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Senalae Errion

First Princess of Calisma

0 · 712 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by Modesty


More picture references:

Full Name: Senalae Errion
Nickname: Princess, First Princess, Your Highness, My Liege, Miss… To everyone she is known as Sena, though the ones that worship her simply call her Mother, or Saint.
Gender: Female
Age: 21
Height: 5’6”
Race: Human
Class First Princess of Calisma

Skills: As with any woman raised with propriety, Sena was taught fundamentals of being a well-to-do woman. Among lessons in modesty and kindness, Sena was taught poise and discretion. Like her brothers she learned world history, but that is where the comparison ended. She excels in organization and tasking, darning and needlepoint. Sena is famed for being a leader in fashion and a knack for throwing the best social events in the realm. Her social connections have taught her the art of secrecy and deception, and given her much practice in guile.

Weakness(es): Learned and friendly as the Princess may be, her frail body has left her unable to endure elements. She is ignorant to life outside of court, and has an extremely biased view of the world. Open skies, while intriguing, cause fear to grip her heart and drop her to her knees. It is rare for her to venture outside of palace walls, and never without an escort. Sena requires structure and schedule, and the lack there of would leave her just as lost as if she were plucked from her royal home. Furthermore, while she has been taught to act with grace in all circumstances, Sena is unused to losing or things going other than the way she had planned.

Equipment: Aside from lace fans, or a needle and thread, Sena is generally unaccompanied by material items. With that said, her person is nearly always decked to the nines in layers upon layers of the latest fashions and twinkling with copious amounts of gems.

Personal Quote: A lady kills, not with a sword or pen, but a smile and a word.

Description: Posture perfect, Sena is the epitome of elegance with never a hair or thread out of face. Every nail is carefully manicured, each surface exfoliated, prepped and polished. SENA is an icon not only for her charity but for her beauty and grace. Porcelain skin, bronzed like her brothers in natural tone and not from sun wear. Her brief adventures into the gardens have left a splattering of freckles that adorns the bridge of her nose and fades to rosy cheeks, further pronounced by high cheekbones. Arched eyebrows and thick lashes frame eyes of emerald, a trademark of the Errion clan. While voice is soft, a fire burns behind these sea green orbs. Her figure is slim, slender by diet and never exercise. Ample bosom gives way to small waist, always clad in rich silks and heavy brocades shipped from afar and tailored into the latest of fashions. Each outfit is careful to preserve modesty, though draws the eye just long enough to wonder. Her skin is unmarred, save for a faint scar on the back of her hand; a memento of her childhood. Lastly, Sena is known for her long tendrils of soft curls, styled differently and elaborately each day. While occasional appearances of blondes or reds by natural hennas, the hue remains brunette. always.

Personality: will edit***

History: Sena was born the only daughter and youngest child to Dazius Errion, the first King of Calisma, naming her with title the First and only Princess of Calisma. It was this birth that ended the life of their mother. While it was a tragic entrance into the world, the christening by blood was never allowed to affect her life. Sena was at once enveloped in a world of love and admiration. Being the only woman in the Errion family, Sena quickly became accustomed to having her every whim fulfilled. From swaddling clothes she was raised by a nanny and other women of the house, and never went without guidance. As a young girl she had nothing but bright eyes for her two eldest brothers, both who were destined for greatness: Dyton was to be King, and Rydas a valiant commander. As any child, she wished to be like her older siblings, and often brandished a toy sword much to their delight. In a play-spar when she was a toddler, a misplaced strike by Dyton hit her hand and split the skin, and she still bears the scar to this day. It was then she realized that swords were not in her future, nor war of any kind. It was then, too, that Rydas soothed her and promised that he’d always protect her from harm.

Her title afforded the best education in propriety and etiquette, through which she excelled. It was at a young age that Sena realized that she could achieve more with conversation than any could ever with weapons. She learned the art of manipulation, subtly controlling everyone around her to bend to her will. While Sena rarely lied, she preferred to bend the truth to her favour and omitting details that suited her best. Despite the deception, Sena quickly became the favourite of the courts.

When her eldest brother died it hit the whole family hard. Her father withdrew, and Rydas threw himself endlessly into his duties. She lost three men that day. Sena took the pain with quiet grace and turned her attentions elsewhere. The only thing that dulled the pain of loss was aiding others. It was here that SENA funded charities; whether throwing parties to raise funds to build infirmaries or hostels, or giving food to the poor, Sena was always at the lead. It wasn’t long before the desperate people of Paetax, and soon elsewhere, made the Princess out to be some kind of Saint. Her life, elsewhere, blossomed as well. Her social events quickly became the talk of the courts, and other esteemed members were often begging her to throw her next ball or galla. Her love of fashion was set ablaze, and Sena became a leader in trends.

Tragedy struck again, though, toppling her from her heights. Her father, First King of Calisma, fell ill. In the chaos and torment of possibly losing their father, her brother abandoned her in search of a mythic item. The months he was gone was tiring, with her humbly having to step into the shoes of ruler and oversee Calisma in the absence. Now, with her brother returning, and her father failing, the uncertainty of the future offers both fear and excitement.

Anything Else:
- Superstitious people of Calisma have said that the Princess is a saint, or a reincarnated angel sent to deliver them. In many ways, they worship her.
- Her mother is never talked about, and absolutely never mentioned is the cause of her death.
- Sena is often seen with a small tabby-coloured cat following her around, which she affectionately calls Lady.

So begins...

Senalae Errion's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty

Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Even before heavy lids closed over characteristic green eyes, a blackness had begun to set in. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that the shadow being cast was his consciousness fading. His body, void of too much blood, was giving way and releasing his soul to the Underlands. Despite this sullen knowledge, a peaceful smile tugged at paling lips, a comfort in accepting the hand dealt by unbiased Fate.
Prince Rydas slowly slipped from mortal realm with naught but a few fleeting last thoughts; how sticky his own blood was, and how hard the floor. In the distance he could hear words babbled to him in nearly nonsensical fashion, though understood in his own delirium: “One will die for the other to live. Here or there we will see.” His fool’s errand would pay off; the King would live. Smile widened in blind faith that all would be righted as faded from the world. Lips moved to form words of reassurance to his comrades, though nothing emerged save for a spattering of blood. It was the footsteps and hands around his neck that confused him, and a cold chain against the back of his neck that cause brow to furrow. It was then it started.

Someone was screaming, filling the tarnished chamber with sounds of unrecognizable pain and pure anguish. Final thoughts went towards his friends; would no one sooth the wounded beast or put it out of misery? How grim a concept that his deathbed would be shared. The howling continued. It was a few heartbeats that past before a deep subconscious recognized it as his own screams. The amulet was reopening wound after wound on his skin, some of them not even ones that he had ever endured. It was re-breaking bones and melting flesh before painstakingly shifting each atom to heal wholly and completely. Even after the blood had refilled his veins, and breathing had restarted, and heartbeat picked up again a steady rhythm, he moaned in torment. The echoes filled the chamber. And then there was blackness again.


The throne was stiff and uncomfortable, nothing like he had imagined. Even as a child Rydas had never dared to sit on the throne. He had stood by it, place hand upon it, but never rested in it. That simple act could have been seen as treasonous, even if seen by the friendliest of eyes. Despite the discomfort, his attentions were focused elsewhere. His attentions, specifically, were on the cold fingers that dragged across his arms playfully, and the pretty pink lips that smiled at him. Dark hair curled around pale face, caressing her curves like the white gown caressed her hips.

Rydas swallowed. Despite her beauty he found it difficult to forget that Nilux had another form, that she had killed and maimed many of the people he now considered friends. Still, the Prince was frozen, the crown on his head now too heavy and the room too warm. The succubus bent, planting a cold kiss on the corner of her mouth. Her sickly sweet voice was all too familiar. “I promised I’d come back from you, my love…”

“NO.” He yelled, pushing her off his lap just as she shifted forms. A talon from her wings slashed out, cutting through his skin and he gasped.

Rydas gasped, sitting up in his chair where he had fallen asleep. A dream, it had just been a dream. Like every night since Idassava’s castle his slumber had been riddled with nightmare after nightmare. Sometimes the dreams were so vivid that it took a moment to distinguish what was reality. He sighed, worn hands rubbing his temple as he tried to piece together the days.

It had been one month since they had returned to Paetax, and the aftermath was a nightmare. Dazius Errion had succumbed to his illness sometime during the journey home. Rydas scarcely remembered the return home. He’d been in excruciating pain the whole way. It was discovered that Panacea not only bound to a single wearer, but unleashed all injuries it had healed previously on to the new owner. It did as it said, but at a price. Even if the adventurers had managed to finish the quest sooner, they wouldn’t have been able to save the failing King. Not that Rydas would have wished that pain on anyone.

“Das? Sleeping at the table again? That council works you too hard.” The words were soft, caring. A slender form had appeared in the doorway. Before he turned his head he knew the speaker was his sister from the familiar nickname she called him by. Still, he rose and turned to face the Princess. She wore a simple grey gown, not yet dressed for the day. Through all the sorrow she was the rock, making the preparations for the funeral, and the coming coronation. He owed her much.

“It’s finally done. The items needed to be catalogued before, well…” His voice trailed off, disinterested in repeating matters of the state that she already knew. Rydas was a few years older than his only living sibling, but she had very much been the senior in the past few weeks. It had only been in recent days that he had begun to feel himself again. He ran a hand through his messy hair and let his arm fall rather apathetically.

Sena pressed her lips together and nodded. “Good. You look terrible. Get washed up, your guests will be arriving today.” She smiled wryly, knowing full well that she was mothering him. Rydas knew too, proof in his exasperated look he cast back at her, but obeyed.

The siblings didn’t see one another again until that afternoon. They, along with a handful of royal soldiers, waiting on the steps to Castle Paetax. The pair were dressed in violet and gold, the colours of Errion and in that sense all of Calisma. Each looked regal, decked in threads befitting of stations, but that was where the comparison ended. Sena wore an eggplant gown, tight in the bodice that flared out into a full and sweeping skirt. It was intricately hand-stitched in a floral pattern. Rydas was clad in much simpler attire; a dark suite resembling solder attire, with a violet shirt. A golden scabbard was tied to his hip, promising for nothing but ornamental value.

He shifted his feet from side to side, uncharacteristically restless. The movement caused a slender brow to raise on the Princess’s face, she had never seen him so eager. Rydas found himself eager to see familiar faces. The times had drawn out emotions, mixed, that he rarely felt and he was in need of comfort from people he could trust. He was uncertain of who would return to him after the one-month leave. Still, all of the adventurers had been invited, as well as other representatives, as honoured guests to attend the coronation that was in a dew days time. Green eyes looked out to the castle gates. They were decked out in carnations and chrysanthemums, flowers meant to cover the smell of the funeral pyre that had lingered after the burning on the King. He’d have to remind Sena to have them removed. At sign of movement vision flickered back to the gates, wondering who would be the first to arrive.

Senalae was the first to move forward, arms wide spread in welcoming and smile befitted on bowed lips. "Welcome to Castle Paetax, I've heard so much about you."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by Deallo

"I've seen children put up better fights." Nel muttered under her breath, meant for no-one but herself, a great deal of annoyance from Feylon suppressed. Children brought up like her to know nothing but combat. As she turned to the prince, expecting his wounds to be magically put together, she was treated to a different sight.

The prince was supposed to live. Those blood-curdling shrieks of pain and the wounds that suddenly appeared on his body were beyond the monk's comprehension as she watched, horrified, slowly backing herself to a wall. She was killing him. Killing him. Through what cruel twist of fate, Nel looked at her hands, blood from the demons she killed and maimed and her own mingled together in a crimson red and black. It may not have been the prince's blood but it might as well have been. Covering up her face with her palms, she smeared the fresh blood across her eyes, and wanted to oh so badly curse Panacea. Yet she had no words to shout, to articulate, to speak. Lies from the beginning! Her efforts in saving the prince was now dealing his own death, she could see images of the mutilated prince flash in her mind, and can still hear him sing a torturer's song that grated against her ears like a banshee's scream.

Only after he stopped his song of pain did Nel peak from the corner of her bloody tear filled eye to the clean corpse. Just a sliver of doubt probed her head; telling her that he was alive. The monk had no words to respond with to any criticisms or reassurances for her. As mute as a man with his tongue cut off, the opposite state of the paladin, roused by the recent actions to speak, and speak, and speak. Yet Nel could hold no malice against the paladin; noticing the fact the he most likely failed to address her but failing to care otherwise.

He set off with Xan's body and as much as Nel had his dislike of the priest, she can trust him to take care of his body, maybe set it to pyre. It's what Xan would have wanted, she thought.

The entire trip back to Paetax was accompanied by the prince's obvious pain and the mute monk left with a sickening feeling. Sleep was nigh impossible with the visions of demons, the menacing succubus, and the mutilated prince haunting her dreams. Safe within her meditation, it did nothing to quell her growing weariness. By the time the group sans the paladin reached Paetax, they were each paid handsomely, the prince was healthier and Nel finally spoke.

"Thank you." She made sure to tell Rydas, avoiding to look him in the eye before turning to everyone else.

"It was-" Nel paused, closing her eyes to remember the word before opening them again. "-an honor to meet you all."

Managing to finally press her lips into a smile, it quickly disappeared, and her tired visage quickly came back. Her sight centered themselves on each individual. Mirabella, the warrior who felt like the closest thing to a relative, Acacia, the bard who told her of such tales of woe and happiness of the world she never knew, Travian, the paladin who protected the weak in the fight against the succubus, G, the old man who was passionate of heart and spirit. Yes, even the images of their fallen flashed through her eyes: Xan, the man who had saved her from being eaten alive, and yes, even Akdov. For some strange reason, she thought of the first day setting off from Paetax, and that oddly staff with the absurd shape of a hand with a "thumbs up" sign. "Well it is very good to draw smiles and laughs so I guess you could say it is a weapon against boredom and dull moods..." Nel managed to give a small, abrupt chuckle.

"I'm going to go home." She said and decided. If anyone wished to join her, it'd be impossible. The monastery had no care for strangers.


The Elder was a short battle-hardened man, a relic from the days of war in Calisma, wrinkles a testament to his wisdom, lithe oddly muscled body a testament to his power. As he watched over the training over his assistants, the chatter of other yellow clad monks of all shapes and sizes went through the walls and grew louder when the double doors swung open to the Elder's private training room. He was familiar with the face before him, unnerved by the splotches of dry blood that surrounded Nel's cloth, while all the other monks behind her looked with a mix of wonder and horror at the scene that was going to play out in front of them.

"Elder, please tell everyone that I'm to stay." Nel said, exasperated by the countess questions by her former companions. With the edge of his sharp eyes, she looked at her with a cold almost steel look and voice.

"You've left the monastery, Nel. We can not allow you to come back."

Nel's lips parted, her eyes widened and pupils dilated in a mix of shock and surprise.

"But you sent me out-"

With naught but a swift movement, he turned towards her, brows knitted together furiously.

"Don't you lie!" He boomed, the Elder's voice slapping her across the face and wrenched her heart. While every monk behind Nel bowed, the proper custom when the Elder faced a student, Nel only noticed a few seconds after and bowed.

"A wolf in sheep's clothing, you left the purity of the monastery and became corrupted of your own fault. Get up and leave. If you come back, you will find no friends in these walls. GO!"

Tears welled up in Nel's eyes against the harsh words but her teeth clenched against each other and her hands balled up in tight fists. Some of the monk's noticed and gasped from their kneeling position. That by itself was an act of treason. The Elder motioned everyone to stand up and they did. For just a split second, Nel thought she may have been mistaken, but she pushed that aside. Nel turned from the leader and the fellow monks she now faced parted a way out. With tears streaking down her face, she faced forward and refused to break down into a weeping mess. She was right and nothing could have taken that away from her.

The monks and villagers of Kiron looked at her like a sick leper. Out of the outskirts of her home and now in the Shallen Woods; there only one more place she can call familiar.

A week after the quest of Panacea, Nel found herself back in the Black Vagabond, the pack that was given to her for carrying the gold in question stuck to her back created a spot of sickly sweat between her shoulder blades. Vinny, the bartender and former owner of the Black Vagabond, recognized her. How hard was it to forgot about the motley meeting the prince himself hosted alongside a woman who wore bright yellow? With the gold she had layed on the counter, a sack, he thought she was going to buy the Black Vagabond and brung her the deed to the bar.

Although she needed to do a little bit of explaining on what was going on, an exchange (without any sorts of haggling) was made, ripped-off she was but it mattered not. All that gold did was weigh heavy on her back and annoy her, at least now she had some home, food, and drink. Vinny was still the bartender, the old crow he was, he wasn't ready to just up and leave, and Nel did at least respect him for that. Still, he was kind enough to help her adjust to life in Paetax, she was after all his boss, whether she realized that or not. She figured out how to buy things and check the quality of clothes, though haggling was still far beyond her comprehension.

She still trained, whether it be on the roof of the Black Vagabond or on the farmlands around Paetax. Her sleepless nights were spent inside the bar, sometimes telling the tales of her adventure, sometimes listening to the tale of others, and sometimes drinking. Most nights, she had to act like a mediator between spontaneous fights, break them up, and through the patrons out the door. Though she had made acquaintances, they were by no means friends just because she knew their names. When everyone sleeps or everyone in the bar is passed out in drunken bliss she'd meditate. Memories always brought her back to the monastery, whether when she was a mischievous child, or she was a teacher and had to deal with her own batch of them, she cherished those precious mental images.

When she got the message from the prince himself, Nel was reluctant to accept it, looking back to the yellow robe that hung from a hook in her room. The faint splotches of blood were still on it, no matter how hard she tried to scrub it off with soap or water, they served as constant reminders. After shedding off her clothes, tracing the light scars around her body for a moment before replacing them with the yellow robe, she was almost surprised to see that it had still fit, despite it only being a month since she felt comfortable wearing it. She threw a couple of punches before jumping up striking the air with her legs. Somehow, it still felt normal. Dinner social, combat, sleeping, it just felt right. The very fact that it did made her happy and sad all at once.

She was the among the first to appear at the gate, clad in yellow and meditating, to pass the time. She'd easily break her meditation and welcome her friends, even the paladin. Upon the gates opening, the familiar sight of Rydas strung up feelings of guilt, and the other familiar sight of that woman brought feelings of scorn, too familiar with those that thought she was godly, though she had more then a few problems with the variety of religions in the capital. Yet when she welcomed those who've arrived, Nel took to pause for a few moments, alternating sights between Rydas and her sister, mesmerized by the royal colors for a moment before stepping forward and speaking. Life in Paetax still hasn't prepared her for speaking to royalty and in meditating; she forgot Vinny's advice about addressing royalty.

"Thank you for inviting us. It's, uh-" She cleared her throat.

"-good to see you, Rydas." It was a half lie.

and good to meet...your sister." Nel said hesitantly, forgetting her name, not prepared to call her either Mother or Saint.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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#, as written by Celedia

Fierce words were lobbed back at the Triansui by the Priestadin but Mirabella ignored every bit of venom that spewed forth from his mouth. He claimed kinship with the honest thief, Xan, but his speech was not taken to be as acerbic as it would have been if he had bothered to feast with them at the Dancing Dragon before their journey. She, however, would take Xan’s wish that he had shared that night to heart: "I hope everyone can learn to get along…”

So she turned from Lakdov and the others until the amulet hung around the Prince’s neck. When Rydas’ sickening screams had lessened, the party began to disperse and even as the Priestadin spoke to her once more, this time almost cordially, she still ignored him. Only when Nelinia announced that she too was parting ways with the group did the warrior’s bloodied features fall.

”Home?” She repeated the monk’s words dully as her gaze raked over the yellow-clad figure. The tiny melee fighter had become one of her closest allies in the massive group and she couldn’t come to terms with parting from her this quickly. Arguing wouldn’t solve anything so instead Mira wrapped her arms around the weary monk in a bear hug and embraced her quickly before stepping back.

”Be safe, Nelinia. If you ever need anything….” Her words trailed off and a sad smile clung to her lips. Honey brown eyes searched for her other close companions: Nari, Acacia, and Ian to see if any of them would be leaving as well. Those of the group that wished to travel back to Paetax were gathered together. With Ian’s help, Mira managed to load the Prince onto the back of her mare, Blaze, who had just happened to linger around the entrance to the citadel with a handful of other horses. The ride to the capitol was uneventful and as soon as they had reached the gates the Triansui reined her horse around to face north.

”I must travel home,” She murmured to herself but the realization that there was nothing really left for her there emerged. Most of her life she had been a nomad, wandering from place to place in search of gold and adventure and an honorable fight. It had taken them a few days to travel to the capitol and she realized that there really wasn’t anywhere that she would truly call home anymore, so perhaps she should simply continue her adventures elsewhere. When trying to pick a destination, she inadvertently turned her steed southward instead, towards the Shallon Woods, towards Kiron and the Kula Monastery.

She took her time on the trip and it was only when three more full days had passed that she had breeched the perimeter of the town. Exhausted, Mirabella barely noticed the agile monks hopping swiftly from tree to tree above her and though on any other day she would be halted and questioned regarding her entry into Kiron, she was allowed to pass into the village itself with no hesitation. As she brought Blaze through Kiron towards the large monastery, a small group exited and stood by the doors as if they had been waiting for her arrival.

”Ahhh. You are early but no matter.” One of the yellow clad figures stepped out to meet her and though Mirabella arched her brow in confusion, her reaction was ignored as the figure turned quickly to a rather short man that looked as if he had seen his fair share of battle. The monk that had greeted her quickly stood back and half-bowed towards the short man whilst introducing him.

”I present to you, the Elder. Elder, this is the representative that…” With a lightning quick gesture from the battle hardened man, the other monk’s words halted so the Elder could speak but not before his steely gaze assessed Mira with great intensity.

”Come, we have much to discuss.” The Elder turned without waiting for any sort of acknowledgement from the Triansui and puzzled, she had no choice but to dismount and follow along. She was led to an area where they could sit down and a small meal was placed before her.

”We have come far,” The Elder started, a conversational segue which confused Mirabella even more than it had before, but she assumed that Nelinia had simply told the man of their adventures. Not wanting to interrupt, she remained silent while she ate.

”If you have not heard the news. The King as passed. All that remains is the lesser son, the Prince. He won’t prove much of a challenge, will he?”

Mira’s honey-hued eyes widened at the statement, her spoon missing her mouth and spilling the heated soup that she had been served down over her breastplate. One of the Elder’s apprentices ran to fetch her some cloth to clean herself with while the Elder barely even registered her actions and he continued to deliver information to her. All throughout the man’s monologue the warrior couldn’t help but wonder exactly who he thought he was speaking with. None of this made sense. Where was Nel?

What had started out as a simple trip to visit what she had considered to be a dear friend, ended up being a one-sided conversation that brought a hint of intrigue into the Triansui’s life. The Elder chose all of his words carefully, as if he were speaking in code, and though she drew hints of treason from his speech she had no time for inquiries. Almost as abruptly as she was greeted by the Elder, she was dismissed. He stood up when he was finished and made a swift motion towards his apprentices. ”They will see to your needs and you may deliver the message to your superiors.”

What superiors? Who or what did they expect to visit them? Where is Nelinia?

Those troubled thoughts echoed in Mirabella’s mind and it wasn’t until the following day when she was leaving Kiron that she decided to ask someone of her friend’s whereabouts. Though her query was met with narrowed eyes, she was eventually given a brief response.

”Not here. That is all you need to know.”

It was a response that left her with more questions than answers.

Time passed. A messenger had hunted Mirabella down during her travels over the next few weeks and hand-delivered a satchel that was quite heavy and a rolled piece of parchment bearing the Royal seal. Both were expected and both were well received: her payment for the Panacea quest and a letter inviting her to the coronation of the First Prince and Future King of Calisma, Rydas Errion.

The gold she managed to hide away, like a squirrel preparing for winter. The scroll was slid behind her belt, keeping it firmly by her side to prove that her presence at the castle had been requested. Unlike other more vain warriors, Mirabella hadn’t used her newfound wealth to buy new armor or weapons. Her breastplate was still the one that had seen her through the battles in the citadel, her blade was still the one used to hack at ghoul, diralgraun, vrock and succubi. The only thing that had changed during the month long absence was the look in her eyes. Though still caring and jovial at times, her meeting with the Elder had proven that everyone had secrets. Even the most unsuspecting entities could be worthy of her distrust and cynicism.

Ascending the stairs with her head held high and her shoulders set proudly, her breastplate polished to a mirror finish and her golden hair pulled away from her face with a leather tie, Mirabella approached the Royals and the monk. A flash of surprise and curiosity flashed over her fair features as she came upon the tail end of the conversation then she bowed low before righting herself once more.

“Prince…” she trailed off with a nod and a friendly smile towards Rydas before she greeted his sister next, “Princess.” Another bow and acknowledgement before she proceeded, “It is an honor to be invited.”

Her eyes turned briefly to the monk as she murmured a brief greeting to Nelinia as well, though whether it was from suspicions based on her visit to the monastery or simply because she didn’t quite know the protocol when royalty was involved, it wasn’t clear.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka
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#, as written by Skwidge
Iravey and Talsin Inicka


Once Rydas began to mend, Tal entered the treasury room and retrieved his harp as those around him worked out their pay; Ira remained by the Prince’s side, watching him with that masked face of hers- though in her eyes worry and apprehension were apparent. Eventually they moved outside, and Ira shifted over to Tal, and he began speaking rather cheerfully about nature and how good it was to be awake and reunited with his harp.

Some departed, others stayed. It wasn’t very long before the twins were approached by one of the party members- the girl that Tal had carried a handful of minutes ago. Ira back stepped, her chin tilted down as she watched the ground while her brother conversed. ”I’m Acacia Winn. I suppose I should thank you for carrying me to the rest of the group earlier. I couldn’t help but notice your harp. Do you play?” Tal glanced up, his eyes focusing on the woman before him before he accepted her greeting, thrusting his hand into hers with a brilliant smile. “Uh, nice to meet you; I am indeed a bard, have been ever since I was a wee one.” He now grinned, his fingers fleetingly running over the strings in order to produce a gentle thrum. The female twin looked up from the ground as she heard the sound, a ghost of a smile teasing the corners of her lips as she listened to the dispersing notes. The harp was among one of the strongest links between them, and she appreciated it whenever he played, even if it was faint at some times.

Tal dropped his hand from his instrument and instead slung it back into its place upon his back, and he soon got an elbow softly in the ribs. He looked at Ira questioningly before smacking his forehead. “Oh right! Where are my manners; this is my twin Iravey, and I’m Tal. Tal Inicka.” His face crinkled slightly in his famous grin, and Ira met the woman’s gaze for a second in greeting, but Tal also added an afterthought, “That’s what everyone calls me by anyway, my full name is Talsin.”

However, the boy’s countenance fell at Acacia’s response to the information he provided her with. "Taliesin….” She mumbled before continuing muttering something else. “I need to go find...." It was obvious he had done something wrong by the way she suddenly abandoned him. Tal reached out an arm to stop her and question her, but Ira placed a gently hand on his elbow, and he dropped it. ”Was it something I said?” His sister simply shrugged, and Tal shook his head with a small glance behind him in the direction where the girl disappeared. ”But on a more pressing note, do you want to stay with this group?” His question had a lot of complications, but he expected the girl to answer rather quickly anyway. Two or three minutes passed before the female twin finally gave a nod, and then a firm shake of her head.

Despite the lack of any speech from his sister, Tal understood what she meant, and a wry smile found its way onto his face. ”So you want to stay with Rydas- to make sure he’s okay- but you’ve also come to the conclusion that it’ll be too much attention attracted to both you and I right now.” Ira rolled her eyes, and punched him in the arm. The male twin chuckled, though winced all the same. ”Alright then, sounds good to me.”

So the twins ended up travelling with the group for a few days- and just as both of them had concluded, the throngs of people were many to surround the Prince and his group on odd days. However, on one of the mornings- when the group was alone- Tal and Ira both approached the Prince. ”We’re going to split, we’re both really not used to so much attention, you see. But if you ever need us for something, send for Talsin and Iravey Inicka.” He flashed the man a sheepish grin, but Iravey wrote down both their names on a piece of parchment. She hadn’t spoken a squeak at all the entire time they traveled together. Even on their parting, once Tal had turned and exited, the only thing she did was take the Prince’s hand in her own and give it a firm squeeze before letting it slip out of her fingers. She left the piece of parchment behind through the hand grip, and she silently left the room.

Some time after then, the twins had eased back into their lifestyle, although every night Ira would sit near a window and simply gaze out. She allowed a troubled look to cross her features often when she did so, and Tal would watch her before shaking his head with a slight grin. However, one night he burst into their rented room while she sat, and brandished a piece of parchment in his hand, a huge grin on his face. ”Yo, Ira, guess what; I’ve noticed how much you’ve been worried about Rydas- well here.” He dropped the opened envelope at the table before her, and she took it, scanning over it quickly. ”Now we can go see him and the others- heck, maybe we’ll end up staying this time~” He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, that teasing grin playing at his lips. Once again, he received a punch in his bicep, and he frowned, rubbing it and sticking his tongue out.

He looked down at the table only to find that the piece of parchment had been flipped over and turned towards him. The neat, flourishing pen of his sisters now faced him. ’You do realize we’re going to be in the court scene now, right?’ He rolled his eyes and shook his head with a grin. ”You do realize you can’t hide behind your precious paper forever, right?” A hiss escaped his lips as new pain blossomed in his bicep once more. ”And stop punching people,” He suddenly twisted his tone to match a more regal, British accent. ”It’s hardly lady like.” The male twin snickered, dancing away from the fist of his sister once more. ”Seriously though, you should try talking more often. The world longs to hear your beautiful voice; and I take it that it’s a ‘yes’ to the going of this ball, correct?” Ira let out a mute sigh, but then nodded.


Ira walked beside Tal as they neared the gates to the rather expansive castle, her head craning back a bit just to get a really good glimpse of it. Tal marched cheerfully along, whistling a pretty tune as he did so. However, once they actually got to the gate, he suddenly silenced himself, and they rounded the corner. Rydas was standing there, and Tal unabashedly grabbed his sister’s arm, dragging her up near the steps. ”Rydas!!” He called, waving frantically. He dropped his sister’s arm, still about seven feet from the Prince. His voice dropped into a coo of awe as his eyes suddenly beheld the scabbard at Rydas's hip. The male twin was instantly beside the prince, and he skillfully untied the object in one fell swoop. The boy stepped away, raising the object up to the sun and shifting it in his hands to marvel at it. The male twin turned it this way and that until something else suddenly caught his attention. He simply tossed the scabbard behind his back, striding over to the pretty lady a step behind him- one that Tal had previously completely ignored.

”Ooh, who’s this? Your promised, Rydas? Nice catch.” He muttered, nudging the prince with his elbow. The boy then let out a smooth laugh, shaking his head. ”But in all seriousness, you must be his sister; I’d know, what with me being a twin and all. I should be able to recognize one, right? What’s your name again? Sin… Seaweed… Sunway… something or other; anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.” His facials gave away that he was teasing the woman without any shame, and he presented his hand to the lady.

Ira quickly took a step forward and caught the Prince’s scabbard, sending a rather annoyed look at Tal’s back. A soft sigh escaped her lips, and she flashed Rydas a sheepish smile, closing the distance between them and holding out her hand for him to take the object back from her. Tal’s voice flowed back into existence. ”Hmhm, Rydas talks about us? Oh Rydas, you chatterbox~” Tal put a hand up to his mouth and swatted his other hand downwards through the air softly, mimicking a woman’s giggle. Ira looked at Rydas, and closed her fingers tightly over the scabbard, raising a finger on her free hand before walking over to her twin. The girl swung the ornamental weapon down upon her brother’s shoulder before turning back around and resuming her former position while her twin let out a hiss of breath and rubbed at his stricken shoulder. She was smart enough not to do too much to the item, considering it was ornamental.

”Jeez, fine, fine. I’ll behave myself; for right this moment anyway.” That unabashed grin was consuming his countenance again, and he beamed brightly back at the siblings. Rydas should have been used to the man’s antics, or at least expecting them- and if he really did speak of the group, he’d possibly have mentioned it to his sister. Ira’s lips set in an annoyed line, but it quickly disappeared as her eyes scanned over the Prince’s features. She had heard the rumors of what the necklace had done, and had even seen a bit of it herself when she and her brother had been travelling with them. She had often heard the pained noises at night as well. Since then, those thoughts pestered her every night, and she was rather relieved to be near him again. It was ridiculous how large of a bond she had established- how much she bothered herself about him- and so quickly as well. It was obvious she was usually distant with almost everyone, considering her firmest- and rather only- social relation in her life was with her brother.

During the nights she constantly pondered over the abrupt new disposition- why she’d been so quick to care for this man. Was it because he was the Prince? Did he remind her of someone? Was it out of fear or was it out of respect? Or maybe it was something else entirely. Sometimes it kept her up at night, and sometimes she simply forgot what time it was. But now she was hoping that being closer to the Prince would work at the connection and begin to break it down so she could better understand just what it was that caused it.

But for now, she pushed all of those thoughts to the back of her mind. It was simply comforting to be in his presence again and good to see his face. She only gave a fleeting glance towards his sister before returning her attention to him, her fingers still loosely closed around the scabbard.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas
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#, as written by conor

The entire ordeal ended quickly as far as Feylon could remember. The sound of the Princes agony eventually died down and the Citadel was now behind him. Some said their goodbyes and others stuck around. When Akdov talked about finishing what they had started he could not help but let out a wolfish grin. "Oh we will finish Priest, but do not be so certain about me finding faith. I have witnessed and carried out things that would change even your views on the gods." Feylon decided he did need to say anything else and parted with no emotion from the priest.

The journey back home took some time and the ailments of the Prince did not help. When they did eventually get home news reached them that the old King had succumbed to his illness and passed. A shame yes, but with the passing of a king many of the powerful nobles would plot to usurp the throne from the current family. Of course for an assassin and a spy, that meant good business. Once the Prince had been safely delivered to the castle Feylon decided that now was the time to leave. He melted away from the procession into the castle and walked briskly through the narrow alleys of Paetax. He eventually arrived back at the Black Vagabond. Where the journey began and now where it ended.

Pushing open the door the inn and the stench of ale flowed through his nose. A hearty and jovial warmth that he had not felt in weeks filled his body and lifted all of the weight from his shoulders. With a new sense of purpose Feylon walked behind the bar giving the barkeep a nod and heading up the stairs to his small loft. The bed lay in the same position it had been the morning he left. The room was tidy and all of his valuable items tucked away safely. Feylon could not help but smile, for this first time in a long time that he was at home once more. His journey was almost over, if not for one little thing that he had to do the next day.


The air was chilly outside as the citizens of Paetax awoke from their slumber. His hood wrapped around his head comfortably keeping most of his face warm. As he shifted slightly he saw the silhouette of his guest mvoe around the corner. A sweet aroma filled the alley as the figure drew closer to him. An outstretched hand appeared from under the cloak carrying a a purse of coins. He had completed his job and now he received payment. The figure was now much more recognisable. A woman of slender build. The exchange was quick and and informal. Before he took his leave he stopped and turned. "You know where to find me in the future" With that he turned on the balls of his feet and walked off.


The steps to the castle towered above Feylon as he walked up. He was not enthusiastic about his invitation to the castle but nonetheless knew it was foolish to turn such an offer down. He strode confidently up the steps and and stopped at the top. The familiar face of Rydas met him and the other face was remembered as if some form of old acquaintance that he had once met. He gracefully took a bow before each of them and spoke. "Greetings to you Prince, Princess".


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee
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Callavan felt numb once the fighting had finished. Exhausted both physically and mentally he didn't even try to defend himself when the accusations started flying. He felt a flicker of anger but it was smothered quickly enough. His ego had overstepped his abilities and lead to the injury and death of others. Fighting bandits had bolstered his confidence, but a greater power had presented itself to him that day and found him lacking.

He bid farewell to the everyone that night, asking that the prince send his pay to his family home in Thoav, before parting ways.

A few days later and he found himself on the shores of Ida'an, with no small thanks to the horse that had been provided with. He crossed the waters with one of the familiar enchanted boats, the wood worn smooth by many hands over the years.

There were a great many new faces eager to learn the secret workings of the world, much as he had once been. There were familiar faces as well; most didn't seem to recognize him or simply didn't care, some threw snide words and insults, fewer still gave a smile and greeting before scampering off. Some things never change.

A quick stop at guest housing was the first order of business. He scraped some of the road off himself, scrawled a hasty note to his family explaining what had happened and then he was off again.

The library was the goal of this trip, a long fat building that could fit most of the other campus buildings inside. Van snaked his way inside, winding through a maze of shelves. A good chunk of his time at the guild had been spent there and even after all this time he'd bet a gold piece that he could find his way through blindfolded. He spent all his time in the library; only taking breaks to eat, sleep, fish, and harass students after drinking too much.

A week passed by as he read and read, taking note of every little thing; but, eventually, being shut in all day with nothing but books and the roving groups of tittering of young magi was slowly driving him mad.

He withdrew to the vaults under the guild where he could experiment in peace and relative safety. He started with simple modifications of spells he had grown familiar with before moving on to newer ideas, pulling from what he had read and whatever strange notion struck his mind.

A slight mishap, involving a remote immolation spell, left his clothes in tatters; forcing him to walk through the campus nude until he found someone willing to lend him a set of replacements.

Shortly after that he received a parcel from his brother containing a part of his payment from the prince, a letter stating that he'd keep the rest safe for Van, and an invitation bearing the royal seal. He skimmed the latter briefly. He was unsure of whether or not he should go. His companions had been good people on the whole, but he felt no sense companionship with most of them.

He tossed the bag of gold from hand to hand. It was hefty, only a portion of his keep and judging from its weight, it would could keep fed and housed for about two month. Four if he was thrifty.

There would be nobles there, that was doubtless. Not that he was keen to socialize with them, but nobles had deep pockets and little sense when it came to spending, and tales of their adventure had likely begun circulation among the upper crusts, greatly exaggerated he imagined. Some fool was bound to offer him a patronage simply for bragging rights. Van could preform simple parlor tricks from time to time and spend the rest of his days getting payed to do whatever he pleased.

It was decided then. He packed his things, as well as a few books that he had 'borrowed' from the library, and took off for Paetax the next morning.

He arrived two days later, leaving a week and a half before the coronation. After finding lodging he promptly lodged himself in a tavern where he stumbled across a familiar face or, rather, she stumbled across him.

“Ah, the mage!” Oba exclamed obliging herself to the stool next to his, ”One of them anyways. Sorry, never caught your name before. No one seemed in the mood for introductions at the time, what with all the demons and dieing and then you went and disappeared on us. Well, not quite disappeared, seeing as how you said your goodbyes before going on your merry way. Though I'm sure you could have had you wanted. What with the magic and everything.”

Callavan thought that she was taking a breath after her spiel, but she was only breaking to spout her order to the barkeep before continuing. ”Have you been well? It doesn't seem so.” She made a pointed look at the borrowed clothes he wore. They were still the ill fitting rags that he had borrowed after his accident. ”I'd have thought the guild would take better care of their own. It only seems fair when they keep such a tight leash on you all. That must be maddening. I don't know how you stand it. Oh, by the way, I'm Yaa Oba, or just Oba if you prefer.”

Van thought back to the citadel. She hadn't fought, nor did she cower. She strode through the conflict with a confidence that bordered on madness. Afterward she had gone around treating any minor wounds that the priestess's spell hadn't cover to prevent infection. All the while keeping up that mad glee.

”Callavan,” he returned, ”And I'm fine.”

A silence passed between them that slowly edged into uncomfortableness as the two drank. Oba offered him one of the sweet rolls she had ordered. He accepted it.

”So, what happened to the large fellow that was with you?” he asked.

”Oh, Yaatu. He's fine. A bit touched in the head y'know. Far too much stimulation in the city for him, so he stays in our room,” she answered, eager to break the silence. ”I'm guessing you're here for the coronation as well?”

Van nodded.

”Fantasic. I was a bit surprised when I got an invitation. Tell me, have you found anyone to go with you?”

He shook his head.

”Ah, then you'll just have to accompany me then.” She smirked, downing the rest of her ale in one long gulp and following it with a loud belch. ”After all, a fine lady such as myself can't possibly be expected to walk these streets alone.”

This got a small chuckle out of Van and he agreed to escort her to the coronation. They spent the rest of the evening getting properly drunk and sharing stories. Van told her how he had lost his last set of clothes with a few embellishments, such as marching through the master mages' office and passing through the women's dormitory asking if he could borrow a slip. In return, Oba told him about the time she had accidentally gotten an entire village high during an exorcism.

He had somehow managed to make his way home after the previous night. Extremely hungover, he managed to stuff something that resembled food down his gullet before heading to the shopping district. After talking with Oba the previous night, he realized that he was in sore need of new clothes, especially if he was looking to impress a new patron.

There was some unexpected difficulty in this. All of the shop keeps thought he was a beggar and refused to let him inside. After this happened a fifth time Van was feeling especially perturbed.

”Now listen here,” he hissed, grabbing the keep by the collar and pulling him close. ”We,” he indicated himself and the keep. ”Are going in there,” he pointed to the shop. ”You,” back to the keep now. ”Are going to take my measurements and then tailor me two suits. The first will be simple everyday wear, nothing flashy. Something comfortable and practical. The second will be more formal. You may take more liberty with the latter, so long as you don't make me look like some foppish git. Do you understand?'

”Let go of me you beer soaked tramp!” the keep yelled, struggling against Van's grip. ”Someone call the guards! This vagrant is attempting to rob me!”

Frustrated, Van grabbed up his beard with his left and released a small flame. It wasn't enough to burn himself, though he winced at the stray embers biting at his skin, but it was enough to singe away most of his facial hair. The intended effect was supposed to make him look like less of a vagabond. Instead, the shop keep was faced with a mad man who had just set himself aflame.

Regardless, it got him into the shop and afterwards he had to force the tailor to accept his payment. He made another stop on his way back to his room, getting himself a proper shave and trim so that he no longer resembled a mangy dog stuffed into a suit.

Between then and the coronation; Callavan spent his days working on his magic, alternating between studying and using a needle and ink to add to the spellwork on his left arm. While his nights were spent drinking with Oba.

Before long it was the day of the coronation. Callavan dressed up in his new suit, the left sleeve rolled up to avoid irritating the new marks; he picked up Oba, who had dressed up for the occasion in a dress with appropriate amounts of frillyness and the two set off for the castle.

Callavan greeted the prince and princess first, bowing low and addressing them as m'lord and m'lady. He felt increasingly uncomfortable. These strange social customs were entirely alien to him and he was simply mimicking what he had seen traveling troubadours do in their plays. He rose almost mechanically, walked over to where the others had gathered and tried his best not to make anymore of a fool of himself.

Oba on the other hand was completely at ease. She curtsied to the two with a slight bow of her head. ”It's a pleasure to meet you again, your highness. As well as to make your acquaintance, Princess. I'm honored that you invited me. Especially after, as I recall, you accused me of being a traitor aligned with the Tommyknockers,” she gave them a playful grin before prancing away to join everyone else.

”Oh, Little Bird,” Oba said, seeing that Siobhan was there. ”Glad to see that you are feeling better after that impressive display you put on for all of us.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A trickle turned to pour as the adventurers reunited atop the dais of a rather imposing stairwell leading up to Castle Paetax. Rydas silently mused that his sellswords were finally arriving on time; a miraculous feat for a group notoriously unorganized. Much had changed. He forcibly shifted attentions to the first arrival, not yet ready to travel backwards down memory lane. The Prince remained silent, allowing his sister to greet each and every person with her sociable grace, with only his nods of acknowledgement to punctuate her warm words.

It was a yellow-clad figure, familiar, who first appeared. Sena’s smile widened, and with practiced patience did not waver at lack of name or title. In the quiet recesses of her mind she reminded herself that the majority of her brother’s guests were uncivilized—a fact she planned to change in the coming weeks before the coronation. Rydas noted that her robes were still worn from their adventures, and wondered if she had been living in them all this time. He made a note to check that she had indeed received her payment for services. “Nelinia, a pleasure to finally meet you. I owe you much thanks for returning my brother to me.”

Light glinted off the next to arrive, relecting to them a shine of righteousness. A woman ascended, old armor polished to the nines and head held high. It seemed the sun shone a little brighter around the warrior, as if the shadows coward away. Her face was unmistakable, words polite and friendly as any proper Champion of the crown. Rydas realized in that moment that he had been holding his breath, gaze shifting between the monk and the Triansui, the tension between them palatable for reasons he didn’t understand. Sena was speaking again, “Mirabella D’Adreci, my brother has spoken of your bravery.”

A pair was the next to rise up the stairs, their resemblance obvious much like Rydas and his sister. Although Senalae had heard little, she knew of the tenderness the strange woman had shown and the oddity of the man. This was quickly apparent. While her lips parted to speak she scarcely had a moment to do so, for Tal beat her to the punch. Her courtier’s mask was broken in obvious distaste at suggestion of her being her brother’s betrothed, and further more at the misgivings of her name. Her delicate fingers were quick to motion to the guards, too, as the ornamental sword was lifted; the action was seen as threat. Armed guards drew weapons and moved forward, only to be halted by the Prince’s hand. Sena, abashed, looked sideways to the future King. Rydas was stifling amusement. “You must be Talsin and Iravey.” The Princess’ tone was a smidge colder, eyes lingering on each before turning away. Rydas’ gaze lingered on Ira.

Another pair came next, though far from related. Sena re-fixed her smile, arms opening in welcome again. Through descriptions she recognized the two, though hadn’t expected them together: the healer and the Paladin, both well dressed. “Travian, Siobhan. Welcome, thank you for coming.” Both Errions watched a small girl, the mage, join the travellers though she didn’t come forward for greetings or introductions. Rydas quietly wondered if she were mute, not recalling if she had spoke yet or not in his presence.

The Prince’s smile had faded, vision watching the next ascend: the often treasonous ranger. Still, the man had remained on point and answered the invitation. He visibly relaxed. Sena’s eyes flashed in what seemed like momentary recognition, though her façade quickly covered anything that could have been there. “Feylon, my father often spoke of your talents. I’m pleased that you have remained devoted to my brother.” Her words spoke nothing of prior acquaintances., only have rumours.

The last were arriving. A woman and man; the mage and the witch doctor, another unlikely pair. While Callavan spoke nothing, Oba dug up old arguments. While the ords were in good natured fun, Rydas stiffened uncomfortably. It didn’t last long, however, as the friendly smile of Acacia greeted him. Lastly, the woman that favoured riddles, her last omen replaying in his headed; a harbinger of their father’s death. “Welcome, welcome. I’ve heard so much about you you all.”

The mulled around, waiting if anyone else would arrive. Rydas glanced through the faces noting those that hadn’t showed: Lakdov, who’s reincarnation story had been explained to him at last, and the old Shaman. The flame-haired rogue, though he had heard she disappeared the moment she received payment. He didn’t blame any of them. Still, he had heard that a representative of the clergy would appear, and a member of the Third… each to show support for his coming coronation. Rydas pressed his lips together, worried that they had redrawn their support. Words were left with guards to show any stragglers in should they arrive, and Sena guided all the guests into the castle.

“Again, thank you all for coming. I am pleased to finally meet you all. `Das… “ Sena said, addressing them all and using her nickname for her older sibling. “… has only the highest of compliments for each off you. I look forward to getting to know each of you intimately. However, I realize how tired you must be from your travels. Please, allow our servants to show you to your rooms. Rest, bathe, relax. We shall reconvene in a few hours for a tour and supper. There will be men and women in waiting outside your rooms should you need anything. Please, come casually dressed.”

She smiled. A friendly smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. Rydas stayed back, a distant and pained look in his eyes, though he tried his best to hide it.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian bowed low when the princess address him. “Thank you for the invitation, it is a great honor.” He looked at each of his companions and smiled or nodded as they were similarly addressed, in several cases making note of names he hadn’t heard or remembered.

Nelinina, the reckless little monk he’d saved from the ghoul. He was glad to see that she was okay, considering she had apparently learned nothing about diving headfirst into things. Still, it had been that very rashness that saved the prince’s life so it would probably be hard to convince her to act otherwise.

If he had not known Mirabella as well as he did and thus didn’t know the significance of her mishmash armor he would tease her about wearing it to the palace. In spite of that, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was any occasion for which she would wear something else. Suddenly the image of her dancing at a ball in her armor sprung to his mind and he had to suppress a chuckle. He made a note to bring that up with her later.

He was also happy to see Acacia again. He had been so worried for her after what happened during the citadel, and though the presence of the babbling woman had seemed to act as a balm she remained troubled throughout the whole journey back to the capital. Once they made it back the two departed and he hadn’t seen either of them since. Wherever they had gone must have been good for Acacia because the smiling woman in front of him was quite different from the depressed one he had come to know.

Callavan he didn’t even recognize until the prince and princess addressed him. The man looked completely different now that he was clean shaven. He actually looked like a reputable person!

After all had been acknowledged servants guided them to rooms which had been prepared. Even though he had been to the palace before he hadn’t seen much of it beyond the great hall, and he marveled at all of the new sights. He was eager to catch up with the others but decided to change and freshen up a bit first. He changed into a lighter tabard which was still quite formal, though not quite as much as the velvet one he had been wearing. The princess had said to dress casual but he couldn’t bring himself to drop too much formality in the palace; he was a member of the nobility after all.

That’s when the realization hit him. His family would be at the coronation. In the past whenever there was an important event that might bring them to the palace he simply made a point to blend in with the other knights. But it was different now, he wasn’t just an average knight anymore he was a special guest of the prince. What if he was announced? He still held his family name, he wouldn’t have been able to become a knight without it; he had been so careful not to make so much of a name for himself that the courtiers might gossip about him.

Overwhelming guilt consumed him. So many times he wanted to write to them, or visit them when he was passing through the area. How much grief had his selfishness caused them? He’d kept track of them through the years, he knew that he now had a sister. Finding out about Kalifina had only increased his desire for reunion. He wanted to meet her more than anything. Her presence also dispelled the fear that his parents might reveal him. She was the charming debutante his mother had always wanted; she’d never find a good husband if anything were to mar the name Zarel.

Despite all of this the only response his brain could ever conjure to the idea of reuniting was “I’m not ready yet.” And now he might not get a say in the matter. More than anything he wanted to be the one to tell them instead of being revealed by circumstance. A part of him was happy, not having the courage to deal with this was the one thing he hated about himself, but mostly he was just anxious.

He had to talk with someone. Listen to someone else’s worries or even just small talk. Anything to take his mind somewhere else and banish the anxiety. He strode out into the hall hoping to find someone milling about, doing his best to keep his mask of confidence from slipping.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka
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#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin and Iravey Inicka

Talsin beamed rather brightly at Rydas’ sister as her feelings were plainly shown on the outside. The male twin only shifted slightly as she motioned to the guards, and then clicked his tongue as Rydas criticized her action. ”That’s hardly a way to treat your guests.” He mused with a teasing tone, completely dropping his hand- the princess was obviously not going to shake it.

As the woman motioned for the guards to move forward, Iravey stiffened a bit, irritation and alertness both present in that one shift in posture. However, as Rydas held up his hand for peace, she allowed her muscles to relax. Her eyes were somewhat brighter than they were as she noted how Sena’s mask cracked so quickly, and also at her tone. Obviously Tal’s first impression on the woman caused distaste, and it showed so easily through her words. Ira’s face, as always when in the presence of strangers, was emotionless as the princess gazed at her and Tal alike. However, as soon as they both turned to greet another pair, she tilted her head down and a slightly dark smirk slipped across her lips. ’How entertaining….’ And the female twin’s face was empty once more.

The princess appeared to be rather pampered and otherwise unquestioned in her commands, so Tal’s behavior was understandably upsetting; however, Ira found it highly amusing that her form broke so easily. Furthermore, it’d be even sweeter to watch how Tal prodded and teased her in the days to come. She herself could only stand by and observe, as she’d like to keep her standings neutral with the woman.

Tal found his way back to his sister’s side, still smiling innocently at those around him. He had completely ignored the harsh reactions of Rydas’ sister, and would indeed continue to subtly harass her at every entertaining point possible.”Fun stuff, eh?” He spoke in a quieter tone, addressing his sister. She matched his grin and nodded before letting it drop off her countenance.

“Again, thank you all for coming. I am pleased to finally meet you all. `Das has only the highest of compliments for each of you. I look forward to getting to know each of you intimately. However, I realize how tired you must be from your travels. Please, allow our servants to show you to your rooms. Rest, bathe, relax. We shall reconvene in a few hours for a tour and supper. There will be men and women in waiting outside your rooms should you need anything. Please, come casually dressed.” The twins’ heads shifted up to look at the princess’s face. Tal’s own face had an amused look to it, and behind Ira’s was the feeling of distaste- she didn’t want to be alone with the woman, she was too pristine and self-confident, plus she didn’t really trust her. She knew how annoying siblings could be, since she had to deal with Tal on a daily basis, so looking on that aspect for Sena, Ira had a rather discontented feeling towards it. Plus she hated people prying at her and trying to get her to open up and talk.
As the group started to move into the palace, Ira and Tal followed leisurely, he somewhere up near the front and she lingering more towards the back. Tal’s face was openly awestruck by how ornate everything was and how many halls and corridors split off in every direction. Ira’s revealed nothing, though her eyes swept across every area. It was definitely a large place, and probably held many secrets. That made her grin internally, but her lips remained a soft line externally.

Finally two servants came to the twins to take them away and present them their rooms, as were different servants doing with the others, and the footsteps of the four echoed against the walls as they walked. The servants stopped at two different doors, the rooms side by side, and opened them without any trouble. ”This is your room, we here at Castle Paetax hope you have a comfortable stay. If there is anything I can get for you, please let me know.” Both recited the same lines to each of the twins, and Tal shook his head with a grin. Ira requested only for a small cup of tea. The servants bowed and then exited, both heading separate directions.

Tal’s room was mainly colored with rich greens, golds, and greys, while Ira’s had tans, whites, and creams. They were both highly furnished, and the beds were large and had canopies. Ira blinked, letting out a mute sigh before walking around the room and exploring the different attributes. Their bags were already placed in their rooms beforehand by some other unseen servant. Tal grinned ever so brightly, walking around his room cheerfully and touching everything. Once he was satisfied, he strode out the door and into Ira’s room. ”Ever so fancy I declare!” He was about to sit down in one of the chairs before he suddenly got smacked in the face with a towel. ”What-“ The male twin looked down at the towel, and then realized there was a bit of dirt and dust on it- obviously from their traveling here. ”Oh, right, right. Well, way to ruin my towel!!” He huffed, swiveling on his foot and marching out of the room, his head held high as he returned to his own quarters.

Ira remained in her room, her palm up to her chin and her fingers spread out- somewhat covering her mouth as a laughing smile wavered on her lips before disappearing. The servant returned with her cup of tea, and set it down on the vanity dresser against the wall. Ira merely nodded in thanks and the servant bowed before leaving once again, closing the door behind her. The female twin took the cup of tea and wandered over to the linked room. The water had already been drawn and it smelled like cloves and rosewater had been added into it. She merely blinked and began to undress, leaving her dusty clothes in a neat pile before leaning down and setting the small teacup beside the pool. She then submerged herself and rested her arms on the stone floor. The cup was right in front of her, and she silently watched the tea within, enjoying the warmth around her. Eventually she began to drink it before actually washing the strains of travel from her form.

Tal bathed only to get the dirt off, and was only in the water for a short amount of time. He was quickly out and already dressed in different attire before exiting his room to go wander the halls and see what was to be seen. He wandered down one of the many corridors, and suddenly caught sight of a figure. He quickened his pace just slightly so he could get closer to discern just who it was. It was the girl he had carried- Acacia. She was just walking towards the corner when he called out, ”Oh, hey, Acacia!” She turned to look back, and her form stiffened slightly before she darted around the corner. Tal blinked for two seconds before actually beginning to go after her. However, when he turned the corner himself, she was nowhere to be seen. A small frown etched its way onto his face, and he shook his head. ’Seriously, what did I do?!’


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas
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#, as written by conor
Feylon smiled politely to the Princess, "The crown employed me in my...role....for over two years your highness, it would take more than the passing of a king to shake my loyalty. That is, provided the crown continues the paycheck. However I am guessing that that is someone else's decision to make." Feylon turned his gaze to the Prince. "Who knows, maybe the next monarch will have no need for my particular, services." Feylon bowed once more to the Princess and ducked his head for the Prince before continuing into the castle.

The interior of the castle brought back many memories for Feylon. Of course he was saddened by the death of the king. He knew him well. Working as spymaster to the king granted him benefits most would not have. After 2 years he knew and trusted the old king. Hours spent in secret discussing security and defense had given him insight to the king. However it was now the past. Feylon knew now he had to secure more employment if he wished to maintain his current lifestyle. Which was exactly the reason he chose to attend. Everyone has secrets.

When a housemaid arrived to show him his room he dutifully obliged. After traversing long, winding corridors they arrived at a large oak door. He bid the housemaid farewell and walked inside the room. A brilliant ray of sunlight lit the room through the window on the opposite room. Brilliantly decorated walls with paintings and tapestries. A double bed with ornate sheets and linens took up most of the room to his right and a tall cupboard to his left. It was very cozy and suited him. He took his pack off of his back and dropped it on the bed. He pulled out a pair of green robes. The robes were from the last days he spent with his tribe before leaving for the capital. They signified the ultimate stage of adulthood, leaving the clan and going into the wild. A vast ritual is performed lasting 3 days in which the person celebrating adulthood is subject to many physical and mental trials. Passing the tests granted them adult status in the clan and they were rewarded the custom made robes as their rite of passage.

It would be the first time he had worn them since but Feylon declined to think about it. Instead he quickly undressed and put on the ceremonial garment. He would not exactly be up to royal standards but he did not care. The robes had leather armor embedded to signify his clans love of fighting. It was the last remaining piece of his past that he cared to remember and he saw no better time to wear it. Pulling his hands through his hair he tied it into a ponytail. He dusted himself down and set off for the dining hall.


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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

It was soft, but earnest strides that Sena carried herself into the dining hall not moments after the guests were dispersed. As the only woman in the Errion family for quite some times, the tasks of running the household had fallen on to her; a position that she accepted and excelled at. Green eyes, characteristic to her kin, scanned the room. Visions carefully scrutinized each surface. A finger tip ran across a stone ledge that circled the room , nodding one in satisfaction at it’s dust-free status.

The room itself had been rearranged for the honorary feast. While a small step up usually housed a head table for the crown and kin, there were no chairs. A long table was ladened with something, or things , though the identity of such merchandise remained mystery from the drapery that covered it. On the main floor of the room were tables arranged in a horseshoe; an ingenious idea on her part to allow the guests clear view on one another. Such time had past that Senalae was certain there would be much discussion. Table runners, in the colours of her family, covered the length of the intricately carved furniture. Twine wrapped around the backs of the chairs, adding to the decoration. No food was in the room, though glass and china were set. Lanterns floated in the hair above the tables, faintly glowing like hundreds of stars, courtesy of the court mages—no expense had been spared.

The Princess motioned for a servant girl who in return bowed deeply to Sena. “Please, child, have a cushion set up beside my place setting in case Lady decides to join us.” She smilled. “As well; please extend an invitation to any guests that have arrived late, as well as Duke Colemainne, Countess Davi and Lady Teague.”

The serving girl, a new addition to the staff, nodded. All occupants of the castle and servant quarters were familiar with Lady, a resident cat who frequented the Princess’ side. “Yes m’lady.”

”Thank you.” She murmured, before setting on her way. Sena would need to check on members of staff that they were properly attired, and sample the food for the evening before it was revealed. Once business had finished, she bathed and changed to more appropriate attire.


A hiss of pain escaped Rydas’ lips as he pushed himself off the bed. A wound opened across his forearm before resealing itself without a trace. Two men-in-waiting stood by his bed, shifting uncomfortably as their eyes avoided the cursed Panacea and it’s results. The Prince allowed them to assist in his dressing, as was required by propriety. The pain had already passed, and a brief nap had rejuvenated him some; the bags beneath his eyes were gone, his vision appeared a little less pained. His servants were dismissed before he crossed the room of his chambers to pour himself a strong drink; a rare occasion at best.

The siblings met in a sitting room beside the hall, where they would wait until everyone had been seated. Staff had been dispatched to retrieve guests, bring them to their seats in the impressive hall. Sena’s slender eyebrow raised to the faint scent of alcohol on her brother’s breath, but said nothing. The smell was reminiscent of her father, but the Princess knew well that something was troubling her brother if he had indulged himself. She reached a hand out to his arm, squeezing it in earnest before allowing it to drop; it was a gesture meant to reassure. ”Relax, dear brother, everything has been arranged accordingly.”

Rydas nodded, pressing his lips together in a characteristic gesture akin to a smile. Those same lips parted to retort, but the action was interrupt by the sudden appearance of a servant. The young man donned in the Paetax livery cleared his throat, bowing low to the pair. “Please excuse me, Sire, Princess. Your guests have been seated.”

“Thank you, Grith. You may be excused.” Sena replied.

Grith exited the room, still bowing. The Princess wrapped her dainty fingers around her brother’s bicep, allowing him to escort her into the hall. Both had changed attire. Sena was wearing a gown in pale silvers and grey, ornately decorated from the waist up as that was all that would be seen at the table. Rydas still wore the house colours, golds and plums, though they were substantially more somber in tones. His outfit was more decorated in the top portion as well, as seemed to be appropriate for the event. The moved to their seats as servants darted around filling goblets with mean, and glasses with water.

The pair paused at the head of the table. It was Sena that spoke, addressing them all, again. ”Thank you all for making such a long journey here. I know my brother, future King of Calisma, is pleased to have support from some of the dearest people in his life. It is in your honour that we hold this feast to night, to thank you for your countless efforts in saving our nation from dire situations. From my heart, I thank you for returning Rydas home in one piece. These are actions that have been written in History, events to be discussed through out time. I raise my glass to you, Champions, in thanks.”

Both Rydas and Sena brought goblets to lips, sipping to conclude the speech. Rydas pushed in Sena’s chair as she took a seat, but he remained standing. The Prince paused a moment, scanning the guests with familiarity and warmness. ”Yes, thank you all, and thank you to my dear sister for arranging this dinner. Please, let us eat first, and when the meal has finished I ask you remain.”

He didn’t elaborate, but instead changed directions, motioning to the clergyman nearby. ”Before we eat, I’d like to introduce you to a new acquaintance of mine. Azevrec is the head of the church of Deud—“ His voice lingered on the name of the deity, letting the meaning sink in to those that knew their former priest. ”—And he would like to say a prayer before we commence.”

Rydas’ eyes again looked through the guests, pausing on a dark man of ashen hair he hadn’t seen. This must be the Third the servants had been whispering about. He had seen the man before, a few times briefly talking to his father, and just as he had then the man now inspired knots of discomfort in his stomach. The Thirds were unpredictable at best, troublesome in the least. He tore his eyes away, sitting and returned to the joyous occasion at hand. The Prince, along with Sena, bowed their heads for prayer.

When the words to a God neither put faith in had ended, Sena opened her eyes and motioned to the door. The double wooden doors opened revealing a long line of servants. The line seemed never ending, each carting in new dishes from varied cultures all over Calisma. The scent was exotic, decadent. It inspired mouth to water as food was dished out in all different flavours.

Mouthwatering to most, it seemed, but not Rydas. Suddenly he was remembering a very similar feast in Idassava’s Citadel. The Prince took a generous sip of his wine.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Elizabetta Aria Teague
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#, as written by Celedia
”Lady Teague, dinner is being served in the Main Hall and the Prince and Princess wish to extend the invitation to dine with the…” The palace servant paused, his wrinkled lip twisting in a position akin to distaste before continuing, ”Special guests.”

Elizabetta was seated upon a soft cloth-covered bench in front of the vanity in her room, casting a bemused look back upon the servant. “Charles, what displeases you about the dinner guests? They are Rydas’ traveling companions, after all. I hear they saved his life. If the Prince respects them enough to invite them into his home and to his coronation… Don’t you think that you owe them the same respect?”

The corners of her chocolate brown eyes crinkled in amusement as Charles huffed indignantly for a moment before conceding to her point of view.

”As always…. You are right, Lady Elizabetta.” A brief smile finally broke his rigid countenance and his eyes softened a touch before reverting to the same stoic look that he wore as easily as he wore his tuxedo. ”Ah, but how you seem to grow more and more into an elegant young woman every time I see you, Lady Elizabetta. It is a shame that you don’t visit as often as you used to…”

Charles had been her attendant every year since over a dozen years ago when she first started summering at the Palace. In the absence of her real father each visit, he had been there to comfort her, read to her, lead her on tours about the castle as well as simply lending her an ear when she needed it. Now, as she grew older, she needed less assistance from the servant but she still requested him upon her visits. He had become as much of a friend as a butler.

”Ah, well if my father’s grand plan had ever worked then I would be betrothed to the Prince and you would see me daily.” The smile faltered upon her lips briefly as she turned to gaze at herself in the mirror for a moment. ”If you wouldn’t mind waiting for me in the sitting room, Charles? I will get ready for the dinner and meet you there when I am prepared.”

With a formal bow, Charles took his leave of the Archduke’s daughter and she set about primping and preparing for the royal feast. When she was done some time later, she was certainly a sight to behold. A wondrous mixture of the fashionable styles introduced to her by Sena, the Princess, and the more colorful tendencies of her own family. A gown was chosen, exquisite in cut and cloth with a fuller skirt than most of her day dresses. Yet, instead of the metallic or royal hues favored by the royal siblings, her own dress was a vivid mixture of reds and oranges, swirled together in a way that resembled fire. The bodice hugged her form tightly before flaring out at the waist into s skirt that had a wispy fabric overlying a satin underskirt.

As she exited her room, Charles offered his arm to her and with a smile she clasped her slender digits about his bicep. By the sounds coming from the dining room, she was late- a fact that didn’t surprise her in the least since she always seemed to be strolling in amidst the conversation and chaos.

Leading her to one of the chairs reserved for the nobility, Charles pulled her seat out for her and allowed her to perch upon it before he slid it in beneath her. Already, the kitchen staff was performing their choreographed dance to fill the plates of the many guests already seated around the U-shaped table and though her dark gaze traveled from person to person, lingering occasionally upon those that seemed interesting or entertaining; her eyes didn’t dance with emotion until they completed their circle to land upon both Rydas and Sena.

A smile graced her lips and she inclined her head in greeting to them both before turning her attention to the man that would provide the prayer for their meal.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Magna Romea
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No one questioned the cat that was tailing Travian as he and the servant hurried to the dining hall. Apparently it had taken the man longer than he thought to find the paladin so he was running late. He was a little uncomfortable at the prospect of showing up late, especially with the cat. All of his life he’d lived with the rule that animals were absolutely not allowed indoors and he kept expecting someone to chastise him for it. He’d never forget how much trouble he’d gotten in that one time he snuck a puppy in the house back when he was still a little kid.

Magna blinked a few times, her tail swaying comfortably along the ground, a content look upon her face as she continued to follow along behind the man. He served as a guide, even though she already knew the way- one should arrive with another, after all.

They were indeed late, and Magna flicked her ear- she didn’t mind in all honesty, she figured she didn’t miss anything really important. What really irked her was the fact that there were a few other courtiers which she recognized- obviously late invites, and she had seen nor heard any servant coming to summon her; of course this worked out rather nicely, as she wouldn’t have to explain why she decided not to come, but nonetheless.

He felt the pressure of many eyes on him when he entered the hall at last. Most of the seats were already filled- mostly faces he knew but some new ones as well. After an uncomfortable moment standing there looking for an empty chair he finally spotted one. As he started moving towards it he realized he had to walk right by the royal family- which at first made him even more uncomfortable until he noticed a small pillow near the princess’ chair. “It must be for the cat!” he thought as he approached.

The Princess listened intently to her brother’s speech before switching her gaze to the clergyman that had just been introduced. It was movement, however, that tore her eyes away. A few late arrivals quietly made their way to empty seats, one of which strolled by her end of the table. It wasn’t the man, however, that caught her attention but rather the furry creature that followed him so diligently. Spsss, spsss… A soft catcall escaped her pretty lips, beckoning her familiar to her side where a comfortable cushion awaited.

Green gaze rose upwards, offering a soft smile to the man she recognized as a paladin. ‘Travian, I see you’ve met Lady. She’s a resident of the estates. I hope she hasn’t alarmed you at all, she’s usually quite well-mannered.”

"No, no, she's very well behaved. I was just suprised by her. So is she your cat, princess?"

The feline let out a soft meow, sitting down and curling her tail around her haunches and over her front paws, looking at both of them.

”Oh, Lady doesn’t belong to anyone. She does as she pleases.” Sena laughed, looking fondly at the cat.

"Oh how long has she been here then?" he asked, even more curious about the cat than before.

‘Oh, now he’s interested.’ Internally, the feline smirked, but remained rather happy looking on the exterior. She pawed at the man- Travian’s, leg, before looking back up at Sena, a short purr rumbling through her figure in response to her gaze. She then took the time to look around at the rest of the faces, cataloging their appearances in her mind, and how they reacted to each other.

"A few years." She replied simply, her eyes drifting back to the man who was about to make a prayer.
Following the princesses eyes he saw that a priest of some sort was about to make a prayer, so he made a respectful bow and walked over to his seat. He remained standing so as to not cause too much noise while the man was speaking. Once the priest was done speaking, Travian slid into his seat.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Azevrec
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#, as written by conor
The corridors seemed to go on forever as Feylon silently moved down them getting closer and closer to the hall in which the banquet was taking place. More nervous than he usually would be. He came out of respect for the king, but primarily because he needed a new job, and Rydas was the one he was offering his services too. He stopped in the middle of a brightly lit corridor and took a deep breath. Servants and maids could be heard not to far away scurrying about. Finally regaining his composure he pressed on down the corridor, finally breaking out into the hall wherein the feast was to take place.

He took his seat quietly and looked around. Familiar faces greeted him as he analyzed the guests at the tables. a few faces he did not recognised he guessed must be nobility, one of the many families either kissing royalties arse or scheming to be the next royals. Either way nobility were among his least favorite of the social classes narrowly being beaten by members of the clergy. The table was lavishly decorated from head to toe in all manners of finery and utensils. The meal ahead he was sure was going to be one of the best he would ever lay eyes on, and indeed ever consume. He would savor it that's for sure.

Finally the Princess began to speak. Thanking them for their service to the crown. Feylon saw it more as a contract of pay rather than a service to the crown. At least that's what he wanted himself to think. He enjoyed working for the king in the past, and as much as he hated to admit it he was saddened that he was now gone. Would Rydas live up to expectations now that his father had set the bar. When the Princess had finished talking it was the turn of Rydas. Who seemed unenthusiastic about the whole event but then Feylon would too, entertaining people was never his strong point, even if that was not the reason for the Princes lack of enthusiasm.

When the Prince asked them to stay after the meal he was pleasantly intrigued, a new way to make money perhaps? It had been a while since he blew most of his money from the previous journey purchasing half of the whore house in the seedier district of Paetax. At least he got free servicing from now on. However his enthusiasm was cut short when the new priest was announced. "Yay, nothing beats talking to your delusions before a nice meal" he muttered to himself. He sat staring at the opposite wall waiting for the prayers to be over.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

As his sister conversed, the future king watched from his seat at the head of the table. Eyes, now keen from his quiet respite, slid over the room in quiet contemplation. He watched as the guests entered one by one. Many were faces he knew, recognized and trust. Some were adventurers, and others were members of the court. What had once been a nightmare to oversee had now become comfort. It was then that it donned on him that his guests, his nearest and dearest came from all walks of life. The varied status were now housed under one roof, breaking bread and sharing stories. His father, had he lived to see the day, would have been proud.

Dazius Errion, First King of Calisma, hadn’t set out to crown himself. He saw a vacancy in a land ripped and torn asunder by rampant magic and greedy men. He saw a void where there should have been something uniting them, holding them true to morality and law, creating safety and warmth. What happened after the cessation quickly spiraled outwards in a vision that wasn’t just his own, but a vision that the people cried out for. The feudal system followed in suit, but Dazius had never wanted a separation between population and peoples of state. Still, he managed and whatever had come had been far better than what had been. These were things that Rydas had learned and came to understand in the weeks that followed his father’s death. His time had been spent pouring over history books and personal journals; learning, reliving. Those words were coming to fruition now, and the future was becoming more and more clear.

Some of the nobility were seated. Rydas wondered briefly if they would see the coming changes through his eyes, or if they would stand against him. Those born into power often had a hard time releasing it. Lady Elizabetta, his sister’s friend, took her seat and he thought she would be a woman of sense. Lady Arianna would be the wild card within the nobles; she had skirted all questions of political alliances and stuck to light banter, though he had yet to have the opportunity to meet the woman. And then there was Duke Colemainne. As if the man had read his mind, the all too familiar voice greeted him:Your highness! Rydas! It’s been too long. Years, wasn’t it?

The green eyes so characteristic to the Prince turned to face the man. Their childhood life had frequently presented them to one another in sparring matches and tournaments, putting them at odds as frequently as they were to be on the same side. Still, he had always been as close a friend as any. He nodded his head, the closest thing to a smile he could offer.

“Firenze. My pardon, Duke, it has been too long. You should join me in the barracks in the morning… I still train with the guard at dawn daily.”

It was an invitation between friends, and the only thing he could offer at the time. The feast was about to commence and his sister looked impatiently at him. Sena motioned for a servant to come forward. A man did as he was bided and escorted the Duke to a seat near the rest of the nobility. The Princess turned her attentions back to the priest.

Near by, he could hear Feylon’s blasphemous jokes and only with practiced restraint was he able to stifle his own chuckle. How rare it was when he and the ranger were likeminded, but here was a point he couldn’t disagree. Still, religion held his purpose and he was should it respect.

Rydas winced, a sharp intake of breath was heard only by his sister who sent him a sideways glance of concern. He shook his head, but whether to calm her or shake away the pain she wasn’t sure. He was thankful when the prayer started for something to focus on. Both Sena and Rydas bowed their heads respectively, remaining quiet until the verse was over. The silence was nice, but it didn’t last.

"I see many of our most influential nobles are here as well"

Those next words ran cold fingers up Rydas’ spine. His eyes snapped open as he looked up to the man who was still standing. He could see the gleam in the man’s eye and in some strange way he felt as if Akdov was still present. Beside him he could feel his sister’s gaze harden and narrow, each having been taught to separate state from church. And then the words came, beating around he bush but asking for a handout all the same.

Sena tensed, a flush of anger colouring her cheeks. The man of the cloth was scavenging for handouts at her soiree, something he had only been invited to by chance. The insult was clearly outlined on her features for a moment before she calmed herself. Lips parted to speak but words were stopped short. It was Rydas, this time, who showed tact. He cleared his throat.

“Please, Azevrec, I invite you to bring your plight to the address of the court. Tonight, however, is a time of celebration and to honour my companions. Trust me when I say you don’t wish to insult our host. Don’t let the pleasantries fool you, Senalae is another woman, fierce when slighted.”

He laughed, and was relieved when then Princess did as well. She had caught on to his tactics, and with Rydas cutting the religious talk short she jumped in. Her slender, delicate hands rose above her hand and clapped. On que, the wide oak doors opened once more and in flooded all the food. As the meal came to a cease, neither Prince nor Princess had touched much of the food, but yet another course was served. In came candied fruits and puddings, cakes and pies topped with sugar and whipped cream enough to make even the most gluttonous feel sated.

Once all had their fill, the servants once more appeared to remove all the dishes, and the tables were stripped bare of anything save the necessities. More wines and water were brought in, and glasses filled. Conversation switched to a murmur and loud laughter, as the guests spoke amongst themselves. Sena softly pet her cat, feeding her bits of roast pheasant and other delicacies. Rydas, however, remained quiet at the head of the table. After some time had passed he rose once more, clearing his throat to gather attention.

“Please, everybody be seated. I hope everyone has had their fill and found the meal to be more than satisfactory. I unfortunately turn the topic to something more serious.”

He pushed his seat back, and walked up the stairs to the dais. Worn, calloused hands removed the heavy clothes from the table and revealed numerous shinning, gleaming objects. These were items that would be recognized by any of the adventurers, and could be assumed by anyone else that had not been there: they were those of the Twenty Items of Power that had been recovered from their quest for Panacea.

“As you all know, we found many things within the treasury at Idassava’s Citadel. Amongst them were some items of legend, thought to have been destroyed during the darker days of Calisma’s history. I, along with my council, have a yet another task to entrust you with.” He grew quiet, looking around the room at those that were present.

“These items will be sought out by friends and foe alike, and while Paetax’s own treasury is safe, I fear housing all this power in one place is asking for doom. Your task, should you accept it, is to safeguard an item and use it to protect this realm.” He paused, letting his message sink in before he would begin to hand out the items to their respectful adventurers. The nobility were there to witness the event that would mark history.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Magna Romea Character Portrait: Azevrec
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#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka

Click click… click. Click click… click. The sound of Tal’s boot heel spread across the rather void halls as he walked, his back straight and one hand behind his back. ’Step step, hop. Step step, hop.’ He mused to himself as he acted out his odd little shuffle. A soft tune wavered behind Tal’s closed lips, pausing only when he breathed. His footfalls matched the song which he hummed, and every so often the notes would drop as he brought up his left hand, opening his mouth and then biting down on the soft flesh of some sort of fruit.

The male twin smiled cheerfully to no one save himself, and then licked at the corners of his lips where juice threatened to dribble down. His movements could be seen as clockwork- fairly precise and very continual. ’Step step, hop…. Step step, hop.’ Click click… click. Click click… click.

After having attempted to chase after that Acacia girl, Tal figured he had seen enough of the castle for one day. He had also decided it to be best not to get lost and then make a scene and cause trouble for the hidden workers of the castle. So he had wandered off and found some sort of sustenance. Click click… click-k. Tal’s ear twitched, and he abruptly stopped, retaining his content grin as his sister suddenly appeared at his side. He broke his stance to perform a small little wave to her before continuing to move.

He blinked, his gaze shifting down towards her outstretched hand. He rubbed his chin for a few seconds before shrugging. ”Don’t know,” He leaned against the wall with a mellow facial expression before taking another bite of his mystery fruit. Continuing on to elaborate more on his sister’s written question, Tal’s voice worked its way around the small pieces of fruit within his mouth, ”It appears to be a hybrid of peach and plum, but I don’t rightfully know what it’s called.” His walking- and humming- resumed and Ira followed behind. Click click… click. Click click… cli- ”Hey Ira, do you remember that little marionette doll. You know- the one from the small town… uh, Tempera I believe it was?” -ck. Click click… click. Ira’s eyes shifted over to her brother’s form, and took the extra step-breaking the merged sound of their footsteps- and her step settled seemingly perfect with his.

She neatly deposited a little puppet string into his free palm before falling back in step with him, although this time at his side. Tal smiled, tilting his head and peering down at the object. ”So you’ve still kept it, huh? That’s nice to know. Sometimes I wonder how deep those pockets of yours are… but then I remember I don’t ever want to find out. It would ruin the fun and excitement!” He let out a short laugh before humming once more.

He finished his fruit and then deposited the pit onto a small table nearby and then gazed up at the grand ceilings. He opened his lips and words came forth from his hummed song, “But alas, her string- began to fray; Alas, the little puppet girl knew not- for if that knot unraveled that day; The little puppet girl would never get to play… again.” The tune he carried on humming until they ran into a pair of servants who had been sent out to find and corral the adventurers to dine. They led the two to the dining room, and Tal entered cheerfully, his eyes scanning over many of the already-seated guests. However, there were some new faces as well- nobles, as he soon discovered from the idle chatter going about the table.

The male twin simply strode to an empty seat, his facials brightening as he realized it was next to the One-Who-Keeps-Avoiding-Me, and fell lightly into it. ”So, what do you think of the castle so far?” He blinked, his focus directed solely on her with a small smile. However, it faltered a bit when she failed to answer him. ”Acacia?” He waved three fingers in front of her face, trying to grasp her attention.

”Oh sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” Tal let out a soft cough, squinting one eye before restating his question. After a few more moments she answered him, only to receive another subtle cough. ”Very… big and… nice words.” He mimicked good-naturedly, a cheerful smile on his face to show no hard feelings were meant in his jape. He opened his mouth to say something else, but was instead interrupted by a sharp jab in the ribs- the result of his sister sitting next to him, and the Prince began to speak. So they’d have to listen to some prayer or other. Tal’s lips pursed uneasily, but he remained polite and silent.

After the prayer was finished Tal’s eyes widened as the plethora of food entered the room. The smells were fantastic, and his stomach growled eagerly. He tucked into the food before him, but ate rather modestly for fear of being beaten by Ira afterwards and stuck to a new training schedule. He shuddered at the thought before quickly putting it away. He chewed thoughtfully and laughed often with the conversations floating around him, having almost completely forgotten about the encounter minutes ago with Acacia.

However, as the servants returned to dispose of their dishes, their attention was recalled by Rydas. A look of distaste wove itself onto Tal’s countenance, but he focused nonetheless. His eyes widened as he noted the random objects set before them- all linked by their magical properties. “These items will be sought out by friends and foe alike, and while Paetax’s own treasury is safe, I fear housing all this power in one place is asking for doom. Your task, should you accept it, is to safeguard an item and use it to protect this realm.” Blinking, the male twin leaned back further against his chair, pondering over each one in particular, his only thoughts being that of just what they did. And, since Rydas himself had one, what the consequences were.

Iravey Inicka

Ira stepped from her room, quietly shutting the door behind her- now that her things were unpacked, she wished them to remain anonymous from prying eyes. She would have to find herself a key later on, but for now, she set off on her task of finding the dining room. Unlike her brother, her steps were relatively silent- the result of something practiced for many years. Of course, she was a lot more casual about her mannerisms as she was a guest, and figured that there wouldn’t be many watchful eyes out. Being loud just wasn’t something she could make herself do anymore for fear that it would break her carefully constructed demeanor.

Her eyes quickly landed on that of her brother’s back, and she immediately advanced towards him with her steps shifting in sync with his. She was about a second off, and the ending of her footfall delayed after his, causing her twin to stop, waiting for her. Her eyes travelled up and down his form critically, and a piece of small parchment was in her hand while she scribbled something down as they resumed motion. What are you eating? She held it out for him to read, and he responded with a very vague answer.

”Hey Ira, do you remember that little marionette doll. You know- the one from the small town… uh, Tempera I believe it was?” With a blink, the female twin shifted around in her pockets before producing the small golden string, her leg stiffening to match down with her brother’s step and depositing the item in his hand before shifting back and walking next to him. ”So you’ve still kept it, huh? That’s nice to know. Sometimes I wonder how deep those pockets of yours are… but then I remember I don’t ever want to find out. It would ruin the fun and excitement!” She grinned slightly at him, her eyes shining with the emotion before it was wiped clean from her face. He continued his humming- the song he had created from the days they spent within that town and the small puppet.

Tal stuffed the string into one of his own pockets before continuing down the hall with Ira close at hand. They quickly ran into two servants who immediately led them to the dining hall- a small relief for Ira. As they entered, her eyes scanned over the faces within the room- quite a few had still to arrive, but there were new people as well. Her form stiffened for two seconds before she forced it to relax, but she was on the alert. Nobles- those who rarely should be trusted. She quickly turned and followed Tal to the table, taking the seat to his right as he conversed with the woman from before. Her gaze shifted around the room, taking in the faces and focusing on what was going on around her.

However, after a short prayer, the food was quick to arrive, and she settled back into her chair, waiting for her plate to be set. Once it was, she ate silently, listening in on the conversations going on about her. She constantly found her gaze shifted more towards the nobles, noting how they acted and how they spoke.

Once dinner was over and the servants appeared to take away their dishes, Rydas recalled their attention to himself as he spoke- changing the topic to something apparently more serious. Just what was quickly revealed as the Prince removed a cloth from a table. Twenty items of power- it boded many things, good and bad. Her thoughts immediately went to the nobles- in her opinion, it wasn’t very wise to have them there if they were rather influential. They were called the twenty items of power for a reason. Her eyes focused on the Prince’s face, rather docile towards what he wanted them to do.

Magna Romea

Her ears shot up as she heard the voices of some of the nobles of the house, and the softest of growls threatened past her vocals to lightly test the air. ’How offensive! They invite practically all the highest ranking nobles, and I didn’t see a single servant walking towards the direction of my room.’ Her whiskers twitched softly, another display of irritation. Oh well, it hardly mattered in any case- she was there after all. Her head twitched up as the man departed from the Princess to sit down.

Magna’s sleek form shifted from her seated position on the floor to the pillow which was placed specifically for her near the Princess’s side. It was rather soft and filled to just the right proportion to be comfortable and still allow her a good view. She settled into the center, her tail curling over her left haunch and stopping at her side. And then Sena announced they had to listen to some priest drone on in a prayer, and Magna’s ears flicked backwards fractionally to display her distaste.

Thankfully, it was a short one, so the food would be arriving shortly. She was rather hungry, and was definitely ready to eat. However, her head tilted up to peer at the priest who then addressed the Prince and Princess, asking for a donation. ’Tactless.’ She thought mildly towards the man, her tail tip twitching softly against the fabric of her pillow. Her eyes darted upwards, her gaze settled on Sena’s facials as her own anger showed up in some of the angles of her cheeks and countenance. A soft meow pressed past her lips and she reached out a paw to tap lightly on the hem of the Princess’s skirt before returning to her body. Rydas addressed the man, and Magna let out a short purr.

Her ear twitched as Sena clapped, indicating that food was soon to come, and Magna’s eyes brightened at the aspect of delicious food. Soon she felt the soft hand of Sena sliding across her head and back as she was stroked, and a light purr rumbled through her vocals. The feline daintily took the small pieces of meat from the Princess’s hand, being sure to refrain from actually touching her fingers. She chewed cheerfully, relishing the tastes that filled her heightened senses.

Her ears swiveled constantly, never ceasing to pick up pieces of all conversations. She was learning a lot about these people, even though they only shared a few tidbits of what they had been up to lately. Rydas soon stood once more, calling everyone’s attention. Her head swiftly edged up so her sight would rest on him, and he revealed that he had something important to explain at this gathering. Her ears flicked forward readily, eager to gain the information.

But she wasn’t expecting what he unveiled. A soft hiss escaped her vocals, and her ears fell flat against her skull. Her form tensed and many thoughts flew through her head. The nobles were here- it wasn’t even a question to think that they’d want those items. It wasn’t safe for them to be here, and she was quickly put off.

Rydas continued to speak, and her form reverted to its normal state, though still tense. So he was going to entrust his adventurers to these items. That was clever of him. Magna rose from her pillow and gingerly leaped up to the lap of the Princess and settled down, ready to depart if she showed any signs of not wanting her there. She wanted to see who would get what.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty

Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“These items will be sought out by friends and foe alike, and while Paetax’s own treasury is safe, I fear housing all this power in one place is asking for doom. Your task, should you accept it, is to safeguard an item and use it to protect this realm.”

He felt the words escape his lips as much as he heard them, the weight of the meaning hanging in the air and followed by a silence that was much the same. For three heartbeats, that stretched on for eons, that same absence of noise and movement and breath until everything erupted all at once. Much to Rydas’ dismay, his guests and friends and family alike all began screaming.

“Do you really think you can follow in father’s footsteps, brother?” Senalae hissed, her distasted apparent.

Around the room, the courtiers and adventures alike began throwing their food and dishes as if the feasting hall had become some form of public shaming. He dodge a goblet, though heard a thick clunk as the heavy dinnerware hit the wall and left a remarkable dent. Again he dodged as something came his way, though wasn’t as quick and felt mashed root vegetables soak through the silken shirt he had donned and stain the royal colour. So many voices all at once had made if difficult to discern one conversation to the next, but the opinion was unanimous; he wasn’t fit to be king, he was a fool, he had let his father die, he should have died on the floor to that treasure room one month prior.

Rydas’ head rose, looking out to the sea of angry, yelling faces only to have his own face pale. A slender figure walked towards him, climbing on top of chair and then table to head straight down the middle amongst the silver dishes and towards the soon-to-be King. He white gown was all too familiar as it graceds her supple curves with each stride. Long, raven hair fell in perfect curves around a face too pretty to be real. Niluxiel. Perfect lips, painted in red, parted with a musical laugh that seemed to climb well above the noise.

”Playing King, little Prince?” She cooed as she ascended the dais. Her hands, cold, pressed against his face and chest as she leaned towards his ear. ”I promised I’d come back for you, my love…”

”No!” He yelled.

Rydas gasped, rising from his bed to hear his scream ring and die out in the empty bedroom chamber. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a shadow move, but when he looked there was nothing but furniture and darkness. The pillow beside his own had the faint indent of another person, as if someone had just been there, and the scent of lavender and rose of the castle bathwater lingered. For a few instants he swore he could still feel handprints on his face. With a swallow, he hit the pillow as if to erase any memory that lingered. It was all just a dream; or dreams within dreams, much as every night had been since he’d died that fateful day on the treasury floor.

His yell had not gone unnoticed. He was certain that they sentries posted outside his door had heard and sent again for his sister, whose hurried feet could be heard coming down the hall. Weeks ago they had stopped barging in, looking for intruders, but accepted the fact that terrors plagued what little sleep the Prince managed to get.

“Das?” She said, softly as she opened the door and let a flood of light in. It was already day, it seemed, though is heavy curtains had shaded his room long enough to attempt rest. Sena stood in his door, draped in a simple grey gown that inspired déjà vu and made him quake a little. “You’ve slept away nearly half the day, it’s almost time- get dressed, I’ll have some food sent in.”

He nodded, acknowledging the mothering tone despite her age being two years younger than himself. She had been the rock through out the last month; orchestrating the funeral, handling state affairs while he recovered. As the door closed he doubled over in pain, a new would exposing the fat; black and bubbling yellow as if he’d just contracted a serious burn. Before he could even open his eyes the wound had sealed itself. That kind of excruciating pain had become the norm. It was discovered that Panacea not only bound to a single wearer, but unleashed all injuries it had healed previously on to the new owner. It did as it said, but at a price. Even if the adventurers had managed to finish the quest sooner, they wouldn’t have been able to save the failing King, who died on the journey back to Paetax. Not that Rydas would have wished his pain on anyone.

Well, maybe one…

His guests had been gathering for the last week within the castle and the surrounding city. The coronation was on the morrow; but for the eve Sena had planned a great masquerade ball- and anyone who was anyone knew that the Princess’ events were the events. The woman could wear a paperbag and she’d be starting a latest trend. Still, with so many friends so close by he had yet to see anyone- his health and duties had kept him locked up like a convict, pouring over legal documents and historical texts.
Tonight. A faint smile managed to pull at his lips. It would be good to see everyone again.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Senalea stood front and center at the base of two staircases that curled from a balcony down to the ballroom floor. A content smile fitted across her lips, pleased at what she saw. She had truly outdone herself this time.

Banners and ribbons hung from all the ceilings, with globes filled with lunarshrooms- rare mushrooms that glowed in the dark. When the lights went down it’d look like stars in the night sky. Tables were out, and servants hurried to fill them with food and drink alike. The finishing touches were almost done, with the last few candles being lit on the tables and the band setting up the last of their instruments.

Delicate fingers smoothed down the intricately embroidered gown of flowing material in several different shades of red and violet. Gold flowers were finely stitched into the bodice, and if she moved even a fraction of an inch the breeze would catch the layers of the skirt and send them flying. Small wings, fastened out of raven feathers, attached to the back of her ensemble. Her pretty features were painted in like-hues, with her mask painted to her face instead of being an accessory to wear.

Her chin raised a fraction of an inch, giving the signal. She was ready to begin. A smile plastered itself across her face as she waited for the guests to enter. A man stood at the top of the stairs, announcing each guests’ name and title as they entered. Of course, her brother would be the last.

Everything was going as planned.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell Character Portrait: Meia Veritas
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#, as written by Script
Though far from the levels of grandeur of the libraries within the guild, the Palace's library was by no means lacking in creature comforts. Where the guild libraries were extensive and sprawling, the Palace hosted a more modest collection of books that consisted largely of the royals' personal collections. The room itself was filled with an abundance of luxurious chairs, exquisite writing kits and all kinds of accessories a reader might want for. It was the warm atmosphere of the library, from its lush red-and-gold rugs and glossy shelving to the plentiful globe-lights that illuminated it, that drew Tariel here as opposed to elsewhere in the city for his reading. Let it never be said there were not advantages to having a family who hobnobbed with the royals, even if the internal politics of the court were not to Tariel's taste.

It was in one of the fancily decorated cushioned chairs that the young mage was sat, a thick tome in his lap and his mind far from the outside world. Here and there servants and the odd noble perused or tended to the books, but he paid them no mind. Nor were his thoughts bothering themselves with the ball later that day, that he had been informed in no uncertain terms by his mother that he was attending. He supposed that there were downsides to his heritage too, and in some respects he envied those of his peers back at the guild that were able to remain there all the time, devoting themselves fully to their craft whilst he was nudged relentlessly towards the courts. Tariel had no doubt that his parents had eyes on the position of court mage for him, but he really didn't think he was quite prestigious enough for something like that. There were almost doubtless better choices, and he didn't think any amount of social jockeying on their part would make a difference there.

Sigh. And there he was, letting his mind wander away from his reading. So much for not thinking about anything else.

Meia stood at the entrance to the library, and, not for the first time, decided she disliked the place. That was true for most of the capital, but the library was perhaps the one location in Paetax that reminded her of her church, and it made Paetax's omnipresent vainglory all the more jarring. Even though the place was intended for the noble pursuit of knowledge, the excessive luxury blatantly contradicted that, and it was manifestly obvious that intellectual enrichment was only a secondary objective here.

Meia moved slowly, quietly, the sound of cloth against skin heavier than her footfalls. Though the palace was abustle with guests and visitors, the library remained a sanctum of silence. It seemed odd, then, that she had come here to murder that silence, and speak to one she would call a friend. Perhaps friend was presumptuous, but the young noble had been decent to her when he had no reason to, and it was good to meet a noble trying to live up to the title.

It took but a moment to find the young man - Meia merely needed to look for two, generally mutually exclusive qualities; that of youth, and that of genuinely wanting to be here. For all that the Vaynell scion did not demand attention in the crude fashion taller men did, his Truth of belonging shined like a beacon. Today, though, the young man looked a little out of his element.

"Lord Vaynell," Meia whispered, "I am pleased to find you." She quietly pulled a chair backwards and sat down, taking a moment to straighten her robe. "Are you well?"

Tariel looked up from his book at Meia's whisper, jarred from between musing over the upcoming masquerade debacle and trying to focus on the writings of Tobias Marcell regarding the specific applications of Alchemy in spellcasting. As interesting as both subjects were, he gave himself a mental shakedown so that he could focus on actually conversing. "Oh, Meia - I didn't hear you approaching, I'm sorry." he replied, setting his book aside with a small smile of greeting. "I'm fine, thank you, though I'm not sure I'm looking forward to tonight. You know about the ball, I'm assuming?"

"I do not understand why I have given you cause for regret, but I will try to approach more loudly next time," Meia said with an apologetic bow. "Concerning this ball, I was hoping you might redress my ignorance once more. The event referred to as the 'masquerade' - I am unfamiliar with it."

It took Tariel a few moments to take in exactly what Meia was asking - after all, someone not knowing what a masquerade was seemed incredibly strange for someone who'd been raised with a great deal of fuss being made over them whenever they happened. Blinking through his surprise, he got his act together to reply. "I suppose you must not have anything like that where you're from," he deduced, the vocalised explanation more for his own benefit than Meia's, "A masquerade or ball is a big social event hosted by someone influential, in this case the princess. On the surface it's essentially a party. Lots of people from all across the land are invited, mostly the nobility, but you'll likely see a number of adventurer types who have the princess' or the new King's favour, or really anyone in that position." he paused to give Meia a chance to take that in, and figure out how to phrase the rest of his explanation. "But -"

"Lord Vaynell," Meia interjected as politely as possible. "While I appreciate your tutelage, I would dislike you to think me entirely uninformed. What I am asking is, why is it called a masquerade?"

"Ah," Tariel began, flustered both from misinterpreting Meia's question and being cut off from his mentally-prepared script, "That's because generally people will wear masks to attend, which can sometimes just be for show, but sometimes people try and make a game of trying to determine who one another are, which occasionally leads to faux pas when people think they're talking to one person, but are actually talking to another. Personally I just think it's confusing and looks silly..."

"That is because you are a decent person, young Lord." Meia sighed sadly. What depravity - the eve may prove more harrowing than she had thought. The one thing more sinister than malicious deceit was deceit in guise of innocence, and it had seeped into the stone of the palace, into the heart of the royal family, and none thought to look askance. "Your people make play of lies and falsehood. It is easy to see how this city happened."

Tariel hesitated in his response, torn between at least putting in a token protest in defense of his home, or just avoiding confrontation. "Well..." he began, "I don't think it's all black and white, but... well, we could probably do with less of the social maneuvering that goes on, at least. It makes trusting anyone from another family a risk. I just try and stay uninvolved. Things are simpler back at the guild, or at least complicated in a less insurmountable way."

"You are building walls. You might try building windmills, and perhaps the wind of change will feel more welcome." Meia rose from her chair and bowed, a faint smile played around her lips. "Veritas Anthesterion 2:15. Forgive me, I did not mean to lecture you. I must now tend to my preparations, but it would please me to exchange words with you again tonight."

"Ah... yeah," Tariel nodded, smiling after a moment's pause to mentally brush aside the scripture quotation, "It's alright, you speak your mind, I've cottoned onto that by now and it doesn't bother me. It makes a nice change from people murmuring behind my back, really. So yes, I'll see you later." He too rose to his feet and bowed politely in farewell, only sitting again once the priestess had departed. An odd one, she was, but she seemed pleasant enough once you got used to her bluntness.

Meia gazed through the ornate windows, looking out over the city of Paetax. The sun had started to dip past the horizon, and except in places that thrived in unsavory hours, all shadows were slowly becoming one. The murk of a moonless night suited the capital, Meia thought. She could not possibly deny the architectural brilliance of Paetax by day, but that was to be expected. A den of deceit wouldn't have the decency to look debauched.

Behind her, the susurrus of quiet conversation buzzed through the palatial hallway, barely audible over the music echoing in from the ballroom. The Court Herald stoutly cried names and titles as masked men and women continued to flow into the ballroom in neat order. The Lord this, the Lady that. With identities exposed for all to hear, Meia thought the disguises inessential, but despite that, very few wore their faces bare. She herself belonged to those few, but so not to needlessly offend her gracious hosts, she had at least exchanged her austere robe for one less humble. The clothing was a gift from Princess Senalae, a beautiful piece of workmanship of black and gold, with long flowing sleeves and a short but elegant train - Meia could never bear to wear it someplace that wasn't as immaculate as the palace. It had drawn some gazes, she could tell, but she knew the looks were more for wonder of station and association than anything else. None had approached her, and that suited Meia fine. Her business was with the royal family alone.

Tariel had departed the palace earlier that afternoon not long after he had spoken with Meia, to attend to the arduous process of wriggling his way into the dress robes that his mother had arranged for him upon learning that he hadn't been planning his outfit at least a month in advance. The fittings had been weeks ago, full of prodding and squeezing and tutting women who apparently knew far more about what he wanted to wear than he did. And so when Tariel made his way down the hallway towards the ballroom he looked somewhat more resplendant than he was comfortable with, covered in shiny embroidery and excessive dangly bits. The robe he wore was a royal red in its primary colour, trimmed with intricate gold and silver thread in a variety of arcane-styled patterns. It gave him the extravagant look one might expect from a prestigious master wizard, rather than a recently graduated and decidedly average one. At an event like this, he supposed, looks were half the battle. The mask he wore matched the colours of his robe, but was relatively simple in design and modestly sized to cover only the upper half of his face.

He was bracing himself to approach the large doors into the ballroom itself when he spotted Meia across the hall, and he paused to smile at her and make his way over. "You're looking very impressive tonight, Meia," he said, lifting a hand to remove his mask temporarily, "Are you waiting for someone, or just for the right moment to go in?"

"Lord Vaynell." Meia inclined her head at the noble’s words, and, after a moment to look him over, decided it wise to reply with silence. Truth be told, the young man’s appearance was rather fetching, and his clothing made use of his features well, but it ill-suited the library-bound mage Meia knew. Perhaps there were circumstances. She would hate to think him untruthful to himself. "Precisely what would constitute the right moment?"

Tariel thought for a moment on that question before awkwardly shrugging, "Er, well, I don't exactly know. There must be some sort of significance attached to who arrives when, considering there's significance attached to near anything else, but it's not really something I know anything about." he glanced towards the doors tentatively, "I suppose now is as good a time as ever, since neither of us have any idea when we really ought to be going in. Want to join me in heading inside, or are you going to wait out here a little longer?"

Meia pondered the question while staring into the ballroom. "I cannot say I want to, but I should, so I will. Let us go."

"Tell me about it." Tariel replied with a dry chuckle, as they made their way into the magnificent ballroom. As they passed through the door, a smartly dressed servant quietly requested their names, ticking them off on a list as they answered before turning to announce them to the room.

"Presenting Lord Tariel Vaynell, and Lady Meia Veritas." his booming voice echoed through the room as it had for the guests before them. They drew a few eyes from the guests already present, largely those curious about the odd girl from the country who seemed to have garnered the princess' favour. Tariel picked out his mother and father amidst the crowd, recognising them by their outfits, watching him with faces unreadable behind their elegant masks. The next names were already being announced as they started down the steps.

Tariel grimaced slightly behind his mask, "I hate that part. The feeling of being judged by everyone in the room all at once, even just for a moment. I always feel like I should wave or something, but I imagine that would look a little ridiculous and not very noble."

"Did you not dress to be seen?" Meia inquired, distracted by the ballroom's splendor. She gazed around like a little girl, an experience she had not yet grown accustomed to, despite the week spent exploring the palace. Platters full of drink and food circulated the room on the arms of servants, cleverly navigating through groups of masked attendants. The decorations on the walls and ceiling were splendid, though threatened to be outdone by the people's garish clothing. It seemed that tonight, earthen tones were sin, and it was curious to think Meia's usual vestments would stand out more than the treasure she wore now.

"I suppose, but only under duress. That might be an exaggeration, but I'd rather not be on my family's bad side for the foreseeable future, and wearing an excessive costume isn't the worst thing they could want me to do." Tariel shrugged. It would have been very improper, of course, to wear anything mundane and ordinary or - heaven forbid - comfortable tonight. "This is the part where I imagine we're supposed to mingle until the prince arrives. I might have to go and greet the princess at some point to avoid being rude to the host."

"I mingle poorly." Meia spotted an arcing staircase leading up to a balcony, beckoning fresh air and company in less sheer volume. Perhaps it would be wise to carve out a refuge early, for Meia doubted she would last more than a candlemark on the main floor, let alone the entire evening. Faces hidden, words twisted, interests veiled. She felt sick to the stomach already. "I may speak with the princess later, should she have the time. For now, I should like some starlit solitude." It occured to her that she might be entirely in the wrong place.

Tariel inclined his head, "Understandable. Once I think I can get away with it without insulting anyone important, I might slip out for some quiet myself. I'll talk to you later, regardless." He couldn't imagine he'd take long to get impossibly bored of mingling with nobles, though perhaps there might be some interesting stories to be told by the adventurers he'd heard were coming tonight, the ones that had aided the Prince with his attempt to save the former King. If he could evade the attentions of his family and their machinations, and stick to their company where possible, this might almost be enjoyable. "I hope you enjoy the evening as well as you are able."

"And yourself, Lord Vaynell," Meia bowed in response, before leaving the young man to his obligations. She did not envy him. Not one bit.

Casting his eyes about the room, the young mage glanced over the various attendees of the ball as subtly as possible to try and decide which direction to drift in. He decided it would probably be best to greet the princess immediately, rather than randomly approach her during the festivities, and so he made his way from the base of the stairs towards where the regal figure of Senalea was poised in waiting. "Ah, good evening, your majesty." he began as he approached, bowing as elegantly as he was able (which wasn't particularly elegant, but at least it was obvious he was trying), "And may I congratulate you on a wonderful ah ... setup. I look forward to a night worthy of the occasion." There, that would do, wouldn't it? Now hopefully he'd receive a polite but unenthusiastic response, as expected, and he could scurry off to not be the centre of anyone important's attention.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Celedia
A single month had passed from that fateful day in the Citadel until Mirabella once again crossed through the gates of the city of Paetax once again. True, she had seen the gates on her return to the capital when she had escorted the Prince and those few lost souls that could think of nowhere else to go after their grand adventure but she had not been able to allow her steed to cross the threshold. Instead, she had bid farewell to those that remained and reined Blaze around and the duo wandered a seemingly aimless trail for perhaps two weeks before a Royal messenger managed to catch up to her to deliver the parchment bearing her invitation to a bevy of events. A masquerade ball? Her lips twitched as a ghost of a smile fought its way to prominence as she rolled the scroll once more and gave a careless shrug to her horse.

“It would be rude to decline the invitation. Would you agree, Blaze?” The mare whinnied as if in reply as they made their way back to the city where it had all begun.

Upon her return the city seemed busier, more vibrant, yet at the same time the townspeople seemed more solemn than before. She recalled the ringing bells which tolled to signify the King’s health and though conversations and background noises prevailed upon the streets the lack of the chiming made it seem quieter than the last time she visited.

After stabling her mare, Mirabella let fate steer her course and her feet took the same trail to the same tavern where the first meeting had taken place. The Black Vagabond. Inhaling deeply, she let her hand linger upon the door before finally thrusting it open with a bit more ferocity than she had intended and it took her eyes a moment to adjust to the dim interior.

Looking at the bottom of her glass, Nel was nervous for the evening, more nervous then she had been when coming into the Black Vagabond for the first time, leaving her home for a rumour. At this very moment, she was supposed to be at Castle Paetax, taking in the celebrations. On one hand, she wanted to see her new found friends from the journey like Mirabella and Acacia. On the other, she didn’t want to see the prince for it was her fault the whole venture failed and also her fault for his pain, couldn’t put on the dress she received by herself, and denied anyone the knowledge that she had the honour of being invited to the event.

“There’s no point in going anyway.” She told herself plainly yet there was a part of her that wanted to leave the new routine that she built for herself in Paetax. Nel clutched her head and turned it just as quickly as the front door opened suddenly. For a moment, she couldn’t believe it, and stood up and walked up to the figure, blocking it as if to confirm for herself because she wouldn’t want to make a mistake like last time but she was real.

“Mirabella!” Nel said with glee, face turned into a smile, arms wrapped tightly around the warrior’s armor in a terrible bear hug, lifting her a couple of inches in the air and not letting go.

A gasp escaped Mirabella though it would be uncertain as to whether it was from the tight, almost uncomfortable grasp of the diminutive monk or from the sheer shock of the impulsive act. At her current angle, it was difficult for the Triansui to positively identify her friend. Nelinia’s hair had been cut and her distinctive yellow robes had been replaced by utterly mundane earth-toned clothing.

“Wha-“ she started before the voice registered with her. “Nelinia?!?” The hug was returned, three-fold. “I have missed you! How have you fared?”

“I’m great, just great!” Nelinia squealed out of happiness, a wide grin plastered across her face as she put her friend down.
“You’re looking at the new owner of the Black Vagabond, I’ve been training every day, I’m thinking of setting up my own monastery, oh and are you going to the castle tonight?” The monk said all at once as a burst of energy ran through her body, big green eyes staring up at her friend.

Though she was just as excited to see Nelinia as the monk was to see her, the Triansui was remarkably well-contained. “You… You own this establishment now? What happened to visiting your own monastery? I was going to visit you there but I didn’t want to arrive unannounced and now I’m glad I didn’t make the attempt!” A soft bout of laughter left her lips as she settled a hand upon her friend’s shoulder, taking a good look at her as if trying to soak in all of the changes. Whereas the monk had entirely transformed, Mirabella had simply ridden north and then back again. It made her a bit ashamed to be so untouched by the passage of time.

“And yes, I am attending the ball tonight if that is what you mean.” Her face contorted slightly as if the words had an unwelcome taste to them. “I do not wish to attend any frilly soiree but I do miss our companions.”

Nel gave a small nervous bout of laughter as Mira mentioned the monastery, looking away for a moment, glad that her friend didn’t make the visit to the xenophobic town, and still insecure about sharing her dilemma. Upon hearing that she’s going to the “ball”, which the monk had deduced to be what they were going to the castle for, the grin came back on her face as she grabbed her friend’s arm.
“Actually, I know something that you can help me in!” She said happily, dragging her friend through the bar, up the stairs, and to her own room before letting her go and grabbing the dress that was behind her bed. It was quite an expensive thing, adorned in all of the warm colours with eloquent and skilled white stitching among the sleeves that became symbols of spirals and ran down the length of the dress.
"I just can't get this thing on by myself." Nel motioned to the laces on the back of it, a corset attached to the dress.

Mirabella tilted her head, looking at the fancy torture device masquerading as clothing and her brow arched towards the monk. “You’re wearing that? Is that what they wear to these events?” A small but noticeable shudder skimmed her spine and she made a motion for Nelinia to proceed. “I don’t know what I am helping with but by all means… Let’s get you ready.”

“Thanks. I’d wear my robes but as you could see-” She pointed to the once yellow robes that hung from a hook on the door, covered in motley spots of a faded brown on most of the fabric. “-apparently blood is a pain to clean.” Nel paused for a moment, before turning around, and taking off her shirt, her body bare except for the bandages that was bound tightly across her chest. She flipped the dress upside down, and put it upside her head just as she would a shirt, obviously not the right way, but hey it worked. “Besides, the dress came with the invitation, so, why not?” She sat on her bed now, back towards Mira, turned her head and had her hands grasp the two different laces of the corset she wore that lay upon her lower back. “It keeps falling off if I don’t get these laces tightened and if I try to do so myself, I can’t get in this thing after.”

Mira’s attention had momentarily stuck upon the bloodied robes before she turned her gaze back towards Nelinia and then her eyes settled onto the bandages wrapped around the monk’s chest. “Are you injured?!” She had thought she had made sure that Nelinia was fine before they had all split up and gone their separate ways. So had she gotten into some sort of trouble recently?! Questions threatened to tumble from her lips but instead she waited patiently for the answer and stepped forward. Her nimble, scarred fingers took the two lengths of lacing from Nelinia’s grasp and she pulled, tightening the corset so that the bodice fit the slender form in front of her before tying them tightly enough so that they wouldn’t come loose.

The monk was taken back but after realizing Mira’s concern quickly assured her otherwise.
“Of course not! I mean, there’s this scab on my hand that won’t just heal…” Nel looked into the palm of her right hand, heavily calloused, and picked at the small scab with her left hand for a moment before she looked back at her friend.
“You see, I wrap bandages around my chest, so when I train or fight, they, er, my chest, won’t move around much when I move. It was something all the women did at the monastery.”

The moment Mira fully tightened the corset; Nel stood up, and looked herself in a mirror that hung from a wall. “It’s a bit tight.” She strained the words, the air in her lungs compressed, and she took a couple of breaths to try to get used to it. The bandages were obviously visible across her chest but she decided against taking them off.

For a moment, she looked at her feet after moving the dress to see them and even she realized the shoes didn’t match with it at all. Nel kicked off the shoes before going went off to the dresser to grab a pair of knee-high black boots that she bought for the winter and proceeding to put them on.

The Triansui had to draw her lower lip tightly between her teeth and bite down upon it so she wouldn’t laugh at the eclectic style that Nelinia seemed to possess. Still, it wasn’t like the warrior was any better at being fashionable so she kept silent for a moment longer.

Then, gesturing towards Nel’s bedroom door, Mira finally asked, “Are we ready to go?”

“Just about,” the monk, gleamed, taking the next two steps stepping on the edge of her own dress and nearly falling over before she can retain her balance.
This was going to take a little getting used to.

“Presenting Adventurer Nelinia Jaze!”
“Presenting Triansui Mirabella d’Adreci!”

The two walked in the lavish party and the monk’s nervous smile twitched ever so slightly in horror as all eyes in the room were laid upon them, hidden behind their unmoving, colourful masks.
“Why are they wearing masks?” Nel spoke softly as she smiled so only Mirabella could hear her concerns and perhaps that bit of fear in her voice.

A few soft gasps could be heard from some of the nobles standing closest to the entrance. Mirabella, of course, having not changed into anything fanciful and having retained her armor though she had left her shield behind in her room at the Black Vagabond out of respect for the crown. Her breastplate had been polished to a mirror-like shine… Or as well as it could be, anyway.

She shrugged, smirking slightly and inclining her head to the announcer as she and Nelinia made their way through the bustling crowd. “Maybe they’re ugly and they don’t wish for people to look upon their features and faint?”

For some reason, Nel laughed at that, before mentally chastising herself.
“Aww…that’s sad.” She said with the utmost sincerity and not a touch of sarcasm.

“I’m going to go up and try to look for our friends, alright?” She told the armoured Triansui before moving through the crowd, reaching the stairs, and meeting with the Princess of Calisma. At the moment, she looked nothing at all like her stone representations on the streets of Paetax due to the ridiculous face paint and Nel simply looked at her and unintentionally gave her the cold shoulder as she ascended the stairs, much to the shock and disapproval of all the nobles surrounding Senalea.

Mirabella stood in the sea of masked attendees and searched for some way to entertain herself. Whether that be a familiar face, someone new and interesting, or a keg of mead which she could run dry.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell Character Portrait: Emma Armelle Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile
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#, as written by Script
"Are you quite sure she's on the list?"

"It has her name right here."

"Are you sure that's her? What if she's lying? I've never heard of her before tonight."

"The family crest definitely matches. I do remember her name being mentioned as associated with a family that had come by hard times..."

At the palace gates, Emma leaned quite casually upon her staff as she watched the two guards conversing in hushed whispers over her request for entry to the masquerade. It had taken no small amount of wrangling to acquire an invitation based upon her former noble status, with palms greased and words honeyed. She was attempting to restore her family name, she had said. With the advent of a new king, what better a time to come to pledge her support? So her family had seen better days, what of it? She may have lost her land and her power, but she still had her blood. And blood was power, after all.

She might have left that last line out. It probably would have unnerved the poor representative of the crown she'd been speaking to, bless.

Of course, it might have helped her case if she'd bothered to dress fancily. A little silk here, a little gold there would have done wonders for her reputability, and she probably would have scarcely been questioned. But such finery was not her way. Nor was it particularly friendly to her purse, the contents of which she was loathe to part with. Tight-fistedness had served her well thus far, after all.

Simple, practical clothing would do just fine. There would be no hiding her status as a disgraced noble no matter how fancily she dressed - mutters of her name would pass quickly, disdainful sneers shared. No, this way she embraced her far-from-noble upbringing. It was a statement, as much as a convenience. 'I will not pander to your sensibilities.'

Let them mutter. It suited them, behind their masks. "If you're quite finished..." Emma interrupted the guards, inclining her head to one side. "I believe it is customary to direct the guests inwards, is it not? I'd hate to just walk in without waiting on decorum."

A pause.

"... yes, my lady. Of course. You will need to leave your weapon with the servants at the entrance, but please, enjoy your evening." one of the guards finally said, hesitantly gesturing towards the doors.

Emma had barely waited for him to finish speaking before starting forwards, smirking to herself. She climbed the steps with a few strides, brushing off the servant that moved forwards to greet her by thrusting the staff into his hands. "Put that somewhere safe. If it's damaged, you'll end the night with it up your ass."

Taken aback, the servant briefly stood speechless before stammering a question after Emma's already retreating form. "Ah, and for whom is this being kept? A name?"

"Lady Armelle." Emma replied, before wrinkling her nose. "No, that sounds bizarre. Emma. You're keeping it for Emma."

Leaving the servant staring after her in bemusement, Emma strode onwards towards the ballroom entrance. Reaching into a fold of her coat, she produced a mask. It was an ugly thing, twisted features and an elongated nose, its colours a mix of red and black. It suited her quite well, she thought. The odd look the servants at the ballroom door gave her only confirmed that. She chuckled as the man gathered himself enough to inquire her name.

And so, finally, Emma proceeded into the ballroom. Leather boots sounded on the elegant stairs and the lighting fell upon some ominous old stains on her well-used coat. "Presenting the Lady Emma Armelle!" came the voice from the top of the stairs. Emma could almost hear the mutterings of 'who'?

She smiled a wry smile as she noted she wasn't the only one who hadn't bothered with dressing up. She assumed the armoured warrior was one of the Prince's adventurers, now famed for their role in his quest. Not quite famed enough that Emma had any idea of the woman's name or role in the endeavour, mind, but it was about as famed as anyone who wasn't royalty was likely to get.

Alighting the staircase, Emma identified the princess amidst her crowd of brownnosing nobles, and bowed a shallow (probably rudely shallow) bow to her. "Well met, your majesty. And may I say how appreciative I am of the invite. A wonderful first step in turning over a familial new leaf, if ever there was one. I hope you don't mind the outfit; I just couldn't find a dress to match my eyes for the life of me. You know how it is."

In the meantime, whilst Emma made her very distinctive first impression on the Princess, Tariel was watching the flow of guests into the room from one of the drinks tables. After having retreated away from the Princess as quickly as was polite, he found himself hesitant to approach any of the adventurer-types he'd spotted so far, more out of nerves than anything else. After all, he was a soft and young noble without any experiences like they had. Why would they want to talk to him?

He'd seen the stern-looking man enter without having his name announced, finding refuge in a quiet portion of the room. He'd seen the ones called Talsin, Nelinia and Mirabella announced as adventurers (or in Mirabella's case, an unfamiliar title), even if some of them would have fitted in amongst the nobles, but for the life of him he couldn't gather the confidence to walk up and bother them with trite like 'Hi! You're an adventurer then? What's it like? You know... adventuring?'

Gods, there was no way he wouldn't sound like an idiot, was there?

With his mask held in one hand - it had been uncomfortable and stuffy behind it, really not worth the effort - Tariel settled for letting his eyes wander between Lock and Mirabella. Lock's entrance had piqued his curiosity by his avoidance of the announcement, but he could just as easily have been a reclusive noble who preferred to keep to himself. Mirabella, in her armour, was far more obvious. He just hoped it wasn't too immediately apparent that he was looking. Maybe he should put the mask back on.

Nope. Not worth it. Blasted uncomfortable thing.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Emma Armelle
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
(A collaborative post with Skwidge)

It had seemed like an eternity had passed in that space, it had seemed as though hundreds of people had passed by the figure who went unnoticed at the wall, when in actuality it had been perhaps only an hour. The faces had seemed bland and uninteresting to Ira, though she did perk up at seeing those she knew from their adventure. But the one she really wanted was still nowhere to be seen.

’Is he still not going to show?’ Her thoughts echoed in her head as time seemed to tick by without her present, her eyes scanning dully across the floor. The forms of others quickly began to dwindle and enter the ballroom, but Iravey remained at her wall.

It was well past the time that had neatly been printed on dozens and dozens of invitations when the solitary figure turned the familliar corridors and headed towards the soiree. It was then that a singular form stepped into Ira's line of sight. Her head immediately tilted to the side and her eyes widened just a bit, but she remained stock still at her spot, watching him for a few moments as her eyes scanned over him to ensure that it was indeed who she sought. Behind the doors, Rydas could hear the room filling with voices now rising far above the classical piece the four person band played so elegantly. The time of introductions was drawing to an end. He was all to aware that it meant soon it would be his turn, and so he lingered back. A sigh escaped his lips. For a moment, Rydas’ eyes closed, his head resting against the wall he leaned against the wall outside the stairwell where he would descend into a sea of familiar and unfamiliar people.

Once confirmed, she approached him on silent feet and stopped a few feet in front of him, leaning forward fractionally as she folded her hands together behind her back and peered up at him, expressionless. However, her stomach seemed to flutter just a bit, and her heartbeat quickened. She chalked it up to the excitement of finally seeing Rydas again, and she felt a peace settle upon her and her worries were put to rest for the time being.

Something flittered inside his stomach, though he wasn’t certain whether it were nervous or excitement energy, and he took the second to crush whatever emotion it was. His costume, tailored to fit, felt a little too tight in that moment. A fleeting whim almost had him returning to his quarters-- But oh, what would be the look on Senalea’s face if his introduction stood bare with no guest of honour to take the limelight? A grin, just barely, tugged at the corners of his lips at the thought before he pushed himself off the wall and opened his eyes.

The Prince stiffened, suddenly aware he was not alone. The face that peered back to him was a familliar one; the same one that had clung to him so unceremoniously in Idassava's dinner hall. The stranger had been a guardian angel that day, and one he had not seen since. A mix of gratitude, surprise and painful memories flooded his head and left him tongue tied. In true Errion fashion, Rydas fell back on formality to save him from inability. A rigid bow double his figure, eyes raising only when he straightened. "Good Evening, Miss."

At the formality of Rydas’ actions, a surprised look darted across her face before it was stifled in remarkable time. Ira bent down in a return curtsy out of respect, or rather, reaction. The words were another thing that threw her off; did he not remember her? Ira did not even think to remove her mask if his memory was the issue.

Her eyelids fluttered as she blinked, analyzing his facial features in quest of an answer. She opened her mouth to speak, but just then a rather loud raucous of laughter from within the ballroom drowned out any syllable that might have formed, and Vey pressed her lips back together with a silent exhale. ’It's better this way.’

Discarding any previous thoughts, Vey dipped her head with a genuine smile- it truly was good to actually have him here in the flesh, and also to discover that all seemed fine when it came to the rumours. 'It probably ended a long while ago, and I'm simply being foolish.'

Rydas’ lips parted before shutting again, as if he were about to say something but had changed his mind. He owed the woman much and thank you didn’t quite encompass his gratitude. Despite the large sum of gold he’d rewarded each adventurer with, even those that had joined late in the recovery, there was more he wanted to say. For all the epic speeches he could give personal matters had never been his strong suit.

”It’s good to see y-“ The words he’d fumbled around with were cut short. A young man clad in the castle livery came to a halt beside the pair, bowing deeply. Even as the youth straightened his eyes remained downcast.

“Excuse me your majesty but it is time.” He said, before turning to disappear through the door as the Prince nodded that he understood.

”Apologies, duty calls.” He offered, stepping past the slim woman. Rydas paused, a shadow of a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth that otherwise remained serious. ”Save me a dance?”

In that close proximity you could see the genuinely that was characteristic to the man despite the odd request. There was a tiredness around his eyes that hadn’t been there in previous months. It was only under close scrutiny that one could tell the trials of life had slowly taken their toll. He moved to pass through the doors, stopping to grasp the wooden frame as if bracing himself. A sharp hiss escaped his mouth, body doubling in pain as if he’d just been stabbed. His pose only lasted a moment and then it was gone, his figure straightening and shoulders squared.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sena’s hands, delicately covered in fine lace, remained clasped in a neutral position in front of her. Her head nodded and dipped with each murmured greeting in passing. A smile remain fixed on her pretty features, only speaking in reply to offer thanks for compliments. Green eyes flickered back and forth over the guests, memorizing costumes and features to the titles that were called out. Each name had facts recalled from memory; she’d been certain to scan whatever texts she could find for recounts of her brother’s “adventure” or gossip on families.

You never knew who you could trust.

"Well met, your majesty.

The Princess’ attention was torn away from the announced guest to the latest entrant. The worn clothing stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the haughty décor. Sena’s eyes lingered, though her face remained picturesque; a warm smile didn’t even flinch at the half-hearted bow (that was masculine and shallow as if one were enough for the other). Her clever mind quickly recalled their families failed fortunes and unfortunate circumstances that surrounded the Armelle name. Sena was quick to dismiss the slights, giving the woman the benefit of the doubt that it was naivety due to poor breeding that was creating the lapse in etiquette.

The truth of the matter was that Emma was not an initial name on the original guest list, but a nudge from an advisor had shown her the potential merit of winning over even the less fortunate nobility when Rydas was to be the new king. Support was never to be overlooked. There, in that moment, she was doubting the advice.

”I’d be happy to assist you in putting together a reputable wardrobe in the future, Lady Armelle.” It was kind enough, though she was thankful that the announcer was speaking again and could draw her attention elsewhere.

“Without further ado, I have the esteemed privilege of introducing tonight’s guest of honour- First Prince, m’lord Rydas Errion.”

The doors opened and the room quieted. All eyes were on the stairwell where a singular figure emerged. It had been over a month since the Prince had last been seen. Rumour after rumour had floated around about the effect of Panacea, its immortality and the price of it. Half of them, he was certain, expected him to show up maimed and dismembered. He was pleased that they would be disappointed.

Rydas’ broad frame was clad entirely black; a stark contrast to the rest of the room. His suit was a modified take on a soldier’s uniform, embroidered in swirls of deep purples and gold. He looked much the part of a future king. He paused just to drop a half-mask that resembled a wolf and as the music began to play he began to descend the stairs. His boots felt heavy with each step, but he held his head high. Vision fixated on his sister, who looked pleased as punch that he had obliged to wear the costume she had designed.

”Well, at least someone is having fun.” He thought, and scanned the room to see the familiar faces he had so eagerly awaited.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile
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#, as written by Skwidge
Cadeyrn Gaile

For the most part Lock kept to himself, looking down at his shoes, then picking at a random thread on his attire, and usually sighing. It was only when adventurers were announced that he looked up and trained his eyes upon them, calculating and analyzing everything he could gather about them from just their looks, which wasn’t much in many a case. Not only did the masks hinder, but also their own discomfort or blank faces as well. He took a moment to stretch out his limbs and let out a content breath as he heard small cracks and pops. Cadeyrn despised having to stand around doing absolutely nothing when he could be out in the forest exercising mentally and physically.

But instead, he was forced to play at this foolish game of nobles and etiquette. A frown ticked at the corners of his lips as his eyebrows furrowed together in irritation beneath his mask, ’Why was I invited.’ He turned his head abruptly and scanned the floor for the one he knew could answer his question, and once he spotted her, he made a motion to approach. However, before he could really move a step, the announcer suddenly called out clearly, indicating the presence of Rydas. Lock swayed back on his heels with a small click and crossed his arms as he focused on the man of the evening. He looked good, albeit perhaps a little pale. It was no doubt that the rumors had fallen upon Lock’s ears quite some time ago, and finally setting eyes on the object of such whispers it was entirely reasonable for him to observe the Prince as he had the adventurers in search of anything that should not be there.

He didn’t come up with much more than an inkling, and by then Lock had begun to move towards Senalae. He stopped about three feet away from her before bowing stiffly, “Princess Senalae.” He greeted with a steady tone, waiting another second before straightening himself up again.

It was a familiar voice, low and formal, that distracted her from her thoughts. Attention turned to the man whom had appeared before her, puzzled a moment by the costume. There had been no announcement for this guest. Still, the voice and posture was not one she could forget. Often times she had spent moments gazing out on to the greens from a patio window watching the man at work.

“Cadeyrn.” She replied to the greens keeper. She had always refused to use his preferred alias, much against her brother’s insistence.

He took a moment to watch Rydas wander off towards the feasting table before slowly returning his attention to Senalae as she called him by his official name, which caused a slight twitch of his features underneath his mask. “I didn’t see you slip in. I’m pleased you could join us this evening. You’re looking quite handsome.”

His face remained at its usual expressionless state, and he made a small dip of his head to show fake gratitude towards the compliment. “Not as lovely as you look, I’m afraid.” He hated playing this game, it was awkward complimenting other people, heck it was awkward dealing with people altogether. But formalities aside, he wished to know exactly why he of all people had been formally invited. “Speaking of which, I was wondering if you might humor me and answer as to why I received an invitation, as I am not of noble rank.”

"Bloodlines don't dictate this guest list. Most present are people my brother favors, yourself included. These are times where he needs people he can trust around him. "Her smile spread, just slightly before she added, "Not to mention I need a dance partner for the evening."

Her hand reached out, slender fingers just lightly brushing his arm as she laughed. This time, she wasn't so subtle. Even less subtle was her movement as she was literally thrust into his arms, being pushed from behind by a particular malevolent, or socially awkward, guest.

Lock had little to no idea why exactly Rydas favored him, and furthermore he had seen nothing of the Prince, and Cadeyrn had shown nothing to hint he was trustworthy. Ah, and then a suitable answer came from her parted lips. “Ah, I’m afraid I don’t dance.” His eyes followed her hand as she laughed, not entirely aware of the connections behind it as her fingers invaded his personal space. If that wasn’t upsetting enough, he suddenly found himself bent over a bit and arms sturdy with the Princess pressed against him. He looked down with the slightest of irritation blinking to life across his face, and exhaled lightly while quickly straightening himself and giving Senalae a gentle push in the other direction. Who was the blind fool who had caused such an offense. People’s heads were already turning in their direction, whispering. Cadeyrn was highly irked, and he clenched his fingers into a fist, shaking ever so slightly. He despised attention.

’Could this night get any worse?’


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
(A collaborative post with Deallo & Skwidge)

As the diminutive monk walked away from Magna, getting the last of her giggling out of her system, she scoped the ground of the ballroom floor, looking left and right, noitcing the ever-so-present grumpy Feylon in the middle of the room. Although, she in particular did not knew his name, such a thing never reaching her ears, Nel did remember how he sucker-punched Akdov, so points to him. As the woman walked with her gaze distracted upwards in awe at the lunarshrooms which mimicked stars, boots hitting the ground with each step as the peaceful music of the band played, the very moment she looked forward and crashed into the back of the figure adorned in red and violet. A plume of black feathers flew into the air as wine was spilt from both ends, leaving an ever-so-perplexed Nel clueless, both her and the woman's dress stained.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" The monk said hastily yet sincerely, unsure of what to do.

A shocked cry, much as if she’d just had a bucket of cold water splashed upon her, wrung up and over the music. Attentions turned directly from her current conversationalist to her assailant. The feathers flitted down listlessly, setting on gown and in hair and at her feet as she twisted to see the damage done to the one-of-a-kind gown. The sound that escaped pretty lips drew much attention from onlookers. They immediately began to whisper and point, clucking their tongues and shaking their head at the lady in yellow who had managed to ruin the Princess’ dress before the first dances.

“How could she do such a thing? After all the Mother has done for the Prince and his Adventurers tonight?”

“…I saw, it looked like she did it on purpose…”

“It was such a beautiful gown, I was going to have one made when I got home in resemblance.”

Ladies stepped forward, wrapping helping hands around the Princess who was clearly taken aback. A blush coloured her cheeks beneath the paint, though out of embarrassment or anger was anyone’s guess. On the wait out a side door, guided by her ladies in waiting, she paused to nod back to the woman in the yellow dress.

“Guards, please remove the interloper immediately.” Her voice was distressed. Of course, without the ceremonial garb of the monks Sena had no idea just who the woman was. The Guards, commanded by royal blood, moved to quickly seize the party crasher.

The monk was frozen in shock, instantly guilty, although for what reason she didn’t know. It was just wine and a few feathers on a dress! There was no way…it’s like they thought she murdered someone right in front of them! Yet their very whispers, the very looks everyone gave her through their masks went clean through her, the eyes of persecution seeking, nay demanding justice, the eyes of fear and disgust.

She had heard the word “Mother” among the whispers and the very thought that she had indeed angered the princess was a concept that was difficult to grasp. All at once, she became saddened at the deed of which she had done, resigned to her spot as she heard the ever malicious whispers around her.All of which had changed when she was suddenly grasped by cold steel gauntlets on both arms, eyes widened at the realization that there were literally guards, stopping and apprehending her.

“Wait, what’re you doing? Let me go! I didn’t do anything wrong! It was just wine!”

“Shut up, you wench!” The third with the halberd shouted at her, tilting it to her direction to promote the fear and the severity of her situation.
And at once, they stopped. They must have only dragged Nel a feet or two before she leaned back, stuck both feet in the ground and lowered her position, resisting against the pulling.
“What’re you idiots doing? Move her!”
“We can’t.”

“Let me go.” Nel said with a grave tone, promptly ignored by the guards.
The guard with the halberd moved to her front,
“For the love of gods, just- ”

All at once, she jumped with the strengthening pull of the guards, and with the soles of both boots, the yellow cloth of her dress sent flying as she hit hard on the guard’s breastplate who flew back, crashed onto his back, and rolled on his stomach. The other two lost their footing at the sudden movement and with a kick to the back of a knee the guard suddenly knelt, his grip lightened, and with a sudden pull Nel freed her right hand.

She moved with skill away from the other guard and with her free hand, opened her palm, and pushed it up the helmeted chin of the guard, head tilted back, before pushing it down and felling the last guard.

At once, she started to back up from the scene as the man with the halberd started to get back up, and the other two were on their way up, drawing their swords, angrier then ever.

By now a crowd had gathered. The feint of heart were shaking, gasps of fear as the mad woman in the yellow dress swiftly downed three of the King's Guard with nary an ounce of effort. Rydas grimaced. For all his speed he hadn't been quick enough to maneuver through the crowd from the buffet to the mosh pit of fine cloth and hard steel. With a strong arm he helped the furthest guard up from amongst the downed feathers before placing a hand on his wrist to prevent his regulation sword from being drawn.

“Halt!” It wasn’t quite a yell, but it was a firm command that years of service in the military had provided and perfected. “There is a misunderstanding.”

Rydas interjected himself between sword tip and skirt, eyes moving from the soldiers who immediately obeyed to the lady. The faintest of smiles began to tug at the corners of his mouth, though with a breath he wiped the slate clean. Nelinia; her trouble was boundless.

“This woman is a guest of mine and should be treated as such. Return to your posts.” The words were clipped and not to be disobeyed. Moderately dismayed, the three men obliged. Voice then rose to the crowd, a hand outstretched to Nel.

“Apologies for the interruption, Ladies and Gentleman, but I hope you enjoyed the demonstration of the skills of Nelinia Jaze, adventurer and warrior monk.” His words sounded as if he were an announcer and something rare and exciting had just happened. It was tactful. Those that hadn’t met the adventurers before thought it was a performance and began to cheer before resuming whatever they were doing before.

“The dress suits you, Nel.” He commented, a shadow of a smile in his eyes. Rydas tipped his head in greeting to his employee who still looked annoyed from the whole ordeal. “Lock.”

In hindsight maybe she should’ve just let herself be dragged out by the guards. Full plate armour protected most, if not all, the spots of a body, the damned dress was going to make it hard to move, and people were looking at her like some kind of monster. It would have been wise to just start running off and any case she would have if it wasn’t for that tell-tale figure clad in black assisting one of the guards up. As the prince helped one of the guards up in the ground and dismissed them, he called the attention of everyone, and in a strange turn of events everyone was suddenly cheering. An ever so confused Nelinia didn’t know how to react at the sudden change of atmosphere, the nervous smile of someone glad yet confused graced her lips before everyone went back to their business.

While she most likely might have contemplated the dangers of such nobility easily swayed, she was both grateful for Rydas’ help and trapped by his very presence, when what little plan she had for the afternoon was to get drunk enough to talk to him herself, was ruined.

“I can’t breathe in this thing .” Nel said bluntly before adding on, “As it turns out, blood is hard to clean from my robes and the dress came with the invitation but thank you.”
Her mouth felt ever so dry and her hands clammy as she spoke. A drink would have been much appreciated if she hadn’t dropped her own while apprehended by the guards.

“You look well. How have you faired since…" Panacea, The Castle, the time we had to drag you since all of your wounds and more opened and closed as you screamed in pain, your father’s death… None of which were the right things to say and Nel simply cut off herself as she looked for the right word.

None of the stress, loss or heart-wrenching nostalgia that Rydas felt at such simple words made way on to his features. While he was rarely one to outright smile, a simple press of lips together would satisfy as a response.

“Better, thank-you.” The minimalistic reply was true, something he was sure Nel could appreciate. Then again, it was doubtful he could have gotten much worse than it had been. ”I hear congratulations are in order for your acquisition of property within Paetax.”

His eyes caught sight of something in the crowd. ”Please excuse me. I hope to see you at the coronation.”

Rydas gave a short nod of respect before excusing himself to make way through the guests.

As people began to crowd around whispering and hissing, Lock crept backwards so as to draw less attention to himself. This yellow-clad figure certainly was interesting and certainly was not aware of how social events worked. Normally one didn’t assault the host, especially if that host was of royal blood. It was definitely entertaining watching her take down the guards with such ease, or rather showing off the incapability of the guards around the castle. The nobles that surrounded seemed to begin to hyperventilate from all of this action and threat, and Lock’s eyebrow began to twitch in irritation as he clenched his jaw lightly and rolled his eyes. Nobles were impossible.

It was then that Rydas swooped in and saved the day, informing everyone of this lady’s adventurer status. It piqued Cadeyrn’s interest, although he had already filed the possibility of the girl being within the questing group. Suddenly everyone was cheering and returning to their previous business, and Lock stepped back forward as he was addressed. He made a stiff bow to the Soon to be King with honest respect. Other than that, no interaction was shared between the two men and Lock stuck around the general area as the yellow clad lady and Rydas began to speak with each other, and soon Rydas departed, and Lock was going to follow his lead shortly after.


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Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Emma Armelle Character Portrait: Jiu Huson
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#, as written by Script
”I’d be happy to assist you in putting together a reputable wardrobe in the future, Lady Armelle.”

Oh, but Emma could sense the discomfort behind the Princess' words. True, the smile never faltered, but it was in the eyes that the royal lady's whirring thoughts were fleetingly visible. Doubts, concerns, disapprovals. Emma drew perhaps a little too much enjoyment from seeing Senalae mentally reason herself around to an amiable reply. "Ah, but doesn't every courtroom need a sprinking of disreputability to keep the balance, your majesty? Can't have us all tripping over the folds of our dresses in the event of an unforeseen Tommyknocker insurgency, after all." With a light chuckle, Emma inclined her head. "But of course, you are busy. I'll let you get along with appeasing the gentry while I busy myself amassing a poor reputation. Entirely unintentionally, of course, I'm just being realistic as to the inevitable outcome."

And with that, the roughly clad woman turned on heel and swept away. For all her ignoble attire, her stride and posture carried with them a prideful confidence that almost made up for it. Almost. Flatly ignoring any eyes upon her, Emma chose to focus her attention instead on what was unquestionably far more important - the tables of food. Paltry little snacks, such was the palette of the nobility, but that just meant you could eat more of them.

Jiu hadn't been quite sure what he was expecting of the ball, but it failed to live up to any of the expectations he had made up shortly after arriving. Everyone was just standing around talking as if the whole event had been arranged as an excuse for everyone to dress up as ridiculously as possible.

After a few meandering laps around the room he found himself stuffing his face with the practiced delicacy of a count. Duke, he reminded himself.

Emma sauntered up to the table of auderves a few feet down from Jiu, eyes sweeping across the various treats and snacks that were arrayed upon dainty little plates for all to sample. Selecting a plate of savoury pastries, Emma deftly took up a trio of them and tossed them one by one into her mouth in a decidedly improper fashion - namely, from several feet away. At least she was accurate. She caught the eye of a finely dress couple who were giving her a pair of disapproving glares. "What?" she demanded whilst still chewing on the food, before swallowing to continue. "Did I get some on my face? No? Didn't your mothers ever teach you it's rude to stare? Tsk, and I'm supposed to be the one who doesn't know ettiquette here."

As the disgruntled lord and lady retreated away, Emma leaned casually back on the table and glanced across at Jiu. "You just can't get the nobility these days." she remarked, rolling her eyes.

”That'd imply you'd want nobility of any sort,” Jiu managed between bites. ”Unlike these little fairy pies. They're tiny, but it's better than no pie at all.” After a moment he remembered where he was. ”Not that we don't need nobles. I mean we're all nobles here, except for everyone who isn't.”

He stuffed another pie in his face before he could say anything else.

"A notable exception," Emma replied with a small smirk, "It's rather rare they host one of these things where anyone without at least a wedding cake's worth of frills is allowed in. Maybe it will become a theme with the soon-to-be new king, a scattering of rough-and-ready adventurers at every gathering like this, just to spice it up a bit." She glanced over at the spot where the monk had briefly engaged the guards in combat, "Or a lot, if we're lucky. It'll do this lot some good to have their feathers ruffled. Quite literally in the case of some of these outfits."

Chuckling, she turned to offer a hand to the stranger. "Emma Armelle, it's a pleasure."

Grinning, Jiu nearly took her hand, reconsidered, wiped it on his robe, then shook it. ”Baron Ichabod, but you can call me Jiu. It's much easier than keeping track of whatever name I just made up. He settled back against the table. ”So why are you here? You're not hoity-toity enough to be an aristocrat. Rebellious courtesan, mistress, assassin, fancy pie thief?”

"Rebellious fancy pie assassin, actually." Emma replied glibly, "I certainly intend to rack up something of a high pie kill-count before the night is done. But no, by technicality I am actually an aristocrat. My family used to be quite important, you know. That was back before father dear ran our name through the dirt and then hung himself, but we don't like to talk about that part." She took a sip of wine, shaking her head, "Always something of an elephant in the room at family gatherings."

She smiled, "But you asked why I am here, not why they let me in. Let's call it curiosity for now. And a vested interest in playing nice with the new king. And how about you, o' made-up Baron? Am I to suppose your invitation was similarly imaginary? Don't worry, I won't tell."

”That depends on how you look at it. Did I receive an invitation? No. Was I expected to come? No. Does anyone here even know who I am? No.” He paused, bouncing his cane on the ground. ”I'm not actually sure where I was going with that. But apparently if you talk enough, they have to let you in. Seems like a big hole in security, but I certainly can't complain about it.”

"Ah yes, the good old 'talk their ears off and then sneak in whilst they're picking them up off the ground' strategy. I know that one well. Most guards are simple fellows, talk enough and use enough big words and they'll generally agree with you just to save trouble as long as you haven't stabbed anyone in front of them recently." Emma paused for a moment, examining Jiu head to toe. "And for what reason did you go to the effort of talking yourself in here, hm? Nothing sinister, I hope. I shouldn't think the guests would take kindly to their devious schemes being overshadowed by something genuinely dastardly."

“Nothing too nefarious I'm afraid. Caltinar forbid I do anything to liven this up. I'd been hearing about these adventurers ever since I got to the city and thought I'd come see them for myself, seeing as I had nothing better to do tonight.” He downed the last of his wine. ”Other than the monk, I haven't seen any of them. Well, I could have seen them, but I have no idea who any of them are so I wouldn't have recognized them.”

"I'd hazard a guess that the woman in the rather prominent armour was one of them," Emma noted with a small smirk, "Unless that happens to be a new trend amongst certain sects of the nobility I've yet to encounter before." She nodded her head thoughtfully, "They're doubtless an interesting bunch, much like the Prince himself. I'd keep an eye on any odd-looking folk he shows an interest in, since they'll most likely be part of said merry band. What is it about them that so interests you, then?"

“That was a woman? I thought she was just an effeminate looking man. Anyways, I'm a historian, sort of. I learn about things, places, people, things, what have you. They seemed like a particularly interesting sort of what have you. Thus I came to historianize. I guess I should probably make some attempt to track them down before the night's over.” He gave a mourning glance at the table of food before getting up. ”It was nice meeting you. Perhaps we'll meet again.”

"Well then, happy historianizing, my glib-tongued friend." Emma said with a raised eyebrow, "And I don't doubt that we will eventually. I think history and myself will be becoming more closely acquainted over the course of the next few months." Tapping her nose knowingly and laughing, Emma went back to dining on snacks.


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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas
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#, as written by Modesty
[font=Gill Sans]
Rydas Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
(A collaborative post with conor)

As Rydas exited the dance for he had the distinct aura of calm surrounding him. The discussion with the cleric had left him discernably relaxed. She had reminded him in just a few words that there was a loyal following behind his uncontested ascension to the throne. It was the belief of the people that steadied his steps, giving them purpose. It was these necessities, and her positives, that would be the light in whatever darkness might cloud the future.

It seemed his dance had spurred others to partake. The crowd grew denser heading towards the ballroom floor while he took steps against the current. Dodging and weaving between the varied costumes he suddenly found his way blocked, very nearly bumping in to the figure before him.

“Pardon me.” He was quick to excuse himself. Eyes beset a familiar face: Rydas was certain that if any present could upset the enlightenment he’d just begun to feel, that this was the man to do it: Feylon. While much of the citadel was distorted, his words still echoed through his mind. On dark nights when sleep wouldn’t come, he heard them often;

”You are not the King this kingdom needs, you are not the son your father deserves and you are not the one capable of carrying out this task, do you remember the task? The quest to bring back the Panacea for your father as he lies there dying in his bed. Or are you resigned to leave him die. You shame your family and the people of Calisma and I spit on your legacy.”

Feylon glanced around the room as the hall began to fill up. Dignitaries and nobles from all corners of the Kingdom seemed to have made their way here. Many of them dressed in fine clothes and escorted by beautiful women. Some of them looked like they cost more money than he had made during his time in the army, and that was just the women. Feylon felt out of place. He was standing there in a world that he did not belong. He hated everything about the nobility. The rich fools who were born into a life of luxury and privilege. It made him sick. They did nothing and reaped all the rewards of those who did. Feylon scoffed. He was tired of repeating the same things to himself over and over. Fueling the hate. Tonight he one goal, to drink.

As people drifted around him he took his first proper look at the room. He noticed Mirabella, the warrior woman standing across the room. Ho noticed many others both old and new. Those he had set on the adventure to the citadel with and those he had no idea of who they were. It was then his attention was brought to a commotion in the middle of the hall. The Princess was shrieking over something and guards began swarming towards her. An assassination attempt? Here in the royal walls? Surely no? As people began reeling away from the scene it became clear to Feylon that it was far less sinister than he imagined. Wine. Wine had been spilled on the Princess's dress. Hardly an event to cause such an overreaction. Although considering it probably cost more than a tanners lifetime earnings maybe she was a little upset.

Feylon looked away from the commotion not seeing who the perpetrator was. Poor bugger was probably going to be thrown into a cell for that. Hardly a fitting punishment for such a meager crime, If a crime is what you could call it. Almost immediately the voices around him drowned out outside noise. An older lady walked passed, scoffing at him as she glided by. Clearly not impressed with his sense of dress. She quickly moved on and Feylon forgot about it. No point expanding energy on that.

As he began to relax again he felt someone bump against his back. Wheeling around to see who the person was he was instantly disappointed. 'Ah Prince, no King now. How fortunate. It is nice for you to finally come out and show the people your face, or well considering how you look maybe not. Last time I saw you you were being dragged up the steps of the castle half dead. Good to see you kept the look. I'm sure it's a winner with ladies.'

It was with those words that the night ended. Rydas felt the muscles in his forearm contract, his hand balling into a fist and a vision of it colliding with Feylon’s face. The anger, self disappointment, frustration, loss and pain was boiling itself into aggression. Instead, he breathed. Head nodded.

“Feylon.” The name was said, though traitor still lingered beneath his breath unconvinced that the man was as trustworthy as his father thought him to be. For all the anger he felt, though, he would not disgrace his father’s memory that night. One day their differences would be settled, but not that night.

He didn’t linger. Rydas ascended the stairs, pausing briefly to make a short speech that didn’t hold all the usual sparkle. Sena had arrive again, looking somber in a simple dress that was untarnished. She placed her hand on her brother’s arm, and rose her opposite one to calm the music.

“Thank you all for attending this evening. My sister has done a wonderful job this night,” he paused, waiting for the applause to end and Sena smile.

“Still, even the decorations can not outshine my gratitude for all of your support here tonight. The coronation is quickly approaching, and I hope to see you all there. Court will be held directly after where matters of state will commence immediately. Your concerns will be addressed, suggestions considered, and stations aptly filled for the new era.

Matters of state aside, please stay and drink and dance until it pleases you.”

The night ended soon after. Rydas slept soundly that night, worn out from emotional exertions. Sena stayed to direction the clean up; any left over food would be donation to the impoverish people and the rest replaced back to where it came from.

The days following were busy. The entire city was in a buzz; banners being hung, streets cleaned, new attire being made. The morning of the coronations was a buzz. Every bed was filled with people pouring in from all over the continent, eager to be witness to history as it was set in motion. For all the excitement in Paetax, the castle was no exception. Already servants darted here and there, greatly under Sena’s direction as they dusted and scrubbed every crack and crevice.

Rydas, though, was an exception. His moves were quiet, precise and calm with each strong strike of his sword as he practiced alone in the training grounds. For reasons unknown, a blade in his hand and physical excretion was the only thing that seemed to calm his quivering nerves. The reality of the day was setting in.

He sighed, his breath visible in the morning air, as he realized the time was nigh; he needed to get ready. Today was the day that he would be crowned Rydas, King of Calisma.


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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Beneath the tall towers of Paetax castle, it wasn’t only the Prince who sleep came in restless, varied spurts. While it was his sole voice that called out into the night in fevered pain and rage, something silent had crept in to chambers akin and began to take hold through sleeping planes before waking hours.

Senalae tossed for the eleventeenth time that night. Unlike her older male counterpart, the Princess still maintained and air of grace even in her slumbering state. A mix of furs an linen lay more or less flatten as if she had just laid to rest, though her pillows were construed enough to tell the tale of restlessness. Her breathing was rapid, eyes moving beneath closed lids a speaking tales of dreams, and not always the most pleasant.

It was cold. So cold. The glass, shutters and curtains lay in ruin, shattered and shredded through out the estate. A chilled wind echoed through the halls, sliding foreboding fingers up her spine. Still, something beckoned her. The bodiless voice called her down the dark corridors and along the familiar steps into the throne room. It was empty, obviously void of sentries or servants or sovereign in the empty throne. The seat was occupied by only an object that became clearer as bare feet padded up the dais. There lay the crown long worn by her father, Dazius Errion, sitting in a pool of blood. It dripped off the seat and on to the floor, seeping between her toes. As Sena looked down she saw, too, the blood the coated her hands and stained her nightgown.


She gasped, rising from her bed. Already the light was seeping into her chambers, the day in full swing and what a day it was; one for the history books. Often she had dreams of late- of conversations with nonexistent siblings, of moments in time, of makebelieve… but none had been so vivid. None had been so dark. It was as if, this time, this were real.

“They’re coming.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

He ached to head to the training grounds. To run, to swing the sword. In some way, that physical exertion had become an extension of himself. As if those swift, sure movements borne from regimen resolved any tension that had arisen. Duty called from him today, and kept him standing still. For so long battle had been his call-to, and now on this day destiny kept him froze as the world seemed to rush around him. Even something so simple as personal grooming was not left to himself.

Outside he could hear the crowds gathering as they had been for days. The agenda for the day had been drilled into his head, and even now as he was escorted by armed guards in formal dress down the hallways they rehashed it piece by piece. First he would be sworn in by oath, then crowned, and then he would introduce himself to all of Paetax as First King. Directly after Rydas had insisted that court commence immediately. Too long had the affairs of the realm laid stagnant with no one at the helm; rumors circulated of unrest and he hardly wanted a generation to unravel his first day as crowned king.

“It’s nearly time, sire.”

Rydas drew a deep breath, his hand instinctively rested on the ornamental blade at his hip. The intricate garb he wore of solid white and embroidered silver felt stiff and uncomfortable. He nodded, gathering his thoughts which constantly wandered to father, and the brother who should have been taking the oath instead. Where was his sister?

“Oh Das…” She spoke, as if on cue. Lace gloved hands gathered before her mouth, uncharacteristically at a loss of words. There was so much she wanted to say, to warn, to heard his practical explanation of, but at sight of him she knew this wasn’t the time. “You look so regal.”

“Sire. They are ready.” The advisor spoke, and in the other room he could head the trumpets sound.

Sena took a step forward, standing on the tips of her toes to plant a kiss on her brother’s cheek. Even as her hand reached out to cup his rugged chin it shook slightly.“Father would be proud.”


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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion
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#, as written by Modesty
Rydas & Senalae Errion
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The room silenced, he could feel it to the bone. Oddly, the feeling that stirred in the pits of his belly was something akin to that moment before battle; the calm before the storm. It was unknown to him why the celebratory day was akin to war. If one thing was certain it was that the weight of the crown, not yet placed upon his head, was not unfelt. All eyes were on the Prince as he walked the long walk down the isle between the sea of peoples who were privileged enough to gain entrance. He had to force his own eyes to stay ahead, to all the delegates that lined the dais who waited with the authority to grant him sovereignty.

It occurred to him in the dragging minutes that it took for him to make it to the throne that this was never his fate. Dyton should have been the one, with trailing cloak and shined boots, to step down the long carpet with him and Sena following in stride. His father should have been the one, crown in hand, to place it upon the new kings hand. And he, on the morrow, should have returned to commanding position within the ranks. Fate, it seemed, had other plans.

Rydas stood before the throne, stiff as a soldier, as the rest of his entourage moved into place. A man with a white beared stepped forward wearing the deep blues and silver that represented the guild; the blazed seal embroidered across his realm. This man Rydas knew instaneously as Thaezon, the High Magistrate of the Guild council, and for a moment he was awestruck. He could count the number of times the powerful mage had left Ida’an on two fingers, this being one of them.

“I, Rydas Errion, son of Dazius Errion, in the presence of the peoples of Calisma, the magistrates of the Guild, representatives of the Third and all other entities within the realm, do make my oath. I solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of Calisma, according to respective law and tradition. I will act with Mercy and decision, as basis requires with the interest of the realm being placed before all else. Before the gods, Old and new, in the eyes of the people, I take unto my helm the crown and all it represents in succession of the original First King and as such absorb the title should it be their will.”

Thaezon nodded, then turned to the crowd. “If any are present with claim to the throne of Calisma, and do so which to challenge sovereignty do so now or be forever sworn to peace.”

Not a soul moved for half a second. Sena, clad in white to match her sibling, stepped forward. A murmur rippled through the crowd as she leant and whispered in his ear.

“Miss me, little Prince?” She cooed, and Rydas paled.

“Niluxiel?” He whispered, turning on kneed to search for the face he so feared. Confusion knit his brows, obviously amiss as to why it was his loving sister who stood behind him. Was he hallucinating, was this another dream?

“Yes, my love.” She cooed again, planting an affectionate kiss on his forehead that turned his stomach. “Her to claim my crown.”

“Long live the King!” She yelled. In a swift motion the Princess withdrew a dagger and lunged. At the last moment a member of the Guild lept before the King and the sharp blade slit his throat instead of Rydas’.

“No, you fool!” Rydas heard himself yell as blood sprayed all over Senalae’s white dress and the man collapsed into the Prince’s arms. “I cannot be killed.”

But already the man was dead. Even the sentries stationed around the room stayed still, stunned as the dagger clambered to the ground from the princess’ hand after the Mother had attempted to assassinate the Prince before the crown could be laid upon his head.

“Das?” She whimpered, “Oh Das? What have I done?”

“Sena?” Rydas questioned, the woman of his nightmares seemingly gone.

“Forgive me Das.” She begged.

A ripple skipped through the room, sending Goosebumps across flesh and standing hair on end. Rydas, and his adventurers, had felt it before. Magic laced the room much as it had done so within the citadel.

“She’s here, Das. They’re coming. They are coming.”

A portal ripped open the planar wall, and within seconds Sena was pulled through and gone, with only a dead man left in his own blood to proclaim that she was ever there.

Within hours the reports came; War had come to Calisma.