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It is the Tenth hour by the Shadow on Cointaking, the 27th day of Stormclaw in the year 624. It is a cold night. A strong breeze blows over the land, occasionally gusting powerfully. A light rain pours from the heavens. Lightning flashes in the sky and thunder echoes off in the distance as a fierce storm rages..


Vozhdya Square <Forest District>


Vozhdya, city of industry and commerce, is the provincial capital of the Vozhd dominions. Straddling three trade routes at the Aegis' major eastern gate, rolling hillocks and loamy plains give way to dense urban quarters and a skyline populated by brick smokestacks. Hundreds of stone chalets dot the rural lowlands, centered amid the great farm-estates of the landed gentry. The Eastwatch canal, a broad, glittering waterway, feeds surrounding fields with irrigable water and descends into the very heart of the city itself. Narrow cobblestone streets coil through the cramped city districts, yet inevitably lead to the expansive central square: the living heart of Vozhdya.
The sprawling marketplace is filled with carts and shanties; shops and stores; brightly colored tarpaulins and independent merchantmen. Yet all are dwarfed under the two great industries of the region, embodied in their monolithic facades of stone and glass: the iron works and textile consortiums. Like sentinels, these twin foundries flank the square at either end. Broad cobblestone avenues expand in all directions. To the west, a chain of forested mountains mark the provincial border; to the east, the Aegis itself, gargantuan and imposing. To the north, behind high walls, the battlements of Vozhd Keep can be seen, and to the south the precipitous towers of The Warren.


Isabella pokes her head out of the Loom and Spindle, her hair dampening almost immediately, a frown forming on her lips. She scans the area slowly, "Where is Mistress Weaver..." she murmurs to herself softly.


Mirabelle Kahar 's silhouette freezes at the mention of the name, her hands tight on the reins of the horse that she stands beside. She slowly turns her head to look over her shoulder at Isabella, "Do you mean that woman... that woman with the red hair?"


Isabella lifts her eyes to look at Mirabelle briefly, before nodding her head, "Yes, M'lady..." she says slowly. She blinks for a few moments before the rain registers again, "M'Lady! Please, come out of the rain. You will become ill!"


Though lightning shatters the evening sky, and rain falls to the earth in great harsh waves of water, a figure clad in the bronze armor of the Imperial Horsemen rides through the bitter weather as if it were nothing more than a gentle summer's day. Thunder claps in the distance, and judging by the stoic expression that rests upon his enduring features, such sounds could be less to do with Stormclaw, and more an extension of his mood. His Warhorse, Shiningcoat, seems to be equally oblivious to the storm that rages overhead, clad in her own armor, though as far as horses go she doesn't seem quite as vengeful. Regardless, the Horsemaster of the Imperial Horsemen rides through the storm at a steady pace, each step of his horse dripping water as it moves.


Mirabelle Kahar stands in the shelter of the stable. Water pours off the eaves and gutters of the roof in a thick stream, which she stares at with a look of utter dejection in her dark, round eyes. She hands the reins to a stable boy, and calls to the woman, "She was arrested... last night."


"What!" Isabella stares at Mirabelle, her eyes wide with shock. She steps out into the rain, following the voice to the stables, silent until she comes upon the Kahar. She trembles, tears streaking down her cheeks by the time she reaches Mira. "You are sure? She... she cannot be," she whispers, before giving a bow,


"M'Lady, I offer you shelter within the Loom and Spindle to wait out this storm..." she adds, clearing her throat slightly.


The Warhorse continues her casual pace through the square, water running down her bronze armor and dripping from her mane as she's lead forth down the near deserted streets; her Rider seems to care little for the storm upon this day, even daring to challenge its authority with his mood and apathetic expression. The light from nearby torches, at least those sheltered from the weather, refracts warm hues upon the reddish-gold of his armor, the moisture of the rain only serving to cast greater reflections as he rides by, drawing close to the stables now, though it seems that he has little intention of stopping there.


Mirabelle Kahar pays a stable boy to have Flax stabled in East Aegis Stables. The boy leads the horse back into the stables.


Mirabelle Kahar 's dark eyes look at Isabella, and throwing her arms over her head to shelter it, she makes a dash into the square, leaving the shelter of the stables, and rushes towards the Loom and Spindle. Rivulets of water stream down the ends of her hair, plastering it against her back. Her white wrists flash as her sleeves are slicked back by the water against her arm, not sufficing nearly enough to shelter her from the water. She casts an anxious glance towards the sky, and hikes towards the shelter.'


Isabella gives a small sigh, wiping away a few of her tears before hastening to follow after the noblewoman, lifting the hood to her cloak to protect herself somewhat against the horrid weather.

The Warhorse finally draws level with the Loom and Spindle, though not before two other people have managed to get there first, darting across Shiningcoat's path a few moments before it would have become dangerous to do so. The Warhorse coming to a halt, her rider grants a forlorn look upon the second home of Althea Weaver as a flash of lightning streaks through the heavens, highlighting the Horsemaster's bronze-clad form in ominous pale white for a brief second, before allowing the darkness cast by the storm clouds to taint his image once more. With rain cascading over the legendary helm that he wears, Serath Kahar merely looks upon the storm for a few moments in silence, the hiss of rain flowing all around him. And then, swift as the lightning that previously struck the heavens, he dismounts the horse.

Mirabelle Kahar ducks under the eaves of the Loom and Spindle, her teeth chattering as she shivers, "Y-yes... but what is s-strange is what happened a-after... didn't you hear? They could speak of n-nothing else in the t-tavern..." She wraps her slender arms around herself as she waits for Isabella to open the door. One black tress is plastered to her forehead and cheek in an ebon wave. She looks up at the dismounting horseman, and gives a start, but recovers smoothly. Gathering her skirts into her hands as though they were not at all wet, and she dips into a graceful, dignified, curtsey.


Isabella shakes her head, "I have heard nothing, M'Lady," she says softly, before skidding to a stop, almost falling in the mud, giving a hasty, but somewhat graceful bow to the royal standing before her.


If the dire storm upon this evening is but a mere extension of the mood of the Imperial Horsemaster, then the rumble of thunder that clashes overhead is a warning for any hidden vengeance he may currently be holding within his otherwise reserved nature. As the Horsemaster, people may have come to find such a mood a great contrast to the epitome of hope that he usually portrays; a quiet fury reserved only for those who would dare cross him. Evidently, something has... though what is another question. With bronze armor providing the ambiance to every step he makes across the water-sodden cobbles, he seems to ignore the acts of courtesy that are presented to him, instead moving to stand just below the steps that lead into the Loom and Spindle; and it is here, in the torrent of Stormclaws fury, that the sleeping Obsidian Longsword that rests within the scabbard upon the right side of his hips is awoken.


Mirabelle Kahar holds her curtsey for a moment, then raises her lashes, opening her gaze. At the sight of the longsword, her eyes widen, alarmed, and her lips part slightly. Her fingers unfurl, the wet material of her skirt stiffly slipping from between them. She turns her head slightly to look at Isabella, her head towards her even as her gaze darts back to look at the enraged Prince. Around her, dirty water pours in miserable torrents from the gutters of the roofs.


Seeing that they aren't going to be going inside any time soon, Isabella flings off her cloak, tossing it around Mira, pulling the noblewoman back, away from Serath, her eyes wide with fear. "Please forgive me, M'Lady," she says softly, releasing the arm, wrapping her arms around herself as she is now without a form of protection in the rain.


With the bleak light of flashes of angry thunder providing the ambiance, and the rain setting the visual storm of emotions that seems to shadow the Horsemaster's mood, Serath lifts the obsidian longsword high, causing the reflection of those who looking upon it to shine against the reflective surface, aided by the water that now runs over the weapon and streams along the fuller of the blade. Lightning streaks in the heavens once more, and as the pale white of the flash beats the darkness of the blade for just a moment, the Horsemaster proceeds to turn the weapon full around; hilt and pommel facing the sky, the blade pointing to the ground. It is there, with the storm raging overhead, that Serath Kahar lifts the longsword as high as he can, and with one yell of fury thrusts the blade into the ground with enough force to lodge it there, allowing the weapon to stand on its own as the Horsemaster finally lets go. The fury of Kahar, made tangible in the sword.


Mirabelle Kahar's legs tremble beneath her, and she begins to sway slightly, and then more dramatically, like a reed in a breeze that picks up and begins a gale. Her brown eyes roll upwards and her lashes close over them, as she falls to the ground in a faint, rolling off the first of the steps before the house and half-hanging over the edge, one arm thrown back, and her hair spilling down into the air. She lies there, the rain beating down on her pale skin, beading into shining little drops on her brow and neck.


A bolt of lightning sizzles down from the sky, striking the sword Serath planted and sending out snaking fingers of electricity in all directions.


Isabella gives a small gasp as Mirabelle faints, trying to catch the woman, but failing, ending up slightly beneath her as she's dragged to the ground. "Oomph," she murmurs softly, pulling herself free, before kneeling, resting a hand against the woman's forehead, checking it. As the lightning strikes, a soft cry escapes her lips as she scrambles back, trying to avoid it. She isn't good at moving however and is struck, a scream escaping her lips before she falls silent, unconscious, and not moving at all.


Fael Mikin stands in the doorway of the loom and spindle watching the intense storm in progress, with an oddly pleased expression on his face. He appears to be fighting with the door. As the lightning strikes he ducks back inside managing to avoid the blast of electricity, then sticks his head out once more to see the less fortunate people who didn't manage to avoid the blast. He stands there motionless for a moment, then steps back inside and begins to remove his armor and weapons.


Saoirse barely has time to look out for anyone as she is struck. A silent scream escapes her lips as she falls to the ground with a twitch. Her open eyes stare blankly up as she lays unconscious on the ground.


There are some that would call this an omen: The longsword is firmly planted into the ground in the wake of events brought upon the township by the darkness of the shadow, and no sooner has the Prince of the Blood - whom some consider an Avatar of Light - swiftly turned from the blade, lightning is cast down to strike the weapon. And strike it does, causing tendrils of electricity to streak at all those who witnessed the event. By the will of the Light, it would seem that such tendrils miss Serath completely, in the most undramatic way possible: By the mere act of swiftly turning from the sword, the lightning that struck it seems to have missed it's target, instead leaping into others who are nearby. The Horsemaster pauses in shock a few seconds after the buzzing sensation of being so close to the strike fades away, swiftly turning back to look upon those cause in the strike, and then promptly moving to the aid of those who were nearest to the Loom and Spindle. "Shadow be /damned/." he curses, attempting to offer what assistance he can to Isabella.


Mirabelle Kahar lies beside Isabella, hanging off the edge of the front steps. Her head and arms dangle off the side, exposing her bare, white neck. One arm hangs limply, the tips of her fingers brushing a puddle in the mud. Her pale skin gleams under the thin veil of water that covers her. Her lips are parted, and as the color slowly leaves them they become a bluish color. The rain continues to fall.


Isabella is out of it, a moan escaping her lips as she slips deeper into unconsciousness, the rain continuing to pelt her face, drenching her hair, skin, and clothing. Even though she's out, a small shivering begins to form, a reaction from having no sort of protection against the harsh weather.


Fael Mikin manages to remove most of his armor and tosses his longsword to the side of the doorway. The process takes a couple of minutes even in his rushed state, but when it is complete he is barefoot, and clad in cotton trousers and tunic, much more suitable garb for the present situation. The gusting wind blows the door fully open once again and with a silent curse he ducks out into the street and fights against the wind towards the nearest lightning stricken person.


Saoirse lies on the ground, her clothes soaked in the rain. A small twitch of cold and shock goes through her body and she lays there, blank eyes still looking upward as rain falls into them.


Serath looks up from Isabella as the door to the Loom and Spindle opens, his ice-blue gaze falling upon Fael for a moment, then swiftly moving to look upon Mirabelle, his motions seemingly calm regardless of the worried shadow that caresses his enduring features. The silent fury that previously shadowed his being now seems to have gone, perhaps cast out when the longsword was thrust into the ground, or set aside as compassion and concern take over. "You," he addresses Fael, though spares no time for formality or status, then looks upon Isabella, "Get this one inside before the Shadow claims her as well." This said, he moves to Mirabelle, forsaking Saoirse for the moment in order to deal with who he can right now.


A white cloud of breath hovers over the paling lips, wisping off into the cold night.


Isabella's body twitches faintly, another faint moan escaping her lips, almost forming a word, 'Barit', but not quite making it, sounding more like "Air-mit".


Fael Mikin nods silently, his expression showing no affront at the address. Arriving at the steps, he stoops and gently picks up the prone form of Isabella. With the merest glance at the other two figures, he stands upright, or at least as upright as he can without being blown over by the wind, and begins to stumble back inside the building. He curses softly as the wind blows the door shut upon his arrival, but manages to support the girl’s lithe form well enough to free a hand and get the door open once again. He then quickly ducks inside bearing his 'cargo' and disappears from sight.


Saoirse still lays there, the only thing moves so far are her eyes that have slowly closed. A small moaning sound escapes her lips but it doesn't sound like she's trying to say something.


Serath moves to Mirabelle's side, attempting to grasp his younger cousin in a manner that will allow him to safely move her inside. After a few seconds of finding the right angle, the Horsemaster seems to accomplish his goal, picking up Mirabelle in a scooped manner, with one arm supporting her back as his other runs under her knees. Lifting her in this manner, Serath carefully moves her inside, regardless of the rain that lashes down upon them both.


Mirabelle Kahar raises her head as she is lifted, her eyelashes fluttering against her cheek. Her lips barely move as she murmurs, "I had the strangest dream, Nuriel I dreamed Adaer wasn't there to meet me and all sorts of odd things happened" Her head rolls back as she lies limply in Serath's arms.


The Loom and Spindle <Vozhdya> -------------------------------------------------


(Indoors) (Cover: Fair) (Owner: Althea Weaver)

Oak planks form the walls and floor of this shop in Vozhdya Square. Light streams from two windows on either side of the door, and from a single window on the east wall of the shop. Near the east wall window stands a short fat belly stove, two wooden chairs, and a wooden stool. Next to the stove, is the entrance to the shop's workroom. The back wall is covered with wood shelves stacked with fabric samples and finished clothing. A long wood counter runs in front of the back wall, leaving just enough room for one person to pass between shelves and the counter. A wood stool stands behind the counter. The west wall is empty save for a door leading to a set of stairs and two additional rooms.


Isabella whimpers faintly as she's placed in the chair, her eyes cracking open weakly, a groan escaping. She doesn't stay awake for long, but manages to get a look at Fael, before drifting back into the safety of being asleep.


Mirabelle Kahar 's eyes flutter open. Their expression is at first dazed, then all of a sudden her strange surroundings register in her mind, and a look of surprise flits across her face as she gazes around the room. "What in the world...?" She marvels. She limply lifts a hand to rub her left temple, pushing a slickly wet tress of hair out of the way.


The Horsemaster swiftly moves through the Loom and Spindle, bringing the wounded Mirabelle in from the storm outside; his evident ability to navigate around the furniture while holding his younger cousin proclaiming a familiarity with the area that may perhaps seem a little strange. Regardless, Serath manages to get Mirabelle safely across to lay her gently down upon the ground near to the stove, then proceeds to look for anything he can find that might aid in keeping her warm; using a few sheets of fabric, and most likely someone's new cloak, as a blanket for now. This done, he takes a step back, casting his helmed glance aside to fall upon Fael, the droplets of rain that have hitched a ride upon his armor now dripping from him, only to be forsaken upon the dry floor. "Fael," he offers, stressed but calm all the same, "I want you to stay here and look after them until I can get a healer here to look at them. Promise me that you won't let the Shadow hurt them any more than they've been already."


Having placed Saorise carefully in the remaining chair and turned it slightly towards the warmth of the stove he gently reaches out with his left hand and places it on her next to check her pulse. Once he is assured that both Isabella and Saorise are stable for the moment, he stands and takes a step back. Turning his attention towards Serath's voice, he runs his right hand through his soaked hair and nods his head in agreement. "Certainly, Serath", he says simply, "The Shadow will not touch them further this night."


Isabella shifts faintly in the chair, shivering violently from the cold. She looks around slowly, her eyes painfully opening up. "Wha... what happened?" she asks weakly, her voice hoarse and scratchy. She appears to be boarding between being awake and sleeping.


Mirabelle Kahar weakly props herself up on her elbows, a hand still pressed against her brow, and she shakes her head, as though to clear it. She sucks in her breath slightly as she observes the unfamiliar surroundings. Her gaze lands upon Serath and she says breathily, in a barely audible voice, "Your Highness!" She struggles to sit up further and fails, falling back on the ground. The flickering light of the fire casts a soft glow upon her.


"Then Light protect this place," Serath offers in a sincere tone, his faith in the Light evident in his words, "As it protected me from the Shadow's anger. Keep them warm, Fael, until I can summon help. Seek the aid of those who work here if you must; /wake them/, and threaten them with the wrath of the Prince of the Blood if they refuse." The Horsemaster sighs deeply, looks over those who have been subjected to the mention wrath of the shadow incarnated into the lightning, then quickly moves towards the door, boots sounding of bronze upon wood with every step. "I ride back into this storm gripped night, and I /swear/," his words are of venom now; of hatred for the Shadow renewed, "That those who walk the path of shadow will know /NO/ mercy should they cross me on this dark night..."


A clap of thunder resounds through the heavens; the sound second only to the harsh thud of the door of the Loom and Spindle slamming shut in Serath's wake, and the heavy gallops of Serath's Warhorse as he heads into the night...

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