Private Tales Propriety

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
"Huh. So it's like...snow sailing," came Jane's summary of this mysterious pastime, 'skiing'. A rough comparison, even by her own reckoning, but it was the way she was able to conceptualize it.

What did grab her attention with a keen and special interest was Nacht describing "shoes with blades on them." Jane sat up straighter from her reclined and relaxed position, leaning a bit then in his direction, her gaze with a clear hunger to hear more. The actual purpose behind these bladed shoes, that they were used merely to slide around on ice, was a bit disappointing, yes—but Jane loved the idea itself. My, my, couldn't such wonderfully happy accidents happen with shoes of such a kind?

"'Skating' sounds more like my kind of pastime than 'skiing'," she said, grinning with delight. Oh, but she would certainly be terrible at it to begin with. Absolutely awful. A complete amateur. She'd be slipping and falling and flailing, her legs flopping about everywhere, her feet flying around, those blades (those gorgeous blades) slicing this way and that towards others, my oh my, what a time it would be.

Then came a new question. One which, actually, Jane was quite happy to talk about.

"Yeah. Wasn't when I was sailing though. I don't remember and don't care about any of those places in Cortos or Vel Anir." Honestly, fuck those places and fuck those people, all they were good for was collecting plunder and being victims. She didn't care if her profanity-laced thoughts ticked up her flogging tally either. The lashes were worth it sometimes.

"Best place I've ever been to on the Mainland is a little town called Guillotine," she said. "I was headed there, before I had to come here. Guillotine is nice. My kind of place. Each man is his own man, each woman her own woman. They got a saying: 'Keep yer sword, keep it close', because everyone is armed. Heh, everyone, because everyone pitches in with guard duty and keeping things orderly and all that. They're a rough and hardy bunch of Mainlanders, and I love them."

Demonic invasion? Yup, Guillotine survived that. Horde of undead and a plague unleashed by the same succubus who led that demonic invasion? Yup, Guillotine survived that too. Tough fuckers, those Guillotiners.

Jane let her gaze drift upward, a smile of perhaps an uncharacteristically wistful nature unknowingly gracing her face.

"Best of all: they're free. Nobody's their master."

“Kinda, I guess.” He’d say, nodding along. The processes involved were much different, but it was a decent analogy even still. Nacht noticed Jane sit up straighter when he talked about skating, so he then switched topics. “Yeah, I fell once or twice trying it. Skating’s super hard to teach yourself in my experience. Well, you might be better at it than me, what with how easily you walk in your gear. Must be pretty graceful to move at a normal pace in armor like that.”

Nacht patiently listened to Jane’s tales of Guillotine, chuckling to himself at the name. Yeah, I’d think they were tough, living in a town that shares a name with that particular instrument of death. “That sounds like an awesome place. I know of a spot like that, where everyone is mostly free to do what they want and be what they want to be. It’s my new home, the Astenvale Monastery.“ He remembered leaving the Wilds to make the trip and shake his head, refusing to get homesick. “Everyone there is armed as well, with swords and their own magic. That part makes me less weird, so that’s a plus.”

“Nobody’s in charge at all? That seems kind of…chaotic. However, I can’t say Guillotine doesn’t sound interesting despite that. A visit might even be in order. Do I strike you as the kind of tough guy who can handle that?”
He’d say with a grin, obviously joking. He was far too busy training and just generally living to go much of anywhere. In fact, this trip itself was a once a year rarity.

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"They'll give you shit for that pristine, boyish face of yours," Jane said. Guillotiners had nothing if not coarse tongues. They gave Jane shit for the heels on her sabatons (not even her fault), for her "big floppy milk bags", for her dry Cerak accent and for her backwater, copper-costin', blind-ass-barber haircut, among other things. But if you could give it back as well as you got it, then they accepted you as one of their own faster than you could carve the word banter into a bar counter.

"Maybe you could practice," Jane suggested impishly then. "Just go around that Astenvale Monastery place; give everyone come across a hilarious tongue-lashing. What could go wrong?"

If he got punched in the face, Jane's only regret (make it two) would be: first, that she wasn't there to see it, and second, that she wasn't the one doing it. Punching someone was like the cheap ale of causing pain, yes, but it was something, and a girl couldn't be much of a chooser when she was already so much of a beggar.

"Pristine and Boyish? Aww. I'd almost think you thought I was cute." Nacht responded with a bit of a patronizing tone. In truth, Nacht didn't think he had it in him to be mean. To be mean meant you had to have a sense of entitlement, a sense that tells you that you're better than the person you insult. His whole life, he had known he was not better if not below an ordinary person, and as such never developed cause to feel superior towards, well, anyone. He chuckled when Jane challenged him to throw jabs at literally anyone at the Monastery, then actually laughed.

"Seriously, though, I'd never do that. It would be super out of the ordinary and I have no reason to be mean. Nobody else in the Monastery has been to me so far." Besides that, all of the knights were mostly nice and Hector was his heroic savior who he may or may not owe a life debt to, so he wanted to learn to be a good example like the rest of them were- Ok, were sometimes.

“Besides, I’m not exactly a fan of pain, so sass is not my tack talking to trained warriors. You can get punched in the face if you want, but I try to go the nice guy route more often than not.” He’d grin, imagining Jane getting punched and just staring at the person who had attacked totally unfazed. It was a funny and impressive image, someone taking a blow like that, but he didn’t doubt the paladin had it in her.

“Our experience here was nicer than I thought it’d be. I dunno, I was envisioning more kept in custody in a cell or something.” He’d say, turning momentarily away from Jane to get a better spot to lounge on the chair.

I'm not exactly a fan of pain.

Good. Jane hated masochists. They ruined everything for her. These days, of course, this didn't matter much, what with being kept busy by Astra's ceaseless parade of "go here and do that". She would almost rather deal with Astra's bul...beautifully important and magnanimous missions than to even stoop to the bothersome chore of killing off some wretch of a masochist.

Our experience here...

"Yeah, not bad," Jane said in reply to Nacht's assessment. "Be nice if they had a cot or something in here. I must be part cat; I can never get enough sleep." Peering at the guards by the door with one eye, Jane said, "Think you can manage that next time? Get a nice cot, blanket, pillows, all that in here? I'm not too picky. Promise."

The guards mumbled some manner of non-committal answer.

But, as the bashrahip had said to them earlier, they indeed didn't have to wait too long. Mayhap it had been an hour or so of waiting all told, but eventually the door to the Refectory opened. In came a new group of guards, a man with a large hat and dark coat, and a woman with a similarly large hat and similarly dark coat. The group of guards and the man separated out from the woman, and their attention was on Jane.

Even-toned like a military officer, the man in the coat said to her, "Greetings. I am Regulator Ishmael Devshirmal. Claimant Jane, your request for Clemency has been denied."

Jane almost let slip an excited cry of Yes!, but stopped herself...almost. She ended up making a kind of weird glottal stop of a noise in her throat. She tried to cover it with a cough. A cough that sounded fake. So she smiled. That was probably looking pretty fake too.

Regulator Ishmael stared at her strangely for a moment, then moved past it, saying, "You are to come with us. We will escort you from Gildan territory. Oh—" he made a motion to one of the guards behind him, who produced a sloshing waterskin, "—we also have procured that water you requested. You may take it on your journey."

"Be on your guard," Regulator Ishmael said to Leah as they, the two of them and the group of guards, were all walking down the hall toward the Northern Refectory.

"Is trouble expected?" she asked. Far from anything resembling worry, there was a kind of contentment in her tone. A resolution, even a joyful one, to the trouble, if trouble was indeed to come.

"You just do not know with Curites," Ishmael commented bitterly. "Last time I delivered the news of a denied Clemency to a claimant, he became petulant, childishly so, letting anger rule his abusive tongue. By the grace of Regel it did not escalate beyond foul words, yet even not forget the destructive power mages wield. Regel has entrusted us with the duty to see that no harm comes to his most holy Temple, to the people who are his faithful, and even to the claimant him or herself. Order must prevail, Leah." Though he made no direct comment on Leah's disastrous first experience as a handler, his instructive tone, his reiteration of the obvious, made his concern very clear.

"It will," she said with all confidence. Even the worst case scenario Ishmael alluded to, in Leah's view, would be part of Regel's divine vision, and would serve a purpose that, even if mortals could not see nor grasp it, nevertheless advance that omniscient and immaculate vision.

A minute later, and they entered the Northern Refectory. Regulator Ishmael parted somewhat to speak more directly with the female claimant, Jane, she who had been denied Clemency.

Leah, meanwhile, stepped toward Nacht. As she always did, she offered him a deep curtsy in formal greeting, and she spoke after she rose from it. "Claimant Nacht, I am Praetor Leah Kadashal, and I have come to inform you that Clemency has been granted you. For the duration of your stay in Gild, I shall be your attending Regulator, accompanying you as you conduct your business."

Recalling what Bashrahip Mustafa had told her, she smiled genially and said, "You are visiting family, yes?"

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Nacht opened his eyes and quickly stepped out of his chair, his body visibly tense. He'd smile a smile that was at once genuinely relieved and also scared. Watching Leah give him a smooth curtsy, he would take a deep breath and bow in return, the smile on his face as he moved back up to stand now actually genuine and not at all afraid. His regulator seemed nice and respectful, so there was no reason to think anything bad would happen lest he make trouble. The lord knew, trouble was the last thing on his mind. He had got all of his mischief for the day out talking to Jane, who was now walking out the door with only some water to show for her trip.

"Yes, Praetor Leah. I would introduce myself, but it seems the Church has already done their due diligence. Lovely to meet you." He'd say, speaking formally without sounding mocking, much like he chose to do whenever he was speaking to Squire Claude, a bigger boy that had a temper shorter than Nacht's stature. Needless to say, they weren't friends, but they weren't enemies either. "I feel pretty welcomed, so thank you for your courtesy. I'm in your hands." He'd finish. He listened to himself and got confused before realizing he had butchered the statement. Dammit, It's actually "I leave myself in your hands," an expression denoting trust. Luckily, he resisted the urge to facepalm.

Leah Kadashal
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Jane accepted the waterskin from the guard beside Regulator Ishmael. She already had it in mind that she'd slurp on it annoyingly once they got going on their walk outside the Kingdom—just to help ensure that, if she ever had to come back and try again, she'd likely get denied once more.

"Maybe I'll see you around, Nacht," Jane said as she, Regulator Ishmael, and the group of guards started for the door.

Her introduction this time was better than the one she had given on her very first handler duty. Proceeding from the place of the novice to the place of the experienced was marked by increments of improvement; and Leah knew that her fate was nothing less than to become an exquisite instrument of Regel's divine plan. Slowly the whetstone of time would sharpen her so.

Pleasantness exuded from Nacht, and with it were they acquainted. He was taller than her by a fair margin, lean, and young enough to have few worries of maintaining a clean shaven face. To Leah he seemed unassuming, lacking in the sort of grandiose qualities one would expect from a wielder of magic: peculiar eyes, strangely hued hair, arcane markings on the flesh, extravagant attire, things of such conspicuous nature as these. Nacht could well have blended in with the commons of Gild or perhaps of any place across Arethil. That he voluntarily sought Clemency despite this spoke highly of his character.

I'm in your hands.

They of course would need to proceed to the residence of his family; Regel had ordained through the prayers of Bashrahip Mustafa and through the auspices of the Flame to the Bakire Priestesses that it was to be so. But first Leah took notice of something.

"Is that your cat?" she asked, looking down at Shade, mildly curious and impressed by how behaved the animal was.

"Maybe, Jane. Be good on your way out, for your own sake." he'd say, grinning before turning back to his regulator. "Pardon the rudeness, Praetor. Yeah, this is Shade! She's one of my friends. I get a companion, and she gets a bed." As if she was on queue, Shady leapt off the table she was lying on and returned to her normal spot on his head. "Case in point. Pretty impressive, yeah?" he'd say, flashing a boyish grin he had once been complimented on and petting Shade as she made herself comfortable. I guess my cat is a bit more noticeable than I thought. Well, they shouldn't be able to tell she's made of magic, so I'll be alright. Most importantly though, my best friend will be too.

"Do you have a pet yourself, Leah- I mean Praetor?" He looked visibly uncomfortable for brief moment, his eyes flashing with the fear or a man walking across a tree over a giant gap, knowing he had to be totally secure in what he did. Speaking to town authority in such a manner was most likely a loss of points in terms of respect.

Leah Kadashal
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"Impressive indeed." Cats were not known to be creatures agreeable to the prescriptions of mankind. Fiercely independent, the feline nature, and only by happy chance did harmony occur between man and animal here. So a rarity, ready to be glimpsed, in the form of Shade, Nacht's companion, that she would be so amenable to said companionship.

Best that she kept her distance from Shade, however. She had a regrettable allergy to cats.

I mean Praetor?

"Leah, simply Leah, shed of titles and other formalities, shall do fine for us," she said, smiling amicably once more. "As for your question, I do not. But my mother and father do have a dog. A fine hound, well-behaved, and a staple sight of the Kadashal bakery. As Shade is for you now, so Ranger was for me in my childhood: an indispensable companion. Sadly, Ranger is quite advanced in age now, and infirmity grips him all the more these days. He has lived a long life, but his time nears. It is my hope to be present when he passes—that he may do so in my loving arms."

Her smile remained unbroken, despite the topic.

"The sweetest of all departures from Arethil, no?"

“Oh, then you can just call me Nacht if that’s fine for you, instead of adding “Claimant” and such.” He’d say, returning the amiable look. He was honestly relieved that they had gotten past formalities and were now allowing eachother to address the other casually.

“The sweetest of all departures? I would never want Shady to die, so I couldn’t say, really. However, I’d think so, if I had to guess. ” Luckily for him, as a creature of Shadow, his cat would outlive even him as long as she didn’t touch the sun. Still, it wasn’t as if he could exactly say that. “I’m glad he managed to provide you so much love while he was still spry, and that he is being taken care of.”

He had heard stories of pets being given up thanks to medical problems and age and thought such action was beyond cruel. To a naive boy such as he, no animal dog or otherwise should be left under any circumstances. “Onto happier topics, though.” He’d say, yawning. It appeared he was still tired from the walk over.

“Do you know the city well? I was hoping we could take the “scenic route” if that isn’t too much of an inconvenience.” He’d say, interest in his gaze. Yes, this place hated magic with a passion, but the fact remained he was in a new place and not under attack. That meant there was time to learn more about Gild due to the fact that he probably wouldn’t have time to make long trips like this one for a while after.

Leah Kadashal
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Leah beamed when Nacht voiced his interest in taking the more circuitous path around Gild.

"Why, yes I do. All my life I have lived here," she said proudly, "and I have found it a great pleasure in showing that which I treasure, the city to which I owe my heart, to those who have not seen it."

How fitting, as well, if they were to stop by the Kadashal bakery during this tour. Nacht could meet Ranger himself.

Leah gestured with gloved hands to the Refectory's door. Moved toward the same and opened it, stepping out into the hall. Already in her mind was she planning a route, a different route to last time. More than merely for variety on her part, intuition served as her guide, for was not intuition and her due following of it the naked reveal of her place within the grand tapestry of fate?

"I believe, first, we shall go and see the statue of Saint Sofia Immal—a divine hero of Gild, and proof that even the lowest among us may be destined for greatness. A lesson not merely confined to the Kingdom of Gild, but one which spans all the world over."

The statue of Saint Sofia Immal was located in the middle of the intersection of two large thoroughfares through Gild. She stood tall, one arm lifted up toward the sky, the other holding an waraxe, and all about her at the statue's base were representations of soldiers formed in a defensive ring.

Leah stood before the statue and regarded it with a plainly revealed reverence. As well, she felt a tinge of anticipation: she had not told this story to a foreigner before. What would he make of it?

"Sofia Immal was born as but a simple shepherd's girl within the rural reaches of the Kingdom," Leah began. "Yet Campania is called 'The Bloody Crescent' for good reason, and war—even now, in these years of peace—is never far. So it was in Sofia's time as well. All her family was killed in a raid by the enemy upon their pastures, and Sofia fled to Gild as an orphan. She then at the earliest age possible, seventeen winters, volunteered for service as a soldier. A decision steeped in destiny.

"Then came the Battle of the Vardun Forks. Gild and our allied forces of the time stood ready to face the enemy, but, at the first charge, our allies lost heart. They broke and scattered. This left the remaining Gildan forces vulnerable, and thus were we encircled on all sides. Pure slaughter, down to the last man, was sure to follow.

"But it was not to be. Sofia Immal, caught in the very center of the press, reached her hand toward the heavens and with one desperate prayer she called forth her magic. Suddenly a blazing and brilliant light engulfed the entirety of the battlefield, blinding the enemy and crippling them with immense fright, yet the light proved completely harmless to each and every Gildan. The tide turned. The embattled Gildans fought their way free of the encirclement, and the enemy gave way to panicked flight. Salvation for the Gildan army! Yet at great cost, for Sofia Immal, once the battle was done, fell dead on the spot, and her brilliant light faded along with her.

"Her story, once word of it arrived back in Gild, so enamored the people to her selfless sacrifice that the Church of Jura with all possible haste proclaimed her a Saint. And Saints are no mere mortals, but demi-gods, imbued with divine essence. Saint Sofia's magic, therefore, was not only permissible by Jura, but it is the solemn belief of many that Regel himself had marked her for greatness on that fateful day at the Vardun Forks. He made her an incarnation of his divine will upon Arethil, and called her to the Fields of Emir once her work was dutifully done. And no disappointment was Sofia to the God in whom she and all Gildans give their faith."

It was shady so he turned up his aura, no longer feeling uncomfortable. Nacht listened to the story thus far with interest, noting just how alike in certain ways the story was to his own. He had just been a simple child, no real worries in the world thanks to his luck being born as a member of a happy if small town called Astenvale. One day, he too began a battle with a force that at the time felt unstoppable, even inevitable, but instead of bandits and warriors it was simply the Sun, standing watch over the world while somehow finding time to cause him undeserved pain.

He remembered the first day he had to come to school wearing the clothes that protected him from the sun, at age six or seven, ready to face a new day. Unfortunately, his pale color and many layers brought the bad kind of attention. After a few days of being looked at like a creepy monster, he had lost heart, resigned himself to being alone and eventually dying away like the Gildan's allies had done. A strangely terrifying type of feeling, it was, to be waiting to be slaughtered without having done or been something and someone respectively.

"But it was not to be." he'd say, as though almost in a trance. He could hear the story still, and still it reminded him of his own. Caught between wolves, his own hero stepped into the fray. Hector, perhaps one of the order's finest (as stated by another close friend of his), was moving around nearby and took it upon himself to fight to save him. There was another squire as well who he had to thank, but his name was slightly fuzzy at this point. He chuckled, remembering the feeling of being amazed and scared and proud and how it all came to him at the same time and he just- just wanted more of that. More of that strange feeling nothing else had been able to give.

So enamored with his own experience was he, that he decided that he would ask to join them, ondering if they could teach him more control of his magic alongside how to fight. A little less epic than the story being told by the Regulator, surely, but nonetheless one he'd never forget. "Leah, that was...awesome! I usually read stories like that, of soldiers going off to face great battles and the like, but to think I'm standing in a place involved with the conflict where that type of thing really-" He paused, realized he was being loud, and quieted down. "Where that type of thing really happened is cool." He'd say without so many exclamation points, smiling sheepishly while glancing from side to side.
"Anything that is worth one's love is therefore worth protecting. Sometimes, the necessity of that protection is war. And in war, it may well be that its cost includes one's life."

Boesarius Terral, her Regulator mentor, had asked her a question when first she had approached him. Are you prepared never to see your twenty-second winter? And to this, Leah had responded, I will celebrate it in the Fields of Emir. Hardly was it a matter of her being "prepared" to give her life, no. She merely knew that it had already been given. That her fate was set, the hour of her death already prescribed, and so fear had no place in her. In war or in peace, before her twenty-second birthday or mayhap after her ninety-second, her death would be in keeping with Regel's will. If in the preservation of Gild she was destined to make the ultimate sacrifice, she would be unbothered, content, ready.

But not everyone saw things the way she did.

She looked up to Nacht. "If your home could be saved at the cost of your life, would you give it?"

His eyes darkened a bit while he considered the question, deciding to be totally honest. "My home? I would die ten times over to defend my new home. As for my old one, the Nacht that lived there already died. I don't care what happens to them." He'd say with a slightly bleak tone. He could not take back those words and decided he didn't want to, feeling the truth was more freeing. His entire time in Astenvale, he had been seen as weird. That separation and labeling had tortured him for years. He managed a forced expression of calm and took a deep breath.

"Sorry about that. I said a bit too much." He'd say, waving everything off. "Is that why you chose this job? Dedication to your home?"

Leah Kadashal
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Leah smiled. And so Nacht's fate would be written. It may not necessarily be that death in service would be his destiny, but service would be. What better window into the grand designs of fate than one's own heart? One need but listen, and listen carefully, and there from it shall be gathered a hint of what is to come.

As for my old one, the Nacht that lived there already died. I don't care what happens to them.

"Rejoice, then, in the embrace of your new life."

Leah's smile broadened with a touch of amusement at the word chose when Nacht came to say it. Hers was a view which dispensed with choice as most people knew it. Still, it was another of those words which conveyed convenient meaning in shorthand.

"There came a day when my death was assured—or so I thought,"
Leah said. "A Curite," she realized, waved a hand apologetically, and explained, "that word is, how we Gildans say, 'one who wields magic.' A Curite attacked a local market in my earlier years. His magic was great, his mind mad. A score of innocent men, women, and children lost their lives to him. I felt the horrid pull of his power, the draining of my very life's essence from my body."

She touched one of her long bangs of hair, held it out as if in offering, this to squarely focus Nacht's attention upon it as she said, "I used to have black hair. It has never healed."

She continued with the story. "The entirety of my body went numb and distant in the whirlwind of that Curite's magic. The end came near, as what tethers holding me to Arethil loosened. Fear, stronger than it had ever been, gripped me in its chilling, pale fingers. And then, as the last light seemed to savior came. A Regulator arrived in the market, foiled the Curite's magic, engaged him in battle, and slew him. Through eyes I could barely hold open I watched this all unfold. The Regulator came to me. Revived me. And instantly..."

(I fell in love.)

"...I realized the truth. That day was not to be the day of my death. That day was instruction. Through signs both subtle and grand do the divine reveal their intentions, and Regel had given to me the grandest of signs in that market. My life's purpose had been unveiled in the clearest of terms, and I, dutiful and pious, obeyed, and continue to obey." She paused, then in delighted manner said in closing, "Less have I chosen my path, and more have I been called to it."

He would return the smile and then gave a look like she didn’t need to tell him something so obvious. It was true, as well. His life had changed for the better thanks to everyone, and he’d not easily let go of the camaraderie and, honestly, family he had found. Nothing will take them from me and leave me alone. I can’t go back to how I was, just a ghost. He’d think, momentarily panicking in silence. “A magic user took lives?” He’d say, horrified. He realized, however, that he was being a bit too quick.

“Listen, I don’t believe that one person being bad makes everyone bad. I am not a person who loses control and kills like they did. That type of generalization is at least to me, the mark of a person unwilling to open their mind. You do not strike me as a person like that, but I have heard rumors of this place. Still, I guess I understand your people’s hatred of mages better. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Leah.” He’d say, eyes widening and beginning to shine with something like regret and anger as the regulator showed him her hair. No pity, for he would feel angrier if he was pitied for something out of his control.

“I suppose we’re two birds of a feather in that way.” He’d say sadly, rolling up his sleeve to reveal a long, arm covering scar and pale grey skin just a bit darker than his companion’s hair. It had not always been this way, he was sure, as both his mother and father were healthy and fair-skinned. “A force just as powerful as magic did this to me. It continues to, as well. The scar you see on my arm extends all the way to my back in an brutal path. I have never regained my color.” He’d say sadly, inwardly a bit scared. There were multiple mistakes that could jeopardize him in that sentence alone.

He had almost forgotten his guard and said something about being burned by the sun. It was a miracle he had the sense to be vague, for how could he be fine even anywhere near the sun if nothing was evidently protecting his exposed legs and face and neck? Anyway, he absorbed the rest of her story and wondered if he too had been part of a run in with fate like the one Leah described. Yes, perhaps he had. “The day I found my new home, I was saved by a knight from the very same place. A pack of wolves had decided they were hungry enough to make me their prey and I- I slaughtered them all with his help,” he’d say with a shudder.

Even the memory of the moment somehow brought forth chills. “I did not need to become who I am, but I am forever grateful I made the right choice, to become someone who tries to help others. From that day forward, I decided I would not be ashamed of my naive ideas of heroism,” He’d say. “Shall we move on, or is there more history in this statue?”
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"Two birds of a feather," Leah echoed as her eyes followed the trail of Nacht's revealed scar. Far from suspicious, she was sympathetic—oft in Gild did the harsh truth go forgotten that even other magic-users suffered the abuses of their magic-wielding kin. What was this, this "brutal path" so described by Nacht himself, other than yet further proof that the teachings of Jura were without error? Leah and Nacht alike had suffered because two Curites, in their arrogance, lacked the divine wisdom and capacity to use magic appropriately.

From that day forward, I decided I would not be ashamed of my naive ideas of heroism.

"Admirable," Leah said. And so fate proceeded perfectly, arranging the circumstances of Nacht's life such to produce in him this esteemed sentiment.

And then to his question, a happy smile, and her answer, "We shall continue. Other sights await."

* * * * *


Next Leah led Nacht to the Senate Hall. A building of impressive stature, made even more so by its ogre-sized entrances, served as the center of governmental power within the city. Stone and silver, glass and marble, these comprised the structure in various arrangements, and banners of red—signifying senatorial authority—hung in plentiful number from the Hall's exterior. Other Praetors, noblemen and noblewomen, Beyars clad in rich and colorful finery not unlike their noble counterparts, were in a busy flow entering the Hall for business or departing from it having attended to the same.

Leah gave a summary. "Here, our Senate, so named the Fathers of Gild, handles the affairs of state, but they are not alone in these matters. Two consuls—distinguished citizens of any class, each elected for a term of one year—lead the Senate and act as heads of state. The Council of Praetors, as well, advises the Senate and the consuls and can put forward motions of its own for deliberation on the Senate floor."

Leah smiled. This was the part which a foreigner might have some difficulty in understanding.

"Yet all of these—the Senate, the consuls, the Council—are all merely regents. Though Saint Andreas Gildal has long ago ascended to the Fields of Emir, he is still our one true King, and from the heavens does he reign. Our government here on Arethil is but the earthly extension of his will. It is a great honor, one of holy significance, to be a senator, a consul, or a Praetor, and to have entrusted in you some small part of the grand responsibility for the stewardship of the Gildan people and the preservation of Jura."

"I don't know if it's admirable, but...such a thought did wake me up." He'd admit, grinning weakly. "Lead the way, Ms. Leah," he'd say, falling into rank behind his regulator. This day was overall turning out better than he had imagined, and Nacht hoped it would remain that way.

It was the first time he had interacted with light given the shade was strong in other places, and his expression tightened into a practically straight line as the little light that got through his aura did not burn but still transferred great pain from all angles. His training had given him tolerance to pain incomparable to his own before, so despite his entire body feeling like he was bathing in a campfire, he managed to keep down any groans and continued to hide his problems and therefore his magic as well. However, perhaps there could be something done.

"Interesting." He'd say quickly, not willing to prattle for the sake of everything he was hiding. "Really, it is, but I...need something from-" He paused, looking around until he spied a shop selling umbrellas. It was not much better, but it was something. "there." Shit, Shit, Shit! he'd think, the pain clouding his vision fading from the energy of his speeding thoughts. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, so what could he fear besides the sun? "The- um, The brightness of the sun is a bit jarring and in my eyes, so I'd like an umbrella. Would that be alright?"

That would have to be enough of an explanation. Barely preventing himself from wincing, he'd check his pockets and come up with a few silver, all he had brought for the trip. That too, would have to be enough.

Leah Kadashal (I know this isn't much to do with the tour, but I think it could be an interesting interaction, and is also in character. We can get back to this topic if you still want after, though.)
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"Oh? A parasol?"

Leah, not thrown off by the abruptness, took the request in casual stride; hers was not a gift given to the detection of magic, such as her mentor Boesarius possessed, and she could not know the truth of the matter beneath the innocuous question.

She even took off her hat, regarded it, ran her fingers along its wide brim and said of it, "I find myself quite taken by headgear of this kind when the sun's brightness edges into being disagreeable." Oh, she adored the unofficial garb of the Regulators for more than merely practical reasons, but yes, her hat's brim spared her the tiring unpleasantness besieging Nacht presently, squinting his eyes against the unrelenting assault of a clear day's brilliance. She donned her hat once more. "But a parasol serves as well."

Noticing the coins he'd produced, Leah smiled genially and said as they made for the shop, "Silver. You came prepared."

By happenstance or not. Ah, but happenstance was a word that only masked the truth, wasn't it?

"It is a nice hat." He'd note, nodding in agreement when Leah said that a parasol would do just as well. Did that mean she hadn't caught anything? Phew, I'm safe...for now, he'd think almost wishfully, a little surprised by how easily his explanation was (seemingly) accepted. "Yeah, I guess silver is a bit much. I haven't left the Monastery in a while, so I dunno much about what the standards are elsewhere." He'd shrug, noting how pretty the shop was, how peaceful.

These idyllic thoughts lowered his guard and he entered perhaps his most childish state: "Bombard Whoever is speaking to me with-questions" mode."So, what's it like, being a regulator? You have only told me about your responsibility to be one, but what does that entail?" He'd muse, wondering whether they were like more bigoted Knights, part of an order dedicated to something and made to fight for it. The sun was still irritating, but his interest pushed aside the pain.
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Leah followed him to shop, walking leisurely, her hands clasped behind her back. Nacht's question was something of a delightful surprise, as was, in truth, the whole of his genuine interest in Gildan society and in her own personal story. The first claimant Leah had ever handled proved at every turn scornful, disparaging of everything Gildan—its laws, its customs, its religion. Such an experience was perfectly in keeping with the preponderance of stories from fellow Regulators attesting to the same conduct from foreigners. What boundless mercy and forbearance on the part of Regel, to grant his blessing of Clemency to such men and women! Compared to this, easy must it have been, Leah imagined, for the God of Jura to grant Clemency to Nacht, to weave him seamlessly into his divine plan.

Being a Regulator. Well, it would be a touch inappropriate to mention that she was as yet still in training, thus revealing her inexperience, so a general view would suffice.

"Regulators are the militant arm of the Church of Jura, and we are charged with the solemn task of safeguarding the Gildan people and ensuring that the law of Jura is obeyed within the Kingdom. Our enemies are innumerable, for Arethil is a world full of dangers and terrors. Curites, whether malevolent or misguided; monsters of all kinds, be they beasts or abominations born of magic gone awry; infidels, whose hatred of Jura drives them to seek its annihilation, to snuff out its last Flame here in Gild—these are the forces with whom we Regulators do battle."

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