[Canon EP] Enlightenment


#1

Eurwen sat crossed legged at the base of the Phoenix Nest within the Congregatory of Lavande City. Her head was in her hands and she was weeping, gently. She had been co-ruler of her father’s nation for five years now, alongside her sister, and it wasn’t getting any easier. It was a winter’s night, and the embers licked the various offerings and timber within the nest providing a glowing warmth to the what would’ve been a very cold stone platform. Commander Dale stood in silence at the entrance of the Congregatory in order to provide as much privacy as his current responsibility would allow. He watched on, with a loving stare, like the love provided from an uncle to a favored niece. Hooked over Eurwen’s shoulder was a leather strap that held a waist satchel, no smaller than a modern day purse. Eurwen wiped her tears and opened the clasp very carefully to reveal a small leather bound book. She opened the book, of which pages were crinkled and aged, to a very obvious divide. Within was a pressed stalk of lavender. Lavender of course, was no uncommon thing, but this stalk of lavender was given to her by her late grandmother, mother of her father. Eurwen brought the stalk to her lips and pressed it gently before setting it down on the flat ridge of the stone Phoenix Nest.
“You do not want to do that, my child,” said a voice. Eurwen jumped to her feet and swung her body around in direction of Dale who looked on, confused. Eurwen looked back at the stalk of lavender, confused, the book now laying on the floor forgotten.
“Grandma?” whispered Eurwen, curiously.
“No child, but your grandmother’s soul is safe, and awaiting the rebirth. It is I, who you call, Allura,” elaborated the voice, which spoke with a gentle breeze like tone, almost romantically, very feminine and warm.
“I thought you only talked to the wise guys. Like, the clergy, and maybe the Admiral?” said Eurwen with full genuine seriousness.
“Sometimes. But often they don’t listen,” continued Allura. Eurwen snatched the stalk of lavender and held it against her breast, but continued staring at the flames that surrounded the Phoenix Nest.
“I want to see you,” said Eurwen, bluntly.
“You are in my presence already, my dear. Watch the flames,” replied Allura, with a hint of amusement. Eurwen’s eyes rolled a little. Not only had Eurwen been watching the flames for an hour or two, she couldn’t count the amount of hours she had spent of her lifetime in the same spot she was at right then. Eurwen did continue to watch though. It was the first time that Allura had spoken to her after all. Eventually she did start to spot shapes within the flames, similar to what you would see when watching the clouds. Ships, so many ships. The ships crashed into the waves and faded out of sight and armies appeared, lined up side by side, Lavandian and foreigner. Again the image faded away, but this time a bird was visible. A beautiful creature, with elegant and fantastic plumage, a phoenix. The phoenix, still an image within the flames, opened it’s wings and raced towards the apparent surface before emerging as a curl of flame. Eurwen stepped backward as the flame rolled towards her, and barely kissed the tip of her nose, causing a temporary stab of pain. By this point Dale had marched a few steps forward.
“Stand back, my princess,” commanded Dale, with concern. Eurwen turned her head to face him, her dirty blonde hair wrapping itself over her shoulder. Eurwen blinked, slowly, and collapsed. The stalk of lavender fell to the ground, beside her.


#2

Oribel was seated in a tall back chair beside her sister, who had been laid in her bed. Surrounding the room were multiple members of the clergy and medical practitioners. Commander Dale was standing at attention in the corner of the room, overlooking all that was happening. The smell of incense filled the room as those overseeing Eurwen muttered various chants, prayers and unusual, yet commonplace, Lavandian practices. Finally Eurwen’s eyes opened to the relief of those in the room, and many at this point exited the room void of any further worry. All who was left in the room was a member of the clergy, Commander Dale and the two princesses.
“Sister, are you OK?” asked Oribel as she leaned in to clutch Eurwen’s hand.
“Yeah, why?” answered Eurwen as she shook Oribel’s hand off of her own.
“You blacked out, princess,” explained Commander Dale, “You were acting weird at the nest, and you dropped.”

Eurwen looked up at Commander Dale, confused, but then her facial expression changed rapidly after a moment of realization.
“Allura spoke to me,” Eurwen stated, plainly. This sparked immediate interest in the clergyman.
“What did she tell you, dear child?” asked the clergyman.
“That she was in my presence. And then she showed me ships, armies, and a phoenix,” explained Eurwen. The clergyman nodded and walked in direction of the corner of the room where Commander Dale was still standing.
“This may mean war, Commander. Our Princess Eurwen has been gifted with visions from Allura herself. She wouldn’t waste such a vision on someone of no importance.” stated the clergyman with some concern. Commander Dale nodded and walked towards the sisters.
“Princess Oribel. Princess Eurwen. This may mean war is coming. I propose we hold a meeting with Commander Raphael and the Admiral,” Commander Dale concluded.

Oribel’s face was quickly painted in fear, yet Eurwen’s face told a different story.
“No. The armies, they were standing side by side. The ships, they were of different colors. Not all were ours,” elaborated Eurwen.
“I don’t know what this means, my child, but Allura wanted you to see this. What do you think it means Princess?” asked the clergyman.
“We need to hold an international meeting. A summit,” answered Eurwen.
“That hasn’t been attempted before. Security will be a massive issue, much more so than your coronation, your majesty. And the rumors of the war in the north. Intelligence hasn’t reached us yet of the aftermath of that. The world stage, I fear, has changed much since your father led,” explained Dale. Eurwen sat up, sternly.
“Are you saying I can’t lead like my father?”" asked Eurwen, with a scowl.
“No, not at all, my majesty. It’s just your father, he maintained diplomatic relations with the other nations… differently,” answered Dale, taken back by his scolding.
“I have led this nation for the last five years peacefully. The trade route between Valkoria and us has never been stronger. Our infrastructure and medical advancements have never been so progressive. I kept Lavande off of the world stage for a reason, because the rest of the world are using foul mechanisms that are an insult to the world that our beloved Allura has created,” answered Eurwen. Oribel smirked a little, showing her temporary hint of pride.
“That, you have, my majesty. I apologize,” replied Dale. Eurwen swung her legs around and over the edge of her bed and arose to her feet. She walked to the balcony of her bedroom and looked out to the bay, towards the Valkorian peninsular.
“Send a message to the Valkorians. If defense is an issue for your guardsmen, Commander Dale, we will request their assistance. Then, we will bring forth the summit,” concluded Eurwen.

Commander Dale nodded in reply, and exited the room briefly to talk to a Lavandian Guard. And this moment the clergyman also left the room.

Oribel stood up and walked towards her sister, the train of her dress dragging gently against the polished floor below. Oribel’s face was now a mixed expression of fear, pride, and confusion.
“Dear sister,” begun Oribel, “Are we in danger?”
“I don’t know yet. But those soldiers. They stood beside eachother, as friends. Colors and features I’ve never seen before. I know the world is confusing to us, but maybe this is what Allura wants of us. To spread the truth. This world is so evil, Oreo. Maybe it’s Allura’s will that we fix it,” answered Eurwen, still staring out to the bay.
“I don’t see how I would be much use in this. You’re the leader. I’m just a puppet,” Oribel said. Eurwen turned swiftly and grabbed her sister by her shoulders and shook her gently.
“Take that back. RIght now!” Eurwen commanded.
“You fixed the economy after the crash. You maintained relations with the Valkorians. You did that. I didn’t do anything. I probably should’ve taken that wedding proposal and just been shipped off for Lavande’s sake. At least then we would’ve had more allies,” answered Oribel. Eurwen looked at her sister with disgust.
“You are not some arranged marriage whore. You are a Princess of Lavande,” stated Eurwen, “When the dust settles, it is you who will have to maintain these relationships. You know how much I hate talking to the foreign weirdos.” Oribel laughed and shook her head before leaving the room.

@SirGeorgar


#3

After a few days of travel,the message passed through the guards at the Valkorian border wall and reached the Capitol of the Empire, and handed from one aid to the next, was given to the Emperor. He was pleased.

”So after all this time, the princesses have remembered us…their trade has been valuable, their wines most excellent. But this betrays news of a different ilk…perhaps Oribel did not forget the ring afterall, and seeks strength in unity.” he mused, surrounded by papers and parchements scattered about his desk and study. ”Sextus! Summon General Marius, and get word to the fleet to prepare an escort. Tell Aetius to dispatch whatever he thinks fit.” The aide scurried off. Gaius was feeling almost cheerful, after rising at 4 AM he had been steadily working on the mountain of paperwork regarding the overhaul of the Empire’s roads.

After a few hours, the General and the Emperor, along with a cohort of the SteelGuard, marched out of the city and east, arriving on the coast some days later, sending a messenger ahead to warn the princesses of his coming. Taking ship in Eastern Valkoria, the Imperial Entourage set sail to Lavande, on two heavy cruisers with an escorting destroyer. Admiral Aetius had little trust for Kaveh, and was taking no chances.

The flotilla showed up over the horizon, a black smudge of smoke that could be seen from Lavande, that rapidly grew larger as it approached.


#4

An alarm bell rang in one of the watchtowers which sprung Raphael into action. He marched towards the watchtower and quickly advanced up the spiral staircase, his extendable spyglass already leaving his hip in order to meet his eye as Raphael stepped up to the edge. The large eyesores that the Valkorians called ships came into sight, which made Raphael mutter a grunt of disgust. The fellow guardsman who had run the bell laughed a little, knowing exactly what Raphael was referring to.
“Ugly chunk of iron,” muttered Commander Raphael as he turned and yelled down to the courtyard below, “Seek the Princesses, and the Admiral. The Valkorians are here.” A stationed guard nodded and quickly left the courtyard in direction of the main building.

Oribel was the strangely the first to appear in the courtyard, in her normal dress of, well, a dress. Upon noticing the princess Raphael started to descend down the staircase to meet with her.
“They have brought a heavily armed escort, majesty,” explained the Commander, with little hint of elaboration.
“This is normal procedure, Commander?” asked Oribel, worried her ignorance was very apparent.
“I presume they are being defensive due to other nations, Princess,” answered Raphael.
“Is the Admiral in the bay?” asked Oribel.
“He is. He has a full crew ready,” answered Raphael.
“Very good,” answered Oribel.

Eurwen was meanwhile in her room, strapping various pieces of equipment and basic armor to her body. She didn’t like to appear weak to any leader, especially the towering Valkorians. Eurwen finally fastened her Valkorian arm guard, that was given to her with her eagle back at her coronation, and proceeded to walk down the hall and out into the courtyard towards Oribel. Before Oribel could see Eurwen approaching Eurwen let out a sharp high pitch whistle, which startled Oribel.
“Allura’s sake, Eurwen!” yelled Oribel. Eurwen made no response, but instead looked towards the skies awaiting for her eagle to appear, which it did quickly and landed firmly on Eurwen’s awaiting forearm.
“Still as awesome as the first time!” Eurwen finally replied, with a wide eyed stare in direction of her annoyed sister.


#5

The Valkorians dropped anchor some distance from the harbor, their massive ships having too deep a draft to enter. Caesar, a group of guardsmen, and General Marius, instead boarded a smaller cutter, and headed into meet the Lavadans.

”Have you ever been to Lavande, Marius?” he asked the stoic man standing beside him.

Startled from his reverie, the old soldier sputtered for a moment before he responded. ”Many years ago, before you came to the throne, I visited. Not since then however.”

Caesar nodded. ”They are perhaps the most interesting nation in Allura, except maybe the Keelish up north. They do not seek power or conflict, but stand strong in their morals and defense of their homeland. We are not here to coerce, merely to talk. I wonder if Gilgamesh has spoken with the princesses yet.”

The two men stood silent for the remainder of the brief trip as the small craft sliced across the waves, and was escorted into the harbor by the waiting Lavandans.