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  1. #1
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    Insert Coin (Closed to Philomel)

    The events of this thread follow on from the FQ thread The Great Siege of Radasanth and its follow up, Old Dogs, New Tricks.
    Bastard!

    Get out of here! We don’t want you!

    We don’t want the Brotherhood here!

    “Only you can lose a one horse local popularity contest, Shinsou.”

    Her voice cut through the muffled heckling that leaked in from the nearby window and jerked Shinsou Vaan Osiris back to reality. Outside, the sound of feet scuffing upon the streets of Tylmerande, the only ones that hadn’t been pounded into oblivion by the calamity, rang in his ears. The protests had come again, albeit more measured and languid than their predecessors in the days before.

    “They’re starting to get lazy. They were here earlier on Monday,” Shinsou joked, squinting through the dark at the woman who stood in the corner of the small room, her arms folded over the tips of her flowing red hair. “Could you tell them to fuck off and come back tomorrow about eleven-ish, Raine? I’ll be able to get a good sleep, then.”

    “I wouldn’t start making plans for a lie-in; Philomel is visiting tomorrow with the rest of the Quint.” The woman called Raine took a long look at the bandages around the Telgradian’s chest as he sat up, wincing as the bullet wound he suffered from his attempted assassination throbbed with an all-too familiar pain. “Storm gave permission, albeit begrudgingly. He’s finding it hard to trust people after what Arius did. I still think it’s too early to move you, but they both want to get you out of here to somewhere a bit more secure.”

    “Where to? Terrinore? Berevar? Hell?” Shinsou shrugged, “Right now, I’d take any of those over being stuck in this fucking room, being heckled by fishermen.”

    “I can’t say, but I’ll come with you, if Philomel and Storm allow it,” Rain paused, rubbing her neck with the back of her hand.

    Shinsou simply shrugged again. “If you want. Is Storm not coming?”

    “No,” the former Gilded Quint woman replied, “He’s out for blood, Shinsou. Arius made a fool of him, and you. Storm’s trying to find him now.”

    “When he does, you tell Veritas he doesn’t lay a finger on Arius without me,” Shinsou’s tone sharpened as Raine settled into a squat alongside his bed. Even just hearing his former right hand man's name spoken was enough to provoke a complete chill in the atmosphere. “I want that treacherous little bastard all to myself.”

    “I don't blame you. Although, Arius was right about one thing,” the Guilded Quint member replied diffidently, a small smile playing about her lips as she examined Shinsou's frown. “You were soft at Radasanth. All that power and you couldn’t bring yourself to kill me, or Philomel. Makes me wonder if you were as commited as you say.”

    “We were out to change the world, make no mistake, but killing for the sake of it is worthless and achieves nothing. If I had needed to, you’d both be dead.” Shinsou remarked, a curt smile on his lips. “Besides, keeping you alive worked out. Sort of, anyway; the tea’s still a bit subpar. But we can work on that.”

    The Telgradian grinned, his boyish features showing mirth for the first time in months. It was so contagious that Raine found it difficult not to smile back. At first she had found him cold and heartless, but being assigned to him by Philomel made it easy to see what she saw in him. He was a handsome man, built slim but and solid, and was starting to emit a warmth about him. Despite the furore surrounding him, Shinsou deviated from the stereotype he had built around himself in a rather nonchalant manner.

    “I hear you are directing the Brotherhood to help the Assembly now?” She asked. Shinsou seemed lost in thought once more, a gaze lingering upon the farthest wall.

    “The calamity changed a lot of things,” The Telgradian murmured in reply, “and per the armistice, this is how we avoid dissolution and a trip to Terrinore.”

    “So you’re just helping to avoid imprisonment?”

    “… No,” Shinsou corrected, “but we can’t rebuild or help fund anything if we don’t exist.”

    “What about Tylmerande?”

    “We haven’t even begun to think about that. At the moment its Brotherhood territory, and without it we can’t afford to make reparations.” His bandages had slipped down his torso, revealing some of the wound, but still he kept his eyes focused as if searching for an answer he could not find elsewhere. “What about you, Raine?”

    “What about me?” She said with an exaggerated stretch, “My duty is to the Lily and to Philomel, so don’t get any ideas about offering me a job…”

    “Nah. You’d be under qualified, anyway,” Again Shinsou smiled that curious small smile. “You don’t want to kill me.”

    A knowing smile exchanged, Shinsou lay back down as Raine attended to his bandages. As the blood-soaked rags were swapped for fresh dressings, the Telgradian wondered where the Brotherhood’s place really would be in the new world, and whether he and Storm could weather the hurricane of change in the end.
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  2. #2
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    17,340

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    A week had passed.

    A week as Radasanth had awoken to a new reality, and the world had come to understand a new way of life. The apocalypse had come. The volcano in Lorenor had erupted, and the meteor had barely skimmed the atmosphere, avoiding the complete destruction of the world, but splitting off with a hundred splinters that had come crashing into the city and the surrounding countryside. It had ceased the war happening there between Corone's Assembly United Forces and the Brotherhood forces. Lives had been saved - but then lost as the buildings were assaulted this time directly from the heavens instead of from man-made weapons. It was if the gods themselves had deemed the war inappropriate, yet still wished to condemn judgement on the country of Corone. Death still came, yet the war came to a close, and the Brotherhood had retreated to leave Radasanth and her people to lick their wounds and survive. Yes, they still held Tylmerande, but all knew that it was simply a matter of time before they were gone. All it was needing for this timetable of the Brotherhood's retreat to be agreed upon.

    Philomel had spent much of her time in the last week leaving her role as temporary General of the Assembly's United Forces, and taking on a new position for organising the housing and health of the survivors. Her first call had been to her brothels and to her whores of the city who had become a back up force for the army itself. Five of those individuals had stepped out during the war and become a force that was now seemingly dedicated to her protection, despite the fact she had never asked nor wanted such a thing.

    The Gilded Quint.

    "How many brothels are still intact?" the matriarch asked, as she poured over a map of the city, the places that had been destroyed marked out in red ink.

    "By our latest count, around seventy percent," said a tall red-haired woman, with a stern voice. Her name was Alois, and she was an archer, and one of the original Gilded Lily who had guarded her during her fight with Shinsou vaan Osiris. A fight that had ended with Philomel being covered in rubble and ruin.

    "Right. And how many of our girls are accounted for?" Philomel asked, a finger tracing through the path of destruction around the place the Assembly had hidden, the Hall of Steel.

    "About the same. Perhaps four hundred, but we have applications from many individuals who have lost their family or their professions."

    The faun looked up to meet the eyes of Alois, as well as the four other women who stood there, each strong and brave. An earth mage, a crossbow-woman, a healer and a swordswoman. Also in the room was Maverik, a huge, broad-shouldered individual who had been with Philomel for many years now, and had come up from the Gilded Lily camp outside of Tylmerande to relay information from the still besieged city. The swordswoman herself was called Finefei, and was not of the original Quint, as Raine had gone with Shinsou, but that was good. She was now his guard, loyal to the Gilded Lily.

    They were currently all together in the lower room of the Elm Tree, a brothel that Philomel owned and had remained mostly together and was currently temporary headquarters.

    Mainly because it was the only place with a courtyard large enough to house Philomel's thirty foot dragon 'child' Delath, who was still recovering from being knocked out cold during the meteor strike. He was laid like an emperor on the throne, and his giant beady eye could be seen through the window of the temporary headquarters.

    "Fine," Philomel said, "Tell Ennis and Elba to interview them all. Maverik, you need to stay here and organise the collation of our troops and people and -"

    Philomel! came a sudden voice. In her mind. From the front door wound the lithe body of a russet red individual with black and white features. A small fox with gleaming golden eyes who had died in the war, yet come back as he was born to do, beneath an ash tree where he and Philomel had first met. Her soul's brother, her familiar and life-long companion, who had raced his way back over the ash and dirt towards Radsanath as Philomel had recovered.

    "Yes darling?" Philomel said, standing up straight, and looking directly at him. She smiled, a rare thing these days, but if there was anyone who could get her to do so, it was he.

    Osiris was injured. Raine has sent word. His words were projected into the minds of all in that room, including Delath's.

    "Injured?" The matriarch frowned.

    By a maniac. One of his closest.

    Silence fell in the room. Stunned silence. Many mixed feelings were around about Shinsou - anger, because he had been one of the generals to call the war against Radasanth and Corone, and therefore Philomel herself, but also gratefulness for being the one to uncover Philomel from being trapped in the rubble. And since then, he had been useful in going to Tylmerande and trying to find a way to find a truce between the Brotherhood and the Assembly's United Forces. An agreement for the timetable of the Brotherhood's eventual release for the city.

    At least that was how Philomel had seen it. Yet, she still could not entirely trust him, hence Raine.

    "Well ... you were saying that you wanted to travel there yourself," Maverik said in a grunt, her arms folded across her chest.

    "Yes and Celandine is down there still ..." Philomel said, speaking of her daughter and heir. "And Vaeron?" Her best friend, and father to her daughter.

    "Vaeron went back to the fortress."

    Slowly the faun nodded. Silence once more hung like a bright star in the room.

    "We will come with you, Matriarch," Alois said, stepping forwards. "As the Gilded Quint, we travel with you now. Maverik can remain in your stead here."

    The great woman inclined her head. "I will keep this project going. Radsanth will be rebuilt soon."

    Philomel sighed, reaching down for Veridian, her darling fox-form earth-spirit, who easily leapt up onto her arm then onto her shoulder. Personally, she wanted to partly stay away from Shinsou still, not trusting him after his betrayal, but knowing in her heart she still loved him entirely. He was always her weakness, and if he was injured ... if he had been hurt ...

    "We set off in an hour," she said, stretching as Veridian settled around her shoulders like a shawl. "We go to him. We sort out this mess."

    "We rid Tylmerande of the Brotherhood. As soon as possible."
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  3. #3
    Administrator

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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
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    Male
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    Salvar

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    Dawn’s orange glow poured out across the shimmering seas that lay beyond the piers and fishing boats. The sky was blood red, and the furrowed clouds drifted without urgency as they turned every shade from palest pink to deep crimson. Shinsou, wrapped in a bed robe, watched the daybreak from his surgery window, his golden eyes following the motions of a small flock of birds that danced upon the morning light. Every now and then they would climb steeply to meet the rising dome of the sun, before banking sharply and diving back towards the horizon again. The Telgradian wondered, as he watched the birds in motion, if everything would work itself out. What would happen next, in this fragile peace? When would that bastard Arius next show his face? What would he do with himself once he had healed?

    Shinsou sighed, and turned away from the sill as the flock performed their coup de grace, an upward loop and a final dive into the treelines that lined the town entrance. In his room hung a set of clothes on a single iron hanger, and he limped across the cold floor towards them, curious. They had been there for a number of days but he hadn’t paid them any heed, until now.

    Article by article, the Telgradian lay the clothes down on the bed, and smiled. He recognised them almost instantly. The first piece was a standard black undershirt and pants, nothing particularly fancy. The next items were slightly more glitzy; a white greatcoat with silver lining embroidered into the sleeves, all the way up to the shoulders and along the back of the collar. A silver sash was tied around and through the belt loop on the coat, which had silver buttons dotted up the front. Finally, there seemed to be a pair of gloves; made from silk, coloured white and finished around the cuffs with a simple gold trim. Shinsou pulled on the pants and the undershirt, before threading his arms through the sleeves of the coat. He tied the sash around the waist, and laced his boots, before finally pulling on the gloves. He stood, dressed at last, in front of a body length mirror.

    “They suit you.”

    The voice startled him. Shinsou spun awkwardly to meet Raine standing in his doorway, a breakfast tray in her hands.

    “Oh, is this your doing then? Where did you find these?” the Telgradian asked, a mote of mock incredulity present in his tone. He thumbed the flaps of the coat whilst the Quintet placed the tray of fruit and bread down on a bedside table.

    “Screwed up in a dusty old chest under the bed. I was looking for something decent for you to wear after changing your bandages,” Raine said, flicking a strand of loose hair from her face, “so I cleaned them up and made some adjustments. Do they fit?”

    Shinsou looked bemused. “Yeah, perfectly. I just didn’t know linen duty and snooping under my bed were on your list of your official Quint responsibilities.”

    Raine turned her head a little, and flashed a grin. “Call it a complimentary service. I don’t want you looking like a tramp in front of Philomel; it reflects badly on me. Plus, it’s nice to see you out of those horrible Brotherhood colours.”

    The room fell silent as Raine set about tidying up, leaving Shinsou contemplating her comment. Whilst probably not intentional, the Telgradian couldn’t help but feel the last words were a barb; a subtle dig to remind him that no matter how well he and his new charge were getting along, there was always going to be an ideological chasm between them that no amount of polite conversation was ever going to bridge. He, no matter his penance or intent, was still Brotherhood, and she, like everyone else, was always going to associate him with the very worst of the human condition whilst he was.

    The morning meandered on, sun rising higher into the blue sky and drenching Corone in un-tempered brilliance. Still struggling with the aching in his chest, Shinsou ate sparingly from the breakfast platter and drank only water, carefully observing as Raine busied herself with preparations for the faun’s arrival. Once, twice, the Telgradian watched her through the window check and re-check the town square’s perimeter, with both Brotherhood and Assembly officials in tow. The Quint was careful and thorough in everything she did, ensuring that the proper security was in place and that all checkpoints were manned according to the letter of the law. In a shared administration such as this, after all, it was all too easy for one side or the other to step on toes, or tread on egos.

    By the time the last of breakfast had been finished and everyone had taken their positions in the square, the sun had almost reached its midday zenith. Bright light cast uneven shadows on Tylmerande, but the searing heat that accompanied summer’s arrival didn’t seem to affect those assembled. Shinsou’s mind instead pondered on what he would say to the Faun, when the sudden familiar tingle in his stomach cut through his reverie.

    That’s her and Delath alright. Probably the Quint too, judging by the other powers.

    Slowly, Shinsou looked up, staring down the long road into the tree line that marked the perimeter of the town, and those who knew him best knew to stare with him. Over the background commotion of the day to day business of Tylmerande, a deep growl accompanied the familiar staccato thudding of powerful dragon legs in the distance. Sure enough, Delath the dragon emerged from the forest flanked by outriders, whom the Telgradian instantly recognised as the Gilded Quint guard, carrying the armour clad Faun between dark raven-like folded scales on his back. Perhaps the most dangerous of Philomel’s familiars, Delath had may not of had the intelligence of the Faun’s ever present fox spirit Veridian, but what he lacked in relative intellect he more than made up for in pure power. Indeed, the dragon had been the instrument of the Brotherhood siege engine’s demise, and as he came to a skidding halt a few metres away from the Telgradian, he bore a row of sharp canine teeth to make a point.

    Yeah, I get it. You’re pissed at me. Get in line, pal.

    The Telgradian stood there, calm, unfazed by the sustained snarling from the beast that had wrought chaos and havoc amongst the Brotherhood ranks, and looked up to Philomel van der Aart. He met her fearsome gaze with a slight smile as she dismounted and walked alongside, and then finally in front, of her mount.

    “Looks like you've all recovered well, Philomel,” The Telgradian started, gesturing generally at her entourage, before looking back at his own. “I'm glad. You already know Raine, but these other gentlemen besides me represent the interests of the shared administration of Tylmerande; Brotherhood and Assembly commissioned alike. They will take care of any needs; food, water, anything you want. Now…”

    Shinsou turned to face the tallest building in the port town, the administrative complex, and held out an inviting hand.

    “...I imagine we have a hell of a lot to talk about.”
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  4. #4
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
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    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,340

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    Softly, her hand lingered on the muzzle of the great beast, all mottled in the greys, browns and greens of nature, yet dark so that he would merge easily into shadow. Delath still growled gently, faced with the being who had caused her so much pain, standing before them now. With his top lip drawn back to reveal those canines that could swallow whole buildings and had proven so useful for the Assembly's United Forces during the short war, he dared any others to harm her ever again. Yet thirty feet in length, with a tail that had to be so carefully dragged through the streets so that he didn't knock over every spare gargoyle, cat or wandering child, Delath was a monster who could not follow her everywhere.

    Especially not into the tall building that the enemy-not-enemy-Osiris was gesturing elegantly too. All dressed up in his fancy fluffy attire. Delath wanted to eat him in a munch.

    Mother, he complained to her mental space, as her hand began to leave his snout. He had called her mother ever since he had learnt to talk. It was not quite an accurate notion of the relationship they shared, but it was how best he had learnt to relate his feelings towards her.

    I promise will be fine, Philomel whispered to him.

    She will be, confirmed a third voice, male and light into their shared mental conversation. A pointed snout appeared between Delath's horns, golden eyes blinking. Then Veridian descended from the same saddle Philomel had been moments before, scurrying down Delath's shoulder and pattering on his four paws over to her side. I will be with her. And the new bodyguard.

    The Matriarch of the Gilded Lily, the priestess of the tree-goddess Drys, Lady of the Gilded Fortress, High Courtesan and once dread pirate, smiled at her two companions. She was clothed in her best attire for this ceremony of negotiation and treatises; in her full red drakescale battle corset and mythril chainmail, with her tough leather greaves and two white-bladed swords today on either hip. Various other weapons were attached to her body, and overall she was draped in a shimmering white cloak that had been created for her out of flowers with the blessing of the mood goddess. Her chestnut hair was elaborately plaited into several long strands, and coiled around her dominating ram's horns. Altogether she spoke power, and she spoke glory - the glory of a queen yet to be crowned.

    Around her the five members of her new 'bodyguard' - the Gilded Quint - gathered, climbing off their own steeds. Alois, the archer who seemed to have claimed herself the title of spokeswoman and leader of the Quint, took a stance directly to Philomel's right. Each of them had been a member of the Gilded Lily within Radasanth, a whore at some point in their lives and lately, a warrior. They each owed Philomel deep loyalty and gratitude for changing their lives into becoming strong, independent women of their own right, and now had sworn themselves to her protection.

    They would follow her anywhere now, so long as she allowed it. And though Philomel had always been one to favour travel by herself, she knew that in these cold circumstances of Apocalypse and War one had to be extraordinarily careful.

    And thus she stepped forwards, towards Shinsou, the man she loved and hated, to discuss the future of Tylmerande.

    Veridian stayed close to her heels as she caught up with him, her eyes determined not to directly look at him, despite the fact he had saved her life in Radasanth when the meteor had struck and the fact they had already talked. Albeit never alone and not much.

    "They told me you got injured," she hissed at him.

    He didn't seem to be in bad shape. Or, he seemed to be hiding whatever injury he received well, if his walk and his clothes were anything to go by.

    The Telgradian smiled; that irritating, charming smile that he did that had haunted her dreams night after night. And her thoughts. When she had lived in jealousy because he had been sleeping with another woman ... damn him.

    Philomel, Veridian scowled.

    Yes, thank you, beloved, she replied with a sigh. He is still a bastard, I know.

    But any answer Shinsou was to give was cut off by Alois stepping closer. It seemed that the archer did not trust Philomel being so close to the Telgradian. She shared a nod with Raine, who Philomel now noticed in close proximity and the party moved onward.

    They moved into the tall building in the square, where representatives of both Brotherhood and Corone Assembly seemed to be keeping peace. Open double doors stood before them, that led into a short entrance hall and thence directly to a broad and sparse chamber, whose stone walls reflected those of the exterior. A great table laden with drink, parchment, food and all the other accoutrements one might expect from a scene where history would be made stood in the centre, alongside various sized chairs. There were three throne-like high-backed seats.

    One of them was currently occupied, by a local lord loyal to the Assembly - Percy of Herk, Philomel had been told. He leapt from the chair as she approached, smiled faintly and gestured to it.

    At least he knew how to respect a lady. The Matriarch grunted and made her way directly over to the chair, moving her swords aside as she sunk down. From that point she could see the table, the majority of the room, the people. Alois took her right hand side, Veridian leapt easily onto her lap, and the rest of the Quint took up stances around her.

    "For those who don't know me, I am Philomel van der Aart, Matriarch of the Gilded Lily, high priestess of Drys, and temporarily honorary General of the Corone Assembly's United Forces. I have sort of been given permission to speak on the Assembly's behalf, alongside Percy of Herk here ... sort of. There are things to talk about. Like you lot getting out of here." Her hand vaguely gestured to the Brotherhood representatives.

    She paused before she looked at Shinsou. "So? How do you want to do this?"
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  5. #5
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    As the Faun’s delegation looked on in anticipation, Shinsou contemplated his words carefully, first reaching across the table to pour himself a glass of water before swirling the contents and gulping it. Whilst he was pleased to be talking to Philomel van der Aart, he was also wary that in doing so he was also now bound by his words to the Assembly in this impromptu diplomatic…situation. Any careless talk on his part would only serve to superheat tensions and immediately coarsen the atmosphere, something he wished to avoid before he’d even been taken into the Lily’s care, but simply handing over Tylmerande to the Assembly without at least some modicum of a timetable was something that could not be countenanced, for a whole host of reasons.

    Setting the empty glass on the table in front, he looked up and found Philomel’s eyes across the oak surface.

    “I’ll start by outlining the situations we face, and then tell you what I propose,” The Telgradian said, leaning back to allow one of his aides to place a stack of papers in front of him. He thumbed through them briefly, before continuing. “Our first problem is that at this moment in time Tylmerande is under the joint administration of the Brotherhood and the Assembly. Right now there are many complex, interdependent issues that prevent us from just leaving; for example, there are existing trade agreements, customs arrangements and local government legislation that all need to be repealed and then replaced entirely in the Assembly’s name before we can stop our involvement here. As I’m sure you’ll understand, the sheer volume of these alone means that won’t happen today.”

    Philomel’s eyes were searching every inch of him for any hint of deception; she, and the Assembly, wanted them out as soon as possible and this probably sounded like an excuse to cling to power. Shinsou knew all too well that his previous political meandering gave him a reputation, one which was probably fully deserved, but in this case earnest goodwill was his intent. He now had to convey this in the best way possible.

    "I want to clarify in the strongest possible terms that our occupation of Tylmerande is effectively over,” Shinsou leaned forward, his tone more sincere and less formal than before, “We know it, you know it and the world knows it. As soon as the existing laws and agreements here are torn up and re-written, we will return to, and stay in, Whitevale. We-”

    "Can you commit to that in writing?” A delegate from Shinsou’s side of the table, representing the Assembly interests, cut him off roughly.

    "As soon as Storm Veritas is present to countersign with me, yes." Shinsou picked up a pen and tapped its end against the table. “Unless you want to start ignoring your own laws? Both myself and him are jointly culpable for Brotherhood operations here, and we must both sign the document for it to be legal.”

    “Shinsou, can you be sure Storm will sign?” Philomel’s words were like a blade that cut through the reverie of everyone present. All eyes fell to Shinsou.

    Shit.

    The Telgradian mused for a second, hoping his delay wasn’t too telling. Shinsou couldn’t speak for his friend and certainly could not commit him to anything in his absence. He also couldn’t be sure that both his and Storm’s goals in Tylmerande were absolutely congruent with each other. Financially, Tylmerande was supporting a lot of other sub-operations of the Brotherhood, as well as paying for reparations to Radasanth. Whilst Shinsou might have been happy to forgo some of that revenue to stay out of Terrinore, he wasn’t entirely sure that Storm didn’t have some sort of dependency on that income. The electromancer might have been setting other plans in motion to cover the inevitable losses from withdrawing, and could possibly need some time to get things straightened out; time which Shinsou would now have to buy him at the negotiating table.

    He knew exactly how to do it.

    “I have no reason to believe he won’t, but he’s currently occupied with our next complexity; Arius Mephisto,” Shinsou said smartly, sliding a dossier on Arius across to Philomel and her contingent, “You may have heard of the attempt on my life by this man, hence my injuries. He was my most trusted advisor, but he tried to stage a coup after our armistice at Radasanth. He, and a faction within the Brotherhood who known as ‘The Castigars’, broke away from us. They swore to subsume us, before then finishing off what we started in Radasanth. That means we have a rogue element of the Brotherhood prepared to wage war on two fronts.”

    The Telgradian used the moment’s pause to assess whether the gravity of the revelation had caught the Assembly’s attention, coming to the conclusion it had. One of Philomel’s group raised a hand, politely.

    “It’s a little worrying we are only hearing of this now. How well equipped is this faction? Is it realistic to expect they have the resources to attack Radasanth and fight the Brotherhood too?”

    Shinsou donned his coat again from the rear of the chair, a draught biting his skin as he hustled around.

    “I’ve been unable to inform anyone of the scale of the problem as I’ve been recovering from a bullet wound. The faction itself is well armed, but financed only by limited funds that were siphoned from our treasury; about twenty thousand gold pieces. On experience, that will last them about three months after rations and pay are drawn. But make no mistake; it is not the standing army that worries me. Arius himself is extremely powerful; he was able to nullify Storm’s magic, survive my own and used a portal to escape. Make no mistake that he is a grave threat to security in the region, especially with Radasanth weakened. This is why Storm’s pursual of him must be an absolute priority whilst I am out of action. I hope you understand.”

    The Telgradian had applied all of his political weight to this meeting, hoping his argument put an end to any of Philomel’s mistrust. Hefting his pained body back onto his chair, he swung his eyes hard against the Faun’s own gaze.

    Come on. You have to believe me here, Phi, we want out. We just need time.
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  6. #6
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
    Level completed: 1%, EXP required for next Level: 14,925
    Level completed: 1%,
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    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,340

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    And thus a portion of her questions were answered: how he had sustained his injury - through a bullet, although Philomel had already been roughly told those details; why the injury had occurred - it seemed that there was some form of coup in which funds had been stolen from the Brotherhood; and who had been the prepetrator - Arius, a powerful man of no small means, who had now fled, chased by the other villain, Storm, whom Philomel had also once counted amongst her friends.

    Although had never loved. Never lain with. Never seen his body naked. Damn you Shinsou.

    Feverishly she sat up straighter, grabbing a goblet before her. Swiftly, it was filled up with wine as Alois herself ducked forwards. The archer went to her own belt and pulled out a pouch of wine, pouring it before Philomel could go for the waiting decanter on the table. It caught the Matriarch off guard, but as she thought it made sense that the self-promoted captain of the Gilded Quint, her guard, would rather have her not drink from wine offered by the enemy. Philomel kept her shoulders rolled back, her eyes forward as she attempted not to look at Shinsou. Instead, she addressed the room in general.

    "My primary purpose coming here is to arrange for the exit of your people from here. To, what we would term, free Tylmerande. Which," she held up her hand that was not positioned around the goblet as Brotherhood members began to protest, "is I know not how you would term it. However, for the Assembly, it is. The people here have had their lives overturned, and for things to return to normalcy and the city to return to the control of the Assembly is best for all. The faster this is achieved, the better, and yes, Mr Osiris, sirs and ladies of the Brotherhood, I understand that it will take time to dismantle your trade arrangements and so on that you have set up in the past - what, month of occupation."

    She waved a hand as she swilled back the wine. It tasted it good, so rich and succulent in her throat. Nearby Percy of Herk, in a lesser seat and stiffer than her, made a small cough. "My lady ... if I may?"

    "I want to address this Arius but yes," she waved a hand.

    "It is in part to that which I now refer," he said, and his eyes did what she could currently not - they turned directly onto the handsome Shinsou. "You say you cannot guarantee that Storm will sign, and that he is away. So, does this mean that he has taken some warriors of yours with him? How long is he away for? Are we then to expect a delay on his behalf? Because he is not here to sign?"

    Philomel raised her goblet to wince behind it, conscious with the amount of questions that Percy posed. They were complex, and many, but had also been on her lips. They were worded in such a way that was bitter and harsh. Yet, she was not quite blameless in this sector, having marched in and announced herself in a manner that was just as proud. Her wince therefore was also for her own behaviours, a hope that by coming here personally she had given the best for her country and her people.

    Her people being in this case all Coronians, and also the Gilded Lily members.

    But the danger was there, and it was real, in the form of Arius. If he could harm Shinsou and overcome Storm's attacks, then he was a foe she would rather have away from anyone. Preferably dead. A rogue faction was no use to anyone, especially not in the circumstances. An idea formed in her head, one that would perhaps show her willingness to work with these villains, but also to show her eagerness to get this awful chapter over and done with as soon as possible.

    "And Arius," she said quickly, sighing internally. "How dangerous is he? If he really is at fault here, if he has attacked you and created a faction of his own, then that is another danger we can do without. If it is to take time for the Brotherhood to move out from here ... well we could do with ridding the entire land from any ill influence. To heal it as we survive through what has come of the meteor shower. In this case I am thinking that after we are done with the finer details here - and there is something else I should raise with you, or someone else - that if the Gilded Lily can, we will assist in finding him."

    Immediately her side of the room exploded into shouts of protest.

    "My lady, that is-"

    "High priestess, this is not what Drys would-"

    "Philomel - I mean Miss van der Aart - I am not sure-"

    She raised a hand, asking for silence. And her face turned to Shinsou, right to him, her confidence built once more as quiet began to fall. As Alois stared at several people, her hand increasing in tension on her bow. As the Gilded Quint pressed around Philomel.

    "Look, I cannot give you the Assembly's United Forces, but I can give you this. With only volunteers drawn from my forces. If we are to bring peace to this land again, it should be to all of it. Now, first let us address Sir Percy's questions, before any of you decide I am to be committed for insanity."
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  7. #7
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    The expression on the Faun’s fine features was one that Shinsou had seen before. They had both been through countless life-and-death situations; some they had fought through together, and others more recently that they had fought against each other. The Telgradian recognised the pure and total confidence in her eyes and knew she would not have her voice suppressed, nor her questions dodged, but she wasn’t the problem in the room.

    He suddenly found himself irritated by the repeated questioning from Sir Percy, who hadn’t let him get a word in edgeways since he had opened his mouth. Shinsou had only been in his presence a short while, but had already adjudged the man to be an Assembly box ticker, unable to see the bigger picture of what was going on and only concerned with achieving the Assembly’s political objectives. Osiris, drinking from his cup of water, fought to stifle a frown. He doubted that it’d do him any good in front of an already apprehensive Philomel.

    Besides, he had more pressing issues to deal with.

    “If I may address some of the ‘concerns’, your honourable friend Sir Percy has, and then I’ll answer you directly?” He spoke in polite reply to the Faun, inclining his head in cautious courtesy but never taking his eyes off her. She nodded, and he glared over at the man who had been gunning relentless questions at him.

    “To your first question, Sir Percy, about Storm Veritas. I cannot make this any more clear than I already have – I can’t speak for a man who is not here. What I can do is confirm that upon his return I will sit with him and run through the details, and we will try to be as unobstructive to the armistice terms as possible.” Shinsou coughed, attempting to mask his annoyance. “He travels to find Arius alone; there is no point wasting lives or alerting him to our presence by sending a detachment out. Storm is powerful enough to handle himself. I do, however, have grave concerns about Arius, which brings me to Philomel’s question.”

    Shinsou had attempted to calm the mood by offering as much as he could without committing Storm to signing away Tylmerande, but knew that the reason behind Philomel’s and the Assembly’s uncharacteristic tension wouldn’t just go away. They wanted to deal with Arius as quickly as possible to get them out of Tylmerande, not because they recognised the threat he offered having gone rogue. The grimace on the Telgradian’s face sent a bead of sweat down the man’s spine, even as his mind raced in search of a resolution. Mites of dust swirled about as Philomel studied him in return, the confident set of the hips and the look on her face - attractive in a way.

    “I can’t overstate the threat we are dealing with. Even if Arius had taken no soldiers, he would still be a huge threat. He is, at best, on par with everyone in this room,” Shinsou gestured around, “At worst? Possibly more than we can deal with, even together. Sending a few volunteers out from the Lily will achieve nothing, and will waste otherwise precious resources. If we’re going to tackle the issue, I suggest we do so once we have a solid plan, and I’ve had some time to heal.”

    The look he saw Percy give Philomel made it clear that the other side of the negotiating table had not lowered their suspicions; just set them aside for the moment. Raine also seemed to relax a little, the relief on her face palpable in the way blood rushed back into pale white. Shinsou didn’t blame her; he felt much the same way himself.

    There was one more matter to attend to.

    “I hear you want to take me back with you?” he asked the faun, “I will come as soon as my personal effects are loaded on the wagons and Slepnir is fed and watered. If there are no other items of business, I suggest we start making a move, agreed?”

    There was a murmur of concurrence that rippled throughout the hastily convened conference. An attendant turned and lead the parties towards the inner part of the building, to two private rooms there that would allow each delegation to sit and talk in peace with their own whilst preparations were being made.
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  8. #8
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
    Level completed: 1%, EXP required for next Level: 14,925
    Level completed: 1%,
    EXP required for next Level: 14,925


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,340

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    Philomel was stunned for a moment, wordless. Her lips pursed as she listened to what Shinsou had to say, finding herself calmed by his rationality. Sir Percy's concerns were indeed something to consider, and she would get to them in the smaller room that was assigned to the Assembly's United Forces.

    But for now - him.

    As others began to speak, mostly commenting on what Shinsou had said about Arius and his power, she found herself preparing to just talk to him alone. Got more she was done with this open take negotiation, and this she left the conversation up to minor parties as she stood slowly, so as not to cause alarm. She let a point of discussion ride out between Sir Percy and a Brotherhood man who seemed to know a little more about Storm and his powers. As that rose as a centre of interest for people she moved onwards, letting her Gilded Quint close in around her as she approached.

    Him.

    Him.

    All that fine hair and silvery eyes she could get lost in for days.

    "I do not know what you have heard," she said, facing him head on, horns and hooves and all. Her head was held high. Her hand on her sword hilt. She spoke quietly also.

    "Yes the plan is for you to come with me. That is true enough. But the powers that be want me to take you to Radasanth to stand trial. Or some of them do. Others want peace, that is all. And besides we have an individual for the public who want someone to blame."

    She paused. "Your friend, Hayate. He's currently being held by the Assembly, though in the safe hands of Sebastian, my friend. He seemed to have saved a considerable amount of lives though during the meteor so he could be looked upon in favour."

    She drew in a fast breath, keeping her eyes on him. She saw Quint members tense, and Raine keep steady.

    "As for you ... My intention now is to head to at least seek where this Arius headed, reconissance only if you insist. But I want to ensure my people are safe.. We will go back to the Gilded Lily Fortress as a base for now, then I had to seek him."

    She pointed at him. "You're coming with me there," she decided. It was not a question.
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  9. #9
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    One day later

    Deep in thought, Shinsou’s body passed the trembling limbs of Underwood’s trees, and allowed his mind to wander to two places. The first was to the place he was in, once a hive of activity, a corridor between north and south through which many people passed, but since the calamity it seemed empty. The constant chatter of the birds was the glaring omission, and the Telgradian found the quiet un-nerving as he, Raine, the Gilded Quint and Philomel walked the winding trails. Underwood was never meant to be a little desolate forest that wavered on the edge of existence, like Lindqualme, but it suffered greatly from the ashen clouds from Lornius’s obliteration at the hands of a volcanic eruption.

    Shinsou quenched his thirst in the rain with a water bottle, paying little attention to the film it left in his throat from the ashen dust along the rim, as he thought about the second matter, one that Philomel had mentioned before they had left.

    Hayate.

    The spellsword took shelter beneath the drooping boughs of millennia-old oaks for a moment as the pack stopped to eat, and a wave of guilt washed over him. His apprentice, the Akashiman who had joined his cause some months ago, had been left in a jail cell and the Brotherhood had done nothing to help him. Shinsou, previously oblivious to his actions at the Siege of Radasanth, now knew of Hayate’s actions on the day. His understudy had defied him, but, curiously, he was not displeased.

    I didn’t want him or teach him to be a robot, The Telgradian reflected, I taught him to use his power appropriately. All I asked was that he never give up, and he didn’t. We’ll get you out soon, I promise.

    Thoughts turned to the journey ahead. Over the hours the day dimmed behind the ashen clouds, until the desperate struggle of night doused the fire of the sun. It took them another two hours to crawl through the hollow, cold remains of Underwood forest, and when at last Philomel’s forest fortress drew close, Raine hung close to her charge. She noticed him occasionally clutching near his shoulder, as if irritated.

    “Are you ok?” She asked, a mote of concern in her voice.

    Shinsou nodded without reply. He could feel the bullet wound in his chest had closed, thanks to her stitchwork, but the gaping scar still burned and felt as if he was being incessantly branded. There was no point harping on about it now, though, when they were nearly at their destination.

    It took only five more minutes for the gathered to reach the relative safety of the forest fortress. Torches dotted the mossy cobblestone walls like fireflies on a still autumn night. Haphazard layers of manned ramparts attested to the Gilded Lily’s growing numbers as stragglers continued to trickle in and join Philomel’s ranks. Some were female mercenaries who had survived the vicious skirmishing in Radasanth, or Lily girls called back from the city brothels. There were others who Shinsou did not know about. The muted murmur of their conversation rolled up the barren slopes.

    For the first time, Shinsou felt the impact of the Brotherhood’s siege of Radasanth as eyes glared daggers at him from the grounds. So many had lost their lives, and here so many more had seen their friends fallen fighting and fleeing from the Telgradian’s reach, and many, many more had been struck down by the calamity in the process. He could see it in their stares; as long as the Brotherhood remained, they believed he would continue the cycle, until the world burned or his and Storm’s will was absolute.

    There, amongst two hundred or so Gilded Lily survivors huddling against the torchlight, thankful for their lives, Shinsou Vaan Osiris stood and absorbed the hate. Raine could see it in his eyes; the regret, the hurt, but also a certain steel. Shinsou was a man who pushed back when up against the wall. She knew he wanted to make amends, truthfully, but his loyalty to Storm, Hayate and the Brotherhood was unwavering, unshakeable and invincible. The two worlds were incompatible; he could not repent until the Brotherhood had been forgiven.

    She reached out, and touched his hand. He turned to look into more forgiving eyes.

    “You’ll be okay. I won’t let anything happen to you here.”
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  10. #10
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
    Level completed: 1%, EXP required for next Level: 14,925
    Level completed: 1%,
    EXP required for next Level: 14,925


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,340

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

    View Profile
    When she had said 'there' she had meant the Fortress. Dearly she hoped that he would give her the time to be able to do this task of finding Arius on her own. Yes, she had brought him here, to this place amongst the cliff and trees, once so secret but now known to many women, allies and lovers.

    The reasons for taking him with her were many fold - first of all, the Brotherhood were the enemy here. They had attacked. They had been stopped. They were the villains, Shinsou one of the leaders and her personal prize for the celebration of the cruel 'victory' her women had won. It had not taken much to convince the Assembly that she should have him. That, if he was willing, because of the way he has rescued her and the Quint, he would now be in the care of the Gilded Lily. At least until the Brotherhood held their side of the bargain for Tylmerande.

    Yet the Lily had not really won. They were people who had defended their homes, become warriors in that single night, mothers and daughters and granddaughters. Instead they had survived and of course they glared at the man they blamed partly for their suffering - a man who famously was their Matriarch's ex-lover.

    Damn him. She breathed out as she sank into the chair at the head of the hall, her eyes heavy and dark with exhaustion. It was a seat not unlike a throne, made of ash wood with the crossed branches of her goddess above it. But she sat on no dias and had no crown, instead she was simply the head of the hall, the prime voice of reason as people drifted in and out of the large, stone rooms.

    Or rather, most of them stayed. The came slowly, from the various villages and streets of Radasanth, the army itself and the Gilded Lily whores who had taken up arms for the occasion. They gazed up at the huge gable roof, some of them here for the first time, and at the head of the hall where Philomel sat on her chair, surrounded by her Quint and other smaller seats.

    And then Shinsou came in. Behind him slipped in Vaeron, Philomel's close friend and one of the only men in the Lily. He nodded to her. He was the mother of her child, a mage and homosexual. He followed Shinsou for two reasons: to ensure that the Brotherhood man did not run, and also to ensure that he was not attacked. Of course Raine was also there, but Vaeron was that extra trust and reassurance that Philomel needed.

    With a sigh she nodded back and rose slowly to gesture for Shinsou to come forwards. Those around her paused, looked and murmured, seeing Shinsou. Some gave him a stink eye. Others smirked.

    But this was her Kingdom, and these her sujjrcyd

    "Shinsou," she said loudly, strong enough for those near them to hear. "I trust you are settled in?"
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

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