Call sign: Ereba Age: 26 Organization: The Order History: Born into the profession young, Sofia witnessed her family succumb to the plague and become weepers. At the time, the ‘humane’ system the Empress had enacted later on had yet to pass. So, while in the lower districts, she watched her family deteriorate and become monsters driven on infecting others. In the end, it was by her own hands that her father and mother died. She did so to survive. Watching the deed, however, was one of The Order. Unbeknownst to her, that was her initiation. The first of many, for all prospective had to learn and absolve the feeling of bonds.
It was through this order that Sofia found reason. Her new brothers and sisters gave her a way to express her anger, which was through the death of others. If the plague should take the lives of her most beloved, it was only just she did so to others. Contract after contract, she fulfilled to some degree of success to flawless execution. Through her deeds, she caught the ear of the Outsider, the entity of the taboo religion the Inquisition sought to stamp out. With a pact, promising her so much, the Outsider bestowed upon her the ability to vanish and meld within darkness. The older members of her order took notice. She was transferred to the specials, others who have also been given the blessing of the outsider.
Title: Chief Admiral - Royal Captain to the Empress Name: Pontius Quirrey Age: 42 Affiliation: The Empress' Royal Guard; Council of Military Advisers - Navy
Bio: Pontius was born to a merchant and seamstress. Having grown up in neither squalor or luxury, he experienced life "on the fence," being able to appreciate what he had without losing sight of how much luck he had being born into it. He didn't live through some tragedy like the death of his father or the murder of his mother - he was... normal, in every sense of the word. However, there was always something about him that people just generally liked. He also never lost the sense of ambition that a child is born with. This, mixed with a seemingly (though not literal) inherited trait of his father's patriotism, led him to join the Naval Forces. He climbed through ranks with a speed that was nearly unheard of - having displayed nothing but courage and strength of character during his time served. When he was thirty-four years old, the Empress named him her personal captain and the highest possible rank achievable after the retirement of his predecessor. The motivation for him being the choice was never second-guessed, because he truly did deserve it over the others. However, this was not the only reason she chose him. The Empress and Pontius shared a child which none in the country ever knew of.
Two years after Pontius' appointment to Chief Admiral, the Emperor died. The child is now ten years-old and left without a mother or father... or so he believes. Not even he knows that he is the child of Pontius, who truly loved the Empress... While the Empress cared for her husband deeply, she never felt the way about him that she had her Chief Admiral. He was given the news of her death while he was leading a mapping expedition... The Chief Admiral promptly returned, having to hide his mourning in order to help lead the country and aid the Council.
The gold trimming on his uniform is unique to only his. While new recruits in the Navy will wear green trimming on a similar jacket, and the colour changes by rank (the higheset officers being trimmed in white) - gold is reserved solely for the Chief Admiral and Royal Captain.
“The kingdom will burn if you do not follow, your highness.” Walton Justinian had been at it all morning. The plagued victims had all but increased. Why could the Empress not see that? Did she think they were people? Did she think they could be cured? What fairy tale thoughts! “I beseech you. If we cannot contain through force, the plague will spread your majesty. The warrens and factory district have all been declared dead zon—“
“And who ordered that?” Empress Tassia Von Aquilias smoothed over her jacket as she stood before her domestic minister. “We still have hope. The physicians are all very opt—“
“But it’s just speculation, your highness!”
Walton paled a shade as he stepped back like a whipped dog.
“If you should interrupt me again, I promise the reprimand will not be in your favor. You will instruct the declaration to be lifted. As long as there are still living — infected or healthy — we will not abandon them. Are we clear?”
“You are dismissed. I expect constant updates.”
Walton bowed as he saw shadows move from the background. An invisible smile graced his lips. He had played the puppet for far too long. Months ago, he knew the savior of this city wasn’t some merciful woman hiding behind her ideals. She hadn’t seen the terror that walked the streets as he had. Everyday grew graver. Gangs sprouted up, plague perimeters increased, and more city guards were lost. No, he had to end it now. May the gods forgive him.
An assassin had blinked from behind as he pulled outside his sidearm. Just stay to the script. “Your majesty!”
And it was done. The empress gasped as a silver knife slipped through the fabrics of her clothes. The spot grew damp as the assassin stepped back. Four others were with the him as they looked after their brother. The one behind the bronze mask had released steam from the face mask. The assassin walked up to Walton and struck him hard against the face just in time for the city guards to see them. Hearing the click, as if by magic, the four had disappeared.
“After the assassin!” cried Walton as he staggered to his feet. “After the heathens who killed our beloved empress!”
The day played over and over again. Ereba laid in her quarters as she twirled a knife in her hand. She was still dressed in her bodice and tough fabric blue assassin-dress. Her boots were off as she stretched out against the white sheets of her bed. It was the perfect amount of comfort to not be too hard or soft. She had heard many, when she eavesdropped on the streets, complain about how their feather stuffed mattress were the poorest contraption ever assembled. She knew better. If those people had known what she spent sleeping on in the younger months of her initiate cycle, hose feather mattresses were gold.
A knock came at her door. Two short staccato knocks. The candle on her bedside flickered as Ereba unintentionally stirred the darkness around her. It was on reflex she did so.
“Ut te in sempiternum et in tenebris ambulavimus.”
“Ut custodiant te in sempiternum tenebris.”
Her door opened as Victor walked in. He was a brute of a man. Though his face was covered with his mask, Ereba had known him for a while. He was the senior whom administered her poison endurance test. It had been a very painful few months.
“Your previous contract went beautifully,” said Victor. Ereba couldn’t help but notice the leaflet of papers. “The death of an empress … do you understand how very few ever get the chance? To put to rest one of the most powerful figure within our region. The Council commends you for it, Ereba.”
She should have been proud, but something stayed her from feeling it. She had been out into the cities, and the conditions worsened. The plague had indeed ceased, but there was curfew, more piles of dead bodies, and even stronger guard presence. This … Justinian. He was nothing but the worst of liars. It wasn’t her job to care, nor was she taught to reflect upon the consequences of her actions. She was a tool to administer the wrath of another. The tool then had no conscious, right? It was the contractor that dealt with the blow back.
“Another contract already? I’ve just returned from one.”
Victor walked over to her desk where her mask rested. He deposited the leaflets there. “We come and go when the Council demands it,” he said. “This contract is a special case. The Empress has a daughter.”
Ereba’s heart skipped a beat before it continued.
“To ensure the full completion of the current regent’s rule, this next of kin must be eliminated. The decision to task it to another was considered, but it’d be best if you were to rid us of this loose end. All the information we have is in that packet. It’s incomplete. You’ll need to find some of it yourself. But, I don’t have to tell you that, do I?”
Ereba sighed as she sprung up from her bed. Her eyes glittered with dangerous contemplation. Instead of answering, she left the bed and walked to where the table was. She scanned the papers. It was very … very incomplete. It seemed that the Order knew nothing about the whereabouts of this heir.
“I’ll leave immediately. Anything else?”
“The Royal Captain has returned.”
Ereba shrugged. “And…?”
“Eliminate him if he interferes. He will investigate the assassination.”
Pontius stepped off of the boat coolly. One would not know by just looking at him that not an hour ago he was wiping tears from beneath his eyes at the loss of his beloved. None would know she was his beloved, either, and he intended for it to stay that way. His gaze, however, was a cold, powerful stare rather than his typical, easy-going expression. As he stepped from the boat, his hands were held together behind his back and he walked the cobblestone pathway of the small set of docks, knowing that the next few days would be very difficult for everybody. Upon his hip was a beautiful service revolver with a certain glimmer about it; the Royal Captain always kept it clean, no matter how many times he fired it. Clasped to his belt was a specially designed sheath for his folding sword, which spanned just barely across his hips, easy to pull out and flick into its full length. The metal was lightweight and built for speed and beautifully crafted so that blocks were not powerful connections, but rather smooth as another weapon would glance off at the flick of his wrist. Honestly, despite the weapons on his belt, the admiral always looked regal. He carried himself in a confident, elegant manner; the walk and appearance, however, never made others believe that he was any less of a threat than he truly was. The man was a master with the sword and a very talented marksman when it came to his pistol.
Pontius' mind, however, was elsewhere this day... Not only on the beautiful woman who had been killed in his absence... the one that, perhaps if he had been at her side as he longed to be, would still be alive at this very moment. He not only mourned for her, but for the child that she had been carrying for nearly a month and a half before she was assassinated. The two had worried greatly about what they would do when questioned about the father of this new child... but this burden leaving him was of no consolation, as he would rather have the child and the empress than his reputation. Nobody knew of the child apart from him - the children... The one who was now being hidden from the public for protection and the one who would never be given an opportunity to see the light.
The Chief Admiral barely realized he was at the top of a staircase... Everything was still so surreal to him that it took all he had to keep from appearing unfocused. After shaking his head, Pontius looked about for somebody to lead him to his room, where he could prepare for the upcoming events of the evening. However, it did not take long for his silent question to be answered.
"Chief Admiral Quirrey, sir?" Asked a small, feminine voice. Pontius looked down slightly - standing at a powerful 6'2", it was almost hard to see the short, female servant as she grabbed his attention. She gave him a cordial bow before looking up, "If you would kindly follow me, I can show you to your chambers, sir." She spoke timidly, but the Chief Admiral nodded solemnly.
Several minutes later, after having been lead to the east wing - somebody had arranged for him to have a room on the end of the building which would see the sunrise first... How he did enjoy it. The quarters were complete with a balcony, large bathroom, four-poster bed, and lock on the door. The accents of the curtains and bed sheets were in a deep, sapphire-like blue. He gave the servant a gratuity - which she attempted to refuse to no avail - and she was on her way. the first thing he did was lock the door and walk straight to the balcony... The sun would not be setting for several more hours, but it had risen a few hours before. He was left in the brightest, warmest part of the day as he shed his coat to reveal a simple, white, button-up shirt and collar. The Admiral leaned against the railing quietly, looking out over the city... From up there, he could see the city broken into its many parts... The balcony provided a view for some of the infected areas, as well as the clean ones... ones of luxury and those of poverty and squalor. He could even see the bazaar far below, where traders haggled and commoners went to bars to ease the horrible reality of their lives.
His voice was low as he spoke to none in particular, "Why now..? When we need you most... Why would anybody think to take you from us...?" The Admiral looked down to his arms, his vision blurring. Tonight he would be briefed on the investigation that would become his to lead... And after that he would drink. He would drink the oldest, finest alcohols that the kitchen would allow him to have sent to his room... From mugs and shot glasses... Alone, he would find the greatest escape that he could possibly imagine...
"I can't believe she actually pulled it off..." A voice spoke softly in one of the rooms near Ereba's. It was a gruff voice - one which sounded slightly gravely and hardened.
"I can... she's always been so talented - I just can't believe that damned Empress is finally gone..." Said a rather smoother voice.
It was obvious, even to those that could not see them, how each one preferred to take their victims... One was blunt and clearly bloodthirsty while the other was smooth - most likely preferring poisons or silent kills. A rather ironic thing, what one could deduce based solely on the mannerisms and sounds of others...
"Quiet, gentleman," Came a final, third voice as it had entered the kitchen-like room which held some of the rations free for any hungry members of the Order to take. This voice was authoritative, but it did not stay for long as it was merely there to retrieve a small portion of bread. "I do suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself. Ereba has a great pair of ears, and regardless of your comments, many prefer to not be spoken of at all. Understood?" The man that silenced them was soon gone from the room, stepping out into the hallway with a group of leaflets in his hand. They were contracts and, as he finished his bread, he rapped twice on Ereba's door, knowing she would not be too pleased to find she was already being called on.
The word of the Royal Captain’s return hadn’t taken long to reach Cordelia’s ears. Truth be told, she would have been at the docks to meet her superior in person, but the past events hadn’t allowed that. As First Royal Lieutenant, the rank right below Captain, she assumed control of the investigation of the assassination of the empress. Assassination. She tasted bitterness in her mouth. If she had done her job correctly, it wouldn’t have happened. If only she had been there, she could have at least died with honor trying to save the empress. Now, she couldn’t shake off the shame that burned in her heart.
Her footsteps echoed through the corridor as her black boots hit the ground. She had tried her best to smooth out her black guards uniform, but the wear from days past was still apparent. Her dress coat, black in nature with a tint of crimson coloring her color was at least somewhat presentable. Her sword hung at her hip, a custom tempered one that wielded effortlessly.
“Guard- Lieutenant.” A guard had stepped out of a room as he threw a strong salute. She knew the guard. Diligence was a trait of his though he was not without his flaws. She stomped down on his addiction to grass. It didn’t befit a royal guard to be using that nonsense. “Spare a moment?”
She stopped and looked over. “I’m busy guardsmen. It’ll have to wait until later.”
“With respect, ma’am, I must insist on this,” said the guard as he stepped closer. He handed over a cloth. “Heresy afoot. Some of the guards found it near the assassination location. Lieutenant, if I may, I’d like to request the aid of the Inquisition. This is no longer a normal case.”
“There was nothing normal about this to begin with,” Cordelia said. “The Captain has arrived. I’ll bring this up with him. You’re dismissed.”
“This is has become a deli—“
“You’re dismissed, guardsman.”
Cordelia watched him salute and leave. She frowned. This was something she couldn’t allow. She’d make it a point to confront him later on. Order had to be kept, and she must have been too laxed.
“Time to go.” She spun on her heels and moved towards the Captain’s quarters.
Ereba had long since left the Order’s hideout as she was back on the street. The mission given to her still burned freshly in her mind. Who knew the Empress had a young boy? Hell, she was still getting over killing the Empress, for the kingdom had really began to breakdown. The Regent’s rule thus far had not been kind. There were mass burning of bodies, riots, guard brutality, and many other heinous things. One of the things every Order member learned was how they thrive most in chaos. She hadn’t felt that now.
She was perched overlooking a particular merchant store. Supposedly, the merchant had a link to the Empress. Something about helping cater to a party, which had very select patrons. The nobility had every right to host private parties. That wasn’t new nor did Ereba really care if that were the case. What did make this particular was the guest list she had managed to procure through a contract. The individuals in attendance were those who would be loyal to the Empress no matter what. As always, the Royal Captain was in attendance.
Though perhaps a dead end, there was little else to go off on. Breathing out slowly, she swooped down from her perch with the finesse of a gymnast. As with many in her organization, the Outsider had visited each and every one of them, granting a boon in exchange for worship. It could have made her job easier, but she liked using the old fashion way when she could. It kept her well tempered and practiced.
She hit the ground with cat-like quietness as she moved to the Merchant’s store. It was time to begin her assignment.
Cordelia paused before the Captain’s quarters as she straightened out her uniform and adjusted her sword that hung tightly to her hip. Steeling herself for whatever questions that may be afforded to her, she knocked twice on the wooden door. “Sir?” she ventured after a few seconds. “Lieutenant Mikado reporting. Do you have a minute, sir?”
Pontius walked out of the briefing room only slightly relieved that the Royal First Lieutenant would be heading up the investigation, though he made it very clear to her that he wanted every single update the moment it came about. He refused to not have at least some part in it, though he had to accept that he was in no condition to conduct it himself. He pulled his jacket off and hung it up once more as he finally returned to his room, his eyes were tired and he found his precise order sitting on a table in the middle of the room. Thank the gods, he needed it more than anything now. He was wearing a black t-shirt now and he changed into a pair of denim pants before grabbing a glass and the bottle of forty-eight year old scotch. This drink was older than him, which had become less and less common as he grew older... The Chief Admiral poured himself a glass with a little bit of ice in it, filled it as high as he safely could to avoid letting it spill over. The first sip was the sweetest and it was magnificent; Pontius closed his eyes and relished it, but soon there was a knock at his door, and he swished the glass around a little bit. He had taken down about half of it before being interrupted, which was rather nice... he cleared his throat.
"One minute, please!" He called out before hearing her introduce herself. "Yes, Lieutenant, give me a moment," He insisted beyond the door. A pair of armchairs rested out on the balcony, overlooking the city, and Pontius moved the small table which had delivered his alcohol to rest between them before grabbing his coat from the rack and fixing it back over his arms. His evening of revelry would have to wait until business was finished, he supposed. Finally, he opened the door, looking no worse for wear, "Good evening, Lieutenant. At ease, we're off-duty and you know I don't want you saluting me unless there are people around... You need to loosen up - this job is going to be as good as yours, but you need to remember that you can't view everything as cut-and-dry with cold logic. There's a lot of feeling that it requires, not just skill." The man stepped away from the door to allow her in before locking it behind her, "I was just enjoying the view and one of the finer scotches of the castle... They wouldn't allow me anything over fifty years old, and I like the taste of this kind... Take a seat and enjoy one," He insisted, heading for one of the armchairs on either side of the table, picking up his glass once more and looking to the woman who was directly beneath him. He had hand-picked her for the job because she was absolutely brilliant and she commanded men with authority he'd never seen before. He got his respect by being a good leader, but she was stronger than he ever was, and she had the mindset for taking over, even if she was a bit over-analytical.
He poured another glass for her, having added a little bit of ice to it, and pushed it across the table to her, nodding, "It's good scotch. And if you'd prefer, we can have some wine sent up, though I think you may very much enjoy this... I rarely have such a fine drink, and I doubt I'd be able to get a wine older than ten or twenty years after having asked for this, and that's barely worth it at this point," He said with a wave of his hand. Despite everything, he was trying to seem as emotionless as he could, which would seem even more out of character than being emotionally crippled. Many knew Pontius as a man who could push through anything, but he was never one to be cold and never one to completely pull emotion out of action, always holding onto his humanity. But, now, his options were few, and he chose to try and numb himself of this pain... He had to find some way to keep from having his authority suspended as well, and that was to keep himself stoic and flat.
"Marie! C'mon!! Ya gotta be careful! Those glasses are expensive you know!!" Shouted the shopkeeper as the glass cup shattered on the floor. His daughter was scrambling about to clean it up and he shook his head as she left the room, "By god she is clumsy... Why do I still have her help me around this shop? It'll be the death o' my business to keep payin' for all this new stuff!" Despite himself, the merchant gave a small laugh and returned to his work - he was preparing some goods that would cook overnight and be nearly ready upon his awakening the next morn.