Palacia Varius Savat [A Rama Empire short story]

"Ket Savat'Ilen Tekir, the saying went. The Goddess Ket Savat thirsts, and that usually meant for blood."

Almost four centuries have passed since the Craft Plague, and yet there is still one society where mage craft is still accepted and used. The Blades of Ket Savat are still thriving in the palace deep beneath Cahl's capital, carrying out their assassin work in the streets above.

Rohen is one of the Goddess' Blades, and one of her best assassins. He is firmly devoted to the Goddess ideals, but as the world changes, doubt flourishes. When you have to chose between home and work, both in the name of Ket Savat, how do you know your gods are even there?

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8. Part VII

"You were gone for three days!" Marissa shouted. "Where in mashkehen were you?"

"Doing a job," Rohen answered, slightly distracted. He was wringing his hair to get the last drops of water out of it, and attempting not to get too much in his ears. "It got complicated, I got bit by a dog, and I fell in the river. And I never ever want to work at a nobleman's wedding again. Those hairs on his-"

"Thank you, I don't need to know more!" Marissa interrupted, holding up a hand to his face. "The council met while you were away. Alherius and the others decided that since you never showed, you probably meant it when you said you didn't want to be a part of it any more."

Rohen looked at her, scowling.

"What did they decide this time around?" he asked, dreading the answer.

"They're considering closing off the west wing of the Palacia. There's also a bit of talk about forcing Werthius to retire from the upside work, but- He still won't go for it. He just agreed to do another job," Marissa informed him dryly. "So for now they're cutting down on the craft use, by stopping the water and air spells in the west wing, and telling Werthius not to light it up."

Rohen sighed.

It was true, the art of not being seen, of performing the perfect job, was a way of worshipping their goddess. Of helping her cleanse an unclean world, by letting the people above pay to destroy themselves and each other. There was a poetic justice in it, and to most of the Blades, it was something they enjoyed. Something that gave them a purpose. An art. But the best used mage craft, like he used the shadows and the bonds to get through obstacles, that would have otherwise kept his victims safe. The mage craft was the only reason they could do their goddess' work the way she wanted them to, because it was through one of Ket Savat's spells they knew whether or not they were allowed to kill their prey. There was a connection to the purity of the world through the craft, that those who feared magic would never understand. But was the craft and the creed worth abandoning the other half of what Ket Savat had given them?

The Blades were a large family. The underground palace was an entirely different world than the one above, filled with blue lights and beauty. It was a haven, a magical existence, that defied the dust, and sun, and yellow, of Cahl above it. There were no kings or queens down there. The Blade or the council may rule and make decisions, but at any time, the rest of the Blades had the option of vetoing their decisions in a large vote. Everyone down there was equal, the slight discrimination between bladeborn and streetborn not withstanding.

His inner conflict must have shown, for Marissa hurried to comfort him.

"We'll open it up as soon as some of the new trainees get the hang of the flare magics," she said.

"Good," Rohen stated. "This- Marissa we cannot let the Palacia go. It's too big a part of who we are. We'll scatter and diminish if we don't protect it."

"You shouldn't have left the council," Marissa said.

Rohen sighed.

"I just couldn't stand it any more. The constant fight against the fear, and the whole streetborn debate- Alherius will never see my side of it."

"But when you left, you gave up your voice," Marissa made clear. And then, as an afterthought, she added the sorrowful words that haunted him in the years to come.

"And I'm not sure Donharon and I speak loud enough on our own."

 

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A/N: Only two parts left to go. Major shout out to those of you who've followed and liked and faved. I would love to hear what you think about the story so far, as we enter into the last third of this short.

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