She had dispatched her finest and bravest knights from the Crimson order and had been in deep consultation with the Azure order of wizards, but no solution or even cause had yet been found for the calamity. All that was known was the sky had darkened, and the quakes had grown stronger, and the fumes were poisoning the land.
As she had so often in the last few days, Arta rose to her feet and let her footsteps sweep around the circular chamber, from the high podium to the large rectangular windows that overlooked half the courtyard. There, laid the seats of the Cox and the Navigator, the crimson knights that faced towards the people, not to the royal throne.
She herself had been the Navigator Knight many years ago, before she was elected to the Throne, but still, her gaze had never strayed from that window. Looking at her fellow townsfolk, not at the centre of power in the kingdom.
Now they suffered, and she was unable to distance the kingdom from that which threatened their lives. Their options were dwindling and the days slipped through her fingers, leading them all on a course leading to disaster.
She had to do something. Soon.
Behind her, the broad red wooden doors swung wide open, ushering in a peculiar figure, a remnant from the time of legends, a man with elven blood and the wisdom that only centuries and magic could bestow.
du Pendragon: Velik, I longed for your presence, and for your guidance.
He was old. Old in a way that none else in the Order of Crimson Knights could claim, nor even the Azure Wizards, among whom he had first taught, many moons before. Age bore upon his brow, and yet, the shaggy eyebrows still swept up, in a fashion no other in the Kingdom could readly claim. Coming to a stop, he reached up, and eased the hood back, long, white hair cascading down to his shoulders. One of the wizened brows arched up his forehead, and the ghost of a smile flickered across his craggy face.
Velik: As I have often stated in the past, it is unwise to ...trouble the wise. You have called. I have come.
She let a faint smile light up her features, though it never reached her eyes.
du Pendragon: You have seen the signs, the great harm that looms over our people. I have consulted the Order of Azure, the wizards and the alchemists for its nature, but they have offered me only riddles and prescriptions and no answers. I have sent Crimson Knights and none have returned to tell us the result of their enquiries. What would you do, O wise one, to fight the evil that lurks our kinsmen?
Velik: (Looking out the square window) There is naught that we can do with ease. I no longer possess the ...magics needed to quell such phenomenon. The path before you is treacherous. Hope, yes, there is hope, but it is faint. ::He stilled, becoming as unmoving as the stations of stone surrounding them.:: A call to the stars.
du Pendragon: Those are just old wives' tales, fairy tales, fables and myths. I’ve people scared and dying, old man. I need solutions.
A scowl crossed his face and he gave a snort. For a moment he looked over his shoulder, and gave a terse nod.
Velik: Yes indeed. Petulant though she may be, she is right. They are dying. :: He faced her again.:: Do not think I suggest it lightly, child. They may not answer. They did not in the past. But many years have passed. Perhaps...perhaps there is something there we can leverage. If not help, knowledge.
The words seemed to pain him to suggest, as if some inner turmoil ate at him from within. With pursed lips, he made his way past her, gripping the staff of his station. Rags of golden velour peeked out from the ancient’s robes, bedecked with flowing, elven script, as he moved past her, to stare out at the Kingdom below.
Unconsciously, the Queen raised her hand to the chest and traced the black symbol embroidered on her golden regalia. The symbol of her Royal Rank, her Duty and her Right: a stylized star that pointed to the sky, like the meteor that had fallen from the firmament above and beyond the Outrigger’s Stones.
du Pendragon: To the stars? To the Elders? Peasants pray to them each and every day, and I've never heard them answer, are you suggesting...?
This time she turned to look at him. The aged face hadn't altered one iota, the same aquiline profile, the same elfin ears sticking out amidst the strands of off-white hair. Nothing seemed to have modified his appearance, no more than the usual mad shine in his eyes.
Velik: ‘For when Pandora had opened her box, and seen what she had unleashed upon the world, sickness. Death, and untold horrors, she rushed to close the lid once more. For all the things that mortals lacked, hope alone remained.’
As cryptic an answer as ever, and quoting the old poem seemed to give the Wizard some private sense of satisfaction. His shoulders seemed to bleed off tension in that moment, and he turned his head up to the stars, offering up another parable, one that the Queen would recognize. One that all who went through the trials of KnightHood would understand..
Velik: Ex astris, scientia.::He turned again to face her.:: Did you think it but words to soothe the soul, or aspire to?
As simmed by:
Reluctant High Wizard and General Recluse
Arta du Pendragon, Heart of Gold, first of her name.
Queen of Calabrum
Deus ex machina and logistic support