Edge of the Low Fields, Before Dawn.
Akai was silent as the flash and flare of the conjured ball of fire hurtled its way past the air that once held the mysterious figure. A grim frown shadowing his sharpened features, unlike Elsa he could sense the presence of whatever it was, still watching them. As she prattled on, his unflinching figure, moved from left to right, looking for anything his care gaze might be able to catch.
“Hush!” He hissed, just before the disturbing figure of Isa came into view once more, her childlike features, creating a puzzling contrast for the elf. Her smile was sheer poison, and her insults forced his face into a defensive look of utter disdain. His left hand went to steady Elsa and his stead, his cold, green eyes never leaving the sight of the infamous witch.
As quickly as she had appeared, the witch was gone. Powerful magicks, and something in her voice, caused the elf’s skin to prickle and his hair to stand on end. “The…king.” Akai muttered, in a low tone, the chill air battering against his fair cheeks as a light gust picked up, “Elsa, do you know what that was?” His voice sounded truly perplexed, never in his years alive, had he heard or seen of such a creature. “That was not…human, nor any sort of odd combination, and surely not a hag, or common magical user. “
The elf tilted his head back, giving the plume of dusky smoke from their latest debacle, one last glance. Mysterious minion of the human king or not, there was nothing that could stop him from returning the eye to its rightful home among his people. Idle threats from some power hungry king toying with magic were the least of his worries, though his men were thoroughly problematic. Once they crossed into the forest, none would be able to find them.
“Come, we are getting close,” With a solid “Hi-ya” and an encouraging tap on the horses neck, with the other horse braying in acknowledgement the horses, and both Elsa and Akai moved further into the plains of the Lower Fields.
The Imperial Palace; Throne Room, Mid-day.
The sights and sounds, sounding off the entrance of Zarr’s family, drew a quick, breathy sigh of relief. His midnights gaze, following the queen’s movements with familiar precision. A placid smile had befallen his lips on her, and their children’s approach, Micella’s seemingly constant desire to challenge anything and everything a pleasant signal that his family was approaching. Ana’s voice was like a cool stream on his naked skin on a summer day, she held a special place in his heart. The way she tilted her head, when she wished to converse with him while in their thrones, it was enthralling. She was perfecting, her crown glinting in the mixture of fire light, and the fading light of the sun.
He brushed her question off as best he could with a soft scoff, waving his heavily jeweled left hand, “I hardly recall, truth be told. Long enough, it’s almost done from what I understand. Artists have never really rubbed me the right way, I’d like to see them stay in the same regal position for hours on end.” He prattled, feeling his anxiety washing away, even as he spoke. He was prepared now, the mighty king of Venn, master of magicks, and leader of men. Now he was the man that led the people of Venn against their careless king.
The decorated phoenix resting upon his head, glinted as brightly as the day it had been finished by Venn’s greatest craftsmen. Zarr’s head bobbed in a nod, his tone even, and strong, “ I feel fine. Better than usual, today is a celebration, today, we meet the sultan of Jewelstine.” His smile was wider now, the rest of his words cut off as the servant man returned with news.
Zarr’s chest rose in a deep breath as his listened to the servant speak, his eyes moving above the servants head, fixating upon the ornate doorways that were the entrance to his throne room. “We shall continue on as planned, servant. All shall be grand, and courteous to our guest. A sultan from a distant land beyond the sea.” The servant-man moved to excuse himself, offering a bow to the royal family, and carrying on with all other formalities before taking his leave.
It was nearly an hour before the sound of foot steps, and then various practiced words being spoken behind the Ornate doors. Zarr’s fingers nearly clawed their way into the arms of his throne before the slow shifting of the doors began. Slowly at first, with the faintest of creaking/ The many men at arms lining the walls of Zarr’s throne room, silent, and fully still as the first few men drew themselves through, the sultans caravan of ‘Protectors’ as they were referred to by most. Soon men, most armed, and many with some semblance of polished armor entered, followed by what looked a disheveled husk of what was once the richest king in known existence. Still he carried something with him, a silent swagger, which allowed him to look the part of Sultan of Jewelstine. Not far behind was his twig of an heir, and his near nursemaid, the once high priestess of Jewelstines Temples.
Zarr looked the spectacle over with silent satisfaction, surely the peasants had seen this mighty caravan of both veterans of war, and their caged foreigner. The fruit of their labors, finally a tangible marker for the common man of what Zarr was to achieve for them and their kingdom. The kings head tilted to the side, curious to see what his wife thought of the whole thing, she always managed to see things he never could, even with all of his magic, his intelligence, his guile. She could always be one step ahead of him.
With a flourishing wave of his hands, and regal rise into a standing position, Zarr welcomed both his men, and the sultan of Jewelstine to his castle.
“Welcome, warriors of Venn, valiant men of the green pastures. Your unbridled dedication to the grown has not gone unnoticed; many have fallen so that we might rise from the ashes of a forgotten kingdom of men, to the fire bird of prey that is now Venn. I greet you on behalf of Venn, I welcome you on behalf of her sovereignty. On the sovereignty of my crown. I would not dare to say I know of the struggles you faced on the unknown sands in the lands across the sea, but I too fought in battles, and men saw it fit to raise me above them in leadership. I have not taken such a great burden for granted, and though I have not always lead my people down the path beside the river, I have lead them on the path to true greatness. A path that is never without it’s obstacles.
The walls of Jewelstine, shining, glimmering in the never ending light of the deserts sands, seemed an insurmountable task, but I knew better. Yes, I knew what the men of Venn were made of, I knew that they saw the greatness that I have seen in her people. That greatness if on full display today, for we have with us, the fallen Sultan of Jewelstine himself. But I do not wish you to look upon this man with hate, nor anger. He did only what any man in his position would do. He sought to protect what was his. We did not bring him here to mock, or jeer at him. He is a guest of mine, one without a crown, but still a title that shall remain upon his head until his heart is yet to beat another time.
Zarr's dark gaze glimmered across the gathered men, he looked ever bit the king of piety and grace. The fiery red tattoo, off setting his regal air with that of something more akin to the wild-men of the north. Slowly he moved his gaze until it was resting fully upon that of the Sultan, linking their two's gaze as he ended his speech.
"Welcome, Sultan of Jewelstine, to Orjata.”