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Old June 27th, 2013 (1:11 AM). Edited June 30th, 2013 by SV.
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Varian Sigmund- Tower of Absolution, Garius, Palaven

Varian had split from the other mercenaries in his company as he had began to walk around the many different levels of the Tower of Absolution. He wondered for moments at a time if it was wise to leave them alone, particularly Cass, who was much like a child when it came to matters of subtlety. And Varian knew enough to understand that they had to be careful what was said in this country. From matters of culture to matters of wars, and of course, religion, any negatively or poorly phrased utterance could result in mingled body parts or the removal of such extremities altogether, something he wasn't very motivated to see happen.

So, for most of the evening, Varian did his best to keep out of trouble from the Palvanese, though guards on every level continued to glare at him uneasily. It was a very edgy situation in which he found himself. On one hand, most of the Palvanese had shown nothing but courtesy and decorum towards them, although there was the occasional glare and mumble. On the other, everything that they seemed to be doing was hidden behind some sort of double meaning. They would show politeness, but it seems the people here may have a deeper culture of brutality than they let on. At least, that was what the Highman thought as he wandered. Of course as a mercenary, Varian tended to not care about the disposition of his clients. That is, unless it somehow threatened himself or his group. The question was: did it?

Varian was now on one of the higher levels of the tower, looking across all the majestic wonders which lay inside the decorated building. He was not much of an appreciator of art, yet even he had to admit that the Palvanese had some pretty fancy artifacts inside. He was drawn to a large window, decorated with white hold, with glass so clear the it almost didn't look like there was any to begin with. A few guards talked at the side of the room to themselves while simultaneously watching the Highman, as Varian approached closer to the window, and looking out into the city. It was, perhaps to a more cultivated man, a spectacular view of the city. A city made of the finest material, with noticeable points sticking out from all around the city, these taller structures being mostly churches. The largest and perhaps most beautiful structure which he had spotted was a large domed building, which he was certain was the Cathedral he had heard about, where the Voice of the One resided. Directly below him, just outside the gates of the tower, he noticed a mob of citizens gathered around a raised platform, with a few men on top of it. As he leaned closer to the window, he noticed this as a sight he had seen throughout his travels all too often, for rarely, no matter the country he visited, do they change. It was an execution.

Curious, Varian opened the window, causing the guards to stir from their conversation and be on alert, though they did nothing yet as they watched him closely. He poked out his upper half of his body from the windows, and watched in silence. Being so high up in the tower, he was unable to hear what was said, and the considerably loud yelling of the crowd didn't help. The man who was to be convicted appeared to be considerably damaged even before his execution, which made Varian presume he was most likely tortured before this. Back inside the tower, one of the guards made a pass closer to Varian, to observe the mercenary in a closer fashion. Varian payed him no mind, and continued to look on to the execution. After his presumed last rites were said, the man was laid upon a bench by his head. A second, larger man (or at least he appeared larger to where Varian was viewing from) came up to the criminal, and raised his axe. A moment later, a swift and resounded swipe removed the head off of the man, and it rolled to the edge of the platform. What happened next was something he was expecting, yet was at the same time also surprising. The crowd that had gathered to witness the execution would cheer. It was expected by Varian, because every execution he attended, that was the same reaction. Yet on the other hand, a part of him wondered if there really was something more majestic about Palaven, and in particular, Garius. In the end, he confirmed what he already knew. Beyond whatever their governments preach and their lords dictate, and beyond whatever banner is raised, in every country people were still just...people.

One of the guards now stood directly behind Varian, also looking down and observing that which the mercenary was observing. The Highman noticed this, and decided to test the water and see how the man would react to being spoken to. “You wouldn't happen to know what the man did, do you?” Varian asked, looking the soldier in the eye from behind his shining, white armor. He stiffened at this question, and seemed to debate whether or not he should answer him, probably because they were all given instructions to avoid doing so. In the end, he decided to answer.

“The man is Raelussian.” The guard replied. Varian eyed the man as he expected him to continue on with his explanation, but no such one was given. He eventually cocked and eyebrow and ushered him on. “And?” He asked.

“And, that is it. Raelus is the Kingdom of Infernum, a country doomed to burn eternally. We are instructed by His Holiness and the One to carry out judgment upon them wherever they may be.” The guard turned his gaze down at the execution site. “This infidel was caught crossing our border, and was taken to Garius to be purged of his wickedness.”

“Hmph,” Varian replied, not saying anything beyond that. The guard glared at Varian as he proceeded on, getting everything he wanted out of the conversation. Like the rumors suggested, the people of Palaven were as fanatical as they got. Their culture was so integrated with their religion that foreigners would risk insulting them, sometimes to a great degree, even from small talk in passing conversations. He learned that they could be brutal, yet at the same time loyal, civil and well-mannered. It was like a rose covered in thorns, poison in a rare bottle of liquor. That was how he saw Palaven, and the longer they would stay here, the longer they might be forced to take a drink.

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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