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From the Desk of the Nagaraja, Part Three

ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
Why can't I stop writing this? Last one, I promise!

Dramatis Personae: 

Disclaimer: Whilst this work is based on the hearsay and rumor of an IG happening, any detail relating to actual IG events is purely coincidental. I don't know what's going on. Also, this is probably full of grammatical errors I'm too tired to notice. Sorry.

From the Desk of the Nagaraja, Part III

The Naga have existed for over three hundred years. During that time, the various whirling death-traps that litter the Spire of Torment have claimed as many as six hundred lives. Over a thousand mortals have passed through the Spire itself, perhaps a quarter doing so willingly. The various items of furniture around the building are replaced every few dozen years, some more frequently than others. The desk in the Nagaraja’s office, for example, is replaced only at his express order.

Jinso reflected on this as he tried in vain to pull his dagger from the table’s surface. The weapon was already badly blunted – every time Jinso looked at his desk, he saw the letter on it. Every time he saw that letter, he was overcome with some emotion – regret, frustration, guilt - that always resolved itself into a blind homicidal rage that ended with him plunging his dagger into the letter’s tattered and torn remains.

Betrayal was simply a fact of life for a Naga; it was business as usual. There had been several occasions over the past century and a half when Jinso had been forced to make an expedited tactical withdrawal – or so he told his then-superiors – because a contact had blabbed, or a deal had gone sour. Betrayal from within was harder to cope with. Lord Visteon had been more than a subordinate – he’d been a good subordinate.  He’d worked with passion and patience, eagerness and care. And more than that, he’d been something that Jinso only know appreciated the value of – a friend in hard times.

Four Naga had walked out, Jinso noted. Visteon – and suddenly the impulse to prepend ‘Lord’ was gone – was the only one to leave a note. It was apologetic, but written in the distinctive style Visteon had been known for. He’d thought about this, planned his actions carefully. He was out of Jinso’s reach, now. If it weren’t for the fact he’d been betrayed by his most useful subordinate – and Jinso admitted, his close friend – he would have admired it.

 

Nagaraja. Do you have a moment?

 

Xie. Ever professional, though she would be hurting just as much as he. Jinso knew she and Anteion had been close. Jinso felt a momentary pang of guilt, which he ruthlessly clamped down on. Anteion was a traitor now, as was Visteon. Business as usual.

 

Of course. I’ll meet you at the Crossroads.

 

Jinso took the long route leaving the Spire. He didn’t want to talk to anyone at the moment – though that was hardly unusual. He realised just how close he was to losing his patience in a completely unprofessional manner when a slave, carrying what looked like half a tree on his shoulders, accidently showered him with dirt and leaves.

 

It was a few minutes later that Jinso walked into the Crossroads, whipping the blood from his dagger. Hopefully, no one would have heard the screams. He kept out of sight, hood raised, and slipped around the usual gathering of citizenry with nothing better to do until he could take a seat on a bench next to Xie.

“You wanted to talk?” He whispered.

“Anteion is gone, isn’t he?” She whispered back, no preamble.

“Yes.” There wasn’t much more he could say, and nothing he wanted to. The silence stretched out between them for several minutes as they let the ambient noise of Mhaldor wash over them. Almost subconsciously, Jinso started a basic listening exercise and started eavesdropping on the various conversations around the square. He lent back against the wall and closed his eyes to aid his concentration.

“So all in all, the Implacable should be seaworthy in a few days…”

“… and then the sternum, that way you don’t damage the chest cavity overmuch…”

“… one of them in Manara the other day, we should clean them out…”

“… only we could bait Salis into making a move…”

 

Nothing out of the ordinary. Jinso let the conversation flow around him, thinking hard and continuing to listen. His eyes snapped open as one voice caught his ears, repeating a single line over and over.

“Truth seven. The spirit may be made stronger by enduring hardships, both self-imposed and externally-imposed.”

Jinso looked sideways, moving his head only a tiny fraction. Normally, Xie wouldn’t have missed even such a small motion, but her eyes were tightly shut. Her hands were balled into fists, Jinso noted, and her lips moved in sync with her mantra. Out of respect, Jinso pretended he hadn’t noticed; Xie would regain her composure without his help. That was the point of the seventh Truth, was it not?

It was a good few minutes before Xie spoke at a threshold Jinso could politely admit to hearing. “Now what, Nagaraja? What are your orders?”

That was his Mistress of Torment. All business. That was why Jinso had promoted her so highly, fifty-eight years ago.

“There can only be one recourse. In the memory of our Lady Keresis…” Jinso hissed and clenched one hand into a fist so tightly that his nails started to break the skin on his palm. A few drops of blood dripped to the ground. “… we shall have Vengeance.”

 

***

 

New Hope was surprisingly pleasant. The sun shone almost every day. The sky was blue, not red. He’d always wanted to live somewhere with blue skies, even when he’d been a true devote of the Truths. The architecture was rather more aesthetically pleasing, though he felt he would miss the gargoyles. He’d spent more than a few hours in conversation with them on rainy nights, trying to pass the time. He shivered, despite the morning sun.

All was, of course, not good. Visteon was used to the hostile stares already – he’d received more than enough of those in his life. He was used to the feeling of paranoia, trusting only those he knew. Anteion, standing at his shoulder, felt the same – they were the only two Naga on New Hope. That set them apart from the priests of Good and paladins of Righteousness, and the divide was tangible.

I suppose it’s *former* Naga, now. A thought of alien as to almost be foreign, but one Visteon was having with increasing frequency. He couldn’t go back – even the small part of his mind that kept a track on the members of the Naga, which kept telling him to reach out though the telepathic link that all Achaeans shared, knew that full well. If he, or Anteion, stepped onto the Red Isle, they were dead men walking.

Lord Visteon. Do you have a moment to talk?

This was another strange thing. People still addressed him as Lord Visteon, though he’d left that title behind him, along with his family name. Strange how that was never mentioned. Although, he mused as he slipped into an opulent tent, perhaps this one had some right to use such a title.

“Lord Sathen. You wanted to… talk, yes?” Visteon was still unused to announcing his presence in the company of the Light warriors, but he swore to get used to it.

Lord Sathen turned from the low table he’d been leaning on. Visteon had always been amused by the man – he looked very little like his reputation would lead one to believe. Occult energies had made a home in his flesh many years ago, and the process of burning them out had left scars all over Sarthen’s body. Dressed as he was in his typical armour, only the few around his eyes were visible – but they were enough to unsettle even someone who had lived as a Naga for a hundred and twenty years.

This is a man reviled across half the world as the Traitor Lord. I’ve spitted his head on a pike more times than I care to count, and now I’m going to talk to him over some light refreshments. For laughing.

True to form, Sarthen bowed and waved Visteon towards an unoccupied chair. Anteion, slipping around his companion, reached it first. Visteon scowled at him, and then took the next seat along. It was only then, as a cup of tea was pushed in front of him, that he noticed the other occupant of the room.

“Salis. I didn’t notice you there.” Visteon kept his voice level, respect and dislike and confusion warring in equal parts to make it quiver.

The thin, middle-aged man widely regarded as one of the greatest orators on Sapience smiled softly. “Apparently, I have Naga-level hiding abilities. I shall add that to the list.”

Sarthen and Anteion both snorted in laughter. Visteon declined to acknowledge the joke. “I suppose, then, you have something more in mind than casual conversation? We’ve been here almost a week with nothing to do but hunt down some small-fry thieves.”

Sarthen glanced at Salis, indicating it was going to be the older man’s request. “I’m going to be perfectly blunt with you, Lord Visteon. With the dissolution of the Dawnstriders, we’re without an effective method of information gathering, of espionage. I want you to bring it back.”

For several long moments, the only sound in the tent was Sarthen’s ever-so-slightly laboured breathing, the ambient noise of a city-worth of refugees and the echoes of Anteion’s cup smashing on the floor.

“Ummm.” Visteon was, or once, lost for words. His thoughts turned, unbidden, to Jinso – was that what he wanted to be? Cold, distant? Uncaring? These were the reasons he’d left the Naga, and Mhaldor – did he want to recreate them here, on this warm island with its pleasant if distant people and its bluer-than-blue skies?

He was spared the trouble of answering when an arrow flew in through the entrance of the tent and buried itself in Sarthen’s kidney. Salis sighed, placed his teacup on the table, and flourished his hand to draw an enormous mace into existence with a brilliant flash. Visteon glanced up at him in anger from where he had thrown himself to the floor – he had no weapons whatsoever, not even being allowed to retain his personal dagger – and scowled deeply when Salis smiled mockingly down at him.

“No need for that, Lord Visteon. Stay here whilst we deal with his, please.” Sarthen rushed out from the tent as Salis spoke, pulling the arrow from his side and casting it away in his haste to meet this unknown foe. Salis followed him in moments, leaving Visteon and Anteion alone in the tent.

Visteon crawled over to the arrow Sarthen had left. He picked it up and turned it over in his hands, examining it closely. Ignoring the blood that slicked his hands – Naga training had some transferrable skills, at least – he checked the colour of the shaft and the make of the head.

“Well?” Anteion crept over to him, equally unwilling to stand up and make himself a target.

“Hashani.  From Veyn’s bow, if I’m not mistaken.” Visteon hadn’t seen the Seneschal in action in a long while, but the man was nothing if not consistent. And a deadly shot, too. Best stay out of sight.

“On your feet, traitors.” The sharp voice echoed from the rear of the tent.

JiraishinLiancaVayneKatzchenHyraethKyrraAlcinae

Comments

  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,202 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 2013
    Yes. This is a  very nice dream.

    Also, I like the little snippets of conversation at the beginning, especially the vivisection instructions.

    EDIT: But it can't be the last one, we never found out what was in that box D:
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    I have three other writing projects clamouring for my attention. This has to be the last one for at least a while.

    [spoiler] The box has something that Ashtan is famous for inside. [/spoiler]
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,202 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Artefacts?
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
    Chryenth
  • EldEld Member Posts: 3,946 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    It's like Pandora's Box, except instead of hope, the last thing left behind is grief.
    [Deleted User]
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,202 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    But the Naga already knew how to grief.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
  • JurixeJurixe Where you least expect itMember Posts: 1,750 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I like this one a lot. Well done.
    If you like my stories, you can find them here:
    Stories by Jurixe and Stories by Jurixe 2 

    Interested in joining a Discord about Achaean RP? Want to comment on RP topics or have RP questions? Check the Achaean RP Resource out here: https://discord.gg/Vbb9Zfs


    Chryenth
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    This is what happens when I get home from lectures pesudo-depressed and with many ideas. Four solid hours of writing and suddenly there was a story in front of me.
    Jiraishin
  • VayneVayne Rhode IslandMember Posts: 1,897 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 2013
    Pretty cool! I don't think I've actually faced Jiraishin or Tvistor in combat personally in forever though :(

    This Veyn guy seems pretty dumb for getting tricked by Jinso so easy, but he's a crack shot!
    image
    ChryenthAlcinae
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,202 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    He's smart enough to burn the supplies, though.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
    Vayne
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    I was going to put the arrow's description in - White arrowhead for the Moon, black shaft for Darkness - but I couldn't get it to fit right. 

    And I figure that there's a *lot* of this dead-letter dropping between Serpent houses in general, and the overly-politic-y Hashani in general. So he's happy to lend it credibility. Also he just wants to attack the refugees really really badly.
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 414 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Awesome story!!!
    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
    Chryenth
  • JacenJacen Member Posts: 2,325 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I'm in a story!!!

    image
    image
    VayneValdenChryenthAntidas
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Vayne said:
    Pretty cool! I don't think I've actually faced Jiraishin or Tvistor in combat personally in forever though :(
    That's because you keep saying 'no'. :(
  • VayneVayne Rhode IslandMember Posts: 1,897 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    You just killed me, way to break the streak.
    image
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    You follow Shunsui Azon north to A lavished entry hall.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:44:239
    Darroth fixes his gaze upon Vayne, swaying slowly as he begins a low keening.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:44:241
    Darroth takes a drink from an oaken vial.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:44:743
    Shunsui shuffles some cards with the image of the Hanged Man out of his deck.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:45:200
    Shunsui rubs his fingers briskly on a Tarot card.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:45:202
    Shunsui tosses a tarot card at Vayne and as it reaches him, a huge mass of rope bursts out of it, 
    entrapping and hindering him.
    3932h, 3361m, 18099e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:45:205
    Your aura of weapons rebounding disappears.
    You begin circling behind Vayne.
    3932h, 3361m, 18049e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:45:699
    (Party): Shunsui says, "Hangedman: Vayne."
    3932h, 3361m, 18049e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:45:702
    =======(BALANCE)=======
    3932h, 3361m, 18049e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:46:940
    Darroth lunges at Vayne with long, flashing claws extended, tearing into his left leg ruthlessly.

    [Harbinger]: Vayne was just PARALYZED.
    3932h, 3361m, 18049e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:47:426
    Drawing an enormous breath, Darroth exhales, expelling a gale of wind with such force that Vayne is 
    knocked over.
    3932h, 3361m, 18049e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:47:429
    Abruptly the keening ends, and a blossom of ethereal tendrils bursts from Vayne's chest, ensnaring 
    him in a web of undulating bonds.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:48:945
    Darroth viciously seizes Vayne in his jaws, tossing him effortlessly into the air before catching 
    him in a second bite.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:49:849
    Shunsui shuffles some cards with the image of the Hanged Man out of his deck.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:331
    Shunsui rubs his fingers briskly on a Tarot card.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:334
    Shunsui tosses a tarot card at Vayne and as it reaches him, a huge mass of rope bursts out of it, 
    entrapping and hindering him.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:337
    Vayne takes a drink from an ebony vial.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:339
    (Party): Darroth says, "Vayne Bitten."
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:342
    (Party): Shunsui says, "Hangedman: Vayne."
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:50:345
    Your attack has brought you out of hiding.
    You leap from the shadows and plunge your dagger into Vayne's unsuspecting back!
    Vayne shrugs off the effects of the venom.
    3932h, 3361m, 18059e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:50:349
    3932h, 3361m, 18069e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:52:503
    =======(BALANCE)=======
    3932h, 3361m, 18069e, 15800w cexkdb-[Paused]11:15:52:525
    You slip behind Vayne and garrote him with your whip.
    3932h, 3361m, 18048e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:52:783
    Shunsui sets the timer on a bomb.
    3932h, 3361m, 18048e, 15800w cekdb-[Paused]11:15:52:802
    Darroth viciously seizes Vayne in his jaws, tossing him effortlessly into the air before catching 
    him in a second bite.
    Vayne has been slain by Darroth.


    Omnomnom.


    But seriously, awesome story.
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    Thank you all. ^^
  • AsmodronAsmodron Member Posts: 3,145 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 2013
    Ruth said:
    I like it when xie stabbed anteion repeatedly. Hot.
    I think I missed that part o.o.

    Oh wait there it is, laughed out loud. <3 it
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