Ester Shardwood stands up, bow now clutched in hand, the other reaching behind and drawing an arrow Her eyes flicker from the Duke to Tomassa and then back behind her as she peers upwards finding the forester as he is called too.
Alieron turns toward the screaming boy, and yells out a quick command as he backs away as five of the Ducal Guard encroach upon Tomassa. The other Ducal Guard begin taking their positions around the stage.
"Walked in at a bad time," grumbles Lotan to himself, deciding to back away from the entrance as much as possible and take up his fists rather than a shortsword. Not seeing a clear target, he does his best to remain out of sight in the crowd and hover near the Mikin guard.
Tomassa takes a wary step back, her sword at the ready. "Don't have the balls to face me yourself, old man?" she taunts Alieron. "I always thought you were the sort to let others handle your problems."
Fionnlagh lifts the arrow's point fom the groundward angle, looking around him as eyes begin to turn his way. A breath, and he lets the bow sing, speeding the arrow for the hand that holds Alieron's sword out before him, trying to strike just that one point as he cries. "THERE ARE WOMEN AND CHILDREN HERE...STAY YOUR SWORDS!"
Sophia Mikin is caught in between the stage where Alieron and Tomassa and Fael looking completely at a loss to say and do anything other than to stare in shock.
Orelnon Mikin watches the boy run through in disgust, word of the Ducal Guard's defeat washing over him. "Now! Citizens of Light's Reach! Do your duty to the Light! To the doors! Crush the enemies of the Light with your righteous fury! Fall upon the dogs and you will prevail! They are few and we are many, overwhelm them and walk freely under the sun as paladins all!"
The arrow whistles over the heads of the crowd, on target for the Duke's sword hand. However, the arrow skirts off the gauntlet worn by Alieron Mikin. Nevertheless it should get his attention.
The Duchess Merielle finally stops and, very deliberately, turns her back on Alieron. Instead she begins searching the seething mob for her daughter Sophia, a task made more difficult by the Marchioness' diminutive stature. "Sophia! Fael?" she calls.
Fionnlagh reaches back for a second arrow as his first is let go, drawing the bow full pull yet again.
Alieron Mikin looks down at the arrow that goes by him, and then looks up at the direction it came from. His hand still holds his sword, and he shifts position quickly to another spot on the other side of the stage behind the Ducal Guard that are enroaching upon Tomassa.
The crowd, growing into a panic now that fighting has broken out and they're caught in the middle, does indeed start trampling - right over Orelnon, pounding on him, kicking him, driving him to the floor to shut him up.
Seeing the crowd in a state of anger, and the only visible Ducal Guards available set on the stage, Lotan Elkhorn moves through the crowd to their location. He moves as quickly as he can through the crowd, seeing if there's a way he can attack to aide the Imperial forces.
Tomassa's gaze darts from guardsman to guardsman, but her calm, low words are for Alieron only. "You can stop this madness, Mikin. Tell them all to stand down. Tell them all to stop. There's no need for more bloodshed. Watch your people die or end this with dignity."
Alieron Mikin yells upon Tomassa, now angry as the Bramblestone Irregulars invade the Hall, "You are the one without dignity, Tomassa Zahir. My people die for your treachery!." The Ducal Guard continue moving upon Tomassa, as Alieron flicks his gaze about to look for any more attacks upon his person.
With a resigned shake of his head, Fael sighs and steps back from the Ducal guard, placing himself directly next to Sophia where he can interpose himself between her and any potential threats. Anger, fear, and disbelief battle on his face as he watches the conflict unfold around him. He leans down slightly to speak to Sophia, then looks up once again.
Laeria solidifies her stance next to Orelnon, katars drawn and twirled so their tips point toward the ground, gauntlets squeezing tighter on the metal-barred hilts. When the frantic crowd begins to flow toward her position, the armored paladin can only shoulder a half turn toward the oncoming people and steel herself from the pelting of bodies. Certainly she doesn't desire to harm innocents, but she won't martyr herself either.
"I'm not the traitor here, you puffed up buffoon!" Tomassa yells as she ends her dance of avoidance and finally clashes with the Ducal Guardsmen. "Perhaps you'll figure that out before you die."
"Get out! Warn the Sun's Keep!" Orelnon cries to Laeria as the crowd turns against him, throwing up his arms to shelter himself, eyes still wild and mad, unable to comprehend failure.
Arrows fly by all around the Heir of Light's reach. Sophia tucks though there isn't anywhere to go. She screams out for the Ducal guards to protect her father not really making any sense what so ever in her fear. Though the Marchioness tries a brave front nothing has prepared her for this. She looks to Fael with extreme angst, anger and fear within her crystal blue eyes. "Light save us all!" She cries out. "Light please save us!"
Down at her position at the front Ester is torn between the goings on on the stage and the crowd that's panicing and moving towards the door. She gasps as the arrow flies from Fionnlagh's bow towards the Duke and then at the guards. She notch's an arrow in her bow.
It's not her eyes that lead Merielle to her daughter, in the end, but her ears; the younger woman's screams draw the Duchess directly towards that betrothed pair. Fierce with elbows and glares alike she at length breaks out of the crowd with a strangled exclamation. "Sophia!" she says, her arms opening.
Sophia Mikin stays close to Fael as the Lord Constable tries and protects Sophia. Her eyes dart in the direction of her mother's voice but the sound of clashing swords, whistling arrows and the mayhelm of screams, curses and yell brings a fog upon Sophia's mind. "Mother?" She whispers as she desperately seeks out Merielle.
The five other Ducal Guards that surrounded the stage are in a protective border around the Duke, and the ten other Ducal Guard are on scattered about the top.
Tomassa clashes blades with one Guardsman, but edges away from truly injuring him. It is apparent to any that are watching that she is acting more defensively than anything else. "CALM DOWN!" the woman bellows. "DO NOT BE INCITED BY TRAITOROUS WORDS!"
Lotan continues to approach the stage. His focuses are now set on the guards surrounding the stage, and he tries to use the angry crowd as cover. He attempts to move with stealth torward the guard most singled out, combining both his fists to ready for a pound as he makes his approach.
Ester Shardwood draws the arrow back, her expression a mixture of confusion and concern. She trains it towards the stage and blinks several times as she trains first on a guard, then Tomassa. Her gaze flickers to the Duke and her face twists, the bow is lowered to just a little and she looks back up the auditorium searching the crowd.
Zurhael Zahir strides casually down toward the dais, sword raised. His two other guards follow, heading toward a group of guards that seem to be fixed on Tomassa.
Tomassa clashes again with those men nearest her, saying to them, "I understand your loyalty to that ninny, but listen to reason. The Emperor is a -good- man. He would not willingly risk our safety. Do not be traitors! Stand down! Don't make me hurt you."
"Desist, move!" Laeria shouts to the swarming crowd she's embroiled within, now on the ground and rolling (as best she can) off to the side with arms and blades crossed over her head in self-protection. "You treat a Servant of the Light in this fashion." It's uncertain whether she means herself or Orelnon. But at this point... likely herself.
Merielle Mikin moves forward to embrace Sophia tightly, her eyes closing in relief for one short second. Then she hisses, "Fael. What's the best way to keep my daughter safe in this bloodbath?"
"Mother you must protect yourself lest that madwoman accuse you of being shadow touched as well. I fear for your life!" Sophia cries out trying to embrace her mother. "I brought no guards with me from Wedgecrest and I do not know what to do."
Fionnlagh shakes his head as his arrow misses the guardsman, drawing another as he glances to his two other foresters with a pained expression. He mouths. "Wound not kill." to them, knowing he can't be heard at this stage, and releases another leg-aimed arrow towards one of Alieron's guards assaulting Tomassa, hoping his two foresters will pick two more.
With nothing to do but sit still for the moment, since there is little effect he can have, Fael keeps one eye on Sophia, while continuing to search the crowd, perhaps looking for the familiar blonde locks of his sister, but with no luck at this juncture. Hearing the Duchess voice he shifts his attention with a tight smile. "By keeping her here, out of the way and not presenting a threat." He says finally with a shrug of his shoulders. "There is no easy way out, but the people are not seeking targets, merely reacting to those that present themselves." Another arrow catches his attention, distracting him as he shifts his eyes to locate the source.
One of the Guards on the stage - apparently also part of the Emperor's Blades and thus sworn to the Crown - takes heed to the Surrector's words. He lowers his sword, breaks and departs from the stage, leaving Alieron's service. The other four are unwavering in their loyalty to the man, however.
The dark blue eyes of the older Mikin meet Fael's for a minute, and then with a slight nod she closes them again. Her arms wrap Sophia tight with surprising strength, and her jaw steels. "Trust Fael's advice, Sophia. We'll stay to the edge. They cannot do this forever. We'll be fine." Alieron's name hovers like a ghost over the last sentence, but Merielle presses her eyelids tightewr closed and does not speak it.
"Fine evening, eh, cousin?" Zurhael muses aloud as he and his minons unleash their blades upon the Ducal Guardsmen. The Harbormaster swings his blade at the neck of the nearest guard, hopefully resulting in decapitation. "I hope the Shadow finds you well, servants of Madman Alieron!"
Alieron Mikin continues to watch, frowning toward the Ducal Guard that departs, but keeps the other five guards on stage around him to prevent any further attacks. He keeps his sword at the ready, looking down as Zurhael approaches. He quickly grabs his helmet that had fallen onto the stage, and removes the Crown of Light's Reach. He puts the helmet upon his head with the help of one of the Ducal Guard, rather quickly, and then the crown goes atop it.
Tomassa gives a slight, crooked grin and says, "Well, I will defend myself, gentlemen. In the name of the Emperor and the Light, I call you all traitors as well." She lashes out at the man nearest to her with her longsword, hoping for blood.
Spotting one of Alieron's guards depart the stage, Lotan grins at the sight of Imperial sympathy. Unfortunately, his attempt at an ambush fails, and he rushes forward as fast as he can to attempt to take down one of the guards. Tapping into his former unarmed training, he tries to throw the guard to the ground.
Sophia Mikin is sicken, just sicken at the battle around her, Fael and Merielle. She nods to her mother wilding seeking to hold Fael's and her mother's hand. "Light save us all from this madness mother. Light save us all." She keeps repeating wishing this were a nightmare and she could awake from the chaos of this dream.
Fionnlagh's arrow misses its target, but his foresters' arrows find their marks easily enough, taking out two more of the Ducal Guard, wounding them enough to keep them from the fight.
Through all the confusion and commotion, Ester spies Fionnlagh as he releases another arrow. Her eyes narrow as she follows the trajectory towards the lower half of the guards attacking Tomassa. She closes her eyes for a moment as she plans her next move, her expression showing the strain of it. She sighs once, takes a deep breath, opens her eyes and glances apologetically in Alierons direction as she takes aim and the nearest guards leg. The arrow is released in one smooth movement and sails towards its mark.
Lotan's attempt at grappling with one of Alieron's guards fails miserably, and the man manages to shrug off the wristgrab, weapon still in hand.
Ester's arrow goes wide right of its target, thunking into the podium.
Alieron Mikin looks all around at the fighting, from behind the perimeter of five of the Ducal Guards around him. He quickly looks toward his wife, and daughter to see if they are alright. He yells toward Fael, "Get them out of here!" He glances toward the entrance to see if it is clear of danger, and then looks toward Zurhael.
Still fighting with the knot of guardsmen, Tomassa yells, "KENNETH! BREAK OFF AND GO TO THE PALACE! TELL THE EMPEROR! TELL THE BLADES AND HORSEMEN!"
Merielle lifts a hand to stroke her daughter's hair. "It will be alright, Sophia," she says quietly as a counterpoint to the younger woman's chant, "we'll be alright. This will not be forgotten, nor meaningless. We will be alright." At Alieron's shout her jaw clenches in a visible ripple of muscle, but her hand remains gentle and unchanged on Sophia's hair.
Grunting a few flimsy gasps at attained freedom, Sister Laeria twirls her legs around with momentum enough to bring her into a seated position, one move away from propelling herself standing. Her edged punching blades are poised in front of her chest, each angled in such a way to show that she'll defend herself properly should more threats choose to run her way. There is something to be said about self-preservation. "Fael..." She murmurs to herself as she pushes into standing, sighting her brother.
At this point, the crowd has completed panicking within the hall and found its way *out* of the facility and into the streets, where word can begin to spread of the trouble - of all kinds. Now, the occupants of the hall are primarily those who are either wounded or on their way to being so.
Now the ten Ducal Guard that were around the upper perimeter of the amphitheater, trying to dodge the crowds, begin to move down toward the stage to defend their Duke.
"Sister..." Orelnon cries weakly to Laeria, flat on his back now that the peasants have passed. The priest's white robes are pure no longer, bearing the mud and grime of the boots of Light's Reach. The old man does not seem to be getting up any time soon, his breathing ragged but breathing nonetheless. "To me...Sister..." He calls, raising an arm to Laeria.
Fael Mikin takes the proffered hand in his own taking comfort and support as well as giving it. His eyes drift over the swirling mass of people, pain visible on his features though what the source of that pain may be is uncertain. Hearing Alieron's yell he glances towards Sophia and Merielle, then towards the rapidly emptying Hall. With a nod he says, "Lets get you two out of here for now."
"No killing!" shouts the forester, launching another arrow as Tomassa shouts. This one streaks for Zurhael's rear, aimed on the left cheek if anyone cares, though doubtless the forester will claim he was aiming for the guard's leg. "The ten!" he calls to the other two foresters, and they shift aim to try to pick off the legs of the two of Alieron's ten guards nearest the stage, hoping their falls will cause the others to pause. For his part, Fionnlagh has new orders from the representative of the Emperor, so he obeys, swinging the bow onto his shoulder and reaching for his propped quarterstaff.
Sophia Mikin looks over towards the stage where her father is still fighting. Tears trinkle down her face as realization that her entire world has changed. She nods to Merielle then to Fael not wanting to go but knowing she cannot do any good for anyone.
Two of the ten Ducal Guard moving down from the upper area of the amphitheater move toward Lotan, attempting to apprehend him. Two more of the ten Ducal Guards, noting the firing arrows of Fionnlagh, move toward him.
Ester Shardwood curses as the arrow goes wide. Eyes flicker up the ampitheatre as the crowd dimishes and the guards start making there way down. Her face grows awash with fear as she herself steps back, bow lowering to the floor. She glances around looking first at the stage and then at the tiered seats. She turns and leaps up onto the second tier ducking down for cover.
Sister Laeria's attention is diverted to that of the broken priest on the ground, pulled away now from the Lord Constable. She stalks warily in side-steps to where Orelnon lies, defensive posture reclaimed for the flying arrows and clashing steel. "We should carry you from this place, Brother." Her eyes show the conflict that her spirit must feel at this uproaring. "Hold steady." She kneels on one knee, blades put away in a simple flick of wrists. The Scourge is no healer, though...
Carefully Merielle releases Sophia, touching a kiss on the young woman's forehead. "Take her out of here," she says quietly to Fael, "keep her safe, on your soul, or you will forever live in such nightmares as would make the Shadow itself blanch." Nodding to him once, and smiling resolutely at Sophia, she turns back to Alieron and begins to walk closer to the sea of arrows which pings around the battle, stopping only just before true danger is hers.
Fionnlagh's arrow strikes Zurhael's rump solid in the targeted cheek, and down he goes.
Alieron, now in full obsidian armor after equpping his helmet, now moves forward toward Tomassa to join the other Ducal Guard attacking her directly. The four that were guarding him face outward, their backs to the ones that are attacking inward toward Tomassa.
Tomassa still dances with the guardsmen on the stage, all of them wary and hesitant to strike. She yells without looking upward, "KENNETH! RIDE TO THE PALACE!" after she hears another arrow *zinging* toward the stage.
Fionnlagh turns to flee once he has his quarterstaff, thanking the Light for his position near the door as he tries to get out and away before the guards can come for him.
Lotan realizes the armed guard of Alieron rising. Cursing forgetting his bow, the still unarmed archer withdraws from his previous target to focus on the ones trying to apprehend them. He doesn't make it easy, as he runs now to attempt to unbalance and throw down one of the guards, teeth gritted from concentration.
Orelnon Mikin looks to Laeria, fire still in his eyes though his face is weary and his body unmoving. "No...You must go." He manages, "I have...One last request, sister, for, I will either die on these stones or be torn apart by Kahar's dogs..." The priest must rest for a moment, "Go the Sun's Keep...Tell them what happened here...Tell them we did not abandon our faith." He coughs, the motion painfully wracking his body. "Deliver my message to them and the realm..." The priest pauses, gathering up what strength he has has left. "Tell them...to hear the word of the Light, and to tremble! Send them to the abyss, sister, all of them!" He cries, "Now go!"
At Fionnlagh's side is the Rock Wolf, its massive form still hackled and committed to his defense. If Fionnlagh can't escape quickly, the first guard to near the forester will have an...interesting time.
Lotan manages to maneuver his way out of the guards' grip, but just barely.
Zurhael Zahir falls off of the dais and lands on his stomach. "Shadowspit," he grumbles, and fumbles blindly for the arrow sticking out of his arse. "Never see this happen on tapestries..."
"ALIERON, DROP YOUR SWORD," Merielle screams in a voice rough with the sheet volume of air slicing past her vocal cords, "DON'T DO THIS TO SOPHIA. DON'T DO THIS TO ME." Despite her steady stand there, her blue eyes kindle with hope for only a moment, and then despair begins to filter into them.
Laeria is caught, torn between staying to help the trampled priest and leaving to report to the Keep about what has been learned this day. The latter wins out, an easy testament to her faith. She dips a clear nod, resolute. "I will go. Light Keep your soul, Brother. Rest well." Pushing to her feet, the blonde teen gives one withering glance back to the fighting and then places haste on her retreat out of the amphitheater.
Tomassa hesitates for just a moment longer, but the influx of new guards around her along with Alieron prompts her face to fall into grim stillness. Without regret, she leaps forward to directly attack the Duke.
Ester Shardwood kneels, hands and bow on the floor as she catches her breath, her eyes filled with pain. At Merielle's scream she steels herself and pulls another arrow from the quiver. She straightens and takes aim at another guard's lower extremities. The arrow flies from her bow with a twanging sound.
Ester's arrow fells another of the ducal guards.
Fael Mikin nods to the departing Duchess and takes Sophia by the hand, guiding her around the periphery of the Auditorium to the best of his ability. Laeria and the priest are now in sight and he glances towards them, eyes resting on Laeria for a moment, but duty is of first important and so he doesn't approach them, instead keeping Sophia as far from harm as possible
Orelnon Mikin drops his arm to the stone, head rolling so that his gaze goes upward, forever and ever. Though beaten Orelnon seems calm; "My one regret was that it could not come sooner..." Then he pauses, face contorting into a scowl. "Do not laugh at me. I have done what I must...Leave me, I would die alone....I...I don't need you..." Just who he's talking too isn't exactly clear.
Lotan's maneuvers manage to succeed this time, and his grip and push knocks the opposing guard on his back, prompting a grunt and a metallic clang as he hits the floor. He begins rolling around, attempting to flip himself over to right himself.
Sophia Mikin sees Laeria and the fallen Orelnon and halts from being taken out of the room. "Please Fael, we can't just leave Father Orelnon. Please help. I have my healer's bag. Please?" She pleads to her betrothed. "We can't just leave him."
The guards targeted by the foresters are felled.
Zurhael Zahir props his head up with his forearm and drums his fingers on the stone floor. "This is embarrassing." He tries to grab at the arrow in his buttocks again. "A little help would be appreciated," he mutters to no one in particular.
Fionnlagh slips out, the rock wolf snarling at the guards and bounding after his master.
With one guard down, Lotan Elkhorn devotes his full attention to defending against the other guard, putting his hands up to ready a block from the guard.
"ALIERON," Merielle's full-voiced scream continues above the clas of swords and armour, "YOU ARE WRONG IN THIS. YOU PROVE YOURSELF ONLY A COWARD TO SACRIFICE YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR LIFE FOR A MEANINGLESS STAND." Her voice dies, choking itself into silence finally, and she stands watching, a weaponless old woman with silver in her hair and tears unheeded on her cheeks. "I loved you, Alieron," she mutters, "but you go to the shadow for this. You go to the shadow, as will I."
Alieron Mikin listens to Merielle's scream, and suddenly stops in his tracks. The expression of his face cannot be seen, covered by the obsidian helmet, but he backs away from Tomassa. He shakes his head, remaining silent for a moment, and then removing the helmet. His face is covered with sweat, and is red. He clears his throat, "Stand down." He finally orders with one exhausted defeated voice, "All stand down."
And with that, the Ducal Guard slowly back away, but only lower their swords though still remain in semi-defensive positions.
Orelnon Mikin clenches a fist at the hated phrase that Alieron utters, though for now the priest is silent and alone on the floor.
The white Staff of Light of Light's Reach lays on the ground, almost symbolically of this day, fallen from where the Ducal Guard that held it dropped the sacred staff upon the floor.
The Bramblestone Irregulars begin pouring inward from outside, runing around the hall to form a large ring about those that remain. Arrows are trained upon anyone with a drawn weapon and Tomassa finally is able to lower her own. "Thank the Light," she murmurs. Lifting her voice, she calls, "Men! Take everyone into protective custody!"
Fael Mikin frowns at the priest, indecision obvious on his face for a long moment before he frowns and looks around. The battle has died in this area and the pair is safe. With a weary sigh and nod of his head he says, "Look at him quickly."
Merielle Mikin staggers, tilting off sideways and then catching herself with a quick step. Her face absolutely blank with shock, she takes a wobbly step forward, closer to her husband. Another step, and her face swings around to Tomassa blankly. Another, and the tears streaming down her face redouble themselves, though she is not sobbing. "Oh, thank you, Alieron," she whispers almost silently. "Thank you, love."
Sophia Mikin kneels down by the downed priest and looks over his injuries with a great deal of fear and concern. She doesn't hear her father or Tomassa right now as she is occupied with helping as best she can.
Zurhael Zahir begins crawling toward Tomassa as guards swarm into the theatre. "Um, cousin, I seem to have been, well..." he gestures toward the arrow in his arse. "Do you mind terribly pulling it out? It stings quite a bit."
Alieron Mikin nods slowly, breathing deeply, remaining silent as if in a daze for now. He drops Forgefire onto the ground as well, and the Crown of Light's Reach. He shakes his head slowly, looking toward Merielle, "Take them, my dear, for I wield them no more." He shakes his head once again, whispering, "Take them."
Tomassa exhales and eyes the guards around her before slowly resheathing her blade. "Aye, Alieron," she agrees. *Thank you. I will take you to the Palace, along with your family. Just to be sure they are safe. The Emperor shall wish to talk to them, but then I am sure they shall go free. You... I do not know about."
Ester Shardwood lowers her bow and sighs in relief as the Duke and the guards stand down. She blinks as the new sets of men enter and sits back on her heels. She watches quietly her expression on of utter dejection and pain. Tear well up in her eyes and she scrunches them shut in an attempt to quell them.
Orelnon Mikin turns his eyes towards Sophia, somber fire and anger still on his features. "This realm and its people are cursed." He whispers to her. "The righteous are beaten...I would curse it further...but that would be like pouring a cup of filth into the great dump beyond the Shadow Gate."
Alieron Mikin looks somberly upon Tomassa, his face one of utter seriousness, "You have betrayed the Light, Tomassa, and you do not know it. You do not know that the deception of the Shadow will bring us all to ruin." He shakes his head.
The Duchess takes another step forward and then kneels hard, her wobbly knees cracking loudly against the stone. She picks the crown and the staff up in gentle fingers and rises again, holding it in one hand. Her other reaches for Alieron's as she takes one more step towards him.
Sophia Mikin gives a wry little smile as she pulls out various herbs and ointments to help alleviate any pain Orelnon is having. She looks up and stares over at Alieron, her mother and Tomassa. "I will not be arrested. I will not be arrested like a criminal."
Fael Mikin remains standing. His sword, never drawn hangs at his hip as he watches over her. The sounds of battle have died fully and Irregulars are moving towards the pair. Fael interposes himself between them and both Sophia and the wounded priest but makes no other motion or sound as he watches Sophia tend to the priests wounds.
"Shame on you, for fighting against the Empire," Lotan Elkhorn snarls to the guard he was about to take down, turning his back and returning wordlessly torward the exit of the hall.
The Surrector wears a tired, mild look upon her face. "I'm sure they said that before the wall was built as well. You should have more faith in your Emperor. He has history on his side and bears the curse of pain endured by his elders. I did not take it lightly when I swore to protect him." Gently, she steps to take Merielle by the arm as if to aid her.
"Sophia," Merielle says slowly, "he is your father. There is nothing common about you, about he, about this. They will take you down if you resist as surely as they would have him." . Ester Shardwood continues to sit quietly on the ground between the two tiers, the bow resting on her lap. She lowers her head and breathes deeply as her tears still attempt to spring forth.
Tomassa motions to some of the Irregulars and they hasten to assist Zurhael to his feet. Awkwardly, they begin trying to carry him out without disturbing the arrow projecting from his backside. "Fael," Tomassa says as she looks toward him. "You understand. Explain to Sophia that she is not under arrest, but I wish to protect her? I simply want to escort you all to the Palace." Other Irregulars move to disarm the remaining Guardsmen, leading them out.
"I have done nothing Mother. I have been loyal, I have been dutiful. I did not shout against the Emperor, only her, for her lies. She dispises me, she dispises anyone with the surname of Mikin. And to find pleasure in inciting such a thing is immoral mother. Immoral." Sophia tells her mother. "I have always done what is expected of me. I have always bathed myself within the Light and of the Churches teachings." Sophia calls out confused, scared and very tired. "I haven't done anything disloyal."
Orelnon Mikin remains silent on the floor, eyes locked on the ceiling as weariness and anger has finally stilled his tongue.
Alieron Mikin speaks to his daughter, "Do not fear, my daughter, for the Light will prevail. The Light will prevail one day, and those who served the Shadow wether knowingly or unknowingly will pay in their own ways." He sighs deeply, a heavy sigh under the obsidian armor, "For we will be known, in the history of House Mikin, to have done right. For the betrayal of the Zahirs may have yet ruined us again in this time, may have yet threatened the realm, but it is always paid back." He gives a harsh gaze toward Tomassa.
Tomassa exhales through her nostrils and then releases Merielle's arm. Raising her left hand, smacks Alieron solidly across the face in a backhanded blow. "My patience with you is at an end," she hisses. "Be silent. You are lucky to still live. My own feelings have been stamped down in my attempt to serve the Emperor. Do not tempt me to abuse this situation further!"
Orelnon Mikin is lying on the floor not far from the entrance to the room, white robes dirtied by mud and grim, given his position most likely from trampling. His eyes are open and he stills breathes, however.
Fael Mikin sighs, his expression almost leaden as his gaze shifts from Surrector to Duke and Duchess to Sophia. "Regardless of the Surrector's motivations, Sophia, we have no other options at the moment." Pragmatic always he shakes his head. "Things will be sorted out, with time. But to refuse is simply to bring harm to yourself and to Wedgecrest."
Alieron Mikin looks indignant at Tomassa, "You are a traitorous Zahir, the scum of Fastheld. House Zahir has always been the Shadows's pawns." He spits in Tomassa's face.
"You have not," Merielle agrees with Sophia, "the Emperor will learn the truth." She turns back to Alieron then, her eyes flying wide with shock, and she steps in a straight quick motion between Tomassa and the Chancellor. "Please," she says to Tomassa, "please. Please."
Zurhael is carried out, despite his myriad complaints and insults directed toward his handlers, out of the ampitheatre, arrow and all.
Tomassa says, "Guards, take Alieron by the arms, please?" She looks regretfully at Merielle. "Duchess, I am sorry to put you through this, but do you have a scarf or belt or stocking that I might borrow? Your husband's wellbeing will be insured, if we can gag him for a while."
Sophia Mikin blinks as Tomassa slaps her father. She bites back the bile in her throat and tightens her eyes. "You see mother the women his Majesty placed as his new Surrector? She is powerhungry." A defeated sigh is given. "May the Light protect the faithful and cast those without faith into the bowels of darkness."
"Licking the boots of Zahirs...Bowing to the will of the Shadow..." Orelnon scowls. "I never thought I would see the day that we were brought so low..." Yep. Still on the floor.
Ester Shardwood opens her eyes and wipes them with the sleeve of her tunic. She stares down at the bow in some disgust and pushes it onto the floor. She stands up, gazing at the Mikin's and the Surrector for a moment, before turning away and walking towards the end of the row.
There is a terrible look on Merielle's face as she meets Tomassa's eyes for the space of a heartbeat. She does not turn to look at Alieron, but instead bends and strips a stocking off in a savage motion, placing the crown and the sceptre on the ground for a moment only. Straightening, she flings it at Tomassa, though not at her face. "Which of your guards will escort me to my custody?" she says coldly.