"It's fine. There are only three kinds of people that make me angry in the world, Lieutenant; Liars, idiots, and murderers." He shook his head from side to side quickly and tapped the table. "Hurry up and pick a game! It'll be at least an hour before we reach the Sunken Ramparts." Noru rolled his eyes and smirked, eyeing Lyullia and Pyra. They seemed a little constrained, even more than he was. It served as a reminder to keep his composure tight, and undiminished. The dark haired Lieutenant straightened his back again and folded his hands together, waiting for the game to start.
* * *Around that same time...
Arcadia - Ivory pillar, The Holy Chamber
Very few got a chance to step foot into the Paladin order's holiest chamber. It was a room of splendor and holiness from which the highest ranking Paladins organized their missions across Thoris, and spoke with Maeti himself.
It was certainly the central hub for all things holy,
but that whole shtick about being able to directly speak with god himself
had never been true. It was a rumor in its entirety, one that the Paladin's themselves have denied. Exodar Ramsey
has himself made it clear on multiple occasions that it is a nonsensical tale of wonderment brought up by children and fools. Many refuse to believe him, but with so many pressing matters to attend to as the head of the Paladin order, and
the leading General of Arcadia's armies, Exodar allows the people to believe what they want. It doesn't harm the order, nor do they reap benefits from a few misguided children of god. The same could not be said for the offshoots of Maeti's following in Marrenfall. Those wretched churches
have clung to that myth with gusto, claiming that Maeti communes with all Paladins. Prayers will be answered, wishes will be granted, wealth will come, sickness will go, all in exchange for prayer and reparations.
... Drivel, the lot of it! It was a chain of nastiness that preyed on the weakness of Maeti's people. If relations between Arcadia and Marrenfall were not so important, Father Ramsey would have seen to the end of those terrible 'houses of god' himself ages ago!
"Father Ramsey," A woman called from the entryway of his holy chamber, slowly making her way across the red velvet carpet leading from the entrance, to Maeti's holy shrine at the room's other end. She wore a shimmering set of marked armor, bestowed to only the highest ranking Paladins of Arcadia's order. Silver plating covered every inch of her body, hiding all features beneath a sheen that refracted light brilliantly. "I've received word that the last of our Caravans are set to leave within the next two hours." Exodar was lost in thought. He knelt before the shrine to Maeti, donning his hefty golden armor with closed eyes and a puzzled look smeared across his face. The woman paused mid-way through the room, and rested herself on one of the stone pillars that lined each side of the velvet path. "Sir? did you hear me?" Exodar opened his eyes like he'd awoken from a dream.
"I heard you, Lisandra.
"Then will that be all?" Colonel Lisandra Birukov
, Ramsey's personal assistant for lack of a better term, crossed her arms impatiently while she adjusted herself. The woman wasn't fond of the Paladin's garb. Most Paladin's weren't, but it was part of the job. Uniform was uniform, no matter your rank. "Will. That. Be. All?"
"Yes, yes! Bloody hell, woman, I don't need a scolding. I've enough on my mind."
"As per usual, sir." Lisandra turned away and began to make her way out of the chamber, when something forced her to turn back. Exodar was still hunched over with his back to her. "Sir, is there any particular reason you've wanted updates on Caravan activity, recently? Miss Eridal is overqualified
in her management of the situation." Exodar sighed, and slowly rose to his feet.
"Lisandra, I'm a careful man. Thoris has become a right dreadful
beast as of these past two decades." He turned towards her with a tired look in his eyes as he began making his way out of the room as well. He passed Lisandra as he spoke, and she began to follow him side-by-side. "Paladins have been dropping like flies, men and women die daily
out in the wilds to threats that hadn't been so much of an issue for over 1000 years, and the king has been ever so persistent
in reminding me of my failures. We've not recruited any new Paladins for two years,
and those dreadful churches
in Marrenfall continue to anger Maeti with their misdeeds." Lisandra kept one eye locked on Exodar's face through the slit in her helmet. The man's grey hair and gruff features only served to accentuate his stress.
"On top of all of that, I'm supposed to be in charge of the entirety of Arcadia's military.
My job doesn't demand much during times of peace, but I pay a tax - that in the form of my love for this Nation's people and her prosperity - a tax that weighs heavily on my conscience day in, and day out." He stopped suddenly at the chamber's exit and looked Lisandra dead in the eyes. "Is it then, so confusing,
that I'd like to know when our people are being sent against the forces of nature?" He glared at her impatiently. There was a manner of doubt in Lisandra's heart to Exodar's true intentions. It didn't add up in her head.
"No sir," She gasped quietly. There was no reason to press the matter any further. Exodar was an overly kind man, and there was much that she didn't understand. Recently with all of the happenings in Arcadia, part of her could understand his unusual demeanor. It still bothered her to no end. Exodar sighed and walked off, leaving his assistant to think over his words. "Not at all..."