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Chapter X: “Conference”

Copyright © 1999 C.E. by Dustin Jon Scott
[Last Update: June 6th, 2018]

13th Month, 19th Day, 4,632nd Year

Note: All of this is going through heavy revisions.

High in the mountains of northern Béowyn, deep within the now barren capital city called Grandshire, in the main banquet hall of Béowyn Palace, a meeting was about to take place. The sun was setting, and the dining hall was being flooded with soft, pink light. Lilithena Daelal, High Empress of the Drow and of The Sovereignty, sat at the head of a gigantic dining table in a throne-like chair constructed entirely out of Human bones -- or at least a chair having that appearance. Near the head of the table, within arms length of Lilithena’s right hand in fact, sat the Drow Emperor, Alak Pharn, Dark Elf ruler of the kingdom of Faelore, appointed by the High Empress herself. The table had been set with plates, saucers, bowls, goblets, candle holders, and cutlery made of the finest platinum; all set upon a black table cloth with striking gold-weave designs throughout the material, many resembling dragons and other monstrous creatures. Surrounding the table were beautifully crafted chairs, gilded constructs with black satin cushions on the seats and backs.

Lilithena leaned forward in her seat, her elbows planted firmly on the table and her chin resting within her hands. Her pouting lips and wandering eyes left little doubt in Alak’s mind that the sensuous blonde Drow was excruciatingly bored. Alak slouched in his chair and let out a deep sigh.

“The others should be here any moment now,” said Lilithena, removing one hand from beneath her chin to play with a lock of golden hair that had fallen in front of her face.

Alak placed his hands behind his head. “I know,” he replied with a yawn, watching Lilithena innocently twirl her hair around her index finger.

The double doors opposite of Lilithena opened as four Blackguards in full plate filed into the room. Two remained on either side of the open doorway, as the other two made their way to the other side of the long banquet hall to take their posts near Lilithena.

“They’re here!” the High Empress chirped, perking up at once with her arms straight at her sides.

Two Satyrs entered the room, each holding a primitive looking shield and spear. The Satyrs parted, allowing a Centaur and Centauress to enter the room with them.

One of the Satyrs cleared his throat. “It is my deepest pleasure to introduce His Royal Majesty, the Sovereign King Therion Daegus, and Her Royal Majesty, the Beautiful Queen Crystalia Daegus.”

The Centaur was at least nine and a half feet in height and impossibly muscular with a truly immense chest, arms, and shoulders, and his body was like that of the largest plow horse. The ram-like horns on either side of his head were quite a bit larger than the average Centaur, stretching a foot in either direction despite their spiraling curvature. He strutted into the room, his chin held high and his lion-like tail flailing behind him as his cloven hooves clicked and clacked against the hard marble floor tiles. He shook his head every few steps, waving his long, dark brown mane behind him.

His mate, like any young Centauress, lacked anything resembling horns and possessed a bobbed tail. Her nearly six-foot tall body was nimble and deer-like with a surprisingly svelte torso not unlike that of slender yet full-bosomed young maiden. She bore facial features that were pleasantly fair and youthful, with large green eyes, full lips, and a tiny, feminine nose. Her fine, straight hair was dark blonde, nearly brown in color, and tied into a ponytail in back, which was slung forward over her right shoulder. The young Centauress was clad only in a loose, low-cut, white v-necked tunic which paraded several inches of her ample cleavage; it was decorated with black work embroidery in Celtic-style designs around the collar, cuffs, and trim, and descended almost to her naval. She trotted elegantly behind her mate, bouncing up and down with her nose in the air as she followed him to their seats.

Emperor Pharn stood to his feet. “King Daegus, Queen Daegus, I’d like to welcome you to the former kingdom of Béowyn, the most recently acquired nation state of the United Sovereign Alliance.”

King Daegus walked across the room to the chair opposite of Alak’s as Crystalia followed closely behind. The King stared down at the large chair, his nostrils flaring.

He turned his head back to the Satyrs standing with the Blackguards near the entrance -- “Come remove these abominations so that I might seat myself!” he roared in a throaty, grumbling voice.

The Satyrs hurried to do just that, their hooves clacking against the marble floor as they rushed to the chairs. They set their shields and swords on the table, inadvertently knocking over many of the settings, and then attempted to move the chairs as King and Queen Daegus stood aside. The Satyrs tried as hard they could to push the chairs out of Therion and Crystalia’s way, but their hooves kept slipping on the hard, smooth floor. Therion crossed his arms in front of him, growling angrily at the Satyrs.

“Therion, don’t...” the Centaurian Queen warned, grasping his gargantuan bicep with her dainty little hands, staring up at her mate, pouting her lips and batting her eyelashes.

King Daegus pulled his arm away sharply and lifted the chair in front of him with one hand, flinging it across the room with great ease, quickly doing the same to Crystalia’s chair with his other hand. Both furnishings flew over Emperor Pharn’s head and flew through one of the expansive windows that comprised the westward wall of the dining room. Luckily it’d been an open window. Therion then picked one of the Satyrs up by the back of the neck and hurled him back in the direction of the banquet hall’s entrance. The Satyr hit the wall with a ‘thud’, and fell limp to the ground.

Crystalia let out a yelp, covering her mouth with both hands.

“Oh my Gods!” she squealed, trotting over to the wounded Satyr, bouncing up and down along the way. “Are you alright little thingy?” she asked, kneeling on her forelegs to inspect the unconscious creature.

King Daegus then turned to the other Satyr, snarling angrily as the comparatively small, goat-legged man fearfully backed away.

Alak sat down, staring at Lilithena with both eyebrows raised. Lilithena stared back silently, her eyes wide.

“Get back here and sit down!” Therion barked, folding all four of his powerful unguligrade limbs beneath his bulky, equine body.

“Why do you have to be so mean to those cute little thingies all the time?” Queen Daegus scolded, trotting back to Therion in her usual, ‘bouncy’ manner.

“Why must you care about those creatures so much? They’re just filthy little varmints,” replied Therion, putting his left arm around Crystalia’s shoulders as she lowered her rump to the ground, keeping her forelegs erect in order to remain closer to eye-level with her husband.

“Just go easier on the little thingies from now on, they’re a lot smaller and frailer than we Centaurs,” said the Centauress, closing her eyes as she snuggled up to her King with a warm smile upon her face.

Therion looked to Lilithena and Alak only to find that they were both gawking at he and his wife. “What?” he snapped.

Queen Daegus withdrew from her husband.

Emperor Pharn cleared his throat, “Um ... yes ... I ... uh....”

“Are you mocking me, varmint? Because if you are...” the Centaur warned, pointing his finger at the terrified Drow politician, “...I’ll pluck that little grape you call a head clean off those pasty white shoulders of yours and kick it around on the ground!”

“Guards!” Alak shouted, looking around the room.

All four Blackguards remained at their posts, their hands up in front of them, shaking their heads in protest.

“Everyone relax!” Lilithena ordered.

“I must sincerely apologize. I seem to have lost my composure there for a moment. Please, pardon my brutishness,” Therion begrudgingly and insincerely pleaded.

“It’s alright Therion,” Lilithena reassured the Centaurian King, her face warm and sympathetic. “Emperor Pharn shouldn’t have been staring like that.”

“Mal’ai ssentauri, alu vith dosstan...” Alak mumbled, glaring at Magnetes Therion.

“Alak!” screamed Lilithena.

“What did you say to me, varmint?” the Centaur bellowed, standing to all fours. “I’ll stomp that little bitch arse of yours down into the ground if you don’t tell me right now!”

Emperor Pharn ducked under the table.

“Therion!” Crystalia screeched, reaching high above her head to strike the Centaur’s arm. “One more outburst like that and you won‘t be getting any of this arse later tonight!”

King Daegus grudgingly lowered his equine body to the floor once again. He crossed his arms and lowered his head, pouting not unlike a child.

“I think I’m getting a headache,” Lilithena complained, pinching the bridge of her nose.

“I do hope I haven’t missed anything exciting.”

Lilithena, Therion, and Crystalia looked to the main doorway to see an Eremyte moving passed the two Blackguards and into the room, his crocodilian tail dragging behind him.

“Kourem!” beamed Lilithena, smiling ear to ear as the Saurian Ul’ssavk took a gracious bow. “Ambassador Kourem, you’re a sight for sore eyes,” she said, grinning at the Eremyte as he strolled proudly along the side of the table opposite to King and Queen Daegus, taking Alak’s former seat nearest the High Empress.

“You look ravishing as usual, Lilithena,” said Kourem.

“Aw, thank you...” the High Empress cooed, placing her hand on Kourem’s scaly green shoulder.

Emperor Pharn climbed back up to the table, settling into the seat next to Kourem.

“Why is there a lizard at the table?” Alak teased, in an unsuccessful attempt at diplomatic humor.

Kourem reached his arm behind Alak and struck the back of the Emperor’s head with his large reptilian hand. Lilithena giggled as Therion pointed and laughed. Even Crystalia couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Ow, that really hurt...” Alak whined, rubbing the back of his head.

“I really must say, Alak, I had no idea your diplomatic skills were so very suckish,” said Lilithena, still chuckling. “How I could’ve overlooked those xenophobic tendencies of yours while deciding upon a delegate for our people is beyond me.”

The laughter eventually subsided, and everyone waited patiently for the next arrival.

“So, High Empress Daelal, who else is supposed to be coming tonight?” asked Queen Daegus.

“Legate Sibo Niddlewurg of the Cluricauns, Imperator Nyhawny Mobryn of the Leprechauns, Viceroys Naralia and Calan Laissir of the Tritons, and Vice-Gerent Kraegun of the Orcs,” replied Lilithena.

“We do not care for Orcs,” King Daegus scowled.

“King Daegus, have you ever heard the Human expression, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’?” Kourem inquired.

“I do not care what the Humans say,” replied Therion, tossing his head back.

“Honey, I think what the lizard man is trying to say is that if we and the Orcs share a common enemy, we should unite against them,” said Crystalia, looking up at her husband. “The Orcs are almost as powerful as we Centaurs. Together, we would be unstoppable.”

“Ironic, then, isn’t it, that such a ‘Human’ concept would be the undoing of the largest Human empire in all of Borea?” Lilithena added.

Magnetes Therion thought for a moment. “I’ll consider it.”

“Perhaps we shouldn’t discuss this any further until everyone else has arrived,” said Alak. “It wouldn’t seem prudent for us to alienate one another before the meeting has even begun.”

“Now there’s the Alak Pharn I appointed to govern the Drow,” said Lilithena, a look of smug satisfaction about her face. “The others should be here any moment.”

The five sovereigns looked to the doorway, as if expecting someone to walk into the dining hall. After several moments, they began to let their eyes wander about the room.

Magnetes Therion tapped his fingers on the table.

Emperor Pharn sighed impatiently.

Magnetes Crystalia closed her eyes and began to bob her head to and fro as she hummed melodically to herself.

High Empress Daelal ------

As the light from the banquet hall’s window dimmed, six figures cloaked in black, hooded robes entered the dining room. They appeared from a second, smaller entrance near the corner of the room, behind Lilithena’s throne and opposite of the window. Each of the robed figures carried a single black candle, and each walked about the hall in a separate pattern, lighting the candles and torches. They moved silently, and were careful not to brush by any of the Blackguards, nor the standing Satyr. One of them carefully stepped over the unconscious Satyr on the floor as he skulked across the room, lighting the wall lamps. The robed figures then proceeded to light the tall, black candles which sat in their platinum holders on the table, politely squeezing between the sovereigns, being careful not to touch them as they continued to wait. The figures then left the room as stealthfully as they had entered.

A few moments later, two male Cluricauns entered the room. They parted from one another, each standing at its own respective side of the main entrance next to a blackguard. Each Cluricaun was only three feet in height at most, wearing equally tiny, black, hoodless robes.

The Cluricaun at the right side of the entryway cleared his throat, “It is my greatest pleasure and duty to introduce the honorable Legate Sibo Niddlewurg, emissary of the Cluricaun High Council, representing Cluricaun interests in all matters to be addressed by the Unseelie Court!” the Halfling charged.

Immediately, another Cluricaun stepped lightly into the room. He stood just under three feet in height, had pale skin, short, grayish blonde hair, and pale blue eyes. He was dressed in a flowing, dark green ceremonial robe with gold trim, a moted collar, and slightly belled sleeves. His exceedingly long, pointed ears were each decorated with several gold earrings, many with dangling gold chains and jeweled ornaments, as were his nose and lower lip. He walked slowly and confidently, his nose in the air, emitting an air of unbridled conceit with each silent fall of his pointed shoes. Without a word, he walked along the side of the table nearest the window and climbed up into the chair next to Emperor Pharn's.

"Welcome Legate Niddlewurg," said Lilithena.

"Thank you, High Empress Daelal," the Cluricaun responded.

"Welcome," said Emperor Pharn.

"Yes, welcome," added Ul'Ssavk Kourem.

"We're pleased to be making your acquaintance, Legate," Magnetes Crystalia smiled.

"Yes, pleased," Magnetes Therion added with a slight growl.

"Thank you all very much, I'm pleased to be here. Vice-Gerent Kraegun is just behind me. He should be coming in any minute now."

Everyone turned their attention to the entryway to see two squat, bow-legged Orcs with long arms clambering into the room. They wheezed and snorted as their large, bat-like ears twitched. Their skin was stippled grey, and a coat of sparse, thin hairs covered their bodies. They were each dressed in tattered rags. Magnetes Therion gave a throaty growl as he glared at the creatures.

“I thought Vice-Gerent Kraegun himself would be coming...” said Therion, “...yet instead he sends these lowly Slave Orcs?”

Magnetes Crystalia screamed as one of the Slave Orcs jumped onto the table and began sniffing at the settings, “Ew! Get that horrible thing off the table!” she screeched.

“Orokh-Sarhg! _____ Kraegun!” said Vice-Gerent Kraegun, instructing the Slave Orcs to withdraw as he strode assertively into the room with his long, black robe flowing behind him.

Vice-Gerent Kraegun was a Great Orc, or ‘Orokh-___’ in the Orcish tongue. He looked much like the two that had entered the room before him, except that he was nearly seven feet in height, stood completely erect, possessed a full head of long, black hair tied back into a ponytail, and had a strange air of nobility to his demeanor. The Orcan dignitary stretched out his arms with a blissful grin, exposing his maw full of large, ape-like teeth as the Slave Orcs ran back to him and stood humbly at his sides.

Emperor Pharn, Embassador Kourem, and Legate Niddlewurg stood to their feet. King and Queen Daegus remained nested on the floor; Therion with his head turned away from the Orcan official and Crystalia with her head bowed and her arms crossed uncomfortably.

“Welcome, Vice-Gerent Kraegun,” said Lilithena.

“Say right title, say in Orc speak! Say ____ Kraegun!” one of the Slave Orcs demanded.

Vice-Gerent Kraegun struck the back of the Slave Orc’s head with great force, “Orokh-Sarhg, ____ Lilithena!” he said, telling the Slave Orc to show some respect for the high empress.

Lilithena smiled and looked to Alak, “Emperor Pharn, would you be so kind as to show our guest his seat?”

“His seat? Why weren’t any of us seated?” Magnetes Therion growled, looking to Lilithena for an answer.

Lilithena looked up at Therion and wriggled her index finger, gesturing for him to lean closer. The huge centaur leaned closely to Lilithena as she cupped her hands around his ear and whispered:

“I just want Pharn to make sure Kraegun doesn’t sit by you.”

Magnetes Therion pulled back and gave the blonde Drow a respectful nod as Alak walked over to the chair on the other side of Legate Niddlewurg’s seat and attempted to pull the chair out, having more than a little difficulty moving the impossibly heavy gilded furnishing.

Kraegun sauntered over to the seat, looked down at the Drow and laughed; “You Drow may not have much in the way of strength, but you’re the only Elves I like,” he said with a toothy grin, slapping Alak on the shoulder -- inadvertently knocking the Drow politician to the floor. Kraegun shook his head with an amused smirk, pulled the chair out, sat down, and scooted himself up to the table.

The Slave Orcs remained near Kraegun’s side as Alak stood to his feet and returned to his chair between Ambassador Kourem and Legate Niddlewurg. No sooner did he do this than yet another dignitary entered the room, this one completely shrouded in draped, black satin.

The child-sized figure unraveled itself, revealing a tiny yet somewhat shapely woman with long, pointed ears, porcelain-white skin, gray-blue lips, and large, almost glowing blue eyes. Her face was somewhat rounded, yet petite and feminine. The tiny woman had not a single trace of hair anywhere visible on her body. She covered herself in a black-dyed linen palla, wore sandals on her feet, and her long, almost rabbit-like ears were decorated with what must’ve been dozens of white-gold earrings; some were dangly and bejeweled, while others were simply large hoops. Her fingers and toes were too covered in ornamental white-gold rings. There were also an unusual number of white-gold necklaces of almost every imaginable style of chain hanging from her neck; some were chokers, some hung nearly to her knees, and many were beaded with jewels.

Emperor Pharn stood to his feet. “Everyone, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just been joined by Imperator Nyhawny Mobryn of the Leprechauns.”

“Thankyou, Emperor Pharn,” Imperator Mobryn said as she took a bow, then walked over to take her seat beside Vice-Gerent Kraegun. She climbed up into the chair, but found the table to be at a rather inconvenient height. Though, she probably found it a bit less inconvenient than Legate Niddlewurg, who was even shorter than she.

Immediately following Imperator Mobryn were two frog-like creatures with large mouths, bright green skin, raised eyes, somewhat small torsos and short upper arms; yet with long, slender legs, massive hands and forearms, and yellowish underbellies. The creatures were about six feet in height, stood erect on two large, webbed, digitigrade feet, and were each carrying a bronze trident in their webbed hands. The Frogmen then separated, taking their positions on either side of the doorway, next to the Blackguards and Cluricauns as the remaining conscious Satyr came to join the trio nearest the Magnetes’ side of the table.

The Frogman stabbed the Satyr with its trident.

“Oh my Gods!” Magnetes Crystalia screamed as the Frogman repeatedly gouged the Satyr, pulverizing the goat-legged man until he stopped baaing in protest.

A single tear ran down Magnetes Therion’s cheek as he watched the display.

“Are you alright, honey?” Crystalia asked, seeing that her mate had obviously been saddened by the loss of their servant.

“No,” said Therion, his voice shaky as he wiped the tear from his face, “I was going to eat that Satyr.” Therion then stopped and sniffed, lowering his head. “I was going to eat it when we got home. Now it’ll be all tough and stringy.”

“That’s it,” said Crystalia, crossing her arms as she turned her head away from Therion, “you’re sleeping alone tonight!”

The other Frogman inflated his vocal sac and let out a deep, throaty croak. The other stood at attention and did the same. Then the first one croaked again, and then the second. They continued like this for a good ten seconds before finally, two more dignitaries entered the room.

Viceroy Calan Laissir, and his wife, Viceroy Naralia Laissir, slithered gracefully into the room. Though their faces, arms, and torsos looked somewhat like the cross of a Human and an Elf, their hips sat atop long tails that fairly resembled the bodies of massive snakes, but with colorful dorsal and gastral fins, and a broad, horizontal tail fin at the end.

Calan wore a gold crown bejeweled in pearls, and a heavy gold chain with one huge pearl -- larger in size than the average apple -- hanging from it. His face was like that of a young Elven man, yet not without the dignifying manner befitting a nobleman; although he would’ve looked quite feminine next to a more rugged, strong-jawed individual such as Magnetes Therion. His hair was long and green in color, tied in a lengthy braid behind his back.

Naralia wore a light gold tiara and a beaded pearl necklace, and carried with her an odd, metallic blue scepter with a sickle-shaped head holding a light blue sapphire in it which was even larger than the pearl hanging from Calan’s neck. Her hair was purple and wavy, flowing forward over both shoulders and crossing at the top of her chest, then descending down so that it covered her fairly generous, otherwise naked breasts, and then back around behind her back where it was tied with a rope made from kelp. Naralia’s face was fair and feminine, comparable to High Empress Lilithena or Magnetes Crystalia; like them, she possessed the large eyes and soft, delicate features one would expect to find on the face of some mythical princess.

Lilithena stood up once again, “Viceroy Calan Laissir, Viceroy Naralia Laissier, I welcome you to the former kingdom of Béowyn, the most recently acquired nation state of the New Sovereignty.”

“Thank you, Empress,” said Calan, bowing his head.

“Please, have a seat,” said Lilithena, gesturing to the chairs near the two Mangetes Daegus.

The two Tritons quickly slithered over to the chairs and sat down with their tails draping over the arms. They then slid the massive bulk of their smoothly scaled, snake-like bodies down off the arms of their chairs and under the table, from which point they proceeded to coil their thirty-five foot long tails around the bottoms of the chairs as much as they could.

Lilithena sat down.

“Well,” said Lilithena, “that’s everyone. Let’s get down to business, shall we?”

Magnetes Therion leaned over to his mate, who was still facing away from him, and quietly asked, “When you say I’m sleeping alone tonight, you mean after we have sex, right?”

Magnetes Crystalia slowly turned her head and gave her husband a disgusted, and yet somewhat confused glare, then looked away again sharply, shaking her head as she let out an exasperated sigh.

“I appreciate you all coming here tonight,” said Lilithena. “You’ve no idea how much it pleases me that you’ve offered the support of your militaries in my, or rather, our campaign to unite the kingdoms of Borea. Though, it does sadden me that the Humans of Béowyn would not agree to join the United Sovereign Alliance, and that we must all be here to secure the occupation of Béowyn. The Unseelie Court, of which myself, Imperator Mobryn, Emperor Pharn, and Legate Niddlewurg represent, has requisitioned the Order of Blackguards to oversee the occupation itself, and to command the army of Orcan warriors, Saurian troops, and Drow balisters, for which we have Vice-Gerent Kraegun, Ambassador Kourem, and Emperor Pharn to thank, respectively. Vice-Gerent Kraegun has instructed the Emperor of Thi’irane to send more troops under my orders, and they should start arriving sometime tomorrow. However, the former powers that be here in Béowyn are likely to attempt to start a revolt, in which case we may need a larger army. But we’ll discuss this further during dinner.

“What I’d really like to discuss is the four elemental scepters. When we first captured Grandshire, we found that the Rod of Earth, which I believe was stolen from the Minotaur in the Centaurian Labyrinth over a year ago, was hiding right here in Béowyn Palace. It’s my belief that the Humans have been attempting to bring about the return of Mortifer, which is why we had our Drow soldiers track down the Rod of Air in the floating city of Draconia several years prior -- although that turned out to be of no concern since the gem was missing. The Saurians have also entrusted me with the Rod of Fire. And I believe, Viceroys, that you’ve brought the Rod of Water with you tonight?”

The viceroys nodded their heads as Naralia held up her scepter, the Rod of Water.

“Good,” said Lilithena. “With the four elemental scepters in our possession, we can keep the Humans from resurrecting Mortifer for as long as we remain united.”

Therion had a puzzled look on his face.

“Give back the Rod of Earth!” Magnetes Therion bellowed, standing up on all four hooves, pointing his finger at Lilithena.

“Honey,” said Crystalia, “we really should let her keep all four of the rods so the Humans can’t get their hands on them.”

“No! Don’t you see what she’s doing?” said Therion. “She’s a Drow, she commands legions of other Drow, of Leprechauns, of Cluricauns, of Batlings, of Sirens, and Hobbits ... her armies are the damned scum of Gaia! Now she’s got the Order of Blackguards working for her, who we all know worship Mortifer, and she’s asking us to just let her keep the elemental scepters! She’s the one who wants to bring back Mortifer! Just look at her throne!”

“Therion!” Crystalia barked, “How dare you speak that way about our hostess! Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? Don’t you think if the High Empress really wanted to get her hands on the four rods to bring about the return of Evil Dark Lord, she’d be sneakier about it? Why tell us all outright that she’s already procured three? Why straightforwardly ask the Merfolk for the fourth? She’d have to be some sort of imbecile to do that if her true intentions were to resurrect the Bringer of Death.”

“That’s the last thing any of us want, Therion,” said Lilithena. “We’re all here to unite the peoples of the Northlands so that we might protect each other from the Humans that’ve infested every corner of Gaia. We need to be strong, and we need to work together to keep the Humans from obtaining the four elemental scepters. Now what that means, is that we who represent the great races of Borea have to trust each other. That’s the whole premise behind the New Sovereignty -- the trust and cooperation of the great races of Borea for the mutual benefit of all. We all seem to trust each other here, save for you, Therion.”

“She’s right,” said Crystalia.

Magnetes Therion looked around the room, seeing that all of the other dignitaries were nodding their heads in agreement with Lilithena and Crystalia, though he remained skeptical.

Several cloaked figures entered the room through the smaller doorway behind Lilithena’s throne, on the wall opposite of the windows, each carrying a tray of food; the same cloaked figures that had lit the candles earlier.

The first brought High Empress Lilithena Daelal a light plate of fresh blackcurrants, cheese, truffles, and small strawberry tarts, and filled her platinum goblet with Ul’iivar wine; a traditional, sparkling, frothing drow beverage with a brilliant green glow.

The next cloaked figure brought a plate full of grubs, larvae, and what looked like a fairly large piece of raw veal or mutton to Ambassador Kourem, and filled his goblet with water.

Magnetes Therion Daegus was brought three large venison steaks, each one larger than the plate itself, and his goblet was filled with Centaurian ale -- a drink with every bit the intoxicating power of the whiskey made by Humans.

Emperor Alak Pharn was brought a plate of cherries, grapes, sloes, and a bit of salted pork. The mantled servant then filled his goblet with Ul’iivar wine.

Magnetes Crystalia Daegus received a plate of strawberries, grapes, sliced apple, and a dinner roll. Her goblet was then filled with Elven moon-cider, a lightly alcoholic drink made from the firefly fruit grown deep within the forests of Faelore. The drink was a yellowish off-white in color, sparkled as though it had dozens of fireflies dancing around it, and had a subtle glow that was slightly reminiscent of the more intense luminescence of the firefly fruit itself.

Legate Sibo Niddlewurg was given --------. For drink, Sibo was given faewine.

Viceroy Calan Laissir was brought a plate with a raw eel coiled so as to be barely encircled by the rim of the plate, inside of which were placed raw cuts of cod, haddock, plaice, and heaps of salted sturgeon eggs served in oyster shells. To drink, cold spring water was poured into his goblet.

To Vice-Gerent Kraegun, one of the cloaked figures gave three smoked legs of lamb and left him a large bottle of Orcan malted ale.

Viceroy Naralia Laissir was then given a plate with small raw cuts of ling, saithe, and cod, a small portion of salted sturgeon eggs, and several tiny bleaks. She was also served a small cut of raw squid tentacle, wrapped in kelp, as well as two raw oysters.

Finally, Imperator Nyhawny Mobryn received -------

“High Empress,” said Calan, “I’m not officially authorized to divulge this to you, but assuming the occupation of Béowyn goes well, King Rainen and Queen Anissia are prepared submit the throne of Atlantis as a nation state of the United Sovereign Alliance.”

“The Emperor of Orokhane also wishes to send troops in support of the occupation,” said Kraegun. “Although, so far, he’s only managed to get a few of his representatives across the Faelore, Nardul, and Caucasus borders by way of hired aeronauts and dragonriders. The only break in the Great Wall that the Elves and Dwarves have constructed around Orokhane is the Valley of Necropia. Even the Thunder Orcs could not survive the onslaught of undead that would await them there.”

“Well, then,” said Lilithena, “tell Emperor ___ to rally his troops, because the undead threat in Necropia is being neutralized as we speak.”

§γI: “The Temptation”
§γII: “The Hostelry”
§γIII: “Artifice”
§γIV: “Acquisitions”
§γV: “The Arising”
§γVI: “Catacombs”
§γVII: “Redoubt”
§γVIII: “The Escape”
§γIX: “Caravan”
§γX: “Conference”
§γXI: “The Elven Village”
§γXII: “Refuge”
§γXIII: “Barrage”
§γXIV: “Decamping”
§γXV: “Bay City”
§γXVI: “The Victors”
§γXVII: “Day Break”
§γXVIII: “The Competition”
§γXIX: “Departing”
§γXX: “Round Two”
§γXXI: “The Chase”
§γXXII: “The Seduction”
§γXIII: “Sterling”
§γXXIV: “Encounter”
§γXXV: “Candleton”
§γXXVI: “The Dragonslayer”
§γXXVII: “Jail Break”
§γXXVIII: “The Ruins of Wartoknor”
§γXXIX: “Den of the Fafnir”
§γXXX: “Hathor”
§γXXXI: “The Arrival”
§γXXXII: “Contiguity”
§γXXXIII: “Scavengers”
§γXXXIV: “Confrontation”
⚑ = You Are Here.

Chaos & Virtue
Επυλλιον Αλφα: Antegesis
Επυλλιον Βητα: Imegesis
Επυλλιον Γαμμα: Diegesis
Επυλλιον Δηλτα: Exegesis
⚑ = You Are Here.

The Sovereignty Cycle
The Descent of the Drayad
The Phantasmata
The Book of Rowans
Chaos & Virtue
⚑ = You Are Here.

The Palæoboreanica
The Geneticon
The Sovereignty Cycle
⚑ = You Are Here.

Ancient Borea
The Borean World
The Palæoboreanica
People & Races
⚑ = You Are Here.

Ancient Borea
Red the Blue Devil
The Nocturnals
The Spacebunnies
Solar Civil War
⚑ = You Are Here.