Red Dragon Inn

Red Dragon Inn Home Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark

Welcome, traveler!
( Member login. Not a member? Register here. )


Search    Memberlist    Usergroups    Forum Help   
Gallery    Shop    Jobs    Auctions    Pet Shop    Lottery   
Register    Log in 

Epilogue

 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> The Catacombs -> Sovereign Legacy
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Sofia DeMuer
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 88
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: Teobern, St. Aldwin or New Haven, RhyDin
5083.74 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:25 am    Post subject: Epilogue Reply with quote

"I'm not sorry she's dead. I'm only sorry I wasn't the one who killed her."

Unsurprisingly, Charles DeMuer had no response for Sophie's outburst. Birds called to one another, the leaves rustled in the breeze as if so much death and destruction hadn't occurred only miles from here less than a week before. She exhaled a heavy breath of air, trying to bite back the bitter anger that threatened to overcome her. Her hands shook with it, her stomach churned restlessly with it. Leaning back against the thick trunk of the large maple that hung overhead, she shot a look upward into its leafy canopy.

"I couldn't be around the refugees anymore. Not after I read that obituary. A philanthropist, it had called her. Not a mass murderer. It said she'd leave many with a lasting impact on their hearts. Well, at least that section of it was honest. Pain, torture, tragedy. All those will be lasting impacts on the hearts of the lives she destroyed."

"I don't want to take any contributions in her name," she declared vehemently to her father-in-law as her eyes fell back down from the limbs overhead.

"I know, I know. It's not pragmatic of me. But any money in her name seems horrendously tainted."

"That's really his answer." The son's voice carried up the hill as he climbed it toward his father, away from the ruins and past more rows of white marble than he cared to count. "Silence. Whatever I'd lay at his feet, whatever it was, he'd just... stare at me, quietly."

Alain huffed out a relieved sigh when he reached the top of the hill and stepped into the maple tree's generous shade to stand beside his wife. "I always assumed it was judgment, contempt... disgust..."

Charles DeMuer
b. May 13th 2030
d. September 6th 2082
"Patriotism is the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."


"I suppose I'll never know for sure, will I?" he added, the regret clear in his voice as he looked down on his father's headstone beside his mother's. His fingers reached out for Sophie's.

Pale blue eyes studied the name etched eternally in the marker. An arm lifted to cross over her chest, reaching across herself protectively and tucking beneath the opposite arm as its hand reached for his. All around them was the reminder of the tragedy and although the darkness had been defeated, it left behind a heartbreaking mark. Her fingers stretched towards his in reply, threading themselves through his own.

"He died impressed with you. For him, I believe that is truly saying something."

"It's what she always said," Alain said with another minute kink to his frown, turning weary blue eyes to his mother's headstone. "Honestly? If he were here, right now... and I could speak to him again?" An incredulous smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

Her eyes swept from the words in stone back to the dead man's son. It was hard to imagine that after so many years of this building, he had come out with only the cut over his brow. It would not even be lasting damage. In a couple months, it would have healed and disappeared. That, certainly, wasn't to say he wasn't without lasting damage. They all were. It was there in the heavy circles beneath his eyes and the way his skin fell a bit gaunt over his predominant cheek bones.

"What would you say?" Soft but vibrant shades of devotion and affection colored her voice, settling it into a gentleness she saved only for him.

"Whatever would piss him off," he answered bluntly. "I'd pick a fight. I can't explain it, but I know I would. We'd have it out, over everything that's happened, everything we've held back for eight long years..."

He looked over at her. She understood - the one who understood completely, who felt as he felt, who needed from him the same that she gave to him. She would understand this, too.

"It's funny because there's no other fight I'd want to have. I can't imagine ever wanting another. I'm... tired, Soph," he admitted, and lowered his eyes to look at their fingers. "I've been feeling so tired since this started building... All this death. If we can avoid any more..."

He looked up again, squinting at the daylight peeking through the branches of the maple tree. "I killed the woman who killed... a lot of people I care about, people who shouldn't have died... I also killed a man's wife, and a child's mother. That man has nothing left of her but her name and her empire... and if all he wants to do with that empire is change her name, and it helps the wounded and widowed..."

"I'm just grateful he hasn't turned to revenge. Not yet, at least. If doing this in her name gives him peace, keeps him from fighting... I think we should let him. There's not much else left of her..." He lifted his eyes to Sophie. "Nothing else we have to fear."

Truth was a steadfast companion between the two of them. No withheld truths, no white lies. There was no room for any of it. It could spell ruin, disaster, death. Therefore, she didn't even bother to hide the tightening of her features as her eyes swept away from him. She disagreed. Her rage still burned red hot even though his had grown as cold as death.

"I will not let go of Yaya."

But even as the words spilled bitterly out of her mouth, she knew them to be unfair. He wasn't asking her to let go of her sister. He hadn't even asked her to let go of revenge. Revenge had been had. Morana and her siblings was dead. Their father was destroyed. An appropriate response had been made to the threat. Killing John, laying waste to what was left of the woman's empire beckoned. They had destroyed one of her's and she wanted to bring a clenched fist of destruction down upon them. Still. After all these years.

But it wasn't reasonable. It wasn't responsible. It wasn't merciful. It was the inherent evil of all-encompassing, life-altering revenge. The type that could continue for generations.

"We won't. We won't ever. Let them do what they will, in whoever's name they see fit..." He turned fully to her, slid his hands up her arms to cradle them in his. "Look what we've done in Yaya's, for Icecrest, Vrashne and New Brittany. For thousands of Aurks. I didn't know her very long... but I didn't need that long to tell she was kind and compassionate... even to a sneaky bastard like me," he added with a twitch of a smile.

"I know she's proud. What you're doing for these people, in memory of her..." He shook his head slowly, in genuine wonder at it - they had helped so many thousands, tens of thousands... "She must be so proud."

Standing at the foot of his father's grave, he was reassuring her. Separating her arms from his hands she reached up to let her hands slide over his shoulders, falling over the arches to draw herself in towards him. Tears stung her eyes, burned her nose.

"Where do we go from here?"

"We rebuild. For her and for all of them, we build a new home for them... together. I'll be right beside you."

He curled his arms around her, fingers sinking into her hair as he cradled her head to his chest. Ad Lucem would be calling for him soon, the worries of his new duties loomed in the dark recesses of his mind... But for now, at least, they could face it all together.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Alain DeMuer
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 783
See this user's pet
Jobs: Gumshoe, Gunsmith
Can Be Found: RhyDin or Drasill
85676.20 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Over five hundred permanent structures have been completed, which puts us closer to our benchmark for sufficient stable shelter for the winter months. However the ground's hardened faster than we anticipated, so expect construction delays exceeding three weeks."

"We could petition for an extension on Seramanc's elementalists. Perhaps an additional month?"

"Their 'grace period' lapsed yesterday, they are already charging us at their normal rate again. Twelve million marks for an additional month. It may keep our reconstruction timetable on track but this would all but finish our contractor budget which we will need in the spring. There is no room for it anywhere else in the budget!"

"The weather's already colder than we anticipated and the Bretland Weather Survey reports more than five inches of snow in Delhust. This could affect the climate in Teodin. What will happen to the refugees if the model changes and we have November snowstorms?"

"Worse may happen in the spring if we do not have an emergency contractor budget. Worse than that if we bankrupt ourselves now. Yes lives are at stake, which is the reason we cannot allow ourselves to panic."

Armand Krueger looked up and down each end of the long table, studying every Councilor's face with a deepening frown. He was an experienced Speaker and already had a strong suspicion how this vote would play out... "Very well. We have heard the Councilors' arguments. Unless there are any objections we will proceed to a vote." His eyes lowered to his watch, allowing ten full seconds, but no objections came. "All in favor?"

Five hands.

"Against?"

Five hands.

"It appears we have another tie. Congratulations ladies and gentlemen, this makes the first time we have had three ties in a single day." Armand's humor only earned him a few uncomfortable laughs; he reined in a sigh and turned his gaze to the opposite end of the table. "The Council requests a tiebreaking vote or a second argument, at the Baron's discretion."

Alain DeMuer was leaned back in his unadorned wooden throne at the Council's table, massaging his temple with his right thumb in steadily timed circles and letting the cool silver circlet brush over the heel of his hand, focusing on each spike in his damaged nerves. Worried blue eyes roamed restlessly over the tabletop, absorbing the information the same way he would from a video - a finite slice of time and space that he was set apart from, that he could observe at his leisure.

A few of the Councilors exchanged uncomfortable looks, and Armand cleared his throat. "Baron DeMuer?" A question after his health died on the man's lips though it showed in the worried turn to his frown, and instead he pressed, "A tiebreaking vote or a second argument, milord, if it pleases you to offer either."

The Baron raised his eyebrows, and for a moment he looked surprised at the appearance of the assembled Councilors and that they were staring back at him. He had missed the last Governor's Advisory Council meeting and two others he had planned for the future of SPI. He was distant and disconnected with Sirs Roland, Seamus and Luca, silent until they offered their own recommendations for the Order and always consenting, usually with little more than a nod.

He built with his hands when he could, and wrote plans and budgets and managed the accounts when he could not. He sent letters every day, to the princes and presidents and the number of ordinary people who had helped and continued to help. He read reports and letters from the refugee camps obsessively, every day that they arrived... Yet through all of it he also managed to stay one back from his responsibilities, from his duties as Baron of Saint Aldwin, and more significantly to him, from feeling fully present.

"It has been a long meeting," Armand cut into the Baron's long pause with as warm of a smile as he could muster, "perhaps we should take a recess and when we return, ah, we may..." He trailed off when the Baron finally shifted in his seat, leaning forward to speak.

"Councilors... I propose a compromise. Two weeks. We will negotiate for four million marks instead of the six they will ask for, and in exchange prioritize production and delivery of the new fusion cores from the New Birmingham Laboratories, at the expense of their Nexus research project. Once this is done we will restore New Birmingham's original schedule. Speaker..." Alain tipped his folded hands toward Armand. "Is this an acceptable second argument?"

"Of course, Baron. All in favor?"

Seven hands. By the time the Speaker struck his gavel, the Baron had left his seat. He did not wait for the Councilors to rise, who struggled out of their seats in his wake; he slowed only long enough to allow Malcolm to remove the circlet from his brow and nearly left his knight behind as he strode briskly out of the meeting.
_________________
"All warfare is based on deception."
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Alain DeMuer
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 783
See this user's pet
Jobs: Gumshoe, Gunsmith
Can Be Found: RhyDin or Drasill
85676.20 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was New Year's Day, and Alain wanted to spend it the same way as the rest of the city: at home quietly nursing his hangover and praying for death. But there were errands to run, and Sophie's idea of hangover medicine was "get off your feet and move," so he stood in the back of a long line with his wife at their favorite bakery and cafe.

"Coffee?" Alain asked hopefully, squinting as the sunlight flickered through the windows. They had gone to the Lodge to watch fireworks over the water, Luca brought a handle of Icecrest vodka, and then it got fuzzy... "If we sit down for coffee, I swear you won't hear me complain for the rest of the day."

* * *

"WBSA's New Year's Metal Marathon will return after this message from our Baron helping us ring in the New Year! Play it!"

"Good morning Saint Aldwin, and welcome to 2013 in the year of our Lord. 2012 was a trying time for our nation, but together we have passed through our darkest hour. The strength that carried us then is still with us, and I have very high hopes for the year to come."


* * *

"For the rest of the day?" Sofia feigned surprise as she unwound the scarf from her neck, signaling she would give in to the request. Something sweet paired with something caffeinated sounded awfully good. Her teasing smile was turned on him. "That sounds like a tall order. Maybe you should start with something more reasonable like -- oh, I don't know -- thirty minutes?"

"A full hour at least. You'll see," he smiled back. "I'll find us a table in the back, okay?" He touched her on the arm as he slipped past her and through the bustling crowd, searching out an empty table, hopefully a good distance from the windows too.

He shut his eyes as soon as he dropped into his chair, leaning his brow into his hand. New Year's Resolution No. 1: No more drinking with the knights.

* * *

"Thanks to our own strength and the help of our friends and allies in the Hichi Accord, projected growth will match or exceed pre-crisis levels by the end of this quarter. The Council and I have resolved that now is the time to craft a long-term budget that will guarantee the rest of the rebuilding process, finish infrastructure upgrades in Teodin by year's end and begin a five-year plan in Bretland.

"Unemployment stands at an all-time low of 4.8% among the fully settled. I believe we can do better. Last night the Council and I further resolved to a year's end goal of 3.9% or lower."


* * *

The line was long but the baker was quick and efficient. Within five minutes, footsteps approached the table. A paper bag was sat on the table filling the space with the scent of warm, sweet cinnamon rolls and a cardboard cup of coffee was set down before Alain. A chair scraped lightly against the wood floorboards as a seat was taken opposite of Alain. There was a note of mock sympathy in her voice when she spoke, "Oh, Alain. Are you getting old?"

Alain warmed his right hand around the coffee cup; it was almost to his lips when he looked up at the woman who had taken the opposite seat. He took a whiff of the coffee before setting it aside. Not poisoned that he could tell, but he wasn't taking any risks. "I don't know you."

* * *

"Many of you see strangers in your communities you did not see one year ago, but this has always been the way of our country: to welcome in strangers in need as we would an old friend. I want to thank each and every one of you out there for contributing to our collective well-being, to caring for friends and strangers alike, and ensuring our country will never be a place where we allow misery and want. I want to thank you all for your enormous generosity; together it makes us great."

* * *

The woman opposite him wasn't his wife. Sofia was chatting amicably with the older couple in front of her in line. Soft shoulder length blonde hair was mussed in a stylish manner. Her bright red lips parted to offer a toothy smile. "I'm Director Maureen Rae."

She wasn't one of Ad Lucem's usual Directors. They wore business suits and kept their heads down. Save Alain, they were older and ordinary. Her pale blue cashmere sweater, jeans, and calf-high boots did nothing to avoid attention.

"In the flesh." Her reputation preceded her; it seemed Alain wasn't the only unusual choice when it came to the next generation of Directors. A pattern was taking shape. "When did they confirm you?" He couldn't help the note of curiosity in his tone.

"Two days after my grandfather died. So about two months ago now. They didn't want his seat to linger open," she stated with the lift of a shoulder in a carefree shrug. She lifted the cup to her lips to take a sip of coffee as her eyes slipped in Sophie's direction. They still had time. Sophie hadn't gotten far in line. The baker's grandson seemed to be moving in slow motion as he filled the orders. It seemed that Alain wasn't the only one in the shop nursing a hangover. "Valastro's seat has been open for nearly seven months now. As you can imagine, the others are getting restless to see you confirmed."

"I have a country to lead and ten thousand new mouths to feed, so forgive me if I'm distracted." His eyebrows inched up. "And besides... the Architect is dead. What's the rush?" He leaned back in his chair to better assess her. "Certainly no more rush than your people have shown in delivering the rest of the promised aid."

* * *

"Some of the last year's challenges still remain, but I feel confident that they will be overcome. We started as less than two hundred souls, separated from our homes by conflict, disease and hunger, and in five years we have become fifty thousand with a place we can call home."

* * *

"Your people? You are one of us, Baron. Or you will be as soon as you are confirmed." He laugh was a cheerful rush. She crossed her legs beneath the table and smiled his way. "There are plans. There are always plans. But these plans are big and all hands are needed."

"Enlighten me," was his cool reply. So far none of her smiles had been returned. "I'm not exactly eager to march my people to the next war Ad Lucem has planned... I'm sure you understand."

His sour attitude didn't seem to dissuade her. Her spirited, cheerleader vibe burned on. Sharp green eyes were full of fervor. "That is exactly our point. Are you not tired of the scourge of mankind? The evil taints everything."

"We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away," she quoted from Isaiah.

"But," she stated quickly, her eyes bouncing towards the counter to find the older couple in front of Sophie now placing their order. Maureen leaned forward and concentrated her eyes on Alain. She had a reputation as a politician even before her confirmation as a Director. She had always been silver-tongued but now it was enhanced by passion, dogmatism, and a sense of righteousness. "What if we could eliminate that? What if we could change the evils of humanity and end war forever?"

* * *

"We grieve the dead. We will always remember their extraordinary sacrifice, but always remember this also: that they gave their lives for the place we live and the society we have built, where one man's want is everyone's concern. It grieves me every day that our people once more had to face the evil specter of war, but we bested it... and that gives me hope for a lasting peace."

* * *

She had his attention now, exactly as the other Directors had predicted. It was an almost imperceptible change, wheels turning in his head behind his scrutinizing gaze. "How."

A sly smile formed, inviting him into her secret. "The new Tree of Life."

Alain frowned; he glanced at the counter and back to her. "On its own the Tree of Life encourages growth, not peace. It has no direct bearing on conflict within its domain beyond the certainty that life will go on."

"True. But there are ancient documents that suggest it can be used in other ways." She leaned back, breaking the spell that her voice could produce as Sophie waited for her order a handful of yards away. Maureen rose to her feet, picking up her cup of coffee. "If you want to know more which I'm sure you do, I would speak with your wife. She did spend a lot of time over the years evaluating the Emperor of Icecrest's antiquities. I believe she might just be holding out on you."

"We will be in touch to schedule your confirmation for sometime early next month, yes?

Alain nodded slowly, gaze sliding to his wife and back. Now - finally - he granted her a smile. "I look forward to it. Until then, Maureen."

"Have a nice afternoon," she called cheerfully as she turned. A bright smile was flashed towards a young mother juggling a child on a hip and then she stepped out the door of the bakery, the bells on the door jingling merrily in her wake. Alain breathed his reply too late, after she had already gone.

* * *

"We have all given much in the past year, but what we have for it is a safe and peaceful home, a generous and supportive society, and limitless opportunities for the future. I can say with complete confidence that I am hopeful for what 2013 holds, and I believe all of us should be too. God bless you and keep you, and also..."

* * *

"Happy new year."
_________________
"All warfare is based on deception."
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> The Catacombs -> Sovereign Legacy All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Dragon's Mark Producer - Rob Portinga
Original site design © 2005 by Nomad  •  Forum design © 2005 Isaura Simon