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Althaea

The Courtyard of Iracot

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a part of Althaea, by Maree.

The God-Queen's Dais is a vast courtyard that can hold almost the entirety of Iracot's citizens.

Maree holds sovereignty over The Courtyard of Iracot, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

231 readers have been here.

Setting

The God-Queen's courtyard can be described with a single word: Enormous. It is built like a stadium. There are stairs which lead down toward a flat ground where several different types of events are played, the most well known being the Sacrifices to the God-Queen. The floor of the courtyard is wrought from tile, depicting several scenes of the Sacrifices that have been given to the God-Queen.

Seating is provided by stone benches, carved out of the very earth from where the stadium was built. The courtyard is oval in shape. A wall with delicate and curling designs surround the entire area save the entrances and the God-Queen's balcony.

The only entrances are on the northern, eastern, and western sides. Vendors are allowed to sell their wares and goods on the outside of the courtyard, but are disallowed inside the walls.

At the southern curve is the God-Queen's balcony which overlooks the entire courtyard. An archway was constructed behind the balcony in order to amplify sound.
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The Courtyard of Iracot

The God-Queen's Dais is a vast courtyard that can hold almost the entirety of Iracot's citizens.

Minimap

The Courtyard of Iracot is a part of Palace of Iracot.


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Character Portrait: Parem' Zel
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Durock soared high above the palace. Wings stretched wide, enjoying the cool breeze rush past him. Parem gazed down and examined the courtyard. It was crowded... VERY crowded. "Durock, head towards the far edge of the courtyard behond that building. Then stay as high as possible out of sight and examine the situation. Once I give the signal... you know what to do." Durock dived bombed towards the back of a shop at the far edge of the courtyard. Leveling out only a few yards from the ground. Parem was forced to jump off and roll once he hit the ground. "Not the most graceful landing..." Parem whispered as he climbed to his feet.

"Alright, Durock, stay hidden." The black feathered Griffon screeched in reply and rocketed towards the clouds. Now it was Parem's turn... He had planned this out for weeks. He was going to assassinate the god-queen... That was his mission. Unless someone else managed to interrupt, he would wait for the opportune moment. A strategy quickly formed in his mind. He would remain hidden in the crowd until just before the sacrifice. Even if he failed, he would make sure the wretched queen never forgot the mighty House of Zel. "Now it begins..." Parem mumbled to himself. Utterly determined to avenge his family. He then pulled his black hood up to hide his identity and then walked into the middle of the crowd...

He was convinced... No divine authority shall control his destiny.
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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Alber walked through the streets of the supposed God-Queen's city. Smoke escaped his lips as he withdrew the pipe and continued his slow walk towards the courtyard the Heralds of the city kept screaming about. It seemed that in all her divine glory the Queen demanded a blood offering as well. Alber wasn't to up to date on city affairs, but it seemed no one was speaking out about it so it must be a common event here. He inserted the pipe firmly between his teeth and took a deep breath before proceeding to the courtyard.

"A sacrifice, Alber said in his deep raspy voice "it seems this God-Queen is far from holy. Still, i'd like to see this for myself.

Alber wondered if no one truly opposed this idea of sacrificing someone or if it was just fear that silenced their objections. Alber didn't believe the Queen had any divine right or prowess, but he was not fool enough to test the bounds of his mortality either. He simply wished to know about this Queen, and how long the people could endure.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights
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Orfea noticed as the crowd began to merge into the the courtyard and sighed, it was time. She took a short cut through the guard doors with her parents, and before she knew it she was stood at the very tip of the stage. She stood and waited for the 'ceremony' to begin, ready to whisper her words to a mighty good friend of hers.

Riyo was everything anyone could ask in a friend: loyal, trusting, faithful, kind and thoughtful - he wasn't too hard on the eyes either. That day would always be a day of loss, whether or not people saw that, she knew it would be.

It was times like this, that she hated how she let duty rule her world. She could save him - or go down with him - but she couldn't let herself do that. A heart is nothing without a brain, and she knew what she had to do... Now, all she had to do was actually do it. However, that was a completely different concept all together.

Sure, all she had to do was whisper a few words, but those three words meant more than the world. And once she'd completed that mission, she then had to work on getting over him. Once he was gone, she would work solely on her duty as a knight to the God-Queen; no more distractions. But for now, all she had to do is wait...

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Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel
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#, as written by Gasmask
Sven filtered into the crowd, gently pushing his way though the crowd with a solid frown. The merchant would make her sorry for what she'd done. An orphan came bustling out of the crowd, the small figure could easily navigate though the legs off passersby and did just that with Orfea, diving between them and disappearing back into the crowd only to stop at Sven.

Sven lifted up the small girl with a grin, mussing her hair and placing her back down and crouching down to listen to what she was hastily whispering into his ear, and his expression changed deadly serious. The ex-knight pushed the orphan's back to get her going back though the crowd and home and extended to his full height to spot an old returning friend.

There? No. That man over there with the sword? No. There! The gait of someone keeping hidden, and a familiar build. Sven pushed his way though the crowd with renewed haste and weaved past a knight, stopping short of the hooded figure and threw out a hand to block the figures progression though the crowd.

Sven lowered his voice to a harsh whisper. "What are you doing, Zel? This won't achieve anything. Halt, halt. It's me, Sven."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel
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Parem turned on his heels towards the location of the voice and Instantly recognized the former knight Sven. His hand made an iron hard grip on the hilt of his elvish made, black bladed falchion sword. He examined the man with his intense golden eyes. His mind was conflicted. His rage towards the god-queen that had been building up inside him for about a month now was overwhelming. Then he spoke in a determined, coarse voice like he hadn't had a drop of water in days. "Don't try and stop me Sven. The wretched queen will get what she deserves, I will not rest until I have her head on a plate!"
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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Alber boldly walked down the streets until he reached the massive crowd of citizens gathering for sacrifice. Alber didn't put his faith into any form of Deity, instead he relied on his on knowledge an intuition to guide him. So in terms of the God-Queen his feelings were neutral at best. Going on what he knew she was an impressive woman of great influence and power. Goddess or not anyone that has that sort of power over the minds of man is to be respected, or feared.

Alber had hoped that by entering the city another vision would come to him, however as of yet nothing had revealed itself. He had kept his eyes open for any omens that might hint at a possible answer to his vision, but so far he had turned up nothing. That was of course before he entered the courtyard. A gentle breeze blew past him, carying on it the scent of lavender.

"So death it is then, despite what transpires at the ceremony someone will die."

He opened his eyes after taking in what had just came to be, and when he did he saw a peculiar sight. Two men, hidden in plain sight amongst the crowd had engaged in some form of conflict. One of the men looked extremely violent, while the other seemed to be more passive.

"Perhaps the omen was referring to one of them."]

Alber said as he began walking towards the two men. He grew close enough that his presence was surely known, but stayed justout of reach for the two men.

"Fighting in this place seems rather careless gentlemen. The winds carry death today, do not help them make it yours."

Alber stood before the men grasping his pipe and letting smoke escape his lips.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Gasmask
Sven put his left hand on Parem's hand clutching the hilt. "Dying to an army of knights is not for a fate I wish for you, Zel. She will get what is coming to her, but not from us." The former knight hastily replied, taking a look around the courtyard and people for any undue attention.

Sven saw Alber and blinked. "That's an interesting prospect, old man. But we are not fighting, we are brothers, see?" The merchant draped his right arm around Parem's shoulders. Sven took a sniff of the lavender breeze and cleared his throat, taking his hand off the sword.

The merchant leaned forward, putting his temple to Parem's. "If you truly want to see the death of a tyrant, contact a man called Father in the Residential District or a find a woman called Prisma." Sven whispered, taking his temple off and turning around to face Alber with a smile.

"You must be new here, friend. I'm Sven and this here is my brother Mathias, or well, half."

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: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Parem and Sven locked eyes for a few moments. His hand still tight on the hilt of his sword...
With reluctance, he released his hand from his sword and sighed. Sure, he had the power to make a scene and wreck havok. But Sven's comment about dieing at the hand of the queen's knights had sparked sense into him. No matter how much Parem hated the idea, he knew it was true. Even if he managed to approach the queen, her guardians would kill him before he could utter a single word. "Alright then... Brother. Tell me more about this Father you speak of?" Just before he could get an answer he noticed a man facing them. So Parem pulled his hood up farther to hide his face and turned slightly to face him.
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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: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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A cloud of white escaped between the small part in Alber's lips as the man now spoke to him. Alber took a few steps closer to the men getting close enough where he could speak to them in a hushed tone.

"I see, I was hoping her holiness' ceremony would not go as scheduled. Sacrifice, BAH! More like public execution."

Alber looked at the men with sorrowful eyes as the bell began it's haunting call. It wouldn't be long before the Queen reasserted her dominance over this land, and to do so she would bath in the blood of an innocent. Alber looked away from the two men and towards the platform where a few new people had emerged inciting gasps and other sounds from the crowd.

"Today the war will begin. The Queen will not forfeit her rule and mountains of dead will line these streets."

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: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Parem motioned for the two men to stop. "There is more at stake here then just the god-queen Sven. An innocent life hangs in the balance." He scanned the surroundings and suddenly a spark of an idea came into his mind. "Both of you, casually follow me to the far edge of the courtyard behind that cobblestone hut over there... I have a plan to save the kids life." As the Parem urged the two of them forward Parem caught their attention. With a flick of the wrist a small cart filled with fruits burst into flame behind them. They turned away for just a moment to investigate the fire, just as Parem, Sven and Alber disappeared around a corner.

Before the either of them could utter a single word Parem made an ear splitting whistle. "You two may want to step back a bit." Then a shadow came over the dark ally way and WHOOOOSSSHHHHH... Durock, Parem's black feathered Griffon spread his wings wide and landed gently on the rocky ground. "Easy buddy, easy." Talons sharp and eyes full of wrath. "Well you two, here's my idea." He made a wicked grin and pulled a small crossbow and two elvish made rapiers out of the large pack swung across Durock's Elephant sized shoulders. "Can either of you use a sword?"
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Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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Alber wasn't usually one to be led around, but he decided to give the man his attention and follow him. They rounded the corner and appeared behind one of the houses that lined the border of the courtyard. A shadow appeared above them once they were in cover, and suddenly a large griffin descended upon them. The hooded man seemed comfortable enough around the creature, for he approached it as if it were a dog. Alber had never before seen a griffin, but he had heard tale of them being rather vicious. If this man really tamed one, he was a man of great standing indeed. The man pull two swords and a cross-bow from the saddle bags resting upon the mighty griffin and motioned towards them. Did he truly expect them to fight the blunt of the God-Queens forces? Alber was confident in both his ability with a sword and his proficiency with magic, but he was well aware that he was only a man.

"Perhaps you could reveal your plan before you ask me to take up arms. I don't wish to see an innocent man killed, but we are both short on time and numbers."

Alber was not scared to fight, but at this point it seemed like nothing could be done to save the boy. Perhaps the wise thing would be to join the man tonight in the Agricultural Ward.

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Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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#, as written by Gasmask
"Are you a fool? Put those away. We're three men, not an army. The man dies today, but he provides an example of the cruelty the god queen. We need to make sure that his sacrifice isn't in vain. I'm just a thrice-damned merchant. What more do you want from me?" Sven shook his head and sighed.

"Go to the agricultural ward tonight, I'm not part of this damned rebellion and I never will be. I just know the right people." The merchant dissipates back into the crowd. That left far too many questions in the former knights head, and probably in the heads of his two companions.

Bloody fools.

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Character Portrait: Sven Khagal Character Portrait: Parem' Zel Character Portrait: Alber Roth
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The man was of course right. Whatever the hooded man's motives were for trying to sack the palace with three men were, it was clear logic was not factored into his plans. There was always the small chance they would be able to succeed and save the boy, but what then? The Divine Knights would tear the city apart looking for them, and once the public was put in the path of the angered knights they would turn the anger and he blame onto them. The risk was clearly not worth the reward. Why was Alber even considering this? He hadn't come her to play hero. The visions had led him here with signs of war and death. Attacking the God-Queen would cause the very opposite of what he hoped to achieve. Marcus looked at the man near the Griffin as the other scurried away and disappeared from sight.

"His words were harsh, but he speaks the truth. Letting someone die that does not deserve death is truly a blow against one's heart, however think of his family, his friends, his lover. What would befall them if we were to succeed in saving him? Would a man that braves the executioner's platform without struggle allow us to save him knowing what the Queen will do to those close to him, no I think not." Alber said as he wiped off his pipe with his cloak and placed it back into his mouth. A single flame appeared at the tip of his finger, lighting the pipe as he continued to speak. "I like to think there are still those brave enough to sacrifice themselves for the greater good out there, but then again I am a romantic. Regardless, tonight I will go and see those who dare oppose a goddess. Are you brave enough to make that journey too?

Alber did not wait for a response, he simply turned his back and walked back into the crowd. He had a feeling about this manm perhaps he was the one in the vision.

"Only time will tell I suppose."

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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.

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Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights
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Orfea turned to the guards, holding the sickened look back from her face. With a small nod, she accepted Enrico's weapon. Turning to Riyo she took a small, almost frightened step towards him. She knew what would happen if she completed the ritual, she'd simply be denounced. With a shake of her head, she dropped the weapon to the ground.
The crowd gasped, and she turned to them, tears streaming down her face. "This is but a joke! It is a dark day when the worshiped fall... But we'd no problem there!" She chuckled, almost mockingly. Some would think she'd lost her mind... But the open-eyed would see the truth in her eyes. She then turned back to the God-Queen, more fearless than she'd ever been. Sure, she'd most likely lose her life for this. But at that moment, she didn't care. "My parents, gave their son to you, they did! You lied, telling us he'd be a worthy recruit to your 'royal staff'... And what happened? Ay? I'll tell you. Made a slave out of him, you did!" Orfea stopped. And instead of pleading, or even attempting to escape... She stood there. Looking to the floor, she stood still as a statue.
Her blue hair swaying in the wind, Orfea looked up to Riyo briefly. Shaking her head sadly, she returned her gaze to the ground. She was done, but she only felt numb.

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Character Portrait: Sarene Iracot Character Portrait: Orfea Pathen Character Portrait: Parem' Zel
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Parem watched as the girl on stage as she dropped the sword and confronted the God-Queen. He had never such bravery in his life. No plan, no power, no way to save her self. Yet there she was, staring into the eyes of the most powerful women in Viridian. The primal rage in Parem began to boil once again. How could anyone let things get this bad. Such suffering, such sorrow and darkness. As he watched the scene unfold before him he saw a handful of people in the crowd with tears in their eyes. This was no God-Queen. This was a witch, a demonic plague, a sickness, a cancer of the land. How could everyone just stand aside and let this happen. No, Parem thought to himself. This must end...
So he crept closer to the platform where the sacrifice was to take place, hood up and head down. Hand on the hilt of his sword. Prepared to rescue the girl at the opportune moment.
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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.

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Character Portrait: Magnus Ightlor Character Portrait: The God-Queen's Knights Character Portrait: Cordelia Ightlor
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#, as written by Maree
Cordelia almost leaped out of her armor as a hand clamped down on her shoulder. It was Magnus, her brother. He was supposed to be on duty, or at least that was what he had told his family.

"The Sacrifice has gone wrong," she said to Magnus.

"So I have noticed. There is trouble brewing in Iracot. This, I fear, is just the precursor. I've come to you to tell you've that I've been promoted to the Dragoons. I shall be training with them soon. You may have to watch over Elana for me while I am away," Magnus said to Cordelia with a grave look on his face. He looked to Calvin and gave the man a nod in greeting. He didn't know the man very well but Cordelia did mention him a great deal at the dinner table. Perhaps Cordelia had taken a liking to the man. It was not uncommon for two Knights to wed.

"Be on your guard, the both of you. There may be panic from the events that have transpired," Magnus warned ominously.

"Of course. Magnus, Magistrate-"

"Watch over my sister, brother-knight," Magnus said to Calvin which garnered a defensive look from Cordelia. She needed no one to look out for her.