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All night she had to endure this torture, no one near her and no one to allow her to use her sharp comments on. Soon a smooth thrum came from her throat melodically but she shook her head, forcing the urge back down into her gullet where it had originated. Hoping for a distraction, she turned her eyes to the sparkling sky, the stars reflecting in her wide orbs as the moon danced off of her scales in a shimmering manner. This was her one and only enjoyment when she was on this detail, the sole thing that kept her mind busy. Soon her tail began to sway as the song she had been attempting to keep down began playing in her mind, head swaying gently in turn before she snapped herself off of the ledge of giving in. ‘Maybe a bit of a walk will suppress this urge to make a fool of myself?’ She thought to herself, smiling before delicately leaping down from her perch, spreading her wings to stop herself before landing delicately on the ground, wind from her landing pushing the blades of grass away from her in a swaying manner. She inhaled the sweet air before padding forward, her footfall silenced by their soft cushion of the grass. Her long tail swayed behind her as she entered the trees, sliding along the rough bark as her scales pulled a bit of bark off of each tree. Her keen eyes searched the area for intruders, though she knew there were none that night. Who would dare?
Shira paced around the small batch of trees she was guarded to watch for intruders just outside of the Citadel. Soon, her body began to move in a dancing manner, her slender frame circling the trees as she moved off of them with a flap of her wings. She would then spiral through the air gently before landing with a soft ‘thud’. It wasn’t long before she gave into her desires and a melodic tune ruptured from her throat. It was something her mother had taught her when she was young: A young dragoness caught between home and a love for wandering, searching for a lover to take her away. Soon old draconic words fell from her mouth in an octave not often heard amongst dragons but revered none-the-less. Sought after by any who enjoyed the art of ballads, though she never explored this and wasn’t tempted to no matter how much she enjoyed doing it when no one was looking.
Her voice grew louder as she spun through the air on occasion, her foot work light as her wings helped lift her from the ground, the beat her paws provided matching her words. Soon a translation slid smoothly from her throat, the sound angelic in nature as it echoed slightly amongst the dark trees. She was enjoying herself, imagining dancing through the halls aside a dark drake, his handsome features a cause of jealousy with the other dragonesses only making her that much more pride filled. Her eyes were closed as she used the vibrations of her voice to judge where the trees were. But this was her first mistake: She was no bat.
Shira’s flank caught a tree on her final spin, shaking the slender trunk as a chorus of startled squackes met her ears, causing her singing to cease completely before she slammed into the ground with a heavy grunt. Opening her eyes, her body sprawled upon the ground, she released an exasperated huff, blinking angrily at herself before peeling herself from the ground. She looked up as a flock of birds flew from the tree she had splintered, quirking her face in a disapproving manner before humming once more, attempting to lean the tree back to its normal height.
The song began to flow from her mouth after a few moments of attempting to right the tree. She shrugged and moved away from it, her body swaying once more before a voice shook her from her imaginings,
“Shira!” The Lead Guard bellowed down to her, his anger palpable.
The dragoness froze as her eyes widened, “Yes?” She called back sheepishly, cutting her eyes in the direction the voice originated. Some tracker she was, couldn’t even scent the drake standing up there.
“Come.” He said shortly, causing Shira’s eyes to roll slightly before she turned to make her way back to her post, dreading the flaying she was going to receive.
Once Shira made it to the drake, her manners showing her reluctance before landing before him, lowering her head respectfully, “Sir, I…”
“Don’t!” He snapped, his tail lashing angrily behind him, “Just don’t. How many times do I have to tell you not to start your blasted singing while you are meant to be working? I mean, that is the purpose of you being here right, to work?”
“Yes sir, but..”
“Silence, Shira!” The lead guard snapped once more, taking a step closer, “I have made a decision that will benefit myself and teach you a lesson.You will report to the court hall in the morning. Since you don’t know how to keep those songs inside of you for a down day, we’ll see just how much the Archon himself likes your wanting to sing for work.”
Shira opened her mouth to speak but the lead guard only growled, “My decision is final. You are dismissed from duty.”
The dragoness was devastated as the drake left her, her wings drooping slightly. But the feeling were not long in life as they were soon replaced with simple and pure anger. She stood and snarled angrily, bursting into the night sky to head for her quarters, her paws clenched tightly in detest. Upon reaching her personal quarters, she burst into the room before pacing, her claws scraping against the stone, “How dare he do this to me?!” She hissed, her tail smacking against the wall in an aggressive manner. She paced for a bit longer before deciding to curl up on her bed, still fuming as she forced her eyes shut. This was, in entirety, embarrassing for the dragoness. She wanted to meet the Archon but not in this manner. What if he didn’t like her singing and shamed her for it? Where would she be then?
The next morning came and she landed silently in front of the Citadel, her pace slow as she approached the doors, dreading every moment as a feeling of nervousness rose up within her gullet. Singing. In front of the Archon himself? She was likely to faint, or simply die. Pushing the thoughts aside, she made her way up the stairs, knowing flying would be much faster but she didn’t wish to get there quickly. Once she made her way into the grand hall, her eyes took in the glorious sights that not many of her rank would see. The glorious formations of marble, the tapestries, the gloriously colorful glass work on each window. She inhaled deeply, taking in the glorious scents she only imagined the wealthy could appreciate.
After her moments of observing the brilliance around her, her eyes fell upon the group of Nightwings that she knew were the musical excellence in the Nightwing tribe, knowing many of them personally. She released her deep inhale with a soft groan before making her way toward the group, ignoring the surprised greetings she received. She nodded softly to the coordinator before staring forward, listening to each song that was listed, knowing them all thanks to her mother. She cursed inwardly at her mother’s influence, but then again it was because of her that Shira had been coached to advance her voice to a level that was hard to achieve normally. But it was also thanks to her that she was where she is now.
With a silent sigh, she nodded to the coordinator upon his question of her knowledge of the dynamics of the song and releasing the high thrum her mother was so proud of. The sound echoed beautifully around the room, marvelling at the acoustics of the room before looking to the others, flashing a smile before it faded, flicking her tail behind her before looking forward. She enjoyed being in the lime light, though not for this reason she had found herself in. The coordinator moved her to the center of the group and she begrudgingly obliged, though only because she was here to follow orders. But soon, the time would come for her to sing in front of not only the high ranking officials she wanted so desperately to impress but the Archon himself. A shudder rocked her frame as her inner being writhed in the pain of her embarrassment.
Within the next hour, the group practicing and Shira’s voice flowing beautifully above them all was simply mesmerizing, the first of the high ranking officials making his way into the hall. Shira’s heart dropped, this was it.
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The period of reflect and intense thought was disturbed as a voice rung out from his chamber, “Your Grace”. The voice was instantly recognisable and Tenebris couldn’t restrain his grunt of disapproval as he pulled himself to his feet, he knew who awaited outside was his Chamberlain and Steward, Syrus. Syrus was both young for his role and predominantly small, he was not much larger in size that Tenebris’s two hatchling daughters. The Chamberlain was new to his role as a whole only taking the position after his late father Vier was counted among the dead after the Monster Scourge destroyed the Mainland capital. The fact despite his competence he was a shadow of the administrator and curator his father was, and along with his whimpering nasal voice ensured he was always a source of frustration for the Archon. It was also a reminder of Tenebris’s duties, and thus he had to leave his contemplation's and scrolls, being a Scholar at heart, this was always the greatest heresy of the day, having to be brought back to the reality of the world.
While Hastur and Seth, the Archon’s personal inquisitors and bodyguards prevented any from entering the chamber, it was the Stewards privilege that Syrus was the only member outside of the royal family who could freely enter the Archon's study without expressed permission or a summons. To this end in was a mild annoyance that he still awaited Tenebris’s call to enter, a matter in which while the Archon respected the punctuality, he desired the steward had the gall and personal courage to at least enter his liege’s presence without a request like his late father. Turning to face the entrance, elegantly, Tenebris spoke in his usual regal yet domineering manner, “Enter, chamberlain”, the diminutive Nightwing entered with a largely exaggerated power, “Your Grace, the court is assembling, they will be awaiting your presence”. Tenebris released a small snarl under his breath in scorn at himself, he truly had lost himself in his musings, he had lost track of the time, and it found himself debating to himself truly how he lost such time in his scrolls. “Then, we make haste, Chamberlain”, as Tenebris began to move, Syrus placed himself between Tenebris and the chamber entrance “My Grace, if you would allow me, I have brought several slaves to prepare your presence before you present yourselves to your most loyal vassals”. Of course, Tenebris thought, he lacked any of his marks of office and wore nothing of note, while it wasn’t a desirable or comfortable arrangement he certainly understood the need that he could not appear in the slightest common to those of his court, as loyal as they may be, they would take acute notice of any weakness or weariness in their Archon, even if it was in appearance.
With the word granted, the Chamberlain banged his tail against the obsidian floor, and three Manticores entered the chamber, along with now Hastur and Seth whose constant observant scrutiny remained upon the creatures without falter. The next few moments while Tenebris lowered his rear to a seated position, the Manticores placed the official ceremonial adornments upon him while Syrus began to reiterate the proceedings and itinerary of the Court session. Tenebris was also made aware of a new face what would be appearing in the court, a new addition to the choir and musicians what provided the entertainment to throughout the the tedious processing to break up the tiresome fatiguing talks what would proceed. Such new additions and faces had become accustomed within court, all part of the great game played by many of the officials within the Nightwing Potentate to gain influence, by forcing someone to present themselves within the court with a special artisan trade or skill served as a means of rather shaming the Dragon should they perform insufficient enough, or grant them and their benefactor who recommended them, or rather forced them, influence and favour from Tenebris himself and the rest of the court.
By the time both Syrus had completed his addressing of how the session would transpire per usual and the servants had finished with their garb upon Tenebris, the Archon was now wearing a regal Silver Cuirass with fitted pauldrons upon his shoulders, the Silver was clearly for ceremonial purposes and lacked any element of true productivity, yet it was forged not by the Tribe’s greatest Vulcans during the height of the Imperium, but also through Alchemic fire, giving a distinctive pattern of banding and mottling to be reminiscent of flowing water, and engraved with symbolic images and sigils of Nightwing heritage. Tenebris’s horns both had gold rings adorning them, and from his ears chain earrings in a dangle fashion which looped from the tip to the base, while upon his usually ink stained claws were placed gauntlet like extensions which made his already fearsome imposing talons at least a foot longer and crested once more in silver. Finally armoured plating was placed upon his back and tail, in the same stylistic manner as his cuirass. In truth Tenebris found the weight extremely uncomfortable, and desired nothing more than to cast to ceremonial armour from his scales, and merely dictate what he desired of the upper echelon of his Tribe, yet he knew that such occasions were a prominent part of the society which he himself created.
Departing his chamber and making his way to the Grand Hall for the audience, his entourage was lead by the almost enthusiastic small Syrus, and the Archon in the middle flanked either side by the Inquisitors Seth and Hastur which remained silent. The journey from the private wing to the Audience chamber was at best described as weary for Tenebris, he allowed himself to show his limp prominently while under his heavy ceremonial attire while within the private wing, he had no means as to present himself with such upon his arrival upon the hall chamber, but until then he could at least allow his regal stature to falter. It felt as though the walk lasted hours, although it would literally be little more than twenty minutes, as they approached the closed archway of the Hall, Hastur and Seth immediately located themselves to either side as they opened it wide into the audience chamber. Syrus took front and centre stage as he went through the ceremonial introduction. “Presenting his eminence. The Lord Protector of the Ebonwing Isles, Grand Vizier of Twilight Imperium, the Father to the very Moon and Stars. Archon of the Nightwing Potentate. Archon Tenebris”. At that, Syus gave a theatrical bow and moved to the side as Tenebris collected himself, he maintained his graceful ethereal like posture as he made a distinctive effort to hide his limp, with powerful strides born out of purpose as he strode into the hall. He would cast a glance at the faces surrounding the hall, many of whom he truly didn’t know of a first name basis. Many institutions and their leaders were brought to ruin, and now many of these upper members of society were merely replacements, Tenebris thought that many of them were no doubt mere novices in their respected fields until their instructors and Lords had fallen.
Taking up his position on the raised dais he sat, allowing all in the chamber to raise their heads as was custom after the initial entrance. “Brothers and Sisters, we gather once more here as kin. As you are all aware my motives have and always will be to be achieving the greater good. It is we of our breed who are bound to furfill the ancient duty bestowed upon us by the creator God Shadras himself. It is we who will strive and sacrifice for unity within not only our tribe but all Dragonkind. To that end, you all know of my desires to conduct the Festival of Night, and allow all to venture here to our refuge”, Tenebris rose his Silver gilded talons in their gauntlet on his right forepaw as if expecting to be interrupted yet he knew better, but the gesture still made its point “I would here this debate here and now in an open dialogue amongst us, but we do so as equals. Brothers and sisters. First however, I believe I speak for us all when I state, some much needed entertainment would be welcomed”. At that Tenebris tore his attention away from the assembled officials and to the coordinator of the assembled group of artists, and give a humble nod as a gesture for them to begin with their first performance.
A look at one of Tenebris's Publications as a Scholar
"Destiny isn't a matter of chance, its a matter of choice. Only we can claim our Destiny when the path opens" ~ Tenebris lamenting.
"Oftentimes in reality, the realists are in the position of the antihero. Neither those on the side of good, nor the side of bad really trust them, as their truth is universal." ~ Tenebris, Archon of the Ebonwing Potentate.
- Archon of the Nightwings
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