The Princess And Her Warmonger
Sharia let out a sigh as she remembered that today she would not be fighting in the arena. When she first woke up, she didn't quite remember that she was "promoted". What reminded her was the paper she had pinned to her wall with the detailed account of what her new duty entails. When she saw it, she felt her eyes twitch in annoyance. But, duty is duty and honor is honor. So, with a sigh, Sharia got ready to follow the instructions on the paper.
Despite Sharia being skilled in many things, she does often lack a sense of direction. That is why Grillant gave her a map yesterday before sending her back to her room.
Sharia went into the washroom to wash herself. The water in the Kingdom was normally lukewarm but, down in the Clark, the heating coils didn't reach. Well, either that or they never bothered to fix it. Sharia guessed it was the mixture of the two.
Though Sharia doesn't mind the cold water, her years of fighting in the Middle* having made her use to taking baths in zero-degree water, especially during their time against the Union and the Vikings, today the water stung a little.
Sharia let out a sigh but got in regardless. Once in, she started to take off the pieces of her armor that she wears to bed. The first thing to come off would be her shin guards. The next pieces of armor to come off were her shoulder guards. These she needed her claws for as the armor was especially tight and locked in place. After all, the shoulder area is one of the zones that must be protected. If a weapon goes deep enough in between the shoulder blades, it has a high chance of rendering the person helpless. That is why it is often known as the execution zone.
The next piece of armor to go off were her upper-arm guards. Once they were done, she took off the last piece of armor she had on; her metal gauntlets. Once they were off, instead of putting them outside the shower like she had done with her other pieces of armor, Sharia held her gauntlets underneath the shower, washing each and every clawed finger on the gauntlets thoroughly. Once she was done with that, she put them aside and started to wash her own claws. Unlike most other humans, Sharia's claws were black in color and were significantly tougher, sharper, and slightly longer. This was due to her training and had to be the only thing Sharia disliked about her time with her Master. They were much harder to wash and while the black color of them hid any dirty or blood caught underneath her claws pretty well, she still liked them clean.
Once that was done, Sharia started using the shampoo to get rid of any dried blood that could be in her hair and then used soap to wash the rest of the grime off her body. Though her armor kept out the worse of the dirt, gore, and other grime, some still gets in.
While washing her hair, Sharia's fingers got caught on the flag tying her hair together at the back of her head. Sharia frowned slightly before untying the flag and letting her hair fall down, her thick black hair reaching the middle-point of her back. Not caring about the back of her hair, Sharia brought the flag to her face and studied it. Since it wasn't a hair tie, the flag reached well over two feet in length, possibly being even three feet long. It was slim and bright red in color with tiny gold outlines.
As Sharia studied the flag, her mind started to wander back to old memories. Back to when she first met her Master. Back when things were so much more...simpler.
Sharia let out a small growl before she set her flag down with the rest of her armor. When she did, Sharia felt an urge to look up. Listening to that urge, Sharia looked up and saw the foggy reflection of herself in the mirror across from her. Even though it was foggy, the red glow of Sharia's eyes could be seen clearly in the mirror, as well as the top of her head, showing her pitch black hair.
Sharia's already narrowed eyes narrowed even further as she stared at herself, clear disappointment in her eyes. It wasn't until Sharia had brought her let hand to her face did she stop glaring at her reflection, her eyes widening slightly, a hint of sadness in her eyes.
Her fingers slowly moved up from her left cheek, going over her left eye, tracing the outline of a claw mark. Upon reaching the deepest part above her left eye, Sharia flinched and pulled her hand away, shuddering at how perfect her own claws had fit into the claw mark despite having received it twenty years ago.
Shaking her head, getting rid of the weakness within her, Sharia's eyes dimmed down in their glow. After finishing her shower, Sharia got out and wiped herself off with one of her towels she has hanging nearby. Once she did that, she threw the towel into the corner of her room and opened the door to her bedroom. Once inside, Sharia walked over to the two heat vents in her rooms and settled down by it, drying herself off. Once she did, Sharia went back into the bathroom to receive her armor and her flag. After tying her hair back to how it was before, Sharia carried her armor into her bedroom, closing the bathroom door behind her.
After getting dressed, Sharia started putting on her armor, opening a closet door to reveal her full set of armor, as well as two other sets of armor that she hasn't used in years. Once she had everything put on, she walked over to a coat rack and grabbed her cape that was hanging off it. Putting it on using the mirror in her room, Sharia grabbed her helmet that was laying on her nightstand and put it on, tightening it to make sure it won't fall off even when hit at the right angle to knock it off. Once she had it on, Sharia reached over to her bed and pulled out her varasikara from where it was, lying next to her in case she ever needed it when she is sleeping.
With it in her hands, Sharia ran one clawed armored finger down the blade, feeling a rush of excitement as she did so. Putting the hilt of her weapon to her head, Sharia closed her eyes and her mind for a brief couple of seconds. When she opened her eyes again, she put her sword in its sheath at her left hip before opening her nightstand and taking out a long dagger, black in color, and sheaving it in a smaller hidden sheath on her right hip which covered the dagger completely.
All set and ready to go, Sharia looked at the map and her instructions one last time before heading out the door to her living quarters, the door closing behind her.
Grand Advisor Grillant Thane paced around the table, his hands behind his back. Around him were three royal guards. Like him, they were waiting for Sharia to arrive. Normally only a few royal guards would wait for her like they did for the last personal guard the princess had but, today was a bit different.
Currently Grillant was waiting in the secondary throne room, the place where Sharia was promoted just the other day, and it was bringing back some rather unpleasant memories. Besides from yesterday, Grillant has only seen Sharia looking out the throne room's window a couple of times before, and all of them stirred up memories Grillant could only wish he would forget.
In fact, the very first time he met Sharia was in the palace in this exact spot, her staring out the window surrounded by corpses. Grillant was just a Captain at the time and Sharia was just a Commander, not yet a High Commander or a war criminal. Compared to Sharia now, the Sharia back then most definitely different. In fact, if she was the way she was back then, Grillant wouldn't have much of a problem with her being Princess Isalene's personal guard. Though, Sharia's prejudice against people like Princess Isalene would still be there.
The sounds of the doors to the secondary throne room opening alerted Grillant that someone has arrived. Upon turning around, he saw the person he was expecting. Adorned in her black and gold armor and cape as well as carrying her varasikara, the first one of its kind in her right hand, the blade of her weapon behind her head with the tip resting on her left shoulder.
Her footsteps were relaxed, in no hurry yet somehow ready for action at the moment's notice. As the guards closed the doors behind her, Sharia's eyes scanned the room, looking at each and every person here. She quickly went from royal guard to royal guard but stopped when her gaze landed on Grillant. After looking him over for a couple of seconds, stopping in her tracks, Sharia started walking again, stopping eight feet away from Grillant.
"...From your expression, I can tell you are waiting for me for something other than instructions on my new job," Sharia said, calmly tilting her head slightly to the left.
"So, what is it?"
Grillant let out a sigh. It has been so long since he has dealt with Sharia's flippant doesn't care attitude. Though, technically, he dealt with it yesterday.
"Your master has sent you something," Grillant responded, getting straight to the point and handing Sharia a tan bag that was previously hanging from his hip.
Sharia paused for a moment, taken back, before she reached out and snatched the bag. With the bag in her free hand, Sharia took a couple of steps back and turned around, making sure no one would see what was inside except for her before opening it. Grillant snorted upon seeing this. Even if Sharia could turn around if attacked from behind, she still is too wide open for even her to completely defend herself. And the one thing that caused this was her own precious master, who taught her how to never lower her guard.
After looking into the bag, Sharia closed it before putting it up to her forehead. She stayed like that for a couple of seconds before lowering the bag and putting it on her hilt with the string. After making sure it was nice and secure, Sharia turned back to face Grillant and the others.
"...Somehow, I thought she would write more," Sharia muttered, though Grillant still heard it. Though he didn't, Grillant flinched. That letter and what was in it was from three years ago. It also wasn't the only letter Sharia received from her master. There was one from four years ago, one from six, and one from twelves years ago. The scariest ones weren't even the ones she sent to the King, which her master sent six. It was the one from four years ago. It read:
Your not holding these from her and reading them, are you?
It was a simple question and, after it, her master continued asking how Sharia was doing but, Grillant has met Sharia's master once. It was in the way she was writing the question that Grillant knew meant she was keenly aware that the Kingdom had done something to Sharia. Grillant could imagine the look in her red eyes when Ai was writing the question.
Ai, such a short and simple name...
....yet the terror the name brings is nothing simple nor short. Yet, just like Sharia, if it wasn't for her, the Kingdom Faction would have lost to the Union. However, unlike Sharia, Ai didn't continue working for the Kingdom Faction afterwards, caught up in her own crazed ideology. Though, to be frank, her ideology is almost exactly what the principles of Nostalisk is currently and, hopefully, will be.
'And yet, those same very rules that Ai adores means she should have attacked us years ago. Either the rules have changed, Ai has mercy, or Sharia being here still has something to do with it.'
Grillant shook his head, glancing outside the secondary throne room's windows.
'I doubt it is the third one. Ai is not one for subtilty. Since no one knows about Sharia's capture and Ai is, as I know, not one for subtilty, she won't have any spies telling her otherwise. And I think that anyone would think someone dead without having heard from them for over twelve years. If Ai really did think Sharia was dead and want revenge, she would have wiped out the Kingdom without hesitation quite some time ago.'
Grillant turned around so Sharia wouldn't see the look of pity that was on his face.
'Poor Sharia. Your master may care for you but she won't do anything to help you, even though she has more than enough power and influence to do so.'
"Well, I think it's about time to get you all suited up," Grillant told Sharia, hoping to get his mind off pitying the cruel Warmonger in front of him.
Sharia froze for a second before she leaned forward, even though she was smaller than Grillant by almost two feet with her helmet on.
"Excuse me?" Sharia asked, her voice laced with a warning. Grillant was even sure there was a hint of a growl in her words.
Instantly the three royal guards with Grillant went into stances, ready for action. Grillant, however, didn't even move one inch. Instead he stared the Warmonger dead in her eyes, even resisting the urge to shudder upon meeting them.
"You know what the best part about talking to someone who is stronger than you?" Grillant asked suddenly, causing Sharia to perk up a little.
"What?" Sharia asked, playing along.
"You can handle them a bit better. After all, if they wanted to kill you and everyone here, they would have done so by now."
Sharia and Grillant glared at each other, the tension in the air thick, before Sharia let out a chuckle, this time her chuckle having some warmth in it.
After standing straight, Sharia took her weapon off her shoulders and went into a Jagabadī Pose, surprising the royal guards. Grillant wasn't taken back and quickly followed suit, causing the other royal guards to do the same.
"Don't worry, Warmonger," Grillant said, giving Sharia a somewhat teasing smile, "you aren't required to wear any other armor except the ones you choose. I just thought you should get the keys and equip your new accessories in the armory nearby."
Sharia and Grillant looked at each other for a bit longer Sharia broke the Jagabadī Pose, turning around and flipping her weapon around in her right hand, holding the weapon by the hilt while the blade end of her varasikara aligned with the back of her arm, this pose known as Kész Pose*.
"Well, I see no reason not to follow you," Sharia said, giving Grillant an actual friendly look before she started walking towards the doors leading into the main parts of the palace.
After giving the royal guards a quick look and a nod, Grillant followed after her, catching up to her and walking in front to lead the way while the three royal guards stayed behind.
Princess Isalene woke up with a yawn and got out of bed. She had somehow slept to midday. Luckily, she didn't have any duties she needed to attend to. If she did, the hunger she felt in her tummy would most definitely distract her.
Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Isalene went over to her windows that overlooked the royal courtyard. Even though the sun was shining directly on her, Isalene didn't shield her eyes. She didn't need to, after all. Evolution has made it so anyone from Nostalisk can stare at the sun for as long as they like without damaging their eyes in the slightest. After all, you can't be affected by the sun while shooting arrows or get blinded by large bright explosions of magic. Just the thought is ridiculous.
Isalene scanned the courtyard down below. Walking underneath a walkway two stories up were two royal guards and a Knight Commander, this one wearing dark red and black armor equipped with a Barachī*. Down below in the middle of the area of the courtyard Isalene could see was a single royal guard, a blue feather on their helmet. It would make sense that he was off duty, especially considering the fact that he was sitting down on a bench.
Nearby, Isalene could hear the shouts and cries of royal guard Captains training their soldiers. If Isalene remembers correctly, there should be around eight thousand of them training in the south end of the courtyard, with the other two million training in the actual barracks located near the front of the palace. That meant there must be roughly around one million of them roaming around the palace and other important areas around the capital, most on patrol while the others are on break.
After watching the scenery for a bit, Isalene turned away from the windows and walked towards her dresser. Upon reaching it, she reached for a small tan gold-colored bell before she stopped herself. Isalene frowned, not realizing right away why she stopped, before it clicked in her head. Ever since she saw Crue-Sharia fighting and take out hundreds by herself, Isalene had wanted to try being independent. She felt inspired by just seeing Sharia. So, she has been trying to get ready by herself without the help of any servants.
As much as Isalene hates to admit it, she has given up a few times since she really sucks at getting ready by herself. She also still can't take a bath by herself...or even wash herself for that matter. It was one of the biggest kept secrets in the royal family. Yet, since Sharia is now officially her personal guard, Isalene feels it upon herself to try harder. To not give up.
'...Actually, why do I feel this way?' Isalene thought, frowning a little. Before she could think too far on the matter, she heard someone knock on her door. Thinking it be one of the servants checking to see if she woke up, Isalene went up to the door and opened it.
Instead of seeing black and white clothing, Isalene was met with shiny yet light-consuming black armor with gold and red highlights. Isalene slowly looked up and saw a familiar helmet much closer and, behind that helmet resting on shoulders was a large strange-looking sword.
Isalene was silent for a long time, too stunned to do something. When she finally did, her brain thought to point out one thing about Sharia.
'She is so much taller up close.' Isalene realized, trying her best not to be nervous. Somehow, she knew Sharia saw right through her. In fact, Isalene was almost certain she seemed disappointed. However, it was only for the slightest moment.
"...I always thought your name is spelled Isuh-leen, since that is how your name is said," Sharia spoke, causing Isalene to jump a little, "but I now see that it is spelled Isa-l-e-n-e, but isn't pronounced like penne pasta, a dish famous in the Empire Faction."
"O-oh...yes," Isalene murmured, cursing herself silently for how meek and weak she must look.
Sharia was silent for a couple of seconds before she leaned down, swinging her weapon off her shoulders while reaching out and putting her left free hand on Isalene's shoulder.
"Don't think too badly about yourself. Unlike most, you don't look away when our eyes meet."
With that said, Sharia stood up straight and stood aside, not seeing the stunned look on Isalene's face nor the slight blush in her cheeks.
"Now, are you going to get ready or are you going out like that?" Sharia asked, causing Isalene to clear her head and compose herself.
"Ah! Yes, let me get dressed real quick," Isalene said, embarrassment all over her features.
With that said, Isalene quickly rushed back into her room and slammed her door shut behind her. Sharia watched the Princess's door slightly amused. Maybe, just maybe, this will not be as annoying a she first thought.
...At least, Sharia hopes it won't be.
Middle: The name for the middle of Nostalisk. It is a barren zone where no Faction lives. A few Factions do live close to the zone but none of them are very big. In fact, most of the Middle is composed of decaying flesh and metal from the numerous amount of bodies that have amassed there after countless battles.
Kész Pose: A common way to hold ones weapon. They grab their weapon by the hilt and hold it so the blade end is behind their arm almost vertically. Most Warmongers use this pose.
Barachī: The common spear used by the Knights of the Kingdom Faction. It has two curved blades near the head of the spear and a short metal sword at the end.
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