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Viramsata: Battle of the Authors

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What Came Before:

--- Quote from: Madness ---They talked in hushed tones for a moment before Anjiera knocked softly - it had been a number of seasons since Azrael had last seen his former comrade-in-arms, Swordbrothers of a far different battlefield.

The door swung open and the dancer stood before them. A form so precise, belying a submerged strength. Unbridled passion. Relentless focus. Eyes that burned Azrael's own anew.

In the crowd of the theater, in the haze of experience, Azrael's had thoughts only for the exercise of power. Yet regarding this woman, this Marden, before him, Azrael understood that while the unknown had been wild with excess, Marden fairly radiated, seethed something... more.

Yet I know those capricious creatures called gods... for they punish me so.

And she was not of them.
--- End quote ---

What Came Before:

--- Quote from: Madness ---She followed someone... no, maybe something. She'd heard talk of creatures beyond the Pale, things beyond the City. Or the very World. Adults were always talking about things she couldn't see or understand.

It was like a shadow and moved from place to place where only shadow's were cast. Was this fantastic play of sight responsible for the strangeness she was hearing? What was this thing before her?

She felt quiet as a mouse, bravely following some cat in tenacious revolt. Tenacious... She wondered at the word, rolling it around in her mouth. It sounded right. She would follow this Shadow Cat like a mouse, never considering the momentary madness of such thoughts - weren't mice eaten by cats?

Yet she knew without knowing that this Shadow Cat was indeed a predator... and it wasn't hunting little mice like her.
--- End quote ---

The shadows grew long and the sun fled the sky, but Oslow's thoughts were elsewhere, retracing all the fears and concerns he'd had of his dancer—and now Anjeira's companion.

His absent gaze hadn't registered the towering shadow until it had separated itself from the greater darkness. A wraith from legend, from tales told before cities and walls. Oslow knew pleading was useless, and an icy grip about his throat assured him.

A dry and rasping voiced echoed from the darkness. The language was ancient in its inflection, yet meaning penetrated. A deal was struck and a debt is owed. No one escapes the Pale One's grasp, yet you have helped her elude me..

Oslow might have felt a moment of vindication if not for the finality with which each phrase was uttered. An antiquated bone knife slipped between his ribs, punctuating his final thoughts. A deal, with the Pale One..

His body slipped from the blade to lay cold and stiff in the dirt. It's empty gaze coming to rest on a filth-covered girl spying from the shadows.

Marden sat postured across from them, indulging their flattery, when a chill ran down her neck, nearly breaking her poise. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, a cold had crept into the room, and with it the sickly scent of decay. Marden watched both her guests closely, her patron's cavernous-eyed companion particularly, but if either of them noticed the change they showed no sign of it.

The aura continued to invade the room. One she had felt long, long ago and was still all too familiar.

But she was no longer a lonely battle maiden, wedded to the sword, staring out at annihilation come. She had made her bargain—her soul for countless thousands, to be repaid one for every hearth outside Idruis' walls.

And she had paid. All but the last. For now she was something greater than she had been, something far more. She was a bloodletting storm, a whirlwind of sharp edges and deadly intent, and she would not have ruin heaped upon her again.

She bandied words with the men and she waited. Ready.


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