Hidden 11 days ago 10 days ago Post by Medium Light
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Valanor Accord
City of Hesper's Rest

The eloquently named city of Hesper's Rest was nestled on the coast of the provenance of Itillia, the political heart of the Valanor Accord.

The merchants went about their business, as ships came and left from the port. The Cohort of the Royal Guard patrolled the city streets, arguing over jurisdiction with the local city watch; as a kind of micro expression for the greater political battle within the Accord.

Hesper's Rest, was said to be the place the Wizard Emperor Hesper first landed with his 100 Acolytes after he arrived from the east. However, many coastal cities made similar claims before the Orduin collapse years ago.

The so called "Imperial Palace" known as the Keep of Azurefall (named after one of Hesper's favorite acolytes) was a marvel of castle design, beautiful in its own right, yet it was nothing in comparison to the "True" Imperial Palace in the capital. One day the Accord would have it for themselves.

The halls of the Keep of Azurefall felt darker than the color palette would suggest. As the members of the Imperial Court, ministers, and courtiers alike gathered and whispered in anticipation of the Emperor's arrival.

Prince Nero did so hate these courtly gatherings, finding it easy to doze off. Still he understood the importance of the affair; especially with the Legionary Council gathering later that day.

"Did I miss anything brother?" Asked Princess Cipher popping to Nero's side.

"No" Replied Nero. "Ancel has yet to arrive."

Would he even arrive? There was a chance the Queen Mother, one of the ministers, or the Legionary Council had already taken steps to avoid his presence here. It would not be the first time the young Emperor had been excluded from political discussion.

"Maybe we should just go find him." Suggested Cipher. "I'll get some of my men and if anyone tries to stop us we-"

"Patience Cipher." Nero whispered. "We must not do anything that drastic unless the situation calls for it. We need more allies, but more than that we need the Legionary Council to help us win the war against the Duchy of East Orduin, and the northern lands. There is no point of securing Ancel's rule if we fail to revive the Orduin Empire."

Cipher groaned. "Very well, but sooner or later we will have to draw our lines in the sand brother."

Nero noticed from the corner of his eye Lady Reval looking at them, the Minister of Laws, gesturing for Lady Marriane and Lady Arial to take notice.

What was she up to this time? Or was it simple gossip.

Lady Marriane noticed Nero staring back and gave a little wave; while Lady Arial simply continued to stare blankly and undaunted.

Lord Talbot and Lord Calben smirked at each other, likely mocking someone for their own amusement as the two tended to do. Or maybe they had just arranged a trade deal that filled their pockets with even more coin.

Lord Peyton quietly coughed, causing Lord Ethalheim to silently move away from him, while getting the attention of Lord Hamon who offered his fellow elder a small elixir of some kind; which the Minister of Ships accepted graciously.

Lord Rolan tapped the handle of his weapon impatiently, with Archbishop Arleo standing menacingly behind him, quiet and unemotive as usual.

Lord Salazar the Imperial Court Mage, stood silently reading a book in his hand, a devilish smirk on his face.

Suddenly the throne room doors opened, and out walked an entourage of attendants and bodyguards. In front was the Queen Mother, who immediately gave an unimpressed expression to those in the room.

Behind her stumbled a young boy, wearing a crown that barely fit his head. Nero's younger half-brother and the Imperial Emperor Ancel, looked around sheepishly as he was lead towards the throne.

Flanking him were two of his attendants. The Royal Chamberlain, Lady Talia walked confidently with her hands behind her back, not giving any in the crowd a passing glance. Yet coming off more confident than rude despite it.

On Ancel's other shoulder was one of the Sisters of Song, Sister Lelettia, who served as one of Ancel's bodyguards, attendants, and a sort of spymaster for the Queen Mother's faction.

Behind the entourage was a lager armored man, Ser Gleedoll. A high ranking member of the Royal Guard; who as per usual seemed mostly indifferent to his charge as there were no current threats to his life.

The boy emperor climbed onto the throne, giving the court a blank expression. The Queen Mother sat herself in one of the chairs at his side.

Immediately Lady Reval began walking up to him but just as she began to speak she was nudged aside by Lord Salazar who gave a quick bow, that some how still managed to come off condescending.

The games had already begun.

"Your excellency" Spoke Lord Salazar. "The Legionary Council will be gathered here soon enough. I presume you intend to be there?"

Ancel seemed confused and rubbed his arms nervously. "I-I wasn't aware of that. Thank you Lord Salazar for bringing this to my attention."

"No need to thank him, my son." Cut Queen Mother Selene. "You were not made aware because it is not your concern. That is why the Emperor has ministers and servants."

Nero could hear Princess Cipher click her tongue in disgust. "So they couldn't even be bothered to inform their emperor? The Queen Mother, or at least the Chamberlain was supposed to inform him."

Lord Rolan stepped forward, shouting over the crowd. "Allow me your excellency. As the Minister of War I should-"

Before he was finished Lady Reval once more shot forward. "Your excellency, if you do not wish to be bothered I would be more than happy to take on this burden for you."

Rolan shot her a look of annoyance for stealing his thunder, and Salazar gave a wolfish grin that seemed both angry and impressed at the same time.

Before Lady Reval could continue her pitch, the Queen Mother spoke up. "I will be handling this Lady Reval, so let us not bother with it any longer."

Lord Rolan once again spoke. "But my lady is it not my duty to-"

"Please Lord Rolan." Smirked the Queen Mother. "It needs to be someone the Legionary Council will actually listen to."

Some of the court smirked, giggled, and chuckled. Lord Talbot and Lord Calben all but laughed openly, and Reval looked as if she would of joined them had she not just been denied the position as well.

Rolan grinded his teeth and looked as if he was ready to walk out of the throne room all together, but Archbishop Arleo stopped him, leading him to the back of the crowd.

Nero felt sorry for the man, but he was a political enemy; one of the Legionary Council loyalist. He had hoped Rolan would be a tad more self-serving or spiteful but in the end, even with the insults, he always has acted in favor of the Council's decrees.

Ancel had an uncomfortable look on his face. Clearly not happy with what he saw as bullying in his presence. Least of all from his own mother.
He looked around the throne room as if looking for someone. "Where is Laughy?" He finally asked.

The Queen Mother groaned in resignation. "Fine, fine, very well." She turned towards Lady Talia. "Where is that charlatan? She is never around when needed, yet the moment you want her to go away she sticks around like a fly."

Suddenly a figure came tumbling towards the throne, doing flips and cartwheels, before landing before the young emperor.

"My young lord!" Shouted Laughy with an excited squeal. "You have called and I have appeared!"

The elven jester did a little twirl and an over the top bow.

Ancel could not help but clap in excitement while the Queen Mother failed to hide her annoyance.

"I apologize for my late arrival." Said Laughy, pulling out some cards. "I was busy juggling for the city watch."

That was code for she was informing them of a potential crime her spies had uncovered. Laughy doubled as the Imperial spymaster which for obvious reasons was not an official title on record. She had many codes hidden in her jokes and gags, when she needed to inform someone of something in a more subtle way.

She would often sprinkle many real jokes in there so even knowing who she was ahead of time wasn't enough to know what she was reporting unless you already had prior knowledge of what she was talking about.

Almost as if remembering where he was, Ancel stopped clapping and nervously looked back to the court, ashamed of his own excitement.
Nero hated that look. To feel such shame for something so innocent? It was not something a child, let alone an Emperor should be feeling.

The court smirked and chuckled. Happy to see their ruler was still a vulnerable child that could be exploited. Others stared on blankly, too afraid, cynical, or dispassionate to do anything without being told. Snakes and cowards the lot of them.

Nero nodded at Cipher and stepped forward.

The Queen Mother stared at Nero inquisitively, almost taken aback by his very presence.

Nero kneeled before Ancel, his sister and some of her men kneeling behind him. "Your excellency, my brother Ancel. I shall be attending the meeting with the Legionary Council in your stead."

The people of the court began to mummer to each other in confusion, annoyance, and even anger.
The Queen Mother looked at Nero with that same look she has always given him. Not hatred or disgust as one would expect. But wariness and...pity?

Why did she have to be like this. It would be so much easier if she simply hated him. Why didn't she hate him? She was so much crueler to everyone else. It always left a sour taste in his mouth every time he made moves against her.

She feared him but not enough to hate him? She pitied him but not enough to aid him? What did the queen mother see when she looked upon her husband's first son? The one born out of wedlock before she even showed up at the castle. The one who would of been Emperor had his father married the woman he loved instead of caving into the demands of the Legionary Council.

She would often give Cipher the same expression; albeit with a tad more unease due to his sister's more violent behavior.

"I am already handling this Nero." Said Queen Mother Selene almost softly yet coldly.

Nero stood up; Cipher and her men following suit. "Be that as it may, I shall be attending the meeting all the same."

The Queen mother looked over Nero with a small frown. "Why can't you just leave this be?" She said quietly.

Cipher pushed towards Ancel, putting her hands on his shoulders. "Please little brother, let Nero handle this. This is very important to him, to you, to all of us."

Ser Gleedoll awoke from his vigil and immediately stepped towards Cipher. "That's enough little princess." Spoke the behemoth.

Cipher turned towards Ser Gleedoll, grabbing her mace. "This is a long time coming Gleedoll."

Gleedoll chuckled heavily before raising his own weapon, ready for combat. Members of the court began pointing and shouting in concern.

"It-it's alright" muttered Ancel, turning to his sister. "I really want to Cipher, but I-everyone else also wants to attend the meeting so I-"
Ancel glanced at his mother, then at Sister Lelettia and Lady Talia.

"You can trust Lady Selene to handle this princess." Said Lady Talia. "The Legionary Council only need the Emperor in cases of a stalemate, I doubt there is anything to gain by you or Prince Nero attending."

"Well, if it really doesn't matter than let the Emperor decide." Said Sister Lelettia, turning to the young ruler. "I know it may seem daunting, but you can't make everyone happy your excellency. I'm sure whoever doesn't get picked will understand your choice."

Nero had not expected that from Lelettia, but even if her words were meant to encourage Ancel, he could not leave it up to chance.
"I do ask for forgiveness my brother. However I'm simply declaring my intentions. There is no need for you to have to make such as decision at this point."

Nero turned towards the court. "I shall speak with the Legionary Council, do you understand? Those of you who serve them might as well inform the Legion Generals to expect me."

Nero stared at the queen mother who looked as if she had something to say. "With all due respect your grace. You do not posses the authority to stop me. If you wish to attend the meeting anyways, I will not stop you either. But, no matter what, I will be there. I would have the emperor accompany me."

Queen Mother Selene bit her thumb contemplating before speaking. "I shall allow you to do as you please. Only so that you and your posse do not cause any unneeded chaos. However, the Emperor shall not be there. This is not something for him to have to deal with. I will not forget this Nero, the Legionary Council will hear of this outburst, and we shall have words on it at a later juncture."

Nero looked to Ancel one last time to see his reaction. The Emperor looked like he had more he wanted to say but could not bring himself to speak it. He simply nodded at Nero, the closest thing he could muster to open approval.

Sister Lelettia frowned, clearly upset Nero had taken the choice out of the Emperor's hands. She eyed Nero suspiciously. Nero was no fool, he understood how this looked. However, it was necessary to pave the way for the greatness that was to come. To reform the Orduin Empire and pave the way for his little brother's eventual rule. Nero, Cipher, and those with him bowed one last time and began marching out of the throne room.

Right outside the throne room door, a young girl leaned against the wall, her arms behind her back.

"I could of convinced the Emperor to choose you my Prince." Said the girl. "It would of saved you all the chicken dancing, and would of made you look less like you are trying to seize power."

Nero turned to the girl. "I told you not to go near him Luci."

Luci pouted. "Why do you have to be such a bully? I was only trying to be nice."

Luci let out a giggle. "Besides, you're too late. Ancel and I are already the best of friends. He loves listening to my stories. I've even started telling him about all the wonders of Dumas."

"You little witch." Said Cipher, stepping forward.

Suddenly a gust of wind came from behind Nero and Cipher, they both turned around to face a band of robed figures, having seemingly come out of nowhere. Cipher's men stood ready to draw their swords, but Cipher raised her hand commanding them to stand down.

"Why won't you play with us any more Nero?" Said Luci, tilting her head. "You were the one who invited us here in the first place. I thought we were friends."

"A mistake I regret with each passing day." Shot Nero. "The mutilated animals being found all over the castle, and the strange symbols drawn in blood. That is you doing isn't it?"

Luci gave another giggle. "Maybe? I-Don't-Knooooowww."

"Just don't become a liability. And make sure you do what you're told." Said Nero, turning away from Luci and her cultist.

"The love of Dumas stretchers to all Prince Nero." Said Luci. "Even the Emperor, even the Legionary Council, even you." Luci let out one last childish laugh before walking off with her people down a nearby corridor.

"And none can deny it for long."
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Hidden 11 days ago 6 hrs ago Post by OddlyParanoid
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OddlyParanoid New to the site so be gentle. UwU

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Former Imperial Capital

There was still smoke in the air when Ralof woke up that morning, he had something of a hangover and felt like he could hear screaming in his ear...

Fortunately for him the screaming was coming from somewhere in the city, unfortunately... he still had a hangover.

Ralof breathed a deep breath, his eyes barely open. He watched his chest fall as he released air from his lungs.

It was then that Ralof, High Chief of the Roaming Hill Tribes realized... he was sleeping in a wine storage. With a moan he climbed to his feet, body aching from poor sleeping posture.

Ralof grabbed another drink to ease his hangover; he would pay for it later, but what had future Ralof ever done for him? It's current Ralof that does all the work.

Striding in the room outside his eyes squinted at the sudden blur of light, before falling upon the Throne room.

The Eastern Duchy must've refurbished this room hundreds of times, the throne itself while nice and certainly ordinate, was lacking something he was expecting from a seat that once held the asses of Emperor and Empresses prior.

It could've been destroyed all those years ago when the Chitijians made work of this place, but he was still holding out hope that the original throne was still somewhere in the palace.

He looked to the side and saw the lovely lady Airis Vallie looking rather uncomfortable, perhaps even miserable as she was trapped in a one-way conversation with his youngest daughter Thrie.

"You hated those men right? The one's I beat! The one's I killed! You were basically a prisoner here so you should be thanking me since I saved you!"

Thrie spoke at a rapid pace, her voice was high pitched and excited but rather than making her appear cute she came off sounding more... hungry.

"Th-Thank you" Airis said in a dejected manner.

It was clear to Ralof that Airis was none too pleased with the current state of affairs. True she had been in a political marriage with a man she hardly spoke to; and she was barely surviving the variety of harassment leveraged at her from the various memebers of the court.

But at least she could predict what the future held, she was of an allegedly valuable noble linage, and was on track to become the Arch Duke's wife. Had she bid her time, those who had mistreated her could've eventually been punished. Now though? She was a guest in the palace that she was fully expecting to one day call her own, at the mercy of a group of savages who had slayed her fiance and seemed to question the value her blood allegedly held.

Luckily for her, Ralof was both a worldly man, and a gracious host. He would go cheer her up and win her over all in one fell swoop.

"High Chief... brother, a word."

Ralof sighed, it would seem the lovely lady Airis would have to wait, as there were boring old men who needed attention.

"Brother!" Ralof boasted arms wide to offer a welcoming embrace for his elder brother Tharneld.

"Is this about the Arch Duke's socks? I suppose you can have them if-" Ralof started.

"No brother, this is about how we've essentially toppled the entire Duchy of East Orduin just yesterday, the realm is in chaos and-"

"Brother... BROTHER! You worry too much! The capital city is ours! The other dukes and nobles of the Duchy will scramble to our banner or they shall meet similar fates."

"By what right!? Right of conquest!?" Tharneld was yelling now.

Ralof slapped him on his back for good measure "Because I have a plan to further establish us as the legitimate rulers of this kingdom."

"Ki-Kingdom? Brother we might hold the city now but our warriors will wish to return to their tribes eventually."

"This is true" Ralod admitted

"Unless, we move everyone here"

"Move everyone here!? To the old imperial capital?"

"Hahaha! Now your getting it brother! As of this day, the roaming hills tribes after hundreds of year of wandering! Will finally have a home!"

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