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* Plot Information for Hayll

Hayll has sought a suitable Queen to rule for years, but the one it has chosen has become the pawn of a manipulative Prince plotting genocide. While slaves fight for their lives in the Coliseum, Nero Augustus, Consul of Hayll, plunges the Territory towards war safely behind his puppet Queen.
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Author Topic: precious illusions  (Read 504 times)

Description: Attn: Judas

Offline Shinsuke no Izayoi

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precious illusions
« on: Mar 16, 18, 01:14:11 AM »
(Takes place two weeks after  Sleep Now in the Fire )


Shinsuke had not expected the courtesan to be proficient at chess.

He realized, now, how that thought spoke to his aristo status. He'd expected her to be less-educated, less adept than other women solely because of where she worked, rather than anything she'd done. It was the thinking of an elitist, someone accustomed to looking down upon others. Shinsuke had never been that man, but he feared that Hayll was having an effect upon him, one that he needed to quell. 

The woman, Solara, was better educated than many of her station and this Red Moon House was cleaner and better maintained than others he’d passed. His nightly walks around Draega told him that the Hayllians took better care of their whores than their homeless, an indictment of the Territory within itself. Shinksuke thought he understood barbarism and cruelty the day he watched Eyrien delegates torn apart and slain for the amusement of a land full of barbarians that held no respect for the sanctity of life.

Successive months inside the Coliseum had robbed him of those precious illusions.

Solara captured another of his pawns and favored him with a smile. Shinsuke offered her a nod of the head and smiled, moving his own piece to capture yet another of hers. She was good, better than most of the geisha his cousin in his cousin’s court. Not so good as his mother, but few people were. Shinsuke missed her, wondering if she was readying herself for the Kindling Festival. Did she count him among the departed? Did his family even know that anything had gone wrong?

The game ended and Solara rose from her seat.

Prince Izayoi, would you like another cup of tea?” the Witch asked.

Yes, Lady Solara, please.” he said. She turned and walked away, and Shinsuke noted the extra sway she put into her hips, guessing that it was solely for his benefit. He looked toward the window once more, wondering if Judas had made it out of the Coliseum before its fall. Whatever the being was that had freed them all, it had not held back in its destruction of that monstrous place. Shinsuke’s eyes passed over the large sitting room of the Red Moon House once more, noting the dark hardwood floors, the plush couches, and the paintings that adored the walls. The proprietor, Lady Vidanic, was said to be a woman of culture and refinement. Shinsuke had not yet met her, but the ladies told him that Judas often looked out for them in his mother’s stead. That had given Shinsuke some hope of running into the man, but that was last week.

Shinsuke inhaled slowly, letting the air fill him before releasing that breath and all of his worries with it. They said that Prince Judas would be here. Mother Night moved in her own time, not his.

He would wait as long as he necessary.

His quest depended upon it.

Offline Judas Vidanic

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #1 on: Apr 01, 18, 01:34:37 AM »
It was not true that the sky had fallen the day the Coliseum did, but in many ways it felt like it had. The adrenaline that had poured through his veins in the days after as he watched over Lilith's too still sleep had not abated until he finally saw her safe and strong enough to no longer require his care. Not that she had needed much. Leave it to Lilith to have an entire Coliseum collapse on her only to be up and moving without issue a few days later.

He was proud that the Gray Jeweled Black Widow was the mother of his daughter. His only regret lay in not having been a part of her life for any of her childhood, but he did understand why Lilith had made the choice she had, even if his initial reaction left her office furniture in splinters. He had kept to his side of the bargain and worked hard to stay sober. Mostly sober. Sober adjacent.

On top of ensuring all of the women in his mother's establishment were cared for and safe, he had written letters to both his mother and Queen, letting them know what had happened and that he was okay. And then he had left to find Cadmus and the others. It did not take long for him to find them in Faro. His relationship with Cadmus had always been... complicated. But for Glory's sake, they had made their peace.

He had not been a slave. But he had kept any number of them alive on the sands of the Coliseum floor, and he cared to know that they still were. He only stayed for a few days, but it was long enough to see him satisfied with how many had survived and to give Cadmus a not insubstantial sum of money to see them fed.

Judas had earned money on their backs just like Pullo and those other pig fuckers had. Between his work, his mothers, and the vineyards, one thing they were not hurting for was money. Judas saw some of that money right back where it had been earned. It wasn't much as far as helping out. Hell, it didn't make up for fuck all they had endured. But if it kept them fed, well, he could see to help out there at the least.

Arriving home, he washed and changed before going next door to check on how everyone was doing and make sure no one had given them hell in his absence. Someone pointed him toward one the sitting rooms, and he made his way there, passing Solara as he did so. He nodded at her and she smiled at him. Despite feeling like an awkward beast of burden in his mother's fine establishment, he did manage to reach Shinsuke without breaking anything. Small mercies.

"Shinsuke," he said, rounding the man so he could see him. No doubt he'd already smelled the heavy dark Gray that rolled in front of him and clung to everything he touched. It was why he normally spent little time here, didn't want to scare off the customers. But right now, with the city in chaos, he figured it helped. "Good to see you alive."



Offline Shinsuke no Izayoi

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #2 on: Apr 13, 18, 10:27:02 PM »
The scent of the Gray Warlord Prince was powerful enough to make the Tacean Prince sit up a bit straighter in his seat. Shinsuke, already alert for danger, was now even more watchful and aware of the gulf of power between himself and the Shield of Hayll. Shinsuke rose from his seat and to face the Warlord Prince, bowing in deference to the male who held both the higher caste and darker jewels. His bow was deep and perfect, offering all respect to the man who’d first explained the rules of the Coliseum to him and who had noticed Shinsuke taking care to protect and escort any Healer sent to aid those who’d competed for the pleasure of the bloodthirsty Hayllian savages.

“Judas, it’s good to see you, too. I’m glad you got out of the Colosseum before it came down.” Shinsuke said, meaning every word. There were few enough people that Shinsuke actually wanted to escape the destruction in the Coliseum, but this mad had made the short list. The others were probably scattered to the winds already. Shinsuke knew that he should have left Hayll for anywhere else in Terreille as soon as the collar came off, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

He still had a mission.

There’s been fear and panic in the streets since it happened. The Hundred Families appear to be shoring up their defenses. Or they are burying their heads in the sand. It’s hard to tell the difference some days.” Shinsuke said.

Shinsuke studied the male before him. At first glance, it appeared that they were of an age. Shinsuke wasn’t a young man. He’d just marked his forty-fourth year recently. He’d lost months to the Colosseum. Judas had the golden eyes of a Hayllian, but they lacked the deep gold lustre of the patrons of this establishment. His skin was duskier and Judas was covered in more scars than Shinsuke had ever seen on a living man. But the most striking feature was the scruff that the other man always possessed. Shinsuke couldn’t tell if Judas was a young man or an ancient one. Every time he tried to guess a Hayllian’s age, he failed miserably.

Most of the escapees went south with Cadmus and those others who aided in freeing us. I overheard a few of the talking about it before they left.” Shinsuke said.

I came here to ask what your plans are. There’s a lot happening here and I don’t know the lay of the land. So I need the help of a local. This is my first time on the mainland. I don’t even fully know how I ended up here, but I have my suspicions. Either way, I need to learn more about Hayll if I’m going to find the people I’m looking for.” he said, looking down at the floor. Shinsuke hated being at a disadvantage. Asking for help was not an issue, but he felt like a child thrown to the wolves. Those wolves were circling and he was already exotic-looking enough to draw attention if he went somewhere without knowing how to act.

Will you help me?

Offline Judas Vidanic

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #3 on: Jul 25, 18, 03:40:03 PM »
Judas rubbed his broad palm against the back of his neck. "Pure luck, friend. While everyone was running away from the Colosseum, I ran toward it to get" the mother of my child "a friend out who was trapped inside. But yeah, I'm glad, too."  He glanced around for a moment, deciding which of the seemingly delicate pieces of furniture in the room he was willing to risk sitting in. He knew his mother's clients enjoyed the elegance of her home, but he still couldn't get used to it. Picking a chair in the corner, he sat down tentatively, as if he wasn't sure that the chair would actually hold up under his weight.

"Fuck the Hundred Families," Judas said without hesitation. Yeah until recently they had been the ones who paid him, who owned him basically. And he had profited off their drunken largess and thirst for violence, as long as that violence was well contained. Now that it had spread out into the streets and spilled like a wave building into the countryside, they weren't so thrilled about the violence that brewed in each heart of the rebellion.

He had fed no small sum of blood stained coin back into the rebels, the very individuals who had bled for its acquisition. He'd parted on neutral terms with Cadmus, which was an impressive feat for both Warlord Princes. Great events in history called for the setting aside of smaller squabbles. Fuck, even large ones were basically being tossed to the side in exchange for a united front against the current governing of Hayll.

Judas wondered if he should feel any loyalty to the Queen of Hayll. Would they come for her? He was a part of her Third Circle, after all, but the position was largely ceremonial and tied heavily to his rule as the Shield, a title he couldn't really hold anymore, yet stayed with him regardless.

"Can't tell you my plans. I don't know them yet. But depending on what kind of help you need, I can do that. Food, shelter, a place to lay low, all of that you can have here. If you want to be regaled with stories of Hayll, you'll find me lacking, but I don't mind answering whatever questions you have." Judas glanced around the room. "Let's go somewhere a bit more private." Too late he realized the way his words could be misconstrued, sitting in a Red Moon House as they were. "I mean, I live next door. I try not to spend too much time over here. My scent soaks into the furniture. Spooks the clientele and is hell on the cleaning staff."

If Shinsuke agreed, Judas would lead him back through Judiah's house and out a side door that led to a path and a gate. Opening the gate, he motioned for Shinsuke to follow, and led him into the kitchen of his own home. It was spacious, with a large heavy table at its center. The chairs would broad and sturdy and the room was drenched in Judas' dark scent. The large man was clearly at ease in the space. "You hungry?" he asked, turning to gather some ingredients before Shinsuke even had a chance to answer. 



Offline Shinsuke no Izayoi

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #4 on: Jul 27, 18, 01:06:13 AM »
I’m glad you were able to save your friend.” the Tacean Prince said, meaning it. Only Judas would run into danger to save another person. The larger man sought a place to sit in the fine room and, not for the first time, Shinsuke no Izayoi was curious about Lady Judiah, who owned this place. She clearly raised a man with a core of decency, despite the way Judas shied away from praise. Many men inside the Colosseum had forsaken their honor in favor of survival. Most of the mainlanders he’d encountered were barbarians to the core, but some surprised him with the savage nobility they possessed.

It was strange to consider that they were all Blood, despite their differences.

Judas cursed the Hundred Families, Hayll’s answer to the Great Clans of Tacea. Shinsuke wondered if anyone in Tacea would speak so boldly against the Dragon Houses to outsiders. He doubted it, but it was just one more difference between Hayll and Tacea. These Hundred Families were the most indolent beings he’d encountered, even outside of Raej’s slavers. In fact, some of them were slave-owners themselves, a fact that angered the Prince.

Well, a place to plan my next move is a good start. Thank you for letting me stay here.” Shinsuke said, following Judas to his home. They emerged in a kitchen with a large table. Judas inquired about his hunger and Shinsuke accepted the offer of a meal because he liked food. He sat down at the table and composed what he wanted to say. He had a lot of questions, but he also had a mission to complete. But none of that could happen until he addressed a few things.

I wasn’t supposed to be in the Colosseum. I left Tacea to track down a murderer who escaped paying his Price in our homeland. To disguise my mission, I left Tacea with a diplomatic group...of sorts. I was betrayed, though. I ended up in Raej, captured by this murderer’s people. They drugged me and, when I woke up, I ended up in the Colosseum.” Shinsuke said.

I don’t know what happened to everyone else that I left Tacea with. None of them ended up in the Colosseum with me. I think I’m going to head south, to Faro. Most of the people who left the Coliseum weren’t warriors. Not really.” Shinsuke said. He looked to Judas, wondering if the man was as clueless about his own plans as he’d said.

In Tacea, if this situation occurred and the Clan Queen of an area could not put down a Rebellion, the Dragon Queen would mobilize the forces of the Territory Court to lend aid.” Shinsuke said.

Do you think it will go that far? If it does...who do you believe will win?"

Offline Judas Vidanic

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #5 on: Oct 30, 18, 10:36:50 PM »
Judas set to work making food for both himself and his guest. Ever since he had first earned his own paycheck, he had made sure Judiah's kitchen was always stocked to overflowing. His own he kept much the same. The amount of food the Gray Warlord Prince required was enough to keep a small farm busy year round. He promised Judiah they would never want for food if he had a say in it, and that promise had been fulfilled tenfold.

Gathering things from the cold box, he laid it all out on the table. Judas cut think slabs of bread, cheese, and meat before adding various fruit to the plates. Two pies were brought out, one savory and one sweet. A large square of butter sat between them, which Judas used to apply butter liberally to several slices of bread. He poured them both large glasses of water. "I try not to drink these days on account of my daughter, but I have some ale if you'd like."

He listened while he laid everything out, motioning for Shinsuke to help himself. "Don't stand on ceremony much here," he said by way of excuse or apology. When his guest shared with him what would happen in Tacea, Judas nodded. It sounded about right from what little the Tacean had shared with him before.

Judas thought of Sabine. He didn't hate her the way he did Aleyia, but there was something off but Hayll's young Queen. "Hayll's Queen is many things, but she's not a Dragon. The Consul has the power to meet the rebels, but I can't honestly say what they will do." He took a large bite of the sandwich he had made, piling everything on top of each other to make a towering mass he had to stretch his mouth to get a bite of. He chewed for quite a while before continuing.

"These people have a right to speak out against what was done to them." He looked thoughtfully at Shinsuke. "Would your Dragon still take down her own people if their cries were just?"



Offline Shinsuke no Izayoi

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #6 on: Nov 16, 18, 01:59:34 AM »
His time in the Coliseum had given him a new appreciation for many things, but Shinsuke found that his love of food had increased now that he was again free. He still missed Tacean food, but his stomach was no longer as irritated by Hayllian fare as it had been when he first arrived. Judas offered him ale, but Shinsuke declined with a raised hand a shake of his head.

I do not have children, but I like to keep my mind clear. I hope that your daughter is in good health and spirits. She...she wasn’t in the Coliseum, was she?” Shinsuke asked the Warlord Prince.

"No, she was nowhere near it, thank the darkness. Her mother almost died in the rubble, though."Judas said.

Shinsuke was glad to hear that both women weren’t killed in rubble of the Coliseum, and left it at that. The fall of the Coliseum was a positive in Shinsuke’s mind, even though it was also a stain that he couldn’t wash from his soul. He couldn’t purge it and never would. His sleep would be troubled, maybe forevermore He understood a fair tournament, a test of martial skill. He would have participated in that once upon a time. Hayll had perverted the idea of an honorable tournament with their bloodsport.

Well, it is clear that things can’t remain as they are. Too many of your countrymen enjoyed that place and they won’t let the rebels live in peace. It would weaken their power and force them to confront their inadequacies. Little is more painful in life than knowing that you aren’t as good or powerful as you thought.” the Prince said.

Judas questioned how a Dragon Queen would handle the outcry of the people if they were being wronged. While Shinsuke knew little of Hayll’s culture (and what he did know repulsed him), his answer for a Tacean Queen’s conduct was succinct.

Her Daggers and her court would investigate the claims and determine where the blame lies. Once the Dragon Queen knows where the blame falls, her action would be swift and decisive. Those responsible would return to the Darkness, as well as those who allowed it to happen, if they were in collusion.” Shinsuke said. He popped a piece of meat into his mouth and savored it. It was smoky, with a little saltiness to it. The taste made him crave more. He took up another piece and chewed it thoughtfully, trying to understand how the Hayllians allowed their society to reach this point. Was this a product of the Long-Lived lifespan, a fall into corruption that remained unchecked?

He finished chewing before he spoke again.

The way you say it, I’m guessing that doesn’t happen here. Does this Consul act in the Queen’s name?” he asked.

Offline Judas Vidanic

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Re: precious illusions
« Reply #7 on: Nov 18, 18, 10:04:30 PM »
Once Judas was sure his guest was provided with food to eat and water to drink, he began to tear into his own food. He had the appetite of a warrior, always pushing his body harder, his muscles demanding energy to carry on with all he demanded of them. And of course there was his Gray Jewel, resting against his chest beneath the cloth of his tunic. Fueling his body to ensure his Gray did not burn right through him was a near endless process of eating and drinking and eating yet more. He was what he was, and there was denying that.

Unlike his mother's home, which was scrubbed of his scent anytime he entered, his own home was bathed in it. It was the only place he didn't become immediately self conscious of the way his dark scent lingered behind him when he left a room or clung to fabric he wore or touched. Here he could relax and just let himself be, an attitude that was evidenced by the way he savagely ate his food, tearing it with his teeth before washing it down and doing it again.

He listened to the description of what the Tacean Dragon Queen would do, and swallowed hard so that he could let out a long whistle. "I think I would like to meet one of these Queens sometime. As a whole, Queens and I don't get along, but there are some exceptions, and they sound like a fierce-some breed."

He took another large bite, which left him with his mouth full when Shinsuke asked after whether the Consul acted in the Queen's name. He started to shake his head, then stopped. Technically, he was still in Sabine's Third Circle, despite his roll as Hayll's Shield no longer being relevant as there was, well, no Coliseum to serve as Shield for. There was a time when Hayll's young Queen would be seen among the people, but not anymore. In public, she was almost always seen with the Consul nearby.

"Fuck, I don't know. Before, you know, I would have said she has her own voice and he spoke for the Senate. Now, they all seemed blurred together. Wouldn't surprise me at all if the Consul was the one making the decisions about how to handle this. What I do know is," he raised his glass again and took a long swallow before continuing, "I haven't heard fuck all from our Queen since it happened."