[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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9. Part IIX

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

Rohen loosened his grip on his dagger, and instead reached out to touch the nearest lantern. When his fingers came into contact with it, he tugged at the strings of energy tied into the symbols carved into the stone. It flared back into life. Around the palace – in too few places! - others did the same. It soon became clear that relighting the entire Palacia would be impossible.

Trepidation rose in Rohen's chest.

Something must have happened to Werth.

The lantern was heavy, but he carried it with him as he searched the hall of the Palacia for someone who could tell him what had happened. He was passing a balcony, their 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 might shatter.

Dania was crying.

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

“Dania,” he said, already hurrying to her. In a smooth motion, he sank down on his knees beside her, reaching out a hand to her shoulder in comfort, drawing her closer. “What happened?”

“They killed Wethius,” Dania gasped, tears streaming down her cheeks as she looked up from her empty hands. The lantern, forgotten on the floor, made the moisture on her face gleam softly and cast her in shadowy contrasts. “They caught him on the street, and when they saw the 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, screaming about magic and 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 shook her voice, and made her eyes wild. “He was alive!”

Everyone knew that an occasional stray magic user would be caught and burned without trial. It had happened, even to the Blades of Ket Savat in the years after the Craft Plague, but it had been years since the last one-

Rohen faltered.

Perhaps the council is 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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