Dubhaine Family/Aoifa

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Etymology

Properly translated from the original classical tongue, the name Aoifa means "beauty", "pleasure" or "radiant goddess". Hence Aoifa's full name means "the shining light of the women of dark countenance".

Background

Aoifa is the half-sister of Brigdha and Moira, a fact which explains their strikingly different looks. Tall and powerfully built, with red-black hair and a vigorous complexion, Aoifa was an adventurous child who has grown into a striking and fiery woman. Habitually dressed in the same simple black arming jack and hose as the soldiers under her command, she not only prides herself on facing the same hardships and dangers but on being the first into battle and the last to leave. Alebad Expeditionary Force is her unit.

In 1011 she returned to politics in the Colonies after a period in self-imposed exile, serving the realm of Minas Thalion as Ambassador and border scout. Later she was deported to Dwilight by the judge of Oritolon and there took service with Iashalur before returning and following the second destruction of Minas Thalion eventually settling permanently amongst the Assassins as Commander of the Dark Citadel. In recent years she's been famed for her public works projects, turning the Citadel into one of the most impressive fortresses in the known world.

Aoifa.png

Stats

The following scores are based on anecdotal evidence.

Age Honour Prestige Swordfighting Jousting Leadership Bureaucracy Diplomacy Infiltration Oratory Trading
84 245 49 46 40 46 (67) 15 16 43 (35) (25+)
FAME
Reputation 22
Prestige 48
Honour 20
Notoriety 4 Reaver 14
Skills 40 Swordfighting 37
Jousting 55
Leadership 43
Trading 48
Bureaucracy 25
Oratory 25
Infiltration 45
Adventuring 17
Spellcasting 68
Legacy 10 Lordship 26
Knighthood 15
Wealth 36 Possessions 2
Trader 69

Titles

1008 Knight of Alebad
1009 Knight of Alowca
First Minister of Alowca
1011 August Knight of Bode Batura
November Ambassador of Minas Thalion
1012 February Knight of Asurbanipal
1012 March Knight of The Assassins
1013 March Lady Elect of Minas Thalion
Duchess of Koolaris
Senator of Drenga
1013 June Knight of The Assassins
July Countess of Wirkfyr
November Banker of The Assassins
2014 January Countess of North Bakker
May Knight of Alebad
June Lady of Bode Batura
August Lady of Maira Merani
Constable of Minas Thalion
2015 Banker of Minas Thalion
Judge of Minas Thalion
2017 June Knight of Assassins
Margravine of Dark Citadel

Commands

Name Army Captain Men Type T R W A D M C CS Provisions Designation Pay Service
Templari Militans Imperial Dragoons Harbrand
+5
3 + 15 C 59 68 55 45 52 77 88
Imperial Heralds Imperial Dragoons Edgar
+3
2 C 51 70 55 58 77 51 57 24.11.11
Templari Militans Imperial Dragoons Edgar
+3
1 C 51 70 55 0 97 51 34
The Exiled Walther
+7
20 MI 74 60 60 21 92 72 378 06.02.12
Death Sigismund
+4
0 + 1 SF 79 4 85 85 12 88 97 0 10.03.12
Kerant Volunteers 12 + 8 MI 54 3 45 20 69 81 66 187 100 17.09.12
Death Imperial Guard Josef
+3
25 SF 62 4 90 70 0 92 19 544 0 19.05.14
Praetorian Guard Imperial Guard Burgolf
+4
50 SF 68 1 86 62 0 92 19 970 0 14.06.14
Death Imperial Guard Haug
+3
67 SF 67 4 90 70 20 90 61 1227 100 04.08.14
Death Imperial Guard Altmar
+5
45 + 6 SF 85 4 90 70 33 64 100 965 60 20.12.14
Death Silvae Legio Dietmund
+7
7 SF 83 5 60 75 4 86 100 302 100 army 14 30.12.17

Battles

A record of the battles Aoifa Dubhaine has participated in.

January February March April May June July August September October November December
1008 April May June July August October
1009
1010
1011 August September October November December
1012 January February March April May June September October

Tournaments

Date Continent Region Participants Entrance Fee Prizes Honour Prestige Details
June 7th 1009 Oritolon Oritolon 20 troop leaders from 5 realms 10 gold
Event Winner Runner-up
Sword 250 gold 100 gold
2 0
Event Round Winner Loser Score
Sword 1 Aoifa from Assassins Erisha from Oritolon
2 Aoifa from Assassins Grip from Assassins
3 Aoifa from Assassins Kaim from Oritolon
4 Larkin from Outer Tilog Aoifa from Assassins
5 (Final Round) Larkin from Outer Tilog Fingo from Oritolon

Personal Journal

December 1007

January 1008

February 1008

April 1008

Aoifa fights alongside her brother Cathal.

March 1009

The Fall of Alowca and the funeral of Margrave the Drake, former General of Alowca. Aoifa heads north into exile.

April 1009

Sanctuary amongst the Assassins.

August 1011

Aoifa reveals the fate of Denariel's Mace to Lady Allyah in a letter, recounting her duel with Denarien Squeaks.

March 1012

Aoifa returns from a brief exile in Iashalur.

June 1017

Aoifa begins a building program to turn Dark Citadel into the most impregnable stronghold anywhere in the known world.

November 1017

Aoifa reached the semi-finals of the Jousts at The Long Tournament in Outer Tilog, so named because it lasted 10 days longer than the traditional 9 allotted.

December 1017

On 15.12.17 Aoifa laid the last block necessary to turn Dark Citadel into a Citadel (7).

August 1018, Children Hearing Voices

September 1018, The Lumarcane Explosion

Gifts to All Men

26th December -- Dark Citadel

Kane Dragul

Kane stood on the balcony of his manor. The sky was clear and the stars burned brightly. Suddenly another light caught his gaze. This was no ordinary star. It burned much more brightly, a red light perhaps a guide or beacon on this quiet night. Suddenly the light plummeted headed straight for him. He clearly alarmed by this strange light, drew his sword taking a defensive stance. The light did not envelope him as was expected but landed in the middle of the court yard. An enormous man, stepped out of a brightly painted vehicle which was pulled by horned creatures of some kind. They were somewhat familiar, but he just shook his head. As the creatures stood there eating the grain the man had given them, the source of the light became apparent; the nose (if you could call it that) glowed brightly with a red light. It lit the courtyard though there were no torches lit.

Beside the man in the courtyard, another man landed. He appeared to be riding a horse with eight legs! The man was dressed all in grey, with a hat pulled down over his eyes. The men embraced then started unloading packages from the brightly colored vehicle. Soon the men remounted their transportation and they flew away.

As they left Kane was sure he heard one shout “merry Christmas to all, now Kane go to bed!

31st December -- Dark Citadel

Mordiggian Schwarzherzig

All through the lands, all was quiet. Not a sound could be heard. No slayings or beatings, not even a riot. The peasants swing gently from their gallows, creaking gently as the winter wind blows. Then, with a sudden roar, the wind whips into a frenzy, like a battlefield ever so bloody.

A great honking is heard, but on Aquilakah's eve, there is no one to disturb. A scream pierces the night, and one can hear the sounds of a fight. Joy has come to Aren, as Aquila comes to visit again! She rides upon a mighty wargoose, and upon the lands she lets loose, bringing instruments of torture and war, to good little Aren boys and girls, whether they be near or far.

However, those who do not appease the Twice-Slain best be wary, for in her wrath she is quite scary. Gifts of jam and bloody sacrifice will stay her hand, but those who fail will decorate the land! Blood and entrails as far as one can see! But however can this be? It is an Aquilakah miracle! The jolliest time of year! When Aren gives gifts, like destruction and fear!

Now it is Aquilakah Day, and the Twice-Slain must fly away! Until next year when she comes again, to celebrate in bloodshed and sin! Presents are opened and joy is had! YET ANOTHER YEAR FOR AREN TO BE BAD!

8th January -- Dark Citadel

Aepyornis Struthionis

Welcome to our new initiates. Please take a moment to light a candle and keep it before you.

The Shadow Cult lurks behind the Curtain of all tragic Plays, and laughs at all tragic seriousness.

Hold your hand by the flame, and see the Shadow upon the wall. Observe that it is not a thing of Dark, but instead takes shape at the meeting of both Light and Dark. It is a simple projection of much richer components.

And so the core truth is this! All the world is but a simple projection of a much richer reality, its weight as unknowable to us as the weight of your hand is to its Shadow.

Yes, Brothers and Sisters, we are each of us a Shadow of what lies beyond! We are but Actors, cast upon a great Stage.

As one recently asked of Darkness:

There is a prevailing notion among those who have not learned to see as we have, a notion of "good" and "evil," and I invite you to discard these in your considerations of Light and Dark.

As you study your Shadow, could you know it without Light? Or without Darkness?

Know that both are necessary to any Play, but as a single Actor you need not be shackled to either. The Shadows will guide you in your Role if you allow them.

I hope that is a fair introduction. If you have any questions, I will do as I can to answer.

11th February -- Dark Citadel

Myles Vilanova

The streets of Alowca were crowded, the mobs baying for blood. At last, a young woman was drug from the dungeons, flanked by the Harbinger's guards. They held chains, and walked alongside Valentina as she crawled along, unable to stand due to her restraints. The crowd hurled stones, rotten food, and dung at the Halcyon noble. A woman screamed "My son died defending your lands, and this is how you repay his sacrifice!" Based on the attitude of the crowd, she was not alone in her rage. The crowds swelled and the hate was palpable. The only thing holding them back was their respect and fear of the Harbinger. Valentina endured this gauntlet for a mile, her knees raw and bloody, blood and dung running into her eyes.

The procession arrived at a small platform erected by the Blood Moat, and Valentina was bodily lifted and restrained on a wooden "X".

The crowd roared approval, and suddenly everyone was silent. The Harbinger emerged, flanked by his assistants, who were laden with his tools, various knives and items for cauterizing. The Harbinger quietly announced the sentence.

"Valentina Goldhammer, you have shared your art with the Dominion. I will now share mine with you." A small table was set up, and a leather bundle unrolled, knives glistening in the sun. Myles' s hand hovered over the knives, and he thoughtfully selected one. He held it aloft, inspecting it as a painter would inspect a brush. Satisfied, he approached Valentina and considered the first stroke of his masterpiece.

Myles reached up and began to peel the skin off of Valentina's pinky, and her screams rang out in the square. The Harbinger hummed along to the melody, a master artist enjoying his craft. Inch by inch, Myles flayed Valentina's skin from her body. Brands were applied to staunch any bleeding, but the Lord Flayer was truly a master of his art, and after an artfully long period of time, not a scrap of flesh remained on Valentina's body.

Valentina had run out of screams, but still writhed in agony against her restraints. Myles set down his knife and plucked a lemon from a bowl. He sliced it open, and squeezed it over Valentina's fleshless form, eliciting screams again. He bit into the sour fruit, and grinned.

"Nail her to the wall. Have the skin treated and sent to the Fashionista to be made into a garment."

Garm Tanngrisnir Crownguard

Ahhhh, I love the smell of flayed flesh in the morning.

Aoifa Dubhaine

Aoifa sat and wept when the messenger delivered the news from Alowca. How could Khagistar the Almighty suffer such evil to consume His sacred city? How much more must His people endure before the ancient prophecies were fulfilled?

"Are you alright ma'am?" Dietmund motioned the messenger to withdraw.

"I'll be alright," she straightened her shoulders and the fierceness of her eyes scorched the twilight, though her legs still seemed unwilling to bear her weight.

"I did not know Lady Valentina was a friend."

"She wasn't. My tears are for the City Dietmund, and for all those who suffer under the Dominion's yoke..."

15th February -- Dark Citadel

Darius Rea

Thick, viscous fog sat over the Dark Citadel. Darius sat on the edge of a dry, cracked fountain, in one of the mid sized squares that dotted the city. He'd been watching the dark shapes flitting through the fog, wondering how to catch one. He figured he should take this opportunity to diversify the peasants in Ravossol, Baron or not. He could set up small towns of different peasants for each realm, and mix and match. He broke his frown to smile slightly at the thought. He could breed the perfect peasant for anything, big burly ones for the army, and plump ones to harvest for the AYMCA and BnB. He'd probably have to breed special ones for Jitney, he was quite picky about his ingredients. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He'd have to oust that damn Edain somehow, the idea would require access to the whole region to have enough room. In the meantime, however, he had to research the other realms' dungeons and justice systems. He had to reclaim his InJust title as well. He sighed into the mists. He really needed to stop making a mess of his titles, it was highly detrimental to any of his ideas.

"Sir? A package for you." Darius opened his eyes and sat forward. A messenger, baring the colors of his realm, stood nearby, gently holding a small package wrapped in brown paper, as if a careless move would cause it to blow his hands off. Darius looked at the package, perplexed. He hadn't gotten any mail that wasn't reports, or open letters to the realm in ages. "Who's it from, messenger? I don't need any gag gifts. The last time I opened one of these, three hundred hornets killed 6 of my men." The messenger grimaced, offering the package. "It's from Jitney Blue, Kepper of Hair and Fluff of Outer Tilog, Ambass-" Darius waved his hand, "Yes, yes, I know who you mean. This had better not be unpleasant, or I may have to vent my frustrations." The messenger looked mortified as Darius took the package roughly. With a scowl, Darius tore the paper off, and flipped open the top. Inside, one large blueberry muffin sat in the center, slightly off kilter. Darius's face split into a wide grin. "Messenger! Do you know what this means?" Darius's voice echoed across the empty square, "It means I'm going to be a father!" Darius jumped off the fountain, nearly knocking over the messenger, and nearly ran from the square. The messenger sighed, and thanked his gods he had survived the encounter.

22nd February -- Dark Citadel

Myles Vilanova

Myles stood, admiring the rotting form of Valentina, and adjusted the cloak he had had made from her flesh. As ordered, a crowd had been assembled. The Harbinger was prepared to address his people. He turned to face the assembled crowd, and looked about, Valentina's distorted cloak based face also facing the crowd.

"Aren. I know. We have suffered setbacks. We have lost a few battles, and our enemies have thwarted our takeover of Abaka with corruption." Myles approached the crowd.

"THE COWARDS TRIED TO TAKE IRDALNI... However..." Myles paused. "However..." He said, and then he grabbed a man from the crowd, threw him to the ground, and stabbed him in the neck, repeatedly. After a moment of violent stabbing, Myles stood, covered in blood.

"I will not tolerate weakness. We shall not tolerate weakness. Oritolon ran a takeover for two days, and what progress did they make? NEXT TO NONE! AN INFINITESIMAL AMOUNT OF THE REGION, BARELY ENOUGH TO ENCOMPASS A LATRINE! In the meantime, their capital has fallen to Outer Tilog!"

Myles pointed to the corpse at his feet.

"That is Oritolon. A corpse, bleeding and twitching, unable to accept that is dead! The weak fools need four nations to match our might! FOUR! AND NOW OUR ALLIANCE WITH OUTER TILOG WILL OUTMATCH THIS PATHETIC GATHERING OF FEARFUL NATIONS. WE WILL REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO GRIND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE COWARDS INTO PASTE. GO FORTH AND RIP EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD OF ORITOLON TO PIECES BEFORE THEY DRAG US DOWN INTO THE PILE OF FILTH THEY WALLOW IN. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD MOAT! BUILD THE BONE THRONE! LET THE COLONIES BURN!"

24th February -- Dark Citadel

Jitney Blue

Jitney read the letters from the Senate. He furrowed his brow, lifted Stephen's head from the bowl of plum wine it was submerged in, and then looked at the ground.

He let Darius take Stephen's hair and he turned, leaving the room.

Outside, Jitney looked around, making sure no one was nearby.

Complete silence enveloped him.


He knelt, and with a single finger, poked the earth.

A barely audible "oh well" seemed to issue from nowhere and everywhere all at once.

Jitney grinned and walked back to his room.

12th April -- Dark Citadel

Jitney Blue

Clouds of dark gasses swirled over the city, lit from within by arcing bolts of hellfire lightning. Brimstone ash rained from the skies. The commoners of Outer Tilog City danced naked in the streets, all colored a slick black from the detrius of the storm that fell from above. It was Friday.

Jitney poked his head out of the window of a building directly at the center of the maelstrom. It was oddly quiet here.

He squinted and held two fingers up to the sky, as if measuring.

"Three three spans. It's dilating!" he called over his shoulder.

"Wait," came an exasperated voice from inside. "Is that thirty three, or just three?"

Jitney cackled. "Darius, if it was thirty three we'd be seeing a lot more than ash and ash and skyfire!"

"Whatever. Get back in here.." A crash split the night as Darius threw the labor forecasting book into a pile of neatly stacked armor.

And then it started to rain. The peasants groaned and ran indoors. The grass died. And Jitney, emaciated from lack of food, stuck his head out the window to look at the sky. A rain drop struck him in the cheek. It left a dent.

"You really need to eat one of those pastries, Jit. You don't look so good." Darius poked at the dent, making Jitney wriggle away.

"Fine. But revive Stephen again make him put on the fertility helmet. I really just just feel better when he's wearing it."

24th April -- Dark Citadel

Jitney Blue

Jitney strolls about Alebad. Diplomacy.

"Halycon sucks! OT literally takes your refuse and hands you gold coins! Are you KIDDING KIDDING me! Why are you still here?"

A peasant looks his way. "We don't hate you as much."

"You bet your sweet sweet biscuits for don't. Come see me tomorrow." Jitney threw a scone and sauntered away.

12th September -- Dark Citadel

Kolben Norman

Kolben was just the greatest because he not only got out of the random pile of sticks they called a "dungeon", he also managed to one versus one the Rea person, even though Kolben literally just became an infiltrator just to mess with the people. Even though the Outer Tilog guards stabbed him seventy-three times with the toothpicks they referred to as "spears", and even told him he was seriously wounded, Kolben merely found himself "lightly wounded" when checking his status. Maybe he was like that superfluous legendary hero of the stories whose bones were made of a mystical metal harder than even the hardiest wootz forged steel, and who could shed any injuries with ease. That hero was named after a sharp clawed animal or something because the hero was said to wield extremely sharp claws that came out of his hands. His name was like Badger, or something. Anyway Kolben was clearly this universe's Badger because he just shrugged off all the injuries that occurred in the past week.

Obviously that would have happened because Kolben was the best written character of this entire franchise. He was the founder of a multi-realm multi-continental guild that was valued in the quadrillions of gold, as well as the heir to a secret society of ancient wizards from the age of spellcasters. He also was the captain of the jousting squad and just won the local jousting tournament and got a special present from the tournament host's very beautiful concubine. Kolben also had a chiseled face and gorgeous body that made all the monstergirls swoon for him such that he always was the best at "defeating" monster hordes. His greatness also extended beyond death too, as the countless hordes of undead would momentarily regain a soul upon seeing his glorious existence and melt away in that utterly amazing light that was even holier than the Holy Light spell. And don't get me started on those daimons. Succubi were notorious for succumbing to Kolben's charms while incubi wanted Kolben to be their incumbent. Even the Netherworld elected Kolben three times in a row to be their Chief Executive Honorary Daimon for life.

Now, Kolben was not perfect, no. He was unfortunately very modest despite all his achievements and abilities. Some people thought that his modesty was just too much and it only dampened the wondrous achievements that was his existence. But Kolben was too modest to correct them on their mistake, for he already calculated the motions of the stars several millennia into the future, and he was also the greatest and most accomplished being in existence. He briefly considered changing his name to Jerry Clue but thought some more, and his brilliant mind concluded that, no, that would be too arrogant.

Then he laughed haughtily as he caught another shiny rare monster girl in a large sphere.

15th September -- South Bakker

Kolben Norman

Kolben was just the greatest because he managed to buy a region from Wetham while still part of Lukon, but got banned in prison while still moving around the world, so clearly he had the skill to be in two places at once as the same person. And then he managed to get caught in Outer Tilog but they couldn't stop him because he left and shrugged off a "serious wound" that just turned out to be a "light wound". He then proclaimed himself Supreme Empire Builder of Lendan Stones and Beyond for none could stop his almighty might.

Obviously that would have happened because Kolben was the best written character of this entire franchise. He was the founder of a multi-realm multi-continental guild that was valued in the quadrillions of gold, as well as the heir to a secret society of ancient wizards from the age of spellcasters. He also was the captain of the jousting squad and just won the local swordfighting tournament and got a special present from the tournament host's very beautiful second concubine. Kolben also had a chiseled face and gorgeous body that made all the monstergirls swoon for him such that he always was the best at "defeating" monster hordes. His greatness also extended beyond death too, as the countless hordes of undead would momentarily regain a soul upon seeing his glorious existence and melt away in that utterly amazing light that was even holier than the Holy Light spell. And don't get me started on those daimons. Succubi were notorious for succumbing to Kolben's charms while incubi wanted Kolben to be their incumbent. Even the Netherworld elected Kolben three times in a row to be their Chief Executive Honorary Daimon for life.

Now, Kolben was not perfect, no. He was unfortunately very modest despite all his achievements and abilities. Some people thought that his modesty was just too much and it only dampened the wondrous achievements that was his existence. But Kolben was too modest to correct them on their mistake, for he already calculated the motions of the stars several millennia into the future, and he was also the greatest and most accomplished being in existence. He briefly considered changing his name to Jerry Clue but thought some more, and his brilliant mind concluded that, no, that would be too arrogant.

Then he laughed haughtily as he won yet another ancient civilization's card game.

17th September -- Hanmkrag

Darius' Thread

Into the dungeons Darius descended for another session of torture, carrying only a thread...

...when he returned hours later, he carried only a lampshade.

Jitney's Rate

If you asked about the rate for the BBQ BNB, you never know what answer you might get, much like the experience (don't forget that time with the Flame). One of the reviews stated they merely paid a thumb, which they considered such a great deal they nearly gave the BBQ BNB two stars, but the shoddy service soon fixed that. One used to be able to pay in chickens, but ever since they got into the library, that hasn't been as acceptable currency. No one likes a well-read chicken.

Kolben Norman

Kolben stared long and hard at the card. Even his overwhelmingly perfect brain could not comprehend what was going on in the picture. He scratched his head and sniffed the card. Maybe he could win something. He was the greatest winner in the entire universe, obviously, of course, that was a given, yeah.

19th September -- Dark Citadel

Kolben Norman

Kolben was obviously the best at everything and that included throwing the card he magically received showing a cart and a guy and other stuff as a homing boomerang ninja star, or HBNS, that cut loose the hostages of the bandits that were stealing from the poor to give to the rich. In the process the HBNS sliced clean through the necks of all but two of the hostages. One of those two had her entire left face and thigh sliced off by the flyin projectile. The one surviving hostage was permanently blinded and rendered incontinent and constipated long term. None of the bandits were injured because Kolben was just that good.

The bandit queen or whatever was so impressed she gave Kolben a full three nights to do as he would with her, and offer which he gleefully took and proceeded to make her play an impromptu card game with him for three straight nights. After that the bandit queen swore never again to commit banditry lest Kolben in his utmost perfect form cause her need to play that card game once again.

And so Kolben, firm in his being so great yet somehow still exceedingly modest, mocked a passing peasant for being not as awesome. The peasant cried until Kolben started giving the peasant a lot of donuts to ease the pain. However those donuts were too pure for anyone other than Kolben to handle and the peasant promptly bloated and forcibly disintegrated into a mist of bone blood and flesh, among other fluids.

This was born the legend of Kolben the Konqueror. Also he snickered at the inability for the fail dude from OT to execute either him or that Blunt duke loser.

20th September -- Dark Citadel

Kolben Norman

While Kolben was trying to summon his super special card that he got in North Bakker, he reminisced about how modest he was despite the fact that he was the best at everything.

"There haven't been a lot of distressed dragons for me to save or greedy maidens for me to slay." Kolben said with a disappointed sigh.

28th October -- Dark Citadel

Godric Altenahr

Dark King Godric paid his respects to Lady Aoifa Dubhaine of Dark Citadel. His troops waited outside in the palace square. Tall silent men in full plate bearing two handed pole axes whose tips crackled with a pale blue energy. He was a massively built man in plat armor bearing mystical runes. His cold grey eyes leveled on her and she felt a chill because she knew in that moment that this man had left his humanity far behind in his quest for power and knowledge. His voice when it came was low and harsh.

"Thank you for allowing me to visit your capitol, Lady. I have paid the gold I owe to assassins, so my business is conducted and I will be leaving in the morning. I have been inspecting your stronghold and I feel that I understand Assassins now. You have excellent walls and excellent RCs, someone has done a lot of good work on this citadel, but your regions are gold poor, so you can not field a large army. Hence your development of the arts of stealthy killing. A unique solution for a unique situation."

Aoifa Dubhaine

"Your eyes have seen what few outside our Order ever witness King Godric for the roads are long which lead to the Citadel and the woods cluster darkly about them. And in those woods dwell many things which are best left undisturbed," the Margravine's manner was cool and matter-of-fact as suited her soldier's garb, but in her eyes there was a certain humour and the sense that she herself rarely heeded such advice.

"I'll have apartments fitting your status prepared for you and your company."