guards Ganard of House Fallandor and Merelin of House Diorna


    There is a grimness to the atmosphere of the marvelous space where they stand. It is not noticed at first, especially for a first-time occupant of the large, elegance of the room. The grim seeped in from the faraway corners of it vast expanse and rolled along the white marble like a dread fog at sea. If the bleak foreboding were so able, the beautiful white marble of the pillars and floors would have curdled and lost their luster. The chiseled and polished stone would have turned ashen until there was nothing left of the beauteous space but a longing memory of what it had once been. From beyond the door that lead into the depths of the palace, heavy, fast-paced boot falls came their way. Such would not be heard beyond the enchanted door, but the hum of the lanterns took on a new tone. Something mirthless and lamenting, as if it were trying to ally to mood of the room’s occupants with the incoming tide. The beautiful amber light seemed to dim slightly, like the final faded colors of a long, cold fall.

    The door that lead back into the heart of the palace opened inward and admitted three new members to the room. A swift clap of a guard’s salute was heard before the door was closed behind them. First came in the Prince and he was flanked by his two personal guard, both of which Ryth would be very familiar. There was a set nature to their jaws that permeated down even to their gait, which was stiff and more soldierly than normal. The Prince’s single eye found Ryth with dangerous precision. There was a black, embroidered cloth that wove through the Prince’s grown-out brown hair. It crossed down over the left half of his face and covered where an eye once had been. Atop the Prince’s head was a golden band of rule, cut to look like a blade encircling his head. The hilts, at points around the crown, held a pointed shape like the infinite diamond symbol of Rekōdo. One of the Prince’s hands was upon one of two sheathed sword hilt at his waist. The same was mirrored in both his guards. It was unusual for any of the royal party to tread with a hand resting upon a weapon. If Alain were here, he would recall a lesson Heron had taught his children about their presence as they entered a room: When you walk with a hand upon your sword, you will come to use it.

    The Prince held one and wore his personal blade as a second.

    The Prince was wearing his armor, carved and crested with his rank and royal lineage at one shoulder. A cloak of deep blue moved behind him as he crossed the room on the line of carpet and came to the conference table at the center of the room.

    "Commander Ryth" voiced Ganard of the noble House Fallandor after an odd silence from the Prince. "It is good to see you again."

    It was an opening sentiment usually reserved for the member of the Royal Family that was present, a opening dialogue to discussion and listening, an establishment of peace between the parties present. There would be formal introductions. Then the Prince would gesture and everyone would sit and the nuances of the parle would begin.

    The Prince remained standing and silent. His single eyes was fixed decisively on Ryth. Across the table, the hint of a golden glow peeked from beneath his eyepatch and radiated faintly on his cheek. The hand at his hip clenched a handle of crimson as it rested within its sheath. The lines and swirls of gold gleamed with fine, eye-catching brilliance under the dimmed, amber lighting. Hidden within the scabbard was the golden crest of the LeCavalier Clan etched at the base of the single-edge blade.

    Ganard’s sharp eyes moved between Ryth and Eliona. She was an unknown and so the primary guard of the Prince of Rekōdo sought a rapid assessment of the Astralian woman. The duality of her clothing is noted and odd. One of the White Towers did not usually mingle their clothing with other specialties and professions. Merelin’s white hood and white lining of her cloak is an abnormal case where she received training at the Towers but did not formally commit to them. Her training was purposed solely for aiding the Prince, something the White Towers were honored to oblige. He also noted that Ryth is not in his typical Taroc military garb. Such caused the old soldier’s brown to furrow.

    Opposite Ganard in many ways, Merelin of the honored House Diorna found herself looking past the two ambassadors before them to the carpet behind them. She understood the scarlet as the colors of Taroc, the mixtures of golds as an entwining of Taroc and Astral, but the violet? She learned during her times in the Towers that the color of Magik was important. Such a violet color was reserved for Spirits and the Realms beyond. It was most commonly used in Maginus. If it were Astral’s colors, the hue would have been a much deeper, akin to a royal color.

    The notes and musings of the two guards were equivalently shared with Eri through their bond, but the Prince’s single eye was fixed on the glyph at Ryth’s shoulder. His sister’s mark.

    "Commander Filip Ryth of Taroc" the Prince finally intoned. "You are not dressed in your usually Taroc Military fashion."

    There was something in the Prince’s voice that was uncomfortable to hear. Though kept even, there was anything in his voice but love at the sight of the Commander of Taroc’s High Guard. His eye, as it stared at Ryth, seemed to boil with a rage and tempest kept well in check and far below his calm, if not dangerously, exterior.

    "How is it that you come here wearing royal colors and my sister’s mark upon you? Where is your proud LeCavalier color and loyalty this day?"
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 06-23-2018 at 12:54 PM.

  9. #279
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom





    Sacha, Shepherd of Souls


    Sacha's lips pursed as the weight of Alain's words and the fullness of his new role as Guild Master of Maginus settled onto the shoulders of his soul. For a moment, Sacha's breathing escalated under the weight of it, but he clenched a fist at his side and drove himself to calm. He looked up when the Guild Master of Taroc spoke of Maginus as his flock. His flock had always been the deceased, the Spirits needing guidance to the Beyond. They, he thought a bit hopelessly, would be easier to corral and guide forward than the stubborn, tradition-ridden people of Maginus. Eventually, Sacha nodded.

    "I will serve as needed."

    In his head, Arxus scoffed. Sacha hesitated and Arxus hinged himself quietly on the potential retort form the young Guild Master. None came. He hesitation on Sacha's part was momentary and no retort came. He followed Alain quietly. He was not sure if such things mattered in Taroc, but where one walked in comparison to another denoted much of their stature in society, their importance, the amount of respect given and taken. He followed just slightly behind and to Alain's left and just a pace ahead of Verona. He listened to what Alain offered in the way of advice for meeting royalty. He exhaled slowly.

    "No pressure" the Shepherd uttered just loudly enough for Alain's ears to hear. There was a lull as they walked along. Sacha's first thought that came to mind was Aramil. The Da'Jinn Priest was the closest thing Sacha had to family. He would need Aramil's relaxing wit and wisdom by his side as he found his place in his new role. He would be part of the High Council of Rekōdo. It was all very overwhelming.

    "I will serve as needed" he repeated again, quietly. Serving as he could would not be enough. He would serve when there was a need, as there was a need, to fill whatever that need was. He would make that a priority, for the sake of Maginus.

    Sacha smelled the blood before he saw it. His gait slowed so much that he fell into line with Verona. He knew the name the gray woman offered to her Guild Master, from war stories only. There were few so widely-known as Alain LeCavalier in the Province of Maginus, but those who were entrusted with command and had survived under the Master of Taroc during the Great War held their own mythos in Maginus war stories. The stories he heard were among the Gathered for the Blood Sport. The older children, the more seasoned in the arena would tell the war stories they heard from the Masters and trainers during their guard shift or over too much drink and food after a particularly successful event or cull. Sacha never told the stories. He always listened from a distance in a quiet corner.

    There was much of that man's blood on Maginus soil, if it had not been cleansed off the land to keep any Priests from using it in the reconstruction era post-war. Sacha kept the thought to himself and allowed the Master of Taroc his moment.

    When they came to the door of the main observatory, Sacha stopped. He stared at the door in a peculiar manner. There were sayings in Maginus, and likely similar sayings across all of the Provinces of Rekōdo, having to do with crossing doors or portals. How one can feel when they are about to cross over a threshold into a new chapter in their lives. How the body knows when the portal being crossed is one that will bring on a vast change. How the Spirit knows the fate ahead of its coming as the foot guides a man through a door. When the Shepherd of Souls spoke, he had a hard time tearing his eyes away from the door before them. His eyes gradually came to Alain. Some of the dangerously accurate directness of his gaze was gone and replaced with something that relayed the youth of his years. Despite his shock of white hair, he was actually quite young, though not so young as Alain LeCavalier had once been when the Spirit of Taroc first found him.

    "Just-"

    -Arxus' voice barraged his thoughts with one thousand and one questions he would like Alain LeCavalier to answer for him. Sacha inhaled deeply to overcome the sheer volume of the Spirit's voice-

    "- thank you."

    The sudden head-on collision with silence was almost as disorienting as the magnitude of Arxus's voice when he swelled to full volume. Sacha inhaled again. He was not prone to 'what if' or worrisome questions. His mind usually began to route a path into figuring something out before the problem go too large to handle. The Shepherd stood a little straighter and with his last exhale exuded calm from every fiber of his being.

    "I am ready."

    Inside his head, in typical Arxusd fashion, his Ancestral Spirit berated him for not taking advantage of the opportunity to question that was gifted to him.

  10. #280
    Outside and Inside of Rekōdo: Zinna's House, in the Vision Domain






    Udaya of Shamaa


    The dish is a spiced, stew-style gumbo with vegetables, and savory fish. The aroma that wafts up in trails of steam from the dish denotes the slight kick it will have. The kitchen suddenly becomes full of this wonderful smell, something that seems almost eerily earthen and out of place in the steam-filled kitchen. it is odd, but the steam does not fill the air with heated moisture. It is oddly cool, like the steam rising up from a cold pond in a forest. The water she had procured from her pocket to cool the stew was from somewhere in Shamaa. Udaya ladled Doraen and herself a bowl. She brought hers to her nose and inhaled deeply and her wrinkled face became adorned with a satisfied smile. She looked to Doraen and the smile re-gifted to him.

    "Zinna's boy is so polite to wait" she said seemingly to herself something of her smile becomes momentarily distant and sad before it is loosed away with a shake of her head. Immediately, Udaya's squinted eyes are fixed on Berlix. It is the most focused the old woman has been since Doraen arrived. She is utterly silent as Berlix spoke.

    "Das a good girl right der" she whispered quietly, again, to herself or maybe to persona of her hat. She lifted a spoonful of her culinary creation to her mouth, but it never made it there.

    But then, she fell silent as Doraen asked of Shamaa. Her voice changed when she finally spoke.

    "Mindoka's absence is mourned by all" Udaya stated "but de Great Stag has prepared Shamaa for times of trial. It will take more den a missing Master to ruin de Shamaa."

    She grew quiet again and looked down into her stew. If her eyes were not so burdened with wrinkled age, a swirling silver, like cataracts, would be visibly clouding her irises.

    "Der is a shadow upon de beauty of our land. De dark has been here for so long dat de world forgot what it was to see itself in de light."

    The old woman sat and stared into her stew as if the answer to her cryptic speech were there the whole time. She looked troubled.

    "It is not de Shamaa that should concern you, Doraen. Der is much worse at stake. Der is a blight in our minds. A ting we all forgot. Something so horrible. Something we-"

    The old woman suddenly went rigid in her chair. Her mouth froze with words that could not be spoken or written down. Her mouth twitched at the edges as if she were trying to continue. It was only when she gave up her struggles that the rigidity left her. The leniency in her limbs came back in a rush, one that left her wilted and breathing heavy, hard. One of her gnarled hands came to her chest as if to steady herself. The cataract-like clouding left her eyes.

    Udaya never, in all her years, had called the good doctor by his given name.

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