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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9. Part VIII

In the blink of an eye, the underground palace plunged into darkness. Like one, the mage lights winked out and disappeared, followed by a strange hush of quiet, as every Blade in the Palacia froze in alarm.

Once Rohen managed to release the grip on his knife, he took a few steps to the nearest lantern, and laid a hand on it to relight it. Around the palace – in too few places! - others did the same, but it soon became clear that relighting the entire Palacia would be impossible.

Something must have happened to Werth, Rohen thought with a sting of trepidation

Carrying his lantern, he walked through the halls of the Palacia, searching for someone who could tell him what was going on. He was passing the balcony, when he heard muffled sounds from the shadows beside the pond.

There he found her, sitting where she always sat, huddled together as if she was afraid of shattering.

Dania was crying. The laughing, smiling, tough as nails, Dania, was shaking with unvoiced cries as she covered her face from the world.

“What happened?” Rohen asked, hurrying to her. In a smooth motion, he sank down on his knees beside her, reaching out a hand to her shoulder in soft comfort.

“They killed Werthius,” Dania said, tears streaming down her cheeks as she looked up from her empty hands. The few mage lights still lit, made the moisture on her face gleam softly, and cast her in shadowy contrasts. “They caught him out on the street, and when they saw his tattoos, they went mad! Just- mad...” A sob made her voice catch as she hid her face again, shoulders shaking.

“They beat him to death?” Rohen asked incredulously. “But he-”

“No! No! It was worse, so much worse!” Dania shouted. “They beat him, and screamed about mage craft and the plague and curses, and then they- They burned him, Rohen. Dragged him to the market square, and up on that dreadful pile of logs, and they- they sat him on fire.” Hysterics was entering her voice.

Everyone knew that an occasional stray magic user could be caught and burned without trial, and it had happened, even to the Blades of Ket Savat in the times after the Craft Plague, but for the last sixty years, no blade had been taken.

Rohen faltered.

Perhaps the council was right, and using the craft is becoming too dangerous, he thought.

“Breathe,” he told her, his hands reaching her cheeks and his fingers sliding over her jaw, as he drew her out of her hands. “Just- breathe.”

Shaking and sobbing, and breathing, Dania leaned into him and clung to him as if she was drowning.

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