the_once_and_future: (Sovereign of Britain)
Arturia ap Pendragon ([personal profile] the_once_and_future) wrote in [community profile] imperial_stage2012-08-05 01:10 am

Return of the King of Knights

Who: Arturia, any Briton, or anyone with a reason to be in Camelot
What: The Queen returns
When: 5 August, early morning
Where: Camelot, either in the courtyard outside the great hall or inside

It was the early hours of dawn, when the city began to wake from its slumber for a new day of work. The medallion of the sun hung low on the horizon, a brilliant magenta as it filtered through the rolling fog along fields of wheat, barley, and rye. Farm hands had just begun to lead their sheep and cattle out to pasture, and squires started their task of tending to the mounts of their knights. Apprentices to various trades were already performing the morning chores their masters tasked them with, occasionally dodging shopkeepers rolling up the curtains over their stalls. It was a day like any other.

It was into this idyll that the small company of knights rode, weary to the bone but none the worse for wear in spite of their previous battles. They had left behind their their families and friends to join the campaign; each knight's spirits were light if for no other reason that they would see their loved ones again. They were exhausted, but at long last, they were home. The Black Company had returned to Camelot.

The knight at their head dismounted with ease and grace, giving Llamrei a fond pat before a somewhat bewildered stable-hand led her away. The company followed suit, awaiting the dismissal of their leader. A final "huzzah!" heralded their departure, eager even in their weariness for their anticipated reunions. Yet, even in this otherwise joyous homecoming, Arturia ap Pendragon frowned slightly as her sea-green eyes scanned the courtyard, as if expecting to find something there that was conspicuously absent. But whatever she expected to see was not to be found.

Though every bit as weary as the knights she commanded, Arturia carefully suppressed any sign of it, deliberately presenting a vision of strength and poise for the sake of the subjects who needed to believe in her. The sovereign must be the rock upon which the kingdom rested; she must not show frailty and must exude all the virtues of chivalry at all times. Their victory must be nothing short of the expected outcome, as natural as the waves against the white shores of Gwaych, the province the Black Company had successfully defended from corruption.

With measured, graceful steps, the Queen of Britain made her way to the great hall.

[OOC: Prose or action tags are fine, whichever is your preference.]
greyerrant: (Grey Angel)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 05:53 am (UTC)(link)
A tremendous warrior in white battle-plate, which is as scarred as the man who wears it stands in the great hall, surrounded by a retinue resplendent in the cerulean colors of the warrior-kings of Ultramar. They hold massive, boxy guns of some make at high port, and are girt with gladiuses at their waists. The white-armored warrior keeps a similar weapon, though of older and more battered make locked to his leg-plates, and bears a huge, toothed blade in addition to the gladius, holding a horsetail plumed helm under one arm, and he starts with recognition of Arturia as she approaches, speaking in a deep voice.

"Arturia! You look like you have come from the wars, were you waylaid on the way back from Summer Court?" His gray eyes suggest a certain concern, though his huge, craggy face carries little expression. His bodyguard shows none at all, helms concealing everything behind ceramite and adamantine.

greyerrant: (Oathsworn Protector)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 06:17 am (UTC)(link)
"Captain!? It has been a long time since I have been called that title." He looks down at Arturia and rumbles, "Have you taken up history as a study, then, since my announcement a few days ago?"

He doesn't seem to notice the cold reception, his face revealing nothing for the moment, but the microexpression of her paling was a hint that something was amiss, so shifts his weight slightly, a palpable sense of readiness overtaking him. Where before he was just a quiet, waiting figure on a mission of conciliation, to reassure the King and Queen of Britain of his loyalties and the alliance with Rome, he can clearly sense something is amiss.
greyerrant: (Confused)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 06:40 am (UTC)(link)
"Could it be that you know me only with my helm on, as Nero's bodyguard Cerberus? It was my title, as was the Blade of the Rose Empress, but... you know me now as dictator of Rome. Strange. I was introduced to you some months ago when Nero came to visit you and Arthur."

And now he looks a bit puzzled as well. The readiness seems to dim, just as bit, as he speculates on her condition, "You were not struck by sorcery or some sort of sky-magicks, were you? I know such things can affect the mind, or bring forgetfulness."

His own madness in the Ruins of Istvaan were proof enough of that, for it was in those days that he was first known as Cerberus, the hound that guarded the gates of hell.

greyerrant: (The knight of shadows)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Loken's own shock manages to seep through slightly in his own expression, which is almost always dour outside of his small circle of councilors and honor brothers. How was this possible? He'd only been brought into this time by a summoning from Nero and Medea a few months ago. For a moment, he bristles with visible anger at the implication he betrayed Nero, his eyes blazing with something akin to fury. "No indeed, the Senate overthrew her, and she remained in Britain with her.... close assistant, Medea, despite my best efforts to make Rome receptive to her return. I slew all the traitors that sent assassins against her, sanctioned those that spoke against her in a particularly disloyal fashion, and maintained Rome as she would have had me do. I came here in part to seek her out for advice on what to do, because I have made a move to weaken the remaining Senators who were oppressing the plebeians in Rome by making them answerable with direct elections."

He shifts his weight, a suggestion of anger in his stance now, "And if you know your history, and your legends, then you know I was the last loyal man in a world of traitors, even as my own blood-father Horus turned against our blood-grandfather, the Emperor of Belka. Do you think I'd so easily sell my loyalty to Nero now, after she became my liege lord?" He locks eyes with her, bold, perhaps, but to question his loyalty and his honor is to question all that the last Luna Wolf has left.
greyerrant: (Squinty)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)
"Because I felt myself unworthy of the title of Imperator. There have only ever been 2 that I acknowledge the Emperor of Belka and the Rose Empress of Rome. The title of dictator is an old term, and in Rome is used in times of great conflict when a final arbiter is needed. It is a role suited only to be filled for a limited time, until a suitable successor can be found, or, as I had hoped, Nero returned. I took the name because it was one that the people of Rome have found acceptable in the past, before the Emperors, and because it appealed to me as a student of history. I would not stand at the same level as the Empress, or the Emperor, but I could stand as a leader in a time of need, with the clear understanding it was only until the crisis had passed."

He pauses, exhaling and inhaling, his face taking on a more grave, and less furious cast, "I do not know where she is. When last I spoke with her, you, or someone with your face and form, had appointed Nero General of Britain's armies, and she showed no desire to return to her duties as the Empress of Rome." He halts, stopping short of offering any criticism of Nero, except perhaps for the implied stain of shirking her duty, but that was unavoidable given the facts of the circumstance. He looks pained now, obviously even speaking this much about his liege lord's possible failings pained him, and the burdensome mantle of ruling a country has weighed heavily on this warrior's shoulders.
greyerrant: (Looking down.)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-05 09:11 pm (UTC)(link)
"I suspect you may be right. I have a link to her.... but of late it has somehow faded. It was my hope to pick up the trail here, and find and help her before it was too late."

He conceals his own concern. With his Master gone, Loken may not have much time left. So strengthening the ties between Rome and Britain were his only priority. "As far as recognition, I understand. Amestris and Sawa seem to be about to have a rupture, I watched the two co-Emperors and their treatment of each other closely, and I have... friends among the Sawan nobles that indicated things are about to take a turn for the worse. I came here to tell you to prepare for the possibility of a war within Dagaria, but you look to have just come from a fight against the Rift. Tell me, what sort of foes have you been fighting?"
greyerrant: (Squinty)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-06 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
"Indeed, but it is now gone." He shakes his head, a bit of the emotional and physical loss of his master momentarily bleeding into his expression, mostly around his eyes.

"If you need aid, I have raised a force specifically to fight the Rift Abominations known as the Crusade Company. They are from all over Dagaria, and I have seen fit to let Jeanne D'arc command them when I am occupied with my duties in Rome. I will send word to her, if there are still battles left to be fought."

He notices her paling, and is momentarily bemused, for Garviel is unable to feel fear entirely, it having been removed from his palette of emotions by conditioning and magical means. He assumes only shock, and perhaps disgust, and says to Arturia, "Something is wrong?"

greyerrant: (Grey Angel)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-06 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Garviel nods his head, somewhat reassured by her words. They are spoken like those of Sigismund the Black Knight, First Templar and Champion of his blood-uncle Lord Dorn, who Loken resembled in temperment in many ways more than his dramatic, flashy blood father, Horus Lupercal. To speak to Arturia is similar to speaking to an honor brother in the old days, and that is something that he can appreciate.

"More threats always will present themselves, until the Rift is closed. I suspect we'll always see corruption trickling forth slowly most of the time, with the occasional wave of foulness washing over the Riftguard countries."

Her words about the question of the impostor strike a chord in the grizzled Astartes, and he pauses, choosing his words carefully. "You have the oaths of myself and my brothers that none shall hear of this from us, until you give us leave to speak the truth. I... understand how difficult it is to known a dangerous truth, and be unable to spread it without causing a wider panic." He halts for a moment after that, thinking back to his undertaking to Aldurukh, and the mixture of treachery and loyalty that he'd found there, most of all he remembers the horror of seeing one loyal warrior of the Emperor cut another loyal knight down because of the need for secrecy. "My heart urges me to tell you to keep honor and tell as much of the truth as you can, and all of it if you dare. However, I have a suggestion. If you can find, expose, and properly sanction your impersonator before the news has spread too widely, or when you officially proclaim what has happened here that may well mitigate the effect. I am by nature a line soldier, a Captain of warriors, unschooled in the intricacies of politics, but I've been forced to learn how to handle..." Another pause, "Public opinion of late. Presenting your people with both the cause of their uncertainty and a properly punished criminal at the same time may wall prove to be advantageous, because it will reinforce your position as a strong and just ruler, even under difficult circumstances."

Garviel frowns, aware of a possible breach in protocol and says, "Forgive me, that must seem presumptuous. I am a warrior, and I speak to you as a warrior, but you are a monarch and I must honor and respect that." He bows deeply, in a gesture that seems apologetic somehow, bowing enough so that his fairly massive form, bulked out by his armor, is at least briefly bowing below Arturia's chin, somewhat dimunitive in size though she is compared to him."
Edited 2012-08-06 15:24 (UTC)
greyerrant: (The knight of shadows)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-07 03:28 am (UTC)(link)
"No, but I have a mind to ask the Arcaniss Institute if such a thing is possible. They managed to cure a plague in Dagaria with significant cooperation from the magical community, enlisting them in this endeavour ought not to be too difficult, particularly if I offer them permanent facilities in Onylith."

He walks with her, and while reassured by her words of equality, it would seem he is used to standing as an advisor in court, and a battle-captain in the field.

His face and form is cast into shadow as he looks away from the hearth for a moment. Arturia has taken him into her confidence in a significant way with such an admission, so he shares one with her, "I have known such strife with my kinsmen as well. My own mournival brothers slew each other at Istvaan, before the end. That is where my story ends, historically, though it was not the end of my life. Do you know where we could seek her out, to establish whether or not this was her doing, and to bring her to trial if it was?"

Edited 2012-08-07 03:28 (UTC)
greyerrant: (Grey Angel)

No worries.

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-10 04:01 pm (UTC)(link)
"I have an idea regarding that, and a weapon with which to enact an assault against the Rift, when the time comes, but the practical concern of how to mend the rift must be addressed before I shed the blood of Rome, or the Blood of the Crusade company to attack it, or there will be no lasting victory."

He nods, and seems inclined to say more, to sympathize from his own history, but thinks better of it, instead, standing silent and stoic. He simply looks at Arturia, trying to puzzle out what he can from her stance, her armor, her blade. Trying to see if there are differences in body language between the seeming impostor that he knew, and the real King of Knights.
greyerrant: (Confused)

[personal profile] greyerrant 2012-08-21 08:46 pm (UTC)(link)
"I believe we have an understanding then. I will bid you good day, and good luck in putting things to rights here. You have the oaths of me and my men already, so I expect we'll see each other again soon enough, in the field or at court."
He frowns, then decides to bow, clearly unsure of how to excuse himself from the presence of an equal. Most of the time he just says what he has to, then strides out, not thinking highly of Sawa or Amestris' ruler, seeing the regent of the Nameless states as a boy to be watched over, and seeing Char as a brother in arms, with all the easy comradeship and lack of formality that such a thing entailed. After the bow, he and his retinue begin to slowly withdraw, unsure if turning their backs on the King of Knights would be considered an insult, the armored sons of Ultramar walk a bit awkwardly back after their own bows.

meidokay: (Default)


[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-05 05:50 pm (UTC)(link)

Kay stood at the door, serving in place of the porter. None of the regular porters could be found on this day. She would have to remember to give them some raps on the head and shoulders later for making her assume their work.

"What manner of man comes here?"

The answer seemed to be almost obvious. It was her King and the king's knights returning to Camelot. But Kay had seen many manners of things during her years as a knight. Just from various magical mishaps alone, she knew that one could not tell an individual by mere appearance. She would need some proof before she could allow anyone, even the King, to enter the hall.
meidokay: (Default)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-05 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
"My liege."

Kay steps aside and curtsies. The shining sword is proof enough of the King's identity.

"The corruption has yet to reach Britain at this moment. But it is not the activity of the rift that brings me back."

Standing face-to-face with her king, Kay almost wonders if she has made the wrong choice.

"It was the rumor of your wedding."

Just this once, Kay had acted as a sister and not a knight. Familial love had overtaken her sense of loyalty. She wanted see the bride, and to see if they would be worthy of her King.

"I beg your forgiveness for this insubordination, but I could not help but be concerned about this."

She stops speaking at this point. The King knows her well enough to guess her reasons.
meidokay: (While he killed every third person)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-06 05:11 am (UTC)(link)
"Queen Consort, my liege. From her appearance, she is a regal-looking woman, but I have not associated with her long enough to know what she is truly like."

She had seen the woman but once, and even then, she had not been able to speak to her because of all the confusion caused by the two versions of her King. Of course, it also mattered not that this new consort was female. As long as her King was happy and safe, Kay had no complaints.

However, she in turn is confused by the King's confusion. Surely, the King would know something about this. Then again, given all the general confusion in the castle...

"Or perhaps I was mistaken. After all, there was...a copy of your majesty in the castle."

A copy whose figure was a little too well-developed.

"Perhaps she was the one being engaged to be married."
meidokay: (Arthur distributed gifts)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-06 05:07 pm (UTC)(link)
"And you are aware of my personality, my liege. I would not prank you on a matter so serious. Nor would I do it in the presence of your knights. Unlike some of those serving under you, I am not an undisciplined hooligan."

Though it does not show on her face, she is a little disappointed. She would expect such accusations to be directed at other knights, but not one that the King knew so well. Even disregarding the fact that they had grown up together, was Kay not the best maid in Britain?

"Cousin? Are you speaking of one of your biological relations? I was unaware that one of them would look so much like your majesty. I only wish that you had graced me with an explanation before departing for Summer Court."
meidokay: (Arthur distributed gifts)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-07 02:45 am (UTC)(link)
"...My liege, are you truly unaware of the Summer Court in the Imperial City?"

Kay frowns. Something strange is going on, and she has a hunch that she would not like the answer. She is so focused on this that she ignores the fact that she probably offended the Rose Empress on the first day of her return.

"Please, I implore you to answer me honestly. My liege, were you or were you not in Camelot alongside the Rose Empress when I first returned?"
meidokay: (Arthur distributed gifts)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-07 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
"Then...who was that?"

Try as she might, Kay cannot keep her voice from shaking. Someone or something had been in her King's--her sister's form inside the castle. And Kay had been completely deceived. Something had impersonated Arturia to the point that even Kay could not tell the difference.

"If it was truly an imposter, then please, forgive me. I was unable to recognize them as such."

She inches closer to Arturia. Part of her wants to wrap the younger woman in a hug, to confirm that this time, her King is real. But she stifles the impulse. It would not be behavior befitting a knight or a maid.
meidokay: (Default)

it's okay. I never mind late tags.

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-10 04:20 pm (UTC)(link)

For the moment, Kay is too shocked to be properly angry.

"Merlin should have been able to detect her."

Unless Merlin too had been compromised. Just the thought of it chills her to the bone. The usual smile had long since faded from her face, replaced by a grim expression.
meidokay: (Cuelli was found)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-21 09:13 pm (UTC)(link)
"Even Merlin..."

Merlin, the Wizard who had first declared Arturia King. Merlin, the one who had stood by Camelot during good and ill. Merlin, whose enchantments protected the land...

...And he was gone.

"How many knights are still accounted for? And what of the household staff?"

There were at least a few familiar faces, but at this point, she is not sure what can and cannot be believed.

"Should they be disciplined? Or interrogated to see if they know anything about Morgan's schemes?"

The smile is back on her face, but unlike the calm one that she wore before, this was a smile that promised terrible things.
meidokay: (When Celli was lost)

[personal profile] meidokay 2012-08-24 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)
In Kay's own mind, this assumption was not hot-headed. If anything, it was cold--a cold-hearted suspicion of everyone else. Even she, at times, found her own actions to be on the cruel side. Sometimes, she did wish she could stop suspecting others of either incompetence or betrayal. Heaven knows it would have made her more friends!

But for her, this ruthlessness was all part of her duty. She had to compensate for her King. Her noble, innocent, and pure King who, if anything, could be too trusting or forgiving.


Her killing intent mostly disappears. She knows that the King is being cautious, but it still strikes her as a little too merciful.

"Shall I prepare your toilet and clothing? Or perhaps your meat and chamber?"
xiao_lan_long: (-_-)

[personal profile] xiao_lan_long 2012-08-05 11:12 pm (UTC)(link)
An exhausted-looking young lady, still recovering from Summer Court, greeted the monarch once she was within the castle.

"Welcome back, Your Majesty," she said with a sleepy bow...before noticing that something is odd here.

"Er...did you just get back from Court, my lady? And do your hair differently?" she asked as politely as she could. A part of her noticed that, under the queen's usual impressive aura, something felt...different, and she was trying rather poorly to define it.
xiao_lan_long: (sad)

[personal profile] xiao_lan_long 2012-08-07 03:28 pm (UTC)(link)
"N-no, not really," Kusuha said, deferentially, "although I think one of us is confused. Um, it must be me."

But if Summer Court hadn't convened yet, why had she been in Imperial City getting beaten up by Lancer and Utena?

"Um...that is, in the interest of being a better knight, was there a battle I missed?" she asked. Normally things like that aren't a problem when you have a gift related to clairvoyance, but Kusuha knew enough to know that you never really know.
xiao_lan_long: (surprised)

[personal profile] xiao_lan_long 2012-08-11 07:06 pm (UTC)(link)
"Oh. A campaign..."

Kusuha may have been new to the whole military thing, but she was fairly certain you had to be gone for at least an entire season for it to count as a campaign, and the Rift had been fairly quiet since the mess with Avshar, at that.

"Er, how long was it you were gone for, your majesty?"
formerly_known_as_prince: (Default)

[personal profile] formerly_known_as_prince 2012-08-06 11:29 am (UTC)(link)
If Arturia's paying attention, she'll notice another girl in armor, waiting at the gates for an audience with her. Utena's armor is shabby and oxidized so badly it's hard to tell what the metal was originally. There are leaves in her hair. Clearly she's traveled a ways to be here and hasn't had more than a country stream to bathe in since. A hedge knight if there ever was one.

If acknowledged, she'll bow. "Your grace, I have heard of your foundation of the knights of the round table. I have come to ask to join."

But perhaps she's been paying attention and recognizes the girl who led the van for the Crusade Company when they drove out the dragon raiders.
formerly_known_as_prince: (looking up on stairs)

[personal profile] formerly_known_as_prince 2012-08-08 11:13 am (UTC)(link)
Utena cocked her head. The king seemed to be shocked. Had she come too early? Was she keeping her from royal business?

"I will pass any test put forth for me." She grinned. She was made for the passing of tests. Well one test in particular, but it was easy to go from that to almost any other kind. "I thank you, your grace." She bowed and got out of the way of the royal retinue, ready to hear the official proclamation when she announced it at the court.