The Moral Equation

A busy strip along the center of marn, including the Temple, Hospital, and Justice Hall.
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Lanya Caliope
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Post by Lanya Caliope » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:33 am

The moment the shackles clapped into place, the confusion melted away into sharp understanding and her knee blazed back into pain. The woman gasped and leaned down to clench her knee, bracing against the sudden agony as she winced at her surroundings. She remembered that she had been led here - she remembered the elder's words threatening her life, and something about a trial - they had brought Lucian, too. This could only be meant as a weapon.

She evened out her breathing, trying to focus anywhere but on her knee so that she might pay attention to the elder. She could not put much weight on her leg and she doubted that he would care. If she collapsed to the wrong side...well, that was his fault.

With pain creasing across her brow, she straightened as much as she could. This was one of many moments when she regretted her height and build; there was so much more of her to balance.

Three men entered, and she watched them as they approached and stood by her side. She couldn't say that she feared them; no, there was no one person or thing she feared in this place. She didn't know enough about their system and customs to locate the source. Instead, she feared the entire situation, front to back. She remembered Lucian's words earlier, and she felt to her core that this was true: they wanted her dead. Or...maybe not them, but...

She looked back at the elder as he spat a question at her, remembering that he was in league with the assassin. At least, by her reckoning - and he certainly hadn't denied it. But what could she do? She was as helpless now as she'd been before. And standing here, clasped inside of these chains and runes, she felt that the air itself was dead, lacking the vitality and flow that the rest of this planet had to offer. She couldn't place what was missing - she'd never channelled magic of any kind - but she knew that something was gone. Something she was used to.

She felt as though she were standing in a small room, sealed for centuries, with no fresh air or breeze. Stagnant and stale.

She glanced toward Lucian, worried that he was involved in all of this, and finally met the elder's eyes with no defiance.

"Lanya."

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Lucian
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Post by Lucian » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:58 am

Lucian had never sensed anything so powerful and profane. It was even greater than that which he experienced when lured by the daemoness, so many years ago as a child. It was the same arcane, astral energy, and in emanated from the runes that surrounded Lanya.

And it felt to him, just then, like Lanya has ceased to be in the room. He could see her. His eyes verified that she had not disappeared. But he had not been aware of how closely he was sensing her in his new awareness until she was abruptly and completely shut off from him. The life flow to her was closed.

The notion of what that would feel like made him mildly nauseous.

But she was looking at him, to him. And his expression was one of quiet resolution, and he let it show in his eyes. He would get her out of this. He had to.

As he measured the three sallow, dead-looking men who shuffled into the room, the gypsy began formulating a plan in his head.

For the first time showing some expression, Lucian's brow knit, and he took one step backward, as though slightly off-balance and catching himself. His gaze was focused on the runes on the floor, and then sweepingly around the room, and then back to the runes.
Yar, says I.

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Moryldar
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Post by Moryldar » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:32 am

Moryldar proceeded as if placing an injured and tormented woman on trial was just another mundane, trivial part of his daily routine. He knew by heart and recited his lines from memory, dispensing with the traditional opened tome. There were many things wrong with the proceeding but the only ones in the room who knew that were not about to step up and question it.

"Lanya." He repeated, and looked at the three scryers standing beside her. The two old men stared at her, one of them apparently through the blindfold he wore. The third, floating man looked absently into the distance, seeing something that wasn't there.

"Lanya Caliope." Said the floating one. He pried the rest of her name from her own mind somehow, reaching past the runes and their barriers.

"Yes." Agreed the blindfolded one. The third remained silent, staring.

Moryldar went on. "Lanya Caliope, you are charged with entering the city of Marn while in possession of personal magical abilities without reporting these talents openly and with full disclosure to the office of the Judges of Religious, Cultural and Ethical Enforcement., as explicitly outlined in chapter two of the third book of the first settlers. Infringements of this nature being the purview of the Judges of Religious, Cultural and Ethical Enforcement in Marn and punishments for such infractions ranging up to and including execution."

"Furthermore you are charged with utilizing these powers within the borders of the city of Marn without the officially sanctioned authority to do so , thus endangering the welfare and spiritual purity of the citizens therein. Infringements of this nature being the purview of the Judges of Religious, Cultural and Ethical Enforcement in Marn and punishments for such infractions ranging up to and including execution."

"You may state your case for the court to hear."
Let the tomes be your guide.

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Lanya Caliope
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Post by Lanya Caliope » Sat Nov 03, 2007 3:15 am

Lanya jerked her head to the man who skimmed the air as he produced her full name. None of them knew her, she was sure of it - which meant he'd extracted the name, in whole, from her. Somehow she had given information she didn't want to give.

The chains clinked as she drew her hands closer to her body, feeling more threatened since whether she volunteered information or not, they would receive it. But then, why the show? If these men could extract whatever they desired, why would they bother using words at all? It seemed a waste of time and energy, and she found herself perplexed. She focused on this emotion to distract herself from her fear.

The elder's words generated no response in her for they were formulaic and droll. He hardly had any inflection as he spoke the memorized and rehearsed words. But as he continued on and on, the impulse to scream her innocence nearly blinded her. She had done nothing; she'd barely been in the city a day, and she had no magical powers. None. This man was speaking a lie, but she had no way to prove this herself. They would need to test her somehow and find her lack of ability. But then...

Lanya lowered her eyes a bit, breaking contact with the elder's face. She remembered that he wanted her dead, by her own reckoning. He'd neither denied or confirmed her suspicion, but it was firm and strong: he wanted her to die. Because of the assassin, who even now must be in their employ doing gods know what.

She raised her eyes again when he gave her permission to state her case, rubbing her wrist chains together in an unsure motion. She'd never done such a thing, and had no idea where to start. Protests and screams bubbled up within her throat, but she swallowed them forcefully, knowing they would not help her. They were impulsive and gut-deep reactions - which were seldom beneficial.

She lowered her eyes again, glanced out the corner at the three men standing so close to her. They could sense straight through her, she was sure; she hated this place, these men, this entire pretense. If they wanted to kill her so badly, why did they even bother? It was all for their ridiculous show. She was tempted to just ask them to kill her already, stop wasting her time and drawing this process out. She wanted to pull at the chains, hiss and snarl, shriek at the top of her lungs. She wanted to be anywhere but here.

But here she was and here she would remain. The chains clinked again as she lowered her hands slightly. She had no idea what to do.

She decided to ask a simple question.

"What powers?"

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Lucian
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Post by Lucian » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:15 am

Lucian seemed to be strangely off-balance, like the floor was teetering underneath of him. As the interrogation progressed, so did his symptoms of nausea and vertigo. He swayed once, stumbled and caught himself and began muttering under his breath, squinting at the runes in the floor as though they pained him.

The room flowed with arcane magic. It was tangible, beyond the question of anyone who might have walked into the room. And by all manifestations, it appeared as though the gypsy was not handling the raw flow of power very well.

"Make it stop," he very quietly slurred, wavering where he stood and pressing his hand against his face, "Make it stop..."

Tendons stood out visibly on his neck, and on top of those, bulging veins that implied large levels of stress.
Yar, says I.

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Moryldar
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Post by Moryldar » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:33 am

"What powers indeed. I'll take that as your statement, girl." The old man said, and smiled grimly. He could carry on with the charade and never break the superficial, procedural rules. None of those said he had to answer questions.

From the corner of his eye he caught Lucian beginning to move and act strangely. None of it concerned him. The courtroom was a sacred place, protected for any possible angle of magical attack. The battlemage was one of his favorites, and could handle anything that urchin would toss his way.

Lucian started speaking, grew louder. The disruption of his voice mildly annoyed the judge, but the battlemage looked much more unsettled by what he was feeling.

"Handle him." Moryldar ordered the battlemage. He could sense that something was going awry in his gut. He could not feel the magic, but the charade Lucian was pulling, whatever it was, was unplanned. When he saw the seriousness in the battlemage's eyes, his instincts warned him to hurry it up. Forget the delays and formalities then, nothing was going to get what he wanted.

"The scryers have spoken and they have sensed dark magic in you of the most corrupt kind. Your astral affinity and the impurity of your blood makes you a danger to Marn and your inability to control your powers to the detriment of our fair citizens..."
Let the tomes be your guide.

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Vincas
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Post by Vincas » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:58 am

The door behind Lucian opened swiftly. Another old man, perhaps even Moryldar's senior by the looks of his wrinkles, stood in the doorway dressed in familiar black robes. His entrance made Moryldar choke on his own words. The only man in the world who could make Moryldar fumble.

"What have we here?" The old man asked rhetorically. He had an energy to his voice that Moryldar lacked and his physique was far better. He lacked the gut and spoke with a spryness in his voice. "A private trial? And I was not invited?"

Moryldar didn't know what to say. Something had gone terribly wrong. His looked over Vincas' shoulder and saw the cause. Camulous stood in the hallway just behind him, watching. The captain's stoic expression never cracked, but Moryldar knew immediately what was going on.

Only the battlemage seemed to ignore Vincas completely. He was far more concerned with Lucian's doings. He started to call up magic of his own, weakening the seal around him and preparing his mind.

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Lanya Caliope
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Post by Lanya Caliope » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:20 am

Lanya cried out and took a step forward, stopping when she reached the ends of her chains. Lucian was hurt; he was in pain. And they did nothing!

"Someone help him! Please!"

Her eyes went from one man to the other, pleading and desperate. Why did they just stand there? Why didn't they help him? And then the elder spoke, but not words of aid, oh no. He wanted Lucian handled...

"He's injured; get him out of here, this place is killing him!..."

But the older man continued on, and his words sparked the break in the dam. Her eyes widened as he continued, telling her that she's guilty, that they've found magic in her. Magic. In her. It was a blatant lie; and although she'd known it was coming, it spoke volumes of the corruption she was witnessing. Liars. They were all liars. Cheats and scum; and she was their clay.

She started forward, unsure what she wanted to do but knowing motion was needed for her point. She stopped after a step, wincing at her leg. But she was angry; no, that wasn't right. She was in a rage. And if she was going to die anyway, impressions no longer mattered. Her voice came out in a hoarse yell, even cracking with the force.

"Liars! I have no magic in me!"

Her eyes blazed as she screamed right over his words, not hearing the second part of his statement. She would launch herself at him if she could, but she could only settle for spitting at his feet. She glared at him, baring her teeth in something like a snarl.

She was about to speak once more, tell him he was a monster, that she was on to his game and would scream his offenses until they slit her throat - but another voice interrupted her, and she pulled back, drawing her hands up to her chest and glaring at the newcomer. His presence made the elder man quiver, but Lanya didn't care. He was part of the same system that had her here in these chains, waiting to be killed for something she hadn't done. Again she started to speak, ready to verbally attack this new man...but she saw the guard from before and swallowed her words with effort. Not a guard - the captain. The one that the old man had seemed too interested in before. Her rage died down to anger, her eyes cooled off - she watched, quiet once more but tense with emotion. What was going on?
Last edited by Lanya Caliope on Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lucian
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Post by Lucian » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:39 pm

Lucian appeared to be totally unaware of anything else. The raw astral magic that flowed through this place was completely overwhelming him as he staggered backward against the wall, his eye rolling back in his head. Tendons and sinew seemed to pop out of his skin, and began sinking to the floor, his body spasming.

He choked- once. His hands flew to his mouth as he bent over, away from the others and then retched and vomited violently across the floor. Something like a grating, muted shriek trickled from his throat, hoarse and broken.

By all appearances, he was dropping into shock, completely unaware of anything.
Yar, says I.

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Moryldar
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Post by Moryldar » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:20 am

Moryldar became flustered. The timing of Vincas' arrival and the gloating eye of the captain of the guard made the situation close to unbearable for him. He was playing fire and it could cost him his post and his life. Vincas was not supposed to be there, he was supposed to be on a weekly meeting with businessmen. Only Camulous could have told him to come back. Nobody else could have possibly known what was happening. And how could Camulous have guessed? Someday Moryldar would put him on the altar and find out. Someday.

He ordered the battlemage. "Silence him!" It was all the mage needed. It was not an order to kill though, and the presence of Vincas and Camulous meant he couldn't interpret it as such.

His red-gloved hands raised with palms facing toward Lucian. The air around him blurred, became hard to focus on, and rippled like the horizon on a hot day. Other hands began to appear in a semi-circle around Lucian, some reaching up from the floor, others from the ceiling, and others from nothing. Ethereal and translucent, they mirrored his own hands right down to the gloves, ending at the wrist. More appeared as another second passed until there were at least three dozen, each of them individually under the control of the mage's disciplined mind.

Moryldar ignored everything but Vincas and Camulous. "These proceedings are perfectly legal. This witch has been accused by the captain himself of using magic within city limits!"
Last edited by Moryldar on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Vincas » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:24 am

Camulous said nothing, only stood behind Vincas observing. Unlike the others, he was more than a little distracted by Lucian and the Battlemage.

"You're quite transparent when you're flustered, Moryldar." Vincas said, giving Moryldar a snapshot of his own grim smile. "Perhaps I should ask the scryers what kinds of magic she has."

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Lanya Caliope
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Post by Lanya Caliope » Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:29 am

Lanya had determined to stay completely silent, but watching Lucian suffer was too much for her. The sight of the myriad of hands bearing down on him brought her forward, enough for the chains to rattle as she tugged against them.

"Leave him alone!"

Her voice cracked, but she yelled nonetheless, bellowing with the power of a singer's trained lungs. But the elder wasn't listening and didn't care; he was entirely focused on whoever the newcomer was. Lanya was angry, but kept her silence once more, rubbing her wrists around the chains to increase blood flow and stop the impending soreness.

She stared at the captain with some confusion, temper still flaring her nostrils out. He had accused her? All that talk of high morals and honor...but then, this man lied easily. It could be a trick. She had no way to know unless she was told, and she knew that she could not trust a word from any of these men. Her eyes returned to Lucian, worried and sad but accepting that there was nothing she could do. She distantly heard the newcomer's statement; she wished, for once, that she had some useful ability, anything at all to help her friend. She wished Greenfyre were here; the guitar was quite the weapon, and though she'd hated it to the core, now all she wished was to feel its warmth in her arms.

She wished Flame were here.

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Lucian
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Re: The Moral Equation

Post by Lucian » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:59 pm

As the hands materialized, Lucian retched, but there was nothing more to eject from his stomach. His eyes were shuttered, his body spasming. He was gone, utterly gone, and the impending torment was not something that seemed to register. The gypsy was locked inside of an unholy reaction to the arcane magic being broadcast through the room.

As far as anything visible, he had lost it.

He screamed once, then, spittle flecking from his mouth, "Murderers! Liars! Listrad chull bekrah wvrrek!" His voice cracked at the end of spew of unintelligible words from a language not spoken outside of the wilderness. It was guttural and broken, and carried an eerie sort of power with it, fueled by the life inside of him. It was a brief elasticity in the air, like an electric charge, and then as instantaneous as its duration, it dissipated.

And the screaming ceased. The spasming calmed and the body went limp.

Lucian was either dead, or entirely unconscious.
Yar, says I.

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Moryldar
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Re: The Moral Equation

Post by Moryldar » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:49 am

The young man's screaming got everyone's attention. The two old judges pried their eyes off each other and observed what was happening, each with the emotional attachment of a torture expert being confused by a victim's preemptive wails. Moryldar's scowl took on a more visceral quality. He appeared to be disgusted with what he saw in ways natural gore could never achieve. Vincas was much less impressed, but even that pompous old man began carefully assessing the situation, probably trying to figure out if it was time to run.

The blind scryer began to wail in his own ragged voice. Nowhere near Lucian or Lanya's lung capacity or volume, the scryer's wails were those of a retarded person. He started cringing and curling away from Lucian, crying like a baby without his mother, and soon the other two scryers joined in. The magical energy in the trial room went out of control, exposing the minds of everyone in it, even Lanya's, to a dose of the astral plane. For an instant the room began to dream.

The dreams belonged to the room and to Justice Hall. The room didn't have human emotions, but it had meaning. At its core it was sterile, dark, cold, and dead, but not frightening. The room's reaction to the astral plane was extremely reserved and subtle. It spawned no demons, and superficially nothing changed. All the walls and doors and chairs remained in the same place, drawn in the same pallid white, but the experience of the room and of everyone in it changed. Everyone became machines and everything revolved like clockwork. Automatons, they all became pieces working in tandem - slaves to the laws governing the room. Lucian's screaming, the desperate cries of the scryers, Lanya's innocence and pain, were all prescribed roles that played off each other in some intricate web.

Whatever strange forces from the scryers and the rest of the place that were having a synergistic effect with Lucian's magic died as quickly as it started. The force of the porter brought it under control, though nobody could feel it. It was the porter's domain they had touched.

The scryers quieted down on their own. Moryldar, Vincas, Camulous and the battlemage stood quietly, stunned. Only the battlemage had any idea what had happened, and he didn't know what to make of it.
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Lanya Caliope
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Re: The Moral Equation

Post by Lanya Caliope » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:32 am

Upon seeing Lucian lose conciousness, Lanya started to scream again, to beg for mercy, any mercy at all...and then her mind began to bleed.

She blinked, blinked again and again, trying to clear the odd hallucination, but it wouldn't leave. She'd never experienced anything like this before - but she wasn't frightened. It occurred to her that it could just be another kind of trick, but the perception itself didn't allow this suspicion to stand. She saw herself as innocent within this mirage - surely the elder who accused her of false magic would want her to perceive herself as guilty.

It was intricate and detailed, down to every movement and breath, down to every eyelash which fell against the ground. It all had logic and purpose. Lanya felt at home within this realm, quiet and peaceful and fully automated. Everything had its moment, it's place. Everything had meaning, no matter how small.

And then the moment passed and her mind was empty once more. The sudden loss made her sway, but she remained calm, blinking at the others in the room and entirely confused. For this one moment, she felt a sort of companionship with all of them - almost all of them shared the same bafflement.

"What was that?"
You're wearing your anguish again.

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