Shield Meet Crown
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Archmage of the Citadel / Grand Sorceress of the Arcane Academy

Age: 26 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 10
Played by: Grant Offline
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#1
On her list of all those who enlisted, a few names had cropped up that piqued her interest. One being the baker - one of the few women who had apparently signed the mandatory draft in some weak show of defiance. But this particular one had also shown open defiance, tearing down her initial announcement of her ascension to the throne and subsequent laws. In looking into her further, it seemed this Amalia was quite well connected in the Natural community, one that was not just well known, but whose thoughts and opinions were highly regarded. It surprised her that she had yet to see this baker at her doorstep - even the one farmboy had managed that much, in addition to sending her open audience careening off course.

So Zariah decided to pay her a visit.

She had not been at her bakery, and so the Queen, garbed in a black cloak with a hood, stalked off on a hunch. This Amalia, Shield of Safrin, was one of the more devout of the populace. That she might be at the shrine to pray seemed a likely thing. Upon arriving, a quick glance inside proved her hunch correct, so Zariah stood outside in the Sanctuary, waiting for her to finish her prayers. She leaned against a pillar where she wouldn't be seen until the baker passed by on her way out. "Amalia Chandrakant, Shield of Safrin, greatest baker in all the Hollowed Grounds." Zariah said when the woman finally appeared in her field of vision. She smiled slowly, though whether it was a kind smile or not was unclear. "Lovely to finally meet you."
zariah
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that is a weakness of yours.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#2

Amalia had not expected to be sought out, though she supposes that all thing considered it is not a great surprise. She has been busy, after all, uncharacteristically so: between the downfall of the Spire and her actions at the notice board it is no great shock that the tyrant queen would want to see her, if only to force her into submission, make her kneel and cow.

Still, she is taken aback when the shadows speak as she leaves the Temple at twilight, her crimson staff clenched in her hand, a cloak around her shoulders. Curiosity flutters over her expressive features, quickly followed by a quiet dismay as recognition is brought up by a series of memories and Zariah comes into view. Why is she here? What does she want? Anger flares briefly in her veins, a white hot heat as she clenches her toes. It is only Jyoti which holds her back, the little whale cooing soothingly, wrapping herself on her soulmate's shoulders like a starlit scarf against the dark.

Breathe. Breathe. Steadily the baker regains her composure, though her heart still hammers in her chest. Now that the panic is sinking down, the gilded girl is left rather bewildered, her dark eyes searching brazenly into Zariah's face for some sign of what the woman wants, why she has sought and stalked her here. Is she meant to bow? To curtsy? To fight? To flee? Will the woman attempt to kill her on sight, or is this some sort of trial, a ploy, a game? And what the hell did she call her - Shield of Safrin? What does that mean?

Swallowing, the girl does the only thing she can - remains relatively silent, her face a troubled mask. "We've met." Twice, in fact, though Zariah likely will not remember, as the first time had been as they watched the spire monster die, and the second she had been in leopard form the whole time.

Amalia
Her eyes, they know too much.
She'll treat you like somebody but you just can't touch.
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Archmage of the Citadel / Grand Sorceress of the Arcane Academy

Age: 26 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 10
Played by: Grant Offline
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Posts: 1,043
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#3
"We have been in proximity yes, but I so not recall direct discourse." Zariah said with a shrug. Their previous interactions were inconsequential to the Queen. They hadn't introduced themselves really. They hadn't really spoken to eachother. For all intents and purposes, this was their first meeting. "Did you have a good discussion with your gods? It must be nice, to be so favored by such beings." she said, almost conversationally. Almost.

"I must say, I was quite distressed to not hear word from you at our gathering." she said, straightening from the pillar and watching Amalia with a predatory stare. "I so looked forward to hearing from you finally. You see, my guard informed me of your...passionate show at the Notice Board when I first assumed the throne...whilst they were informing me that I needed to rewrite my announement to post since you had tore the first down." she said with a smile - was it kind? Cruel? Hard to say.

"Though, I thought perhaps you grew a little shy, what with so many voicing inconsequential opinions rather than actionable questions or suggestions. So I thought I would wait for you to come to me and you never did." she said, a small frown curving her lips, head tilting slightly to the side. "You really are quite the elusive person, Amalia, and I am certain you have thoughts for how to better this place. I know you are more a woman of action, but I do hope you should enlighten me to what weighs on your mind so heavy that you think it...the most adult course of action to tear down a notice in a moment of passion?"
zariah
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that is a weakness of yours.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#4

She talks a lot, this self-styled Queen, words falling like rain from her lips. Is it characteristic of monarchs, of leaders, to so enjoy hearing themselves speak? Biting the inside of her cheek, the girl remains stoic, impassive, calm despite the war of emotion raging behind black eyes- or perhaps because of it. There are so many things she can think of to say and do, so many words she has wanted to exchange with this woman. Venom comes easy in the dark, but here, in the Temple, outside the haven where she met Vi, the baker holds her tongue, a tilt of her head the only acknowledgment of Zariah's question, her onyx gaze still hard.

But it does not seem Zariah is particularly interested in gaining a response. She brings up the meeting, and Amalia is reminded of the disaster that was, though her perception clearly differs from that of the Launceleyn mage. Stiffening a little at the reminder of her action at the Notice Board, the baker wonders if this is the reason, if she is being sought for her open defiance, if she is going to be dragged off to the jail of which she has heard so much. Her grip on her staff tightens, anxiety threatening to bring leopardlike traits back to the fore. It takes a stirring refrain from Jyoti to settle the girl back down.

Ah, no, there is still more. Amalia cannot help the mild incredulity that flutters across her face as Zariah talks of inconsequential opinions, a brief flare of anger rising once more in her breast. You mean opinions against you, the girl wants to snap, but still this woman is droning on, seeming to greatly enjoy the sound of her own voice. Ire rises in her throat (why did you corner me, if only to listen to yourself talk?) but still the baker holds her tongue. Is she so elusive? I live in the place I work. Is she such a woman of action? More than you, but that doesn't take much. Anxious, angry, she is silent until that final barb, the slap in the face that Zariah throws in, the insult to injury that sparks something deeper, something more infuriated than afraid. "There are many things on my mind," the girl replies, a challenge in her stare. "But I doubt my, ah, inconsequential opinions would interest someone like yourself."

Amalia
Her eyes, they know too much.
She'll treat you like somebody but you just can't touch.
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Archmage of the Citadel / Grand Sorceress of the Arcane Academy

Age: 26 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 10
Played by: Grant Offline
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Posts: 1,043
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#5
”My, my…” Zariah ‘tsk’s, tongue clicking against the roof of her mouth as a slow smirk curves her lips. ”Such fire you have…such a pity you’ve clearly been raised without any concept of how to use it. It must be terribly frustrating to want to will the world to be as you see it and yet watch it crumble in your wake instead.” she said, shaking her head lightly, pity and disappointment dripping from every syllable. ”I cannot help but wonder how many such as yourself have come and gone from this place in the last three hundred years. If only you had someone to show you how to make the most of your potential.” she said, watching her with a considering gaze.

”But are you too far gone, or can you learn the righteous path of order? I suppose time will tell.”

Zariah took a few steps forward, glancing towards the Shrine briefly, as if she might catch glimpse of a god. Hazel eyes trail back to Amalia, a cold smile tugging at her lips. ”Oh, quite the contrary, my dear, perhaps you’ve wit enough hidden in your fire to better frame such opinions so that they accomplish something other than juvenile, self-indulgent complaining. Are you up to the challenge?”
zariah
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that is a weakness of yours.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,745
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#6

The woman's smile is unnerving, more predatory than friendly, marked by malice and ill intent. More than ever Amalia wishes she could simply wink away, vanish into nothingness and retreat into the night. Once, not so long ago, she had considered approaching Zariah herself, giving the woman an opportunity to explain and hear, to show she cares about the opinions of those who have been born and raised within this cage.

But Zariah has made it brilliantly apparent that the only opinion she cares about are the ones she's formed herself.

Still, Amalia visibly bristles at the mention of her family, something dangerous close to fury rising at the implication that she is not well-raised. "It is a coward who speaks ill of the dead," she snaps before she can hold it back, color rising on her cheeks, defiance on her tongue. Shit. Clenching her jaw the girl steps back, a series of prayers for patience and protection swirling though her head. Vi, give me the strength to do right by my people. Mort, give me patience to keep from killing her where she stands.

Zariah steps forward and Amalia steps back, instinct drawing her away from the predator, the beast who stalks her here. A part of her mind screams and howls that she is a predator, too; she can feel the leopard growl beneath her, feel the fur under her skin. But she is the owl, too: pious, watchful, a little bit wise. It is that strength she tries to summon, feathers sprouting in her hair as she grips rh crimson staff, each of Zariah's thin-veiled insults another blow against her pride.

Frowning, confused, Amalia continues to stare, unsure what it is Zariah wants. "Why?" Why are you here, why do you lie, why why WHY? "As you say- I am only a baker, barely more than a child. I don't understand why you've sought me out." Idly she wonders if she could shift into feline form and simply slink away. There is nothing that she can give Zariah, that others haven't tried.

Amalia
Her eyes, they know too much.
She'll treat you like somebody but you just can't touch.
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Archmage of the Citadel / Grand Sorceress of the Arcane Academy

Age: 26 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 10
Played by: Grant Offline
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Posts: 1,043
MP:
#7
”It is a coward who speaks ill of the dead”

Zariah pauses, considering her for a second. Indeed, there is steel somewhere inside this girl – steel and fire and brimstone itching to be released. First a small giggle escapes her lips, followed by a chuckle, before soon enough the Queen is laughing, low and mirthless – an eerie noise that could disquiet the dead of which she speaks. ”You’re funny.” Zariah says at length, twisted smirk still tugging at her lips. Again she steps forward, and for every step that the baker takes back, she takes one forward. ”I do not speak ill, I speak fact. If you think it ill, perhaps you ought reconsider the basis of your home borne pride.”

She tilts her head to the side, malicious grin flashing white teeth at the baker. ”Why? Because people respect you. They listen to you. I want to see first hand if you are all people seem to think you are, or if you are as I perceive you.” she said with a light shrug.
zariah
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that is a weakness of yours.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,745
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#8

And then Zariah... laughs? Amalia's frown deepens her eyebrows drawing together in bewilderment, utterly unsettled by this turn of events. Was this her goal, to ignite her fury; does she enjoy seeing the baker incensed? If so it is working, the girl simultaneously irate and nonplussed, her hair standing on edge as the bizarre false queen continues to smirk and goad. Perhaps the woman is truly mad, as irrational and insensible as the girl always feared.

Perhaps this is some other obscure test, another mask she hides behind, another obfuscation of intent. Amalia is tired of dancing, of guessing. She has never been good at this sort of game.

The woman continues to lob insult after insult, each one driving like arrows, like needles, deeper into the girl's skin. Shouldn't a queen be better than this? Shouldn't she find satisfaction in something other than pettiness, crowing the inferiority of someone she knows nothing about? Amalia thinks of Phoebe's comments that she ought to give the woman a chance, the lines in her face hardening, her grip on the staff growing tight. Enough chances, enough patience, enough pretty words. Amalia will be damned if she lets a madwoman run her home into the ground.

This time when Zariah comes forward she does not step away, holding steady despite her anxieties, defensive fire ablaze in her chest. It is one thing to insult the girl- it is quite another to assault her kin, then claim that she has done no such thing, laughing in her face. Staring into those large, hazel eyes, Amalia forces herself to be calm, to keep the raging fury within her from rising too close to the top. People respect her? Listen to her? Who- but oh, it doesn't matter, does it?

At the end of the day, Amalia does not give a flying fuck if Zariah finds her worthy or not.

"And?"

Amalia
Her eyes, they know too much.
She'll treat you like somebody but you just can't touch.
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Archmage of the Citadel / Grand Sorceress of the Arcane Academy

Age: 26 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 10
Played by: Grant Offline
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Posts: 1,043
MP:
#9
"And?"

At first she doesn't react at all, as if so surprised by her lack of speech that she herself was speechless. But no, she was not speechless, she was merely considering, thinking, breaking down every little bit of information she knew about this girl to surmise and answer. Her sudden show of strength, making a stand when moments before she coward and retreated - naught but a gimmick, a cat puffing its fur to seem larger in the face of a wolf.

Slowly she grinned, once again chuckling in that unsettling and mirthless way. "You are nothing" she breathed, in almost a whisper. "So pious, blindly following gods who so punished you for another's crimes, loving and hating at their whim. You've never had an original thought in your life, nor will you ever, your ability to reason obfuscated by your ardor for power you cannot understand or attain." she said pointedly, a laugh playing in her voice.

"Such a terrible pity one with your fire has been turned into the mindless drone of the divine." she tsked, turning away. "A word of advice, little baker - the time for your kind is coming to an and. The loved and adored serve no purpose but to disrupt progress. Soon, this place will be the homeland of the forgotten and loathed, raised to their potential by my guiding and caring hand. I suggest you consider finding a new place to be." she said, glancing back at her, a sweet smile on her lips as a Leafchange breeze tousled her hair.

"Do you feel that, Amalia? It's the winds of change. Ride them, or take shelter." she said in a suddenly kind and friendly tone before beginning her walk back home.
zariah
If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that is a weakness of yours.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,745
MP:
#10

Rage and rage and rage and rage. In the end all she can see is red, hazy, heated, hateful red as Zariah continues to drivel and drone, insult after insult slung like mud, stinging the baker's face and eyes. Fingernails stretch to claws, digging into the wood of the staff as she struggles to hold her fire and her tongue. What do you know of my gods? she wants to snap; What do you know of my home? What do you know of guiding, of caring, you hollow shell of a real person, you who would make the world in your image without appreciation for the beauty already there?

And then she makes a terrible threat, and the baker's blood runs cold.

Zariah turns away, and for a brief and terrible moment an image plays across her mind. How easy would it be to raise her hand, lightning-fast with feline reflexes, and draw a claw across her throat? To see the blood spill on the pavement, to watch the Mad Queen's black hole close before it can destroy anything else? How many lives could she save, how much good would it do, if she ends it here and now---

By the time the woman is out of sight Amalia's heart is ash. Shaking, pale, the baker raises a hand to her mouth before turning and walking away, unclear of where exactly she is going, only sure she cannot be here.

Amalia
Her eyes, they know too much.
She'll treat you like somebody but you just can't touch.


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