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Post by Dementuo on Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:07 pm

Two women stand on a raised stage before an audience of thousands. The first, front and center, wears a military-styled uniform with dark hair covering one eye, though a fierce determination is visible through the window of the other eye. The second, standing just behind the first, is garbed in silky white robes and bears fiery red hair. A thick mask conceals her eyes from view, though it does not seem to bother her in the slightest. She remains still, a silent observer. But the first woman speaks in a loud, booming voice, her clamor reaching far and wide across the masses.

"Bretheren! Sisters! Lend me your ears, if only for a moment!"

Her voice is filled with confidence as she addresses the gathered crowd. Even as her lone eye passes across each individual, the fire that burns behind it does not waver. "This day, we bring cause for celebration. Decades have passed us by since the founding of our proud nation. For years have we pooled our strength and wisdom. And long have we sat in idleness, toiling away at our now glorious roots." The woman continues her speech, motioning with her arms and hands to accentuate her words. "In those many years, our once humble residence has risen above trial after trial, expanding into the sprawling Empire we have come to call our home. With the guidance of our most honorable lord Keter, our power stands as one of the pinnacles in this world."

"But on this day, no longer shall we stand alone!" She spreads her arms apart, signalling to the entire crowd. "For today do we throw open the gates, today do we open our borders, that the world might join us freely! That we might demonstrate to others the extent of our honor and valor!" Words spoken emphatically, with all the weight of a mountain behind them. The crowd broke out into an uproar of excitement and cheer, but for only a few moments. The uniform-clad woman waved her hand across the audience, and a hush befell them in an instant. Now, her hands found their way behind her back, and she paced back and forth across the stage, head tilted skyward.

"In the coming weeks, we will be conducting an experimental operation- one some of you will already be aware of. To those who have received our Emperor's wishes, they will depart for the land where Karma runs thick- the island of Kiora- and seek out battles of the utmost glory. They will spread out beliefs to whomever they may encounter, that all might come to know of our success. And to the rest, we ask that you only continue to hone yourselves, and guard yourselves against the flow of Karma. Never forget- It is by our own strength that we live." At her final quotation, she paused, turning to face the audience once more. In response, an affirmative and pleased cheering erupted, only to be hushed by the wave of the woman's hand again. "This is your lord's will. This is your Emperor's decree. Now go forth, brethren, and claim all for the honor of Kirin!" A final raise of her fist came, punching through the air, followed by an even more ecstatic outburst from the audience...

---

A minute later, the two women had departed from the stage, having retreated to the interior of a large and spacious castle, nestled in the heart of the empire. It was here that the greatest of the Empire's minds would often gather, in the safety of their own walls, to debate all manner of things, as professionals or as friends. And on this particular day, on the eve of the opening of Kirin's borders, the Empire's greatest minds had again been called to assemble to discuss their next moves, missives having been dispatched prior to inform each one of the momentous occasion. And it was here that the white-garbed woman stood, while the uniformed woman sat slumped over at one of a dozen seats, face planted firmly against the large meeting table. "Ugh, it's simply not fair... Why does the lord always saddle me with the big opening speeches? Can't he push one or two off onto Wilfried, or the new guy he picked up recently?" She whined into the table, otherwise motionless. The white-garbed woman merely shook her head. "I do not know, Helena, but I'm sure that he has his reasons." She offered in reply, but this only elicited a long sigh from Helena. "And for our biggest operation yet, too... I hope this isn't the only stage, too. He should know we won't win a war of conversion as long as Virubis stands as a major power."

"Please save that sort of discussion for the strategy meeting. It should begin shortly." came as the only response. And so, with a whine, Helena pulled herself up and straightened herself out, resting an elbow on the table as she waited for the others to arrive. "Yeah, I understand, Nephi... I'll keep my complaining to myself."
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Post by Wilfried Kron on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:27 am


Wilfried listened to the speach from beginning to end. He was well aware of the plans to come. At the very least, the Emperor sure had people who knew how to stir a crowd. Even he found himself resonating with the words, despite already knowing what was to be said. People rallied and cheered when it ended, Wilfried simply offering an applause. There was no need to be gung-ho about it; it was certainly cause to be excited, for sure. But celebration should happen only after success as far as he was concerned.

-------

"Come now," Wilfried said as he entered the room, overhearing Helena's complaints. "That's no talk for the Left Hand. Besides, you're so good at the speechifying as it is. Our Emperor clearly trusts you with this role. You should be thrilled about it." Wilfried was known to use the devotion to the Emperor against others, but not in a clearly ulterior way. From the bottom of his heart, he was one of those very same people who respected the Emperor, and lived to serve out the bidding of the Kirin Empire as a whole.

Wilfried took a seat at the table. He wasn't geared up for obvious reasons, and instead simply wore the hooded tunic as he entered. As a high ranking commander of a squad, as well as someone with a myriad of accomplishments under the Empire's name, he was someone who was very well respected. His place in this meeting was obvious.
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Post by EternalDah on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:50 pm

Entering the room soon after came a few maids, each with a unique tail and hair color. They quietly carried trays of sweets and drinks, placing them in the center of the large table for those that will be participating in the meeting to come. Once done, they all disappeared and returned to the dark haired woman that was entering last with a tray of her own. "A wonderful speech as always Ms. Helena. Have some honey tea. I'm sure your throat will be delighted with some." Margaret personally had brought and placed the warm tea in front of Helena before standing a bit away from the group, preferring to stand as she waited with a content smile.
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:26 pm

The sound of a book clapping shut announced the arrival of Enoch, the most recent addition to the Empire's court of elites. He stepped out from behind a pillar, one that didn't have any entrances nearby that would allow someone to get behind it without being seen. "I can assure you, My Lord's plans do not end here. There is no need to be concerned," Enoch asserted, as if it were a definite fact. "As for the speeches, the people know you. As much as I would love to be in your place, consistency is important. They are not familiar with me, words from me would not bring near the cheering as they would from you."

With that, Enoch took his seat at the table, sipping tea with a slight smile that made him very difficult to read. His eyes scanned over the accompanying sweets, searching for something in particular. When he saw it, the false smile fell away to a very genuine one for a brief moment before he regained his composure. At the table, the food of the gods was there on the far side of the middle, apple pie. The scarf hanging around Enoch's neck seemed to become animate, and deftly moved around the table, grabbing onto a plate with a slice of pie on it and pulling it back towards him. With an exhale of satisfaction, he began to dig in while he waited for the meeting to begin in earnest.
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Post by Dementuo on Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:33 am

"Yes, yes, I suppose you're both right." Helena conceded to the two gentlemen, stopping only briefly to thank Margaret for the tea. They did make a valid point- maintaining her as the public face of Kirin's empire was a great responsibility, but of course it implied a great deal of trust as well... even if Helena had only met face to face with Keter on a few occasions. Much of the time, with was Nephilim who carried orders that came from him directly.

"Well, now that we have all gathered," the scarlet-haired woman interjected, stepping forward to join the group. "We may properly begin."

Helena straightened in her seat, while Nephilim slid a large roll of parchment out and laid it onto the table, rolling it open. Depicted was the world as they knew it, a detailed map of the island of Kiora, as well as the mainland upon where both the Kirin Empire and the Virubis Church rested. Helena stood up from her seat and looked down at the map, tracing her finger across a few parts of it before turning to face her comrades in turn. "With our borders officially opened, we've been given the green light to begin moving in on other territories. Right now, we have two key goals" She began, pointing a finger to the island.

"The first is to secure the support and loyalty of Kiora's first major settlement, Jadai. This will be a critical zone to occupy, both to provide us footing to stand against the Church's steady expansion, as well as to gain ground on Kiora itself. The Lord desires us to investigate the true nature of Karma, and the effects it can have on people." Helena explained their first objective concisely, continuing to use her finger to trace possible travel routes between Kirin and Kiora. "According to a number of reports, all manner of beasts and horrific creatures have been appearing in Jadai's area, alongside multiple missing person reports. A problem like that cannot be left unattended."

"Our second goal, however, is much less straightforward." Helena paused, frowning down at the map. She pointed to Virubis' capital, and the cathedral they operated out of. "The Lord has set us on something of a conversion war against the Church. He believes that they rely too heavily on Karma, and would see the religion contained and, eventually, suppressed. However, we obviously aren't going to declare an all out war with them- Instead, we've opted for a different approach. Nephilim?" The general glanced back at her partner, who nodded and once again laid another roll of parchment out onto the table, rolling it out over the map. On this sheet were sketches and drawings of strange beasts, some looking relatively normal, while others looks absolutely grotesque. "These are a few descriptions of the creatures allegedly prowling around Jadai. In conjunction with the missing person reports, we have reason to believe that humans may be transforming into monsters." Nephilim spoke this time, pointing out each drawing. "We also believe this may be related to Karma in some manner."

"Which means that our second goal ties in to our first; we gain sway in Jadai, and use that footing to discover the truth behind these events. If our theory is correct, that information will cause an uproar amidst Virubis' followers, likely resulting in total abandonment of the religion." Helena spoke last, passing a firm stare across the room. "At least, that is our current working plan at the moment. Wilfried, Enoch, Margaret- I would hear your thoughts on the matter. And if you've heard anything you think might be useful, I'm all ears."
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Post by Wilfried Kron on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:30 am

Wilfried took a moment to think over the proposed plan of attack. Without question, discrediting the church would be paramount in taking over the island. No, it'd likely be the only method of doing so. Zealots of worship were a terrifying bunch as far as he was concerned. The only way to shake their faith was to destroy it from the inside out. It was really a lot of effort, and the thought of it was a little saddening. It'd be like if someone tried to expose the Emperor in front of his own people.

Tapping his finger on the table repeatedly after hearing the plan, Wilfried nodded. "It goes without saying that before we can set up phase two, we'll need to secure a stronghold on the island. Having a place to reliably return to would make things easier on everyone. But that's just stating obvious facts at this point. I'd like to suggest tracking deserters of the Church. Nobody abandons their faith without a reason. The Mandate of Judgment is one such faction; they slipped away from the Church, existing as a separate branch of faith. Getting some information on their founder should be easy enough."

"There's also likely bound to be other deserters. There's no such thing as a group who has everyone at all times fully commited to their cause. Envy, greed, revelation... things like these are all causes for someone to abandon something they once thought they cared for. We've had a few deserters over the years, too. I say a good start in discrediting the church starts with finding deserters."
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Post by EternalDah on Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:18 pm

Margaret hummed as she listened to the plan and stared at the map. When called to give her opinion alongside the others, Margaret simply shrugged her shoulders. Planning and tactics weren't her forte. Nevertheless she gave what she came to her mind in order to be somewhat helpful.

"A shame an all out war right from the start isn't planned. I'm sure with my power I could easily have taken down whatever the Church would have thrown at us. But alas. From the sound of it, I can only think of two options for our conquest of Jadai. One would be to form a barricade around the place to cut off any connection between them and the Church as well as to prevent any culprits of these missing people from escaping. However that would probably not be that welcomed by the people of Jadai and would catch the Church's attention early. The other option would be to simply send a small team of scouts to investigate from the shadows these missing people incidents as well as to confirm if humans are really being turned into monsters. Of course that could put them at risk without proper backup should things escalate higher than we believe. Well thats what I think. I'm no tactician of course. I rather just be in the frontline decimating the Empire's enemies rather than plot so please take my rambling with very little expectations."
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:04 pm

Enoch remained quiet as Wilfried and Margaret voiced their opinions, nodding at Wilfried's idea to search for deserters of the Church. After finishing his pie and wiping his mouth, Enoch finally spoke up.

"We are not the villains in a storybook," he said. "Rather than military conquest or subterfuge, I believe it is best we announce our presence and intent to assist. If they believe we can be of help without endangering their current independence, the government of Jadai would likely be willing to co-operate with us to an extent. However, I do not believe we should go there in force just yet. Two or three of us with no more than a few hundred soldiers, perhaps even just several dozen, would be enough to act as substantial manpower in the investigation but not so much as to appear as a military occupation." With the foundation of his suggestion laid, Enoch stopped for a sip of tea.

"There are other actions we can take to gain their trust at the same time, and for both the Empire's greater image and our immediate benefit we should treat Jadai as an ally and support its independence, rather than risk any moves that would undermine it."
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Post by Dementuo on Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:03 am

Nephilim stood silently at Helena's side as they took in each individual's views and suggestions, with Helena nodding to herself a couple times. Her first words were directed towards Margaret, who she turned to with a stern glare. "Shame on you, Margaret, for even entertaining the thought of war. It's as Enoch says; We are not the villains here, and we should not project an image to the world that would give them cause to believe otherwise." She huffed out, pointing her finger at the enigmatic advisor as she mentioned him. "But," Helena continued, "You all make valid points. Sending in a small preliminary force to scout out Jadai seems to be our best option for the time being, and it would be prudent of us to state our intentions to them plainly."

The uniform-clad general took the map in hand and rolled it back up, stashing it away again. "As for the Church, we can start by investigating the missing persons cases and providing some defense for the city's borders. Ultimately, Enoch is right- Our best method to gain their support is to first win their trust. As such, we have our plan of action." Helena went on, folding her arms and turning to each of her allies one at a time.

"Wilfried, I'll have you provide for Jadai's defenses. Take a small squad with you, pick out whomever you like for this mission. Set up regular patrols around Jadai's borders and snuff out any monsters you come across. Until we have a firm grasp on exactly what we're dealing with, I want your expertise in the field on this." Her first command was issued, nodding to the battle-worn knight. "And, if you like, you can even take Margaret along with you-" She added in, glancing back at the maid. "You'd enjoy a chance to stretch your legs, wouldn't you? As for Enoch..." She turned again, this time to face her remaining associate, but before she could relay her next order, Nephilim interjected.

"Actually, Lord Valten requests Ser Enoch for a brief audience upon this meeting's conclusion." The masked woman stated quickly, bowing her head apologetically. Helena blinked, but shrugged her shoulders a moment later. "W-Well, if that's what the Lord wants... In that case, Enoch-" She replied, folding her arms once more. "I'll have you handle the investigation once your business here is finished up. It's likely best if your group is a bit smaller than Wilfried's, as not to intimidate the populous, but a few extra hands would be good all the same. Gather up whatever information you can, and we'll reconvene after a time."

With her orders given, Helena raised her hand to her chest in a salute, bowing her head to her comrades. "You're all dismissed!" were her final words before marching off, leaving Nephilim behind, the red-haired woman patiently awaiting Enoch's company.
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Post by Wilfried Kron on Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:44 am

Wilfried sighed, his exhaustion evident with Margret's suggestion. "An all out war means we'd lose some on our side. There is no perfect war. Casualities will always happen, no matter how superior ones forces are. You really think I'd send the Emperor's men to die if it can be avoided? At the end of the day, they all have family and friends to consider. Not all combat is glorious. Please think before you speak."

While it wasn't necessary for himself to join in on berating Margret, as one of the commanders in the Emperor's army he felt it was his duty to reprimend such a foolish comment on behalf of the forces he represented. "I personally think it'd be more suited to take about a hundred and fifty men. Fifty to handle standard patrols, but the hundred dedicated to investigating the rumors. If we're really dealing with Dreamborn, then I'd like to be prepared, while having a smaller amount to handle scouting."

"If this concerns the citizens, we can claim we're aiming to eliminate the source of these claims, to prevent it from coming to the main land, while also coming off as extending a helping hand to our neighbors across the sea. This will both give them reason to trust us, offering both an altruistic and selfish reason. As for Margret, I'd happily have her on board to handle any Dreamborn we may come across. Might as well put her war mongering nature to use."
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Post by EternalDah on Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:47 pm

Margaret gave a hearty laugh, shaking her head. "I'm not entertaining the thought of war. Simply any opportunity to test my almighty powers. However I will say you both should look at the bigger picture. Here we are planning to turn people against the Church, by subtle methods to be sure, and you think they will quietly sit back from the backlash? They will retaliate and I doubt our wise Enperor will simply let them peacefully. Whether violently or not, what else would you call the path this task of ours will bring if not a war? But I digress..." Shaking her head, Magaret gave a low respectful bow, showing she wasn't trying to insult anyone with her opinion as well as accepting what they wanted her to do. "I will gladly follow any task you will lay before me in his Imperial Highness' name."
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:26 am

"You speak of the bigger picture, yet only focus on violence.  There are more ways to bring victory than merely the clashing of armies.  It's unlikely the Church would be the ones to seek war with us, and if they do, it means they've been backed into a corner.  Even if we are non-believers, they still have an image to uphold.  Certainly, some people would see a declaration of war as an admission of guilt and proof of our cause.  If it comes to that, then we have already won before the first soldier has been fielded," Enoch stated matter-of-factly before rising from his chair.  

"Now, then," he turned towards Nephilim, "we best not keep our Emperor waiting."
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Post by Dementuo on Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:04 pm

Taking in each of her associates' final comments on the matter, Helena departed from the scene, leaving Nephilim behind to address the emperor's enigmatic advisor. The masked woman nodded to him, giving him a short but slow bow. "Yes, please follow me."

Departing from the meeting room, the two walked through a series of hallways that led deep into the heart of Kirin's stronghold, the red-haired woman quietly escorting Enoch to their lord. Minutes passed in silence as the two walked, Nephilim's covered face locked directly ahead without a single stray movement- not a fidget or involuntary twitch, even her steps paced in an almost unnaturally perfect beat. It wasn't until the pair had reached the Emperor's throne room, protected by two massive and ornate gilded doors, that she turned again to face her charge. "We have arrived." She spoke and gestured towards the doors, which in turn slowly slid open.

Beyond those grand doors lay the throne room, a flat floor broken only at the very back of the room by a raised platform, upon which sat the throne itself. Etched into the floor was the design of a tall tree adorned by a set of eleven circles, connected at various points by thick branches; Here the symbol of the Sephirot lay bare upon the smooth ground, with the final circle, the tree's trunk, encircling the lord's throne. With the way open, Nephilim's duty was finished, and she took her place beside the entrance, completely still.

Even as her eyes shifted about behind her mask.
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:52 am

Enoch followed his silent escort through the halls of the stronghold. Had Nephilim turned to look at him at any point during the walk, she would've seen a knowing, perhaps even mocking, smirk on Enoch's face. What brought it to his face, however, was unclear. By the time they arrived at their destination, the smirk had faded into a false smile.

"Thank you," Enoch said before stepping through the gates towards his liege. His head remained forward but his eyes scanned the room. He walked over one circle, stopping in the next, leaving two empty ones between him and Lord Valten before bowing on one knee.

"You called for me, My Emperor?" He raised his head, the smile on his face now seemingly more genuine.
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Post by Dementuo on Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:53 am

The large, bulky man gazed forward as Enoch entered the throne room, eyeing him closely and regarding him with an almost stern expression. "Yes, it's good that you've come." His voice was loud and imposing, carrying with it a world's worth of weight in even a simple greeting. The doors closed behind Enoch as his lord spoke, the room becoming illuminated instead by a soft glow from the eleven circles on the floor, each one a different coloration. The light they emitted was soft and gentle, a stark contrast to the air around the lord of Kirin. But when he stood up, the tension dissipated in an instant, and his expression softened into a smile. He stepped down from his throne, towards one of the circles on the side of the tree pattern, a ways up and to the left of his throne. There, the floor opened up, and a set of two chairs and a small table rose up to fill the gap, with Keter taking one of the seats. Upon the table lay a chess board, already set up.

"You may stand, Enoch. Join me for a game." He spoke with a tone that betrayed his presence, as though he were addressing an old friend. Out of his throne, sitting in a chair matching the one across the table, Keter sat, awaiting his advisor to meet him on the board. "I'll have Nephilim inform me on the details later, but I trust the meeting went over well. You've been entrusted with an important task this time." He continued on, almost making idle chatter, seated in the dim glow of the Sephirot.
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:39 am

"Of course, My Emperor," Enoch said, rising from his bow. He stepped towards the table, and turned the chair a bit to put the board at an angle from him before sitting at the black side of the chess board. A slight eyebrow was raised when Keter commented on the important task Enoch had been assigned after he said he'd be filled in later but no direct comment was made."Indeed, it went about as I had expected it to. We have a skilled council, to be sure, and I give you my word that no one else in this kingdom is better suited to my task than I," he said, putting the hand holding his book to his chest before placing the book on his lap.

"But, now is not the time for business. I trust you've been well?" Enoch asked, merely motioning with his hand that he was ready to start the game rather than interrupt their conversation.
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Post by Dementuo on Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:19 am

"Yes, about as well as a man can be when an enemy lies on his doorstep." He nodded briefly before taking up the first of the white pieces in his hand. His opening move was the same every game; A knight moving forward into the front lines, for no army was led into battle without someone to lead them.

"Yes... We have a few enemies now, don't we?"

His words came with a hollow ring to them, bearing a weight just as heavy as before, but uniquely different- He sounded tired, almost exhausted, like the cloak of age had fallen over him. "Monster sightings around Kiora, the Church making moves... We've carved out a place for ourselves here, at the edge of the old world, but there's still a long way to go." Keter carried on, looking down at the chessboard with a wistful look in his eye. "Heh, but you'll bring me good news. You always do." He added, glancing up at his companion with a grin. "Out of all the men and women in my charge, you seem to understand me best of all. Even Helena, as loyal as she is, sees the world differently." He touched the knight he had just moved once more, just for a moment, and a half-hearted laugh followed his gesture. "Hahah... But that's why you're my eyes."
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:47 am

Enoch nodded at his liege's words. "Yes, no great change arrives unchallenged," he spoke softly yet with confidence. "We walk a difficult path, but I believe in a future lead by this empire." Enoch's opening move also match his usual: the pawn in front of the king moved two spaces forwards, opening the path for the king to lead. It was an unorthodox strategy, yet an effective one in the hands of Enoch. In previous games played between the two, it was rare that Enoch would leave his king defenseless even when it seemed alone on the front lines. His bishops, in particular, were always cleverly placed.

The words Keter spoke did bring real joy to Enoch, he nodded, an almost solemn smile on his face. "Thank you, My Emperor." He looked up from the chessboard before continuing, "Although it hasn't been long since we first met, it does feel as if we've known each other much longer." For barely even a second, his eyes went down towards the pawn he was moving into place. "There are certainly... Many different reasons for and kinds of loyalty in this land, but," he lifted his hand from the pawn. "Your eyes will never fail you."
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Post by Dementuo on Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:27 am

"........." Keter spent his next few moments in silence, turning his eyes to the board again- Though not to think of his next move. He had faced Enoch on this battlefield a number of times already, and the beginning was often the same. Pieces moved about without much hesitation for a number of turns, Keter employing more aggressive tactics. He always moved his knights forward first, leaving space for his rooks to maneuver more easily. A good match against Enoch's bishops, which always found the cracks in his defenses; No game passed without Keter both giving and taking a few trades or higher-end pieces.

Though, no matter how the game progressed, Keter's king hardly ever felt his fingers atop its' crown. If Enoch didn't know any better, Keter might almost seem hesitant to move it.

"I agree," he finally spoke up three turns later, nodding his head. "You really did impress me, Enoch. You have a real knack for seeing things from the right perspective. I could tell just at a glance, you see more than you let on. A real visionary... I can tell you have grand ideas for our world in your heart." Keter let out another gruff chuckle, sliding another of his own pawns forward. Now, one of his rooks would be free to move about the board next turn. "...When you leave, I want you to take Nephilim with you. She'll help you gather the information I need. And, well, it'd probably be good for her to see more of the world." He spoke after another brief pause, once again assessing the state of the board.
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Post by Resident Chuuni on Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:48 am

The game progressed almost routinely through the mid-game, with one slight difference.  There was a change in the confidence that Enoch showed compared to prior games.  Even when Keter took Enoch's Queen, the mysterious advisor continued to move his pieces with purpose, sometimes not even looking at the board.  This unusual behavior certainly would be noticeable, though the purpose in it for now much less so.  

"You flatter me, My Emperor.  It would be my greatest pleasure to live up to, nay, surpass your expectations of me," he said as he moved one of his bishops.   Another turn passed before he placed his hands on a different pawn, "I'd be happy to have her accompany me on the investigation," lifting his hand from the pawn as he finished the sentence.  Several more turns passed, more trades happening as they approached the end game.  Suddenly, Enoch made an uncharacteristically aggressive move.

"Check."

His smile curled slightly as he placed his last bishop right next to Keter's white king.  There were two pieces that could take this bishop:  The King itself, or a knight that was preventing Enoch from promoting a pawn.  The King moving to take it would swiftly put an end to this 'trap' that Enoch had laid, but using the knight would begin a chain of mutual sacrifice that, while still uncertain, likely ended in stalemate.  Enoch took his hand off the piece, his body now facing straight to Keter, and eyes locked to the board as if this game had merely been a prologue to this moment.

"There are two paths, My Emperor.  Which will you choose?"
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Post by Dementuo on Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:00 pm

A blink, then another. The game's flow, the movement of the pieces up until this point had been almost natural between the two of them, so much so that Keter hadn't needed to glance down at the board for more than a moment or two each turn. But this move did catch his attention, drawing his eyes downward, and briefly left him speechless. Even when Enoch had let his queen be traded for one of Keter's rooks, he hadn't thought anything special of it. A new strategy to throw him off, perhaps; but this move, was the one that caught him off guard. And for a moment, Keter thought- perhaps that was arrogance on his part?

"Hah!"

But after a second's deliberation, the emperor let out a short, hard laugh, tilting his head back. "Maybe I have more need of your eyes than I thought." he commented, smiling to himself. His hand moved, hovering over his knight- even now, he contemplated leaving his king's position intact... but he understood Enoch's intentions. "But this is exactly what I meant." he commented, moving his fingers to his king. "You see more value in a battle than victory or honor. Even as you move toward your goal, there's always a lesson to be learned from the path you carve to it..."

At last, Keter's king moved, taking the bishop that had threatened it. And in the following few moves, Keter slid his remaining rook across the board, into the spot his king had previously occupied. A move that, obviously, would not have been possible without moving his king first. "Even I have things I can learn from such a battle. Even now..." For a moment, as his attention refocused on the boardstate again, Keter almost looked sad, reminiscing on something long since passed. But it passed quickly when he remarked "Check" back to Enoch, his rook threatening the black king from across the board. Few pieces remained on the board, and the game's end was rapidly approaching.
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