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Takhesis

Exalted:End of an Era

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Commander Del Ran looked at Web and seized her up. So far, the servant of darkness had kept to her word. She had even left the scene of battle when the shadows started to grow a will of their own - something the grizzled commander instinctively linked to Death Lords and their ilk. It showed a keen insight of the political situation, for if she had stayed and had been found out, it would have destroyed the fragile trust of the new leadership for sure.

 

He accepted the papers and looked them over thoughtfully. He was torn between the feeling of relief that justice could be done with solid proof, and the feeling of horror that a Lookshayan Commander could have committed this treachery. Stoic as the Earth, he held his face carefully neutral when he proclaimed, papers held high for all to see:

 

"Commanders of the Seventh. Here I have proof of High Treason of the worst kind, committed by Commander Lenco. As Chumyo I sentence him to an immediate and dishonorable death. Any who would speak on his behalf, speak now or be silent hereafter."

 

The Commanders, some still lying on the floor being looked after by the medics, were silent...

 

((anyone wants to say anything? Otherwise I'll move on to the aftermath, if that is allright with you two...))

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((Well Shaya certainly isn't going to speak up for the Akuma and even Mia draws the line somewhere. Mia would resist going to war with the Akuma because of all the risks to Creation, but she's not against the death penalty, as it were. So neither of them will fight Del Ran's decision.))

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[And Web isn't going to speak in favour of Lenco either. Pheonix would likely volunteer to be executioner if she says anything at all.

 

The only one that I think may object is Dace..... if only on some Nexus law ground. But that's tenuous - since I'm sure he's been informed of the Akuma situation. By Hare, on orders from Pheonix even if Pheonix herself has not said it....

 

Then again, I'm sure Dace can be persuaded to turn a blind eye in the case of Akuma, he did overlook Web when Shaya vouched for her after all.....]

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((I doubt Dace will raise an objection. Lenco is an Akuma and even if he weren't, there's enough proof to dereliction of duty (thanks to Web) to try him for high treason. Plus, as Lookshyan Ambassador, Lenco is held to Lookshy's laws rather than Nexus'.))

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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((So, does that mean I can go ahead with executing Lenco and wrapping this scene up? smile.gif ))

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Del Ran looked around one last time before he decided to go through with the execution. It was a rather quick affair. First the new Chumyo stripped the unconscious Lenco from his rank insignia and then he swiftly and painlessly killed him with the words "May your soul pass swiftly into the river Lethe and return to creation cleansed of any stain. We will remember the Lenco that was."

 

Then he said a short prayer, speeding the ghost on towards the afterlife, the other Commanders followed his example, falling in with his intonation. Then he appointed two lieutenants who were to arrange the burial and they took the body away from the room.

 

----------------------------------------

 

The grizzled Commander, now Chumyo, cast a look around the devastation that was the conference room. He saw loyal and brave women and men, who deserved recognition for the heroics of today. First things first, though. He approached Captain Dace and expressed his sincere gratitude for his assistance, without any hint of sarcasm or scorn. If he would like to see for himself the evidence of treason, he was welcome to it, but he had to take it up with his second in command, and he gently steered the Mercenary Captain away from the room.

 

He waited until the room was left with Lookshayan Legionnaires only. He gestured for one of the lieutenants to close the doors before he continued.

 

"In this moment of battle, I have seen why I am proud to have been chosen, proud to be your Chumyo. Together we have defeated the threat that could have dealt the final blow to Lookshy and the Seventh. You can be proud as well. I will announce my candidates for General Staff shortly, but for now, rest assured we will persevere."

 

Then he walked towards Shaya. "Captain Shaya Orestes, for performing above and beyond the call of duty, the Commanders and I have decided to promote you to the rank of Commander. As a remembrance that you are the Ten Day Chumyo, you are allowed to wear the golden Phoenix on your chestpiece. You will not be part of the General Staff, but are tasked with eliminating threats beyond the scope of the Legion. You will have all the rights of Commander, including the right to wear the six knotted cord, the right of promoting your underlings as you see fit, and the right of appeal. Be sure to pass this honour to your unit as they have been exemplary in Lookshayan spirit, courage and efficiency."

 

He took the crimson cords on Shaya's uniform and deftly knotted it to the prestigious six knots of Commander. Then he saluted her and all the Commanders saluted her as well. Then the Chumyo turned to Pheonix and her unit and saluted them as well, followed by the other high ranking officers. Del Ran called out the solemn Salute of the Heroes and soon the room was filled with the three cheers of honour.

 

"Now get some rest, all of you. That is an order."

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[i'm assuming Dace is dealing with the exterior mop-up, and basically standing guard over the premises - in case Lenco's 'associates' show up. Ostensibly, the public reason is he was asked to provide extra security considering the delicate situation of Lookshy and the Seventh.]

 

Web joined in with the formal prayers, keeping as much of a low profile as she could in the aftermath. She didn't want to risk her precarious position - or that of the new Chumyo.

 

Shaya's promotion seemed to be the trigger to change the overall tone of the room - from the solemn nature of battle to a muted celebration.

 

 

Throughout the sentencing, execution and clearing of the room,

Pheonix stood at parade rest alongside the rest of the unit.

 

Saluting the newly promoted Commander and the Chumyo as protocol dictated. The unit followed her lead, not that they needed prompting in such matters.

 

At the order to get some rest, Pheonix turned towards the unit ready to dismiss them back to barracks. Hare led the tired Mouse away, followed by the rest. She knew, however that the unit would wait outside, to pass on their own congratulations to Shaya and for a formal dismissal from their Commander.

 

As they filed out Pheonix turned towards Shaya, asking silently if there was anything else to be done.

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Mia watched Web pray and wondered WHO she was praying to. The Abyssal had abandoned her masters and she didn't think the Gods of Yu-Shan acknowledged one such as her. That was interesting. Saying her own prayer to the Unconquered Sun to ask for forgiveness for Lenco, she moved closer to her dark counterpart. Perhaps she might ask Web whom she was praying to.

 

 

Shaya had the training to accept her promotion in stoic grace, though she was really marvelling at it. She had been a Captain since she exalted and, even if High Command her allowed her to continue serving, had not expected to ever make it beyond that rank. That also meant she finally had the authority to promote Pheonix, whom she had long felt deserved to be a Captain, and Gunn who had shown himself worthy of a Lieutenant's position. She should probably make a point of officially drafting Hanzo, Web and Mia into the unit, assuming the latter two civilians were up to that (she suspected that Mia might object to being in the army).

 

Approaching Pheonix, Shaya stood perfectly still before the Fireblood and saluted her.

 

"Lieutenant Pheonix, for exemplary service and great strength under in our darkest hour, it is my pleasure and privilege to promote you to the rank of Captain." She kept her face perfectly neutral as she knotted a fifth knot on Pheonix's insignia tassel, though hers was not as neat as the one Del Ran had done earlier.

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Pheonix returned Shaya's salute, wondering what was with the perfect stance for a whole second.

 

Then Shaya's words sank in. A promotion to Captain. Now that was a surprise. Her attitude wasn't what the previous High Command had considered appropriate for higher ranking personnel. Not that she had a bad one per say... just that she was a little too blunt for the political side of things.

 

Then again, things had changed considerably. The fifth knot tied;

 

"Thank you for the honour of promotion, Commander." Pheonix managed to say while her thoughts settled down.

 

 

Everything having been wound down, Web was somewhat at a loose end. There was little to be done, except tend to the walking wounded, and given her condition that may not be a wise plan. And they had their own support system in place, so she'd probably get in the way.

 

Mia's approach was then a welcome distraction.

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Mia considered how to approach things with Web, then opted for the direct route.

 

"Can I inquire who you're praying to?" she simply asked at a soft whisper.

 

((Ack short, sorry!))

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[short works... Web didn't have a big post either. Maybe due to the drain of resonance explosion....]

 

Keeping her volume down, mainly to match Mia's, and to not alert those nearby to any potential problem, Web replied.

 

"My prayers were directed towards the lesser gods of swift passage. I didn't wish to risk the ire of either Yu Shan or my former masters by addressing any other power."

 

It was true. Web still didn't know who had really granted her earlier rash oath, but the result was bad enough for not to tempt Fate again. Though since her kind were Fate-forsaken, the irony of that path didn't escape her.

 

As far as any outsider knew, Mia was still a household servant - though perhaps one at a loose end after her 'employers' death and was seeking service among the Commander's retinue.

 

Those that knew Mia's real nature would probably guess at the truth. Or close to it anyway.

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Mia nodded. Praying to the gods of swift passage made sense and, outside Si-Jian, those gods registered low on Yu Shan's radar. An Abyssal could conceivably pray to them without risking repercussions from the celestial bureaucracy; though she didn't know how the Neverborn took that sort of thing (assuming they kept tabs on the Abyssals all the time).

 

She watched as Pheonix and the unit exited the room while Shaya and Dace remained behind to talk to Chumyo Del Ran - presumably to talk about the inclusion of the Bronze Tigers in the new army. She hesitated for a moment, then rose. "I think we should go," she said to Web as she gestured after Pheonix.

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Web agreed, seeing that most of the onlookers had already left. Most likely following Chumyo Del Ran's order to rest.

 

"Probably a good idea."

 

Heading towards the doors, Web asked:

 

"Assigned rooms? Or barracks?"

 

Either option was a possibility. The question was which one would be best to wait in and of course the location did dictate what they could do while waiting.

 

The rooms could equal a second chance to try and work on the assassin angle, whereas the Bronze Tiger barracks would limit activity - since Dace and the rest were suspicious of her. If only because they knew she was an Abyssal.

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Mia thought about that for a moment, then pointed in the direction Pheonix had gone. "I don't know much about military protocol, but we probably have to stay with the group. Err, the unit." she corrected herself.

 

((I'll let you decide where Pheonix has gone.))

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[Heehee military protocol can be awkward when it comes to 'civilians'.]

 

Web considered that, it was true that sticking with the unit was the most likely option.

 

Then again, she entered this as one of Shaya's 'retinue' so shouldn't she stick with Shaya? And, ironically, Mia's guise as a servant would allow her some more freedom than she would have as a military attaché.

 

"Guess we follow the Captain, until requested otherwise." Web speculated, since as civilians they couldn't be ordered.

 

Though my status as Shaya's Ward might say otherwise.....

 

 

--

 

Pheonix hadn't gone far, the unit was still technically on Lookshyan soil - being in the main courtyard waiting for their own officers to dismiss them.

 

Yes, the new Chumyo had already given them orders to rest, but they waited more out of formality than any other reason. Plus they did want to congratulate Shaya on her promotion.

 

Guess they'll be surprised by the extra knot on my shoulder. Pheonix thought, somewhat amused.

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"Errr." Mia looked doubtful for a moment - did Web mean the old Captain, who was now a Commander, or the new Captain, who used to be a Lieutenant? It was certainly hard to keep track of the unit's ranks - they were all over the place. Finally she compromised by striking up a waiting position by the door. From here, they could see Pheonix, but also wait for Shaya to come outside.

 

 

"Hey Li-" Gunn began, then briefly fell silent. He quickly corrected himself: "Hey Captain, do we stay here or return to the barracks?" Then he added: "Congratulations on your promotion, Sir." The rest of the unit quickly fell in to congratulate Pheonix too. The last to congratulate her was Tinker, who merely gave a brief nod and commented: "Took High Command long enough."

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[Heehee, military ranks are confusing for someone who isn't used to them tongue.gif]

 

Seeing Mia's confusion, Web realised what she'd said was rather ambiguous. Especially given the new promotions. Oooops...

 

At least a compromise was easy to reach, given the relative positions of both candidates that her earlier statement could have referred to.

 

 

---

 

Pheonix thanked the unit for their congratulations. Tinker had earned the right to be a little reserved in his enthusiasm, though those that knew him would be able to tell he was pleased with the outcome.

 

After that, was the issue of unit location. And - as she caught sight of Web and Mia in the doorway - what to do with the tag-alongs.

 

Since leaving Lookshy, the unit hadn't really had a break, so Pheonix felt justified in altering the rest orders slightly.

 

"I'm giving the unit some well earned down time. Just make sure to be available on a short notice recall."

 

[in other words its up to unit what they do.... as long as they don't cause trouble lol]

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"Yes ma'am" saluting her as one, the soldiers made their way into the city. Most were eagerly off to get a massage or a much needed haircut, though Tinker seemed to hesitate for a moment. "Are you sure you don't need me, Captain?" he inquired with a look at Web and Mia. He trusted both girls, but they were still civilians. When he was assured that he would not be needed though, he too made off. Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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With the unit gone, including Tinker, Pheonix turned to the two hovering civilians.

 

Her orders wouldn't mean much in usual circumstances when it came to civilian attachments. Though one could always hope that the civilians knew how to conduct themselves.

 

Pheonix hadn't really had much of a chance to get to know the pair that well - but that was more by her design rather than any other influence.

 

She knew their Exaltations, and she knew Web slightly better than Mia. If only due to the fact the Dark Exalt had been with them longer.

 

While Pheonix was dealing with the unit, Web wondered what next. She knew the general plan - Get the Seventh up and running, Go after the Orbs and foil her former Master's plan.

 

After that was anyone's guess - though as a Ward, she'd likely be expected to stay with her guardian.

 

[You pick who speaks first of the gathered trio. After all, any of them could.]

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"Captain," Mia acknowledged Pheonix, "congratulations on your promotion." Her congratulations were sincere - Mia cared nothing for the military, but Pheonix obviously did.

 

"If I can ask, where should Web and I go next? Do we wait here for the Chu - err Commander, or should we back to the barracks?" Mia has a slight preference for returning to the barracks where they could unwind, but not enough to make a suggestion of it to Pheonix.

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Pheonix nodded as Mia congratulated her on the promotion.

 

Then Mia asked the question that she'd been asking herself. Or at least a very similar one.

 

"As everything seems to have been resolved - regarding the former Ambassador, then there is no need to stay on site." Pheonix replied, then realized something. Something that she should have noticed earlier.

 

"Though someone should inform Artificer Hanzo of the downtime."

 

 

[indirect way of asking where's Hanzo? lol

 

I'm imagining Shaya would also wonder where they've wandered off to if they just left. And I doubt she'd like the Abyssal to stray too far - considering the recent changes to their status.]

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Right at that exact moment, Hanzo stepped through the doors. He had finished patching up the wounded and cleaning himself up as best as he could, given that his clothes were stained with blood.

 

He saluted Pheonix and gave her a broad smile. "Congratulations on your promotion, Captain. I have finished my duties as field medic as best I could. Hanzo reporting for duty." He was still quite full of energy, seeing that the Unconquered Sun was victorious in this fight against darkness. He felt as if he could go on for ever.

 

"We have successfully spoken to the River Council and convened with the commanders of the remnant of the Seventh. We accomplished everything we set out to do. Now we must focus on the matter of the Orbs, yes?"

 

In his enthusiasm, he forgot it was not the time nor the place to bring it up...

 

[sorry. Hanzo is back! happy.gif]

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By the time Hanzo had rejoined the group, Shaya had finished her talk with Chumyo Ran and Dace. She had managed to persuade the Chumyo of Dace's usefulness, leaving a Solar in a high place with the new army. That, she hoped, would prove a good counter to anyone like Lenco or (worse) the Mask of Winters making a move on the army.

 

Moving outside, she saw Pheonix, Hanzo, Web and Mia in the courtyard.

 

"Good work on neutralizing Lenco, everyone," she said. She specifically made sure to include Web in that statement.

 

"We'll take today to rest," she said with a small incline of her head - judging by the absence of the rest of the unit, Pheonix had already beat her to those orders. "Then first light tomorrow we set out for the orbs. The Chumyo will deliver supplies and horses to the Bronze Tiger barracks." Of course, those were army supplies so anyone wanting anything fancy would need to find it on their own. She herself planned on buying some khaf for the road.

 

"Web, I owe you an apology. I was wrong in my initial assessment of you. And I think we should talk about the theory you have once we're back at the barracks." She was referring to Web's Solar-to-Abyssal theory of course, which she had so vehemently rejected earlier.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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