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Revelation: The Cure

District Beta

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a part of Revelation: The Cure, by Kurokiku.

Also called the merchant's district, and home to the more affluent commoners.

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Setting

Also called the merchant's district, and home to the affluent commoners.

District Beta

Also called the merchant's district, and home to the more affluent commoners.

Minimap

District Beta is a part of The Skycity of Revelation.


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#, as written by Ezarael
On most occasions the workshop was alike unto an inferno, the clashing of steel akin to the screaming of the furies, while the aging blacksmith toiled tirelessly for days on end constantly drawing, bending, and folding the blistering metal into all forms of blades, or shrinking and punching plates to be used for the Crown’s skyship repairs. The few strikers apprenticed to Garbiel would rush to and fro while heating metal, fetching coke, the traditional fuel of Forgefire workshops, disliking the cheaper coal, and performing whatever tasks the smith deemed them capable of managing. However this afternoon was different, but a more common sight over the past year since the brutal assassination of the Marquis Adam Goldwater, as the workshop lay silent with hungry furnaces aching to burn once again, a thumping sound could be heard echoing from the upstairs living apartments reserved for the blacksmith and his family, or it would be for his family had the man ever had one. It was the echoing of Forgefire's colossal boots trudging back and forth through his study, contemplating the events occurring within the previous week since the discovery of The Cure by Dr. Vanderbilt, and the unconscionable procurement of this medicine by persons overwhelmed with greed.

A simple steel goblet lay clasped within thin, nimble hands, twirling the glass slowly with a slight twist of the wrist, swirling the deep red liquid in tranquil circles. A horribly scarred arm crept upwards to touch the cool rim to parched lips, sipping slowly from the spiced wine, but only lasting for a quick moment, almost teasing the tongue with the taste. It was not his custom to drink heavily, and many know the dangers of being a drunk blacksmith, but dark days like these forced a weak soul to seek solace where it could, pondering the evils of a failing world. This was merely his first cup though; he would not begin to drink more heavily until later off in the night when the Blacksmith’s Guild was less stringent upon the workings of their members. Less is required of the grizzled old man with each consecutive year, and all the Guild mostly desires is for the Forgefire technique to be taught to the younger generation. They were using him like they did everyone, bleeding them dry until they were worth nothing, but this was his life and he loved working on the forge.

What the man could not grasp his mind around was how anyone could let this happen to those already suffering more than any human should bear, but what could he do about it? It had been his biggest regret to never use his influence for good when he could, and now with his political connections were slipping away slowly, drifting towards the easily fooled youth. Garbiel had not seen it for many years, but the magi used to be imprisoned within that so-called school, and only if the walls could speak would anyone know what truly happened there, and now they are under the threat of extinction. With a guttural sigh the wine vessel was laid on a paper-smothered desk as orderliness had never been the greatest concern of Garbiel. The newly emancipated hand then gravitated towards the crude blade gracing the leather belt around the smith’s waist, thumbing the length of the blade curiously, as the elderly man seated himself roughly behind the cluttered desk in a lush goose-down chair, the red-velvet cases embroidered with a fuchsia-colored stitch. The man may not squander much wealth on clothing, but he would not settle for less than the best in all furniture used for lounging.

“Oh well…” Grumbled the blacksmith quietly to himself, “Nothing much I can do about it, so best leave it be for the bureaucrats to solve for their selves.”

As if a dark cloud had lifted from his furrowed brow the look of the Forgefire smith’s countenance metamorphosed from that of a tortured soul to that of complete tranquility, looking much more comfortable on the bearded face. The sip teased the parched mouth, the spices tantalizing the palette, begging for more of the beloved nectar, and this increased desire was sated with one long draught from the vessel, emptying of its contents. A warm smile crept upon Garbiel’s face at the prospect of another glass, but with a longing look he placed the goblet by the flask of wine seated in a corner of his desk. Instead his lumbering frame turned towards a window on the other side of the room overlooking the bustling streets of Beta District.

“Maybe it would be best to traverse to city on such a beautiful day. Who to visit however…”

Speaking to their selves, was not an uncommon habit of blacksmith, mostly it was done in an attempt to hear you speak over the blazing fires of the furnace, of the clashing of steel. The bald man ambled off towards the thick oaken door separating the apartment from the staircase leading to the workshop, stopping momentarily the key that lay dangling off a hook to its right. The locking mechanism had been designed by one of his scientist associates, and he had crafted the parts himself, consisting of a design unique to most other locks within Revelation. With a resounding thud the door was shut, and the quiet click of mechanisms turning into placed signaled the security of his living quarters, as creaking steps whisked the broad man outwards and into the clutching maw of the crowd, transforming the large man into another formless wanderer.

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#, as written by Ezarael
Garbiel followed the young Scheherazade down the cavernous hallways of The Guild to a reading room that seemed swallowed up by a massive table, seating himself opposite the young woman as The Physician followed them in shortly thereafter. Upon taking his seat the elderly man sighed heavily after another lengthy walk, while the years of toiling with a blazing furnace and burning coal had grown much more visible upon his aging brow, and a shadow loomed over his shoulders until the young woman’s voice seized him from the grips of his thoughts.

The discourse could have started nowhere else except with the death of Marquis Adam Goldwater the year prior, and that it was an infamous ploy to undermine the authority of The Guild. The mention of a certain devilish Member of Parliament named Duke David Gilgamesh forced the hackles on the back of the Smith’s muscled neck to stand at attention, and also made perfect sense for the man to be linked with these events, but to go so far as to order the traitorous assassination of a noble would not be syllogistic for a man of his standing. The end of the short narrative comprised of a rather blatant, but altogether sensible warning about the danger they were all facing in these uneasy times.

Only the hair’s breadth of a moment passed before The Physician bade the Blacksmith and Assassin’s Apprentice farewell, conveying a slight feeling of parental anxiety towards the young Miss Steins with his hurried pace. The Smith soon lost himself in thought, only murmuring a goodbye to the girl seated before him, striding off once again on aging legs, sore from the day’s trials; not wanting to tread the impossibly hard stone streets again he veered off towards the nearest railway station that connected with Beta District. At this hour the cars were very much crowded as the many pedestrians desired a reprieve from their long day’s walk enjoying the revelry of Gamma District, and the Smith found himself seated uncomfortably with several small children playing “Assassins and Magi” all around him.

Nevertheless the ride proved harmless with its expediency, and what would surely have taken him two hours to walk took only twenty minutes out of the day, leaving him ample time to return to the Blacksmith Guild and prepare for Miss Steins’ arrival. Fortunately he happened upon a Butcher’s Shop on the way back to the workshop, and upon locking sights on a particularly plump capon the meal was all but decided. The kitchen should have all the other amenities needed for such a delightful meal, more than likely it would be stuffed and roasted, drawing out dinner to a slightly later time than usual but should not be too inconvenient for Miss Steins since she needs to unpack, while being glazed with a garlic-honey sauce and served with grilled onions, peppers, and potatoes.

A now brisk walk, after being revitalized somewhat from the ride back, lead the aged man to the front gates of The Forge, the term used by its inhabitants. The Blacksmith Guild was more alike unto a marketplace “compound”, and in that the Ten Manors were given individual lots so that they may sell their wares, giving each master an equal opportunity amongst his competition. The first six Manors were lined up with three on either side of the gate, forming a walkway to the Central Square and the last four Manors comprising the back wall of the “compound”, with The Forge placed in the epicenter of the Guild. This was the only Guild that had organized itself in such a manner, as most other Guilds allowed their members to open up their shops wherever they may choose, but the Blacksmiths had chosen a different path.

For a long period of time, twenty years ago thanks to the efforts of Garbiel Forgefire and several other prominent Guild Members, there had been no royal legislation concerning the operation of the Guilds, and the necessity of them, allowing anyone to take a trade and open shop wherever they wished, but The Blacksmith’s Guild knew that there were better ways to operate. The masters of each of the Ten Manors set out on a deliberate attempt to promote Guild-friendly legislation through Parliament that allowed for stricter regulations and requirements to operate a workshop. Much of this was targeted towards independent owners specifically requiring royal permits that could only be obtained through the Guild itself, and even implemented excessive tariffs aimed towards independent sales. This soon brought the large number of blacksmiths under the wing of The Forge, but after only one month all the newcomers were consumed with glee as their sales skyrocketed and prices were raised by the new monopoly.

As Garbiel strode through the wrought-iron entrance to his Manor several apprentices and journeyman, all varying between the ages of twelve and thirty, were seen hustling by one of Forgefire’s sweltering forges completing all necessary orders, or producing their own wares for practice and surplus items, but one stopped at seeing his aging master to remove his gloves and apron, striding towards Garbiel with outstretched arms to embrace the father-figure before him. His name was Danterus, and he was the successor to the Forgefire Manor.

“Welcome home father. How has your day been?”

Danterus had been worrying about his adoptive father the entire day, pondering on what could happen to the aging man considering his melancholic bouts and a recently developed drinking habit. It seems the old man had been out conducting business with the paperwork that Sir Amon had delivered several hours previously, and for some reason brought another capon back for supper, he could understand once a week but these meals had been going on for far too long as far as he was concerned; of course they were going to have those damned onions as well, hopefully he doesn’t breathe on me. Garbiel returned the hug with equal fervor and proudly raised the capon in his left hand for Danterus’ inspection, but with a strange look hiding behind his eyes, obscured from vision by the fake smile planted across his mouth.

“Business as usual Danterus, but I need to send this to the kitchens for preparation, and I want the two youngest apprentices Aeryk and Jeorg to clean the spare apartment, I have found a healer that will be staying with us for some time. We will be dining in my quarters to speak more of her stay, remember to behave yourself.”

The young man knew better than to question his father on such matters, especially when he had the almost-worried look in his eyes that he had right now, or when there was a capon that needed to be rushed to the kitchen, but sometimes both. He watched The Smith hurry towards the kitchen, limping along the way, very indicative of how much walking the old man had done today, only for a moment before he stepped towards the youngest apprentices, both twelve years of age, and sent them on to clean the vacant apartment, which was probably in need of a good dusting and sweeping, while the mats and drapes needed beating, and the bed must be lumpy from ill-use. Dinner would be ready after only a few hours, but he should be able to work the forge for a little while longer before he needed to bathe for dinner.

Several hours flew by while the young man sharpened and polished his current project, a rapier hammered so thin that it resembled a long needle, but in fact is dual-edged with an elaborate hilt with the metal shaped as intertwining serpents, each eye socketed so that it could be fitted with precious gems. Night had fallen in earnest amongst the quiet Beta District, as the apprentices finished cleaning for the day and rushed to the kitchens, and the City Guard at the station next to the Blacksmith’s Guild began changing with the night’s watch, lighting lanterns on their way home to ease the burden on the patrols. Without warning soft footsteps began trudging heavily from behind Danterus, the rustling of fabric and grunting signaling they were carrying a load, and the man commented calmly without turning to address the stranger fully.

“If you came back to buy this rapier you should not have wasted your time. It is not for sell, but I will be more than willing to forge a different one should you desire it.”

“Well it is pretty, but I kinda need to speak to Mr. Forgefire right now. I’m supposed to be staying here for a while.”

At the sound of the breathy voice shoulder-length, shock-black hair flew uncontrollably as his, sometimes referred to as small, head spun around to put Victoria in his vision, the tiny, yet perky, young woman standing resolutely with a large grin on her face and two large suitcases in her hands. Danterus did not stand as tall as his adoptive father, nor was he as stocky, but at 24 years old, 6’ tall, and 190 lbs. of lean muscle he made just as impressive a sight as Garbiel, and coupled with his wit and charm has become a very capable young leader, and often noticed for his skills with the forge and diplomacy. None the less he was somewhat taken aback by the woman standing before him, as out of place in a workshop as ice, in fact she needed to harrumph to catch his attention and clear his smooth-shaven face of his puzzled stare and slightly gaped mouth.

“Oh apologies miss, just a little shell shock from the labor today, of course father did mention that someone would be coming, please allow me to take your bags. He’s upstairs in his office, I’ll point which room it is if the door’s not open, and I’ll take these to your apartment.”

After having to bend over slightly to reach the bags long, slender hands grasped the handles, hefting the heavy luggage as easily as he would a book, pleased that he had a chance to speak with the young woman. Danterus had accumulated somewhat of the reputation as a womanizer over the past half-decade, no doubt thought of as a rouge by any fathers, and earning the jealousy of his fellow journeyman. A sly smirk spread across his thick lips as he looked over and down at the woman walking next to him, he thought he could hear her mumbling to herself, but could not hear distinctly enough to tell, and her fidgeting manner denoted high anxiety.

“My sincerest apologies Miss, I forgot to introduce myself, I am Danterus il Forgefire, Successor to the Forgefire Manor…Oh you see the door all the way down the hallway on the right-hand side? That’s your room, I’ll take your bags there, but my father’s office is this middle room here on the right, he likes the view he has over the road, knock and go inside, I’ll be back shortly.”

Danterus walked down the hallway quietly, peering off to the left down the length of the hall perpendicular with this one, the upstairs hallway was horseshoe shaped with outside rooms were used for various reasons, with the northern, inside wall used for journeyman and apprentices, while the southern, street-bound side was reserved for however Garbiel sees fit, and the middle section used as a kitchen/dining area. Walking the length of the hallway to the south-eastern room, a well lit room with its two windows one over-looking the street and the other focused on the City Guard’s barracks, seemed to take forever as the young man listened for the sounds of the girl’s eager knock, the subsequent door opening, a throaty welcome, and the door’s closure, when all of a sudden Aeryk came perspiring out of the freshly cleaned apartment, breathing heavily as Danterus set down a briefcases inside the door to pat the young boy on the back, and urging him off towards the dining area with the palm of his hand.

“Please Miss Steins, come in and have a seat, dinner will be arriving shortly. I hope you had no problem finding your way with your luggage. If Danterus isn’t still toiling away at the forge he should be cleaned up and here soon.”

The delicate girl sat down at one end of a round, oaken table placed in the center of the room, each chair placed so as to make a triangle if connected by a line, as Garbiel placed himself in the chair to her right, and facing the window overlooking the street. Three glasses were sitting on the table, each filled with water at the moment, but in the center of the table sat two decanters of liquid, one with wine and the other with tea, which The Smith summarily poured himself a glass of tea to sustain him for the moment, it would be in ill-taste to drink before the meal, and he must take care not to over-drink while in the lady’s company.

“Oh no I didn’t have any problems finding my way here Mr. Forgefire. Thank you so much for letting me stay here, I promise I won’t be a burden on you. Did you say Danterus? He took my bags to my room, but he hadn’t cleaned up yet.”

“He had not washed yet? Well it certainly will be some time before he is able to join us. Well I guess that gives us some time to discuss business matters. I will furnish you room and board while you stay here and help take care of our medical necessities. You will be given an allowance of 10 gold pieces per week to spend as you see fit, and any supplies that you need I shall pay, or reimburse you later however you see fit. Unless I have been running errands all day and am late I dine in the room adjacent this one with my pupils and tenants, and you are welcome to join me either place unless I strictly desire to not have company. Any questions?”

The young girl shook her head quietly at the unexpected inquiry, he had been quite clear and concise in his monologue, detailing the most rudimentary of details out expediently like the businessman he was. A sharp knock sounded at the door as it burst open to the smell of roasted capon, the delightful bird lain on a platter, with fried potatoes, peppers, and onions forming a bed for the dish, as a giant grin spread over Garbiel’s face.

“I do love capon with potatoes, peppers, and onions. I believe Danterus is growing tired of the dish, but he won’t chance offending me over such a small thing.”

The duo proceeded to dine quietly for several minutes until their missing dinner-guest finally arrived in a flurry of wind and clothes, soapy water still spotting his coal-black hair. A nervous chuckle sounded from between chattering teeth, his bath had been much colder than he anticipated when he jumped in without checking, and the shock left him slightly numb in some parts of his body. The makings of a slight frown creased his brow upon sight of their dish, but a half-cocked grin flashed quickly to cover the momentary lapse.

“Well father dinner certainly looks appetizing.”

The small group finally dined in peace, making introductions as they conversed over daily routine in the Manor, and denoting which rooms and areas were used for whatever their purpose. Their relaxed demeanors could have been no less antithetical to the next day’s happenings, ignorance and bliss always precedes danger, especially for the innocent.

*Time Lapse: The Next Day*

The night had given way quietly to morning as the Forgefire Manor awoke to their daily routine, the apprentices lighting the fires and preparing the workshop by placing orders for materials, fetching requests, and laying out the wares that would be on display for the day. Garbiel went about beginning the syringe castes requested by The Physician, a task that would take the entirety of the day to complete, while Danterus organized the tenant journeyman with their daily tasks, each one skilled in the Forgefire technique. Victoria went about arranging her new living quarters how she desired, confiscating a rather large desk from another room to place her supplies and equipment.

They all continued, oblivious to the reality of the world waiting just outside, with their tasks for the day, until unusual shouting emanating from outside drifted upwards through Victoria’s open windows. Outside was a battlefield as the City Guard battled with rebels on their very doorstep, their fighting stifled by the calamity from downstairs in the workshop, the beating of hammer and blazing of fire masking the sounds of steel clashing and fireballs bursting. A fireball flew forth and smashed into the helpless barracks, as large chunks of the building were launched outwards, a large section of the roof coming down on the adjacent Forgefire Manor, shattering windows, catching the roof on fire, and sending an avalanche of flaming debris cascading down onto the unprotected masses.

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#, as written by Smith
The sheets, pressed, warm and soft as could be were wrapped around the dozing assassin in a comforting embrace. Eos slept in an infantile curl with only the edge of his face visible past the beddings, his scarred body hidden within. He was enjoying sleeping in on his day off. Or, rather, he would have enjoyed it had a certain Guildmaster who he was not on trusting terms yet with not knocked on his door. With a loud groan of protest the assassin surged up from the bed and swung open the door to his room, ready to lash out should an opponent present themself.

That would have been preferable to the merry band of morning-goers that awaited him just outside. Eos immediately perked up and regarded the others for a long moment...in the nude. Out of the many times he had gone against sleeping bereft of clothing, letting his better judgement take the back burner on this one had not been one of his best calls. "One moment, if you would."

The assassin turned, shutting the door behind him and grabbing some comfortably middle-class traveling clothing. Once dressed, the Hand strapped ona belt, hid his weapons in the appropriate compartments and exited the room to join his fellows. Hopefully their glimpse of 'The Trouser Titan' would not traumatize them too much. A disturbing thought crossed Eos's mind just then: Had Selene been joking about that nickname? The thought was brushed away as easily a cobweb. Of course she wasn't. Before he could inquire as to the nature of Amon's summoning, the Guild Master divulged the method behind his madness.

Eos listened on with growing interest, in the situation as well as the unease apparent in Amon Gregory's voice. He must have been getting old...the Amon Eos knew would never have shown any outward signs that the situation was anything but under control. Amon had always been the player that was seven steps ahead of the competition, equipped with two back-up plans should the first go awry. As the meeting was adjourned, Eos cast one last inquisitive look at Amon before making his way towards the streets.


It only took a couple tries to get the location of the steadily growing mob and a few minutes to catch up. Dressed in nothing too fancy, Eos blended in with the disgruntled marchers fairly well. He shouted occasionally and raised his fist in the air for effect. He refrained from gathering any intelligence from any of the stoked marchers, as blind faith and mob mentality often muddled the truth of the matter. Even then, Eos thought with a wry smile, the truth is hard to come by.

Instead the assassin began picking out targets that were stoking the flames of these fool's misguided fervor and went to work. One by one a preaching man or a rallying woman dropped to the cobbles to become pebbles that the river of marchers broke around--or merely stepped upon in some cases--and Eos was lost in the thick procession. With each pass he jabbed a target in the solar plexus or the soft spot in the back of the skull, making sure to be as discrete as possible. In all honesty, he might as well have saved himself the trouble of discretion and just went all out. Nobody was paying any particular attention to the man next to them, seemingly intent on the unseen objective ahead.

Eos scowled and waved the front of his shirt in a vain attempt to get some cool air on to his skin. The press of the mob overwhelmed his senses with a torrid, musky air that threatened to make him wretch. The Hand noted, with a hint of displeasure, that the throng of people replenished itself faster than his meager efforts thinned it out. He hoped the others were having a better run of the situation.

The sound of crackling flames and roaring spell-craft carried over the cacophanous drone of the rioters, prompting Eos to direct his focus to the more readily detrimental individuals; The mages.

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#, as written by Shiva
The structure began shuddering from small explosions, as the flames licked at the storage areas that held the fuel for the massive the Forgefires hosted for their smelting. Plumes of fire ate away at the wood, and all the while Victoria was only just coming to. She sniffed once, coughed and shot up from her bed. Smoke clouded her vision, and she looked around desperately. She understood the situation perfectly- the entire smithy was on fire and she needed to get out. In the back of her head, she remembered her Master's chemical fires being even worse to control, and threw herself at the window. Looking out, she immediately knew that the structure was too unstable to climb down, and straight-up jumping off will end up with both her thin legs broken, and unable to get away if the building was to explode or collapse over her. No, too chancy.

Why? Why did this have to happen now? She finally managed to meet a celebrity she swooned over, and now this. She disregarded the suitcase full of her own belongings- those could be replaced. However, Etzel's smaller case of chemicals needed to be saved- who knows what would happen if she just left them there for the chemicals to burn. Inhaling poisonous substances wasn't much better than drinking them. She dragged the suitcase out into the hall, where the effects of the fire were even more disastrous. She dashed down the hall, making her way toward the stairs and exit. Suddenly, a dark shape shoved her out of the way as the archway collapsed, sweeping her into the flaming main hall. The masked doctor looked at her once, his posture relieved. "Go!" He ordered sharply, and Victoria went with Etzel trailing right behind her. Suddenly, the floorboards snapped, weakened by the flame sending the Doctor crashing through the floor, snapping the ankle and cracking the humerus. Pain lanced up the man's leg, as he collapsed. Victoria whirled around, trying to pull the Doctor up and just barely succeeded in forcing him to his feet and helping him toward the exit.

His gloved hand shot up at his mask, undoing the latches and forcing the mask into the girl's free hand. The pale physician's face was drenched in sweat, contorted with pain, and his eyes blazing with clarity. Just before they reached the door, the Physician's eyes went wide.

"Live. You have graduated, Victoria." He whispered, twisting from Victoria's arm and pushing her through the exit just as the roof caved in, blocking off the entrance.




The girl was thrown off her feet, into the courtyard with her cushioned suitcase slamming near her. The mask flopped to the ground, a little distance away. Victoria whirled around, staring in numb shock at the building she had so barely escaped.

Live

She picked up the suitcase and mask with shaking hands, scuttling a few yards before picking herself up and running. Far away, she didn't stop running for miles. She reached an old safehouse, fumbling at the traps and unlocking the door before entering. She understood why her Master was so distant from others now. He was aloof, alone, and more importantly- could not be touched. Over the years, the only apprentice that had stuck with him for so long grew on him, a girl that wouldn't give up no matter how insane he acted. It was his final connection, he had loved Victoria- and to save his apprentice he pushed into a burning building to make sure she got out. Locking the door behind her, she dropped the suitcase, sat down against the thick wooden entrance, and began sobbing.

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It didn't take too long for Aram to catch on to the fact that the confrontation no longer consisted solely of his men and the guardsmen from the barracks. The compound next door had already caught fire and was burning away at an alarming rate that only magefire could produce, and the barracks itself was not faring much better. Guards spilled out into the streets, in different states of armament, but all were carrying some form of weapon. All the same, more plainly-dressed figures attacked his supporters and the guards alike, apparently trying to contain the conflict.

That said all it needed to say. Assassins. For some reason, his wife insisted on maintaining a cordial friendship with the Guildmaster, but it appeared that the old man had chosen his side at last, and in some sense, this was a relief. It meant there was one more clearly-drawn line that he could point to and funnel anger towards, never mind that the old man's agents seemed to be just as intent on putting down guards who attacked with a little too much fervor.

All this was put from his mind, though, when he caught sight of a slight blond woman that he recognized. His cause had aggressively sought the assistance of Pandora Elling on several occasions, only to be turned down repeatedly. For a moment, he thought that the aid of the city's most talented healer might be theirs after all, until he noted that she was studiously healing someone wearing the uniform of the city guard. So that was how it was to be, then. Well, if her talents would not be put to the right use, it was better they were not used at all. Lightning lanced from Aram's fingertips, headed in an unmistakably-directed arc straight for the small woman.



The Royal Palace

Loki shuffled through several more documents until she reached the preliminary report on Vanderbilt. Flipping through it, her brows descended over her eyes and she frowned. There was just something not quite right about it, aside from the obvious. Such a method... someone had been making a very clear statement. But it was not one that she believed Gilgamesh had any cause to make. The problem was, she could think of very few people with both the motivation to kill the scientist and the inclination to have it done in such a provocative manner.

"Scheherazade, I want you to pay a visit to Marchfield. The body's gone by now, but I need some keener eyes on what is left. If you see anything strange at all, I want you to let me know."

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In the last year, Pandora had done so much emergency treatment on assassins with gaping wounds that she'd almost completely killed her embarrassing... well, embarrassment at seeing people without clothes. Almost. She abruptly swiveled on her heel to face in the other direction when Eos opened the door, though she could hear a couple of the others chuckle or make some form of snide comment. One of them dragged a hand down her face and shook her head.

They were all professionals, though, and so when it was time to move out, they did without complaint or comment, and Pandora followed after them, feeling very much like the child at the end of a very adult procession. She understood why she was going, of course, but that did not help her feel any more like she belonged. She blended with the crowd like the rest of them did, mentally keeping some form of tally on the dead, whispering quick spells to curb excess bleeding here or there. Unfortunately, as much as she wished she could say that this was out of nothing more than a respect for human life, it was also, in part, an effort to conceal the workings of the assassins, many of whom she considered her friends, for as long as possible.

In short, what happened at the end of the line was pandemonium, and she was busy from the get-go trying to help those who got caught in the crossfire. The victims of the assassins, she would leave alone for as long as she could, and focus instead on those who were hit by mage or guardsman. She spotted several people she knew amidst the carnage, including some she never would have thought could possibly belong to the violent group she saw before her. Fellow students from her years at the Facility, even a teacher or two. A few were healers like herself, but with enough skill in alteration to be useful in a confrontation.

Kneeling by the side of a fallen soldier, she unbuckled the leather chestplate that had been mostly burned off anyway, and murmured small words of soothing in between her more practical spells and his raw-throated yells of agony. It was with good reason that he screamed so; much of his skin was charred and blackened. She doubted there was any saving his left arm, so she simply dulled the pain and tried to repair his torso instead.

The hairs on the back of her neck pricked, and Pan's head snapped up, her arm following it in just enough time to raise a shield to deflect a bolt of lightning. The silver-blue field of energy dissipated with impact, and left Pandora a clear view of the person responsible. "Mr. Azazel?" The man was not unknown to her, nor to anyone in Delta. Considered a benefactor of the poor masses, he lived amongst them while somehow accumulating more money than any of them could hope to have and then giving it away as though to do so were nothing at all.

His face was contorted into a grim snarl, and her eyes widened. Something was very wrong with this situation, a fact which was affirmed when he shot another attack at her, this one an orb of fire. His destructive capabilities were markedly impressive, and rather than trying to meet this one head on, Pandora bent her next shield so it completely encased the flames, causing them to gutter out from lack of air. "Mr. Azazel, what are you doing? Surely you can't-" she was forced to dive to the side to avoid another gout of flames, and they were coming in quicker succession now. It looked like she had but two choices: fight, or die.

Of course, it was never exactly that simple; "fighting" for Pan required a good deal of creativity. Whispering a string of words under her breath, she materialized two more shields, small in size, but expandable at will. "I'm sorry, Mr. Azazel, but I can't let you do this!" One of the small orbs of light grew and flattened until it was a disk about the size of Pandora, and with a motion, she sent it flying at him. A flame broke it on its way, but by then she had hardened her resolve and called three more to replace it, and eventually one of the made it to him, slamming into the other mage much as a heavy pane of glass would. It bowled him over temporarily, but shattered on impact.

Please, just give up! There are people who need my help!



District Alpha

Zade nodded at the command. Once, she would have asked if Loki was truly going to be fine without a bodyguard, especially in the company of someone so close to David Gilgamesh of all people, but she had learned a while back not to question her employer's ability to defend herself. That lesson had ended with Zade on the floor with Loki's knife at her throat. It was only more humiliating because the princess had managed it in a rather confining dress. She'd tried wearing one once, out of a morbid sort of curiosity, only to discover that yes, it really was hard to breathe in them.

So instead she took her leave, feet carrying her across the rooftops in search of Marchfield, which was on the outer edges of the district. She passed by the Facility on her way, which was something she normally would not have paid much attention to, except for the fact that there was something... off about it. Weren't the mage-children usually allowed out for a little while this time of day? She hadn't thought it was that late yet...

All such thoughts immediately ceased when, out of nowhere, she felt a tremor beneath her feet. Her eyes shot to the building proper, just in time for her to see as well as hear the windows blew out, followed by another tremor and an explosion. A plume of black smoke was loosed into the sky, and Zade could only watch as the structure fell, piece by piece, into a heap of rubble. As if by- of course it's magic, you idiot- the smoke began to form words, and she watched in some form of morbid fascination as a message was spelled out into the sky.

We will not be caged. Well, damn. Scheherazade had a feeling Loki was going to want to hear about this, so without hesitation, she reversed direction and headed back to the palace.

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As many times before Giacomo was drawn to the blacksmiths guild. With a briefcase full of blueprints in his possesion he walked to the blacksmiths guild. When time and situation allowed Giacomo favored walking over machine assisted travel, it allowed you to earth with your surroundings better and it gives you a better view of what happens in the city, afterall in a skyship you could barely see the citizens below let alone see what plays between them. Though Giacomo's focussed exterior didn't show it, his mind was doubtfull about how the blacksmiths guild looked at him. Afterall he had very high standards with his metal and he had refused parts that he felt weren't good enough more than once, but he also was one to pay royally for the delivered quality and he always needed loads of parts. Though the blacksmiths guild has learned to deal with his high standards over time, there have been some firey arguments in the past due to it.

As he the blacksmiths guild came into view Giacomo was confronted with what at first glance looked like an out of controll fire. As fast as his legs could carry him he ran towards the guild building, only to see the more horrible truth, a rebellion. His monoculared eye shot over the entire situation, jumping from person to person. Clearly the guild was already making effort to stop the rebellion, but neither city guard nor the rebels seemed to have any intent to stop fighting. Through the crowds he could see that mages were involved, strong ones too, even Aram was involved... No, he was leading them, only he could mass poeple together for something like this. He put down his briefcase, knowing it's mechenics would destroy the blueprints if anything but the key was used to open the case. he sighed and mumbled: "I never thought I would use these againts the poeple I want to help." And from his sleeves came two contraptions, one being the trident system from before, the other appeared to be something between a cannon and a crosbow, having a barrel and a bow at the same time.

Giacomo lunged forward into combat intending to aid the assasins. But as he came closer he noticed Pandora in combat with aram himself. Though he knew little about magic compared to the mages he knew that there was a balance, healers had weaker combat magic and vica versa. As far as he knew they were on opposite ends Pandora being a healer and Aram a fighter. A worse match-up wouldn't have existed, she would need help to defeat someone like Aram. He ran towards Aram brushing all other combatants( exept Pandora) in his path asside with the flat parts of the weapons. As soon as there was nothing more between him and Aram his right arm raised towards him and the bow shot. Out of the barrel came a steel ball on a long chain, the ball went straight for Arams abdomen and due to the range Giacomo had left Aram with only a split second to react to the threat.

(OOC: I am not saying Aram is a fighter, but I'm saying that Giacomo percieved it that way)

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#, as written by Smith
Well, isn't this fun? the riot had rapidly degraded into no less than a full-blown melee. Eos and several other assassins he had caught wind of during the mass brawl were working tirelessly to put down key figures, but the effects of their efforts went unnoticed. It was too easy for the next fool to step up and incite the next wave of fanatics--or zealous guardsmen--to fight for their cause with fevor. The smell of smoke, charred flesh and unwashed bodies did not help at all. Eos feared that he would not be able to stem the tide at all if lethal force was restricted.

"Help me! Oh please, whatever mercies look upon me help!" a woman who was quite literally a living fireball ran past Eos at screaming bloody murder. Frozen in shock, the assassin watched her advance all of six steps further into the uncaring mass of people before crumpling into a blackened heap. Eos slowly traced the dead woman's sooty footsteps back towards a great scorchmark on the side of abuilding where she must have been standing. From there, a stocky young man slinging fire caught his eye. Limitations were set in place in order to keep lids on potential outcomes. When such outcomes have been achieved regardless of the precautions set in place, then the very same limitations were nothing but hindrances.

Eos began a calm and steady walk towards the mage. His eyes burned from the acrid smoke and Eos had to wipe the tears from his eyes several times as he drew closer to the burning structure. The trigger happy magic-slinger was too preoccupied with a trio of guardsmen that had failed to sneak up on him to notice the approaching assassin. Even when Eos's heel came drove into his spine with an audible crack it still took the man a second to realize he was being attacked on two fronts. The mage cried out in pain and sunk to the floor in a manner not too different from that of his burn-victim. With wild, rolling eyes the mage made several futile attempts to summon the concentration required to conjure another spell while Eos looked down with dull eyes.

After a few moments of stunned silence the remaining two guardsmen converged on the wounded target and ran him through several times over with pikes. They immediately turned to regard Eos, gripping their weapons warily but nodding thanks none the less. Eos ignored the pair and sprinted towards one of the intact buildings, ascending the brick structure with the grace of a spider.


Eos lost track of time as he leapt from building to building. Every few minutes or so he would spot a mage causing property damage and come down upon them like a swooping hawk. Three out of the sick had come out of the encounter unconcious, concussed and sporting a few bruises or broken bones. The other three...not so much. He caught sight of Pandora's spell-duel and thought of helping several times, but had to content himself with the aid that the others were providing. He could not put an individual above the needs of the whole.

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The appearance of the scientist with the unconventional weaponry was almost enough to throw Aram off his target. Almost. He had not been training for this war, a war that hardly anyone knew was coming, for years only to be bested by a single man with a strange projectile launcher. No, indeed. Rather than attempt to erect a shield, which may or may not work depending on the force with which the ball and chain had been launched, he reacted instinctively, meeting it with a blast of pure, concussive kinetic energy, which turned out to be greater than what was provided by the man's device, and per the laws of physics, sent the intended punishing weapon spinning off at an angle opposite the one he'd hit from.

He lobbed a few orbs of fire at the man, well aware that he still had Pandora to contend with. He'd never seen metaphysical magic put to such a use before, but he would admit that being slammed into by a shield hurt like hell, and she was strong enough with them that it was not a simple matter of meeting force with force, not if he wanted to last more than a few goes without tiring himself out. Still, he knew this slight woman by reputation, and chances were, she wasn't willing to throw everything into this confrontation, either, for fear of running out of magic when the time came to heal people. Her words only confirmed his suspicions, and he would use this to his advantage.

He only needed a bit more time, anyway. All around them, his followers were falling unconscious to the ground, but even that did not matter, because this was not the main force, only a specialized unit designed to distract for as long as necessary. And the others, they wouldn't need much more time now. It was not without much consideration that he had chosen this day, this time, this place for his first major assault on the powers-that-be. This in mind, he decided it was safe to let loose on the waif of a woman who thought to stand against the force of his conviction.

Taking a cue from what he had used on the scientist, Aram sent out consecutive bursts of kinetic energy, intending to shatter every shield she could muster until he reached the woman herself. With every hit, he advanced a step closer, until there was little more than five feet between them, making reaction time of critical importance. He would not cease until she was hit. Traitors to his kind would be destroyed with the rest of them, and this healer was no exception. If it looked like she was killed by the guard, even better.

He was raising his hand for a killing blow when the shout of one of his comrades drew his attention. The forced was loosed instead at a guard, and, taking stock of the situation, Aram made a sweeping gesture, signaling his troops to pull out and melt back into the districts below. Those who had joined the march understood well enough, and in the space of a few minutes, all was quiet wreckage, the mages gone as swiftly as they had appeared.



District Alpha, Sewers

Ishtar could only shake her head slowly at the message writ across the sky. She might have made a jest to her husband about his taste for the dramatic, but they were surely beyond levity now. This... the destruction of the Facility and the removal of each and every child within would be seen as nothing less than an act of war, and she knew that was exactly how he had intended it. She wondered if that nobleman who whispered honeyed lies into her husband's ears knew he would take it so far.

Delta's most infamous madam held the small, scared child to herself, stroking the poor thing's hair as she and those who had made a show of the building's destruction wound their way through the underground sewer system, the only sure way to get from Delta to Alpha and back again without being noticed. Of course, the fact that the city guard was preoccupied with Aram's assault would help, and the chaos surrounding the Facility would likely be distracting enough on its own. By the time anyone would think to look for them down here, they would all be back in their homes, the children hidden away in those parts of the slum district where they would not be found.

And when the soldiers came for them... well, Ishtar could only hope that her husband's confidence in his people was justified. She knew the fearsome power that a mage held, but unlike Aram, she also knew that there were people in this city that you could not afford to trifle with. She would pray for Amon Gregory's neutrality, and prepare as much as one could for his vengeance.



The Nexus, Three Hours Later

Loki resisted the urge to shift uncomfortably in her seat. It would not do to seem disconcerted by anything that had happened. Truly, though, she was. She could not say with any degree of truthfulness that she had been expecting anything this extreme this soon. Either whoever was running this little mage uprising thought he had an insurmountable advantage- which she found hard to believe- or he simply didn't care how many people died in what was to come. That supposition made her at once enraged and nauseous, though of course neither inclination would make it to her face.

She could not help but feel that this was now a very conveniently-timed meeting of Parliament. Gilgamesh had called everyone together for an immediate vote on something (most people correctly assumed it to be the mage issue), and lo and behold, not three hours before what would have been a mockery of the Prime Minister's powerplay was to begin, something momentous enough to give his ridiculous, inhumane measures a chance had actually occurred. Loki did not believe in coincidence, else she would have for a very long time have considered David Gilgamesh the luckiest man in the world.

She'd sent Carlisle to check in with Amon, though Scheherazade remained with her. With both herself and Gilgamesh involved in a matter so volatile, she wanted to be absolutely certain that if it came to something more than heated rhetoric, she was ready for it. In fact, she was almost hoping it would. She was tired of skirting around the man like she needed to be walking on eggshells. She was the heir to the entire city, damnit, and one could only swallow one's pride for so long. It was time for him to make a mistake, even if she had to goad him into it, and if she had to sacrifice a bit of her credibility to do that, fine. It was not as though they could remove her from her position as Princess, even if they thought to try removing her from Parliament itself. The only thing that was currently staying her hand from doing worse in this way was the effect it would have upon the reputations of her mother and Caelin.

It would be a balancing act, but a necessary one.




As soon as all the members of Parliament (even the elderly ones who honestly probably hadn't much longer for the place, all told) had filed in and taken their seats, David Gilgamesh rose from his own and moved to the podium from which he most often preferred to speak. With the customary (if terse) acknowledgement of the presence of the Queen, he began his assault on all his opponents had been working for in exactly the way she'd thought he would.

"Gentlemen of Parliament," he intoned, and the room fell completely silent. Privately, Loki was already irritated, because she was quite comfortable in the knowledge that she was nothing of the sort and therefore took it as the slight it was intended to be. "But a few mere hours ago, my worst fears for the fate of this city came to fruition. Unbidden, the magi of our outer districts marched on two fronts into the heart of our city and laid waste to symbols of the order and protection that the government of Revelation has long promised its citizens. Those slum-dwelling rats and their allies attacked, without an ounce of provocation, the barracks of the city guard and the Facility itself, the very institution that our forefathers erected to educate them. In the process, not only did they wipe out large sections of the barracks, the blacksmith's guild, and several local businesses, they also killed members of this city's legitimate police force, not to mention bystanders."

She did not miss the slight emphasis on legitimate, and wondered at his ability to make digs at other opponents even while lambasting his main target. It was as if the man was born to lie. Though... truthfully, she had no idea yet if there had been any civilian casualties in either the attack on the barracks or the demolition of the Facility. His words on that subject at least were a complete falsehood. The place was always meant to be a prison, not a school. How easy it was to forget, to say that there was no provocation when in fact the impetus of this act went back hundreds of years. That did not make it right, of course, but it was not the completely unprovoked slaughter that he was making it out to be.

"In the destruction of the Facility, the mages removed from its protection several of their own kind, children with no control over their powers yet, dangerous to all and now without the guidance necessary to keep themselves and others safe." A deft mix of truth and falsehood if ever there was one. It was as though he'd planned for just this, now wasn't it? "It is this aggression which their freedom has engendered. In the age when magi were properly contained, there were no rebellions, there was no mass destruction on the scale we have seen today. Elisia and her descendants recognized the dangers of these men who would be gods, why is it that we today lack the wisdom of our predecessors? Could it be perhaps that there are those among us who have grown sympathetic to their 'plight?' Those who are so soft that they forget that wild animals should be caged? It is an easy thing for a soldier to lay down a sword, gentlemen, but a mage cannot lay aside his magic. They are dangerous every moment of every day, and a fit of temper that would pass as nothing in one of us can in them produce results the like of which we have only just glimpsed.

"That is why I call this meeting. Though tragedy has struck sooner than I would have anticipated, those among us with the most foresight knew that this was only a matter of time. I propose an amendment to the constitution of the city: that all mages be placed once more in containment, for the good of all of us. For any who resist, there is now a new tool available to us, one provided by the late Dr. Vanderbilt, and with it, we can make our city safe once more. I propose also, therefore, that until such time as a permanent solution can be found, that all magi be dosed with the Cure, that they, like us, might lay down their violence and live lives of peace."

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"Mr. Vernazza, get down!" Pandora had noticed his assistance, and while she was grateful for it, it also made keeping all her attention on the magical duel between herself and Azazel quite difficult. She managed to deflect two of the four spheres of flame directed at the scientist afterwards, but she didn't even have the time to figure out if he'd survived or not, because her opponent was after her with a vengeance now. Those few summoned shields he did not shatter with force trembled and wavered under the heavy assault, and she knew she wouldn't be able to keep it up for much longer and still be of any use later.

Simply put, he was willing to put more into this than she was, and she did not recognize until it was too late that this would turn out quite as badly for her as it did. She was conjuring protective barriers as quickly, as she could, but he was breaking them even faster, advancing with every successive strike, until there was no time left for her to react. Azazel threw both arms forward, and Pandora was hit with a wall of invisible force that propelled her backwards at least ten feet. Her head slammed into the cobblestones of the road, and a nausea-inducing crack informed her with grim certainty that he'd broken most if not all of her ribs.

Breathing was painful, and red and black spots flickered over her vision, swirling in random phantasmal patterns. The speed of her thoughts slowed to a crawl, blocked out on all sides by the agony spiderwebbing from the back of her head forward, and from her ribcage out. She registered only dimly that the other mage was standing over her, and she knew rather than supposed that he was summoning another crushing burst. It occurred to the healer that she was going to die, and her eyes, clouded with trauma, struggled to focus on the face of the man who was going to kill her. Ironic, perhaps, that she had had professional killers after her for the better part of a year, and in the end, it was going to be someone who wanted the same things she did that would end her.

She may have been naive and stupidly helpful on more than one occasion, but she was not actually an idiot. Pan knew that it was wrong to keep people with the gift excluded from society, just like she knew it was wrong for everyone in Delta to live in the conditions that they did. Unlike these rebels, though, she had always thought that the means to an end were even more important than the end itself. Had that been foolish of her, too? It was certainly the reason she was lying here.

Azazel turned and fired the magic elsewhere, and before she could figure out why this might be, the pressure on her head became too much, and she succumbed to beckoning unconsciousness.



The Nexus

Zade was reciting ingredient lists for flammable solutions under her breath as she stood behind Loki's chair in the Parliament building. Not because she was afraid she had forgotten them, but rather due to the fact that she was desperately seeking any method that she might use to keep herself from using said chemicals to immolate half of these people. It was hard to grow up the daughter of a Delta whore and one of these bastards and not have at least some bitterness. She didn't bother trying to reduce it all that much. Individual exceptions were just that- exceptions to the rule.

Actually, Loki hardly ever made her go to Parliament, because the woman knew how much she loathed it. She wondered why today was different. It would have been a simple matter to send her in Carlisle's place and let him deal with this, which was what usually happened. Maybe it was some kind of test; gods knew the Princess was cunning enough to employ such things. Though, honestly, if Zade could guess at the reason, that probably meant whatever she was thinking was not it. Sometimes working for the world's most inscrutable woman was annoying.

The other members of the legislature were slowly filing in, and the former street-rat watched them with hawklike eyes. Unlike other instances she could name, this time she really was trying to look unfriendly, and if at all possible, intimidating. A special level of hatred was reserved for David Gilgamesh, not least because he liked sending people to attempt to kill her. They both knew it, and surely he was aware that she understood that he was responsible, and so seeing him right there and not being able to lift a finger in his direction was a special kind of infuriating.

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( negated)

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#, as written by Ezarael
The darkness was impenetrable, terrifying, and suffocating, but the astounding thing was how peaceful it all seemed. It was almost as if there was an absence of the proverbial mountain on the Smith’s shoulders, freeing him from the inescapable responsibilities from life that were slowly draining him of vitality, yet for some reason the experience seemed so foreign to the contemplative man, like some other force had manipulated his entire being into this current predicament, almost as if the reaper had come and shown him the future. A burning sensation began to fill the entirety of his lungs, the flames licking at their epicenter with a vengeful fervor as fiery tendrils snaked throughout his thick, barrel chest, but something was wrong, and the realization of where he lay blossomed in the depths of his psyche, forcing powerful limbs to writhe and dig into the loose debris covering the elderly man, slowly forcing the earthen tomb to open for its unwilling captive.

Just as his lungs screamed from the fiery torment that intensified with every thrust of the body, yearning for the precious life source that resided so close, yet so unreachably far away, the barest traces of a cool breeze were felt trickling through the earthen ceiling. No matter the relief felt by exhausted limbs the trickles of air were not sufficient to enliven dying man as the darkness began creeping back in through the darkest recesses of his mind, a flood of unconsciousness sweeping over the elderly blacksmith as a brilliant ray of light burst through a small hole very far away. It almost looked as if a hand were thrusting itself through the shadows, reaching out for some unknown target with a passion almost as bright as the light emanating from behind.
Yet just as the hand grasped its target the reaper came back, sweeping over the unfortunate soul with a black-hearted vengeance, encasing the entirety of his existence with the ever-stifling blackness of the abyss.
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The calamity that had ensued after the collapse of the Garrison was incomprehensible for the nine inhabitants of the former Manor Forgefire, killing the two apprentices, busy fetching coal from the far, inside-corner of the workshop, instantly along with the three members of the house staff and Garbiel’s two resident Blacksmiths after the ensuing collapse of the back-half of the Manor. Large pieces of the City Guard’s Garrison jarred loose the large, timber columns that supported the top-half of the Forgefire Manor; the startling affluence with which the Mage-fire consumed the tinder-dry building was unnoticed by the occupants, stunned by the concussion of the impact.

The immediate damage had been less extensive on the front-end of the Forgefire workshop, where Danterus had been polishing the rapier he had been working on so diligently, and Garbiel labored near the smaller forge, kept in between the storefront and main-forge room, that was reserved for smaller, or especial, orders for Garbiel. The first impact had been rather large sections of the City Garrison that tumbled down into the not-walled-in workshop, sending a large tidal wave of coal and masonry cascading towards the two unsuspecting Forgefires, engulfing them in its deathly embrace before the fire could devour the supporting beams of the roof. For Danterus escape had proven nearly simple had it not been for an empty armor display that had been forced down onto the hapless individual, impeding his direct route upwards, and forcing him to dig sideways away from the large piece of furniture.

Several Guild members that had wandered outside from all the noise had rushed over towards the now crumbling Forgefire Manor, digging furiously for Garbiel Forgefire, entombed within a sea of coal, masonry, and debris. Nethanial Ironarm, the current Blacksmith Guild Leader and longtime friend of Garbiel’s, was one of the first to leap forward into the danger, having seen Garbiel before the avalanche he knew best around where he was located, and was the one man to save the endangered Blacksmith’s life. Just as Nethanial was able to pry Garbiel’s stout frame from the earth and drag him away from the burning building the supporting beams succumbed to the fire’s maniacal hunger, killing everyone who had not been saved.
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By the time that the Forgefires had been taken to safety the conflict outside the Compound had died away, the mage-led mob dispersing into the catacomb of streets that formed Revelation while leaving their dead to rot and wounded to die screaming, hopefully die lest they be tortured and questioned for any information with which they may be aware. Danterus, thunderstruck by the sudden chain of events, wandered outside after seeing to his father’s well-being with Nethanial to catch a glimpse of what lay before him. The extent of the damage was shocking, the entire top-right half of the City’s Garrison had collapsed into the now completely destroyed Forgefire Manor, with most of the insides of the Garrison burned out from the devastating mage-fire that thirsted for every hint of wood that it could. Even now the fire-crews were barely responding to the raging inferno that engulfed both buildings, and was dangerously close to grasping the building surrounding the first two.

The entire scene infuriated the young man, a man who already despised mages for the murder of his parents, with death rattles being sounded every few seconds from other unfortunate individuals unlucky enough not to die immediately. This was only the first atrocity that would be committed by the filthy mages if they were so bold as to attack a City Guard Garrison, in Beta District none-the-less, and if something was not done then this would get out of control, but before he could stop and think of seeking out David Gilgamesh, a man he knew was always promoting harsh regulations on the lowest-class of citizens, if they could be called that, he caught sight of Giacomo Vernazza, a rather pesky scientist who could very rarely find another blacksmith to forge his trinkets. This was probably one of the last people that he had wanted to see at this trying time, the little man was always so particular with his cruddy-little jobs and cheap as well, he didn’t know why Garbiel put up with the impossible scientist, but what more the slight man was standing next to a woman with a worried look on his face.

“Mr. Vernazza! How long have you been here? I see you have had enough time to test some of the parts my father made for you…”

It was not an appropriate greeting, and he knew it, but this was not exactly what a civilized person would consider being an appropriate time and place. Regardless he headed towards the annoying scientist, and the prostrate woman lying nearby that seemed on the verge of death. The sudden realization that he was bleeding dawned on the exhausted Danterus’ mind, looking down to see a cut the length of his hand across the right side of his torso, in between two ribs and covered in coal and masonry. He cupped his left hand over the wound, stemming the flow of blood from the already filthy cut, as he kneeled down next to Giacomo Vernazza, grimacing from the pain.
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The darkness seemed to last an eternity for the aging Garbiel Forgefire, it seemed hours dragged by in the hour between the Garrison collapsing and his waking in the Guild Headquarters, the building located in the epicenter of the Compound and the residence of Nethanial Ironarm. The sudden change of scenery startled the Garbiel, abruptly opening his eyes after last seeing his workshop standing around him, the first thing the struck his mind was to look out the window next to the bed he lay in, conveniently placed on the front-side of the building, and saw the wreckage that was his Manor, the fire-crews still battling the fierce flames. Besides the pain of his heartbreaking from the sight of his Manor in flames a blinding pain burst through his thigh, almost as if a red-hot poker were being dug into it through his bone. Looking down he gazed upon the sight of his left-leg bundled up in bandages, soaking wet with blood oozing from a wound that had only been half-healed by a wand that lay nearby.

The may be able to accomplish many tasks, but the wands can never do as much as a healer, and breaks in bones are even more difficult for the fragile tools.
No one was occupying the room besides the Smith currently, they probably set out to find a doctor to help with his leg, and the thought that they might send for a healer-mage was certainly out of the question at this time. He knew the look of mage-fire very well, and what was currently devouring his Manor was no normal fire, or one created by the coal and coke he used for his workshop. This was definitely the pot boiling over from the last year’s events, yet this was only the first surge before the lid floated off the side and allowed all the scum to ooze out. This was definitely an orchestrated event, but who would do such a thing? Gilgamesh was certainly involved in this; he needed some kind of project to occupy his time since his recent backslide of involvement in matters of Parliament.

It’s doubtful he would be directly involved with a scandal of this proportion, but he is definitely pulling some strings, and this would be a perfect opportunity to push for regulations… He may even go so far and ask for The Imprisonment.

Forgefire pondered quietly on the larger matter at hand, his Manor could be rebuilt after some time, but if something wasn’t done about this problem now then his Workshop would never be back open.

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#, as written by Smith
This work was becoming tedious. Eos pounced upon another unsuspecting pyromaniac, bearing her to the ground and snapping the older woman's neck without so much as blinking. Eos sat there, straddling the corpse for a long while while the chaos roared around him. After the mage had willingly immolated one of his 'comrades', Eos had lost the will to keep sparing their lives. Today, he had killed more people than he had in the past year alone. It did not help that most of them lacked proper martial training(and were too shocked by his sudden appearance to react in time).

After an indeterminable amount of time had passed, Eos pulled himself up off of the body and looked down the street. Most of the rioters were disappearing into allyways or rallying and marching away. He observed the carnage they had wrought through lusterless eyes, distantly wondering if any of the extremists had given any thought to what they had just done. A rueful smile found it's way to the assassin's lips then, followed by the thought: A man who kills for a living finding death abhorrent. Is that ironic, or just hypocritical?

Eos began making his way back to where he had last seen one of his comrades. Every couple minutes or so he would meet up with another assassin and deliver a brief report on their indivdual success, or(more often) pass by a wailing victim or crying people. Eos tried his best to ignore them as a whole, but ended up euthanizing a severely burned child and helping a newly crippled father into a makeshift medical facility already rife with patients. Still, he made good time to the location he wished to be.

The first thing he saw was shattered cobbles and cracked pavement surrounding Pandora's inert form. Eos felt a pang of alarm, his eyes growing more lucid and widened with panic. Where was the scruffy man that had been helping her battle earlier? What was with the other...Vernelli? Why wasn't he helping? Where had the other assassins been?

"Pan. Pandora, can you hear me?" without realizing it, Eos was kneeling beside the unconcious physician. He vaguely recalled overhearing some steps to dealing with the unconcious when Pan was helping a family deal with their narcoleptic son. Eos cursed, realizing he couldn't remember much of it at all. First, the assassin checked her pulse, followed by her breathing. Ok...she's alive, and no airway obstructions. Eos quickly pressed his index and middle finger against several spots along Pnadora's ribs, arms and legs. Nothing broken. Alright Pan...upsy-daisy. Oh. Wait...

Repeating the procedure, this time with his doctor-turned-patient flipped on to her stomach, Eos frowned. He had noted the look of uneasiness on Pan's face even in her forced sleep, and was almost positive he heard a faint groan when he probed the slight woman's ribs. With a nod, Eos looped his arm under her neck and the other encircled her waist. Taking care to keep her torso against his for support and not to jostle her too much, the assassin began carrying Pandora back towards the Guild.

It was only then when the last of the adrenaline of battle made it's way out of his system that Eos realized how fatigued he was. His breaths were loud and ragged, sweat rolled off of his dusky skin in waves and he was sure that there was a burn just below his ribs on the right side of his abdominals. Still, Eos trudged along with his snoozing cargo in toe.

Amon and Loki had a great deal of explaining to do.

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Standing within the ruins of what had been the blacksmiths guild, a city guard station and a local inn, Giacomo looked at the chaotic scene around him. It had been only moments ago that Aram had attacked him with his fireballs, which he fortunately avoided. With nothing better to do Giacomo began with tending to the wounded, using the rubble around them as makeshift medical supplies. There however was just so much he could do and before long he was without anything to do. He walked back to his suitcase which still stood untouched, picked it up and looked at the scene sighing deeply, thinking about the backlash and the likely reprisals that were to come.

Then as he was about to go on his way back someone said his name, he grinned for a moment as he recognied the voice, this was exactly the man he wanted to speak. "Mr. Gregory, exactly the man who I wanted to speak." He said as he turned around. Giacomo walked towards Amon watching his footing so he wouldn't step on anyone, alive or not. "As you can see things have made a turn for the worse. Now we have an act of war afgainst the city guard with Aram Azazel leading the charge. If the parliment wasn't already made paranoid for the mages by gilgamesh already this would have pulled them over that line. I think that now war seems unavoidable, that it is unpermitable to hide my research any longer." He said carefully selecting his words for his final sentance.

The things he wanted to say, they were enough for a conviction for high treason against the parliment, thus he held his tongue as best as possible. He pulled his left sleeve up unveiling the hidden trident weapon underneath and hiding it only a fraction of a second later, giving Amon a glimpse of what he meant. "I want to discuss something with you, something that can only be discussed privately." He said as he took a small key out of his pockets. He trew the key at Amon in a slicht arc. "Meet me at the air purifier, use the north entrance, it's the metal backdoor. There we can discuss this safely. I'll leave the matter whether or not to take our 'client' to this meeting, I presume you have a better judgement about that matter." He said before walking away. It would be obvious that Giacomo meant Loki with their client, at least to Amon. The door would lead them directly to the storage rooms, the key was just to deactivate the security systems that would otherwise mangle any living creature that entered through that door.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

District Delta

Having returned to the air purifier, Giacomo sighed once more. Even though Revelation was meant to be peacefull, conflict and greed are just part of the human nature. He walked to the back of one of the basements storage facility to a massive vault door. Taking another key out of his pockets he placed it in the lock, and with a slight hint of hessitation on his face he turned the key, unlocking to door. The doors massive cilinders moved and the door opened outwards. Lights in the room behind turned on as the door opened revealing an armory of experimental weapons stored in shelves and in the badly lighted back end stood the siluette of a massive war machine, well massive to Revelations standarts.( Since it is just a city, there would be no need to have siege weapons, they would just do too much colleteral damage)

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Amon listened first to Giacomo, keeping his face carefully neutral. Most of this he already knew, including the name of the man in charge. With Azazel, it was not knowing his identity that was the problem, but finding him. His followers hid him well, and even his informants in Delta were reluctant to give the man up for any form of interrogation by the assassins. Likely, he had a rotation of residences, for his own was rarely ever occupied, and only then usually by the man’s wife. The Guildmaster was reluctant to act against Ishtar; not only had he once counted her a personal ally and friend, but she did not protest his training of some of her employees as spies. If ever there was a fruitful network of information, it was theirs, and this was something that he alone had thought to do.

He nodded just once in acknowledgement of the man’s offer, and watched the scientist depart in that very direction. He would follow soon after; Loki likely had enough to deal with right now, and it would not be long before she requested his presence as well, he was almost certain of it. The Queen’s plan was not something he particularly endorsed, but he was self-aware enough to know that he would rather it be Minerva than Loki who bore that particular burden. There were always options if the current monarch wound up disgraced; the same happening to her child would effectively undo nearly fifteen years of work on his part, as the woman had been astute enough to point out to him.

He followed Danterus thereafter, inquiring of the damage to his fellow guild leader before dropping in on Garbiel. The smith appeared to have been injured, but not in a way that was life-threatening. Amon nodded to his old friend and smiled humorlessly. “Garbiel, I’m afraid I’m going to need to borrow you and your lad. Tell him it’s to foil the mages.” True, but only partially. Still he needed allies where he could get them, especially if he was to make peace with Loki… she wasn’t going to like what she’d be hearing about now.



The Royal Palace

Loki stood in her mother’s parlor, none of the choice words she would have preferred to loose having made it yet past her tongue. There was something to be said for venting, but she had never been inclined. Instead, she ignored the tea and listened to her mother explain herself, becoming increasingly convinced that this was the single worst idea she had ever heard.

“It’s simple enough,” Minerva pointed out. “We knew that it was only a matter of time before Gilgamesh found a way to get what he wanted. He’s been losing his positioning to the two of you and your allies for a while now,” she continued, glancing at Lord Taylor, “and it was only a matter of time before this was irreparable. I don’t know if he engineered it specifically or just goaded these mages into doing what they did, but the fact remains that it came at a crucial time. You saw their faces, both of you. You must have known that fear was destroying their resolve. I did the only thing I could do and stalled for time.”

“That doesn’t explain why you didn’t let me do it,” Loki protested. She had a feeling she understood why, but that didn’t make it any wiser. “You’re the Queen. I could have passed it off as a rash mistake of youth, but you? This is so far out of character for you that they’ll tear you right off your throne if…” The odd little smile that had appeared on Minerva’s face caused her to trail off, and her eyes narrowed. “No. That is not an acceptable alternative.”

“Isn’t it?’ Minerva asked kindly, sipping delicately. “If they ‘tear me from my throne,’ as you so put it, little damage is done. I’ll finally be free of the weight of this crown, and my competent heir will be my replacement.” Loki grimaced noticeably, which simply caused her mother to look amused. “Of course, I’d much rather be able to leave after a successful career, give my crown to my child and the Prime Minister’s post to a much more worthy contender.”

Loki caught on immediately, and was inwardly fuming. “And did you ever stop to consider how myself and that worthy contender of yours would feel about this? What if he just wants to retire and raise his son, hm? Forgive me; I had forgotten that such things must always remain secondary to rule.” That had hurt, and it showed plainly in the Queen’s face. Loki refused to be shamed by this. “Just how long have you and Amon had these designs on our lives? I can understand if this was what you wanted for me, but surely Caelin is a recent addition?” The princess despised being duped, and this just about pushed her to a particular breaking point that she did not want to pass. She hadn’t lost her temper since she was a child, and now was no time to start. The fact that they were pulling a friend of hers into it just rubbed salt in the wound. She could expect it; she was a member of the royal family, after all, she practically existed to manipulate and be manipulated. But this?

“I will not apologize for my actions, Loki,” Minerva replied coolly, still the picture of serene acceptance. “It was never my desire to do this, but it has become more than necessary. You are not the only one who understands how these things work, I assure you. If this came as a surprise, then I am glad, for it means that I have not always been so, and that brings me some measure of relief. But we do not have time to work out this disagreement. If you wish to avoid being forced to ascend in the middle of a crisis, you’re going to need to prove my claims and find some solid evidence against Gilgamesh. You can take your fate back into your own hands, but only if you safely shepherd mine first.”




Outside the receiving room Loki had to forcibly unclench her teeth before she could speak. “I’m sorry,” she said at last. Despite the fact that she made a point of not apologizing, that had come rather easily. “I had no idea that was their intention. I had planned on making the accusation myself and leaving you out of it, but apparently I was superseded without my knowledge. I’ll understand if you want no part of this, but I am going to try and find that evidence. I have to, and not just for them. I think…” she stopped and shook her head.

“I’m not sure what I think. I’ll… get back to you, tomorrow. If you’re willing to become involved. I’d understand if you weren’t.” Nodding to her friend, then, she departed, trying to contain her roiling frustration as well as she was able. This was going to require… help. And not from Amon, either. They needed outside assistance. She knew she could count on Zade, so fine. More assassins would be useful. Eos… he didn’t like Amon much anyway, and right now, she could sympathize completely. Etzel was… she’d have to think on that one a bit more.

The more she thought about it, the more she wondered about taking this problem on using a larger scale. While they were proving Gilgamesh was generally a bastard, why not depose him altogether? That did leave the matter of a replacement, and privately she had to agree that Caelin would be suited for it, but unlike her mother, she wasn’t going to force it. Once, she would have, but not anymore. She couldn’t; not when she went to his estate and saw how happy her cousin was. There was no way Siri deserved to end up raised by his tutors and bodyguards and servants as she had been. Amon was more her parent than Minerva, and that was not an appealing thought at present.

But… other people that could help. The Guilds would be a good place to start; surely a few of those higher up in some of the more prominent Guilds had problems with Gilgamesh; she’d have to look for ones that were also not outwardly sympathetic to the uprising. Which might be tricky, now that she got to thinking of it- it was something of a polarizing issue, and a middle ground would be a dangerous place to tread. Good thing she’d never been afraid of a little danger. She’d start with the smiths; it was their building that had been roasted, after all.



District Delta

When Amon met Giacomo at his purifier, he knew fairly readily that they were not alone. Having a lifetime to perfect the art of moving unseen and unheard tended to mean you knew all the tricks. Still, he would not disturb their audience for the moment.

His face might have slipped into an expression of surprise were he anyone else, and he had to admit that he was impressed. “That is quite the invention, Mr. Vernazza.” The older man contemplated for a moment, his fingers tapping a staccato rhythm against his leg. “If you will permit, I think there might be great strategic use for something like this, though it will be best served by waiting until the moment is right. For now, I think we might do with something a little more… subversive.”




Three Days Later, The Royal Palace, Loki's Meeting Room

Loki glared daggers at Amon over the table they shared with the rest of the assembled parties, not bothering to disguise her displeasure with him. He ignored it with his customary grace, and to her credit, she managed to keep her tone civil. “What you propose places the parties involved in much danger,” she said, shooting a glance at Pandora. “I know there are no other mages on our side alone, but last time she saw Azazel, he tried to kill her. Now you want to send her in to spy for us? At least send someone else with her.”

“Who do you propose?” He countered smoothly, raising a brow. I can’t go, and you have… requisitioned Eos. I could send one of my other agents, but most of those familiar with Delta are currently occupied trying to contain the riots.” For now, they were localized to the two outer districts, but there was fear that they would spread. The city Guard had started using their doses of the Cure two days ago, but even without their powers, the magi were making a nuisance of themselves, and had taken to flash-rioting so quickly that by the time law enforcement got there, the damage had already been done.

“So send someone who isn’t one of your agents,” Loki replied tersely. “I understand that we need the information, but I cannot let you send Pandora in there by herself. She is not trained in subterfuge, and may very well be met with hostility from the start.” The conclusion was obvious, but Loki really didn’t want to make it. It seemed, though, as if Amon were going to force her to be the one to ask, and so she would. There was no other choice. “Victoria. If Etzel trained you as he was trained, you know how to do things like this. Would you be willing to lend Pandora your aid against Azazel?” She could have said ‘against the people who killed your master’ but she was not quite so cruel as that. The choice needed to belong to the young woman alone.

If worse came to worse, she’d have to send Carlisle, but hopefully that would not be necessary. He might be recognized, and she wanted him here. Amon, Giacomo, and a few others would be undertaking the tasks of examining the magi’s crime scenes for evidence, as well as trying to figure out how they’d managed to disappear so quickly after the destruction of the Facility. He’d bring Danterus along as well; as this was the part of his plan that was most actively working against the interest of the magi, Amon would admit that he was using the young man’s hatred a bit more than he would like, but all spare hands were needed at the moment, and he could not regret taking them where he found them.

Loki and Eos would be attempting to break into the Gilgamesh Estate after dark. The personal involvement of herself had bothered Amon, she’d seen it, which was really just all the more reason for her to do it. Meanwhile, Caelin, Scheherazade, and the smith Garbiel (the singular result into Loki’s inquiries for mostly-neutral guild members), would be attempting to get information on his illegal activities from their potential victims (nobles whose children had been ransomed, or guild professionals who’d been blackmailed into supplying him with the machinery and equipment necessary to produce his own personal Cure-factory), while trying to gather the resources to do the same without the coercion. The sooner an independent production facility was up and running, the better. They had her money and Caelin’s industrial space, but parts needed to be made and workers obtained- without going to the slave markets. This was all going to be as clean as she could make it.



The Next Afternoon, The Facility

The Facility was now essentially a large pile of rubble, with precious little evidence of what had occurred to be seen. It hadn’t actually been ‘blown up’ but imploded, and a few scattered bits of debris notwithstanding, in much the same space it had been before. The mages and mage-supporters responsible for the deed had then disappeared, as unseen in their exit as they had been in their entrance. Amon was puzzled by this initially, but knew there was a logical explanation for it. Magi had not, to his knowledge, managed yet to discover the mechanism for teleportation (if such a thing were even within the realm of possibility), so they had to have gone on foot or by vehicle.

They didn’t have vehicles that he knew of, and their passage on foot would not have gone unnoticed. Which meant they had taken to the air or- that was it. “Where’s the nearest sewer entrance from here?” he asked the men arrayed about him, clearly thinking he’d caught on to something important.



That Evening, Outside the Gilgamesh Estate

Damn, sometimes not wearing a dress made all the rest of this feel like it was worth the trouble. Or at least she would have thought so were she not much more practical than that. Nodding to Eos, Loki darted forward, using the shadows to provide cover as she crept closer to the Gilgamesh Estate. The house proper was surrounded by walls, which was to be expected from the wealthy and the paranoid. They were approaching from the side, so as to avoid as many guards as possible. She’d fell them if she had to, but they weren’t going to kill anyone, and the less evidence they left that a burglary had taken place, the better.

The target was a second-story window, which would place them hopefully within the vicinity of Gilgamesh’s private study. The light within had gone off just fifteen minutes previously, enough time for the room’s occupant to move elsewhere. Grasping the rope in her hand, Loki gestured for Eos to boost her over the wall, and landed lightly on the other side, gripping the rope in both hands and anchoring herself to the ground as well as she could so he would be able to climb it without her dropping him unceremoniously onto the ground.

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Beta Sewer System

To Danterus’s assertion, Amon nodded a simple agreement. So much of it would depend on what, exactly, was to be set there. And who was to do the setting. While the easiest assumption was that the mages were involved (for indeed, the arcane elements present here seemed to be more their province than anyone else’s, unless a rogue Manatechnician was involved), something about the thought just didn’t sit right with him. The mages had used the underground tunnels, yes, but what need had they to lock people in this… room, presumably to be murdered?

No, their displays of aggression had all been very public up until this point. They wouldn’t hide their brutality, nor did he think most of them capable of this. Death on a battlefield was one thing, assassinations another, but this- not even his agents were trained, taught, or told to do anything like this. He could only guess at what had actually occurred, but the thoughts it called up of draconian tortures and feeble, grim deaths were not something he really wished to consider.

Shaking his head, Amon rolled up the map and took it in one hand, still holding the illumination wand with the other. “I’d say we should try to cover up the fact that we discovered this, but I don’t think we could if we tried,” he stated flatly, gesturing to the wall. Clearly, either magic or a specialized wand had been used to seal it, though which one, he could not say for certain. Either way, they did not have it. Actually, if there were magi involved, they’d probably tripped a ward by now anyway.

“We need to get back above ground and into the city, but not the same way we came in.” There was no telling if someone would be waiting for them should they choose to leave the way they had come. “This map indicates an exit underneath Gamma; we’ll take it, and head back to the Guild for now.” It was the safest meeting place for everyone, and thus the one Loki had designated when their objectives were either complete or fruitless. Technically, neither was true right now, but he was not going to risk anything more than he had to with only two civilians for company. This necessitated a full compliment of assassins at the very least.

It wasn’t too much longer before they reached the surface again, though honestly by now even Amon had to judge by relative time only. It was already swiftly darkening past twilight when they did, and he turned to both of the others. “Given the number of other plans in motion right now, it would perhaps be best to take the opportunity for rest whilst we still can.” So saying, he led the way back to the Guild and waved aside the guards, though he did signal that Danterus was to be watched a little more closely than Giacomo. He was not a fool, and knew to heed a warning from Garbiel when he received one.



Alpha- The Gilgamesh Estate

“I seem to have hit a tender spot,” Loki quipped back at Eos. Still, she didn’t waste much more time than that; the conditions were not terribly conducive to their survival unless she found some way to get them the hell out of here. Seth had mentioned the basement, and frankly though she was not sure she had any business trusting him, it was better than the fantastic nothing she could come up with given her limited knowledge of the estate. Loki’s eyes swept the hallway, and she picked the likeliest door out right away. Tucked in a corner, and plain-looking, because since dungeons were illegal, theoretically the only people using such a door would be servants.

“There!” she called, gesturing and making a break for it, the knife she’d hit Seth with in one hand in case someone managed to intercept her. She ducked a sword hatily shoved into a wall to block her progress, and rolled under it. Damn narrow hallways. The portcullis was mercifully unlocked, and she thanked whatever luck she had left that this was the case. Hauling it open, she waited for Eos to take the hint and enter, then followed, slamming the thing shut in the face of their fastest pursuer. There was a deadbolt, which was just strange- why would they need on this side of the door?- and she jammed it home, straightening and placing her back against the door.

“Next time I decide the simplest plan is to break into someone’s house, remind me this happened,” she grumbled, peering into the room she’d just locked them into. It appeared to be a dimly-lit cellar of sorts, with wine and liquor lining the walls, but most of this was hidden by enormous crates. Frowning, the princess opened one and withdrew a glass vial. “Cure, probably.” Not that this was anything they hadn’t expected. Unhooking one of the aged lanterns from the wall, she cast its light further in and noticed a slight irregularity in the floor.

Crouching to get a better look, she traced the edge with a fingertip, finding it worn smooth. Leveraging with what little strength her fingers alone provided, Loki hauled upward, only somewhat startled when a thin slab of stone followed, revealing a descending staircase. “Well… looks like this is our best chance at a way out, unless we want to wait for them to break down the door?” The answer was obvious, really, and she didn’t waste much time contemplating it, placing one foot on the first stair. Dry; she would have almost expected slick.

The staircase bottomed out into a narrow passage, and the scent of something unsavory wafted towards them, causing Loki to wrinkle her nose. “Ugh, Gilgamesh’s cellar leads to the sewers? Figures. Guess there’s probably another exit somewhere…” Picking her way down the passage with the exaggerated care of a cat who has stepped in a puddle and must shake off her feet with every step, Loki lead the way through what could only be described as a labyrinthine corridor, one which twisted enough times to leave one completely without orientation. Maybe Eos had a better idea of where they were, but all she knew was that they were most likely still in Alpha.

The passage gradually grew wider, and instead of being lined with stones, iron bars at regular intervals replaced the masonry, and it was clear that despite the legislation to the contrary, Gilgamesh did keep a dungeon. Hardly a surprise; what was odd was that they all appeared to be empty. Weren’t many of his allies supposed to be coerced? Why, then, were there no signs or fresh human habitation in any of these cells.

There was a small noise, and Loki stopped abruptly, stiffening. For a few seconds, she had thought she’d imagined it, but then it came again. It sounded like… a sob? Something of that nature. Eyes narrowing, the princess kept the lantern in front of her and attempted to follow the noise to its source, stopping when she alighted upon a cell with more recent signs of occupation than the others. A small heap of blankets was piled in one corner, and she could have sworn she saw it move. Don’t tell me…

“Damn. Eos; the lock, please. I think there’s a child in there.”



Delta- Ishtar's Living Room

Ishtar looked over both the other women for their reactions, but if she had to guess, she’d say that neither of them had known about this after all. The one was mumbling to herself, apparently coming to the same conclusion about just where that spot was that she had intended them to reach. “You can’t be here,” she told them with chilly certainty. “You have no idea, and that means Amon’s uninformed as well, I think. You don’t have time to waste trying to infiltrate our ranks.” The madam’s lips twisted into a grimace, and she drummed her fingers on the table.

“You know what? Take this, both of you, and get it back to him. Tell him that if he can find its companion, he needs to have men stationed where it indicates on the day of David Gilgamesh’s Parliament hearing. I don’t know any more than that, and even if I did, I risk too much just telling you this.” She glanced meaningfully towards the kitchen where the child Sigrun was still busy cleaning.

“I’m telling you this because I know about you, Pandora Elling, and I believe if ever there was anyone who would use this information the right way, it’s someone foolish enough to risk her own life to help people who’d probably wish her dead. Don’t let the politicians and the assassins manipulate you. Miss Victoria, I’m truly sorry for what happened to your master, for if he was who I think he was, he was a better man than most would have guessed of him.” She still wasn’t entirely certain that one wasn’t going to try and kill her rather than just leave, but if she tried, she’d find it harder than she expected. Ishtar was many things, but helpless was not one of them.

With that, she stood, rolled the map, and handed it to Pandora. There was no mistaking the implication that they were to leave, and with all due haste. Eyeing Victoria warily, she watched the presumed assassin carefully. She was not worried about what Pandora would do; if the rumors about the young woman were true, nobody really had anything to fear from her. The younger woman, on the other hand, reminded her so strongly of one doctor Etzel Vasili that it was almost ridiculous. As much as Amon professed no favorites, she knew the truth to be a very different matter, and he had given Vasili much more freedom than most, supposedly for the sake of a better cover. He’d even allowed another former member to live after leaving the Guild- two, actually.

Will you kill me, young lady? she wondered to herself. Ultimately, Victoria might succeed if she tried. Would Pandora allow it? She was certain Sigrun was safe as long as the mage was around. That was enough, but killing Ishtar now would damage any chance they had of getting Aram to see sense. Not that she held out any great hope for that possibility. No, Aram would eventually understand- probably not until it was far too late.

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#, as written by Ezarael
Three Days After The Meeting

Assassin’s Guild

The sound clashing steel could be heard throughout a large portion of the cavernous Guild as Danterus willed away the hours practicing his swordplay with any number of assassins and apprentices that wished to spar. Albeit he was not the most able-bodied swordsman and bested by the majority of the assassins that faced him there was always some technique to learn from these skilled opponents, and every day he got just a little bit better. There was not telling how skilled the guards in the sewers would be, but none the less the young smith kept slicing away with the razor-sharp rapier he had forged with his own two hands, and the combination of both his strength and speed with such a light weapon proved daunting in the first few motions of any duel. Hopefully he was going to be facing would not be able to hold their composure for much longer than that, or he managed to improve just enough to not die in the first flurries of battle.

Unfortunately the woman with whom he was sparring at the moment was fighting with dirk and short sword and seemed quite capable utilizing both weapons to keep him on his toes. After several minutes of toying with him and testing his reflexes she began to advance inch by inch, blocking with her short sword until the dirk came within slashing distance. As her left hand darted out, aimed at Danterus’ right-hand side since he was a left-handed fighter, the smith was forced to grab the slender wrist with his right hand which ultimately opened up his left for just the chance she needed to tap the blunted blade lightly on his ear.

“Better luck next time smith. Try to keep your distance with that long reach, and if that fails remember it takes longer to bleed out from a dagger or dirk cut than a sword’s. That won’t do you much good if it’s poisoned though.” The female assassin laughed rather venomously as she replaced the blunted weapons to their respective places and strode off to accomplish whatever duties she had for the day.

The perspiring Danterus slumped down against one of the sparring room’s walls, taking off his drenched shirt so that his body could breathe the cool air and allow his body-heat to subside. Even though his body was used to working under much more duress than the current setting provided it was not used to going at the quickened pace he had been forced to use while training with these skilled assassins. The matches were neither very long nor very short, but just quick enough to break up the monotony of the day without disrupting duties and just long enough to show him a trick or prove warm up the muscles.

Throughout the last three days he had noticed several others from their faction going about and doing various things, but he had not taken the time or the effort to try and make conversation with any of them. Instead his days had been spent almost utterly devoted to preparing for the battle in the sewers to come with only a miniscule break for water or food every few hours. After finally looking up from the floor Danterus looked over towards the door and caught a glimpse of someone passing through the hallway. He had never been very good with profiles or appearances from behind so whoever it might be was a mystery, but he decided to call out anyway.

“Hey hold on just a second.” Getting up hurriedly and leaving his shirt lying on the floor behind him Danterus rushed forth to the entrance before the figure vanished from sight.
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Same Day

Beta District

Unlike Danterus Garbiel’s days had been much less physically demanding, but he had been racking his brain with a constant shuffling through countless piles of paperwork, using every ounce of persuasive knowledge he had to find more allies for their cause, and slaving over the details of his Manor with the Carpenter’s Guild. His days had been ending somewhere early in the morning while starting at daybreak, which at this time of the year was very early. No matter the problems he faced though the aging smith kept trudging along like the pack-horses used to plow the fields.

Despite the constant company drifting to and fro the man still felt isolated amongst the constantly shifting sea of people. With responsibility there had always come solidarity and misery for those who bore it, and at times he wondered how Revelation’s numerous monarchs had felt during their reign. Naturally some people took responsibility less seriously than others, but they should still feel some of the burden accompanied with high positions.

Garbiel did not even believe his tasks were of the most import in the days to come, but none the less they needed to be handled with as much care as someone would use while holding an infant or a delicate porcelain vase. Whatever happened though they all had a part to play in the upcoming days, and hopefully everyone was prepared for their portion of the unfolding events. With a heavy sigh Garbiel shifted his thoughts away from these thoughts and returned to the list composed for him by the carpenters the night before, asking very precisely what he wanted done for the day.