How a Palatine goes Blackguard

Way overdue. One sabre dance ritual, two sermons, one duel lost, and a knighting. Irrelevant (org) tells and arrivals, etc., are omitted. Long, so split into parts.

She is an athletic Idreth vampire of Tsol'aa heritage whose alabaster skin is clear enough to seem almost translucent. Coolly elegant facial features are complemented by a pear-shaped, leanly muscled physique befitting her status - the Consanguine's six-foot-tall frame is held with a proud bearing that is only reinforced by the arch in her thin brows. Her deep-set, long-lashed eyes are darker than smoky topaz; her voice is low and velvety, and always seems to brush against the ivory fangs peeking from beneath a plush lip. Her wavy black hair is cropped short, highlighting the graceful shape of her skull and neck and showcasing her pretty, pointed ears. The dusky violet shimmering across her locks strikes a contrast against the rosiness of her auricles, a hallmark of the warm and living blood that all her kind still possess. Around her shoulders and upper back a cloud of bloody mist hangs, faintly glistening in the light and waiting - always waiting - for a moment.
she's wearing:

a strapless charcoal linen chemise, wrapping about the torso
billowing trousers of charcoal silk, deliciously cool to the touch
a blood red ceremonial sash, looped around the shoulder
sheer black robes of the sabre dancer, airy and regal

Modest and practical, this chemise is without particular decorations and is tailored close to the body. Neither does it have sleeves or straps to speak of, and the lacing down the back is dyed charcoal to match the chemise. The material is linen, breathable and crisp.

This pair of dark silken trousers is wide-legged and smooth as water, designed for convenience of movement and to befit a dancer's grace. The billowing material is tied off with black ribbons about halfway up the calves, and is fastened right at the hips with simple charcoal cloth buttons.

One of the most noticeable things about this sash would be its length; as wide as the wearer's handspan, one might think it almost rivaled their height. Certainly there is enough satin to loop securely from one shoulder to the other hip, and the rest of it simply trails halfway down the calves. The sash is hardly heavy enough to physically weigh an ensemble down despite the striking, bloodlike crimson of its dye.

Naturally cool to the touch when newly worn and smooth enough to invite strokes, these layered robes are sewn of crisp, gauzy black silk and are loose enough to serve any gender attractively with the proper accoutrements. A crossing of silk forms the loose V-shaped collar, unadorned and secured at the right rib; how high or low it might sit is easily adjustable through the row of small buttons where the garment would close. Five thigh-length slits down the robes' skirts form wide panels that billow gracefully with each stride, the effect at once regal and conducive to a sabre dancer's steps.

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "A question." Preoccupied. Faintly worried. "Can Archivists set up some sort of wards to keep away rain?"

It is now dawn on Kinsday, the 4th of Severin, year 497 of the Midnight Age.

An ethereal butterfly of translucent jade blooms into existence, and the fluttering of its wings wafts a sickening wave of fear at you.

(Tells): Qelres tells you, "I do not think so? But I am a sorry excuse for an Archivist."

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "Very well."

(Tells): Qelres tells you, "Do you dance, this week?"

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "Yes. I will be announcing where and when."


You have emoted: Galilei grips her glass. "I've prepared reasonably enough." She remains where she is, at the bar, form tense.

You say, "I've never met the Warlord. Never really even spoken to Him until yesterweek, for scheduling."

Taking a needless breath, you say, "And now I... let's just say this is new."

"No need to worry."
Bulrok says assuredly. "If He likes it, you'll be fine. And if He doesn't.." The Minotaur is smiling very brightly now as his hand rises towards his chest. "Spear through the chest isn't so bad, really."

You have emoted: Galilei rubs her temple with the palm of her hand. Almost beseechingly she turns toward Bulrok. "Sit with me."

Bulrok nods, his smiling turning a little softer as he pulls out a chair for you while making a beckoning motion towards you.

You have emoted: Galilei lowers herself into the proffered chair, finally breaking free from her tension - to a degree. Bulrok should be familiar. Is, again to a degree. She is very cautious when she holds out a hand, gaze roving over what she herself had sewn for him.

[It is comfort she seeks, and she will seek for more, seek inside herself too for what had been buried. Her thoughts come slow and almost methodical, looking over what was made with methodical hands... and softness:] There is the jade. There is the charcoal. All colours I picked.

Bulrok carefully reaches back and draws himself a chair, to sit next towards you. He doesn't reach for your hand, but moves carefully as he sits so that he doesn't break the touch as you feels along the threads. "Are you ok?"

You have emoted: The moment must end, all too soon, at least for now. Galilei is on her feet again on a whisper of silks. Fingers gently curl beneath the back of Bulrok's hands as she makes to draw him up. "I will be. There will be time, after..." she trails off. "I did not want to be alone before the ritual. But now - I must go, if... you will come with me."

[A comforting whisper:] Slowly. There will be time.

"Of course." Bulrok says, rising as he allows you to guide him.


A tranquil grove within the ruins.
Glimmering hints of grayish daylight are all that pierce through the darkening clouds above. The ferns lining this trail unfold here into a small hidden grove, its tall grasses peppered with fiery color. Ringed by the remains of the ancient tree a serene and peaceful place amongst the charred landscape. Through this tiny grove, lights blink and swirl, twisting and twining in a dazzling display - a colony of fireflies has taken up residence here, their ethereal light casting the clearing in a gentle, shifting glow. Small, glowing fireflies are scattered across the area. Several pieces of the fallen wood of Yggdrasil have been constructed into a massive pyre here. A ghostly white warhound stands here, silently watching. There are 2 white warhounds here. Mjoll is here. She is riding on a hulking, black-haired boar. She wields the war-blessed bardiche, Onslaught in her hands. Feirenz is here, shrouded. Alela is here, shrouded. She is riding on a midnight black stallion. She wields a chipped bone dagger in her left hand and a gem-lined banded shield in her right. Bulrok is here, shrouded. He is riding on a war-painted orel. Pietre lounges here, relaxedly sipping his drink. He wields an iron sickle in his left hand and a buckler in his right.
You see exits leading northeast, southeast, and northwest (closed pine door).

Bulrok smiles at you.

Pietre inclines his head politely to you.

"Uh," says Alela with little discernible meaning.

Deciding it's better not to think about it too hard, Alela says, "Alright."

You cease to wield a bardiche.
You give a bardiche to Bulrok.

Slithering into your mind unbidden, an uneasy sense of... something lingers, and as a sinking pit begins to manifest in your stomach, the sickly sweet stench of death makes your nose twitch.

Azarae tilts her head upward, inhaling deep and licks her lips with her forked tongue.

You have emoted: Galilei steps back once the weapon is returned. Her tone is brisk. "A brief hunt. Thirst does tend to do that."

Pietre carefully pours some of the contents from rich, honeyed, and potent kawhe into an Archivist's porcelain tea cup.

(Tells): "Does it entail a sermon along with it?" Mileta tells you.

You say to Mjoll, "A sermon afterward, Commander?"

Alela says to you, "She's already forgotted she's even here."

Mjoll says, "Absolutely."

Mjoll peers at Alela suspiciously.

The ghost of a smirk passes fleetingly over your lips.

(Market): You say, "A ritual to the Warlord and Sky Dreaming will be held around Howling, followed by a sermon to Him. Come to 57768."

Alela sticks out her tongue and says to Mjoll, "There was a decent chance it was true."

"Speaking of the Warlord."
Bulrok says with a grin, turning towards Mjoll. "Do you know what holiday just passed, Commander?"

Alela ponders Bulrok's profile, deep in consideration.

"Time is an enigma best left to the sober and less brain damaged," Mjoll replies coolly.

Didi drinks the last drops from a tall, white cup with traces of rich, spiced, and potent kawhe.

Bulrok doesn't respond, smiling still as he turns back towards you. He does, though, rub a spot on his chest vigorously, as if in pain.

Mjoll blinks one eye slowly, followed by the other soon after.


Irennan strolls in with a hound at his heels. He looks around the grove and ruins with some interest. The man comes to a stand near-ish Mjoll with a smile at you. He fixes his hair.

Straightening into rigid, militant attention, Almol squares his shoulders and crisply salutes his fellow soldiers.
Straightening into rigid, militant attention, Seirsha squares her shoulders and crisply salutes her fellow soldiers.
Straightening into rigid, militant attention, Irennan squares his shoulders and crisply salutes his fellow soldiers.

Almol nods his head emphatically.

Almol says, "At ease."

Alela says, "At ease, all of you. Pitssake."

Seirsha releases herself from her tensed posture, lowering her shoulders to a more relaxed position.
Almol releases himself from his tensed posture, lowering his shoulders to a more relaxed position.

Mjoll says, "At - thank you LT."

Irennan releases himself from his tensed posture, lowering his shoulders to a more relaxed position.

Almol snickers softly, eyeing Alela.

Maeve turns to you and delivers a fleeting smile, fangs gleaming.

Ayastia arrives from the northeast.
She is preceded by a juicy and sweet citrus smell that is complemented by a faintly tropical scent.

Marin rolls a crackling red focus from hand to hand as she waits, humming a near silent song.

Noctis inclines his head politely to those around him.

Didi inclines her head politely to those around her.

Didi doffs a cheerful floral crown cordially.

Maeve turns to Noctis and delivers a fleeting smile, fangs gleaming.

You have emoted: Whatever Galilei may feel, her feet are steady and her pose is impassive. Dark eyes look over the grove, searching for a few faces still missing.

The ancient, silver runes etched into Mjoll's flesh give off a sudden, sharp pulse of light before receding back into a slow, rhythmic beat.

Alela ponders Marin's profile, deep in consideration.

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Mjoll's mind: "Should the Warlord be notified?" She cannot quite conceal her tension. "Or... shall I simply begin on time?"

Alela ponders a crackling red focus's profile, deep in consideration.
Alela ponders Marin's profile, deep in consideration.

Qelres smiles to see the gathered crowd, revealing enormous, etched silver teeth.

Alela says to Marin, "Come home. You've been away long enough."


(Tells): The authoritative, commanding voice of Mjoll reaches your consciousness, "Revel in the Strife of the moment, the question of if Bamathis will show up. The tension of not knowing; begin on time."

A distant keening howl seizes your attention, and you stop to listen. It is the sound of some creature, somewhere, experiencing inutterable sorrow. A chill ripples down your spine as the sound trails off, but you remember...


You have emoted: All the better for scattered fireflies and a great pyre of purified wood, both thrown into sharper relief for the darkness. Galilei briefly turns to Callidora, offering a nod to something unheard.

Alela narrows her eyes at Marin.

As noon arrives, the sun hangs high and bright in the sky, its ascent complete.
It is now noon on Kinsday, the 4th of Severin, year 497 of the Midnight Age.

(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "Noon is upon us - get to the shadows."

Qelres passes a smile up at Lenoriel and winks one carnation colored eye. "Good to see you," they murmur to the leopard rider.

Maeve releases a comfortable sigh as darkness settles fully, her eyes gleaming briefly as she scans both the entirety of the grove with easier eyesight and those within it. Eventually, her gold-laced gaze returns dutifully to the hostess of the event, you.

You have emoted: Slight sounds, a few rustles. You are not alone in the grove. By the roaring pyre a lone drum waits, ornamental upon its painted, scabbard-strapped stand. Galilei keeps vigil, back turned, waiting for the crowd to settle. Like the flickers of fireflies the presence of musicians soon gives itself away from among the ruins; four clacks from unseen drumsticks ring out over the glade.

You have emoted: Galilei raises her own, now, strikes a single beat against the raised drum. A soulstone gleams at her hip, and a single sprig of lavender is worn in her robes.

You have emoted: Almost immediately Galilei's signal is taken up by the rest of the musicians, and the signal settles into a steady, swaying rhythm. Two blades glint silently in the pyre's light and in a moment rest in each of her hands; silver and dangerous and red-tasselled for the Warlord, swift upon shadow-wreathed crossguard for the Sun drinker.

Sarran skulks at the far fringes of the gathering, watching curiously but at distance enough to dart away should he feel undue attention.

The corners of Callidora's mouth twitch faintly, her lashes fluttering as her dark gaze befalls you.

You have emoted: When the reedy notes of a flute joins the drumbeat, so does Galilei glide into movement proper; flourishes of the wrists bring both weapons to her side, and she traces a wide circle counterclockwise on bare soles while the music flows on. The melody is a thing like smoke, flowing any way the wind blows and yet contained within one key. It is a music of the wait before the true hunt, and serenely the flute blows on even as the ritualist returns to view and lifts her stiletto high.

Sensing the skulker, Maeve glances briefly at Sarran, a look of amusement flitting across her face, though her attention is inevitably drawn back to the scene unfolding dramatically before the pyre.

A deafening roar fills your head and momentarily drowns out all other noise as you harness your powers to sacrifice your own soul.

You have emoted: Blood flowers before the pyre, crimson upon ferns and soil. As soon as Galilei's offering falls, the air of the clearing almost seems to change. Hunger, fury, sorrow, a collective and morphless 'WHY?' echoes within even the blunter of the minds gathered - especially within who bear a twin to a pulsing soulstone. Without a sound, silver streams forth; souls, enraged and lost, with indistinct faces of Teshen and long-deceased priests and ogres mad with bloodlust, and many more. First only one, then another, then another and still more as the ritual would progress.

You have emoted: And it is with them, and her blades, that Galilei dances.

Sarran starts slightly, eyes widening a little as he steps quietly behind the half-cover of some nearby ruin. He peers out from his would-be hiding spot.

Ayastia's color drains from her features, the redhead looking as if she is to become suddenly ill. Without a word, she staggers from the clearing.

Ayastia leaves to the northeast.
The juicy and sweet citrus smell that is complemented by a faintly tropical scent lingers momentarily after her departure.

Qelres stands, shoulders tensed, spine straight, fingers clenched to fists, in the manner of the breathless. The smile they wear is a senseless thing, lost to what is taking place before them.

You have emoted: The ritual is a study in flow and control, in take and in give. Galilei's robes whirl and her feet carry her in sweeps and spins, circling the great pyre of the glade as her blood-slick weapon flashes temptation to released souls. It is as a battle must be fought; led with purpose, responding as the other responds, and performed as it *should* be - the sweep of sabre and stiletto is swift and clean, and it is graceful enough to conceal her directing hand in the movements. Electricity, ice-blue and sudden against the pyre's persistent glow, wreathe the ritualist's form throughout, and the music of the dance swells and subsides as the souls will drive her - as she will drive the souls.

One of Mileta's feline tails seems to flail wildly as the chimera seems to be unaffected before soon she gives the tail a thwack with another feline tail setting it back to control.

Maeve's eyes sparkle with amusement as she gazes upon Sarran.

You have emoted: A dance for a Dragon and a dance for War, and so what is offered must be a dance of guile and purpose both. Flame and lightning are nearly one in how close she moves around the pyre, but not enough to pull the dancer in, immolate the priest along with the prey. And then she is back where she started before the sheathe-bearing drum, the musicians' drumsticks will clash like swords from the glade's unseen nooks, and their following roll is a violent prelude to the second draw of blood by Galilei's stiletto.

Squeezing your fingertips about your soulstone, you summon forth a shivering wail of tortured screams from the soul entrapped within.

Noctis tilts his head curiously at Sarran.

Sarran shivers faintly as he watches, his restless gaze as much for the crowd as for the ritual itself, skipping around the grove.

You have emoted: The drum rattles on like so many bones; the souls' fury ever mounts. Galilei swoops down low, sabre drawing a silver crescent through the air, and for a moment it seems as though she means to give herself up to the flames. But then, her feet push against the earth, the bloodied blade sails forth, never leaving her grasp even as it is near licked by the pyre's light. She leaps back while her quarry of souls is delivered onto its flagrant altar, dark eyes gleaming red as her hand clasps sabre and soulstone both.

A disinterested tug at the corner of Marin's lips is the only indication of thoughtfulness as she watches on. Languidly, she turns heel and strides away from the grove, leaving the music and ritual behind.

A delighted smile curving her lips, Maeve follows the dancer's movement now, tracking the passing of the bloodied blade you throw and catch in this deadly, fire-lit tryst.

A palpitating tremor resonates from the leylines as a lesser focal point is tapped for its energy.

You have emoted: The traces of sacrifice lingers in the glade. Agony, fraying at the edges. Despair, flickering to the heavens upon the pyre's smoke. The flute is gone, now, no reedy tune to mourn or celebrate. Instead, the drum pounds on like a heartbeat from beneath the earth. Galilei stands before the fire, back turned and blades lowered. The arm that had bled lifts, holds up a sprig of lavender high.

Contralto fervent and hoarse, you snarl, "She Who Hungers, Lord of Strife, Star of Midwinter and deliverer of Sapience, hear our call!"

Contralto fervent and hoarse, you snarl, "We beseech wisdom!"

Contralto fervent and hoarse, you snarl, "We beseech strength!"

Contralto fervent and hoarse, you snarl, "May we live and die with a warrior's honour! Look upon this sacrifice from Your faithful and guide us evermore!"

Maeve wets her lips and glances skyward as if expecting an answer to the fervent prayer.

You have emoted: The thrill of a hunt hangs in the air like a chill that will not withdraw. Galilei steps forth, parting the ferns, and kneels before the waiting flames.

This pyre has been built out of dry, smooth wood from the remnants of Yggdrasil, the pieces of which stick out all along the relatively rectangular shape of it. The natural scent of wood and a hint of lavender surround the pyre, which flickers with a fierce illumination.

You put a bunch of lavender into a great pyre of purified wood.

The great pyre claims the offering, the embers illuminate brightly eliciting the strengthening of the flames which consume and purge any taint leaving a bunch of lavender pure.

A massive pyre surges with fiery passion as a bunch of lavender smolders within, the purifying flames consuming and unforgiving. As the strength of the flames finally lay their claim unto a bunch of lavender they leave naught but ashes as remnants.

You have emoted: The last of the offering the pyre accepts; Galilei bows her head where she is knelt. One final drumbeat, as decisive as the strike that slices a vein, and the ritual has ended.

Mjoll's head dips reverently, eyes closed for the moment.

Alela stands solemn and silent a few moments before delivering a single appreciative nod to you.

(Tells): Seirsha tells you, "That was most impressive, Palatine, and a fitting tribute. I thank you for letting me witness."

Pietre takes in a deep breath, and lets it out slowly.

Callidora flutters her eyelashes at Alela.

Inkh, still and silent as statuary, finally moves as the ritual ends. He offers you the hint of something that resembles a smile, and a nod.

Qelres drags their fingers across their mouth, stretching the waxy skin of their face. They can only bow their head, hiding their wondering smile, and exhale long and low.

Sarran watches from his lurking post partially concealed by some tumbled ruin, scanning the crowd and ready to dart off should it look like the others might be poised to disperse. His roving gaze keeps finding its way back to the pyre, though, despite his wary efforts.

Callidora clasps her hands together lightly before her, offering a polite nod towards you.

Bobbing his head slowly, Feirenz giving a great pyre of purified wood a long look before glancing to you and smiling.

Noctis's eyes sparkle with amusement as he gazes upon Sarran.

Pietre smiles warmly, lips curling deep into his cheeks, eyes crinkling fondly at the edges.

You have emoted: Galilei rises to her feet as the last of the souls' wailing dies away into her mind. The blades are returned to their place, and at last she turns to look back at those gathered. "Commander Seirath will host a sermon to the Warlord, and after, if enough are willing, I shall host one for Sky Dreaming. Follow her, and when all are grouped, we may move to His shrine."

You begin to follow Mjoll.

Fangs absent for once, Maeve gives you a tight-lipped, but appreciative smile and a nod, her gleaming gaze sliding to the prey that lurks like a frightened field mouse on the fringe of the crowd only briefly.

Irennan seems to have gone fire-blind by the way he stares. Unfocused but directed. His expression is a mix of wonder and indecision. Confusion, intense and scattered like the embers. Hearing you speak snaps him out of it. Eventually.

Mjoll recovers from her reverie as you speak, toothy grin sliding back in place,
"Yep, fall in line, just a quick trek to the other side of the Yggdrasil."


As Mjoll begins to speak, the shrine glows with argent light and brings forth illusory imagery to the surroundings, a hazy fog presents itself amidst a sea of celestial bodies. As it takes formation, a familiarity with the figures sets in and they begin to speak openly with intent to the assembled crowd, "When formed the lands of Sapience, it was then that Creation was brought forth by His will, and the Children of His Pantheon were given form to govern it."

The voice echoes within your mind, "When the Father, Varian stepped from the heavens, immediately He was met with false Deities from the recesses of existence, the False Deities wrought forth with unclean intent." The imagery wavers and darkness and light shift in a chaotic sea of divinity. The figures take form in what can only amount to eldritch abomination, series of eyes, tentacles and horrid nightmarish forms assemble, clashing against the very will of the Creator. The sound of Mjoll's voice bellows forth, "No one had the strength to subdue the Creator or His Children. Night and day amongst the planes and beyond the astral seas His creation was assaulted by external sources, set to undermine His will." The imagery shifts, series of battles are struck violently before you, bringing forth awe in its divine performance.

Bulrok clasps his hands behind his back as he turns his attention to Mjoll, listening to the sermon quietly.

Dreww tilts their head and listens intently to Mjoll.

As the battles end, silence, a long painful silence takes precedent, and a shrouded image of Varian, Himself eventually strides forth, peering down upon the assembly, His immense proportions awe-inspiring before the forms of mortality. The voice continues in heavy absolution,
"The Father gazed upon His children from afar, acknowledging the increase in threats against His creation." Forward He strode with confidence, "Join Me, My Children amongst the Creation we seek to preserve." A flash of argent light overtakes the surroundings, and by the Fathers will, Bamathis, Warlord of Creation came to be, before you now the Pantheon's imagery stands prominent. Varian stood this moment before the Warlord, and with this He adjured Him by His will, "Conquer and Decimate that of the usurpers, purge Their unclean spirit from My Creation!" and in this the Warlord asked him, "What is the name by which I shall serve Your will?" Varian replied, "The name shall be the Argent Legion, for we are many."

(Tells): Qelres tells you, "Gods." That is all they have to say, breathless, the sound crashing in your ear. "..."

The image shifts, presenting more and more of a story. Stepping forth one by one, Divine and mortal alike, before the Warlord, having seen the taint of the usurpers upon that of the Father's Creation. Bamathis, the one to head the Argent Legion, armored and in his right mind. His Presence spoke Chaos Lords, against that of the false Albedi Deities, and it was in this opportunity for declaration the Warlord Spoke, the voice not the one of the orator, but of Divine will and power fills your senses with oppressive weight, "Go home to your friends and tell them what the Warlord has done for you, in Strife we shall persevere, in the Argent Legion you shall see purpose." With this declaration He vanished into Argent light and proclaimed his place in service to the Pantheon. The final words echo to your very core, encouraging yours to follow, "...For Sapience!"
You feel blessed to hear the glory of Bamathis, the Warlord.

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "..." Still recovering, still reeling. In her mind blooms a pinprick of warmth, only growing. "I did it."

Maeve inclines her head politely to Seirsha.

With a flirtatious look over their shoulder, Maeve steps out to the east, hips swaying.
The feminine and indulgent smell that is complemented by a subtly spicy scent lingers momentarily after her departure.

Dreww strides away to the east, their colossal form sending tremors through the ground.
The Azudim is followed by a glimmering, jazara golem.

You shout, "For sapience!"

Lenoriel gives Sarran a thoughtful, sidelong look.

You see Mjoll raise her voice and shout, "FOR SAPIENCE!"

Legyn thanks Mjoll sincerely.

Dreww's voice resonates across the land, "For Sapience!"
You see Alela raise her voice and shout, "For Sapience!"

(Tells): Wafting, as if on the air, Maeve's velvety voice reaches your ear: "Thank you for the invitation, a striking ritual."

Seirsha inclines her head politely to those around her.

You see Nebula raise her voice and shout, "For Sapience!"


  • RhyotRhyot Bloodloch
    I don't care what anyone says.... Palatine is a Star Wars reference and you damn well know it.

    While Blackguard is a Skyrim reference.

    Congrats though? I'm not sure what all the promotions mean, but good on you!

  • edited August 2021

    You say, "Esterport Bridge. It will not be too far."

    Bulrok gives a sulfurous amulet to you.

    Bulrok says, "To make it even less far."

    Bulrok winks knowingly.

    "Heh heh heh," Nebula chuckles.

    You say, "Voltda."
    You quickly utter the phrase and see a sulfurous hole open in the ground before you. Without hesitation, you jump in.

    On the Esterport Bridge.
    Glimmering hints of grayish daylight are all that pierce through the darkening clouds above.
    This wide bridge spans the mighty Zaphar river, the current flowing slow and steady beneath the flat cobblestone. West lies the highway, winding through the distant Ithmia and across the continent; east, the rising height of the city of Esterport. Great stone walls ring the city in full, a safeguard against potential threat, ringing its buildings and roofs. The well-traveled cobblestones have been worn smooth, though the rough rise of the bridge's edges prevents passerby from tumbling into the river too easily. The ominous silhouettes of three dark menhirs stake out a bloodied offering ground here, sanctified to the Sun Drinker. A small sign points into a market stall. A spectral game attendant barely exists here. Morrinth is here. She wields a bamboo fishing pole in her left hand.
    You see exits leading east, west, and in.

    Pietre inclines his head politely to Morrinth.

    Nebula nods her head sagely.

    The mouthwatering smells of a myriad of foods and fresh baked pastries fills the street, filtering in from the city's taverns and eateries.

    Alela says, "The amulet doesn't change the distance between points, just how much walking you gotta do..."

    Dark, alluring whispers lift away from a creeping tendril of jade essence that snakes into the vicinity, twining around anything that gets in its way.

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Sarran's mind: "Your attendance was noted. Will you be attending the second sermon at 53444?"

    Alela says to Bulrok, "That's science."

    Heaving a sigh, Bulrok applies his face to his palm.

    Alela nods her head sagely.

    Nebula says, "Technicalities."

    Somewhat confused, Morrinth creases her brow uncertainly.

    Nebula's eyes sparkle with amusement.

    Mjoll says, "Who gave Alela both of our brain cells? Quit hoarding!"

    Morrinth raises her hand in greeting to Pietre and says "Hi!"

    (Tells): Sarran tells you, "M-me? I - I w-wouldn't be somewhere!"

    Nebula snickers under her breath.

    You have emoted: Less distant than she had been during the ritual, Galilei chuckles softly at this and steps toward a shrine of Tanixalthas.

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Sarran's mind: "Very well."

    You begin the sermon by moving in a slow, predatory circle around the gathered audience, mimicing the path of a sleeping dragon. To match the soft beginning, your first words are spoken in a low, commanding tone. "There are innumerable names that the Great Dragon, Tanixalthas, is referred to: the Sun-Drinker, She Who Hungers, the Star of Midwinter, and Sky Dreaming are but just a few. She is the first, and eldest, of the great Dragons." Each title is graced with a pointed pause for effect, and with each name falling from your lips, you turn your sharp gaze to a new face. Moving to the front of the gathering, you spread your arms wide in a mirroring of spreading wings. "These magnificent creatures owned the world before mortal kind had made their mark and claimed it for their own - yes, even before the Ankyreans and the Dreikathi - before even the Gods we know. She is the Sky and the Storm and wields the element of Air as Her armament against those who would oppose Her." A cruel scowl tugs on your face, creating a darkened expression as you offer on a crackling growl, "Unfortunately, the Great Dragon has not always been the sole Mistress of the powers She possesses for the Sovereign God precedes Her. She was soon recognized to be His heir when Her core of Air was infused with the Sovereign's essence, and consuming His heart that the Maelstrom offered as a brutal tribute, did She ascend to Her rightful place."

    Alela says to Mjoll, "Nobody else been using 'em, might as we-."

    Alela coughs softly.

    "I guess that's just one of the problems of being so short." Bulrok says with a sigh. "Everything just goes over your head."

    You swing your arms forward and your hands clap together, the rumbling sound of thunder cracking overhead. "Upon the Dragon's ascension, She established Her order, congregation, and therein, graced us with the knowledge of Her laws." Your hands part, one dropping to your side where the other lifts one, sole finger. "The first is a basic tenet to all, not just the Sun-Drinker, and that is of Growth. Whether it be personal or otherwise, that She calls us to action above all else." A new digit joins your index finger, signalling the second law, then the third, and fourth. "Honor, hospitality, respect.. These, too, are all laws that the Heart of Winter has bestowed upon Her following." You curl your raised hand into a fist, "Alongside Growth is that of Honesty; it is expected to be given and upheld. There is NO excuse for twisting your words into lies and contempt. With these tenets, come trust: for if the Sun-Drinker trusts you to follow through with your promises and treat your spoken words as true... then you will go far."

    You bring your fist over your heart and you scan the gathering as you continue to preach from your very core, your words fervent and devout. "Sky Dreaming, much like any other Dragon, appreciates tribute and treasures, as are Her due. Homages can come in many forms, however things that are personal and have meaning are held in high esteem. Yet, buffalo are always a safe bet." A smile curves your mouth. "Regardless of whether your intent is genuine, any item that is taken from another through wrongdoings will be disregarded and can even earn you the Goddess' ire. She Who Hungers finds theft to be an atrocity - a crime of the highest degree. If you have not earned the treasure by besting them - dominating them - then, obviously, you did not earn it."

    A crackling light begins to spread across your body, the light tingling sensation stemming from over your Draconic heart. "Do be warned for while the Great Dragon may be sentient and speak - She is by no definition 'tame.' She will consume you, whole, if She finds you annoying, or if you offer. She Who Hungers never says no to a snack, after all." The blue lightening begins to intensify, forcing you to squint. "However, should you find yourself in Her presence, do mind your hands - the Great Dragon despises being touched. How you act may lengthen your lifespan and save you from seeing Her teeth from the inside." The sparks dancing across your body force you to your knees and you throw your hands into the air as you finish the sermon with a simple cry: "We are blessed to be in Her shadow!" And as you fall forward, the deafening roar of a Dragon reverberates in the air around you, ending the sermon.
    Your Order has been enriched by the sermon.

    Sarran finds no place to hide upon the bridge, and so does his best to act disinterested and uninvolved in the gathering from the far side of the river, as though he were simply passing by. But he catches himself staring and listening more than once.

    You have emoted: Galilei rises from her place once again. "Any questions pertaining to the Warlord or Sky Dreaming are welcomed."

    Legyn thanks you sincerely.

    You have emoted: Galilei may no longer be with her weapons, but she makes a show of examining her claws. "Within reason."

    "Heh heh heh,"
    Inkh chuckles.

    Pietre chuckles long and heartily.

    Glancing at Sarran, Pietre taps two crossed fingers above his heart.
    Glancing at Sarran, Inkh taps two crossed fingers above his heart.

    Alela says to you, "So."

    Alela asks you, "When you gonna fight someone?"


    You see Bulrok raise his voice and shout, "Palatine Galilei requires a duel. Someone come fight her."

    You see Alela raise her voice and shout, "No takers? Are all the forces of Light afraid? Surely one of you can muster the spleen to have a simple duel."

    Bringing an aura of tension with Him, Bamathis, the Warlord arrives from the ether.

    Preceded by a derisive and insulting laugh, Ayastia belts out, "You fight her. Not everyone wants to fight just to fight."

    Inkh perks up visibly.

    Pietre inclines his head politely to Bamathis.

    Alela says to Feirenz, "S'posed to be an enemy."

    Mjoll forms a spear-hand, swinging it across her chest and striking her shoulder in a crisp Legionnaire's salute.

    Comprehension flashes across Alela's face.

    Mjoll says, "Warlord!"

    You have emoted: Galilei straightens, expression near freezing before she can smooth it out.

    Straightening into rigid, militant attention, you square your shoulders and crisply salute Bamathis.

    Bamathis forms a spear-hand, swinging it across His chest and striking His shoulder in a crisp Legionnaire's salute.

    He is an Immortal and stands as the pinnacle of His Ankyrean embodiment. Pointed ears peek out from His long hair, midnight dark with a predator's gleam which drapes down His back and shoulders. Cut like almonds and cast in eerie silver, His eyes set the severe tone of His angular, slender face. Tall with a muscular physique, His light complexion has a nearly metallic undertone, as if His being was merely a pleasing veneer over venantium. A perfectly circular burn is set high up and center of His chest, a blackened mass of flesh roughly wrist width.
    He's wearing:
    a long tunic cut from strange black cloth, covering the torso, reaching His knees
    a gleaming cuirass of argent venantium, sculpted to His frame
    polished venantium greaves, secured over His shins
    a warrior's reinforced sandals, strapped tight

    Qelres exhales sharply.

    "Yo!" Feirenz exclaims cheerfully to Bamathis.

    Inkh positively beams at Bamathis.
    "Hey, play chess with me sometime."

    Pietre smiles at Bamathis.

    "Good!" Pietre says with a smile.

    With a crisp, firm tone, Bamathis asks, "Have I missed the event?"

    Bulrok, who was just cupping his hands to shout another taunt, stops at the sight of Bamathis. "Warlord." the Minotaur offers with a dip of his head.

    Oh, Gods, Gods, now all He'll see is me possibly having my arse handed to me.

    Alela offers Bamathis a respectful nod. "Welcome. You're, of course, right on time for the after-party."

    Irennan straightens up and keeps a hand on the neck of his hound.

    Mjoll's hands fold neatly behind her back, positively the perfect picture of pristine military bearing.

    Roaring like a lion, Aeryx bellows out, "We simply don't take orders from any of you. That's all."

    Alela rolls her eyes.

    [A moment of adrenaline-stacked giddiness:] I could fight Him. And lose. No, He isn't an enemy to the Order.

    Inkh is precisely not this, all slouching and straw-coloured feathers, but his expression is light and almost boyishly hopeful as he continues to beam up at Bamathis.

    You see Bulrok raise his voice and shout, "Talk. All the time. Never shut up. Always shout taunting jeers from behind the safety of your chosen cities walls. That's an order."

    Roaring like a lion, Aeryx bellows out, "Go back to sleep, no one cares."

    Alela mutters, "Couldn't wrench ..emselve. their fainting ....hes to a littl. scuffle. .oo cozy. ... comfor...... Too p.....ic."

    Dreww gives Bamathis a respectful salute.

    Momentarily taking in the surroundings, Bamathis says, "What is your current mission, Palatine? To fight someone- anyone? I was a tad occupied and did not catch most of the mortal jabber."

    You have emoted: Galilei has a while to go before she can address any Divine without her tensing spells, but she answers soon and steadily enough. "To duel an enemy of the Order I am in - Sky Dreaming's - but since She has no particular enemies among Sapience's lot to speak of... it is left to us to seek out other combatants."

    Inkh's grin widens briefly, and he bows his head in answer to something unheard, shuffling backwards and folding his hands behind him.

    Adding for clarification, Alela says, "An enemy, broadly speaking, would suffice."

    Qelres keeps their silence, watching Bamathis without any expression at all, save a twitch of disappointment at the Warlord's realization of His lateness to your ritual.

    Bamathis considers this with a visible tilt of His head, silvery gaze swiping through the crowd of people as He does so. "I have an idea. I will return momentarily," He says, before disappearing in a haze of silver.

    Bulrok gives an annoyed sort of snort, clasping his hands behind his back as he, very loosely, imitates Mjoll's military stance.

    Bamathis, the Warlord departs to the ether.

    Dreww says, "Mm, an idea from The Warlord..I'm intrigued."

    You see Alela raise her voice and shout, "Remember that Strife and struggle sharpens us all, Light-followers. It's good for you. For all of us."

    (Tells): Qelres tells you, "Bodes well."

    [She gives her mind over to rather frazzled, but not at all unhappy, static. Anticipation.]

    Mjoll can't help but allow an amused flicker dance across her features at the Warlord's words.

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "Oh, Gods. I do hope I won't make an ass of myself."


    Bringing an aura of tension with Him, Bamathis, the Warlord arrives from the ether.

    Pietre sips from an Archivist's porcelain tea cup full of rich, honeyed, and potent kawhe.

    Dreww gives Bamathis a respectful salute.

    Pietre inclines his head politely to Bamathis.

    Sharply, Bamathis says, "Squire."

    Dreww says to Bamathis, "Welcome back, Warlord."

    Alela says, "And I believe Lady Esityi's daughter, Idricara, also grew up there."

    Turning sharply to face Bamathis, you demonstrate your discipline by standing at attention.

    Irennan says, "Does that work? Would it not become affected, mutated?"

    Alela falls silent and listens.

    Irennan stuffs his questions back into his mouth with a hard swallow.

    Bamathis says, "I have found you a challenger since the jeering and taunts have done little to sway them. The Archmage of the Ascendril."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Bulrok's mind: "Will you tell me of this Idricara, someday?"

    Dreww tilts their head and listens intently to Bamathis.

    Alela raises an eyebrow questioningly.

    (Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, Bulrok imparts to you, "Sure."

    Bamathis asks, "Is this fitting to complete your task?"

    (Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "The shadows shall soon embrace us."

    You have emoted: She wants to ask how Bamathis earned their cooperation. Galilei does not. At least, not yet. "It is - thank you, Warlord."

    Xavin steps in through a rippling gateway of silver.
    He is followed by a brilliant white phoenix and a spritely, flame-wreathed efreeti.

    You have emoted: Galilei inclines her head to Xavin. "I'd not expected anyone to reply soon." There is no particular challenge or sneer in her voice. "Have you come prepared?"

    Xavin's head bobs in a small nod and he says, "Aye, I have."

    Bamathis shifts aside to stand next to Mjoll, glancing down briefly and lifting an eyebrow before returning His gaze to you.

    You say to Xavin, "One moment, then."

    Xavin says, "Of course."

    With a glance towards the crowd, Xavin says, "I do apologize in advance for any explosions."

    Mjoll bares her teeth in a feral grin.

    Politely, Pietre glances to Bamathis with a kindly smile.
    "...Care for a cup of kawhe as we watch?"

    Alela shrugs. "What's life without getting blown up a bit?"

    Mjoll says, "Explosions are your best feature, Archmage!"

    Bulrok re-secures his bardiche, clasping his hands behind his back again. He offers Xavin a smile at the comment, but says nothing else.

    Alela says, "Be right back."

    Bamathis's brow lifts slightly at the query from Pietre, waving a hand to decline silently a moment later.

    Irennan begins to coil his hair up so it does not get singed. It is probably futile but the man has to try.


    Alela gives the corpse of a Teshen worker to you.

    Alela nods her head sagely.

    With a polite nod, Pietre settles in with his own, quite content.

    Alela smiles and says, "This should be fun."

    You have emoted: Galilei blinks at the arrival of the corpse. The tips of her ears flush faintly, but she swallows her embarrassment soon enough.


    Its hands like brands, a fiery efreeti strikes at you, charring flesh igniting from the scouring heat of its proximity.
    You have been slain by Xavin.

    A stack of 3 depressant pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 steroid pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 opiate pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 ototoxin pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 hardening pastes falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 kawhe pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 waterbreathing pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 amaurosis pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 3 anabiotic pills falls out of your inventory.
    A stack of 5 euphoriant pills falls out of your inventory.
    Stricken, you collapse to the ground. Unable to maintain the composure of your physical form any longer, you feel your body shrivel and wither away as you revert to your mistform.

    The corners of Mjoll's mouth lift slightly in a small grin.

    Ehtias forms a spear-hand, swinging it across his chest and striking his shoulder in a crisp Legionnaire's salute.

    Alela laughingly says, "I don't feel particularly exploded."

    Mjoll says, "Efficient!"

    Pietre says, "Well-fought."

    You see Alela raise her voice and shout, "STRENGTH IN SLAUGHTER!"

    Bulrok's expression doesn't change much, his smile only growing a little as the fight concludes.

    With bag in hand, Feirenz works through bite after bite of the popped maize and corn snack until none remain.

    Xavin says to Alela, "I felt the warning was warranted regardless. I did not want to make any assumptions."

    Booming across the land with a harsh fervor, the voice of Bamathis, the Warlord resonates, "Strife comes in many forms, push yourselves to be better than you were yesterday. Do not fear death, do not fear loss; embrace the frustration, the anger, the tension that fills you and use it to become something more. For Sapience!"

    Alela's voice resonates across the land, "For Sapience!"

    Like the sudden strike of hammer against anvil come the commanding words of Mjoll, "FOR SAPIENCE!!"

    You begin to float gently upwards through the earth, which parts easily before you. Soon you have reached the surface, and the ground closes once again to conceal your secret refuge.

    Dreww's voice resonates across the land, "For Sapience!!"

    Irennan intones, "For Sapience!"

    Bulrok's voice resonates across the land, "For Sapience!"

    You begin to steadily swim west.

    Ehtias's voice resonates across the land, "FOR SAPIENCE."

    You shout, "For sapience!"

    Irennan's voice croaks a little from a greater volume than he has used before. He swallows and contents himself that only all of the continent heard.

    You have emoted: When Galilei looks back at Xavin, she is smiling. "Thank you for your time." The reason for her satisfaction is soon made clear.

    You say to Alela, "That is the last of my tasks, I believe?"

    Xavin offers a nod to you and says, "Well fought."

    Mjoll says to you, "That marks your completion of your chosen path, Blackguard."

    Alela claps you on the back. "Good job, Palatine," she says, pleased as punch. "Sure is."

    You will now be known as Blackguard Galilei Ladoran, by order of Commander Mjoll "Foehammer" Seirath.

    Bulrok says, "Is there to be a Knighting?"

    Pietre smiles warmly, lips curling deep into his cheeks, eyes crinkling fondly at the edges.

    (Carnifex): You say, "Hm... Keep, or here?"

    Xavin offers a small bow to Bamathis before murmuring, "Please excuse me."

    You incline your head politely to Xavin.

    Xavin leaves to the east.
    He is followed by a brilliant white phoenix and a spritely, flame-wreathed efreeti.

    Bulrok says, "I'm the best sponsor ever."

    The ghost of a smirk passes fleetingly over your lips as you glance at Bulrok.

    Qelres cannot stop smiling. The expression is so wide, and so threatens to overtake them, that they cover their mouth with their hand.

    Ehtias says to Bulrok, "I just taught my squires to drink."

    Mjoll has publicly guildfavoured you. Reason: Blackguard: Achieved!

    (Carnifex): Alela says, "We do them at the Keep, normally."

    (Carnifex): Mjoll says, "We have a room for it! With a sword!"

    (Carnifex): You say, "I defer to the Commander's judgement."

    You begin to follow Mjoll.

    Mjoll says, "Oh. Now? OH BOY!"

    (Tells): Qelres tells you, "You will be knighted now?"

    Lenoriel performs a graceful curtsey towards Bamathis.

    You say, "While the iron is hot, yes."

    Clearly agitated, Mjoll hops from foot to foot.

    Feirenz leaves to the west.

    Alela leans against Mjoll and scratches a bit of peeling skin from her cheek. Casually, she looks to Bamathis and says,
    "Just to confirm, You got my letter, yeah?"

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "If possible, yes."

    (Tells): Qelres tells you, "Gods." They sound genuinely giddy. "Gods above."

    Mjoll says, "Quit PEELING ON ME!"

    Mjoll flaps her arms madly.

    Bulrok says, "Voltda."

    Mjoll exclaims, "We're headed to the Keep for a knighting!"

    Alela says to Mjoll, "Sorry, Commander, can't help it."

    Ehtias gives a fist-sized cookie cup to you.

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Qelres's mind: "At *long* last." She, too, sounds far more buoyant than usual. "I am so glad I decided to do this today."

    (Tells): Alela whispers into your consciousness, "Don't forget to grab your pills."
  • edited August 2021

    An imposing, torch-lit hall.
    Comprising the entire northwest portion of the Shadow Keep, this long hall's very architecture is on an impressive, imposing scale. High, vaulted ceilings stretch upwards, rising from a double row of sturdy columns arrayed like knights in parade drill. Dusty, ancient tapestries line the walls from floor to ceiling to depict scenes from time immemorial while shields from the days of the Infernals, covered in faded paintings of knightly coats of arms, have been mounted on the walls between each hanging. In gleaming contrast, two rows of armour stands create a walkway down the hall, nearly all surmounted with a Carnifex helm; each helm is unique in its savage beauty, the forgings capturing the essence of each Tainted in their metal lines. Steely horns and blackened wings, empty maws full of fangs and even one helm featuring a spade-tipped tail sprouting from its neck - all of these combine together to create a barbaric frame of ordered violence and militant melee, directing the eye onwards to a pane glass case at the very far end of the hall. Inside, twinkling in torch light on a bed of blood-stained cloth, lies an immense, antique longsword: Lord Roan's own blade, used in knighting ceremonies for generations. Flanking the case is a pair of empty armour racks, their helmless tops offering a silent challenge to the unTainted - "Prove Yourself," has been carved across the crossbar of one, while the other simply reads, "In Strength." Standing here firmly is a ceremonial weapon stand. A silver cabinet hangs here, proudly displaying Carnifex trinkets and trophies. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. One hand clutching her bow and the other resting over her quiver, a Minotaur archer stands here idly. Bulrok is here, shrouded. A murky darkness has settled in here.
    You see exits leading east, south (open pine door), and down (open pine door).

    Ehtias arrives from the down.
    He is followed by a hulking, black-haired boar.

    Ehtias gives a thick-bottomed lowball glass to you.

    Alela coughs softly.

    Alela says, "I invited the Big Guy."

    Ehtias carefully pours some of the contents from Argent Ale into a thick-bottomed lowball glass.
    Ehtias gives a thick-bottomed lowball glass to Alela.

    Inkh silently folds his hands behind him, clasping one wrist in the opposite hand.

    Bringing an aura of tension with Him, Bamathis, the Warlord arrives from the ether.

    Alela purses her lips pensively, gazing thoughtfully at some distant point.

    "Be right back!" Alela cries.

    Ehtias carefully pours some of the contents from Argent Ale into a thick-bottomed lowball glass.

    Bulrok's head looks up as the group enters. "Just to repeat. Not. It." And with that, he clasps his hands behind his back with a snort, giving Bamathis another dip of his head as the God arrives.

    Ehtias gives a thick-bottomed lowball glass to Bamathis.

    Considering the glass, Bamathis asks, "If My memory serves, your knighting was the Last I was able to attend, My Legionnaire?"

    Ehtias says to Bamathis, "I believe so but I'm not entirely certain on that matter. Mine was well over a decade ago if not longer at this point."

    Mjoll leaves the gathered crowd and takes a center position within the room. Turning slightly to address them briefly with a quick salute, "Blackguard Galilei! Front and center!"

    Slithering into your mind unbidden, an uneasy sense of... something lingers, and as a sinking pit begins to manifest in your stomach, the sickly sweet stench of death makes your nose twitch.

    Noticeably stiff and still shedding skin, Alela retrieves the blade of the Carnifex from the ceremonial stand and moves to stand at attention just behind Mjoll's shoulder.

    Qelres loiters near Inkh. When Mjoll calls out, they jump, their hand impulsively reaching out to grab him by the elbow.

    Bamathis might've been about to reply to Ehtias but instead shifts, offering you, Mjoll and Alela His full and undivided attention.

    Alela grasps the blade of the Carnifex firmly within her hands.

    You have emoted: No armour and no bardiche, outfitted only with ritual robes and the trappings of her Blood, yet Galilei strides forth. She does not need to blink nor take a breath, but she does both; she comes to a stop where indicated, and snaps her head up.

    You stand sharply at attention, fixed in a disciplined position.

    Merek intones, "For Sapience!"

    Inkh pats the hand that latches onto him, vaguely comforting, though he does not glance at Qelres - for now, his attention remains silently upon you and you knighting.

    "It is always a proud moment when I'm permitted the privilege of standing here with my brethren, holding a new face up over the fodder." Mjoll's voice booms out over you, echoing off the castle walls. "Witness her rise." And with that she offers a crisp salute to you before turning to face Alela with the same before taking one step backwards, turning and falling into the crowd.

    A palpitating tremor resonates from the leylines as a lesser focal point is tapped for its energy.

    You have emoted: Galilei cannot turn her head. Will not. She'll keep a smile from blooming too large upon her face, and her expression from growing too soft.

    Silvery fog wraps itself around Ehtias before pooling at his feet and slowly dispersing.

    [But she thinks, and thinks. A towering Troll, grey and menacing and resplendent in what her own hands had crafted. A Nazetu, dark of hair and ever longing, ever hungering. And, for the briefest moment, a flash of storm-green eyes and a smirk, unsullied.]

    The ancient, silver runes etched into Mjoll's flesh give off a sudden, sharp pulse of light before receding back into a slow, rhythmic beat.

    Alela responds by lifting the blade of the Carnifex in a horizontal salute across her chest and stepping forward to the central point of the dais. Silently, her violet eyes sweep the room, taking time to consider each person present before finally coming to rest their weight on you. "Ladoran," she begins, voice barely more than a soft hiss, "I witness you." Louder, she says to the room: "All of you, witness the Blackguard! From the ranks of the cadets until now, she has refined herself into an exemplary member of the Keep."

    You have emoted: She is rooted in the moment. How could she not be? At the same time, her mien is distant. Galilei looks up at Alela; a voice gives her more to anchor herself in the now, and brings her back from her thoughts.

    Somehow, for some reason, I am here. And if I haven't yet grown into this, then I will - I will belong.

    "Others in Sapience call us loud, bullies, brutes. They see us through their weakness - but Galilei exemplifies what we are!" Alela grits her teeth, continuing in a hearty growl, "What is she? Ferociously clever, thoughtful, knowledgeable." The blade in her hand swings through the air and comes to a rest on the wielding hand's shoulder. "Witness her! Witness what she's become, witness what she will be." She steps close to you, merely inches away, almost nose to nose. "Know this, though, Ladoran - the road doesn't end here. Strength is not a single point; it requires endless struggle. Are you prepared to swear yourself to this?"

    [Ayukazi. Elene. Not like them and yet not unlike them.] I can grow.

    You have emoted: "I am prepared." It is a call different from the harsh beseeching of the ritual; Galilei's voice is more grounded, now, but no less earnest. She pushes back her shoulders, back already straight but renewing her posture once again.

    Alela’s smile widens and the violet fire in her eyes burns bright. "Good," she says. Taking a step back, the Carnifex Lieutenant presses her fingers into the skin just above her sternum, sliding them inward to grip something. Her soul stone is in her hand when it reemerges. "Strength, always." In a single, fluid motion, she scrapes the soul stone against the blade of the Carnifex. It rings, bell-like, but as the ringing fades, it unravels into an unruly din. A smattering of silvery-blue souls cling to the sword, and Alela moves the flat of the blade against your cheek with an unrestrained slap. "Strength in Fealty." With a dexterous twist of her wrist, she again slaps the sword's flat against your other cheek. "Strength in Soul." Finally, she raises the blade of the Carnifex one last time and brings it down on the crown of your head. "Strength in Slaughter."

    Taking a half step back, Alela says to you, "State your oath."

    You have emoted: The coldness of the souls sting more than the skin; echoes of their despair, of their terror and hate, will always be there for Galilei. Her lot and her burden to shoulder, and in this place with all those gathered, she can put it aside. Her voice is clear. "I, Galilei Ladoran, hereby swear absolute loyalty to the Carnifex and the Shadow Keep."

    You say, "I shall never allow anything to come before the Carnifex, and I shall ensure that my every action is for the good of the guild."

    You say, "I shall strive to make Fealty, Soul and Slaughter a permanent part of my life in everything I do."

    It is now midnight on Gosday, the 5th of Severin, year 497 of the Midnight Age.

    (Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "Midnight is upon us."

    Unblinking now, and without need to blink, you say, "In Fealty I shall not wander, in Soul I shall not falter, and in Slaughter I shall not fail. I shall always follow the Commander and Officers, I shall always follow my fellow Carnifex."

    Sryaen's voice is low, harsh and laden with malevolence as it echoes across the land, "Blessed be the Light and all those who reach for it."

    Roaring like a lion, Aeryx bellows out, "Strength in the Light!"

    You have emoted: "I vow to strike down the enemies of the Carnifex as if they were my own." The traces of a smile spreads like an undercurrent, almost feral as another voice rises. "I shall uphold this oath until my last moment," Galilei continues, "else let me be cast out and hunted till the end of my days."

    Alela smiles warmly and addresses the gathering with a wide swing of the sword, "Witness, all gathered, Ser Galilei Ladoran, Knight of the Carnifex!"

    You see Alela raise her voice and shout, "STRENGTH IN SLAUGHTER!"

    You shout, "Strength in Slaughter!"

    Sheets of flame tear across the firmament, erupting over the City of Enorian and delivering the blessing of the Rekindled.

    Sheets of flame tear across the firmament, erupting over the Duiran Council and delivering the blessing of the Rekindled.

    You see Bulrok raise his voice and shout, "Hail, Ser Galilei. Strength in Slaughter!"

    Eliadon's voice resonates across the land, "Strength in Blessed Be the Light to Slaughter Undeath and whatnot."

    (Tells): Feirenz tells you, "Well done, Ser Galilei."

    Alela turns sharply and replaces the ceremonial sword in its stand. With a few quick movements, she prepares a set of cords for the new Knight.

    Alela reverently places a set of shoulder cords upon the altar.

    Alela reverently adorns the shoulder cords with knots befitting the ranks of Knight and Religion.

    Satisfied with her handiwork, Alela ties the cords at your shoulder. "Well done. Very well done."

    Ringing the shoulder and quite visible, this set of paired cords is a clear designation to those who understand how to read them. Made of a mixture of fine cotton and braided leather, the colors are bright and easy to see from a distance, one cord of teal and the other of cobalt. They snap closed at the top for easy removal with a small copper latch and can secure to any long coat or jacket.
    It can only be worn in the following location: shoulders.
    It has 75 weeks of usefulness left.
    It is strangely weightless.

    "It only took you, what, a decade?" Bulrok says teasingly. Despite the jest, it's evident in his features that he's proud of you.

    You have been ousted from the position of Squire of Souls in the Carnifex.
    You have been appointed to the position of Knight of Souls in the Carnifex.

    Alela smirks at Bulrok. "You're being way nicer to her than you were to me."

    Plainly, Bulrok says, "I like her more."

    Alela cackles hellishly.

    Qelres rests a six fingered hand over their heart. "Ser Galilei Ladoran," they say, significantly more subdued than Alela but none the less sincere.

    Inkh snorts a wheezy rattle of a laugh.

    You have emoted: Only now will Galilei allow emotion to take over; malice at enemies of the air clears, and her smile is purely a smile. Only now will she allow herself a glance back at Bulrok, expression unchanging. "An honor, Ser." Then her eyes will find Qelres, Inkh securely beside. Her lips mouth a quiet, 'thank you.'

    Lifting his chin and clearing his throat, Inkh echoes Qelres, though he repeats none of their gestures. "Ser Ladoran."
  • Rhyot said:

    I don't care what anyone says.... Palatine is a Star Wars reference and you damn well know it.

    While Blackguard is a Skyrim reference.

    Congrats though? I'm not sure what all the promotions mean, but good on you!

  • Rhyot said:

    I don't care what anyone says.... Palatine is a Star Wars reference and you damn well know it.

    While Blackguard is a Skyrim reference.

    Congrats though? I'm not sure what all the promotions mean, but good on you!

  • Formerly bone, currently dishonorable kitchen man
    Toz says, "Dishonor on you (Mjoll), dishonor on your family (Seirath), dishonor on your cow (Bulrok)"
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