Ultimum Casum: The Last Chance for Peace (IC)
Today was the day, the day the Annual Prianthan Entertainment Awards were being held. An event so popular it attracted tourists from as far as Jelahl and beyond. Security was multiplied tenfold as strange people from strange places explored the city, small crimes were on the rise, accidental and drug related deaths would increase. In the end, it was bad for Prianth’s standing amongst the cities, and might even be responsible for its middling rank over the years, but the money it drew in was absolutely irresistible. Hotels were packed, restaurants had booked out reservations months in advance, and all sorts of stores from hobby shops to antique dealers had been swimming in customers as people tried to secure unique souvenirs for their loved ones back home. Then there are the entry fees for the events, the parking fees for non-residents, the countless little fines that created a fortune of revenue for the city. It was no wonder they kept holding an event that was bringing their ranking down when it brought their economy up, the citizens would riot if they canceled it now.
So the awards ceremony proceeded, as it always had. If anything the event was even bigger than before, this year it was being hosted at the Hynebrook Sky-Theatre, a structure with a delightfully antiquated architectural style of fluted columns and luxurious sculpture, and all the amenities of a modern stadium such as mounted speakers, large monitors displaying the events on stage for those seated far away, and a weather proof translucent dome of their own. What had aroused the gasps and cheers of all those assembled was Queen Celes Hynebrook herself, descending from her permanently reserved Grand Balcony to the stage.
The queen was dressed in an exquisitely luminous gown, a silvery white which seemed to match her shining hair, wave upon wave of overlapping gossamer fabric made it shimmer and dance like the moon on a rippling pond. It was modest while providing the illusion of transparency, not something one would imagine a queen wearing, but this was Prianth. She gracefully removed the microphone from the hands of a slightly displeased looking host, then turned to the audience with a radiant smile.
“Thank you, everyone, for coming, and welcome to the Hynebrook Sky-Theatre,” there was outrageous applause for what little she had said, she waited for it to quiet before continuing. “I would like you all to give another round of applause for Lexor Grant,” she said, indicating the host she had usurped, he was a lynx chimera with black-tipped ears and slender, captivating, green eyes. There was a great applause for him as well, though not so robust as Queen Celes’ had been, he was a popular musician. “However, I would like to be your host for the evening,” this was met with the greatest applause yet, the genuine mirth in her pale blue eyes seemed to draw the audience in, captivating them. There was no doubt she was a widely loved queen. Poor Lexor just quietly withdrew from the stage.
Robert Pierce was a very busy man, and it was not often in the course of his work that he set aside time for personal pleasure. The event that would soon unfold before him, however, was the culmination of a lifetime worth the effort and planning. Even a man possessed of his modest ego would be hard pressed to witness it firsthand, and it proved a temptation he could not resist. Right now the elderly gentleman in his neatly tailored business suit calmly sat within a private balcony at the Hynebrook Sky-Theatre, which was much less luxurious or grandiose as the queen’s, but still quite fitting for a man of Robert’s elegant tastes.
Despite the captivation of the audience below, he was hardly paying attention to the performances that followed Queen Celes’ announcement, what concerned him was the Tower of Heaven stretching into the clouds beyond the Theatre. It was beautiful and unattainable, much like perfection. It seemed the nearly mile-high tower should sway and topple under its own weight, but it was the paragon of stability, seeming as certain as the sun rising each day. He felt a slight vibration from the communicator lodged in his ear, he reached up and tapped it lightly.
“Is everything in place?” his voice was gravely, but smooth. Some would call it reassuring.
“The final preparations have been completed, all auxiliary variables have been dealt with accordingly, casualties minimal, awaiting your orders,” the delivery was brief and apathetic, that is what you expected when dealing with infernals, it was what you were paying for.
“Good, initiate Phase Five and standby for further orders,” with that the channel went dead, and Robert looked up to watch the Tower once again.
“And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the nominees for Most Dramatic Introduction Scene are,” the crowd went quiet, everyone waiting to hear the names of their favorite celebrities announced. “War of the Souls, Tower of Argence, The Book of Night, Beyond the Veil, and Fun in Hell. And the winner is…” she pealed open the envelope, pulling the slip of paper and reading it carefully, as smile spread across her face and several different directors were already preparing to stand. Before she could announce the victor, the ground beneath the audience’s feet rumbled violently.
There were shouts of terror and confusion as the shaking continued unabated for several moments, when it finally began to slow several screams announced that the audience had noticed the dome protecting their city fading, unfiltered light fell on them for the first time in many of their lives. Royal Guard members who had been stunned by the sudden turn of events came to the realization that something was terribly amiss, they leapt to the stage, surrounding Queen Celes like a wall and ushering her to safety with weapons raised, but not before the Tower of Heaven that stood in the distance began to sway. The colossal monolith leaned drastically far to the right before flames and smoke erupted in great plumes from several holes which were invisible at this distance, then the entire structure broke into pieces larger than apartment complexes as it collapsed, scattering lethal debris across several square miles of the city and likely killing thousands.
There were tears falling from the eyes of men and women alike as they watched their entire way of life sink to the ground, in utter silence. One man, however, was smiling. Robert Pierce had witnessed his life dreams coming to fruition, they had made war, and now War would come. He tapped the communicator in his hear one more time.
“Initiate Phase Six.”