[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?


4. Part III

“Do we take in any more mages from above?” Alherius asked, drawing Rohen out of his near comatose boredom, and into a place of annoyance.

“Of course,” he said. “We need them, and they need a place of safety, with the mage hatred above-”

“But they bring danger to us,” Alherius interrupted. “Every time we take one in, we risk them revealing where we are, and how we do our craft. We risk them destroying everything that defines us, with their weak blood and their weak magic. It was because of a streetborn that they caught and burned a Blade those fifty years ago.”

Fifty years ago, yes. But Ket Savat has always forged her Blades both in her palace and in the streets above. If we start changing that, we are spitting on her path,” Rohen argued. “Besides, we do need them! Our magic is disappearing and fewer and fewer are born with the craft-”

“Exactly,” Marissa said calmly. “That's another reason we can't keep taking them in. We no longer have the people to teach them control. Just last week, Dania tried to do a simple light spell, and there's still scorch marks on the floor where she stood.”

“Besides, it's probably their blood which is watering down our craft,” another spoke. “Not that it matters, if we stop using it. We might need to consider that, with the burnings and the hunts picking up again at the southern border.”

“The border is far away,” Rohen protested.

“We'll take a vote,” Marissa said, trying to calm him and the others. “It's the right way for the council.”

“It wasn't always,” Rohen growled. “If The Blade hadn't died-”

“But she did!” Marissa hissed. “My sister is dead, and since the Goddess have not chosen another leader for us, the council's rulings are absolute. Unless you want to call a public vote?”

“A public vote wouldn't help any, and you know it,” Rohen said bitterly. “There's too many who think like you. Who are too scared to do right by the Goddess. If this is how we act as a council, I don't want any part of it-” He stood up. “- Our mage craft was gifted by Ket Savat, and we shouldn't be ashamed to use it! Nor should we be keeping out the streetborn who has it. Dania is one of our best assassins, and we need more like her. If there are streetborn who has the craft, why shouldn't they be called to the Blades?”

These strangers will ruin us!” Alherius snapped. “They'll reveal us through some folly, and dilute our heritage, our culture! What would you do when they start catching us upside, and bring shame on our Goddess? You know what they do to craft users. Even those of Savat.”

“What's the premise of the vote, exactly?” Donharon cut in.

“We'll vote to stop our intake of streetborn for the time being, until the resources needed to train them becomes available,” Marissa said firmly. Rohen recognised her attempt to make the decision temporary, but felt that in reality, it would not be.

There were nods around the table, as people leaned back in their chairs, brows furrowed.

“Those for?” Marissa asked, and people raised their hands. “And against?” New hands went up, as others went down. Rohen's was among the raised, as was Donharon's.

“Seven for, five against,” Alherius tallied. “The motion stands.”

I won't be part of this,” Rohen said, rising again. “Find yourself a new Akhere.”

“Rohen-” Marissa called, a soft pleading in her voice. She reached for his arm, fingers curling to keep him seated. “Don't do this, not for a single vote-”

“It's not about the vote,” Rohen growled, and left.

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