Angered by Emperor Talus Kahar XIV's decision to enlist a member of the mages in the Luminary to help determine the identity of the 'She' sought by the Wildlings, Chancellor Alieron Mikin gives a memorable speech in Mikin Hall in Light's Reach ... and changes the course of history...
Mikin Hall - Amphitheater
- Stone steps descend into the well of the semicircular amphitheater, which consists of seven tiers of benches angling down toward a podium reserved for nobles to make pronouncements and decrees to those in attendance.
- The well is also home to a stone throne on a high-stepped dais, with lower platforms on either side for retainers and other entourage members to stand upon.
- Along the ring of the ceiling, banners bearing the Light's Reach crest hang suspended. The crest is repeated in a smaller banner applied to the front of the speaker's podium.
- Windows along the high ceiling let in sunlight during the day, while numerous torches gutter and flicker as they provide illumination for gatherings at night.
- The gilded and silver double doors providing access to the amphitheater depict the crest of Light's Reach in larger, sturdier form.
Duke Alieron Mikin, escorted by the Ducal Guard, walks regally down the stone steps, and then down into the center of the well where he makes his way toward the large stone podium upon a stone stage at the bottom of the well. No less than twenty Ducal Guard, almost the entire force, make a tight perimeter around the stone podium. Some standing in the front of the stage, and circling around. Four Ducal Guards ascend the small stage with the Duke, two flanking each side of the podium, almost blocking the view of the Duke in front, and two standing on each end of the stage. Two servants carry the wrapped up staff, and another the Duke's helmet. For now the Duke is without his helmet, with the Crown of Light's Reach upon his head. The servant quickly unwraps the majestic white Staff of Light, which the Duke then takes to wield.
Now through the entry, the crowd has lessened in its compact feel. Sister Laeria walks beside the Mikin priest, pace leisurely but steps measured and crisp. "You are most welcome. It was my pleasure to do so, I assure you." She sidles across one of the tiers to seat herself for the speech, hands dropping to grip her knees and spine held straight. There's relentless discipline there.
The staff the Duke wields is a seven-foot-tall staff of polished white river oak, with flame-shaped gilding embossed along the top of the staff, which is carved to form a sort of gnarled claw that contains a palm-sized light's eye gemstone. The bottom of the staff is capped with a three-inch cylinder of gold.
Tomassa moves steadily toward the front even when the Duke has taken his place. She pushes, shoves, and otherwise propels herself forward when the people are too thick. Most of them part when they spy her armor. The woman moves until she is just outside of Alieron's circle of guards. Pausing only an instant, she moves to the steps that lead to the stage an steps up on the first one without penetrating the guardsmen.
The Ducal Guard nearest to Tomassa clears his throat, "No one is allowed this close, Your Excellency. Perhaps you would take your seat in the noble section?"
Orelnon Mikin continues to stick with Laeria, seating himself next to her with a similar rigid discipline, reflecting in the downright glare he sends towards Alieron. The priest waits, clasping his hands in his lap and appearing calm and collected, in supreme control of his being.
Fionnlagh looks grim, facial expression tight and troubled as he makes his way in a few minutes after the Lady Surrector carves a path into the hall. His own path is perhaps eased by the regal tread of the massive rock wolf at his side, a presence most of the townfolk know not to fear, but certainly to respect. The two foresters with him, his most faithful companions outside the wolf, split up, one going left and one right upon the upper rank of the amphitheater, carrying their longbows loosely in one hand. The forester himself leans upon his quarterstaff as he surveys the massive crowd, standing in the entryway once no more flow comes in.
Tomassa politely looks up at the Guard and gives a small shake of her head. Quietly, but with that same politeness, she says, "I fear that this is the best place for me to listen, if it isn't a problem? I very well may need to speek after the Duke on a matter of grave importance."
Fael Mikin escorts Sophia towards the front. His eyes cautiously taking in the gathered crowd. He catches a glimpse of the familiar blonde head of his sister and hesitates for a second before shaking his head and proceeding forward. A couple of seconds later he spots the Surrector and shakes his head slightly, a thoughtful expression resting on his features for a moment.
Lillymere murmurs, "Da Voe... Da Voe... oh!" her eyes lighten up as she exclaims, "The one who trounthed the Zahir Count! I heard about that... well done!" she beams a smile at Da Voe before saying, "Oh... there's a seat!" she squeezes between two fat citizens, making her way into the noble section, where there are two free seats. She sinks into one of them.
The Ducal Guard shakes his head, "Your Excellency, no one shall be this close to the stage. If you will take your seat, I am sure the Duke will speak with you when he is done with the ceremony." He clears his throat, gesturing toward the noble section. Alieron does not seem to notice Tomassa, instead standing at the podium, surveying the crowd.
"The same," Demetrius acknowledges with a nod of his head, removing his hat to place it in his lap as he sits down in the seat by Lillymere.
Sophia Mikin passes Tomassa and gives the woman a polite nods though nothing more before making her way closer towards her father. One small hand is resting lightly upon Fael's arm as both move through a path cleared by the Ducal Guard. An expression of noble aire is upon the petite Marchioness and Heir of the LIght's Reach's face.
Tomassa takes a single step back, lowering herself from the step, but remaining close to the stage. It is as much as she is going to capitulate at this time. She gives a cool look to the Guardsman and then turns her attention toward Alieron.
Ester Shardwood leans closer to Joran as she sits, she says quietly. "I believe this may have something to do with the Order of the Flame, but..." She catches the Surrector's movements out of the corner of her eye and turns her attention to the woman on the stage. Her expression tightens in some anger a for a brief second she glares in her direction. Catching herself she looks back at Joran and breaths out trying to relax.
"Perhaps," Joran says, sitting down beside Ester, his eyes first on the Duke, but then glances towards Tomassa, and he grunts, and turns his attention back to Ester, "It was her than lept over the wagon, wasn't it?" he asks.
Suddenly the Duke taps the gold bottom of the Staff of Light upon the stone surface of the stage loudly, three fairly loud taps. A wave of silence suddenly comes across the citizens of Light's Reach, knowing that the Duke is preparing to speak. The Duke, as if perhaps unconsciously, places a hand on his sword Forgefire hanging at the opposite side of the staff.
Ester Shardwood nods once in wordless reply. She plasters a smile on her face and turns her attention to the Duke on stage.
Fael Mikin nods respectfully to the Surrector as he moves past her, a thoughtful expression on his face. The knocking of the staff draws his attention away before he can speak however and he moves with Sophia towards the seats set aside for them.
Fionnlagh watches Tomassa, then Alieron, then Tomassa again, his grip on the stout quarterstaff loosening. After a moment, he leans it against the wall beside him, and removes the ancient longbow Shadowsbane from his shoulder, running a fond finger up and down the string, which hums slightly with the movement. The forester nods once, glancing along the gallery to each of his companions, left and right, then spread his feet a bit, settling to wait uneasily.
Demetrius idly drums his fingers on the brim of his hat, watching idly and making a great show out of yawning disproportionally.
Tomassa's hands rest casually upon her belt and she stands very still as she attentively watches Alieron.
All eyes are upon the Duke, all the people of Light's Reach waiting for their liege to speak. There is a silence in the room that has grown over the people of Light's Reach, as their heads are turned toward the podium.
With a gentle sweep of her hand, Sophia gracefully spreads out the yardage of silk that make up the skirts of her gown then lowers herself down up the chair designated for her. Her blue eyes flickers in Fael's direction offering the Lord Constable a delicate smile before her gaze turns to focus upon her father while both hands fold demurely upon her lap.
As the duke taps the staff, Joran takes his eyes from Ester, and looks towards Alieron, preparing to listen to the speech.
Lillymere 's eyelids flutter a few times, and she gazes off at the ceiling.
Laeria's discerning eye scoures the gathered crowd, flitting across each section of people in survey and only lingering on faces familiar to her. Her brother Fael, as he transfers to his seat, is given a lasting look, lessened on scrutiny and more curious as to the woman he is escorting. The stillness in quiet is about her as she patiently awaits the speech's delivery.
Orelnon Mikin keeps his gaze locked on Alieron, harsh eyes moving only to examine every nook and crany that the Duke exposes, stone still yet obviously eager for the speech. His eyes flick to Tomassa for only a moment and then discard her, zeroing in on Alieron once more.
Duke Alieron Mikin hands off the staff to a servant, and places both hands upon the stone podium. He clears his throat, a very somber, serious look upon his face. He looks out across the people of Light's Reach as a speaker would do, beginning his speech in a loud baritone voice of authority that a noble could muster, "People of Light's Reach, gathered nobles, citizens, and others from abroad. Today you have been all called here by the announcement that this was to be an Order of the Flame speech, and to the extent that it deals with Light's Reach it is. For we all have faith in the Light, the Light is our keeper." With that his eyes downcast for only a moment, and he looks up with a look of resolve upon his face. "I come before you to tell you this, to tell you the truth, and to tell you what has weighed upon your Duke's heart heavily." He breathes deeply, and now comes the point. A look of great sadness grows on his face, "Our Emperor, Talus Kahar, has made a deal with the Shadow." He does not miss a beat, "He has contracted the Shadow-Touched Luminary to fight the Wildlings, but in doing so has lost himself to the Shadow, and has had associated himself with the Shadow-Touched. I fear...he has been deceived by the Shadow, and it endangers us all" With these final words, he drops his eyes, and holds his hand on his sword at his side preparing for what is next.
Stunned silence falls across the people of Light's Reach, a deafening silence, as even the whispers stop.
Merielle Mikin only looks up when her husband begins to speak, and she looks down again at her lap almost immediately. Her mouth turns downwards in a sharp frown that betrays her age-- lines at the corners of her eyes and lips that usually go unseen come out strongly now. She strokes the back of her hand with her thumb n a small, soothing, repetitive motion while Alieron speaks.
Sophia Mikin quite simply gasps at her father's words. She blinks, then blinks again and with a quick swival of her head from side to side looks positively in shock. Her entire face drains of blood leaving a pale, marble-like complexion. One hand jets up to reach then clasp Fael's as if seeking support or strength or perhaps both. A rather loud gulp in her throat is swolled which creates a sickening feeling within the depths of her belly.
Silence. Silence, Tomassa decides, is good. There is a tiny bit of relaxation to the tight set of her features when there is no immediate outcry. Still, she detaches her left hand from her belt and casually moves it to rest atop the pommel of her sword.
Joran's face immediately changes to a mixture of shock, and anger. The Guardian's right hand falls to rest on his sword hilt, and his eyes locked on the Duke. He does not move from his seat, however.
Ester Shardwood sits in stunned silence as she takes in the information that had just been delivered. Her eyes narrow on the the Duke in disbelief for a moment before her gaze moves to the Surrector.
Zurhael Zahir's face remains unchanged for a moment, then breaks into a slight grin. His gauntleted hands move toward his scabbard, and he glances at his two guards, who nod toward him silently.
Demetrius eyes the Duke silently, returning his hat to his head. Then a snicker makes its way through his quirked lips, and soon he is laughing uproariously as he rises. "That is most rich! The Emperor in league with the shadow? And his child is a bastard wildling, yes?"
Of the four who entered in Fionnlagh's group, the only one not stunned to inactivity is the snowy white rock wolf. It sits regally, surveying the scene with watchful ears, unbothered by the troubles of mankind. Fionnlagh, and the two foresters who came with him, are all shocked for a lingering moment, before Fionnlagh draws himself straight, jaw firming as he nods with some finality. He plucks an arrow from his quiver, though he does nothing to set it to bow....just ready in case it's needed. Those nearest his spot at the door might hear him whisper. "Light guide us all..."
The people of Light's Reach do not seem to laugh at all, they remained silent, but a few outcries of the louder citizens make their opinions known, "Our Emperor has betrayed us! We must defend ourselves from the Shadow!."
Lillymere 's small body freezes, tensing on the bench, as her green eyes widen to stare at the pronouncement. She makes no sound... no gasp, no murmur, she barely even breathes, succumbed as she is to the stillness that has over taken her. At Demetrius's outburst, the freeze melts, and she turns her head sharply, shining curls flying outwards with the moment of the turn, to put a finger to her lips. Still no sound escapes her, but her look to Demetrius says it.
Laeria's pleasant impassive nature - her default outwardly mask - falters with first a faint, almost undetectable wrinkle between her pale blonde eyebrows. A wrinkle of puzzlement. Then... then it molds into stern stoicism, her jaw muscles clenching and relaxing in a manicured expression. Her hands grip harder on her knees, meltal digging into metal. Anger, disbelief, confusion. They are all applicable at this moment, all held in check by the young teen's need to think. To digest.
Fael Mikin sits up straighter as the Duke delivers his speech, a frown on his features as his gaze shifts across the crowd reading their response. After a moment he shifts his gaze towards the form of the Surrector at the bottom of the stairs and watches her to see her response. His eyes are wide as he looks towards the Duke, then back to the Surrector, but doesn't move yet. Instead he gives Sophia's hand a squeeze and continues to watch.
Orelnon Mikin's eyes widen, then slowly but surely recompose themselves. Visible only to Laeria the elderly priest's hands are shaking in his lap, and his breathing quickens. "My one regret, sister, is that this calling comes in the twilight of my life." Orelnon whispers, his gaze still locked on Alieron. Then he rises, flying from seat and standing bolt upright. "Duke!" He cries, pointing a finger at Alieron. "Speak you true? On the Holy Light, on your mother's soul and the titles you wear do you speak truth?" The priest challenges, a twinge of madness in his gaze.
Tomassa's gauntletted left hand lifts as she attempts to mount the steps once more. Her voice cries out in loud authority, "SILENCE! Before you begin an outcry, let met SPEAK!" Grimly, she points her index finger toward Alieron. "This man is not and has NEVER been my friend, but I would speak on his behalf for a moment!"
With nonchalant languidness Demetrius crosses his arms such that his hands rest on the pommel of the rapier opposite them. A flick away from drawing blank, he cocks his head towards Tomassa, watching her from the shadowy recesses under his hat's brim.
The Duke had remained silent up until now, his hand resting on his sword. His head turns toward Orelnon, speaking despite Tomassa's warning, "Father, I speak the truth on all those things. On the Holy Light, on my mother Lelara Mikin's soul, and all the titles I have. I speak the truth on my /life/." He says this to all.
A few of the crowd speaks loudly at Tomassa's words, "She is a Zahir! What does she have to say!." Though a few do listen, the majority appear to have their attention on their Duke.
Sophia Mikin just stares and listens holding on to Fael's hand for dear life lest she drown. Slowly, very slowly the Heir to Light's Reach rises from her seat eyeing Tomassa cautiously. "Let the Surrector speak." She calls out in her dainty voice. "Let that Surrector speak I say." Never has Sophia been a support of Tomassa, but this is about her father, the Duke of Light's Reach.
Tomassa feels a surge of anger at what she hears, but then draws in a deep breath. She moves up the steps a bit more and shouts, "HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH!" Once those words are bellowed, she says, "Listen to what I must say!"
Ester Shardwood tenses as both Orelnon and Tomassa speak, her cheeks flushing red. She grits her teeth in anger and frustration as her gaze flicker from the woman, to the priest and back to the Duke. Her right hand disappears under cloak and she makes a motion as if to stand.
The muttering and whispering in the crowd starts to die down as eyes turn toward Tomassa.
Joran glances towards Ester, his hand now gripping the hilt instead of just resting on it. He then looks back to the speakers, eyes on Tomassa now.
The whisper passed from the priest's lips to Laeria Mikin's ear is met with a subtle shift in her position. Nothing altogether noticeable as it stems more in the intangible - a clouding air about her. What Orelnon cries at least grants her a pitiful amount of self-assurance. She hones in, eyebrows narrowing a fraction, to study between Alieron and the Surrector.
Alieron Mikin gazes quickly back at his daughter Sophia's statement with a frown, and then to Tomassa with a look of surprise as she says he speaks the truth. He stares at her, with a look of just amazement, and skepticism as he stands there silently still at the podium. The Ducal Guard stand in their places at well.
Fael Mikin continues to watch the Royals on the dias as the scene continues to unfold. He has made no motion to stand or reach for his weapon, though tension is evident on his face as he moves his gaze away from the nobles towards the crowded seats, spotting Laeria again he attempts to meet her eye, though she seems focused on the Royals.
Tomassa pushes her way to the stage with a rush of impassioned energy. "Listen to me!" She moves alongside Alieron and lifts her left hand as if to call for silence. "The Emperor -has- contracted with the Luminary to defend Fastheld in its time of need. The Duke speaks truly in that regard! But the EMPEROR IS NOT LOST TO THE SHADOW!" Within her helmet, the woman's countenane is fierce. "This is not the first time that an Emperor has had to call upon those bearing the Shadow's Touch to aid him. THINK ON IT! The walls that surround us and protect us from outer threat were CREATED in such a time and by such people!"
Zurhael Zahir listens as Tomassa speaks, though seems prepared to be rise out of his seat.
Quite a few Light's Reach residents scowl at this assertion by the Surrector, grumbling stubbornly out of knee-jerk loyalty to their Duke, but some are nodding in grudging agreement. It cannot be argued that the Shadow has *never* been called upon to defend the realm.
The Duchess' hands still, and she still does not look up. Her frown remains etched deep into her face as the shouting rises and falls around her.
"Heretic!" Orelnon cries, finger now accusing Tomassa. "You would seek the vile taint of the Shadow for all aims, why do we need them?" The priest challenges, his eyes defiant and his voice filled with righteous fury. "What task in Fastheld now needs their evil work? Do we run to them when we are in need? Would you have us crawling on all fours to the Shadow when things do not go our way? Where is your faith, Surrector? Where is your strength? The Emperor has failed us! His judgment is corrupt and his methods aligned with the wicked!"
Fionnlagh watches Tomassa as she speaks, glancing down to the rock wolf a moment. Snowshadow looks back, as regal as ever, thoroughly unflappable and secure in its own world. Just for a moment, a fleeting smile crosses the Forest Captain's expression, before he scans the crowd, eyes lingering on Zurhael before moving to the older forester along the left wall. He catches the man's eye, nodding to him, and then to Zurhael. And then the priest yells, and the forester casts his eyes ceilingward a moment imploringly before they fall back to the priest.
"Good Father, may the light be with you," Demetrius calls, arms still crossed, but laughing, "Then he should be a Mikin by that description, not a Kahar!"
Zurhael Zahir's eyes meet momentarily with Fionnlagh's, and he returns the nod. He frowns and glares at Orelnon, hand moving closer towards his sword.
Two of the Ducal Guard who are nearest to Demetrius begin moving toward Demetrius, slowly, to see what further outcries he has.
Tomassa slams a fist against her cuirass and the symbol that is adorned there. "Your words are treacherous, Priest!" she responds to Orelnon. "I work to STOP the Shadow, not aid it! I could have tried to arrest Duke Mikin for TREASON for his words, but I chose to try to stop the unrest they could cause. Do not turn this into a revolt or YOUR shall find yourself residing in Fastheld's dungeon, old man!"
Sophia Mikin is utterly confused. How can one be in league with the Luminary and not be Shadow touched? The expression upon the Marchioness face has gone from shock to fear to rage. Her entire face once pasty white now has become scarlet. "Lies!" Sophia cries out after Orelnon, hardly believe she asked those of Light's Reach to let that vile woman Tomassa speak. Blue eyes dart about seeking out the Ducal guard to protect her Father from the taint of evil. "May the Light protect the faithful and cast out those who those who are vile and full of evil."
Alieron Mikin listens to Tomassa, and then to the priest. He has stood there silently the whole time, one hand still resting securely on his sword. He listens closely to the priest, and then frowns upon Tomassa. He speaks loudly to his citizens, "I am a man of faith, we are a people of faith in the Light! The Wildlings are of the Shadow, the Luminary is of the Shadow! How can we trust anything that comes of the Shadow, for though they may seem to work apart they are as puppets of the Shadow to bring ruin to us all! How do we know if this is not a plot of the Shadow?!"
"What say this? That we should rely on the Shadow, the very enemy that we - Holy Mother's Fists and Eyes - have been battling ages past and present? To use the Shadow when we have need, instead of relying upon the /Light/?" Laeria adds to the fray, her tempered words sharp but not fallen wayside to the recklessness of emotion. She pushes herself up to stand, hands resting on the hilts of her katars out of habit. "What logic, what insanity, is that?"
Tomassa slams one foot against the floor in a stomp fit to break the stone. "THE AEGIS WAS FORMED BY SUCH AN ALLIANCE!" she reminds the crowd. "THE VERY WALLS THAT HAVE GIVEN YOUR ANCESTORS AND YOU PROTECTION!"
"Treason?!" Orelnon bellows, his voice filled with rage. "There is but /one/ question that we should ask to determine our loyalties!" The Priest cries, breaking gaze from Tomassa to survey the crowd, challenging them to meet his gaze. "Do you stand with the Light, or with the Shadow?" Now the question is directed at Tomassa, "If Kahar finds himself on the side of the Shadow then he is due no loyalty or comfort, he is no Emperor of mine!"
More and more citizens in the crowd hear Tomassa's words and nod in agreement. But someone shouts: "This is not about a wall! We know why the Crown did that! What possible need do we have now that requires such a bargain?!"
Tomassa struggles to contain her growing anger and frustration. Finally, she jabs an accusing finger in Sophia's direction and yells, "ASK *HER*!"
Many eyes turn toward the direction of the Surrector's indication, settling on Sophia Mikin.
Alieron Mikin speaks loudly now, in a baritone voice, and slams his gauntlet upon the podium. "House Mikin will never stand by an Emperor who stands with the Shadow, and works with the Shadow!." Suddenly, he frowns at Tomassa as he turns toward Sophia, "What slander do you direct toward my daughter, Tomassa Zahir!."
Fionnlagh looks from place to place as argument starts to spread, and swallows hard, closing his eyes a moment. He fits the arrow to his bow, keeping it pointed towards the stone at his feet, but beginning to draw it tight. To his left, halfway round the auditorium, and the same distance to his right, two less ancient bows are likewise fitted with arrows, pointed at stone.
And as the shouts begin to rise, the regal white wolf is for the first time troubled by events, ears flickering and head lowering as it shifts from a sit to a crouch, placing itself defensively before the forester's legs.
Ester's eyes widen at the exchange between priest and surrector. Her breath catches in her throat as she swallows hard. She hangs her head head as the yelling continues and stares at the floor a mixture of emotion passing over her features. Her head snaps up at the mention of Sophia and she tenses.
Tomassa turns to face Alieron, one eyebrow lazily edging upward in superiority. "I could accuse her of being tied to the Shadow as you have the Emperor," she states. "After all, she was tied to two recent Wilding attacks. However, I will let her speak to tell us of what she's learned from those experiences. If anyone can calm this crowd and tell them of the horror of the Wildings and what they seek, she can. Be -still-, Alieron, and let me save you from going down in history as badly remembered as Goram Zahir."
Merielle's head comes up at the mention of Alieron's -- and her -- daughter. She turns her dark eyes on Sophia across the room and looks hard at her.
Demetrius grazes the ducal guards with a disdainful look as is hands close around the half-basket hilts of his rapiers. He stands still otherwise.
Fael Mikin continues to focus his attention on the crowd, gauging and measuring the mood thereof with a long practiced eye as the arguments and shouts continue to ring out from the podium. His expression now is one of resignation at events set in motion, though anger is barely contained in his eyes. As the conversation shifts towards Sophia he looks over at her, watching thoughtfully.
Alieron Mikin suddenly has a look of fury upon his face, turning toward Tomassa in a manner of aggression, "Lies! All Lies! Guards! Seize this Zahir, for she is treasonous, and a heretic!" He suddenly grabs for Forgefire at his side, and wields it out.
Yes Sophia blinks dumbfounded at Tomassa's accustions. She has no idea what that woman is implying but the expression upon her face. "You jealous, evil woman. I have never been in league with anything of evil, NEVER!" She cries out challenging the Surrector. "May the Light and all that is holy strike you down for your slanderous lies."
Tomassa draws her blade in reflex, a look of resignation upon her own features. "Light forgive them. They're too stupid to HEAR what people truly say," she mutters. Grimly, she turns to face Alieron.
And with twin sounds of steel singing Demetrius draws free, silver- and gold-hilted blades springing up into his hands. He grins underneath the brim of his hat.
Merielle Mikin's eyes dart back to Alieron. Her frown is suddenly gone, skin smoothed into girlhood with the sheer blank slackness of shock. Suddenly she stands bolt upright and her voice joins into the general pandemonium. "ALIERON, you will NOT attack the SURRECTOR!" she shouts.
Zurhael Zahir files quietly out of his seat while all eyes are on those on the dais, guards following him toward one side of the crowded ampitheatre, near Fionnlagh. The longsword by the Harbormaster's side is already a quarter of the way out of its scabbard as he keeps his eyes on the stage.
Seeing the reaction of Alieron and the Guards Orelnon calls out once more, "Then she is Kahar's dog!" He cries, "Faithful to the Shadow and disdainful of the Light drag the bitch from her post and spill her blood on these stones!" He turns to the people of Light's Reach, gesturing towards the scene upon the stage of the ampitheater. "See the work of the Shadow! Now before you is the time! Arise, arise and do your duty! Smite the Zahir dogs!" With this done he whispers againt to Laeria. "Stand with me, sister, and we will yet see the wicked purged from this land."
Now Fael Mikin stands, unarmored though he may be, his hands well free of the hilt of his weapon. Anger is now well visible in his features. Hearing the voice of the Duchess over the noise of the crowd he smiles faintly and remains silent, those his eyes remain fixed on the pair, Surrector and Duke.
Joran stands as the rest do, his hand gripping tightly on his hilt, and easing the sword an inch up, showing part of the blade. "I will see no harm befalls you, Huntsmistress." he says loud enough for her to hear, moving into a position to protect Ester, should someone come near.
"Light preserve us." groans Fionnlagh, who stands in the entrance Lotan is moving into, ancient bow already half-drawn with a fitted arrow. He draws it full pull, eyes scanning the room, waiting to see whence the first bloodshed comes....or if someone will defuse things.
The two foresters draw full pull as well, only awaiting their Captain to select a target. Meanwhile, before the Captain's feet, the massive white wolf begins to rumble with a threatening snarl, hackles rising, a sound that may cause a few of the townspeople nearest to attempt to edge away from it, lest they be perceived as threats.
Lotan enters the hall with a blink in his eyes. He takes recognition in his fellow Guildmate of Fionnlagh, and he decides to unsling his Blades-issued longbow from his shoulder and load it with an unremarkable oaken arrow, taking Fionnlagh's flank and looking to him. "What are we shooting at?" he asks curiously, scanning the area.
Alieron Mikin flicks his eyes over to his wife for a moment, though keeps the sword wielded in his hand, he does not seem to hear the words of the priest though as an outcry in the crowd as his attention is focused upon the stage "Tomassa Zahir! You back the Emperor, who has commissioned the Shadow! The gravest enemy to the realm, the Shadow! The great deceiver! What would you now say about my daughter, for you have just confessed yourself the Emperor has commissioned the Shadow! What faith in the Light is that?! To work with the Shadow!."
"I would rather die with conviction of my Faith to the /Light/, as should any Light-knowing person, than to become a bedfellow to the Shadow. To become indebted to the very same vile enemy I have crossed blades with!" At that very mention, the blonde Sister draws free her wildstone-splotched obsidian katar and its matching silvery mate. Schhlng, schhlng. It isn't the offensive that she is on, but the defensive. Seeing so many weapons drawn is enough to draw one's own to protect yourself. And it's Orelnon, a Priest of the Light, that she has taken upon herself to guard right now as well.
Tomassa firmly and grimly states, "Alieron Mikin, you are under arrest for the crime of Treason. I tried to keep from this, but your loud mouth and dim brain has left me no choice. There are fifty of my men outside of the city, waiting to come to my aid. Do you -truly- wish to see a bloodbath here or will you -listen- to reason? Your aligning the Emperor with the Shadow is as silly as my conjecture about Sophia's alignment with the Wildlings. That is what I meant for you to understand. As usual, youare too *hotheaded* to hear anything but what you -wish- to hear. So be it. I'll kill you and die trying, if I must. And I won't say that it won't be a pleasure."
At the sound of drawing steel and threats Ester curses under her breath and reaches over her shoulder and pulls the thong on the cap of her quiver. It falls open and she draws the shortbow from it's pocket. Her eyes flicker back and forth from Duke to Surrector her expression pained and frustrated.
Fionnlagh blinks, glancing to Lotan, opening his mouth and then closing it as Alieron shouts. "Take your pick." he finally murmurs, as the different sides begin to show themselves for Lotan's ears. "Stand with the Emperor, with the priest, or with the Duke. I shall kill that one first." he nods to Demetrius. "After that it's a bloodbath if none stops it."
Merielle Mikin stands straight as the bowstrings that are pullng taut all over, and she quivers as tautly. Her eyes follow the little drama between Tomassa and Alieron intently, and then with the sound of Laeria's blades they suddenly drop to take in the drawn and readied weapons in the crowd. She mutters a very unladylike curse and begins to elbow her way forward, drawn up with every inch into the posutre of a furious noblewoman. Her destination is Alieron.
Zurhael Zahir unsheathes his sword with a metallic note. Blade pointed down, he steps toward Fionnlagh. "Enjoying the show, Forester?" He looks out on the crowd. "Unrest. Cornerstone of life, eh? Pity someone'll have to stop it."
Demetrius twirls the twin blades in his hands, eying the guards in the room. Still the duelist hasn't bothered to move from his position in front of the fainted Lillymere.
Sophia Mikin stares wildly as fighting commences. The petite little Marchioness doesn't know what to do. Where is Vhramis when she needs him. Her eyes fly all about just staring at Alieron and Tomassa. No words come forth from her lips just a hoarse scream for aid from the Ducal guards.
Lotan blinks, as when he reaches for his bow, it's not there. Returning the arrow to its quiver, Lotan looks curiously over to Fionnlagh. "Don't suppose you've got an extra bow on you, friend? I seem to have forgotten mine at the keep. I even brought my quiver. I must be getting old."
Alieron Mikin steps back, wielding his sword, "You will not arrest me! For I speak the truth, the Emperor has hired the Luminary, and in doing so has indeed worked with the Shadow!" He calls out, "Guards! Apprehend her" The twenty guards around the stage move forward, preparing to apprehend the Zahir. Alieron holds up his sword, preparing to defend himself if need be.
"Are you both insane?" Fael hisses through tight lips to the pair. "If either of you strikes the other, this entire township will go up in flames." Dark eyes flash, though his posture is still non threatening. He shakes his head, seeing no peaceful outcome at this juncture.
Outside, sounds of clashing can be heard as the Bramblestone Irregulars meet with the Ducal Guards.
Tomassa keeps her sword at the ready and warily eyes the all of the men who approach her. She bellows. "DROP HIM, KENNETH!" in hopes that Fionnlagh might come to her aid.
"Arise!" Orelnon cries, wild with madness and obvious not going to back down anytime soon. "The wicked cannot stand against the holy brand of the righteous! Cast down the Shadow and its agents! Cast down the Surrector! Draw your weapons, your tools, your faith and arise! Reclaim this realm from its fallen place, drag the demon Emperor from his throne and draw his blood as you would draw poison from a wound!" At the call to Fionnlagh the Priest bellows, "Stay your shot from the Duke's heart! Spare the righteous man and smite the vile witch!"
There's a fierce clashing sound from without the Hall as steel meets steel in a ferocious entanglement. After several fast and furious moments, a youth from Light's Reach runs inside yelling, "THEY BEAT THE DUCAL GUARD! THEY'RE WAITING OUTSIDE! Help! Help!" Tomassa's face flashes with triumph for a moment, but she still warily watches the ducal guards that are encroaching upon her.