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Shiabiann Xao-Lai

Magistrate of the Pleasure District and holder of a throne in Iracot. Devout servant of the God-Queen Sarene.

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a character in “Althaea”, as played by Maree

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The seven magistrates that control the seven wards of Iracot; the City of Thrones. They are the second most powerful people in Viridian, directly beneath the God-Queen Sarene Iracot.

So begins...

Shiabiann Xao-Lai's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire
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#, as written by Maree
The Heralds of Iracot began to walk through the city, shouting with their magnificent, and possibly enchanted, voices.

"The God-Queen summons Iracot for viewing of the Sacrifice of Riyo Shikiro!"

The summons to the Sacrifice had begun.


The setting changes from palace-of-iracot to The Courtyard of Iracot

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Maree
A bell tolled.

The unnamed eyes of the crowd all turned toward the balcony. Those who had been sitting now stood and even the children stopped playing, standing for their God-Queen. A hush fell over the courtyard but there was an energy building, excited and fearful.

Knight-Commander Gabriel Envictus appeared first followed suit by the ranks of the royal escort. And then in her full glory, God-Queen Sarene Iracot in her gossamer gown and crystal crown was revealed. Calor was not far behind.

The goddess kept her head held high and her face blank of any emotion. The sun burned the paint on her body and face, but she showed no pain. Sarene reached the edge of the balcony where everyone had the pleasure and privilege of looking upon their God-Queen. Raising her hands, she turned her palms upward and opened her arms.

"Iracot!" Sarene greeted. A cry of adoration and pure love rose up from the crowd, deafening to the ears. The very stones of the courtyard vibrated from their voices. Slowly her hands dropped and rested on the balcony's wall. The roar died down and all ears attuned themselves to the God-Queen.

Sarene swept her gaze over the crowd. Many women, and some men, fainted for they believed their God-Queen had looked them directly in the eye.

"Iracot, the people that I have given birth to from my own bosom. My Children, each and every one of you. I bring you today a sacrifice. A sacrifice to protect my Children from those who wish to come and conquer our lands from the Outside. The cruel rulers who come with vast armies to rape your wives, your children, and to kill your husbands in torturous, dishonorable, deaths."

"The Sacrifice that fuels the barrier of the border is given today by a young man. This young man came forth to me, confessed his trespasses, and begged to give his life to his Mother and to her Children so that they may continue to live on in everlasting peace."

"By the mercy of my hand, I have granted him this boon," Sarene said. "Bring forth Riyo Shikiro."

A line of Knights entered through the northern archway and made their way down the stairs. Riyo Shikiro was among them. He was not held in restraints and there was no trace of rebellion in his eyes. No longer did he blaspheme against the God-Queen, nor did he speak a word. He walked down in silent reverence, setting his eyes on the God-Queen as if she was to be the last thing he saw before he died.

The knights led Riyo Shikiro onto the platform. He stood at the center and out of the corner of his eye he saw Orfea. His lips trembled but still he dared not to say a word. Not yet. Riyo had seen sacrifices before where the God-Queen chose a Knight to honor. He, or she, would come and slit his throat and bleed him out. There were lines carved into the platform, scrolling and decorative-No, they were a symbol. It was a glyph.

It really was magic. He had been right!

"The Sacrifice today will not be preformed by one of my Knights. Today, Iracot, I give you this sacrifice," Sarene said, her voice projected easily in the courtyard.

"Orfea Pathen," Sarene Iracot called out. There was no mistaking the name, nor to who it belonged. Everyone was staring at her, even Riyo whose eyes were wide with fear, shock, horror, and filled to the brim with tears.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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The Knights of the God-Queen were stationed here and there throughout the courtyard; those in the Honor Guard were but a few of all those in the city. While her Armies were vast and powerful, it was the Knights who had been chosen to watch for trouble during the ceremony.

Knight-Commander Gabriel and the Honor Guard had positioned themselves around, but apart from, their God-Queen. Quinn Lemons, the Shield Guard, was standing a few feet behind and to her left, ready to spring should any threat be detected. The Knight Herald, Dunkel Sarokonnen, stood well behind her, the Banner of Iracot held high above his head, but not so much that it overshadowed the God-Queen. The other three Knights, including Gabriel, were stationed apart at regular intervals. It was a well rehearsed play, and one they were honored to take part in.

Leading the retinue of Knights guarding Riyo Shikiro, Enrico Vaseli strode at the head. He was an intimidating figure, wearing only his finest armor, black with gold lining, and holding his deadly Black Steel scythe aloft, the tool of the executioner. He was oft the chosen man for the job, and so he expected to be for this day.

He had known Riyo fairly well, even liked the boy a bit, but duty was duty, and in the God-Queen's name he would perform it... or so he thought. When She revealed her choice, even among the Knights there was surprise to be had. Enrico didn't dare voice his disappointment, but it was evident on his face.

A hush had fallen, awaiting only the approach of Orfea. Two of the Knights, Marcus Salazar and Charley Sweepers, had begun moving through the crowd towards her; to escort her in her new path.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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She watched as Riyo was practically dragged into the courtyard, shaking her head slightly in dismay.

Orfea listened half-heartedly to the speech, trying to compose herself so she didn't break down... Again. It was only when she heard her name be called the she finally looked up, but seemed to be frozen in place. The words 'I can't do this!' kept running through her already jumbled thoughts as she noticed the crowd set back so she had room to approach.

She could see her parents staring down at her in shock and sorrow, but also with the fear that she would run. But Orfea knew that she hadn't a choice, and was soon travelling the makeshift path the crowd had made her.
Once there, she bowed to her Queen in respect, before glancing over to Riyo - her only friend. Her eyes filled with tears, but she was quick to blank her face and hold her tears back.

Orfea put on a brave face, acting as if she was confident in the task she had been given. She looked over the crowd as they merged back into the original formation they had been in before. They were all staring at her, and secretly in unnerved her. Of course, she could never let that show. Instead, she acted as though she was perfectly fine with the hundreds of eyes that laid only on her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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"Please, Cordelia, formalities between us are far from necessary, I assure you," Selwyn said with his trademark grin forming across his face. He gently placed his hand on her cheek.

"I look forward to seeing you later," he cooed."My lady," Looking straight into her eyes, boring into them with his chestnut brown ones, he lightly grazed her skin before removing his hand and moving past the other Knights, nodding to each with a smirk of falsified respect as he passed.

The man had always taken an interest in Cordelia. Despite not caring much for anyone or anything other than his coin and position, he was still a man at the end of the day, and any man finds it difficult to escape his carnal interests. There had been several times where Selwyn hired concubines of the Pleasure Ward who had similarities in appearance to that of Cordelia Ightlor. Always in secret, of course, and making sure to pay them handsomely for their discretion. Although most of these courtesans were aware that if any secret of Selwyn's escaped their lips, they would find themselves mysteriously waking up halfway across Althaea, far from where any damaging information could be used against him.

He heard the bell toll and made his way to his spot on the balcony, looking to the God-Queen herself. "Your grace, it is, as always, an honor to be in your presence on such a glorious occasion. Praise be to you," he exclaimed with a deep bow. Stepping towards his designated spot on the balcony, he noticed Shiabiann, the Magistrate of the Pleasure Ward, already in her position. The two had a mutual respect, yet distrust of each other. It was an interesting relationship, to say the least. They knew they could ruin each other if they wanted to, yet most times it made more sense to both to be in good graces with each other...as long as they always remained at a bit of a distance.

"Magistrate, good day to you. I trust things are good with you in your Ward, yes?" he asked with a bow of his head and a smirk.

Overlooking the masses, he took in the proceedings and watched as his Queen called up Orfea Pathen to the sacrificial stage. Selwyn stood back, crossing his hands behind his back. Taking a last glance at the hunger and blood lust in the citizens eyes, the man grinned, excited for the opportunity to satisfy their vices in drink and gluttony in his Ward post-cermony.

It would, after all, prove to be a profitable day.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Maree
Cordelia now stood on the inside of the gateway to the courtyard, along with her comrade in arms, Calvin. There was not a soul left in the empty streets and nothing to guard. She could not stop thinking about Selwyn and what he had said to her. If Calvin had said anything of his opinion on Selwyn, or on what the man had said, Cordelia definitely had not heard.

She was beginning to doubt her choice of attending the event. And yet, Cordelia wanted nothing more than to be cornered by the powerful Magistrate. Her heart raced in her chest from the mere thought of spending time with the man in the dark. His touch alone on her cheek had sent tendrils of delight racing down her belly.

Her lustful thoughts were disrupted as Orfea was called to the platform. It was unfortunate that she had to perform the Sacrifice of Riyo. It was no secret that the two were friends, and there were rumors of them being more than companions. It was not lost on Cordelia how the God-Queen had publicly denounced Orfea Pathen's Knighthood. Sarene Iracot had given the privilege of the Rite to a citizen and yet, she had called a knight's name.

Knight-Commander Envictus most likely had orders to cease and strip Orfea of her rights as a knight as soon as the ceremony was over.

"Enrico Vaseli, hand Orfea Pathen a blade of her choosing," the God-Queen's voice rang out, even to the farthest reaches of the courtyard.

Riyo Shikiro's eyes pleaded with Orfea, begging her not to be the one to end his life. He tried so hard to say something but he found that his voice would not come. His entire body was frozen, out of control, and unable to move at his will. The tears that ran down his face would be, unmistakably be taken as pure joy to be the sacrifice for Iracot and the God-Queen.

"It is beautiful, is it not?" Shiabiaan said to Selwyn. She was unafraid to speak behind the God-Queen. None would notice. All eyes were on the little lamb and his friend. "I do enjoy a good sacrifice. It does boost revenue when it is all done. Many of the citizens come to me after they have left your ward in order to enjoy one of my ladies or boys," Shia stated as if Selwyn's business was a participant in why she had accrued so much wealth.

"Will you be coming too, or will you be attempting to bed the prude virgin?" A knowing smirk spread across the breath-taking woman's face. She never made eye contact with Selwyn but kept her eyes on Orfea and Riyo. Her breathing was irregular and deep. Shia, perhaps, was taking more pleasure in the Sacrifice than most would have.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Calvin had lost the amused look during the events transpiring next to him. Very unprofessional, Cordelia. Very. When Selwyn had finally left, he scowls and speaks, in a mock of the man's more silky voice, "Please, Cordelia, formalities between us are far from necessary, I assure you. Hmph!"

"I don't know what you see in him, honestly. Money... fame... hmph. I bet I could take him in a fight," Calvin decides, talking half to himself bitterly. He'd lost the preconception of trying to watch the gate, not that he'd simply allow anyone to just walk up to them. He was about to say more when the God-Queen's voice sent a shiver through him.

When her speech had finished, he blinked a few times, peering towards Cordelia, comrades again. "She's having Orfea do it? I thought they were... close." He makes a crude gesture.

----

Enrico was beside himself. The God-Queen had addressed him with a specific duty in mind. Even if it was not the execution of the sacrifice, it was almost as good. He bows his head to Orfea, and gestures to the rest of the retinue of Knights, who in unison offer the hilts of their various arms. "I would be honored," Enrico says softly, "If you would take mine for the duty." He, too, offers his mighty Scythe.


Gabriel and the rest of the Honor guard were performing their true function; seeking the crowds for those who would disrespect the God-Queen by speaking during the ceremony. A few brief, hushed exclamations were common and allowed. If there was any consortium that became a conversation, he would set his people into motion. And, he had detected the group of three, huddled together and carrying on, despite the gravity of the situation.

Making a covert gesture recognized only by the Knights, Gabriel sends two of them to bring retribution to the group of three. Dravinglov and Luna had begun to advance through the crowds, like wraiths descending on their prey.

With that, he returned his attention to the shocking choice. He had not known Sarene's intentions with Orfea, but her words, and the intent behind them, were clear. He knew what must be done after the ritual was complete.


----

Nearing the edge of the city, an exhausted horse and rider crests the last hill overlooking the great holy land. The man was Shein Clovin, Knight-Errant and runner, who had been assigned to one of the Knights' border combat teams. And he had a dire message that needed to be received immediately. Urging his steed on, he carries forth towards the Palace.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Gasmask
Sven stood upright as he saw the lead knight's gesture, he knew what was coming now. If they were wraiths, he was the ghost that taught them all how to haunt, he knew all the tricks when it came to fighting an armored knight or otherwise, he'd taught most knights after all. Proud was an understatement, but only a few knights deserved recognition among them.

"Shh. The feral dogs come to bite. Just visit the Agricultural Ward tonight. They'll be a congregation, don't waste your time at the Crimson Fox, neither. The owner'll slit your throat, then piss in it." Sven hissed though closed lips and gently pushed his two new companions apart gently.

If the knights intended to make Sven and the other two men an example, the look and gesture the ex-knight gave them would probably deter them. Sven gave them a smile, a slight bow and with his hands gave them a gesture that he had used in the training rounds of Iracot a few months ago.

The gesture warned of an incoming blow, the first finger said if it was a sword, in this case it was a sword, and the second alerted to the direction, which happened to be left.

"Pull up your hoods and distance yourself into the crowds if you want to live." Sven hissed loud enough for the two men to hear.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor
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#, as written by Knosis
Elana had stayed near the very back of the crowd. She did not believe this was a 'sacrifice'. She only saw this as an execution. Biting her lip, she listened to the words that were said only passively, keeping her eyes down from the scene above. 'This is not right..!' She thought to herself. 'This is not right at all.' Rumors, as she knew, had a tenancy to grow from the the slightest misunderstanding of someone else. Someone could say that roses were red, and the person listening could hear roses were dead and pass that information to a person who was only half listening themselves and hear that his sister Rose was dead.

This boy could have said something completely different than what had been spread, yet there he was standing before them about to be slain for his supposed crime. Elana had a firm belief that everyone made mistakes. Even the God-Queen.

But there was nothing that the woman could do about it. Nor could she say anything against it. She would be pinned up beside him if she did. One voice could not prove the wrongs of an entity as powerful and as influential as the God-Queen. Even her own husband stood on her every word.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Maree
"You dare to blaspheme your God-Queen?" It was Magistrate Shiabiann that had spoken, her voice traveling over the gathered as easily as Sarene Iracot's had done. The elegant and scantily clad woman smiled in amusement. There was not only one death to be had today it appeared.

Sarene Iracot's eyes stared at Orfea Pathen with a vengeful gaze. The Sacrifice was not turning out as it should and the Magistrates were there to see the God-Queen's failure. Failure was unacceptable.

"Seize her," the God-Queen demanded of her Knights on the platform. "And Riyo Shikiro shall burn for your utterances against my Holiness."

Flame erupted beneath Riyo Shikiro's feet and his tongue was loosened. His screams echoed through the courtyard as he was burned mercilessly. The smell of searing flesh filled the noses of those who were the closest. His skin blackened with char and melted from his bones as the fire consumed him.

"I am a merciful god to those who are worthy. Those who betray me will suffer as these two shall today. Do not forget Iracot. I am your God!" Sarene was infuriated. Where there was one who would dare to speak against her there were more.

"Behead the blasphemer and her family!" the God-Queen commanded before she turned on heel to leave the courtyard. A resounding boom of the massive doors that lead into the palace signaled the leave of Sarene Iracot.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Selwyn remained seated, smirking at Shiabiann's attempted words of insult.

"Come now, Magistrate. Jealousy is not a good look on you, especially on such a joyous occasion. I daresay our 'God-Queen' would only want positive emotion from one of her Throne Holders," he spoke with only a mere hint of apathy in his voice.

"Besides, it would be such a terrible shame if one of your top earners were to suddenly disappear, or if perhaps a brothel of yours burnt down from a drunken citizen celebrating the day's events. Of course, should such a terrible event occur, you have the full support of the Merchant's Ward."

Selwyn moved his attention from the cat and mouse conversation over to the blue haired Knight known as Orfea Pathen, summoned for the execution. As she turned to the crowd to deliver her blasphemous tirade, Selwyn reached into his belt and grasped the hilt of an ornate dagger, sheathed in crimson, bearing the head of a silver fox at the base of the handle.

Upon Magistrate Shiabiann's words of scold to Orfea, Selwyn rushed up behind the blue haired Knight and held his now drawn dagger to her throat as the rest of the Knights readied their weapons at the woman. The God-Queen took her leave to return indoors just before Selwyn leaned in close to Orfea's ear, lowering his voice to a mere whisper.

"A word of advice; if there's one thing I learned along my rise, it would be to never let anyone know your true intentions, my dear Orfea."

Selwyn let the God-Queen's Knights take her out of his grasp before turning back to Shiabiann.

"This does not bode well for our Wards, Magistrate. Order must be restored, or riots in our streets are inevitable," the man spoke as he turned to the now restless crowd, chanting and screaming obscenities up at the stage. He began to address them, drenching his words in as much charisma as he could muster. Selwyn raised both his hands in an attempt to garner the masses' attention.

"People of Iracot, do not fear. Praise be the God-Queen and her rule. We are now blessed with not only one, but two sacrifices on this, a most momentous of days. Enjoy the rest of the ceremony, and afterwards, enjoy your first round of drinks on me at any one of the taverns in the Merchant's Ward," he let the words ring out before delivering the finale to his speech.


"In addition, Magistrate Shiabiann Xao-Lai is most graciously offering her Ward's services at half price all evening in celebration of our Holiness herself!"

Selwyn smiled, knowing Shiabiann would not be pleased at all. He lowered his hands and turned to the stunning Magistrate of the Pleasure Ward, speaking so only she could hear.

"We do what we must to keep order," Selwyn said, his smart smirk turning into a full on smile.

The setting changes from the-courtyard-of-iracot to Althaea

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth Character Portrait: Melody Graven
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#, as written by Nevan
Everything had gone wrong, Calor noticed. He stood there as the God-Queen took her leave behind him, his head shaking slowly as the knights and those few who dared opposed the God-Queen's rule seemed to verbally duel back and forth, and as the figure known as Parem' Zel rushed through to try and save the woman who had refused to carry out the sacrifice.

"Are these people serious?" He asked, a brow raised as he heard them yell in the crowd. Words of unfairness, cruelty, of being unjust and tyrannical?

"SILENCE! I DEMAND SILENCE!" His voice roared out over the crowd; the silent blade that protected their 'beloved' Queen shocking most of them into silence.

"Cruelty? Witch? Tyrannical? Have you not looked at yourself, you disgusting hypocrites? I have walked as one of you, drank in your taverns, made friends and enemies of both the poorest and most comfortable of you. Let me tell you this, peasants: all of you are below the God-Queen, guilty of all things you accuse her of being."

He began to walk back and forth, his pacing speeding as he kept his head on the thousands below him.

"You people drink, you fornicate, you sit in basements and exchange coin as dogs tear each other asunder and cheer for more as men and slaves use all manner of lethal weaponry to slaughter each other in rings of combat. You laugh as men beat each other to death, as they slice and stab and butcher. You crave war and violence, you ignore those lesser than you in desperate need of help and charity and you seek nothing but to further your own wealth and power and are jealous of my beloved Queen because by right of divinity, she has it.

"Rule under her banner is far more preferable to the chaos you cretins yourselves would cause if you did not have her to follow. And do these sacrifices not resemble the executions many of you go to watch regularly? Where you shout, cheer and insult the criminals about to have their lives taken away? Do you not throw turds and rotten fruit and dishonour them with every movement, even if guilty only of stealing from a market stall, or wrongly accused in the first place? Why are these sacrifices, why are the things my God-Queen demands so much more despicable than what you yourselves do?"

"Our God-Queen is Queen by divine right. She will guide us to be a better people, she works tirelessly to love us all and rid us of the sins inherit in our kind, yet you do nothing but resist her and scream of foulness. By order of I, Calor Elohan, chosen husband of God-Queen Sarene Iracot, I order all of you to bow, re-pledge your allegiance to her and her state and immediately stop all thoughts of treason. If you do not, then you will no longer be welcome in this country and I hereby sentence you to be exiled and cast beyond our borders; your lands, possessions and titles stripped away from you, by force if our Queen's Knights deem it necessary! Those who do not comply with either of these orders will be restrained and taken for future sacrifices."

Oh, he wasn't sure his Queen would like his speech, but it was said and done and he had nothing else to do but turn and follow her back into her palace.

The setting changes from althaea to The Courtyard of Iracot

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire
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#, as written by Maree
"I should have your handsome head on a stake, Selwyn Austaire," Shiabiann hissed between her teeth. It was going to be a costly evening. The angry hordes who needed to sate their appetites were going to tire out her ladies and boys. The repercussions to Shiabiann's ward were going to be irreparable.

"While you were busy attempting to tame the masses perhaps you did not hear Calor Elohan's words," the Magistrate said. A smirk curled up on her lip. "The God-Queen Sarene Iracot has gone against our wishes of her marrying the Knight-Commander. She pronounced Calor Elohan to be her husband." Shiabiann looked at Selwyn expectantly.

"It must be fixed," the woman said, approaching Selwyn as she did so. Shiabiann eyed his body from head to toe, examining every portion of him.

"Such a waste on a lowly virgin girl. When you develop a real taste for women do come pay me a visit," Shiabiann offered before she leaned in toward the man as if to place a kiss on his lips. She stopped at the last inch, smiled her vicious acidic smile, and then turned on her spiked heels.

"Tomorrow morning we will convene to discuss recent events," Shia said with a wave, leaving the courtyard.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Melody Graven
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Melody watched complacently as things went south. Poor pitiful Orfea. Melody instantly knew there would be bigger repercussions for the girl's actions and wasn't surprised by her thoughts. Not only did the God-Queen become angry, but decided to punish the girl's family as well. As the musician stood there, she kept her calm as others next to her started to panic. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself, ready to move if possible. The tension in the air though rose to a feverish pitch by what happened next. She caught a flash of movement as she saw a man saved Orfea. The silver hair woman gave the man credit for his courage. The fact that he was a magic user didn't surprise her for a good number of people were like that, herself included.

When Magistrate Selwyn spoke though, Melody wanted to roll her eyes, but didn't. A more silver-tongue fellow she'd yet to meet. She had performed at his tavern at times and had been a target of some unsavory characters, the magistrate included. She had yet to figure out his true motives though. One thing he was good with was his words.

Of course the next one to speak was none other than the God-Queen's shadow himself, Calor Elohan. When he ordered all to bow, she wasted no time in doing so. Inside though she hated doing this. She only served her masters, but until she was given a direct order to act, she would bide her time. His speech did make a point though. Humans were natural hypocrites. She herself was one of them and be the first to admit it. However, her purpose was for the greater good.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Melody Graven
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Selwyn's grin remained on his face throughout Shiabiann's words. Of course, he knew she would recover from his actions, but watching her lose her normal cool, calm, and collective demeanor gave him more pleasure than any of the girls in her Ward ever could. However, she was correct on one count, nonetheless; the God-Queen had gone against the Magistrate's wishes in choosing Calor Elohan as her betrothed, and this was unacceptable. Though his alluring and dark features wouldn't show it on his face, Selwyn was not pleased.

"No matter, my dear. There are other options. We always manage to find a way, do we not?" he asked the stunning woman before him.

Although the two had a tumultuous and complicated relationship, at the end of the day, Selwyn would not want to lose Shiabiann as an ally. She was a powerful and resourceful woman. And he knew she must feel the same way as him on this matter. When she leaned in close to him, he made sure to not break eye contact, staring into her eyes with his brown ones.

"Well, Magistrate, if I ever decide to develop a penchant for scars, blood, and bruises upon waking up next to you in your bedchambers, I will be sure to consider your offer," Selwyn gave a moment to let the words resonate.

"Until tomorrow," he smirked, taking her hand ever so gently and raising it up to his lips, planting a soft kiss on one of the most bloodstained hands in Iracot.

It was now time to ready the Crimson Fox for the Knights' party.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth Character Portrait: Melody Graven
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Enrico was outraged; not only had Orfea done a dis-service to their Lady, but she had dishonored him by taking his weapon, only to cast it upon the ground. The other Knights on the platform were stunned; but not for long.

As soon as the God-Queen ordered her seized, they went into action. Magistrate Selwyn, with a fury that matched his importance, got to her first. Placing his dagger to her neck, he speaks a few words, before Marcus and Charley both move forward to take her by the arms and lower her head to the ground. Enrico had retrieved his Scythe, and was preparing to administer the God-Queen's will.


Gabriel had watched the proceedings with disgust. To think, one of his own would dare defy their God-Queen. She deserved more than a quick death, but it was not his duty to decide.

With Sarene going back into the Palace, her personal guard in tow, it was now Gabriel's duty to quell any sort of dissent that might rise. Seldom did it occur that people were displeased after a ceremony, but a public outcry of this sort... he was pleased to have Magistrate Selwyn providing words of wisdom and complacence to the crowd. Political creature though Gabriel was, his pursuit was more direct than diplomatic.



Ostdarva waited in the bell tower. He was stationed there to utilize the fullest of his skills; the long-range rifle he bore. Many of the words from the crowd below failed to filter up to him, but the voice of the God-Queen always managed to find him.

Orfea would die.

It was not his duty to administer that death, however; his was to ensure none sought to stop it. And, through his magnification glass, he could see... one man, amidst an unmoving crowd, rushing forward. He aims down, taking his time...


In the crowd, several Knights were hunting for Orfea's dishonored family. They would submit to execution, or they would die more messily; they were not concerned. Dravinglov and Naya, however, had been keeping their eyes out for more noticeable actions, moving towards the raised proceedings in order to do so.

----

Calvin, out in the courtyard, remained largely silent as he watched the proceedings between Magnus and his sister. He was tactful enough to realize the gravity of the situation. And he knew something had gone wrong in the Courtyard, which further steeled his usually more relaxed attitude.

He was surprised, none the less, when Magnus addressed him. "Of course," he replies in surprise, then hardens his voice. "No harm shall come to her while I yet live," he says seriously. All the past few minutes were in the past, as far as he was concerned.


----


Before the full proceedings could be brought against Orfea, the man from the crowd leaps up onto the platform; drawing their weapons to defend themselves, the Knights move against him. Through some means of magic or skill, he had evaded them and, despite it all, brought himself next to Orfea.

The Knights could not penetrate the flame, but when the great beast had flown down and carried the man and woman away, they could strike.


Or rather, Ostdarva and Dravinglov could strike. Dravinglov's rifle was unslung and aimed skyward, and he fires. With such a swift target, hitting it from the ground would be difficult, but he was a skilled marksman. The true shot would come from Ostdarva. Biding his time, he had waited, through the attack, into the retreat, waiting for the perfect shot... and it came, just as the beast became level with him in the high tower.

He fires, seeking to send his shot through not the man, nor the beast he rode, but Orfea. The God-Queen's will would be done.

He begins reloading his weapon reverently. If he hit his target- or any of those who had been within his sights- the Knights below would deal with the remains.

----

The blast from Ostdarva's rifle was the last sound in the Courtyard before the speech of Calor. The Knights, even Gabriel, had stood at attention in response, save those who had begun hunting the Gryphon and its cargo. They were watchful, seeing the people respond, and bow. A few did not. Those few would be hunted. But for the moment, they had bigger plans to commence.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor Character Portrait: Elana Ightlor Character Portrait: Calor Elohan Character Portrait: Prisma Character Portrait: Father Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Selwyn Austaire Character Portrait: Alber Roth Character Portrait: Melody Graven Character Portrait: Edward Greaves Character Portrait: Frederick Greaves Character Portrait: Lorraine Morellus
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In the morning, activity in- and over Iracot was intense with holy purpose.

The Knights had not been idle during the night, prowling the streets for gatherings of dissent. A few homes had been broken into, their occupants taken for questioning by the Knight's Inquisition. Many would be found innocent- simply having been holding parties- but others would be less lucky.

By morning, the Knights had returned to their regular routines, watching key transit points, crossroads, and patrolling the districts, from the seediest to the most honored alike. Those of the ground would receive little notice, their actions more or less standard.

In the skies, however, were where the true might of Iracot was in force. The battle between the Dragoon beast and the two escapee's weaker creatures had been seen by many, and thoughts of dissent could not be brewed from it. The Knights, ordered grounded during the Sacrifice, were now out in force. The Skyborne, Wyvern mounted Knights of the highest caliber, patrolled the skies.

Unrelated, but seemingly another show of aerial power, was the arrival of Iracot's Airship fleet. A mock battle had been heard by all below, the resounding boom of cannons going off, before the two ships had docked and began to head towards the Spire at the center of the Guilds ward.

The Knights- and by extension Iracot- would not be caught unawares again.

The setting changes from iracot-the-city-of-thrones to Palace of Iracot

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Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights
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Shein Clovin had rode all night to reach the Palace, where he had waited until dawn.

Knight-errant that he was, he did not dare risk awakening a Magistrate before the sun had crested the majestic spires of the Palace. Dire though his news was, he did not want to bring more wrath upon himself than he was already about to.

The Knights had been made aware of it during the night; he had brought the news to Gabriel first. He had pleaded with his Commander to take the news to the Magistrates himself, but he had more important business to attend than simple message bringing.

Steeling himself, Shein had walked unmounted through the hallowed halls of the Palace to where the Magistrates resided. While few stayed in the Palace proper, Shiabiann, Magistrate over the Pleasure District, did. Shein couldn't suppress a shudder at the thought; the beautiful woman was the most intimidating he had ever met, aside from Sarene.

With a knot in his gut, he knocks hard on the door to her private lodgings. More than likely a servant would answer- or at least, he hoped. He may have a heart attack if it were otherwise.

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Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria
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#, as written by Maree
The woman that answered the door was not Shiabiann Xao-Li but she was nude from head to foot. Her skin shined from fresh sweat and a heavy smell of incense wafted toward Shein from inside Shiabiann's chambers. The golden hair of her head clung to the sides of her faces. The droop of her eyes as she looked the man over hinted toward heavy and recent drug use.

The naked woman threw her head back in a laugh even before Shein uttered a single word and then looked over her shoulder into the front room.

"There is a man here," the golden-haired woman purred. Feminine laughter echoed from inside. Two more faces crowded the door; a dark-haired beauty with tilted green eyes and a pale skinned woman with shocking electric blue hair and eyes.

"We should invite him in," the blue-haired woman said with a heavy blush on her cheeks.

"Yes, invite him in," the green-eyed woman replied as the naked golden-haired woman opened the door wider.

All three of them grabbed Shein by his arms and shoulders, pulling him inside with their girlish giggles. After he was forced into the room, the door closed with a resounding boom down the hallway. A lock was turned and the golden-haired woman tucked the key away in a most inappropriate place on the woman's body.

ImageSeveral pairs of hands began to tug at Shein's clothing as if attempting to undress him despite whatever protests he may say. Some of the hands belonged to the women that pulled him into the room and some were new. There were at least ten women surrounding him.

The most striking of them all had ivory skin and vivid purple hair. They both had horns curling back against their hair from their temples. Twin Succubi. They did not touch them man but stood at the far end of the room as the others kissed, caressed, and taunted the Knight. Their golden eyes watched Shein and each of their movements seemed to mirror the other in a precise manner.

One leaned to the other and whispered unheard words. The other nodded and disappeared further into Shiabiann's chambers.

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Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria
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As soon as the door was about to open, Shein had his words all planned out; assuming it wasn't Shiabiann, of course, he would salute, tell whoever it was his name, rank, and meaning for being there, and then hopefully be brought directly to the Magistrate herself.

What ended up happening was, as soon as the door opened, he got about half of his first word out before his mouth simply refused to cooperate. "I..." he stammers before being dragged into the room.

Being a Knight-Errant, and very new to the Order, he hadn't been allowed to deviate from his duties to visit the Pleasure District. Being on the front lines hadn't helped, either. This was every young man's secret fantasy; but despite that, he had to try and protest.

"Please, I-" Before he can speak more, multiple hands start pulling at his clothing. "S-stop that, I-" he tries again. Quite honestly he may have been convinced to help them, if he hadn't seen the two Succubi over in the corner. That terrified the arousal out of him, at least a little bit.

"I-I need to speak to the Magistrate," he shouts, now struggling to at least dissuade the women. Covered in lipstick, sweat, and possibly other things, he didn't look much like a Knight's messenger anymore.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria Character Portrait: Nyvereth Drak-Sen
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#, as written by Maree
Shein's shouting did nothing but cause the woman around him to giggle even more. They were so amused that he was acting like a virgin boy. The efforts to drown him in pleasure seemed to intensify.

Another woman entered the room from the baths. This woman was by far different from them all and seemed more like a creature than a woman. Blue, green, and turquoise feathers crowned her head instead of hair. Her eyes and skin were golden as if she had been painted from head to foot.

As she came closer to Shein, he would be able to see the scales around her eyes, down her shoulders, and the gentle curvature of her waist and hips. This woman was no woman but in fact something of pure legend.

A Drak-Sen; a dragon disguised as a mortal.

Nyvereth was drawn towards the Knight-Errand and made her way through the gaggle of women surrounding him. She said not a word to the man but she kissed Shein like a woman would to the man she loved. Her soft hands caressed his face and trailed down his chest. Nyvereth began to drop down onto her knees, taking her kisses along with her as she traveled downward.

Soon enough the woman had plucked him from his trousers and was servicing Shein with a lover's care and grace. The other women giggled around them.

"The Magistrate will see you now," Ariadne said as she returned from Shiabiaan's inner rooms. She returned to Endaria's side and the two succubi looked at Shein expectantly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria Character Portrait: Nyvereth Drak-Sen
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The man was defeated, not by battle, but by the unrelenting affections of the harem. In his mind, he knew himself lost; staring at the approaching form of the Drak-Sen, he knew he had met his fate.

Were he to have had any other duty, he would have been more than happy about this, but as it were, he could only be defiantly not-entirely accepting of it all. When the Dragon woman's lips met his, he was broken. He had been trained to resist all manners of torture, but this was too much. He simply stands there, gaping, his mind overloaded.

He snaps back to reality as he realizes what she's doing. "N-Noo..." he cries out feebly. He shudders, eyes snapping shut as he experiences that which he could have never dreamed of.

When Endaria arrived with the news that the Magistrate would see him, it was all he could do to look in the direction of the two Succubi. Shaking and probably about to explode from sensory overload, he simply gives them a look of mixed pleading and resignation.

Seldom had such a man as he been taken like this, except in stories that usually ended with them being devoured alive... which wasn't far from the truth, it turned out.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria Character Portrait: Nyvereth Drak-Sen
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#, as written by Maree
"Nyvereth, no more or the man will have to pay," Endaria said to the Drak-Sen. The feathered-woman immediately stopped before any iota of satisfaction could be fulfilled by Shein. He was left to suffer the pains of passion.

"Clothe yourself and follow," Ariadne said before the mirror-twins turned to walk into the inner chambers of Shiabiann's quarters.

Nyvereth looked at Shein apologetically as she rose from her knees. The women began to dress the knight, and the Drak-Sen did as well too. However, her touch was more kind and gentle than the others. He was seen as a person in her eyes and not just a toy to be played.

The Drak-Sen made direct eye contact with Shein and plucked a feather from her hair. She gave it to him, wrapping his fingers around it carefully. There was no telling what it meant nor what the feather was for. It could have been a simple gift to remember her by or something far more meaningful than that.

Nyvereth did not give him an explanation. The man was dressed and now he was expected to follow.


Shiabiann was in her study balancing coins on a scale. Books shelves lined the walls with books about war, history, and the oddities of sexual desires. There were a few tomes that looked thousands of years old in a glass case beneath the singular window. A lavish purple rug was strewn out on the hardwood floor.

A small pair of spectacles sat on the end of Shiabiann's nose and a pleased smile spread across her face as she removed the coins from her balance.

Ariadne and Endaria waited at the entrance of the room, one on each side of the door. Shein would have to pass between them in order to speak directly with the Magistrate.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria Character Portrait: Nyvereth Drak-Sen
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With a gasp, Shein is released- he was panting slightly, having tried his damndest to maintain himself during that most trying of times. Gulping and attempting to clothe himself, he looks up to see the women around him were now doing the reverse as earlier, practically throwing his armor back onto him- with the exception of the Drak-Sen, who was markedly more gentle about it. He didn't want to meet her gaze- after all, how did a man simply look at a woman after that- but he did, and his heart wrenched.

Swallowing nervously, he tries to say 'Thanks,' but it comes out as more of a mumbled, stuttering mess. He was blushing like a loon, more so when she gave him one of her feathers. Not really knowing what to think of it, he places it gently in his side-pouch. Maybe later he could pin it to his cap... if he really wanted to remember this story, which, when it was all said and done, what man wouldn't?

Finally dressed, but looking no better for his embarrassed flush, the man walks quickly away from the harem of women and through the doors to Shiabiann's chambers.

He pauses just after walking past the two Succubi, clearing his throat to try and get his nerve back. "M-My lady," he calls out, bowing deeply. He decided he would not rise until ordered, to further give himself a chance to cool down. Appearing before a Magistrate- even that of the Pleasure District- indisposed as he was, would probably be frowned upon.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiabiann Xao-Lai Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Ariadne and Endaria Character Portrait: Nyvereth Drak-Sen
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#, as written by Maree
The Drak-Sen was taken away at the guidance of the other ladies. She looked back over her shoulder at the retreating Shein until she could see him no more. The creature had not spoken a single word to Shein but she felt a connection to the man. Nyvereth hoped that he too had felt it.


Magistrate Shiabiann spoke without drawing her attention away from her desk littered with coins. "I do hope that you have dire news or else I will not be pleased," she said. It was exactly as the man had feared. The smile died away on the Magistrates lips.

"I am a Magistrate of Iracot and there is no reason other than an emergency where a simpleton like the Knight-Errand should come calling on me. If I do not believe this is an emergency then I would fear for your station," Shiabiann warned.

"I will give you one chance to turn around and leave or you may stay and speak your message. Choose wisely knight. I am sure the Knight-Commander would not be pleased if a Magistrate had been bothered from her business of running the city for our God-Queen in order to hear out the frivolities of one, lowly, knight under his employ."

The two succubi stood stationed at the door, staring down at Shein. A leathery tail curled around the man's ankle. Endaria smiled cruelly, hoping to get to play with the man after Shiabiann was done tearing the man to pieces with her words.