[CANON] [RP Episode] Dark is Fate


#1

“The fleet report, Caesar”

Paper crackles.

“Thank you.”

Muffled click. Knock on the door.

“Enter.”

The grim face of Lucius Balbus, the Dux Marum, appeared. “Ave, Caesare. I bring grievous news.” Gaius titled his head to one side, and leaned back into his chair, his long legs in front of him. “I’m all ears.”
Lucius cleared his throat, and took up a denouncing gone. “I bring a charge of direlection of duty, disobedience, and treason against the empire, against the Legate Felix Mehemii, commander of the Tenth Legion.”
Gaius Cornelius Caesar, the Empire of Valkoria, sighed softly, hissing through his nostrils. “And what evidence do you have that corroborates this charge?”
The Admiral has been expecting this. “As Dux Marum, you charged me with leading the war against the Roklavs. To this end, I established a network of spies, double agents and the like, none Valkorian obviously, in the North. My spymaster made his report not an hour ago. During the Legate’s sojourn in the north, on his mission assigned him, to wit, to assassinate Valentina, he met with a friend of his, Vadim Moroztev. He was planning on using him to get close to Valentina, to carry out his mission.”
Lucius drew a breath. Gaius gestured at him. “I know all this. Go on.” The Dux nodded.
“It was at this time that fate took over. Valentina was assinated first, by a Roklavian murderess hired by the local crime lords. Vadim naturally attempted to take revenge, and Felix, to keep up the ruse, aided him, killing most of the killers, the murderess included.”
“This too I know. Get to the point Admiral…”
He nodded. “Yes sir.”
“Some years back, before the Roklavian Revolution, a cult of blood magicians held some sway. Now few remain today. After the fight, Vadim and Felix were rescued by one of these…blood doctors, during which time Felix received his unique talents. BUT. Vadim attempted to resurrect Valentina, with the help of the blood doctor. At the very end, Felix himself gave blood to Vadim, saving his friend’s life, as well as returning Valentina to beyond the grave! This constitutes treason, as well as aiding of the enemy, sire! This man must not go unpunished!”
NOW Gaius understood. “Yes…he and Vadim are very close, I could believe him doing such a thing in his desire to save his friend. I cannot allow this to pass, however.”
He stood up. “Guard!” The man looked through the door. “Find the Lord Numitor, he is still in the city. Tell him to take as many men as he needs, and place Felix Mehemii under arrest for high treason.” “Yes sire.” He man hurried away.

Caesar turned back to Lucius. “Thank you, my friend. The trial shall be held three days hence. Prepare your witnesses. Note: there will be no trial by combat, or any such sort. It would not be a fair means of settling such a charge, especially considering Felix.”

Felix’ room in the Grey Tower, an hour later

“Felix! Come out!” Titus pounded on the door with his fist. Don’t go out, you idiot, he means harm! Shut up! Get out! The door opened. “What…?”
“Felix Mehemii! I place you under arrest for treason, collaboration with the enemy, disobedience, and dereliction of duty! I’m sorry, filius.
Felix was too stunned to resist, as two legionaries cuffed him to their wrists. Then with a roar, he flipped one through his door. Zzzzing…Swish! Numitor’s sword slid from its scabbard, and hung at Felix’ throat in a heartbeat. “Don’t. Go quietly, you’ve just put a comrade in hospital…”
Three days later
The great throne room was crowded, but alarmingly silent. Guards clad in shining armor lined the sides, while nobles and their families clustered around. Gaius day upon his throne, while the judges sat on chairs to either side of him, slightly lower on the dais. Caesar motioned with his hand. The Centurion of the Watch nodded to his men, and the prisoner was brought in.
Felix has gone quietly, but had immiediately attempted to break out. The attempt had left quite a dent in the bars of his cell, before Numitor had had him kept under surveillance by the Steel Guard. After that, he spent his few days staring at the wall, while the voice in his head raged about his stupidity and weakness.
“Legate, you know the charges. What have you to say in your defense?” asked the senior judge. Careful now, fool. You can’t fight your way out of this one…

“The Dux speaks the truth. I did enable Vadim Morotsev to save Valentina Arloven, an enemy of the state. I have disobeyed both the civil and martial laws of Valkoria, and an left defenseless. I ask only that my service to Valkoria be remembered when I am judged.” Felix bent his head.

The judges rose, and left the room to confer. Lucius had brought to bear two witnesses, a pair of agents who had been shadowing the Legate, both of whom said they had seen Felix on the table, with blood going from him to Vadim to Valentina. Unable to deny it, Lucius also brought in his spymaster, who spoke of many tavern rumors and tales concerning Valentina’s resurrection. “And many of these stories speak of a tall friend who aided the brave Roklav, Vadim.”
After a few minutes, an enter it’s for Felix, the judges reentered the room. Walking slowly back their places, trying the patience of the entire room, the senior then rose again, and slowly turned towards Caesar.
“The man this charged, is found guilty, by his own account, and by the words of these witnesses. The penalty for these crimes is death, by beheading, according to the rights of citizenship.”
Caesar rose, his sword in his hand, ready to pronounce the final sentence, form which their was no appeal. The silence in the room was deafening.
“Legate Mehemii, you are hereby sentenced to death, for crimes against your nation, ruler, and unit. May the Seagod accept you into his halls, if he so wills. Your sentence will be carried out immiediately.” Gaius turned, and strode from the hall. A brief moment, and then the place burst into pandemonium at the final pronouncement. “Take him away!” called Numitor, and the Legate was marched off, to the field outside the military camps.
Half an hour later
Numitor stood, his greatsword point down in the grass in front of him, as Felix knelt before a chopping block, surrounded by soldiers.
“Bow your head.”
He did so.
The grass was bright, different shades of green melding together, the smell of flowers everywhere. He felt the blue sky above him, heard the eagle scream overhead. The shrill of the executioner’s blade as it slid from its scabbard was not frightening, it was a familiar, almost comforting sound. He drew back his blade to strike.
Numitor felt his heart wrench as the executioner prepared to snuff out the life of his de-facto son, when he noticed the terrible expression on Felix’s face. The pupils of his eyes had widened, until only two black dots gleamed from the eye sockets. He began to rise, and even as the executioner swung, the blade whistling down, Felix flipped backward, and the ground exploded all around them.
Flame and smoke and ash suddenly materialized, a dense cloud of black smoke whirlingly around in the blink of an eye. The watching legionaries cried out in fear, as a terrible figure of darkness grew, casting a shadow of a black beast with wings. Numitor staggered to his feet, and began pushing through the smoke and roaring wind which somehow appeared. He could almost hear the roars of a ancient creature, awakened from a long slumber, as if a dragon had suddenly come down and wreaked havoc. Then Felix, who the figure was revealed to be when Numitor got a little closer, looked up at the sky, and let loose a answering call to the creature that Titus had thought he heard.
”IN VIA TEMEBRIS, SEQUID TE!”

Felix vanished. A whirling chunk of dirt and rocks came flying and smacked into his uncovered forehead, and Titus know no more.

The docks of Valkora.
A great pallor of ash and smoke drifted over the city. No one walked the streets, as Gaius surveyed the fields form the Tower. A great patch had been torn up and burned, and the trees were ripped and tattered, burned branches still smoldering. Felix had vanished, and when Numitor staggered back to give word of what happened, he collapsed, a terrible wound in his temple.
But down by the docks, a tall, hunched shape dragged itself from the water, and clambered on board. Two long objects were strapped to it, and the figure itself was clad in black and grey garments, a burnt cloak thrown around it. Felix clenched his mouth, and painfully snuck into the cargo hold, where he covered himself in a pile of old blankets. Steam rose form his clothes, as he huddled underneath the meager warmth.
Ten seconds later, he passed out, and his mind strayed from Allura to places far away…

The ship weighed anchor, and began sailing north, it’s cargo of smuggled Valkorian cloth and one mostly dead soldier headed for Roklavia, slipping past the Valkorian fleet.


#2

The Roklavian docks were busy as usual that afternoon. Ships were constantly docking and leaving, followed by crowds of workers loading and unloading various cargo. The shipyard was still in the works, but construction had already begun on the queen’s new ship, a massive structure made of spruce timbers and trimmed with gold paint.

Captain Igor Smelvetsky was making the daily rounds with his squad of city guards, conducting random inspections of cargo and ships. The deck-hands continued working, ignoring the captain, although some did whisper among themselves, perhaps they were hiding something?

Meanwhile, aboard a stolen ship emblazoned with Ebonsgraspian purple, a stowaway awoke to a brutal kick. Looking up in surprise, Felix was met by a big furry boot, that landed another painful kick to his side.

“What do we have here? Pizdec! Think you can just stow away on my ship without paying for it eh?” A burly man spoke. He had a big black beard and an ample belly, probably from too much beer.


#3

Fool
Felix grabbed the foot, twisted it to one side, and heaved. The leg snapped, and the man screamed, clutching at his twisted knee. Felix staggered to his feet, and speed up the ladder to the deck, hurling himself off the side.
What the hell is going on? Where am I?
He managed to barely swim ashore, the brief surge of adrenaline gone. Pushed by the waves, he was cast onto a stretch of beach, the water lapping around his limp body. The weather was deathly cold, and the drenched garments he was wearing were freezing. He lost consciousness again.


#4

Muffled talking. The sound of water dripping on the floor.

The voices became a little clearer.

"But milord, this man is a criminal! He should be locked- "

“NO! And stop calling me ‘milord’, blyat! I want to keep this one for…further questioning.”

Felix felt himself being hoisted into a chair. He felt straps being winded about his arms.

“That won’t be necessary.”

“But milord!”

“What did I just fucking say?”

“Sorry…”

“Now out! All of you! The captain still needs you for inspections, da?

“Yes sir, right away sir!”

After the loud pattering of boots, the whistling of a cold wind, and the slamming of a door, all was silent. The familiar voice then spoke,“Seriously Felix? Now’s not a good time to show up out of nowhere. Take that stupid bag off your head.”


#5

Felix ripped his arms from the half tightened bindings, and pulled the burlap sack from his face. Looking around him, he saw the annoyed face of Vadim.
”Does it look like I had a choice?” he gestured to his burned clothing, the black streaks along his face and arms. ”I’ve been sentenced to death for helping to bring back that damn woman you call a queen.”
He tried to stand, and collapsed on the floor, clutching at the chair. ”Shit…I’m going to rip the throat from that doctor!” his voice turned to a snarl.


#6

Vadim stood with his hands in his coat pockets, looking at Felix sprawled on floor. “Y’know, I put you in a chair for a reason…like seriously. How am I supposed to pick you up?” He chuckled.


#7

You won’t…” The Valkorian heaved himself up, leaving a mark in the chair arm. He fell again, cursing. ”No! I am NOT doing that again!” he yelled, clutching at his head with his other hand. ”What does that even mean!? F*ck you!” His pupils expanded then contracted again.


#8

“Shhhhhhh, why all the yelling? What are you, drunk?” Vadim motioned toward the door. “Y’know, I’m supposed to be busy with preparations right now.”

To get on the same level with his sprawling friend, he got down on his stomach with his arms crossed under his chin. With a smile he looked at Felix’s miserable face. “What ails you, comrade?”


#9

Fine, I’ll tell him. He’s trustworthy.
Felix gave up, and sat on the floor, leaning against the chair legs. ”When that blood doctor healed us, he gave us each some animal blood, remember? Apparently he gave me dragon’s blood. I didn’t think much of it, until I discovered I could do…things. I can rip a stone wall apart, throw knights in full armor. It’s not so bad, but listen to me! There is a voice in my head. It’s…He’s always there. Egging me on, to kill, maim, murder.” He groaned. ”When I was about to be executed, I lost control completely, and HE took over. I had fought before this, but those times I was in charge. This time I was just along for the ride, and I don’t know that I can keep him out forever.” Felix suddenly stood, walked over to the wall, and threw up. After retching for a few moment, he gasped for breath.
”Anyway…after that, I somehow ended up on a ship, which must have brought me here. I think I may have killed someone when I arrived, but I don’t remember. Vadim, what am I going to do?”


#10

“I mean, you could just stay here.” Vadim stood up and sat in the chair originally meant for Felix. “As for your…abilities. Quite relatable. I’ve experienced some changes myself. Most noticeably, my looks have improved dramatically. See these white hairs? Quite the fashion statement.”


#11

”He gave you…wolfs blood if I recall? What did he give Valentina? I don’t remember.” Felix groaned again, and cricked the muscles in his arms. ”Have you…had any other side effects? Besides the hair I mean.”


#12

“Yes…I have. They have proved to be rather…inconvenient.” Vadim looked troubled. “We’ve cheated death, you know that right? Roklav sailors believe that Death and Svetlitsa are two different people. Svetlitsa is forgiving, but when you anger the former, he makes you pay dearly.”

Getting up from the chair, Vadim offered Felix his hand and hoisted him to his feet with significant effort. “Meanwhile, we have to find a safe place for you. To the north, there is an abandoned hunters cabin. I say if I get enough provisions for you here before you leave, you could fix the place up, call it home?”


#13

”Cheating death is my profession. Killing rampantly is not. Yes, please, I think being in a place where I’m not constantly on the brink of destroying hundreds of people. Is there anyway you can get me out of the city?” He looked around the room. ”Also where are my weapons? I think I had them on my back.”


#14

“The guards brought you in as-is…so I’m afraid…no swords.” Vadim walked to the door, cracking it open. “If you need weapons, I might have a solution. Come.” He waved for Felix to follow him. The duo went out into the streets. The evening was a rowdy one. Danheimers, Keelish, Roklavs and other people roamed the city. Lots of talking, celebration and drinking. The stench of alcohol and cooking fires permeated the air, making it impossible to smell anything else. As they walked towards the city barracks, it occurred to Felix that the crowdedness of Smertangelsk wasn’t a normal occurrence.


#15

The scent of meat was intoxicating. FOOD! EAT!* He pulled his hood up over his face. “Vadim!” he growled in a low tone, as they pushed their way through the crowds, “What are these people doing here? And where are we going?”


#16

Vadim laughed. “All this rabble? Just feasting before the tournament. We’re going to the armory.” He looked at Felixs furtive glances from side to side. “Eh Felix, stop doing that, you’re safe here. I mean you’re basically a national hero, but you won’t let me tell anyone sooo…”


#17

TOURNAMENT?! What tournament? And national hero? Vadim, I’ve killed over a hundred of Roklavs who came raiding near my Legion." Felix stopped twitching around, and straightened up to see better.


#18

“Felix, Felix.” Vadim shook his head as they continued walking through the crowd. “The people don’t care about what you did in the past. People here like sensation. You do something utterly meaningless but impress somebody, you get a medal. Save a queen’s life and not tell anyone about it? Well, expect no reward. It’s quite simple really.”


#19

Felix shook his head "Your people are a strange type. I just hope they are not as inquisitive as they are numerous."
After a long walk. which despite his long strides, seemed an eternity to the famished and exhausted Felix, they arrived at a building with a much more disciplined feel to it, the armory.


#20

As the the two were about to walk into the building, a guard stopped them.

“Halt!”

Vadim immediately responded,“It’s me you idiot!”

“No. The Valkorian. He’s not allo-”

I SAY WHAT IS AND WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED!
Is that clear?"

“Yes sir.”

“Now let me through.”

“Right away sir.”

The guard walked away from the door and let the two of them enter, all the while giving Felix a suspicious stare.

After closing the door behind them, Vadim cursed under his breath. “Roklavian individualism. Hogwash. It doesn’t do the army any good, because every mama’s boy thinks he’s a goddamn general. Whatever.”

Felix gazed at the wall. It was coated from floor to ceiling with swords, knives, axes, pole-arms. A tapestry of steel. Wooden gun stands lined the floor, all filled with muskets, shotguns, and pistols, all freshly polished to a mirror like radiance.

Vadim waved his hand in front of Felix’s face. “Hello? Anybody there? This stuff is the usual garbage. Come here.” He pulled out a ring of keys and proceeded to unlock a door on one side of the room. “I like to call this my ‘private’ stash.”

The door creaked open to reveal a furnished office, complete with a fireplace and polished mahogany desk. On the mantelpiece hung Vadim’s trusty sabers, hung with nails to form a criss-cross pattern.