• Closed • "Above All, Rynmere"

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

Moderators: Basilisk, Pegasus, Plague


• Closed • "Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Djinn » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:27 pm

91 Zi'da 717

The carriages, both flat black wood covered in plain black spun cloth, with no windows, were cloistering, to say the least. They were spacious, but the feeling of being suffocated was unavoidable in one. For many arcs, these carriages had given some of the greatest nobles in the history of Rynmere that same feeling, and now in the first, Xander and Celeste Andaris unknowingly experienced that claustrophobia. The carriage ride wasn't a long one from Astedia, maybe four breaks, but the carriage moved at a breakneck pace. The driver, a non-descript man with an accent oddly foreign to the northern region, never once offered to stop, or to offer them a refreshment of any kind. In fact, emerging from their estate in Astedia, they were unceremoniously ushered to the cart, and not a word had been said after.

In the second carriage, traveling alone, Andraska Venora experienced the same feeling when he had first entered the carriage, four trials prior. His driver, a woman whose accent was obviously Venoran, said exactly six words to him since picking him up. Her coarseness caused the first-in-line thirdborn to take pause, but only for a moment each time. When they paused to sleep, Andraska slept in the carriage, but the woman mysteriously stayed up in the driver's seat. When Andraska awoke, it was to her commanding the horses forward, and the trial continued much the same. Blackened window curtains, nailed to the wood, swayed in the breeze, but offered no sight out of the carriage.

Celeste and Xander's cart drew to a stop, the only sound after the wheels of the second wagon coming to a halt. When the door opened, the glaring light nearly blinded them, and by the time their eyesight recovered, thin pieces of soft black fabric were being shoved in their faces by the driver.

"Don." He told them, indicating their eyes. The word was strained and louder than it should have been, and Xander noticed that his tongue was too small in his mouth. Or too far back.

Or missing.

Once the two of them wrapped the black fabric around their heads, completely darkening their vision, the strange driver helped them from the cart. Celeste first, she found his incredibly powerful hands strange and guiding, leading her down too quickly and hustling her aside too roughly. Xander was all but lifted and set down, close enough to Celeste to feel the heat on her skin. The two quickly grasped hands so as to not be separated, but the man did not try to separate them. Instead, it seemed as if he'd disappeared altogether, except for the shuffling of feet.

Andraska closed his eyes quickly before the door opened, fully expecting the bright light. The driver-woman appeared as he opened his eyes, a strip of fabric in her hands. Instead of handing it to the Baron, though, she crept forward in the cart and tied it herself, a little too snugly. In his ear, her silken Venoran accent sounded.

"Up and out." He did so, with her barely guiding him, gliding smoothly down the last step where some would have fallen. Angled towards the other two, Andraska found himself on Xander's right, and their two drivers now spoke simultaneously, their voices mingling to create a strange rhythmic cadence.

"You will walk, silently, until told to stop. When you stop, you will be instructed. Woman first, turn and go." Guided to turn ninety-degrees, the three were marched in a single file line. As they did so, they heard nothing, not even animals or natural sounds. So eerie was the silence that they could have assumed magic, if they had not the slightest clue why they were there.

But they did. The Council.

Subtly, the air changed around them, growing stiller and heavier, like they were descending into some cave. If their vision was not already dimmed, it would have been then. Sixteen bits later, they were startled by the sound of the mingled voice behind them.

"Halt." And then, they were all strangely aware of the disappearance of their drivers' energies. The next voice that greeted them immediately sparked Andraska's interest, because he knew the sharp, feminine voice.

"Remove your blindfolds."

When they did, Andraska recognized her shape, but not her face. In fact, she didn't have a face. Directly in front of them, the broad woman stood proudly, the head atop her shoulders adorned with a white mask, hiding her features. In her hand were three more, though she was not offering them out. When she spoke again, the silence of the place seemed to swell with her words.

"When commanded, each of you will speak your full name and your truest fear. Speak honestly and plainly, or find yourself expelled from this place. I assure you, it's a long walk home for all of you." There was no hint of malice behind the threat, but sincerity instead. She pointed first at Celeste, then Andraska, and finally Xander.

Off Topic
Okay, guys. Welcome to the Council. There are a few things you should note here.

Posting order is dictated by the woman's choice, so: Celeste, Andraska, Xander.

I intend for this thread to be wrought with politics, etiquette and subterfuge. Whether or not you succeed here is going to based on your ability to cunningly handle the issues and events in front of you, as they unfold. The posting order MAY change as we go, so be aware to pay attention to the posts and responses of the NPCs inside.

I hope you guys have fun, and if you have any questions, you know where to find me. Let's get cracking.
User avatar
Djinn
Dreams are cheap, wishes are reality.
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:18 am
Location: Rhakros and Rynmere
Race: Prophet
Profession: Genie
Renown: -1000
Office
Templates
Medals: 17
Contributor of the Month (1) Guest on Live Chat! (1) World Developer (1) Helper (1)
Artíst (1) Vlogger Extraordinaire (1) Mentor (1) Supporter (1)
Review Master (1) One Arc Later... (1) Pioneer (1) Puppet Master (1)
Survivor (1) Lol Worthy (1) Developer (1) Vhalar 716 (1)
Crush The Reviews! 717 (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Tessa (Celeste) » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:22 am

The carriage was oppressive and Celeste knew, without a doubt, that it was going to be winding Xander up. "It is important to remember, everything is a test," she said softly. "Once we recognise that, we can consider what it is a test of. When someone is hot and flustered, they are more likely to snap. They will try and push us. Find out boundaries. They need to know that we will bend, not break. Calm front, polite in all things." She held on to his hand and she smiled at him, "Calm and in control at all times." Then, she rested against him, and closed her eyes. "Sleep with me, Xander." It was difficult, but she snoozed, resting her head in the crook of his shoulder. She had no interest in discussing anything important here, she could not be sure what the driver could hear, and she thought they would need their strength for what was to come.

When, eventually, they stopped, the bright light was such that she momentarily blinked and then the driver was pushing a blindfold into her face. She took it and smiled. "Thank you," she responded and then, when instructed she lifted it to her head with a "Yes, of course." His hands on her were unwelcome and a little frightening, but she could not allow that to take over now. So, she held on to him as he lifted and guided her, reminding herself that this was organised by, attended by, undertaken by her grandfather. They were in no danger here other than the danger they put themselves in. That said, though, relief washed through her at the feeling of Xander next to her and her hand slipped into his.

Then, someone else joined them. Another man, judging by what the driver said - and another driver, presumably. She went first and she walked with a straight back and as confident a step as a heavily pregnant woman could. It was that she concentrated on, the calm and slow purposeful walking, one step in front of the other, moving. Such was an analogy for life, she supposed, walking forward blindfold.

The walk was long. Sixteen bits was not something she counted, but she reckoned it was about a quarter of a break. Then, at the order to halt, she did so and she stood, calmly waiting. There was no point to doing anything else, and quickly enough another voice entered the conversation. Instructing them to remove their blindfolds, a woman spoke. Celeste did as commanded and she glanced first at who it was that was here with them. Andraska? That was more than interesting. But he was, as much as anyone could be, a known quantity and so Celeste turned her eyes to where they were. What was this place? What was visible? What of the woman with the faceless mask?

She gave her instruction and Celeste looked rather surprised at the command. Her truest fear? Well that was no one's business and quite what would she say? Yet then the masked woman pointed to her first and Celeste lifted her chin, smiled slightly and spoke in a voice which she was pleased to discover was strong. "I am Celeste Mary Andaris. My truest fear is.." for just a split trill she paused. Celeste fully intended to say something, one thing, but instead the truth came out. "is that there will be a part of me that will always be powerless, terrified and vulnerable." Unbidden, as always, the image of her brother's hand as it reached for her throat. His face as he pushed her against the wall and the feeling as he tried to drown her. She pushed them away and focused, her hand seeking her husband's as she did.

Please note: As of Ashan 718, Celeste Andaris has been kidnapped and has disappeared. Following the events in this thread she believes herself to be Tessa Anders, a streetwalker in Ivorian.

User avatar
Tessa (Celeste)
Not who she used to be...
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:06 pm
Location: Ivorian
Race: Human
Profession: Vixen
Renown: +138
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Partner
Templates
Letters
Medals: 9
One Arc Later... (1) First Love (1) Bow Chicka Wow Wow (1) True Love (1)
Married (1) Changed (1) Starting A Family (1) Keep it in the Family (1)
Legend In Waiting (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Andráska Venora » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:06 am

Image
91st of Zi’da, Arc 717

Four trials in darkness.

Not the worst thing he had experienced, but a difficulty to manage nonetheless. His driver was a Venoran woman, curt but not impolite. He tried talking to her once or twice on the ride, to alleviate the isolation he felt in the stagecoach, but all he received in return was the steady jostling of the wheels as they turned, and led him farther to his destiny. It was disconcerting, but he challenged his boredom with slumber. Sometimes they stopped while he did so, sometimes they didn’t. When they didn’t, he always awoke with a sore neck, and a terrible fear that maybe they would never stop. Maybe he had died and this was his journey to the beyond.

Where ever that was.

No, he wasn’t dead. Not yet.

His stomach grumbled now and then, and his body still required relief, but he did what he could to keep himself distracted. He counted in his head, made lists of things to do once he returned to Solavora, thought of the few words of Draketh he had studied in the Hand, and tried to remember the conversation he had held with his grandmother so many trials ago. Sometimes he sang softly to himself, propping his feet up while he turned the possibilities over in his head.

Who could be the future of Venora? Of his land and people? Who could he trust? A few noblewomen stuck out to him. There was Alice Endor, who was so vehemently against her own sigil. Not satisfied with a bear, she had said. Maybe that was her way of hinting at something. And then there was Valeria Burhan, who seemed interested in him a great deal. And of course, Olivia Warrick, who had shown affection towards him long before his eligibility had been made popular, but who he had unfortunately distanced himself from after the Warrick boy’s assassination attempt on Celeste Andaris. He would have to make a choice, and yet none… well…

The sound outside changed and the fighter lifted his head, listening. Waiting horses huffed cool air, mingling with the sound of his own transportation stopping. His driver moved somewhere from where she sat, and he heard her climb down from her seat, her shoes softly scuffing against the dirt beside his door. The nobleman was ready to be released, and hoped yet again, that their journey was over. They always stopped during the day, and he expected this was no different. The brunette quickly closed his eyes, having learned his lesson from the first time and waited patiently as he felt the light behind closed lids.

Barely peeking between his lashes, he saw the strip of fabric. Secrecy, as always. He tried to help by holding out his hand, but she slide forward and he only felt the sleeve of her arm and retracted his touch as she did the honors for him. “Up and out.”

How many times had he been blindfolded in his life?

Her touch was light as he stood stiffly from his seat, getting a feel for his legs before descending from the ride. He did not trip, and moved rather gracefully down the stairs, until he was ushered to wait. Andraska Venora felt he was not alone this time, and his guard was up, unsure what to expect. He did not know who was beside him and had to shift once or twice to stop his soldier training from getting him riled to defend himself. His driver’s satin voice and another of unknown origin called out and they followed orders, moving in a line towards their next destination.

The Ourorboros listened and smelled the air, trying to discern anything about their location, or who he was with. They had been walking some distance, but in what direction, he hadn’t been able to tell. Around them, the air grew stale, and they were finally told to stop. It was a new voice that caught his attention and made his hold his breath. His fingers itched to remove the blindfold and when they did, they landed first on his companions and then to the familiar woman in the white mask. Her voice was just as sharp as he expected, and he ached to know. Was it really who he thought it was?

Celeste spoke first, her introduction short and simple. He had already known this answer, and he glanced at Xander, realizing that anticipating the man’s statement would be harder to do. It was time for his own response, and he stood proudly, unafraid of this sentencing. Judgement day had arrived.

“I am Andráska Liam Venora, first of his name, and second son of Willow Venora. Protector of Kings, Sessfiend Slayer, Kin Killer and the Savior of Rharne. My truest fear is…”

What?

He paused, not because he did not have fears or wished to seem fearless, but because he had faced so many. Had he not been beaten and abused, humiliated and terrified? Had he not watched his main family rot and deteriorate one by one with no means of stopping it? Hadn’t be been strapped to a chair and tortured, looked into the eyes of a fiery end, and pierced his own sister through the heart? Had he not kissed the precipice of death?

“My truest fear,” he repeated, his voice strong and unwavered, “Is turning into the monsters I’ve spent my whole life fighting.”
User avatar
Andráska Venora
Approved Character
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:23 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Ouroboros Guard
Renown: +247
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Templates
Letters
Medals: 27
Reviewer's Choice (1) Peer Reviewer (1) Artíst (1) Painting With Words (1)
Vlogger Extraordinaire (1) Supporter (1) Alpha Testing (1) Beta Bot (1)
One Arc Later... (1) In Your Favor (1) Pioneer (1) Hoarder (1)
Bow Chicka Wow Wow (1) Right In The Feels (2) Changed (1) Drunkard (1)
Murderer (1) Scandalous (1) Stay High (1) Legend In Waiting (1)
Cheater (1) Survivor (1) Lol Worthy (1) Cylus 717 Thread Challenge (1)
Cylus 717 PC/Dev Challenge (1) Cylus 717 All Star (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Xander Andaris » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:24 pm

Image
It was uncommon that Xander would ignore Celeste but in this moment he did. He said nothing he did not move he just sat rigid like he was frozen by some spell. This was not what he had expected when he had been told he would meet a council, of course nothing with nobles was ever what it seemed. It was something he always disliked about the class and still did to this day, nothing could ever just be what it was said or seemed to be. The Baron just kept breathing, one breath after the other while he stared into the blackness around him.

Everything felt wrong to Xander, the seat, the carriage and the secrecy above all else. This was not him or suited to him, this was not how he did things and likely never would be. Still he had no real choice if he ever wished to see what it was that was so important about this council and if they could help him bring his goals to completion.

He did not move away as she slept next to him but just waited, listening to the sound of the wheels and his wife's breaths. Finally though the carriage came to a stop and Xander turned his head to the door, taking a breath as he readied himself for whatever strange thing was planned for them next. Remaining silent he took the blindfold from the rough driver and tied it to his face, the light that had momentarily blinded him blocked off once again. The Baron would have rather climbed out himself but it seemed he had little choice as he was lifted like a rag doll and placed beside Celeste. He felt her hand slip into his and he squeezed it gently as a second person joined them.

Xander walked steadily behind Celeste, listening to the emptiness around them and feeling the change in the air as they seemed to pass into something. It could have been a cave or a dungeon or all manner of things as far as he could tell it was not a nice field of wild flowers though. A shame, it would have been nice to get some fresher air after the stale carriage ride. He came to a sudden stop at the command and listened as the woman told him to remove the fabric from their heads.

He did so and gently screwed it up into a ball in his hand as the woman continued. The wolf saw Andraska out of the corner of his eye but he did not turn, instead he simply found himself unsurprised. The Baron was the only one left to take his siblings place at the top of his house. It made sense that he would be there to take that place. Instead Xander came to trying to find an answer to the question, one he had no answer too. His truest fear? Well he feared many things, countless things if he were to be honest and some were more sensible than others. Still he was not sure what to say and so as Celeste answered and then Andraska, each of them giving their truest fears it fell to him.

Xander had come to a simple conclusion, he had no one biggest fear as they all scared him in different ways. They were not easily comparable for example his fear of turning into his father and the fear of losing his wife and future child. These both scared him equal amounts but for different reasons, he could not see how to choose one. There were more of course, he feared to fail the people, to fail himself and his beliefs, to be left without a purpose or even to die having accomplished nothing of true meaning.

"Xander Calen Andaris." The words were blunt and to the point and so were the next ones that came. The words that may for all he knew result in his expulsion. "And I have no singular truest fear." They had asked him to speak honestly and so he did, in that moment as they had requested of him he had answered. If they did not like his answer then so be it, he had done as he was asked and could only hope it was acceptable by whatever standards they judged him with.
Image
User avatar
Xander Andaris
Approved Character
 
Posts: 562
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:16 am
Race: Mixed Race
Profession: Baron and Marshal of Astedia
Renown: +142
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Letters
Medals: 6
One Arc Later... (1) First Love (1) True Love (1) Married (1)
First Kiss (1) Starting A Family (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Djinn » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:43 pm

91 Zi'da 717

The woman in the mask's eyes were piercing, small dots of bird-of-prey. As each of them searched themselves for their truest fear, those eyes searched with them, seemingly peering into their deepest and darkest crevices to expose their secrets with the light of expectation. There was no expression on the mask, but each got the feeling that the face underneath bore similar countenance, slack and unassuming, patient and waiting. But the eyes, they were not still, nor were they lifeless like the mask. No, instead, they were vivacious and excited, flicking between each as if slurping the energy from their inner-turmoil, their self-searching feeding the small orbs to a frenzy.

And then they stopped, landing directly on Lady Andaris, a sizzling shot of electricity trawling the length of her spine, each vertebrae tickled by the sensation. The featureless mask faced her, but it was the eyes she kept staring at. They watched her, hawk-like, waiting for her to share her fear, as if that would break the spell of the mask and free her. Or perhaps it would free Celeste.

As she did so, the woman noted her hesitation. For a split trill, the masked woman feared that Celeste would lie, that she would substitute some banal fear of heights for her true fear of powerlessness. But she did not. Instead, she steeled herself, her incredible strength showing in her composure, and she delivered exactly as the masked woman had hoped. Directly in front of Celeste but behind the woman, the brick wall shimmered and wavered, rippling like water with a rock dropped into it. Only a trill later, the portion of wall that would have barred Celeste melted away, revealing a dark room behind it. The two men could not see through the barrier, but Celeste could. Her breath hitched as the masked woman's voice rang out, clear to all three.

"Celeste Mary Andaris, wary of your own shortcomings, your offering is deemed acceptable by the Council. Step forward and claim the furthest seat." Celeste saw, now, three seats open among the massive stone table, probably forty feet long and ten feet across. There were already six seated at the table, with the one chair at the head also empty. Celeste had the immediate feeling that was not the chair the woman had indicated. As soon as she passed through the barrier, the brick of the wall reappeared, once again solid against those who would seek to pass by unsavory means.

And then it was Andraska's turn. Expectation clouded the orbs for a moment, but the look quickly passed, taking on the coldness of the Judge with haste. Andraska's searching, deep inside, brought him to mention the one thing he'd not yet mentioned to anyone: Kin-Slayer. At the admission, Andraska got the distinct impression that the face beneath the mask was no longer emotionless, but instead carried a soft smile of admiration at his truth. Andraska knew the woman behind the mask, and he also knew what it was she'd approve.

"Andraska Liam Venora, knight and brother, killer of both the Sessfiend and your sister simultaneously, you are only the monster you allow yourself to be. Your offering is deemed acceptable by the Council. Step forward and claim the closest seat." Once again, the mirage of the wall shimmered, Andraska's portion disappearing. Even though he should be able to see it, Xander could not pierce the threshold of what laid beyond, instead seeing only intense blackness. But not Andraska. He saw exactly as Celeste had, a massive table with now seven figures seated around it.

He noticed that each, including the seventh and most recent were wearing masks exactly as the woman's, cold and white and blank. Stepping through the illusory wall, Andraska traveled to his designated seat, close enough to recognize the baby bump of Celeste to know it was truly her sitting there, donning the mask. The wall closed behind him, and then it was just Xander and the woman.

No singular true fear. The woman understood, of course, his meaning. Though one singular fear did not dominate him, Xander Calen Andaris nee Krome had his fears. But every man, woman and child had a most prevalent fear. Some choose to hide it under laughter, others bravado, but stripped to the barest bones in the coldest light, their was a singular fear. Xander could not see the woman's face, but he sensed the air of disappointment as it hung in the air between them, a funerary shroud for Xander's political future. Saying nothing, the piercing gaze just stared through him, much longer than his companions'.

"Xander Calen Andaris, Wolf-Turned-Dragon, the two mightiest hunters who fear no one thing. Let me assure you, Lord Andaris, that not having one singular fear is not strength, but is weakness in not being able to identify the weapons with which you will be killed. The Council will permit you through, but I must implore you to be more honest with yourself, lest your inner cowardice bring about ruin on you and your house." With that, the wall behind the woman shimmered, the entirety fading away to reveal the tableau scene of the Council sitting around the table. The woman walked proudly to her seat, leaving only the one for Xander to assume, and once he did so and donned his mask, she spoke again.

"Before the Council truly welcomes you among its ranks, a test of your skill, wit and ingenuity lies before you. On the table is a map of Idalos, with each province and nation clearly marked. Each of you will be given sixty pieces, and each must begin in your home province. For you, Lord Xander, you may begin in Krome rather than Andaris. This is a unique situation, as we've never had two from the same household induct at the same time. Typically, it would be the blood heir, but Duke Andaris insisted to have you both here." She paused, her eyes moving to the man to her exact left, who made no indication to confirm or deny his identity.

"Each of you will be given sixty pieces, ranging between three colours. Red is Food, Yellow is Nels, and Black in Soldiers. You may choose how many of each you have, though none of you may have an equal number between all three. We will take turns, in this order: The Council will offer an event or situation, and then Lady Andaris will respond, then Lord Venora, and then Lord Andaris. You may move no more than ten pieces, but no less than three for any given situation. Move to allocate your resources where they would be most beneficial." She paused, allowing the information to sink in. When she resumed, her voice was sharp.

"Moving Red or Yellow to a neighbour's occupied spaces indicates Alliance or Trade respectively, and must be agreed upon by the person with which you are attempting to do so. They agree by moving the same amount of pieces to the spots you have, and when that happens, one of two things occurs. Alliance allows you to gift the Red tokens to your agreed party, in exchange for being able to move that same number of pieces extra in your next turn. If you gift six Red tokens, you may reallocate up to sixteen on your next turn. Trade allows you to exchange Yellow tokens in a similar fashion, except the partner agrees to take the Yellow tokens, but may move that number fewer on their own turn directly after. For example, if Lord Andaris initiates Trade with Lord Venora, and Lord Venora accepts six Yellow tokens, Lord Venora may move up to only four on his next turn."

The hawk-like eyes watched them all, ensuring that they understood.

"The Black tokens are Soldiers, and they function exactly as you'd expect. Moving them into a territory allows you to claim that territory as your own, and invading Black tokens are set to do battle. This comes in the form of critical thinking. An example, then. Lord Venora has six Black tokens in Venora, and Lady Andaris moves ten Black to the same spot. I will pose to each the same political conundrum, and the solution deemed the most beneficial for the Kingdom will win the "battle". The winning combatant absorbs the losing combatants Black tokens, and carries on in the game's normal fashion." She stopped speaking, looking between the three slowly.

"Any questions? If there are none, we shall begin." The Seven Councilmembers picked up the tawny brown feathers in front of themselves, which the three inductees lacked.
User avatar
Djinn
Dreams are cheap, wishes are reality.
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:18 am
Location: Rhakros and Rynmere
Race: Prophet
Profession: Genie
Renown: -1000
Office
Templates
Medals: 17
Contributor of the Month (1) Guest on Live Chat! (1) World Developer (1) Helper (1)
Artíst (1) Vlogger Extraordinaire (1) Mentor (1) Supporter (1)
Review Master (1) One Arc Later... (1) Pioneer (1) Puppet Master (1)
Survivor (1) Lol Worthy (1) Developer (1) Vhalar 716 (1)
Crush The Reviews! 717 (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Tessa (Celeste) » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:40 pm

As they walked in, Celeste had to put aside the journey here, the hurt she felt at Xander. Four breaks in a carriage and he had ignored her. He was tense, he was nervous she understood that. But did he not remember that so was she? Add in to that the discomfort of her pregnancy and she didn't know how he could behave that way. There were conclusions as to why, of course, but they were conclusions which she did not want to come to. However, more and more, Celeste was feeling that there was, simply, one inevitable conclusion.

That, however, was for a different time.

Stepping when told, the young Andaris heiress drew on her own strength and determination ~ reminding herself that she did not need anyone. She stood here with her husband and her friend, and she wanted them both in her life. Yet she had stood alone at times when she had not believed she could. Here? Here she could. So, she stood and she paused, just for a moment, pulling in her composure and she spoke.

Her answer was deemed worthy and so, Celeste saw the wall shimmer and disappear. An interesting trick in the anti-magic Rynmere, but she did not think here and now was quite the place for such a quip. Instead, she stepped forward as instructed with a bow of her head to the woman in question. She was quite sure it was Ebony Venora, but that was by the by. Taking the seat she thought was assigned to her, not the head of the table, Celeste had to admit a level of relief at just being able to sit. All this pomp and ceremony was well and good, but had any of them ever been heavily pregnant whilst doing this, she wondered. The answers was probably, yes, but she didn't want to hear it.

As she put on the mask, Andraska came in and then, finally, Xander. She could tell by her husband's face that he was not happy, but they had to focus now and so, focus the young woman did. She was glad of the mask which hid the raise of her eyebrow at her grandfather's insistence on Xander being here. Thomas Andaris did what he did for his own reasons, she knew, but still, she was glad that he had afforded Xander this opportunity.

And then, they explained the rules of what was laid out in front of them. She listened, carefully, committing them to memory as well as she could and then, when it was time, she spoke. "I have no questions." Once the others had asked any questions that they had, Celeste looked down and tapped her fingers against the table. "I suggest that we work together from the outset," she said, to the other two. "Therefore, we each have a breakdown of 21, 20 and 19 pieces of each resource. I will have 21 nel, 20 soldiers and 19 food. Then, one of you has 21 soldiers, the other one 21 food. One has 20 nel, the other soldiers, and so on. That way, we each have as close to even as is possible and between the three of us, we control sixty of each." She smiled and the sound of it was evident under the mask she wore, in the tone of her voice. "I would suggest an alliance from the outset and that we approach each situation as a group of three. Even if that means that we lose individually, the goal is to win." She smiled and looked at the pieces, then added. "If you do not agree, that is fine, and we can and will work separately. Together, we are stronger." Either way, the young heiress took the 21 nel, 20 soldiers and 19 food and then waited to see what Andraska and Xander said.

Please note: As of Ashan 718, Celeste Andaris has been kidnapped and has disappeared. Following the events in this thread she believes herself to be Tessa Anders, a streetwalker in Ivorian.

User avatar
Tessa (Celeste)
Not who she used to be...
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:06 pm
Location: Ivorian
Race: Human
Profession: Vixen
Renown: +138
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Partner
Templates
Letters
Medals: 9
One Arc Later... (1) First Love (1) Bow Chicka Wow Wow (1) True Love (1)
Married (1) Changed (1) Starting A Family (1) Keep it in the Family (1)
Legend In Waiting (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Andráska Venora » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:46 pm

Image
91st of Zi’da, Arc 717

Celeste disappeared, walking off in a fashion that perplexed the Venora. Where did she go? He stared at the wall, feeling a wave of discomfort but soon the familiar voice spoke to him, and his focus returned. Right, the judgement. He glanced from the corner of his eye at the ex-Krome, and listened intently. The voice sounded cool, but he thought he heard a small indication of approval. While he did not enjoy one of his titles, it was who he was - who he had become. She told him to step forward and take the closest seat, and then his eyes widened as the unknown became visible to him.

Mouth dropping slightly, he blinked and nodded, ignoring the voice in the back of his mind that whined about a magical ban in the country. The first time he has seen magic had been a disturbing display of necromancy, but he had kept his brother's secret, just as his was hidden. It had been a bad choice, as Alistair's dabbling with chaotic powers had resulted in the death of someone at the trial. They both had blood on their hands, but the Venora's were good at keeping secrets.... Even now.

With caution, he stepped forward, and braced himself as he phased through the unhidden doorway. Perhaps he should have given Xander a reassuring glance or said something, but it didn't feel right to. He was here because it was his duty, his responsibility. Surely it was the same for the Wolf. Without so much as a word, Andráska followed the orders and slipped beyond the barrier, disappearing into the next room, so that the masked initiator could speak with the last contender. 

Noting Celeste, and the others - how ominous this all was - the young Venora took the seat assigned to him, and leaned back, his green eyes roaming over the table in front of him, as well as the posture the initiators seemed to carry. He tried to tie their mannerisms to a face he might have recognized, but they were steadfast in their secrecy. It was admirable. He picked up his own mask, and running a finger inside the covering, took a deep breath and slipped it over his face.

Shortly, the sound of another entering caught his ears, and he cocked his head, listening as the last contender joined them and the ex-Krome took his spot. So, he had made it through, but not after the first woman - Ebony, he was willing to wager. 

Once they were all joined, the woman spoke and he looked to the board. Food, nels, soldiers. Andraska took a deep breath and sat forward, resting his elbows on the table and assessing the pieces. It would be an easy assumption - food for Venora, soldiers for the wolf, nels for the dragon. He imagined that's how it would be divided, and immediately, he caught on to a few details. Move your allocate your resources where they would be most beneficial...

They spoke of the rules of trade - which he understood the least. It concerned him, for if he was given food, then understanding the rules would be vital. The soldiers he understood well enough, and believed he could use with the most benefit, but ruling... or running a kingdom, was so much more than just a fighting force. You had to have something worth fighting for...

Celeste spoke, gathering her pieces. Just as anticipated, she swiped up majority nels and he smiled behind his mask, a bit sardonically, if he was to be honest, "Presumptuous," the Venora took a deep breath, fingers reaching out and plucking up a single red token, "I don't believe our mission was ever stated. From what I see, the goal is to keep the kingdom from burning itself to the ground and be smart in doing so... Which is why I have questions."

He looked up, first to the possible Andaris lord, and then to the woman he believed to be his grandmother, "How does one win or lose in this game?" His eyes roamed over the others, "Lose our land to invading soldiers, or make foolish choices in the scenarios? Both? Is winning even possible?

Celeste's idea of working together was nice, but also idealistic. What if they were given a scenario where they must choose who to work with? Celeste and Xander were married and for love, the favor would always be balanced against him; Two against one. He would have to play smarter if that was the case, and felt his stomach growl. 

"I'm not saying yes," he gathered his pieces, following Celeste's suggestion, and favored food. It was a close simulation to Venora, who, along with Warrick, supplied the kingdom with crops. Already he was considering each region and their real life counterparts, "But I'm not saying no, either. Let us keep an open mind."
User avatar
Andráska Venora
Approved Character
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:23 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Ouroboros Guard
Renown: +247
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Templates
Letters
Medals: 27
Reviewer's Choice (1) Peer Reviewer (1) Artíst (1) Painting With Words (1)
Vlogger Extraordinaire (1) Supporter (1) Alpha Testing (1) Beta Bot (1)
One Arc Later... (1) In Your Favor (1) Pioneer (1) Hoarder (1)
Bow Chicka Wow Wow (1) Right In The Feels (2) Changed (1) Drunkard (1)
Murderer (1) Scandalous (1) Stay High (1) Legend In Waiting (1)
Cheater (1) Survivor (1) Lol Worthy (1) Cylus 717 Thread Challenge (1)
Cylus 717 PC/Dev Challenge (1) Cylus 717 All Star (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Xander Andaris » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:57 pm

Image
Xander fought the urge to walk away, this was more important than pride and a stupid question. No he had to play there game, like Celeste always said so he simply inclined his head in acceptance of the advice. Not that it changed his mind in any way, he could not see any one thing that would be his undoing but many. Heaps of potential weaknesses and fears, he was surrounded by them and to pick out just one felt damn near impossible. Still now was not the time to stand there considering his answer. The other two had pleased their hosts more than him, still he had been truthful like they asked he was playing just not exactly how they had expected perhaps.

The Baron couldn't say he was surprised by the hypocrisy of using some form of magical barrier even when it was outlawed. It was often the noble way to be exempted from some of the rules followed by others, then again it may not have been magic and instead some trick of the light. Either way the table was revealed to him and he followed over to the empty seat eyeing the mask and placing his fingers against the smooth item. He struggled to hide his distaste, gritting his teeth as disgust ran through him. The mask seemed truly unnecessary, in fact it was silly to hide his identity when everyone knew him already, he could not ignore the feeling that he was into something he did not like at all.

Play their game. The words echoed around his head as he slotted the mask over his face, lips pursed behind its featureless white plain. Sitting straight he scanned the room unsure of any particular person until the lead woman looked to her side at the mention of Celeste's Grandfather. It seemed Thomas Andaris was there sitting and watching over the proceedings as you would expect, it was him that had gotten them there after all. "I have no questions." Xander looked over the pieces in front of him and crossed his hand in front of him on the table.

Celeste's suggestion seemed like it made sense although he was sure they would be posed with issues that were intended to drive stakes between them. Even if they were not designed that way some might have that affect, still as a wolf he knew the safety of numbers. The lone wolf dies but the pack survives. "I agree to work together to the best of my ability." He collected 21 soldier tokens, knowing it was correct that Krome had a powerful military especially due to its skilled civilian populace. Next he took 20 food and 19 Nel, the forest provided much of Krome's home grown food resources but he would rather more food than Nel purely for the essence of being able to gain more money with said food and remain somewhat self sustainable in the game.

His pieces were collected into the right numbers and then he leaned back in his chair, looking over the map of Idalos. He had never really spent long examining the vastness of the world in which they lived, there truly was much for him to yet discover. Many nations were spread across the map, most of which he would likely never see but still they were there and it was important not to forget them as potential friends or enemies.

He didn't like it behind his mask it was claustrophobic but less because of the physical feeling but more of a mental claustrophobia. The wolf felt like he lost something hidden in it, maybe his identity or his honesty but something about the mask made him feel wrong, trapped and lost. Still he had to keep playing their game to whatever end it would bring.
Image
User avatar
Xander Andaris
Approved Character
 
Posts: 562
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:16 am
Race: Mixed Race
Profession: Baron and Marshal of Astedia
Renown: +142
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Letters
Medals: 6
One Arc Later... (1) First Love (1) True Love (1) Married (1)
First Kiss (1) Starting A Family (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Djinn » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:14 am

91 Zi'da 717

Though she said nothing, there was an air of disappointment surrounding the masked woman at Celeste's strategy. Each taking only one more than the others in a particular strength defeated the purpose of being oneself, as it made more sense for each of them to specialize more, but she said nothing. With no facial expression to base their opinions on, the three inductees simply proceeded forward.

But Andraska, he knew that the masked woman was his grandmother. He was sure of it, and though she'd not confirm his suspicions, she was watching him far more closely. Similarly, the man next to her eyed Celeste, and a man further down the table watched Xander. The three were likely to join the table, but each current Duke or Duchess had much to lose in the way of respect if their House performed poorly at the table. Though the game was a simple test, each blood relative swelled with pride at their contestant, though nothing was for sure. In that room, around that table, there were no identities, only Rynmere's best and brightest.

The owl-faced woman nodded, then as they all agreed to their lots. Her eye, though, twinkled at Andraska's reluctance to participate blindly as a team, and rather his acumen in determining he would take his own path. She applauded him, secretly, but knew that his words were not likely to earn him any friends in the game. Sometimes, murmuring words of appeasement and holding one's own strategy closer to one's chest was the smartest way forward, if it wasn't the most virtuous. Still, though, the game was to continue, and the woman distributed the pieces as they were chosen, giving Celeste the most nel, Andraska the most food and Xander the most soldiers.

Quietly, the table mused at the Andarises choice, each complimenting the other perfectly. Should they align against Andraska early, it could spell disaster. They wondered, in fact, how much Celeste's naïvete would pass, and wondered if she was, in fact, the dragon at the table. There was not time for speculation, though, as a man at the end of the table stood. He held his arms out, and his tanned skin showed on the base of his wrist. There was a slight twinge to his voice as he spoke, though none of them immediately placed him.

"Your first task. Baroness Andaris, you shall go first here. The Ryn province of Burhan has experienced a sickness in the trees of its forests. The wood for building ships has been severely damaged, and they are peril of losing some of their finances to repurposing older ships for lumber to produce newer, faster ships. The Duke of Burhan has sent out requests for help, and has been rejected by Warrick and Gawyne. He asks for four yellow nel pieces, which should allow him to purchase lumber from Scalvoris to build the ships to reimburse the lender."

The man's voice hung heavy in the air, and his dark eyes, seemingly swimming in colours but it was hard to tell, landed on each of them.

"He has resorted to trading his supply of food for the nel to buy the lumber, but need not do so with a benefactor. Should you pursue this course of action, he need not starve his people in the present to provide in the future. However, this situation leaves Burhan both vulnerable and in desperation. Choose wisely," he stated, sitting back down. The owl-faced woman turned her head to him, and nodded. He returned the gesture, then she turned back to the three inductees.

"You may discuss amongst yourselves how best to approach the situation. We proceed forward when all three of you choose a course of action. Remember that resources are limited, but there is value in a promise," she said, the sharpness in her voice pointed. Andraska wasn't sure if it was at him, or one of the others... Or perhaps the ghosts of the former inductees who probably saw the same conflict come and go.

Who at the table had been successful, and who was inducted despite loss? Politic and influence did not mean always succeeding at every turn, but sometimes strategically pursuing larger goals despite early losses.

The choice was theirs.
User avatar
Djinn
Dreams are cheap, wishes are reality.
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:18 am
Location: Rhakros and Rynmere
Race: Prophet
Profession: Genie
Renown: -1000
Office
Templates
Medals: 17
Contributor of the Month (1) Guest on Live Chat! (1) World Developer (1) Helper (1)
Artíst (1) Vlogger Extraordinaire (1) Mentor (1) Supporter (1)
Review Master (1) One Arc Later... (1) Pioneer (1) Puppet Master (1)
Survivor (1) Lol Worthy (1) Developer (1) Vhalar 716 (1)
Crush The Reviews! 717 (1)

"Above All, Rynmere"

Postby Tessa (Celeste) » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:21 pm

Xander, of course, agreed to work together and she felt the smile lift her lips slightly. Andraska's answer was noncommittal and, whilst Celeste understood it, she also felt a pang of disappointment in the man she called her friend. He was standing in both camps and keeping his options open. If he wasn't saying yes, and he wasn't saying no then he was saying nothing useful.

But thoughts of that were over ridden by the man who stood and who gave them their first test. Celeste listened to it and she considered. Baroness Andaris, he called her and she looked down at the map. Her voice was deep, thoughtful and considered as she spoke. "Watch them and learn," lifting her gaze she turned to look at the man she knew was her grandfather. "But never be bound by their rules. That is what you told me, grandfather, sitting on a staircase a long time ago." Reaching up, she took off her mask. "You taught, and continue to teach, so much. Pick my battles, choose where to spend my energy." He'd been an advisor, a mentor, a man she looked up to all her life and he had taught her one thing more than anything. She was a dragon, not a sheep. Placing the mask down, Celeste looked around. "All of this has been set up to make us feel a particular way, of a particular worth. If it was enough to succeed, then we are too weak to take on the role." The rough handling, the physical blindfolding - all meant to take away control. That had not succeeded.

"Then, there is this," she motioned to the game. "It is a test of compliance. Of what we will do when expecting to have to show off our minds, to compete ." With a smile she inclined her head towards her grandfather. "One of your most senior members has known me since I first drew breath and he will tell you my response. You have all watched each of us grow, along with others, preparing and gathering information for this moment." Celeste turned to the woman she was quite sure was Ebony Venora and then to who she thought was Xander's grandfather. She did not speak, she did not need to, they took her point. "You have already made up your minds. I understand the need to maintain tradition, but Rynmere needs more than that now."

Tradition, in this instance, served nothing and no one. Since this initiation ceremony was a secret one, they could have all had to sing rounds of a nursery rhyme in order to pass. "We all know who I am. I believe that I can be of benefit to the Kingdom and will work tirelessly to that end." Come to that, she thought but did not say, she would work smart and not waste her time playing games to other people's rules or singing to other people's tunes. She was Andaris, after all, and she smiled a gentle smile to those gathered. "Out there, I will wear every mask necessary and play every game. In here? I would suggest that there is enough in need of discussing that flights of fancy are unnecessary, wouldn't you?"

She didn't expect either Xander of Andraska to back her up. This was her, this was who she was and if they did not want someone with her mind, then they would not have brought her here. Since they had, she recognised that her only available option was to be herself.

Please note: As of Ashan 718, Celeste Andaris has been kidnapped and has disappeared. Following the events in this thread she believes herself to be Tessa Anders, a streetwalker in Ivorian.

User avatar
Tessa (Celeste)
Not who she used to be...
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:06 pm
Location: Ivorian
Race: Human
Profession: Vixen
Renown: +138
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Partner
Templates
Letters
Medals: 9
One Arc Later... (1) First Love (1) Bow Chicka Wow Wow (1) True Love (1)
Married (1) Changed (1) Starting A Family (1) Keep it in the Family (1)
Legend In Waiting (1)

Next

Return to Andaris