Monday, 23 July 2012

Lady Carmilla, Khanid Holder

Fifteen days ago, Khanid space - Kihtaled IV

Carmilla sat on top of the skyscraper and looked out over the city below. The architecture of most Khanid cities she found interesting. The deviations from the traditional Amarr, subtle in some places, obvious in others. Watching the sun as it gleamed from gold and black chrome sides of the building a few blocks from her brought a lump to her throat.

Soon she would be inside, with the man who might yet be her husband, a handful of her supporters and her mother. Although she had planned much of what was going on today, there was still a large margin for error. At best, she'd get everything she had worked for for years. At worst, well, they might not give her a choice about wearing the chrome. Hell.... it was always possible she wouldn't walk out alive....

She looked over to where Orchid and Rose were standing looking over the edge. Both were in their usual geisha attire and she smiled, thinking back on their first days with her. Happier days? Not necessarily, but days to remember. Happiness was something illusive these days. Turning to the girls she picked up her datatablet and answered a flashing message and smiled. 
"The last of the prelates are here. Come on, time to get this sorted."
She turned her head and looked over at Lientus, sitting on the edge dangling his legs over the drop.
"You coming?"
"It's not too late for you to stop doing this you know?"
"Yes it is. I've come too far and burnt too many bridges to go back now."
"Actually, my dear.... I think you'll find I understand better than you think."
He stood up and held out his hand, she took it, looking at him with a smile.
"Come on... lets go get married."
Walking over to the girls she poked them playfully.
"Is everyone assembled?"
"We can't get hold of Alizabeth."
"What? I need her here! Where is she?"
"Null Sec. Fighting. Every time I contact her I get a reply that she is in a warzone."
"Goddam! I wanted her to be here."
"Who is this Alizabeth?"
"Oh... you'll find out. Come on... before there are any other surprises."

 Flanked by her geisha Carmilla clad in her long serpentis cut suit walked into the lounge of the hotel. Before her there was a screen of guards. She stopped before them and bowed graciously, her girls taking one step backwards. Eyes and scanning rays covered her from top to toe and with a grunt the guards parted and gestured her in. Walking towards those inside she smiled.
"Gentlemen, Prelates, Governor. I think you for your support."
"Aaah, Carmilla, I hope you know what you are doing?"
"Why do people keep asking me that?"
"Maybe because you will shortly have more enemies that even you can handle?"
"Hated as a slave, hated as a Holder. It's all just names when someone is trying to kill you. Now, as per my request I have constructed Houses for each of you and some of my girls will run them until your own people learn how to do it properly. That means, how I want it done. Each of you knows the pleasure of my House," that brought laughter and nods from all of them, "And all of you know I am obliged to all of you regardless. So I had the deeds transfered this morning."
"You know I could walk away now and leave you without my support."
"Yes, My Lord. All of you could. You would all be richer for it, and I stand by my obligations."
"Because it's who I am, My Lord."
The Prelate looked at her, his hand caressing his steel gray beard.
"I also understand we are to be witnesses to your rather informal wedding?"
"Who is the lucky man?"
"His name is Lientus of Rixhes."
They all looked at each other.
"Carmilla... you really need to pay more attention to current events. I hope when you are a Holder Minor you will do that."
Confused she frowned and just nodded.

The Royal Khanid Courthouse in the capital city of Kithaled IV is a surprising structure of black chrome and glass. Towering above the nearby buildings it is a bastion of law and order. And to this place Carmilla, her girls, her soon to be husband and her supporters went. Ushered in to one of the main chambers she looked around as she made her way to the dias, standing before the assembled judges. She felt nervous. Behind her, the throng took their seats.
"Carmilla Deritan. You are here today to perform a decree absolute on your divorce?"
"Yes, your honour. And to marry the man who will be my husband. Unfortunately I could not do this until we were both sure it was what we wanted."
"I see.... Your wife I see is not present?"
"No, your honour. It is not required as she was the one who pushed for the divorce."
"And your matriarch blocked the divorce?"
"She did. As is her right as the matriarch of my House."
"But you are Deritan. Surely that is all that is required? Have you wasted our time here today?"
"No, sir. My house... is House Jobias, a house of some... repute that goes back many years."
There was silence as documents were handed around.

"Carmilla Deritan. Are you aware of what you are saying?"
"I am. The Matriach of my House can be verified by genetic testing. Such was performed by a Doctor of the Court and matched against records. It proves I am who I am. And she is here, should you require to speak to her."
"Speak? We should lock her up and throw away the key! She is a wanted criminal and...."
"Not by the Khanid."
Silence again.
"Do you dare to speak against the Kingdom?"
"I speak only against the Empire. Not the Kingdom. By revealing my position, and by the honours bestowed upon my by my wife, Ithiria Deritan I put myself forward to become a Holder Minor. My loyalty is towards the Laws of the Khanid."
"And the man you wish to marry? What has he to do with this?"
"We are in love. And the merging of his house and mine will make us stronger, and more loyal."
"Bring him forward. Let us see this man of yours."

Lientus, clad in the traditional robes of a Khanid Holder stood next to her and stood defiant. He whispered to her softly and squeezed her hand.
"I hope you know what you are doing."
"Ssssh my darling."
They both looked on as the Judges began reading the documents before them. A whispered argument was taking place before the judge spoke again.
"Carmilla Deritan, I will honour your request. The divorce is now decree absolute. You are no longer Carmilla Deritan, instead you are now known to us as Carmilla Jobias. Though that is no honour that I can see."
"My Lord..."
"I am not finished. While in your position as Wife and Slave to Holder Deritan you committed more crimes than I can care to read and take in. You have served our enemies, you have fought against us and our allies and your family is not much better. Your sister is still a wanted pirate, your mother is a genocidal maniac and your husband is a war criminal! This is not the best way to attempt to start a life as a Holder Minor in the Kingdom!"
Carmilla turned her head slowly and looked at Lientus.
"A war criminal? May I remind the court that he has fought valiently for all of us and is a hero. What care we if our enemies call him a war criminal?"
"You mistake me, Carmilla. His crimes were against the Amarr! He personally lead the attack that wiped out a major city complex on a planet in the warzone. The death toll was in the millions. They captured him and sold him into slavery!"
"Where I rescued him."
She whispered low to Lientus.
"You are so dead when we get home."
"I am not at liberty to say, My Lords, what the Amarr conisder to be a crime. I put it before you that the Amarr are not worthy enough to try a man such as Lientus. That is for a Khanid court to decide. I only know that to me, my soon to be husband is as much a patriot as I am. Yes, more Khanid blood runs in his veins than mine, but our children will be brought up properly, as loyal and patriotic as we are."
"We, the assembled Judges of the Court do not believe that you are able to fulfil the duties of what you are after. Yes, you can probably make a good wife to this man, heaven knows you are both a good match for each other, and as familes go you are all the same. But I have yet to see that you are worthy of such a title and role in our Kingdom."
Carmilla nodded and turned aside and looked at those who had come to support her.
"In that case, My Lords. I offer testamony from a council of my peers. Prelates and Governors who stand by me."
She stood back as one by one they came and spoke on her behalf, her hand a steel band on Lientus wrist. She hissed to him.
"A war criminal? You might have told me!"
"I tried to tell you you were making a mistake! What was I supposed to say?"
"God damn, Lientus! Do you know how much I have sacrificed to get here?"
With pleading eyes she looked at his face and pulled him into her arms and held him. He held her tight and comforted her, surprising himself that he meant it.
"Carm, we are both outcasts without homes. If you can make this work...  then you will have a man who will be proud to have you as his wife."
"You are just saying that... without me you'd be dead on an arena floor...."
"And with you, maybe I have a reason to go on living..."

There was a clearing of throats. Carm, wiping her eyes and pulling Lientus with her returned to the dias.
"It seems, that you are an impossible woman. But, I can think of no one more suited to being the wife to this man. Your marriage is accepted and has been registered as legally binding."
"Thank you, My Lord."
"Also, it seems that although your House, Jobias, was originally an Amarr House, your husbands house is an old Khanid House, as old as your own. And given that technically you have been a Holder for the past couple of years, I have no hesitation in adding your name to the list of Holders of the Khanid. Lady Carmilla, of the House of Jobias, we welcome you."
There was cheering from her supporters and she turned to Lientus. There was a smile on her face that mirrored his.
She kissed him and melted into his arms. Now, at least, she had the power she needed.
"Dont think you are not going to get your ass kicked... But lets get out of here. Once the news hits the nets I dont know what sort of reaction we'll have."
"So where are we going?"
"Seshala. I'm taking you home."

As the shuttle landed on the pads at the Geisha House she waited til the girls had gotten out before stepping out with her new husband.
"Darling, go with the girls, let them show you around your new home. I have something I need to do first?"
He looked at her and nodded, kissing her forehead as she made her way to the beach and to the end of the pier. As she thought, Whisper was waiting there.
"I hear you are now Lady Carmilla?"
"I am Whisper."
"To me you will always be Carmilla."
"I dont want to be anything else to you, or my girls."
She sighed and wiped her eyes.
"Do you think he'll understand? Or will she?"
"My child, Ithiria will understand. Though she may rant and rave, she loves you still. And part of me thinks you would run to her if she came back. But he will understand. One day, you will return to him, but you have many years of life yet."
"He was a good husband, he treated me well."
"So will this one, you two are alike."
"You know of him?"
"You mean did I do more research on your husband than you did? Yes. But I also know that like Samual, he is a patriot, a loyalist and more like you than you realise."
Carmilla took a necklace from her neck and held it up. The small piece of twisted metal of her necklace she poured into Whispers hand and closed it.
"Take it to his grave please?"
"Carmilla, you know he was proud of you, every day you were together. And I know how much you loved him."
"I kept his name, as I said I would, til I got what we both dreamed of. I'm a Holder now, and my Mothers house has been resurected. But I will never forget him, Samual D'morenta... my husband, executed for treason. I will now make them pay, Whisper."
Whisper smiled and walked her Mistress back to the Geisha House and found the girls and Lientus. How people change, she mused.

Three days ago - Secret Training Facility - Essence

Carmilla Jobias walked up to the balcony of the building and looked out. Before here troops were assembled in ranks awaiting her inspection.  Hundreds now, soon to be thousands. Looking over them, her cloak swept behind her she smiled. A judgement was coming. Those who stood against her would fall, one by one. She was no powerhouse, like Ithiria or Esna with their fleets and power. She had loyalty, devotion and hatred. And she had time to plot, time to scheme, time to win.

Walking down the stairs she was flanked almost silently by Rose and Orchid and went out to inspect the troops. In her mind a tune she had heard once before came back to her memory and she started to smile as row after row of troops stood to attention as she passed. All this was hers now, she smiled again, then laughed, a laugh that echoed around the training facility and sent shivers down the spine.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

This is how I feel sometimes

You know, I've been playing MMO's for a long time. I cant' remember half the characters I have created on everquest, Wow, Star Wars Galaxies, CIty of Villians, LotRo....

But I do remember that when I played Final Fantasy XI back in the day I had a Mithra named Shamsara.

It's remembering the old games and how we enjoyed them that made me look for something I remembered. And I found it.... I always find watching this sad, because it reminds me that all the MMO's out there, including those that have now fallen by the wayside and even been closed were created for us to explore and appreciate, not just to destroy and kill.

So, I give you, A little FFXI story


The Search...

Thirty Five Days Ago.... Khanid Space - Keberz System

The two women walked away from the building behind them that was burning fiercly.  The younger of the two, clad in a smart business suit in the Serpentis style had the soft features of a Sebiestor, but the imperious sneer of an Amarrian. Stopping by the gravcar she turned at looked, watching as those nearby came to see what was happening and to gawk at the fire.
"I know what you are going to say, Mother. But insults like that just cannot be ignored."

The older woman removed the black mask that covered her face and shook her hair. Her tight fitting combat suit hidden behind an ankle length duster, a wide brimmed hat in her other hand. Though they looked Gallente, her ancestory was something different, older and more sinister. Doctor Kim Leannder looked on and sighed, replacing her hat.
"I just wish you didn't have to burn the house down. And I wish you would be more submissive to them, we have limited time left until you have to give your say to the divorce. We must find you a suitable husband."
"I know," she spat, "I just wish they didn't have to be such assholes."

 Thirty Three Days Ago, Gallente Space - Auvergne System

Two guards, clad in powered armour and followed by a third, heavily armed dragged a man between them. He was stuggling feebly, his hands bound, a hood over his head. They walked down a tunnel in plain sight of everyone. On either side of them, down the marble clad pavements that led away from the Palace of Expected Merchandise and the great open bazaar people in their hundreds had congregated to explore the stalls and enjoy their lives. The tunnel however, though the guards and the prisoner, had he been able to look up, could see out onto the throng, but they could not see back in. Some things they liked to be private.

Behind them the weekly slave auctions were well underway. The prisoner between them had been bought, his fate sealed. His general physique and what little clothing he wore indicated he was a solider, possibly Khanid. But to the guards he was just so much meat. One of many who had gone down this route. Such, they mused, was the fate of those who dared stand against the Federation.

At a junction in the tunnel they handed him over to a woman clad in a heavy robe and bundled him into the back of the speeder she was standing beside. The prisoner was in no state to try and resist as he was chained to the seat. Through his hood he could only hear the sound of the bazaar fade away, the sounds of other traffic and eventually the sounds of the sea before he was uncermoniously dragged out of the speeder and literally, pushed into a hole. He fell and hit hard, blacking out.

He awoke slowly, groggily to a damp cloth wiping his face. Instinct lashed out his arm and his hand clasped around a throat. His eyes opened and he looked into the shadows of a hooded cloak. The woman he held calmly dropped the cloth and reached up and clutched his wrist, squeezing a pressure point. He gasped in pain and let go.
"Where am I? Speak woman!"
She coughed gently and rubbed her throat and puts the cloth back in the bowl beside her.
"You are in.... a training facility. Or maybe, a gateway to your freedom."
"You... speak Khanid. But with a trace of slave. Is that what you are? Slave?"
"Like you, you mean? In a way. And yes, I speak Khanid."
"Hah! I am no slave. I will find a way out of here and come back with my troops and wipe this place clean of the taint."
She laughed softly and handed him the cloth. He took it and after looking in a mirror she held up for him with a smile he started to sigh and clean himself of the prison filth. Around them both he could see the huddled shapes of other people. Slaves, he sneered, this is not my place. But he could see the looks in their eyes. They recognised him, or if not who he was, then definately what he was. So did she, he thought.

"Why do you show me such friendship?"
"Because I show everyone the same mercy who comes here. Be they slave or holder, soldier or criminal. All deserve to face their fate clean and proud."
"My fate is not to be determined within these walls. I am Lientus of the House Rixhes, my fate is my own, in the hands of...."
He paused for a moment, his face hardening and screaming, leaping to his feet and grasping the bars on the cell wall infront of him. Those sitting around the walls just watched, shaking their heads as he ranted. The cloaked woman backed away for a moment and seemed to whisper something into the darkness. Moments later three heavily armed guards kicked open a door to the cells and walked in. For a moment, Lientus was silent then he spat through the bars at them.
"Open these doors! If you are man enough to face me. Even with your weapons I can take all three of you."
One of the guards looked on impassively as he raised a stun gun and fired it. As Lientus slumped to the floor they looked to the woman in the hooded cloak and she just nodded.

Lientus awoke as the bucket of water splashed into his face and spluttered as she pulled himself up. Looking around he saw himself in a circular arena. The sandy floor stretching all around him, walls raising up into a dome. All around were screens, they were slowly filling with faces. Standing and stretching to shrug off the stun he looked around. The woman was there, holding a bucket. Beyond her there were three men, three brutor by the looks of them. All were armed.
"What is this place, woman?"
"I told you. A place of training. Where people fight and die for money, and glory. And for your Mistress, she who now owns you."
"No one owns me, I am my own man."
"And yet you are here."
She said it simply and he looked over to her. Still she was hooded and he snarled and walked over to her and ripped the hood from her. Under the hood he saw a sebiestor woman, with red hair and look of quite contemplation.
"You quite happy now, Lientus?"
"I dont know you."
A voice boomed out over the arena, a loud voice in the Gallente language, female and alluring. He listened, but did not like what he heard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Holders and Slavers, Politicians and Pirates. Welcome to the Games of the Heavenly Flower! For your amusement I give you first a taste of what we can offer you before the warriors come in and fight for you. Here, a slave, once of the Khanid Army, sold as a slave and now here... meerly to get the crowd going. Against him, three more slaves, each guaranteed his freedom if he survives. And, maybe with your blessing, they will. I give you, the Khanid Tiger version the barbarian wolves!

"At least tell me your name, if I am to die, I would die with the name of someone who showed me kindness on my lips."
"You may call me... Orchid."
"Well Orchid. I have no weapon."
She handed him the bucket and smiled, backing away to the wall.
"Fight and live, my Tiger."
Lientus held the bucket in his left hand and breathed deeply, his booted feet apart, a chill breeze ruffling his hair and his shirt tight over his muscled chest. Turning his head to the right he watched the three as a gong sounded. A smile crept over his lips.

Two of the slaves hefted the swords they held and charged howling like the wolves they had been described as. The third hefted his spear and watched. Lientus waited until they were almost upon him before he struck, bringing the bucket around and throwing it at the slave on the left. It struck him directly in the face, sending him flying backwards. The second slave making the mistake to turn his head and look, giving him the entrance he needed, running and leaping towards him, his foot slamming into his arm, knocking the sword out of it and onto the floor, where his momentum rolled over it. Standing up he swung the blade in a circle in his hand and walked around the two brutors. With two screams his sword slashed out twice, two head rolling on the arena floor. Turning he looked at the third and started to walk towards him.

No, Orchid thought, that's not walking. That's stalking. Yes, this one is a Tiger. And just was her Mistress needed. She looked around the screens and found her Mistresses image and smiled, bowing towards it.

Several regions away Carmilla and Kim watched the fight again. They both looked at each other and nodded. Carm clicked her fingers and a geisha slipped up beside her and handed over a datatablet.
"What do we know of this man?"
"From Orchids message his name is Lientus of the House Rixhes."
"That House sounds familiar....."
"That's because it was in the news recently. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and he was lost fighting  against Gallente special forces who were infiltrating various planets according to this."
"Set course for the Auvergne system. We need to meet this... Lientus. And pull up all information on his wife, that needs to be looked into."

Seventeen Ago, Gallente Space - Auvergne System

From the cells Lientus listened. He could tell from the sounds when the fights started and finished, when the guards were coming. Quietly he spoke with the other prisoners, tried to glean all the information he could. When he had the time, he spoke to Orchid. Twenty times taken out to fight. Twenty! Like a slave, he mused. The bitter irony of the times he sat and watched his own slaves fight and die for his pleasure. Now he fought for others. None he faced could stand agaisnt him but it still fired his hatred for those who had bought him and used him as chattle.

"Tiger, your owner summons you. Move."
He looked up at the guards and scowled, but stood up. It wasn't time for any of the scheduled fighting that he was aware of. Most of the others who were with him the first day he arrived had gone, most to the fighting, others.... never to return. The only person who seemed to come and go as she pleased was Orchid. He could tell she was a slave, the demeanour, the attitude... just everything about her screamed it. But she had a power here. Flexing he walked towards the gate and waited while they opened it.

As they walked down a well lit corridor Orchid appeared from nowhere, walking beside him. He had been so intently looking at everything for a hint of a chance to escape that he hadn't heard her.
"Good afternoon Tiger. How are you?"
"As well as a prisoner can be, considering. Have you been watching my matches?"
"Yes. There is room for improvement, but you are good. I hope you will behave today, this is most important for you."
He stopped walking and the guard behind him bounced off of him and cursed. The others turned and leveled their weapons. Lientus looked at her with a frown.
"Behave? By the sacred teats Orchid, I was thrown in prison, forced to fight for my life and these damn guards keep me under such a close watch they could tell you what I didn't digest for breakfast! Why should I care what the hell is beyond that door?"
Orchid simply smiled and looped her arm through his and pulled him towards the door, he followed grudgingly.
"Aren't you afraid I might take you hostage?"
"No. You are an honorable man."
"In a dishonorable place.... maybe it will change me."
"No. Not you," she smiled.

The double doors were opened into the main audience chamber and the Tiger and the Orchid walked in and stopped before a raised dias. Orchid bowed, Tiger stood defiant. Three women were standing on the dias, two matari and a gallente that he could see. The tall matari, a sebiestor it seemed, but one unlike any he had seen before. He looked between Orchid and the woman, wondering if there was a family link there. Both were similar build and shape, with striking red hair and looks that quite frankly stirred him.

Clad in a long formal black business suit she walked towards him, her heels clicking in the silence and stood before him. Slowly she walked around him and stopped infront of him.
"What happened to your wife, Lientus of Rixhes?"
Of all the questions he was expecting, this was not one and he was unprepared for it.
"What? Do you seek to wound me further than the slaves in the arena or the guards tender mercies?"
"Your wife, Analiva Rixhes, was murdered during an apparent break in of your estate. Several slaves were murdered during the break in and also your datafiles were ransacked. Shortly after sums of money were seen to me covertly moved from various accounts. Looks to me like you are being blackmailed, neh?"
"I am saying nothing."
He folded his arms and looked directly ahead. How had she known? What did she know? Who was this woman?
"I dare say a lot of questions are running through your mind now, Tiger. Tiger, I like that. My girl says it is the name you have been given during your time here. Well Tiger, you are being blackmailed, or at least. You were."
She snapped her fingers and four guards appeared out of the shadows pulling two bound and gagged figures. He looked at them, recognising one of them and looking between them.
"I take it you know your previous superior officer and his wife? We found all the evidence we needed, silly of her to keep your wifes gems and necklaces, but stupidity is breed in some people."
"That can't be possible. He was my.... I mean...."
"He wanted your money and estates. Your wife caught them and she paid the price. Orchid, take them into the arena and get them ready. Five minutes I think?"

Lientus looked on with growing confusion and anger.
"Why are you doing this? What do you want?"
"You. I want you."
"Fuck off!"
"Not the language I expect to hear from the Holder Minor of the House of Rixhes. I'm going to give you a datatablet with the confession of those two on it and a sword. When you come back we can talk about your future."
He took the datatablet she held out, noticing the Serpentis sigil and opened the file and started listening to the confession and checking the attached files. When he looked up she was holding a sword out to him. He took it and walked towards the arena. It took them both a long time to die.

An hour later Lientus was escorted back into the audience chamber and over to the woman and Orchid. He dropped the sword on the floor before them and crossed his arms.
"Okay. I'm listening. What do you want?"
"Like I said before. I want you. As my husband."
"Well, I own you already. I bought your contract from the woman who runs this place, who is actually a close friend of mine. This place, is actually mine, but I dont have time to run everything. It was a stroke of luck that you were found when you were. For me and you."
"Well, you could have been sold to someone who just wanted a slave for the mines or dosed you up with vitoc crap. What I want is infinitely more enjoyable."
He looked at her, as a man looks at a woman and nodded his head.
"I want my freedom...."
"Granted the moment we are married."
"My house will be the primus."
"No, I need my house to be the primus. Any children we have will be primus of your house."
"Your house? You are Sebiestor, what house could you have."
"I am the daughter of Marika Jobias of the House of Jobias."
"No. That house has long since been...."
"I have all the backing I need to resurect my house. All I need is a husband of the Khanid, a Holder Minor and someone.... who quite frankly knows how to handle a woman."
"If you think I will be some submissive husband, you do not know who I am."
"You are here, you are mine and you are a Holder Minor. Yes or no."
"Yes..... though I hope you know what you are getting yourself into."
"I do. Orchid, get him ready I'll meet you both on the ship in ten."
"Hey, wait. If I am to be your husband, dont' I get to know your name?"
"Carmilla. Now hurry darling, we have a busy couple of days ahead of us."
Carm blew her soon to be husband a kiss and walked towards one of the doors.