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Setek

"It is a fallacy to believe in mortal kings. To be King is to be eternal, inevitable and everlasting. To be eternal, inevitable and everlasting is to be death. Death is the only true King among mortals."

1 · 124 views · located in Illena

a character in “A Life Unknown”, as played by AugmentationAudit

Description

I have been a king in every sense of the word, and yet so-called kings still look upon me with their painted arrogance. Perhaps I wear a mask to hide my face, and some think me mutilated- both are true. However, few comprehend that I wear a mask because my face is unimportant; death is faceless. Kings, therefore, should remain unseen.

Image I am named Setek, and I hale from north, where the great sands consume the earth and cities of stone are burned to glass, from the south, where the land has a heart of ice and fire, from the east, where the mighty forests reach for the horizon, and from the west, and the water therein.

I have seen this world and the world beyond it; I have stood below the notice of kings, at the feet of kings, and by the elbows of kings, and yet I know that to be king is to be false. There is only one true King, and no mortal lord can hope to attain that crown.

I stand a man emasculated, but I do not question my place. I hoped once that humanity would grow to look beyond birthright, worth and gender, but in time I learned that death is the only true equality.

Humanity will always seek to stand above the one great equaliser by adopting airs, heirs, and structures. It is only when one knows that death tumbles the mighty palace and the hovel alike in time that true enlightenment is reached.



~*~
Image


My origins before this day are unimportant. All that needs to be said is that I found myself standing between kingdoms at war some small time before the true war began. My art is arcane, my knowledge vast; it is best not to question that which you do not understand, so simply let that which is be.

My reasons for coming are my own, but I stand at the right hand of King Leonard to advise and stay his grieving hand. There is greater evil in the heart of a slighted, wounded man than that of the most malicious beast of war, thus, I stand before him, to temper the blows that would otherwise shift the tides of destiny.

I stand also at the knees of Leonard's dark counterpart (in so many ways), to guard over the lives that have been changed by meddling in that which should have been sacred. I do not stay the hand of evil, for that is beyond my skill, but I am accustomed to the shadows and the underbelly of this great monster we call life- I am no left hand to King Daven, but I am perhaps the humility he lost in the search for power.

There is no true place for me in this telling, and yet without me a calamity will fall upon destiny. I see that which is not written, nor shall ever be transcribed, and I grieve for the loss of it. In my deception, I hope to salvage charred pages from this chapter in history and right the great wrongs that have been set into motion by untrained hands.

This is not my destiny, nor my duty, but there are things of value in this tale that I would morn the loss of keenly. Perhaps I see myself in these poor fools, who have been turned to pawns by a broken destiny. Perhaps I have grown tired of waiting for a day foretold but not forthcoming. Perhaps I am a meddling old fool.


I would say that I am a man like any other, but that would be an untruth from the very roots, so I will simply say that I am, and there is little left that would change me. I am not prone to self-analysis, nor self-description. I am Setek, I am perhaps foretold, and often remembered, but rarely by name. I will wait for an eternity, and yet I am far from patient.

Some in my craft carry a staff to demonstrate or harness power, though I have little need of such cheap trickery. I carry a staff for the reason it was created. That is not to say my staff does not have many uses- it is a prop, and yet far from it.

There are many of the arcane arts that can be studied from text and tome, and I carry both on occasion, but there is little I need in the manner of literature these days, unless it is to teach, which I dabble in rarely now. I carry myself that which I can afford to let weigh me down; the essentials and nothing more. I have many possessions, but few that I bare with me.


I have been crippled and emasculated for more years than I was ever whole, and I grew into what I am. There is no shame in me for what I have become, or the scars my body carries. In a world where men rate themselves on heritage, raw strength and reproductive prowess, I am perhaps deserving of pity, but I pity them in turn. It is only when the feeble excuse and posturing of 'masculinity' and that which is defined by gender and rote is stripped away that true clarity of thought is attained.

Though death courts and judges a man for his sons as well as his deeds, the quality of a man's legs and loins quickly becomes irrelevant as his body cools into the everlasting. So few see beyond it, as the enlightened few keep those secrets for themselves.

So begins...

Setek's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Setek Character Portrait: Lady Sch??n de Volkan Character Portrait: Jazz Character Portrait: Lady Rose Kress Dunn Character Portrait: Tito Character Portrait: William Abel Character Portrait: King Leonard

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Ilenian Kingdom - Warmth cycle: Day 37 - Morning

Pacing up and down his quarters, the King waited for his Knights to appear. He was very agitated and keen to get moving with what he was going to tell them. He'd called for the best Knights of the Kingdom now. People that he was confident would complete this task and solve the mystery that had been lingering over Ilena for the last 16 years. Where was the King's daughter, Tianna? And, who killed the Queen?

Looking up as there was a knock on the wooden door, he called called for them to enter, glad to see the guard and Knights enter. Finally, he took a seat and looked over his Knights, forming the sentences in his head as to what to relay to the Knights. As they stood there, he took in each and every one of them before nodding to himself, content that they were the best.

"Welcome. Thank you for coming. As you know, things have settled down and become quieter in the Kingdom and so I have a favour to ask all of you and I'm sure you all know what time of year it is coming to. Feel free to decline but you are my best Knights. I've had every other Knight go out and try to complete this, and each time they've come back with nothing. I'm sure you already know what I'm talking about." The King paused here, looking at the expressions of the Knights before him.

A few seconds later he continued. "I would like you to head down South, to Ayia, in search of my daughter It is the last place unturned. I know there are problems there, and unsettling reports, but I want to know what happened to her. You are my best Knights and I know you will find something and help solve what happened to her and my wife all those years ago." His expression was one of upset. He had never got over his wife's death or his daughters kidnapping. Despite people believing that she would never be found, the King would keep up his search until there was either a result, or his death.

"I have everyone making the necessary arrangements for travel to start tomorrow at first light. But, like I said, it's your decision. Should you accept, I will be at the stables to see you off at first light. If you have anything you want to say, say now or you can leave and prepare for tomorrow's travels should you decide to go. Thank you for your time. And should you go, I offer many more thanks. I'm sure you know that this search means a lot to me." The King nodded upon finishing, waiting to see if there were any questions or if the Knights were just going to leave to think about the request.

Ayian Kingdom - Warmth cycle: Day 35 - Morning - Collaborated with AugmentationAudit and I

The crystal was dark, but it leaned towards darkness on the best of days; Setek’s art was not planted in the daytime world and nor would it ever be. The dead, he found, were far more eloquent than any that walked elsewhere, when one learned to look past squeamishness and superstition. So the crystal he looked into was dark, but he saw more than enough in its depths.

Obsidian to the uneducated, Setek’s ball was liquid to his eyes; he watched the future unfold in shadow and frowned at what he saw. The fates were moving, and once again not for the better. Displeased, Setek reached beyond the crystal ball and fetched the lacquered bowl that rested on the edge of his worktable. A matching jug, heavy with water, was his next acquisition; he muttered softly over the lip before spilling a measure into the waiting dish.

With a candle and a stick of incense, Setek sketched the necessary runes on the scarred tabletop around the bowl, before activating his prepared designs with a whispered word. The future would become clear to him, even if he had to traverse into death itself to find the answers that he wanted.

Once again, Jazz had wandered away from her brother and over to Setek’s chambers in search of Setek, but more importantly, Tito. Jazz liked Tito. A lot. In a way that was more than friends. She wasn't supposed to because he was merely a servant, but she did. Of course though, she wouldn't tell anyone this. Maybe Setek, but for now it was her little secret. If Shane found out, Jazz now knew that he’d probably demand Tito’s head and she was not about to let his head be served on a platter.

Jazz eventually arrived at Setek’s chambers and as per usual tested the door to see if it was unlocked, it was and so she just walked right on in, seeing Tito in the middle of the room appearing to be tidying up some clothes. Jazz grinned, watching Tito for a second before closing the door behind her.

“Hey Tito. Setek around?” She asked.

Tito looked up before frowning. He was always so formal around the princess, immediately bowing his head down despite just being in Setek’s chambers. And he was always so formal with words too, Jazz hated it. “Princess Jasmine. He’s busy working. You can’t disturb him.”

“I’m sure he won’t mind.”

“Princess Jas---”

“Stop calling me that. It’s Jazz. How many times do I have to tell you Tito, just call me Jazz.”

“But...”

“No buts. Yes, I’m a princess, but I get to decide what I’m called. Everyone is so formal. It’s horrible.” She told him, waving her hand in dismissal for the conversation as she headed towards Setek’s workroom.

Tito dropped the clothes he’d spent time folding, letting them fall to the floor before rushing over towards Jazz in a panicked attempt to stop her from disturbing Setek. “You can’t go in there, Princess.”

“Jazz.” She smirked, grabbing a hold of the handle as she pushed Tito to the side. “Setek, you in here?” Jazz called out just walking inside, again she didn't knock. She’d gotten used to just walking in without knocking when it came to Setek’s residence.

“I’m sorry, Setek. I tried to tell her.” Tito looked so worked up and panicked, stressed out. It caused Jazz only to grin more, loving how worked up he got. She was sure that Setek would be fine with them. She’d never really gotten in trouble before, but then again a lot of people had been afraid to tell her off. Though, a few times Setek had told her off when she was younger. He hadn't been afraid.

“He’s all worked up thinking you’re going to have his head now.” Jazz joked. Tito didn't at all find it funny though.

“No need to worry, Tito; your head is much more valuable to me on your shoulders than in my cooking pot,” Setek didn't look up from his scrying bowl, his hands gently swirling the metallically shining surface. The future- he glanced up- perhaps the future was a little more clear than it had been before. The waters had told him little, but there was always the chance that he was looking too far afield.

“As for you, Princess,” Setek fixed Jasmine with a stern dark eye; she was one of the few to see his face, if only because she insisted on inviting herself into his rooms at her leisure. Sometimes, his mutilation worked to his advantage; he would never be forced to face the indignity of a chaperon when the young princess chose to visit.

“You should have a care, the King would frown upon your wandering into my innermost chambers uninvited.”

Tito relaxed as Setek mentioned that he was keeping his head. Despite the promise Setek had made when he’d first come into the man’s care, he was worried that he’d do something wrong and end up in the dungeon or worse, losing his head. Tito was terrified of death still.

“It’s Jazz. I was just telling Tito this, Setek. Call me Jazz. Not Princess, not Jasmine. Not Princess Jasmine. Just Jazz. I like Jazz.”

She ignored the eye that he seemed to have fixed on her. She knew the look he was giving her and she knew that he wasn't too impressed with being disturbed, just like Tito had told her. But she wasn't too caring about that at the moment. Jazz knew that with Setek she could push her boundaries and limits a little more than with anyone else. She’d practically grown up with him. He’d been here since she was a baby.

“If my father cared about me wandering into your chambers uninvited, he would have said something already. And he knows you. He knows you watch me, like the guards. He trusts you. So I can walk in here uninvited. Unless your door is locked, then I can’t for obvious reasons. What are you up to in here, anyway?”

“As you wish, princess, as you wish,” There was a humorous glint in Setek’s eye, the faintest trace of a smile on his lips that melted into a veiled wince as he stood. “However, the most important lesson for a monarch to learn is that with all the power of position, getting one’s own way is often still impossible.”

Setek took up his staff and made his way out from behind the desk, watching his two young guests all the while. The future was becoming more certain by the moment, unfortunately. He had his work cut out for him, it would seem. “Now, you can doubtless order me to call you Jazz, or threaten to behead me should I fail to comply, but where would that get you, Princess? Why, less one person to call you Jazz, of course.”

Jazz had been winding Tito up the very same way that Setek was now winding her up. She hated been referred to as Princess. It was annoying. Horrible. “Just call me Jazz, please.” She added on the end of the sentence this time. Though when Setek mentioned beheading him because he wouldn't call her Jazz it hit a nerve and she glared at him.

“I should hope that by now you would know that I wouldn't do something like that.” She glanced at Tito. “I was only joking about Tito’s head too. I wouldn't do such a thing like that. I know my father has done things like that...” Jazz felt uncomfortable admitting that, and she only knew it because Setek had shown her the truth of some matters rather than lie to her. “... But I wouldn't.” As soon as she was being teased, she didn't like it. And to suggest that she might go ahead and do something cruel too, always struck a nerve with her, and Setek most likely knew that, too.

“And I hope that you know me well enough to realise that something so mundane as beheading wouldn't stop me.” Setek made his way to the door with the intention of removing the young people from his workroom. In passing, he spoke directly into the shell of Jasmine’s ear. “Dear Jazz, do remember that we all have spots that might be pricked with well aimed words. Have a mind that Tito is not a pin cushion.”

With a soft touch to her wrist, he pulled away with a smile. “Now, should we perhaps move onto more interesting topics? I do find beheading so very distasteful before luncheon. It’s very much an after dinner activity.”

At Setek’s words, Jazz let out a sigh. “Can’t you guys take a joke? I wasn't using him as a pin cushion. I was just messing. You get that, don’t you, Tito?”

The poor boy who had been standing there silently the entire time just awkwardly nodded. He liked Jazz a lot. Again he wouldn't admit it to anyone simply because he really did want to keep his head. He knew what Prince Shane was like with Jazz too. He was not going to get involved. Though, as soon as Setek moved passed the pair, Tito remembered the clothes which were now on the floor because of his panic for Jazz.

He immediately came out of his daze, in which he’d been staring at Jazz and another panicked look on his face appeared. “The clothes!” He quickly rushed past both Jazz and Setek, scampering back to the other room where the clothes were in a heap again.

Jazz sighed. “I should go help him. I messed up the clothes because I made him drop them. Don’t be mad at him, Setek.” Jazz told him, knowing and admitting that it was her fault. She didn't want to push him too far and she didn't want to wind Tito up more than he had been already.

At least she was willing to help tidy a mess. That was something you’d never catch King Daven or Prince Shane doing.

Setek watched the young woman with the faintest of smiles, pleased that his point had been accurately made. For all that she rarely listened, and chose to act out more often than not, Setek was confident that he had managed Jasmine’s development to a level that would facilitate his plans.

“I am hardly going to work myself into a rage over some spoiled clothing, however, the infestation of young people in my chambers...” Setek didn't move far, choosing to settle himself in the wing backed chair in the antechamber of his rooms rather than the more comfortable couch in the dayroom. After so long seated, bent over his workstation, Setek’s leg was paining him.

“Begone, both of you; the sun is up. Nighttime is my expertise, and I leave the daylight for the insufferably enthusiastic such as yourselves.”

Tito looked horrified at Setek, torn between following Jazz out and trying to stay to sort out the clothes. He liked spending time with Jazz when she wasn't teasing him, he really did, but alone was another story. He felt safe with Setek around to protect him. But alone with Jazz... The possibility that the King or Shane would see them... That worried Tito to no end now.

Jazz was just smiling away. She grabbed the last of the clothes from the floor and placed them on the nearest thing, another chair before grabbing Tito’s hand. “Thanks Setek, you’re the best. I’ll bring Tito back soon, I promise.”

And with that, Tito was been pulled out of the room by one excited princess to God know’s where, with a face full of fear as if he was going to his own beheading.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Setek Character Portrait: Tito

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Ayian Kingdom - Warmth cycle: Day 35 - Morning -

There was something to be said for the tenacity of the young. Setek retired to his seat by the window soon after Tito and the princess had left his rooms, content to sit in the shadowy sunlight and gaze out onto the courtyard below. He remembered being young, but never so carefree. It was a blessing, perhaps, that even in a place of such oppression the young could find their entertainment.

Long ago, Setek had assumed that he would never sleep within the walls of a castle again, let alone lower his head in fealty to a tyrant, but the call of destiny was apparently to great even for him. He smiled, more at his own limitations than at the situation itself, because there was little humour in such wickedness. Once, he had entertained the idea of explaining a little of his history to the fool that sat upon the throne, but an even greater evil lay that way. Setek was not willing to nurse destiny through this dilemma any more than he already had.

Things were undoubtedly coming to a head. It was clear in the whisper of the trees and the way the bone dice fell that a great change would soon be upon them. It had been sixteen years of watching and waiting, but Setek felt little impatience; sixteen years was but a trifle.

With the sunlight sparking in his eyes and trifles in mind, Setek cast himself into the deep, reaching for the halls of his ancestors. For a second that was an eternity he stood on a precipice; dancing the knife-edge as his body chilled and the light became a distant thing. He found himself in the shadow of the everlasting, and smiled. He was familiar, and this was a place of his making.

‘We stand on the point of destiny hinging,’ he told the silent watchers; forefathers behind and the promise of descendants in the future looming out in front. ‘Do you deny this?’

The response, as always, was honest; a firm and resounding ‘nay’ that slacked his already drooping muscles. If his eyes had been open, they would have rolled back as his body slumped against the window and deeper into death. No movement of air stirred the window as Setek surveyed the vaulted halls.

‘I know what must be done, that path has been long set. However, where I should stand remains a mystery to me. The Fool remains on The Throne of Kings, and The Bastard nips at the heels of destiny without knowing the folly of such measures. To take the Throne by force is to take The Fool’s Crown… children. They are all of them children.’

The spirits laughed; the old ones, long past cackling with the susurration of leaves and bone meal, while those who existed in anticipation; the promise of children to come, tittered like a morning river. It was a lullaby for him, to lure him deeper into the cold keep of the ancient halls, but Setek was far too worldly to be lulled. ‘Speak,’ he ordered. ‘I have long paid the price for your council.’

He was met by a soft affirmative; the whisper of a last breath and a bloody taste in his mouth. Before him, the image of twin cities scattered into being, one wrought from grave dirt, the other a collection of bones. The dirt city remained steadfast, but from it a rot spread; coursing across the divide and invading the city of bone until both fell into festering ruin.

Setek frowned and the image reformed. The cities stood as they had before, but this time it was the bone city that rose up, spewing an army of white build of fingertips to storm the grave dirt keep. For a moment, it looked as if there would be triumph, but bone after bone was poured into the flattening ; soon enough, the castle collapsed into itself, leaving joint ruin once again.

‘Destiny as it should not be. I have seen this image before.’ Setek was not impatient so much as tired. ‘The answer, please.’

The answer he was given was perhaps as cryptic as it had ever been, but he had long since grown used to reading the convoluted musings of the dead and unborn. The solution to his dilemma was apparently his own staff, dropped from the heaves to swing in a wide ark, the carven head sweeping from the gates of bone to the gates of dirt in a single smooth ark. Setek sighed.

And breathed.

In the window seat, his body twitched, slack muscles renewing their tension and taking up a frantic shuddering. Death was cold, and often left him weakened, but such things were unavoidable when the scry consistently told him so little. He would have liked nothing better than to remain in his place, or perhaps call for a servant to tend to his needs, for his efforts had left him drained and dizzy, but there was much to do and little time in which to do it.

His visions, the images in the crystals that had been spelled only firmer with the roll of bone dice and runic exploration, were now quite clear. He was needed in Illenia with all haste if he was to avert certain disaster.

It was a product of his haste that lead to Setek finding Tito some three candle-marks later, dressed for a hard ride, with their horses already prepared and waiting in the stables.

“I am sorry, Tito, but we must away I’m afraid. I have urgent business outside of the city that cannot be delayed.”

The setting changes from gryndall to Illena

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Setek Character Portrait: Lady Sch??n de Volkan Character Portrait: Lady Rose Kress Dunn Character Portrait: William Abel Character Portrait: King Leonard

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#, as written by Polka
Ilenian Kingdom - Warmth cycle: Day 37 - Morning

Lady Rose had been up early training within the woodland. It's where you could often find her, either that or the stables where the royal Horses of Ilena were kept.
As she hacked away at a dummy, that was meant to look like a rougue or thief but now looked like a battered tomato, a feeble voice made her stop.

'Excuse me Lady Rose Kress Dunn.. Sorry for interrupting but the King requires your presence at this very moment'

Being a knight often meant bending to the whim of the King whenever he needed but Rose did not mind, he had always been a fair man. She gathered her things, including a red feathered helmet which she threw into a large brown sack.

She followed the man into the kingdom, through the cobbled streets filled with loyal subjects, each one smiling as the red headed woman passed. She was well known in the Kingdom for her kindness towards those less fortunate than herself, something which she had learnt from the King.

She Entered the room where some of the other Knights stood. The King began to explain the task he wanted these Knights to perform. It had been the same for many years, he would ask his best Knights to find the murderer of his wife and his missing child.
Though Rose had never been asked before she was more than willing to help the King in his time of need. She bowed down in front of him:

' I will help in whatever way I can My King'