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By the Gatehouse <Fastheld Keep>


The heart of the walled city-state of Fastheld, this expansive fortress serves as the center of government for all the districts and the home of Emperor Talus Kahar and his wife, the Empress Freia Seamel.
Soldiers of the Emperor's Blades can be seen walking along the battlements and throughout the grounds on regular patrols.
The Imperial Stables are off to the northwest, overshadowed by the ancient Bronze Hall of the Imperial Horsemen; so named for its appearance of being thatched in bronze, finials on the rooftops cutting dramatic silhouettes upon the skyline, while regal banners flank the huge doors that guard the Hall.
The Imperial Residence sprawls toward the north and east, while to the north rest the royal tournament grounds. Finally, one can find a gatehouse, defended by large double doors, leading toward the Palace Road to the south.

The wolf changes his coat, but not his disposition.

The Fourth hour by the Shadow on Idleforge, the 21st day of Greening in the year 626, heralds the arrival of such a wolf to the Palace of Fastheld Keep. A solitary figure with a pelt of crimson steel, fangs of seraphite, and a hunter’s gaze of steel blue.

A sequestered predator that pads upon armored feet no louder than a nocturnal whisper as he paces through the Gatehouse, with neither pack nor partner to walk in his shadow.

A mane of near silver cascades from his solemn features, the look of quiet determination about his visage speaking everything, and yet nothing, about the nature of the venturer within.

And so he arrives.


"Were you able to speak with Her Grace?", Wilesly inquires, smiling a bit at Dianna. His eyes shift to Ester for a moment, tracking past Soravyn Zahir as he does so. The man isn't entirely familiar to Sprigg so his eyes rest on the man for a moment longer than usual.


Dianna shakes her head. "She was not in, though I did wait for a while," she replies, following Wilesly's gaze to the Justiciar, brows drawing together slightly. Her attention returns to those closest to her, however. "Light keep, Lady," she says to Ester, dipping her head down politely.


Ester looks to the Justiciar as well, her gaze having been drawn by the other two. Her back straightens as she turns towards him, clearing her throat as she steps towards him. "Afternoon Justiciar," she greets with a respectful nod.


Renkek Kahar walks in from the direction of the Palace and looks about as he bows to those present. He remains quiet for now.


A steel gaze looks sharply upwards towards the low bluff that the Bronze Hall stands upon, the watching eyes of a Zahir Wolf paying heed to the six guards of the Imperial Tribunal posted there as Guard for the Prince within.

Those six Guards, having caught the gaze, stand to a heightened state of attention in reply; all eyes upon the Justiciar that prowls below their watch.

In following, Soravyn raise his left hand to a level equal to his head, perpendicular to the ground below him. Gauntleted in interlocking plates of crimson gauntlet, that hand enacts a quick circular motion - a silent command - before he lowers it to his side once more, resting upon the hilt of the kukri that sleeps at his side.

Gaze placed ahead once more, the Justiciar continues his forward pace, covering the ground between the Gatehouse and the small group as swiftly as once might expect. "Surrector." he states, his tone lacking the usual dark pragmatism and subtle harmony that one could usually attribute to it. More of a low growl. He slows, voice purposefully cryptic. "Here for the reunion?"


At the signal from the Justiciar, one of the guards standing outside the Bronze Hall nods to a Bladesman just outside the gatehouse. That soldier thumps his gauntleted fist to his chest and then turns to disappear into the afternoon shadows of the gatehouse.

Next comes the ratcheting clank and clatter of the descent of the gate, sealing Fastheld Keep from any more traffic that way. Archers appear on the southern and eastern parapets, as well as upon the roofs of the Bronze Hall and the stables, arrows nocked and bowstrings drawn - aimed at everyone clustered in the entrance area except for Soravyn Zahir.


With a pace much less intense than the one she used to display within these walls, Tomassa Zahir wanders toward the gate from the north. She slows as the gate is lowered, one brow twitching upward as genuine surprise touches her formerly stoic expression. The woman pauses and studies the scene, a small frown growing upon her lips. Her right hand lowers to catch the edge of her fur cloak at her hip.


Ester opens gives the Justiciar a funny look, it's unclear whether she understood the question or not. "Aye...I am.. You see..." she starts as the gate clatters and the archers move into place. Her gaze flits about in confusion, searching for and explanation, "What the?" The black steadfast comes to a stop at her side, whining softly up at her. The other dog has wandered off towards the tournament grounds.


"It appears, m'love ...” Wilesly says to Dianna, watching the scene unfold with a frown. “We’ve arrived just in time for the party." His hand noticeably lingers just under his cloak where Diplomacy sits sheathed but he is not at all ready to risk the lives around him. "So they are back." He looks to Dianna and than an intense glare is settled on Soravyn.


Confusion is written over Dianna's face as she steps in closer to Wilesly. "They? Who?" She bites on her lower lip, her eyes shifting up to keep focus on the archers now in control of the situation. "Seems like a bad day to visit the keep..." she mutters to herself. Renkek Kahar blinks as he hears the gates and looks around briefly but remains still otherwise "Interesting circumstances of events." he says mostly to himself as well.


It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be, it seems. Especially when the wolf has his pack hidden in the shadows, for it would appear Soravyn knew of such events before they even came into motion, evident by the fact that he makes no attempt to check on who the Blades upon the battlements and buildings are aiming at. Nor if they're even there. However, the look upon his features is not one of triumph or success; they show nothing, and the tone of his voice matches them flawlessly.

"The reunion." He finally states, matter-of-factly, before finally looking up towards the Tribunal Guards outside of the Bronze Hall. "Report." he barks.


A dull *thump, thump, thump* comes from the huge double doors that lead into the Bronze Hall, as if someone were trapped inside. However, it seems likely that such an escape is unlikely.

"The hall is secure, m'lord," crisply snaps a soldier next to the doors.


Tomassa's frown grows into a scowl as her coppery brown eyes flick over those gathered and those with weapons. For now, she holds herself in check, hand drawing her cloak warmly about herself despite the weather. Her left hand drifts to take over the chore of holding her cloak closed, the motion subtle in order to free up her right hand.


Lucius arrives to find a bunch of Bladesmen and Tribunal soldiers on the parapets and roofs, with bows drawn and aimed at everyone clustered next to the gatehouse *except* for Soravyn Zahir.


"Bloody frigin' shades on a Zahir's ass," Ester curses as the meaning of all the action dawn's on her. Horror shows on her face as she stares at the Justicar. "Lord Zolor Zahir was not kidding..." she hoarses as if the meaning should be clear. Her gaze then darts to the residence.


From the north come three armored Blades - two in the standard flowing steel cuirasses, and one in the segmented breastplate known as Lorica's Soul, obviously Lucius Nepos. The Marshal wears a rather sour look on his face as he approaches, while the Blades' boots clank against the cobblestone path noisely. His expression doesn't change upon sighting the large crowd, or the Blades at arms.


For awhile a glare remains on the Zahir in red armor before motion along the wall catches his eye. Carefully Wilesly tears his gaze off the Zahir and centers on the form of Lucius. He attempts to mouth something to the Marshal, his lips moving rapidly. Whether or not the Bladesman catches exactly what he says, it is obviously a message of warning.


Renkek Kahar continues watching and listening not speaking a word at the moment even to him aloud. He doesn't move quickly at all mostly watching forward at that from where he stands, only allowing his eyes to move to gain the peripheral view at times. He'd likely be considered one of the blades standing at attention if he were one of course, and if they were standing at attention as well. He does look worried however but that's the only emotion expressed by him.


Dianna nibbles on her lip absently as she looks from left to right, shifting again, adjusting her feet on the ground to support her more evenly. Gaze slowly moves away from the archers, sweeping to study others in her position before focusing on the Zahir man. The two guardsmen next to the now-secured Bronze Hall step toward Lucius and his companions. Nocked arrows swivel to follow their path and settle on the Marshal as the guardsmen arrive. "Disarm yourselves and surrender, and you will be allowed to live," one guardsman says to Nepos.


"The best way to perpetuate a lie, Surrector, is to tell the truth." A small rivulet of water drips down the length of the dusty-blue greatsword of Seraphite known as The Lady's Tail as the Justiciar speaks, his tone still dark and nonchalant, perfecting the impression of a Wolf on the hunt.

Except, the rivulet is not water, for there is no rain to produce it. No, it seems that under the seraphite haze of blue, the droplet is as red as the armor that surrounds the Justiciar’s form. "As for me, well, don't you know?" he offers, "I'm nothing but a lone wolf, misunderstood and labeled to be dangerous."


Tomassa makes a slight noise that could be a snort at the Justiciar’s comment of being misunderstood. Her expression is now enigmatic, coppery eyes alert, and, beneath the cover of her cloak, her right hand has grasped the pommel of her sword.


Bowstrings whisper tautly as two nocked arrows are trained on the Zahir woman when her hand grips the hilt of her sword. The motion of the archers would be visible upon the southern parapet, tracking Tomassa.


"Explain to me what is happening and I will consider it, /Guardians/. If you've not forgotten your oaths, you will remember that I am your superior." States Lucius icily, eyes narrowing. Nevertheless, he discards the iron spear which was held in his shield's compartment, dropping his the obsidian dagger at his waist next to it. The other two Blades stand firm, shields out, but make motions to surrender their swords. At the Zahir's words, Lucius's frown turns sourer, if that was possible.


Ester reaches down to place her hand on the head of the agitated dog at her side. Her gaze leave the Justiciar and makes a slow, assessing sweep around the battlements and over the persons present in the yard. She calls out to no one in particular, "I would advise all to do as directed. There is little use provoking unnecessary bloodshed." Her eyes again fix on the Soravyn, her cheeks reddening, "It seems that you have us all at your mercy. What now Justiciar?" The last words come out strained and wavery. The tone of one working very hard to maintain control.


Renkek Kahar has no weapons on him least nothing normally used, unless it's used by a wife throwing it at a cheating husband or such. He makes no moves towards anything he has however. Not that even if he did have weapons and knew how to use them correctly he'd be reaching for them in such a way that'd alert the archers and other blades. He watches the rest as much as he can anyway. He does blink a few times as Lucius answers the men.


"We don't answer to you or anyone else in the old regime," the guardian says to Lucius Nepos with a pale smile as his companion retrieves the weapons. "So, you can take your superiority and shove it where the sheep don't graze."


Diplomacy remains easily concealed beneath the cloak Wilesly wears pulled under his shoulders and he makes no movements to expose the fact that he carries it. Instead he continues watching the scene that goes on, frowning as the Marshal is intercepted by guards. "And what of the other Garrison?” Wilesly asks aloud. "Surely they aren't going to stand by."


Tomassa's right eyebrow twitches upward as she notes the movement of the archers from the corner of her eye. Slowly, yet casually, she takes a step in Soravyn's direction, making a path toward him if she isn't shot with the first step. "Must I remain on -this- side of things, Justicar?" the former Surrector drawls. Her cloak falls open as her left hand releases it, confirming that her right has grasped the pommel of the sword that hangs from her left hip. Thus far, the blade has not eased one hairsbreadth from its obsidian scabbard.


The heavens finally answer the call of weapons drawn and arrows nocked, it seems, for the light rain that now falls from the sky glistens the armor of those that wear it, darkens the ground below, sets the mood for such an event, and washes the blood from the blade of greatsword strapped to Soravyn's back clean from the immaculate dusty-blue of the Seraphite it was created from.

A clean blade, for a clean start.

"What we do now is entirely up to you and your friends, Surrector." The Justiciar finally notes, looking between Ester and the gathered assortment of Nobles and Freelanders with a disinterested gaze of steel blue, "I have a schedule to keep, regardless. And you'll remain where you are," he offers to Tomassa, looking beyond Ester for the moment, "That way, I don't have to worry about you one way or the other, and my pack is large enough as it is for the moment."


Dianna gives a small nudge to Wilesly with her elbow, lips pressed together as she continues to stand. Her gaze focuses on Ester, worry etching her features as she makes a small step forward, towards the woman, but pauses as Tomassa speaks, shifting to get a better look at the female Zahir, frown appearing, drawing her closer towards anger. "Zahir conspiracy," she mutters softly towards her fiancée.


Lucius Nepos exhales deeply, staring down the two Blades in front of him. "If you remember, /you/ were part of the old regime. Do you not remember swearing an oath to the Emperor, the Empire and the Light? I hope that you will recognize the hypocrisy of your words, in time, at least, for you know not even where my loyalties stand."

Nevertheless, Lucius unclips the leather strap that runs over his amour securing his scabbard at the man's left side, and drops it next to him. "Take good care of Dasbeck, I pray of you. It is a worthy blade and has slain many a Wildling." The other two Blades now finally drop their own scabbards.


A flaring of Tomassa's nostrils is the only facial movement that reveals her irritation at the dismissal, though copper fire explodes in her eyes. She remains silent at the rejection from her own blood, hand tightening upon the end of the sword for an instant of anger. With a slow inhalation and exhalation that causes her shoulders to sag, Tomassa's fingers slide from her weapon.


Ester lays her eyes on Tomassa as she speaks, her breath catching and a knowing look coming to her features. Her lips tighten into a thin line as she returns her attention to the Justicar, "You will have no fight from me. I would request that you let the innocents go. They have no need to become embroiled in this."


Renkek Kahar blinks and considers "While we may not agree we are outnumbered and should hear what has to be said. We are at their mercy as well. It may come back to haunt us later but we should do as has been asked, for the best possible outcome." "I do fear, Lady Shardwood, that it is much too late for us to just walk out of here.",


Wilesly returns to the Surrector, his hand resting almost resignedly on Dianna's shoulder. "I suppose we should hear what the snake has to say. I'd not miss it for the world." His eyes rest intently on Soravyn.


"Wilesly," Dianna hisses, glaring upwards for a moment. "I would hope you could remember your manners well enough so you are not shot on principal," she scolds before falling silent, switching her gaze between Ester and Tomassa considering.


The Zahir Wolf shakes his head at that, a flicker of a feral smile caressing his features as he considers Ester's words. "You really don't understand, do you." he states; not as question, but as fact. "They already are. They already were, long before we started this reunion. You, I, the realm... all of it. It's for the best, Ester. You'll see."

He makes to move, raising his left hand perpendicular to the ground once more, placing two fingers side-by-side, and making a 'forward' gesture with them. Another order to the Blades. Time for the hunt.

And so he moves, again upon near silent paws of armored crimson, the rain falling in his midst without care for neither plot nor revolution. "Wolf." he notes to Wilesly - pausing only enough to give the Freelander a look of pure dismissal. "And Wolves care little for the opinion of Dogs. Remember that."


"Everyone into the residence and upstairs to the throne room," commands one of the soldiers close to Nepos.


"C'mon, then." Lucius says to the two Daggers at his back, and they nod simply. Looking longingly back at their swords, they nevertheless turn about and begin to move towards the North. Lucius himself keeps a tight grasp on his shield, eyes darting from soldier to soldier and trying his best to remember faces. His sour frown has dissapeared, replaced by a thin, straight line of neutrality. "Captain -" adresses Lucius to the Soravyn, "may we have words, after this is over?"


"Hush, love.", Wilesly instructs, almost icily despite the mood. He shakes his head. "What of weasels, m'lord?". He is about to spit some more venom but his eyes shift to Lucius in what must appear to be shock for a moment. He falls quiet and moves to put his arm behind Dianna and lead her closely as instructed with the rest of the group.


Ester sucks in a long breath through her nose and looks down to the ground. A hand rubs at her forehead that is now wet with rain. The dog at her side looks upwards, it's look questioning. As the guard yells Ester cringes once and looks back up and at the others, "Aye. We go." Slowly she starts walking towards the residence beckoning for the dog to follow with a snap of her fingers.


With a chilly expression upon her face, Tomassa begins to stroll to the east, arms hands loosely resting at her sides. She seems in no particular hurry, but she does move in the required direction. The fire that had been in her eyes has been smothered by a wintry cold front that blows in when she looks to the Justiciar.


Dianna balks against Wilesly trying to move her forward, giving him a growl, blue eyes narrowing with growing anger. It isn't until Ester and Tomassa both start to move that she allows herself to be lead along, and even so, she steps slowly.

Renkek Kahar isn't one to argue when he could be shot full of holes at close range. He proceeds towards the throne room with the others. He looks to the others as they all begin moving as well.


"Do I look like a Mikin to you?" The Justiciar dryly states to Wilesly as he moves to take the point of the little procession, greatsword shifting a little as he paces, cloak fluttering about his heels in his wake.

To Lucius, after promptly dismissing Wilesly once more, he offers. "We shall see." Nothing more.



Throne Room <Fastheld Keep>


::The high ceilings of this gray stone chamber are supported by rows of massive columns along an aisle that features a purple carpet that extends from the arched entrance to the Emperor's throne room and ends at the first step of the dais that holds the gleaming majesty of the Imperial throne - a chair of gold, armrests encrusted in jewels, back and seat cushioned with stuffed pillows covered with crimson velvet.

Torches flicker in stanchions attached to the columns. The fluttering wings and twitter of birds can occasionally be heard in the shadows overhead, where the fowl have nested after coming into the estate through one of the balconies or the courtyard.
The seal of Fastheld - a crown within a dark, unbroken circle - is on the tapestry that hangs behind and above the throne of Talus Kahar.

Wolves in the Throne Room, and no Wildcats to stop them. An interesting turn of events, one might say. The Justiciar is greeting by the sight of those of the Tribunal who were assigned to guard the Throne Room for the Emperor, who now guard it from those who may have been loyal to the Chancellor, and the so called 'old regime'. He offers an incline of his head to them as he enters.

They return his gesture. For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

The walk from entrance to throne is a lonely one; it would seem, all the same; yet for a lone Wolf, the passing couldn't be better. Safe in the knowledge that his back is secure by those who escort the current "Guests" of the Palace, Soravyn Zahir makes his approach towards the Imperial Throne, steps echoing in the stillness of the seat of power, armor refracting the light from each sconce and torch he passes along the way.


Lucius Nepos strides through the door to the Throne Room, his Dagger companions as always following along faithfully. He waits to see what the Justiciar has to say, stopping at one of the columns. His face is bereft of any emotion even as the man moves to take his place on the throne.


By the time she reaches the throne room, the palm of Tomassa's left hand has returned to its old habit of cupping casually over the rounded pommel of her sword. The woman's steps remain measured as she strolls into the room where she once sat for Council sessions. Her face is quietly enigmatic.

A tardy participant, but nevertheless present despite her wishes, Ashlynn walks into the throne room with stiff posture and stony face, flanked by guards who prod her in reminder when her feet drag at the sight of who resides within.


Ester follows Soravyn into the room, her expression tense as she watches the back of the man's head. She stops at the halfway point and looks back over her shoulder, her eyes flickering over everyone present.


The wildcat throne is already occupied, it would seem-- A quiet, wraithlike figure in gray silks lounges indolently on the sacred chair of kings, her legs crossed at the ankle. Sahna Nillu's expression is as composed as her clothing is immaculate... One might say, determined to be blasé. However, a few armed men linger nearby, and they are most notably not clad in the Nillu livery of the Sweetwater guard.


Renkek Kahar walks in not having made any alarming motions along the way. He looks towards the throne remembering the last time he'd been here. He looks around to the rest and remains quiet for now. He shows no other emotion except the worry that has been shown for the last while.


"I wasn't refering to /you/, m'lord.", Wilesly murmurs to himself. He frowns slightly at Dianna's resistance and whispers something before releasing any grasp on her. His eyes shift between Lucius, the traitor, and his guards for now, his hands crossed over his chest. It isn't until a few moments later that he notices who is sitting in the chair. "/Sahna/?", he asks, dropping all protocol out of sheer shock.


Reluctantly, Dianna makes her way into the throne room, a small shuddering passing over her body as she steps through the doors. She gives Wilesly another dark look as he whispers into her ear, shaking her head in reply, turning to look around the familiar room.

Seeing Sahna on the throne, guards around her, her face pales slightly. "No..." she manages to get out, her voice hoarse, as if she had been screaming for a long period of time.

Having left the group in his wake, the Zahir Wolf continues to pace towards the throne, neither hesitation nor concern in his step as he passes under the gaze of his brothers in crimson to the sides of the path, between the columns that flank him, and the ones that stand watch at either side of the Nillu on the Throne.

Upon reaching the dais Soravyn pauses, deeply kneeling in a respective gesture, palms upon the ground and facing upwards, and then stands and proceeds to head up the dais to stand to the right of the Throne, adopting a guard position. And then he watches. And then he waits.


Lucius Nepos removes the waterskin from his belt and takes a sip, parched as he is. He offers it to the two Daggers near him, producing two tired shakes of the head. Resting his shield on the column that he stands next to, the Marshal crosses his arms and watches Sahna critically.


Pale with realization and outrage at the layout of personages within the room, Ashlynn finally trails to a complete stop upon the peripheries of the reluctantly gathered, and this time, the guards see fit to leave her while her eyes dart over the faces both familiar and not, hands clenched rigidly at her sides.


Renkek Kahar blinks at the figure on the throne though he says or does nothing not knowing who it could be from his viewpoint. He remains quiet while watching everything in his field of vision that he can.


Symbolically enough, Tomassa's steps do not pause until she is almost exactly halfway into the room. She takes up a position to the side, standing where she can see both the throne and the entrance doors.


Ester's face falls as she looks to the throne. "You too Duchess?" she comments, loud enough for her voice to carrying across the room.


Sahna stares down imperiously at the group entering the throne-room, her sage-green eyes narrowed-- Something cold and hard burns in the back of that gaze-- For only a moment, and then her expression warms into visible mirth. The petite Nillu pulls herself to her feet gracefully, turning to face Sorvayn, the smile growing-- Not friendly, per se, but speculative. "Ever courteous. I must express my gratitude that your men did not feel it necessary to manhandle me.“

She gestures airily to the throne, adding, "It's really not very comfortable, as seats go. Bad things seem to keep happening to the people who try to sit in it, so I wished to see if the curse would spread to me if I did. Oddly enough I haven't keeled over in a frothing fit or anything yet. Are you planning on trying it out?" Although the other prisoners are, in some instances, people she knows well. Not once does she shift her gaze from Sorvayn.


Marked relief finds itself over Wilesly's features as he offers an almost apologetic nod towards Sahna. He moves over to stand towards Lucius and his two blade companions.

"You and I have a knack for wandering into trouble, Lucius,” Wilesly murmurs. His eyes the whole while watch the scene around the throne, his eyes flitting back to Dianna every so often.


Some of the color that drained from face as Dianna wanders closer to the throne, not enough to approach, but further in than halfway of the room. She stands silently, off to the side, somewhat, just watching.


The massive doors leading into the throne room open up once more, granting passage to yet another group. Oren Nillu arrives ushered in by a group of soldiers, his face an unreadable blanket.


Lucius Nepos simply shakes his head at Sahna's antics. Catching Sly's gaze he returns it to the man, giving him a nod. "Indeed. I hope we are afforded the respect we deserve for our service." His voice remains low enough so that only Sly and the two Blades can hear him. Then, his attention is shifted back on the scene at the front of the throne room, drawn away once more, only momentarily, to Oren.


That predatorial gaze of steel blue falls upon the Duchess Sahna Nillu as she speaks, the Justiciar offering her a soft smile and a casual incline of his head as he affirms her words with that gesture, remaining ever at attention as he does so, standing to the right of the Throne that she sits in, arms folded across a chest of plated crimson.

"I admit, I have no such designs." Soravyn offers, his voice having lost the growl that was present in the courtyard as he speaks to Sahna, that mix of dark pragmatism and serenity returning to his tone, "No, Wolves sit not upon the thrones of Wildcats. We're too free spirited, and this Imperium wouldn't know what to do with me, nor I what to do with it. We prowl, and we keep the sheep in line, and the hunters in check."

"<i>Time for reunion.” He declares, clearly, and the Guards of the Imperial Tribunal take up an affirmation of the call. It would seem that the declaration is a signal for something...


Ashlynn's eyes narrow at Sahna's irreverent address to Sorvayn, jaw tightening with the flippant reminder of the throne's former occupant before her glare snaps to the Zahir at his call, her stance automatically turning wary as she looks apprehensively across the room as the signal is passed.


Ester focuses her attention on the Justiciar as he speaks, failing to notice the arrival of the Chancellor. She goes rigid at his declaration, her fists clenching at her sides. "Zolor..." she says out loud, the name rolling off her tongue with a scowl.


Renkek Kahar blinks as he listens and watches and looks a bit inquisitive about what the reunion may be in reference to. He does remain worried however and looks towards Sorvayn as he calls and signals the guards for whatever it may be....


With his gaze lingering over Soravyn, Oren Nillu comes to a halt along with the group that brought him in. He remains silent and impassive.


Into the throne room strides the architect of this evening's amusement: The silver-haired patriarch of Fanghill. As his footsteps carry him down the aisle, Zolor Zahir inclines his head in acknowledgement to Soravyn. "Your service to the throne will not soon be forgotten, my friend." A wry smile touches his lips. He stops for a few moments to review the faces of those gathered - he seeks out Ester's gaze in particular and then says,

"I decided we should have our little chat *sooner* rather than later." That said, he strides toward the dais and motions Sahna away, saying, "Thank you ever so much for keeping it warm."


Sahna lifts two fingers in a casual salute to the Justiciar. "It's just as well, then... Yet, I must admit I didn't take you for the sort to play the role of the shill. We'll see what comes of it." She comments, in a tone similar to one that might be used to discuss the weather. That said, she glides towards the rest of the prisoners, expression serene as she passes Zolor.


"Iselore has the south and the Shadow District under his loyalty" The Wolf states to Zolor as the Raven lands upon the Throne, Soravyn's voice lowering to keep the extent of the revolution from those who are gathered at the other end of the Throne Room. "The Marshal at Fort Raven holds what Iselore missed. The Tribunal has the midlands."

The report granted, he looks upon Sahna, merely casually nods towards her statement, and then takes up his watchful stance once more.


"We're about to find out I think.” Wilesly returns to the Marshal, his eyes following Zolor critically. He bites his lip slightly; content for now to watch what goes on.


Lucius Nepos doesn't respond to that, simply listening to the report with perked ears and all of his attention.


Dianna shifts to intercept Sahna as she steps down to join the others, her blue eyes bright with questions. She watches Zolor enter, giving a very small shudder before looking back up to the Zahir already waiting.


Tomassa's face might, just perhaps, tighten a bit upon sight of Zolor and his newly chosen seat. That is the only change in the woman's otherwise impassive stance and demeanour. She remains on the sidelines at the room's midpoint, watching, witnessing. Waiting.


"Zolor," Ashlynn breathes, barely enough breath to push the name from between gritted teeth, shuddering once with an expression of fury and hate before she snaps her gaze down to the polished floor just before her feet, staring blindly at it while she seethes silently.


"Bitter irony, Lady Shardwood, is it not?" Oren asks Ester, turning his head only slightly to do so, his face still perfectly unreadable.


"A pleasure Lord Zahir, I look forward to our discussion," Ester comments in return, her tone icy. She grows silent and watches the man as he approaches the throne. One hand flexes open and closed. "Quite," she replies to Oren, casting him an apologetic glance.


The Lord of Fanghill Keep runs his fingertips along the surface of table where the Imperial Council holds its meetings - where he met them not so very long ago, with a simple demand. A demand unmet.

His chill gaze sweeps from the polished biinwood to the golden wildcat throne. A faint turn at the corner of his mouth suggests the hint of a smile as Zolor Zahir trades up. His steps carry him soon enough to the throne, which he settles into almost casually, and then regards his guests with a smile of no uncertain clarity:

"The Kahar age is at an end. Those who stand with me will live. Those who do not ... will not live. And since I know I can rely on none of *you* to be loyalists ... well, I hardly wish to open my reign with a bloodbath in this hallowed hall, so I would just as soon allow you all to cool off in the dungeons until such time as I am ready to hear your justifications for survival." He nods to Soravyn. "Take them away." His attention goes then to Tomassa. "Except for her. She stays. We need to talk."


A hunter's gaze falls upon those that Zolor has addressed, and then back upon the Raven on the Throne. His expression unreadable, the Justiciar swiftly paces back down the dais towards the assembled Nobles and Freelanders, drawing the Lady's Wing from his back in one fluid sweep and positioning the Seraphite greatsword so that the flat rests upon his armored shoulder, the hilt of the unique blade in his right hand.

He gestures for the Duchess Nillu to follow with his left hand, and then - trusting that she will - moves over to take command of the Tribunal and Emperor's Blades that guard the group.


Sahna takes her place with the others, hitching her thin shoulders in a shrug to Ester. She turns to listen to Zolor as he delivers his ultimatum, both eyebrows raising. Remaining silent, she folds her hands behind her back.


Lucius Nepos runs a gauntleted hand across what of his forehead is exposed, as if to wipe away what irritation he has just received from Zolor's world. "I would like to talk to the Justiciar, before being locked in a cell." Comes the Marshal's voice - booming and commanding, the kind of voice he uses when ordering his troops around.


Renkek Kahar blinks as he prepares to be taken away and listens as well. Looking interested in what's said even more worriedly as well. He does look as if he's pondering something. Not to say anything but perhaps the ideas of what to say already whenever it's his turn are running through his head. He watches and listens to the others as well.


The Old Bear of House Nillu looks anything but magnificent and proud now as he is ordered to turn by a group of soldiers and ushered once more in the direction of the exit. Fear appears in Dianna's eyes at the mention of taking some time in the dungeons of the keep, her feet stuck in their position. Her hands clasp together, breath caught in her throat. She says nothing, does nothing, and just stares rather blindly forward.


Ashlynn's eyes dart up, in time to see Tomassa indicated, and Sahna as well by the other Zahir, before she is averting her gaze again while the guards close in to escort them away. Zolor's pronouncement does little to change Tomassa's outward demeanor, though there may be a newly wary gleam in her eyes. Her left hand falls from its habitual resting place upon her sword as she moves both hands behind her back beneath the cloak to clasp them. The look upon her face, if it must be named, is best described as solemn.


Ester doesn't move as the others begin their retreat, standing against the movement of the guards. Her eyes flicker from Zolor to Tomassa and back again. She opens her mouth and after a moments hesitation he calls out in his direction, her voice clear, "Your Majesty. By your leave I request to attend to the safety of the young prince. I will retrieve him." Wilesly frowns slight at that and shakes his head. He moves to put his arm around Dianna in an effort to comfort her, a frown still stitched across his face. He follows much like everyone else does without much choice.


"I think, Mistress Shardwood, that you will agree that a dungeon is no place for a little boy," Zolor replies with a condescending smirk. He laces his fingers together and leans back against the throne. "Young Talus will be well cared for. Trust me." Dianna leans in against Wilesly, trembling uncontrollably, but she's now moving forward, her arms securing themselves around Wilesly tightly.


Justiciar Soravyn Zahir, it would seem, is not one of Lucius's Nepos men, for the Wolf seems deaf to the commanding tone of the Marshal's voice, as do those of the Blades and the Tribune - a mass of Steel Grey and Crimson - that escort people to their destination. Namely, the Imperial Dungeons. Again, his expression is unreadable as Zolor speaks to Ester; a visage of a hunter as he takes point of the escorted group, and leads on.


Return to Season 4 (2006)

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