Final Gambit

Original Written Work
Characters: Rannon, Saya Eztari, Akari
Summary: Rannon travels in secret to the South, to convince the obstinate Southern Lords to lay down arms and swear fealty to the new King.
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You have not been returning my correspondence, Saya Eztari.”

She froze, three steps into the hall. Not the annoying messenger she had exasperatedly left to wait; the commanding figure sitting upon her dais at the end of the hall was unmistakable, with ice-pale eyes flashing as brightly as the regal diamonds set in his simple circlet crown.

”Sati-rama!” she gasped, floundering, trying and failing to hide her shock.

”Sati-rehu. Our King is still in the capital, awaiting your surrender. Patient, but likely not for much longer. As I have told you, multiple times, in the letters you have chosen to ignore.”

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Verdict

Original Written Work
Characters: Rylerion, Rannon
Summary: Rylerion finds out the overthrown tyrant went behind his back to negotiate with the Southern Lords and confronts him about it.
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“I gave you the South. Brought peace to your kingdom. Might that not be worth something?”

He leaned back, scowling in disbelief.

“You broke my trust. You flagrantly disobeyed my orders, ignored the sole two conditions I set up for your freedom, committing outright treason, and you have the nerve to ask for favours?”

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Prologue

Original Written Work
Characters: Tenotaka, Shayari, Rannon, Islinn, Rylerion
Summary: On this dark night, no life must be brought into the world. Yet an old king struggles with the choice to set tradition aside out of love for his son.
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A cool wind, with a taste of snow, whispered across the beaches of the small island, a reminder of the winter that still held the land in its clutches. Between narrow towers it soared, through an ancient city cloaked in twilight. Despite the approaching dusk, only a few specks of light could be seen inside the slender buildings; the wind might as well have whispered through a ghost city void of life.

This night no lights burned in Kayalana; no living creature wanted to draw the attention of the powers that be upon their home; none wanted to tempt fate on this night when no gods were watching, when time stood still

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Promise of Freedom

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rylerion, Rannon
Summary: The newly crowned King of Kayalana visits the palace dungeons and decides to show the overthrown tyrant mercy, for the sake of family.
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It was damp and it was dark, the endless corridor leading ever deeper, ever downwards . The two small shirae-lanterns he carried were feeble things, whose gentle light barely touched the walls. Damp, and dark, and far too familiar, though he had never set foot here beneath his palace before. In a way he supposed all castle dungeons were much the same, serving the same purpose.

He knew all about that.

Carryn-yehl had had plenty of dungeons, and he had put them to good use. The royal palace of At-ni Cal had them, too, and those had been locked from the outside. Oh, yes, he was quite used to the damp darkness and lingering smells of human decay, though the memories they brought back were hardly pleasant, for many very different reasons.

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First Servant

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rannon, Akari
Summary: Akari has been chosen to serve the King’s overthrown uncle and meets the feared tyrant for the very first time.
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Akari knocked on the door.

The only answer was silence, so he knocked again. He heard no footsteps, but suddenly the door opened, and he found himself face to face with the fallen tyrant. He fought the automatic urge to take a quick step back.

The man looked feral, tall and tense. The dungeons had taken their toll; the prince was bone thin, and while the strict clothes were neat, and the hair, still damp after a bath, was fastidiously combed, the face was gaunt and tight. Still, it were the eyes that held the boy’s full attention. The palest he’d seen, they met his own, the cold stare nailing him to the spot, pounding icicles through the back of his head.

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Disciplinary Action

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rylerion, Rannon, Kamiyeh
Summary Rannon’s sworn oath to never kill again was broken, and King Rylerion is forced to pass harsh judgment.
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”Would you two care to explain to me,” said the King, intense anger tight in his voice, ”why in all gods’ everlasting hells my people just witnessed my two closest advisors hacking away at each other in deathly combat? Really, do explain, because I am very, very curious to find out.”

”Ask him, Sati-rama”, the old Shantu said, contemptuously indicating the man beside him with barely a nod. ”He killed one of my soldiers in cold blood.”

Rylerion transferred his furious gaze to his uncle, who stood stoically bleeding from a near fatal wound. While his stance was ever proud, at least he had the shame to avert his eyes.

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Mercy

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rannon, Azani, Edra
Summary: Seeing the horrible, broken state her master is in, Azani takes the highest risk imaginable to help him heal.
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Azani closed her eyes and drew several deep cleansing lungfuls of the salty evening air before steeling herself and entering the cabin.

Edra was leaned over their Sati’s lifeless form, dipping a cloth in clean water and washing away blood with endless care. She had to clench her jaw and force herself not to look away; the body under the healer’s hands was less a human form, more a lacerated slab of raw meat. Edra briefly looked up and she saw that same pain reflected in her eyes before she returned to her work.

”How is he?”

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Come With Me

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rylerion, Rannon
Summary: While crossing the ancient forests of the great mountains, Rylerion decides to introduce his uncle to a couple of old friends.
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”Come with me,” the King had said, tone hushed, ”There is something I want to show you.”

The day’s journey had been hard, and he would not have minded his rest, but duty was duty, and as his nephew led the way into the darkening woods, away from camp, he would admit his curiosity piqued.

As twilight smothered the mountains, the uneven terrain soon became hopelessly difficult to navigate, tree roots, rocks and unseen pitfalls at every other step. Rylerion seemed to manage quite fine, though, and kept a brisk pace that would have been much easier to maintain if not for the thin air. It wasn’t long before he tasted blood at the back of his throat, but he’d be damned if he would admit to being completely winded just from walking.

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Think Of It As An Opportunity

Original Written Work
Characters: Narcissus, Lazuli
Summary: After a near-successful attempt on his life, Lazuli passes suitable judgment on those he perceives have betrayed him.
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The great halls seemed cavernous after the dazzling sunlight, and the echo of Narcissus’ steps over the polished marble sounded harsh and sharp in the unusual silence. He couldn’t remember ever having seen the luxurious palace so empty. The only living creatures in the normally so teeming halls were the guards posted at every corner, and their forbidding presence was everything but high-spirited.
He hurried his steps and once again resisted the urge to dab at his cheek with his sleeve. His escort had left him by the main entrance; with all guards about no one could move freely in the palace, and he knew he was being closely watched. Still, he appreciated the small illusion of courtesy.

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Twist of Fate

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Original Written Work
Characters: Rannon, Maqaxha, Dagger
Summary: Rannon visits the lowest levels of Machra-la in his hopeless search for Aurora, but finds an old friend-turned-enemy instead.
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Of course it had been another dead end. Of course it had.

He should have known better than to dare hope, for a brief moment, to find answers after all this time, and it was with great frustration at himself he had to admit disappointment. A sharp and burning sting clawed at something deep within his chest, and it was unusually hard to find again the comforting cold indifference that had become his equilibrium long ago.

He had known he was unlikely to find answers here in the Floating City, at the filthiest lowest corners of decadent Machra-la – but unlikely as it had been, when the rumour had reached him of a name long unheard whispered in this wretched place, he had followed it desperately nonetheless.

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