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Lord Rikichi Sakuragi

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a character in “Eternal Darkness”, as played by Dynamite

Description




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The Ancient Wisdom of Sakura Trees
I have not always been wise, nor was I always destined to be eternal. But there are some forces in the world that can change anything.




|Theme|

Disturbed - Warrior
Papa Roach - Scars
Gemini Syndrome - Resurrection
Celldweller - Eon




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Walk softly, but carry a sharp blade.




Nickname
[ None, though he was once called ‘Chi.’ That was a very long time ago, now. Sometimes he still gets called the Black Phoenix, but there are few who’d use that now. ]

Age
[ 857 ]

Gender
[ Male ]

Species:
[ Vampire | Pureblood ]

Role:
[ Captain of the Guard ]

Face Claim:
[ Kirigakure Saizo | Brave 10 ]




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What you see is the Captain of the Guard. It is all I will ever allow you to see.




Hair Color
[ Black ]

Eye Color
[ Midnight Blue ]

Skin Tone
[ Pale | Slightly Sun-Touched ]

Height
[ 6’4” ]

Weight
[ 192 ]

Physical Description
[ Rikichi is a little rougher around the edges than most vampires, as far as appearance goes. Quite tall and exceptionally broad and muscular in a race that favors slender, leaner, and more androgynously-appealing physiques, he stands out a bit in a crowd of high-ranking courtiers both for being the most physically daunting and also for wearing plainer clothing than most. Actually, the only thing he wears that isn’t quite plain and durable is the badge of office, which is alloyed silver inlaid with lapis lazuli, affixed around his left bicep with a blue piece of cloth. It bears the royal crest, but in the colors of the Guard, designating him as head of the organization, a position he has occupied since its inception.

Unusually for vampires, Rikichi is pierced, tattooed, and scarred. Both ears contain several holes, often filled with silver or blue studs or something equivalent. His scars are always hidden by his clothing and the bandage tape he customarily wears around his forearms, but he had red-and-white lacerations around his wrists and ankles, and no few lash marks over his back. As vampires do not scar, this is highly unusual, and he has thus far hidden it from everyone. His arms, back, and chest are tattooed, the motifs largely centered around twists of black fire, and a great, flaming bird, also in black, spans across the breadth of his back and shoulderblades, forming a yin-yang-esque circle with the white tiger on the lower half of his back, the two partly entwined as though in combat or something of that sort. The only visible portions of the tattoo, however, are the swirling flames on his upper arms and the back and sides of his neck, reaching up towards his jaw.

Rikichi’s hair is a deep black, so dark it almost absorbs light, but it reflects a bit in the blue-spectrum, giving it a deep sheen that is nevertheless not immediately noticeable. It is cut shorter than court fashion, to a more practical, but still somewhat shaggy, length that reaches the bridge of his nose in front and the nape of his neck in the back. His appearance is always neat beyond reproach, as it must be, but there’s a hint of unruly thickness and wave to his hair that lends itself to the overall impression of roughness that he gives off. Rikichi lacks and has always lacked the studied refinement of courtiers, even if he knows their manners and behaves impeccably.

His eyes are a blue so dark they are mistaken for black in most lighting, but they flash indigo when exposed to the sun. Narrow in shape, they are nevertheless the most expressive part of him, though he is aware of this and compensates for it, so as to remain more or less impossible to read. Not that he’s averse to showing expressions, but the Captain of the Guard may only display very few. Usually, it’s either passive, guarded neutrality or else, in the heat of combat, a positively feral smile. ]




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I have learned what I must, and I do what needs to be done. That is simply it.




Potential Interest
None at the current moment: To be blunt, Rikichi is in love with his Queen, and has been for several hundred years. To be blunter, she’s probably the only person absolutely forbidden to someone of his not-inconsiderable status. He will not lie to himself and say that he puts his duty to the King above his love for Rivka, because he doesn’t. But he does put his duty to her above it, and he knows that he must never speak nor give sign of his feelings. Fortunately, he has become very adept at masking these things. He hates that he’s fallen in love with her, and considers that emotion to be his greatest flaw as a person. He has told nobody, and only one person knows. Fortunately, Nero does not care.

Skills

    Fighting || Rikichi is Captain of the Kingsguard, and as such, the de facto general of the King’s army, such as it is. It’s his job to be better at fighting than any possible assassin could be, and to this end, he’s trained long and hard. The fact that he’s made a deal with Nero also helps, as it’s given him some peripheral traces of a devil’s powers, though not without price. He can pick up literally anything and use it as a masterful and deadly weapon, but strangely, all he’s usually armed with is a bokken, a wooden sword. It’s actually possessed of a heavy metal core so as to stand up to the force with which he applies it, but it is not a deadly implement unless he wishes it to be. People have underestimated him for this. People who are now dead. He may very well be the Kingdom’s best swordsman.
    Flute || Because one should never be good at only one thing, Rikichi has also taken up music, and prefers woodwind instruments over others. There is usually a silvery flute dangling from a belt-loop right next to his wooden sword.
    Stealth || The ability to move without being noticed did not come easy to someone so large, but for all this, Rikichi has learned to place his feet utterly silently, and to blend into shadows. He’s not as good at this as Mika, who can literally blend with them, but for someone who has to remain tangible, he is among the very best.

Abilities
    Truesight || In a range of about a hundred feet, Rikichi can sense literally everything: people, objects, etc, without using his eyes at all. This gives him also a very primitive empathy, usually just enough to tell if someone has hostile intent, then pinpoint from whom it issues.
    Pyrokinesis || Able to summon and control flames at will. Rikichi’s fire is black in color, and it is this ability that he uses most often and is therefore known for. The moniker Black Phoenix was given him in his mercenary days, for this trait and the fact that he seemed to be incapable of dying.
    Augmentation || Less flashy than the fire, this ability is arguably more potent. Using his power, Rikichi can augment his physical abilities well above the norm, even for a pureblood. It is draining and costly to do, however, and often leaves him almost unable to tell friend from foe. It is only with much time and great discipline that he has brought about half this ability under his perfect control and therefore safe to use in his work. Any more than that, and he may well destroy what he is trying to protect.
    Perfect Null || Vampiric abilities do not work on him. Full stop. This power is an explicit result of his contract with Nero, and even the devil was surprised when it showed up. It does not make him invulnerable to damage by any means, but that damage must be inflicted physically upon his person, and not through the use of any kind of ability or spell. This applies to mental abilities as well as physical ones. Notably, powers that impact only the wielder or do not attempt to interfere with him in any way are still useable—such as Mika’s Eternity Eyes or any ability that works on third-party objects or people.
    Devil’s Blood || Like Mika’s and Nero’s, Rikichi’s blood is toxic unless given freely. He has actually been known to coat his weapons in it when fighting, because it burns the flesh of vampires like acid. Should it in fact be given voluntarily, it acts as ordinary blood, if a little richer and more filling than one would expect. It smells and tastes like fresh rain, ozone, and pine, somewhat comparable in effect to gin.




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A soldier has no preferences, or at least, none that matter.




Other:
  • Rikichi, his roughness excepted, looks, smells, and otherwise to all senses appears to be a pureblooded vampire, and in fact he is. But he was not always that way, and in fact once used to be nothing more than an ordinary human being. His appearance has changed little since then, and his scars did not fade with his alteration.
  • Though this is known to nobody but Nero himself, Rikichi is in fact loyal to Vasilios and not the King. He serves in his current capacity as part of his contract with the devil, though his feelings for Rivka… complicate things. Nero honestly doesn't care, as long as he continues to do his job, but Rikichi has a deep dislike for Hajime Tsuji, borne from his own history as well as observing the man’s treatment of his wife.

Habits

    Blank Visage || Rikichi has the kind of pokerface that courtiers can only envy. He has become especially adept at smoothing the planes of his face until he betrays nothing at all. While his eyes are usually expressive, he has learned to deaden them, so that they seem almost to be the eyes of a man without a soul or feelings of any kind.
    Sketching || On his time off, which is seldom, Rikichi will often while his hours by creating drawings, usually of people or landscapes. He keeps his sketchbook very well hidden, because there are certain things in it that might reveal a little too much of what goes on behind his mask.
    Training || Along with maintaining his own fitness and readiness, he is responsible for ensuring that the rest of the Kingsguard is in fit fighting form, and he expects nothing less than the very best out of them. Though they no longer do the duty of an army, the job they currently have could be considered even more dangerous in some ways—threats from without are easy to spot. Threats from within require something soldiers usually do not have—subtlety.




Likes
    Smoking || He is usually carrying a long-stemmed pipe with him, and an assortment of flavored plants to smoke in it. He’ll claim if asked that doing so helps him unwind, but it’s also true that this is a habit from the time he was human that he simply cannot let go of. He’ll smoke away from others who do not like it, of course—he honestly prefers being away from crowds anyhow.
    Thunderstorms || There’s something about the power of them, and the sound of the rain on windows or a roof, that he quite enjoys. When he can find the privacy, Rikichi will often meditate under the rain, so as to be able to feel it on his skin. It’s almost like it sooths that fire in him that never seems to get put out… or maybe it balms the scars.
    Fighting || The one place Rikichi feels truly at home is in the middle of a fight. Be that with swords, hands, or powers. There’s a thrill of adrenaline, and he feels like he’s a little freer, if only for a moment. It’s a bit like he imagines enlightenment must be, and every confrontation seems to carry him closer to some truth that he cannot quite yet grasp.

Dislikes
    Hajime || The man, knowingly or not, is responsible for most of the worst things that have ever happened to Rikichi, and more importantly, he is responsible for the current suffering of his wife and his children, especially his daughter, whom he refuses to acknowledge. His defiance even extended to an act that could be seen as treasonous: he is the one who taught Haruka to wield a sword. That, he did of his own volition, and on orders from nobody else. It’s a secret between they, Kiyoshi, and Mika for now, but he risked much all the same.
    Courtspeak || The constant manipulation and double-talk is not at all to his tastes, something he passed along to his adopted daughter. He prefers to remain stony and unmoved by any of it, and his position allows him to get away with not participating. Certainly, it has convinced his liege that there is no need to worry about Rikichi plotting against him.
    Vampires || Despite being one. This is a very old grudge, and Rikichi knows better than to judge all vampires by the same standard, but there is no mistaking that, on the whole, he dislikes them. Of course, given his consummate neutrality, it’s rather hard to tell, and most interpret any signs that do show through as a more general wariness of other people or potential threats. All of which serves him very well.




Strengths
    Combat/Bodyguarding || It’s his job, and he has worked for all the skills that are required to complete it successfully and well. Though it at times rankles him, no threat has ever made it within ten feet of the king or queen. He’s also an excellent, if exacting, teacher, and anyone who learns from him learns from the very best.
    Control || Many of Rikichi’s powers are hard to contain. If he were a different kind of man, he could have burnt out already, or else become raw, reckless destruction and probably been put down like a dog. Instead, he learned to accept what he was, and brought his power under his own mastery, rather than the other way around. This belies a high degree of mental discipline not commonly found in those allowed to indulge themselves in whatever, whenever, as is the case with most of vampire culture.
    Mask || It is hard to judge what kind of man Rikichi really is, because It’s almost impossible to read him. The strange roughness of his appearance is mixed with the neatness of uniform standard, so one does not know if he is contained or wild. His words, when they are used, are the polite phrases required of him, but his voice bespeaks something else. Above all, his face and body language portray nothing but the Captain of the Guard, a soldier, a bodyguard, but hardly a person with feelings and thoughts all his own.

Weaknesses
    Contract || The terms of Rikichi’s contract bind his actions to Nero’s will. An eternity of servitude is what he promised, and it is what he must give. Until the world ends, he is nothing other than the Devil’s right hand. He is fortunate that Nero seldom bothers to interfere directly in his life, but there is no mistaking that without him, it would not be on its present course.
    Rivka || He should not love his Queen. For a long time, he told himself that he did not. But Rikichi has a softer heart than anyone would guess, and her plight moved him. Marriage to a man like Hajime, loyalty or no, is an ordeal that nobody should have had to face, and more than that, he sees perhaps more than anyone else just how much she hides behind the queen’s face. Sometimes, he longs to show her how much he hides, behind the face of a soldier, but this is an indulgence he will never allow himself. He serves the king with his words, and Nero with his soul, but it is Rivka alone his heart answers to.
    Mika || Nero once showed up at his door with an infant in hand and told him to raise the girl as his own daughter. Rikichi was unable to refuse, though he knew nothing about parenting. The court was told that she was illegitimate offspring of his, with a human, no less, but such an act, while scorned, was not a crime. The only people who know that Mika is not his daughter in truth are Rikichi, Nero, and Mika herself. Rikichi has his suspicions about whose daughter she actually is, but he raised her, and as far as they are both concerned he is her father, and that is that. There is precious little he would not do to keep her safe, but he knows there may be a time when he cannot, and so he raised her to be strong, instead. So that she could keep herself safe.




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Sometimes, the stillest waters have the mightiest currents churning beneath.




Personality
Zen | Resourceful | Perfectionistic | Philosophical


Rikichi is a man of many faces. There are three, however, that see the most use. The first is his court face. Smooth, impassive, perfectly neutral, betraying not a hint of his actual feelings on any given matter. Cut seemingly from marble stone, or perhaps granite, it is handsome, but austere, unapproachable. The face of a stone statue-guardian, meant to be imposing and make anyone think twice before trying anything funny against or near his charges. This is the face of the royal shadow, the Captain, the soldier. He wears it flawlessly, and often. There is some truth to it, but the calm is not his natural state of being. Rather, it is infused in him from practices of meditation and an almost monastic lifestyle—Rikichi does not indulge in excess of anything. His clothing is as plain as it can be, for someone of his rank, and his living quarters are Spartan, consisting only of plain things made with good craftsmanship.

His second face is the one that appears when he must do his work, rather than threaten to do it. In a fight, Rikichi is no longer stone—he is flame itself, living, breathing fire. His movements are quick and explosive, backed by strength too great even for one of his position and his blood. The impassivity of his face breaks, cracking under the force of a bloodthirsty smile. It is in this, the poetry of movement, pitting his strength and resourcefulness against another’s, that he comes as close as he ever has to grasping enlightenment, as he might call it, an understanding of the purpose and destiny of himself and the universe. It is hard, after all, not to think of such things when one has been around Nero for so long. It is that adrenaline rush, that desperate need to survive and to protect, that makes him feel at home more than anything else, as though he belongs in his own skin.

There is a third face to Rikichi, however, though is appearance is rare. In those few unguarded moments that he is able to spend with his daughter or a friend, there is something softer to him, as though that feverish burning of his was just a fire to warm oneself by, after all. He is capable of tenderness and kindness both, though only to a very distinct few people, and it is not a capacity he exercises around people he does not feel attached to. It could be said, perhaps, that his demeanor in the company of Rivka alone represents a merging of this and his court-face, for though he still does not allow his genuine emotions to show through, he also does not feel the need to be perfectly neutral, and his courtesy to her is not the false thing it is to others. The difference is exceedingly subtle, and betrayed only by the little bit of warmth in his eyes.




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It is not a story that bears repeated telling. If you wish, you may take it to heart. If you wish, you may ignore or dismiss it. But you will hear it only once.




History

Rikichi was born a human man in the midst of the cataclysmic war that almost ended life in this world. He and his family were a rare breed—Hunters with enough vampiric blood left in their systems to pose a serious threat to even a pureblooded or noble vampire. It is hardly surprising that they were targeted because of this, and while the vampires that attacked killed his parents and his older sister, Rikichi was seen as young and impressionable enough to be spared.

There is part of him that would rather have died. They shackled him at the wrists and ankles and neck, and made a slave of him. In the years after Hajime, leader of the vampire army, made his deal with Nero and ended the war, it was not uncommon to use humans for blood and gladiatorial sport, and as the last remaining scion of one of the most prominent hunter families out there, Rikichi was perhaps understandably well-suited for such things. He spent ten years, from the end of his boyhood to the time he was twenty-four, fighting in such matches while wealthy vampires bet on the outcome of his matches. The chains wore scars on his skin, but the repetitive killing wore scars on his soul, and those were infinitely worse.

After a while, it became obvious that his continued survival was boring his audiences, and the arena started throwing things at him that should have been impossible to survive. But Rikichi survived, because he wanted nothing more than to live so that he might watch the people that had killed his family burn. When they threw him up against a couple of young purebloods, though, he was done for, and left to die slowly in the arena dirt that he’d lived in for a decade. That was where Nero found him.

The two brokered a deal right there—Rikichi would be given the power that he lacked, and in return, he would serve Nero for the span of his natural life. What he did not realize was that Nero would choose to fulfill his end of the contract by making Rikichi into what he hated most in the world—the highest-blooded of vampires. On Nero’s orders, he altered his appearance somewhat and took up life as a mercenary, working on clearing out pockets of vampires that still resisted the rule of the King. It was during this time that he gained both his tattoos and his reputation.

So when the king was selecting people to run his new court and all the moving parts it would need, it was hardly unexpected that he would choose someone with such a stellar record as the Black Phoenix to run his household guard, and at Nero’s behest, that’s exactly what Rikichi did. He has become a fixture of the institution, and with time, people have learned not to challenge him directly. He has watched the king’s children grow up, raised a daughter of his own, and managed to find himself in the unenviable predicament of being deeply in love with perhaps the one woman he has literally no chance of ever being with. It has certainly been an interesting life. But that flame, kindled in him when his family was torn from him, has still not gone out, and a part of him burns still for his vengeance.

One day, he will have it.




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He asked me if I wanted them gone, my scars, when he made me into this thing that I am. I told him no, and I meant it. They are as much a part of me as my eyes, and I will never forget what they stand for.



So begins...

Lord Rikichi Sakuragi's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rivka Atol Character Portrait: Lord Rikichi Sakuragi

0.00 INK

#, as written by Asilian
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Rivka was pacing.

It was something she did when she was nervous.

Rivka was certainly nervous.

She sighed, sitting down, and then stand up and crossing the room again. Her mind was a whirl, and she was arguing with herself. There were so many things she had discovered of late that disturbed, confused, and hurt her, she was no longer sure that she wanted to dig in to anything or anyone else. But it was something that she had started, so at this point, there was little she could say any longer.

It was simply that she was afraid. She hated to admit it, but Rivka feared her father. There was something wrong with the man, and she intended to root it out. Her hand rested on the hilt of her sword, steeling her nerves. It was rare that she wore it, as Rikichi was enough to ensure that she lived, but it was her solace in times like these. It let her feel in control.

"Natara. Tell Rikichi we are leaving. It is past time I discovered what Lord Atol has been up to." She paused, knowing how much the Captain would be against the idea.

"Make sure he knows that it is an order."






Rikichi was standing just outside Rivka’s private chambers, his usual post when she went within. He respected her need for her own space, and his truesight was ample warning if someone should try to enter through the window. The only time he ever actually shut it off was when she was in any state of undress, because in the end, he was more than base desire and instinct, and he respected her enough that he never even considered doing otherwise. Regardless, he did notice her pacing, and guessed easily enough what it related to, but she had not requested his assistance or his opinion, so there was little he could do. They did not have the kind of relationship where he could simply give these things to her outside of the parameters of his job, though he often wished they did. Not aloud, of course.

When Natara exited the room, his dark indigo eyes felt to her, and he nodded slightly. “Good evening, Lady Natara. Does her Majesty require something of me?” The little half-smile on his face gave away the fact that he was actually teasing her, albeit gently.

By the time the order was fully relayed, Rikichi had a decidedly-grim scowl on his face. It was one he dare not show the Queen herself, but he and her familiar were on somewhat different terms. Namely, they had a mutual understanding of the fact that Rivka’s recklessness often made their shared task of protecting her exceedingly difficult. He sighed through his nose, pitching his voice such that it would be audible only to the familiar. “And she will not be swayed, or perhaps allow one of us to handle the matter on our own?”


Natara cast a sharp glance at the man, her fur bristling slightly at the mention of lady. She was no lady, she was an animal. She knew what she was, and so did anyone who dared to get too close to Rivka. Still, she also knew that Rikichi did not actually mean it. The two of them had an unspoken understanding.

And Natara understood more than she let on.

So instead of berating him, she shook out her fur before sitting back on her haunches. "When have you ever known Rivka to be dissuaded from anything?" The familiar sighed. "This is something she must see for herself, and nothing either of us say will change her mind. This is a matter of family, and she will not be one to sit on the side for this. No matter how hurtful the truth turns out to be."


He’d known it, of course. He’d known her for six hundred years—more, really. There was no way she would allow someone else to do this work for her, however dirty it would become. But Rikichi knew a little better than she did what it was really like, to have dirty hands, and it wasn’t a feeling he ever wanted her to experience first hand. So he resolved, if only to himself, that if it came to that, he would spill the blood or commit the crime. Because doing so was infinitely preferable to putting her in the danger that would come of doing such things. Still unsmiling, but forcing his face into the neutral cast it wore so well, he nodded. “Very well then.” Turning, he knocked politely on Rivka’s door.

“My Queen, I await your discretion.” Whenever she was ready to leave, he would be as well.


Rivka almost jumped at the knock, but she took a deep breath and shut her eyes. She had determined to do this, and she would be damned before she backed out of her own resolution. She stood up, and left the room, Natara and Rikichi in her wake.

Even so, she could not keep the feeling away that she did not want to open this door. She didn't want to know what she sought.

But she had to do it.

Perhaps it was only for a distraction, but she found herself speaking before she thought things through. "Aurelia gave me an interesting bit of information about a certain flower in your garden, Captain."


It took basically every lesson Rikichi had ever learned about self-control to successfully keep on walking as though the question did not perturb him at all. For a strange, tilting moment, he really really wished he’d never answered Lia’s questions about his garden. It had been a moment of weakness to admit what little he had, and clearly, karma was punishing him for it now. He should bear it as stoically as he could, but there were certain things that were just difficult to take on the nose, no matter what you did. To his credit, his voice remained neutral when he answered, if a little softer than usual.

“Did she?” he replied, his eyes reflexively scanning the area. Nothing—it would likely be a clear walk to Atol’s home at this time of day. Not many were out and about—most slept quite soon after this hour. “She is an enthusiast. Her knowledge of plants is very impressive, for one so young.” He just wished she were a little less inclined to share it.


Rivka was slightly surprised to hear his answer. If she didn't know any better, she'd have sworn he was dodging the subject. So she tried again. "She did, and she is, indeed. She was quite impressed with how close in comparison the color of the roses were to the color of my hair. Just like the ones I recieve on my name day each year..."

Rikichi sighed, shaking his head slightly before blinking over at her, something resigned creeping into his expression. “What do you wish me to say, My Queen? If desiring to alleviate the feeling of being unrecognized on your day of birth is a sin, then I am afraid I have been transgressing for centuries. I bred the roses, and I it I who leaves the arrangement in your room every year. I simply…” He did not let himself finish the sentence, instead trailing off. He could not say why he did it beyond the simple desire to recognize the occasion in some way, because if he told her the truth, six hundred years of carefully-constructed boundaries and deception by omission would crumble into dust at his feet, and everything would be ruined. He knew he was capable of doing his job just as well even though he loved her, but things would be different if that was known. He could not say that he did it because her smile lit up his entire world in a way that nothing else did. He could not say that he reviled her husband for not recognizing how very worthy and wonderful she was as a person, how he was madly jealous of Hajime for having such a woman—no, not such a woman, just her—for a wife, and found him beyond stupid for failing to recognize what a blessing she was.

He definitely couldn’t tell her how badly he wanted to hurt Schrodinger every time the man looked at her like she was just another thing to be coveted and owned, rather than a strong, intelligent, extraordinary person who deserved more than this forsaken world could provide for her. So he settled, as he was so often forced to, on a half-truth. “I told you, did I not, that I believed you needed a friend to confide in? It so happens that a friend would also celebrate such an occasion with you. I… cannot be that friend; station does not permit it. But… it seemed a shame, for you to be entirely without one, and so I did what I did without claiming credit for it. If you find it terribly inappropriate, I apologize, and will amend my behavior accordingly. I only ask you to understand that nothing ill was meant.” Nothing ill, certainly, but plenty that was not appropriate.


No, station did not permit it, and that was the true shame. For a second, her heart fluttered. It was absurd, the thought she had. It was always outlandish, just as the last time. Yet there it was. Still, she smiled. "Perhaps some might deem it inappropriate. I do not. I am simply glad to know, for now I can finally thank you truly."

She stopped then, because it was her father's door that stood before them. Her eyes rested there, but it was not the door she was seeing. Her mind was elsewhere.

She was shaking. It took her a few seconds to find her voice. "Lord Atol is not here, but there are people here. Over a hundred...and most of them are human."