Completed A Day in the Anirian Markets


Character Biography
Every once and a while, Initiates get a day off. Most of the time, it was not out of kindness or intent on the proctors’ side. Rather, it was just how their schedule came to be.

In Aelita’s case, she had a day between getting back from one mission to departing on the next. She decided to spend it in some Vel Anir markets – even though she possessed less spending money compared to her high-born compatriots.

The armor laid unworn back at her dorm. Rather, Aelita wore a relatively simple outfit with a hood to block out some of the sun. The staff also remained at the Academy. She walked through the marketplace while snacking on a piece of dried... pork? Something.

As she looked at the different babbles and trinkets surrounding her, Aelita’s pouch full of her meager amount of coin jingled and jangled. Unfortunately for her, this caught the attention of an individual with sticky fingers.


Someone walking the opposite direction down the path bumped into Aelita. A common occurrence in the city – Aelita shrugged it off and continued forward.

But, she felt that her hips became a few pounds lighter.

Instinctively, Aelita reached for her pouch.


Turning around, Aelita spotted the thief rushing away with her purse in hand.

Aelita took a deep breath.

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Dressed in drab attire and a wide brim hat, Galatea could feel the migraine pounding right between eyes as if someone were hitting her with a chisel and hammer. The sun was too bright, the sky too blue, and all around her beloved Vel Anir were too many screaming children.

Did parents no longer discipline their children? When she was a child if she had even spoke without being spoken to then the proctors would beat her until she couldn’t speak— whether that was from a broken jaw, a bruised and bloody lump of tongue, or finally learning her lesson.

She had easily walked past the guards (of course she did, she was an archon and what archon couldn’t bend light to make them invisible?) to assess the state of her sickly home. Unfortunately, she had heard through the grapevine that many of the proctors that had rebelled against the new way were now dead or on the run. More exiled dreadlords. What was the republic thinking? Did they think they could just banish all the dreadlords they wants? If they kept it out Vel Anir would be without her battle mages!

And she’d fall to ruin, destruction— the elves would ravage the land and the cursed Gerra would send his armies to the East in search of land and riches! Who would have to pick up the pieces and build Vel Anir back up to its glory? Galatea, the Abysmal Archon, was willing to do so but… really, it was much better to prevent these things than to—

The blonde hissed in irritation at Aelita’s screams. That was it, she had put up with enough noisy children for the day! She was going to tell them off, and if it upset their parents then she’d rip them a new one as well!

For the love of—“ Galatea pivoted on her heel, glowering at the initiate before. “Initiate,” she recognized not the clothing but the strings of magic throughout her body. Uncut, untied— pure and unblemished magic crisscrossing like sinew over bone. “Why are you standing there? After them.” Galatea pointed at the thief, seeing all and everything, even as a sea of commoner flesh sacks hid him from Aelita’s sight. “Unless you’re the sort of fool that enjoys losing money?

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A voice unfamiliar to Aelita called out. The words could seem to be just like that of the proctors roaming the halls of the Academy.

But the woman never said to stop. So, Aelita did not turn to see Galatea. She pushed forward and got into a sprint as planned.

THIEEFFF!” she screamed again.

Even Vel Anir’s thieves struggled to eat a full meal. Many suffered from malnourishment. Initiates such as Aelita? Unless the proctors willed it, they ate every day to cultivate a body capable of fighting.

So, the head start that the thief got began to dwindle.

With her yelling, shoppers stopped to turn their heads. A clear view of the crook formed from Aelita’s view.

A finger stretched out to point at the pickpocket.

THIEF!” she bellowed again.

And with a young, distressed-looking woman screaming such things, the predictable occurred.

One bystander ahead of the thief took a step forward. He stood as a rather tall, heavily built man. He merely blocked the thief’s way – not attack him. He at least had of mind to hear of the situation before harming what could have been an innocent man.

The pickpocket stopped. His head swiveled around to look for an escape. But, it was too late.


Using just her martial training, Aelita tackled the thief to the ground.


She had grasped his arm – the one holding her purse – and twisted it.

A clean break. The thief yelled in pain – his voice somewhat muffled as he was shoved facedown into a prone position.

“Wha-“ the interfering man began. However, he stopped once Aelita lifted a hand and caused it to glow with her magic.

Other witnesses had a startled reaction as well. The sight of magic had a common meaning in Vel Anir: Dreadlords.

Aelita easily wrestled away her belongings. With her money reclaimed, she quickly reached into her bag to pull out a silver coin. She tossed the coin to the interfering man. The pickpocket just continued to writhe in pain beneath one of her knees.

Thanks,” she told him with a smile.

It was only at that moment that Aelita finally turned back to see the woman that called out to her. She spotted Galatea. She squinted as she attempted to recall any hint of the Archon’s identity – it was rare for Initiates to even see one in person before graduation.
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Well, at least this initiate hadn’t slacked on her training. Too many times Galatea could recall when arcane-proficiency was relied upon more than physical might. Of course, those were the initiates who wouldn’t pass graduation— you’d never see an actual dreadlord who wasn’t exceptional in both categories.

What was unusual was the fact that the blonde teen had rewarded the man’s foul habit. Pick pockets, whether they were children or adults, man or woman; all of them should be punished.

Oh, wait. No that coin was for the man who had went to help her. Well, she supposed she could let that slide.

Perhaps it was still from her migraine, or maybe because it was from her strict code, that Galatea stormed over to Aelita and the pickpocket. Despite her unassuming clothes (rags! The others would have said) she carried with her a overbearing presence. There was a silence that followed her, a aura that subconsciously spoke to the innate instincts of those around her.

She looked human so no one stared, but as she moved forward, somehow people knew to move away.

Initiate, punish him. Now.”

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The large man that momentarily blocked the thief’s path caught the coin. A bewildered look formed on his face. But, he quickly realized that the girl he helped was a Dreadlord, and the woman approaching was likely one too.

“Uh... no... problem?” the helper told Aelita as he excused himself from the scene. He was just a simple laborer and had no desire to be dragged into Dreadlord business.

Aelita, the thief, and Galatea thus remained.

The pickpocket continued to moan on the ground. Aelita’s eyes looked up and down upon Galatea. She heard the command.

A nod in affirmation from Aelita followed.

Back in the Academy, proctors would have instructed Initiates to turnover criminals for punishment within Vel Anir to the authorities. Or at least, the sane proctors would. This remained true even before the revolution for many practical, utilitarian reasons.

First and foremost being, why trust mercurial teenagers in knowing what is a crime punishable by death or not?

Aelita stood up as she pulled the skinny thief on his feet.

Let’s go~,” she said aloud.

Too focused on the pain, the thief did not put up any resistance. Aelita began dragging the thief away. She aimed to plop him in front of the first guard post she found.
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To make sure that justice would be served, Galatea followed along. Partially because she couldn’t put a name to this initiate just yet— light magic was a basic that should be taught and Aelita hadn’t done anything worthwhile with it.

What year are you, initiate?” Galatea asked the other blonde as the walked down the street. The thief had his head hanging down low, but every now and then the hidden archon would see his fingers twitch in anticipation. She had wanted to make Aelita punish the thief right as she said it (breaking a finger or two would be suitable for his transgressions, or better yet his wrist!) but if she were taking him to jail then maybe that would work as well.

Galatea knew all to well the horrors of being stuck inside a cell could bring to one’s mind.

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Aelita continued to pull the thief along. The city watch’s banner could be seen just a bit ahead.

When Galatea asked her question, Aelita glanced over. A couple blinks followed as her gaze looked down for a moment.

I’ll soon graduate,” Aelita told her, “Likely the next batch or one after.

The proctors keep a tight lip on such things. One reason would be to prevent any slacking from an initiate at the tail-end of their Academy tenure.

Just after answering Galatea, Aelita spotted the guard post in its entirety. It was just a man-sized, doorless shack with the city guard’s banner flying above. A typical sight scattered around the parts of the city that the government cared about having clean.

A lightly armored watchman stood ready in front of the post. He spotted Aelita and Galatea with the thief in tow and began to walk towards them.

My name’s Aelita,” she told Galatea as the guard drew near, “May I know your name?
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The archon was pleased to hear the confidence of Aelita’s answer, it was good for initiates to expect themselves to graduate. She hated nothing more than the swine who resigned themselves to just waiting to die, accepting death like it was the only way. They were the ones who should die early on, unable to handle the brutal training, how were they to serve Vel Anir if they only looked forward to death instead of servitude?

Graduate this year, don’t wait longer than you have to,” was Galatea’s advice, even if she didn’t understand much how the academy was changing, especially after the loyalist proctor’s stunt at graduation. Maybe it would be a age requirement now instead of a skill requirement. “I graduated at fifteen which meant I could serve in the Guard longer. I would’ve graduated earlier but… well, I had to complete a few more missions to prove my worth to the Houses if I wanted to get recruited right away.” She mused, a hand going up to cradle her chin.

Was Aelita waiting for the same thing? Wait, no, the Houses had no power now, and dreadlords underneath them tended to be from their own bloodline.

My name,” Galatea said, her voice softening for a moment, no longer embolden by her pride and might. “Is Madeline. Dreadlord shall do if you wish to refer to me.” Her gaze was unwavering, her tone even. Madeline was a friend, had been a friend. Until Galatea killed her. Her first kill of someone as equal might as her.

It was the only reason why she had bothered even remembering the name among the thousands she had slain in cold blood.

You aren’t in uniform, do you not have an assignment today?” Galatea asked, resisting the urge to shake her head at the thought of the Academy not utilizing initiates as they should.

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A pleasure to meet a senior as accomplished as you, Dreadlord Madeline,Aelita said to Galatea with a smile.

Continuing to tug the thief closer to the guard post, Aelita quickly answered Galatea’s question with, “I’ve no orders right now except to report to the barracks at four hours past noon.

Free time, essentially. Waiting is a fairly common part of life for individuals in the military – which all Initiates were essentially being shaped to be a part of.

The lightly armored guard soon got close enough to be within earshot of Galatea and Aelita.

What’s going on?” he asked.

Dropping the still writhing thief, Aelita pulled out a sigil for being a Dreadlord Initiate and made her other hand magically glow again.

Initiate Aelita,” she began before she then tilted her head toward Galatea, “Dreadlord Madeline. This man attempted to steal from me.

The guard, whose face could be seen, lifted an eyebrow. He looked at the straggly thief, then to Aelita, then to Galatea.

Is that so?” he said as he looked at “Madeline.”
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Ah. So it was true. The academy was allowing initiates to waste valuable time with breaks. Although, Galatea supposed, at least to Aelita’s benefit, it was hard to be studious every minute of every day. Why, even Galatea could remember the time as a initiate where she had had taken some of her fellow classmates in a roundabout trip back home from missions to murder them. In a way, wasn’t Aelita’s alone time in the city similar to that?

She had caught a thief at least. Although she had failed to punish him righteously.

Galatea remained quiet as Aelita spoke to the guard. Good, she took initiative. Wonderful, Galatea loved to see it. Until the blonde had to mention the fake name.

He’s right before you if you’d look,” Galatea said pointedly, narrowing her eyes at the guard.

The guard sighed, exasperated.

“So, the only witnesses are you two?” He asked. Galatea, despite all her natural bravado, looked at Aelita, the thief then back at the guard, arching a pale brow. “Oi, man, did you steal from the initiate?”

“N-no! They confused me for someone else!”

LIAR!” Galatea snarled.

“I’m not lying, you’re both just confused! I never—“ before another false word could leave the thief’s lips, Galatea’s arm shot out. It was lightning fast, human eyes unable to register even a blur of her limb. With her hand collared around the thief’s neck, squeezing hard so his eyes would tear up as he gasped for breath.

“Let him go!” The guard shouted.

Who are you to give me orders you insignificant ant?

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A bewildered look took over Aelita’s face. Things escalated quickly.

In a way through, both Aelita and the guard would have their hands tied. “Madeline,” supposedly being at least a graduated Dreadlord, claimed the highest rank among the three. If Galatea willed for the thief’s death, the most the guard could do would be to report it up the chain in case a higher up wanted to deal with the headache.

Aelita stood in a similar situation. Just as she was not meant to oppose the will of Proctors, it would be faux pas to oppose that of a Dreadlord's.

And this was a scene Aelita witnessed many times before.

But she learned some words that sometimes helped.

I’m sure he meant to just confirm details for his report,” Aelita claimed as she gestured toward the guard, “Surely the words of a pauper don’t outweigh that of an esteemed Dreadlord’s?

If Galatea relented and the guard accepted the lifeline, maybe the thief could live another day. If he did, it would not be much of a life as he was likely to be pressed into the mines or a penal battalion at this point...
Seconds passed before Galatea looked down towards Aelita.

A report. Yes.” She murmured to herself, nodding approvingly. “I had forgotten. After my service in the North….”

“Oh, yes, yes.” The guard assured her, but his eyes were nervous. “Of course, we do things differently in the East. Reports. Eyewitnesses. Everyone must stand trial now.” Galatea frowned. A trial? Really? The Republic was such a joke.

I saw him steal from the initiate.” Galatea said before relinquishing her grip on the thief. She didn’t bother to look at him as his dirty hands went to his throat.

“Of course.”

And he ran from her, after she called after him.

“Of course. I believe you.”

So you’ll punish him for me then?

Silence once again. The guard clearly wasn’t sure how to deal with Galatea. The issue was that he had dealt with dreadlords like her before. They only saw things in black and white, and if something was in a gray area, they were quick to make a decision that they thought would be the most beneficial. He couldn’t understand such backwards thinking, nor could he understand why she seemed more keen on punishment than trial.

“If the court deems him to be guilty. You said your name was Madeline? What was your year of graduation and rank?”

This time, Galatea was quiet. The pause was longer than it should have been before she answered: “First level. They’ll know my name without needing to know my year.”

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Aelita listened to the awkward exchange between Galatea and the guard.

“Of course,” the guard replied once more.

At this point, Aelita had shown a legitimate sigil as a Dreadlord Initiate. With Galatea’s departure from prison and the possibility of someone investigating a “First Level Dreadlord Madeline,” Aelita might have just been signed up for a hell of a headache in the future.

“Let’s see what the judge says with this,” the guard said as he cuffed the coughing thief.

“N-no,” the thief weakly forced out.

But the guard would still attempt to drag the thief off toward a jail – at least so long as Galatea had nothing else to say or do about it.

And with that appearing to have been resolved, Aelita gave a quick bow to “Madeline.” Her eyebrows were somewhat strained.

A pleasure and thank you, Dreadlord,” Aelita told her as she took a step back, as if to attempt to excuse herself.
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The Archon smiled favorably to the guard taking away the filthy thief. Yes, a suitable punishment. He would have to be punished for did he not steal from a future guardian of Vel Anir? He was a traitor to the kingdom, and perhaps his ears were round instead of long and pointy but he thought like a sneaky elf.

Stealing from someone who worked hard— despicable. Unforgivable.

What point was there in even going before the judge?

Galatea’s eyes went to Aelita. At least this initiate still had some sense in her skull. She wasn’t tarnished just yet. Perhaps there was a chance to cure her from the virus that was the Republic? Galatea debated taking her right now with the other initiates she had saved from the Academy— and while she felt she could defeat whoever came to stop her, there were too many eyes and too many casualties.

In truth, Vel Anir did need a working class to feed the Guard. Galatea wasn’t keen on building Vel Anir back up from rubble.

Initiate.” Galatea said, taking a step forward as Aelita took a step back. “Are you… are they feeding you well at the Academy? If not, for a reward of your good deed for bringing the thief to justice, I can offer you a early dinner. Filled with nutrition you may be lacking so you can grow bigger and stronger for Vel Anir.

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To Galatea’s first question, Aelita gave a silent nod in affirmation.

But as Galatea continued to speak and even offer dinner, Aelita then shook her head and waved her hands in refusal.

Oh-oh no, I can’t take more of your precious time!” Aelita told Galatea with a bit of a stutter in the beginning.

Her eyes were wide. Temples tensed.

T-they feed us well,” Aelita claimed.

To Vel Anir, Aelita and her fellow Initiates were to be killing machines and future military leaders. While withholding a meal could be a disciplinary tool, doing so to the point of malnutrition jeopardized that end goal.
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She peered into Aelita’s blue eyes.

Very well.” Galatea said. “Have a good day, initiate.” She began walking away from the guard station and Aelita herself, not looking back with her back rim-rod straight. There were other things for her to check on while she was here.

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A pleasure, again, Dreadlord Madeline,Aelita told Galatea with a slight bow.

She maintained such a position as Galatea departed. She rose with a sigh of relief once she could no longer see the Archon.

Why are they all like that,” Aelita muttered beneath her breath.

With that done, Aelita would also leave the guard post and continued on with her day – unaware of the mess to follow from this chance encounter.