Army of Anarchy

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Rumours Spread Like Wildfires

The news of Lord Seveage’s death, and the trouble it would cause, spread through the town of Opklir to the other cities faster than flint in underbrush. And now that he was dead, the people of the neighbouring cities were hearing of his crimes through the comings and goings of the trains and their passengers. Gossip spilled from lips like wine in the hands of a drunk, without care and without a sense of consequence. Lord Seveage had been a man with more power than the average person assumed he had, and due to this, every parliamentary bidding he made, and every motion he passed through court, would need to be reassessed. It would need to be filtered through the hands of the Bourgeoise to the Motiers, to the merchants and sailors. The Arachnians would need to come from the warmth of Manoria to the winter of Opklir.

The Empress was made aware of his crimes.

She was also made aware of the owl-like assassin pouting in the most secure cell they had. The Knightjar had been less co-operative than the Bearskins had been expecting. She was also stronger; thick muscle that covered her body and scars that tore apart her face. She was a sight to behold, a figure of immense power, never faltering under the pressure of knives, hammers, water, or coals. She stood tall and proud. Whatever organisation she had been a part of, had done well not to allow her to speak. The only name she uttered when she had first been questioned was that of her informant.

He was gutted.

They needed more information out of her, but the lack of justice for both the people that had been wronged by Lord Seveage, and that a killer was not being put on trial for her crimes was starting to take its toll on the Empress’ reputation. She had been one of the more empathetic Empress’ the Valley had seen in years, and her reputation was starting to get the better of her. She sat at her desk in her study, eyes flickering over the very brief page of notes the Bearskins had managed to accumulate from the little that the Knightjar spoke. Other than the informant, she had quoted her employer or contractor as someone she ‘would rather cuddle a Vârcolac’ than explain her failure to. She had described Lord Seveage’s actions, and that hers was merely to rid the Valley from his scummy ideals and monstrous face.

The Empress understood her ground and wasn’t nearly as heartbroken over the death of her teacher than she thought. She wanted to let the girl go but keep a close eye on her as she went, but she was dangerous, and let out there was no telling what horror she could reap next.

Her guard stood at the threshold of her door, his head cocked and his blind eye catching the light of the setting sun, the milky-white illuminated in the darkness of the hall. “May I come in?”

The Empress barely looked up, too focused on her page. “You may.”

She heard him walk up to her desk, his towering figure and bulky chest created a dark shadow across her paper, and she stifled a laugh. When she looked up to meet his gaze, his working eye caught hers, a smile prodding the puckered skin of scars to become evident on his tanned face. Usually, no one would notice them, as his dark hair would cover his countenance, but he had it tied back in a neat bow at the nape of his neck. “Are you still pondering the Knightjar?”

The Empress nodded; a hearty sigh being pulled from her chest by the exhaustion creeping over her. “I’m not sure what the proper course of action is,” she explained, running a finger over the page in front of her. “Seveage was a monster, and most of the public want her freed as a symbol that corruption is no longer seeping its way through the governing system. But others want her to be held accountable, that a crime is still a crime.”

“A symbol?” He hummed in thought, settling his heavy frame into a chair across from where she sat. “At this current moment, is a symbol the proper ideal for us to attain? There are citizens who oppose your empathy, and there are even those that want her alive. Giving her justice, and even only for a murder, would aid you.”

“But would good would that do? There is still no information regarding her employer, and from what we know she has been around for years, and she’s extremely good at what she does.” Her dress was suddenly too tight; the hair tickling the back of her neck, where her style had fallen, was starting to irritate her; her bracelet was halting her movement as she slid various papers around the table. “From my understanding the upper class know of her, and the peasants love her.”

“They tell stories,” The General reasoned, leaning himself against the back of his chair and slumping his shoulders backward with a resounding sigh of relief. “She was a myth. There were few men I had worked with in Luxbeney that claimed to see her, but they were branded heretics and sent to keep the borders safe in Hyzaac. My lady, the Knightjar is a threat, here and out there. Though, I believe it best if her fate is best left up to you.”

She wet her lips, the conversation making her tongue feel like cotton in her mouth. Her gums too dry against the inside of her mouth and teeth. “The Bearskins are thinking of preparing her for death row,” she noted, the last telegram she had received sitting on her diary. She had received it not a moment before he had arrived, and she was gutted, gutted at the thought that she had no authority over the power her own Valley wanted to give her. “I ought to seeEmilio on my way. Perhaps he will listen to reason or give me an option I can understand. She would make a powerful ally.”

The General nodded, eyes downcast. “But a more powerful enemy.”

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