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  1. #361
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo, Mindoka of Shamaa, Herotus of Astral, Arion, Second of Taroc, Nalia of Enchantry, Sacha of Maginus and Aramil, his Advisor

    Gone to ground. Mindoka of Shamaa hung his head. A warrior's frustration. One of his fists clench at his side. The other reached for Alain and grabbed his forearm. As the mountainous man came to his feet, he kept his large palm clasped on his brother's. He squeezed it in his giant grip and shook his arm lightly- a play on when a warrior shakes another man' shoulder to test his strength and durability. Alain would know it for what it was. Perhaps a few others here who were not of Shamaa would too. As Alain spoke, Mindoka's eyes traveled over to the fair-haired girl beside a Da'Jinn man in, what appeared to be, robes of Maginus Priesthood and a white-haired man with sharp, blue eyes. Mindoka's stern features lightened as they returned back to the Princess. Even though he'd just risen, the Great Stag took a knee and clapped a massive fist to his heart.

    "Highness" his deep voice called from his bowed, tattooed head. "The heart of Rekōdo beats more strongly with you at its core." It took more effort than he wished to display, but one leg at a time, the Great Stag rose. Humility and loyalty were not something to be frowned upon, in his eyes. "Shamaa is relieved that you are returned safely to us."

    "The Heart of Rekōdo is made up of many parts and when any are missing, it cannot fulfill its purpose" she recited back to him. Such a phrase hearkened back to when she was a young girl, shortly after the formation of Enchantry. King Heron allowed the Masters to visit with the Princess after her birthday. It was a conversation they'd had together about Rekōdo, its many parts, and its importance to Emporium. The memory made the mountainous man almost smile. Almost. There were other matters in the room.

    As he rose, Mindoka glanced at Sacha in a way that made the white-haired man's defenses rise visibly. The Master of Maginus's hand tightened on the twisting hilt of his Shepherd's Crook. Mindoka studied Sacha, as a warrior sizes up a man he is about to battle and, being a man who knew battle, Sacha presented himself as strongly as possible. The boy was lightly muscled, lithe and agile-looking than he appeared to be strong, but Mindoka knew better. The boy- yes a boy despite the shockingly white hair- was dangerous. His stance, feet spread, hand at the ready and eyes focused and unblinking were traits of a well-trained warrior, always at the ready. He was too young to have battled in the Great War. What combat could such a young man have seen to project such fearlessness? Mindoka offered the Guild Master of Maginus a slow nod. Sacha hesitated. For a second, his eyes lost their directness on Mindoka as if he were listening to someone else, and then returned his own to the Master of Shamaa.

    Mindoka turned back to Alain and stared at him again with his calm, stern gaze. Darmon is dead. Da'Jinn is without its Mistress. He had many questions.

    "Which Spirits are missing?" Mindoka asked of Alain, since he was the one who spoke. It was the easiest to be answered of his many questions, but it was also complex. His mind had flown over the inventory of Masters and Spirits. If Alain was still without Clow, he would have spoken of it privately to him. He might have felt it. Alain's words also let him know that the man with the dangerous eyes held Arxus, or he would not have replaced Darmon. It surprised him at all that a man of Maginus was in such a sacred place for the Master of Taroc. A discussion for later, in private. He and Herotus were accounted for. He felt the presence of Siochana as she chanted and called forth spiritual energies to further clear his mind further of the residual fogginess from his enslavement. Herotus too, should have Dayena. That should only leave J'Adonai of Da'Jinn unaccounted for. Mindoka knew Alain chose his words carefully. Something else had happened. They were absent more than one Ancestral Spirit.

    An agonizing howl interrupted the calmness Mindoka brought to the air. It came right as Olivia handed her mystical symbol to Arion. The Second of Taroc jumped at a sound that accompanied it, something only he could hear, and it took a great amount of restraint to keep his hand from clamping down onto it and crushing Herotus under his new bonds. Nalia was close enough to him that he felt her stiffen behind the shield of Kali's wing. Arion's crimson eyes immediately went to the Master of Astral. The man was on his knees on the ground. Everything on the man's chiseled, statuesque face was marred by torment.

    "Adaya!" he wailed out. "Where is Adaya!?"

    Arion stepped forward, away from Nalia and Kali and toward Herotus. One of his hands lightly cupped the energy rune by his chest. The other was held out toward Herotus, like a man would if he were holding someone at bay. Arion did not need to stare down and through Herotus to know that he already knew his twin sister's fate. The grief was rampant in his eyes. Arion heard the dangerous, imbalanced shift in his Soul and attempted to stay its violent rocking. Herotus teetered upon a sharp edge of madness. Half his Soulsong was gone.

    "Your sister is dead." The bluntness of the Princess's words chilled the air of the Heli'Dom. "She died after the battle at Mararat in Da'Jinn. She took her own life in the waters of Lake Anaya."

    The white of Herotus's eyes eclipsed his golden-brown irises as he stared up at the Princess of Rekōdo. The stillness of him as he listened to her was eerie. In this thrashing and affliction of grief, disturbed locks of his golden hair pierced through the haunt of his gaze. He opened his mouth and leaned toward Pasce on his knees. He bore his teeth, hung up on the tumultuously slow formation of words that came with emotion and the residual fog of enslavement in his head. Arion tightened his fingers around the rune and Herotus met the limit of the restraints that bound him.

    "You lie" he hissed slowly. Pasce stared down at Herotus and let the cruel misery of his words rebound off her utterly calm exterior. Pasce lifted her chin just slightly and addressed him plainly.

    "You suffer a great emptiness. What was once there is suddenly gone. It was taken from you, not by your choice, but by the choice of another. It leaves you gapingly abandoned. That vacancy threatens to swallow the rest of you because it is now all that's left of the missing piece of who you are."

    Herotus breathed raggedly as he stared up at the Princess in an unhinged manner that complimented his slow tumble toward madness.

    "A bond like that, once broken, can never be remade. Not as it once was. My choice to break my life-bond with my brother was my sacrifice made to free the Ancestral Spirits of Rekōdo. I feel that same loss, master Herotus, but I am, at least, fortunate that I can try to mend what was and is very broken and heal my brother's grief while you will live with yours for the rest of your life."

    A realization was dawning on Herotus, a registering of his own fate.

    "The chasm that your sister created within you is permanent and you shall live out yours days with this: The reminder of what the cost of treason is for a selfish man." The Princess looked down upon Herotus with something of sorrow now in her gaze.

    "Herotus of Astral, Trusted Keeper of the Spirit of Dayena" she said quietly. "For the crimes of Breaking the Treaty of Tradisi signed at the end of the Great War, attempted kidnapping of the Ancestral Spirits of Rekōdo, conspiring and plotting to overthrow the throne, and treason against Rekōdo, I am charged to sentence you to Quieting."

    If Eri were here, his eyes would have hardened. He would have remembered Pasce after she had witnessed her first Quieting beneath the palace. Herotus was silent for a long moment and then he shook his head.


    A part of him seemed to re-awaken as his fate was sealed in royal decree. He shook his head again and tried to move forward on his knees against the bonds that held him. He succeeded only in writhing, like an insect within its shell.

    "No. No. That's not right. That can't be my fate." He stopped to collect something more of his nature as it came spiraling back to him. "No. No. I was not the one- No she came to me. I was promised glory and restitution for Astral! Everything our people needed would be theirs."

    He was not talking to Pasce. Not to any of them.

    "I have bed girls less in age than she! How could I have known she could possibly keep them-"

    Herotus's eyes began to glow a deep, rich purple.

    "Where were you with all this grand advice when Jinai- No. It would have- What folly? No! I did this for Astral! I did everything for Astral! I will not let her take you from me too! It is my right to lead. You chose me!"

    Tendrils of gold swirled for dominance over the glow in Herotus's eyes. The golden-haired Guild Master threw his shoulders back against the frigid containment wrapped around him. It chilled the cavernous nothing within his mind as it latched further and drew against his spirit. Every pitch and roll of his chiseled frame sank the fish hooks of his bonds deeper into the Heli'Dom and his soul and made his cries become all the more manic. Quietly, the Advisor to the new Guild Master of Maginus stepped forward to Pasce's and Alain's side. Sacha had silently come closer to Pasce's left in case there was a need. Taroc on once side, Maginus on the other, as allies.

    "The burden of the lamps needs to be fully taken from the two Masters" Aramil reminded the Princess gently, with an almost pitying tone to his voice as he watched Herotus struggle. "Who will take the remnants of bondage from these men and be the guard of their freedom?"

    Aramil gestured to the ring that swayed hypnotically around Herotus's neck. An onyx ring dangled on his elegant nape from a golden-colored cord. The dark onyx bore the golden, scratch-like markings of Herotus's province in Da'Jinn runes. Mindoka looked down at his own chest, where is own reminder of servitude hung. The mountainous man stared down at it, and seemed unable to lift his own hand to remove it. He breathed deeply, evenly as if he were trying with great effort to do so, but it was forbidden of him. No man bound to a lamp could take off his own shackles and walk freely. It would always have to be done by another. But who, of any who obtained a lamp, would give up their wishes so selflessly without having a single one of their own granted first?

    Mindoka gave up his battle with the trinket around his neck. His eyes moved to Branwen. He held his Second within his brown gaze with the unvoiced question there in their locked gaze. He would not ask her to take this burden from him, but he knew she would take it upon herself. There was no other here that could. Having finally settled his gaze upon her, Mindoka's eyes softened with great relief at seeing her well. With hope- that in seeing her here and unharmed that his people had not suffered without him. The third question he asked aloud was one that had been first on his heart, even if his mind had been filled with rage at his Sister-in-Council's betrayal.

    "Branwen" He asked of her with the tone of a father concerned for a beloved child. "What news of Shamaa?"
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 05-03-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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  2. #362
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen felt her sister’s shift in demeanor at Herotus’ outburst. She was acutely aware of her eye’s shifting towards her. Although she was there to protect Nalia and the truths to yet be revealed with her, Herotus and Adaya had personally attacked her, her adopted people and her Guild Master.

    Calm blue eyes turned toward Kali and she could see the sparks of fire burning within. Branwen was a much more forgiving being than Kali, to which both of them knew all too well. Her sister in the end did not wish for Adaya to end her life as she had, but neither would she have allowed her to go unpunished for the crimes she had committed.

    In the end, Kali would have taken Adaya’s life herself if she had for one moment felt Branwen or anyone else she cared about was in danger. Her sister struggled with the vengeance part of herself much more than Branwen ever had.

    Their eyes locked for a moment as the calm blue tried to quench the churning red flame within Kali’s. How many times had they traveled this road before, long before the loss of memory and arrival on a then strange new world?

    Slowly she saw the fire turn to the steel hard resolve that she had control over her emotions, but would act if an attack of any kind were made by Herotus. In truth, Branwen could feel that there was a part of Kali that felt empathy for Herotus, for she too felt it greatly. Losing a loved one, losing family to some was like losing a piece of yourself. Although the girls were not twins, the palpable loss could be felt of a sibling bond now lost forever.

    But empathy and compassion for a sibling lost was all that Branwen felt, she did not feel sorry for the Master of Astral. For it was by his own hand that he now suffered, everything that was happening to him was of his own doing. Whether he understood this or not, only time would tell.

    Branwen watched as Princess Pasce addressed Herotus, her own compassion spoken through her words at his loss. All the while, she was acutely aware of Mindoka’s presence not but a few feet from her, taking in everything around him.

    But her mind was momentarily pulled to Pasce’s sentencing of Herotus’ actions, and she briefly wondered about the Quieting. It was not something that could be done to either Kali or herself, being aliens to this world, and she wondered what that truly must feel like.

    By Herotus’ reaction, she could only imagine. Her eyes found Kali again briefly, had she been thinking the same thing, that Adaya had escaped a lesser penalty? But her own mental musings were suddenly brought to an abrupt halt when Aramil from Da’Jinn spoke.

    It was not even a thought that needed to be formed for it was a response that only came from one’s true heart and character. She took a step forward ready to speak, only to be halted by the sudden feeling from Mindoka. She turned to him as he called her name and she knew; knew with all her heart that he knew of her intentions, but it was masked by his words for their people.

    It was the first time she had to formally address her Guild Master, and she did so with all the grace she possessed inside of her.

    “Our people are a strong people Master Mindoka, even with the loss of our brothers and sisters by betrayal, they have honorably stepped up to help their fellow brother and sister Guilds in need. The Shamaa face these challenges as is our way, with humility and servitude to our each other, to our brother and sister guilds, and to Rekōdo.”

    There was much more she wanted to say, but she was bursting within to finalize his freedom, something she could not hide from him if she tried. She bowed to him.

    “Forgive me Master Mindoka, I will speak more freely with you when we have more time, but there is a matter of importance that must be addressed.”

    She turned from Mindoka and looked to Aramil her blue eyes mingling with universal energy.

    “Aramil of Da’Jinn, advisor to Master Sacha of Maginus, I, Branwen, Second to Mindoka and servant to her people of Shamaa will take this burden. It is my wish that both Master Mindoka of Shamaa and Master Herotus of Astral be released from the servitude of their lamps; forever. “
    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

  3. #363
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    Mindoka's question on which spirits were still missing received a raised finger. A gesture indicating the topic will be put on hold for now.

    Instead Alain's focus shifts to Herotus. The Master of Astral's outburst makes it hard for him to be ignored. With Mindoka's return Alain radiated warmth, joy, and brotherhood. Herotus only receives the opposites. It's an icy glare felt only by the most hated enemies during the Great War.

    Those who know Alain best might suspect he is moments from springing across this room and breaking the bound man in half. However, the attack never comes. Instead, Alain captures a deep breath and concedes to Pasce's words on the matter.

    In the end, Alain's instinct to seek justice wins over his desire to claim vengeance.

    Finally, Alain looks to Pasce. All hint of malicious intent has melted from his dark gaze. He only shows calm to the princess.

    "What now?" Alain asks Pasce.

  4. #364
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo, Mindoka of Shamaa, Herotus of Astral, Arion, Second of Taroc, Nalia of Enchantry, Sacha of Maginus and Aramil, his Advisor

    Mindoka was too weary to hide the relief that relief over his face. His massive shoulders released a wave of tension into the air and his eyes closed to take her words in. Her words were brief, too brief for the Master of Shamaa, but he understood her discretion: It was a Guild matter and there were too many new faces present to offer such sensitive information freely. He opened his eyes, and with it came new steel beams of resolve being hammered into his spine. His stern, brown gaze afforded Alain of Taroc a patient nod, and then settled on his Second.

    "So be it. His burden is yours" Aramil of Maginus, a man of Da'Jinn, finalized. He gestured for Branwen to step forward and take the ring. The Master of Shamaa, no matter how hard he tried, would not be able to do so and offer it to her. The burden was hers to take. When she approached him, the Great Stag bowed his head for her to remove the gold and onyx ring and leather cord from his neck.

    Arion's gesture is subtle, but those who know him best will see it. He cocked his head just slightly to the right, so that it appears as if his ear is dutifully trained on Alain, that he expected his Guild Master might speak. But it is not anticipated words that drew his attention, it is a sound only he can hear. Arion is carefully listening to Alain's Soul Song. Truthfully, it would be difficult not to for a lesser trained man: The Master of Taroc's Song was like a fanfare of power. With Mindoka returned, the two old friends and warriors were like a symphony of heroic tale told in song. There was a dark undertone to his Master's music, but there was no threat of attack. It was a hatred he understood.

    "The guardianship of Astral's servitude will fall to Alain of Taroc."

    She did not ask. It was decided. Herotus of Astral drew himself up against the chilly bonds that contained him. Disbelieving rage spilled in to fill the void left by his twin sister's death.

    "Until a time when Dayena choses a new Host, the Master of Taroc shall have custody of Herotus's servitude. The choice to return it to Astral will be left to him. This is to repay a portion of what has been done to Taroc and Shamaa."

    Herotus opened his mouth to protest violently against her decree, but he was not given the chance. Arion clenched the spell-rune in his palm and the Guild Master of Astral's body arched as his muscles contracted. The Second of Taroc stepped forward and hovered his palm above Herotus's face. He drew his palm outward and closed him long fingertips together. Herotus's mouth gaped as if he were stripped of all the air in his lungs. It left his mouth like warm breath is expressed in winter: a puff of white cloud. Arion caught the ghostly plume in a finger-like cage and them deposited it atop the glowing spell in his palm. There, the small cloud floated and shifted, and churned into a violent gray-black. Herotus was held upright, bound on his knees and was stripped of whatever vile, frothing reply he'd formed. The more angry his stolen words, the more the little cloud frothed black and flickered with internal lightning and storm. Arion action was eerily swift and agile, as he had been in the Battle of Capios. Aramil, witnessing this, shuddered and found it hard to removed his dark eyes from the tall, foreign Second of Taroc. Now, Alain could stare Herotus in the eyes as he took his signature of servitude from him. He could speak and Herotus would be able to do nothing but listen. For Arion, if he and the Master of Astral's situations were reversed, that would be maddening.

    He was not done.

    Satisfied that Herotus' commentary was trapped within his palm, the red-haired Second bent down to observe the angry-looking collection in his palm. Herotus's brown eyes fumed unmercifully at him and the muscles of his throat flexed and moved, but to no avail. Arion pursed his lips and hummed an odd concoction of notes at the little cloud. The air between he and it wavered and flickered. An odd haze formed around it and the rune in his palm. Until his voice was returned to him, the voices of everyone around Herotus would be replaced by songs and instruments. None of it would make sense, unless he was spoken to directly. It would all just be useless noise. He completed his work to find the Princess curiously observing him. He gave her a wolfish grin, one of mischief under her scrutiny.

    "He canno' 'ear us, Princess. I's safe to continue.

    Herotus balked silently and looked with horror at Arion and then at everyone else. To him, the Second of Taroc's voice was nothing more than a series of plucked guitar notes.

    "I fear that we know very little about Caldur of Maginus, and now he seems to loom as the largest threat to the safety and stability of Rekōdo." Her voice rose and fell as the strings of a harp. "We need to tread carefully, but gathering information is vitally needed. I am going to advise my brother to call a High Council Meeting of the remaining Guild Masters. Eri will continue to lead in my stead and he will need to restore order in my continued absence."

    "Who will be amongst Prince Eri’s Council?" Nalia asked. Her voice waxed and waned beautifully with the song of a violin. There were many reasons for her question, none fo them lost on the Princess.

    "With the exception of Astral, each Province will have representation. We will let it be believed that Master Mindoka and Herotus are still absent and captive. Lady Branwen shall represent the Shamaa at the Council table. Da’Jinn shall have representation through the Regent I established before leaving Mararat. Jazhim ibn Jazeem, will act in Jinai’s stead. It will be a good measure of his loyalty. It is my belief that Caldur will go and show himself as the Guild Master of Maginus. Lady Nalia , your Second, Kali shall represent Enchantry on your behalf, and, if it sits well with your Spirit, Master Alain, I would have Master Arion go in your stead. It is my thought that it be best to withhold the fact that you survived your encounter with Darmon of Maginus."

    The Princess made eye contact with each one of those named, including the wide-eyed Master of Astral, who heard nothing but symphony as she spoke. Arion looked hesitantly between Alain and Pasce. He had assume this time to act as Guild Master with the return of Alain and Clow. Sacha's lips tightened. His eyes squinted slightly against Arxus's angry tirade in his head.

    ~I am afraid that continued self-exile would not be healthy for the Mistress of Enchantry in her current state.~ The Princess said privately to Alain and to Clow. ~Find a safe place for her~ She commanded gently. ~If we are to reveal the truth about Enchantry and Arion’s people to our world, we will need to keep guard until the right time.~

    Nalia looked to Kali, not with uncertainty of her leadership, but with relief. It was also a look that said they would need to speak and plan before the High Council meeting. Nalia and her Council on Enchantry were adept at trading thoughts with a look as a skill and for Fateema’s sake, both. The Ord’hu woman, even after attempts at training and her many years on the Ailes, remained too sensitive to the effects of telepathy for it to be used regularly. Nalia conceded to the thoughts of the Princess with a deep nod.

    "And those who were not named to Prince Eri's Council" Sacha questioned when Arxus was through "What of us?"

    Aramil glanced side-long at Sacha. The two had been together long enough for the Da'Jinn man to recognize a tone in the Shepherd's voice even when others could not.

    "To those present at the meeting, Alain shall be dead, Nalia still in exile in the Ailes, Jinai also in exile, and Mindoka and Herotus imprisoned with no known way of freeing them. I too, shall have perished. The burden of housing the Ancestral Spirits was too great. If he, Master Mindoka, Lady Nalia, Herotus, and Jinai are removed from Eri's Council, the might of Rekōdo will appear drastically weakened. While Arion can be given the ruse of Clow's presence, the remaining Seconds and Regents will not have access to Ancestral Spirits or their power. They will not know of our adversary or how to act cohesively to stop him, should he act."

    Aramil stuck out his lower lip from his beard and nodded in approval.

    "Master Alain and Olivia will find a secure place for Lady Nalia to continue her exile. Master Mindoka cannot be seen in Rekōdo and shall remain with me. Master Sacha, Maginus is your land and you have Arxus to guide you. You will find out anything that can give us insight into the false Master of Maginus. As of right now, we do not have enough to know what this new threat is. We need more to protect Rekōdo."

    Pasce paused for a moment to let that sink in for him, then addressed them all.

    "My Council" she said and spread her hands before her. "You have heard my words, now I would hear yours."

    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 12-22-2019 at 04:12 PM.

  5. #365
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen & KALI

    When Aramil gestured for Branwen to stop forward she did so with as much grace outwardly as the young Shamaa woman could muster. Mindoka, he was back and relatively unscathed. The young Second felt her heart beating frantically inside her chest. So much had happened since he had been taken, since Shamaa had been betrayed. It took all her might to keep from shaking as Mindoka bent low enough for her to reach for the necklace.

    Her eyes caught Kali, who had been looking at her with concern. Her sister would notice the change within her. It didn’t matter, not anymore. Even though she had played apart in his return, it did not stop Branwen from lightly caressing the back of his neck. It was a way to assure herself that he was before her in flesh and blood.

    “Your freedom from this bondage forever master Mindoka, I wish it for you with all my heart.” She replied softly as she slipped the necklace from his neck.

    It was her burden to carry, and she gladly took it from him. There was much to talk about, and it wasn’t just the state of Shamaa.
    Once Midoka was freed of the burdening necklace, she took a step back.

    “It is good to have you home, Master Mindoka.”

    Branwen bowed gracefully and stepped back to allow the leader of Shamaa to deal with matters at hand. It was only when she stepped back did the young second notice that her heart had finally begun to beat normally.

    Branwen could still feel Kali’s gaze upon her when their eyes finally met once again. There was a knowing look in her eyes. She’d been busted. Luckily, anything the Second of Shamaa might have given away, even if only to Kali, was drowned out by Herotus.
    Kali had not moved from her position. Nalia was her priority and she would not allow anything to pass through her to the Guild Master of Enchantry if she could help it. Although there was tension in the room, the second of Enchantry felt no pressing urge to remain as armored. Unlike the others, hers could be put on or removed with just a thought.

    Slowly as she stood among the gathering of leaders and royalty, the horns began to shrink on her head and the armored scales began to reduce in bulk and size. Kali’s wings remained, if only for a barrier for Nalia. But even with the battle-ready appearance beginning to fade, the senses were ever acute. From her sister’s sudden heartbeat, to Evalynn’s constant presence in the back of her mind, Kali was processing information constantly.

    She wanted to respectfully disconnect from Evalynn, but she had never had a blood sister like this before. With Branwen, it was easy, they had the same mother, but they were not the same type of being. Evalynn however, was now bonded to her through Vucan, whether they wanted it or not. This feeling would take some getting used too. Luckily for them all, there was enough going on in the room that distraction was not an issue.

    The young Second from Enchantry felt a tickle in the back of her mind and lowered her wings to fold securely along her back. It was difficult for Kali to step to the side, but with Herotus restrained, the likely hood that something would happen now was minimal.

    When the Princess acknowledged the two sisters to stand in for her brother’s Council, they both respectfully bowed and affirmed that they would gladly do so. But Nalia caught her gaze, and Kali casually turned to notice her Guild Mistresses' look . The young Second returned one of her own that said she understood. Those that were able to attend, Kali would send out a call to meet with Nalia when an appointed time and place was given. She wondered to herself if emotions would flare with Nalia’s momentary return.

    For the moment however, it was the least of their concerns. It had been a discussion not long ago with the sisters of her guild and although there still maybe some division, Kali knew they would pull through for the sake of the Guild and the remaining women. The Second of Enchantry had never seen any of Nalia's elite council members put their own personal feelings above the whole and she did not see them doing that now.

    Kali noticed her sister look toward Mindoka when the Princess mentioned that he would remain with her. They still had not fully discussed what was going on with her, but the younger sister would let it go until they had time between themselves to catch up. With so much loss from Enchantry, there was a great weight of responsibility to undertake. The Second of Enchantry was sure that Nalia would be speaking to them as a whole about what she would like to see happen to their guild going forward. Despite the load, she had to speak her mind, even if nothing came of it.

    "Your highness." Kali bowed.

    "If I may, Rekōdo has become a second home for Branwen and I. There may be nothing that either of us can do, but if there is a way you can use my ties to Maginus to your advantage. I will help Master Sacha in anyway I can. “

    It wasn’t known whether Branwen and Kali could carry an Ancestral sprit with their alien heritage, but the Second of Enchantry knew that her sister would do anything in her power to aide their adopted home without even having to ask her. But it wasn’t the youngest siblings place to volunteer her sister’s services, even though she knew that Branwen would do so anyway.

    “My sister is correct your Highness.” Branwen said as she bowed respectfully.

    “Kali and I do not have the same limitations that the other provinces have. Are gifts come from elsewhere and if there is anyway that we can aide, we willingly do so.”

  6. #366
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Walking around.
    Alain LeCavalier, Olivia Kuhrson & Eliona

    Alain takes the offered ring. In times past he may have accepted such a burden as a show of support for a fellow Guild Master that had never directly harmed Taroc. Now, Alain takes it to ensure Herotus will be freed from the genie curse and able to be punished for his crimes. Taking this ring isn't an act of compassion, it's an act of justice.

    There are no words spoken to Herotus. The fallen Guild Master is no longer worthy of further conversation. In times past Alain would have had advice, debate, and stories to share with the man of Astral. No more. That age is done.

    Pasce then outlines their course of action. Alain stands at attention. A soldier absorbing orders. Quietly pondering strategies. Weaving plans within plans. The process feels swifter than it has in a long time. It's Clow, within Alain's mind, helping his host to break down the information, recall needed information, and to exchange ideas at near a near instant rate.

    "Concealing out true numbers is the wisest course of action," Alain agrees to Pasce's plans. "With luck it will lure our enemies into taking bolder risks."

    ~I know of many such sanctuaries in Taroc,~ Alain telepathically replies to Pasce's mental communication to him. ~But what of you, highness? If you are separated from your brother, who will be your guardian?~

    Meanwhile, Olivia presents another gift to Arion. From her bag of arcane tricks, Olivia pulls out a belt made from the skin of a black serpent. The buckle of the belt is silver with many tiny runes carved onto it. She offers this belt to Arion.

    "During the War there were times when we needed to create decoys of LeCavalier," Olivia begins to privately explain to Arion. "We made this belt to alter the aura of anyone wearing it. To the arcane senses of others you will appear to be the host of Clow. It'll trick everyone."

    Olivia pauses a moment, recalling one small tidbit that was learned the hard way. She leans closer to Arion to inform him of one more thing about the belt, "A powerful Astral might be able to see through the ruse. Illusions are their domain, after all. Thankfully, the council is fresh out of Astral representatives."

    Eliona, who had been intentionally staying on the periphery of this gathering of leaders and champions, notices the gifting of the serpent belt. Her sensitive ears pick up enough of what Olivia softly tells Arion. Eliona's training in the illusionary arts allows her to see a helix of scarlet light braided into the belt. The magic of the belt looks like something a bunch of Taroc mystics, under the guidance of a sleep deprived Maginus necromancer, kicked and stomped together in the back of a shed.

    It's the clumsiest piece of deceptive magic Eliona has ever had the displeasure to behold. Really, Astral school children would laugh at this monstrosity.

    Eliona finds some amusement in seeing what kind of shoddy craftsmanship is required for the warriors of Taroc to fool the senses of the warlocks of Maginus. With a small hint of a smile curling one side of her lips she casually raises a hand. There's a subtle, easily missed pulse of purple mist around her hand. The mist fades almost as soon as it appeared.

    During that moment of mist, Eliona casts a small illusion spell over the belt. With hasty, yet artistically administered, brushstrokes Eliona patches up the poorly made magic of the belt. Its deceptive power is improved, and its magical energies and true nature are harder to detect. It's not her best work, but it's definitely better than the mess Olivia first handed to Arion.

    Eliona is also satisfied that she was able to secretly help these people without hurting their feelings. Olivia had sounded so proud of that belt, Eliona didn't have the heart to inform her of how truly terrible it was.

    Eliona's work will be missed by most. Arion will detect the change in song. He'll hear the clumsy notes of the belt's arcane music being tightened into something resembling a professionally performed song. If Pasce's magical training in the illusionary arts were sufficient enough she might also detect Eliona's effort. As long as Nalia isn't distracted she will also notice and understand what the other woman of Astral had done. And finally Herotus and Dayena will notice Eliona's swift spellcasting. Dayena might see some familiarity in the technique, as it was taught to Eliona by some of Astral's finest masters. Yet the spell was cast with an unusual flair. A naturalistic harnessing of power that resembles the techniques taught in the White Towers. It's a blended spellcasting style that isn't often encountered, and only someone as knowledgeable as Dayena might pick up on all of the nuances

  7. #367
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo, Mindoka of Shamaa, Herotus of Astral, Arion, Second of Taroc, Nalia of Enchantry, Sacha of Maginus and Aramil, his Advisor

    Mindoka's stern eyes looked at Branwen. The Shamaa were a sensitive people, in tune with the earth beneath their feet and the wind that whispered messages unheard by other Guilds. They were more free, though nowhere near as freely-giving as Astral, in their love and partnerships. Touch carried messages. Words, looks, body language all had meaning. His stern brown eyes looked up from his obeisant bow. They searched for something in her own. Her first words are met with silence. To the second he said

    "My eyes are awake once more, but I am not yet home."

    It was a lament, in no way subverting the order of their Princess. A simple desire to see home after being away for so long. An ache, like a wound not yet healed. The Princes considered Kali and Branwen's words and considered them both with a thoughtful tilt of her head.

    "Your loyalties to Rekōdo have not gone unseen. There will be a time" The Princess said with a faint, azure glow to her eyes. "when I will have a great need of you both. Then you shall hear my call."

    The Princess's glowing eyes looked through the crowd of Masters and Seconds to those on the periphery. She stared there intently at both Eliona and Evalynn.

    "Master Sacha will need assistance in his quest. Maginus will be at its most volatile now and it cannot be discovered that he hosts their Ancestral Spirit."

    "Sister of Enchantry" the Princess called to Evalynn "Your heritage is that of Maginus. Once Lady Kali has met with you and your other Sisters, you will accompany Master Sacha and assist him as needed."

    Kali would feel Evalynn's heart beat erratically. She stood up straighter, her mind processing that an order had been given by their Princess, but her face paled at the request. There was a desperate want to shake her head and remove that responsibility from her shoulders, but she simply stood perfectly still. Pasce could see the discomfort, anyone could, but she did not alter her command.

    "Lady Kali can join you when she is able" she amended. "What you both discover is most important to the future of Rekōdo. We cannot fight what we do not know."

    Evalynn nodded and then curtsied silently to the Princess. Kali would feel something change in Evalynn. A shrinking away, as if she were diminishing under the fear she felt at having to return to Maginus. Many of Enchantry's First Enchantresses came to Capios under duress or as refugees from their native Province and chose not to or could not go back. Once established for itself, the Sisters of Enchantry that came after frequently visited their families. Evalynn was on the shores of Enchantry the night a fairly unknown man from a prominent family of Maginus tried to assassinate Nalia al'Vatar. Through inbreeding to keep bloodlines pure, Evalynn was distantly related to Edmond St. Clair and his family.The Agravaines and St. Clairs, they were two of several pockets of so-called Pure-Blood families of Maginus. Evalynn's and her mother's leaving would have placed a huge stain on her family's name. Just thinking about it made the rune-scars carved from her left temple down her neck tingle and go numb. Evalynn tried to calm herself. She had no desire to ever return to Maginus. Helplessly, once the Priss's eyes were gone from her, she looked to Kali and Nalia. Nalia touched Kali's arm softly, and moved past her and across the room, quietly, to Evalynn.

    Before returning to Alain, Pasce's eyes stopped and laid sight upon Eliona.

    "It seems this man is one who delights in boldness." Aramil looked to Sacha, but the newest Guild Master's eyes were on Evalynn. There was something there, Aramil saw, but Sacha was good at keeping himself unreadable. Whatever it was, disappeared as soon as it manifested.

    "Brazen men are dangerous" Sacha added as he brought his steely blue eyes back to the group of Masters and Seconds. "Their reckless displays of power can make them unpredictable when they are denied what they feel is their right."

    "As dangerous as that is, it may give us insight into what, exactly, he desires here."

    "Such men" Aramil stated lifting a dark finger "usually find that the more they get, the more they desire."

    Sacha's face turned down in a frown. Arxus barked things at him within his own head, but there was something else nagging at him. Something he couldn't quite dredge up from the shadows where it lingered half forgotten.

    Arion pulled himself away from listening to the conversation when he took the belt Olivia offered him. His fingers slid over the scaled smoothness of the belt. His crimson eyes seemed to look deeper than the materials with which it was made.

    "Lucky for us" he whispered. The belt whispered to him, hummed to him a Song of Many. It offered the temptation and desire to become anyone he wanted simply by putting it on. He could hear the imperfections in its design,at least witht he Soul Songs he knew. There were skips, deletions, minute things a trained ear alone would notice. "A' leas' 'alf of the Council will be wi' me. The odds are good."

    There were very few people who would consider such odds good, but there were no such thing as bad odds with LeCavalier. Any chance was a chance for success. He opened his mouth to mention this, though Olivia would already know how skewed LeCavalier odds were, but something caught his ear. He tilted his head slightly and the patchwork errors and skips in the potential Songs were gone. It felt like a collective re-shuffling of pages in the musical score, so that all the gaps between turned pages and missing notes were corrected. Arion suddenly felt he odds lean in his favor. This could work. Arion glanced at Olivia and offered her a mischievous, half-smile.

    Nalia had Evalynn's face between her chilled hands. A flurry of worried words rushed into her psyche so fast it was almost hard for her to keep up. Kali would hear them, too, and the reassuring words Nalia offered Evalynn in response.

    ~I cannot go back, Nalia~ Evalynn cried in their mindspace. ~I cannot go back to Maginus.~

    ~Have faith in the Princess~ Nalia's voice whispered back to Evalynn gently. Her hands moved to Evalynn's wrist, where they clasped each other tightly. ~She would not send you without reason. She sees our world in ways we cannot.~

    ~I will be hunted.~ A tear welled and slid down Evalynn's fair cheek. ~They will find me. I will be made to suffer for leaving my home.~

    A fear of many women of Enchantry. Nalia sympathized. She had not set foot on Astral soil since she was a child.

    ~Master Sacha will protect you, just as you will him.~

    Evalynn shook her head. Her loosely spun-back blond hair spilled before her face.

    ~He is a man of Maginus. I cannot put trust in him.~

    Nalia hesitated. She, of all people, saw the reason in this. She pursed her lips and searched Evalynn's tear-ridden blue eyes.

    ~Alain trusts him~ she said at last. The words she spoke sounded funny in her head, but they were truth. ~If the Master of Taroc trusts a Master of Maginus, then what have we to fear?~

    Nalia's emerald eyes caught a glitter of violet-blue scales on Evalynn's arm.

    ~Kali~ Nalia asked her privately without breaking eye contact with Evalynn. ~You two are bound now, aren't you?~

    She could feel Kali's presence in Evalynn's mind, like she were standing nearby, watching and listening to the three of them speak. And then there were the scales...

    ~How far does that bond go? How far into Maginus can you reach Evalynn?~

    If Kali could stay with her somehow, perhaps that could calm her? It was a shot. Anything at this point was worth a shot. At that moment, Nalia glanced at Eliona. Her lips parted slightly, but she did not speak to the other Astral woman. An unspoken relief and gratitude washed over her face for just a moment, before she returned her attention to the frightened Enchantress before her.

    The Princess's attention upon Eliona did not diminish as Nalia's did. There was a pause as she thought through Alain's question to her, and the thoughtfulness of it emanated through her eyes to Eliona.

    ~Mindoka will wish to remain with me, and Eliona.~ She hesitated for just a second. ~ Ryth may choose to.~

    He wore her emblem upon his chest now, a gift given to complete a very difficult task. A man always bound to duty might see that as a call to serve in a more dedicated capacity. There was still a rift there, between the old guard and his old Master.

    ~The High Chronicler~ she said in a different voice, one that sounded faintly sad. Her eyes broke from Eliona finally and looked to the High Chronicler of Rekōdo. His eyes were wide and his face was white with the magikal glow from the tome she'd gifted him: a tome with answers. She had asked so much of him, all on a leap of loyalty. She remembered standing just out of sight in the shadows as he worked at an old, disastrously messy desk by candlelight. It made it seem dream-like, using such an archaic method of lighting when there was perfectly good magikal elsewhere in the massive library. She took a moment to simply watch the man in his element. As she stepped forward into the light, and the gargoyles and floating airplanes fled her presence leaving her terribly alone with him, she realized that, as soon as she spoke to him, she would tear his world- this messy, tiny capsule of their world- apart. When he realized that the atmosphere of the room had changed and that she was standing there, she'd removed her cloak-hood and said his name.

    Most Summoning Spells began with a name. But it had not been a spell she'd uttered, but a plea.

    A plea she knew he would answer out of duty. A plea that she knew would change him forever because of the truths he would learn.

    ~He will stay by my side~ she said to Alain, again with sad intonation. ~He will have nowhere left to go.~

    The Princess took a deep breath, but before she spoke, her eyes moved again to Eliona as if she were struck by something, a thought. Her sea green eyes studied the Astral girl in a manner that suggested she were listening to several other conversations as she did. Another set of eyes had also settled upon her. The luxuriously furious brown eyes of Herotus of Astral burned into Eliona as the stroke of her power. Such a small move had not gone unnoticed by the Guild Master and the Ancestral Spirit he hosted within him. Herotus's eyes widened and he shoved a shoulder against his bonds as if to test their durability. His voice was stricken from him, and his throat tightened with the lack of ability to speak. But Dayena was not subject his limitations. Having been bonded- however against her will it was- to the Princess, she was able to fins her again quite easily. Pasce's head tilted slightly at their exchange of words. She considered something and then firmed resolutely.

    "Do as you must to make your preparations" she said to her Council. She lifted a fist and rapped upon the nearest table three times: A symbol from countless High Council gathering at the palace that a meeting was now over.

  8. #368
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Your guess is as good as mine
    Blog Entries
    In the wild, the females chose the appropriate mate. If a male was sickly, if he showed signs of weakness, the female would show no interest. Females were attracted to the strong males, the ones whose offspring would have the best chance at survival, the best traits to carry on to the next generation. In the wild, it wasn’t about the importance of the male or female themselves, it was about the survivability of the species.

    Shamaa, they were closest in all of Rekōdo to nature. Even though outwardly, it would look as if pairings were just solely about love, you would see the truth upon closer inspection. Two whole individuals coming together to complete a whole as one. Instinct played a huge part in the coupling, and aside from maybe Kali, there were not many who would understand that.

    Although the laws of the land looked down upon the mating between Mindoka and Branwen, instinct alone said differently. That Branwen felt an ever-increasing love for her master, was merely a bonus. She had chosen him, and he had taken her to his bed. They were mated in more ways than just through the physical act. Branwen’s turmoil was not in the choosing of Mindoka, but in the feeling as the were kept apart because of the laws of others.

    She may have chosen him, but he had thoroughly claimed her as his own. And when his eyes looked into Branwen and his countenance paid respect, hers told him that she was his and all that such an oath meant. It was more than just the imprisonment as a djinn she carried, she would carry her mate with her forever, even if only in her heart.

    “And home waits to welcome you, Master Mindoka.”

    In her heart, he was already home, to the land he would soon be received in rejoicing once the final obstacles were removed. As his unofficial mate and official Second, she would carry on until the day came to pass that he would return. Returning the gesture of respect to her master, Branwen took her place amongst the others.

    When the Princess addressed the sisters, both Kali and Branwen bowed in respect of her wishes. It was not as if the young women did not have great responsibilities already, but it was the first that they had both been able to verbally announce to their adopted home of their love and commitment. The day would come when higher responsibilities called them away, until that, they honored their mother by remaining here and helping Rekōdo.

    As the Princess spoke, Kali’s eyes drifted from Branwen, over to Evalynn. The feeling was immediate, as soon as the command came out of the Princesses mouth. If someone were to ask Kali how it felt to be bonded to her new sister, she would say that it felt as if they were one being at times. But Kali was accustomed to the blood from her father that flowed through her veins, this was new for Evalynn.

    It wasn’t as if Kali had ever bonded like this before or had full blooded sisters or brothers to compare this too. It was simply the fact that she was familiar with the power that coursed through her. She and Evalynn were different from the bond Kali had with her sister Branwen. The two sisters shared a mother and through her they were bound, but Kali and Evalynn now shared her father’s blood through Vucan.

    Was it fitting, or just plain irony that Evalynn happened to be from Maginus? In the end, it did not matter to Kali, Evalynn was family now and always would be. A sister of Enchantry, a sister by sex, and now an adopted sister by blood, who soon would become something much more than any of them could probably imagine. So, when her new sister’s heart beat nearly out of her chest, Kali remained calm. Reacting to her sister in kind would only further push her to the edge of whatever fear entangled her.

    As the Princess continued, Kali tried to send reassurance to Evalynn. Kali felt a shift in Evalynn, but she did not push however; such connections could be intrusive and frightening to others. There was only one other that Kali knew Evalynn to be so tightly bonded too, and that was her partner, Shalla. So wrapped within the emotions from her blood sister, Kali almost didn’t feel Nalia’s soft touch on her arm.

    She watched as their Guild Mistress went to Evalynn and the young woman was torn. Kali had gone from an unknown rebellious young woman, to appointed Second of Nalia, and to their acting Guild Mistress in a small span of time. Kali did not have the intimate relationship with Evalynn that they were suddenly faced with now. She had been so involved with herself and her own feelings, that she hadn’t reached out or back to the others. Kali had only just begun to get to know the others better before all hell broke loose.

    It was her own fault, and now she had a fledgling blood sister that needed guidance and help. If she’d take it. Kali hadn’t been the most pleasant of beings to deal with the last couple of years, so if Evalynn kept her at arm’s length, she could only blame herself. The youngest daughter of Alexis did not want to fathom what either her mother or father would say. Funny how there was just enough memory of that, in the missing gaps of her memories.

    Kali’s eyes were locked on Evalynn from the first erratic beat of her heart, through the look her blood sister gave her and Nalia, and into the conversation she felt she was eavesdropping on. Just as Nalia was focused on Evalynn, Kali’s eyes never once left her blood sister’s face, even as the Guild Mistress spoke to her within her mind.

    “Yes, in many respects more strongly than she is to Shalla.”

    There was a hint of sorrow and shame in her voice that she could not hide. It was not in Kali’s heart to disrupt the bonds of another, but there was nothing she could do, because Evalynn had chosen to take Vucan’s offer. It was like having a 3rd party in an established relationship and despite her joy at a blooded sister, she would not come between the two if she could help it.

    "The entirety of the planet and more. Evalynn will have no problems reaching me, nor I her. If she is frightened or in trouble, I will know even if she doesn't speak of it."
    Last edited by Tigers; 01-12-2020 at 07:05 PM.

  9. #369
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Walking around.
    Alain LeCavalier, Olivia Kuhrson & Eliona

    Alain nods to Pasce.

    ~Eliona aided us in the battle against the Nightmare beasts,~ Alain tells Pasce. ~While she's no fighter she is brave and capable. She has earned the trust of my closest friends, and with that she has earned my trust. If her hands have sufficiently recovered she'll also prove useful as a healer.~

    Alain thinks about the mention of Ryth. After a moment to ponder the old soldier, Alain continues speaking to the princess, ~If you ask for it, Ryth would march across hell for you and Rekōdo. He's the most loyal and determined man that I have ever fought alongside. He'll serve you well. I would caution you to keep in mind that his instincts are those of a soldier and weapons maker. Without guidance his solutions to many problems tend to involve explosions.~

    With the meeting officially called to an end, Alain approaches Arion.

    "Throw Herotus into the Pit of Silence," Alain instructs his Second.

    The Pit of Silence is an ancient forbidden place in Taroc. Before there was a Temple of Unspoken Prophecies there was the Pit. It's a dungeon carved down into the coldest depths of Emporium by the ancient mystics of Taroc. It's there that the most dangerous prophets and sorcerers were imprisoned. In recent decades it was decided the Pit was too cruel a punishment and it was shut down in favor of wiser and more compassionate means of dealing with the dangerous elements of Taroc. During the War Alain opened the Pit back up and used it to contain prisoners captured by Taroc's forces.

    Long ago Alain took Arion to this foreboding place. It was empty, haunting. It felt like a bottomless sinkhole in the mystical world. Alain instructed his young Second to never use this place. To do so would inflict an unjust cruelty upon a poor soul.

    These days the Pit is an unused relic of less a civilized era. Today it is a fitting prison for Herotus of Astral.

    Herotus will be the first prisoner of the Pit since the Great War.

    In the Pit Herotus will find his every attempt to use magic snuffed out like a candle flame in the winds of a hurricane. The stone halls of the dungeon are designed to create a constantly moving vortex of mystical forces. All spells and mystical systems are swept away by this invisible, inaudible vortex. Prisoners are left with their power intact, but every use of their magic is taken away by unseen forces. Prophets are left with their mystical sight muted. Even the great might of a Guild Master will be reduced to nothing.

    Meanwhile, Olivia steps away from the Master and Second of Taroc. She approaches Sacha.

    Olivia recalls a previous encounter with another Guild Master of Taroc. She can still feel the sting of deadly blades. Can still remember life bleeding out of the body she inhabited then.

    <Your success at your given task will aid us all,> Olivia addresses Sacha in their native language of Maginus. Her tone is colder and harder than the northern mountains. Her accent is of the Maginus aristocracy. <The safety of Ms. Agravaine is also in your hands. It's these reasons, and these reasons only, that I offer this to you.>

    From a pocket Olivia produces a folded sheet of paper. The paper is locked with a baffling ward. Any attempts to unfold it will only result in the paper folding itself again. The self folding paper will also cut any fingers holding it. Trying to force the page open will only destroy it and its contents. If Sacha takes the page it will glow as the baffling ward reads his magical aura and unlocks itself whenever he wishes to unfold it. It will also be safe for him to touch the paper. The page is already safe and unlocked for Evalynn.

    <It's a list of safehouses I have scattered across Maginus,> Olivia informs Sacha. <If you're in need of a refuge these locations will serve you well. They're properly warded and well stocked with supplies.>

    <Ms. Agravaine is a dear friend of mine,> Olivia's whisper is icy like the cruel winds over the Great Swells. <If you mistreat her in any way, I will have words for you.>

    In many parts of Maginus there is no more feared creature than an ancient great-grandmother warning the escort of the family's beloved daughter. Warning such companions against endangering the cherished girl. It's understood that with great age can come an understanding of many dark things. For an ancient great-grandmother to have reached their age they would have had the cunning to evade the machinations of fathers, husbands, sons, and grandsons. It's also said they have the cruel mastery of the dark arts needed to protect the women of their family from the desires of unworthy suitors. It's whispered that such old witches are to be feared.

    In this moment Olivia is very much the manifestation of that ancient matron of Maginus folklore.

    Elsewhere, Eliona gracefully pours herself into an antique reading chair by the hearth. She takes a moment to find a comfortable place in this relic of old Taroc furniture. To an Astral woman that is accustomed to only the finest and most comfortable furniture her homeland has to offer, this chair feels it's best suited to keeping ancient Taroc mystics too uncomfortable to fall asleep while reading dull tomes of prophecy.

    Eliona finds herself feeling some sympathy for Nalia having to grow up in the many discomforts of Taroc. She can't even imagine what kind of hellhole Maginus would have been whenever Nalia had to spend her time in that cold, joyless wasteland.

    Despite her displeasure for the chair, Eliona manages to seat herself with the fluidic grace of a majestic cat.

    The fire beside her casts a dark blue glow upon her, as the flames are a product of one of Olivia's protection spells. The blue fire makes Eliona look paler than she should. Giving her an almost ghost-like appearance.

    She stares at the bound Master of Astral. Her leader. While Eliona had shunned politics for longer than she can remember, she knows of Herotus. Everyone knows of him. There was so much to admire about the man in the old days. Now he has been brought low. At this moment he is a broken thing and Eliona is unsure if she should pity him or hate him.

    She does know she needs to speak to him. Though, Eliona isn't sure why. Or what she should say. She only feels the need to say something to her Guild Master.

    Her eyes flash with purple light. A small illusion forms inside of Herotus's ears, a voice only he can hear.

    ~As a loyal daughter of Astral, I feel it's my duty to inform you of the state of our beloved homeland,~ Eliona informs Herotus through the magical voice. There's a ghostly element to the voice, as it has been crafted in such a way that it will blend in with Herotus's own magical aura. This will hopefully camouflage it from the senses of the others in the room. ~I am Eliona Primana.~

    There is no way for Herotus to reply. Even the power of speech has been taken from him. Under any other circumstances Eliona would enjoy such a powerful, beautiful man being so thoroughly bound before her. She enjoyed many exciting games with men in similar states of binding. It would seem this new chapter in her life is dedicated entirely towards robbing every bit of joy from her existence.

    If Herotus paid any attention to commerce he might recognize Eliona's family name as belonging to wealthy merchants that specialized in importing exotic items from other provinces. Although, considering recent habits of losing herself to the drinks and potions that can flow quite generously at the opulent nightclubs and parties of the wealthy elite of Dayena city it's possible an intoxicated Eliona could have encountered Herotus himself and now can't remember such a meeting. There's much of her recent years that are adrift in a fog.

    ~Our province is occupied by a joint effort of Taroc soldiers and Rekōdo overseers,~ Eliona informs the bound man. She can't recall if the others have told him these things, or if he would care. It's all a part of a picture she feels she must paint for this trapped creature. ~We're kept safe and passive. Like a canary in a gilded cage. Though, you know our beloved people. We're content to accept this as long as our creature comforts are maintained.~

    Eliona looks out the window. Snow is covering the balcony outside. There's a small wince as she recalls recent snowfall she created in Astral. Relives the horrors that proceeded that act.

    ~A group of rogue Taroc soldiers did attack Dayena city,~ Eliona relays in a haunted tone. As she speaks she relives the nightmares that have brought her to this uncomfortable chair. ~They were rebelling against their Master's wishes to maintain peace. Despite everything done to Taroc, LeCavalier still sought to protect everyone. These rebels, however, could only see vengeance. To repay Astral for the slaughter you inflicted upon them. They used dark magic to unleash a horde of beasts upon Dayena. I don't know how many of our people died. Dozens? Hundreds?~

    ~My sister died. My beautiful, brilliant Gustella. Gone. The monsters left nothing of her. Nothing to burn on a pyre. Nothing to cry over. They took everything from me.~

    ~Commaner Ryth and Doctor Doraen of Taroc aided me in fighting these beasts. They slayed the group of rogue soldiers. Killed their own countrymen just to protect us. Then together, these men of Taroc and I, banished the monsters from Dayena. The city is once more safe in its gilded cage.~

    Eliona looks Herotus in the eyes. She looks into depths of his beautiful brown eyes as if seeking to speak directly to whatever souls reside beyond his gaze.

    ~This is the world you made for Astral. A world of death, monsters, oppression, and misery. It's a cold world, Master Herotus. And I fear it only gets colder from here.~

    The illusion Eliona spoke through fades into a chilled mist. The painting is complete. She has nothing left to report.

    Eliona doesn't care about what the man has to say, or if he even cares about anything she said. She didn't tell the tale for his benefit. It was a story she had to tell.

    Eliona looks away from the man. He's no longer beautiful. She can't tolerate the sight of him. Eliona gazes into the fire burning in the fireplace. She doesn't like the sickening colors of the blue Maginus spells Olivia has burning in the fireplace. With a wave of her hand Eliona casts an illusion and creates a flame of a more natural color.

    It looks warm and inviting, but it's only an illusion of such things. More shine added to the gilded cage.
    Last edited by Qwaring's clone#1; 01-19-2020 at 05:18 AM.

  10. #370
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom


    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo, Mindoka of Shamaa, Herotus of Astral, Arion, Second of Taroc, Nalia of Enchantry, Sacha of Maginus and Aramil, his Advisor

    He is in rage at being bound and silenced, in rage at all the things being done to him, to the things set before his sight. Inwardly, he is fuming and frothing and left utterly alone in his isolated ire. His shoulder lifts automatically at the sensation in his ear, the only way a bound man could relieve an itch if one were to come to him. The itch is a sound, one of many musical renditions of the conversation before him that he is not privy to actually hear. It starts like a tympani roll, the sound of soft mallets trilling over the surface of the wide, deep drum and then distorts and becomes a voice he can understand. It's not a voice he is familiar with, but it is a voice nonetheless. The ties of his rage slam instantly into a wall and rocks ceaselessly back and forth like a trapped ocean in a jar. It takes him a moment to recover from the mental impact that has and to pinpoint the source of the voice. The crafter of such an illusion that it fooled the vile Maginus magik that trapped him. Such beautiful, exotic power could only come from someone truly born of Astral. A loyal daughter indeed.

    Herotus's rage swings violently and recklessly back into joy. For a brief moment, he was ecstatic, perhaps rescued, even. Bit Eliona's words are not the words of a person come to be his savior. Though the thought would not cross his mind, they were the words of a truly loyal daughter of Astral, a daughter who truly cared for the people there. He could not reply to her. No, that right has been taken from him. Since he was stricken of such, he could only listen to her story. It was torture.

    Brief thoughts were able to burst through his slow, downward plummet. He could not say that he honestly knew Eliona Primana, though between the haze caused by his servitude in the lamps and his detrimental lifestyle choices, it was difficult to say whether that was true. She was beautiful and, under other circumstances, being bound helplessly before such beauty would have ignited very different feelings within him. She could have slept with him, or Adaya, or the both of them and he hadn't any recollection of it. Such a thought was quick, fleeting, as the weight of her words came crashing down upon his chiseled shoulders. Even the importance of her family name was lost to him as he was buried under a grief and regret that could only be caused by the full extent of the consequences for his selfish actions being laid bare before him.

    At the heart of it was Alain LeCavalier. The braver, the stronger, the heroic war hero that Herotus would never be. He was there, acting as a merciful savior in the face of all that had been done. Astral's glory was ruined and there, atop its ruin stood that arrogant man with all his loyal soldiers. Not Herotus at the top, but Taroc. Everything he needed to call upon that rage and anger of before was there, but the more Eliona spoke, the more such rage became intangibly out of reach to him. It was snuffed out and smothered by the weight of selfish failure. The way she looked at him, how she looked through him to the utterly silent Spirit within him was too much. If Adaya were here, she would at least fill the silence with... something. Anything. Anything but this.

    The true weight of his actions finally hit him. Bound and unable to expel his grief, Herotus hung his head and let his sorrow take him far, far away from the present. He is left with the chilling sound of Eliona's last words and the deafening exit of her departure to wrap around him like a cold, damp blanket.


    Arion's renewed, nimble digits began to slip the snake-skin belt on and tighten it to fit his lithe, trim waist. He is thinking, despite the oddity and sometimes disturbing nature of Doctor Doraen's methods, that he would need to thank the old man for mending them when he saw him next. He is caught utterly unprepared for the order given to him. Arion stops putting the belt on. He looked down at the scaled material beneath his fingertips and then finished the job.

    "Despite i's making, i' fits perfectly" he called out over his shoulder to Olivia with a wink and a grateful smile. He turned back to Alain.

    The hesitation was momentary.

    Arion despises that place. The Pit of Silence is true to it's name in more than just its ability to strip away one's use of magik. Years ago, when Alain brought Arion there, he heard nothing. He always heard something, even in a dead quiet. A hum of residual magik emanated by all things. Even the planet hummed in its own way, a constant, reassuring tone. There was nothing in The Pit. He could feel it, even at its edge, sucking and pulling at all his power, tugging at the in-born abilities he'd known all his life. Just over the edge, he could hear the sound of what The Pit offered and he had shuddered and asked Alain why Taroc had such an awful place within its land. He was glad when Alain had told him to never use this place. He could not imagine desiring or justifying putting a person into such a desolate place. Not until today.

    Arion's hesitation came not from whether he felt the placement of Herotus of Astral into such a place was earned or not. He hesitated because of what Herotus housed. Without breaking eye contact with Alain, the Second of Taroc thought of Dayena of Astral and what would come of the Spirit after her Host was imprisoned there. Alain had told him that even the graet might of a Guild Master would be reduced to nothing.

    The hesitation was momentary. Arion remembered that place. He put a hand on Alain's broad shoulder.

    "Please take care" he said in his naturally gentle manner. "Call on me if there is a need."

    He squeezed Alain's shoulder tightly and released him with a resolute nod. The Second of Taroc released his Master and walked over to Herotus of Astral. He looked at the Guild Master, with his head hung low, and then they both disappeared in a coil of red and black smoke- a method of teleporting that Arion had not used in a very long time. The deep crimson and black billowed by the Second of Taroc and his captive like thick smoke caught in the wind of battle, like the smoldering reminders of brimstone and ash. The two men were gone once it passed them by. It was something not entirely Taroc, not entirely Rekōdo. It was something Alain would have heard, almost smelled from Arion the first time he had to use his Combat Sense with his foreign Second.

    In the wake of Arion's departure stood Mindoka. The mountainous Guild Master stared at the spot where he had disappeared. One of his massive fists was clenched at his side. It made the tattooed muscles of his biceps and up his entire arm bulge. Mindoka's deep eyes rise and looked to Alain of Taroc. There was something in his eyes, something of regret as he approached his brother-in-arms.

    "I am still not entirely myself yet" he said with a voice that rumbled deeply like distant thunder "or I would have thought to apologize to your Second."

    He hesitated, as if trying to find words that were his own.

    "The memories of my time in Da'Jinn are still not entirely clear to me" he said with a bit of pain. "My actions, Alain... They were not my own. Had I been free to chose, what I inflicted upon your Second would not have been."

    His massive hand squeezed Alain's shoulder, much like Arion's had, but with an entirely different feeling behind it.

    "Until the time I can do so on my own, please tell him of my grief and my desire to make things right."

    Having spoken, Mindoka gave Alain a gentle push to test his strength. A gentle, stifled weeping sound caught his ear and he turned toward it. A girl of Maginus origin, an Enchantress by her battle-worn robes, was composing herself at the hands of her Guild Mistress and her Second. Nalia's hands moved from Evalynn's face so that the young woman could wipe her tears to grip her shoulders instead. Kali had done well to hide and shield Nalia from the two liberated Guild Masters. Mindoka eyes had only just dawned on the difference in the Guild Mistress he knew before his servitude in the lamps of Da'Jinn. Mindoka squeezed Alain's shoulder in an entirely different way. Alarm.

    "Brother-" he began and stopped. He could not procure the words for the sight of the pregnant woman before his eyes. This went on unbeknownst to Nalia.

    ~What's done is done. We must guide her forward to wherever she must go from here~ she said in a simply response to the sound of Kali's shame.

    Her mind rapidly processed the dual meaning behind her Second's words. Her lips pursed and her cold hands squeezed Evalynn's shoulders.

    "Enchantry is not a place where you can hide from what haunts you" Nalia said to her. "A sanctuary and a haven, yes, but not a hiding place."

    Evalynn looked down but managed to nod to Nalia. It was something she had always said to them, to those who first came to Enchantry at its beginning. A reminder that they could not hide from the world there, that Enchantry would be their shield as they face whatever adversity was theirs in life. Those born on Enchantry did not have the need for such a talk. Evalynn knew this. She just had not envisioned herself having to march back into the heart of Maginus.

    "I have prepared you for this since the day our Enchantry was born. You will not go into Maginus alone" Her voice was soft, but strong. "Kali can hear you wherever you go. Speak with her as you need."

    From a respectful distance Sacha and Aramil watched, enough that they could not hear what the Mistress of Enchantry whispered to Evalynn. The new Master of Maginus was silent with a hand wrapped perfectly around the spiral grooves of his Shepherd's Crook. He was nudged sharply by the elbow of his Advisor.

    "Don't gawk" he whispered in mock harshness. "Go and say something to the poor girl. She's clearly frightened of you."

    Sacha's blue eyes leveled lethally upon Aramil's hooded face. The dark-skinned Da'Jinn man shrugged a shoulder and offered a hand in the direction his Master should go, just in case he was confused about which person was scared of him. He also offered Sacha a smooth, bearded Da'Jinn smile. Still displeased with the idea, Sacha nodded for Aramil to follow. The Da'Jinn man in Maginus robes did so and clasped his hands before himself in a very sage-like manner as he went. Upon entering the sacred space of their conversation, Nalia stopped speaking and removed her hands from Evalynn's shoulders. Her emerald eyes looked protectively at Sacha, a visible warning to watch himself. Evalynn's blue eyes looked at him. He could see the fear there, as misplaced as it may have been to be put directly upon him. Now that he was here, he realized he hadn't prepared anything to say. Sacha's lips pursed and he looked down at the runes he'd hand-carved into the hilt of his staff as if hoping to find the words he needed there. Strands of white hair fell before his eyes.

    "Your family is from Arx?"

    Evalynn's brow furrowed when Sacha looked up at her. The Agravaines, like many noble families of Maginus, would never dream of residing anywhere but the capital city unless it were shortly-termed in one of their winter or summer homes. Sacha cleared his throat and looked down for a moment to the runes again. Still no help there.

    "If it can be helped" he tried again "we will not travel to Arx."

    Evalynn's forehead unfurled some of its worrisome lines. Slowly, she nodded at the seemingly kind promise. She hesitated and then Sacha felt her presence on the edge of his mind. He did not reveal himself to her and she would find he has strong barriers in place, just like the Master of Taroc had when she first dared to speak with Clow. But he did not reject her presence either.

    ~I need to return to Capios first~ she said into his mind. ~Once I am ready, I will meet you wherever you see fit.~

    Sacha was surprised by her sudden assertiveness, but ultimately deferred with with an empty-handed gesture toward Nalia.

    "I am not yours to Command" he responded bluntly. "Do as your Mistress asks."

    Aramil looked between Sacha and at Evalynn. He had not heard her speak.

    "When you are ready, I will be waiting at the Temple of Souls in Windf'rte."

    Mutely, Evalynn nodded. Sacha turned to ask the Princess if it were well for him to head out now, as he desired. There were things he needed to do to prepare at the Temple. He turned and found himself in the path of the Taroc's soldier who wields Maginus magik. Olivia, was it? His lips purse into a small frown. When she speaks in the native tongue of Maginus, that could be expected. Her aristocratic accent caught him completely by surprise. There were very few things in life that could do that, and the young Guild Master froze where he stood. His eyes winced at the biting cold tone, a slight of his being caught off-guard, not of fear. He masked his face after that, but the wince at her accent would not go unnoticed. Sacha reached forth his hand and took the warded paper from Olivia. It hummed in his grasp.

    <<Aye, mum>> he said back to her in the quiet almost diminutive tone a child of much lower ranking would give to a respected member of the untouchable Maginus aristocracy. It was the voice of someone addressed by another way above their station. How could a Guild Master recite such tones? Such was the shameful tone in Arxus's voice within his head. That she should be put in her place. The folded paper is clenched more tightly within his hand. Until now, Arxus had not been hosted by anyone like Sacha: a child of the Blood Sport, bought for the Priesthood because of his white hair. Children of Maginus born with white hair were said to have strong, ancient lineage or great purpose. He was only a boy when an old, unimportant low Priest of Maginus found him and bought him out of that grim existence into the Priesthood, but Sacha remembered the words that were uttered to the crowd, specifically to the elite who frequented the events for fun, money, and the potential to buy new servants and sacrifices.

    <<We who are to spill our blood this day do so for the glory of Rekōdo.>>

    The paper in Sacha's clenched hand is drawn across his chest with a thumb up, starting at his heart. It is the salute of the Blood Sport, a cutting symbol, binding their oath to the blood they would spill, that they might be given for the glory of Maginus. Sacha replaced the name of his home Province with Rekōdo, but the oath was the same. Sacha had no way of knowing if Olivia would recognize the oath, but she would recognize the tone and wording of his first words. Arxus was being housed by a commoner, at the best. For Sacha, it was a vastly huge admission that was being made. He did so with reason.

    The folded piece of paper was put into his pocket. In his addition to his admittance of social status to his station as the Shepherd of Souls, Sacha had also let Olivia know what a prolific fighter he was. one did not last long in the Blood Sport, let along live to adulthood, if one were not very, very good at surviving.


    A loud cry rang out from the periphery of the group. A hand of grief and another of anger wrapped around the throat heart that strangled out the sound. A similar sound came after it, and then a third, followed by a book being thrown with no general direction to its aim. The book bore the mark of Rekōdo across its front cover. As it left the angry hand of its reader, the book spun and landed with a loud thud on the floor. The light of its magikal contents beamed upward for a brief moment thereafter. Then the pages fluttered closed on the book and then its cover snapped shut as angrily as it had been cast away. The High Chronicler of Rekōdo was stanced as if he'd just finished fighting for his life. The white glow of what he'd read was fading from his eyes. Everything in his body radiated a mixture of so much outrage and confusion and grief. It was not directed at her, but he did not know where else to look. He stared at the Princess, but found he could not bear to do so and wheeled away.

    "Why?"*he'd asked her. He'd needed a reason. He was working late in the library, translating draconic text. Fitting, in the hindsight of what he'd read in the book she'd given him, it was with dragons where she found Rekōdo's most sacred tome. The tome that was supposed to be in the Central Library where he worked. It was late that night. Very late. He was very tired.

    "Because there is something that our people need to know. They must know the truth, Emit."

    "And you expect me to kidnap the Five Great powers of Rekōdo on that?"

    "On faith, Emit Shornoc"
    is what she'd said. Even though who she was required him to help her, he did so because she had asked him to have faith in her. And now that faith lead him here.

    He had read the truth about his beloved Rekōdo in the book she'd given him. In a tome that told no lies, but showed him memories, snapshots, so that he would understand why. The High Chronicler walked a few more paces away and steadied himself with a hand on the wall. His world has been destroyed. He was a man of books, a man who recorded the truths of their history down for generations to read and learn from. the esteemed High Chroniclers before him all chronicled the history of their world. It was their soul purpose, their job, to oversee and make sure that everything was recorded accurately.

    It was a lie. All of it.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 02-08-2020 at 10:15 AM.

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