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|Author||The Fate of Sunny City|
|Her Majesty the Empress entered the Throne hall where Her council was already awaiting for Her to hold the session in person. It was dedicated to the most recent events in the Empire, most notably, the treason of Cyrus the king of wizards and his escape along with the disappearance of the cloud settlement. |
"Session started, let us hear from sire Grammith", Her Majesty comforted Herself on the throne, and everyone present sat back to their chairs.
"The Celestial watch has made a thorough search in the skies, Your Majesty. The cloud maze is nowhere to be found. Another alarming news, as you have undoubtedly heard already, is that Sorish, the senior advisor of the renegade wizard king, showed up in Sunny City with a group of those who call themselves "Battlewise wizards", the forces of the cloud settlement. He has turned himself in without resistance and claims that all of them have renounced Cyrus and his intentions and wish to join the Empire".
"Abu-Bakir, what are your thoughts about this?" Her Majesty turned to the wizard. His face winced, he blinked several times, which, given his solemn look while Grammith was reporting, gave away that he was only half listening, obviously deeply concerned with the recent events.
"The mmm, the wizards of the Empire are in no way under suspicion, Your Majesty", Abu-Bakir stuttered several times as he was building the speech in his head. "But I do not have any reason to trust the followers of the wizard king without a very proper investigation of their goals and their possible hidden agenda. I would suggest to ensure that none of them leaves the Sunny City, and each of them is vigilantly watched". The Empress and a few other officials nodded at these words. "As for Sorish..."
Abu-Bakir felt a heavy heartbeat when speaking the name out loud. He remembered those myriads of little services that Sorish had rendered to the Empire. He remembered the selfless devotion to the research the two made together, their vivid exchange of ideas, their expeditions to the Past... And then images of their recent reunions dictated by Cyrus' orders, their hidings in a palace closet, him passing papers to Sorish, all started shifting before his eyes causing acute ache in his head.
"Yes, Abu-Bakir?" Her Majesty was patiently waiting for the court wizard to finish his thought about Sorish.
"You see, Your Majesty, most of the things that the Empire forces have faced in the clouds were not Cyrus' ideas, and not even Sorish's. The charms to host a cloud settlement were my research, of ancient times already. The troops as we saw them have been some graduate works of my best alumni which I had in my personal storage until relatively recent times when king Cyrus asked for them. The armaments were theoretical development of Bilir, the true wizard of magical science who saved his most interesting works and brought them here across the ocean... What I mean to say, and I could not see this before, but I certainly sense it now, it is a big plot which has to involve someone besides the wizard king. I would say, all of Sunny City authorities who haven't fled with their king must be questioned, and all actions leading to the recent events must be investigated and dug out to light. And Sorish is the first in that list".
A hubbub rose up among the councilors for a few seconds, settled down by a wave of Her Majesty's hand.
|"I've heard this Feurlis character was doing that kind of business in the lost Empire", Tolgar the dwarf took word. "They are even calling him "The Spider" behind his back, just everywhere. There are many different rumours, but all of them say he is good at what he does".|
"Your Majesty, I do think this needs discretion", Abu-Bakir exclaimed. "Rumours are very different indeed and I do think I have not very good knowledge about his character".
"He was the one who detected the Court's surveillance over their mansion, wasn't he?" Her Majesty asked another councilor whose mission it had been to watch them. He nodded in embarrassment. "Then I certainly agree with that side of the rumours", She exclaimed.
Her Majesty listened to everyone who had a thought to share on the matter. When everyone had spoken, and no serious objections were made, she called for a page to enjoin to find Feurlis and bring him to the Palace. But the page stood still, shuffling nervously, trying to get allowance to speak.
"What is it? Why are you still here?" the Empress questioned angrily.
"Foreign councilor Feurlis, he has arrived, Your Majesty. He asks if he may be of service."
The page lied. Actually, the Necromancer just came into the palace and claimed that he was expected, without posing any questions at all.
Abu-Bakir exchanged a puzzled look with Grammith. Feurlis arriving very few minutes after his name being mentioned was spooky, for the very least. "Bring him in", the Empress nodded, visibly surprised. She stood up and spoke: "I shall ask sire Grammith to wait outside for the time of my conversation with councilor Feurlis. It has been some time since I was feeling I need to know this necromancer a little better. Everyone else may be dismissed".
Rather surprised, the councilors exchanged looks of confusion and began standing up and walking out in disarray. Grammith went last, and as he was passing through the doorway he ran into Feurlis and exchanged looks with him. His look was very deep, inquisitively penetrating, and Grammith stopped, looking back before the doors were shut. The necromancer was the one whom out of the five councilors of the lost Empire he got to see and know least, and he understood that Her Majesty was probably feeling the same lack of cognition.
|Grammith sat in the reception room, trying to count the minutes of the necromancer's audience, but he lost count somewhere between twenty and thirty, distracted by the swarming thoughts in his head. When the doors finally opened, Feurlis walked out and quickly left the reception room without a word. Her Majesty called the warlord in and declared that Councilor Feurlis had been given the power to lead the investigation, and everyone was to lend him support in that cause.|
Grammith couldn't help noticing that Her face was very pale, an observation that troubled him a lot.
"Are you certain he can be trusted?" the warlord recalled the tension in his protege, Kalirosh, rising literally every time the two faced each other or the necromancer was mentioned in his presence.
"Do you doubt my decisions, sire Grammith?" she frowned at the veteran knight.
"Not at all, Your Majesty!"
After a continuous pause, the Empress spoke in a low, slightly troubled voice, "He has a thing in him that you lack, something that we need right now to reveal the hidden". She cast a long pensive look at the warlord and, noticing his confusion, commented briefly: "The darkness".
Her Majesty's words made an impact on the warlord, and still, he could understand Her move. In times of the uncertainty and shock the Empire had stepped into, every chance to stay on top of things and to regain the advantage of knowing the circumstances should not be wasted.
The Empress addressed him again: "The new wizards, no matter what the verdict is, must be studied. What is it you usually do, organise Insight tournaments? Run one, and make sure it is festive enough to consume the attention of the grass-roots to draw them away a bit from the Sunny City situation. I shall be calling for you should I need you any more. Dismissed".
Grammith was about to report his readiness on the subject, but the tone of Her Majesty's last words was known to him. She wanted to have some time in privacy, and She wanted the last words to be Hers to have been spoken. The warlord quickly bowed in silence and left the Throne hall hastily.
|"The Fate of Sunny City" news block is to be continued. |