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 Formation of the Council (MoS) 
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The Matriarch’s illness had been more debilitating than he had hoped, her increasing reliance on him made each step of his scheme all the easier. But there was still more than one major hurdle ahead. This next step was of extreme importance and Crassius hoped that all would all go smoothly.

My Lady, I can understand how a Matriarch such as yourself must feel such responsibility towards your fallen hero. But he is already being accorded the very greatest honour, his tomb will lie in the Ministry forever. You will be here to welcome him home, my Lady.

And…
he began carefully, it has turned out to be most fortunate indeed that you remained here in the mountain at this time, for I have received some very good news.
Crassius waited until his positivity had piqued her interest before he continued,
I have been following word of a miracle healer who was rumored to be travelling through the Diocese. His fame is spreading far and wide as he clears away the most stubborn afflictions. And not just any disease of the body, Matriarch, but wounds of the mind, dispelling demons from the very soul of the tortured, those whom the local faith healers could no longer help. Some say he is an angel of Isonia, and I agree it sounds too good to be true, but I have had the very best of the Monastery agents investigating and they confirm many of the stories.

Crassius had such hope in his voice and even his eyes sparkled with confidence. Now he lowered the conversation to an almost conspiratorial tone as he delivered further advice, I have taken the liberty of requesting the healer here, Matriarch. He is on his way here now, and I urge you to see him. For not only is there the possibility that he can heal your beleaguered soul but if you can convince him to stay resident in the mountain complex, I have no doubt in my mind that his reputation will illuminate the Ministry and bring many pilgrims and much needed income back to our Temple.

Matriarch, will you consider meeting with the Child Prophet?


Thu Apr 28, 2005 4:32 am
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Matt had come to say farewell. The trip had been a fairly short one across the lands beholding to MoS. He came to honor Lord Bran. That he had not really known this Lord Bran did not matter, he was a warrior for Isonia and that was enough. Any Lord who fought for Isonia was fit to be honored. Bowing his head Matt listened to the speakers. As Matt listened to the Eulogy one set of words seemed to ring in his mind:

Truly in our pain we forget that in death we are returning to the bosom of our Goddess and in that sense we should not be mourning the loss of Bran but rather rejoicing and celebrating with him and for him on his homeward journey to Our Gracious Lady, Isonia.

No truer words had been spoken in his hearing and Matt rejoiced that Lord Bran had gone to join Isonia. It was the most that anyone could ask, especially a warrior like himself.

________
Matt
MoS


Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:55 am
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Sophie stood at the edge of the small crowd of mourners, silently. She had volunteered to attend as representative of herself and her husband. Tryth's protests had been stopped before they even had begun.

"Don't be a fool, husband. Besides, I could do with some time to myself." No more was or had been needed to be said. Tryth had continued with the process of integrating the wearied--but now toughened and unified--remnants of their people into their new homes, and she had left with a mourning dress she had borrowed from the Ministry's closets. Her own had burned with...

She fought with the tears. Wouldn't be right, not at a funeral. Must be here, in the present. With this man, laid out before them, cold. She would represent herself and her husband well. She must honor the dead.

She stood there, at the edge of the crowd, eyes resting solemnly on the fallen lord. She made no speeches, no motions to advance and pay homage before these people. She stood still and said a silent prayer for Lord Bran, sincerely and from the heart, that his soul would meet well with the Goddess, among all the thousands that surely stood at Her gates at this moment.

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Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:20 am
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Lord Iblade stricken with grief, walked away from the temple and mounted his horse. He coughed once, and looked on last time at the temple and turned his horse back to his army. He would grieve more later. but for now he would have to attend to his duties.

He knew he would have to tell the men what had happened, and was afraid they would lose heart at losing such a close friend and warrior. But he knew that they would do thier jobs as they have had done before.

As he rode throught the city gates. He notice a rider on the horizon and from the dust behind him, he could tell that he was riding hard.

Lord Iblade waited for him to get closer and saw that it was Gannon from the camp.

Lord Iblade, Thank Isonia I have found you, there has been trouble in the camp. It would seem that some type of malady has befallen the camp.


Lord Iblade kicked his horse and left in a trail of dust.


Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:32 pm
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Aaralyn stood in the back of the procession. Not many people noticed her, and even if they did they would simply ignore her. She was dressed simply as a country noblewoman, of no importance. Her kingdom would be to far way to be of any worth to them. She looked upon the deceased and smiled at the hero. It would not do to mourn his death, but rather celebrate what he had done for them.

Aaralyn gave a sweeping bow, to the body and backed away, disappearing from sight. She silently whispered into the wind "Good rest, my lord. May Isonia take you into her arms"

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Wed May 04, 2005 2:32 pm
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Conversation in the Monastery

Crassius contemplated the situation with more agitation than usual though most would not notice it. When it came to planning ahead, he could so easily see the opportunities which lay before him and from there take steps down the best path. For many Ages, he had thought most people could do this and he had always just imagined that they weren’t quite as careful or diligent as he at executing their own schemes. He never did realize that they could not see the flaws in their plans that he could. His certainty on predicting particular outcomes did not seem uncanny for it was normally only the subtle details that he was aware of. In his own mind it seemed perfectly natural to assume these details and in an effort to deny his uniqueness, he successfully ignored this startling talent for a very long time.

He heard the footsteps echoing in the open Cloister hall of the underground Monastery. It would seem the place was empty, just shadows upon shadows in the badly lit gloom. There may have in fact been monks there skulking in the dark or passing through the Cloister on their way to or from their chambers but they whispered through, almost invisible to a stranger’s eye.

Crassius sat with his thoughts upon a hard stone bench along the Cloister wall, waiting in the darkness. He was certain there was ‘almost’ noone in the Cloister this evening, and if there was it was no concern for the Ministry agents or ‘monks’ were all in his employ, of that he had made sure even before his first arrival in the Ministry. And so the footsteps would be those he was expecting.

Moving out of the darkness and through the line of pillars to the somewhat lit middle of the Cloister, Crassius acknowledged the servant and greeted his guest,

Lord Bainev. It has been a while,
he began, taking a good look at the Master of Illusion before smiling. It would have been in the desert City that I last saw you and I can surely imagine you have experienced much since then, as I have.

Crassius finished with a nod of respect to the mage. I hope you can excuse my choice of meeting rooms, he continued with a casual wave at the dim surroundings, but at least here I can be sure that we will not be disturbed. Crassius’ face grew more serious and his tone suggested he would soon be getting straight to business, Now, I do consider it our good fortune that you have paid the Ministry a visit, Lord Bainev. Especially given the Matriarch’s….Anne’s recent acquisition of what could be a potent weapon. A potent weapon in the hands of a mentally ailing leader.

He paused to let Malcolm consider all that he had said, so that Crassius could better decide what interest the Lord Bainev might have with the events of the evening.


Mon May 16, 2005 3:13 am
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The servant led Malcolm deeper into the mountain. The air became slightly colder and staler; though the stone complex was well designed and ventilated in such a way that the affects of their depths were muted. The surroundings also became dimmer, though this was not a result of their depth. None of the interior parts of the complex received much light from the outside yet they were all still kept well lit. This place though, seemed to be kept dim intentionally. The deeper they went the more empty the halls became, yet the more eyes Malcolm felt watching him. The Illusionist smirked, thinking to himself this must be the place where much of the Ministry’s real business gets taken care of.

At last they reached their destination. ”Yes Crassius, It has indeed been a long time since Tiavain, and undoubtedly anyone who was there has been though a lot since then,” Malcolm commented as he approached the man he had been brought down to the monastery to meet. ”Anne’s acceptance of that spear does disturb me, but since you seem to know what went on earlier I presume you already know my feelings on the matter. Unfortunately I was unable to do anything about it, that vampire is quite troubling.” Malcolm paused a moment as of thinking, though it was for little more than affect. ”You said it was good fortunate that I can to visit. I take it to mean then that there is something you want from me.”

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"Just remember that it's a grand illusion" -Styx
Malcolm Bainev IV
Patriach of House Bainev
Apperance is Everything


Mon May 16, 2005 11:06 am
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Alice at the Ministry

Alice travels to the Ministry

He watched the woman sleep as the wagon in which she lay jerked and bumped its way along the road. Kyle poked his head out between the canvas flaps. Do you have to find every damn rock and hole in the road he hissed? He saw the driver stiffen at the criticism, No Sir and made a big to do about steering round a small pebble in the road. The sudden swerving motion caused the wagon to lurch dangerously, Alice to moan in her sleep.

Kyle reached round and grabbed the driver by his shirt front. You think this a game man? When I say I want a smoother ride for the lady that is exactly what I mean. He paused for the barest moment and when he spoke again his voice low and hard, with a menacing edge to it. If you don’t heed my order then know that I will ensure you are relieved both of your position a top this wagon and your life. Have I made myself clear? The driver paled visibly and nodded silently.

Returning to the back of the wagon Kyle redressed the bruises on Alice’s wrists. Brett had said that they might be gone by the time they reached the Ministry, which would probably be a couple more hours. By then Alice should be awake. He touched the small lump on the woman’s chin gently, it was all that hinted at the way he had knocked her unconscious. The salve had prevented any bruising. He packed the ointments away and settled to watch his charge.

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Tue May 17, 2005 1:08 am
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Conversation in the Monastery

Never trust an Illusionist.

Crassius was well aware any alliance with the mage could likely exact a high price. But with an artifact of power falling into the hands of the Matriarch he needed a counter power to match. He saw her wield the power of the spear in his minds eye as certain as the sun would rise the next day. The last vestiges of her own mind would crumble beneath its sway and not his. He needed a shield to take any focus away from himself should it all go horrible awry.

To put any trust in a Bainev was to throw the dice again. Future events that were clear became uncertain again in his mind. With a little time the future would become clearer as he put together again the strands of fate…if he even had time.

“You said it was good fortune that I came to visit. I take it to mean then that there is something you want from me.”

Crassius nodded at Lord Bainev, I believe your intuition is correct about the danger. It is not just the power of the Spear itself but the vulnerability of the Matriarch. Her mind the same as it was, she speaks of voices and can act as one possessed. It is for this reason that she dares not leave the safety of the Ministry. Noone whether priest, nor healer, nor mage has succeeded in removing this affliction. But even now, the Child Prophet of Maxim sleeps within these walls and will be given the chance. Crassius paused for affect, so used to feigning concern that it came naturally, I will admit, despite the reputation of the Child in our Diocese, I do not hold much chance of success, Lord Bainev. And worse…with this Spear she may be driven to greater extremes while wielding a power beyond herself.

He stopped again, thinking carefully for his next words, Should this happen, we must be ready. I am very attuned to her ways, if I should give a sign, can you be ready to…disempower her, with whatever means necessary?

Searching, searching, Crassius looked for some hint in the Illusionist’s face for an answer before he spoke one. Lord Bainev was not readable. I understand with Anne being one of your students, that you may be hesitant at the idea of harming her, but I assure you she is not the student you once knew and I can promise you, the Ministry would be in your debt... he finished with a small bow of his head.

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And then, even the throw of dice is predictable.


Thu May 19, 2005 2:19 am
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"Anne mentioned you once during our meeting today. You are an advisor to her are you not?" Malcolm did not answer Crassius' question immediately. "It seems that should she fall from grace, you may do the same... Or you may stand to gain a great deal of power. It is the latter that you seek I presume... I will do this for, if you can ensure my safety. I have aggravated the vampire with my interference already, if I involve myself in this matter again he may not show the restraint he did today, and I have no way of defending myself from his kind. Anne herself may even be a threat. I am far greater than she, but I know not with what powers that spear may imbue her. I loathe having to do this to a student, but it seems that it must be done."
It was not that Malcolm really held much sympathy for his students, though it was a shame to see such talent lost, but it would look bad if he didn't at least pretend to kill. Appearance is everything after all.

Plans were already forming in Malcolm's mind. Ways to handle Anne. And plans for himself as well. Perhaps he would remain here longer still. The upheaval of power that seemed imminent could be beneficial to him. He was a powerful personality and very skilled at manipulating people. Not to mention, as Crassius said, the Ministry would be in his debt, a fact he would not soon forget.

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"Just remember that it's a grand illusion" -Styx
Malcolm Bainev IV
Patriach of House Bainev
Apperance is Everything


Thu May 19, 2005 2:03 pm
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A lost daughter comes home

Alice didn’t know how long it had been since she had seen her mother, now known as the Matriarch. She had spent at least a few seasons traveling the Isle after coming out of the desert away from the high politics, spending most of her life in the streets, sewers and lairs of various outlaw communities. And how long she had spent before that, entrapped by the Illusionist artifact, she had no idea. When she had finally broken free, she recognized noone around her.

Before her tragedy, the plan had been that she would travel into the desert via a different route after the forced exodus from Tiavain. That way, her mother, Lady Anne, would draw the very worst of heathen pursuit and hold them off with the army and most of the Clergy illusionists for as long as possible. Alice meanwhile would be in the care of a young Clergy member, Sister Barake who came from the family of an established desert tribe. They would stay in the more humble tribal environment out of sight from the heathens who might look to harm her as Lady Anne’s daughter. The last Alice had seen of her mother was before they had left the City of Tiavain.

In the end it hadn’t been the heathen who had placed her life in peril but the small, glittering Sphera Discipule that she had bought from the Magick Shoppe in Tiavain. With the book she had stolen from her mother, she had discovered that the Sphera was a powerful Illusionist tool designed to provide an Illusionist with a safe environment in which to develop their most impressive spells. Safe though, only to an accomplished Illusionist and while Alice showed great promise and a natural affinity to the Art, she had not the experience to control the Sphera. In fact she could barely activate it.

That night in which she finally succeeded in accessing the Illusionary world of the Sphera, the was night it destroyed her life as she knew it.

Much later when she had finally awoken from her living nightmare, she found herself in the desert alone. Almost alone, for an old desert woman had taken it upon herself to look after her as she had lain, as if dead. Alice didn’t recognize the woman from the tribe she had been staying with, Sister Barake was nowhere to be found. She couldn’t even understand the language the old woman spoke. Alice left her caretaker without a word, leaving behind the abominable artifact and taking with her only a dagger that looked strangely familiar. Her mind was all but broken, her grasp of reality tenuous at the best of times. Her initial experiences in the first township had been disastrous and landed her in trouble and here it was that she had met the less law-abiding citizens who seemed more tolerant of her erratic behaviour. She fell in with those whom she thought cared more about her, leaving them when she was proved wrong. Before long her ‘real’ world had become similar to the nightmare she had thought she had escaped.

But now she was coming home. She did not know the Ministry, its lands spreading far and wide, punctured by fortresses and townships for Isonia’s faithful. She had been faithful once, her childhood spent in an Isonian convent, her first duty as servant to Anne. The Abbess had summoned Alice to her chambers that day so long ago. To her surprise one of the highest members of the Isonian Clergy had been there also and they had charged her to serve this stranger, who insisted on being called Anne. Alice was never told exactly what for or who Anne really was but she did her duty to the Goddess as she was asked. It had not been easy, for at first Anne was prone to fits of madness, talking of people who did not exist or speaking in strange languages. Alice recalled it all, and learnt some of Anne’s secrets, always keeping confidence as a loyal servant should. But things improved as Anne became more comfortable on the Isle and finally Alice’s loyalty over the Ages was rewarded. And it was in the City of Tiavain, she was adopted as Anne’s daughter and heiress. But that was so long ago, a part of a dream more than a reality to Alice. The Goddess had deserted her.

They had arrived in the Ministry township now, and the horses were led away by stablehands. It had seemed a long journey from the battlegrounds outside of the Foretian citadels, but more likely Alice was nervous at the feeling of being unable to leave and of being watched. Sometimes the uncertainty of meeting her mother inspired in Alice her first reaction to the unknown, that of flight. YEt this time, she resisted the impulse. The Lady Brett had been a good friend, and doted on her when she could although it was obvious she held a busy and important position within the Ministry and commanded many armies. Even the man who had captured her, Kyle was his name, had been more hospitable, though Alice knew he watched her carefully. The scratches on his face were healing well, she couldn’t even remember making them. She did her best to hide her Syndicate tattoo on her wrist from their eyes once her bruises had begun to heal, hoping they hadn't noticed. She had avoided their questions on her past, much of it was painful to her and she was scared they would judge her harshly should they learn of it.

Alice was suddenly nervous as they stood outside the Ministry entrance, the carved stone Goddess on the cliff face seemed to disapprove. She felt queasy for a minute and placed a hand on her stomach until it passed before following the Templar escort into the mountain. They did not have far to go and Alice was ushered through some doors into a large and long pillared Gallery. She hesitated at the sight of the woman on the throne at the other end of the room, it could only have been the Matriarch. There were others there also, Alice did not see who they were for her eyes were fixed firmly on the figure in the middle. She walked slowly forward, unaware of whomever else was around her. She was thankful for the pale yellow dress which Lady Brett had loaned; her stained pants and tunic would have caused her even greater discomfort. It reminded her of the first time her Mistress had leant her one of her own dresses. She had been amazed, only to then discover later that she was to be adopted as Anne's daughter. It had been the best moment of her life.

She was close enough now to see the Matriarch, her mother Anne. How ridiculous it was that she had been concerned that she might not recognize Anne, but it was her. More tired perhaps, but it was her. At less than twenty paces away, Anne rose from her seat, a blackened Spear in her hand, staring in equal awe at Alice.

Alice stopped, becoming overwhelmed, kneeling down with head bowed. Unbidden tears began to roll down her face; she forced herself to look up again at the Matriarch, failing to keep her voice from wavering,

I…I could not find you mother.

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Sat May 21, 2005 10:27 pm
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Crassius felt as if the very gods were plotting against him. First the vampire, Viios brings his accursed Spear this evening and now this. At least they have given him Bainev. He let his fingers thrum with agitation on the desk before him while he thought over the news in this latest missive. His other hand then screwed the message up and threw it into the open fire.

Why now!
He said out loud. Why has she suddenly turned up now! He did not have long, the entourage carrying the Matriarch’s long lost heiress would be here by tomorrow morning. The Matriarch would know this very soon also. If she should be publicly named as the Matriarch’s successor, then all of his efforts would be wasted. Damn the girl Alice. It was too late to have her killed before, perhaps he could remove her afterwards. And there were other details he had received that could be of use, for it seemed Alice may not be of sane mind. Perhaps there was still room to discredit her in the Matriarch’s eyes…although he did not hold much faith in this. For the Matriarch had given up her daughter for dead before even he had arrived. And now with her imminent arrival, should the girl truly be who she was supposed to be, it could only give great joy and confidence to the Matriarch to see a daughter returned. He spent the rest of the evening considering his options.

~

By the morning, he had received the summons to the Petitioner’s Gallery. He was to bring the Child Prophet with him as arranged earlier where the Matriarch would talk with him first. The Matriarch was expecting Alice to arrive shortly afterwards.

The Child seemed as subdued as he this day. His eyes did not sparkle mischievously; instead he sat before Crassius quietly and seriously. He eventually looked up at his guardian, who was not in any way talkative and asked with more than childlike concern, Is everything alright with you, Lord Crassius? . Crassius paused for a moment looking with equal seriousness back at the Child, You will meet the Matriarch this day. I just hope it all goes well…he trailed off, distracted by his concerns. What do you see, Crassius, what can go wrong? The Child Prophet asked in all sincerity. Crassius realized all of a sudden he was most likely frightening the Child. Nothing at all, we shall be fine. Come now, or we will be late, he said abruptly turning to the doorway. It was mostly true, Crassius couldn’t see ahead any likely events to be concerned about, but it was this that concerned him most of all.

~

The meeting in the Petitioner’s Gallery could have gone worse, but the fact was that the Matriarch regarded the Child with what was almost disinterest. It was obvious there were other matters on her mind. He noticed with distaste that her hands almost never left the accursed Spear she had received the previous night. And then the girl arrived, and despite the others that had gathered in the Gallery, the Matriarch had eyes only for her daughter, Alice. Crassius had to decide quickly what to do. He took a gamble…

Matriarch, he whispered directly to her with the Art of Illusion. It looks to be your long lost daughter indeed, for I remember her from Tiavain…but something is different. Do you see the mark on her wrist, the mark of a Syndicate whore. I fear the worst, that Alice may have been coerced into their ways… Please understand, I think only of your safety but there are those who would seek to see you destroyed and to use Alice would not be beneath them…

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And then, even the throw of dice is predictable.


Sat May 21, 2005 10:43 pm
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It felt as if a mist was receding. For what seemed like forever I had been living in a haze of confusion, lacking the confidence to even leave the Ministry mountain. But all in an evening it was as though I had my mind was restored. The conflicting whispers had receded away since I had touched the Spear, now there was just one. I did not hear it now as I did the whispering, I felt it. A compulsion, correct and true.

If the missive I received first thing this morning is true, I would no longer need to consider again a successor for I am told that my daughter Alice is returning. I had looked at the messenger with disbelief when I read it, and had need to question him further to allay my suspicion. Lady Brett would not lie about such things would she? What would she gain from discovering my daughter? The missive also held warning that Alice was not well, that she suffered a recurring trauma, reason unknown. I did not know how to feel, and the thought that this was some cruel plot was almost more comfortable to think on. For I had believed Alice to be dead for so long now. The Isle had been scoured extensively, no expense had been spared and every source of information utilized. Of course it was conceivable that she could be missed, but would she not have found haven in the nearest Isonian settlement and from there seek me out if she could? Where had she been all this time?

I was reminded of my meeting with the Child Prophet this day, but he came too late, for all is now well. No matter, it would do no harm to meet this boy, who had been so important to our Diocese of late. It was important to assess his use, or perhaps his threat…

In the Petitioner’s Gallery, Crassius brought the Child before me. I will admit I was distracted from the meeting and found little of interest in the boy. There was an intensity about him then that did slightly disturb me but he was only a child, just a child. When Alice’s arrival was announced, feelings began to crowd in on me. So anxious, uncertain, unsure how I should feel.

I watched her walking down the Gallery, not daring to move. When she was close enough for me to see her features, I could feel my heart beat faster. It was her, but…she looked different. Where was her innocence…why had her eyes dulled in that way. I was in awe and shock at the same time, unable to hide it. I could no longer sit down, and stood up from the throne, Spear in hand, as she came before me. My daughter knelt and bowed her head and when she raised those despairing eyes, I knew she recognized me also. Were they tears of joy that rolled down her face? I felt such humanity that I had not known for so long. There was a clarity of mind that not even the Spear could have bestowed. My daughter was home.

I…I could not find you mother

Just as I was to respond, I heard Crassius’ voice, speaking to me with the Art I had taught him,

Matriarch. It looks to be your long lost daughter indeed, for I remember her from Tiavain…but something is different. Do you see the mark on her wrist, it is the mark of a Syndicate whore. I fear the worst, that Alice may have been coerced into their ways. Please understand, I think only of your safety my Mistress, there are those who would seek to see you destroyed and to use Alice would not be beneath them…

A voice of reason or the voice of ambition. He had stood beside me while my mind was possessed these last months, but he might stand to lose my favour with Alice returning. This much was clear to me. Of course, he could be right…

I found myself glancing at her wrist, I could see the mark but I did not recognise the affiliation. Many of the outlawed bands had marks such as these though.

All of a sudden I felt a wave of failure wash over me, of seeing a loved one destroyed and knowing not what to do. It was a wretched feeling as I looked now upon my daughter, stained and broken. An uncontrolled tear fell down my face, such a display of emotion never seen. Another daughter taken from me. What had I done to my Alice, that she should be in this state. Would that I could hold her and protect her. I set down the Spear.

She is tainted. She has fallen from the path of righteousness. She will be our demise.

I froze. The voice was for me alone. It spoke clearly now, it was not just a compulsion but actual words in my mind.

Do you know who I am, Anne? And my soul recognized Her voice and I was in awe. Take now your daughter, your only daughter, whom you love, and by your hand, offer her to me with the edge of a blade.

I was openly trembling while my humanity and holy devotion stood locked in ultimate conflict. It was cold, everything was cold, I wished in vain to release this tormented soul from this mortal body, to be free of such choices. I looked at Alice, eyes bereft of hope, now weeping in the light I could offer her once again. I can be her salvation, I can be her destroyer. Look at her, her innocence is already shattered and what of her mind? Was this really Alice?

Offer her to me!

I walked towards my Alice, my lost daughter, my lost humanity. I motioned to a guard to come forward to me. With cold eyes I looked at the puzzled guard. And then I stretched forth my hand, and took the knife with which to slay my daughter. I turned on her with a fast movement so that I might sever her neck from her head.

I watched her look at the blade and then look in my eyes and I heard her scream.

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~Maxim Code of Conduct~


Sat May 21, 2005 11:01 pm
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The Bainev's never really liked to make themselves invisible, for why should they deprive the world of their beauty. It was for that reason they more often chose to disguise their appearance rather than mask it all together. Anyone who knew enough about them could most likely pick them out of a crowd just by picking the two most attractive people there. For if the Bainev's were indeed there, their vanity would not permit them to be anything but the most beautiful. Such was the case that day in the Petitioner’s Gallery. They disguised themselves because Malcolm did not really wish to be seen by Anne, but he was not to concerned should she find him out anyway.

Malcolm was there at the request of Crassius. Given the appropriate signal he was to 'disempower' Anne as Crassius had put it. Crassius had assured his protection from possible retribution from Anne, or the vampire Viios, but Malcolm had called upon Alisia to join him to provide protection from Crassius. He did not know Anne's advisor very well and the possibility of betrayal while he was distracted in his efforts against Anne did not escape him.

They sat through Anne's meeting with the child prophet. That had been quite dull. Anne had seemed disinterested with it, which, as far as the Bainev's were concerned, was quite understandable. They did not see what the big deal about the child was. But it seemed that her meeting the Alice would prove to be much more interesting.

Malcolm recalled that Alice, like her adoptive mother, had had potential in the Art as well. Perhaps the loss of Anne would not be such a great loss after all, if he could get to Alice instead. She had been such a pretty girl too, though she seemed to have lost much of her luster in her years away, though she could be cleaned up Malcolm thought. Yes, she could be an interesting asset...

The knife in Anne's had moved swiftly toward the throat of her own daughter.

...or perhaps not.

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"Just remember that it's a grand illusion" -Styx
Malcolm Bainev IV
Patriach of House Bainev
Apperance is Everything


Sun May 22, 2005 11:14 am
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Viios stood in the crowd, tall, dark, handsome and wearing naught but black leather. He stared at the Matriarch and her lovely daughter, leered at them. As the Matriarch laid the Spear at her side and moved towards her daughter, the vampires mind stretched forth its endless hand and caressed the Spear. Not physically so much, just the sight of the Spear was enough to thrill him. In that moment of utter pleasure, that moment where all things but the Spear fell away from his mind, there was a piercing scream.

It was as if time itself had ceased forward motion. Was that truly the Matriarchs daughter, as he had heard? Was the Child Prophet here as well? All these things he had heard in casual conversation, or from information he gleaned from small minds lacking protection. Yet in that dazzling moment of the utmost confusion, Viios saw only one thing. It was not the haunting beauty of the Matriarch, nor the knife in her hand that he watched with eager eyes. It was the Spear. Alone and outside of the Queens grasp for once.

Take it. It's yours to take. You gave it to her and now she has left it alone, unguarded! It is much to valuable a thing, take it!

Viios reeled as his own mind bite at his limbs, demanding they take action. It was madness. He had given the Matriarch the Spear, yet after being removed from the device for even a night there was no question in his heart- he must have it back. Perhaps it was a moment of poor judgement on his part that drove him to give it away. Perhaps it was a moment of clarity hitherto unseen as he broke contact with the cursed thing. Regardless, now was the time to strike. Take the Matriarchs, no, take YOUR Spear back! She will fight for it...

"Then she will die." Viios hissed inwardly.


Sun May 22, 2005 11:20 am
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Kyle followed a few paces behind her as they were ushered through doors into the long Petitioners Gallery. It had been some time since he had been to a court such as this and never before to as Isonian court. The magic, illusion and intrigue hung in the air like some palpable force. Each person present in the room, man or woman vying for their own gain. As he followed Alice down the long aisle he surprised himself as he realized how much he hadn’t missed the court intrigue. If he had been alone he might have laughed at himself. He must be getting soft in his dotage. Get him self back in the saddle and he would thrive on it again. He watched the sea of faces as they turned to watch the young woman as she made her way towards the court at the end of the hall. Their chatter now replaced with silence, punctuated with an occasion whisper.

Twenty paces from the large ornately decorated and gilded throne upon which sat a slight, dark haired immaculately dressed woman they came to a halt. The Matriarch he assumed. Kyle ran his eyes over those that made up the entourage that stood either side of her. His gaze meeting that of Crassius, he gave the barest nod of acknowledgement before returning to his appraisal of those present. His eyes fell on a tall dark man dressed in black leather. He recognized the look of lust on his face. Kyle smiled as he looked in the direction of his gaze pondering who it was amongst court that this man hungered so openly for. Only to find it had settled on the spear that moments before Kyle had seen in the Matriarchs hand.

At almost the same moment he caught the glint of the knife out the corner of his eye even before the scream issued from Alice’s lips. Without thinking, without considering the ramifications, his instinct to protect his charge took control and he took the two steps forward. Grabbing her gently but firmly he hauled her up from the floor to stand behind him, his sword drawn. Defiantly he stood and looked directly into the eyes of the woman before him, witnessing the fervour of her fanaticism. Madam? his voice was firm and unwavering but full of questions. He dropped his gaze and his sword bowing his head slightly both in apology and deference. Then drawing Alice protectively into his arms he smiled reassuringly down at her before raising his eyes to look again at the Matriarch. Madam his voice was softer, caressing, soothing, do you not recognize your daughter Alice?

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Sat May 28, 2005 6:45 pm
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In my mind I watched her blood spray in warm scarlet and her life quietly ebb away in an ever-increasing circle over the stone under my feet. And the dress (was it the one I gave her?), stained and soiled forever.

I saw the look upon her face as I asked her to crush her true love’s soul so long ago and live only for ambition and power. And she had tasted power and she had done it. Remove your own heart, my daughter, before they have a chance to rip it from you.

I remember her talent with the Art, such pride I had not known existed, as she added even a simple glamour to herself with style.

I knelt with her as we prayed in the old Temple of Isonia, and I knew her devotion was second only to my own. This was the daughter I had lost in another world. I would see my Alice be Queen as I never could my Elizabeth. No-one would take her from me.

But the desert had swallowed her, as it seemed to swallow everything. And I had thought I was a cursed mother. No army, no gold, no amount of magick had brought her back to me. But here she was. And nothing would take her from me again. For I would take her myself. The Alice of old would be entombed here forever and in my heart. There was no more worthy sacrifice and her soul would belong to the Goddess forever.


…who draws a sword against me? Madam, do you not recognize your daughter Alice?
Who is this that draws a weapon against me! Where were my soldiers, my guards to hack his weapon from his body! But they stand back, unsure…looking upon me in confusion or shock. FOOLS! How DARE they question the will of the Goddess, how dare they question ME!

Stepping back from the armed man, his treason unchallenged, I feel overcome with rage. There is no respect for the Goddess in this house! You have all become so arrogant and insolent! She WILL not suffer your disrespect any more! I thundered in the long hall, my voice amplified by the echo. The Spear lay at my feet, Her gift to me and if I could not give Her but one life, She would have them all!

I picked up the Spear suddenly, whipping it high into the air before bringing it down upon the cold stone. All of my mana was poured into the Spear, I let it draw on my very soul, blackened hot in vengeance and spite. Pain would be their fate, blinding, writhing Agony. The very darkest Illusion, the tool of torturers and sadists. And the unleashed power of the Spear would make it terrifyingly real. I did not care who was in the room, they would ALL die at my will, they would ALL perish by the hand of the Goddess!

The Spear came down upon the stone with an unearthly CRACK! The very stone was sundered and a wave of power, almost visible, smashed through the air to rip into everything around. The closest pillars received a shockwave that toppled them to the floor, and then the screaming and chaos began.


For me it was over. And I was gone from the Ministry forever.

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Tue May 31, 2005 4:28 am
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dammit. my last post is a wrong alt!

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~Maxim Code of Conduct~


Tue May 31, 2005 4:36 am
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Crassius knew there was something terribly wrong as the Matriarch suddenly swung a blade at her very own daughter. Even his honeyed words were not so good as that. And despite the very real chance that this dangerous competition to his ambition would be slain right here before him, this was not all it seemed. Bainev? Did he gamble with some outrageous illusion that the Matriarch would slit the throat of her own daughter? This did not seem right, what did he have to gain from such a risk?

What of the vampire, Lord Viios…he was another unknown factor in the Gallery this day. Crassius glanced at him, the vampire was transfixed, but not on the girl. It was the Spear. For a creature so normally immune to various charms, this Spear had an unnaturally strong affect. Strong enough to even bring about the death of this long lost daughter? Quite possibly.

Kyle! Was everyone mad this day! Did he even know who he defended? The very threat to his chances of succession, why did he not murder who before she even arrived? Surely he knew who Alice was… Madam, do you not recognize your daughter Alice? So yes, it seemed Kyle knew very well who he defended…and Crassius’ eyes narrowed towards his old accomplice.

That the Matriarch had been unstable had not been a secret among the nobles. Just how unstable she was, only Crassius knew. And only too late did he realize that all these factors combined would lead to their demise, their painful agonizing demise. Perhaps it was a logical conclusion gathered from events as they played out or maybe even a sixth sense but as soon as Crassius realized the very real danger, he called for Bainev with an Illusion of sound. Do something! She will destroy us all! At the very same moment, Crassius looked down at the Child, his face strangely calm, even sad. Run! You must leave the hall as fast as you can! Crassius whispered desparately to the golden-haired boy.

But the Child remained still. And Crassius saw or thought he saw, although he couldn’t recall it until later, a slight glow moving outwards from the Child. It was barely noticeable but soon surrounded the people in the Gallery. And then the crack of the Spear shattered the stone, the pillars nearest exploded into rubble, he watched a guard on the other side of the room thrown against another pillar like a lifeless pillow. The room was full of marble dust and the cries of fear.

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And then, even the throw of dice is predictable.


Tue May 31, 2005 4:37 am
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And so the signal he had been waiting for from Crassius finally came, just as things were getting quite interesting and Anne was showing off the destructive power of the spear. Now was no time for elaborate illusions and devious mind games. The situation called for something much more direct. The Illusionist controls the senses of those around him. Pain is nothing more than an aspect of the sense of touch that comes about when damage is being done to the body, but it is nothing more than a figment of the mind, like all senses. And so, while with his magic Malcolm could do no physical harm to Anne, pain was far from out of his reach.

"Crassius has betrayed you." Malcolm told her with an illusion. He thought it her right to know, and he did not want her to think that he acted alone in this, though he did have his own personal reason for doing it, and she would learn of those soon enough.

It started after his last word, as if it were the period to the sentence. The Agony. It started in the tips of her fingers and toes; the extreme pain. It was hard to imagine that so much pain could be concentrated at such small points. But then it began to spread, and the intensity did not dilute as it swallowed up her arms and legs, and pushed slowly and deliberately to the core of her body. The Agony was like no real pain anyone could ever experience. It was indescribable really, though if one were to try they might say that it were like the body were tearing itself apart into tiny pieces and then burning them. But this description is far from adequate, it is much worse than that. Malcolm knew the pain, for that was the only way to learn it, to experience it. He had only been subjected to it for a few seconds by his father so that he could reproduce it, but Anne would remain in the grips of The Agony as long as Malcolm felt it necessary.

Through the intense pain Anne could likely see nothing of the real world. But Malcolm made sure she saw the illusion of him and his sister standing before her. In the vision they were the rarely seen ceremonial garb of the Bainev family. They were in all black from the boots on their feet, to the cloves on their hands, to the hood over their heads. And over their faces, golden masks. The masks amazingly capturing even the smallest details of their faces. From behind the impassive mask came Malcolm's familiar voice.

"You have forgotten who your master is Anne. You have disobeyed me and betrayed me Anne. Your master is not that Spear. Your master is not Isonia. In Tiavain, you became a member of the Bainev House. The house of which I am the Patriarch. Tell me now, who is your master Anne. Tell me. Only then will I end this pain."

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"Just remember that it's a grand illusion" -Styx
Malcolm Bainev IV
Patriach of House Bainev
Apperance is Everything


Tue May 31, 2005 1:14 pm
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So it was to be revolution then. The Matriarch was likely mad, driven beyond sanitys finite borders by the Spears unnatural touch. It was too strong a gift for a mortal such as her. Why he had given it up was beyond him. Now that the shockwave rolled past Viios, he wondered even more whether or not to retake that which he had so willingly given.

The air blasted past him, a dozen members of the crowd in front of him falling to the ground as the sheer power oppressed them. Behind, the pillars crumbled, the dust swirling about in mayhem unseen since the last war. The vampire could not smile, though he desperately wanted too. His Spear was being put to glorious use, the Matriarch was mad with power, and the blood would soon spill. Was that not precisely what he had intended to do this entire time? In a word, no.

Viios was compelled forward into the Ministry by the Spears enigmatic magiks, not by his own volition. He saw that now, and now he began to see the truth of the blade he bore into this house of Isonia. It was a cursed thing. No true believer, Isonian, Foretian or Dardenite could lay claim to it without going mad. Only an immortal, a perfect being...such as himself, could wield it. It all made perfect sense now. Or so the blighted senses of the vampire told him. All he could see was the Spear now, all he could hear was its muted speech. The world passed him by as his vision stayed steadfast on the monstrous thing. Some people screamed, others prayed. Yet the key players all stood, ready to make their place in the world one way or another. Some by treachery. Others by force. Others still by serenity. Viios would use none of those tactics. The Spear was his, and his alone. It was given to him by Isonia, and now she had tested her most faithful, and deemed them unworthy of it. It was the Tear Drinkers blade, his edge, his soul. It was his.

So now the vampire waited, his ivory fangs bared in a menacing, anxious smirk. In a moment he could change the outcome of this battle however he wished. In a moment he could change the history of the Ministry, or the entire Isle. Yet patience was the better part of virtue. He could wait to see what these mortals were mustering against one another before getting involved. After all, their lives were short and pointless. His life, his Spear...they were forever. All he needed to do was wait and watch. Then he would reap the rewards of this revolution.


Tue May 31, 2005 3:51 pm
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It was all for naught, the illusion and agony he wished to inflict on her, she was gone. Once he realized that she was gone he began to worry, the hall crumbling around them. How could she be gone, she wasn't just invisibility, she was gone, she was an illusionist, how could that be. And that destruction she had set in motion, it couldn't be more than an illusion could it. It must be an illusion, she was an Illusionist, and so was he, but he was better.

Malcolm looked all around the hall, his eyes flicking quickly in every direction. He and his sister were no longer in their disguises; they could no longer waste their attention on keeping up the ruse. They were searching for errors. Mistakes in what the saw, heard, smelt, felt, anything. It was an illusion, there had to be errors, there were always errors. Even they made mistakes; small though they were they were always there. That’s all it took. Fine the errors, and drive them into your mind, force your subconscious to realize the illusion, that’s how they were broken. Where were the errors, he could not find them, he knew they had to be there. It just couldn't be real.

"Alisia?"
"Nothing! There is nothing, it must be real!"
"No, it can not be."

Then he saw it, in a falling piece of stone, just a slight discoloration from how the stone had really looked. This was an illusion and though the difference he saw was small it was all he needed. He drove it in, every fiber of his being now knew what was going on around him was not real, but why could he still see it. He should have broken away from this false world.

The spear. It was an illusion. But that spear, it had made it all real. There was nothing he could do.

"Crassius!" he yelled, his normally calm demeanor gone. "This is your fault! You were to guarantee my safety. You have failed! You had better home none of us survive this, or I will make you pay!"

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"Just remember that it's a grand illusion" -Styx
Malcolm Bainev IV
Patriach of House Bainev
Apperance is Everything


Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:25 pm
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There is no respect for the Goddess in this house! You have all become so arrogant and insolent! She WILL not suffer your disrespect any more! The voice thundered from the slight form of the Queen as she recovered the spear. Anger blazed across her face and Kyle pulled Alice closer to him. He didn’t have time to consider if this was for her sake or his own. He had never openly defied the s leader of a clan before and truly the ramifications of his actions were only just beginning to form in his mind.

As the Queen whipped the spear high into the air Kyle glanced towards Crassius and notice his gaze on the child. The child stood amongst the impending chaos calm and unmoved by the events unfolding before him. Kyle fancied for a moment that he saw in the child’s hand a sword, and around that sword played a bright light tinged with gold.

CRACK! Kyle jumped as he felt rather than heard the spear hit the floor. The shockwave of the impact sent him flying off his feet. He felt Alice fall heavily beside him and then he felt the pain, small tentacles at first, pricking at him searching for a way into his mind. They found it, the faces of his past haunting him, the pain and suffering of their deaths now his pain. One face presented itself again and again. He would reach out to it calling it by name Brett and every time it would turn away. Erulissë wait, a name from long ago slip from his mouth and his memory. She turned So you do remember me, Ancalímon. He smiled as he reached out to touch her, How could I forget the only woman I have ever truly loved. Pain flared in the eyes of the woman and was quickly masked by anger. She turned away from him for a moment and the spectre turned back her face transforming grotesquely as she bared her teeth. Why Ancalímon? He stood there with no answer to explain away the greatest regret of his life. And when he did not answer she rushed at him as if she were going to strip the very flesh from his bones. Face to face almost touching he could feel and smell the cold clamminess of death. Then remember this she hissed. He screamed in torment as he experienced her death magnified many fold, the death that he had ordered. He stumbled in pain and as he did so he stepped into the abyss.

Erulissë, Brett help me he cried as he scrabbled at the edge trying to gain purchase to halt his downward spiral further into the abyss. His hand briefly coming into contact with his sword and as he did so he felt something, someone touch his mind. He recoiled instinctively before he realised it was the child. The child spoke his voice soft, but strong and the sword he had seen in the child’s hand earlier materialized before him. It glowed brightly reflecting the urgency in the child’s voice.

Take it and serve me
Clear the way for the one true God
And of this torment ye shall be free.


The truth was that Kyle didn’t hear the words or if he did he paid no heed. What he saw was a chance to survive the agony of his torment. He grasped the sword, instantly he felt the power from it flow through him. The swirling blackness of the abyss receded as if they had never been. The demons of his mind retreating as he made to follow them, challenging them to stand and fight, but as the light of the sword fell upon their faces he watch as they disintegrated before him and vanish as if it had never been. With sword in hand his eyes found focus again in the petitioners’ gallery.

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Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:02 am
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It was too late. Bainev was too late to stop her unleash the Spear’s power. Upon the shockwave came the touch of pain, an aching tearing agony…too real for any Illusion.

But the golden light encircled them, surrounded them. It dulled the ache and soothed the curse to null. Did Crassius imagine this? He was standing nearest to the Child, the source of the aura, perhaps noone else would see? It wasn’t until much later that Crassius could pause to ponder this wonder more.

For now the Gallery was filled with dust, the groaning of broken bodies and cries of shock. He waited while the dust settled from the high ceiling and looked over the carnage.

She is gone, Crassius. Gone from here.
Crassius turned back to the Child who spoke, he looked so sad this day. The Child looked up at him with expectant eyes. Crassius turned back to where the Matriarch had been standing just moments before. There was nothing. She was not there. A layer of marble dust covered the floor, rubble littered the entire room. The people closest to the blast were picking themselves up slowly, one soldier did not move at all. The Spear lay on the stone, smouldering where she had been.

Some of them had swords drawn, to defend themselves against an untouchable foe. Kyle was there, he who had challenged the Matriarch by defending his very enemy and almost caused the death of us all. Fool of a man! He played his game too close to the edge and in doing so revealed his hand. Crassius would see him fall before the day was old!

Calmly, calmly, Crassius thought to himself. The situation was too tense to further aggravate…
“Crassius! This is your fault! You were to guarantee my safety. You have failed! You had better home none of us survive this, or I will make you pay!"
Bainev. Even Bainev was openly furious. Crassius saw both of them in the Gallery now, Malcolm and his sister. Crassius took a slow breath, desperately trying to quell the anger that threatened to overtake his rational mind. He partly succeeded.

Enough of this drama, Bainev! He began, with a voice of Illusion to the both of them, all charm and politeness abandoned. Was it my fault that you could not stop her! Was it my doing that that fool of a man, Kyle Hathborne pulled such a stunt! HE should be the one to pay for his treason…and he SHALL! Do not lose your nerve now Bainev, for we still live, the Matriarch is gone and we still have much to gain from this.

He broke off his magical communication with the Bainevs to immediately address the Gallery, his normally honeyed voice now openly commanding.

Guards, seize that man!
Crassius directed, pointing at Kyle Hathborne, he will remain in the dungeon until he is to be tried for treason! The Ministry will here forth be under the Rule and Law of the Child Prophet, revered in the Provinces. And I shall be his Regent. There shall be a ceremony tomorrow to recognize his rule and the day will be a holy one for all time!

Crassius looked upon the faces of those in the Gallery, daring the guards to challenge him. He who had been the closest confidante of the Matriarch in her last months, who had run the Ministry centre and township while she had hidden from the world. It was the first test, for he must control the army if he was to control the Ministry. Using the Child Prophet, as he was known in the greater Diocese, would help ensure loyalty among those outside of the complex who did not know him so well. The Child would rule and he would rule the Child. Perhaps things would not go so badly after all.

The guards bowed to his order and moved to arrest the traitor.

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And then, even the throw of dice is predictable.


Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:54 am
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OOC: Stupid alts

Malcolm was not happy, but he was begging to calm down and return to his normally composed self as the pain ended. He wiped away the sweat that had built up on his brow. Alisia stood their, glaring angrily at most everyone, including her brother. She was never really known for having a cheerful disposition.

Crassius had chosen who he wanted to blame for the incident, he had his scapegoat and while the others seemed ready to accept the sudden accusation, and then claim to power by Crassius, in the name of the child prophet of course. Perhaps it was because they were all still in shock. Malcolm was no nearly as convinced, and he was still quite upset with Crassius.

[color=purple"Do what you want with that one,"[/color] he said in illusion, referring to Kyle, "But you and I both know he is not the real blame. The spear brought on this incident. Destroy it, and quickly before that vampire can get his claws on it again." Malcolm knew there was more to blame than just the spear; Crassius had brought this one too. It was clear to Bainev that he'd been building Anne up for a fall for quite some time; he just hadn't expected it to happen quite like this.

"Alisia," he said, addressing only his sister. "I think we shall be staying here a while." She glared at him and did not say a word. "The balance of power here is quite up in the air, think of all that we might stand to gain from this." At that, Alisia's glare softened a bit.

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Wow I haven't used this alt in a while, which is sad because its my main.


Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:02 pm
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