• A silent darkness seeped into the recessed caverns of the throne-rooted ancient's mind. A calm demeanor spread across his face as he stared into the wonders the darkness held in the uncertain shadows displayed on the wall opposite him. His mind was elsewhere; wandering the endless forest infested with Kildren, infiltrating their spots of hiding and devising the appropriate means of disposing of the wretched beings. Another matter, a hollow voice echoed in the cavern of his mind, not now... Now, where is... Before he could finish his thought, a faint rasp came from the door opposite him on the same wall with the playful shadows that haunted his mind.

    "Enter." he commanded, his voice boomed as it ricocheted back to its origination with the intensity of a slight breeze, caressing the silver hair that had ambushed his once-black tresses several months back. A click was all the warning Jean had to close his eyes before the high door silently swung open, hall light flooding the dark he was accustomed to, stinging his eys with the intensity of the sun. "Ooms, please." Jean pleaded.

    "Apologies, My Lord; I am still unaccustomed to your preferences." he replied as he pushed the door shut. As he turned back around, a small smile flitted over the man's face, providing Jean with all the knowledge he needed: his sons had arrived. "My Lord, your sons have arrived. Safe and sound; as I promised."

    "You are dismissed, Ooms. Your services, as always, are appreciated." Jean motioned his wrist to the door.

    "My Lord." Ooms bowed his head ever so slightly. He exited, leaving the door slightly ajar as to allow access for the new visitors. Ooms' departing footsteps echoed ever so slightly against the marble floors and walls alike. Two pairs of heavier footfalls, inbound on his location, announced the presence of his two eldest sons: Kane and Verrik, no doubt bearing news as to their latest mission, everything going according to plan, he hoped.

    A short minute later the door slid farther open, two silhouettes of giants emerging from the light. As they entered the darkness, Jean's vision settled over them, revealing the fatigue they suffered through battle and travel. Kane's cocky demeanor revealed the outcome of their mission and the information Jean so craved, while the solemn expression that was Verrik's general character revealed nothing. Ever his favorite of the four, Jean always respected Verrik for putting work before pleasure, if he experienced such a thing.

    "Everything went well, I assume?" Jean directed the question more towards Verrik, yet, Kane being who he was, answered with the giddy spirit of a child.

    "Yes, Father. The encampment of Kildren down by Ko'Lara, the one Ooms mentioned, has been completely obliterated." he grinned as a villian would before a big heist. "We have more news, Father." Kane's smile widened. "A gift."

    "Oh?" Jean expressed with sincere surprise. Jean's eyes flicked to Verrik. Verrik's facade revealed nothing. "What treasure could possibly have come about that has you in such good spirits, Son Of Mine?" Jean allowed himself a small smile to spread across his face.
    "A minute," Kane bowed and dismissed himself.

    In the absence of his least favorite son, Jean jumped at the ability to have an intellectual conversation with his Warrior Son. "How do you fare, Verrik?"
    "All is well, Father. Another mission down. Another to come, I assume, by the look in your eyes." Verrik's eyes never left his father's.

    "You assume boldly, Son."

    "I assume correctly, nonetheless, yes?"

    Jean mused at the intellect held behind his greatest achievement. Kane returned promptly with two honor guards in tow, each having a hold in the side of an ordinary wooden chest, no longer than four feet across and two feet deep. Wonder gripped Jean as his imagination teased him with visions of undocumented treasures.

    "Behold, Father," Kane purred, "the greatest treasure of our land." He opened the chest top to reveal the most beautiful creation of craftsmanship and imagination; a sword made of unique components: a steel handle and hilt connected to an azure and amethyest blade with what looked to be energy surging through the entirety of the blade. It seemed as though water had been contained and forged into steel, creating a magnificant blend of art and mayhem. Still in shock, Jean could only ask, "For me?"

    "Yes, Father." his sons replied simultaenously.

    A sudden flood of a strange emotion surged through Jean's body and he found himself, somewhat outside of his natural state, relaying, "No... I cannot."

    The air seemed to vacuum itself to an unseen void as Kane gasped. The honor guards found themselves leaving before anything further occured that they might not want embedded within their minds; witnesses seem to have a short life span in this area of the world. Jean, once again, flicked his eyes to Verrik, confused. Verrik's demeanor had changed; he squinted as though looking at an unknown object in the far reaches of the realm. His eyes were directly on Jean. Again, his voice willed itself to speak for him, "Who found the object?"

    Kane's eyes fell to the floor. "I did, Father." Kane replied as calmly as he could as he crossed his shaking arms behind his lower back.

    "Verrik," Jean's head turned toward the son he was addressing, "I want you to have it."

    Kane's eyes widened as his nails sunk into the soft flesh of his palms. "F... Father?" he questioned, still shaking.

    "Quiet..." Kane directed his attention to his eldest son, "You have done well. Run along now, Son, I must discuss something with Verrik. Alone."

    "Y... Yes, Father." Kane bowed and dismissed himself, shutting the door quietly, shaking the entire time.

    "Father..." Verrik started.

    "Son," Jean interrupted, "you have another mission. One I cannot discuss publicly. Are you willing to accept this mission, no question asked?"

    A bried pause ensued before, "Yes, Father. Without question." Verrik bowed.

    "Good." Jean sat back in his chair. "I trust you will tell your brothers what they need to know. Now, take your gift and be here in one hour to discuss the plans of our new operation. You will be leaving out in the morning. Be gone." Jean commanded with a wave of his hand.

    "Yes, Father." Verrik bowed again and dismissed himself.

    Fathomless silence enveloped the throne-rooted ancient once again. Had he been more aware, Jean would have noticed a pair of non-matching eyes glaring at him from the corner of his vision. Yet, Jean Obreskus was not meant to notice; he was merely a pawn in a game much bigger than his rule as Emperor. He was merely a pawn...