"So, will she arrive within the hour like you told me?" Arathasa spoke, the guard standing in front of him saluting.
"Yes, my Liege; she should be underway by now" he assured, the king's deep, gray eyes narrowing.
"Friend, what do you make of this charge my council puts against Lady Lightblade?" the king asked, gesturing the guard to follow him as he went towards his throne.
"With all honesty, Sire, I think that Royal Council are running a fool's errand; with respect, Lady Allisia's reasons were well-founded."
"Indeed; I am grateful we at least mannaged to hinder the council from sending their own messenger..." Arathasa sighed, sitting down on the golden Dragon Throne; "...truth to be spoken, I mistrust them greatly; I fear they plan a treason against me."
"Why not disband the council? With their power lost they will not think of such, Sire" the guard said, Arathasa waving his hand in denial.
"No, it will only stir up further trouble; also, there are still people who support me and the people rather than their wallets and lands..." Arathasa said; "...we cannot 'purify' the council as such; we are not the Church of Tanrisa."
"Forgive me, my Liege" the guard said, Arathasa nodding.
"Worry not, your displeasement is as great as mine; let me assure you, though..." Arathasa spoke, his armour clinking as he sat up; "...I still rule Silvarcira by the people's and Laracris' choice; I will not hang myself out like a puppet on a string to meaningless greed and selfishness, nor corrupt politics."
"True words, Your Highness" a voice sounded behind the guard; Harrandar, a shin'idun Dragon Knight walked towards the king, his armour newly polished.
"Speak your mind, Lord Harrandar" Arathasa said, gesturing the knight towards him.
"I have seen Lady Allisia and her company heading for the castle; she may well enter, but..." the knight stopped, feeling uncertain if he was to present his request to the king.
"I said: Speak your mind" Arathasa repeated, Harrandar quickly stating his request nervously:
"I, I request that the shin'idun she travels with be held back; my honour is at stake as a knight, Your Highness..." Harrandar said.
"Your honour? Explain" Arathasa asked, leaning further towards the knight.
"Well, Mirinda Dawnmist, as her name goes, is a distant cousin of mine; she...she betrayed her family and ran away, choosing to be a harlot to Nightwind Manor rather than a priestess of the Holy Church..." Harrandar spoke, his voice turning up in anger; "...I must insist that harlot never approaches the castle!"
"Enough!" Arathasa cut him off, his armoured gauntlet hammering into the throne's side; looking at the knight, Arathasa calmed down.
"Why would you deny her entrance simply because of a choice she made?" he asked.
"She's become a mere harlot! It is blood shame in my people's eyes! I cannot be seen around such a filthy-..." Harrandar started, Arathasa simply sighing and stroking his long, silvery beard.
"You value your own honour over all, Harrandar, that I know..." Arathasa began, raising up from the throne, walking towards the knight; "...but this 'request' you present to me borders on madness."
Now not two meters from Harrandar, Arathasa spoke clearly; "know that there is no shame in allowing anyone in the company of Lady Allisia to enter the castle."
"Allisia herself is a harlot! They all are! They have no love for men, we who fight the wars, for the glory, and-..." Harrandar began panicking, Arathasa walking around him in circles.
"And when, in the history of Silvarcira, have any woman taken up arms and lead our armies to war?" Arathasa asked.
"Never, because-..." Harrandar began again, Arathasa holding up his hand to stop him.
"A lie! My wife, Alinor, not two years ago, took up arms in the Divine War..." the king said, his face darkening; "...I loved her, but she fell with honour; since then, women all over the kingdom has taken a greater interest in taking up arms against injustice!"
"You see..." the king continued; "...in the old days, we men did not see women as equals, and neither do you, it seems..." Arathasa said, looking strictly at the knight; "...humans have always fought for greed, of any sort; lands, gold, power, anything you can think of; it is our nature, but remember this..."
By that, Arathasa pointed an armoured finger at Harrandar; "...this kingdom is ruled through justice, not patriachy or old traditions; as long as I sit on the Dragon Throne, no army leaves Silvarcira's borders for conquest or selfish needs; their purpose, as well as mine, is to serve the people of Silvarcira! I ask you, Harrandar: When you entitle your cousin with such titles as 'harlot', does that make you feel worth your sword?"
".....No Sire, it does not..." Harrandar sighed, his anger at being scolded like a common school boy flaming up in his eyes; "...yet you, my liege, are willing to hope for the impossible! Allisia failed the kingdom once, and yet you still give her a chance for redemption??"
"Lady Allisia never 'failed' the kingdom; Silvarcira failed her, because of the Royal Council's greed; to them, their wallets are far more important than the well and care for their people, and only a few remain loyal to me..." Arathasa said, sitting down on the throne; "...my trust lies in my soldiers and my people, and spoken in honesty, your lack of care for them displeases me greatly, Harrandar."
With that, Harrandar turned on his heels marching out of the throne room, hissing curses in elvish.
"My liege, should we not follow him? What if he will conspire?" the guard asked, the king shaking his head.
"No; Harrandar was a devoted knight..." Arathasa said heavily; "...but I saw his purse under the cloak; it was filled to the brim..."
"Halt! Lady Allisia and company?" a Royal Guard asked as Allisia stepped closer; apart from normal City Guards, the Royal Guards wore a midnight-blue cloak with white trims, and small, golden wings of a dragon sat on each side of the glided helmet.
"Yes, I am" Allisia said, gesturing to the girls behind her; "worry not; they are my responsability through the trial."
"Hmph! She's sounding like we were fucking catgirls..." Raicha mumbled, Chinyi looking sourly at her.
"Catgirls are the cutest in the world! Don't say bad stuff about them!" she mumbled, crossing her arms and making a surprisingly good imitation of Raicha's sour look, Raicha smiling a bit at her, Chinyi returning that, as well.
"Alright, you may enter" the Royal Guard said, the heavy steel door behind him opening creakingly.
"Wow, this place is sure pretty nice..." Charlene said to herself, walking through the corridors as a guard showed them the way to the throne room.
"...Pathetic old fool! Talking of freeing that slanderous courtesan...!" a voice were heard up ahead, the girls wondering who it was.
In that moment, Harrandar came marching towards them, pushing the guard aside as he walked past them; however, seeing Allisia, he rolled his eyes and spat on her cheek.
"Traitorous harlot!" he snarled coldly, proceeding down the corridor the girls had come from.
"Easy Jiraz, easy..." Shica tried and calm her girlfriend, Jiraz's eyes shining and glowing red with right out bloodlust.
"What a fucking dumbass!" Raicha commented, making a rude gesture towards Harrandar.
"You said it! Armour or not, I'd kick his-..." Hiroi began, Mirinda trying to calm them down.
"Easy girls; remember the trial" she hushed them, Hiroi and Riacha doing their best to calm down.
"Welcome, Allisia Lightblade; we've been expecting you..." the hoarse old voice from a an old man sitting at a table said as the group entered.
"Please sit yourself down" another, deep voice sounded; "your companions can join you, should you wish so."
"But Sire..." the hoarse voice said, almost strictly, but the man behind the voice apparently held his comment back.
"Guards, please enlighten us" the deep voice said; almost imidiatly after he spoke, hundreds of small torches hanging in steel holders around the room was lit, the throne now as bright as if it had been bathed in sunlight.
"Uhmm, you've got some extra chairs? We're quite a lot..." Jiraz asked, the sight of her and Shica leading to gasp from the people at the table; various noblemen and noblewomen, all of them richly dressed or clad in heavily docorated armour of various designs.
"A demon?! Guards, slay that foul thing!" an elderly woman pointed sharply at Jiraz, her look of despise clearly visible to all.
As the guards did not move as much as an inch, the elderly lady began snarling at Jiraz.
"You demonic whore! You defile this kingdom with your mere presence, you harlot of a bitch!" she snapped, Jiraz apparently not affected the least, instead grinning at Shica.
"Never fails; first the racism, then the over-zealousness, and then the one about her thinking I'm your common stereotype..." Jiraz said, leaning herself to Shica's shoulder, sighed overdramatically as Shica did her best not to grin.
"How dare you insult me, you worthless-...!" the lady began again, another woman interrupting her; "that's enough, Istannia! We need not hear all about your racism..."
"Well spoken; let her speak for herself" an older man spoke, his thick, black beard and long hair making him look quite savage.
"Well, I just kinda asked for some chairs; we're around eight other people here..." Jiraz asked again, a guard heading towards a small door in the room's southeastern side, another one following him as they brought out some light wooden chairs.
"Thanks" Jiraz said as she sat down, the girls now looking over the table:
Most people around it did not seem to approve of their presence, yet a few looked curiously at them, while a single, older nobleman made the mistake of glaring at Jiraz, which a single, warning look made him quit imidiatly.
"If we are through we greeting each other with violent prejudices and accusions based on their race..." a deep voice now sounded, everyone's eyes turning to the source; "...we should start this trial by now."
Appearing from the shadows, King Arathasa sat down on an empty chair; an old man around fifty-three, his full beard reaching to his chest, his equally long hair reaching to his shoulders; his face was rough and beaten, and his gray eyes had their own, unique glance only a king could boost of.
"Lady Allisia Lightblade, you are charged for high treason against the Crown of Silvarcira for leaving your duties as a Dragon Knight of the kingdom, forsaking your oath and to illegally steal the armour and arms of a Dragon Knight from the Dragon Order's armoury..." Arathasa read up from a scroll on the table, looking at Allisia; "...how do you plead, Allisia?"
"I am not guilty" Allisia said shortly, the diffrent council members eagerly either discussing, mumbling or sending evil stares at her.
"Why would you not be guilty?" A wicked-looking old nobleman asked sceptically.
"I left my duty to Silvarcira, I know of that..." Allisia said, trying to collect herself; feeling a sudden touch, she found Siriki and Chinyi sitting behind her, smiling encouragingly, reminding her of the Nightwind girls' support.
"To speak from the heart..." Allisia said, her eyes narrowing slightly as she looked over the noblemen and women; "...I despised the rule of the Royal Council! While people suffered in the aftermath of the Divine War, all they cared about was their wallets and power."
"You brat! How dare you speak such lies?!" Lord Harrandar snarled, having decided to attend the trial for the joy of seeing Allisia imprisoned for treason.
"Lord Harrandar, you are not even fit to speak of lies..." Allisia replied in kind, her voice so icy even Rhanar lifted an impressed eyebrow; "...what about the time you claimed me to be the greatest Dragon Knight of the Golden Dragon Order? And the same night, you break into my quarters with the intention of violating me!"
"HARLOT! Filthy little wench! You dare speak to me like that?!" Harrandar brutally slammed his fist into the table, the surrounding council members eagerly debating.
"Hey! Shut your fuckin' trap or go suck your white horse's cock, mother fucker!" Raicha and Hiroi rose up in union, Charlene and Mirinda following the example.
"My liege, should we...?" a guard by the king's side asked, the king shaking his head; in his mind, he was pleased someone came to face the Royal Council and gave him a well-founded reason to, maybe, disband it; as king, he could not just do so, or it would cast a shadow of doubt over his judgement being for the greater good...or for his own interests.
"What did you call me, brat? I know not of that whorish tongue you use!" Harrandar grinned shortly and overconfident; as the girls began protesting, Rhanar gestured to Shica to grab around Jiraz's tail, the demon girl looking about to go berserk in rage.
"Now..." a voice suddenly said through the noise, the attention drawn to a tall figure in a dark-green silk robe; lowering the hood, it revealed an elderly, gray-haired shin'idun, his skin pale and his green eyes focused on Harrandar.
"Now the masks falls..." he sighed heavily; "...the young Lightblade speaks the truth, yet you, as well as I, denies it..." the elf spoke, the wooden staff sitting besides his chair giving off a faint, green glow; "...we used our power as the Royal Council to both banish the king as an infant, as well as denying all of our people the help they needed."
"Someone cut down this mumbling old coot! He speaks in riddles again!" the savage-looking nobleman exclaimed, recieving a medium back-up from the council members.
"If I may speak..." Rhanar now suddenly said, standing up; while not a council member, his dark appearence provided a more silent atmosphere; "...what Lady Allisia and Sage Dawnmist tells us is true; you can all deny and let the guilt rot in your hearts, and if so, you all prove more cowardly than a common brigand."
As silence fell after Rhanar's speech, Shica grinned mentally to herself that, for once, her brother's 'Dark Lord Speech' had been a great help.
"...Uhmm, O...K..." Hiroi said, slowly sitting down, the other girls following the example, although they still sent the council members, the with exception of the king and the elf sage, evil glares.
"Clever words from an abomination as yourself, Narra-Jar..." a shady nobleman wearing a black hood with facemask grinned sarcastically; "...despite the dramatic claim, why should we listen to you and your little harem?"
"ARE YOU FUCKING MENTAL?!" Hiroi yelled in right out fury, slamming her fist into the table; "we're no harem to ANYBODY except our mistress Narrisha! If you can't get it in your fucking mind, we're lesbians, don't do cocks, and we're proud of it to the bone!"
Settling down, panting from outburst, Raicha looked in adoration at Hiroi while the other girls smiled and appluaded at her.
"And before that rattlesnake over there thinks of it..." Jiraz silently hissed, although she could clearly be heard, her voice trembling in anger; "...I swear I'll roast him alive if he starts getting homophobic!"
The masked nobleman, already taken aback by Hiroi's screaming, looked right out scared as he looked to King Arathasa.
"My king, you can't let them speak like that! Brats should not-..." the nobleman began, the king simply lying his hands on the table, sighed heavily and looked around himself.
"I have many soldiers, knights and guards, all serving mine and Silvarcira's interests..." he said, looking towards the council members; "...and yet, behind all my power and glory, there is still something I lack..."
"My liege?" a noblewoman spoke, clearly making an attempt at sounding sympathic, which failed miserably.
"I lack the ability to draw a line..." the king said, folding his hands into fists; "...the council has over a dozen members, and by that dozen, over half of you have secretly tried and either backstab me, threaten to declare war on Silvarcira, or for that matter to disband my People's Council..." Arathasa now spoke, his eyes looking sadly to the elf sage.
"While it is with a heavy heart, I must make this clear..." the king said, standing up, his voice sounding clear as glass; "...from this moment forth, the Royal Council, its privileges, authorities and influence will be withdrawn..." Arathasa spoke, his eyes looking in anger on the council members; "...the Royal Council...is disbanded."
A roar of anger rose up from at least seven of the council members; however, the few sitting with their heads down seemed to battle their own guilt.
"Those whom I know I can trust..." Arathasa continued over the noise; "...will be granted a place in the new Alliance Council; in honour of our pact, we shall strive for a prospeous relation to other lands and kingdoms, as well as trust in ourselves and our brothers and sisters."
"You're insane! You'll never maintain your resources without me!" the masked nobleman hissed in fury, a sudden chuckle echoing the room; it was Rhanar's...
"As you speak now of resources, be it gold or lands..." Rhanar said, looking to the king, bowing his head lightly; "...my soldiers are ensuring a continous income as a boon to Silvarcira."
"Your order is a collection of lunatics and maniacs, Narra-Jar! You know nothing of trade nor..." a noblewoman spoke, Rhanar's sudden glow of purple in his eyes scaring her as he looked at her.
"It pains me deeply to speak as such to a woman..." Rhanar said, sighing; "...but I must ask you, my disillusioned lady, to shut up about things you merely hear on the streets...if your silk robes can even touch the stones because of your, apparent, saint-like divinity."
Hearing Rhanar speak something like that to a noblewoman made the Nightwind girls stare at him; he, who never hurt women, had just insulted a noblewoman; however, as they began to think of it, they found her to deserve it.
The noblewoman simply starred at Rhanar, her gaze hollow as she sunk back into her chair.
"I would apoligise for insulting you..." Rhanar said coldly; "...but since your peasents had to pay those extra three hundred Ara because of your need for a new wardrobe, I would say the truth should not be denied."
"Lord Narra-Jar..." the king now said, looking at Rhanar; "...what did you mean with a 'boon'?"
"I knew that practically no-one in the council would enjoy losing their power..." Rhanar said; "...so I made sure to collect a small sum of Ara for you to hand out to the people, as they will now need gold to pay the taxes from elsewhere."
"Hey, dude..." Raicha now said, looking in her pockets, finding a single, golden Ara; "...with all this lack of gold and all that shit, you being banished and all, take this one for your new rule; just don't go messing up..."
With that, Raicha flipped the Ara coin towards Arathasa, who caught it in his armoured gauntlet; as he smiled under his beard, he closed his hand around the coin.
"What is your name, girl?" he asked.
"Raicha, dude..." Raicha grinned to herself, tossing her head back, her blonde hair swinging along.
"I would ask your forgiveness, then..." Arathasa said, standing up; "guards, leave us be; escort the former council out."
A united growling were heard from the mass of nobles as they left, the elf sage about to rise up as Arathasa held up his hand.
"Hold, Icaris; you may remain here, being the one to show your loyalty by admitting your mistakes" the king said, leaving Rhanar, the Nightwind girls, Jiraz, Shica, the king and the elf sage alone in the room.
"Now that the political part of the trial came to a late end..." Arathasa said, looking at Allisia; "...your judgement will be as follows, Lady Lightblade."
Feeling quite nervous, Allisia steeled herself, smiling even at the thought of the girls sitting right beside her.
"You may no longer call yourself a Dragon Knight of neither Silvarcira nor the Golden Dragon Order..." Arathasa said, continuing; "...your loyalty to Silvarcira were never in doubt, and thus, you will be cleared of the charge for so-called 'high treason'."
"Thirdly and finally, you may consider this 'Nightwind Manor' your home with my blessings; Silvarcira will not ask for your services anymore" Arathasa finished, Allisia overjoyed that her fear were unfounded.
"YES! WE'LL GET ALLISIA BACK! WE'LL GET ALLISIA BACK!" Chinyi began singing out loud in happiness, Siriki joining in, both of them hugging Allisia, who felt herself as happy as she could ever be with the girls.
"Now, you do peek an old man's curiosity with that mysterious tale..." Arathasa said, stroking his beard as he pondered; "...say, can we talk, person to person, of what this manor really is? You girls seems to pride yourselves greatly of it."
As Charlene looked at Faris, the redhead sent Charlene a teasing grin; indeed they had tales for the king...
"So what you say, is that you Nightwind girls live at this isolated manor..." Arathasa asked, feeling quite enlightened; "...at which you live, being a domain only for girls to enter?"
"Yep, there hasn't been any men inside that manor ever since Narrisha took over it" Faris explained, the king nodding as he was still curious.
"And so you gladly make love to each other randomly, proving yourselves...damn, sorry, I don't remember the name..." the king said, cursing his bad memory.
"It's called lesbism, Your Highness; it is when girls find an attraction and love for other girls, leading them to, well, choose their own gender to love" Mirinda explained, glad that the king took the case maturely.
"Ah, that broadens my insight; however, as you claim you can rid each other of your virtue, and that almost all of you accept it..." Arathasa asked, his eyebrows narrowing in deep thinking; "...yet, how do you know? When can you tell if you're allowed to or not?"
"It's all a matter of trust and love, Your Highness..." Allisia spoke, grinning to Charlene; "...as for myself, I allowed Charlene here to ravish me."
"Would that not prove you lovers or soul-mates?" the king asked.
"Nah, we're kinda in a 'free love' mojo at Nightwind, Mr. King" Chinyi said, snuggling her nose against the smiling Siriki's.
"Nevertheless, be certain that your manor will remain isolated from Silvarcira's eyes..." Arathasa said, stroking his beard; "...I respect Lady Allisia enough to allow her, as well as you, complete privacy."
"Thank you, Your Highness" Allisia said, nodding her head in a bow.
"Now..." Ararthasa said, standing up; "...while I attend to some meetings regarding the new council, why don't you take a walk around Sarrania? I would like to know your thoughts of our city."
"I wouldn't mind that; what say you, girls?" Charlene said, the other girls not seeing anything else to do while the king debated.
"You could also simply return to the manor; as for me, I would ask if I could be allowed to perticipate in the meeting, noble king" Rhanar suggested, looking towards Arathasa.
"Let it be so, then" Arathasa nodded, Rhanar following the king.
"Hey! For those who wanna head back to the manor, is your portal still up?" Hiroi asked before Rhanar left.
"I believe so; if not, just ask at the Azure Tower that you need a portal; ask for Vlad'Darsa and say that Rhanar sent you" Rhanar informed, disappearing behind a door, the last glimpse of him being a swipe from his cloak.