Fable - Ask New Blood

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Elise Virak

The Baronness
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Virak Winter Estate - Foyer

"Of course he has." Elise said as she reached up and pinched the bridge of her nose.

She sat in a large plush chair that might have been mistaken for a throne. Her back was straight, and around her were arrayed a dozen different men and women loyal to House Virak. Some of them were Dreadlords, a few were once loyal servants of her father, and some were Governors of Anirian cities that had only Virak to thank for their fortunes.

All of them had come to attend to her after her fathers death, and one had come with news of her cousin.

A sigh escaped her as she gently rubbed her cheek. Glancing down at her nails to find a spot of blood still lingering upon one of them. She frowned for a moment, remembering the night now two days passed when she had slit her fathers throat. Fingers tightened, drawing away from her face before she slowly returned her attention to those ahead of her. "Cousin Isaac always thought more of himself than he was worth."

"Yes...well it seems that after your fathers death Several Dreadlords have decided that House Lorel would be better to take Virak's seat in the Government. They feel tha-"

Elise waved a dismissive hand. "I don't care what they feel."

Slowly she stood from her throne like chair.

"House Lorel has always been filled with fools and upstarts. My father should have taken care of them years ago." She looked around the room for a moment. "Gather what HouseGuard we have here, I'll take them with."

"Madam I highly suggest..."

"Do trust me, Chancellor. My cousin will see the error in his ways." One way or another.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Virak Winter Estate - Foyer

Merosh stood still. Not as still and motionless as Barrin would, one could still see him breathing and blinking, but otherwise he was motionless. His back was straight as always and his hands were folded behind his back. He seemed unconcerned, but he listened very carefully. The recent events had come as something of a surprise and as soon as the news had reached Merosh, he had left his mansion and come here.
The sudden death of the master of the house had certainly caused some chaos and it was up to his daughter now, to put everything back in order. Even though he had some doubts that she could do it just as well, it wasn't up to him to judge. In the end it made no difference to him, his position or his loyalty towards the Virak in general.

But it seemed that it did made a difference for others, as he could infer from the conversation. House Lorel to be better to take Virak's seat in the Government? Merosh understood that they wanted to use the favor of the opportunity to expand their influence, but it sounded just like a joke to him, replacing House Virak. Without moving his head, he glanced at Elise, interested in her reaction.

"I don't care what they feel."
"House Lorel has always been filled with fools and upstarts. My father should have taken care of them years ago."

Ah, yes, that felt just right. He was satisfied with her answer. Their eyes met for a moment as she looked around, whereby she possibly focused no one in particular. Merosh listened contentedly to the further exchange of words between the two and he gave Chancellor a thin smirk as he was cut off by Elise. He then took a brief glance at everyone. Most of the people here were very loyal to House Virak, Elise certainly was in need of them in this time of upheaval. At least it was better for her safety, gathering people whom she could trust. He felt honored to be a part of it as well. After his inspection he finally moved. His steps led him directly to Elise Virak. He bowed in front of her.
"Lady Virak, may I accompany you right away?", he asked. Perhaps it was a bit inappropriate to address her unasked. But if he wanted to be in the front line, he had to do something for it.
 
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Elise Virak

The Baronness
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Elise looked the man up and down for a moment.

House Virak had many Dreadlords in it's web. All of them were capable, all of them were deadly. Some had defected once they'd heard of her fathers death, either because they despised Elise or because they thought her incapable of leading.

The latter were wrong, and the former would be made to pay. "Of course."

Now more than ever she needed them on her side. The Baroness was not fool enough to think herself so powerful that she could go without support. Each and every Dreadlord in her service would be valuable in their own way.

She could not contend without them if she wanted to survive what was to come.

"Collect what you need and meet me at my Carriage, Merosh." She had made it a point to learn all of their names. Read every file that her father had kept on them.

Some she knew better than they knew themselves. "We leave at once."

There would be no waiting, no hesitation.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh took her inspecting glance willingly. Nothing that bothered him and merely a normal reaction. He too would probably do so, if approached by a random person. So patiently he waited for her decision, neither looking away nor even blinking and still half-way remaining in his inclined posture.

"Of course."

She answered finally and Merosh straightened his back again. Well now that was an answer he had wanted to hear.

"Collect what you need and meet me at my Carriage, Merosh."

Subtle surprise sparkled in his eyes. He had not necessarily encountered her often during her father's regency that he would have expected being memorized by her, not only in appearance, but also in name. He wasn't quite sure if he just belonged to one of those she could recognize, he was neither the youngest nor the newest, or if she really remembered everyone. Maybe that was part of her job, Merosh left it at that, but nodded at her command.

"I'll be there.", he answered. He didn't came unprepared, he had everything needed alreay with him, but he saved his breath to mention it. All that was important, was said. He lowered his head with the intent a bow, as he took one step back before turning around.
 
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Elise Virak

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It was not much later that Elise, Merosh, and two others found themselves within the confines of a carriage that would be out of place on any battlefield.

Surrounding them on either side were a dozen retainers, all of them dressed in full plate and carrying the livery of her family. They were loyal, she had made sure of that, but most would likely be marching to their death soon.

Thus was the way of the commons.

Elise watched them out the window for a few moments, musing before she drew her attention away from the outside and towards her companions. "What an exciting day."

She said with a smile.

"Tell me, Merosh." The Baroness said as she gazed at the Dreadlord. "How long have you served my family?"

The answer was one she already knew of course, but the game was an important one to play. Kindness, care, affection. That was what ordinary folk cared about, and as much as they liked to pretend they were not; Dreadlords were still ordinary.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh wasn't very fond of carriages, no matter how luxurious and comfortable they were. He preferred to sit on the back of a horse when traveling. In here, he felt caged. His scope of action was limited, his senses were restricted. No wind, no sounds, no smells. And the gaze out of the window gave only a limited view. But as usual, he didn't complain. And there was something about sitting in the same carriage with the baroness.

What an exciting day, her words echoed in his head.
"Indeed", Merosh agreed in a deep voice, but no excitment swung within it's acoustic at all. He seemed to agree simply for the sake of agreeing. Whether he was or not was secondary. But a reaction had been needed, because one did not ignore a baroness. Even less did anyone contradict her.

Still, he had to admit that he had felt excitement just at the moment he had realized what the Baroness was up to do when she had spoken to the Chancellor. Just at the moment when he had smirked. He was not necessarily keen on whatever would have to be done, but on the opportunity to prove his worth. And maybe it was as well a bit of satisfaction to show the House Lorel how stupid the idea of trying to replace House Virak was and how wrong the Dreadlords were to run over.

"Tell me, Merosh."

Her voice once again filled the carriage. This time, Merosh turned his eyes away from the window and looked at Elise. She was sitting across from him.
"Yes, Madame?", he replied, just as automatically and stoic as his answer before, but this time with more attention, after being addressed directly.

"How long have you served my family?"

Merosh had to do some quick math. The duration wasn't important to him, so he hadn't an exact number in mind without calculating, but he knew well the year of his swearing.

"Seventeen years, Madame. Ninteen, including the time as an apprentice.", he answered. How old was he again...?

Merosh wasn't quite sure what the aim of her question was. Was she interested or just wanted to chat a bit to pass the time? Eitherway, he didn't mind that she were informed. How else could he climb the ladder if he were unknown to important people. After all, she now represented House Virak.
 
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Elise Virak

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She smiled. "My, that is quite a long time."

Elise looked at the Dreadlord for a moment.

"What about you, Verin?" She glanced towards the woman who sat next to Merosh. The other Dreadlord seemed to stiffen slightly, the strange violet eyes she had turning towards the Baroness. Her face was a mask of an expression, showing no emotion one way or another.

"Only ten years, My Lady."

The woman gave the barest wisp of a smile, but it was still there. Elise watched her for a moment, reaching up a hand and trailing her fingers down her own jaw as if she had to think for a moment.

"Ten years?" She mused. "That's still quite some time."

The Baroness watched the woman.

"Yes, nearly half my life spent in loyal service to Your father."

Elise smiled, glad that the woman had said it. Sometimes these things were almost too easy. Sometimes people liked to trap themselves, and it made things just that much more simple. She looked at Merosh for a moment, then back to Verin. "Yes, ten years. Loyal to my father."

"Isn't that interesting, Merosh?"
The woman seemed to tense. Her eyes flickered back and forth.

She seemed to think for a moment, and then all of a sudden she lurched forward towards Elise.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh really didn't cared about the amount of years he served House Virak now. It mattered that he did, not how long. But just as Elise emphazised it this way, his feeling differed a bit, as if her words would give it meaning. However, the appreciative undertone wasn't as effectiv, as it would hearing it from someone like her father or Barrin.

Merosh did not respond further, it didn't seemed to need an answer. And the way she looked at him shifted his focus anyway. There was something behind her eyes. He wasn't sure what made him think that - the subtle intense with which she looked at him, the movement of her pupils within her violet iris or her slightly tightening eyelid. It was too inconspicuous to be an indication and he knew her too little to be sure. But for the moment of their glancing there was something he could almost feel, but not grasp.

As her attention shifted, his feeling vanished within. But whereas Merosh had been looking out of the window till now, paying barely attention to what happened where he was sitting, he was now fully present. His senses sharpened, as he would try to revive the trace he had sensed just a moment ago.


His gaze remained on Elise, whilst hers was directed at Verin. He listened closely as he did it in the winter estate, but he failed to perceive what could be strange about her answer. Words were not his best profession. Even if he didn't believed in it anymore, there was a chance, that this could still be only some chit-chatting.

As Elise recited the facts expressed, however, a bad feeling overcame him. There was a weight in her words, a warning like. It was the second hint, she even addressed him again. Merosh still could not grasp the full picture of the situation, but he didn't need to. He was warned enough that the sudden movement next to him triggered him like a starting shot - and it would probably do so, even if he wouldn't be warned. His reflexes kicked in, he leaped up, instinctively pushing both his channel of endurance and strength, speeding up his movement and increasing his impact, as he throw himself against the woman to interrupt whatever she was up to. He couldn't draw his swords here, the space was too small and it would have taken to much time anyway.

The other Dreadlord hissed, unaffected by the fact that he had banged her head hard against the carriage door and caused the glass to shatter.

Merosh pushed her to the ground, not only with his own body weight and a choking hand on her throat, but also with magnetism. The wood beneath them creaked under the pressure, as did the ceiling against which he physically leaned for more counterpressure. The woman wriggled and writhed under the invisible force. She was struggling to resist, but was still able to accumulate mana. Merosh could feel it and saw the explosion coming. He happened to know her ability, she had helped him fight the undead weeks ago. A direct contact where needed first and the only one here she where in direct skin contact was him.

Merosh bent over her in an attempt to cover as much of her as possible with his body to limit the explosion radius. At the same time he infused his channel of strength with magic to harden his skin and to be prepared for whatever came. However, he didn't just waited for it to happen but acted. Letting go of her neck, he grabbed her by the chin and the back of the head and with one jerk he twisted her neck.

He felt searing heat burning into his chest where she had pawed at him with her hand. He hadn't really caught fire, although the ember slowly devoured his first layer of cloth, where she had touched him, before glowing out. Hot air suddenly ignited in the carriage and dissipated. But there were no explosion.
"Geez.", he growled. After making sure the Dreadlord was really dead now, he turned around, glancing at Elise.
"Are you alright, Lady Virak?", he asked now back in his typical tone. However, he gave the other dreadlord a quick, grim look. What was he, another assassin or a sleeper?
 
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Elise Virak

The Baronness
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Elise smiled down at Merosh, a fan having slipped from her sleeve. It unfolded itself and slowly tipped back and forth as the Baroness thrust some of the heat from her face and out the shattered window. "Oh yes."

She said calmly.

"I'm quite alright." Elise said with a broad smile.

The young woman seemed entirely too pleased with herself, like a cat that had just happened upon a fisherman's catch. She leaned back in her seat, glancing down at the Dreadlord before motioning towards the carriage door. "You can dispose of her remains."

The side of the road would be enough.

"Verin always did have a temper." The words flowed from her lips, and obvious implication. She had known of the woman's intent. She'd known that she was a traitor. That she would strike out sooner rather than later. It had been a test. "So lucky you were here, Merosh."

Elise said with a smile.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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The carriage stopped, whilst Elise smiled, answering him in a somewhat amused tone. She didn't appear to be the slightest bit concerned and thus made him think.

A worried voice was heard from outside and as if they had heard what Elise had said, one of the guards quickly opened the door. Not for Merosh, of course, but to look after what was going on. Merosh ignored the guard and missed his startled look.

"Of course.", he instead answered Elise to get rid of the corpse. He grabbed the body and dragged it out of the carriage, there he threw her to the side of the road, some of the guards watched him wondering. How stupid to attack the Baroness in a carriage with two other Dreadlords. He didn't felt sorry for Verin, loosing her nerves just like that.

When he turned around, he stopped at the guard who had opened the door and were still holding it.
"Ride on.", he commanded in an insistent voice, then he got back in. Stepping on shattered glas, it cracked under his feet - he didn't cared. Instead of waiting for the stunned guard to move again, Merosh closed the carriage door himself. A few of the sherpen still hanging in the window tumbled down. He sat down again.

"Verin always did have a temper."

Merosh looked at Elise. She was so calm and unsurprised as if she had expected to be attacked. Gradually he even had the impression that she had planned it this way. But since when? From the moment he approached her in the winter estate offering to accompany her right away?
It must have been a test. Was that why the third dreadlord in this round had not reacted? Probably a backup, had Merosh also misbehaved. Now he understood. He had wanted a chance to prove himself, but it had definitely come sooner than expected.

"So lucky you were here, Merosh."

Merosh smiled. It was neither joy nor gratitude, it was more of a smile just like Elise's. Just a movement of his lips, not actually changing his expression. Yeah, "lucky". The carriage started moving again.

"I'm glad I could help.", he answered, playing her game, as if it were really just luck. He was actually indeed glad of this opportunity, he had no problem being tested, for he had nothing to hide. "And I would highly appreciate it if the successor does'nt follow her father right away", he added.

Merosh stopped pushing his channels. He seemed to sink a little heavier into the seat. But he had only used his channels so briefly and not intensively that the backlash was not noticable.
 
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Elise Virak

The Baronness
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"Oh I can assure you." Elise said with a smile as she fluttered her fan back and forth. "That won't be happening."

Her father had met his end at the end of her knife.

The blade had been one of magic, of blood and ancient rites. The fate that had been bestowed upon him was an impossibility for her, and anything else? Well, she had a plan for that too. She eased herself back in her seat, glancing around at the two Dreadlords before she took a deep breath.

A contented sigh escaped her. "I think today will be very successful."

The rest of the journey was uneventful.

She dropped the pretense of conversation and let the party travel in silence. Eventually the scenery around them began to change. The forest thinned into wide grasslands, the sky up above drew gray and drab with dark clouds, and the road they traveled upon became more worn.

Hours later the estate they were headed to came into view. Elise leaned slightly out the window, watching the outer walls of the estate. Even from miles out she could spot the figures moving atop their guard posts, dozens of men and women teeming around as though they were expecting an invasion.

"Be watchful." She told the two Dreadlords. "My Cousin has always been smart, careful."

Elise frowned. "A plotter, more than anything else."
 

Merosh Devathor

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Merosh didn't mind that they were no longer chatting. He just looked out of the window like before, as if nothing had happened at all. He didn't cared about the view, at least not for enjoyment, but he did like to keep an eye on his surroundings.

Although the monotony of passing greenery in harmony with the rattling sound of wheels and tapping horse hooves was quite tiring in the long run. Merosh thought about taking a nap. Not because he needed one, but because he could suppress his channel of endurance, making him sleepy, to cause a positive backlash later, beeing wide awake. Normally one used the channels in boosting them and dealing with the consequences afterwards.
But it was possible to do so vice versa, by suppressing them and thus first making themselves weaker and more vulnerable in order to become stronger afterwards. It was like a bowstring. No matter in which direction one stretched it, it would snap in the opposite direction.

Merosh, however, refrained from doing so. The little incident just now showed that he could not afford to be careless. That something could happen at any time and not just when they had arrived at their destination. For example, they could still be ambushed on the way. That was not even far-fetched. In the end, however, nothing else happened till they arrived.

"Be watchful."

"I always am.", he responded. "But are we enough? I hope you've factored in the one person who's out."

Merosh wasn't sure if it would come to a fight, it didn't have to, but it could. Two dreadlords on the estate of another house seemed a bit few to him. But Elise had proved she wasn't stupid, so he had some faith. The carriage stopped again and they got out. Merosh lifted his gaze and inspected the guards of House Lorel. He and the other dreadlord walked beside Elise like bodyguards as they approached the building.
 
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Elise Virak

The Baronness
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The carriage pulled through the open gate, passing ranks of soldiers and a few lower level Dreadlords that her cousin had managed to snag to his side. The Baroness watched them listlessly, then turned to Merosh.

Elise smiled. "Have a little faith."

There wasn't much she had not planned for. These days had been complicated, and she had known once her father passed things would only become more so. Yet the name of Virak was fallen on her now. There was no one else.

Erich would not take his proper place, and thus she was the only one of them left.

That was part of the problem of course. She had no husband, no children. Many people thought that she would be the last of the line, and perhaps that was true. Yet it did not matter, not when she still had so much power to bare.

A smirk tugged at her lips, and she slowly stood as the carriage came to a stop. One of the soldiers pulled open the wooden door, bowing as the Baroness made her way onto the cobbled road in front of the Estate. A man in immaculate armor stood at the top of the steps. "Cousin."

She said with a smile.

"You come dressed for battle." A 'tsk' clicked with her tongue. "I did not realize things had become so hostile."

The mans features tightened for a moment, and he answered with tight lips.

"I do not want to fight Elise, but I will if I have to."​

The Baroness only smiled. "Well, lets see if we can't find a solution."

Her words seemed to linger in the air as she motioned to her two dreadlords. She lifted her dress gently as she began to ascend the steps, expecting that the two mages would fall into place behind her.

They needed to get inside first.
 

Merosh Devathor

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He actually indeed had faith. The little incident just now had not only been an opportunity to show what he was worth, it had done the same for Elise. It wasn't too big of a deal, but had given him an insight, had shown him that she was neither stupid nor fearful. He felt appeased by this. After all, she would be now the one to rule the house and no one needed someone incompetent in that seat.

As they left the carriage and approached the estate Merosh studied the faces of the other Dreadlords he could see, looking for someone who looked familiar, someone who belonged to House Virak and had run over. If so, he would memorise the face very well.

But when he saw Elise's cousin, Merosh had to suppress a smirk. He did not make a prepared impression on him, but rather an anxious one, welcoming them while wearing his armour as if he wanted to hide in it. Merosh didn't like armour anyway. They were usually heavy and clunky. And their wearers often looked clumsy in them. There were somehow only a few who didn't look like that.

Merosh stood still, his hands folded behind his back, listening careful to the conversation, like he did it in the winter estate. His gaze remained on Lord Lorel, but he was paying attention to his entire surroundings. Only when Elise looked to him Merosh did the same in return. Just a quick glance to the side, he did not move his head to do so. As Elise turned to ascend the steps, Merosh also gave the other dreadlord next to Elise a quick look. Hopefully he would react this time when it came to it, not like in the carriage. He picked up his pace and followed Elise.
 
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Elise Virak

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They quickly ascended the steps, Elise's cousin seeming to linger for a moment before he turned and headed into his own estate.

The Baroness glanced around for a moment.

An odd flicker of black specs floated across her eyes. They were there for just a brief moment, darting across her golden eyes in an instant. It was a strange wave, a wash of dark clouds blocking out the sun from the sky. Then it was gone.

"Close the doors." The words were barely a whisper, but Merosh would hear them echo.

It was a command that would be summoned as soon as they stepped into the foyer of the estate, her cousins Guards left behind within the courtyard.

A dozen attendants still stood within the hall they entered. Some were soldiers, others were clearly Dreadlords, but their numbers were far fewer than they had been. Elise looked around at them all, and then her voice boomed out.

"Cousin." She declared. "I will give you one chance. One last reprieve."

Elise's words turned stern. Strong. "Fealty, or death."

She turned her gaze onto the man in armor, his face contorting in anger as she spoke.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh did not notice what happened for a brief moment right before Elise's eyes. His guard was definitely up and he kept an eye on his surroundings, but he didn't pay attention to her eyes because she wasn't looking in his direction right now either. If he had noticed, he would not have reacted to it anyway.

His focus was primarily on Lord Lorel. When it came to the assault, he would probably attack Elise first of all. But Merosh did not forget all the others who were standing in the hall with them as they entered. They were just as dangerous, especially the other dreadlords. But even a mere guard or servant could take advantage of a good opportunity.

"Close the doors."

Her advice was not loud but pretty clear. He didn't nod for she didn't look over, but he followed her instruction and as soon as they entered the building, he closed the entrance. It was the only thing for which he briefly turned his back on the others here. Although Lorel's guards were now locked out, basically their own guards were also still standing there next to the carriage.

The moment after the door was heard to fall into the lock, Elise's voice rose above the hall. Merosh returned and stopped diagonally behind Elise. One could literally feel the tension in the air and Lord Lorel looked anything but pleased. Merosh remained calm. He would not make any suspicious movement so as not to be the trigger. But he would not hesitate a second longer if Lorel made any moves to attack. He smiled inwardly at the thought that this man was in full armor. Merosh could manipulate metal very well.
 
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Elise Virak

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A 'tsk' clicked from her cousin's mouth.

"Little Elise."​

The Baroness didn't let her expression change even a wink. She only stared ahead at the Lord Lorel, a smile on her face as she watched him work through whatever thought he was about to let roll off his tongue. The man was a fool, but he wasn't an idiot.

She watched him quietly, her gaze only flickering towards the others who were now moving around within the Foyer.

"You don't have what it takes to run House Virak, to take part in government. Just step down. I loved your father, we spoke often and dearly, but we both knew you wouldn't have what it took to take over."​

Elise smiled. "Yes, father never did think much of me. He preferred the runaway."

A sigh escaped her.

"He chose to underestimate me cousin." A wicked smile grew on her lips. "Will you do the same?"

Lord Lorel seemed to hesitate for a moment, reading The Baronesses expression with dawning horror. His eyes bugged slightly and his head shook.

"No...you didn't...your own father? Ho..."​

He scowled.

"Kill them!"​

One of the men behind Lorel stepped forward, his palm raising and fingers snapping together. Razor sharp knives seemed to burst out of nothing, flinging forward at incredible speeds and heading directly for Elise.
 

Merosh Devathor

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Merosh felt vicariously offended by this man's words, even though they were not directed at him, but at Elise. Little Elise. He obviously didn't like what he called her. Lord Lorel did himself no favors with the provocation. But just as Elise the dreadlord remained calm, unaffected.

The rest of the conversation was interesting and revealed one thing that Merosh himself did not yet know - who actually had killed Elises father. It wasn't really spoken, but Lord Lorel's reaction to Elise's words revealed a lot. And it surprised Merosh a little, too. But there was no time to worry about that now. Because now he had to act.

The moment Lord Lorel broke off his sentence and scowled was warning enough for him that Merosh opened his channels, in particular his channel of strength and endurance but also his flow of vision. And within Lord Lorels command the energy rushed through his body, through his veins, it sharpened his senses and made his mind clear. Merosh stepped protectively in front of Elise and drew his swords.

The first attack already tended to fail because the man's stepping forward already caught Merosh's attention and he reacted quickly enough to the gesture he made. With his physical force he pushed away the hurtling blades before sensing what it actually was. Didn't mattered, it just shouldn't hit them. He pushed it intentionally to the side and not upwards, so that it might hit one of his other people in the background. Judging by the outcry, it actually did. And it filled him with a certain satisfaction that his attack had backfired.

Merosh released a shock wave pushing short but hard in every direction. Those closest were knocked over and slid a little along the ground, those farther away stumbled backwards and all those with metal on their bodies were hit harder by the wave. Any furniture in the vicinity toppled over, somewhere vases shattered. It wasn't directly fatal or injurious, but it gave them a head start. And Merosh took his sword and threw it at the enemy dreadlord, as if it were just a throwing knife.

He wore no armor so it penetrated his chest unhindered. Merosh reached for his sword physically and pulled back the metal. It slipped from the falling body and slithered across the stone floor to him. He quickly picked it up before regaining his stance. He had no intention of moving too far away from Elise.
 
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Elise Virak

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Chaos broke out in the hall.

Everyone, almost everyone, was doing their best to kill one another. The Dreadlord that had accompanied Merosh and Elise in the carriage stepped up behind the Baroness. Her hands flickered upwards, and then a shield appeared around the both of them.

As Merosh's shock wave erupted through the room Elise and the other companion remained untouched, a wave rupturing through the room but stopping just short of the noble before it could ever touch her.

Dozens of soldiers filtered into the room. Doors broke open and men rushed forth. Lorel had been prepared for an attack, had known that Elise wouldn't just stand idly by and do nothing. His own hand waved, a shout reaching over towards the battle that was forming.

"Kill them! Kill them!"​

The words echoed, and Elise raised her hand.

Black flecks floated across her eyes, fingers curled into a fist. Then suddenly the screams began to echo out. Blood burst from flesh, exploded through armor, and cut muscle.

Lord Lorel took a step back, Elise grinning behind the transparent shield as a loud thud slammed against the doors behind her. Those who had been locked out were trying to force their way in. Elise glanced back, then quickly stepped forward towards her cousin.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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The shouting words, that echoed in the hall and resonatet within his chest, felt like they would be adressed at and not against him. They triggered Merosh, activated his combat mode. Kill them. Yes, that was exactly what he was about to do. Just not those person Lord Lorel wanted to see dead.

And one of his followers had already fallen to the ground. As soon as Merosh picked up his sword from the ground, he flung the blood from his blade with a jerk. The people around him suddenly screamed and blood splashed around, as if their bodys would explode. In the very first moment Merosh was alarmed but he quickly realised that it was Elise's doing. How efficient.

But more guards were already on the way, trying to break the main door open that he had closed. Merosh glanced back for a moment at the noise one could hear from outside. He also noticed the doing of the other dreadlord with his protective magic skills. Maybe he would be able to move away from Elise a little more after all, now that he knew the other dreadlord could protect her. Merosh himself was rather better at killing.

Just at the moment Elise stepped forward, approaching Lord Lorel, the doors burst open in a crash. Merosh quickly turned around and leaped towards the guards. With his physical force he pushed them back so most of them fell or stumbled. Merosh himself slipped back a little because of the counter pressure of his magnetism but he leaned physically against some pillars of the hall - otherwise he would have been the one who would be thrown back, because that what he pushed against had much more weight in sum than him.

He attacked the first ones right away while they were still struggling to get foothold. He also slashed the next ones quickly, he didn't gave them the time at all, always pushing for a short but charged moment against their armors or weapons. At least until something that was like lightning struck him. He jerked crampingly and wavered with a gasp. That must have been another dreadlord. One of Lorels.

Merosh heard the whirring sound as an invisible shield stretched around him. Ah, was the other dreadlord kind enough to give him protection as well? Merosh raised his head and looked for the lightning thrower. Before he could see him another flash nearly hit him. The shield around him sizzled electrical for a moment but this time Merosh remained unharmed. He could make out the dreadlord among the guards, but he still took a quick glance back to make sure Elise was okay.
 
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Elise Virak

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Elise, as it turned out, was more than fine.
Like a snake she had slithered her way across the room and to her prey. The head of House Lorel now stood before his cousin, a head taller than her, and yet quivering with fear as he peered down at her. Elise only smiled, staring up at the man.

"You know." The words were a whisper, barely audible over the sound of death that surrounded them.

The two Dreadlords were fighting, tearing into the soldiers around them. Merosh held off those who sought to break into the room, the other Dreadlord shielding Elise from sword and magic as she stood before her Cousin. She paid attention to none of it.

It was almost as though her world was absorbed in what was in front of her.

What stood there.

Nothing else mattered in that moment. The Dreadlords, the soldiers, none of it. To her there was a singular focus, what she had come here for. Why she was here in the first place. She peered up at the head of House Lorel. "It was a nice try, Cousin."

She purred.

"But just a try." Her hand reached up, those strange black flecks flickered over her eyes. Then fingers seized upon the mans throat. He seemed to shudder, shake, and then his voice boomed out within the room.

"Stop!"​

He called, the word thundering within the hall.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh could see Elise in a distance at the opposite end of the hall. Between him and her stood the other dreadlord. Their eyes met briefly as he, too, looked around. And he seemed to read in his eyes what Merosh wanted to know, he nodded as a sign that the situation was under control.

So Merosh turned again, tightening his grip on his blades, as some of those guards approached him again, one of them already attacking him, but the blade struck an invisible wall and came to stop. That shield was damn useful. But then there was also this Lorel Dreadlord, he would take care of first.

Merosh could see him raising his hand and collecting violet sizzling energy in his palm. Maybe he wanted to break through his magical shield this time, but he wouldn't let it come to that. Merosh leaned physically against the pillars behind him so he would be able to push with his force forward without being affected. Shifting into his stance, Merosh tensed his muscles for the attack and leaped forward pushing himself against the pillars to speed up his movement.


Merosh broke through a line of guards on his way through the open doors just as the words resounded through the hall. He did let go of his magnetism but still slithered with remaining speed along the floor of the stair landing towards the other dreadlord. He came to a halt in time, but with his sword raised and only inches away from his opponent's throat.

The man scowled at Merosh, but also paused in his movement. It was Lord Lorel's voice that had commanded him, otherwise he probably would have thrown that lightning ball at him already. Merosh himself didn't need to listen to the words and he actually didn't, not because of Lorel. But he knew that it wasn't up to him to decide whether to kill this men anyway or not, since someone of a higher rank was here to determine that.

The Virak Dreadlord didn't turned around, he kept his eye on the battle mage right in front of him and his sword still up. Ready to put an end to him if he made a wrong move. But Merosh listened to the words spoken inside the hall. He needed to open his Flow of Sound to understand the words, for he was now outside the building. And he wondered if Elise would spare Lorels live or kill him anyway.
 
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Elise Virak

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Elise's fingers remained wrapped around Lorel's throat, those odd black flecks slowly floating over her eyes as she looked up at her cousin.

"You have a remarkable amount of strength, Cousin." She mused quietly, just loud enough for the man to hear. It had gone dead quiet within the room, and even the fight outside had stalled as the two relatives stood locked in their place.

A few of House Lorel's soldiers took steps towards Elise, their swords flickering as if they were about to strike at the Baroness. Before they could reach her however Lore himself raised a hand, waving at them to step away in an urgent manner.

Odd black veins sprouted through his throat.

Elise smiled up at him, her fingers tightening for just one brief moment. "Such a shame that you'll die soon."

The words were barely a whisper, and then those odd black flecks floated over her cousin's eyes. He seemed to shudder for a moment, his entire body rolling with goosebumps as he stiffened, and then suddenly relaxed.

"Yes."​

He agreed with a nod.

"A shame. As is what has happened here."​

Elise took a few slow steps back, her fingers drawing away from the mans throat. Her eyes darted towards her hand for a moment, fingers flexing as those black veins slowly receded within her palm. The Blood, the Well, always had it's own price, and she would feel her head swimming.

Briefly she glanced back towards the gates, noting Merosh just beyond standing with one of the Lorel Dreadlords.

"All of you! All of you stand down. We should not fight family. Not now when we have so many other enemies yet to face."​

Confusion flickered over the faces of those around them, some looking at their master, some at Elise herself.

All of them however, lowered their weapons.
 
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Merosh Devathor

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Merosh stood still. His counterpart had paused under the command of Lord Lorel, but the purple energy in his hand sizzled unchanged. A moment passed, Merosh could hear them talking inside the hall.
When Elise called for a ceasefire the electricity in the palm of the other dreadlord did finally dissipate. And only after the man lowered his hand did Merosh the same as one of the last.

He changed from his fighting stance to a normal one and for a moment they just stood there staring at each other. Merosh sheathened his swords but remained vigilant in case the situation turned again. He gave the dreadlord one last look before turning his back and stepping towards Elise.

On his way, he gave Lord Lorel an inspecting look. He seemed somehow changed, his face expressionless, his gaze blank. Merosh wasn't sure if he was in shock or if Elise had done something. He gave her a fleeting glance as well, while he took up his post next to her again and then turned to the others. To the guards, to the attendants, to everyone still holding a weapon. Had they not heard Elise's words? Merosh stared at them until they had put their weapons away. Looked like the situation was under control so far. Merosh would have expected more deaths.
 
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Elise Virak

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For a few seconds Elise simple waited. She let the Guards around her stand down, she let the men settle, she let them all calm down.

Lord Lorel had given his command, and like good Anirians the plebeians began to follow their orders. It was their nature, the lower-classes. An order was something to be followed, even if they did not understand where it came from.

A wicked smile touched her features for a moment, and then she leaned in towards her cousins. "Dismiss your men, We'll see that everything is okay."

There was just a moment of pause, and the Elise pressed within her own mind. Her cousin seemed to stay still for a moment, then nodded before he spoke.

"Take up your guard positions! I don't want anyone coming into the manor while my dearest Cousin is still here. The other Houses might attack."​

Another quiet pause, and then slowly the various guards around the room began to comply. Most of them offered Lord Lorel another look or two, though they all quietly complied. One by one they fled from the room, leaving only Elise, her two Dreadlords, and Lord Lorel.

"You see Merosh?" Elise said with a smile. "Everything went well."

Better than she could have asked for.
 
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