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Kiran, Prince of Ashkara

"What purpose have I left in this world? I am not a builder of great monuments, nor a conqueror of great lands. I will be forgotten in the sand and time."

0 · 1,002 views · located in The Republic of Khalidor

a character in “Crowns, Empires, Blood and Swords”, as played by Tumbleweed

Description




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Kiran, Prince of Ashkara

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Q U O T E

"Still round the corner there may wait,
A new road or a secret gate.
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."


—J.R.R. Tolkien


T H E M E S

You Were A Prince || James Horner

Desert Prince || Derek Fiechter







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__I___A M___W H O___I___A M__
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Name: Soheil Kiran Shahnaz Mithradatha Shahzad
Title/or Moniker: Official - Prince of Ashkara, Prince-Thalatha || the Third Prince; Derogatory - Wildling, the Gypsy Prince, the Royal Wayfarer
Gender: Male
Age: Thirty
Species: Kiran is half-human owing to his mother; the other, paternal half is a curious amalgam of Djinn, Nāga, and Ifreet blood intermingled among various others.
Class/Occupation: Prince of Ashkara
Description: Kiran is a tall, slender young man standing at a towering height of six feet and two and a quarter inches. He doesn't quite paint the dashing figure of a traditional prince—what with his smooth, dusky skin often marred by small cuts and bruises due to his affinity for scraps, dark brows arched perpetually in dismay at his brothers' actions, and full, bow-shaped lips either turned up in a smirk, or sighing in exasperation (also due to his brothers)—but his ruggedly handsome, roguish features often draw curious glances from the female majority; something that, while not entirely unwanted, can prove to be quite bothersome when the need for anonymity arises (i.e. when he's out traveling and needs to blend in to avoid being recognized as a prince).

Though not overly muscular, his imposing height and broad shoulders make up for his lack in physical brawn, while his intellect and agility remedies his shortcomings in terms of strength. Like his brothers, Kiran sports his father's colouring: swarthy, sun-darkened skin; piercing eyes of the darkest brown; and deep, dark, nearly black hair (although his falls straight like his mother's, and not in curled waves like his father or eldest brother).

Slim, with long limbs and a slightly rounded, boyish face, one might mistake him for a boy of eighteen or twenty, but Kiran is actually already in his thirties—old, by human standards, but still quite young for an Ashkarazi. However, being half-human, he is expected to age faster than his brothers, or most of the Ashkarazi for that matter.





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__W H A T___I S___H I D D E N___W I T H I N__
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Strengths:
  • A quick mind
  • Swift and light on his feet
  • Above average in hand-to-hand combat
  • Skilled in sword-fighting and marksmanship
  • Fairly resistant to heat/fire
  • Has a knack for escaping
  • Being quiet and sneaking up on people

Weaknesses:
  • Overly restless—cannot stay in one place for too long
  • Easily distracted
  • Claustrophobic
  • A known nonconformist (hence his unpopularity with the elites)
  • Susceptible to bouts of sentimentality
  • Quick to defend, ergo also quick to start brawls
  • Physically weaker compared to his brothers
Likes:
  • Adventure
  • Exploring foreign places
  • Music and dancing
  • Amassing knowledge
  • Riddles
  • Spicy food and sweets
  • Collecting various small trinkets from his travels
  • Riddles
  • Handling animals

Dislikes:
  • Politics
  • Staying still
  • Restriction
  • Spiders
  • Picking up after his brothers
  • Bitter food
  • Being followed by guards
  • Playing mediator between his brothers
  • Having his reputation as the 'lesser' prince thrown in his face
  • Certain Ashkarazi customs (e.g. fratricide, polygamy, etc.)

Quirks and Habits: Kiran has a wide range of quirks considered strange or unseemly for a prince; first and foremost being his inability to stay still. He constantly has to keep moving, whether it be rolling coins over his knuckles, fiddling with his clothes or his fingers, or simply bouncing his leg. Closed, confined spaces has him feeling jittery in minutes, always wanting to be out there instead of cooped up in a dusty room (unless said dusty room happens to be a library, then he can stay there for days at a time). He likes hiding things, usually little trinkets, in other peoples' bags, rooms, or even on their person (Skandar, in particular, often finds things hidden in his robes or hanging on his snakes). He also likes collecting random souvenirs during his travels, or taking small, usually inconsequential things from various people in order to remember them by.





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Land/Kingdom: The Kingdom of Ashkara
History: WIP

So begins...

Kiran, Prince of Ashkara's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The Princes of Ashkara
Akhil || Skandar || Kiran



"Do you reckon there'll be faeries?" Kiran asked, dark eyes narrowed as the young prince stared down at the torrent of seawater thundering below, the crash of the icy Northern waves against the hull ringing clear despite the incessant clamour of loud Ashkarazi music playing in the background. The scene below deck was lively as usual: the wine, endless; candles painting the walls a vibrant hue as concubines frolicked about, slim hips gyrating to the beat of the drums and the harps, their melodious voices filling the spacious cabin with song and bird-like laughter. In the middle of it all, lounging amid a bed of silken pillows, lay his brothers—Skandar, with his lean body all but shielded by the throng of Djinni women lending heat to his cold-weakened form; and Akhil, the Crown Prince's eyes set alight as he laughed and clapped along with the dancers. Those same eyes were turned towards him now, a single dark eyebrow arched as his brother met his query with a scoff.

"Faeries? Don't be quite so foolish, brother." Akhil responded airily, "The fae are far too busy stealing children and talking to trees and such to venture out of their flowerbuds for something as inconsequential as a trade summit." He snickered, the elder prince's mouth turned up in an impish grin. "They remind me of Skandar, actually—"

Skandar's head immediately snapped up at the mention of his name, the beginnings of a scowl deepening the valley between his eyebrows as Akhil carried on, unfazed.

"—Xenophobic. The only difference is our brother here talks to snakes, not trees." Akhil quipped, sending the aforementioned brother a lazy smirk. "But wait, that's not all. He not only steals children, he kills them, too. Don't you, brother?"

"Akhil, I don't think—" He began, but Kiran could only watch, helpless, as Skandar launched himself at their eldest brother, dislodging the women coiled around him in the process. Their shrieks filled the cabin as both Crown Prince and Serpent Prince fell together, trading blows on the cabin floor, and sending fruit, wine, and pillows alike flying in their wake.

Kiran sighed, shaking his head. If only Akhil knew how to hold his tongue and Skandar rein his temper, then maybe all three could get through a trip with skin and egos intact. But as it happened, Akhil was the type of person who would still find a way to rile someone up even with that silver glib of a tongue cut out and strung up in front of him. And no one could get Skandar's blood boiling faster than Akhil.

However, the little smirk plastered across his lips contradicted the youngest prince's sentiments. While he disapproved of his elder brothers' staggering lack of self-control, he still couldn't help but be amused by it all considering that he, a man of nearly one-and-thirty, held more control in his littlest finger than any of his brothers ever could—at least when pitched against each other. He thanked his lucky stars—profusely—that none quite so detested him as much as they did the other. He was quite happy landing the position of Royal Mediator, but even he wasn't strong enough to physically separate the two when they really started going at it. He was, after all, mostly human. He was nothing pitted against Djinn and Nāga.

--

The two were separated eventually—not so much due to Kiran, but instead thanks to the admittedly very timely arrival of General Zharkhun and his men. Timely, because they arrived at precisely the same moment Akhil captured the cold-weakened Skandar in a chokehold and threatened to break his neck. The elder prince was forcibly dragged back out to cool in the upper deck, while the younger was left to lick his wounds in the ruins of the cabin below.

Kiran eyed Skandar warily, his brother sat up against a corner with at least a sackful of vipers coiled around their master—perhaps a gesture of comfort? Kiran wasn't sure, but Skandar was still quite definitely vibrating with unrepressed anger.

"Calm down." Kiran said, maintaining a careful distance away from the serpents as he spoke, "No need to waste body heat on needless dander." Skandar's head snapped towards him, his features twisted in a scowl. "I will not be made a fool of by an even greater one." The Serpent Prince spat, the snakes wrapped around him hissing in unison with the bite of their master's words.

"Yet you're making an even greater fool of yourself by giving him the satisfaction of a reaction." Kiran answered simply.

Skandar leveled a glare at the younger man, one that was all irritation and no heat. Loathe as he was to admit it, Kiran's words held truth. Even after all these years, Skandar still had to marvel at the little bites of wisdom that sometimes came barreling, like magic, out of his usually impetuous, vagrant youngest brother's mouth—a personal sense of awe that he never would've vocalized while he was still at that stage in his life where he loathed anything with a Y-chromosome that sprouted from his father's seed.

Fortunately, he was already well past that stage.

"If you would only use that head of yours in court instead of acting like a roving vagabond, then maybe our people wouldn't think so less of you." Skandar sighed, giving his brother a pointed look. The younger prince merely scoffed, "You know how much I dislike politics." He said, shaking his head. "Politicians remind me of predators on the prowl. The slightest whiff of weakness and they descend upon you like a pack of wolves. I'll leave the politicking to the both of you, thanks."

A small huff of laughter escaped Skandar's lips at his brother's sentiments. While Kiran's words rang true, he still held fast on his view that a stint in court might boost Kiran's standing in the eyes of the Ashkarazi elite. To them, Kiran and his untamed, adventurous ways were seen as unbecoming for an Ashkarazi prince, and his continuing absence in court failed to earn him much favour either. However, Kiran was the type of man who couldn't give less of a damn about what others thought. Certainly not their father—who's tried, to no avail, to dissuade his youngest son from his vagrant pursuits—and especially not the "vultures", as he sometimes called them, of court.

He was cut out of his reverie by the sound of his brother's voice, almost muffled by the howl of the Northern breeze, "Skandar, do you think there'll be faeries?" His brother asked, his dark, dark hair billowing in the breeze as he peered out over an open window. "What's with all this sudden interest in the fae?" Skandar questioned, eyebrow raised as he regarded his youngest brother with curiosity. While it wasn't uncommon for Kiran to suddenly find interest in random things, never before had he had a particular concern towards faeries.

Kiran shrugged, "Nothing. It's just that I heard some stories from this Northern merchant. Something about faeries and how some of them could control spiders the way you do snakes." He murmured.

"But you're terrified of spiders." Skandar said pointedly.

Kiran rolled his eyes, shooting his brother a dirty look from over his shoulder, "Yes, I know that. No need to bring it up. I just found it fascinating is all." He huffed, ignoring the amused chuckle that followed from behind him. "So let me guess, you then spent weeks holed up in the great library trying to squeeze out every bit of information about faes as you could get." Skandar snickered, a tiny smirk decorating his usually stoic features.

"Not weeks. Just a few days, maybe." Kiran conceded, albeit a tad grudgingly.

"All right, if you're so keen, then I'll make you a wager." Skandar said. At this, Kiran's eyebrow shot up, a sly grin greeting him as he turned to face his brother. "What kind of wager?" He questioned warily. One could enter a wager with Skandar and expect vastly different outcomes. Caution, he believed, was vital when dealing with Ashkara's Serpent Prince.

"A hundred gold pieces says the faeries won't come." Skandar declared. A hundred gold pieces could easily buy one a decently-crafted blade. Not a very large sum for a prince, but large enough for a small wager between two of them. "A hundred gold pieces says they will." Kiran challenged. Skandar's grin only grew wider, "As you wish."

--

With the wager in place, the two spent the rest of the voyage in relative silence—one that was only broken by a shout coming from above deck. They were approximately only an hour away from Khalidor, and the princes took it as a sign to ready themselves for disembarkation. That meant shedding their more comfortable robes for something much more befitting of a royal prince. After all, they had to look their best if they hoped to make a lasting impression on the Northern powers—even if their presence in the summit was only meant to be an exercise in Northern politics, and not something to be taken too seriously.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The Princes of Ashkara
Akhil || Skandar || Kiran



The Merciful Ishtar cut an imposing figure as it sliced slowly through the icy waters surrounding Khalidor's Northern harbour. A bireme dromon boasting one hundred and twenty oars, the flagship of Jahangir II's personal navy easily dwarfed every other vessel within its vicinity. Three smaller galleys trailed close behind: two lightly manned trader ships filled with various wares and gifts for the Khalidorian king, and an armed warship intended to cover the rear and protect its more valuable companions from the dangers at sea.

At the Ishtar's deck stood Akhil, his dark eyes narrowed against the biting Northern wind as he swept his haze over the galley-lined port. "It seems as if Ashkara's the only one who's answered Khalidor's call." Akhil commented wryly, inclining his head towards the man beside him, "I don't see any other ships besides theirs." The man, General Zharkhun, shook his head, "You forget, my prince. This is only Khalidor's Northern harbour. Any others might be anchored in the South, where we'll be docking as well." He answered, casting a fond look at the younger man.

Akhil gave a slight nod, eyebrows knotting a fraction as he shifted his gaze back towards the sea. They were now entering the largest of Khalidor's waterways, it's wide mouth flanked on each side by miles of desolate, snow-capped tundra. It would take them directly to Jodan faster than, say, docking at the Northern harbour and completing the rest of the journey on horseback.

"Sources tell me Cinnabar will present. No word yet on Jarrah, but I imagine they too, will attend." The General added, noting the impatience crossing the Crown Prince's face.

"I hope you're right about that." Akhil huffed, "It'd be quite a waste having to travel all this way for a one-on-one with Ursuul." The summit would mark his fourth meeting with the young Khalidorian King, having briefly met him once as a senator, and twice after he was crowned. While Ashkara and Khalidor were allies to a degree, Akhil much preferred the elder Ursuul—Hakvus—to his younger brother. Though Arkaelus certainly had brighter plans for his nation, Hakvus, Akhil thought, was far more agreeable. It was a shame he passed on so early.

"Word has also spread that the Dragon King's left his roost." The General revealed, "If such rumours are to be believed, then you shan't be alone with Arkaelus for long."

"The Dragon King? Of Drake?" Akhil stared wide-eyed at the General, who nodded in response. "Well," Akhil began, the corners of his mouth lifting with the beginnings of a smirk, "If what you say is true, then this summit has just gotten a lot more interesting."

--

The Ashkarazi immediately began unloading their wares as soon as the Ishtar and its companions docked. By then, Skandar had already changed out of his robes and into a set of much grander apparel. A heavy tunic over layers of underclothes served to shield him from the freezing Northern climate, while the lighter, fur-lined tunic he wore above it also gave added warmth. He had commissioned a set of amulets from a known sorcerer to help combat the cold, the rubies of the wesekh glowing bright and warm against his chest and around the leather bracers strapped to his arms. But still, he shivered. The amulets could only do so much against the Khalidorian climate. He could scarcely wait to be sat in front of a proper flame.

Owing to his predominantly Naga bloodline, Skandar was far more susceptible to temperature changes compared to his brothers—the cold being his greatest enemy of them all. He preferred the dry heat of the Kashmir more than anything. But, unfortunately for him, Khalidor happened to be one of the coldest regions in the North, and it was there that he was going to be spending the next few days.

"Look alive, brother! We've finally arrived." He heard Akhil shout as he stepped out unto the deck. Akhil wore a smirk on his face, obviously taking a smug sort of amusement at his weakened state. Skandar managed a glower, though the effect was rather dampened by his increasingly heavy lids, "Don't sss-tart with me. I'm in no mood for your mockery." The younger prince grunted, forked tongue unconsciously flicking outwards as he spoke. Predictably, the action earned him another bout of derisive laughter from his elder brother. Thankfully, General Zharkhun cut in before Akhil could air out any more remarks.

"We still have a rather lengthy walk ahead of us before we reach the city proper." The General stated, "Therefore I do wish my princes to remain civil, at least until we arrive, lest one of them should find himself bound and thrown along with the livestock should he act otherwise." Though his tone held even, the threat underlying his words rang clear, and both princes stiffened considerably in response, casting sidelong glances at the other before grudgingly complying.

While he was generally complacent with their occasional spats, the three-quarters Djinni General was vastly superior to any of them both in wisdom and in skill. It would be a mistake—and a foolish one—for any of them to go against him.

As the General left, Skandar turned to scan the rest of the Ishtar's uppermost deck, noting with mild concern the absence of his youngest brother. "Where's Kiran?" He queried, brows drawn as his eyes searched for the wayward prince. "Changing, I suppose." Akhil shrugged, "Why?"

Skandar snapped towards him, his eyes widened slightly in alarm. Akhil's face mirrored his own in a flash, distress evident in his eyes as realization dawned on him like a cartful of bricks.

They were in a foreign city, in a foreign country, in a place Kiran's never set eyes on before, let alone explored. Usually he'd be up on deck in a heartbeat. He would never meander down below knowing that there were brand new sights to see.

Kiran's absence could only mean one thing.

Akhil and Skandar immediately leapt into action, calling guards to make a thorough search of the lower decks while dispatching the rest onto the port to search for the missing prince.

--

Meanwhile, Kiran ambled along the stalls packed tight around the harbour, blissfully unaware of the chaos caused by his sudden absence as he eagerly took in the sights. He had a brown roughspun cloak pulled over his head, the cloth hanging low enough to obscure his ornate clothing as he navigated through the docks.

The setting changes from the-new-world to The Republic of Khalidor

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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One thousand troops marched through the frozen tundra wearing clothes meant for a fair summer day. Several had fallen to the cold after marching for miles. Their guns were simply collected and their bodies left for the wolves. Those who hadn't fell were on the verge of collapse due to their leader withholding half the already meager rations for three days. Dorian liked to use his homelands brutal weather to train recruits. Those who survived could function in any condition, go without food for days without complaint, and be so disciplined that they would march into artillery fire. Usually only three quarters of the recruits would live to see a real battle.

They were being kept in line by the General's own personal force. Kahli's Rangers, an elite group of shooters with low talent for magic. Although they only numbered to fifty, they were more than enough to keep the recruits in line.

They marched for a small harbor in the west that served as a northern junction to Jodan. The towns people had revolted and kicked the provisional governor out of his seat in the courthouse. Normally Arkaelus wouldn't care, but they had since refused to pay taxes and had executed three officials. Dorian had been sent to settle the revolt in anyway he saw fit. He saw it fit to teach them to fear the crown. Upon reaching the town he ordered the cannons to be fired into the town. Then a charge was then issued.

Soldiers stormed through the poorly defended city. Whatever guards stood in their way were shot on sight and the recruits were given free range to do what they pleased. Screams filled the alleyways as innocents were butchered on the cobblestone. Dorian had been chasing down a guard captain that was running for the docks. He almost got to the docks until Dorian took a shot at him. The man fell dead. He began to reload his rifle as he searched for more targets. After all, what kind of man would he be if his underlings got more kills than he did?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara

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Xiao Jingshen sighed. She didn't like it here, she felt odd. She overhead Severyn tell her sister that there was iron here. Maybe that's why? The Iron made her feel funny, it didn't make her sick like it had Tenanye or Severyn or any other full blooded fae.She'd finished practicing her sitar, but now she didn't know what to do. She was only half spider, she wasn't nearly as patience as her sister. "Meimei, Can I play with Nanji?" She asked and Tenanye turned t her with her always present gentle smile. "Of course." She said, and Xiao Jingshen leaped to her feet, and scurried off to the carriage where Nanji, the large tarantula, has been kept. He was a furry thing, touched with notes of blue. He looked scary but he was harmless. "Hey, Want to play?" She asked him with a smile as she opened the cage, and allow him to crawl up her arm. Nanji was Tenanye's familiar but he was more of a pet then anything. He wasn't venomous and while he could produce silk, he wasn't very quick. Tenanye chose him because he was small and probably would have been eaten by his mother. Tenanye always had a heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.

Xiao Jingshen's smile continued as she allow Nanji to crawl up her arm and on to her shoulder, and she began to daydream, she did that often, a song was in her heart and she found herself humming softly, as she walked.
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Sure enough, she walked and walked until she knew not where she was. There were trees though, and that made her smile. She walked up to the tree. "Hello there," She said, but got no reply. A small frown set upon her pretty features. Dryads where always nice to her. "Hello? Are you sleeping?" She asked, and usually that woke them right up. Xiao Jingshen looked at Nanji on her shoulder and pouted. "This tree does not wish to speak to me?" She said as Nanji crawled down her arm, and on to the tree. That usually got them up too. Xiao Jingshen palmed her head. "Oh Silly me, I forgot, They don't have Dryads here, Meimei told me that," She said and reached for Nanji but he moved so quickly that she couldn't catch him. " Oh Nanji!" She laughed, while chasing after the large creature. He was quick, her sister was this quick, but it didn't stop Xiao Jingshen from giving chase. "Nanji, We shouldn't go to far, Sister will be cross." She said, realizing how far she's gotten away from the others. "Nanji get-" She stopped as she found Nanji crawling up the boot of a man. Xiao Jingshen paused. She never met another mortal before. She stood as silent as Hai Fen. Nanji began to move again, and the man didn't seem very happy with it."I'm sorry," She said, having a hard time looking and not looking to the man, with his dark hair, warm skin, quizzical eyes, and handsome face.
Xiao Jingshen dove for him, scooping him up in her tiny hands, Nanji spanned both of her hands but she held fast. Nervousness getting the better of her, words flew from her lips. "This is Nanji, He is harmless...He hardly eats his own food, he won't bite." She said, and offered Nanji to the nervous looking man. "I am Fae, I can not lie, He won't hurt you." She offered again, with a generous smile.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul

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Kiran
Third Prince of Ashkara



Harbours, it seemed, were a lot similar no matter which kingdom you were in. That is, they were loud, chaotic, and smelled like days-old fish left to rot in the sun—Kiran wrinkled his nose at this particular observation, whilst simultaneously sidestepping an actual pile of fish rotting on the pathway. Barring the appearance of its patrons—and the distinctively coarser language being spoken (or rather, shouted) by said patrons—the market surrounding Khalidor's harbour could easily pass for the ones in Fereydoun.

Still, it did nothing to dampen the wonder in the prince's gaze as he eagerly drank in everything he could lay his eyes on. There were fish of all sizes, most of which he couldn't even name, laid out on piles of ice heaped high; vendors thrusting their wares unto passersby, as sounds of people bargaining and full carts creaking up and down the cobblestone filled the stale, pungent air. He could even make out fruits from his native Ashkara lining some of the stands. He was about to approach one when he caught sight of the woman manning the stall and promptly turned away instead, pulling the hood of his cloak farther down his face as he left. The woman was Ashkarazi, and if she'd been to her homeland in the past thirty-odd years, then surely she'd recognize her prince.

Kiran let out a quiet huff as he hurried away. Even in a foreign country, he still wasn't safe from recognition. He often wondered what the life of a commoner felt like—how fantastic it'd be to be able to do whatever he wanted or 'choose his own path', so to speak. He wanted to explore the world, see life in all its forms, immerse himself in different cultures! But he was born with a golden leash wrapped around his neck like a choke-chain. He could dream as hard as he could but it would never make a difference.

So he contents himself with his little 'trips'. He even makes a game out of it sometimes—slipping past guards, escaping the palace, disguising himself—but then he'd get caught, and just like that, the fantasy would be over.

He turned a corner then, checking to see that no one vaguely Ashkarazi-looking were lurking about, pulled the hood off his head. "That's better." Kiran muttered, running a gloved hand through his hair. He was about to head towards a fruit stand nearby when he felt the oddest sensation somewhere along his calf. Almost...almost as if something was crawling up his leg.

Something small.

With several legs.

Kiran's eyes immediate shot down, roughly shoving part of his cloak aside to reveal—

"Gods, it's massive!"

—the largest, hairiest spider he'd ever seen in his entire thirty years of existence clinging to the fabric of his trousers.

He immediately froze, a million thoughts running through his mind as his hands flew towards the blade hanging by his hip. It was a creature of biblical proportions, surely as big as his fist, if not bigger. He didn't know if he should shake it off or hack at it or try to fight it, but he was one hundred percent certain he wanted it off him and far away from him as soon as humanly possible.

Then, the thing began to move, crawling ever higher up the length of his trousers. And just as he was about to draw his sword, he heard a voice—soft and female, delicate as the flutter of a butterfly wing.

'I'm sorry.'

He looked up just in time to see a young woman ducking low in front of him. He could make out dark hair, a flash of ivory that shone bright like the sun, and for a moment, it left him completely stunned. "I, um..." He stammered, not quite knowing what to do, but in a flash, the woman straightened out, and cradled in her hands was the behemoth that not a few minutes ago had been latched at his leg.

"That-that thing's yours?" He blurted out, a single eyebrow shot up to his hairline as he flicked his gaze from the tiny, delicate young woman standing in front of him and the monster she was holding who, apparently, was named Nanji. "And it has a name, too." He stumbled back, eyes widened in obvious alarm as the woman thrust the beast towards him. Apparently, it was harmless—or so she claimed—but he was not inclined to believe her.

"Look, I'm really not fond of—wait, what did you say you were?" Fae? Did the strange woman really say she was fae? Kiran's gaze snapped back towards her once more and stayed there, his eyes narrowed a fraction as he regarded her with curiosity.

He was about to open his mouth once more when a muffled scream rang clear across the marketplace, followed by the sound of gunshots and the sharp clang of steel against steel. And then, pandemonium.

Kiran had his sword drawn in a flash. He didn't quite know what was happening, but all of a sudden, people were abandoning their stalls, screaming and trampling over one another as they flooded the streets in a frenzy. He quickly stepped back, narrowly avoiding a large woman rushing past with a goat tucked under her arm, and whipped his head towards the woman with the spider knowing that if he didn't get her out of there soon, she—and her hairy pet—would be crushed.

"Get out of there!" He called out, shouldering his way through a bunch of people so he could get a good grip on her arm. He pulled her towards him, all thoughts of the spider she held swept from his mind, and steered them both towards an empty stall just in time to avoid getting trampled by a cart.

The screaming only grew louder as he ducked behind the counter, tugging the woman down with him as he did so. "I haven't the slightest as to what just happened out there, but we should be safe for now, I hope." He told her. He slumped back against the wood, the panic from earlier slowly draining out of his features as he let out a few calming breaths.

"Are you all right?" He questioned and, remembering her little companion, edged away from her a bit before adding, "And-and Nanji?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul

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"Look, I'm really not fond of—wait, what did you say you were?" Xiao Jingshen swallowed. She was foolish, a silly girl. She wasn't supposed to speak to mortals. She was only half Fae, words flew from her mouth sometimes without warning, but they should have never been those words. Not without her sister present.

She looked up at the man, who regarded her in a way that made her feel strange, so she held Nanji to her chest. He looked as if he was about to speak, and Xiao Jingshen looked up, a bit nervously. It was then that screams could be heard throughout the place then loud banging rang out, and Xiao Jingshen whimpered. She didn't know what was going on and she felt even more foolish for leaving her sister and Severyn's side. THen there was swords, a waft of iron floated in the air, turning Xiao Jingshen's stomach. Nanji crawled up her shoulder, as she turned back to the man, steel in his hand. Xiao Jingshen was not afraid of weapons, but for her, they were a tool, a prop for her dance, she was quite skilled with handling them, but never with malicious intent and hers were never made of steel or iron.
Frozen, Xiao Jingshen stood watching the man with his blade, wondering just want foolishness took her that she would leave, wander in such a dangerous place, that she only looked up the last moment, when the screams and shouts grew louder, and throngs of people came barreling her way.

"Get out of there!" He called, and Xiao Jingshen didn't know what to do. She was confused, and scared, frozen with fear as a large woman came her way. She looked for a way to duck but there was no where for her to go without being knocked down by the people who hardly seemed to notice the tiny foreign girl for her fear.

A firm hand gripped her arm, and the small girl was pulled right out of harms way into a warm arms just as a large wooden cart came thundering by.

They were ducked down now, Xiao Jingshen tucked safely into the mortal man's arms between an empty stall.

"I haven't the slightest as to what just happened out there, but we should be safe for now, I hope." He said, and sat back against the stall, Xiao Jingshen did the same, only a bit more graceful then the man.

She looked at him, then away, the back again. She didn't know what to say, he just saved her life.
Nanji tugged on her hair, and she looked, smiled and then looked at her hands.

"Are you all right?" He asked, calling her attention back to him. Xiao Jingshen swallowed as he moved from her. Did all men fear Fae...or just Spiders? "And-and Nanji?"

Xiao Jingshen, despite herself, smiled softly. "Mm" She nodded, once. "We are unharmed, Many thanks to you" She said. and remembered something. She was in his debt now. "' I am in your debt....anything you want of me, you shall have it....I am Fae...mostly...and you saved me...." She said, not looking at him, unsure of how to proceed. A Fae owing a mortal debt, while wasn't completely unheard of, it was uncommon. A life debt, was even more so. Fae often saved Mortals, from drowning, illness and other things, so Xiao Jingshen, wasn't sure what to do. Would being trampled have killed her, not, but it wouldn't have felt very pleasant and Xiao Jingshen wasn't really one to handle pain well.

"I am Xiao Jingshen....My sister, she is Empress of Anansai, she will be pleased to know that, you kept me from harm. Please, anything you want, if I can provide I will...We Anansai fae, always pay our debts..." She told him, softly, as Nanji crawled down from her shoulder and rested on her leg which was resting beneath her, folded delicately, her lovely white gown marred with dirt, as she sat facing the mortal man who kept her from harm.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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There were so many royals who had gathered in such a short time. He had expected the arrival of these representatives to be much different. He was also amazed by the fae. When he sent the letter, he honestly didn't expect Tenanye to come. No one in Khalidor have had official contact with Anansai and everyone was keen on learning what kind of goods could be gained from the fae. Arkaelus had heard rumors that fae trade for knowledge. The only thing he was unwilling to trade was the knowledge of mass producing gunpowder and steel, a dangerous tool that had to be kept to Khalidor for its safety.

"Greetings to you all!" Arkaelus spoke up. "I'm glad that you've made it safely. There should only be a few more guests arriving. May I suggest that we go to the palace? I have prepared a wonderful Khalidoran feast for you all with entertainment to boot!" He wanted the small crowd of royals to be treated properly, that is with fine food and pleasurable accommodations.


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The city was in chaos, but as resistance was dying down so were the soldiers fighting. As Dorian walked to the docks he saw a ship of interest. A foreign ship. An Ashkara ship, one with guards. That meant the royals were on that ship. Bad luck had plagued him, especially if his cousin caught word of this. He called the soldiers to stop what they were doing and form up at the docks. There were calls across the streets of orders from the general.

"Greetings my lords." Dorian spoke loudly to the princes. Being careful not to get too close. "This town has revolted, I expect due to some greedy merchant, so I have been sent to take it back. I'm surprised to see you all here and not in Jodan....." He paused. He knew there were three princes. Ahkil the crowned, Skander the competent, but Kiran the younger was not there. There was a distressed look on the face of their guards.

"Where is prince Kiran?" Dorian asked them. He turned his head to his troops gathering behind him. Nearly eight hundred were shambling to their formations. That meant there were still some within the city. He hoped the prince was in the boat, the last thing he needed was an incident.

The setting changes from the-republic-of-khalidor to The New World

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara

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ImageKiran________
Third Prince of Ashkara

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Kiran sat silently as the woman spoke, struggling to keep his mouth from falling open even as his eyes grew progressively wider at every word that tumbled from her lips. For her to actually be a Faery was one thing, but sister to the Empress of Anansai? "Are you joking?" He managed to sputter, but he shook his head almost immediately, and took back what he said. "No, no, wait. Never mind that. Fae can't lie." He murmured, still looking equal parts stunned, elated, and wildly incredulous at the same time.

The young prince could hardly believe his luck. It seemed like only moments ago that he had been at Soltera's Great Library, voraciously devouring tome after dusty tome about these mysterious creatures, and now—now he was in a marketplace halfway across the world, ducked behind some random stall with his sword on his lap (which he immediately sheathed following a murmured apology when he remembered that steel contained iron), sitting mere inches away from a living, breathing Faery. That's a hundred gold pieces out of Skandar's pocket and straight into his.

That is, provided Akhil doesn't maim, throttle, or send fireballs after him first for wandering off (though he didn't so much 'wander off' as 'intentionally disguised himself as a sack of potatoes in order to slip past the guards and his brothers and go exploring').

He was too stunned at the revelation, that he almost didn't register the rest of the Fae—Xiao Jingshen's—words. She was talking about debts or whatnot—something Kiran didn't particularly care about. "You really needn't worry about debts of any kind, my Lady." He told her, dismissing her words with a flippant wave of a hand. "If anything, I should be the one thanking you." Kiran shifted his gaze towards her, the corners of his lips turning up in a crooked smile.

"You've just made me a hundred ducats richer, and my brother a hundred ducats poorer. We had a wager, you see, about whether the Fae would make an appearance in the summit." He explained, "And it looks like he may have lost." A quiet huff of laughter escaped his lips, though he tried to muffle it as best as he could. He kept his voice low, just enough for the both of them to hear, but still quiet enough in case one of the men involved in whatever commotion going on outside happened to pass.

He was more cautious than ever now that he knew who it was he was with. He wasn't quite sure if being sister to the Empress made her a Princess, and while he had planned not to give her his true name, he eventually decided that maybe it might do her well—and perhaps even make her more comfortable—to know that she was in the company of a Prince instead of some commoner.

"Apologies, my Lady, for not introducing myself sooner," He began, "But my name is Soheil, son of Jahangir II, Third Prince of the Kingdom of Ashkara." He placed his fists together at his chest before briefly dipping his head in a bow—the Ashkarazi gesture of respect. "You may, however, call me Kiran." He added quickly. "I would prefer it, actually."

His first name was a thing of loathing, and was more of a formality at that point, to be used only on official documents or formal gatherings. To his immense satisfaction, thirty years of grumbling and disgruntled looks had taught people to call him by his second name, Kiran. However, his mother and some of the more hateful nobles still made it a point to call him 'Soheil' in an attempt to get a rise out of him.

The noise outside had diminished somewhat as they conversed, but Kiran opted to wait it out a bit longer to make sure it was totally safe before venturing out into the open.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara

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ImageXiao Jingshen didn't know what to make of his sudden odd wave, but she smiled all the same. "You really needn't worry about debts of any kind, my Lady." He told her."If anything, I should be the one thanking you." He said, and Xiao Jingshen cocked her head.

"Me?"

"You've just made me a hundred ducats richer, and my brother a hundred ducats poorer. We had a wager, you see, about whether the Fae would make an appearance in the summit." He explained, Xiao Jingshen nodded. Fae held wagers all the time. She didn't know what a 'ducat' was but she figured it was some sort of currency. "And it looks like he may have lost." He said with a chuckle causing Xiao Jingshen to giggled behind her hand. Growing up in Anansai, Xiao Jingshen was told all sorts of stories about mortals, Good and Bad, and honestly, they scared her. She didn't want to become like the Summer King but at the same time, this mortal, he smiled and laughed and seemed to think she was special simply for being Fae. Her soft smile faded some...she was only Half. Even so, he was kind and strangely handsome; for a Mortal. She opened her mouth to speak but he spoke again.
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"Apologies, my Lady, for not introducing myself sooner," He said and Xiao Jingshen looked up at him. "But my name is Soheil, son of Jahangir II, Third Prince of the Kingdom of Ashkara." He said, and then placed his fists across his chest and bowed his head.. This was odd, and made her smile a bit confused but figured it was a sign of respect, or atleast she hoped it was. "You may, however, call me Kiran." He told her "I would prefer it, actually." He told her and she smiled. "Kiran." She spoke, testing the name. "Oh, I mean, Prince Kiran." She said, with a bashful smile. "It is a true pleasure to meet you." She said, with a wide smile and it was at that moment, much to her surprise. A pink skinned elfling boy appeared before her.

"Honeythorn!" She gasped as he just seemed to appear in front of her.
"Princess Xiao Jingshen, Your sister, the Empress is looking for you," He said, with his two toned voice as he gripped Xiao Jingshen's arm and pulled her to her feet. "But..."

"We must make haste, My Princess, she worries." He said, tugging her away from the stall and back the way he'd apparently came.

"She always worries." Xiao Jingshen said, glancing back at her new friend. She didn't want to leave just yet, she wanted to know more, she wanted to talk to him more, she knew what it was like to be Fae, she didn't know what it was like to be mortal, and she was both.

"I owe him a debt." She told Honeythorn, who stopped immediately. He looked conflicted but he was Seelie, he knew that debts were important to pay.

"Please, My Princess, pay your debt, as quickly as you can, She meets with the mortal Kings now." He told her and she nodded. She scurried back to Kiran and took his hands. "I am glad to have met you, Prince Kiran," She told him, before she rose his hands and pressed a soft feather soft kiss to the pad of his thumb. This was a special kiss, A Faery Kiss. A way to summon her if ever he was in dire need. She didn't know what she could do for this mortal, he seemed strong, capable, but still only mortal, she knew spells and things, anything she could do to help him, she would be glad for. "For my rescue, I will be able to sense you, should you need my assistance," She told him, turning his hand over so that he could see the shimmering mark on his thumb. It vanished but she could feel the bond. "This only works once but I will come, even if I am in Anansai, I will appear to you." She told him and released her soft hold of his hands. "Til we meet again. Prince Kiran." She said and ran off with Honeythorn.

"Your sister will not be pleased, My Princess,"

"I know." She said, before they were gone in a blink.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The Princes of Ashkara
Akhil || Skandar || Kiran



"Well met, General." Akhil greeted as he made his way down the ramp. He wrinkled his nose at the mention of a revolt, "I was just about to ask you about that," He paused, flicking his eyes down to the bullet-riddled corpse lying a few feet from where he stood and eyeing it with mild disgust before continuing, "But it seems you and your men have the situation well under control." He commented with approval.

He heard the creaking of the ramp at his back, but he didn't have to look over his shoulder to know that it was Skandar.

Skandar inclined his head towards the General by way of greeting, regarding the man not quite with distrust, but with a guarded sort of wariness. He had heard of the younger Ursuul, yes, and if all those tales were true, then the man before him was indeed a capable warrior—one of the North's finest, as most people would say. He certainly looked the part, Skandar thought. All muscle and hands that seemed capable of crushing a grown man's skull. He just didn't expect him to be so young. He looked to be only a little past his twentieth year, and for him to possess such skill at such a young age...well. Skandar could only imagine how much more dangerous the General could be as he aged.

Khalidor would indeed make a fine ally with a man like Dorian Ursuul leading their ranks. It would be a great shame to have to put an end to such budding talent in the battlefield should Khalidor decide to turn against them.

--

At the mention of Kiran's name, Akhil gave a scoff, but Skandar answered before he could speak. "I'm afraid my brother has gone astray, he—"

Akhil swiftly cut him off, "Astray? He's missing, if that's what you mean. Escaped! Run off to god knows where like the gypsy that he is." The elder prince wore a scowl, but the look on Skandar's face proved even darker as he shot Akhil a scathing glare, daring him to speak. At that moment, a viper slithered slowly out of Skandar's left sleeve, its tongue flicking in and out as it coiled itself lazily around the prince's forearm.

Akhil sneered as he tracked the serpent's movement, opening his mouth before deciding against it and instead giving a grudging nod, allowing Skandar to continue without further interruption.

"What my brother means is that Prince Kiran has a tendency to slip away at times." Skandar explained, "We sent a search party after him some time ago, but none have succeeded in finding him, so my brother and I would be ever grateful if you and your men could aid us in our search." He told the General. Akhil nodded in affirmation, promising a rather hefty reward to the tune of five hundred gold pieces for whoever could spot their wayward brother and bring him back.

Unfortunately for them all, Kiran had a knack for hiding as much as he did escaping. Normally, it wouldn't be much of a problem, but seeing as they were in a foreign kingdom, it meant that Kiran was far more at risk than he'd be back in Ashkara. Skandar just wished his fool of a brother hadn't chosen to run off during a bloody revolt, of all things. He fervently hoped his brother came back to them safe and without incident. If not, then there would definitely be some serious repercussions—both towards him and Akhil (Kiran was their father's favourite, and they'd be damned if His Grace found out they lost his beloved son in a foreign land), and to the Khalidorians as well.

--

Kiran stared in silent wonder at his thumb, then back at the empty space where Jingshen sat not a few moments prior. He was caught in a daze, too stunned to even speak let alone comprehend whatever it was that transpired. One moment she was talking, and then an elf, an actual elf, appeared before them and whisked her away. But not before giving him a kiss. Just on the pad of his thumb. The press of her lips so feather-light he scarcely felt it.

He didn't quite understand what she told him afterwards, something about her sensing him. He wanted to ask her about it, but he could only nod dumbly as she bade him farewell, running off into the day with the little elfling trailing close behind her.

"Did that just happen?" He murmured quietly to himself, eyes blown wide as he turned the hand that she held over and over in awe. He decided right then to keep what happened to himself. Skandar would never believe him anyway, and knowing Akhil, his eldest brother would only laugh at his face—maybe even call him a fool or whatever creative jab he might manage to conjure up specifically to insult him.

Speaking of his brothers, Kiran decided it was high time to head back to the ship. He could barely hear any more noises, and Jingshen and her little elf friend left without incident, so he thought it might finally be safe to leave. He stood up, dusting off his breeches before giving a mighty stretch. Hopefully they wouldn't be too angry. It wasn't that uncommon for him to go exploring anyhow, and he was still quite safe.

That is, until he turned around and came face to face with the barrel of an arquebus.

The setting changes from the-new-world to The Republic of Khalidor

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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Arkaelus drank with the rest on Moloch's toast. The food had been brought out. Large servings of meats, potato, and wine were brought out to enjoy. He looked around at his guests. He was surprised by the turnout since many nations didn't take Khalidor seriously as it was not yet a military power. He was particularly interested in the fae of Anansai, even more so with his neighbor, Valen. His son looked strong, just as rumored. A strong, fit warrior. His cousin, Dorian, enjoyed meeting new challenges in his sparring matches.

"Zexen..." Arkaelus began, as the prince was closer to his chair. "I've heard that you're quite the warrior and I was wondering if you would hear out a request? My cousin Dorian is always looking for a good sparring partner and I think you would be just right. I don't believe you've met him, but he'll be here later. Anyway I'm sure that both of you could learn some new techniques from one another, after all it would be the best of Khalidor and the best of Valen Alus." Arkaelus did hope that Zexen would except. Sparring was one of the few things that Arkaelus knew Dorian could still do that truly made him happy, even if for a short while.

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Dorian ordered his officers to search the city for the young prince. "If even a single hair on the princes head is harmed, decimation will be your last concern!" He shouted to the soldiers who then quickly hurried off to find the boy. "We'll find your brother soon." He said to the other princes. "I'm sure he'll be fine, hopefully he won't be part of the collateral."

After about ten minutes an officer came to him with the with news of the search. One soldier had found a tan boy. He also reported that they had found the merchant who caused the revolt, pointing to the prisoner near some of the soldiers. Dorian recognized that man. To his surprise it was one of senator Grido's men. "Bring the boy here." He told the officer in a grim voice. Then quietly added "Bring a cannonball and chain." So powerful rogue senator was conspiring against the republic. His day just kept getting worse by the moment.

The setting changes from the-republic-of-khalidor to The New World

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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"Its master can offer us nothing." Arkaelus's voice rose across the room. "Sphex makes only weapons of war, tools of destruction for those desperate enough to use them. Begone monster and return to that wretch of man you serve!"
Nemu cocked her head at King Arkaelus, the man who had summoned them all there that day, her look inquisitive.
"My lord Arkaelus, it is true that my master is skilled in the creation of the tools of war, but they are far from his only skills. My master through the ages has discovered poultices and potions, elixirs and tonics that can heal the body, strengthen the mind and enhance the senses. War is not my masters goal, Lord Arkaelus, only enlightenment."
Nemu turned back to Tenanye and her entourage, and responded to the males question, his name not present in her memories, "In answer to your question, Faeling, my will is my masters will, what he desires, I desire. I serve him willingly, and my body his his to fashion."
She turned back to Arkaelus, whom still had is arms raised, ready to call down his guards should they be needed, "My lord, would you turn away those who come with the offer or peaceful trade, because of child-hood stories of monsters and demons?"
She turned and walked towards the door slowly, deliberately mocking the ensemble of lords and ladies, "Such actions are belittling of a king."

The setting changes from the-new-world to The Republic of Khalidor

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The Princes of Ashkara
Akhil || Skandar || Kiran



Kiran supposed he should count himself lucky. For a split second, he was half-sure that that was it. He was going to die with his head blown off raining bits of skull and brainmatter in a filthy market halfway across the world. No matter how skilled he might've thought he was, swords were just no match for rifles at such close range. He'd be dead before he could even touch the hilt, let alone pull it free from its scabbard.

But to his immediate surprise (and relief), the arquebus shoved at his nose was instantly drawn back, and he was instead greeted with the stricken face of a young, ruddy-cheeked soldier. It was when the soldier began apologising that he figured the young man had probably been part of a search party of some sort—no doubt sent by his brothers—because even though the man was clearly from Khalidor, he called Kiran by name and hurriedly urged him to follow him back to the docks, muttering something about decimations and the like as he did so (he hadn't really bothered to pay much attention to the man's blubberings, as he too still hadn't quite recovered from the shock of having a bloody rifle aimed between his eyes).

Several similarly-dressed men joined them as they approached the harbour, and soon, some of Ashkara's own soldiers had weaved their way between the Kiran and the Khalidorians as well. Honestly, he thought it was a bit much. Sure, a bit of chaos went down by the marketplace, but surely it wasn't bad enough to send nearly a quarter of the Ashkarazi Royal Guard and a good chunk of Khalidorian soldiers to come looking for him.

At least, that was what he thought before he saw the bodies.

He could barely make them out from between the wall of guards gathered around him, but the air itself was thick with the sharp tang of blood, and through the gaps he could see Khalidorian soldiers tossing them into piles by the side of the road. Men, women, and children alike, bathed in red, their bodies riddled with holes the size of pebbles.

He was no stranger to death nor violence, but the mere thought that he and Jingshen might've ended up exactly like those bodies was enough to make his head spin and his stomach lurch. Whatever it was that went on there, he was only thankful that he and his new Fae friend had emerged from it with their skin unbroken and their limbs intact, even if it meant having to suffer the indignity of being frogmarched back to the Ishtar like a prisoner.

--

As predicted, Akhil was none too pleased with his little disappearing act, and Kiran now bore the mark of his eldest brother's displeasure: a fresh burn, shaped just like a hand closing around the length of his left forearm. Granted, it was only a light one, as Skandar had stepped in before Akhil could do any real damage. Nothing a few days couldn't fix. Still, it pained him nonetheless. Enough to have to bite back a wince every time his sleeve brushed against the raw skin.

General Ursuul, cousin to the King, had agreed to accompany them towards the palace at Jodan, though most of the journey was spent in silence—tensions between the three brothers still singing hot as they journeyed towards the capital.

Akhil had ridden far ahead of the train with the General, the prince appearing rather magnificent in his scarlet robes and pitch black charger as he laughed along with something the General must've said—looking almost as if he hadn't attempted to burn his own brother alive not half an hour prior. Skandar and Kiran were left a ways behind. A group of guards surrounded them, both to protect the princes and to serve as watchdogs over the Kiran to ensure there wouldn't be a repeat performance of that morning's incident.

None of his brothers had said a word to him throughout the duration of the ride, which was just as well because while Skandar had yet to utter a single sentence, Akhil had lashed out in a fury as soon as he set eyes on him, letting loose sharp, cutting words that halted whatever explanation Kiran had prepared.

--

That silence persisted until they reached the palace, when, just before entering, Akhil paused and turned to face his younger brothers, "Not a word about the incident at the harbour, are we clear?" He told them, "Should anyone ask, you are to tell them that we departed from Akhzarun behind schedule." He instructed further, "I'll not have the Northmen know that the cause of our delay is due to the sheer stupidity of our dear little brother here." Akhil practically spat, directing a mocking sneer at Kiran's direction before turning heel and continuing on through the entrance.

Skandar followed wordlessly after his eldest brother, not even bothering to spare Kiran a glance as he walked past.

Kiran balled his fists at his sides, uncaring of the fact that it only deepened the throbbing in his arm. He could feel his patience wearing thin, but he knew that acting upon his anger would only cause him more grief. After all, what could he do? He was only human. Akhil was practically Djinn, and the blood shared between brothers meant next to nothing in Ashkara. If he displeased him further, Akhil could just as easily kill him the way Skandar did with the rest of the princes that came before Kiran.

Kiran took cold comfort in the fact that the only reason he hadn't been killed along with them was due to his father's love for his mother. If his mother hadn't been so beloved by the Sultan, Kiran highly doubted if he would've even made it past infancy.

--

As they entered, the princes were immediately lead towards where the rest of the delegations were gathered. However, when the doors were flung open, they were instantly greeted with the jarring noise of gunfire. Some of the guards moved to cover them, but quickly returned to formation because as quickly as the banging began, it stopped, and they were instead treated to the sight of several balls of ammunition hung suspended in mid-air. But while it made an uncommon and altogether fascinating sight, nothing caught the princes' eyes quite like the creature standing in the middle of the room.

"What in Ishtar's name is that?" Akhil uttered lowly, not even bothering to hide the disgust colouring his tone as he stared incredulously at the various strange and foreign implements jutting out of the not-quite-woman's body. "It's hideous." Skandar's eyes narrowed a fraction as it raked over the creature's form, the subtle furrowing of his brows the only indication that he found it's presence odd as well. "It's not an 'it'. It's a she." Kiran muttered, also transfixed by the unknown being.

None of them had ever seen anything quite so strange. Monstrous, even. And while Kiran looked at it with a tinge of fascination, all three could silently agree that whatever it was, it had to be some sort of abomination.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The ride to Jodan was a long one. The company of the crowned prince had made it more bearable. Usually the only thing that one could do was dig themselves into their coat and the soldiers weren't up for much talk at that point. Dorian let out a sigh of relief as they went through the gates of Jodan. He had been out training the reserves and various militias for nearly a month. It would feel nice to take a dip in the palace's bathhouse or eat a warm meal for once.

As they rode up the city he had ordered an officer to report to the Khalidoran Arsenal within Jodan. The arsenal was to stop the production of ships and immediately shift to the production of rifles. Most standard and a quarter of them using his lock design. If a handful of senators were indeed conspiring against the Republic, those guns would quickly put an end to it.

Finally they had reached the doors to the palace. Upon entering all seemed normal, except that one of Sphex's slaves were there. He was supposed to meet outside of the city instead of with the king. Dorian was too tired to care at the moment. As he walked with his wet, muddy boots, he signaled an obviously annoyed servant to fetch him a pitcher of his personal wine. Scanning the table he found a chair across the darker woman.

After sitting Dorian realized that he hadn't a clue who most of these people were. He new of the Markus' and of the Ashakara brothers and the newly crowned king of Cinnabar, Arim, but no one else. His only job was to know of the nations that could endanger Khalidoran interests, which their were only three to his knowledge. The dark woman in front of him had some interesting friends, one even had odd ears, perhaps a deformity. There was a bald man and a young man there too.

Dorian took off his fur coat and drank his wine. He realized that his plain white tunic and trousers were little more than peasant clothing and could be considered inappropriate for the meeting.

"I would ask for my lords to excuse my poor manners. The journey has been a long one and I have been looking foward to a hot meal for quite some time. I am Dorian Ursuul, Grand General of the Republic." He smiled as he said it. He looked up at Sphex's creation. He had no clue what it used to survive, but it looked tired. "Come!" He called out to the creature. "It looks like you could use something in your belly!" He pulled up a chair for it to sit on. He looked at Arkaelus only to the a sour look on his cousin's face. "Did I do something wrong?" Dorian thought to himself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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Xiao Jingshen was glad Tenanye didn’t want anything to do with that creature. It wasn’t really fair though, she was only a slave, she didn’t have a choice in anything she did so they should be atleast nice to her, her master though, if someone could do that to another---
“Ow...!” Xiao Jingshen felt a burning on her arm suddenly. “Meimei!” She whimpered, causing Tenanye to whip around. “What...what’s happening?” She asked her, as Xiao Jingshen held her arm. “My arm...it burns.” She whimpered. Severyn was up and out of his seat in an instant. “Is it Iron?”
“I was just sitting here, there is no iron here.” Xiao Jingshen sobbed. Tenanye gingerly rolled up her sleeve, and sucked in a breath. Xiao Jingshen followed her gaze to a large red burn in the same of a hand curling around Xiao Jingshen’s arm. “What sorcery is this?” Tenanye breathed, the red stark against Xiao Jingshen’s unmarred porcelain skin.
Xiao Jingshen frowned at the burn and then an image came to her mind. A man, dark of skin, black of hair, holding her arm...but it wasn’t her arm at all. It was tan, and decidedly male.
“Kiran.” She breathed and Severyn and Tenanye both looked at her strangely. “What?”
“My friend, the one I gave the kiss to, He was hurt.” She said, and Tenanye set her jaw. “Well there is nothing we can do for you, You silly girl, I told you not to use magic without me present.” She said and Xiao Jingshen nodded, she knew better then that, but she wanted to help him, repay him for helping her. “But he helped me.” She said softly, looking down at her feet. “ I know that, Little Sparrow, I know, but you did not take in to account the cost of that kiss. You can sense him when he is dire need, yes, but you also feel his pain, even if he is not in dire need, you take that pain unto yourself...A Fairy Kiss, is strong magic and which means it has stronger reproductions.” She said with a sigh. “It gets stronger when he is closer, if he has an itch, you will want to scratch, that’s what that bond is. He may call you and break the bond but until then...you are bound to him.” She told her and Xiao Jingshen nodded solemnly then realized. “ You mean he is close?” She asked with a smile she tried to hide. Tenanye’s face went blank. “That would be the part you heard, yes, this means he is near, that’s why you felt the pain so suddenly.” She said and sat back in her seat. Xiao Jinghen all but forgotten about the pain in her arm, and looked toward the door, hoping Kiran would enter. She would be happy to see him again. “Will he feel my pain?” She asked. Tenanye gave a simple nod. Xiao Jingshen really hoped to see him again if only to tell him what she really did.
It was at the moment that a man entered the room, taking a seat in front of Tenanye who gave a soft nod in greeting.
"I would ask for my lords to excuse my poor manners. The journey has been a long one and I have been looking foward to a hot meal for quite some time. I am Dorian Ursuul, Grand General of the Republic." He said and Tenanye gave a smile in return.
He then looked over at the creature again and waved it over "Come!" He called ” It looks like you could use something in your belly. Xiao Jingshen stiffened. She did not want that thing anywhere near her and neither did Tenanye.
“Grand General, Greetings, I am Tenanye Ananse, Empress of Anansai, this is my sister, Princess Xiao Jingshen and my Advisor, Prince Severyn Alderson of the Seelie Court, the King,your brother? I am assuming. He has declined the creature entrance to this meeting, but has allowed her to stay in Khalidor should anyone else wish to host her.” She said calmly. “So If you would be so kind, as to allow her to leave, I would be grateful as this creature unsettles my sister, and I would very much like her not to be anywhere near her.” She said and Xiao Jingshen brow creased bashfully.

The setting changes from the-republic-of-khalidor to The New World

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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__Luin Elen/ Father Superior__
__(The Blue Faery)__

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__Zexen Tiberius__Elen__

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__Valen Mori Elen__
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Valen glared at his son for offering Valen’s listening ear to the servant of Tsarvin Sphex. He could see the longer Zexen spent in the presence of The Blue Faery the more he began to exhibit his benevolent demeanor. Valen wasn’t quite sure how to feel about such a phenomenon. However he’d have to deal with it later. Zexen turned toward his father with a hopeful yet sheepish smile. He knew he would have piss his father off royally but he felt it was worth it to do the right thing.

"It has been rumored that your master accepts slaves. Such serious accusations usually hold a kernel of truth. As such I cannot have you treat with us within the palace. However, you may go to the gardens and any who wish to speak to you may see you there. That is my only offer." Arkaelus said.

Zexen turned back toward King Arkaelus and kneeled down as he said, “Your majesty, thank you for your generosity and fairness in the matter.” He rose to his feet and joined his father once again. Blue as well followed the young warrior, his dragonfly like wings fluttering swiftly in the air.

Valen stepped closer to his son when he was near and said quietly, “I will grant no audience to that abomination. You and Father Superior have been more than FAIR by allowing it to live.” He then glared at Blue, “You should have let those rifle rounds tear it to shreds, rid the world of an evil.”

Blue folded his arms in a huff as he floated at shoulder’s height. “If you recall there are forces of great power in the world that would like to see a similar fate bestowed upon you. You above all others should exhibit some compassion.”

Valen snapped back sharply, “I suppose I can count you among the ranks of those that would relish in my destruction?”

Blue looked over with an obvious look of hurt on his face, “You KNOW that’s not true.” Father Superior replied.

Zexen cringed hearing the two argue. “What is it with you two?! Care to explain to me what this bickering is about?” He fussed. Both Valen and Father Superior abruptly halted in their argument and said nothing more. This annoyed Zexen even further. He shook his head in frustration at the two Faeries silence on the matter and then focused his attention on Tenanye.

Tenanye turned to address the others. “We of Anansai, shall not partake in such trade with a Taskmaster, who does not give us the time to address us himself and sends this poor creature to do his leg work.“ She turned her attention to Nemu. “If this was meant to let us know he exists, then his point has been made. His wicked presence has been felt.” She said with a nod to the creature. “You can relay this message to him, from me, Empress Tenanye of Anansai," She said, looking the creature in the eye from where she stood. "I fear no monsters, for I am one.” She said, and turned her head from the girl.

The announcer informed the room of the arrival of The Princes of Ashkara and well as General Dorian of Khalidor. Zexen looked over in anticipation. He was eager to lay eyes upon the man the King of Khalidor requested he duel. Dorian seemed formidable. He looked as if he’d been traveling for some time, muddied boots and non-regal clothing. Zexen was reminded of the men he trained alongside in the Nation of Athedale under commander Peregrine Le Buque. Zexen watched with a grin on his face as Dorian signaled an obviously annoyed servant to fetch him a pitcher of his personal wine. Dorian found a chair across the Anansai Empress.

Zexen looked to Blue with an excited smile, “I’m going to have a seat. You should return to human size. I don’t think there are pixie sized accommodations here.”

Blue snickered at Zexen’s recommendation, “Unfortunately young one, you’re right.” With that he altered his size once again. He with the shake of his shoulders his dragonfly like wings faded away like pixie dust in the air. He took a seat next to Zexen, reluctantly not far from Valen.

Blue noticed that the Empress, Severyn and Xiao seemed somewhat distressed. He leaned a bit in his chair as they examined Xiao’s arm. He hoped the innocent young fae was alright. When he looked upon her he could tell she was now different, bonded to another. He could also tell that it wasn’t just a magical bond but one of the heart. With that, he smiled and felt she’d be alright. He thought to himself, ”Her journey begins now.”

"I would ask for my lords to excuse my poor manners. The journey has been a long one and I have been looking foward to a hot meal for quite some time. I am Dorian Ursuul, Grand General of the Republic." Dorian smiled as he said it. He looked up at Sphex's creation. "Come!" He called out to the creature. "It looks like you could use something in your belly!" He pulled up a chair for it to sit on. He looked at Arkaelus only to the a sour look on his cousin's face.

Zexen watched Dorian with unbiased invite Nemu over to eat with the group. His smile and liking for the general grew. Zexen turned to his father and snickered. ”See, Dorian gets it.” he took another sip of wine.

Valen looked over in annoyance, “And so will you if you press the issue any further.” He said with a huff.

“Grand General, Greetings, I am Tenanye Ananse, Empress of Anansai, this is my sister, Princess Xiao Jingshen and my Advisor, Prince Severyn Alderson of the Seelie Court, the King, your brother? I am assuming. He has declined the creature entrance to this meeting, but has allowed her to stay in Khalidor should anyone else wish to host her.” Tenanye said calmly. “So If you would be so kind, as to allow her to leave, I would be grateful as this creature unsettles my sister, and I would very much like her not to be anywhere near her.” She said and Xiao Jingshen brow creased bashfully.

After a moment, Father Superior decided that he should introduce himself. This would lessen the tension involving Nemu’s presence and possible departure. He stood to his feet and with a humble smile he spoke, “Grand General, Princes of Askara, Salutations, I am Luin Elen, Father Superior of the wishing star faeries of Anansai. It is an honor to meet you.” He took his seat.

Valen and Zexen stood to greet the general as well. “I am Valen Mori Elen, of Valen Alus. This is my son ambassador Zexen Tiberius Elen. Greetings to the Princes of Askara, and the Grand General of Khalidor, from my humble nation.” Valen greeted with a bow.

Zexen said with a sheepish smile, “General Dorian, I have been honored by King Arkaelus in being asked to participate in a friendly sparring match with your grace. I much look forward to learning from you Grand General.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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It was quite a show, Moloch thought wryly, as the various people there felt the need to bluster at the appearance of Sphex's monstrosity. Of course, Cyrus felt the need chime in, but Moloch understood. The old man's family had come from what was now the Wastes long ago. He sometimes forgot they were not originally from Drake and not many remembered their homeland after so many generations, but Cyrus never forgot. It was a trait he admired.

Moloch felt no desire to treat with Sphex or his monstrosities. There was little he could offered him. Drake already had the finest army in the world. Even ignoring the price the madman would demand from him, integrating the monstrosities he would offer him would be more trouble than it was worth. Instead, as the commotion died down and Moloch filed away the words and actions of his peers for future consideration, he turned to Princess Aada, continuing their conversation.

"I would be happy to tell you about my homeland. Would you like a drink? A little wine does wonders to ease the shock from... unexpected guests."

"I am far ahead of you, Your Grace," Cyrus said with a sigh as he gestured for servant to bring them refreshments, "I believe I will be drinking a bottle of Cinnabar Red myself."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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#, as written by zeph_gm
Nemu gave an artificial approximation of a smile and nodded her head deeply to the Lord General. He was the only one with whom she truly had any business, but it would be unseemly to make obvious such things. Her enhanced cogitators ensured that she understood as much.
“Grand General, Greetings, I am Tenanye Ananse, Empress of Anansai, this is my sister, Princess Xiao Jingshen and my Advisor, Prince Severyn Alderson of the Seelie Court, the King, your brother? I am assuming. He has declined the creature entrance to this meeting, but has allowed her to stay in Khalidor should anyone else wish to host her.” Tenanye said, clearly eager to see Nemu gone from the proceedings, “So If you would be so kind, as to allow her to leave, I would be grateful as this creature unsettles my sister, and I would very much like her not to be anywhere near her.”
The Father superior similarly introduced himself, but managed to refrain from accusing her, “Grand General, Princes of Askara, Salutations, I am Luin Elen, Father Superior of the wishing star faeries of Anansai. It is an honour to meet you.” He took his seat.
Valen and Zexen stood to greet the general as well. “I am Valen Mori Elen, of Valen Alus. This is my son ambassador Zexen Tiberius Elen. Greetings to the Princes of Askara, and the Grand General of Khalidor, from my humble nation.” Valen greeted with a bow.
Zexen said with a sheepish smile, “General Dorian, I have been honored by King Arkaelus in being asked to participate in a friendly sparring match with your grace. I much look forward to learning from you Grand General.”
“I do not believe your sister’s comfort is the reason for this meeting, Queen Tenanye." Nemu addressed to the Fae Queen, "Perhaps instead of sending away the emissary of a nation not under your control, you should excuse your weak blooded kin. The reason my master sends me in his stead, is due to the exact discrimination you show me now. Never forget, Queen of Anansai, it was your kind that drove him to such lengths, to survive, to prosper.” Nemu said with a blank look, but a twinkle of malice lurked beneath her placid eyes, she turned towards King Arkaelus, bowing deeply, if stiffly. “My Lord, King Arkaelus, should YOU, request my absence, I will oblige, as is your right as host of this summit,” She looked back over at Dorian her eyes connecting with the rough, handsome man, unknown and unusual chemicals flooding her body from her auxiliary cortex’s, “However, your brother has offered me succour, and it would be rude to refuse the kindness of a Lord, especially when he is of the few present who do not appear to judge me based on rumour and myth.”
Her head pivoted back towards Tenanye like the head of a doll, “Yes, lord Dorian, I would very much like a drink.”

The setting changes from the-new-world to The Republic of Khalidor

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The summit was finally coming together. It irked Arkaelus that Dorian had invited Nemu to dine with him, but he would overlook it. If he was not mistaken, nearly every known nation was in the room, with the exception of Valyria for whatever reason. Arkaelus clanged his silverware against his silver goblet to silence the room before speaking.

"I have called for you all to gather here under the pretense of trade. Trade is something the benefits all of our nations and provides great wealth. I would like to propose a Free Trade Agreement between nations. Under this agreement import quotas, tariffs, and embargoes will become illegal. Markets will be deregulated so that our citizens may trade what they wish to whomever the please in any amount they so desire." He said, allowing the words to soak in for a few moments before he continued.

"Furthermore during wartime neutral trade vehicles shall not be harmed or stopped. Blockades may not prevent their target from accessing food as well." Arkaelus would let the others speak their minds first. He would think that smaller nations, like Valen Alus or Cinnabar would accept, but others like Drake would might turn it down.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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“I do not believe your sister’s comfort is the reason for this meeting, Queen Tenanye." Nemu spoke, and Tenanye looked at her, her expression blank, at the mere audacity of this creature. For a slave, she certainly knew not her place. "Perhaps instead of sending away the emissary of a nation not under your control, you should excuse your weak blooded kin. The reason my master sends me in his stead, is due to the exact discrimination you show me now. Never forget, Queen of Anansai, it was your kind that drove him to such lengths, to survive, to prosper.” The beast said, and Tenanye's fingers curled into a fist. Severyn,placed a hand on her fist. "Empress...." he advised. Tenanye was typically quiet calm in such matters as bickering but insulting her sister, was a good way to feel her wrath. Xiao Jingshen stiffened. Tenanye knew the girl hated when Tenanye defended her like this but Xiao Jingshen was a chord not to be struck, lest the note become sour. “My Lord, King Arkaelus, should YOU, request my absence, I will oblige, as is your right as host of this summit,” She said “However, your brother has offered me succour, and it would be rude to refuse the kindness of a Lord, especially when he is of the few present who do not appear to judge me based on rumour and myth.” She said, her head jerking towards her direction.
“Yes, lord Dorian, I would very much like a drink.” She said defiantly. Tenanye took a breath, calmed herself enough that she didn't become the monster some thought the Fae to be.
"Careful beast, It would be a shame for your master's toy to return to him mangled and corroded...." She warned, allowing on her finger to change and shine with venom, she allow a single drop to hit the table, and burn through the wood, but thankfully, Arkaelus clanged his glass and addressed the group. He didn't seem too pleased with Dorian's invitation but let it go. so she decided she would too, but let the beast say something else....

"I have called for you all to gather here under the pretense of trade. Trade is something the benefits all of our nations and provides great wealth. I would like to propose a Free Trade Agreement between nations. Under this agreement import quotas, tariffs, and embargoes will become illegal. Markets will be deregulated so that our citizens may trade what they wish to whomever the please in any amount they so desire."He spoke and Tenanye enchanted her calm and listened to his words. This was not what she came here for. She didn't want such an open trade, not with her people, they were much too xenophobic for such a thing. She wanted not only trade but alliances. A strong one. She knew what she had to do but she would wait for the right moment.
"Furthermore during wartime neutral trade vehicles shall not be harmed or stopped. Blockades may not prevent their target from accessing food as well." He said and Tenanye remained quiet, watching her sister, looking around the others, for what Tenanye assumed was this Kiran that she bonded herself to, while Severyn expertly placed his hand over the burn she created in the wooden table and she watched the wood stretch over and bind with the other end.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara

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The Princes of Ashkara
Akhil || Skandar || Kiran



Akhil stepped aside, allowing Dorian to enter the chamber as he waited for the herald to announce their arrival. His brothers stood at his back, hovering over his shoulder just close enough to be able to glimpse the happenings inside. A brief grin tugged at the corner of his lips as he watched the General lumber into the room, trailing mud and dirt all over the King's finery as his booming voice filled the air. Only Dorian Ursuul would dare invite a monster to dinner, and Akhil found himself liking the General more and more. The young man reminded him of Arkaelus' predecessor, Hakvus, who'd been a friend of his before his rather untimely death.

However, the rest of the monarchs didn't seem to share the General's amenity towards the creature, because as soon as he extended his invitation, the woman in front of him spoke. Akhil's eyes shifted towards her, and for a moment, he found that he couldn't speak. Once she drew attention to herself, she immediately outshone all the others. The woman was striking in her beauty; smooth, ebony skin framed by dark locks falling in waves past her shoulders. Though she looked delicate, her voice was strong, unwavering, and it was then that he discovered why: she was no ordinary mortal, she was a Faery. The Empress of all Faeries.

His brothers must've also heard what the Empress had said, because as soon as the words left her lips, Kiran had wedged himself between him and the doorway, peering with eyes wide at where the Fae were seated. "It's her!" He whispered excitedly, "I told you they'd be here."

Akhil rolled his eyes, "Yes, yes. So they went to the summit after all. I was wrong, you were right. Congratulations. Now back to your place." He scowled, clamping a hand at the scruff of his brother's coat and jerking him back. He turned his attention back towards the other monarchs and noted how they responded towards the creature, especially after she so boldly accepted the General's offer. Most of them weren't all that pleased, while only two—Dorian and a young man he had yet to identify—welcomed it with open arms. However, some chose to pay little to no heed to the current proceedings. One raven-haired man in particular chose to carry on his conversation with the young woman by his side.

--

Meanwhile, Kiran was stuck scowling, not particularly pleased to have been shoved back just as he caught sight of Jingshen. "I suppose I owe you a hundred ducats after all." He heard Skandar say. His brother showed just a hint of mirth in his eyes, clearly amused at his flustered state. "Can't the herald hurry up with that bloody announcement? I have to get in there." He hissed, annoyance bright in his tone as he jerked his head towards the chamber. Skandar only raised an eyebrow at this, "Someone's eager." He observed, "I know you're excited to meet the Fae, but you're usually more patient than this."

Kiran heaved a sigh, unconsciously beginning to tap impatiently at the floorboards, "It's Jingshen, the Empress' sister." He began, "I met her at the marketplace just before the General's soldiers swarmed the place, and I want to know if she's all right." He told him, sneaking glances past Akhil's shoulder as he did so.

"Why did you not tell us this?" Skandar asked, brows furrowed at his brother's unexpected revelation. He had to admit, the new bit of information took him by surprise. Faes mingling with mortals were nigh unheard of, and if what his brother said had a shred of truth to it, then maybe his friendship with the Empress' sister might hold the key to brokering an alliance with Anansai.

Kiran rounded on him then, his eyes narrowed and his scowl deepening even further, "Because the two of you were far more interested in chewing me out to listen to what I had to say!" He shot back. However, before Skandar could answer, the herald finally appeared, bowing low before the three princes before stepping unto the threshold of the chamber and announcing their presence to the rest of the monarchs.

Akhil took that as his cue and entered the room, his scarlet and cloth-of-gold trimmed robes sweeping behind him as he walked. Skandar followed suit, his previously stony expression softened slightly into that of cool civility. Kiran walked in last, immediately locking eyes with Jingshen as he fell in to place at Akhil's side. He sent a small smile in her direction, lifting his hand for a brief wave before a pointed look from Skandar had his arms flying back towards his sides.

A sandy-haired man immediately shot up to his feet, offering a kind greeting and an even kinder smile at their arrival. Akhil recognised his name at once. It was the Blue Faery. His lady wife, Nerissa, often mentioned him whenever she regaled him with tales of her childhood. She was the daughter of a wealthy Northern nobleman, and apparently, calling out to Faeries had been quite common among her people. Before he could extend his own greetings, however, another man rose from his seat. Like the Blue Faery, he was quite handsome as well, and sported a shaven head. As it happened, he too was Fae, albeit a Dark One, as it was known even in the South that the Fae in Valen Alus had darker leanings. His son turned out to be the young man he had noticed earlier—the only one other than the General who approved of the creature.

"And to you as well, my Lords." Akhil answered, "Likewise, my brothers and I, too, are honoured to be in your presence." His fists were already held together at his chest as he dipped his head in a respectful bow not only addressed towards the three men, but to the rest of the monarchs as well, with Skandar and Kiran immediately following suit as they stood flanking his sides.

Akhil turned towards Arkaelus next, his smile already widening into a grin, "King Arkaelus! We meet again, Your Grace. My father has sent my brothers and I in his stead as he's currently sorting out some disagreements with a few of our neighbours. We hope you'll find our presence adequate for this event." Of course, when he said that, he meant his father was busy waging yet another war with the neighbouring kindoms. It's always been said that Southern blood ran hotter than that of Northmen. Though peace reigned over much of the Northern countries, the same couldn't be said for the South, where war occurred almost as regularly as the changing of night and day. It's the main reason why Ashkara boasted such a large military force. If not, the Kingdom would've succumbed to its neighbours centuries ago.

While most of the people in the room were unknown to him, he and the King of Khalidor were definitely no stranger to one another. "I apologise for the small delay in our arrival, but I must say, you have quite the gathering here." He commented, "It isn't so often that the leaders of so many great nations are gathered into one place." He mused, as he selected an empty seat. He pulled it back with a nary a sound and sat himself gracefully unto it before motioning for his brothers to do the same.

"I speak in behalf of my father when I say that the Kingdom of Ashkara are ever grateful to be considered for such a historic event." He continued, "I can already tell that this coming summit will be most interesting." He spoke with the lofty air of a man clearly accustomed to speaking with Kings and nobles, and the way his words flowed fluidly with the right amount of charm showed just how capable he was at holding his own against those of much greater rank.

Skandar sat quietly at Akhil's right, his head held high despite the chill. The palace wasn't quite as warm as he had expected, and he could slowly feel the cold seeping into his bones as the minutes ticked by. Still, he willed himself to remain calm even though he wanted nothing more than to set himself on fire to draw warmth back to his skin.

But while Skandar thought it hard to ignore the cold, Kiran found it even more difficult to tear his eyes away from the Fae—Jingshen in particular. He had seated himself in the empty seat between Skandar and General Ursuul, directly in front of Jingshen. "I never thought I'd see you again so soon." He murmured, keeping his voice low despite the grin on his face so as not to draw too much attention to himself. "How are you?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Fiona Pynchon

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It was like a soft tap on her shoulder, Xiao Jingshen had been looking at her arm, when she felt him. She looked up and smiled as the herald announced his and his brother’s arrival. He smiled at her, finding her eyes, and raising a hand to wave at her. Xiao Jingshen waved back She took Tenanye’s arm. “Look, Meimei!” She urged, yanking on her sister’s arm. Tenanye smiled and followed her gaze. “He is handsome.” She mused and Xiao Jingshen blushed. “I...I hadn’t...that’s not....I know.” She said, she didn’t want to say she noticed how handsome he was but lying wasn’t possible. Image
Blue, to whom she really liked, spoke to them first. It took everything Xiao Jingshen had not to run to him. She watched as the man that burned Kiran crossed his arms on his chest, much like Kiran had before in the market.. "I apologise for the small delay in our arrival, but I must say, you have quite the gathering here."Tenanye smiled with a nod. "It isn't so often that the leaders of so many great nations are gathered into one place." He said and took a seat beside General Dorian and that horrible Nemu girl. "I speak in behalf of my father when I say that the Kingdom of Ashkara are ever grateful to be considered for such a historic event." He continued,"I can already tell that this coming summit will be most interesting." Xiao Jingshen watched as Kiran took a seat in front of her while his other brother, sat in the seat across from Tenanye.

"I never thought I'd see you again so soon." He said, his voice low, but a large smile that broke on unto her face as well. "How are you?"
“I am very happy to you see again, Prince Kiran.” She said, trying to speak properly around the smile that was wide on her small face. “I am well...mostly,” She said, looking to the side for a moment. “ I fear, I did not know the full extent of my gift to you..We are bonded and when you-“ Her eyes danced over to his older brother for a moment. “received your burn....I received one too.” She told him. “But I will fine, I am just so pleased to see you, I don’t even feel it.” She said and it was then Tenanye smiled at her and then and Kiran.
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“So you must be this friend, I’ve been hearing about. She nearly tore my arm off when you walked in. “ Tenanye said, watching as her sister having a hard time containing herself but doing a good job of it. Were they in Anansai the girl would be all over the place. Xiao Jingshen's eyes widened and she blushed red. “I should thank you, for protecting my sister, she is very dear to me.” Tenanye said, brushing a hand over Xiao Jingshen’s hair causing the girl to look up at her with a smile.
“Your Graces, I am Empress Tenanye Ananse, Ruler of Anansai, This, as you may know, is Xiao Jingshen, the Princess, and this is Severyn Alderson, Prince of the Seelie, Honored to meet you. ” She said and she sensed something, a presence floating about the room not only that, she noticed the magic in the Askharai Princes.
“You all have magic in your blood, I can sense it....that’s not all I sense..” She said and cut her eyes to the presence that had just entered the room. Severyn looked between her and the boys, clearly unsure what she was talking about until he followed her gaze. He sensed her too finally.
“You are...a Djinn, I have not seen Djinn in sometime...I am honored.” She said to Akhil with a smile and looked at Skandar. “And a....” She paused and closed her eyes some then opened them again. “ and a Naga....I would love to see it one day.....” She smiled almost like she were flirting, looking him in the eyes with a knowing look. Any Naga would know what she meant then. She then looked to Kiran. “Oh and you...you and my sister have much in common.... I can see why she likes you.” She said, with a look to her sister. Tenanye then figured there was a good thing theses two met earlier, this could be a good way to start a relationship with the people of Askhara, as well the as the magic the boys all shared.
“...your grace....” Xiao Jingshen muttered.
“Your brother.” She addressed the eldest of the boys. “He saved my sister’s life today, My sister, to whom means more me then all of the silk in Anansai, Whatever you like from me, you may have...within reason of course, as...a gratuity for my sister’s life. “ She said looking to Kiran. “Anything youwish. Don’t hesitate to ask.”

The setting changes from the-republic-of-khalidor to The New World

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Fiona Pynchon

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To be honest, Kallias couldn't help but pity the strange woman that had caused such a commotion among the known world's most powerful figures. While he was familiar wit the tales of the Wastes and the mad abomination that ruled it, he didn't see any reason to be cold with the woman as she was was only her master's slave. Still, he said nothing and as the summit/gala or whatever this gathering was continued, he found himself near the Ashkara and the Fae. At last, Arkaelus stood to speak.

"I have called for you all to gather here under the pretense of trade. Trade is something the benefits all of our nations and provides great wealth. I would like to propose a Free Trade Agreement between nations. Under this agreement import quotas, tariffs, and embargoes will become illegal. Markets will be deregulated so that our citizens may trade what they wish to whomever the please in any amount they so desire."

Kallias could see his brother nodding at their host's words. Free trade would only benefit Drake in the end, though Kallias was already getting a headache from the future complaints of the powerful Merchant Caste in Drake. Tariffs and quotas served to protect domestic industry and while only a few would lose business in comparison with those who would make a profit from free trade, they would make quite bit of noise. Still, Kallias could imagine Moloch's speech about the meritocracy that made Drake and all that rot. He was glad he didn't need to be king anytime soon or ever if Moloch managed to marry some nice-looking princess. He grinned at the beauty at his brother's side.

"Furthermore during wartime neutral trade vehicles shall not be harmed or stopped. Blockades may not prevent their target from accessing food as well."

Kallias stiffened at that last statement. Surely his brother would object.

"Drake will be happy to ratify any agreement nullifying archaic practices such as tariffs, quotas, and embargoes. The free competition of business has long served Drake well. It is also an act of supreme humanity to protect neutral trade vehicles. However, the sole purpose of a blockade in a lawfully declared war is to prevent the enemy from accessing the goods they need to prolong the conflict. That includes food as well.

"Drake is prepared to agree to the cessation of unlawful blockades in peace time, but I confess that I am puzzled. Can anyone tell me why it is preferable lengthen a siege and force the attacking army to take a fortress by force rather than allow a siege to end in surrender, saving countless lives?"

His brother seated himself, waiting for a response. Kallias eyed his brother thoughtfully. It wasn't like him to lay his cards on the table. Soon enough his attention was drawn by the conversation of the people around him. He grinned at the Ashkara in excitement.

"Oh, I haven ever met a djinn or naga before. That is quite... fascinating," Kallias said, unknowingly imitating his Fae twin. He bowed his head in greeting.

"I am Kallias by the way, prince of Drake. I always wanted to visit Ashkara."

He grinned at the way Kiran and Xiao were quite taken with each other. It was a nice occurence in a conference that was getting far too serious.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Nemu Kizomuri Character Portrait: Xiao Jingshen Ananse Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Fiona Pynchon Character Portrait: Queen Amelia Berlin

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__Luin Elen/ Father Superior__
__(The Blue Faery)__
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__Zexen Tiberius__Elen__
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__Valen Mori Elen__
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The Blue Faery, Valen and Zexen nodded and smiled politely with the greetings from the Princes of Ashkara. Blue sensed energy strong in magic in the room yet it did not come from any of the magically capable currently present in the room. He turned to look toward the far end of the table and saw nothing but someone or something may have been present there. Valen turned toward Blue and quietly asked, “I suppose you feel it too?” Blue responded, ”Indeed I do. I don’t think there is too much need for concern. Perhaps it’s a guest that doesn’t desire to make their presence known yet.” Valen nodded in response at decided not to act.

Zexen smiled quietly as he looked to Kalias and Severyn who looked like brothers. Zexen wished he had a brother, he figured he would have felt less lonely growing up had he had a sibling about. Then again who knows, they could have ended up hating each other. Xiao and Kiran seemed to be in their own world. It was nice, to see. Zexen had a flicker of sadness show on his face as he thought back to the friend he came to love and eventually lost to death. He hoped this budding young couple would never have to endure the pain he had. With that thought, a smile re-emerged onto his face.

Arkaelus addressed the group gathered together in the hall. "I have called for you all to gather here under the pretense of trade. Trade is something the benefits all of our nations and provides great wealth. I would like to propose a Free Trade Agreement between nations. Under this agreement import quotas, tariffs, and embargoes will become illegal. Markets will be deregulated so that our citizens may trade what they wish to whomever the please in any amount they so desire."

Valen and Zexen listened intently. Blue sat quietly as the Wishing Star Faeries interacted with mortals on the basis of wish granting and miracle bringing. What they had to give was much different than anything a king or Queen of any nation could offer. However it was important for him to be present, as how the nations traded with one another greatly affected the state of being for the people of the world. That in and of itself was of the utmost importance to Father Superior.

Arkaelus continued,"Furthermore during wartime neutral trade vehicles shall not be harmed or stopped. Blockades may not prevent their target from accessing food as well."

Valen pondered deeply of the many implications such an arrangement would create. He was all for free trade however war was a different matter. If a merchant desired to trade with an unfriendly nation he felt the kingdom should most definitely have a say in the matter. He held his comments for a few moments.

Moloch, after standing to address the gathered royals and ambassadors, "Drake will be happy to ratify any agreement nullifying archaic practices such as tariffs, quotas, and embargoes. The free competition of business has long served Drake well. It is also an act of supreme humanity to protect neutral trade vehicles. However, the sole purpose of a blockade in a lawfully declared war is to prevent the enemy from accessing the goods they need to prolong the conflict. That includes food as well. Drake is prepared to agree to the cessation of unlawful blockades in peace time, but I confess that I am puzzled. Can anyone tell me why it is preferable lengthen a siege and force the attacking army to take a fortress by force rather than allow a siege to end in surrender, saving countless lives?"


__Queen Amelia__Berlin__
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Amelia had set out from Vinay Del Zexay quite behind schedule. Parliament heads attempted to keep her busy enough that she would miss the summit altogether. They weren’t at all please to hear about a trade summit that would mainly work in the favor of the merchant’s guild. Parliament often treated the merchant’s guild like enemies.

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Amelia sat in her carriage thinking on her objectives for attending the summit. Trade was most definitely and important prospect but the prophecy she received was more of a pressing matter to her. She knew trouble was brewing in the air and she wanted no surprises as to its roots, for her kingdom’s sake. She had arrived and was greeted most graciously by the officials of Khalidor. They weren’t expecting the Queen of Vinay Del Zexay to attend due to her tardiness. She was lead down the grand hallway into the Grand Hall.

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The Herald announced her arrival, “Presenting to King Arkaelus and Majesties, Queen Amelia Berlin of Vinay Del Zexay.”

Amelia happened to overhear the proposition made by King Arkaelus and the response made by King Moloch Markus. She had only lain eyes on Moloch once before at a royal arts Galla held by the late King of Vinay Del Zexay. She was happily married then, seeing Moloch and Kalias was a reminder of that time. Her porcelain doll like eyes gave an acknowledging glance to each person present in the room. She also couldn’t help but look to the far end of the table that was vacant. The air there flowed in a manner that said that someone should be there but they weren’t.

As Amelia gracefully approached the group she saw a few other familiar faces. Valen and Zexen were both familiar to her. Valen was a leader she interacted with fairly often as their nations traded frequently. She also met him years ago before she became queen, back when she was a mere court magician. He offered her a chance to immigrate to Valen Alus, to save her from a life of solitude and servitude as a court magician. She respectfully declined the invitation on the premise that although she was unhappy, her gifts were needed by the people of the country so she could not abandon them. Valen always respected her choice and soon afterwards events would lead her to become Queen of Vinay Del Zexay. Little did she know that Valen had a role in making those events happen.

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The Fae of Anansai were a sight to behold. She had met Father Superior on an occasion when she was grieving over the loss of her husband the king. She expressed great fear that she hadn’t the ability to be a leader and to gain the love and trust of the king’s people without him. She remembered Blue reassuring her that her becoming Queen was destiny and that the King’s trust in her capability was not misplaced. She never could forget hugging the Blue Faery and sobbing into his chest. She flashed an embarrassed smile his way and a nod.

The Empress of Anansai she had never seen before. She was beautiful and other worldly. The tall and strikingly handsome elf next to her caught her eyes as she had never quite seen a man of such rare beauty. She almost felt jealous, which the thought made her want to chuckle to herself. However she managed to keep her expression from altering. She noted the unnaturally close resemblance he bore to Prince Kalias and it perplexed her. There was a young fae woman of bright beauty and spirit. She had the energy of a carefree little girl. Amelia smiled immediately while looking her way, there was no helping it.

The Princes of Askara were very striking and regal in their appearance. She had only ever heard of the Kingdom but never had she been or met anyone from there. They gave off a warm magical signature. It was intriguing. The Royals of Cinnabar were two faces Amelia had also encountered before. Her nation was neighbor to Cinnabar and She on an occasion would send books back and forth to Princess Aada that she thought were interesting reads. The two started doing this when it was discovered that they were both avid readers. Also among the group were a man who seemed improperly dressed for the occasion and an obscure woman. Upon closer inspection this strange woman was frightfully off putting in appearance and movement. Amelia averted her eyes soon after taking a good look at her. She didn’t want to be rude but her expression would only grow worse had she continued to stare.

Amelia curtsied before the nobles. And spoke with a regal and confident air in her voice. ”Greetings majesties. I humbly apologize for my extreme tardiness. Intend no disrespect by it. Thank you for inviting me to your beautiful kingdom. I wish you all favor in your negotiations today.”

Valen was glad to see her at the summit. He nodded with a smooth smile, ”Queen Berlin, it is always a pleasure to be in your presence.”

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She took a seat near King Arim, Princess Aada, King Moloch, Prince Kalias and the Ashkara Princes. ”Now, pleasantries aside, regarding your proposal King Arkaelus, I am inclined to agree with King Moloch. Free trade is a progressive move that is crucial to made. However nothing should be without careful and fair regulation. A foreign merchant given trust to come and go without precaution creates room for a grave error. My husband suffered death because of a similar policy involving merchants. I care not to repeat that mistake.”

The setting changes from the-new-world to The Republic of Khalidor

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tenanye Ananse; Empress of Anansai Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Arim Funar Character Portrait: Kallias Markus Character Portrait: Severyn Alderson; Seelie Prince Character Portrait: Arkaelus Ursuul Character Portrait: Skandar, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Father Superior The Blue Faery Character Portrait: Valen Mori Elen Character Portrait: Aada Funar Character Portrait: Kiran, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Dorian Ursuul Character Portrait: Zexen Tiberius Elen Character Portrait: Akhil, Prince of Ashkara Character Portrait: Fiona Pynchon Character Portrait: Queen Amelia Berlin

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Dorian watched as his cousin was overwhelmed by opposition from the other rulers. Free trade was apparently alright in their books, but not war regulation. He sighed as he decided to speak up on his cousin's behalf.

"A blockade works against small, unprepared cities. However, that is not the case in situations where the commanders of fortified and well defended cities are determined to hold onto what they have until the very last moment. In those situations housing can be demolished to feed the forges, civilian metals can be reforged into weaponry, and food is always prioritized on the soldiers and the aristocracy. The commoners are left to fend for themselves. First they they strip the city of pets, then leather becomes an attractive commodity, eventually human flesh is the staple. After awhile plague hits the city, killing hundreds in it's wake. The holding force decide to send a waves of citizens out to the slaughter to ease the ration demand. When the city finally breaks, giving in to the enemy, it is but a shadow of its former state, taking generations to become productive again."

"We all represent the most powerful nations in the world. Should war break out between any of our nations, the aftermath would be grave. Without new laws of war, areas that were once productive trade centers will be reduced to invaluable population hubs. Soldiers and kings are easily replaceable, however, that's not the case with cities." Dorian hadn't meant to lecture the others. He liked fighting wars, though he didn't care much for prolonging them.