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Then You're the Queen of Nothing At All #Malia


Rachel
 

James: "Elliot, the tunnels!" "Duchesses, go with the Prince... I'll will follow....once I am done" "To arms, fools!"


As she knew he would, James soon pulled away. His hounds joined him. And, knowing combat was not her place, Malia withdrew, satisfied that he had at least heard her advisement.


Aaand then a young man jumped into the fray, competently deflecting James' initial blows. She drew in a sharp breath, knowing that the fate of Eventyr likely waited in the balance there and this was no time for armed men to be taking up against one another. The disease that made zombies would spread, and quickly… which meant she needed to get out of harm's way.


So, when the young duchess-to-be spoke up otherwise, Malia's brows raised in surprise.


Sanya: "We run, we spread fear, the zombies spread," "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."


Guard: "My Lady,"


Sanya: "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."


Malia's mouth opened incredulously. Stay? Fight? Were they soldiers? The truth was that Eventyr wouldn't survive if they didn't. With no monarch and a Royal General who had lost his mind, their lives, as well as Elliot's, were crucial to hold order, especially in the wake of a tragedy like this one. Warlords would take over in the power vacuum...


But Sanya also wasn't wrong, and her sound temperament impressed Malia. Retreating too soon might make them look cowardly, might cause doubt among their soldiers, who were no doubt thinking of their family's safety right now. So even as Malia straightened and nodded, agreeing to do whatever they could, she muttered, "You are still young enough to feel invincible." Malia, on the other hand, knew well that death was waiting for her...


Guard: "Yes, Lady Nimr,"


Malia looked to her own guards, nodding her resolution to stay with Sanya. It wasn't like the West was here to help; Francesca's guards seemed to have departed to shelter with their lady in plenty of time. But where was Sarnai...?


No time to worry about that. Mhe opened her book again to a new page. The sounds of gnashing were a distraction, but when she spared the glance up, saw that her men were protecting her capably.


"For now," she chided herself, as dark eyes skimmed the page. Her hand reached out to touch Sanya's. "It isn't just the wagon. They will come from everywhere. This is an invasion."


She flipped to the next page. It was a passage from Harry Potter, and the word Gringotts stood out immediately, and her mind went to work. Getting back to the castle was an impossibility. There were not enough men-at-arms, and too many infected, but there was another option.


"The Royal Bank is the safest place to take refuge," Malia asserted, knowing they could reach the building if her book was directing them to. The word corridor stood out, with her next glance, and a plan formed, and she began speaking, loudly and clearly, to the men. "Clear this street," she pointed. "We direct the crowd escaping in this direction."


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Steph
 

Who: Sanya
With: Malia, assorted nobility
Where: Merchant's Square --> Royal Bank
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

When Malia touched her arm and offered insights into the situation, Sanya didn't slow down to ask how Malia knew. She didn't have the time. None of them did. If the problem went beyond the Merchant's Square, it wasn't a matter of swift containment, but they did need to take control of this situation. The zombie fever would spread quickly, with every person who gave into the urges and chose to consume their fellow human beings. She'd be surprised if the Noble Quarter fell, but all the other quarters of the cit were in danger because of the sheer number of people with less secure walls to protect themselves.

Her head snapped in the direction of the Royal Bank at Malia's mention of it. It was perfect--heavily secure, almost definitely empty except for the bank guards considering the holiday. While they might risk monetary theft, the soul of the city and its people mattered more at the end of the day to Sanya.

"Perfect, yes," she agreed. Then movement caught the corner of her eye--an entourage of guards tightly surrounding a noble. She recognized the color of the livery, the family crest. One of her subjects--the Karim family.

"Lord Yusuf Karim!" Her voice boomed, a voice of command, the sort of tone a future duchess had to practice and develop over the course of her whole life. "You will order your guards to shore up the line and make a safe path to the Royal Bank."

Th Lord peeked his head barely between the two shoulders of two of his guards, hardly did more than shake his head, and then ducked down. Though Sanya couldn't hear him over the sound of the chaos, she did feel a snap against her instincts--those instincts that she usually clamped down on hard. Her sorceress instincts.

He was not living up to his call as a lord of the south. He was a coward and deserved to crawl like a worm. She could feel the words of a curse burning on her tongue as she started to sweep toward his guards, her own guards flanking her, keeping the infected at bay. On a normal day, she would shove the instinct down as deep as she possibly could, but today, they needed every piece of aid they could possibly get, and if someone saw her or understood what she was doing, she'd deal with the ramifications.

The Karim Guards parted before her, wilted like flowers under a blazing hot sun. She stepped up close to their cowering lord.

"Yusuf Karem, you will not sleep, you will not rest, you will not die until you have cured yourself of this cowardice. Rest will only come o you when you have slain a hundred true zombies and spared a thousand living humans from the nightmare these creatures create. And you will obey your duchess immediately in the future."

She tailored the curse more than she thought possible. It surprised her, how easy it was, and suddenly Lord Karim was not cowering behind his guards, but rather pushing himself to the forefront of the fight. Fear still hung over his shoulders, but a greater fear now than a fear of zombies. Sanya snapped out orders for other nobles to have their guards fall in line, and they did, allowing anyone who wasn't actively trying to bite people past them into a widening defensive corridor toward the Royal Bank.

She returned to Malia's side then, aglow with an odd sort of contentment.

"Shall we open the bank?" she asked her fellow Duchess, the question almost purring out of her. Maybe Malia was right. Maybe it was her youth that made her feel so invincible. Or maybe it was the power she'd inherited through her bloodline, the power of a sorceress...

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Rachel
 

Sanya: "Lord Yusuf Karim!" "You will order your guards to shore up the line and make a safe path to the Royal Bank."


Malia was a competent duchess - she saw that her duchy prospered, she was attentive to the needs of her people, and the dangers they faced - but as a new duchess with only a martial tie to the position, she could never have mustered the gall to call out one of her nobles as she saw young Sanya Nimr do, just then.


Sanya: "Yusuf Karem, you will not sleep, you will not rest, you will not die until you have cured yourself of this cowardice. Rest will only come o you when you have slain a hundred true zombies and spared a thousand living humans from the nightmare these creatures create. And you will obey your duchess immediately in the future."


The order was… insane. A hundred zombies? It would have taken a well-armored fighter hours to do that, assuming he wasn't bitten - which was more likely than not. The way that the noble jumped to his tasked floored Malia. Not a word of argument, not even a twitch of it.


Maybe it wasn't just Sanya's youth that made her feel invincible. The young duchess-to-be had a powerful magic simmering in her, already.


Sanya: "Shall we open the bank?"


So when she spoke, Malia smiled, nodded, a sudden confidence swelling within her…


An inhuman scream caught the duchess's attention, behind her, and she turned to see a young woman jumping up on James' massive shoulders. What the hell? She knew something was wrong, but also knew that the outbreak would never be contained if she and Sanya did not act fast. So she looked back to the young woman and nodded, grasping at her skirts to make haste.


"Open the bank."


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Steph
 

Who: Sanya
With: Malia, assorted nobility
Where: Merchant's Square --> Royal Bank
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

>>>>
"Open the bank."
>>>>

Malia's order left no room for misinterpretation. There were guards around the doors of the bank proper, and the noble guards who'd allied with the two duchesses had formed up and somehow held a corridor up to the door. Whether they'd seen what Sanya had done or simply followed suit because their lords and ladies ordered it, the result was the same. The doors opened.

The bank had a large central floor and the ceiling went up three stories. Open walkways at the second and third story overlooked the chamber, and there were guards posted there, many already armed with bows and arrows. Good, Sanya thought as she assessed the situation and tried to weigh out the options, calculate the odds. Military strategy wasn't her strong suit. She wasn't a monster hunter. But a student of the Queen's College had to know a little bit of everything if they wanted to succeed and stay enrolled.

"Stand guard at the door," she instructed some of the soldiers that were now under the duchess's command. "Only let the uninjured through."

She turned to Malia and spoke softly. "From my studies, I know that the plague is not instantly transmitted--it only seems it is. The bitten, if isolated and restrained, can recover their senses. But if they kill or die while the fever is upon them, they become zombies. The fever compels its victims to violence. I.... don't think we have the time or resources to separate the fevered from the zombies."

It was painful to admit that cold truth, and she partly hoped that Malia might somehow have it in her to concoct a plan that could help more people survive the day. But they didn't have ropes or sleep dust made from carniflower pollen or anything else that could subdue the fevered.

Logically, until they had a stable base to push outward from, a way to clear the streets in an organized fashion, they had to assume all violence was zombie violence and stave it off before it got worse.

"The bank has many offices and chambers we can separate people into, and the vaults would be the most secure if we needed to lock ourselves in, if it becomes that desperate," she added. She felt like she was just spinning facts in the air, though. Facts weren't plans.

Panicked commoners and zombies were pushing the line at the door, trying to get past the soldiers, bu for the time being at least they were holding firm, letting in only a trickle of uninjured people...

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Rachel
 

Sanya: "From my studies, I know that the plague is not instantly transmitted--it only seems it is. The bitten, if isolated and restrained, can recover their senses. But if they kill or die while the fever is upon them, they become zombies. The fever compels its victims to violence. I.... don't think we have the time or resources to separate the fevered from the zombies."


The young duchess-to-be's assessment was sound. Malia knew from her reading, but not from personal experience, how zombism spread. But where the younger woman felt conflicted about their limitations, Malia grasped her shoulders, gently, and looked into her eyes, with all the love and feeling of a duchess who knew she was making the ultimate sacrifice as well.


"We save who we can. We mourn who we cannot… but confusing the two only increases the latter," Malia said. It would be like pulling their own teeth out, to turn away people who might well be viable, but they did not have the capacity.


Sanya: "The bank has many offices and chambers we can separate people into, and the vaults would be the most secure if we needed to lock ourselves in, if it becomes that desperate,"


Malia nodded, appreciating the practicality of the plan. Then, echoing Sanya's previous thoughts, she said, "I do carry carniflower juice - it's not as potent as pollen, but it does the job, perhaps enough to triage…" The duchess produced a vial rather shamelessly, given the haste of the moment, by plucking it from between her breasts.


"It pains me to say that one life is worth more than another," Malia said, because she was first and foremost an American who believed that everyone was entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But now, she didn't have that luxury. The circumstances could not be more extreme. "Eventyr will need as many leaders as we can save, in the coming days. We must use the carniflower juice and the available offices to save as many nobles as we can." Even as she spoke, the idea went sour in her mouth, and Malia's lips curled as the words left her. But there was no choice, or she would have taken it.


Malia flipped open her book, and inside where was a list - mostly capital X's down the page, but a few O's. She strode toward the door, ready to help make the call as to who would be let in and who could not.


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