[Completed] Palacia Varius Savat [A Rama Empire short story]

“Ket Savat'Ilen Tekir, the saying went. The Goddess Ket Savat thirsts, and always for blood.”

Almost four centuries have passed since the Craft Plague, but in the underground palace of the Assassins' Goddess, magic still flourishes. The Blades of Ket Savat still exists deep below the streets of Ilianril, and carry out their work in the houses above.

Rohen is a Blade of the Goddess, and skilled at what he does. He is firmly devoted to his people and his home, but as the outside world changes, so does the one in the underground palace- How can you trust in a Goddess, when you no longer trust her people to do right?

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3. Part II

Ket Savat'Ilen Tekir, the saying went. The Goddess Ket Savat thirsts, and always for blood. Blood like the bonds hooked into Rohen's skin with black ink, the magic that tickled his senses and made him the perfect killer: Blood like he had spilled on marble floors for the Goddess, just the day before.

Oh yes, the Goddess of Cahl's hidden caves, the mother of our people, certainly has her cruel streak, Rohen admitted to himself and rolled a piece of bread between his fingers. He had kneaded the soft material into a tiny ball. Though I suppose I am not the person to judge. He popped the mashed bread in his mouth, chewing softly, looking out over the underground palace. Pure light, blue and white, lit up the entirety of it from artfully carved lanterns.

Built beneath the streets of Ilianril, the Palacia Varius Savat was a wonder few had ever laid eyes on. None but the Blades of the Goddess was allowed to wander its corridors, and only they knew the secret pathways into the dark. Rohen had been born there, the son of two of best assassins, and they had raised him in these underground halls. To him, the walls of dark grey marble and black obsidian was as familiar as the ink on the back of his hand. The mage lights were everywhere, banishing the darkness, and allowing for blossoming gardens to be tended and butterflies to thrive. Palacia Varius Savat was one of the few places where mage craft was still practised, undaunted by the mage hunts above ground.

Rohen rose to his feet, brushing off the left overs of dinner from his pants, and adjusted the daggers by his sides. The blades were curved and edged with the same symbols as on his hands, tying them to him and his mage craft. They had once been his parents'.

“You're leaving already?” Dania asked in surprise, looking up from her own hoist of fruit and bread.

He answered her with only the barest sound of confirmation, glancing at her. Goddess, that woman is a treat to behold. Her hair a black waterfall and her skin more golden than olive. Her body was slender, her curves subtle, and her eyes greener than the butterfly palms in the palace gardens. Turning his head he left her on the balcony, where they had dined together, cursing internally against himself. He had never been good at showing affection, but if any had his, it was Dania.

Dania was streetborn, not bladeborn. Her mother had been a dreamgiver in the lower city of Ilianril, a prostitute, and not even she knew who Dania's father was. They only knew that he must have had some measure of craft, because Dania had awakened hers young, and her magic was strong enough that the Goddess had called her to the Blades. She had not grown up being taught the craft, and had only passed her initial teaching a few moons ago.

Suddenly Rohen felt something attack him, and he ducked to avoid the projectile. His fingers grasped one of the small knives hidden in his arm guards, as he turned swiftly around. Another date flew by him, and he blinked. She had thrown her food at him!

“What the-”

“You could at least give me a proper answer,” she snapped, springing to her feet. With decisive motions she wrapped up the rest of the food in a piece of cloth, and packed it away in one of her many pockets. A few bread crumbs was wiped into the pond beside her former seat, creating ripples as the reklera fish moved to eat them. “Instead of harrumphing like an old man.”

“You threw a date at me!” he protested indignantly. “I could have thrown back a knife before you'd know what happened!”

“Oh please,” she laughed. “I'd have dodged well before then, and you know it. Any good Blade would.”

And she is good, he admitted to himself. He sighed, and shook his head.

“Of course. Whatever you say.”

“Where're you rushing off to?” she asked him pointedly. “Got somewhere better to be?”

“Council meeting,” Rohen told her, shrugging. He lifted a hand in goodbye as he turned his back again and walked away. “I'll see you later.”

“I'll hold you to that,” Dania said smugly.

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