[ Read Part One? ]
The night the sky fell, nobody could go back to sleep.
All over Bellacoste, eyes turned upwards. The crack spread from horizon to horizon, glittering like a spungus web heavy with dew. Awe, fear, confusion-- homes have emptied and streets have filled. Questions asked with no answer to be found. What happened? Who did this? Are we safe? What happens next? A cacophony without end.
Scholars gather in their studies, packed wall to wall. Small families huddle in small towns, holding onto those that matter most. Farmers behold their crops washed in eerie light, banding together and journeying towards a smoldering crater in the middle of Goldfair’s acres. In the palace throne room, weary eyed guards recount to the queen what they saw, moment by moment.
St. Veti returns to his burrow and fumbles to light a lantern. By that flickering light he begins to write. One letter. Two letters. Many more, besides. The hours tick by and just before dawn, the ursuki bows his head, gathering up scrolls sealed with wax.
Back in the open air, he casts them up one by one. The scrolls spin as he throws them, winking out with a twinkle of blue magic.
Now all he could do was wait.
“A letter for you, your Majesty,” a steward bows before Queen Nouvel, just moments after dawn. The queen turns heavily lidded eyes towards the scroll presented to her, tied with ribbon. The seal was familiar.
“Thank you. Go get some rest,” Nouvel responds, taking the scroll and breaking the seal. She wouldn’t have expected it from him, not so fast. The sky fall had been so traumatic it had roused hibernating ursuki from their dens?
“To Her Majesty, Queen Nouvel--
Forgive me for speaking plainly, for you know I am a humble servant to Bellacoste.
Last night’s unprecedented events have left our home shaken. I believe there is much to discuss between your people and my own. I have invited delegates from all over Bellacoste to come to Snowhurst as quickly as possible.
I hope you will be among them. It’s been so long since we had time to catch up. I’m only sorry it’s for circumstances like these.
The Queen reads the letter once, twice. She shuts her eyes, takes a deep breath, and calls quietly, “Quincy? Prepare a response. Let St. Veti know we will be with him as soon as possible.”
The messenger was already pulling pen and paper out of her bag. “Yes, Queeny. Anything else?”
“Fly as fast as you can to his burrow. That will be all. Thank you, Quincy.”
The smaller pouflon nods, quickly taking down the Queen’s note before bundling the paper back into her bag. She bumps shoulders with the princess on her way out. “See ya soon, Fi.”
“Nouvel, you can’t be serious. I will not be staying here while you go halfway across the world!”
In the queen’s chambers, the captain of the royal guard paces from wall to wall. “What if something happens to you? I’m sorry, but I cannot follow this order. We have no idea what’s happening, please at least give the mages time to piece together if this was a spell, or--”
“Perth,” the queen says quietly, turning from her packing to smile wearily at the other pouflon. “That’s precisely why I need you here. You’re the only one I trust to do this in my stead.”
The knight moves closer, lowering her head and gritting her teeth. “Nouvel, one of my seconds could easily hold down the fort here. I cannot let you leave without me.”
Nouvel sighs, turning fully to face the irate Queensguard. “But you must. Please don’t make me say it again, Perth…”
“...I can’t,” the knight responds, staring at the curling corner of the rug. “I can’t let you do this Nouvel.”
“Perth.” the queen interjects, more firmly. “You are to remain here. I need you to organize the mage tower and get research started immediately. More importantly, I need you here to protect Fiorel.”
“That’s an order, Perth.”
“...Yes. Your Majesty.”
Deep beneath Banelaire, Azariah the Arbiter reads the missive before setting it delicately on the stairs leading to the Lucid Altar. She had led the morning song not long ago, soothing those that came to her in worry, in fear. “Winter’s saint wishes for diplomacy,” she reports to her attendants, running her claws over the scroll.
“Arbiter?” asks one of her attendants. The Ancient looks down at him, expression unreadable. “Do you trust him?”
The vespire ruminates, pneumir wisping around her mouth. “St. Veti has never made an enemy of us. We cannot say the same of those he would have us meet with. However…”
She pulls the scroll open again, delicately. “I do not think we have much of a choice. Call in the Stratas, I will want to speak with them as soon as I return.”
The attendant nods, turning and singing the order through the bowels of Banelaire. It spreads, resonating, throughout the city. Fliers dispatch into the Ebony Wreath to carry the message to the far flung reaches.
“Prepare a small group to accompany me,” the Arbiter instructs a smaller, auburn haired vespire. “We fly for Snowhurst as soon as we’re able.”
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