What Lies Beyond the Looking Glass
Call sign: Ereba
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.
Organization: Royal Guard
Title: Chief Admiral - Royal Captain to the Empress
Name: Pontius Quirrey
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.”