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Old June 5th, 2013 (7:41 PM). Edited June 5th, 2013 by SV.
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Varian Sigmind- Garius, Palaven

To those that were close enough to catch Anlem's reply, there were gasps, murmurs, and looks of absolute shock as the citizenry eyed the group with disbelief and growing animosity. Varian himself, fully aware of the extreme reputation of Palaven, place a palm upon his face and shook his head. He knew this wasn't going to end well. The Theocracy of Palaven treated all other religions in a heretical manner, but perhaps the one 'religion', (or more suitably referred to as a cult) which it looked upon most lividly was the so-called Anguin. If there were a less favorable retort to have been slung the way of the Palvanese citizen, Varian couldn't think of it.

"You..." The man began, Varian noticing his face visibly turn red, and his expression change from the bewilderment of the guard's reply to the passionate abhorrence after the dwarf's insult. "How dare HEATHEN!" He cried, as he swung aside his ornamental cloak to reveal a sword inside of its hilt around a silver belt on his waist. He unsheathed the blade immediately, enclosing his arms around the hilt of the sword and bringing it above his head in a preparatory stance to attack, his sights set on the dwarf. "Yours is a pestilential life. Your very breaths you take are poison! It shall be my pleasure to perform the duty of God and purge your existence from the face of the earth!" He ran forward without any visible concern for the guards which stood nearby. His sights were set upon ending the life of he who had insulted.

Yet the head guard who he had spoken to earlier, as well as three other Palvanese soldiers, grabbed the man, two of them holding his arms and bringing down the sword before he could swing it, while the other two held him back by his shoulders. "Unhand me!" He commanded. "He is a heathen who has insulted myself, the Voice, the One, and all of Palaven with his corrupted tongue. As by the laws of God, I am in my right to end his life!" He struggled to get passed the guards which held onto him, trying to reach over them and grab onto Anlem.

"We cannot allow you to bring them to harm, no matter that which they have said. The Voice demands it!" The head guard yelled, holding the man back. The man still struggled to break free, but he eyed the guard now. "Why does the divine Voice allow such infidels to breathe?"

"Do you dare question his decisions?" The guards asked the man back, in quite a hostile tone. The man, sensing that he would not get his blood then, back off, straightening his outfit and sheathing his sword. He glared with hate-filled eyes at the dwarf as he began to wander off, but not before giving some parting words to him.

"My name is Arnold of House Tyrann. Remember that name, and me, for they will eclipse your final thoughts before your demise in this world, and your eternal damnation in Infernum shall begin." With those final words, he departed. Varian snorted, looking back at the guards as they proceeded back to the head of the group to continue leading them onward. He noticed the guards glare from behind their white helmets at the group, particularly Anlem. He wondered if they were not under orders from the Voice, if they would have protected them like that.

"Looks like you're making friends," Varian said to the dwarf. He looked back at the Palvanese citizen once more, who cursed quietly to himself, then proceeded to follow the guards. "I'd say we best watch what we say here." He declared to the other mercenaries.

The rest of their venture through the beautiful streets of Garius were a bit less eventful, though much of the citizenry continued to glance at them with shock and animosity, though none had approached them again like the other man did prior. Eventually, the guards came to a halt in front of what Varian presumed was our destination. Without a doubt, it was the largest structure in Garius, a tower of contrast. On one hand, it boasted secure gates of a few meters in height, with dozens of guards stationed all across, both on the exterior and interior of the grounds. It appeared as one of the more impregnable structures, a defensive bastion of military might. However, as Varian and the others would approach closer, they also noticed intricate designs across the structure. Words were inscribed upon the walls, words Varian assumed came from the holy book of their religion. There were also statues of ivory and marble across the exterior of the tower, many appearing to be figures of prominence, importance, or divinity. "Welcome to the Tower of Absolution, infidels, headquarters of the illustrious Palvanese Senate. If you would follow me inside, the noble head of the Senate would like to speak with you briefly."

Varian followed the guard inside, the others who were also leading them remained outside of the tower, taking posts nearby. He noticed as they talked among themselves, and judging by their constant critical eyes in their direction, he assumed they were the main topic at hand. Inside of the Tower, Varian first noticed the distinct smell of candles burning, incense. It was a distinct smell, something you would expect more out of a church than an administrative building. Yet as he gazed more into the larger room they found themselves in, he almost felt like he was in a church instead. Murals hung from the walls, the depictions all of some spiritual or religious manner. They were beautiful, hanging through golden frames and kept in select areas of other tapestries as to enhance their artistry. There was also stained glass upon each window, with figures painted across them in bright, opalescent colors. Man appeared as a man, wearing a simple white robe with few designs upon it. There were many different pictures of men in such robes, but few were the same. If Varian had to guess, these were possibly depictions of the past Voices of Palaven, as only they would be the subject of such devout art.

"Welcome!" A voice echoed behind them, being carried into the large room and bouncing across. The call came from an older man, perhaps in his 60's as could be seen by the intense grayness of his hair, what little was left of it, as his was becoming noticeably thinner on the top. His eyes were bright green, appearing both affectionate and stern, and this was only heightened by his wrinkly smile. He had a rather large nose, fairly thing in width but protruding quite a bit. His clothing was extravagant, as many in Palaven appeared to be. He wore white robes, with jewels and decorations of gold and silver all embedded into the outfit. As he came to a halt a few paces before the group, he nodded to the guard, his sign to be dismissed from the area, who bowed before the man, and walked to the edge of the room, where Varian noticed other guard stationed, no less than a dozen on each side of the large room.

"Merek Culliver," The decorated man said with a slight nod of the head. "I am Head of the Palvanese Senate, the Will of the Voice of the One. Welcome to the Tower of Absolution!" He said merrily, keeping his gaze for the most part on Varian, who stood at the head of the group. In an attempt to appear polite (and not say anything that might piss the man off), he returned the nod of the head.

"Varian Sigmund." He replied, trying to keep it as brief as he could as to not risk somehow accidentally insulting the man.

"I must apologize ahead of time. Unfortunately, the Voice, blessed be He, shall be unable to meet with you today as was previously scheduled. He has asked that you spend the remainder of the day in the Tower of Absolution, where you will dine and sleep. It must be quite an honor for you. Infidels have not ever stayed inside the Tower." He placed an arm on his chin, looking over at the side of the wall as he thought. "In fact, I do believe this is the first that infidels have been allowed free passage throughout the city. Most unusual."

He smiled at them, this time looking over each one of them for a few moments before gazing toward the next mercenaries. As his eyes passed over Alys, however, he did a double take, and then squinted at her, scrutinizing her for a moment. His eyes suddenly became wide. "By the One's Grace...Victoria?! Victoria Taimor?" Varian turned to look at Alys, cocking an eyebrow at her. He had heard the last name of Taimor before. Taimor was the ruling House of the Golden Isles. Which would have made Alys a noblewoman.

"I hardly recognized you in those clothes. What on Aerion are you doing here? With these...well, mercenaries. Why are you-" He was suddenly cut off, as a younger man in a church-like robe walked up to Merek and whispered into his ear. "I see..." He said to himself, before returning his attention to the mercenaries. "Well, the life of a statesman is a busy one, I'm afraid. I must attend a meeting with my fellow senate members." He brought an arm up, motioning for the same guard to approach once more. "Your chambers are through the doors to the right." He said, motioning the an adjacent door. "Dinner will be served in the Grand Ballroom one the second level. You shall be allowed free reign throughout the tower to anywhere that does not have a guard stationed at the door. I...highly recommend that you remain inside the Tower for the duration of your stay tonight. The people of Garius are not quite used to infidels such as yourselves. However, should you decided to venture out, I insist that an armed escort shall accompany you to...protect you. I shall see you hopefully at dinner, though my schedule may turn out to be busier than I imagine. In such a case, I shall see you before your trip to the Gracious Voice in the Grand Cathedral tomorrow. The One light your path." He ended, leaving the group standing in the middle of the large room inside the tower, as he hurriedly walked away. A sudden final thought must have crossed his mind, as he turned back to say parting words to the Highman.

"You travel with very peculiar companions, Ser Varian." He smiled, gazing first upon Alys, then turning his gaze towards Anlem, to which his smile turned into a frown. Without another word, Merek went about his duties, leaving the mercenaries to be led by the guard to their quarters.

A Legend once told me that roleplaying is about bringing people together and celebrating creative vision.
Paired with the Artsy Infinite and the Spectacular Shak
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