The Virak Winter Estate was located just a few dozen miles away from the Falwood itself. Nestled within the Velmont mountains and guarded by steep cliffs, the castle had been built by Sarkus Virak long before the Second Elven War. It had stood as one of the final bastions against the knife-ear's tyrannical assault against Anirian lands.
A story was told of one of the final battles of the war. A tale where members of the Southern Army of the Guard and House Virak's own regiments fought bravely until they broke the Elven Siege. The armies were slain, nearly to a man, saving only the young sons of the Virak family. It was this that had allowed the Virak Family to rise to it's great Status in Vel Anir.
So it had always been claimed anyway.
In truth, the facts of the story were much different.
The men, neither Guard nor those in the service of House Virak itself, had not died fighting bravely upon the walls. Instead they had been slaughtered in the Great Hall. Five hundred of them. Their throats cut, their blood spilled onto the great rune carved into the marble floors. Each of their lives claimed by the Well. Each of them sacrificed for the great good.
Their deaths had allowed Elise's ancestors to survive. Their offering enough to allow her forefathers to shatter the Elven army. Thus was the power of their magic. The strength of the Well. Five hundred men made for an army, the power of their blood? That made for something greater all together.
Elise found herself musing on the story as she stared up at the mosaic now hanging within Grand Hall. The depiction of colored stones showing five hundred men upon a wall, each roaring in defiance, each ready to die.
Those had been the halcyon days.
When her family hadn't hid their magic completely. When they had called upon it, and the people had given themselves willingly to a greater cause.
Now they clamored for every little scrap of power they could get. Peasants fighting obscenely over anything and everything they could get their grubby little hands on. The New Republic was a battleground of a different sort, one that seemed strangely more difficult than the one she had grown up with. That was why she was here. A break.
She had needed to get out of the city and go somewhere quiet, relax, or at least allow herself a moment away from the screaming children back in Vel Anir.
"Baroness, Lady Aisling has arrived."
"Wonderful." She had invited her old friend along, knowing that her mindset was...not the same, but similar. Aisling's outlook on life was far different than Elise's, but that didn't matter. Not after all they had been through together. "Please, show her in."
Elise said as she turned away from the Mosaic, taking a small sip of her wine.