Tales of the Legion

These are the Tales of the Legion, written by the Lorekeeper for the campaign described in the topic “A Minuet of Moon and Lightning”. Be forewarned that they are pretty long.

Tale of the Legion’s Founding

By Mehslav Dinovna (footnote 1)
Recounted by Violet Flowing Tempest in 848.16
We acknowledge with great sadness the passing of Maz Beylich, Midnight Cascading Thunder, Intendent Alidraius Orate, and Admattus Torio Rosso. They were legionnaires, and so did not die in vain. To consecrate their sacrifices we must recollect who we are and why we struggle in this year, 848 OEF.

The Legion was founded in the year 422 OEF during the reign of Emperor Tantarus during the era now known as the Time of Troubles. There were nine calamities that threatened the stability of the empire, and they are enumerated as thus:

  • The Aurelian Plague, with its pustular boils and infernal fever, laid low to nearly a third of the empire (footnote 2)

  • The Seven Year Drought in Dar

  • The schism resulting from the appearance of the self-named Prophet Bat-Tzion

  • The Twin Behemoths of Panyar and Talgon

  • The Drowning of Kargil

  • The Rise of Moonbiter’s Tumen and their invasion from the Wastes

  • The Teachings of Sitarkha Baurmah and introduction of Duetism

  • The Marzonite Worker Insurrections

  • The Westlake Rebellion

It was during this period that the old Legate system (footnote 3) for passing Imperial decrees and correspondence collapsed. Widespread was the corruption among the Legate contractors, as were the rumors of attacks on the few Legates of honest repute. Frustrated by his inability to manage the empire during the Troubles, Emperor Tantarus saw fit to deputize one of his chief advisers, a stranger from the East named Zhuche Lang, better known as the Bronze Man, to form the Legion as the Emperor’s personal legates (rechristened as the Legion) and be its first Quartermaster (footnote 4).

The Bronze Man was a placid and calculating man who was always thinking one step ahead of the rest of the court. He was an unparalleled strategist and the inventor of the Standing Stone Maze, the Kumming Lantern, and the Seal Immaculate. The Bronze Man set up a bureaucracy with many specialists such as engineers, surveyors, logisticians, and couriers, creating the Nine-Rank System for assessing Legion candidates. The examination, which had a strong emphasis on the analysis of classical texts, was designed to identify those with the proper integrity and intellect to be entrusted with the Seal Immaculate. By solving the material challenges of organizing the voices and the ears of the Emperor, the Bronze Man discovered a wider conspiracy.

It was not long into the formation of the Legion that the first attacks began. Oathsworn of the Thurmentakis stalked and eliminated couriers (called rooks), raided depots, and even made an attempt on the Bronze Man himself. In response, the Bronze Man appointed the former consul Mekuna Mehal as Marshall of the military arm of the Legion and Mehslav Dinovna as the new Quartermaster. The Bronze Man himself became the first Commander of the Legion, and entrusted Marshall Mehal with the Tantari banner, in which was affixed the Seal Immaculate.

The Legion spent much of its first decade helping the Emperor to understand the concerns of the many parties impacted by the Troubles. The legion helped smooth over the discontent among the Bartan faiths from the challenge posed by Duetism (footnote 5), aided in the negotiations that led to the labor communes that still exist today in Zemya (footnote 6), and was instrumental in events leading to the Treaty of Rhaanda. The legions efforts to mediate between the Blooded and Bat-Tzion however were sabotaged, leading to Bat-Tzion’s martyrdom. Unlike the Legion’s previous successes, the Westlake Rebellion was a bitter pyrrhic victory, where the Legion (in conjunction with the Imperial Army) had to resort to force of arms and brutal suppression.

The Legion had known for some time that there were three Chosen who were behind some of the Troubles (footnote 7), but it was only from the aftermath of the Battle of Hodow that confirmed the presence of the One at the Eye, head of the Thurmentakis. The location of their lair became known to the legion from captured correspondence found at Hodow and a raid was initiated, led by Marshall Mehal and the Bronze Man himself.

In the aftermath of the skirmish, all of the Legionnaires involved were heavily wounded at the hands of the One, who was not to be seen again for many years. The Chosen left a parcel for the survivors to deliver to the emperor. After the commanders recovered from their wounds, they brought forth the sealed envelope to Tantarus, who broke the seal and banished himself to his chambers for ten days. Upon the end of his voluntary confinement, he summoned the Bronze Man and asked Zhuche Lang to stab him with an ancient dagger. The Bronze Man notarized Tantarus’ mark on the enclosed parchments with a mixture of imperial blood and urine, and it was shortly after this act in which the Troubles faded and an age of relative tranquility began. It was from these experiences that the Bronze Man wrote down in "The Admonition to His Children’’ the following:

“It was from this crucible of fire in which I learned the following truths: that the Gods are terrible to behold and their servants aberrant. That mortals will always need an intercessor and a herald to open the eyes of the divine and to remember the past accords. Let it be said thus that we, the Legion, are destined to Bear Witness to the Gods. Though we may bow before them, we will never forget our ultimate patron.”(footnote 8)

These annals demonstrate the following Legion precepts:

  • The Legion’s repute, the trust in our integrity, is what sets us apart from others.
  • The Chosen are to be feared but not scorned. And they alone cannot do what must be done. They are our opportunity and our burden.(footnote 9)
  • Strength of arms alone is insufficient to survive the divine. It is through preparation and cunning that we will find the path to victory.

(Historical foonotes, part of the private notes of the Lorekeeper).

  1. The Lorekeeper did not become a position in the Legion until shortly before the fall of the Old Empire, only added as a direct consequence of the Renunciation. These annals are the product of the diary of Mehslav Dinovna and various records that date over 100 years after the events in which the Troubles took place.

  2. The Aurelian Plague actually took place some twenty years prior to the next earliest Trouble, Sitarkha Baurmah’s ascent of Mount Patan.

  3. The Legate system was an Old Empire system for tax collection, public works, and relay services. Contracts for the provinces were sold to societas publicanorum, which could retain excess revenue obtained and collected interest from their bid.

  4. The appointment of Zhuche Lang was widely seen as a demotion and the result of Zhuche Lang’s falling prey to court politics, likely due to his immense ego and his tendency to humiliate his perceived lessers (i.e. everyone). The Bronze Man was a matter of significant speculation at the time. Men that had his appearance were only found in the ancient oral tradition of the Bartans, and he never spoke of his past. In fact, he was from the lands east of the Windward Isles, from the same larger land mass from which the Bartans fled many generations ago. How he managed to make the journey from there is a mystery, as the currents make travel from that direction implausible, as chronicled in the Mahayana of the Bartan people.

  5. Duetism is characterized by practices of pacifism and meditation. Although popular for a time in Barta, it eventually faded in prominence due to reforms by the priests of the Seven. Oddly enough, most of its current adherents are in remote sections of Or and Panyar.

  6. In some ways, the impact of Marzonism had a stronger indirect effect in its homeland of Or, as its rise is at the minimum contemporaneous with the demise of the indenture system and the rise of the burghers which continues to the present time. The slogans of Marzoni however are most popular in the existing communes in Zemya.

  7. Whether Sitarkha Baurmah, Bat-Tzion, and Carlo Marzoni were Chosen is a matter of some dispute. What is known is that only Bat-Tzion claimed to be Chosen (of Melqart), and Bat-Tzion’s claim was vigorously contradicted by the Hierophant of Royin and the other blooded. Carlo Marzoni himself claimed to be an unbeliever, and Sitarkha Baurmah founded her own mystical faith, proclaiming a unitarian belief. What is not disputed is the existence of reliquaries associated with the movements of each of the three. Also of note is the memetic contagion of each of these Troubles-- Duetism spread from Barta to many parts of the East, Marzonism took root in parts of Zemya and inspired congresses all throughout the empire, and Legion annals indicate that the Westlake Rebellion was incited by Bat-Tzion’s zealots. Legion annals also indicate that each of these movements, whether directly through their leader or through some other key lieutenant or adviser, were in contact with each other and with the One in the Eye, Zora.

  8. This treatise was Zhuche Lang’s attempt to guide the Legion long after his death. The early passages were eerily prescient in anticipating dangers and opportunities for the legion for the first ten years after his death, while the later passages had long lasting influence on the operating principles of the Legion to this date. It can be said that the Legion was molded in his image-- as an efficient bureaucracy that used technocratic means to solve political crises. Although there were elements of a military and an espionage arm of the organization, these were not the focus or the strengths of the organization as a whole. The Legion also based its political future on its organizational reputation for integrity and on its utility to the Emperor as advisors and troubleshooters. During the early period of the Legion, it was relatively poor at forming transactional relationships with imperial power brokers.

  9. The actual phrase used in Mehslav Dinovna’s diary is “Don’t mess with Zora”.

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Tale of the Legion’s Independence
By Axel Gustayevich Oxenstierna
Recounted by Violet Flowing Tempest in 848.18

We acknowledge the passing of Versta Kunyart, Reeve Emilias the Lesser, Anshunhin Parandi, Gray Striking Flint, and Valteri Natovichna. They were legionnaires, and laid down their lives for us. To consecrate their sacrifices we must recollect who and what we fight for in this year, 848 OEF. These are the words of the tenth commander of the legion and first lorekeeper in 566 OEF.
Listen to me and hear how the Legion left the service of the Emperor. The Legion is, or was, first among equals among the Moiras of the Empire. Unlike the Moiras, we did not recruit among the Themes, but rather recruited among the entirety of the empire. With the Themes taking responsibility for administration, the Legion focused on being the vanguard and serving as the bodyguard for the Last Emperor, who was widely known as the Terrible. We had the expertise to handle insurrectionists, barbarians, and Chosen alike, and when the inevitable Grand Insurrection started, the Legion was a favored tool of the Terrible.
I had the pleasure of being the Quartermaster to the previous commander, El Gran Capitan. He was a shining beacon in a troubled time. The Innocent Tithes had been creating ever larger turmoil in the Themes, and the Terrible’s attention was only on his own projects in the capital. He only roused himself from his negligence of the Empire’s instability to order the Legion to deal with the numerous conspiracies against the throne. The arrival of the Blood Comet exacerbated the suspicions of the populace, but it was the Great Fire of Dar, where many of the governors of the Themes died while the Terrible danced, that nearly all of the empire rose in revolt.
Leading the revolt were six Chosen. El Gran Capitan was ordered into the Aldermark Themes to neutralize the Chosen of the Twins. Hanar Skeidar, the Chosen of Mattiar, had united the three Alderari Moiras in open revolt, each of which was larger than the legion. The first engagements nearly routed us, especially at the Battle of the Gap, but El Gran Capitan’s Tercio formations allowed us to hold despite the bravery, skill, and numbers of the Aldermani. Along with the new field cannons developed by my second, Marquessa de Vauban, we were able to eventually work our way through Karlsberg and slew Hanar in the Siege of Plainsworth.
My friend, El Gran Capitan, was gravely wounded in the last assault at Plainsworth, and over my protestations had me take the Commander’s oath, entrusting me with the Tantari banner and the Ark of Incorporation before being transported to Dar for recovery. His last message to me was to search the Ark for the answers to any troubles that I would face.That was the last time I saw my friend-- soon we received a dispatch from the capital that he had succumbed to his wounds. It was then left of me to administer the Terrible’s justice to Plainsworth, as we were ordered that there would be no survivors.
Our next assignment was to eliminate Ennika Skeidar, twin sister of Hanar and Chosen of Gerholtz. She had been supporting Hanar at Karlsberg and at Plainsworth, but had slipped away during the siege. She and a cadre of bandits had escaped to the Sunkissed Forest. Our Tercios were ineffective in the forest and we lost many legionnaires in abortive ambushes and skirmishes in the forest.
After nearly half a year in pursuit of our quarry, I got an unwelcome visit by a Blood Guard emissary from the Terrible. I was given a taste of what my fate would be if I failed, and given an ultimatum that the forest must be cleared by year end. It was with the aid of my dear Marshall Adrimir Colayovna and with the engineering prowess of the Marquessa that we initiated the purge.
Under the hot, dry, baleful eye of the Blood Comet, we amassed an immense stockpile of Fire Oil. During the beginning of the dry season, we set the forest ablaze. Over the course of months, the entirety of the Sunkissed Forest was burned, up to the Pilgrimage Road, which separated the Sunkissed Forest from the Duresh Forest and connected Westlake to the temples of Gallows Pass. It was a surprise and a blessing that the inferno did not consume the Duresh forest as well, but the protections of the Road held, barely. Amid the bonfire, the Chosen of Gerholtz fought like a wild beast. Even with our advantages, her arrows still found its mark among the Legion. In the end she perished like her twin, destroyed with her people and her forest.
We were not given a week from this engagement before we had further orders to follow what little remained of the Pilgrimage Road to go after our next target, the Chosen of the Living God, Zora. We marched wearily to the north, accompanied by a pair of the Terrible’s inquisitors, wrapped in black silk. When we arrived at the monasteries, we followed our instructions from the inquisitors exactly. We took the monks of the many temples in the Gallows, and threatened to burn all of the monasteries to the ground if Zora did not surrender herself. Surprisingly, she did, and entrusted her hilt to me personally. I could not resist giving a blood oath for its safe keeping. Then we kept our word exactly, preserving the monasteries while the inquisitors sacrificed all of the monks. It was in silence that we marched south with our prisoner, who did not seem to react even after our sacrilege.
That night, I had a nightmare that started with the monk’s sacrifice, took me through visions of madness that is best left unspoken, and ended with judgment in front of Zora. I woke to see Adrimir, who had overheard my ravings. On the march south, I had another dream outside the burnt remnants of the Sunkissed Forest. This time it started with the offering of the Gerholtz Chosen, meandered through eldritch horror, and ended in front of Zora. Again, it was Adrmir who roused me from my nightmare. Then, as we were passing by the sacked streets of Plainsworth, I had a third nightmare that began with the Plainsworth carmine sewers and continued to what none should ever know. Like the first two times, my dream-self was bowed before Zora. And, this time, when I awoke, I was in her cell, her hilt in my hands as an offering, prostrate before Zora aflame. She regarded me with a tired, pitying expression and accepted the hilt. I asked her the meaning of my nightmares, and her response was to lead me inerrantly to my tent, the Commander’s tent, to take out a scroll from the Ark of Incorporation that El Gran Capitan had entrusted to me nearly a year ago and, to my shame, had never opened.
Somehow I was not surprised to learn that the scroll appeared to be a contract, dating to near the beginning of the Legion’s founding. On the condition that an Aberrant appeared within the empire that started the Great Sacrifice and had started to breach the Veil Between the Living and the Dead, the Legion was to be sworn to aid Zora, Chosen of the Living God in slaying the Aberrant, for the price of ten pieces of silver. There was no doubt in my mind that the contingency had been fulfilled and that I had been a principal vessel of that deliverance- however I nearly suffered a total breakdown for, on the day that the Terrible’s inquisitor had returned with news of El Gran Capitan’s death, I had given the ultimate blood oath to the Terrible that I would always see the Emperor’s will be done.
It was then in which I had the final vision of clarity, the one path that would allow me to fulfill both my obligation to the Legion and to the Emperor. I sought out Adrimir. I know I do not deserve her loyalty, but she understood at that moment what must be done. We made sure that my eyes would never betray the Legion again. We strangled the Marquessa in her sleep, for we knew that she would not accept Zora or want to lose the favor of the Terrible. We announced the Legion’s Renunciation, casting the Legion forever away from the embrace of the Empire. We salvaged what we could of the Legion as battle brother fought brother, and in the end we were only a third of what we once were, and had lost nearly all the alchemical engineers that had previously been our pride.
In the end, we did our part and took our pieces of silver from that damned Zora. Adrimir became the eleventh Commander of the Legion and the first independent Commander of the Legion. Despite my uselessness, she would not let me take leave of the legion, and ordered me to be the Lorekeeper of the Legion, to recraft the Oath so that never again would be be bound to an Emperor, Chosen, or would-be Aberrant, and to make sure that we never forget our true loyalties, foremost to ourselves and to those not yet touched by the divine.
In my prior life, I was blind to El Gran Capitan’s veiled warnings, to the ones encoded within “The Admonition to His Children”, and to the obvious signs of iniquity during our times. The Legion can never forget these lessons, and these words must be recited exactly as I have spoken it thus, or my blood curse will be on you.
These are the words of Axel Gustayevich Oxenstierna, the first Lorekeeper. The tale of the Legion’s service under Zora in pursuit of the Terrible will have to wait for another day. For the curious, that original contract is still in the Ark that is in the Lorekeeper’s tent, along with the original Imperial charter from Emperor Tantarus. However, the current charter, written by Commander Adrimir Colayovna, is in the Commander’s tent.

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Tale of the Legion’s Victory
By Kaviya Dardhi

Recounted by Violet Flowing Tempest in 848.20

We acknowledge the passing of Saniz Karlovich, Blue Streaming Laurel, Rakinta Pojner, and Lank Schtroll. They were legionnaires, and fought against the Cinder King and his relentless minions, this day on 848 OEF. Do understand that this is not the first time that the legion fought against impossible odds and paid the price to do what must be done. These are the words of the twelfth Lorekeeper, Olympia Mancini, in 722 OEF.
In the aftermath of the Aldermark Pretender Wars, during which the reputation of the Legion had waned, Commander Scarlet Charging Blaze decided to go to the far west to find smaller and less risky contracts to replenish supplies and to reduce the visibility of the Legion. Over the course of the dozen years since disembarking from Southport, the Legion worked its way through numerous jobs in Andrastus, Royin, and the Pripyat Marshes before ending up in the Jeweled Cities of the Wastes. This was to be the last stop before returning east, for there was little interest even among the most wanderlust for the far lands of Zoroaster and Melanesia. Among the least of the contracts was operation Standing Water, commissioned by Shah Murad, potentate of Merv, to clear bandits from the Tejen Oasis. Formerly a minor nuisance, the bandits had started to leave no survivors along the route, so the mission was to capture or eliminate the entirety of the band, estimated to be around twenty.
The Marshal assigned the scout Karoj Chabarti, the sniper Reina Farian Albrekt, and the 9th Grinning Ravens to the task. During their mission, Karoj and the team came back for resupply and a quick report that they found the bandit’s hideout and had slain a few stragglers there, but that the remainder of the bandit force was at the oasis. Karoj reported that the bandits were no match for the Legion, and anticipated that the away team would be back within the fortnight. That was the last we heard from the mission team.
The Commander commissioned a rescue mission for the missing Legionnaires. The battalion consisted of the officer “Elder” Azure Flowing Flood, the medics Tatiika Vltoryevich and “Rose” Kalyika Arani, the scouts Blas Rodno and Ennika Scharel, the heavy Riya Dardhi, the alchemist Three Fingers, 1st Ember Wolves, 1st Ghost Owls, and the 1st Star Vipers. A month later, Blas, Rose, and the Zayovna brothers from the 1st Star Vipers arrived. Rose’s hair had turned shock white. Blas relayed to the command staff that the battalion had arrived at the bandit hideout and found the missing team, dead without obvious signs of struggle in the bedding within the hideout. Blas, Rose, and the Zayovna brothers were assigned either watch or had other duties upon arrival at the hideout. Upon rotation of the watch, Blas discovered that he could not rouse the next watchmen, and soon afterwards they were attacked by what appeared to be the 9th Grinning Ravens and Karoj. Blas verified that their attackers would not respond to verbal challenges, were not arisen from the bodies earlier discovered, and used Legion protocol in the attack. The first watch fought their way out of the hideout, but “Big Bear” Zayovna was critically wounded by the appearance of the Reina before they could shake their pursuit.
The wounds on Big Bear appeared to be fatal, but Rose and the Zayovna brothers refused to leave his side. On the third night, in what appeared to be Big Bear’s last moments, Rose said a prayer and then, according to testimony by Viktor and Sasha, appeared to say an old Bartan prayer and then a feeling of warmth and calm washed over them. It was at that moment that Brother Bear roused, fully healed, while Rose appeared to age thirty years with her hair turned white. It was now Rose that appeared comatose, and yet again the Zayovna brothers could not be convinced to leave her side.
After ten days, Rose came out of her coma irrevocably changed. The warm Bartan, though deaf, was always garrulous with her signing, which most of the Legion learned to converse with the popular medic. Now, she signed little, and yet when she did anyone within sight fell to rapt attention and anyone in her presence felt a calmness that override all anxiety. Even Blas could see that White Rose, as she became known as now, had become Chosen of Asrika.
White Rose conferred with the Commander, the chief alchemist Sarkar Omonar, and the old Lorekeeper Olympia Mancini, and it was determined that the threat of the Tejen oasis must be destroyed. White Rose warned of an infection of dreams that prevented those who fell asleep from rousing, and it was ascertained that the Legion members from the first mission that attacked the battalion were doppelgangers that were likely centered around the oasis. The Commander decided to muster an assault of the oasis with every member of the legion, with the objective to destroy the threat without risking the sleeping sickness that beset the first two teams.
Again, the hideout was cleared, with all members of the battalion that had fallen asleep accounted for as dead, but with no sign of the first team. We did not rest before marching on the Tejen Oasis. What we found beggared description and did not match prior intel of the location. Rather than an oasis, it seemed to look as if from stories of the mythical jungles of Melanesia. As we approached the jungle, we were attacked by what appeared to be Legion members from the 1st Ember Wolves, 1st Ghost Owls, and 1st Star Vipers, the medic Viltoryevich, Ennika Scharel, and Riya Dardhi. They fought with the skill and tenacity that we remembered, but with no apparent emotion. With great difficulty and six new entries to the annals, we put down our bizarre counterparts. We then began to hack our way through the jungle foliage encasing the oasis.
After hours of trailblazing through the jungle, we arrived at the location marked as the oasis. There, we found a naked, grotesque green man twenty feet in size surrounded by innumerable green plants over ten feet tall, each containing multiple human sized seed pods. To our horror, the seedpods opened up en masse. Among the throng that emerged were replicas of the legion members we had already slain and numerous other Wastefolk, likely from fallen caravans that had traveled to the oasis. We were outnumbered by an extent that is unknowable, and the Commander immediately gave the order to retreat.
Most of the legion fell that day, including the Commander who personally led the remaining squads of the Silver Stags to buy time for the rest of the legion to make it out of the jungle. We discovered that the enemy was sluggish and vulnerable in the hot sun of the Wastes. We slipped into the tunnels of the bandit hideout which leads down into warrens, a stinking, moldering, damp, tight little rabbit-hole fortress The Hole, as we would call it, was disgusting, cramped and stinking at all times. Near the entrance tunnel was a reeking stable. There was only a single door in the entire place, behind which was a conference room and White Rose’s quarters. It was only her presence that allowed us to dream undisturbed for the two years that we spent in that miserable hellhole.
During that time, we became the bandits that were rumored to haunt the oasis. Where we could, we would scare travelers from coming closer to the jungle at the heart of the oasis and prevent them from falling into a permanent sleep. We tracked the signs that indicated the range of the dream invasions that led to new dopplegangers, and monitored the ebbs and flows of the jungle growth. We learned that the dopplegangers had the memories, experiences, and abilities of the dreamers but none of their emotions, and learned how to fight them. We divined the name of the Chosen, Jeroboam, at the heart of the jungle. And, to my regret, we truly lived like scavengers, preying on what we must while researching ways to finally destroy the menace.
In the end, our predations on the local countryside weakened our former employer, Shah Murad, and led to the incursion into his lands by the infamous self-styled “sorcerer” king Sultan Gazi of the Khiva Khanate. We had had many contracts from cities resisting Gazi, and knew that our depleted forces, now numbering fifty-two Easterners and a dozen locals, were not match for Gazi’s. The Sultan had chosen to surprise Murad with a quick assault through the oasis, trusting that bandits, no matter how fearsome, could not stop him.
We had no choice but to allow him and his innumerable retinue from camping at the oasis, and they became the latest fodder. Almost immediately, the jungle started an unnatural growth that greatly agitated White Rose. After considering these baleful signs and rumors that Gazi had relics with powers over light and darkness, the command staff chose to implement a fail-safe plan that had been drafted early in our stay but for which we had not been willing to pay the price.
I was ordered to lead the Shattered Lions, White Rose, Otto Keller, Vermillion Charging Tempest, and Liavel Klaarinovna to preserve the annals and rebuild the legion. We left our remaining brothers, who used their remaining alchemicals to mutate their bodies and pollute their minds so that their last sleep would poison the seedpod’s dream space. We honestly did not fancy our chances and we had to sedate White Rose, who categorically refused to leave.
Except for White Rose, none of us ever looked back. Her keening kept most of us up the months it took to return to the Eastern Kingdoms, and we likely would not have made it if we had not met up with the Chosen Vlaisim the Shining One, we may have never made it back at all. He found us eight days after we had left the Hole, and announced to us that he was called by the Father to eradicate a terrible blight. We warned him to stay clear of the Oasis, but he ignored us and rode straight to the Tejen oasis. Not too long afterward, he caught up with us again and praised our work, pledging to help the legion recover. The Legion would not be standing today were it not for his largess.
In the end, White Rose left us with the surviving Zayovna brother, Sasha. Liavel, and Tom-Tom also took their leave, but the six of us remaining, Otto, Vermillion Charging Tempest, Zigfren Beher, Sarkar Royota, Yedidyah Levitt, and myself, vowed to rebuild the Legion. We number only fifty now (including Sasha, who returned after Rose burned out and was put to rest in the Temple of Asrika, as was her final request), but I have hope that one day we will regain our former glory. Let it not be forgotten the great sacrifice and the terrible tribulations that the legion endured to save the world from an unknown danger…

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Tale of the Legion’s Unyielding Will, Part 1

By Violet Flowing Tempest

Recorded by Lieutenant Anirban in 848.23

We acknowledge the passing of Hoscarl Fatari Hardonius, Kaleka Pautanishadur, Kamzir Reiklovich, and Manekash Kleriki. They were legionnaires, and their unyielding will serves as an inspiration for us in difficult times. We must remember that we have fought with and against unholy Chosen many times before in this year 848 OEF. These are the memories of the eighth lorekeeper Quentin “Croaker” Aquafressa in 658 OEF.
There are no extant records from Croaker, nor the previous Lorekeeper. These records are being obtained from Croaker’s memories, available now due to a modern breakthrough in alchemical neurology, and taking advantage of Croaker’s preserved brain.
Violet Flowing Tempest eyes flare green and she speaks in a distinctly masculine voice.

  1. Quentin is a rookie, on his first real sortie as part of the 33rd Grinning Ravens. He is also the last remaining member of the squad.
    The mission is to investigate an Orite Chosen, Waggish, Twelfth of the Fabricators. One of the Chosen who warped in some unfathomable way. He had somehow built a tower that burrowed into the ground, and the Marshall had assigned four squads to escort the Patron and a full panoply of specialists to scale downward into the endless underground bunker.
    It had been over a day since they had descended. The first floors had not been too bad-- just a few mercenaries that had somehow been supplied from deep into the earth. But as they descended, those that they fought sported more and more clockwork and alchemical prosthetics that, by the point that they had arrived at their current unknowable distance down into the earth, what they had been fighting seemed to be purely clockwork automata.
    It was only in the last engagement that they took substantial casualties, but it had been terrible. Margrave Santelli’s satchel charges, that she had brought to breach the final doors to the workshop, had been set off by the last clockwork automaton they had encountered, which had some sort of torch that projected a viscous Fire Oil concoction. The resulting explosion caused a cave in, and Quentin was only saved when Zora’s circlet glowed and somehow protected them. Or at least Quentin-- Zora assured Quentin unnervingly that she would be fine, as she was not human. Now they were caught in what appeared to be an alcove, trapped for many hours, somehow still breathing only due to the strange physics of this mechanical nether world.
    He was trapped with Zora herself, almost in an embrace given how tight was the niche they were trapped in. Quentin, before meeting her, would never have expected that this Zemyati young woman, tall and skinny, with blue eyes and curly blond hair and long lithe legs, was supposed to be centuries old. It was particularly intolerable as Quentin has a ferocious crush on Zora.
    “Quentin, really?” says Violet Flowing Tempest in her normal voice, before the masculine voice interceded.
    They had been stuck there for what must have been hours in the darkness, Zora’s circlet having gone dim, to spare him as Zora told him, in her squeaky voice. Quentin by this point had nearly lost patience by Zora’s incessant questions about each and every member of the patrol team. Fortunately for Zora, Quentin has always been interested in the stories of the soldiers around him, and gave Zora the requisite details for the specialists and for his own squad, but was at a loss for the members of the three other squads, which he had only recently met.

After the third query about Fushia Prancing Riot of the 14th Ember Wolves, Quentin snapped. “As far as I can tell, Fushia Prancing Riot was a stuck up asshole. No I don’t know what his deed name was for, or what his deeds were generally. What do you keep pestering me about him? He’s dead!”

Quentin could feel Zora’s eyes bore into him as she spoke with forced cheer, “It is time to celebrate their lives, now that their arc is complete. At least they died well. When your time comes Quentin, I’ll sing your song too, likely for an eternity in this fucking gloryless pit. So soldier, if you do not want to talk about Fushia Prancing Riot, tell me another tale to pass the time.”

With that Quentin tells a tale about the journey of Clock Maiden and the Cozy Horse, from his favorite story. He gets about halfway through the story when Zora interrupts, “Wait, is this the story written by Cristofo Polidori, about the children who find a land with shirted talking animals?”

“Yes, the Fillorio and Beyond novels. You’ve read them then?” asks Quentin.

“Of course not.” Zora retorts “Those were tales for small children, not for warriors. And who can believe in shirted talking animals? A worthy tale for heroes would involve glorious combat over minor misunderstandings. Everyone knows that animals do not wear clothes. And Polidori was a short and cowardly man. Are you still a small child?”

“That’s totally unfair! There is a magic about the Fillorio stories that appeal to any age.” After a bit of an awkward pause, Quentin asks, “So you actually met Polidori? Wasn’t that during the reign of the sixth emperor?”

“Yes, and he was a consummate perv. So many rumors.” Zora then commands after a pause. “Continue your tale.”

“Only if you say please.”

Zora’s face lights up, breaking the darkness, and her eyes turn red then green as Zora breaks into a grin. “Very well, Croaker, please continue to tell the tale of Through the Grandfather Clock.”

Quentin is two thirds of the way through the novel when they hear the grinding. At first distlantly, it gets louder and louder until they hear what sounds like a lumberjack’s voice. “Little sister, are you there?”
“Little brother, is that you?”
With one last grinding sound, the stone and wood that had nearly collapsed upon Quentin and Zora is torn away. In front of them stood Vlaisim, wielding the ancient relic Stonecutter.
Zora grins broadly, so magnificently that it broke Quentin’s heart. “What took you so long to get here?”
“You should have waited for me, your little Legion told me you’d descended into this madness,” the large man says, though quickly his smile turned to a frown of concern, “So the rumors are true, what happened to you?”
“I was endeavoring to learn something from Waggish”, admitted Zora, “Also be careful with this one,” gesturing at Quentin, “Croaker is squishy, but he tells good tales.” With that, Quentin swooned.
“Hello Quentin,” Vlaisim bellows, cuffing Quentin playfully but painfully on the arm. “Anyone who can put up with Zora is a friend of mine. Let’s find Waggish and beat the truth out of him.”
With Stonecutter’s aid, the two Chosen progress quickly down the stairs, until they reach the final workshop floor. At the bottom is no conclave of mad alchemists. Just a man, small and broken.
Alchemical technology riddles his body, as an invasive colony would. As a tree shifted its branches to work around an unmoving object like a fence, the man’s body works around the monstrosity. His belly faces up, he is almost naked, but for tubes that festoon his nose, ears, heart, and nethers. He moves as a quadruped, arms extending back as far as they would go, following the limping gait of the greater construct.
He or it is gathered around what looks like an enormous stopwatch, one arm hooking into a complex array of wires that stretch taut or run between walls and from ceiling to floor. The small arms and tools handle the finest details, like adding additional gears or rigging wires that help make the larger movements almost instantaneous. The entire body tenses and arches as he gags. With choking coughs, he deposits white hot metal onto the floor of the workshop. Mechanical hands slide it across the floor.
Vlaisim and Zora look at each other sadly. "He has been turned into his own workshop, his own resources, " said Zora softly. With a low chant, Zora approaches the broken man,her hilt now aflame. With a single stroke, she decapitates the broken man, and picks up his head. Somehow he seems more human now than before.
“How long were you working on this?” Zora asks.
“Ah” he makes a noise.
“You don’t have to answer, idle curiosity only.”
"Three years of preparation. Two years of work, " the head answers.
“Were there failsafes or traps built in?”
He nods.
“Show Vlaisim, then come back to me and tell me your tale. I promise to compose your ballad and put you at rest.”
And so the head of Waggish, Twelfth of the Fabricators, relays to Vlaisim what needs to be done to put the tower to rest. Quentin had heard from Zora and the Commander that there is something terribly wrong with the Chosen that had been appearing, which isterrible news because of the unprecedented number within the past generation.
2. Quentin is a soldier, the first time as the corporal of the 1st Star Vipers. Well, he didn’t start out as a corporal, but when Vermillion Boasting Wind got eaten by the Ursinoid, Quentin had earned his battlefield promotion.
Nearly all of the legion was active on this foray, deep in the Panyar forest, chasing the Horned One and Waxing Moon. The 1st Star Vipers were assigned to protect Kaviya Manabur, Chosen of Vazara and the only one that Zora and Vlaisim knew to be uncorrupted. Kaviya was also dark haired, dimply, and distractingly curvy.
“Enough with the male gaze!” pronounced Violet Flowing Tempest in her normal voice before resuming Quentin’s voice.
Quentin and his squad are contending with a WOUS. The WOUS slashes Quentin hard in the face, the agony is intense, but that allows Turquoise Babbling Oak and the Count to finally put down the WOUS. Through it all, Kaviya was chanting, lost in meditation, her … (Violet Flowing Tempest visibly suppresses the rest of the phrase).
As Turq is tending to Quentin’s profusely bleeding face, Zora walks up, holding a decapitated head. She pointed a finger into the forest, “Croaker, I think I found your eye over there.”
“Zora, thank the Maker. I think Kaviya can use your help.”
"It is too late. We slew The Horned On, but not before he completed the sacrifices, " says Zora.
Kaviya’s shoulders show the most minimal of acknowledgments, though the rhythm of her chanting changes, growing into a crescendo. Then, the forest twilight flares within a ghostly illumination, and Waxing Moon materializes in front of them, cloaked in night except for a glowing white diadem.
Waxing Moon opens his mouth, and a wave of enervation pulses out. If a sensation could be expressed as words, it would roughly translate to “How dare you reveal me!”
Kaviya opens her eyes, which are now projecting silvery light, holding out her hand in a stop gesture. “Chosen of Nyx, one who was called Russet Raging Storm, the Waxing and Waning Moon, stop!” Kaviya intoned as she drew a sigil in the air that crackled with electrical energy.
Multiple waves of negative emotions pulse out of Russet Raging Storm that drives Quentin and the remaining Star Vipers to despair. Zora says in a neutral tone, “Russet Raging Storm is far away Kaviya. You need to be more convincing.”
Kaviya looks to Zora with an expectant though somehow strangely blank transcendent look, coming as close to saying “Now” as the otherworldly Chosen of Vazara ever gets. Zora grimaces and averts her gaze, but holds out her hand and grasps Kaviya’s. Zora immediately doubles over, but holds on. Waxing Moon’s image brightens, and the sinister madness leaves his eyes, changing (or perhaps returning? muses Quentin mentally) to a silvery ethereal radiance.
Russet Raging Storm opens his mouth and starts singing in an ancient dialect of Panyar. Quentin cannot quite make out the words, but can feel the sensations of loss and regret, which ebbs into steely determination and a desire to make things right.
Kaviya stares at Waxing Moon quizzically, then as the Panyar continues, starts to join in with the song, tentatively at first. As the two of them sing an ethereal duet, Kaviya’s eyes tear up. With Kaviya rotating in place, Russet Raging Storm dances faster and faster around the Chosen of Vazara, until he is a translucent blur. Finally, there is a flash, and what appears to be a comet streaks out into the sky, straight at the moon. WIth that, Kaviya collapses.
“What happened?” asked Quentin.
"He is leaving the source of the madness, and heading to his lunar refuge, " intones Vlaisim, who somehow manages to surprise Quentin from behind. He is holding a bloody mess which Quentin suspects is the heart of a Chosen.
“You are a minute late little brother.” croaks Zora. “It is the Dominator, I can taste it in Russet Raging Storm too.” Quentin seemed to notice a zit on Zora’s face that he hadn’t remembered before.
Vlaisim shakes his head, “Little sister, how can that be? After what we did to him, how can he be back?”
“We know The Lady is back. How can he not be far behind?” says Zora as she helps Kaviya get back to her feet.
"We need to head to the Paths of the Dead. Sister Asrika’s ill, " intones Kaviya, her face returning to its usual serene calmness.
Zora and Vlaisim give each other a look, and the siblings grimace. “It is such an ugly place” states Zora flatly.
3. Quentin is a medic, attached to the Shattered Lions. He is now used to his One Eye, and no longer has headaches from double vision when he sees the lovely Kaviya. Unfortunately for her, she is bleeding out under his care, deep in the Paths of the Dead. Quentin keeps working feverishly, but Kaviya is fading fast. Around the wound, her skin is turning into some sort of ceramic, possibly porcelain, cracked and oozing blood.
In Quentin’s peripheral vision, several horrific mercies lay still, dressed in their macabre black veils and mourner’s garb. Not slain by the Legion, for they had lost their lives long ago, but at least shattered and put to rest. Their puppet master, Uriel, is prostrate, his chest impaled from a stalactite propelled with Kaviya’s final breaths, fire gushing from his wounds. Zora and Vlaisim approach, and Zora reaches into Uriel’s head with her naked hand, and seems to wrench out a spike of pure fire. She stares at it, then hands it to Vlaisim. Upon Vlaisim’s acceptance of the relic, the spike goes cold.
"Poor Kaviya, " says Vlaisim.
Zora looks at him defiantly. “No, she has won the ultimate glory. And to honor her, we must do the unfathomable. Now…”
“NO! I am not sharing the glory with that abomination!” Vlaisim yells, as he spits into the ground.
“I know she’s betrayed you, but it is our only chance…”
“I will never work with The Lady!”
“I am going to her, with or without you.”
Vlaisim stares at Zora, the spike raised slightly in his hand. Quentin rises, as if to go protect Zora, for he has never seen Vlaisim so angry. For a moment, the eyes of both children of the Living God flare red, but then Vlaisim turns his back and strides off, never looking back.
Quentin wishes he could comfort Zora as she looks shaken, but he was trying in vain to save Kaviya. Kaviya though was not looking at Quentin, but staring at Zora, and moans in a guttural voice, “Your mercy, not Asrika’s…”
Zora kneels besides Kaviya and takes her hand, “It will be an honor to sing your tale and shepherd you. I am so proud to have witnessed your glory.” Zora kisses Kaviya on the forehead and then firmly on the lips before looking up to Quentin. “Little Croaker, you should leave. I have a friend to butcher.”

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Tale of the Legion’s Meaning
By Kaviya Dardhi
Recounted by Violet Flowing Tempest in 848.25

We acknowledge the passing of Jaya Pikanatur, Zeban Kelvich, Nikanish Khurta, and Marquine Penella Caslinian. They fulfilled their oaths as legionnaires in the current campaign against the Cinder King in 848 OEF. Let me tell you the tale of the origin of some of these oaths. These are the words of the third Lorekeeper, Monicca Lepidus, in 616 OEF.

After successful contracts in mediating between Orite factions during the Investiture Controversy, the Legion were connected, through the connections of the specialist Doyen Alistair Rodano, with Basar Lahazar. Lahazar claimed to be of last remaining member of the Imperial family through a minor cadet branch. He hired the Legion to help him clear Dar of the warlords that had taken root after the fall of the Old Empire. And so the Legion arrived on the Aldermark border to Dar in 604 OEF.

None of the local warbands had the numbers or the discipline of the Legion, and so over the next four years, the Legion was able to reconquer much of the old principality of Dar and ended up staying still longer as the mercenary army for the newly minted King Lahazar. The Lorekeeper, Indigo Crashing Wind, died early in the campaign, and was replaced, but the Legion commander, Varus Arminius, the marshall Kaviya Kudshava, and the quartermaster Grigory Zhukovich, all prospered and acquired considerable personal fiefs in Dar, though the Legion itself remained separate and remained the predominant fighting force of the land.

It so came to pass that, after a failed invasion of the Kingdom of Aldermark, tensions arose between King Lahazar and the Legion command staff and the which came to a head in 610 OEF. When Varius Arminius gave the order to hang King Lahazar and his rivals, including the marshall and the quartermaster, the Legion mutinied, under the renowned weaponmaster Attero Dominatus. The Legion overthrew and murdered the King as well as the Legion command staff. Dominatus would declare a new regime, the Legacy of Dar, with himself as First Brother, with Doyen Rodano and Karina Zayatevya as Second Brother and Third Sister. The Legion was reformed into the army of the Legacy, and much of the old Legion ways were discarded in favor of Dar practices.

Over time, Brother Attero Dominatus would spend more and more time in the Imperial palace and grew more and more obsessed with Old Empire lore. In fairly short time, his presence within the former Legion ranks went from omnipresent to nearly absent, and when he did appear he was no longer the garrulous comrade in arms, but was distant, and his palor became ashen. It was only the steadying hand of Brother Rodano and Sister Zayatevya that the armies of the Legacy were able to keep up their morale and limit desertion back to the Eastern lands.
When Sister Zayatevya died in a skirmish with forces from the Confederacy of Royin, the stabilizing force within the triumverate fell apart. Not long thereafter, Brother Dominatus announced the treachery of Brother Rodano, and he was beheaded at the wedding of Brother Dominatus with the six year old daughter of the old King Lahazar.

It was at this point that many of us veterans of the old Legion banded together to reclaim our liveries and our annals. We reclaimed most of the annals, though missing most of the records of the Dar campaign and, curiously, many of the early records related to the fall of the Old Empire. We fled into the countryside, and fought off dogged pursuit by the loyal forces of the Legacy. We only survived by fighting in smaller squads, unlike the old pike squares that we had trained in.

The hard lessons of our time as the Legacy of Dar are imprinted in our current Legion charter. The nearly hundred of us that made our way to the East chose to reorganize the Legion to insure that what happened in Dar never happens again. To this day, we, the Legion, are known to be one of the few companies that forswear any permanent patron, and accept people from any nation. The people that we encounter may not like us, but they know that our confidence and discretion will be kept. That is why all of you say your oaths in at least four languages, including in Dar, in remembrance of our bitter time there.

And as you all remember among the oaths is this:
We, the Legion, are messengers of the world. We do not stay still, and as Legionnaires we do not own land, nor stay in the same theater for more than three years. We shall bear witness to the acts of kings and Gods, and bear these tidings to all.

Tale of the Legion’s Unyielding Will, Part 2

By Violet Flowing Tempest
Recorded by Lieutenant Anirban in 848.26

We acknowledge the passing of Lena Gerzel, Sivelik Sivelich, Hashi Vikenni, and Dharsana. They were legionnaires, and their unyielding will strengthen us even during the hardest siege. We must remember that we have fought the most dire threats prior to this year 848 OEF. These are the memories of the eighth lorekeeper Quentin “Croaker” Aquafressa in 658 OEF. These are further recollections from the end of the Godswar.

Four

Quentin is the Lorekeeper, and is there with the marshall, Zora, and the Lady in the Commander’s tent. The Lady is disarmingly, almost inappropriately pretty, pale and thin with a broad, ridiculously sexy mouth.

Violet Flowing Tempest interjects, “She doesn’t want you-- They all don’t want you,” before continuing in Quentin’s voice.

“… and you let my dear husband slip between your fingers. It doesn’t matter that we took the Tower of Charm. Nothing matters unless we get him!” concludes the Lady icily.

"and he was being escorted by your Taken! We thought that you had grasped him, " counters Zora.

"I told you that the Taken can’t be trusted. I certainly didn’t, " snorts the Lady.

At that point, Zora catches Quentin looking intimidated, trying but unsuccessfully to get a word in. “I think Little Croaker has something to say.”

"I think I know where he has gone, " Quentin says tentatively. “I’ve been tracking the Dominator’s movements during the past few weeks, and he is retracing the final paths of the Terrible. Based on the annals and histories dating from that period, he is likely to be headed to the Old Colosseum.”

"Then we need to head there, " says the Commander.

Zora and The Lady both affix their gaze on the Commander, two vipers looking at their prey. Zora stares intensely, while the Lady cackles dismissively.

"What a grand gesture. Too bad it is totally futile. " sneers The Lady. “I made my sacrifices at Charm, there is nothing more to be done.”

“There is another way. As we discussed before Zora?” says the Commander.

Zora says “Yes, there won’t be another time. It is our time to pay glory’s price.”

After that, it is just a matter of logistics. The Hammer and Anvil of the Chevalier, which can combine many relics into one, powered by the essence of the Porcelain Mercies. Farslayer, the pistol of vengeance. Ten crimson shot rounds taken from the workshop of Waggish, Twelfth of the Fabricators. And the life essence of each specialist and each member of the Legion’s command staff, save Quentin.
The other ten all bleed their life essences into the crimson rounds according to the standard ritual, but Quentin has his own sacrifice to give. Before he loads the ten rounds upon the Anvil of the Chevalier, Quentin takes out ten volumes of the Legion’s annals. All three of his, the five of his predecessor, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and the two volumes that he has just consulted, describing the final days of the Old Empire. These he adds to the bonfire, providing fuel to the bellows in multitudinous ways. He thinks back to his promise to the Lady, who had asked him, when this was all over, to document her life with as much brutal accuracy as possible, and Quentin feels a pang of regret that he would have to break that promise.

Five

Not long thereafter, the remains of the Legion, along with Zora, are finishing a brutal skirmish with the Ten That Were Taken and their Dar bodyguard. The Eastern volunteers and the Free Aldermani had stayed at Charm to cut off the Dominator’s relief columns, and thankfully the forces protecting the Dominator at the Colosseum had been relatively small in number as well.

Quentin was standing beside the Lady at the nearby Pantheon, overseeing the battle. Quentin snuck a glance at her. She wore a teasing little smile. Quentin shifted his attention to the fighting. What she did to Quentin, just sitting there, amidst the fury of the end of the world, was more frightening than the prospect of a death in battle. He was too old to boil like a horny fifteen-year-old.

“The climax awaits,” she purrs as she gets up and proceeds to leave the Pantheon. Quentin and the sniper Nina Lobkovskaya, bearer of Farslayer, follow her, ready to complete the plan that Zora and the Commander had laid out.

Zora and the Shattered Lions meet up with Quentin’s group. As Zora approaches, she and the Lady eye each other warily as they come to the threshold of the Colosseum, with Zora reluctantly enter first.
They see the Dominator, in his aberrant glory, sitting on the basalt throne with his back turned, wearing the ten-pointed crown. The other squads fan out, providing cover, while the retinue that Quentin iswith, protecting Zora, the Lady, and Nina, strode out in the open towards the throne.

They are still some fifty yards away when the Dominator turns around, holding Skulltwister, the Scepter of Glory. Quentin recoils in horror before falling under the sway of the Scepter’s madness. He looked approvingly as Nina started to bring Farslayer around to shoot the Lady before being tackled by Zora. Quentin watches as the two were wrestling on the ground when he feels a searing sensation on the cheek as he is kissed by The Lady. His mind burns and twists one more time as he gazes into The Lady’s eyes and sees her crooked smile. “Not yet,” she counsels as she walks towards Zora and Nina. She then draws Sightblinder (where did she get that?) and casually runs through Nina and Zora in one stroke with the ancient rapier. As the sword pierces Zora, the Lady’s sword arm flares a hideous green and Zora seems to visibly shrink as she writhes in pain.

“I knew you would always be my plaything,” croaks the Dominator. “Approach your master.”

“Yes my liege,” she intones as she sheathes Sightblinder and approaches the Dominator, hands in the folds of her doublet. The remainder of the Legion barring Quentin stands into an ancient Imperial salute stance as the Lady makes her way to the Dominator. When she is within arms length and as he stretches out his bony finger to touch the Lady, she quickly unfurls Soulcutter, the Tyrant’s scroll, and a wave of despair floods the room. The Legion all slump to the ground, and even the Lady and the Dominator are noticeably sluggish. Although their forms do not move, Quentin could see with his One Eye the maelstrom of the mystical conflict between the two of them.

“Now!” booms the Lady’s command in his mind, and his cheek bursts with excruciatingly sweet pain. Quentin instinctively moves towards the crumpled form of Nina to get a hold of Farslayer, but he sees what seems to be a ten year old girl draped in Zora’s clothing, already in possession of Farslayer.

The girl who is Zora starts spinning as Farslayer makes an eerie howling sound. Zora shouts,

“Farslayer, farslayer listen to my heart
For the Lady, both ally and enemy
For the followers of the Terrible in this benighted land
For the darkness that tears the Gods apart
And most of all, for the Dominator who has wronged me
For thy heart, for thy heart, vengeance is at hand!”

With that Zora lets loose the ten-fold Crimson round. A rainbow streak curves around the arena twice before striking the Lady in the back.

The bullet strikes clean through the Lady and hits the Crown of Fire. In that moment, Quentin can see with his One Eye the dark essence of the Lady leaves her body in a splatter pattern, its ghostly image enveloping the Dominator. While the Lady collapses, the Dominator writhes in agony as his spectral form grows brighter and brighter. At the moment that it was too bright for Quentin to behold any longer, the Dominator spontaneously immolates, a bonfire left in his wake.

When Quentin comes to, he sees a little blond-haired girl of perhaps five years of age looking down at him, somehow barely wearing Zora’s crown and holding the decapitated head of the Dominator.
“Little Croaker, treat the Legion well, for me,” she says, kissing him gently on the forehead. Then she gets up, scrunches her face in a grimace at the raging fire on the basalt throne, and raises a middle finger in salute to the fallen Lady. Then Zora strides out of the Colosseum as defiantly as a girl her age could, draped in clothes many sizes too large.

Quentin walks up to the basalt throne, and finds Lady still unconscious. Strangely, there are no wounds on her body, but his Orite eye could no longer see the fiery dulling aura that had been continually suffusing her. Quentin carries her out, followed by the remaining soldiers of the Legion.

Six
.
Quentin is the commander. He is conferring with the marshall, Dame Cyprian Martiko. She, with two months of battle experience in Dar, is the most senior member of Legion besides himself at the end of the long years that people are now calling the Godswar. While going through new potential recruits, a rook came in. "Correspondence from Zemya, " says the messenger, who then continues in a whisper, “from the Shining One himself!”

Quentin accepts the parchment and then says to the marshall, “I will review this later, as soon as I have time.”

"Yes, yes sir. This can be finalized later, " says the dame.

“I’ll be at my quarters if you need me.” With that, Quentin walks through the sumptuous Orite villa that the Legion currently occupies. He opens the door to his bed chambers, and sees a familiar raven-haired Dar beauty, dressed still in her nightslip, pretending to sleep.

With that, Violet Flowing Tempest dry heaves, groaning “Gods…”, then readjusts to Quentin’s voice.

Lady opens one eye and groans blearily, “Good morning.”

Quentin says, “Actually, it is past noon already. And I need my Lorekeeper.”

Lady props herself up on the luxurious bed and holds out her hand. Quentin gives her the letter from Vlaisim, which to his eye appears indecipherable. Lady then digests the missive.
“Looks like Vlaisim managed to track down the bitch. Says that it’ll probably take her a century to complete potty training, complete her little nap, and be back to her usual meddling ways.” Then the Lady looks piercingly into Quentin. “Do you still fancy her?”

Quentin recoils. “I’m not a pedophile.”

Lady gives a familiar snorting laugh. She then goes and reads the full text of the letter, which includes Vlaisim’s offer to help the Legion rebuild.

Quentin is reminded of those dark days, and it is his turn to pose a trenchant question. Looking at Lady square in the eye, he asks, “Do you miss the old days, the Sanguine Oil?”

“Like a junkie,” she says solemnly. “There are days that I can think of nothing else.” Then she returns that irresistibly wicked grin, “But those days are fewer and fewer now. I was never really fully myself back then. Bring me my writing tray and I’ll draft a response to Vlaisim. And check on Kavy. We should fire the nursemaid-- I don’t like the looks of her.”

Quentin did as he was told, and was just about to duck out of the room when Lady asked, “Are you sure you don’t want me to write about Dar in the annals?”

Quentin turns around and regards his wife. “No… no… I don’t think it was meant to be.”

Lady regards him pityingly and says "As you wish, " before returning to draft the letter.