"It's not fair." A young boy, no more than twelve, sits on a throne, in a castle with all the extravagancies there are to be had. He wore purple silk, the finest money could buy, and a crown, far too large for him. A hundred guards stood in lines in the palace floor, not even moving an inch. Two men were on each side of the child, looking at the young boy. "Your Highness," one of them spoke up. He wore very fine clothing himself, with white hair and a trim beard. His dark eyes spoke only harsh truths. "these things happen. You are king now, and you must act the part. You must be strong, to make a strong kingdom." "He is right of course. Your Highness" the other man speaks up. "However, you do not need to hide your emotions. A ruler must be compassionate, and he must show the people that he serves them, and that it is not only them serving." "I don't want to be king." The boy pouts "I want my father back." "His demise was truely untimely, may the Five bless his soul. The cause of his death is still being looked into." The second man says, making a quick glance at the other man. Their eyes meet, and the first man quickly finishes the sentence. "I have my best working on it, Your Majesty. You do not..." "Enough." The boy interrupts. "I've had enough of this for today. Leave, both of you." Both of the men bow, and walk off towards seperate directions of the castle. They stare knives at each other until they pass from each other's sight.
The two men sat alone in a dimly lit room, eating a humble meal. They ate in silence for some time, until the white haired man spoke up. "Why have you called me here, Lises?" Lises smiles slightly, and places his silverware down gently. He looks up, staring into the eyes of the other man. He saw a man filled with fear and hate. Eyes of a man that would do anything for power. He hid it well, though. "Well, Marus. I simply wanted to have a little chat. About the death of the previous King, Five bless his soul" The man smiles slightly, and takes a sip of wine. "I just received the report, as a fact. Natural causes. He was getting quite on in years after all..." "Is that so. And here I had heard word that it was poison." Lises states, face unchanging. "I heard that as well. I performed the magic myself, and there was no signs of poison. It was just his time, as a fact." Marus says, taking a sip of wine. "Five grant him rest." "How convenient for you. With no other possible heirs, if the young prince were to meet an ill fate before being wed, that would leave you with the throne. By the laws of this land." Marus frowned, and rested his chin on his hands, staring into Lises. "What are you getting at?" "Just that you have the most to gain from his death. And the best opportunities." Marus slams his hands on the table and rises to a stand. "Are you accusing me of foul intentions!? You have no proof. You have overstepped your boundaries this time, foreigner." "Calm yourself, Master Advisor. If I had intention of putting you to justice I would have done so already. I have taken an interest in the young king Arak is all. I wish to see how he overcomes this. If he can figure it on his own. However I will not allow you to seize this throne. Not yet, so stay your blade." Lises stands, and dabs his mouth with a napkin. He places a single finger on the center of the table with force. "Stay your blade." Lises turns and walks away. Marus stands and raises his hand to protest when the table splits in two, making a large crash and spilling what was left on the table. He put his hand down, stunned, and watches as Lises leaves.
"You called for me, Your Highness?" Lises spoke to the young king on his throne. The boy seemed more composed, as if he understood far more than before. He waves off the servers and the guards in the room, leaving the two alone. "Yes, I did Second Advisor. I am troubled." "If I can help in any way, Your Grace, I will. But shouldn't something of this sort be handled by the Master Advisor?" The young king sits up, and leans his chin into one hand. His bright orange eyes stare deep into Lises', who returns the gaze with a light smile. "Yes, usually. However, this is a matter that I... have already discussed with the Master Advisor. And I found his answer below satisfaction. I bring it to you, and a task with it." The King pauses, and Lises makes a court bow, waiting for him to continue. "My Master Advisor has been taking a sizable amount from the treasury, for the reason of 'border protection'. When I pressed he simply trucked it up to routine allowances. But I am concerned, we have had lasting peace, and I do not wish for this to cause alarm with our neighbors..." "So you would like for me to check the resource expenditures, and speak to our neighboring countries; Saranji and Telzuvius, and assure them that we wish to continue peace?" The young king smiled once again, and crossed his arms. "I like when I don't have to spell it out for you Second Advisor. I will grant you our fastest griffin avaliable, and give you access to the Master Advisor's accounts. Have your most trusted men look into the spendings, and travel to our friends personally. Greet them warmly and peacefully. I expect you back in a fortnight with a report." Lises bows, and backs out of the room remaining bowed until he leaves the sight of the king. He smiles with satisfaction, and makes his way to the stables.
The wind tore violently into Lises' hair, throwing it back and everywhere. He rode on a speeding white griffin, thousands of feet in the air. He enjoyed the view, the crystal ocean to the east, the ever expanding hills of Grath'noi to the west, and the incredible mountains of the Saranji Range ahead. The mountains towered over him even so high in the sky. The highest peak, the God's Throne, is said to rise thirty miles into the air, extending far beyond the breathable atmosphere of the planet. To places east of God's Throne, the sun does not even rise until after noon. And that was his destination. The Saranji Empire's capital city was built into that mountain. It would still take him three hours to get there, and it's mighty silhouette could be seen. Lises smiled, and pulled a card out from his trump deck. It instantly connected, and a rather confused Marus appeared on the other side. "Good evening, Master Advisor." "What is this, Second Advisor? More of your foreigner magic?" "Of sort. It'd be difficult to explain now, but I would love to try. To see if you would understand." "Bah! I am not impressed. Likely some mix of scrying magic and telepathy. Clever, I daresay. But what in the name of the Five do you want?" "Oh, you know better than to call the gods' name in vain. I was simply checking up on you, Master Advisor. I am away, wouldn't want you to think you're free to try any funny business." "Again with these accusations! There is no shady business I am up to. There was however a rogue assassin however in your wake. He was stopped, fortunately, by the man you left here. He is freakishly strong, just like you. The would-be assassin committed suicide before he could be questioned." "Now now, no need for petty insults. Custode is a brilliant guard. I was thinking of making him real. I'll ask him for a report when I return. Once again, don't force me to act Marus." "You thi.." And Lises cuts the trump. He begins to hum to himself as he continues his trip.
"How odd." Lises stands in the middle of a large stone room, brown rocks on the far walls and high ceiling, a large green crystal hanging tinting the skins of the hundred or so women that surrounded him. They all had white hair, dark skin and well-toned bodies. The Saranji were strong, and some kind of genetics within them creates a 95% female birthrate. Their men do the roles that women do in most societies, and none were seen in this assembly. A large silver throne was before him, with a large yet beautiful woman seated within. She stood, and walked over to Lises, standing nearly a foot taller than him, who was easily over six feet. In her hand a large ornate spear with a glowing blue blade was held. "When we sent our messangers to your 'border protection' unit, they did not return." She continued. She stared down into him, and he returned the stare. "How do you explain this as 'only desiring peace'?" "Matriarch Iosis, I assure you that we have only the purest of intentions." Lises counters, and he was obviously not believed as murmurs spread throught the room. "I have been sent to tell you that the border protection unit will be returned to Newvarian territory immediately. We simply do not wish for a misunderstanding, they were sent out without the King's acknowledgment." "Weak." The matriarch spits out. Her face grows sterner as she folds her arms across her chest. "We are prepared for war. Your country is weak and spoiled, using magic for comfort and luxury. It would not take a month to have your 'king''s head before my throne. Why should we not take what we could so easily?" "I counter, that I could equally easily remove the lives of all of your Valkryies within this room. War is not some-" Lises was interrupted by a deep roar from the woman in front of him. The room clamoured to arms and charged towards Lises. The matriarch hurled her spear at Lises. Lises evades the throw, and caught the spear, planting it into the ground. In a swift motion using one arm he lifted himselfto a standing position on top of the butt of the spear, and waited for the mob to swarm him.
"Why don't you fight back?" The woman panted, lunging her spear once again. "I was asked to speak with you peacefully" Lises says, arcing his head back to evade it. It was nearly an hour since Iosis charged Lises, and he had managed to dodge every blow without returning any. The Matriarch alone continued to fight, the rest of the Valkryies leaning on their weapons or on a knee, panting and watching the fight. Lises calmly continued to back around the room, while Iosis continued to press. "I will talk of peace if you can defeat me, maggot." She said, adding in another thrust. Lises sidesteped, narrowly dodging the attack, and then stepped forward. She was quite good, chaos rank at least. He finally pulled his hands from his pockets and punched powerfully into her stomach. She bent over, spitting as the wind was knocked out of her. She continued to stand, however, more than Lises expected. She spins her spear in a flash brings the spear towards him unexpectantly, and Lises stops it with his arm. A trickle of blood rolls down his arm. The first time her weapon collided with him. They both smile, and Iosis is the first to drop her stance. Lises follows shortly. She slams the butt of her spear into the ground, a very loud ringing sound reverberates throughout the room. She turns around, and sits back into her throne, putting her chin in her hand and avoiding eye contact with Lises. "Fine. I'll give you a chance to pull your men out. You have three days. If any Newvarian forces are within the neutral area between our countries, you will have war. I truely did not believe they had any amoung them as strong as you." "That will be suficient, Matriarch." Lises says with a bow, "And I am quite unique. If you were impressed however you should see my cousins Jubei and Doroshea. I would not stand a chance versus them in a fight. Well then, I shall take my leave." Lises bows again, and begins to walk to where his griffon was stabled. Iosis shook her head and stared as he walked away.
"Like I said, Second Advisor, I cannot adhere to your request." The small man said. Despite his stature and timid nature, he was very resilient to listen to reason. He was in charge of the reconnaissance team for the Saranji border, a one Captian Greyjeel. "The order came from the King's First Advisor, and someone of his rank or high alone can retract the order." "I'm telling you child, I have come directly from King Arak, and it is his word I bring." Lises had been at it for a while now, and was becoming tired of what was supposed to be the easy part of his task. "I'm sorry. But we can't, unless the King or Master advisor themselves make the order. We were told so specifically" "Do you realize how many will die if Saranji comes for war? It is likely Newvarian will be wiped off the map." "I...know. But it is not my place. Get a writ of order, and I'll gladly move the patrols." "I'll do one better." Lises turned around sharply, and waved his hand and whispered. Although not proficient with sorcery, the magic here was easy to manipulate and use. After spending so long in this shadow, he became a master at it. A crystal mirror appeared, and floated in the air. The image within was cloudy at first, then slowly cleared, showing the young king. The king turned towards the image, with a curious look. "I am sorry for the interruption, your majesty. But the young Captain here needs you directly to recall the troops from the Saranji border." The boy-king in the mirror smiled, and looked towards the now nervous man. "You must be Captain Greyjeel, correct?" "Err...Yes Sir, uh, Your Majesty." The man stuttered and saluted. Lises simply smiled. "Second Advisor Lises is there under my direct order. Please obey anything he asks for." "Yes Sir. We'll move out immediately" Greyjeel manages, and then bows and rushes off as the king waves him off. Arak then turns to Lises. "Things must be dire indeed if you were willing to use the Clearsight spell. It takes the time off the caster's lifespan. Did you speak with Iosis?" Lises bows again, and sighs a sigh of relief, having at least postponed war. "Yes, I did and your fears were correct. Haste was required, I simply did what was necessary, her ire has been quelled. I will head to Telzuvius next. I will report when I complete my task." He spoke quickly suggesting haste. Although, being Amberite, he was immune to the spells negative effect of shortening the life span during the use of the spell, he wanted to give the illusion of concern. The boy-king nods, and turns away from the mirror. "Very well, I look forward to your report of success." Lises waves his hand again, and the mirror shatters. He breathes slowly for a moment, and then once again walks to where his griffon was stabled.
Lises grips onto the feathers of the griffon, as it gives a shrill cry of concern. The winds beat powerfully against them, and the griffon swayed. A storm was heading towards griffon and rider, darkening the sky. Lises had hoped to get to Tizori before the storm reached him, but that seemed impossible now. He pushed the griffon downwards, seeking shelter to wait the storm out. He noticed a cave, convenient. He landed in front of the dark cavern, and led his griffon inside. The creature shakes itself like a dog, removing the water from its feathers, then begins preening itself. Lises begins working on building a fire. He began thinking as the fire crackled to life. He had spent over a decade in this shadow, however not nearly so much time passed outside. He liked places like that, he could stay as long as he wished, and the world outside wouldn't change too much. Lises was reminded of the time he spend in Keifer's library. He sought to further his knowledge of trump, and was suggested asking that uncle. Though within for years, when he exited, a bird he noticed before he entered was still in the same beat of its wing. Keifer's perceived age is unfathomable, even to the immortal. That place however doesn't suit Lises well. It is far to quiet, far to little life. He likes Arden, and Avalon, and his Garden of Eden. The Garden, a place Lises truely loves to stay. Even though he's stayed there for so many decades, he'll never see all the lifeforms that shadow holds. A quality that attracted him to it, along with the sheer lack of sentient life. It is simply a place of nature, untainted by man or powers beyond. Perhaps he should visit there as a break. No, that would not do. Even if he spent only a week there, years would pass here. He'll stay here and watch his quarry 'til its end.
The Lord of Telzuvius was truly understanding. Their kind are known well for their foresight, I had the impression he knew everything I was saying ahead of time. They were not in the least concerned about attackers, 'not for another 37 years'. I guess I'll return to Newvarian. It has been some time. Hopefully peace can continue on this shadow. Hopefully the king will learn of his advisor's treachery soon. As I was about out of the city, I felt a tug on my sleeve. I turned to look, and saw a Telzuvi woman. Her blue skin was wrinkled with age, and her eyes were cloudy. She wore a dress made of silver scales, and decorum that showed she was a seer. She pulled my sleeve down further, forcing my head down, and placed a necklace around my neck, it was laden with pearls and a sea-shell. "Take this, walker. You have drawn the attention of Gods, be so wary." and the little woman turned back into her hut, at a speed surprising for her age. I bowed in appreciation, wondering what she meant. Would other Amberites come my way? The shell in such a trinket usually held a spell, and I opened the sea-shell immediately. A small red spark slowly left the shell, and rotated around me a few times before dissipating. That's... a ritual/spell called Vigil of the Guardian. It is a simple protective spell. Wondering again why the old seer gave me such a thing, I turned back towards the road. Before me, Five being stood. From left to right, the far left one was a beautiful woman in a grey one piece dress, holding a large book in one hand and a scepter in the other. Her golden bangs covered her eyes, and an emotionless feel emanated from her. No feet were revealed below her dress, instead she seemed to fade off. Next was a young boy who was only up to woman's waist. He had a devilish smile, and from different angles seemed to have an aged appearance . He wore a chain shirt under a golden cloak, and the bottom rings were rusted. Next was a hulk of a man, with stark white skin and red face paint. He had two scimitars on his back, and two on his waist. He had no shirt, and his chest was covered in scars. He wore a serious expression, and his eyes never left mine. Next was an old man with a long white beard, and flowing white robes. His face however, was terribly peculiar, as he had no eyes nor ears nor mouth. Long chains dragged out behind him from within his robes. On the far right was something less human. A head of a woman with sky-blue hair, but where her right arm should be instead another head-like thing was there. It was more like a shadow, and hard to actually focus on. Her lower body became a mix of the two. I recognized them from scrolls I had read. The Five That Have No Names. The Gods of this world. But something else struck me unbelievable. They were real.
"Intriguing" Lises mutters, looking into the eyes of the gods before him. "We have been watching you." They said. None of their mouths moved, but the voice seemed to be as if all 5 spoke at once. "You have drawn our attention, child of Amber." "Ho... Amazing. They say you've been around for millennia, have you been waiting for me that long?" The four looked at the one in the center, and the center one continued to stare. "No, that we have both come here is coincidence. We have been... stuck, in this place for very long." Lises tried to think of how these 'gods' could have come to be. One of his cousins? Virgil's been gone for a very long time, but that doesn't seem right. "How did you come to be here?" "We have always been here." The four on the outside, began very slowly to get closer together. "We are the Gods of this world, and have been here since its creation." Lises started to get a bad feeling, and put up his guard. The Five That Have No Names began to move into the same place, as if over-writing each other "You are not the first to visit this world" They continued. "There was a man, who called himself a knight, who came to this world. Whatever his intentions, his means were to gain control of this place. We would not allow that. So, we slew him. The One Who Controls Death took him, and gave his power to us. We then realized everything, learning his knowledge. But, we were unable to leave. You have the power, the cards at your waist..." By now, they all moved into one space, and began to change appearance. A mix of all five, the head it took was of the large man, with eight arms and various pieces of each god's clothing. He took the four scimitars, book, etc. into his hands. "...They can allow us to leave. You can leave them here, or also be consumed." "Sorry," Lises said, raising his fists, "I'm afraid I cannot."