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Hyboria: Maeve and Antolicus meet...
Topic Started: Sep 20 2016, 07:23 PM (99 Views)
V.V.
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(17:33:03 )
[.O A T H B R E A K E R.]


| Maeve of Cimmeria |
| Adventurer|
| The Hyborian Age - IC |


[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to ALL: -Maeve had returned to the palace some time ago though not out of any feeling of obligation toward the Kothians who acted as their hosts, but merely to remain close to Gaius who she worried after. Their mission in Koth had since transformed from a mere stop over to another part of their ongoing hunt as the darkness they had sensed, similar to that which had nearly taken full control of Zamora, was continuing to grow although still it kept mainly to the peripherals of all else that was occurring in the Imperial capital. More reports of citizens falling victim to some sort of coma or trance had begun to reach the palace and so it was with great reluctance the Cimmerian followed the trail back to the viper’s nest of the Imperial court of Koth.-

-It was a place of gleaming gold and marble, a monumental display of wealth and prestige that dazzled the eye but to Maeve it was wholly unnecessary and a breeding ground for treachery and lies, where people wore more than one face and spoke from both sides of their mouths. The dour barbarian could understand its appeal but only through the savage lense of one who desired to see it burnt to smouldering rubble as testament to the truth of her own strength, nothing more. It was when her thoughts darkened like this that Maeve felt Ishtar’s favour weaken as if the shining face of the great mother had turned away in disappointment from her champion. It was why as she stood in the courtyard waiting anxiously for Gaius that a cold chill raced down her spine as a tingling reminder that her obligations were not only to Gaius, but to all the Goddess embodied. It often made Maeve question why she had been chosen, after all she was hardly suited with the sunny personality of a follower and worshipper of the Goddess. Indeed, upon taking one of the first victims to the temple of Ishtar to seek refuge and assistance all Maeve felt was a great swell of disapproval for the carefree and lascivious manner the priestesses conducted themselves while in celebration of the Goddess. It was clear now how Gaius had come into the world and why he fell easily into the arms of several different women, among them the Empress.-

-Indeed, it was perhaps the Empress that now detained him and why he was keeping Maeve waiting. It was hard not to feel spurned and resentful for until reaching Koth she and Gaius had worked well together. They rode, they camped, they fought when it wsa needed and their coin pouches were light but now…now it felt as though she was being left behind and the barbarian did not know how to contend with this feeling. She was for the first time in a while left feeling conflicted with part of her stubbornly declaring she could ride on without him to battle the demon alone, and the other reminding her of the bond she shared with Gaius rooted in oaths of duty and loyalty. How to use that bond to sever the one now forming between him and a woman who out ranked Maeve in every way except the circle of her steel? That was the true riddle she struggled with. With a deep frown setting over her features just then Maeve looked around the courtyard and turning on a heel she continued her restless pacing in front of a bubbling fountain the sound of which sounded too cheerful and it further provoked the darkening of her already foul mood.-

(17:57:04 )
. T h e S e r p e n t O f K o t h .

|A n t o l i c u s N i m e d S i p r i i|
.Emperor of Koth .
-

[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to [.O A T H B R E A K E R.: ...Maeve was not the only one that could be of dour mood nor was she alone in sensing some change. Word, like everything else came to me as more of the people that I was now obligated to rule fell into a coma or trance. It was disheartening. It angered me. I could have retreated to the harem, to the arms of a willing woman willing to entertain and couple with me if only so that she could enjoy some modicum of station and status higher than the others. Indeed I could have done that, I had done that once and I had paid for it with lost time and nightmares and the remembrance of the stygian temptress that had driven me into the embrace of darkness until, finally I had been freed. Since then I had spent time amidst my council, my advisors and generals hoping to put things right; I had even secluded myself away sometimes and studied the ancient tomes available to my in the royal library. All of this may have been for not however it became clear to me that nothing was right in Koth, nothing that should be anyways and so I sought out a solution that may have been unorthodox, something that I might find at the bottom of a cup...

...the drink was strong, heady and I had only sampled a bit of it. I wasn't drunk though. Sometimes insight was found in the strangest of places. It had not escaped me that the Empress of Koth seemed to favor one of our guests, I suppose I favored one of them as well for my own reasons. Is this what it came to? Is this who were were now? I traveled the halls of the Imperial Palace leading towards one of the entrances under guard, I dressed in a breastplate, bracers and greaves that covered my shins looking more like a soldier than an Emperor. A Broadsword was sheathed over my left hip, its hilt cocked forward so that it could be drawn easily. There were many among the royal court that had indicated in the past, as well as now that I looked more like a soldier than their ruler however I brushed off their concerns by reminding them that I had been a soldier before my ascension and a capable one at that too. As I came upon the courtyard my right hand would raise, index and middle fingers extended as I signaled for the guard to halt and remain where they were...

...footsteps carried me out onto the landing above several stairs rising from the courtyard and beyond that I saw the gates, tall and thick which rose above all men and granted entry into the palace while the city of Khorshemish stretched beyond for as high as the eye could see. Descending the stairs that lead up onto the landing of the palace, the smooth polished stone and marble feeling easy beneath booted feet I'd have approached Maeve who I saw pacing in front of the pristine fountain, bubbling with crystal waters and adding to a joyous atmosphere..."If you are waiting for someone fear not, I am here now."...I hailed her, my greeting seemed welcoming however the look on my features was hard as I came closer to Maeve..."Anyone can see that you don't share in the joyous atmosphere of the day, Maeve of Cimmeria. Do you dislike Koth that much?"...I asked her, motioning to her once...

(18:17:49 )
[.O A T H B R E A K E R.]


| Maeve of Cimmeria |
| Adventurer|
| The Hyborian Age - IC |


[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to . T h e S e r p e n t O : -The fountain proved annoying in that its sound also eclipsed most others in the vicinity which is why she did not immediately hear the approach of the Emperor, and it wasn’t until he spoke that she turned to regard him and his greeting. Her features did change somewhat to a look of recognition and grudging respect for the station of the man. He had also proven one of the less offensive of the Kothians she encountered though Maeve was still rather wary of him, keeping him at arm’s length with the intent of resisting whatever ambitions he may have personally harboured for the pair. If only Gaius could have proven himself as capable with the Empress she thought sourly to herself.-

“I fear nothing and certainly nothing that thrives in this palace.”-She countered harshly as one whose mind worked in the literal sense, sometimes too literal as your joking turn of speech completely went over her head.- “I dislike any land not my own, although why it should matter what I think of Koth is rather puzzling. Emperor.”

-The hard expression she wore matched your own and that is where their shared similarities ended as Maeve in contrast to you was a gleaming image of gold from her long, lustrous locks braided the length of her narrow back to the clothing, much of leather, that she wore. Around her neck a heavily ornate gold torque was displayed while at her limbs bands of gold sparked in the sunlight drenching the courtyard. It was even intricately inlaid into the leather garments protecting her and the greaves and bracers she wore. Maeve struck a proud figure in her gold and paired with the sword worn at her right hip she also appeared quite imposing even next to you in your soldierly attire.- “Perhaps you mean to be polite.”-She concluded, her pale eyes traveling the length of your frame before settling on your face again, a face that troubled her in ways she did not care to dwell on.-

(18:32:10 )
. T h e S e r p e n t O f K o t h .

|A n t o l i c u s N i m e d S i p r i i|
.Emperor of Koth .
-

[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to [.O A T H B R E A K E R.: ...Maeve's straightforward manner meant that my initial comment had went over her head, I looked it her quietly for some time then I chuckled and stated..."I wish more Cimmerians would come here."...I was not joking, I was actually speaking in a manner of fact way as I felt that speaking with Maeve and others like her would be much easier. It would be a pleasure to navigate people who spoke their minds for once rather than those with hidden agendas and two faced liars. Nodding my head, I regarded Maeve noting how even standing next to me she was imposing and large, I did not doubt that her arm was as strong as mine, maybe even stronger from what I knew of the Barbarians of Cimmeria. Maeve may have been a barbarian but she was not uncivilized....

...watching her quietly I looked around her towards the fountain where I'd discovered her, the water still bubbling out of it I would finally say..."Everything in this palace is rich. Everything here is meant to make me forget that I was born with sand in my eyes and dust in my throat. This what the nobles want. I think this is what the Empress wants too."...I looked at her, my eyes and features remained hard relating to the fact that I was speaking plainly to Maeve..."I think the fight to remain my own man will be the greatest one I have to face."...

...strange that I should reveal this to Maeve but motioning to her I would turn, on the heel of my foot and remark..."Join me. I think there might be more than a few things we can speak about while we walk."...I'd have moved off to another portion of the courtyard, I saw my Guards shift as though they intended to follow but a stern gaze in their direction stilled them as I explained..."What you and I say will stay between us."...I waited for her to respond, I wanted to make sure she understood but I was already almost sure she did...

(18:48:30 )
[.O A T H B R E A K E R.]


| Maeve of Cimmeria |
| Adventurer|
| The Hyborian Age - IC |


[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to . T h e S e r p e n t O : -She frowned again while suffering the impression that you were somehow ridiculing her when you spoke the wish that more Cimmerians would find their way here. It was an awful thing to say to a woman who had left her homeland unwilling, and who remained far from it out of a sense of shame for her failure in repelling the enemy. However, the instinct to punch you in the jaw faded when you went on speaking of the palace and its affect on people. It hit close to the heart of the trouble now brewing between her and Gaius who had yet to arrive and thus continued to make Maeve wait.- “I will join you but I am tired of talk. All anyone does here is talk.”-She complained but as you were already moving with the expectation she followed, while leaving the guards behind, Maeve reluctantly joined you if only to put the unwanted scrutinizing gazes of the guards behind her and out of her mind. She was tired of how most looked upon her like she did not belong. Even after all this time Maeve was made aware of her ‘otherness’ and the differences that saw many keeping their distance from her. Many except you…-

(19:08:08 )
. T h e S e r p e n t O f K o t h .

|A n t o l i c u s N i m e d S i p r i i|
.Emperor of Koth .
-

[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to [.O A T H B R E A K E R.: ..."Yes. That's true."...the reply came easy to me, Maeve was correct in deduction that all anyone did here was talk however it seemed as though she'd yet to ascertain that talk could be dangerous too. In fact many of the most dangerous people in Koth became such not by using a sword but by talking. As we moved around the courtyard I'd have eventually lead Maeve further from the mountain, Guards and servants still labored on the outskirts and in the peripheral of my vision but I took a path around this place that I hoped would leave everyone at arms length from us. Eventually my eyes turned towards Maeve again and I explained..."When you and your companion first came to Koth our troubles seemed to be in hindsight. I awoke, I felt strong and Koth seemed alive. Now I receive reports of my people trapped in a trance or in comas, the number grows every day. Any evil I thought banished from Koth still lives on."...

...my words were dark, I seemed conflicted as I looked at Maeve before I went on to state..."I am not a devote man. Ishtar and other gods puzzle me."...this I admitted to her freely..."If there is a growing evil in the city it is not gods that will vanquish it. Only warriors can do that."...I stopped, I looked at Maeve and turned to face her and my right hand reached across to the left where it would set across the hilt of my sword..."The Empress is fond of your companion but you may be the Warrior we need to destroy the evil in Koth not him."...

(19:24:47 )
[.O A T H B R E A K E R.]


| Maeve of Cimmeria |
| Adventurer|
| The Hyborian Age - IC |


[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to . T h e S e r p e n t O : -Leaving the chattering of the fountain behind them Maeve fell in step with you and seemed pleased to also be away from the eyes and ears of the servants and others who inhabited the palace. When your gaze turned to her Maeve would match it and again felt a surge of unwanted emotion. Annoyance mostly but also hinted with a softening, did she like you despite her feelings toward the empire you ruled? You spoke and she listened as you recounted the early days of their arrival here and the darkness that continues to grow within your borders trapping more than just innocent people, but also Gaius and Maeve who lingered because of this darkness. They could not continue the hunt for the demon in Stygia so long as Koth was plagued by sorcery that may be the work of their foe or at least an agent of Hers.-

“You are wrong, Antolicus.”-Reverting to the use of name rather than title she went on to explain.- “My companion is gifted in ways that I am not, and frankly, the more time he spends with the Empress, your wife, the more he becomes distracted.”
-Maeve could only confront the matter from one angle in reaching out to Gaius and now decided you would have to confront the other half of this situation, your partner.- “We both know she is more than fond of Gaius and she is not alone, many women favour Gaius. It is who he is.”-It was the only way she could explain his power over others without admitting he was in fact a son of Ishtar but Maeve was also unaware of the Empresses’ own origins and the powers she wielded over the male sex. In truth she was attempting to soften whatever jealousy or feelings of outrage she supposed any man in your position might feel with describing the Empress as amere victim of Gaius incredible aura.- “They must be separated and only then may he and I continue our work.”-And finally be on damn our way she thought to herself.-

(19:46:59 )
. T h e S e r p e n t O f K o t h .

|A n t o l i c u s N i m e d S i p r i i|
.Emperor of Koth .
-

[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to [.O A T H B R E A K E R.: ...she was smart to describe the Empress as a mere victim of the aura that Gaius possessed however I was not a fool nor was I completely in the dark which lead to a small smile touching the corners of my mouth at last when I replied..."The Empress has her own circle as do I."...though saying that I would echo the previous words that Maeve had spoken hinting that Shamara was not altogether without her own powers over the opposite sex..."As you say of Gaius, she is who she is."...I loved Shamara, in my own way but I knew her to be cunning and to have her own schemes which was never made more clear to me than the evening she disposed of the majority of our competition. Looking at Maeve now that hard gaze I had offered her seemed to soften a bit, I appreciated her and what she was but there may have been something else there as well something that went beyond mere appreciation for the blonde barbarian...

..."It must be so."...I agreed with Maeve..."We must separate the two of them."....but it was not as easily done as it was said which is why I went on..."I can have the Empress confined to her quarters for her -safety-. No one will be permitted entry. If I do this you must handle your companion though. Whatever you must do to set his head right, Maeve."...the seriousness of what we discussed was very obvious but for my people, for Koth it must be done and I found myself speaking her name too. Gazing at her I would then inform her that..."It may be difficult to convince him to leave her side but there are passages leading into the palace, secret passages, I will tell you where to find them."...then, as Maeve said...."Once you have him I will trust in you to end this evil and finish your work."...

(20:02:08 )
[.O A T H B R E A K E R.]


| Maeve of Cimmeria |
| Adventurer|
| The Hyborian Age - IC |


[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to . T h e S e r p e n t O : -In truth she didn’t care how the Empress was handled, her interests were solely focused on Gaius and their ever important mission, however she was struck by how calm you were about the matter. Other men would have surely fallen victim to jealousy and rage but you were matter of fact about it all. It worried her and put Maeve further on guard before she nodded to your suggestion about the passages.-

“Your assistance is of course welcomed, Antolicus. Thank you.”

-Though she was unlikely to actually make us of them she did want to learn of them should a surprise be awaiting them. It dawned on her that perhaps your calm and reasonable demeanour was an act meant to lull her into a sense of security that would see her turn to you for assistance. All this time in the court, even as an outsider always kept at a distance on the fringes, had begun to rub off on Maeve who was learning a thing or two on how to anticipate treachery. She resented this of course that she should have to play the game as it were within the foreign halls in distant lands. Matching your gaze after pausing in their private discussion Maeve nodded firmly while assuring you.-

“Aye. Our work will continue though to what conclusion I cannot say. I can offer no guarantee it will ever be truly finished.”

-Her voice was wearied and tired sounding as she admitted this openly at last. A doubt she long harboured and hated to even give voice to but it seemed to Maeve that as soon as one foe was put to rest another crawled out of some dark pit to take its place.-

(20:14:01 )
. T h e S e r p e n t O f K o t h .

|A n t o l i c u s N i m e d S i p r i i|
.Emperor of Koth .
-

[ The Imperial Palace - Courtyard ]
-Within the main palace courtyard where after passing through the gates those entering would be received by the palace servants and other officials...-

says to [.O A T H B R E A K E R.: ....I was calm and matter of fact, Maeve might surmise that I planned to betray her or Gaius and that it would be more natural that jealousy should consume me however I would never let her see the hand which I played close to my chest. Indeed, I might well want Gaius dead but I also wished the best for Koth and all the people I was obligated towards which meant that I would help Maeve and do what was best for my people and the kingdom. When the work was done Gaius and Maeve would be gone and I needn't worry about Shamara and the man who seemed to have caught her eye. Nodding my head after hearing Maeve's last comment I'd have said...

..."I understand."...and I did because as I would next state..."Our work is never done."...there was always some new threat, always some new evil but unlike this one I would be able to defeat the next on my own and so I told myself...

...I heard the weariness of her voice, noted that Maeve seemed tired now admitting all of this to me and I would have said..."Get some rest, Maeve. Farewell for now."...I smiled thinly to her, nodded my head and bid her a goodbye for the evening before I circled around her. Moving back towards the stairs that lead up to the landing overlooking the courtyard I'd have climbed them all the way to the top where I was rejoined by my guards and went to disappear back into the imperial palace...
Edited by V.V., Sep 20 2016, 09:15 PM.
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