Tied Up to Die

Somewhere on the Isle of Voices a young noble lounges upon feather down with a glass of sweet wine in one hand and a supple ass in the other. It takes but a moment for the mood to change – orders from the mainland.

‘Mnemon Isoroku, House Mnemon has chosen you to accompany an envoy to Whitewall as a scholar and recorder. Prepare to leave immediately, your transportation will arrive on the eastern coast in 22 hours.’ The message fades to static and cuts out. With a soft shove the dynast wakes and sends the girl from his chamber, “I wonder why they would want me to go to that xenophobic frozen hole. I just started attending the Heptagram, as Mnemon commands I shall obey.”

Sometime later Isoroku is enjoying the chill ocean spray as the harbor town of Wallport comes into view. I stocky Dragonblood blessed by Pasiap casts a cold shadow over the willowy dynast, “Hail, Isoroku-kun, it seems we will be arriving shortly. Were you informed of our mission in the greater glory of House Mnemon?” Turning towards the large man, Isoroku bows deeply, “No, Lord Hiroe-san, I was only told that I would assist in the capacity of recording events here for the annals of the House.”

A stiff wind blows and sea froth sprinkles the deck, Hiroe seems to notice not at all, “Isoroku-kun, Mnemon believes it is time we brought Whitewall under our control. We have reached a point of stagnation in our bid for the throne. To show the other Houses that we are not only able to hold onto our assets beyond the Realm, but take new ones. It is our Immaculate Mother’s will that we cow these soft minded fools for that purpose. In other words, we are to install a Satrap in the City of Whitewall.”

Isoroku does his best to hide the shock behind a mask of polite indifference, “My lord Hiroe-san that is quite an honor. I had not heard of a legion conquering the city, was this orchestrated to happen during our transport?” The larger Mnemon bellows a laugh that seems to echo deep into the sea, “Isoroku-kun, no legion is needed. Whitewall is behest on every side and will be elated to fall under our authority. Who else could protect them from the Fey and foul dark Anathema that encircle them like a noose. No no, this is a diplomatic conquest to be recorded by yourself, that is a true honor.”

Later in the audience chamber of the Syndics

The crystalline beings rise up and their voices howl like a winter storm, “…and Minister Hiroe, you are here to dispose of us and install yourself as the ruler of this place? After we have protected the mortals here against the failings of your Empire for CENTURIES! You no doubt know the Scarlet Empress herself had made binding accords already granting our autonomy from your rule?”

The strong Dragonblood Hiroe quakes and trembles before the onslaught of the gods rage, “No, , that is to say House Mnemon wishes to ease the burden of the citizens here and to place them under our protection. In return we only require a somewhat larger tithe and some modicum of ruler-ship here. The divine Syndics need not be disposed of, only bend kne…”

The gods never allow the fool to finish his words, “SILENCE! WE HAVE HEARD ENOUGH OF YOUR PRATTLE. Your entourage will be bound to the Holy Road in 3 days time, if you survive we will THEN consider you proposal.”

Nightfall upon the Holy Road

Isoroku, bound to a stone pillar, looks over the frozen remains of the Mighty Dragon Exalt Hiroe…his remains are not nearly so impressive

Isoroku mummbles to himself past numb and quavering lips, “I was a fool to look into the Anathema…House Mnemon must be punishing me…no the Celestial Heavens itself…for daring to delve the libraries for ancient texts. My soul is damned.” The freezing boy shakes violently and breaks into a wrenched sob.

That night the war horns of the Fairfolk sound over a distant hill, the mound of earth rimed with a crown of frost as if heralding their coming. Soon after the crystalline shapes seem to rise up from the ground itself, writhed with the sparkle of starlight, such beauty has never inspired such dread. At this point the boy is too weak to even struggle or mew in protest…he can merely lay slack against his bonds and wait.

Drawing from some unknown reserve Isoroku mutters into the cold, “I will be damned if I don’t at least whisper a curse in the fiends ear as I am torn asunder.” Not long after the fair-folk descend on the chilled bodies of that glorious house…but a new sound plays on the wind other than the wet crunch and screams…a horn, or bestial roar perhaps,that sounds far more primal than the otherworldly music of the fey. The boy shakes as he feels the icy teeth of the Fay bite into his very soul, but something tells him that his salvation is nigh. Thick clots of blood running down his arms, the boy struggles to move, “I need only struggle awhile longer…”
For the first time, I am alive! The world shatters into sounds and warmth and the foul yet sweet blood of ones enemies sliding down ones throat. The starlight fades from shattered glass and ice and the world is pained red…

Hours pass in a swaying darkness before my eyes flutter open…

A strong rumbling voice is more felt than heard, “Cub, I’m getting tired of dragging your mangy rear…its time to wake up.” Groggily I open my eyes and begin to feel the gentle sway and strong back of my…savior, “Uhhh…whhhhh ahmmm I.” The voice calls across my chest like a soothing peal of thunder, “Cub don’t try to speak. You drank down a good deal of that swill before I got to ya. Be awhile before you’re talk’en again. Just know I am Morning Dawn and your in good hands now…”

Tied Up to Die

The Heroes of Rokan-Jin Nehebkau