Chapter III:58

There is an embittered sweetness,
wrapped in such honeyed words,
a temptation to a bargain offered,
we’d as soon have never heard,

do we compromise noble position,
to hear out the chance of peace,
or is savored prideful judgement,
our hallowed but fruitless belief,

is justice what we believe it to be,
the taking ever of price in kind,
or must we start with forgiveness,
let these wounds heal with time.

– Writings of Emperor Corinth, circa 65 E.R.

The Bargains We Make

Kiannae found herself in the Queen’s garden. There was no color, and all was still. It was a roaring silence, a quiet that demanded it was full of sound, yet it all came to nothing. The Queen was there, stood much too close to a slightly taller woman. Selene had an impertinent hand on the royal cheek.

Kiannae looked for the shadow, for the grasping claws of a monster she had been told lurked just below the world. It was elusive at best, more like a gravity between them. The Queen was Selene’s elder by a good decade. Yet the look in the middle-aged monarch’s eyes was that of a young enamored girl before the powerful enchanter. Lips ever so slightly parted, caught in the sway of whatever she had become. Even the shade looming over them seemed still, waiting for something.

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Chapter III:57

If we walk the same way,
then let us walk together,
oh if you can keep step,
it’ll all be for the better,

if we walk the same way,
then our paths converge,
we’ll pass the same places,
the same threats unheard,

if we walk the same way,
then our Path is the same,
no sense to walk alone,
but for foolish games.

– Going My Way, 232 E.R.

The Paths We Walk

The Queen stood in the corner of her private sitting room, as Etore was let in.

“One might suppose, you are wondering….” The Queen said, and poured herself a drink. “Just why you’ve been granted audience ahead of… what some might argue are more notable, or pressing members of your company. Setting aside of course, whatever claims, We’ve decided to entertain.”

“No,” Etore answered. “Your Majesty. I saw you notice me give that look to Selene, in her introduction. I let you, probably, let a few others see it too. My gifts are not the most subtle, when I use them to be noticed.”

The Queen hummed. “Clever girl. Do you drink?”

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Chapter III:56

Do as the Duchess they always say,
her noble customs and obliging ways,

even as paths stray far from home,
out so far as one might dare to roam,

down in Napir such advice still holds,
if you’ve the nerve, to be quite so bold,

up in lands where her face might be covered,
wear then a mask, with emotion uncluttered,

oh when in Lycia, though its still not unwise,
those on the Path, might wish to think twice.

– Do as the Duchess, circa 300 E.R.

When in Lycia

Coria 33rd, 1 S.R.

“Don’t see what everyone’s so afraid of,” said a dark haired local boy. His somewhat quiet words aside, he was not all that hasty, inching towards a dragon. “You stand around him all day,” he added to Katrisha, who had leaned against the dragon’s shoulder.

Arbor was lounged in the midday sun, his wings spread out to catch as much as they could.

Katrisha smiled. “He likes me. Besides, I’m an old chewy mage, not a fresh little morsel like you. Snack size.”

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Commentary III:55

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When Only Pawns Remain

As the field whittles down the King actually does become a powerful piece. It can’t move very far, or fast, but compared to pawns it is… well… King.

It’s hard to even figure out what to say about Liora in this scene, it pretty well encapsulates itself. What does one do, or feel, when their mother sacrifices herself for another, when she herself bordered on a monster. Emotionally it’s just hard to even wrap one’s head around the idea, so I think it’s fair for Liora to not quite be able to.

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Chapter III:55

Power is but chains, that bind us to these things.
Station holds us down, like a heavy golden crown,
Yet as it all falls away, those guarded enter the fray,
Beware the humble king, when the march is ending.

Among Pawns, 98 E.R.

Puppets, Pawns, & Kings

A dozen healers surrounded one woman, mostly bickering, as the avatar of a dragon paced. She listened to their conversations, and tried to make sense of the problem she had helped create. The word ‘unstable was far too repetitive for anyone’s comfort.

Nearly a hundred yards away a paladin knelt at the side of a limp form. Her eyes were closed, and stray golden locks hung across an unreadable expression. Another paladin stood a good ten feet behind her, himself looking torn. Katrisha walked up, and knelt across on the other side of Rowana’s body.

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Chapter III:54

The Breath is Life, the wind that carries us,
The Blood the Sea, awaiting a storm to stir,
The Bones old Stone, ground by swirling sand,
The Soul Burns, as tender shoots reach for sun,

The Stillness is Life, a calm between intemperate rage,
The Heart the Watcher, counting out remaining days,
The Stone is the Grave, where all must return to dust,
The Fire Salvation, against the darkness that comes.

– Shamanistic Proverbs, 23 E.R.

The Breath of Life

Etore groaned as she was rolled over. She might have tensed at the sight of a dragon head, but muscles still in shock ignored even instinct. Wren was trying to help, but her jaw was faring better than the rest of her, and needed none. “I never thought I’d say it, but I hate being right.”

The dragon turned her gaze down. “Do you, little one? Who are you?”

“Etore bloody Lane,” she muttered. “Rightful heir of… oh who cares. You’ll either not believe it, and still keep us prisoner, or add it to the list of reasons, to keep us prisoner, am I right? Not always sure I believe it myself any way.”

The dragon laughed. “You’re almost as much fun as the silver one.”

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Chapter III:47

Oh, what kindness hath thee to offer,
for those you did not try to save,
what gentle hand heals cracks,
where in the foundation laid,

Oh, cover over your sins of kindness,
your blameless unfaltering dismay,
how is it your fault what others did,
when your innocent hand you stayed.

– untitled, circa 20, E.R.

The Council of Three

Four ancient women resided in different corners of a room as Wren entered. Little mind was paid if he was followed through the open door. A woman in Brown fussed with a wavering light. Another in White stood against the back wall with her eyes closed. The eldest in Red lounged in a deep, high armed, and padded chair. The undivided, and adoring focus of a much younger if still gossamer haired woman.

The Red Matron looked up and considered Wren, and shooed her admirer off. The other Red Sister closed the door behind her, and the Matron’s eyes drifted to a corner, and narrowed. “Well, I suppose your pet can stay, if you like. I did not wish to trouble Sani with the news you bring.”

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