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Exalted: Age of Sorrows IC

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Imperialisium
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Exalted: Age of Sorrows IC

Postby Imperialisium » Wed Dec 06, 2023 3:26 pm

OOC
Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn't trust the evidence of one's eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.


Exalted

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The Age of Sorrow;
A Time of Tumult


Realm Year 775

Five years had passed since the Triumph over The Bull of the North filled the Imperial City with flowers and adoring crowds. A day of jubilation and raucous joy. The Great Houses and over seventy Minor Houses took part in hosting festivities that lasted three days and nights. Leaving the greatest city in the world in a drunken stupor, groggily shuffling to its feet, on the fourth morning. An occasion that interrupted the edge placed against the nape of the upper echelons of Imperial society. The Scarlet Empress was still gone, her throne still vacant, with only the weak and increasingly ineffectual Regent Fokuf seated on his stool before the Imperial Dais. The Empire was sliding, on its back, towards a cliff leading to dark waters. For now, even the peasantry, are beginning to wonder what had become of their devoted monarch. Petitions and decrees bear the Imperial Seal, but the signature of the Regent and his Ministers, but for how long can that go on? In the centuries of her rule the Empress would randomly, sporadically, disappear for a period of days to weeks. Often under some guise to move among the masses of the populace. Her way of gauging, with her own eyes, the state of the Realm in which she ruled as supreme autocrat. Her Scarlet Empire that Dragon's Fire had wrought across Creation. But, she always had returned, always took up the mantle of such an ordained station; and for a time it was possible to sell such a story. Even to the noblesse of the Empire. The truth, that she had been gone way to long, for over a decade now, could not be shut away any longer.

The upper classes, Dragon-Blooded, readied for the inevitable. The coming of blood and steel to decide who would be worthy of a Dragon's Throne. The Patricians braced for the time of chaos and predation that would occur. While the masses could only bow their heads and hope that their lives would not be subject to misery.

Indeed, no place in the world felt such as this than the Imperial City. The greatest city in the world and heart of the world's largest realm. Its several millions could only go about their days. From the vast wharfs in which fleets of fishermen and commercial ships ranging from squat barges to gentle Dhows flocked. To the bustling bazaars and vast monument bearing pavilions. Forests of tenement buildings dominated by the impressive mansion villas of the Patricians and merchant classes. Dwarfed by the mountainous castle of the Great Houses. Amid swept streets under graceful aqueducts the heart of empire beat.

But, far off across a thousand miles to the West, amid the tranquil hills of the mountains rising from the spine of the Blessed Isles. Amid cherry blossoms and twinkling waterfalls. The tensity of politics melted away into a surreal sense of tranquility. Manse Vai rose to embrace the Sun's rays with angled roofs and red tinted architecture. Fluted shingles bearing hanging lanterns swayed gently in the breeze...

Image


Manse Vai was the in-land retreat of the eponymous Great House that shared its name. Of course, it had grown to more than a retreat since its founding centuries prior. Occupying a thermal valley, it was a natural fortress and had grown into a proverbial city unto itself. One of the two principal strongholds of House Vai on the Blessed Isle. The other being the original fortress of the House, Manse Korvina, along the coast to the West of the House ruled city of Chanos. Here, is where the scion of House Vai holds court, Zara Azairya Vai, and increasingly spends longer periods of time therein. Above the busy streets and lagoon markets, across the stone bridges, and commercial happenings in the bowls of the stronghold. Farmers and shepherds from neighboring valleys displaying their produce. Craftsmen plying their wares. The tramping boots of soldiers in the colors of House Vai. Indeed, many citizens bore the heraldry of House Vai or its subordinate lordlings. For many were landed or in some way tied to the House. Either by landlord rights or contracts spanning generations. All of whom bore some form of tattoo. A tradition of the House that had become common for over five hundred years with the populace that the House ruled. At least within Manse Vai and Korvina. A sign of affiliation. Each tattoo told a story or a rite of passage, of an achievement, or of their station. While those who wore no ink and wore bland simple tunics walked to and from carrying out tasks in shifts. Slaves.

If they were lucky these individuals would earn their first tattoo after faithful service for a time. Rising in station above the other slaves until, if the Lady of House Vai deems appropriate, their collar would be cut, and they'd be given freedom. At which point they'd be allowed to go wherever they wished or to stay and be gifted the tattoo of a free servant. Put on the House doll and given lodging.

There were many slaves since the Bull. When House Vai led the procession and paraded over three hundred thousand captives through the Imperial City. Half of whom were gifted, for their contributions to the campaign, to the other Houses and satraps. The other half had remained the property of House Vai and divided up to be stationed in either the Imperial City at the Vai home, Manse Korvina, Chanos, or loaned to various minor lords, while others were marched off to Manse Vai.

Lady's Solarium

The Lady's Solarium was adjacent the private mountain top Pagoda of House Vai. The Pagoda's gilded walls and colored shingles blazed like a beacon in the sunlight. While the Solarium with its fine clear glass and open lay out permitted bountiful sunlight. There, sitting in meditation, sat the Matriarch of Great House Vai. No slaves were permitted into the Solarium or even the upper levels of the actual Vai compound which overlooked the rest of the Manse-turned-mountain valley-city. The women which placed her clothes and cleaned behind her were all freewomen who bore the tattoos to prove it. Silently, half silhouetted, by a roof pillar stood a white armored warrior in a fierce battle-mask. His purple cloak and gold filigree on his armor gave the impression of storms and lighting. A Warden of the Eternal Storm. The personal bodyguard unit of House Vai. In his left hand he grasped a slender spear, in his right his hand was beside the slightly curved sword style favored by the household troops. A smaller dagger sat just above it on his sashed belt. Two more of these warriors stood outside the main doors of the Solarium while a fourth, with bow and quiver of arrows, patrolled the balcony above.

Zara's eyes fluttered open as she let out a sign. The warmth of the air on her already, always warm, form. She was a Dragon-Blooded, a Child of Hesiesh, and thus the Aspect of Fire burned within. She felt warm to the touch and the light of her eyes blazed with the luminosity of flame. Rich black hair, midnight dark with blue undertones, was pulled behind her head in a loose bun. Strands of hair poking out or lazily falling onto her shoulders. Red robes hemmed in gold silk clad her form. A form that was in full bloom of a woman. From her feet to the athletic legs that supported her hourglass frame. Large heart shaped buttocks met straight spine, assisted by a well-developed abdomen that gave way to full breasts and slender neck. The angles of her jaw were sharp and strong. Punctuated by her pink lips not yet adorned with red gloss, to her arched brows. Remarkably young for her station. Not that she wished to have earned it as she did. A portrait of her deceased parents hung above the Solarium's fireplace.

A wrap on the door and the shuffling feet of a man in white socks. Respectfully, having removed his sandals outside the doors of the Solarium, could be heard rapidly approaching. Then silence. Zara looked to the left and there, fifteen feet away, was a lanky young man prostrating before her. Forehead touching the floor, arms forward with open palms, legs folded, his attire that of the Vai's administrative functionaries. Indeed, he was the son of one of her higher bureaucrats in charge of tax collection within the region. "Speak," she said idly.

The young man, not even in his nineteenth year, raised his head so that his voice was clear, "Report of the past month's collection."

"Leave it on the table."

The young man rose quickly with head still bowed in respect. As he shuffled over to the table near a set of couches in the central room of the Solarium and left a small wooden scribe's tablet there. Before bowing and moving to back away towards the doors.

"Where are you going?"

Her voice wafted along like smoke in the wind. The young man froze, a hint of nervousness in his voice as if unsure he had done something wrong, "Your, y-Grace?"

"Read it to me."

"Y-,"

"You can read, can't you?"

"Yes. Your Grace."

Zara rose and let the robe remain loose and open to the air as she made her way to one of the couches. Seating herself down she flicked a finger and a spout of blue flame erupted to ignite the carefully placed logs in the fireplace. The young man, struck by her actions, shuffled over and took the report. Flipping it open with anxious fingers he held it close to his eyes.

"Is your eyesight poor?"

The young man glanced up, then back down quickly, "N-no, Your Grace."

A pressure on the ledger, fair fingers lowered it to a more appropriate distance to his eyes, Zara's eyes bore into his own. As if putting his very soul under a spyglass. "Sit down." He felt a force of strength more than a woman of her stature would be expected to possess. Not that he fought it. Sitting down gingerly she snapped fingers at one of the servant women who maneuvered over to a glass container of ground beans. Running water through it she produced a brown liquid. Coffee. Zara held out a hand and the woman bowed as she placed the plate the cup rested upon in her grasp. Zara's hand started to glow and gentle whisps of heat began to waft from the cup's liquid as it was now heated to a hot brew. Placing it on the table before the man she sat across from him, leg over leg, hand behind her head, "Please, start."

The young man began to speak, at first rapidly, then slowing to a more even pace. Only pausing to follow her eyes to the cup, in which he read the cue to take it and sip, the flavor was rich and the aroma pleasant. Not bitter like regular coffee but noted with strong flavors of hazelnut. A tinge of hickory as well. The man sipped and continued as he continued. Collection was typical, mundane, until one line item gave her pause. Imports that the House had organized to the Imperial City had to pay out a tariff higher than previous. Her eyes narrowed. Fokuf was still trying to squeeze what he could from his little seat at the bottom of the Empress throne. The paper pushing lapdog.

Perhaps, she would send her own, but it would not be a simple lap dog she would send. You don't send a house pit to do a war dogs job...
Last edited by Imperialisium on Wed Dec 06, 2023 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Parcia
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Postby Parcia » Wed Dec 06, 2023 5:59 pm

Lower Valley, near Manse Vai

The crisp northern air was sharp on his nose as he arose from his tent. Their camp wasn't too large, but noticeable, and he wagered the Storm-Dragon's kin had already been told of his approach. Still, he had a bone of showmanship in him and wanted to make an entrance of sorts.

He mustered his escort at dawn. A hundred armored knights, in the northern fashion, leading a detachment of around 300 House Breton yeomen clad in polished armor and wielding quality arms, began their march from the camp up the major Thorofare, snaking past merchant convoys and peasant trains as their very existence guaranteed them the right of way.

Leading, from the front, sat on his large white charger, Arthur Breton, Warden of the north, Lord-General to the dragon, and soon, hopefully, if confirmed by his people, King in the north.

Reaching the main gate of the city that held Manse Vai was a simple affair, though they were stopped. A group of Vai men at arms calling for this identity. Raising his hand, he spoke.

"Lord Breton, of House Breton, I come baring an invitation for the good lady Vai."

Upper Manse Grounds

He sat in a rather comfy chair in one of the Manse's rather luxury foyers. He had forgone his armor for a set of finely tailored set of clothes, a silk shirt under a simple vest with a set of tasteful trousers. His sword sat on his belt, still, and his knife at the small of his back.

Most of his men had taken to the temporary lodgings in the lower manse while his small cabal off officers, including his House Senechal and his second in command, Knight Captain Macarius, sat opposite of him quietly discussing matters.
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Postby Antimersia » Wed Dec 06, 2023 7:28 pm

Monk Maiti Ondre of the Immaculate Order

In the early hours of the evening, the Empyrean Bazaar comes to life. All manor of goods can be bought among the shops and stalls throughout. Both legal and illegal goods have their market. Money flows in all directions. Even, towards some more illicit and risky activities. In the dark and dank alleyways, behind stalls selling exotic threads or animals, one can often find various types of illegal gambling. One such gambling past time is a bit more rare but none the less widely participated in. People from across the city, even some members of the lordship that would publicly demonize such activities, come to view and bet on back alley brawling.

People of many stations find themselves in these makeshift rings. From the poor and destitute, desperate for a chance to earn food to eat. To the risk taking wealthy, just looking for something to make them feel alive. And all type in between. All are made equal in the ring. As the rules are the same for all who enter. Fight until one man is left standing. The winner receives ten percent of the earnings. The loser, is simply carried out of the way to make room for the next fight.

On this day, as the crowd rages, yelling in wagers and rooting for preferred fighters, a burly man with a clean shaven head meditates a few feet away. His legs crossed, feet and chest bare. His robes are neatly folded on the ground beside him. Kept in place by his hempen sandals. Hidden within the bundle is a red sash. A sash of the Immaculate order. Hidden from sight and from mind as the man prepares himself.

Deeper in the alley, a ringmaster of sorts, steps over the unconscious body of the most recent loser as he calls for the crowds attention. His clothes are uncharacteristically clean compared to the rest of the crowd. Flashy almost as they are adorned with various vibrant colors. His voice booms with the aura of a man with confidence and gravitas.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen please settle down. One fight is down but we have many more to go!” The ringmaster said moving with flair. “Our next bout shall feature our beloved Caster! Twice named champion of this ring! Back once more to face any foe that dares enter the ring with him. Against him we have a newcomer to this lovely ring. The Mighty Maiti!”

The meditating man, upon hearing his name, stands up promptly. Turning towards the group of men and walking through them. Pushing some aside gently to make way as he enters to empty space in the center of the crowd. Just seconds after he enters, Castor walks in. Castor’s massive visage making it quite apparent why he is a repeat champion among these fighters. He is a man of immense size, towering over Maiti by no less than a foot. Though no fear shows in Maiti’s eyes. He simply breathes in deeply and prepares himself for them battle. Castor does the same, cracking a wicked smile as he puts up his fists.

“I want a fair fight gentlemen. But I want a show more. Get it started!” The ringmaster yells out as he slides back into the crowd.

Castor grunts loudly as he rushes forward. Pulling his left arm back and rearing for an early haymaker. He is slow in Maiti’s eyes. Slow, and impatient. A terrible combination. Castor throws his punch but Maiti ducks under it with ease, moving to the outside of Castor’s body. He throws a quick right hook into his opponent’s ribs. The strike being fast and devastating. The monk feels the ribs in Castor’s chest crack from the strike. The pain causing the massive man to cringe and favor his left size as agony sets it. Maiti uses the opportunity to shift his left side, throwing a second jab into Castor’s now vulnerable right chest. A similar cracking feeling is felt as now both sides of Castor’s body has cracked and broken ribs. Castor, once viewed as a towering behemoth of power, now winces and cries with pain as he is completely outmatched. One final punch, a swift uppercut with his right arm, lands for Maiti. Making contact with Castor’s chin and shattering it nearly in half as the massive man is knocked out and dropped to the ground. The crowd is silent for a moment. Before exploding into roars. Some yelling in support for Maiti, some calling Castor a cheat and saying he took a dive. Maiti simply leaves the ring, satisfied.

A small, ratfaced looking man carrying a large ledger runs up to Maiti as the monk approaches his clothes.

“Sir, sir! Don’t leave without yer winnins!” The man said, holding a small sack of coins.

“Donate it.” Maiti replies with a warm smile. “The Immaculate Order could always use donations.”

“You don’ want it? It’s yers!”

“Coin is merely an earthly possession. I have no need for such things.”

“Then why’d ya fight?”

Maiti pauses for a moment, thinking hard about how he will phrase his response. He smiles, turning to the small man and says, “Iron sharpens iron my friend. And it is a pity to let a sword go dull.”

“The hell does that mean? Yer head right, sir?”

“It was practice my friend. Simple as that. I fought to keep myself strong.” Maiti explains as he redresses. Putting on his robe and red sash before sliding his hempen sandals on. “Make sure you keep yourself strong as well. You never know when strife may come your way. May you go in peace my friend!”

Maiti waves as the small rat faces man watches in abject confusion. He shrugs, pocketing the money that Maiti refused for himself before returning to the crowd to continue his work. Maiti, walks off. Disappearing into the bazaar and headed back to his post as the Sybil of house Vai.

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Postby Imperialisium » Thu Dec 07, 2023 5:36 pm

Manse Vai

The young man had just finished the last line item when a bell chimed. His coffee cup long since empty. "That will be all," said Zara softly as she let the young man rise, bow, and withdraw respectfully from the Solarium. Zara let out a small smile as the young man left. The anxiety on his brow glistening the whole way out the door. A second bell chime and then gongs thundered. Arrivals of repute. She rose and tying the front of her robes she moved out to the balcony and looked down at the winding snake like path that led into the Vai compound proper. The banners of Arthur Breton, men clad in the Northmen style, a sizable escort too. It would be five to six weeks journey from Castle Breton to here on good conditions. Zara watched as they were allowed entrance through the great steel doors that opened on a complex series of alchemical fluid systems. The Alchemists called it 'Hydraulics'. Moving The pair of winged, lightning breathing Dragons made of Orichalcum, parted ways temporarily as the doors swung outward. The bridge raised to allow them access across one of the arms of the river that cut through the valley into the waterfall fed mountain lakes to the right.

Inside Manse Vai was just as full of activity as the city that had grown before it. Stable hands tended to animals from horses to winged Haruskas. The mighty flying bulls trudged with heavy hooved feet. Riding cradles on their backs. Battle-Basilisks with their rider saddles flicked their tongues from iron caged holdings further abroad. The sound of hammers from armorers and blacksmiths could be heard off to the left. The Army of Vai was a professional force augmented by an established warrior class and regional levies. A dozen men manning the gates bore the heraldry of the House. Their armor in the Imperial styles of scale, scale-plate, or in the more costly but highly effective Imperial Yoroi style that had originated in the eastern prefectures of the Blessed Isle. That last one was wore by those of the Tsamurai, the Vai warrior class, lower nobles that in exchange for status and privileges served as professional soldiers. A hereditary status from father and mother to son and daughter. As such they were adept at their craft, their sole dedication in life, with all other hobbies considered art to perfect in their downtime.

But none waylaid Breton or his men as they were swiftly taken silently to a place of waiting. Almost all would peel off to stay in the lower levels of the compound which was built into and around the mountainous ridge that the Manse sat back upon. While Arthur and a few chosen were allowed entry into the Upper Grounds and placed within a foyer to wait on the Lady of the House. The Matriarch of Vai. Arthur's liege and master.

A full thirty minutes passed when the foyer doors opened and in-stepped a man in a black Yoroi suit, his war mask in his hands, and golden serpents writhed decoratively on his armor. "Our Matriarch, your Master, will see you now Lord Breton." He spoke in High Realm style. The language of the Old Shogunate in centuries passed and maintained by the Dragon-Blooded and their Servitors as a tongue of the upper echelons and learned. The man, whose dark eyes and brows tinged with gray, was likely a Dragon-Blooded himself. The man turned and left with the small group in tow. Moving through several halls and galleries until they arrived at a grand staircase. There, two pairs of white armored Wardens of the Eternal Storm stood guard. The black armored man stopped and turned, "You will have to surrender your weapons before entering the presence of Lady Vai."

The first in each pair of Wardens advanced and claimed the weapons and knives of the guests before the black armored man nodded in approval before moving onwards. As they ascended the stairs orthographic sigils would lighten and darken as they passed. Wards against sorcery. Upon rising up the stairs onto a polished marble floor they'd be met by six more Wardens in trios off to the sides. While before them great bronze doors bearing the form of Azairya Vai stepping on and piercing the throat of a Northern Tusk-bear could be seen to the backdrop of a finely wrought landscape of forest and mountain. A monument to Zara's grandmother's victory over rebellious Northern Lords at the Battle of Red Pines. The doors slid open of their own accord. No doubt by some sorcerous means worked into the metal.

Revealing an exquisite scene of gardens under a glass roof which rose in great domes. Exotic birds fluttered above as rays of light streamed into the windows. The air was warm but comfortable. While pools of crystal-clear water emptied and were fed by landscaped waterfalls and fountains. Often with the shape of animals and creatures worked into the stonework. There, sitting above a circular table on a stone dais was Zara Azairya Vai. Off to the left stood Barisan, a northern Knight from Mortain which was hundreds of miles to the West of Breton, conversing with a functionary in the robes of some civilian bureaucracy. Around the aerium a dozen more Wardens could be seen standing or patrolling. Off to the right stood a man in the garments of the Immaculate Order. The Sybil of Vai.

Zara spoke politely as they entered, "Welcome to my family's aerium. Less formal than typical to hold court but the weather is most pleasant this morning. Thank you, Sanada-dono." Those last few words to the man in black armor who bowed deeply before standing back. Withdrawing to the doors were he took station. "What say is the reason for such an auspicious visit?"
Last edited by Imperialisium on Thu Dec 07, 2023 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Parcia » Sat Dec 09, 2023 3:41 am

The Aerium
The invitation.

He rose, as was custom, and greeted her with a curt bow. “Lady Zara, it is good to see you again. I promise my visit is nothing malicious.” He gave a motion to his men and they presented a set of documents, while Arthur joined her in sitting.

“First, some house cleaning matters. My men have brought them our Finance minister who is here to present to you the profits made off this year's trade tariff collection and production. A rise at roughly…3.5% if I recall. Good times are, it seems, in store for us so soon after that damned war.”

He’d lean back for a moment, seemingly mauling over the words on his mind as his face shifted in to a mask of contemplation. The House Diadem glinted in the light as it rested on his knee.

He lowered his tone to just above a soft whisper, dropping any pretense

“I’m getting married, Zara.” It was a risky move, among those present, to use her name in such a way. In truth Arthur considered Zara among his closest of allies. He owed the continued existence of His house and his very life to her, and yet he had come to almost consider her a sister in some respects.

“Eileen, the apothecary and hedge mage, the one who tended to you after the…incident. I’d say we have grown close, but truth be told, we’ve been damn near inseparable since we were babes. Hopefully in the months coming the family residence and the rest of the city will be beholden to a feast and celebration to rival those that Tibern Breton held 4 centuries past. If you are willing, I’d have you there. Both to officiate the event as Lord and Liege, but also as a friend.”

He leaned back to await her answer.
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Postby Antimersia » Sun Dec 10, 2023 5:48 pm

Maiti Ondre
Manse Vai Aerium


The flourishing life of the room is therapeutic. The flowing waterfalls, pouring into mostly still pools. The lush gardens, green with life. The dome above, letting in God rays of natural light that Maiti can bask his shaven head in. It is by far his favorite part of house Vai’s immense Manse. As their Sybil, he goes where the Lady Vai needs him. Offering spiritual guidance and advice wherever appropriate. And he most enjoys it when he is summoned to this aerium.

He stands off to the right, at a state of readiness. Not by choice but by duty. The aerium is a glorious place to meditate and pray. He stands beside a warden, who himself is standing in front of a pillar at attention. Maiti turns to the warden and speaks softly to him as they await Lord Breton’s appearance.

“I always adore this room. It makes me feel as if I am in a quaint forest.” Maiti tells the warden, who in turn stays silent. Maiti continues, “We have so much beauty to be thankful for. To share. I must remember to pray when this business is concluded.” Maiti can tell that the warden is either disinterested, or doesn’t think he should speak while at his post. Perhaps could even be both. But Maiti cares little. He simply enjoys regaling the beauty of nature.

The doors to the Aerium swing open, silencing Maiti as he stands and watches Lord Breton and his retinue enter the Aerium. He watches the Lady Vai and Lord Breton speak with a familiarity that Maiti finds to be rather soothing, if inappropriate.

‘A marriage?’ Maiti thought to himself. ‘A lord marrying an apothecary. Very peculiar indeed. He remained silent, merely adjusting the red sash of his tunic as he listened for Lady Vai’s answer to the Lord’s request.

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Imperialisium
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Postby Imperialisium » Wed Dec 20, 2023 12:38 am

The Aerium
Manse Vai


While Maiti essentially was left to monologue to the silent Warden. Zara watched as Lord Breton was brought a chair, still noticeably below her position on the raised dais, and let out a small chuckle, "Malicious visit, bold of you to come in here unarmed if that were the case."
The mention of Finance and documents being placed before her caused a perked eyebrow, "Breton is healing quicker than expected." She steeped her fingers so that the ends formed a neat spire. Marriage. The term caused a slowly drifting silence to expand between them. A minute, two, the use of her name informally did cause Sanada to take a step forward but ceased with a wave of her hand. No doubt making to remind Arthur of respectful address. But no matter, the wave of her hand meant she did not take offense, or merely let it go.

"Eileen, she fares well, however as is my right I will advise that such a move as to remove your hand from the game of marriageable matches in such a way is not wise. Under lesser circumstances I would have forbid such a union. However, I will defer to my Sybil." She waved to the monk, "What say you on this matter, Monk." She cocked an eyebrow in his direction. The angled brow forming a nice arch above her eye.
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Postby Antimersia » Thu Dec 21, 2023 3:26 pm

Imperialisium wrote:The Aerium
Manse Vai


While Maiti essentially was left to monologue to the silent Warden. Zara watched as Lord Breton was brought a chair, still noticeably below her position on the raised dais, and let out a small chuckle, "Malicious visit, bold of you to come in here unarmed if that were the case."
The mention of Finance and documents being placed before her caused a perked eyebrow, "Breton is healing quicker than expected." She steeped her fingers so that the ends formed a neat spire. Marriage. The term caused a slowly drifting silence to expand between them. A minute, two, the use of her name informally did cause Sanada to take a step forward but ceased with a wave of her hand. No doubt making to remind Arthur of respectful address. But no matter, the wave of her hand meant she did not take offense, or merely let it go.

"Eileen, she fares well, however as is my right I will advise that such a move as to remove your hand from the game of marriageable matches in such a way is not wise. Under lesser circumstances I would have forbid such a union. However, I will defer to my Sybil." She waved to the monk, "What say you on this matter, Monk." She cocked an eyebrow in his direction. The angled brow forming a nice arch above her eye.


Maiti Ondre
The Aerium


Maiti shuffled forward, bowing to Lady Vai to show respect when he is acknowledged. He rises from the bow and looks upon the Lord Arthur Breton. The lord looking back at him with hopeful, almost pleading eyes. Maiti returns the look with a warm smile before he answers.

“I have not met the young lady Eileen. So I obviously cannot speak to her character. But on that note, Lord Breton’s character is sufficient to speak for that alone. His own trust placed in this woman, gives her great favor. And marriage to a fellow Dragon-Blooded, will always be looked upon favorably by the Immaculate order.”

Maiti pauses briefly before continuing, his tone growing slightly more serious. “Although, marriage for those of your station is as much a tool as it is a joyous union. I would advise to not allow the present peace to influence your decision. War is never far away, and marriage is one of the strongest weapons that can be wielded in such conflicts.”

Maiti pauses once more, nodding as he prepares his final thoughts. “I advise you consider these things, once final time. Though if you decision remains the same, then I see no just reason to interfere in the union. And I offer my deepest congratulations.”

Maiti bows to Lord Breton, then again to Lady Vai, before shuffling back to the side of the room to allow the Lord and Lady to continue their meeting. Ready should he be called upon again.

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Postby Imperialisium » Wed Feb 21, 2024 5:16 pm

Antimersia wrote:
Imperialisium wrote:The Aerium
Manse Vai


While Maiti essentially was left to monologue to the silent Warden. Zara watched as Lord Breton was brought a chair, still noticeably below her position on the raised dais, and let out a small chuckle, "Malicious visit, bold of you to come in here unarmed if that were the case."
The mention of Finance and documents being placed before her caused a perked eyebrow, "Breton is healing quicker than expected." She steeped her fingers so that the ends formed a neat spire. Marriage. The term caused a slowly drifting silence to expand between them. A minute, two, the use of her name informally did cause Sanada to take a step forward but ceased with a wave of her hand. No doubt making to remind Arthur of respectful address. But no matter, the wave of her hand meant she did not take offense, or merely let it go.

"Eileen, she fares well, however as is my right I will advise that such a move as to remove your hand from the game of marriageable matches in such a way is not wise. Under lesser circumstances I would have forbid such a union. However, I will defer to my Sybil." She waved to the monk, "What say you on this matter, Monk." She cocked an eyebrow in his direction. The angled brow forming a nice arch above her eye.


Maiti Ondre
The Aerium


Maiti shuffled forward, bowing to Lady Vai to show respect when he is acknowledged. He rises from the bow and looks upon the Lord Arthur Breton. The lord looking back at him with hopeful, almost pleading eyes. Maiti returns the look with a warm smile before he answers.

“I have not met the young lady Eileen. So I obviously cannot speak to her character. But on that note, Lord Breton’s character is sufficient to speak for that alone. His own trust placed in this woman, gives her great favor. And marriage to a fellow Dragon-Blooded, will always be looked upon favorably by the Immaculate order.”

Maiti pauses briefly before continuing, his tone growing slightly more serious. “Although, marriage for those of your station is as much a tool as it is a joyous union. I would advise to not allow the present peace to influence your decision. War is never far away, and marriage is one of the strongest weapons that can be wielded in such conflicts.”

Maiti pauses once more, nodding as he prepares his final thoughts. “I advise you consider these things, once final time. Though if you decision remains the same, then I see no just reason to interfere in the union. And I offer my deepest congratulations.”

Maiti bows to Lord Breton, then again to Lady Vai, before shuffling back to the side of the room to allow the Lord and Lady to continue their meeting. Ready should he be called upon again.


Zara shifted in her seat as the Sybil of House Vai spoke a perhaps more neutral and less decisive statement than she would have liked. Only when the monk had shuffled back to his station did Zara look down from her elevated position at the Lord Breton and thought for a moment. The familiar invisible presence, a hand on her shoulder, the spirit of her grandmother that only she could feel. Whispers and plans. Breton marrying a woman of such status is a waste. Surely, Northern Lords would look down upon such an event. Zara leaned back in her chair and said, "I do not approve of this union. I will make this very clear now and as your liege I strongly advise you to reconsider the political ramifications of such a choice. As much as Eileen means to you and the services she has rendered, she is just a hedge mage. Should you take her as a concubine I would legitimize any offspring as favor to her and you with Imperial patents."

She rose and stepped down from her elevated dais to now stand before the sitting form of Arthur and gingerly placed a hand on his shoulder, "The sacrifice of leadership can even be who we marry. I expect you to remember that. Join me for tea in the afternoon and you may regale me of the latest events in the North."

She stepped aside and moved past the sitting Arthur and flanked by her snow-white clad bodyguards she departed the Aerium to her personal rooms.

Sanada approached Arthur from behind and spoke softly, "Lady Vai would not disapprove without good reason, Lord Breton. I fear dark times are ahead." At that the black armored Tsamurai moved off into the gardens of the Aerium to admire the plants and birds.
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Parcia
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Postby Parcia » Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:24 am

The Lion

The enthusiasm he held dwindled slightly. It was a minor thing, barely perceivable to even Zara herself. He did not care. He did not care how the other lord’s would see his marriage to a hedge mage, he held their bannerman under his thumb, their economies tied to his own. He owned the north and ruled it in her name.

He swept his gaze down for just a moment, letting Zara see, perhaps, a rare thread of true, raw emotion play on his face. He did not rebuke her hand, simply replying in a moment of melancholy. “Heavy is the head, on which the crown rests.”

In a moment it’d leave him, and he’d perk up, letting out a slight sigh as he’d move to rise and make after her. “Indeed, the reconstruction of my home has gone well, I’d enjoy retelling it.”
So apparently Cobalt has named me a Cyber terrorist, I honestly don't know to be Honored or offended.
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Postby Antimersia » Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:08 pm

Parcia wrote:The Lion

The enthusiasm he held dwindled slightly. It was a minor thing, barely perceivable to even Zara herself. He did not care. He did not care how the other lord’s would see his marriage to a hedge mage, he held their bannerman under his thumb, their economies tied to his own. He owned the north and ruled it in her name.

He swept his gaze down for just a moment, letting Zara see, perhaps, a rare thread of true, raw emotion play on his face. He did not rebuke her hand, simply replying in a moment of melancholy. “Heavy is the head, on which the crown rests.”

In a moment it’d leave him, and he’d perk up, letting out a slight sigh as he’d move to rise and make after her. “Indeed, the reconstruction of my home has gone well, I’d enjoy retelling it.”


Maiti

Maiti’s eyes grow wide. He did not expect his Lady to reject the marriage. The monk would obviously agree that it is not prudent for Lord Breton to marry this woman. But to reject the request felt harsh in Maiti’s heart. Though her attempts at appeasement, offering to legitimize the children born between the pair, is more than what most lieges would grant in a similar situation. The monk still cannot shake the feeling that this could scorn the Lord Breton. Even if his composed and shockingly upbeat disposition doesn’t hint at any scorn in the slightest. In fact, Maiti cannot help but feel a growing distrust towards the Lord Breton at how little he is showing displeasure at this news. He had seemed so determined, and singularly focused when asking for this boon. And yet now, having it rejected, seems to be without contention. Maiti will weigh the possibilities in his mind well past this interaction. Could he simply be putting on a brave face? Such an answer would make Maiti untrusting of any emotion the Lord were to show. Or rather, is he simply not at all perturbed by the news? Were this the case the monk would worry about the Lord’s ability to feel emotion at all. Neither option filling Maiti with anything other than a pit of worry in his gut. Maiti walks over to the Lord, observing his every move.

“I would offer you my sympathies, Lord Breton.” Maiti began, standing just to Arthur’s left. Looking down at the seated man with a diplomatic smile on his face. “And should you be in need, I and the Immaculate Order are always available to offer guidance.”

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Postby Parcia » Mon Feb 26, 2024 3:54 am

House Vai Manse
Blessed Isle


The Artillery Foundry

It was a small operation.

With tacit approval from Zara, Yang had begun a side operation of sorts, a break from the normal day to day killings, enforcing and debt collecting he was sent out upon. It was a nice change of pace, the days when she didn't have him doing her dirty work.

The smell of ash and smoke, of metal scale and coke drifted in the air as he dragged the cutter through the barrel of the firelance. It was the third run of the day, the third process of rifling the barrel.

It was a shorter piece, .48 caliber, with a snap lock using a piece of quarried flint. It was arguably one of his greatest pieces yet. Shame it would never see the market.

Using a set of tongs he removed the still hot barrel and set it down on the table to cool. Dropping the tools to the table, he admired his work. Nearly three feet long and made of blued steel. He leant back against the table and for a moment basked in the heat of the forge…


Vai Manse courtyard
Some time later…


“Annnd fire.” With a crack the firelance kicked and spewed fire, sending the jade ball down range at the manican. Sweating, and shoulder a bit sore, Eliah lowered the weapon and looked to her father. Yang held his gaze for a moment before nodding. “Reload.” She sighed, her arms aching and shoulder bruising.

“Father, we’ve been at this for hours-” Yang Raised a hand. “3 rounds per minute, that’s all I ask of you. I can do it, any azimahg lancemen can do it.” Eliah nodded before reaching for the powder horn and setting about the process of reloading.

He leant against the railing as he watched his daughter at work. She’d grown up so much since the war. No longer the scrawny 14 year old barely into her bloom. Now she was a woman, a grown woman. If it wasn’t for the fact Yang had effectively taken her as an apprentice, Zara'd probably have married her off to some house pansy.

Yet here she was, performing weapon drills. With his firelance. She was actually a good shot, having sent over 20 or so jade round shots down range already. What she lacked was his reload skills.

With a flick of her wrist she removed the ram rod from the barrel and seated it back under the firelance’s barrel. Using the powder horn she poured more fire salts into the pan, racked back the cover and yanked back the hammer and stood at the ready. “Fire.”


That night

The crack of the firelance gave them away. The Round lancing through the air, shattering the window and caving in the skull of the men across the card table. All was quiet for a moment as the other men around the table took a moment to process what just happened.

Yang was quicker on the draw, literally. In a flash of movement he kicked the table over and drew the fire wand. At the hip he fired off 3 shots, and at the hip the other three men dropped dead, burning holes in their chests.

Another two men stumbled through the door to the room, only for a pair of thrown jade daggers to sprout from their chests. They fell dead as he pushed through them, wand at the ready, another pair of daggers in the other hand…only to find no more thugs.

That was it, the den was empty. Sheathing the daggers he put two fingers to his mouth and let out a sharp, two tone whistle. In a few moments, Eliah, masked and wearing a hood, smoking firelance in her hand, entered.

“Torch it, like we discussed.” She nodded. “Why are we burning down a drug den?” Yang chuckled as he poured out the high proofing liquor. “Fucker’s down want to pay their taxes to house Vai, imagine that.”
So apparently Cobalt has named me a Cyber terrorist, I honestly don't know to be Honored or offended.
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Imperialisium
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Postby Imperialisium » Wed Feb 28, 2024 6:08 pm

Manse Vai

Zara nodded and waved Arthur to follow the young Matriarch of Great House Vai. Moving from the Aerium Zara made her way up a small path inlaid with smooth stones. Small stones inlaid with glyphs about harmony and inner peace lined the path as it wound up around a small rise to reveal a quaint two-story tea house. Shielded from the rest of the mountainside fortress and town by a karst of rock it instead allowed an imposing view into the mist shrouded mountains. Vast vistas of greenery and swirls of colored birds in the distance. While rising up high, taller than any other mountain in the world, piercing the heavens and clouds was the Imperial Mountain. Even at a distance the Imperial Mountain rose like a mighty pillar of Heaven, as if holding up the very sky, and clouds swirled along its upper reaches. Obscuring the peak.

Moving towards the tea house with its fluted roof and soft green shingles, Zara moved to sit on a set of pillows. Leaning back as the low table before them was swiftly adorned by a tea set by the pair of servants that maintained the tea house. Fine crafted porcelain pot and cups soon filled their nostrils with the scents of honey and vanilla, hints of cinnamon and chamomile.

"Please, be seated and enjoy the tea. Regale me with the happenings in Breton."

The Imperial City
Vai Mansion


The Vai Mansion was one of many elegant walled villa-complexes adorning the districts near the Imperial Palace. Perched on a neighborhood on a plateau overlooking other portions of the vast cityscape. Elegant canals and stonework lined rivers traversed the neighborhood into the lower districts. The Vai Mansion's red woodwork frame was elegant and matched the fiery aspect of the House. While the green shingle roof ending in upturned corners in the typical Imperial fashion matched many of its peers. The Manse was now the primary residence of Yang and Eliah. Acting as representatives to House Vai in matters of the Deliberative. Indeed, few of the Great House heads attended Deliberative sessions in person anymore. Usually, just functionaries or someone's grandchild. Only the Imperial Regent, Fokuf Tepet, would attend as the nominal 'person of interest' for such legislative sessions. Legislation that often never made it out of chamber by the coordinated stonewalling and gridlock imposed by the Great Houses acting in their own interests.

Communication between Zara and Yang, due to distance, was achievable by the Mansion's mirror-stone. A polished silver orb that allowed one to project images or even holograms of individuals to communicate with. It flashed with a white glow then swam red. Blackened streaks swirled in the crimson miasma as an attendant hurried into the room. The attendant being of the resident human sorcerers in the employ of House Vai. Hurriedly he placed a hand on the orb and listened as the information sent from Manse Vai reached into his mind. A target on the orders of Lady Vai herself. The Baron Liu Dang Zhen of House Tepet. A Patrician of House Tepet but important bureaucratic functionary in charge of tax collection at the Imperial Dockyards and Ship registries. Retaliation for Tepet attempts at targeted taxation of House Vai. An image of the man swam into the sorcerer's mind. Black haired with a long moustache and no beard. Brown beady eyes and wiry frame. Favors geisha houses. The orb returned to normal and the sorcerer retracted his hand. Rushing out of the room to find Yang.

The orders were direct and simple. Yang was to kill the man without causing undue collateral damage. An assassination.
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