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Am I the king of nothing at all? #Sanya

Steph
 

Who: Sanya
With: Francesca(Exiting), Malia(?), James(?), open
Where: The Merchant's Square, Merchant's Quarter, King's City
When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

This wasn't right.
 
Not in the offended-noble-is-tired-of-wasting-her-time way. No, Sanya had a knot in the pit of her stomach because, for the second time in so few days, someone who was usually prompt, reliable, and meticulous wasn't being any of those things. She knew the Royal Scholar mostly by reputation, but also through a few interactions since she'd started studying at the Queen's College. He was not the sort of man who delayed or ran late.
 
Sanya gently petted Moswen, who laid curled in her lap as she sat in the chair her servants had set out for her in the noble seating area. The four leaders of the duchies had their own designated areas closest to the raise dais where the announcement would be made. Spaces of honor, with a little extra room for servants and food and other little comforts befitting their station. Elliot sat with the Green Duke, leaving Sarnai and her baby in the section designated for the Royal Family, also a place of honor.
 
Sanya felt like she could only wait for so long.
 
Apparently longer than Duchess Francesca of the West, though. Francesca's patience ran out when with the daylight. It was no wonder, as her golden gown did not cover her shoulder at all, that she complained about the cold. 
 
"This is not good enough," Francesca griped, when her servant brought a cloak in royal blue that was also likely made for style and not for warmth. Ordering the same servant to make suitable arrangements nearby, she bid the rest of Eventyr's leadership farewell with a characteristic snottiness. "I will return when the General and Scholar decide to grace us with their presence." 
 
Sanya shook her head at the display.
 
It could be worth gathering a little more information, though. Sanya sent one of her servants to check in on the staging, then stood. Moswen gave a little mrawrl in protest when Sanya lifted her familiar from her lap. She might as well stretch her legs and mingle with the remaining dukes and duchesses.
 
She moved toward Malia, finding her most generally level-headed and reasonable of the other nobles of her stature. Moswen moved with her, weaving around her walking feet with the sort of intricate steps that only a cat could manage so effectively. Sanya was dressed warmly in several layers of dark cream fabric, but she was wearing sandals again. Maybe she'd live to regret that as the sun angled toward setting and night brought cold out with it.
 
"Duchess North," she said in greeting. "Strange that the Royal General and Scholar have kept us waiting this long, isn't it?"
 
<tag>

Rachel Balla
 

Francesca: *whines and leaves*


Sarnai: "I'm fine, Rebecca," "Just need to move a bit with him." *exits*


For all of the anxiety nagging at the edges of Malia's mind, she remained the picture of calm, even when her fellow high-ranking nobles began to get restless and depart. Francesca made herself so obnoxious that no one could miss her; and all were grateful the young mother took the child away before he began to cry. Sometimes, Malia mused on the potential powerful connections she could make if she were willing to have a baby here… but she was never convinced.


The thought briefly brought her mind to Jordan back in New York. How long had she been gone, this time, in Earth days? Had she missed a visit from him? Malia tucked the thought away for later - today, the day a new monarch would be announced, was not to day to worry about the dwindling life on the other side of a fairy circle.


Sanya: "Duchess North," "Strange that the Royal General and Scholar have kept us waiting this long, isn't it?"


Malia glanced up from the words on her page. She had two books in her lap - one familiar, leather-bound one that she always carried, but that was tucked safely beneath a black cover with gold lettering "On the Efficacy of Iron Palisades Against Zombies," the Royal General Gonzalo's latest work.


The warnings that her prophetic book offered were only increasing in urgency. Now, the text appeared as fragmented sentences spaced straight down the page, but the words were incoherent. Now, there were mentions of hunger and thirst and she wondered if perhaps a famine was on its way… although that did not add up to the urgency implied in the short phrases. The more she stared at the words, the more stressed she became, and thus even less likely to interpret them correctly. So, periodically, she rested her mind with the other. General Gonzalo was not exactly a gifted writer, but his military strategy was legendary and she enjoyed the insights of his recollections.


"It is quite concerning," Malia agreed, and glanced in James' direction. He knew well of her worries and her warnings, but she tried to keep her tone conversational so as not to alarm the young southerner, nor the child prince within earshot. "Is it possible the Royal General and Scholar were intercepted on their way?"


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Wearing: https://i-h2.pinimg.com/564x/32/52/4c/32524c25bede1d68fdf18edd290dca53.jpg

turksgirl
 

The Green Duke sat with his nephew the prince, clad in his strange armor with a huge emerald cloak. He and the boy had been discussing the suit and the sword that accompanied it for most of the last hour. Elliot was a well mannered child considering what he had been through recently. And with the disappearance of his sister, whom was assumed dead,and the definite deaths of his parents it was natural that the boy sought out his closest relatives....

James frowned sharply when Francesca left, although it was probably for the best. His nephew however was concerned when the Royal Consort took leave to settle his half brother. He was not the type of man to deal with a restless young prince, and the tardiness of the Royal General and Scholar was beginning to raise concern. Considering the King's death and the attempt on the prince....? Castile leaned over to speak to a captain of the royal guard to seek out what the delay was.

Raising from his seat he guided the boy with a large hand on his shoulder toward the duchesses. "My prince...nephew..." James corrected himself when the boy looked up at him with a furrowed brow. "The Duchess Malia Von Oehsen of the Northern realm..." the Duke continued the introduction although Elliot probably had been introduced to her at some point in his young life. And Castile himself seemed to admire her heavy gown, especially the color. "...And Lady Sanya Nimr, daughter of the Southern Duchy and the realm's representative..."  The boy stared up at them and gave a polite nod of his head.

"...Crown Prince Elliot Paxton". James let the boy stand half engulfed by his green robe with a hand on the scabbard of his sword, and one at the junction of the lad's shoulders. "I commend you on the defense of Headmaster Von Essen, Lady Nimr...." the Green Duke continued, as unfortunate as it was to find little information from the man or even his nephew about the attempt assassination. It was frustrating, Castile was not renown for his patience and these events tried what little he had.

Elliot looked up at the adults and asked in a hushed tone, "Uncle, will it be much longer?" James fingers curled slightly against the boy's back, leave it to a child to express what they were all thinking. Impatience seemed to be a family trait they shared, his mouth curled slightly into a smile when the lad squatted to pet Sanya's cat. He almost laughed at it actually. "Three representatives of the kingdom and we play second fiddle to a feline" he mused.

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Steph
 

Of everything that Sanya had experienced thus far in this long afternoon wait, the most surprising thing of all suddenly shifted from how tardy the Royal Scholar and General were to the Green Duke's laughter. She didn't generally think of him as someone capable of that amount of mirth or excitement over anything much, but there he was, while Elliot petted Moswen and Moswen accepted the human contact with an air of dignity that some members of nobility would have a hard time of replicating.

"I wish the defense had not been necessary, if I'm being entirely honest," Sanya said. "The young crown prince should be safe from such threats. It's unfortunate--"

Her words were cut off with a sudden sound of herald's trumpets, piped across the square. She looked up to see an unfamiliar herald bound onto the stage playing that trumpet, with the Royal General's banner in clear display.

She looked quickly around them, something prickling down her spine. She noticed the soldiers eating meat pies. This wasn't unusual in and of itself--soldiers and guards had a tendency to keep well-fed but not overstuffed, especially on long duty shifts, when they had access to food. But also there was also suddenly a large wagon pulled up in the nearest wide thoroughfare that led into the square. It reminded her of the sort that would be used sometimes to bring a large load of prisoners to or from the city.

The sun was fully down now, the sky that twilight blaze fading out into dark blue dotted with stars. Maybe the prickle down her spine was just the chill in the air, but...

The Royal General himself bounded off the front of the wagon. She didn't recognize him until he cast back the hood of the cloak he'd been wearing and strode forward onto the stage that had been readied for him and the Scholar to make their announcement. The Scholar was nowhere to be seen, but the General was recognizable for the sword he wore at his hip, the emblem of the Royal General emblazoned on the back of his cloak. And, for those who were close enough to him, of course the missing two fingers from his left hand, the lost ear half-concealed by his grey-streaked dark brown hair.

"Lords and Ladies of Eventyr," he bellowed. "Men, women, and children! You have come to hear a pronouncement, and I have come to deliver it--and so much more."

Sanya leaned close to Malia and James, shifting her weight slightly, standing a bit straighter, her voice soft as she whispered to them. "He looks paler than I recall. I think something is wrong." Emphasis on the word wrong.

Sarnai's guards--the ones who'd been eating the meat pies, were looking a little bit ill, like they might start retching right there where they stood.

"You look to the Royal Family and us, their most honored and faithful servants, for guidance and direction. You cling to the shadows of times past, when Royal figures brought clarity and direction in times of darkness. I stand before you today to declare that the only monarch that will rule from this day forth in all of Eventyr is Death."

He swung his arms wide, and two cloaked figures standing by the wagon he'd leaped from moved to throw its doors wide. The people nearest the wagon immediately started screaming as figures emerged from it and lunged at them. The figures that came from the wagon moved in odd, jerky, stumbling lunges. And they groaned.

The stench hit suddenly, sickeningly heavy. The stench of death, rot, and decay. The stench of...

"Zombies," Sanya said, her tone disbelieving. Her eyes, her nose, her ears all confirmed it, but her mind didn't want to. A zombie plague here, in the city, would be devastating. It couldn't be...

But on the stage, General Mathias Gonzago laughed as the screams rippled outward and the crowd within the square began to churn...

<tag>

Rachel Balla
 


James: "My prince...nephew..." "The Duchess Malia Von Oehsen of the Northern realm..." "...And Lady Sanya Nimr, daughter of the Southern Duchy and the realm's representative..."  "...Crown Prince Elliot Paxton".


Malia played her part well - as a grandmother, she knew well how to both bestow warmth and love but also stay a step away from instructing the child. In this way, she loved Elliot. He was a sweet boy. He was also a nice distraction until the Royal General appeared. She rose to give him a play-curtsy, then gently ruffled the hair on his head and elicited a childish giggle.


James: "I commend you on the defense of Headmaster Von Essen, Lady Nimr...."


Elliot: "Uncle, will it be much longer?"


Sanya: "I wish the defense had not been necessary, if I'm being entirely honest," "The young crown prince should be safe from such threats. It's unfortunate--"


Allowing James to address the child, Malia jumped on the Duke's words to echo them. "And I, as well," the Duchess told Sanya. "The headmaster was innocent of his charges, in my opinion. He must have been set up - likely by a noble threatened by the college. I am certain our Royal Scholar will investigate the wrongdoer first thing in the morning."


The Scholar - Merthin Fischer - was the only Malia had known since she'd arrived in Eventyr, and for a while, he had attracted her so with his eloquent lectures, thoughtful books, and hazel-emerald eyes that she had once considered poisoning his wife. Nothing put butterflies in Malia's stomach like an intelligent man; but alas, there hadn't been enough room for upward mobility to merit the effort. Suppressing a smirk, she did recall the night she had caught him alone in the library...


James: "Three representatives of the kingdom and we play second fiddle to a feline..."

Malia's laugh at the joke faded quickly as the heralds sounded and it appeared the ceremony was beginning. Respectfully, she folded her arms in front of her. Why had they chosen such an odd mode of transportation...?


Gonzalo: "Lords and Ladies of Eventyr," "Men, women, and children! You have come to hear a pronouncement, and I have come to deliver it--and so much more."


Sanya: "He looks paler than I recall. I think something is wrong."


Malia's breath quickened as she nodded in return. Gonzalo had the same deformities, the same gray hairs: he was familiar. In all but his demeanor. He was pale, and there was a youthful energy that did not quite fit. She had always known him to be calculating rather than ostentatious; in fact, she had fully expected that the well-spoken Royal Scholar Fischer would be giving the announcement.


"Where is Merthin?" Malia said, her distress showing as she addressed the Scholar so informally.


Gonzalo: "You look to the Royal Family and us, their most honored and faithful servants, for guidance and direction. You cling to the shadows of times past, when Royal figures brought clarity and direction in times of darkness. I stand before you today to declare that the only monarch that will rule from this day forth in all of Eventyr is Death."


In a panic, Malia turned and opened the leather book she had left sitting on her seat and opened it as quickly as her hands would allow. And was horrified to find Camus there:


"...the condemned man had to hope the apparatus was in good working order! This, I thought, was a flaw in the system; and, on the face of it, my view was sound enough…"


The passage would have meant nothing, had Malia not just reread Camus' The Stranger because the protagonist reminded her so of James. Her mind needed to work a bit to recall the context, but she did: a man, sentenced to die of beheading, resented this form of execution because it required the condemned to participate - even hope for - his own efficient death.


Malia looked up. The armed guards who should have been swarming the stage were on hands and knees on the ground, looking sick. They must have been poisoned! This plan was bigger than even she could have imagined.


Sanya: "Zombies,"


"Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ," Malia muttered under her breath, the same exclamation her parents used.


Every instinct told Malia to run, to grab up Elliot and Sanya and go, but she paused. Her hand shot out to grab James' armored wrist, the one that would be headed toward the hilt of his sword. "Do not kill him," Malia warned. "He hopes to die tonight. Incapacitate him instead; he may have information for us."


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On Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 02:23 AM, Steph wrote:
"You look to the Royal Family and us, their most honored and faithful servants, for guidance and direction. You cling to the shadows of times past, when Royal figures brought clarity and direction in times of darkness. I stand before you today to declare that the only monarch that will rule from this day forth in all of Eventyr is Death."

turksgirl
 

The Green Duke was not the type of man to say he enjoyed simple pleasantries but Elliot seemed to make the trivial less intolerable. The Duchess of the North, and their Southern counterpart were far more intriguing than the wait for the Royal General and Scholar.... His eyes narrowed at the arrival of Gonzalo by some sort of wagon.

Gonzalo: "Lords and Ladies of Eventyr," "Men, women, and children! You have come to hear a pronouncement, and I have come to deliver it--and so much more."

Lady Nimr commented quietly on the General's pale countenance, and Malia questioned on Fischer's absence. Elliot was silent as he stood up between the three nobles, "Uncle James?" The armored Duke raised a single finger to his mouth at his nephew, but didn't take his eyes off the Royal General.

Gonzalo: "You look to the Royal Family and us, their most honored and faithful servants, for guidance and direction. You cling to the shadows of times past, when Royal figures brought clarity and direction in times of darkness. I stand before you today to declare that the only monarch that will rule from this day forth in all of Eventyr is Death."

Castile unhooked his cloak in preparation for serious battle. He heard Sanya announced zombies were on the loose. And he was surprised to feel Malia's hand on his wrist. 
 "Do not kill him," Malia warned. "He hopes to die tonight. Incapacitate him instead; he may have information for us." If any one else had dare to advise him on how to dispatch a target they would have to see to their own head.... Instead he grunted out a sound of compliance, as his face disappeared under the green helm.

"Elliot, the tunnels!" he barked before his sword cleared its scabbard and cleaved a zombie from the tip of his head clean through to the groin. James whistled and the sound gave a hallowed echoed from inside the helm. But it brought the sound of his hounds barking and snarling as they came to their master's bidding. "Duchesses, go with the Prince... I'll will follow....once I am done" James ordered cutting the head off another undead warrior. "To arms, fools!" he shouted to the few guards that hadn't eaten the meat pies.

The Green Knight marched straight for the General. "If death rules this day, you'll not be the one to dispatch it Gonzola!" he snarled feinting with his sword arm, but slamming an armored fist into the man's head. He'd keep the bastard alive as the Duchess requested, information was a weapon in its own right. But it didn't mean he had to be noble about it. 

tags

Manda
 

Who: Rafael Gonzalo

With: James Castile, Royal General Gonzalo, Malia and Sanya (peripherally)
Where: Merchant's Square
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/0b/a0/51/0ba051c5317442c4fbcf6e75df7800e3.jpg


For the last few hours, Rafael had simply been another face in the crowd. He'd kept his distance from the barriers that separated the nobility from the common folk, and with his rather bland travelers clothes, there was little to draw the attention of those nobles who could actually recognize him by sight alone. Not that a single one, existing in their own bubbles of self importance and cut off from the very people they lorded over, had done more than glance at the commoners.


Rafael had stayed though, waiting and watching and wondering just what the bloody hell was taking his father so long. He'd waited so long that, around the time Francesca had taken her leave, he'd actually begun to worry that something had happened to the Royal General and was considering tracing the most likely route from castle to Merchant's Square when the wagon arrived.


Critical eyes narrowed, taking in everything that suddenly began happening around him. He saw the guards double over in pain, his father mount the stage and deliver his proclamation, he saw the Consort slip into the crowd, and then it was chaos. Zombies poured from the wagon, soldiers turned, and Rafael found himself fighting his way through the panicked crowd, his gaze locked on James as the Green Duke advanced upon his father with sword drawn.


He didn't know if James planned to kill the Royal General or not, but whatever the Duke's intention, Rafael wasn't taking chances. "Duke Castile!" he shouted, but his voice was swallowed by the screams around him.


"My lord, don't ki--" A hand closed around Rafael's leather pauldron, dragging him to a stop as teeth snapped at his face. He drove a dagger through the creature's temple and it fell like a sack of potatoes, and then he was leaping over the barricade and running up the steps of the stage, sword in hand as James reached his father . . .


James: "If death rules this day, you'll not be the one to dispatch it Gonzalo!" *feint!* *punch!*


Rafael had no idea what had come over his father - well, he had some ideas - but he sure as hell wasn't about to play spectator while James and Mathias went toe to toe. His father had been his hero growing up, but even still, Raf wasn't positive his father would come out on top if that happened.  


So while Mathias stumbled back from the blow, Rafael darted in between the two, sword drawn but not raised as he squared off with James. "My lord, wait! Please! I ask for mercy on behalf of my father . . ."


tags

 

Steph
 

Who: Sanya, Gonzalo
With: Malia, James, Rafael, Elliot
Where: Merchant's Square
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

As Malia sent James springing to action against the Royal General, Sanya swept her gaze across the crowd. She heard James' order and understood it--getting the Prince to safety was certainly of the upmost importance--but the whole city's safety depended upon quick thinking and containment. Zombies bred fear, and fear bred more zombies, and while the South was her duchy, the City and the Queen's College was more her home than anywhere else.

The city had no monarch to defend it, to cease control and issue commands, but this square was still full to the brim with nobility with their own personal guards, and she could see those soldiers defending their lords and ladies against the zombies valiantly, everything moving simultaneously fast and so slow.

Who would defend the commoners who were already being overrun, who would become more zombies and spread from the square and carry this plague of death with them?

Her own three personal guards were already engaged with keeping the zombies nearest to her at bay.

"We run, we spread fear, the zombies spread," she said quickly to Malia. "If you and yours want to take Elliot and defend him, do, but I intend to rally my nobility and mount a defense against this madness."

"My Lady," one of her guards said, tone indicating objection.

Sanya snapped her hand into the air, the gesture enough to stop his words before he kept talking. "We defend the City and its people like it's the Jewel of the Desert. Fear will not control us, and death will not rule us."

"Yes, Lady Nimr," her three guards said in unison.

Sanya gave exactly enough pause to allow Malia to make her decision. Regardless of it, she was going to get to work.

---

Gonzalo readied his sword to meet the Green Duke, eyes alight with eagerness for this fight, his teeth bared in a grin or a snarl or something somewhere between those two things, something just slightly unhinged. He was all set to parry James' sword and fell entirely into the feint, James' fist striking him and driving him back just one step before he regained balance.

But before he could use that balance to so much as brandish his sword, his youngest son inserted himself in the middle of the conflict, petitioning somehow on his behalf. He laughed again, a laugh that would seem entirely unfamiliar to someone who had no doubt heard his true laugh on a regular basis all through his life.

"There is no room for mercy here, boy," he retorted. "Fight with me or against me, but there will be a fight."

He lunged to the right, around Rafael, with that, then thrust his sword at the Green Duke, fully intent on seeing this fight to its culmination...

<Tag!>

turksgirl
 

Who: James
With: Rafael, Gonzalo
Where: Merchant's Square
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

James had certainly not expected the General's son to appear from the crowd to defend his father. Rafael Gonzalo was not unknown to him, as a matter of fact the young noble had been in his employ as a hunter for Marcus' werewolves. He respected the young man's talent and skill, as well as the fact he wanted to go the path less traveled by nobles. But right now his loyalty and feelings for his patriarch were a dangerous distraction.

The General seemed eager for a fight, and not altogether there to fall for the feint followed by the armored fist. And just as James was set to follow that action the young noble got between the armored noble and the Royal General. Imploring the fully encased Duke of the East to stay his hand, and show mercy..... Shamefully Mathias felt no such familiarity to his offspring.

"There is no room for mercy here, boy," he retorted. "Fight with me or against me, but there will be a fight." He lunged to the right, around Rafael, with that, then thrust his sword at the Green Duke, fully intent on seeing this fight to its culmination...

His hounds and guards were fully immersed in the fight against Gonzalo's zombies, and he had no time to argue with the man's son. Especially since the duchesses' were standing their ground with their men to try and stem the invading dead from infecting the commoners. 
"You men! Go assist the duchesses and the prince regent!" he ordered when he caught sight of the ladies trying to herd the crowd.

James was not going to test the strength of his enchanted armor, or if being heartless made it impossible for him to become a zombie. The General's sword make a awful sound as it slid across green metal meant to maim, instead Castile caught the man's arm between his own and his breastplate. Normally he'd put his weight into it and snap the limb as a following move...

"If you want to save your father, young Gonzalo, then help me capture him!" he ordered. The longer this battle took the harder it would be for Castile to stay his temper. Which was proven as soon as the Royal General tried to squirm free and flail his sword about behind the Duke. The man had been a strategist, but now his attack seemed brazen and only half thought out. The Duke's armored elbow struck the Royal General in his damaged ear.

"Look around you! Make a decision, Rafael!" the hollow voice inside the green armor demanded.

tags

Manda
 

Gonzalo: *crazylaugh* "There is no room for mercy here, boy," he retorted. "Fight with me or against me, but there will be a fight."


His father's laugh caught Rafael by surprise and he found himself half turning to fix his eyes on the Royal General as a chill crept up his spine. He didn't want to fight against his father, the man who had been a hero to him all his life, who had dragged him from the darkness and then supported him through those messy years that followed. Mathias hadn't always understood what Rafael was going through, but he'd listened when Scholar Abraham had explained, and then had done his best to be there for his son . . .


But this wasn't his father; at least, not Mathias as Rafael knew him. Considering what was going on around them and how pale his father looked, the creature hunter thought he had a pretty good idea of what was happening. And while, under normal circumstances, Rafael would have been hard pressed to say who would win in a knock-down-drag-out fight between Mathias and James Castile, it was clear to him that Mathias wasn't planning on getting out of this alive. But his father committing suicide by Duke of the East wasn't something that Rafael could just stand by and accept. Mathias was better than that. Stronger than that.


Castile: "If you want to save your father, young Gonzalo, then help me capture him!" … "Look around you! Make a decision, Rafael!"


"It's not my decision that matters, My Lord," Rafael fired back as he turned to slice the top off a zombie's skull when the creature ventured too close to them. There were others not far behind and Rafael kept a wary eye on them as he continued: "He's going to try to force your hand." So control yourself, he wanted to add. Instead, he tamped down on his emotions and said, detachedly, "Because if he dies, he turns."


While he wasn't completely sure that he was drawing the correct conclusion, Rafael had seen - and rescued - enough enthralled humans to recognize the signs. He wouldn't be sure until he'd had a chance to speak with Mathias, to find out what he knew, but that would be impossible if they were dealing with a creature instead of his father; vampires couldn't be reasoned with or controlled in any way . . .


Rafael glanced over his shoulder to find the zombies clamoring too close to ignore and with a muttered curse, he turned to deal with the creatures. With a little luck, Mathias would still be breathing when he finished and if he wasn't . . . well, first he'd kill his vampire who had been his father and then he'd deal with the Green Duke.

 

tags

 

turksgirl
 

"It's not my decision that matters, My Lord," Rafael fired back as he turned to slice the top off a zombie's skull when the creature ventured too close to them. There were others not far behind and Rafael kept a wary eye on them as he continued: "He's going to try to force your hand." So control yourself, he wanted to add. Instead, he tamped down on his emotions and said, detachedly, "Because if he dies, he turns."

Castile knew little of certain creatures which is why he hired men like Rafael Gonzalo, to hunt them.... especially when he wanted them alive. The Royal General was no zombie, or creature of the Eastern Realm..... The green helmet nodded to the younger noble, there were times when another's knowledge and experience must be given due. And if this was a ploy to simply rescue his father, the Green Duke would behead them both. 

"I concede to your advice, young Gonzalo" Castile's hollow sounding voice said from the armor. And then the helm reared back to brutally smash against the Royal General's temple, which made the man's limbs go all rubbery and lose the grip on his sword as the Duke bear-hugged him into submission. "Bind him securely, and we'll rear guard  with the Duchesses and the Prince Regent" he grunted turning to arc his heavy sword to cleave several zombies clean in half.

So far from the Eastern forest the green armor's magic dug its claws in tight to its owner for violence and blood to nourish this city where nothing grew but betrayal.

tags

 

Rachel Balla
 

Poppy's whole body itched in anticipation. Her task had been simply to ensure that the Royal General died, so that he would turn, and they could make their way together toward the rest of their family. But the itching began when Gonzalo engaged with the Green Duke.


Poppy hated the Greek Duke.


Not only had he chosen her as one of the East's offerings for the King's strange demand last summer, but he had imprisoned her father for daring to object. Now, Poppy hadn't exactly gone to visit her father… honestly, she didn't know if the man had ever made it out of the Duke's dungeon alive. But it was the principle of the thing!


So when he felled the General, she was delighted to intervene. She was supposed to be discreet - and she had been, all fucking week, making stupid deals with blacksmiths and starting brawls in bars - but this was a fight she looked forward to. She was careful, making her way through the crowd with purpose, and chose the perfect moment. The Eastern Duke was focused on the zombies in front of him, so she supposed he would never notice the slight girl in the heavy cloak who jumped nimbly up onto his back. One arm hooked a vice-tight grip around his neck, while her other hooked two fingers into the eye holes of his helmet and pulled up with a strength no one her size should have possessed, hoping to rip the thing off of him.


And accompanying the attack was a shrill scream that could burst eardrums….

Manda
 

Castile: "I concede to your advice, young Gonzalo" … "Bind him securely, and we'll rear guard  with the Duchesses and the Prince Regent"


"Yeah, I'll get right on that," Rafael muttered, as yet unable to divert his attention from the zombies closing in on them. He hacked and slashed his way through them, taking out those closest without much effort but a quick glance out and over the crowd showed the epidemic spreading fast and a sinking feeling came over him. There would be no way to contain this. The King's City would be overrun before morning . . .


What had his father done?


Poppy: *screechattack!*


"Fuck!" Rafael very nearly dropped his sword as the unnatural shriek cut through his head and he whirled to find a girl clinging to the Green Duke's back and struggling to wrench the helmet from his head. No, not a girl - a vampire.


Slicing the head off one last zombie, Rafael dug a hand into the pouch at his waist and came up with a bit of cotton that he ripped in half and then stuffed in each ear; it would dampen the vampire's voice enough to limit its effect, but was hardly foolproof. Still, with one last critical glance of the makeshift battlefield around him, it allowed him to turn his attention to saving James with less of a chance of being bespelled.


There was nothing normal about any of this, Rafael realized, as he took half a second to digest what he'd seen thus far. The vampire was dressed in a heavy cloak, likely it had been lurking before the sun had set completely, and it also appeared to be young, judging by the clumsy attack. But a young vampire would never survive in the King's City - that was difficult for even the older, more disciplined ones - and vampires tended to give zombies a wide berth . . . so why was it here?


Rafael had no time to try and puzzle out the why though and instead, he was moving forward with purpose, hand tightened on the hilt of his sword even as his other reached for the dagger at his waist. Luckily, the Duke's heavy armor would protect him from both the vampire's fangs and any errant cuts from Rafael's own blades, so the creature hunter wasn't as careful as he otherwise would have been, when he thrust his sword in just under the vampire's armpit and then drew it out again . . .


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turksgirl
 

Rafael: "Yeah, I'll get right on that," 

Poppy: *screechattack!*


Rafael: "Fuck!" (...) Rafael had no time to try and puzzle out the why though and instead, he was moving forward with purpose, hand tightened on the hilt of his sword even as his other reached for the dagger at his waist. Luckily, the Duke's heavy armor would protect him from both the vampire's fangs and any errant cuts from Rafael's own blades, so the creature hunter wasn't as careful as he otherwise would have been, when he thrust his sword in just under the vampire's armpit and then drew it out again . . .

Wretched creature, it couldn't pull off his helm. The armor's magic was strong even this far from the green realm, but pulling it back forced his vision upward and away from the fray. The huge green sword swung out blindly and cleaved several zombies clean in half, and perhaps a fleeing servant as well. An animal snarl erupted from within the suit of green metal and when Rafael attacked the creature that was once a subject in his realm....

Castile grabbed a fistful of her cloak and pulled it off of the vampire to deprive her of its thick protection. It was utter chaos. And only one name was on the Green Duke's lips in the middle of all of it.

"FRANCESCA ROSSI!" He snarled, "Where is she?!"

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Rachel Balla
 

Rafael's sword pierced the fabric of the vampire's cloak… but hit a strange hard barrier beneath it, likely armor but the peculiar scraping sound of it and the way she snapped her head in his direction made it seem more like bone. Her magnetic gaze caught Rafael's for only a heartbeat, and while the fae hound knew the compelling feeling of a vampire's thrall from experience, he would also know it well enough to know this wasn't exactly the same. There was an emotional layer to it - not just I want you, but maybe also I love you


"Sorry, baby, your daddy's coming with me," Poppy said, a saucily sweet expression on her face that showed how little physical strain she was feeling, even grappling with the much larger man.


But her attention split quickly as the Duke swung at her. With one arm locked around his neck, her other raised and seized him by the wrist. Usually, vampires were only about twice as strong as their size suggested, but she held his sword arm back with a vice grip that wouldn't let him budge an inch which gave away her unusual nature immediately.


James: "FRANCESCA ROSSI!" "Where is she?!"


Only when he grabbed her cloak did Poppy lose her balance. She fell onto a zombie who had been chopped in half, but who was still grabbing and chomping since his head remained intact, but she might as well have landed on a bed of pillows for how much the two creatures seemed to acknowledge each other. She twisted back to right herself, landing on one knee with her hands planted on the ground as if she were about to take off at a sprint.


Free of the cloak, it became apparent why she had been wearing it. She wore a commoner's dress in a dull gray-blue, but it had been crudely modified to expose her back…


...which allowed room for the massive wings that snapped up and then spread out behind her: leathery skin ribbed with thin bones, like a bat's wing, and a distinct hole where Rafael had pierced one.


"Come for a ride with me," Poppy said, her voice humming with a vampire's sensual magic even if her face was alight with gleeful hostility. Poppy let out a hysterical laugh that held the same terrible, shrill quality as her scream, then launched herself at the Green Duke. She tackled him with the force to rival a centaur, wrapped her arms around him, and gave a mighty flap of her wings to lift them both high into the air…


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Manda
 

The last thing Rafael had expected was the vampire to be wearing armor - though it was distinctly different from the metal on metal scream one would anticipate in that case. It almost felt organic, like metal scraping across bone, but his silent wonderings faded to nothing as his eyes lifted instinctively and met the vampire's. Rafael knew that beckoning sensation well enough to recognize it anywhere but this was different, enough so that he stumbled back toward the edge of the stage in surprise.


Poppy: "Sorry, baby, your daddy's coming with me,"


Like hell.


Mathias had scoured the Western Plains searching for his son and Rafael would be damned if he allowed his father to die and come back a vampire. It wasn't what the Royal General would have wanted and nothing would convince Rafael otherwise.


The Green Duke's flailing had him retreating another step, irritation twisting his lip up into a snarl as a fleeing servant was felled by the sweep of James' sword. This was why Rafael preferred to work alone . . .


James: "FRANCESCA ROSSI!" "Where is she?!"


Rafael went to move in again but his movements were hindered by a hand closing around his ankle and before he could shake the zombie loose, his head snapped up and his eyes landed on James. Wait--what? Why was he calling for Francesca?


The Duke wasn't waiting for an answer though and grabbed the vampire's cloak, managing to shake it loose and send the creature tumbling into one of the writhing zombies and when it rose, Rafael found himself dumbstruck by what he saw. He may have only been hunting for the last three or so years, but his father had been hunting for decades prior and Mathias had always been forthcoming with his knowledge. In all that time though, the Royal General had never once mentioned vampires with wings, nor had Rafael encountered such a thing, but that's exactly what he was looking at now.


The hand on his ankle tugged again, pulling him off balance and seizing his attention, and Rafael distractedly swung his sword downward until the blade bit through the zombie's head and the hand fell away. He was free to move then and he started forward again with every intention of finishing this - and then the vampire leapt to tackle James.


And Rafael hesitated, though had anyone asked him why, the answer surely would have been because he wasn't sure what to do next and decidedly not that he was weighing the pros and cons of simply allowing the creature to whisk James away . . .


The decision of whether or not to act was made for him though, when one of the bisected zombies managed to grab hold of the unconscious Mathias to begin dragging the Royal General closer, teeth gnashing in anticipation. Rafael quickly dispatched the three zombies and then took a knee beside his father, immediately checking for a pulse and not surprised to find it skipping healthily along. Using his dagger - and keeping a weather eye on what was going on around him - Rafael tore a strip of fabric from the hem of his father's shirt and used it to bind Mathias' arms behind his back. He should bring his father back to the castle but it would maybe be safer to just take him and disappear into the crowd instead . . .


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turksgirl
 

That bumbling twat of a son to the Royal General, wasn't he suppose to be the grand creature hunter? James vowed to deal with that treacherous young noble  later, and Francesca as well. But everything in order first, because when Poppy alighted with him (how she carried his weight was beyond him) the Duke got a good view of the mayhem below.

Castile recognized the vampire as one of the maidens from his realm, and in all likely ship there were two others.... worse there could be ten other. He mentally cursed his older half brother and whatever deal he made to ferret out his consort. The flying devil had his arms pinned and he was sure her intent was to drop him until his armor cracked, like a seabird that wanted to feast on a crab. 

Pulling his legs up and around the vampire's waist he dug into her back with the spurs on his heels. Reeled his helm back and slammed it forward to cut at her face with the huge arcing curved horns that adorned it. "Peasant, I serve a greater master than you" he growled. "Die and join your father!". He was going to tear the wings from this beast and shove them down her throat.

He'd do the same to Francesca Rossi when she was found if his damnable host would free him of their promise not to kill her. This was her doing!

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Rachel Balla
 

Poppy shrieked at the pain, her face contorted into an ugly expression, lips pulled back, pronounced fangs gnashing, but even still her voice vibrated with lustful magic as she snapped back, "You worshipped my queen once; you will again."


Poppy did not make it nearly as high into the night sky as she wanted before the Duke became too hard to hold. Injuries opened on her lower back, and a horn pierced her cheek and then deep into her shoulder. Poppy, in her hate, especially after the mention of her once-father, had more fortitude than her sister Mitali - she made it at least another ten feet in the air before she released the massive Duke, dropping him with a dramatic spread of her arms and a screeching cry into the night sky.


Seo-jun, the mentor she'd met in King's City, was all control and discretion - but Poppy had no idea why. Sailing high among the stars over a crowded city tumbling with destruction made her absolutely drunk with power and pleasure. It was glorious, and for a long moment, Poppy didn't even mind her seeping wounds as the cold night air embraced her, caressed her, ballooned her about as she soared… Her hands would alternate, running gently and appreciatively across her skin, and dancing out at length to feel the cold wind against her palms.


The distraction was powerful, but it did not last. She had a mission - what was it...? The general.  Seo-jun wanted him dead; her queen did not. This unusual dissonance left Poppy confused, but all the same, she was alarmed as she lowered herself toward the ground, to see her mark in the custody of one that her instincts prickled as she considered approaching…


Why?


Poppy dropped to her feet twenty yards away, to grab a guard. She shook his sword from his hand like a mother might have loosened a toy from a child, and sunk her fangs into his wrist. As she did, her eyes sought Rafael's again, a warning that she was coming for him next.


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On Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 10:59 PM turksgirl <armorangel68@...> wrote:
That bumbling twat of a son to the Royal General, wasn't he suppose to be the grand creature hunter? James vowed to deal with that treacherous young noble  later, and Francesca as well. But everything in order first, because when Poppy alighted with him (how she carried his weight was beyond him) the Duke got a good view of the mayhem below.

Castile recognized the vampire as one of the maidens from his realm, and in all likely ship there were two others.... worse there could be ten other. He mentally cursed his older half brother and whatever deal he made to ferret out his consort. The flying devil had his arms pinned and he was sure her intent was to drop him until his armor cracked, like a seabird that wanted to feast on a crab. 

Pulling his legs up and around the vampire's waist he dug into her back with the spurs on his heels. Reeled his helm back and slammed it forward to cut at her face with the huge arcing curved horns that adorned it. "Peasant, I serve a greater master than you" he growled. "Die and join your father!". He was going to tear the wings from this beast and shove them down her throat.

He'd do the same to Francesca Rossi when she was found if his damnable host would free him of their promise not to kill her. This was her doing!

tags

Manda
 

Poppy: *Gonna git ya, bish*


The last thing Rafael really wanted was the vampire's attention solely on him, but better him than tearing through innocents, right? At least he had an idea of what he was getting into, even if her wings had thrown him for a loop.


And it was those wings that he had to do something about.


"Take the Royal General to the Duchess of the North," he ordered, signalling to the nearest guard who wasn't actively fighting for his life. "See he gets there safe, but don't free his hands!" The man's brow furrowed in confusion, obviously not recognizing Rafael for who he was, but instead of arguing, he did as he was told.


With the Royal General now on his way to safety and, keeping the feeding vampire in his peripherals, Rafael reached for a discarded bow - once belonging to a now-dead guard whose hand was still wrapped loosely around the leather-bound grip. The quiver, with it's brutally barbed arrows, was less than five feet away and it was easy to snatch a handful of them before dropping right back to one knee, notching an arrow, and drawing it back.


Rafael was hardly what one would call talented with a bow, not in the way the Grassland warriors of the South were, and he much preferring an edged weapon that brought him up close to his enemy, but he'd had enough training that when he took aim and let the arrow fly, it ripped cleanly through the membrane of the vampire's wing, just as he'd intended.


The attack was sure to claim the creature's attention and Rafael leapt off the stage, darting into the chaos of the crowd, pushing and shoving his way through until he reached a lull in the press of bodies. Then he turned and let another arrow fly before taking off again . . .


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turksgirl
 

As satisfying as it had been to hear that un-dead vixen shrieking like a harpy and to know he had done damaged, Castile certainly did not want to be dropped from the sky. He didn't have any time to ponder her words about worshipping her queen unfortunately when he went airborne. James landed indignantly on a pack of zombies with a loud grunt. The sounds of their fingers scrapping against his armor was intolerable, and the only good thing was some peasants made their escape when he crashed on their pursuers.

By the time he spotted Poppy going after Rafael, still near the staging area, the young man's father was in the care of a guard headed for the Duchesses and the bank. The creature hunter was trying to draw the vampire away using a bow and a fistful of arrows. Zombies were not profoundly intelligent creatures, especially when they had ripened with age. The Green Duke mowed through them like a scythe reaping wheat at harvest. But they spread as quickly as the panic they induced....

Barking orders to organize the guards into a better fighting unit, instead of running about like damnable children because their Royal General was compromised... James Castile made his way through the sea of chaos to finish that flying harlot first. 

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