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Rise from the Ashes: A Story of the Change

City-State of Sacramento

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a part of Rise from the Ashes: A Story of the Change, by RagnarΓΆk.

Once the seat of the California Republic, Sacramento is now namesake to the most powerful Post-Change nation-state in northern California.

RagnarΓΆk holds sovereignty over City-State of Sacramento, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

236 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

the change series by sm. stirling - http://smstirling.com/books/

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City-State of Sacramento
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City-State of Sacramento

Once the seat of the California Republic, Sacramento is now namesake to the most powerful Post-Change nation-state in northern California.

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City-State of Sacramento is a part of California.

1 Places in City-State of Sacramento:

1 Characters Here

Rafael del Riego [1] Lord Marshal of Sacramento

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aves Beckett Character Portrait: Rafael del Riego
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"To get along with me, don't increase my tension." - Ty Cobb

Sacramento, City Centre
Change Year 10



Aves' horse was led away as the soldiers smiled courteously enough and gestured her onward. Her original escorts vanished into the crowd without so much as a goodbye. The two new men were tall and differed from the foot soldiers in one item of uniform only: they wore golden cloaks with a red stripe down the middle.‏ The streets were packed with all number of merchants and tradesmen, the colorful stalls and costumes looking like the sort of thing one might have seen in old Spain, or in some of the modern video games.‏ Whitewashed houses and shops, three stories tall, were clustered together, broken occasionally by balconies, patios, more than a few that served as waving platforms for women offering fleshy delights.‏ Above it all towered the palace and the heavy walls that provided a final defense for the Lord-Marshal should the event ever occur. The walls here were white as well and the sun that blazed down reflected from them, pouring the light into the streets and at times forcing Aves to shield her eyes as they drew closer.‏

"The Justice Gate."

Those were the first words her new guides had spoken as they gestured toward the colossal four-towered gatehouse that loomed in front of them. Above the heavy oak door, the symbol of a hand, held up in the universal "stop" symbol with the palm toward the city, was neatly carved and painted in with black.‏

They passed another drawbridge. Here, this moat was dry and deep. Heavy steel stakes had been hammered in along the entire length of the base of the castle providing an almost hedgehog-like appearance to the casual viewer.‏ They passed through gates guarded by more of the gold-cloaked soldiers and into the main courtyard of the Lord-Marshal's palace. It was like stepping into another world.‏

The huge walls blotted out almost all the sound of the city beyond. There was very little wind in the courtyard, where palm trees spread their boughs over quietly-bubbling fountains fed by streams that poured from the walls themselves. Aves couldn't decide what was most compelling--the trees, the water, or the stillness. Walking in the streets reminded her of The Strip easily in its early heyday until about seven years prior when the city area itself had been abandoned and left for others to occupy. Minus the whitewash, of course. That was one noticeable difference between the two cities--Sacramento seemed to be from another world, whereas Las Vegas was made of metal and sand.‏.. not terribly different from its original state at all.

She stood still behind the two new escorts, and made a note to herself to ask someone with any kind of authority to thank the two who had made the days-long journey with her from the Central Valley all the way up north to this spot. She studied their cloaks and wondered to herself if it was something that any Artisan back at her settlement knew how to make.‏ She opened her mouth to say something, then thought better of it as the two hadn't turned back to face her. Better to simply stay quiet and observe than to open her mouth and possibly risk trouble. Or, rather, more trouble, as it were; it was anyone's guess as to how her words would be received. They led her through the gardens and toward a long staircase that climbed up toward a second level where a pair of intricately-carved black lattice doors closed off a second courtyard--though she was quick to notice that a pair of sliding steel doors was cunningly built into the wall on either side and could be slammed shut if need be.‏

Two more guards waited here, pushing open the lattice gates as she drew closer. This next courtyard was smaller than the first and boasted a small pool (a pool!). More fountains and the scent of roses and mint reached her nose. It took a moment for her to realize that the pillars around the courtyard were coated in rose vines that grew all the way to the carved ceiling. It was a stunning place. In the center of it, seated in a large plush chair she recognized as a LA-Z Boy, was a slim dark haired man dressed in white.‏

She heard the lattice close behind her and realized that she was quite alone with the man who had stood and bowed slightly, gesturing her to a second armchair nearby.

Furniture wasn't hard to come by in Las Vegas. Functional furniture, however, was a different story. That was trickier. Her own house on Lake Mead was not inadequate in any way. She liked it well enough. But what would she have given to have merely seen a chair in such good condition...‏ For a moment she wasn't sure where to deposit her attention first--to the chair, or to the man in white. She continued to stand and faced him, allowing herself a polite smile. "Hello," she stated simply, extending her arm and reaching out a hand customarily.‏

The man smiled and took her hand. It was a firm grip, softer than that of a soldier, but she recalled that he had once been a politician before the Change and had done more thinking rather than fighting since then.‏

"Miss Beckett. Welcome to Sacramento. I am Rafael del Riego, though you undoubtedly know me as the Lord-Marshal. Please, sit." He gestured to the chair again. His accent was gentle and reminded her at once of the other Spaniards she had met over the years.‏

He watched as she did, one hand stroking his graying goatee for a moment before he took a slim folder off the table beside him. Her name was printed carefully on the organization tab. He began to speak, his accent not harsh nor threatening but rather forcefully.‏

"Avery Ellen Beckett. Your birthday is in the summer of 1985. July, to be exact. Early. That puts you at 31 years of age. You were born in Mons, Belgium, while your American father was stationed there. Your mother was French. Never left Europe until you moved outside of Atlanta, further east from here. You were attending Emory University when you left and were visiting Las Vegas. You were 20 years of age when The Change occurred." He glanced up to examine her eyes, which bore a neutral expression that aimed to not betray any evidence of wavering whatsoever, then back down to the folder, continuing to skim and summarize. "Amongst your peers in the Paradise Republic, you're the youngest. Amongst your peers in Las Vegas, you are the second-youngest. You were instrumental in organizing sections of your society for many years, and you even now help govern it." He continued without interruption for several minutes as he read off a history of who she was and various accomplishments, bullet point by bullet point, some entries more detailed than the others, finishing at last with a smile and the words, "The Queen of Hearts. That I have never truly understood... please. Explain to me."‏

Aves smiled and crossed her ankles beneath her long green skirt, leaning a hip against an armrest and tilting her head. She was in no position to challenge his tactic, and it was of no benefit for her to lie or otherwise obscure herself or her intentions. "The Las Vegas Proper City Council has as many members as there are royals in a deck." She laughed. "I'm not from there originally, but the folks who'd made their named in the Old World on that city wanted to remember those times. 'Historical preservation,' if you will." She rolled her eyes and looked down at her fingernails. "Reverend Jones gave us all our names. And he told me that I was the Queen of Hearts." She glanced down at the file folder whose contents he'd rattled off; some details were incorrect, some were incomplete, and some escapades and events were missing, but for the most part, it had been spot-on. "Your folder didn't tell you that?"

"It does, just not why he chose it. I suppose, in the long run it is not important." A thin smile. "I would be curious however, why a woman with such a nickname is interested in selling those very people out to me."‏ His gaze had not wavered and now he was watching her very carefully, his eyes were wide and curious but there was no emotion in the gaze itself, almost like a machine. It would be easy to forget for a moment that he was an immensely powerful man and had gotten there through skills not associated with killing his enemies with his bare hands.‏

Aves blinked as she gazed back fixedly. "Oh. The reason why Reverend Jones gave me that name? Well..." she trailed off, glancing her eyes up to the ceiling. Perhaps it would be best to answer questions posed by the very person she was hoping to solicit help from, if not to simply be honest. "If you really must know. Katie Capps is the Queen of Diamonds. Her associate wanted to be the Queen, but the Reverend is a traditionalist, as you could imagine, and says only women can be Queens." She laughed to herself and looked back to the Lord-Marshal. "Anyone who is a Heart would rather they themselves suffer than see anyone else suffer. At least, that's what the Reverend said." She uncrossed her ankles to shift in her chair, this time crossing her knees.

"Is that true, about you?" he asked.

She tilted her head in the other direction and worked to prevent a smirk from spreading across her face. Maybe that wasn't a question she was meant to answer at the moment. "I never said anything to anyone about selling them out."‏

"Perhaps my words of choice are not correct," he replied, not reacting to her apparent deflection. His English was very precise, that of someone who had learned it as a second language. "What, then, can I do for you?"‏

She propped an elbow on the armrest and rested her chin in her palm. Underneath any kind of surface or expression she may have put effort into broadcasting outward hopefully hid her pounding heart and uneasy nerves. This was not something she had decided lightly... but had instead pondered for years. "I'm here to help you take Las Vegas Proper and at least the portion of the Paradise Republic that I oversee. The western side." She stared back coolly.‏

His response was simple and direct. "Why?"

She didn't skip a beat. "Because I believe that those who have the most influence on the Council are going to drive our people to ruin," she answered back in an assertive tone, almost bordering on sharp in contrast to her previous manner of speaking, which had been relatively soft and friendly by comparison.‏

He raised an eyebrow for a moment and then settled back in his chair, steepling his fingers in front of his face. "Go on."

She pulled her hand down from her face and straightened up her spine. She reminded herself to do a better job of sitting still, to not appear unsteady or vulnerable in any way. Not something that came easily to her, but she'd have to do it. From what she'd understood about the Lord-Marshal--as he wasn't the only person who possessed intel collected on other concentrations of power in the area--he'd been "someone" in Europe. Some kind of elected official. Not enough for her to have recognized the name from her childhood in Europe, but enough to know that he was practiced and masterful, unlike most of the self-taught leaders back in Las Vegas who found themselves in positions of having to guide others through tough times.‏ Some of those leaders were phenomenal. But not all.

"It was about seven years ago when the Council was formed." She twisted the corner of her mouth wryly. "I had my own experiences that made me empathetic toward those who couldn't take care of themselves. That was the reason that seemed to most justify me joining in on that effort." She paused briefly as she worked out in her mind how to explain the story without making herself look weak. "One of my causes has been keeping children out of trade. I find any form of human trade just a terrible, abhorrent thing. But I can't stop it from happening if people willfully engage in it and consent to being traded. Logically I cannot argue with that. However..." she paused and took a breath. "... I don't think children are well-suited for trade and that's been an issue I've fought hard for. And for three very long and frustrating years I've been fighting a few of my... less enlightened colleagues... on this issue. That's not the only issue I'm grappling with when it comes to them. But I cannot in good conscience allow these people to continue. Where it is that led me to talk to you, however..." she reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded-up piece of paper and offered it to the Lord-Marshal, "... is that all of the people who are going to drive our society into the ground are our martial experts. And you can do a far better job of protecting us than they can."‏ She sighed and twirled the folded-up paper in her fingers. That wasn't the only interest she had in the game. "Then again, do those other reasons really matter?"‏
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He smiled at her, pausing as a large bee droned by as it crossed from side of the courtyard to the other. "All reasons matter. You must have good reasons, or I should not wish to listen to them." He took the paper from her and looked over it for a moment before glancing towards the pillars of roses.‏ "My lady, will you please look at this and tell me how you think it will work?" He waved his hand slightly as he spoke and a woman stepped out from the shadow of the rose bushes. She was tall, taller than both of them. Her eyes were a piercing green, framed in her finely-cut features by a cascade of red hair that hung down her back in a long, intricate ponytail.‏ She was clad in a loose-fitting yellow robe that hung down to her ankles, billowing slightly as she seemingly glided toward them. It have gave her a stunning look, indeed, but did not fully hide the muscled arms and shoulders of a fighting woman. She did not acknowledge Aves but rather took the paper from the Lord-Marshal and examined it There was a pause and then she delivered it back to him simply with a slight shrug.

"It could work. But we would be overextended, I would think. We're already pushing our luck with Bakersfield."‏
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There was a flash of something like anger in the Lord-Marshal's eyes but he nodded his thanks and the woman returned to the shadows. He turned his attention back to Aves. "I will look have a think over it and call for you. Thank you for your visit."

He had stood and held out his hand, two soldiers appearing at the entrance to the courtyard, evidently her escorts. Aves watched as the Lord-Marshal and the unidentified womanβ€”although clearly designated as some sort of authority figure, she seemed to make him uncomfortable in some way. Strange; his face didn't betray emotions or indicate intent much earlier in their conversation. It had been a little surprising to see his cool waver, even just momentarily. Her expression, on the other hand, was far harder to read.

Aves rose to her feet and nodded politely to the woman in a genuine attempt at a warm acknowledgment, then reached her hand ahead to give it a quick; assertive shake. "Thank you for your time. I hope to talk to you again soon," she spoke calmly and smoothly, then followed the golden cloaks as they swerved through the lattice door.