Old October 18, 2010, 09:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Of Nobles and Knives [Noe]

Vaguely Mid Fall Era XVII

It was a lovely midday, with the suns positioned just right in the sky, the clouds fitted just so.. And.. well, maybe he was just a little biased. Suffice it to say, Drakon was convinced that the city looked beautiful no matter the condition. If it were burning to the ground, with people running about in panic and bodies covering the streets with the faint smell of ashes and smoke clinging to his lungs. Well, even that could be lovely and captivating. Not exactly what he would desire in the immediate future, but pretty in concept nonetheless! Was it bad luck to be thinking about such things? After all, the fire which had raged over Secyclion had occurred not too long ago. Indeed, the memory was still fresh in many Secyclid minds. Nasty business. Drakon was quite happy that he'd never been there at the time, for fear of what might have happened to him. Perhaps, by minutely being there, the fire would have been inspired to spread to another ward. A sort of (extremely) unlikely paranoid thought, but the fates could be creative things.

Regardless, at this particular time, Drakon was headed towards the Agora, as per his usual bi-daily routine. He'd made a point of visiting the shops and the people there often, for sake of becoming more familiar with them and encouraging friendships to flourish. It was far easier to agree with a face you knew and liked, which was the reason he needed these people on his side! A few kind words, and a bit of politeness to the common and middle-class folk could earn some serious points. Of course, only the subtlest implication of his true intent behind the visits had ever been placed. Some more intelligent observers had noticed his continued presence and made note of it verbally. While he had done his best to assure these people he had no schedule of manipulation or winning over the locals for anything other than being nice and friendly, there were always the dissenters. Those who couldn't be swayed. Maybe out of spite for him, his house, or anything in between. Oh, he knew some of them were the devote pro-Charon fools. Utter fools.

So distracted was he by his mental brooding, his foot caught a rut in the stones and he could be seen tripping forth and windmilling his arms in a manner which was utterly embarrassing. As soon as he'd regained control of his footing (which took a shameful amount of time), Drako whirled his head about to see if anyone had noticed. Although only a couple had seemed to pay attention, one man's quiet chortle of laughter was enough to make him hunch his shoulders and slink off further down the causeway. It would still be a ways to walk to the Agora yet. Hopefully by then, he could completely forget about that little incident, as long as no one brought it up. Or anyone else who had seen him do it made note of it. He could pray with firm dedication that this would not happen.
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Old October 21, 2010, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Noe was unquestionably a creature of and yet a creature apart. Her home was the Arthos Galanos in the strange speech of the native people, her Master’s mansion the envy of the likes of Anatasiya Tepenny and the evidently despised Charon Von Dimosthenis. Distant envy, in point of fact, as the De Evile mansion was as famous for its decadent beauty as for its tendency to consume uninvited guests (i.e. everyone in living memory) body, mind, and soul. She’d been trained, albeit less vigorously than some of her other pursuits, in the etiquette required of a servant to the rich and powerful. And yet, a servant to the most powerful of creatures was still a servant. Her home still was outside, away from the heavily patrolled streets of the rich. She was most comfortable in the byways and crossroads, and in the endless crowds of the Agora Kikkimos.

She wore a uniform of satin and navy today; her dress unmistakably marking the Esh’lahier woman as a servant. It was an answer to an unspoken question, but an utterly unsatisfactory one at that. The silk’s smooth luster and deep color marked it a head and shoulders above the stuff sold by hawkish merchants to the average up-and-coming Secyclion merchant-prince. It also lacked the customary seal with which the more publicly-minded houses marked their servants; their stamps of ownership proclaiming their ownership as much as their wealth. Noe was a small and slight creature, thin even by the standards of her people. Her long, white hair was drawn back from her face by a lattice of carefully woven braids fastened by a handful of robin-egg blue ceramic beads.

“Wouldn’t you like to see…” The fat Arakamatan merchantman was almost wringing his hands in frustration to see his precious wares in the hand of a housemaid. He could hardly be blamed for wishing to rescue the curved, jewel-crusted dagger from the hands of a child. It wasn’t his fault that Noe, stunted and small as she was, was likely older than he. And that she was carrying an ivory-handled stiletto in the small of her back. “I’m sure there’s…”

Noe easily batted away the man’s hairy arms, continuing her careful examination of the blade. She flipped the weapon easily back and forth in her hand, gauging the weight and performing a dizzying series of twirls and tosses. The dagger responded like a trained snake to her ministrations, gleaming and shining in the morning sun.
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Old October 21, 2010, 09:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Agora Kikkimos was only a short trip longer, and in due time, the noble arrived to its complexes. A bazaar of its own, with countless merchants and countless goods. Much of anything around the world could be bought or peddled here, for the right price. Although some of the more exotic goods required specific ordering, it would be delivered fully and completely intact if enough coin were placed upon the table. That was merely the way of the entrepreneurs. Many of them placed their.. less expensive goods on the tables and the displays, likely out of precaution from someone snatching up a very pricey piece and just making off with it as quick as they could. The Agora was policed, but it was nowhere near as stationed as the Arthro Galanos. More often than not, the more affluent merchants would hire their own guard, or even roughnecks to 'persuade' a return of the items or to punish a business rival. Some of the quarrels could become quite infamous and violent, although he had heard of no such outstanding event for eras.

Today, it just so happened that whilst on his way to an often-returned-to spot, he caught the sight of an interesting and bemusing sight. Clothed in a notably well-woven, impressive detail of cloth was an apparent young lady. The dress itself was recognizable to Drakon was it would have been many of the people around, for this 'girl' was a servant. A handmaiden. And not just any handmaiden to a raw noble or affluent merchant, but a truly wealthy patron. The quality of the silk alone was something to awe, just as the fine embroidery spoke of a gifted tailor's elegant handiwork. What seemed missing then, and indeed was missing, was the seal, the insignia of the House this finely dressed lady was cloaked in. For all reasons and purposes, there should very well have been something to deign her as property. Yet, for a property he could not guess, it was absent. It aroused his curiosity, if but for a few moments of spared time. It wouldn't hurt to ask a few gentle questions, perhaps direct a lost young girl to her home? Something could have very well occurred which had resulted in the loss of the symbol. Thus, Drakon began to approach both the merchant and the customer.

As the youthful blue-blood drew closer, he was made aware that whom he had assumed to be an innocent, doe-eyed handmaiden was perhaps not so.. freed from life's notice. Peculiarly, in her hands lie something of an intricate blade, a weapon that was a combination of both beauty and deadliness. Many would have been entranced by such an item, if only for its mix of two such captivating elements. Artists in the past had referred to the entrancing, hypnotizing elements of the harbingers of death, and weapons abound were much sought for their impressive effect. Such was likely part of the reason his own house had a full armory with mainlander weapons as well as their own cultural degrees. Some of the Katana, the wakizashi, or the other truly masterfully crafted items he'd seen of Kemite and Elvish origin had impressed him immensely. While he would not have wielded one for likeliness that he would have made a fool of himself, he could admire from afar the beauty of other civilization's products and instruments of war. Perhaps that was what so drew in the servant girl, whom kept it despite what seemed to be the fumblings and worry of the merchant man.

What posed an even higher sense of wonder was that this young lady not only was holding the knife in an examination, but was very well testing it! And not just like how a novice would throw around a blade and say it was a fine thing indeed, but legitimately flicking it about in a manner in which was intimidating, a mark of one who knew such a knife. When he had arrived to a small distance from both the concerned purveyor and his current ward, Drako was wearing a highly amused smile. "That's rather impressive." The Secyclid commented in what was accented common, choosing to address the servant girl (and perhaps the merchant too) in a more widely known tongue. Just in case she did not fully understand the native tongue of the area. "It's not every brightening that one may be enchanted by a skilled performer." The noble continued, choosing to neutrally address the matter as not something of a potential fighter's skill, but instead of entertainment. There was much room to be proved wrong, albeit. "Far from it, I would hardly anticipate that a youthful lady would know anything about such a dangerous and unpredictable item as a knife." The last words were spoken in more of a rueful, teasing tone. He did not mean offense, but merely to jest.
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Old October 24, 2010, 02:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It was a rare day indeed when someone (merchants aside) accosted Noe in the Agora Kikkimos. The servants inhabiting the ancient estates of the Arthos Galanos avoided the Esh’lahier woman on general principle. There simply wasn’t any common ground. The strange housemaid shared no family or friends with the close-knit community of servants. No gossip—the perpetual hobby of servants the Empire over—slipped through her pale lips. Their efforts to reach out to the newcomer, made in the best of faith, were rebuffed with the traditionally cold Esh’lahier demeanor, rejections coached in such earnest politeness that it was almost insulting. The compliment, the sound of a human addressing her, caught Noe off guard. Her fingers instantly clamped down on the dagger’s hilt, her wrist twisting to hide the blade behind the black silk of her shirt sleeve.

“There is nothing unpredictable about a dagger, Kyrio.” The maid made an awkward curtsy with her free hand in Drakon’s direction. Her Common was accented with a mixture of the smooth Arakamatan pronunciation and the harsher, choppier tones of Nexus Prime—though even that seemed at odds with her actual pronunciation. Her Secyclion, however, was academic and precise. “They shan’t lie to you, and they shan’t fool. I admire their honesty.”

“I suppose I perform, yes.” What else she was doing, Noe left to the young man’s amply endowed imagination. She’d grown more relaxed now, the bejeweled dagger now held in her right hand pinched between two fingers. It was a show of neutrality, a white flag sentient beings practiced since learning to club each other’s brains out with rocks. Look, I have a weapon, it said. But I’m showing it to you! And holding it in an awkward position. So don’t be alarmed. Whether or not the gesture had its intended effect was another matter entirely. The same ease with which Noe controlled the spinning dagger, no doubt, could transmute a light pinch into a hard grip in a moment. “I learned from my father many eras ago. It’s a good thing for a young girl to amuse herself when her parents were busy, yes.”

“But I forget myself.” Her tone was of chosen deference—an obligation to politeness. This alone wasn’t unusual among servants, particularly the more surly sort. Her demeanor was faultless, but off. As if she only shared the world with Drakon, as if she moved in a manner entirely orphaned from the daily life of Secyclion. “I am Noe, kyrio. Ti-kanis simera?”*

* How are you today?
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Old October 24, 2010, 09:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It was true that many held a high nose around the servants of society: the maids, the butlers, and the serfs. Even the 'indentured' types, which was merely a polite way of saying an individual with even fewer rights or freedoms. There had, however, looked to be next to no danger in merely sharing a word or two with a handmaiden. If someone of any import spotted him and inquired as to why he were wasting his time with a house servant, he could just as smoothly suggest that he was offering a kind word of direction to a merchant or some other location. And then follow up with the customary riposte, to which the word sparring would commence, and both of said individuals would leave with something familiar to grace. Hopefully, none of that would have to occur, and he could merely continue a pleasantly innocent conversation with a young lady who knew how to toss about knives like she could nail one into a man's head.

"No?" Drakon's smooth voice prodded quietly, his head turning slightly, and his eyes scanning the creature before him. Her prose was admittedly intriguing, and his curiosity to learn more about this strange female had been perked once more. It wouldn't hurt to stop and share some time in talk, if at least to indulge that minor interest. "You have a unique perspective, kyria. Especially for such a orea gune. I'd dare say you could lower the defenses of many by appearance alone." Contrary to what his words might have been interpreted as, Drako had little intent of being flirtatious, more that he was stating a true opinion on the matter. And that perhaps, he too was still deceived into thinking that the woman before him was younger than she truly was.

His sight did flicker towards the knife a second time, however, as her ambiguous answer was provided. She supposed that she performed? Oh, there could be so many other things that accompanied that definition. While he would not have cared to think of a few, some more.. morbid suggestions popped into his mind. Knowing how to use a knife was a sure sign of quite a few uncomplimentary aspects that could also be attached to a person. A more idealistic side of him would have liked to have thought that the young woman's interest and ability in the knife was benign to any other dealings.. Well, that idealistic side was a very minute portion of his being. If her gesture had its intended effect or not, Drako's person was utterly unchanging, his smile hardly even shifting. "Ah, a parent. It is a truly awe-inspiring thing to consider all the talents that a single generation can pass down to another. Although some skills are more practical than others." A hint? A jest? An insinuation? Regardless, the matter seemed dropped the moment the topic had changed.

Aside from ability with the dagger, her lack of any house symbol, and the fact she were currently admiring a weapon, there was something about her that he just.. couldn't place. Try as he might, this sense of wrongness emanating from the female was a tricky, slippery feeling. Words escaped him. Choosing to file it away for the moment as foolish warnings, he gave a slight bow of the head towards her in return. "Drakon." He returned, deliberately neglecting to provide his house name. If at least for now, it would be pleasant to talk as.. the closest thing to equals as one could be at the moment. "Kala, efharisto [good, thank you]. And you?" A bare moment after, Drako blinked, as if he had suddenly experienced a reminiscence. "Ah, I have forgotten my manners. Were you interested in the item?" A pause, as the nobleman fetched a piece of paper, supposedly so that he might write a loan. "If so, consider it a doro [gift], hm?" The offer was extended. If she so wished, he could pass the man a debt, and then return to pay for the armament at another time. While it could very well eclipse a fair amount (if not all) of his self-made budget, he was willing enough to work until he had regained the said amount. A peculiar act of generosity, if there ever was one. To offer a purchase of a likely expensive item for no other reason than raw integrity.
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Old October 31, 2010, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Secyclion was Noe’s home inasmuch as the immigrant of N’danosh understood the general concept of home. The sand-people of the great western deserts (from an Aelyria-centric point of view) followed the entwined and elusive gods of water and fodder. A home was a tent pitched on the hard sand; a place to rest one’s head against sand-studded covers. Her people had a saying along the lines of ‘home is where the sand from your clothes mixes with the sand in your bed’. Home was transitory and temporary, subject to the whims of nature and man. The idea of living in a single place—of having hundreds of generations living in a single place—was an anathema. Here was where she lived, and here was where she worked. Language and mannerisms the Esh’lahier learned from the handful of other servants in the de Evile household. Of the rest of Secyclion society, she knew little and cared less.

“Noe.” The Esh’lahier pronounced her name ‘No’ followed by a hard ‘e’. She smiled demurely at the human man, nodding her head in a small gesture of deference. “I am quite well this morn’. The sun is bright and the wind is strong.”

She raised the bejeweled dagger between them, pointing at the weapon with her empty hand. One white eyebrow arched in delicate curiosity. “This? You should learn, and learn well, that pretty things are not always good things. Expensive shan’t last as long as the plain.”

The merchant at this point had disappeared for the nearest vender of alcoholic beverages.

“Look,” she suggested, seeking to balance the dagger on an extended finger. The blade wobbled to and fro as she slid the weapon from the middle of the weapon further and further to the right. When it finally settled into an even equilibrium, Noe was balancing the weapon by the handle. “You shan’t thrust with this kind of weapon, the curve would be too easily caught in the ribs. It’s a cutting blade through and through. You wish to have the weight on the cutting blade then, and not resting in the palm of your hand.”

“Still, kyrio, I thank you for your generosity.” Noe snapped the blade back into its sheath with an almost piqued flick of her hand. “Which house claims you as its scion, master Drakon? I must confess that I cannot recall from your given name alone.”
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Old November 1, 2010, 02:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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"A omorfi [beautiful] name if I've ever heard one, kyria." His smile's lathering of learned charisma and social appearance was almost palpable. Although it was definitely genuine in part, the hints of higher education on how to appear for an audience (even if that 'audience' was a single individual) seemed impressed upon him as if it were almost natural. A common, often repeated mistake that made his class more obvious. Not to mention his blatant offer to purchase something that appeared expensive, a deduction that likely would have been impossible for any commoner, or at least very difficult for one. Regardless, Drakon was legitimately attempting to be friendly and courteous. This woman never failed to intrigue. The more he learned, the more he desired to know. Perhaps it was merely the gnosis [knowledge] of others and social niceties which pleased him, for it was a mortal indulgence to talk and share news, and hear of others which so perked the curiosity.

"Oh, voeo [I understand] quite well, kyria. You certainly do surprise, although. It seems as if most of our, ah, residents do not possess the shrewd mindset that you demonstrate. It is always a lesson of the wise to comprehend the fallacia [deceit] of appearances, ne? Of course, this is a double-edged xiphos." His wordplay was quite literal to the definition, at least in some portions of his references. However, he had not missed the disappearance of the shopkeep, and nor did he waive aside the keen education that Noe laid before him. His eyes followed the movements of the blade, and the manner in which she balanced it so cunningly. It was a curious art, and one which could certainly entrance as well as it could eviscerate an unwitting opponent. The tales of vicious and talented knife and dagger fights had not escaped his ear, as close as he tried to place it to the ground of both aristocracy and lower class. Still, a first-hand account was always reserved for those souls who were brave enough, and while Drako admired the bravery of standing in the line of danger, it was usually pure folly when the dust had settled.

He blinked a single time after she had sheathed the blade, shifting his gaze back to the gune herself. He was sorely tempted to comment on what she had just displayed, but thought better to reserve his inner thoughts for a more apt occasion. After all, she had posed a question, and it would have been improper and impolite of him to attempt a return to an earlier topic. While he would have liked to have kept the details a secret, a direct question could hardly be evaded without rude implications. "The Xanthos Ecogenia [house], kyria." A thin smile spread his lips, before he added another detail to make sure that no gaps of obscurity remained."That does include the agauos Baron, as you might imagine." A pause, and his head briefly shifted to the side as if distracted by some minute detail."The city has changed quite a bit since I last was enchanted by its beauty, but nothing agan [in excess] ever does any good. A view every aion [century] would be enough."
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Age wasn’t something Noe thought about often. She was, of course, an Esh’lahier elf with all the physiological trappings: small stature, white hair, and pointed ears. Her kind naturally counted their lives in centuries, with whispers of ancient elders existing for millennia. Her kind. Her lineage’s long exile to N’danosh had quickened things. The old lived a mere two hundred eras, the unlucky dying as quickly as the humans around them. Here in the Empire with its neigh-wasteful stockpiles of food and almost unthinkable water, she could easily live longer than the human standing before her. If. Whether in N’danosh or in Aelyria, she seemed destined to life fast and die young. Barely an adult and yet she already had scars to last a lifetime. “Better the omorfi stigma*. Things change in the blink of an eye, kyrio. A moment and what you love is changed forever.”

“I must apologize, kyrios. My master is not a eygenis^ of the Red Island and thus I know little of your family. His holdings lie far to the west over the Eunesian oceans.” She curtsied again, this time properly using both of her hands to lift the helm of her dress. “He has little business with Secyclion, and few visitors.”

* beautiful moment
^ nobleman
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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While, much in part thanks to a hearty education at the Universitas, Drakon was not entirely ignorant as to the other races of the world, and the sub-races and sub-classes therein, it would have taken a deliberate notice from Noe for he to recognize her heritage. The elves and other peoples of the world might have not gone unnoticed by the keen youth's eye, but there was a lacking in just how much he truly had in information and knowledge. The high-placed Secyclid was perhaps blissfully unaware of the strife and conflict, the struggles and the hardships, and all else in between that Noe had suffered to reach the position she had come to hold. Hers was a story that could likely have been related to an Epic if it had been told entirely. But for the high society raised nobleman, well, he likely wasn't exactly deserving considering his own comfortable and plush life. Drakon, like many of the other Secyclids, may or may not live a long and moderately successful life. There was a higher chance at success considering how much money his House could boast, but yet, he was still a human. Still mortal, and still flesh and bone. There was no special attribute which would have staved off the lines of age more than the typical period. While he was currently at the very peak of his youth, there was little more to climb. A brief stay at the top before a slow descent. And in Drakon's opinion, it would be as slow as humanly possible.

"Eloquently spoken, kyria. It would take but a second to change an agape [love], to change a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, a city, a country.. Terrifying in itself, ne? To know that our thoughts and opinions could be so revolutionized in the time it takes a foot to step." The youth's tone reflected a sort of embezzlement, as if he were almost entranced by this mythical possibility. Perhaps there was some romanticism in that concept, that a mere snap of a fingers could decide the fates (or change the fates!) of however many individuals. Perhaps there he was seduced by the prospect that he could one day wield such power, or was it merely awe in that another could? For to witness a being so supreme that he or she could wave a hand and command a nation was something that held the hearts of the populace in something of a closed locket. That enrichment in and of itself could be a dangerous weapon if played well. There was something to regard in a person of image, after all. That image could lead thousands to battlegrounds, political strife, and far more than mere imagination.

"Not to worry." He said calmly enough, and with a provided smile. There was no offense to it, or at least nothing he considered as a fault on Noe's part. His name wasn't as well known as many of the others who circulated the isle. At least not yet. "If you would permit me your embistosyni [trust] that I mean no harm, might I proceed with a curiosity as to why your presence would be here if your oikia [household] is so distant?" There was no presence of hostility or suspicion his tone, but mere polite interest. Anyone did well to learn of the details of foreign intrigue in Secyclion, and especially from a place so far from Eunesia itself. He had to admit, there was something of a surrounding mystery that seemed to build around the maid-like kyria. From a foreign holding, for a foreign purpose? Only time would properly pluck truths from falsehoods, or whether there would be more questions to accompany the answers he did receive.
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Old November 29, 2010, 07:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Noe didn’t share the young Secyclion nobleman’s faith in philosophical thought. The Esh’lahier maid came from a profoundly different background than the scion of House Xanthos, grew and matured on the tarnished, dirtied side of Drakon’s golden coin. Change in the manner he described happened quickly for any of a thousand reasons. A faster blade thrust a split second before an opponent. A stroke of luck in finding an abandoned back of golden crowns. Or the heartbreaking abandonment of Lady Chance when guardsman lurked around the corner. She trafficked in action; wagered her fortunes on the strength of her body and the swiftness of her feet. Ideals were all too swiftly swept away, Noe believed, cast away by the desperate and the greedy. Everything she held dear, thrown away to see another sunrise.

She wondered about the young Drakon. A strange name, a strong name. Even in the deserts of N’danosh the Esh’lahier fold told stories of great dragons leveling mountains with the sweep of a tail and rivaling the gods themselves. The stories changed, as they were wont to do, twisting with each culture and changing to reflect the reality of the story tellers. Drakon. A wager then with no one but herself. The Esh’lahier maid would roll the dice with Fate.

“I am here because my Master wills it.” There was a cold edge in her voice, steel peaking from beneath her carefully cultivated mask of civility. It was a hint of a frightening intensity; a terrible, craven devotion forged from blood and tears. Her delicate fingers played with a silver chain dangling around her neck. “I shan’t speculate on his business, or his purpose. It’s not my place.”

She gave the chain a sharp pull. Dangling from the end of the chain was a bejeweled gryphon shaped from a single piece of cooling obsidian. Each of the feathers was detailed in exquisite detail on the winged lion’s flanks; the white plumage of its heads a dozen diamonds of breathtaking clarity. White gold highlighted the creature’s great muscles and traced the contours of its magnificent body. An single, baleful eye of ruby seemed to gaze sternly into Drakon’s eye. It was a thing of beauty, and yet terrible to behold. The seal seemed to shift and change from one moment to the next; twisting and becoming in an utterly unknowable but profoundly frightening way. The diamond feather glistened in the Secyclion sunlight one moment, and the next a dozen insanity-glazed eyes stared at Drakon. Tomorrow the human would shake his head, dismissing it all as a bad dream. But right now, it was all too real.

“The Imperial Viceroy turns his eyes abroad.”
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Old November 29, 2010, 08:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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There had been some peculiarity to his own name in the early periods of his childhood. The sharp syllables felt unpleasant and far too bold, even if it were shortened to a more amiable version that his family chose to refer to him by in the affectionate situations that so randomly arose in the house and younger years. As he'd grown in age, height, strength, and most importantly: personality, it had almost seemed as if he'd begun to fill the mold of that formidable address. Certainly, the young noble could hope to match the arrogance and image of the legendary wyrms, that in their glorious and often elegantly scaled forms, they displayed a sort of pride and image that both awed and terrified beast and sentient being alike. Yet, for all of that metaphysical likeness, it was still only a shallow, mortal attempt at matching the pure power beneath the shell of the name. There was almost a defeat in knowing that he would never touch at nearly as much legend as that held by the winged high nobility of the skies. A wonder, were the dragons that so ruled the heavens ever born under the same roof as a man or woman? Or was it that their souls had been ageless, always confined to the cask of a scaled essence? It seemed almost amusing that, like the societies and caste system which defined the civilizations which dotted the earth, there might be same for souls. If only it were a distant dream, he might have liked to think, in the deepest of subconscious thoughts, that at one point in his existence, and not merely his existence as his current person, that he could have touched those same reaches.

Some unease crawled into him, like a chilling thing which had managed to snake its way past his flesh and slither down his spine. The simple seven words in which Noe returned his off-and-on worded question came as a rather unknowing surprise to the noble, who had almost come to a conclusion that while this rather pretty looking maid was somewhat different from the common caste, she was likely nothing to be turned at for a third glance. Yet, there was that third glance then, which accompanied the gentle buffet of a windstorm, nay, something perhaps fiercer and more determined than that. Even in that brief hush of wind, it was enough to turn heads at its image and power. Perhaps the cap which had been sealed so finely over the costume and refined composure had creased and broken a sliver. Whatever it had been, he found himself in one of the few purely discomforting situations in his life. The pampered path in which he had led, while providing in healthy food for ambition and pursuits in politics, it had unprepared him for the rawness of that determination. That brutal prerequisite in which had formed Noe's veiled passion was clearly foreign to he, having little to do with blood or tears. The next phrase which she spoke was almost dulled, droned out. It occurred to him, as those pale little digits began to draw the necklace sharply to his vision, that he should keep a finer eye on this woman. While some of the other nobility would have scoffed at the idea of investigating a maid, no matter how odd or intriguing, there was always the doors (or perhaps, pre-opened doors) of opportunity that followed as if a paper trail from such individuals. Their presence called upon that notice, if only for the sating of curiosities.

And truly, what better thing to verify his suspicions than that which now dangled in front of his vision? In the same instant as it was unveiled, Drakon suspected heavily that this was perhaps a sign of sleep, or rather, a brief lack of sanity. Why exactly his mind had chosen to break on this particular day seemed something distant, as his eyes were trapped by that shifting definition of madness. It was beautiful. It almost completely shamed his own family's symbol, and this was merely the mark worn by a maid! Why, how, what, questions flooded his mind. There were no answers to be found. Perhaps the most dismal and deeply troubling factor was that as he gazed into the medallion, so did it gaze back. Those eyes of his were widened now, perhaps shocked, awed, and petrified all in the same moment. The Secyclid had to tear his eyes away, quite literally force his thoughts and person to avert his gaze. It was something which could very well have snatched him into an addled state if he had dared stare longer than he had.

Drakon was shaken, and parts of it were showing. His usually finely defined stance was.. not entirely so defined or fine. What exactly had happened, he was neither entirely sure nor entirely wishing to return to that portion of his life to try to investigate. It had been perhaps ten seconds of staring, but that much felt like disturbed earth in an untouched graveyard. There was warning enough not to go further. Perhaps finally managing to collect himself, there was a partially genuine smile. "Ah.. ne. Ne. Of course. I suppose it would be an intelligent move to.. place one's instruments where they best perform. It certainly prepares the ground for further movements. Or at least, scouts it out for the true berth of the advance." He spoke, of course, off of militaristic basing. Often or not, a probing movement was suggested for any invasion tactic. One or two soldiers could roam the environment, touch at its defenses and estimate its army, before returning with information would could be essential for winning the crucial ground. Of course, concerning Secyclion, this was not entirely the most comforting idea.
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Old January 24, 2011, 06:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
Noe

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Noe took a childish enjoyment in the effect her Master’s seal upon the unsuspecting and the unprepared. The symbol itself implied a temporal wealth and power rivaling the great noble lineages of the empire, wielded at the whim of a single, eternal power. The Imperial Viceroy certainly owned seals of no particular power, save for the threat of terrible retribution for those who would take his name and image in vain. Others, like the locket the Esh’lahier maid carried, bore the smallest sliver of the Ancient Aelyrian’s power. It was employed—as Drakon was finding himself—only when the white-haired killer whished to make plain her master’s identity. In truth, she used it only sparingly. It frightened Noe as much as—or perhaps more than—others. The gaze of the Imperial Viceroy was not a light thing, and the price of failure beyond imagining.

She slipped the seal back beneath the smooth silk of her maid’s uniform. In minutes, its effects upon the young nobleman would cease. Only in the faint glimpse of memory and dream would Drakon remember the unearthly glimmer in the gryphon’s ruby eye or the subtly wrong beat of its diamond-encrusted wings.

“I go where He wills, and do as He wishes.” Her response came with a light shrug of her shoulders. His power was more than enough to whisk Noe from one side of the continent to the other on errands—some simple, some convoluted beyond belief—demanded her hand. Or her knives.

“He is always searching. For those of cunning and ability.” The last word was spoken cold and stark. The Imperial Viceroy had famously little use for the courtesans who gathered around the powerful. “Those who would do great things.”

Her smile was sincere, if not particularly comforting.
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Old January 28, 2011, 06:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Drakon Xanthos is a benevolent Adventurer


The noble carried that vaguely disturbed expression of his for a few spare moments longer, that iconic look in one's eyes of having seen something not exactly meant for the facets of mortal comprehension. With it gone, he was at a loss for words to describe it, even to begin to analyze it. Surely, if he brought the subject up to another, they would think him babbling, or mad. But still, why had she so easily revealed the identity of herself, or much less, her master? It was a puzzling mess, and one he was just beginning to gather the few pieces he had for. While to another he might have merely considered it a bit of clever conjuring and a wide imagination, but Noe had established enough of a groundworks for this possibility to be far and fetched. The Imperial Viceroy. The name carried enough weight to it, although he had to admit that he had never heard of it before. Perhaps that was for the best, perhaps it was as the fellow wished. Who would know?

Regardless, it was his sincere hope that the Viceroy's state would stay just that, Imperial. While others might have had eyes for the entire world, Drakon was content to adjust his gaze to the mere prospect of the Nesocratic Federation itself. It was usually a smart game plan to begin small, and work your way up the ladder. While in a more amusing and less complex world, he might have fancied working with this Viceroy fellow, the Eunesian Noble had enough of a mind in his head not to go playing with politics which were larger than him. Such things could easily destroy any man or woman who was foolish enough to consider themselves worthy. History did have an unfortunate habit of repeating itself to those ignorant enough not to read its texts, and that was one constantly restarting game. Power, ambition, and the vices of mortals.

"I must admit, kyria, the prospect of your master's dúnamis [influence] is one to daunt minds." The noble straightened up then, to resume himself. Indeed, with creatures like Noe at his call, few would feel very comfortable at all, being trapped by the eyes of a gryphon. But then, he continued, trailing off topic, but returning to the Esh'lahier. "I do wonder as to your anánke [destiny]. Our world's scripture is that carved in haima [blood], and as you kseperno [conquer] your foes, what will you have graphein [wrote]?"A musing smile lingered on his lips, and for a moment, his eyes wavered upon the distance as if he were attempting to search some distant plain or relic of time. But then he seemed to recline back to reality, as if reminding himself of the present. "Perhaps our own individual words will cross. I intend to make changes in this chain of islands. Stagnation.. The lack of difference we proceed to further sink ourselves into. I pity those fools who would stand by, and let it happen." His face hardened for but a moment, relaxing soon after into the usual social mask of affable nature.
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