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A Khati Storytime - Betrayers and Lovers

It's summer, the days are long and the evenings are just perfect for sharing food, drinks and of course, khati storytime.

Tonight, the Undying Empire with Functionary Xia sponsor this storytime passed down about great betrayal and even greater love, of heroes and fiends lost to time and how the power of love and betrayal impact peoples and places spanning great distances and time. That while betrayal may shatter hope with the plans of vice and some might even say hatred is more powerful in the short-term, that the rare thing like true love has an unpredictable but tremendous power that can give lasting transformation. Where ripples across the dream touch upon every soul and place.

Come and enjoy a story with traditional music from the Undying Empire, food and drink shared so that the story might live on in you. As always, clue shared afterwards.

Hooks: Undying Empire, Compact, Reckoning, Age of Queens, Metallics, Theology, Occult.


May 15, 2022, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Titus Xia


Gabriella Cassiopeia Appolonia Patrizio Khanne Aconite Nazmir Ryhalt Daria Akamos Raja Mia Dino Griffin



Arx - Ward of the Traveler - Lovers' Park

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Fiore, the Sarcastic Attendant have been dismissed.

Vicenta, a fawn Highhill Mastiff pup have been dismissed.

Those that come to the story time with a partner (or even if they're alone) find that they're encouraged to hold the hand of the person next to them while a silk ribbon is wound around their wrists linking them together. The ribbon has metallic looking geometric patterns and braided vine embroidery on it.

As darkness sets in and people continue to get comfortably placed on cushions, there comes from behind the shadow stage a muscled yet too gaunt tall figure painted completely black with unusual markings where far too pale flesh can be seen with symbols showing. Across the body are repeating geometric patterns with very sharp clear lines that have a metallic sheen while vines and floral patterns wrap around any turns or edges that might have been there. On his chest is a tower of light that seems shattered, on his back what might be a mirror or moon. It is the mask the figure wears which is most unusual, for where the eyes are you see each eye glows with a pale blue light of their own.

The figure looks around the small crowd in silence before it reaches into a small pouch at its side, letting pale sand with golden flecks be flung on the front of the stage and on the ground as it glitters from the low lit lamps here. It might almost look like the strange sand mirrors the stars above.

The pale glowing eyes watch as it walks around the stage, looking right at you. From behind the mask the black figure speaks in a dead, stoic voice from decayed lungs as black long fingers with gold sandy dust sparkle with the low light as if weaving a web. "We recognise those who came before us and on the lands we are on this evening and honour them, for their history is ours to guard and protect. And together, we step across the dunes of time, across the sands of the past and look back with our hearts to what once was and the stories are remembered. Of moments split apart but connected in spirit. May we honour our mothers and their daughters by being here tonight as we remember their stories and wisdom in teaching us the long lasting effects of love and betrayal."

2 Farshaw trained guards, Suzette - a Westrock Aerie Page arrive, following Ryhalt.

Gabriella returns the smile with a warm one of her own as she raises her glass in greeting.

It's a beautiful summer's day for a walk, and it seems as Cassiopeia arrives, she's been enjoying just that. There is a murmured conversation shared with Nazmir, as the two enter the park then. Azure blue eyes looks upon it like it's unfamiliar. This brings an element of excitement and wonder, taking it in, and the sights that are there as a result of today's story telling. Her attention drift along the crowd, but then she is murmuring to the man and seeking a quiet place to settle. Dressed in golden tones, embracing the fashion of her origin, everything glistens and the metals clang with a subtle song, allowing her to embrace the tune with her easy and relaxed movements. The look of comfort is casual on her expression, like it's always there. Her smile is warm, easy, and she seems content to spend this lovely day in the sun, and listen to the story unfold going quiet the moment the masked figure takes centre stage.

Appolonia, all in black, joins the group near the stage looking sunkissed and determined. She selects one of the cushions near the stage and curls herself into it as the masked figure begins its tale.

There are food and drink from the Empire waiting to be sampled tonight. Wait staff walk around with trays, some holding things like steamed buns or smaller dumplings to try, while others have glasses with a tart plum or a milky and sweet rice wine to wash down the food. Or just to drink with the story.

Though the cuisine is certainly something that is out of his experience - and Patrizio's expression does nothing to hide the fact - the prince of Pravus is clearly availing himself of some of the delicacies to be sampled, at least to broaden his experience. Though there's that considerate gaze to the stage as well, as if he's loathe to potentially interrupt anything.

2 Culler Brutes, 1 Culler Boatswain arrive, following Raja.

Khanne watches with rapt attention as the masked figure emerges. A small smile plays upon her lips as the glittering sand is sifted through fingers to decorate the stage and someone wraps that silk ribbon around her wrist, joining to whomever may sit next to her. Her eyes drift from marking to marking painted on the masked figure's lean self.

Aconite smiles to Patrixio and Cassiopeia, lifting her glass to thm in warm greeting. The Softest Whisper's dark eyes take in others drawn to storytime before she turns her full attention to the stage, head tilted up and curious. She shifts on the blanket she'd spread out to relax on.

There's always time for good conversation, especially when it's been combined with the prospect of a walk through the city. Reaching the park, Nazmir takes a moment to let his gaze slip about the area and those that had already gathered, offering a quick smile and a nod of his head towards a couple of people before he's looking back to Cassiopeia, to murmur back to her before they move to find a place to settle down. It's then that his gaze drifts to the stage, taking in the sight of the masked figure who makes their appearance.

Ryhalt sits among the crowd, watching the story as it starts.

Xia kneels on one of the cushions before the attendants with the ribbon can get to her. She settles in place and reaches out to take the hands of the people next to her. Oh look, that's Khanne on her left. "Hello," she says quietly, not wanting to interrupt the story but not wanting to be impolite either.

Khanne smiles to Xia and nods her head. "Hello," she whispers to her tied-to partner.

Daria is here sitting beside Akamos, leaning against him slightlu as she watches and listens. She will offer a silent bow of her head in greeting to anyone whom might greet her but she seems to try and make herself comfortable as she can as she listens

It really is a beautiful summer evening, the weather is warm. Entering the park, there's tiny little boats with a single candle floating down the stream which will guide you to follow across gentle sloping bridges until you reach a main area where there's a blazing fire roaring which sends a golden glow. Comfortable cushions are laid out in a semi-circle before a large square stage, lanterns with interesting geometric shapes hang on rope along the perimeter and silk curtains act as a wall of sorts while vines and plants seem to be in just the right place to soften hard lines. There are low tables with food and drinks (the scent of those steamed buns just beckons you to try just one more) and another table that has unlit paper lanterns orderly lined up. The sprawling Mission complex can be seen just beyond in the rear of the park. The stars are bright even with a large moon hanging nearby.

It's story time.

The stage behind the masked figure lights up like magic. The masked storyteller is standing before it while action happens behind him.

"We thank the Undying Empire and Functionary Xia for hosting this storytime, may their names be praised and remembered for their care and guardianship of wisdom from places beyond. For if we can find something tonight from others and go away a little wiser then we all will be stronger."

And so the storyteller begins his story after bowing its head to Xia in thanks, walking barefoot across the gold and sand-dusted ground before the stage. Behind him, the stage has shadows which show visually what he talks about.

Gesturing towards the stars high above everyone in the night sky and one in particular constellatioon which if you're creative looks like a great and mighty sword pointing to the east, the storyteller's decayed whispers say "Far away across the Mourning and Eurusi seas, we follow the great god of war Gloria as she points her sword towards the east. Our stories tonight start there, before the fall and destruction, when the world was new."

"If shattered Uanna was the city of light, Caer'alfar was the city of purity as the mysteries of the world were explored by the elves whose devotion and faith to the gods saw their civilisation flourish. But as they explored, the stories of dragons intertwined with the stories of elves. To the khati, dragons represent ambition and challenge while elves represent devotion and between them the khati stepped away to their sanctuary to not be involved in the struggles of supremacy. How the struggles of daily life and tragedies strained the elves devotion as their queen saw her people being destroyed. To the gods she sought desperate answers of why and to the gods she prayed for power to deliver her people from suffering. She did not receive the answers she so sought for, and so the queen and her people experienced an existential crisis."

Akamos settles in beside Daria and goes about trying to ensure she'll be comfortable,removing his coat and using it as a cusion if needbe, before sliding a big arm around the pregnant woman and listening to the stories.

3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna, 1 Bisland pride guards, Feydin, a white-tailed eagle, Vigilance, a juvenile female Oakhaven Bloodhound, Berthold, Tinsel arrive, following Mia.

Gabriella is overheard praising Xia.

3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna, 1 Bisland pride guards, Feydin, a white-tailed eagle, Vigilance, a juvenile female Oakhaven Bloodhound, Berthold, Tinsel leave, following Mia.

You know that person that talks all through the movie? That might accidentally be Xia. But she's keeping her voice lowered to interfere with the minimum number of people, and if the timing of her leaning close to Khanne has any impact, she's at least waiting for certain story lulls before saying anything.

3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna, 1 Bisland pride guards, Feydin, a white-tailed eagle, Vigilance, a juvenile female Oakhaven Bloodhound arrive, following Mia.

a cabin boy arrives, delivering a message to Gabriella before departing.

"Oooh..." comes the breathed out reaction from Khanne when the stage is lit up. It is when the storyteller bows to Xia that Khanne realizes who she is now tied to for this performance. "Oh my..." she whispers, eyes wide before she smiles at her now-companion once more. "Thank you, Functionary Xia." Further words are whispered, for the Functionary's ears only, in the space between the storyteller's appreciation and beginning of the story itself.

Aconite watches the storyteller. Her eyes glued to the masked figure with clearly enthralled expression.

Raja quietly slips into the back of the party. Stories of far off places have always fascinated the Culler woman. With a drink in hand, she settles in, remaining focused on the storyteller.

Late as she is, Mia does not arrive with her usual brisk steps, the sort that strongly suggest that it would be wise to simply remove oneself from her path rather than mistakenly expect the woman to actually stop her stride, or that she even could. No, no, the dark-haired Marquessa slips into the park as quietly as she can manage, murmuring something under her breath the lady's maid at her side, the latter of whom has one of the distinctly Oakhaven bloodhounds held gently on a lead.

Daria has a gentle smile as Akamos is seeing to help ensure she is comfortable. She leans to kiss his cheek gently then all her focus is on the storyteller as the story begins to be told.

Settling down on a spot in the grass, with a good view of the story teller, but also the park itself, it's easy for Cassiopeia to get caught up in the story. The moment it unfolds, she is raptured by it. Having said her greetings, waving warmly at Aconite and Patrizio, sharing friendly smiles. Then when the masked figure begins, she goes silent, muting the murmured conversation with Nazmir and plays the role of attentive audience, easily. The young woman takes a little breath as though she is expecting some sort of reaction but is trying to temper it. A hand rests in her lap, the other rests on the grass, keeping herself propped up. Her eyes half-close as though wanting to experience the words before the sights, taking everything in, is raptured silence to hear what will happen next!

Gabriella reads the note she was handed with a joyful smile before tucking it away and sitting up straight on her seat, her focus now on the story and the buzz of activity. She takes a long sip of her beverage and seems to relax from her usually wound state.

Behind the storyteller, the stage shows shadows of dragons breathing fire and other breath of death on cities that burn while armies of what must be elves are fighting the dragons. A third group of animals and mythical creatures move away and off the side of the stage.

"Queen Primeria's faith was tested as the gods wouldn't just give to her the answers she desired. While her intentions were good in protecting her people, she had betrayal's seed in her heart where she was able to justify wrong thinking and give herself permission to cross boundaries. To the Dark Mirror of Caer'alfar did she stare too deeply as betrayal grew and stepping beyond to the Abyss, she brought back great powers she sought but at a terrible cost."

The stage's lights change and a symbolic green flicker can be seen now illuminating the shadows.

"And while Queen Primeria loved her people truly, she became a betrayer to the gods as she misplaced her devotion from the gods to her people, placing them above the gods in her thoughts. And so evil began to spill in the world from the Dark Mirror, all over elven lands the demons came and the armies of Caer'alfar fought now not only the dragons but the never-ending fiends from the Abyss with the newfound power of their Queen. But the one trip was not enough, the Queen needed more power to defeat all these new threats of dragons and demons. Again she stepped through the Dark Mirror, this time taking with her others that would traverse the great distance and embrace what they felt was needed to save their people. She created the Fractal Order, those who stepped beyond each taking a small stone of their choosing, one which would identify a facet of themselves with the Abyss and which they might reflect on their choice."

The stage shows the elvish queen step in through an ornate mirror of shadow and soon after the mirror opens like a gate and terrifying shadowy shapes spill out of it as elves fight now dragons and demons. Sparks and flashes of coloured light and pops can be heard as almost miracle-like actions happen on the battles behind. The green light fades to once more a gentle golden glow.

There's silence for a moment before the whispered voice says over the sound of the trickling stream nearby, "And thus one of the first betrayals happened when Queen Primeria looked away from the gods and instead towards answers from other places."

A dip of Patrizio's head is offered back to Cassiopeia, and Nazmir beside her if he should notice, the smile disappearing behind his glass as he takes a sip while he's contemplating the others. There's likewise a reassuring smile for Gabriella as he spots his recently-returned cousin present as well, and a lift of the glass in quiet salute to Griffin. Though at the beginning of sense of things starting, he settles himself down, lest he be a distraction, and turns those attentive jade eyes to the setting on the stage.

Alberico, the Malespero aide, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie arrive, following Pasquale.

The show on the stage is engaging, but there's also a growing sea of Arvani to catch Xia's attention. She looks around from time to time, letting her gaze slide across the other attendees and with it her smile grows, or shifts into a grin. But always she looks back at the masked man on the stage. "Oooh," she makes a noise quietly as the first betrayal is revealed.

Aconite continues to listen raptly. Her wine forgotten, propped on her knee as the Whisper's eyes close for a moment though she is obviously still keenly listening.

Letting quiet conversation with Cassiopeia drift off into easy silence, Nazmir's gaze plays about those that have gathered and he's catching that nod from Patrizio, returning it with one of his own, along with a smile. He's then settling in for the show as it begins, a slight little smile tugging to his lips as he's listening and as the story progresses, he's canting his head a little to the side, his attention focused entirely on the masked figure for now.

Ryhalt scratches his sidewhisker, frowning in thought as he listened to the tale unfold.

Khanne's eyes take in the depiction of the dragons, elves, and war as the shadow story plays out, her attention flicking back and forth between the skull-masked figure and the backdrop behind him. She leans forward with interest, entranced by the spoken words and the shadows as well. On occasion, she does seem to lean closer to Xia to share some murmured words, but they both are careful to do so in a way that does not interfere with the story.

Her eyes meet Patrizio's for half a second and Gabriella meets his smile with one of her own before returning her attention to the scene playing out before them.

"It wasn't long after the fall of Queen Primeria that a new king rose, Diamond. And he led the Fractal Order and created multiple schools of research and study, tempting and inviting others to participate and develop themselves so that he could use them as thirteen stepped through the Dark Mirror. And still faithful and devoted to the gods, prince Evander led his school of magic and fought the demons that continued to spill out of the world."

"The Diamond King had no love for the gods, he had only one love and that was to have ultimate power to have all things under his brilliant reign so that he could make the world in his image. Away did Prince Evander go to deal with blasphemies that his Order was created to stop in the east and there he needed to stay. And in Caer'alfar, one hundred thousand human souls sacrificed in an instant as Oblivion devoured all and in doing so the Nox'alfar were cursed to burn forever in the sun. The world recoiled and the great God of Death raged in a time of the Dance of Skulls that we learned of a few stories ago where the great eagle primordia mother saved a boy she in time called her son and loved, and led many other primordia to save their loved ones from a terrible fate as the world shuddered in pain. As the sun was cursed, out of the darkness a great beast of midnight came which would devour the dawn and brought utter terror and darkness wherever it went, blotting out the sun and devouring all that it come across."

The stage's lights flicker again green as it shows constant war and what might be a hundred thousand unhappy chained slaves suddenly snuffed out as the whole stage goes to darkness as there's a mighty bestial roar from behind the stage not from a person but something else which might be frightening until the light once more shows a huge winged monstrosity flying until it leaves.

"And again, another great betrayal came to the world and the dream was hurt." the voice says quietly as the soft blue glowing eyes from the masked figure look right at you, studying you in silence.

Jayne, Burly Sailor arrives, following Wash.

Aconite's eyes open after a small bit. Aco nods as Diamond's reign is described. The Whisper's free hand lifts, held against rhe base of her throat.

Raja lifts her drink to her lips as eyes widden and brows rise as the show's story continues to unfold.

At the great roar, Xia seeks to lift her hands to her breast in surprise, but is stopped by the ribbon connecting her to her partners. She's left with her hands in her lap and her mouth somewhere between agape and smiling.

"The Great Beast of Midnight"
"That Which Devours the Dawn"
"The Maw of Darkness, the Unending Hunger of Night"

"Shhhh, Shaivassa might hear."

There's whispers of a frightful name.

Aconitespots Raja and te Whisper waves the woman's direction but it's not long lived as the Stage comes back to life.

Daria is listening, looking captivated as she watching and listens to the tale. She seems content in leaning against Akamos, settling her head on his shoulder

Not a sound from the prince of Pravus, but one might well notice, with the shifting lights, how Patrizio's hand rises to briefly rub his chin as he's watching, the lack of the wandering of his gaze, as if he's attempting to commit such things to memory while they're being acted out. Especially the matter of the beast.

Mia settles slowly down into a seat, spreading the skirts of her silk out around her, smoothing away any wrinkles that might form with a long-fingered hand. Her brow furrows at the mention of the name 'Shaivassa', the way someone dredging through hazy memories of nearly-forgotten facts learned from their school days might. A moment later and her hound is resting its head in her lap, nosing at her.

Khanne's hand is jerked a bit towards Xia when the roar happens, which coincides with her own startled jump. It leaves her chuckling a small, awkward sound before she relaxes once more, though the name uttered then brings out a furrow in her brow, any sign of a smile disappearing.

Raja was so captivated that she nearly missed Aconite's wave. She flashes a grin in the woman's direction and offers her own wave. However the whispers from the stage catch her attention again.

Dino approaches quietly, watching first the roaring fire, then the stage, trying not to disturb anyone as he searches for a seat. He'll settle onto a cushion in the back, craning his neck to see.

Head tilted to the side, Cassiopeia is especially captivated by the moving shadows, watching the lights flicker and the way the story unfolds as a result. Her curiosity is lit, listening quietly and giving their performer her full attention. The young woman's reactions play openly with her expressions and her eyes go wide or her lips curl up or down, during different parts of the story. It's not overly animated, but she is open with her reactions.

At the back of the clearing, Griffin listens, his forehead scrunched up with all sorts of questions.

Nazmir certainly seems to be enjoying the story, or at least his features indicate such. There's a smile on his lips for most of it, though the roar has him giving a little blink, lips parting in the surprise of it, only for the smile to then hint back into place as he continues to keep his attention focused upon the one telling the story.

The green light fades and the soft gold light returns once more to the stage as whispers of a terrible name die off. The storyteller continues on as the stage shows his story.

"The Elvish prince created an empire as he conquered lands and fought back the Abyss with his Metallic Order. Teaching those who had the gift, not focusing on the particular bloodline, his Order flourished in ability matched by their tenacity to wage war against darkness as they came together in fidelity and love to protect and give of themselves to safeguard better tomorrows. It was then when the Reckoning was happening that his love for the world had his Order speed to Arvum and the fledgling capital of the new Compact as demonic darkness flooded the continent and pressed against the very walls of this city, breaching it. Women and men that are legends now, their last stands and sacrifices of their lives noted in the Hall of Heroes. People like Goldenpyre who rode his companion Aurumadin, both who gave their lives without hesitation so that a better tomorrow might come as the great beast of midnight fell to the mighty Aurumadin and Goldenpyre gave himself to defend Arx even though he was not from here. And it was in that last moment of the Reckoning that we remember the story of King Valar and Dame Sugan, and of Platinum and Silver."

As each named hero is spoken, the stage has what looks like as familiar representation of their famous last moment and what they stood for as hero after hero after hero begin to line up on the stage showing just how many sacrificed. Finally there's one great king and a knight that hold hands as a ribbon wraps their wrists together and of an Emperor and a knight.

Just like how you're bound to your partner!

"The King had long long ago made a promise that he would save those who would be honourable to the end from evil and Dame Sugan showed through deeds that she was like an incarnate of honour and duty. And so the King's heart fell in love with the mortal knight and she touched an immortal's heart with her brief life lived in such a way that it compelled him to help and remember his oaths given, as he told his kin an oath is an oath no matter who it is made to. While Sugan and the Compact fought here with the Metallics, King Valar and his kin waged a terrible war against the demons and agents of the Abyss at Caer'alfar and razed it to the ground so that it was a wasteland, burning it until it earned the name Pyre to this day. And while the battle of Caer'alfar cost the King many of his kin, he was able to return for his last days back to Arx and remember those humans, elves and his kin who fought for honour. He asked his beloved not to mourn him but said instead 'I give to you my heart and courage, so you may dream the world as it is meant to be.' before he passed on. And so afterwards, the lands of Sanctum were named the Oathlands from the very oath that helped safeguard the world and while Sugan was crowned Highlord of the new house of Valardin, they took on the mourning colour of blue with a white dragon to forever remind them that an oath is an oath. At her coronation, there came many high ranking houses who followed their fallen King and to her, they swoore their oaths of fealty. From there, they worked tirelessly to restore the lands to righteousness and the Reclaimation began."

There's voices that sing soft and sweetly from the attendants who are passing out food and drink as they repeat "I give to you my heart and courage so you may dream the world as it is meant to be."

Xia's murmur of, "So that is why it is the Oathlands," may be a little louder than she had planned. Her cheeks flush and she mouths 'sorry' to those around her, those who may have been disturbed by her speaking. This Arvani drama! It's so good!

A smile, faintly, to Xia when there's the statement, though Patrizio's head dips as well at her words, as if there's the sense that perhaps even the Pravusi prince hadn't known the reason behind such a naming.

Daria listens quietly as she leans into Akamos, raising her eyebrows at the explaination for the name.

Cassiopeia seems to appreciate Xia's clarification and she smiles at the unfamiliar woman, before her gaze sweeps to the stage and she is lost in the imagery of it all, once more.

Gabriella doesn't seem to be able to tear her attention away from the

Griffin bows his head with the saying, and adds very quietly, "May I wander through this life remembering that. Courage and heart. For this, and the next life." He takes a drank as the are passing.

At Xia's comment, Nazmir can't help but look over in her direction, smile dancing deeper upon his lips as if she voiced a very statement he may have been thinking. There's a glance over towards Cassi and then he's looking back over towards the stage once more, to simply settle back into comfort as he once more gives way to listening.

Gabriella doesn't seem to be able to tear her attention away from the story as it plays out, her drink all but forgotten by her side.

"And for Platinum, his hard stance against the Abyss pushed him to strengthen the Metallic Order. While he was a man that had sharp lines drawn against the treachery, betrayal and terrible things he witnessed over and over on a world that cried for help, what he thought impossible happened. He lost his heart to Silver and when they worked together he was altered. Her symbol of vines woven together showed there was always room to move and grow and yet strong when wrapped for defense or hold an enemy fast. Her symbol wrapped around his and then their individual symbols became one forever united, malleable and firm, gentle and sharp as they balanced each other in life and work, hers the heart and his the vision and will."

"He felt her loss keenly when she sacrificed herself so that the defenseless that retreated to the last stand in Arx were defended. She gave her life for the weak, the hurt, the injured, the dying, those who couldn't protect themselves. It was there in that group that she saved a certain boy who would later become a great king and her sacrifice he witnessed had him form the Silver Order to forever remember her sacrifice. A Silver Order that continues on in her memory, and while there is still one Silver Knight standing then her memory is kept true."

There is Silver's last stand as winged and terrible shapes are surrounding her and a large group of small people. She stands valiantly as she sacrifices herself with a flash of pure white light. The stage goes dark for a moment until it slowly glows golden again as the shattered remnants of Arx can be seen. What must be Emperor Platinum is seen, his head held down in sadness, a ribbon held in his hand that flutters gently but still held.

"The betrayal of the Fractals with the Abyss nearly destroyed the world, but at the moment of truth, love showed power again and again in bittersweet sacrifice where devotion, fidelity and love triumphed."

Eyes settled on the storyteller, Khanne smiles as he speaks about the history of the Oathlands. Her free hand lifts, placing it over her chest as if touched by the sentiment. The smile grows as Xia comes to her realization, voicing it a bit more loudly than she intended, but after, she looks to her ribbon-companion in a bit of surprise.

There's a quiet little chuckle at Xia's comment and Mia lifts her chin in greeting to the Imperial functionary. But unwilling to interrupt the performance, her eyes instead return to the stage, idly stroking her dog's long, floopy ear as she watches, her dark eyes following every movement on the stage.

Aconite finally remembers her wine and lifts it to drain the glass.

At the talk of Platinum, Xia sits straighter. She looks around again, seeing what others look like as they listen to the story. It's how she catches sight of Mia and gives a nod to the familiar figure.

Ryhalt smiles wistfully as he listens through the Oathlands section and nods to the part about Platinum and Silver.

Dino shifts where he is sitting as some plates of food come around. He reaches for a small bite and works on it as the story plays out ahead of him. Though late to it, he seems to have easily and naturally become drawn into what's playing out there.

Alberico, the Malespero aide have been dismissed.

Louis, a Malespero Armsman have been dismissed.

Mar, the Magpie have been dismissed.

"Platinum's order helped the Compact, his desire to see order and ensure a better life can be seen even today. People here in Arvum rarely experience things that others outside of the continent experience such as blights and plagues that corrupt and taint the very land and people. The great houses led the Reclaimation and soon a period of healing and growth was experienced and while promises to remember were made, the children of Oblivion, Forgetfulness and Ignorance, gnawed on Memory."

"Platinum had brought and welcomed all races in his Order, that first order of Metallics and his order suffered tremendous losses that he himself keenly felt. A hurt inside that he could only respond by hardening his vision and will to sharply draw a line none should pass so the damages of betrayal he saw wouldn't happen again and he created a Second Order with such gifted people like Beryllium the apprentice artificer to Brass, the heirophant Mercury of Eurus, the khaati Iridium. Or a Sylv'alfar prince who took the name Orichalcum. All of them accepted and nurtured by Platinum so that they might protect a world and bring about a peace and prosperity for all."

The lights of the stage move from that gentle golden glow to an eerie green again.

"And so as the wounds from the Reckoning were healing and scars faded, humanity began to ever expand into the territories of the Sylv'alfar. Those promised words as Arx shall endure, we will remember began to fade. The Second Metallic Order grew in number and power and Orichalcum pleaded with them to help the Sylv'alfar as humans from the Compact destroyed sacred places and his people were being killed and pushed back further into the forests. But the Order rejected his request, they were to fight the Abyss and this was change happening. And so seeking to keep his people, their lands and their beliefs protected and safe, he sought comfort in the woman he loved. It was she who put in his heart to seek out answers from beyond the Metallic Order or the gods, to a god that was forgotten, the god of the hunt. He would give strength to the sylv'alfar to fight in unity as one against the human trespassers. As strength indeed came when the prince bent his knee and offered his oaths to this new god, his father King A'kioh too chose to follow in those footsteps and new faith, abandoning the gods. And slowly betrayal's chains began to wrap around the sylv'alfar, twisting it into darkness that culminated with the Day of Betrayal in which the human king was invited along with his lords to broker a peace; their desire for peace was paid with their lives as they were slain, a hope in the prince's heart that he could rid the region from any half-breeds if he could simply crush humanity. And so a great war between the Compact and the sylv'alfar although a betrayer worked hard and shattered the second Metallic Order, marked by the Great Fire of Arx and the Night of the Southern Sun to the south. It hardened Platinum being betrayed by such a trusted individual he only desired to see the best in. And it made Platinum step away from helping Arvum for a very long time. But Alarice the Great defeated King A'kioh and ushered in the Peace of Queens."

"Another betrayal born from not accepting the answers of the gods and looking elsewhere, of rejecting the love of others. But you, listener, have now a choice."

And now the shadow play stage goes dark for a moment until the light shows a beautiful and intricate geometric pattern with hard lines but just as intricate patterns of vines softening any sharp edges. In the middle is a dragon wrapping its wings around a knight and high above is the constellation of Gloria's Sword. The light shown is soft but white.

a small utility chest is now unlocked.

The soft blue glowing eyes of the masked storyteller look at each of you as it steps off the stage and walks within the crowd, checking the weaved ribbons on wrists. As it talks in that whisper, perhaps it might seem the final part it speaks is just for you although everyone can hear.

"The khati mothers teach their daughters that affairs in our hearts begin when people justify wrong thinking and give themselves permission to cross small boundaries. They teach us that we can't have love without trust, it is the key for fidelity and civilisation to be built on. Trust creates safety, security and openness. But with love comes the risk of betrayal. The khati mothers teach that love comes respecting and cherishing the other, forming a protective hedge in your heart and mind that when some thought or action comes to cause harm on that person you love and cherish, your sacred love will make you invested in seeing them flourish above yourself. Love becomes the selfless actions while betrayal has its root in selfishness."

"We see stories now repeated where our honour and love has small cracks and then when we don't like the answer to the challenge we face, we become hardened and accept wrong choice. Betrayal hardens the heart, it makes us seek revenge. Instead we must examine ourselves and when we have the negative cynical seed we need to crush that. When we are betrayers, we show we're disloyal, we aren't faithful, we become unreliable. When I betray confidence and trust, we create wounds that are deep and lasting and sometimes a person can carry resentment for the rest of their life."

"Our mothers teach us not to give our trust and loyalty to just anyone, but to test and approach it carefully. And to those we do give our loyalty to, we should remain steadfast no matter how challenging the problem or moment we face. When we are truly together in love, it unites and strengthens us in such a way that perhaps things that might seem like miracles can happen."

Titus gestures towards a table where there are assistants standing on one side. The table has imperial style paper lanterns that have a silk ribbon that has platinum coloured embroidered geometric patterns with vines that braid and cushion any sharp edges and a space in the middle that is empty. A perfect space for a name to be added! There's also all sorts of food and drinks for people to enjoy, should they want to just mingle too.

"Write down the name of someone you truly love or someone who loved you, an individual in which you felt the fidelity Limerance desires us to share and strengthen. And light the candle in the lantern so it might float upwards to the sky and remind all that against the darkness, even the smallest candle of hope and love can be a bright beacon, that their love is remembered and they are cherished and when so many choose fidelity and love over betrayal and selfishness, all our small lights can be as bright as the sun."

"And so let us thank the sponsors of tonight's stories being shared with the Undying Empire and remember the lives of Silver and Platinum, of Valar and Sugan. While we remember their sacrifices, may we find respite from weariness, fear and sadness by remembering the lives they lived. And may we remember as we look up in the night sky and see Gloria's sword that we don't pray for victory when the challenge seems like it might take us or that we're surrounded by darkness, that when we look at those small stars that glow may we pray that we might have the strength to endure unto the last breath with our honour intact."

Daria gets an imperial paper lantern with fidelity charm from a small utility chest.

Appolonia is overheard praising Titus.

Aconite takes an imperial paper lantern with fidelity charm from a small utility chest.

Appolonia is overheard praising Xia.

Gabriella is overheard praising Titus.

Xia is overheard praising Titus.

Chiara leaves, following Appolonia.

Patrizio is overheard praising Titus.

Dino is overheard praising Xia.

Dino is overheard praising Titus.

Patrizio takes an imperial paper lantern with fidelity charm from a small utility chest.

Cassiopeia is overheard praising Xia.

Cassiopeia is overheard praising Titus.

Gabriella gets an imperial paper lantern with fidelity charm from a small utility chest.

Nazmir gets an imperial paper lantern with fidelity charm from a small utility chest.

Mia is overheard praising Xia.

Patrizio can be seen quietly scribing something on the ribbon that hangs from the lantern that he has selected, after some moments of thought to the matter. There's not a cast about of those eyes, nor is he seeming to be paying attention to what anyone else does, before his hands settle beneath it after it's been lit, and he gives it a gentle lift, letting the air carry the ribbon and the lantern towards the sky.

After that moment of distraction, Khanne is once more enthralled in the story, seeming to become a bit more emotional as the tale of Platinum and Silver was told. After the sacrifice of Silver, as he continues to tell the tale of Platinum and of the Metallic Order, her free hand moves up to just beneath her neck, her thumb rubbing lightly at the hollow near her collarbone in a bit of a distracted motion. Her jaw tightens at the mention of Orichalcum, her eyes narrowing for the briefest of moments. And then... when instructions are given out in regards to the lanterns, her eyes fill with tears that simply pool along her lower lashes, not quite falling. She will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to write the name upon the ribbon and set the lantern free.

Ryhalt sets a name to one of the ribbons and lets the lantern go. He smiles as he watches it float away.

Aconite rises slowly and sets her empty glass aside. She tilts her head before moving over towards the lanterns where she picks one and then takes a slip of paper to write something on it before setting it alight. Her expression gives little away.

2 Culler Brutes, 1 Culler Boatswain leave, following Raja.

Daria takes a lantern and writes a name on it, carefully lighting the candle and releasing the lantern before kissing Akamos gently and then looking helplessly at him to help her stand as everyone is starting to get up themselves and leave. Clearly poor Daria is quite stuck now that she has settled into her spott

Dino stands and brushes himself off before walking over to the lanterns. He takes one and the ribbon attached, staring thoughtfully for a moment before writing a name onto one of them. With a deep breath, he lights the lantern and guides it up and away, letting it go when it's too high for him to hold, and watching it drift even higher.

Khanne is overheard praising Xia.

Khanne is overheard praising Titus.

There is a darkness which comes over Mia's face at the story of Orichalcum -- a story she already knows well, too well, every beat of it familiar. There's a shake of her head, one which makes her long, simple braid sway, and then her eyes drift over to the lanterns. Yes, there will be a name carefully etched onto one, her lady's maid fetching one for each of them so that dear Vigilance isn't disturbed from her place resting against Mia's lap. Mothers anda daughters, daughters and mothers. Is it any wonder a woman with four children has names to pen?

Nazmir is overheard praising Titus.

Nazmir is overheard praising Xia.

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