[b "Who is that?"] Valgus asks.
[b "I am going to take a guess and say someone asked who this is. Well, considering time is a factor, I'm going to come out and say I am a Mercenary from the Azure Wing Mercenary Group. For reasons I don't feel like mentioning, you can call me Azure for the time being,"] states Azure.
[b "Did you just say Azure Wing?!"] The King asks in a booming voice of surprise that shocks the rest of the room. Darnus looks at his overview map and holds his hands out. He spreads his hands out to the side which causes the map to zoom in on a location. He sees Azure appear on the screen, except Azure's face is blurred out. [i 'That effect can only be caused by an out of place artifact called The Forget me so Bandages,'] Darnus thinks to himself.
Valgus stares at Darnus curiously and asks, [b "Azure Wing? I've never heard of that group."]
Darnus is not surprised Valgus does not know of Azure Wing. The group Azure Wing is a Mercenary Group that usually only resides in the Wastelands. The Wastelands themselves reside on the other side of a long mountain range known as the Abyssal Wall, which splits the continent horizontally through the center. The Abyssal Wall is an impassable mountain range where no magic or Ark can be used. The mountains are constantly covered in a black cloud which makes the mountain range look like a giant black wall. The only way through the Abyssal Wall is a small opening in the mountain range called the 'Gate', which is on the completely opposite side of the continent from Radinata. Any information about a Wasteland Mercenary group would not reach Radinata.
Darnus then zooms in on the crest on Azure's left shoulder. He signals for one of the operators in the room to scan the symbol. The scanning of the crest reveals that Azure is a legitimate member of Azure Wing. Darnus smiles at the confirmation of the crest's legitimacy.
[b "Believe me Old Friend,"] Darnus says, [b "They are a group worth knowing."] Darnus steps forward and speaks out, [b "You have an offer, do you not Azure Wing?"]
[b "Oh? You already know how we work?"] Azure responds.
[b "You could say a twist of fate allowed me to know. However, what is an Azure Wing doing all the way out here?"] Darnus asks.
[b "That's a long story to be told over a drink. Which would take time we don't have. So, let's keep the game of twenty questions down to the ones that need to be asked, yeah?"] Azure says through his recently acquired telepath stone.
Darnus chuckles a bit and replies, [b "What's the job offered?"]
[b " My offer is that, I will take out the egotistical loyal prick of a dog Crusade and the floating ball of sadistic death."]
[b "For how much?"] Darnus asks as he grabs hold of his telepath stone. He uses the war room intercom to connect his telepath stone to Azure's.
[b [i "One Gil."]]
"ONE GIL!?" The entire room but Darnus asks curiously.
[b [i "Yeah, one damn gil to save your entire Kingdom. What's it gonna be your royalness?"]] Azure asks as he feels somehow exhausted.
[b "Put the telepath stone up to the contract,"] Darnus says as he takes off the glove on his right hand to reveal a Royal Crest on the back of his hand.
Azure holds his left hand out as a rolled up piece of paper appears in his hand with a flash of light. He unrolls the contract as the writing of the contract is suddenly written with magic. Then, Azure holds his telepath stone up to the contract as the royal seal is planted on the contract. Down along the path, Azure can see enemies quickly closing in on his position. More of the Empire's emotionless soldiers rushing in without a care in the world other than serving their Emperor's cause.
[b "How long will you need to destroy the Ark Jammer?"] Darnus asks.
[b "Ten, twenty minutes top. Think you guys can hold out that long?"] Azure answers.
Darnus grins, [b "My warriors are strong enough to hold their own, even without Arks."]
Azure himself wears a vicious grin as the soldiers closing in on him get closer. He says, [b "Good to hear. Any questions before I take off?"]
[b "How will you take out the jammer?"]
[b "I'm gonna stab it,"] Azure replies casually as if his answer made complete sense.
[b "Wait, how are-"]
[b "-Whoops, out of time."] Azure says cutting Darnus off. He throws his telepath stone toward the first soldier to close in on him. The moment the soldier's focus hones in on the stone, Azure's right fist breaks through the stone and smashes into the soldier's helm. The soldier is sent flying backwards and skidding along the ground. [b "Sorry guys, but I have somewhere I need to be,"] Azure says as he looks at the soldiers that stand before him. He suddenly vanishes in an immense burst of speed.
King Darnus winces a bit at the high pitched sound that is caused by the sudden disconnect of the telepath stone.
"What now your Majesty?" Valgus asks.
Darnus slams the end of his cane into the ground. [b "Situation report, give me a full rundown of who is where Valgus,"] Darnus orders as he looks at the map.
"It seems Pyra is covering the South Gate, Prince Killian along with Princess Ikana and Anu are are the Center Gate, and it seems Rose took Princess Seraphina and Alanna toward the North Gate to take command there," Valgus reports in a stern tone.
"Reporting in, there is a sudden rush toward the North Gate! By estimation, Rose's party will not be able to make it in time to setup a valid defense!" One of the operators reports from their seat.
"Also, it seems we are picking up an unknown reading along the North Path! Scanning it again to try and obtain the identity of the new presence.
[b "What is the unknown's location?"] Darnus asks.
"On a rooftop behind enemy lines on the Northern Path, sir." An operator replies.
[i "Is it an enemy sniper? But for it to be just one seems strange. Plus, it seems the enemy is still sending in scouts and not the main force yet. Taking that into account, who is it?']
[h3 On a rooftop two stories high...]
...stands a dark silhouette of a woman which is shaped by the sun behind her. In the shadow's right hand is a dark green bow, and on the mysterious woman's back is a strange quiver that has a lid over its opening with holes in it, yet there are no arrows in the quiver itself. The hooded figure wears a dark green lightweight armor that matches the color of the bow. The cape hanging down along the figure's left side sways gently with the ominous wind. The woman's golden colored eyes glow a cyan color and change in form. Her eye gains the pattern of a bulls eye with the color pattern of black and cyan. The outer most ring is cyan while the inner most ring is black.
The woman readies her bow and draws back the bow string. As the string is drawn, a cyan colored arrow manifests upon the bow. She releases the string and the arrow flies forward as it pierces the helmet of one of the enemy's scouts.
"Enemy fire... detected," The scouts whisper among themselves as s some of the rushing enemy units stop in their tracks and turn to face the direction the arrow was shot from. However, the moment they turned to face the silhouette, a flurry of arrows fires forward and guns down all the units that had turned their attention.
[h3 Back at the War Room...]
... an operator reports, "Magic used by the unidentified figure! Identification obtained! Your Majesty, it's Lilia!"
Darnus's eyes widen, but then he smiles, [b "For her to come back now."]
"Fortune seems to have smiled upon us," Valgus says with a smile as well.
Lilia jumps down from the rooftops and lands on the pathway, facing away from the Northern Gates, after having reduced the enemy enough for the North Gate Guards to hold out until Rose's arrival. The hood falls to Lilia's shoulders to reveal radiant fluent blonde hair as she readies her bow cutting off enemy reinforcements.
[h3 At the center path...]
... units charge forward, quickly approaching the Prince's party. However, three blocks ahead a flash of light charges into the fray cutting off some of the enemy units. Azure stands on the center road once the light fades as he looks down the path toward Killian. He quirks a brow and says, [b "Wasn't I supposed to end up down there?"] Azure asks.
"..." A ringing sound replies to Azure.
[b "What do you mean I made a wrong turn?"] Azure asks in an annoyed tone. [b "Ah whatever, no use bitching about it now."] He reaches back and grabs the hilt of the wrapped sword. He draws the sword forward and pulls on the tied knot right underneath the guard of the blade. The bandages that are wrapped around the blade quickly unwrap themselves from around the blade to reveal a majestic blue sword. The sword has a strange shine to it that makes it seem pristine even on the battlefield. It's gleaming silver edges look to be cutting even the light of the sun itself. Azure slashes the sword out to the side and says, [b "It's time to work Exaltus!"]
[h3 Lilia's Skeleton]
Role: ExGuard of the Queen
Ark Name: Artemis
Drive Gear: Mystic Bow
Lilia was one a street rat who was found by the Queen. She was taken in to be a friend and sister to Killian before Seraphina was born. This is because Lunarus was unsure how many children she would be able to have at the time. However, Lilia quickly showed immense talent with a bow and arrow. Darnus had her trained and Lilia, who became ambitious, trained to become the Queen's personal guard so she could pay the Queen back for all the she has done. Lilia is a childhood friend to all three of the royal children and was like a daughter to Darnus and Lunarus. She left the Kingdom a year ago when the Queen died for the reason of trying to fulfill one of the Queen's dreams.
Alanna had asked for only one pastry, just a singular pastry. But, that did not translate to receiving a single pastry; Princess Ikana handed all the pastries to her. Alanna was surprised, but only for a short time before walking into the room.
Even though the King's children had walked in first, the king addressed her first. Alanna lowered her head respectfully as the King addressed her, for he was not happy with her decision of following Sera's request. The King's tone was stern, meaning that he was considering some form of punishment.
But whatever her punishment may be, it would be put off till later. Alanna meekly submitted to the king's words, walking and standing outside the door after having put the pastries on the floor.
Ten minutes. Ten minutes. How did one calculate the length of ten minutes without a clock to measure the passing of the seconds which led to a minute, and the passing of a minute time ten for ten minutes? Well, one could count the seconds in their head. Yes it was a boring and mundane thing to do, but the ten minutes had to be counted somehow.
Well, ten minutes had not passed before Princess Sera had come out. Princess Sera had walked up to her, and had told her what had been said in the war room. Alanna nodded her head silently as Princess Sera left.
Alanna faced quite the conundrum. What should she do? Should she follow the king's orders? Or should she for the sake of her close ties to Sera, follow Sera's orders? Yes she was Sera's guard, but did not the word of the king trump the words of a princess?
This was a choice between being a good friend to Sera and following the dictum of what Rose, her mother, had taught her. Alanna was on the point of completely giving up...
But then, maybe this would work.
Alanna ran up to Prince Killian, right up to him. She locked eyes with him before whispering to him, [+purple "Keep an eye on Princess Ikana, make sure she does not disappear. A request from Princess Sera."] Even though this was not exactly true, just lightly putting it, Alanna spoke it with confidence and conviction.
She did not give the time for Prince Killian to respond, instead just walking off as if she were needed somewhere urgent; to be fair, the king had ordered her to go to the Central Gate.
Before heading to the Central Gate however, Alanna stopped by the armoury to put on some armour and grab her polearm.
She quickly ran to the Central Gate, where she spotted her mom talking with another person wearing armour; that person was Sera. Even though the armour completely encased Sera, Alanna knew that was Sera's armour.
Standing alongside Anu, Rose could feel the tension. It felt as if it was one big, long, undulating wave. The people evacuating with the help of the guards was an accurate representation of this wave. Rose crossed her arms, waiting for whatever was to come.
Shouts came from the guards on the gate. Shouts about a single knight, challenging pretty much all of them. Rose raised a curious eyebrow. What did one man hope to do against all the guards and others who knew how to fight?
Now that the knight had an Ark to back him up, all became clear. A knight by himself could not hope to accomplish much. But an Ark, an Ark shifted the balance of power; not just by a tiny bit, but by a lot since no Radinata Ark rider could access their Ark.
As Anu turned to face the nearby guards, Rose did to. She looked at Anu, giving him her full attention, and also turning the guard's attention to Anu as he began his speech. Even no she had no doubt about how much of a fight they'd be able to put up, she could feel the spirit of the guards rise several notches.
As Anu gave her command of the guards, Rose turned around to see what Anu would do after jumping off the wall. She could feel the eyes of the guards staring at her back, but she kept up the strict and most importanly, the confident stance. [+red "Well, this should be fun."]
It was quite the sight to observe Anu fight. One of the nicknames of Anu was [i God of Gold], and it was no joke at all. Anu could control gold, and to anyone who did not know this fact would end up bewildered at the sight of gold moving as if it had a mind of its own.
And just like that the fight was over. Anu had even snagged a gilded guest to be interrogated in the dungeons. Rose smiled, another little success bringing another small step towards victory.
Turning around, she faced the guards. She got a headcount of twenty guardsmen in front of her. [+red "Groups of five guards, now!""] And just like that, the mass of twenty became four separate masses of five. [+red "Two groups, head towards the South Part. If it is being overrun, fight off the invaders. If impossible, slowly retreat and send a runner for reinforcements."]
Two groups of five left at a jog. Rose was about to say her next orders before she spotted a familiar set of armour walking in the distance, which changed her orders. [+red "The remaining two groups, you will stay here and back up Commander Anu. That's all"]
Rose ran over to the familiar suit of armour. From her daughter's, Alanna, description, this suit belonged to the Princess Sera. [+red How nice of you to join, you're coming with me."]
But before Rose could begin jogging, Rose noticed her daughter. Rose almost yelled out the word "daughter", but caught herself before she had yelled it out. [+red "Alanna, might as well join us. We're going to the Northern Section."]
Rose jogged forwards, her sword sheathes clinking softly. To her side was Alanna, and Princess Sera was close enough to them that Rose did not have to worry about her safety too much.
Coming up on the Northern Section, [+red "This commander is going to have his position for this.."] The guards were fighting, but there was no leadership. The fight that the guards put up was good, but it was somewhat half-hearted because there was no commander here.
A good commander always fought side-by-side with his troops.
Rose pulled out her two sides, and ran at the group of enemy knights, Alanna following right behind her. If Sera decided to join, that would be her decision.
[b “She is following my orders father,”] Seraphina said as she made sure to stand up for her guard. [b “You may feel free to punish me for that after we make it through this, but for the time being I would appreciate you trusting my judgment here.”]
Sera may not have had the same awareness of the situation as her father, but the order she gave was one that was necessary to their long term strategic success. She made sure to give a nod of support to Alanna after her statement. Her father may not like it much, but Sera was not about to back down given the importance involved.
Father's speech was one that Sera could appreciate since the traits of her mother being referenced were some she shared. Everyone needed to step up to protect each other as if they failed the end result would be disastrous. She was thankful that her father was willing to respect that belief and leave them free to make their own decision. Of course he had to ruin the moment right after, but she was used to that by now.
Sera gave a nod before making her way out of the war room. She stopped just outside long enough to update Alanna and give the woman her thanks before they parted ways. She would have to explain herself to Darnus later, but she was prepared to face any consequences from her father for issuing Alanna separate orders. After he made it crystal clear that there was no point in her staying in the war room she was more than prepared to have that discussion later.
While time was of the essence Sera still made it a priority to make a stop to put on armor. A suit similar in appearance to a miniature version of her Ark El-Machina. Once she was properly outfitted she made her way out of the castle and made use of all of her knowledge of shortcuts to make it to the Central Gate.
She might be the last to arrive, but she knew from Rose's teachings to be more cautious. A battle like this was life or death, and any advantage she could eke out could mean the difference between taking a life or losing one.
Anu looked out across the kingdom as the citizens were slowly making their way to the noble quarter. It was to slow in his eyes, but the guards were doing their best. It was then the warning shouts came from his own men at the gate. They were screaming about how a single knight had appeared at the game clad in black. It gave the male a feeling he did not like what so ever. A single man would take on the entire force to the kingdom of the king?
It was then the mans Ark had appeared, a giant black creature who's eyes had glown green ever so brightly. Anu had watched as the giant broke through the gate without fail with three successive blows to it. It wasn't meant to be taken lightly the gate, however this creature had more power then a normal ark rider. Even then the knights of Radinata would fight to their last breath for their Royal family. Loyalty was their trait bred into them all and would not be so easily overcome, but even so some would be fearful of the new found enemy they face.
Anu looked to the guards on the wall that he now stood upon along with Rose. [#e18914 "Do not fear men; for we have more then just our might against these enemies we now face."] having his booming voice reach over the wall into the city below so the citizens and knights could hear as well the male went on. [#e18914 "Let me ask you now. Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of the blood of those closest to you? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, I will stand by my vow of protecting the place I call home and to protect those I serve."] s he finished his speech he turned back around to face the giant enemy knight who had stopped in the middle of the empty city.
[#e18914 "Rose I ask that you take command here."] without skipping a beat Anu jumped over the wall and slowed his decent with his ark''s power. So they could still use their ark's power, but not the armor itself, well that is good indeed. Skidding to a stop on the pavement of solid lime stone Anu stood now on the Central path between the noble quarter and the city. He looked up again to see the giant black armor had not moved from the middle of town, but three pods had shot outside of the city, each pod had produced knights out of them. Each pod was placed so that the knights could run up the pathways without any hinderance from buildings and the like. It was then the black clad Knights came up the central pathway. [#e18914 "If you wish to pass you shall have to kill me."]
The knights slowly started surrounding anu, he felt their presence around him, perhaps it was the sense of the gold they carried upon their person. It was then the jingling had given away their movements, but anu caught them off guard first. He drew the blades away from his wrists and had the rings placed in his hands one guard dead the loss of his head caused his body to twitch. The male's head placed at Anu's feet perfect on a spike of gold. [#e18914 "Tell me did you think you could take on the God of gold?"]
The last three men understood what the male had said and tried quickly to throw their pouches off of themselves, but it was to late. Anu had covered one male's left side with the gold he had. The second had his right leg covered. The last one had however gotten his gold off of him before anu could move it. Facing him the young male just snapped his fingers and the gold on the other two began to snap in places a human's body shouldn't. The first died from a broken neck the second lost his limb, and was on the ground wiggling back and forth screaming in pain.
[b ".....Never win."] said the last guard as he pivoted on his heel and took an attack from Anu's left side, however it was but a few moments that a spike of gold appeared out of the head at anu's feet to spike through the other man's foot and right through his shoulder. [#e18914 "You should pay more attention to your footing. It could lead to your death if you don't."] snapping his finger's again the spike piercing the man through grew out in all directions more spikes into a tree of gold. [#e18914 "You also should have watched where you threw your coin."]
Stepping over the now two bodies from himself he stepped up to the one man who was wiggling around in pain. [#e18914 "Hold still."] incasing the wound in gold Anu picked the man up and dragged him back to the wall. [#e18914 "Rose, I bring a guest for the dungeon."] slowly the door in front of him opened up and a few city guards came and took the man away.
That left but one more pathway into the noble quarters, but it was to far away for him to get to if the guards had gotten this far already up the pathways.
Azure stands alone outside of the tavern. All the people have been clearly evacuated. The only ones who would be on the roads now would be the guards and knights who are ready to fight for their home and against any invaders that may come. Azure looks off in the direction Pyra ran off in. [b "Well, there goes my best chance of getting in touch with his highness,"] He says in a casual tone as he looks up at the Ark jammer He takes another sip of his dwindling drink. [b "What are my options, partner?"] Azure asks as he looks to his right down the path toward the large gates that allow entry into the Kingdom itself.
[h3 At the War Room...]
...Darnus looks at the overall situation. Upon the arrival of his children, the first one to be addressed is Alanna. [b "I am at ease to know my daughter has such a loyal friend and bodyguard, however, I believe I gave orders for [i all] Ark Riders to follow. That includes Royal Guards,"] Darnus says in a stern tone as he looks over his shoulder at the red haired girl. [b "However, now is not the time for such conversations. Alanna, wait outside the door. If you do not see my children come out in ten minutes, then report to the Central Gate,"] Darnus motions for Killian to come back up toward the door that enters that War Room and rejoin his sisters, [b "If they do come out, then follow them where they go,"] Darnus orders. He waits for Alanna to leave the room as well as Killian to rejoin the group. The King then descends from the platform and stands before his three children.
[b "Listen you three. Someone has just threatened our home with invasion. They have yet to appear, but have shown they have no fear of provoking us. A battle is imminent,"] Darnus explains and continues on to say, [b "Our enemies have taken our Arks away and already have the upper hand on us. As your Father, I wish to order all three of you to remain here where it is safe."] Darnus lets out a stressed sigh and grips his cane tightly. [b "However, as the King, the words of the late Queen continue to resound in my ear."]
Darnus looks up at his children with eyes filled with fire. They were the eyes of the powerful King who managed to achieve peace within his Kingdom by taking on the very corruption that infested it and purging it. A King who is not one to be trifled with. [b "Your Mother, the Queen, always said that in times of war, things such as rank, title, and bloodline become irrelevant. Everyone must take on a roll to protect the land we call home,"] Darnus says as he turns his back to his children and begins to ascend up to his platform once again. [b "I will leave it to you three to decide whether or not you take part in this fight."] Darnus stops on the top stair and looks down at the three once more. [b "Yet, if you do enter the battle,"] Darnus's eyes grow a blaze and completely stern as his next set of words are filled with the entirety of the pressure Darnus carries as King, [b "You leave any petty difference you have between each other here in this room and report to the Central Gate. Once there, Killian takes charge. Am I clear?"]
The King returns to his position on the platform. His main focus turns to the main gates of the Kingdom. He has a heavy feeling weigh in his heart, and it was not because of the Ark jammer. It is because of the idea the jammer represented. An enemy would only use such a device if it gave them an advantage. Darnus has the agonizing feeling that he knows what that advantage is, and he can only hope that his suspicion is wrong.
[h3 Outside the Kingdom's Gate...]
... a Knight clad in completely black armor stands before the large gate. His horned helm makes him look as if he is a demonic knight while his long black cape flows around his body making him look like nothing more than a black mass from a distance. Mounted on his right arm is a large black shield which has the hilt of a sword protruding from its top.
In the distance the Knight could hear the shouts of the Radinata Knights who guard the main gate. However, their warnings fell on deaf ears. The Knight begins to approach the Kingdom with one heavy step after another. He begins to draw his sword from its sheath as he says in a low raspy voice, [b "Crusade, it is time we fight once again in the name of our Liege."] A dark blackish green mist begins to surround the Knight as he approaches the main gate.
... in the War Room, Darnus's fears begin to come to light. A loud rumble could be heard smashing against the main gate. After the third rumble, the gate crumbles to pieces as a the destroyed pieces of gate avalanche inward into the kingdom. From the dust emerges an enormous black armored titan. The titanic knights eyes glow green as it piers down upon Radinata.
Darnus grits his teeth, [i 'So I was right. The sphere only effects us.'] Darnus thinks to himself as he looks upon a symbol of despair. An enemy Ark.
[b "Radinata,"] A man speaks from within the large Ark. The voice resounds across Radinata itself. [b "My name is Crusade. I am one of the most loyalest of Knights to his liege, Emperor Dakunai. Surrender the Royal Family to be executed, or we will execute them through force. Either way, they shall meet the same fate,"] While Crusade speaks, several black pods descend from the air and impale the ground just outside of Radinata's gate. Four slots open up within the pods, and black armored troops flood out from the openings.
The troops begin to talk among each other, however, everyone outside of Dakunai's forces only heard a dark eerie whisper of broken up sentences and words.
"Invade.... Kill those who stand.... against his Majesty.... kill King Darnus," With these many whispers, the soldiers charge forward into the Kingdom. They charge up the roads, killing and Radinata forces that they may see.
Crusade begins to walk further into the Kingdom unopposed. He easily reaches the Kingdom's center and stands directly beneath the Ark Jammer. Crusade stands at attention at the Kingdom's center as the invasion progresses.
... merely closes his left eye and takes a sip of his drink as he watches Crusade easily invade the Kingdom's center. His right eye looks down the path to his right to see four soldiers had arrived at his location.
"Kill... He stands before us.... Foolish... surround him..."
[b "You guys certainly know how to ruin a perfectly good drink,"] Azure says as he downs the rest of his drink. He then sighs as the glass in his hand starts to rapidly vibrate.
The front most soldier charges forward as metal claws extend from his hands.
[b "Time for Radinata's freebie I guess,"] Azure suddenly tosses the glass to his right. The glass flies forward like a speeding bullet and crashes into the first soldier's head, causing him to flip backwards off his feet. The moment his feet lift off the ground, Azure's entire body gains a faint glow as the world around him slows down. At a blinding speed, Azure rushes forward and pulls a knife off the belt of the soldier that is flying in midair. He approaches the next soldier to his left and jumps up thrusting his left foot into the soldier's chest. While kicking off the soldier, he tosses the knife straight into the forehead of the soldier way in the back and at the same time spin kicks the last remaining soldier. The moment Azure's feet touches the ground, time picks back to its normal pace, the two guards that were kicked are sent flying into walls that are behind them. The other two land on the ground with a loud thud as Azure brushes off the right side of his coat.
[b "Good friend of mine always said to never ruin a good drink, now you bastards know why,"] Azure says as he approaches the body with a knife in its head. He crouches down right next to it and he palm strikes the butt of the knife which causes the helmet the soldier wears to crack open. Azure strikes the right side of the soldiers helmet and a cyan colored magistellia rolls out from the opening made. [b "Telepath Gem, check."]
"South Path Advance Unit, what is your progress. Respond," Crusader calls out from the magistellia.
Azure tosses the magistellia up in the air and catches it. He holds the telepath magistellia up to his mouth, [b "Hey , sorry to report, but your soldiers' met an untimely end by the bottom of my glass and boot. Mind if I take a message for them?"]
"Who dares to shed the blood of the Dakunai empire!?" Crusade shouts through the telepath stone.
[b "The guy that is going to spill your blood for one gil,"] Azure replies and then says, [b "Do it partner."]
The telepath stone disconnects from Crusade, and suddenly the gem the glows bright as magic symbols float in the air around it. The symbols constantly change and morph into different symbols as Azure looks upon the gem. The magic symbols slowly begin to spell out a name. The first three letters spelled out are D, A and R.
[h3 Back in the War Room...]
... Darnus discusses with those present a strategy to use when facing the current situation. [b "Is there anyway we can shoot down that Jammer with a Magitank?"]
"We already ran the numbers sir. No tank would be able to shoot that high, plus, even if one could, it seems the enemy's Ark is standing there to protect it," One of the many workers in the room replies.
Before Darnus could continue, a loud voice interrupts the discussion. [b [i "-Heeeey, Earth to War Room I am guessing? Would his Majesty happen to be in?"]]
[h3 Battle Conditions]
* Enemies have started to Appear along the Central and North Path. South Path Held up by Azure
* Cannot go beyond the central plaza.
* Current Fighting State: On the Defensive
[h3 Part One Complete]
Part Two will be released after two people post since a lot happens in this post
The princess was glad her older sister didn't start a rant on her. Ikana remembered when the two of them were younger and still considered Seraphina fun. Now, it was like she had to prove she was better than Killian. Ikana was glad she was the youngest. It meant she had no chance of taking the throne and the responsibility that came along with it. It also meant she was less likely to be forced to marry in order to even keep the throne. The only part she hated was the way her older siblings treated her. It was like she couldn't do anything right by them. Their mother was the only one that made her not feel that way. Father tried, but mother was the best at it.
[#2A96E2 "Of course he's not tied to a tree. That was only one time and it was an accident too!"] She yelled at her brother, becoming annoyed by the lecture she was getting. [#2A96E2 "And I didn't take that many sweets, just what I would eat today and possibly tomorrow. Honestly, do you really think I would ruin my appetite like that? I-"]
Ikana stopped as she felt something burn on her chest. Dropping most of the sweets, she clutched onto her chest. She wasn't good dealing with pain and was considered a sissy when it came to it. Though in training she had learned to hide it, she would still complain. She had never felt this before though. Pain along with the feeling of being disconnected to something. What was it?
[#2A96E2 "My Ark..."] She muttered, finally figuring it out.
She watched her brother run to the nearest window to look out. While she was curious to see, hearing their father speak to them took her attention. He wasn't happy and wanted the three of them there immediately. Whatever was happening, it was serious, and the king needed his children right away. It was times like these that Ikana would really step up and take things seriously. While she did take many things seriously, it was situations like this that she wouldn't dare make jokes. Something was on the way and they had to protect the citizens.
Ikana handed the bread she had left in her hands to Alanna, then started to make her way to the war room. The burning pain was still a lot on her and she had to use the wall as support. Once at the entrance to the war room, she followed her siblings in and looked at her father for any type of orders from him. She wasn't sure what she could do, but whatever task she was given, she would take.
[center ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~]
Pyra was just as taken aback by how quickly he drank it as the barkeep. How the hell did this kid just down it that fast and not have a horrible reaction?
[#430505 "It may be a tradition, but you shouldn't do it with the strongest thing here..."] She responded, taking a more relaxed sip of her own drink.
She listened to what the barkeep had to say about the king refusing the deal. Pyra hadn't been in the meeting, but was acting as guard while they talked. She over heard some of the items on the table and she was surprised the king had said no. If it were her, she would've said yes. But she wasn't the ruler and perhaps he knew something she didn't. Still, it was rather strange to not say yes.
Looking back to the kid, she noticed him reaching for the strange blade that was wrapped up and quickly stood. Her right hand was at her side but had sparks coming off of it to ignite into fire at a moment's notice. Seeing the blade itself though, she felt that it was nothing more than a joke. How was it even a sword at this point? It was so rusted and broken, surely it was just a heirloom that he carried around. But then, what was the weapon he used?
Pyra didn't have time to respond though, scared voices could be heard from outside. The Ark Rider quickly turned her attention to that, knowing it was her duty to protect the kingdom and all it's inhabitants. As she got outside, she felt a burning feeling on her chest. Looking down, she could see the glow and knew it wasn't good. Her suspicions were confirmed when she quickly realized she could no longer feel her Ark.
[#430505 [i 'What the hell is this?!']]
She then heard the magistellia's sound off, the kings voice then giving a warning. Everyone was to evacuate to the Noble Quarters. Hearing of something being in the sky, she looked up to see the strange object that had cast a dome over the kingdom. She had no idea what this was, but she knew it wasn't of her concern at the moment. For now, she had to help people get to the safety.
Turning her attention to the people, she noticed the crowd getting thicker as they were told where to go. Pyra quickly got to the side and overlooked the crowd, making sure no one was pushed over.
[#430505 "Remain calm."] She yelled out to them. [#430505 "Head to the Noble Quarters and the guards will lead you to the designated area."]
She then went to head off to the quarters herself, keeping a look out for anything that was out of the ordinary.
Even though Sera had agreed with her, Alanna still did not understand one thing. Why was the fact that the meeting would be interesting meant that it would be unfortunate? But it was not a big enough matter to be extremely concerned about, for it was not a matter of life or death.
As Sera walked, Alanna kept taking quick glances at Sera. Taking quick glances at Sera was not a cause for alarm, it was merely a habit instilled in Alanna as a royal guard. It allowed Alanna to gauge the mood of the person she was guarding. Sometimes, moods would positive or negatively impact the protection effort, so it was a good idea to understand the mood beforehand.
On the outside, Sera appeared calm and neutral. But it also felt as if Sera was thinking about something, thoughts clashing against each other in the head. Alanna would not have been surprised if Sera had been thinking about her conversation with Charlotte, since Sera had found out something quite interesting there. But Alanna knew that there was a possibility of being wrong, for Sera could be thinking about her various tasks in running the kingdom.
Walking, the two of them had run into another pair. This pair consisted of the prince and his bodyguard, Prince Killiam and Guy. Alanna did not concern herself with what either one of them did, for it was not really her duty to guard any one of them. All she really knew about them was the talk around the castle, but that talk was not always true.
One had to be careful in distinguishing the truth, from things which appeared to be true.
Prince Killian did have one habit which annoyed Sera, and that was his sarcasm. It definitely drove a wedge between the two of them relation wise, despite the fact that they were brother and sister.
Usually Sera would not grace his sarcasm with an answer, it was the type of sarcasm where it was better to ignore it than to give credence that it existed. But after dealing with the new information she had learned from Charlotte, it seemed as if Sera was not thinking about keeping silence. Instead, Sera replied.
Looking over at Killian, it was quite evident that it was not the reaction he had hoped for. His jaw shifted around, obviously unsettled by Sera's slightly venomous, at least in his eyes, words. That was what he got for trying to be annoying.
And then into this unsettled mess stepped the youngest of them all, Princess Ikana. Alanna had first noticed the smell of baked goods wafting through the hallways of all a sudden, followed by the sound of a very familiar and unsure voice.
Both Sera and Killian had noticed Ikana, but it was Killian who had gone for a more decisive and hands on approach. Killian went of on a responsibility rant, which would have ended who knows when.
But something did interrupt the responsibility rant. And it happened at the same exact time.
All of a sudden, Alanna could feel a warm feeling popping up on her chest. A quick glance downwards and she saw a red symbol on her chest. Trying to connect to her Ark, Alanna found it mentally blocked. Killian was experiencing the same thing, so was Ikana, Sera, and all the other Ark riders present in the room.
Whatever Killian was doing, Alanna was not paying attention. Her attention was on Sera, who was providing instructions, which were wispered, to her crowd. Sera singled out Alanna, quietly telling her what to do.
Well, this was quite interesting. Alanna glanced at Ikana before turning to face Sera again, nodding her head to tell Sera that she understood her instructions.
Right after that, it was time to follow all three to wherever they had been told to go. Alanna had not heard what the king had said to either Killian, Sera, or Ikana since she wasn't the king's child. She had heard the message sent out to the Ark riders, but being Sera's guard took precedent over that.
While walking, Alanna had walked up to Ikana and took a look at the pastries. [+purple "Mind if I have one?"]
Upon hearing the sound of the alarm, Rose had immediately ran out to see what the alarm was about. She had seen the red sphere slowly envelop the entire city. She had also noticed that many of the Ark riders had panicked, as if they were not able to access their Arks. Was it possibile that this red wall was some sort of jamming device?
Making her way up to the top of the wall, she arrived there without a loss of breath. All the townsfolk were being evacuated by the soldiers, an endless stream of people.
At that moment, Anu had walked up. He had nodded to her, and she had returned the gesture. She had heard stories of the man, but she respected Anu and the way he did his job.
Rose walked up close to Anu, stopping until she was two paces off and turning to face the same way he was facing. [+red "Whatever it is, we'll fight it off."] She said this with an iron conviction.
[font "Lucida Fax" Seraphina did not react the way Killian had hoped she would. He was expecting her to shout at him or to wag a finger. He didn’t receive anything of the sort. Instead, she retreated further and further into her seething loathing of his presence. [b [#496be4 “I know you’re not good at it, but do t least try to act like you belong here.”]] The venom of her words cut deep. Killian’s jaw shifted distastefully as his eyes followed his sister for a moment. He looked back toward Guy as though to say, “she’s being unreasonable”. The actuality of her cold demeanor could honestly be seen in his persistent annoyance, but Killian didn’t see it that way.]
[font "Lucida Fax" The Prince’s attention was caught by a small figure standing in the middle of the hall to his left. Small female with brightly white hair, striking blue eyes like his, and an armful of pastries. Killian immediately crossed his arms and raised his brows at his youngest sister. [b [#000080 “Really? Ikana? Pastries? Honestly, you’ll get the sugar sickness if you keep filling up on sweets. Where is your guard detail? Please tell me that they are not tied to a tree again.”]] He went to lecture his sister about the responsibilities of healthy foods and that wandering the city alone was dangerous. Nothing that Ikana hadn’t heard from her brother before. At this point, Killian questioned if he was even speaking to a person; it felt more like nagging to a brick wall.]
[font "Lucida Fax" While in the middle of his teaching moment, Killian suddenly stopped mid-sentence. He could see the glowing red circle on his baby sister’s chest appear suddenly. [b [#000080 “Ikana, wha-“]] He felt a burning on his own chest. He checked underneath his neck adornment and his shirt to see the same symbol. His eyes darted to the other Ark Riders present near him. All had the same confused expression. [i It’s targeting the Ark Riders. I can’t feel my Ark anymore. What’s to bet that they can’t either.] Killian calculated. He ran to the nearest window and peered outside at the kingdom below. A large unidentified sphere loomed ominously over the capital. Killian assumed that it was the source of this magically blockade. The evacuation alarm could be heard through the solid walls of the castle. The people were being ushered inside to safety. People were panicking and rushing to the Noble Quarter. [i This isn’t good.]]
[font "Lucida Fax" Killian turned to Ikana and Guy. He heard the King’s voice echo in his mind, and, by seeing the expressions on everyone else’s face, they could hear him too. The Riders were ordered to assist the civilians at the Quarter Gates. Killian looked at Guy and gave him a nod. He placed a hand on Ikana’s shoulder as comfort. The burning sensation still lingering on his chest. [b “Killian, Ikana, and Seraphina. Report to the War Room, now.”] The Prince could hear the stoic tone in the King’s voice. This was no joking manner. There was a looming invasion outside.]
[font "Lucida Fax" [b [#000080 “Come on. Let’s go.”]] He quickly guided Ikana with a gentle push on her back toward the War Room. He asked one of the servants to fetch his staff for him. Rushing into the large chamber, Killian saw his father up on the platform with his eyes staring down at the floor view. Killian approached one of the technicians at the battle computers. He quickly glanced at the pictures of the large sphere. [b [#000080 “Father, what’s happening? Is this Dakunai retaliating?”]] Killian asked trying to mirror the stoicism of King. No need to panic just yet.]
Anu had felt all the commander's eyes on him, but what it was that drew their attention to him was out of his concern, at least for the time being after all they were being informed of what was going to happen. The King had declined the message days ago, and everyone knew about it, the king Anu felt was going to give some assignments about the potential war to come between the two kingdoms. It was then however his eyes had caught out the window a glimps of something flying over the wall to hover over the middle of the town.
It was then the sharp pain had hit. Grabbing his chest he knew what it was now that had drawn all the other commander's attention it was the red ring upon the center of his chest. While clothing would have hid it Anu did not hold "clothing" in a sense over his chest accept the top where his neck base hung down. His Ark! why could he not feel it. it was almost like someone or something had put a wall between him and his Ark. That was the difference between Anu and the other commanders, none of them were Ark riders and it was unheard of that those outside of Royal Guards or specially placed ones were Ark riders.
Hearing the king's command however for the Ark riders to go to the closest entrance of the Noble quarters Anu looked to the other commanders and put his hands on the table. [#e18914 "It seems my meeting time is cut a little short."] before the lord Mattius could say anything Anu raised his hand holding the silence long enough for him to dip out the doors behind him.
Reaching outside the male looked up to see the red wall that seemed to be see through around the entire kingdom like a third wall. He had taken no time to get to the wall around the noble's quarter's southern wall and took the steps up two and three at a time. Reaching the top it seemed the citizens were being evacuated followed by soldiers that were coming in from the walls around the commons. Seeing the bright red hair he looked to his left, however it was not Alanna like he had thought, but instead it was Rose the mentor to most ark riders and soldiers alike.
A deadly foe and a blade the kingdom has strived on. Nodding to her he just looked out across the city that was in an agonizingly slow process, but more importantly out across the wall to wait for the cretan that had put the thing over their heads.
[b “Unfortunately I do believe that you are correct about that Alanna,”] Sera said before leading the way to the meeting.
The moment she had taken to compose herself allowed her to maintain an inscrutably neutral expression, but the thoughts about the event still swirled inside her. While Sera was willing to trust Charlotte's judgment about leaving things well enough alone; she was not looking forward to having a meeting with the very people spreading such an obscene rumor about her and a prostitute. She had nothing against prostitution, but being the responsible older princess of the kingdom meant that she would rather not be associated with it in this fashion. However the thought of it brought a question to mind as to how she had not encountered the rumor earlier given the number of guards she interacted with on a daily basis. Obviously they would not just come out and mention it to her, but to avoid sneaking any glances at her made her wonder.
The most logical explanation she could come up with was that they avoided eyeing her for fear of her brother or her father's response. She attributed it to a benefit of having a strong father, and a begrudgingly admitted benefit of having an older brother who was known to look out for his sisters. Of course just when she was thinking something nice about him; he and his handsome bodyguard had to make their appearance. Despite the thoughts swirling in her head she was confident that even her brother would not see it from her blank expression.
Unfortunately just like always he was quick to use his so-called wit when greeting her. If they were alone she would have had a biting reply for him as all of her thoughts turned to venom, but given their public positioning she had to maintain her face. Under normal circumstances she could get past it with just a roll of her eyes and carry on with her day, but given what she had dealt with so far she found her hold on her tongue quite loose. [b “I know you're not good at it, but do at least try to act like you belong here,”] Sera whispered dismissively to him as she stepped past him towards the chamber doors.
If not for the slightly muffled greeting Sera probably would have made it into the chambers without even noticing her younger sister given her positioning. The greeting though made sure that she caught sight of her in her peripheral vision. A sight that would normally draw a small laugh given the pile of possibly pilfered pastries in Ikana's arms, but Sera only managed to give a small nod of her head after Killian had done his best to ruin her mood.
Sera's hand stopped at the door though as she sensed the sudden severance of her connection to El-Machina. She wasted no time in her response by quickly removing her cape and handing it to one of her attendants while providing some whispered instructions to her staff and most importantly to Alanna. Shortly after her attendants ran off towards her room and the alarms were sounded; followed by an announcement from the king regarding evacuation protocols.
[b “You heard father, we have to get to the war room,”] Sera said as she started marching off.
Azure looks at the drink set before him. The questions the woman asked him were legitimate. Not to mention, based on what he has seen, his clothes are out of place with the average style in Radinata. However, simply answering the woman without weary was not in the cards for Azure. The woman was not aware, but the moment she asked this questions, the conversation became a chess game for Azure.
He takes a deep breath and sighs as he takes hold of the amber colored drink and downs the entire thing like a shot.
"Woah there kid. That's not something you drink as a shot," The Barkeep says as he watches Azure.
Azure chuckles and raises his hand to signal one more, [b "Well, since I have a drinking companion for the first time in a while, I almost forgot that downing the first drink I get at a tavern is a bit of a tradition. One I have continued for an old friend."] Azure looks at the amber colored liquid in his glass. He takes his time to enjoy the second drink as he takes a small sip.
[b "Got today's paper here?"] Azure asks as he looks at the barkeep. The man tosses a paper on the bar and Azure picks up the paper. [i 'Info I am looking for is on the front page,'] Azure thinks to himself as he looks at the leading story. The story is labeled 'Was the King right to refuse Dakunai Kingdom's Offer?' [i 'So he refused it?'] Azure continues to read as he skims the words.
[b "Hey barkeep, what do you think about the King refusing Dakunai's offer?"] Azure asks as he closes his right eye and takes a sip from his drink.
"The offer that came with more jobs and resources we would know what to do with?" The barkeep asks as he cleans a glass behind the bar. "Hard to say."
[b "Why's that?"]
"Well, King Radius has always done what he believes is best for the Kingdom and its people," The barkeeper says as he puts the newly cleaned glass down. "He hasn't failed us as a King for the past twenty years, so I don't see any reason to question his judgement now."
[i 'Twenty years? That's a nice record.'] Azure thinks to himself as he gets lost in thought as he enjoys the drink in his hand. [i 'According to this paper, the deal was refused four days ago. That means I have three days to find Barkus and get an audience with the King.']
Azure is snapped out of his thoughts as his drinking buddy is quietly, but impatiently waiting for his answer. [i 'Seeing the King is my objective, but I can't outright request it. A mercenary wanting to see a King is suspicious in itself, and past experiences dictate my odds aren't good for her to just simply comply with my request,'] Azure sighs a bit.
[b "Is it so hard to believe that someone is here to visit the beautiful Kingdom of Radinata?"] Azure says as he reaches back and draws his sword forward. The entire tavern raises their guard. He shows the sword up to the Ark Rider, and unwraps one strap of the wrap hiding the sword.The entire tavern quickly relaxes at the mere sight of the small segment of sword shown. That is because the blade under the wrap is a rusted, chipped blade that looks as if it could not even cut through some butter. The blade is cracked and looks as if the bandages wrapped around the sword is what is holding the blade together. Azure wraps the sword back up and raises the blade to mount it onto his back. A magic circle flickers over Azure's shoulder blade the moment the blade touches to his back, and resumes its mounted position. On a closer look, one could notice the blade is not sheathed or being held by a strap, yet was remaining mounted on Azure's back.
[b "See? I'm no threat at all. What could I even do with a chipped up trinket?"] Azure takes a sip of his now second drink, showing no signs of slowing down. He knows the Ark Rider next to him will not be full satisfied with that answer. She already knew he was there with a purpose, or at least suspected it.
However, before the conversation could continue, the panicked voices of the people leak in through the tavern walls. Azure closes his left eye and watches as the sunlight outside the windows darkens.
...a large black sphere descends from the skies above and suddenly stops mid air above Radinata. The sphere opens up its center horizontally and magic energy floods out from the sides of the orb. A red see through dome of magic forms over all of Radinata.
[h3 In the Castle's Halls]
Darnus sees the black sphere hovering over his Kingdom outside the windows of the hall. He looks up at the sphere, concerned as the dome of magic forms around his Kingdom. Once the dome finishes forming, he feels an intense weight bare down on him. A burning sensation manifests at the center of his chest and he lifts the collar of his shirt to look at his chest. A red magic circle forms at the center of Darnus's chest as he clenches his left hand over his chest. [i 'This sensation. I can't connect to my Ark.']
An Ark Rider can always feel the presence of their Ark within. The way one summons an Ark is by feeding that presence Mana and calling out to it. Yet, the magic circle that had appeared on every Ark Rider’s chest seems to prevent the Riders from being able to do so.
[h3 At the…]
… tavern, Azure sits at the bar as everyone has already ran out, including his recent drinking buddy. He simply looks at his drink slightly annoyed. [i ‘Leave it to those bastards to attack outside of their usual pattern. It’s like they live for the very purpose of pissing me off.’] Azure puts down a few extra gil as he stands from his seat and takes a sip from his drink. He left a few extra coins as a means for purchasing the glass as well.
Azure stands outside the tavern and looks up at the black sphere. A ringing sound sounds off in his head. [b “A Jammer? When the hell did they make something as merciless as that?”] Azure says as if he were talking to someone. He looks to the Northern pathway to see no enemies have yet to appear.
...Darnus looks at Valgus and says, [b "Valgus, sound the evacuation alarm. We need to get to the war room."]
A loud sound rings throughout the Kingdom. On the corner of every other block in the Kingdom is a large poll. At the top of the poll is a red gem known as a Magistellia. Magistellia are crystallized forms of magic that house one specific function. They are at the base of all technology. The sound is followed by an announcement in the King's voice.
[p "Citizens of Radinata. An unknown object has appeared within our skies. I ashamed to say that at the time, we are unaware of its nature, but I would like to request at this time for all citizens to evacuate toward the Noble Quarter. Repeat..."]
The Kingdom has three pathways that lead directly to the Noble Quarter. The North, Central and South Pathways. Azure watches as along the Northern Pathway, the people begin to walk the very wide roads toward the Noble Quarter.
While the evacuation begins, Darnus stands in the large war room. He stands up top a small platform that overlooks the entire circular room. Directly underneath him is an eagle eye view of the Kingdom. Surrounding this view are several people who sit in front of projected screens. Darnus holds up a blue Magistellia to his lips as the stone begins to shine, [b "Ark Riders, head toward the closest Noble Quarter entrance from your current location. Guide the people and be on guard."] Darnus orders and waits a few moments as the stone fades in light only to re-shine again. This time he talks directly to his three children. [b "Killian, Ikana, and Seraphina. Report to the War room, now."]
[h3 Battlefield Conditions]
Battlefield Conditions are special conditions set up and created by the story line. The conditions cannot be changed until the change is carried out within the story. This can be done by the rpers in most circumstances. The actions and choices you guys make while in battle also affects how the battlefield will evolve and develop.
*No enemies have yet to appear
*Arks are currently jammed and cannot be summoned
Pyra raised an eyebrow at the comment of her being an ARK Rider. She hadn't stated being such, nor did she have anything that showed she was. Of course, ARK Riders were fairly well known, so perhaps he just knew from tales and such. Either way, she would let it slide for now, but still watch for anything that would seem like a threat.
[#430505 "You can't blame Anu."] She replied, leading him towards her favorite tavern. [#430505 "He's in charge of keeping this side of the wall and city safe. Because of that, he can over react a bit when a stranger seems to stand out to him. Believe me, you're not the first one to have him send guards to watch."]
Walking into the tavern, she was met with a few familiar face. They greeted her, some asking how she was. All of them noticed she came in with Azure and would ask who he was. Pyra would simply reply that she met him on the street and had asked for the best tavern. Most seemed to take the answer, while others thought it was strange she would do such a thing. Pyra was a rather helpful person.
At the bar, she couldn't help but to chuckle at the kid's response to being asked if he was too young to drink. He did seem rather young, but Pyra could tell he was of age, if not barely. Still, it seemed rather early to take the strongest ale he had, which was rather strong. The man was known for brewing some of his own, and it was highly sought after for being so strong. Even the biggest of warriors could get drunk off of just one serving. This was going to be an interesting thing to see if this kid was going to take it.
[#430505 "My usual please."]
Pyra took her own drink and had a sip before the kid started asking her questions. She smirked as he mentioned her not coming up to him because of his good looks. She had to admit, he looked cute, but he really wasn't her type. Besides, she had someone back home at the moment. Why ruin a good thing?
[#430505 "You were being followed by those guards so I got curious. You seemed rather annoyed with them anyways. Usually they're a lot better about hiding the fact that they're following someone though."]
She glanced over at him, seeing that grin. There was something about him that seemed...off? She wasn't sure, but he wasn't just a wandering mercenary looking for the next big thrill. This kid was serious about his work. If she didn't know other kingdoms uniforms, she would have probably guessed he was a soldier.
[#430505 "Answer me this. You obviously came here for a certain reason, and it's not because you wanted adventure. There's a reason you came to this exact city and not any other. So what is your reason? And I'll tell you this now, depending on your answer will result in if I help you or send you out of this city."]
[center ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~]
[center [pic http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/7fd4536d6b161084d8cba0fae3d6c8181728746.png]]
The princess was sneaking back into the castle, pastries in hand. She knew all the secret passageways of this place, having sneaked in and out many times in her sixteen years. Ikana was quite pleased with herself of today's adventure. She had managed to get away from her annoying guard, and she was given some of the best treats from the bakery. She had some cookies with jam in the middle, some fresh bread, and other sweets with sugar and cinnamon on top. Sure she could get these from the castle baker, but she liked these specifically.
Opening the way out of the passage, she looked around before stepping out and walking down the hall. She knew of a meeting that was going to happen, but she didn't know the seriousness of it. She figured it was just the monthly meeting that she was never invited to. Ikana was fine with that though. She found the meetings quite boring and always tried to get out of the few she was forced to go to.
Because of the meeting though, she knew her older siblings wouldn't be searching around for her. They probably didn't even know she had escaped in the first place. So long as they never spotted her until after the meeting, she was home free. She smiled at her slyness, congratulating herself on how well she had gotten with escaping and such. Perhaps she could contest for the crown. Nah. Though she liked the princess lifestyle, she knew she didn't want to become queen. Besides, doing so could almost guarantee her into an arranged marriage. She wanted nothing to do with marriage.
While lost in her thought, she rounded the corner and was in plain sight of her siblings. Along with some of the other ARK Riders. She stopped, the goods still in her arms, a cookie hanging from her lips. Seemed she hadn't thought it all through and was being caught...
[font "Lucida Fax" [b [#000080 “You? Second best? Thought never crossed my mind.”]] Killian mirrored with an equally stoic face. There was a slight pause before even he couldn’t keep from breaking into laughter. It was a rare noise to be heard these days. Somehow, Guy's humor has always lightened Killian's day, even if the man was an ass at times. Despite the class difference, Killian thought of the grumbling tall brute as a brother, considering he never had one. The two were considered terrors among the palace growing up. Most ideas came from Killian's adventurous mind. Whenever they would get caught, young Killian Radius would claim to be at fault all the time, even if it wasn’t true. Ever since they were both kids, Killian and Ludlow would find some way to cause another wrinkle to form on the king’s face. Most of it was harmless enough, until Killian thought it would be a great idea to bring a dairy cow into the guard tower. Today, the prince had never seen his father get redder in the face while his mother held back laughter. Ludlow was almost banished from the palace until Kiar Gai’kala and Killian both asked for Guy’s presence to stay. Indeed, the heir to the royal throne of Radinata was a menace to his governess and tutors in his time. Thinking on his youngest sister’s behavior, Killian certainly believed that it was genetics that caused all the Radius children to be mischievous in their youths.]
[font "Lucida Fax" Reflecting on the past made a smile crack on Killian’s face. [b [#000080 “Do you remember the day I first ran into you?”]] Killian asked without shooting a glance in Guy’s direction. [b [#000080 “You were this chubby tan boy in a filthy stable. And I knew, somehow that we would be friends.”]] He adjusted the cuffs on his wrists as his powerful gait lead him to the throne room. [b [#000080 “Those were the days, eh?”]] Killian’s smile cracked just slightly. The prince stopped briefly in his walk and he gave pause to his usual charade. [b [#000080 “Shame we can’t go back. Only forward.”]] Killian mumbled to himself.]
[font "Lucida Fax" Even though Killian seemed dutiful, responsible, and cheerful to everyone else, only Guy knew the truth. Killian was a broken man walking around with a mask. The death of the Queen brought a harsh reality to the named heir to the throne. He was stuck. He was chained to that chair until his death. He was trained his entire life to succeed his father’s place. Even though Killian would feel honored to take up his king’s duties, he felt, in no way, capable of the task. He would convincingly parade around acting like he could for the sake of the people and the nobles that all counted on him.]
[font "Lucida Fax" “Prince Killian!” a gentle call disturbed the thought of the white-haired man. He turned to see his manservant, Clarence jogging toward him. The shorter red-haired fellow used his neck scarf to wipe away the sweat from his brow before approaching the prince. “Forgive me, your highness.” He said before catching his breath. “I just received news that the meeting for you today was relocated to the council chambers.” The boy stood up straight and folded his arms behind him. “I was sent to inform you of this change and that Commander Anu and Princess Seraphina are attending as well.”
[font "Lucida Fax" Prince Killian nodded in response and patted the boy’s shoulder amicably. Donning his customary smile, Killian told Clarence that he wouldn’t need him for the meeting this time. His oldest sister and commander of the southern wall guards were coming along? What was this, a festival? This meeting was originally supposed to be about an update on the outline villages. It was a routine gathering that happened every month. It felt odd until Killian remembered the gathering in the throne room four days ago. [i He’s probably wanting to explain why he turned down the Dakunai’s offer.] Killian pondered as he walked silently with Guy for several moments. [b [#000080 “It’s just a bit odd. Nothing to be concerned with.”]] Killian stated more to reassure himself than for Guy. [i I’m sure he has his reason.] He thought as he approached the council room.]
[font "Lucida Fax" He gave a brief nod to Commander Anu before turning to his sister, Princess Seraphina. [b [#000080 “Sera! What a pleasant surprise! It’s an honor that you grace us with your presence today.”]] Killian’s humorous sarcasm did not please the second eldest in the slightest. There was an unspoken strain on the relationship between the two siblings, but no one dared to ask why, not even Killian. [b [#000080 “Thank you for allowing me to share some responsibilities this time. If you handle anymore duties for me, I fear my arse by become too swollen to be of any use.”]] He grinned. He was just trying to get a response out of her. He wanted to know why she was so ill with him all the time. On the plus side, annoying his little sister was half the fun. Isn’t that what big brothers do? [b [#000080 “Shall we all enter together, or do we need to have the heralds make two announcements today?”]] Killian joked while flashing his trademark charming smile.]
Alanna quickly glanced at Seraphina, noticing the greeting smile on her fair face before turning back to gaze at Anu. Anu was a bit of an interesting character. Apart of being somewhat mysterious in character, he also had a somewhat interesting choice in wear. Even though he was a commander of the watch, Anu wore a pure white cloth with an overload of gold jewelry. But Alanna wasn't about to judge Anu for that, since she herself practically wore no armor most of the time either.
But what she going to judge him on, was how he found out about Princess Seraphina's habit of sword training. It didn't help that Anu held up a finger to his nose with that half-crooked smile, making look a bit more stupid in her opinion, that expression just made her want to chuck him somewhere even more.
Maybe it wasn't his fault. Fine, but that meant that one of the guards had to have found out somehow. And that put to light the question, as to how one of the guards had seen Princess Seraphina? During training time at Rose's place, there was a very strict watch over the entrances so no one could walk into the place and watch Princess Seraphina train in dirty clothes.
All this time, Seraphina had maintained that calm, neutral face expression, betraying neither thought nor emotion inside of her. And even though on the inside Alanna felt happy that Seraphina had once again pulled of this trick, and like Seraphina, Alanna betrayed none of this happiness outside. At least not while Anu was still around.
As Anu walked off, Seraphina kept track of him. Alanna could see that Seraphina had decided upon some plan, but was first making sure that Anu had walked off a good distance before acting upon it.
After Anu had indeed left them, Seraphina turned around to her retinue of attendants. Personnally, Alanna thought that this group of attendants was not the smartest of ideas as it allowed for an assassin to easily conceal themselves within the group. But that would only be able to happen if Alanna was not around, and she was around most of the time.
Even though Princess Seraphina had given her the choice of who to go with, Alanna was extremely where this 'small detour' would go. Without a spoken reply, Alanna quietly followed Seraphina on her 'quick errand'.
Alanna, while walking and constantly checking around for surprises, thought about the problem. She started off with anyone in her mother's household who was a part of this whole training in secret scheme, but came up with a blank. Alanna knew her mother quite well, and that meant that no one in her household would have dared talk about it whatsoever. And even those that had no contact with any part of the training would have received strict orders from Rose.
As they walked down a certain corridor, Alanna recognized to whom Princess Seraphina wanted to meet with; Lady Charlotte Grey. From what Alanna understood, Princess Seraphina had some sort of long understanding and friendly relationship with the lady. The lady had some way of finding out what was happening in the castle as well as in the city, information which found great use for Princess Seraphina.
Alanna walked into the room of Lady Grey behind Seraphina. The lady sat as still as if she were drawn in a painting, continuing to read whatever book she had been reading. But despite that calm pose, Alanna knew that the lady kept dangerous weapons beneath those closes. Weapons, that the lady knew how to use all to well.
Alanna stood, leaning against the wall as the conversation unfolded before her.
Well, well, well. It seemed that the Lady Grey knew about Princess Seraphina's 'escapades'. Seraphina had not expected this course of events, evident by the blinking and that long, deep breath. At least now they knew who had been spreading the rumours.
Seraphina recovered quickly, stating that it would be better that rumours would be spread about her than the prince or the other princess. Alanna did not know what rumours were being spread about the prince, but she did know the other princess had a habit of evading her guard and running of alone into town; Alanna felt sorry for whoever had to guard that princess.
Alanna followed behind Seraphina's quick footsteps. [+purple "Unless you have any other quick errands or small detours that you need to take, then let us go to the meeting. Me thinks it promises to be quite aninteresting meeting."]
[b “Anu, captain of the watch. A rare sight.”]
Sera was quick to greet her guard with a friendly smile even as she commented on the presence of Anu. It was quite unusual to see him make his way to these meetings, as he almost certainly saw them as somewhat redundant. Still it would be a welcome sight if not for his terrible attitude as a member of the guard.
[b "Ah Lady Alanna. It is a rare sight we see each other as of late indeed. I hear the princess is doing some not so princess like things."] Anu said as he placed a finger on his nose with a half crooked smile. [b "The Guards talk, especially those on the wall my dear, a close lid would do one's private life good."]
A calm neutral expression that shows no sign of the emotions that lie beneath the surface. It was times like this that Sera was thankful that she had developed the skill so well during her almost decade of service as a most reliable member of the royal family. The skill served her well when dealing with crude creatures like Anu.
Once she was certain the man had left she gathered her attendants with a wave of her hand. [b “Ladies please wait for me outside the chambers, it seems that I will be taking a small detour,”] Sera said with as warm a smile as she could muster. [b “Alanna, you may feel free to go with them, or accompany me. I promise you that it is just a quick errand that I have to run inside the castle.”]
A rumor about her spreading among the people was common enough and a rumor of her doing something supposedly ignoble was certain to spread quickly. While there were quite a few things that she had been doing that could be seen as improper; there was only one that she was concerned with keeping a secret. She had to be certain that there was no possibility that the guards had learned of her early morning activities.
There were a number of people that she could be certain were aware of just what it was that she was up to in the morning. Alanna, Gina, Rose, and the former members of Rose's military legion that served as the lookouts and as her sparring partners. Neither Alanna or Rose seemed like the type to spread gossip, and if they were to tell anyone they would more likely tell her father. Sera took a moment to glance at Alanna as she was following her, and although covers are not a reliable measure it still reassured her that the woman could be trusted. Gina would sooner bite off her own tongue than betray her. Which left the former members of the legion who were known to be a bit rough around the edges, but Sera was confident they would keep their mouths shut for fear of Rose if nothing else.
The lookouts could be trusted to have done their job properly given their loyalty to Rose, and that meant there was no real possibility of her secret getting out that she could see. Which meant that there was an unrelated rumor being spread about her, and she knew just who to visit to find out about it. Her most trusted lady-in-waiting Charlotte Grey. The woman knew just about everything going on in the kingdom thanks to her connections and her impressive interpersonal skills.
The corridor they walked down was quiet despite the time of day, as the wing where Sera made her home was usually only filled with her own staff. Most of whom were busy elsewhere fulfilling the extra duties demanded of them by their lady. Sera knocked twice on her own door upon arrival, but quickly let herself in at the word of the lone occupant.
Sitting as though she was having her portrait painted was Lady Charlotte Grey, Sera's oldest and most reliable friend. She was a sight that could easily be seen as more noble than herself, as Sera knew that her choice of attire was more befitting a grand general than a pretty princess. Of course she was the only one who knew that while her blades were more apparent on her belt, the blades that Char kept hidden in her dress were far more lethal.
[b “Is your meeting over already?”] Char asked without looking up from her book.
[b “It hasn't begun actually,”] Sera said as she checked to make sure that no untrustworthy ears could listen in. [b “What rumor is currently spreading about me among the guards?”]
[b “That you're spending your mornings with a lady of the evening,”] Char replied.
Sera blinked a few times as she took in a deep breath. [b “What?”]
[b “It's had a negligible impact on your reputation and I thought it was close enough to a truth to be worth seeing how people reacted,”] Char explained while keeping her focus on her book. [b “Is there a problem?”]
Of course. While she had gone through extreme efforts to make sure that no one could find out what she was up to once she got there she had apparently been less careful while en route. She had been seen In quite possibly the worst neighborhood possible given her route.
[b “I guess it's better to have them spreading rumors about me than ones about Ikana or Killian at least,”] Sera said. [b “Just make sure to stay on top of it.”]
[b “I always do. Good luck with your meeting,”] Char said still focused on her book.
Sera did not bother to spend anymore time on the details as she quietly left her room making sure the door was shut tight behind her and her guard. Charlotte was her most trusted lady-in-waiting for a reason, and her network was the most reliable one Sera had found. If she thought it was something better left alone then Sera would trust her judgment.
[b “Shall we be on our way then?”] Sera asked after taking a moment to compose herself.
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