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Friv
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Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

10 Feb 2008, 21:05

Alright, here it is. I'm not really happy with either the beginning or the end, but it's not getting any better.
-----

The skyship banked in the light of the setting sun, sinking downwards on the wind towards the eastern leg of the Lap. From the air, Kieran looked down at the remains of the once-majestic city. He had read about the Lap, but it was thousands of miles from his homeland, and he had never expected to see it. Certainly not like this.

Once, the city had been one of the greatest cities of the South. Nestled around the body of a statue half a mile high, buildings climbing the crossed legs and folded arms, the Lap had boasted a vast agricultural output that helped support much of the surrounding area. Now, most of those fields were ruined, either destroyed by blossoming shadowlands or occupied by camps of armed humans and demonic servants of the armies of An-Teng and Paragon. The city's centre was shrouded in smoke, the sun shining poorly down on the shadowland that had been formed when the armies of the First and Forsaken Lion had first attacked, killings thousands in the early hours of the battle.

Now, the city was quiet; its surviving inhabitants had fled the dead, taking refuge behind the armies that arrived to conquer the nation. To the west, at the edge of Kieran's vision, he could see the camps of the forces of An-Teng, an army of five thousand mortals and almost as many demons of the First Circle, which had been skirmishing with the Lion's undead since their arrival. And directly below them were the orderly ranks of Paragon's elite, soldiers and demons called from She Who Lives In Her Name, alongside those refugees who had signed on as soldiers to take back their city. Kieran shook his head as the boat sank downwards towards an area that had been cleared of tents, glancing around him. His friends and companions were standing along the top of the ship, looking out over the city with varying degrees of concern and unhappiness.

As the boat settled down on the ground, its flat bottom settled carefully into the dirt, attendants rushed forwards with a large plank, which they laid against its side. Khory and Serafin grabbed it at the top, quickly tying it off to the top of the boat, and Serafin led the way down towards the ground. Kieran followed close behind, glancing around.

“Should be one for the histories.” Khory's whispered comment brought a smile and a nod, as the attendants stepped forwards. Each was wearing a military uniform, bearing the gold and green seal of Paragon, and the two bowed low in unison, one of them speaking.

“The Perfect sends his greetings, Conduit, and will meet you in his command tent. He regrets not coming personally, but events have made that an impossibility.”

“Of course.” Serafin nodded graciously, glancing back to the others. “Will there be room for all of us?”

“Yes, milady.” Straightening, the attendant turned and started to walk. “We were advised of your numbers.”

“Good. Thank you.”

“It is our pleasure to serve, milady.”

The attendant lead the group through the walkways between the tents of the perfect's armies, and Kieran glanced around as they travelled, noting which species of demons seemed to be prevalent with the soldiers, and that the soldiers themselves were at least used enough to the demons not to flinch whenever they passed by. Most of the demons present seemed to be shimazu - heavily-armoured creatures, their bodies almost completely coated in black lead - only a small area around their eyes and hands showing - with black-green skin that marched in perfect lockstep about their tasks. He also noted a number of lesser breeds, none of whom seemed as prevalent.

The attendant led the group past a quartet of shimazu and into the Perfect's war tent, larger and more ornate than those around it. Inside, a heavy oaken table had been set up, and a number of stands stood about the room with maps of the region around the Lap laid out. Each map was marked with pins, tied with ribbons, representing the distribution of forces. Around the table, which was itself marked with a map of the Lap proper, were three men and two women, all of whom paused and looked up as the attendant knocked on the wooden post by the entrance. Four of the five wore standard military uniforms, their ornate trim and medallions marking them as the generals of the army. The fifth, however, was instantly recognizable as the Perfect.

The Perfect's robes glittered in the candlelight of the inner tent. One moment, they were the deep gold of the sun, a moment later they bore a green sheen as if spun from threads of emeralds. The robes lay lightly across his body, hanging down to just above his ankles and leaving long sleeves that, somehow, stayed perfectly out of the way as he moved his hands across the map. His coronet was a simple one, green jade coiled around his head in two tight curls, and his staff of office leaned against his chair, within easy reach if needed. His hair was short and as black as pitch, constrasting the rich brown of his skin. When he looked up at the newcomers, his eyes bore the green tint of Malfeas, but there was a passion to them that made Kieran feel an irrational urge to please this man, not out of fear of retribution but of disappointment. It was easy to see how he commanded this empire.

“Serafin, it is good to see you again.” The Perfect gestured, and his generals stepped away from the table, finding chairs in the back of the tent as he looked past Serafin to the others. “I see that you were successful - and then some.”

“Very successful.” Serafin smiled broadly, gesturing to the others. “May I introduce Tandavi Kieran, Alina, Tenrek of the Sequestered Tabernacle, and Tepet Fokuf, the Circle that will be entering Autochthon. You already know my husband, Alakazar. These others are Thetram Nash, Cathak Lodaris, Cathak Citrios, Amaya, Khory Ironthews, and Ollir Elena.”

The Perfect nodded to the group. “It is good to meet you all. I presume that Serafin has explained your task?”

“Yes, but not the specifics.” Grabbing a chair, Fokuf dropped himself into it unceremonious. More gradually, the others followed suit. “I gather that you're going to open a path for us to get into Autochthon's realm?”

“That's correct. My armies, supported by Serafin and myself, will push the Lion's troops aside just as the forces of Wesmaken did for their Infernal servant.” The Perfect shook his head. “I am sorry that I could not stop them, but I faced two Conduits, and was forced to withdraw.”

“Two?” Kieran raised an eyebrow.

“Silia Sword-dancer, the new queen of An-Teng, and Harakken Cyrus, the Conduit of Sacheverall blocked my -”

“No.” Nash spoke up. “That's impossible. Cyrus was part of the Inner Circle of the Bronze Faction. He died during Calibration...” He trailed off, his expression bleak, as Serafin shook her head slowly.

“No. He killed Chejop Kejak and escaped. He's been organizing Sacheverall's alliance for the last three months.”

“I see.” Nash shook his head slowly. “I'm sorry for my outburst.”

“I understand.” The Perfect sighed. “It is hard to learn of these things.” He turned his attention to the map. “But we can discuss this later. For now, I will give you our information - we will attack shortly after dawn, and we need to be prepared.”

As the group began to discuss, Kieran glanced over to Nash. The Sidereal's expression was even grimmer than usual, and he sighed internally, wondering how many more such revelations there would be before this war was over...
Last edited by Friv on 12 Apr 2008, 00:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 00:03

Glad to see you back, Friv! I look forward to the next installment.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 00:44

Hmmmmm.... If she knows that and Nash informed her of what happened to Millia, I wonder if she came to the logical conclusion? If so, I wonder if even Gaia's compassion will prevent her from doing everything in her power to get Cyrus's head on a pike?
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 13:26

BrilliantRain wrote:
Hmmmmm.... If she knows that and Nash informed her of what happened to Millia, I wonder if she came to the logical conclusion? If so, I wonder if even Gaia's compassion will prevent her from doing everything in her power to get Cyrus's head on a pike?


Gaia was okay with offing some of the Primordials, so a Sidereal akuma who has killed an effective grandkid is fair game, I think.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 14:28

Well, it may be a bit of time yet before Serafin gets her confrontation with Cyrus, but she's already killed at least one Conduit with Gaia's blessings, so her compassion is not likely to be applying on that front.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 14:47

Friv wrote:
Alright, here it is. I'm not really happy with either the beginning or the end, but it's not getting any better.


Man, do I know that feeling.

I don't really have anything to say about this chapter that would help there, sadly, other than it's good to see you posting stories again. :)
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Twelve: Meeting With The Perfect

11 Feb 2008, 17:00

Yay for updates. :)

Looking forward to the next chapter.
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