Friday, May 5, 2017

News of Arunia: Long Live the Empress

In the late afternoon of Quinus, Furrow 9th, a band of assassins entered the throne hall of the Imperial Domus in Miles. They were disguised as priests of Raya and Avauna. By some black magic, they smuggled their weapons in past the many Escurae Varani and under the very noses of the imperial civil servants. There, they waited in the back of the hall as the Emperor dispensed law from the ruby throne.

The Escurae were unable to protect their Emperor

When a knight of the tagmata maior was called forward to report on the doings of the Exalted Master of the Imperial Schola, Hydrophis the Schoolman, he demurred and instead spoke of these priests as knowing more about events in the north than he. Stepping back into the crowd, one of the priests came forward—a man later identified by courtiers who were present as none other than the once-famous hero, Quintis of the family Beauclerc, paladin of the Epistene Order and healer of Avauna.

This medicus launched slanders at the throne, accusing the Emperor of being falsely acclaimed under the sign of Haeron, of being a blasphemer, heretic, and cancer to the heart of the Empire. He ended this barrage with a demand that the Emperor abdicate immediately and pass the throne to his young daughter, the imperial princess Anastasea. The Emperor gave the mad knight a chance to repent, demanding he retract his vile words, but the Beauclerc replied, "If you are such a lauded jewel in Haeron's crown, and Haeron so keen to influence this Empire, he will surely save you," and from a mercenary in the crowd he was passed his sword, once holy with Avauna's light, now grim and dark, like the blade carried by the Emperor's favored servant, Sieur Lucanus the Black Wolf.

But Sieur Lucanus was away in the east with the Knights of Miles, persecuting the long siege of Mermarche that was meant to lead to the capitulation of the rebel dukes. The Emperor ordered Sieur Quintis seized by his praesental guard... but the rebel knight and his mercenary companions drew their weapons and advanced. One of their number called forth a hypnotic spell, so powerful that the three hundred or so courtiers, knights, and attendants in the hall were frozen into inaction. So began a bloody battle that would end with the extinguishment of the six Escurae Varani guarding the Emperor's person, one of the four assassins, and the death of no less a soul than the Emperor himself.

Hydrophis Schoolman ordered the hall surrounded and attempted to break in during the conflict, but found all the doors were sealed from the other side by powerful magic. Unable to come to his Emperor's aid, he summoned a great force of Schoolmen and Escurae to ward all the exits. When the killers emerged, the Schoolman cowed them into surrender.

The assassins are currently being held in the Temple of the Law, under lock and key. They await their trial and their assured execution in the Emperor's last gift to the city—the Aedium, the temple to all the many gods of the North.

In the meantime, letters have been dispatched to the rebel dukes, demanding they lay down their arms and come to Miles under the Schoolman's protection. He rapidly declared himself Regent, securing our beloved princess and having her hailed as Empress throughout the city. A great cry of joy went up by the statue of the Sainted Empress Evelyne, and all believe the civil war to be at an end.

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