JP: MSNPC Queen Arta du Pendragon & MSNPC High Wizard Velik - The Fallen Sword: Blood of Heroes - Prologue Part 2
((The Seat of Queens, Calabrum))
he frowned and turned her gaze back to the square window. This time, however, her eyes looked more to the heights than to the skyline of the city rooftops. Beyond the rolling hills and the woodlands, past the dark clouds and the dusky fumes rising from the land, to the sky that wrapped her country and beyond.
du Pendragon: ::muttering::“From the stars, knowledge” ::She chuckled softly.:: I've always thought that this phrase urged us to look forward, to clear away the mystery of legend and focus on seeking the truth of knowledge. To become the best version of ourselves, through wisdom.
Her gaze returned to the wrinkled, eccentric man with elvish features.
du Pendragon: And you suggest that to do so, I should embrace legends of the dark ages. Nevertheless, Master of Sorcery, I have little other choice. If saving our people requires descending into obscurantism and folklore to seek out knowledge, I will do so. Tell me, Wise Man, what shall be the next step?
Velik: Step. Yes, exactly that. She speaks of wisdom beyond her years. ::Only then did he turn his gaze to her.:: To the old grounds. I have not been there in many seasons, and yet, that is where we must go.
Despite her years, her eyes widened in surprise.
du Pendragon: But what about the 'klings? They are not legends, they chased our people for eons before they reached this safe harbour and even today they destroy all who approach the forbidden zone, what good can I do my people if I die and never make it there?
Velik: Do you think I give this council lightly? ::A stern, sharp note folded into his expression, as if the wizened old mage was suddenly somehow more present.:: How many of your predecessors I counciled against the ascent, hmmm? Yet the logic of the moment is undeniable. The needs of the many ::Here he paused, to gesture to the open window, the fields and buildings beyond.:: Out weight the needs of the few. ::He drove a bony finger at her.:: Or the one.
She bit her lip and looked out of the window again. The sun had reached its zenith. Cattle mooed somewhere beyond the parade ground. The air brought the smell of scorched crops and sulphur.
du Pendragon: I shall do so.
With her decision made, a few words to her majordomo set things in motion. Her mount was prepared in the stables by the time she had changed into clothes more befitting the ruins.
((Two Hours Later, Highsun, Among the Outrigger Stones))
As a child she had visited this sacred place, a yearly pilgrimage by the royal court to the original seat of the Kingdom. She played among the strange monolithic plinths, harder than any stone or metal castle forged, with wonder and delight. Now, she came to this place in desperation. The entrance, known only to the royal family, was well disguised behind a rockface but slid aside smoothly when her hand touched the proper glyphs. She had never before stepped inside. To her knowledge, none had since the first Queen, over one hundred and fifty years ago.
She gave a small sigh and let her hand descend to the pommel of her sword. That made her feel more confident, as did the presence of the ancient talismans that had been given to her: the tri-corner and the phalasador, the medallion badge and the messenger. All of them hung around her girdle, ancient as the land itself, chained to her with spells and incantations.
If the Wise Man was right, they would protect her. If not, they would be a burden that would slow down her efforts.
And so, she went into the antique vaults. Strange, ancient magics permeate the ruins, the air seemingly crisp, always moving, the corridors, slightly lit, pulsing with eldritch energies beyond the ken of mere mortal. There were marks on the walls, eerie lights beckoning her on her path, spirits from the past humming in forgotten tongues and guiding her deeper and deeper into the labyrinth towards the red doors of the First Chamber.
The huge doors opened in front of her, once red, now chipped and rusted, immortelle and mossgreen drawing a strange tapestry across their surface. As soon as they did, the Chamber lit up before her, magic buzzing in every wall and surface. The air had a peculiar smell, stagnant and dusty and yet clean, unspoiled, like something that had never been touched by sin.
Arta clenched her jaw and moved towards the centre of the hall, a chamber in whose image and likeness the Seat of Queens had been built. In spite of the centuries, next to the throne, she could still discern the first queen's blood, the blood she had spilled as the ultimate toll that she had paid to save her people from the threat of the 'klings, her ultimate sacrifice.
Arta's pale eyes remained transfixed on that stain, to them more around that familiar yet distinct hall, as her mind pondered on the duty that both real woman and legend shared: save their people.
At last, she slid onto the throne, rested her arms on its sides and her hands laid over the glow of the ancient runes. Slowly, determinedly, her fingers repeated the lines of the incantation she had been taught, the secret knowledge that Velik has taught her.
As she completed it, the ancient ruins seemed to hold their breath, like a lurking animal waiting for a sign to pounce. Only then, she straightened up in the chair and uttered the secret name, the ancient knowledge that had been passed from one queen to another on her deathbed, uninterrupted since the first one.
du Pendragon: Excalibur. I need you.
Suddenly the room sprang to life, of colours and glowing and sounds beyond description. Outside, a beam of octarine light broke through the clouds and streaked beyond the astral spheres, in search of the only thing that could help them.
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