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Nothing like a hearty execution to start the day...

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Larrs reveals his secret to Vaush....

At Gosselton Heights, evening had come and the servants bustled about their place of employment, preparing the evening meal.  This evening was of particular importance because the Czar

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While lying in bed, Vaush stared out the skylight at the glittering stars against the glassy, black canvas.  Sleep eluded her as a thousand questions inundated her consciousness.  The startling and unsettling revelation that she'd been adopted by the Bastionlis left her feeling destitute and forlorn.  Who was she?  Merely a child of a servant girl?  Preposterous! Larrs would sooner live in the streets before adopting a commoner into his family.  He was the very epitome of an elitist.  Why did Larrs really adopt her?

In the midst of all this, she learned that she was to marry Skarus, the man she believed for twenty-seven years to be her brother.  But why would Larrs want her to marry into his family?  Marrying a commoner into a royal family was unheard of, clearly an abominable disgrace to the family.  What political or financial advantage did this bring the family?  Why didn

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The celebratory mood quickly vanished from the room when Crausin received word that Count Recaban wished an audience with him.  Count Recaban had been given strict orders not to contact him under any circumstances during this critical period.  With the fall of house Bastionli, all eyes would turn to the Van Lavens.  It was not the time to remind the world that he had even the remotest dealings with the most notorious crime lord of the century.  The fact that the Count would risk coming to Worthridge Hall, nonetheless, told him that something had gone wrong, terribly wrong.

The two Dukes and Lord Relledon stood around the conference table in Crausin's private study, awaiting the arrival of Recaban.  Duke Overcrom detested the very notion of coming into contact with the loathsome Count, but like his two other accomplices, he was in the conspiracy up to his neck, so therefore, had no choice but to hear him.  Recaban was the only one who actually got his hands dirty, but he was also the link between the three and the destruction of the Bastionlis.  They were forced to deal with him as if he were one of their own.

"What could have possibly possessed him to request this meeting with the three of us?"  Overcrom asked disconcerted.  "Could he have chosen a more incriminating opportunity?"

"Something's gone wrong," Crausin said gruffly.

"That's preposterous!"  Relledon fearfully exclaimed.  "The plan was executed without a hitch.  All bodies were accounted for just moments before the detonation.  The house of Bastionli is forever abolished."

"But have all the bodies been accounted for in the aftermath?" Crausin inquired.

A shiver crept up Fera Relledon's spine.  He cringed at the thought of Larrs surviving the explosion and raining down his full ire upon his betrayer.  "I'm certain that it is just a matter of time before they are all accounted for."

"They'd certainly better.

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Crausin mobilized and deployed over half the Nethicaen fleet in pursuit of their prince.  Concern for the stability of Nethic was the only reason the other half remained behind.  Crausin, himself boarded the flagship, The Valiant.  It was imperative that he found Comron before Recaban could exact his own brand of revenge upon him.  Comron would be severely dealt with, but it would come at Van Laven hands. He

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Warmth spread through Comron's body, bathing him in luxurious comfort. He felt himself being pulled down deeper and deeper into currents of unconsciousness.  His head seemed to swim and his body floated in weightlessness.  The sensation was foreign, yet somehow familiar.  Was he ill or perhaps dying?  No, it was something else he'd experienced before.  The fog in his head seemed to lift a bit as he recognized the sensation.  I

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Lest, she be overcome by emotion, she tried not to think of dear Nephtiri and her two precious children.  Her heart even wept for Skarus.  It angered her that the perpetrators cleverly designed the assassination to look like a terrorist attack.  She vowed that if she ever came into to power, she

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After taking extreme precaution to lose any spies, Comron headed back to the cruiser where Vaush was hidden.  It was snowing hard again making it difficult to even locate the cruiser. His foray into the city had proved fruitful.  He managed to make contact with someone who sell them a ship without asking too many questions.  As to whether or not this man could be trusted remained to be seen.  But they had little choice.  They had to leave Anchorii as quickly as possible.  He saw too many signs that Recaban

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The meeting to transact for transportation turned out to be an ambush.  Comron and Vaush barely escaped with their lives as they dashed out of the abandoned warehouse and into an adjacent building.

As soon as they turned the corner they ran into a small squad of Recaban

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All of a sudden three armored vehicles roared into the area.  The doors flew open, spilling out dozens of armed soldiers.  Comron recognized them as imperial guard.  Thalonius

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As Vaush slept, she dreamed only of life prior to Comron, prior to their fateful meeting on Patheis.  Life was simple and uncomplicated then.  She lived to ease the suffering of others, taking little time to indulge her own desires.  Her muted passion was to know at the end of it all, the world was a better place because she had existed. 

Her eyes fluttered open. It took her a moment to focus in the dark cabin.  Disoriented, she pushed herself up on the cot she

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Comron fought for control as certain death loomed before them.  He thought of Vaush, having some comfort that she would reach Novoxos.  He thought of Crausin, and was grieved that there

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Standing aboard the flagship of the Nethicaen fleet, Crausin stroked his chin as he stared out the window of his stateroom.  He was alarmed to find stubble on his chin, reminding him that he

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The armed guards escorted Vaush down the corridors of the battle cruiser named The Emperor

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In less than an hour, the Argus would arrive at the rendezvous point with the Earl De Qilar.  Comron wisely utilized his time acquainting himself with the weapons system.  If Crausin was correct, they

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