Chapter 5 - Heir to the Clan

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Heir to the Clan
Moonless Age chapter
Postcard Chapter 5 - Heir to the Clan.png
Main characters
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Chapter 5 chronicles Ariel's final efforts to prove herself to her mother, Quain'tana, and to exact revenge on Miir'kin for his failed attempt on her life.


Summary

Kel'noz's Departure

Having successfully recruited allies to help her defeat, Ariel continued to train herself in preparation for their confrontation from within the relative security of the Sarghress Fortress. While able to grant Ariel an opportunity to attack Mir'kiin by arranging the boy's expulsion from Orthorbbae, Kel'noz was unable to linger, having to return to his duties within the school. As he departed, he offered Ariel some parting advice and words of encouragement, promising to return one day to continue her education.


Rikshakar insists Ariel deal with Mir'kiin by herself.[1]

Capturing Mir'kiin

The very next day, Ariel returned to the Orthorbbae bridge, accompanied by Vaelia and Rikshakar. Though Ariel repeatedly affirmed Vaelia to be free, the Emberi woman insisted on accompanying Ariel despite the difficulty caused by her recent injuries. Rikshakar treated Vaelia's efforts with contempt, mocking her for her weakness, nearly causing a confrontation between the two before Ariel interceded.

Moments later, Mir'kiin approached, furious over his expulsion by Kel'noz and angrily declaring that he would have Kharla'ggen turn him into a puppet, though he was forcibly silenced by his own bodyguard's abusive treatment. Recognizing Ariel, yet ignorant of her intent, he mocked her once more. Ariel responded by ordering Rikshakar to attack, and the experienced gladiator made short work of the Vloz'ress mercenary accompanying the young boy. However, as Ariel ordered him to next deal with Mir'kiin, Rikshakar unexpectedly refused, insisting the "little dragon girl" handle it herself.

As Ariel's fear made her hesitate, Mir'kiin cheerfully declared that she was alone, drawing his knife and threatening to stab her once more. An initial attempt by Ariel to attack him with a bolt of mana succeeded only in singing the boy's hair, he retaliated with a bolt of nether. With Vaelia's encouragement, Ariel was able to deflect the attack with her air affinity, forcing Mir'kiin to fall to the ground. Before he could recover, Ariel trapped Mir'kiin in a headlock and armlock, surprised to find that she had grown to be physically stronger than him. With Ariel threatening to kill him if he did not drop his knife, Mir'kiin finally surrendered.

Ariel stands traumatized by her execution of Mir'kiin.[2]

Innocence Lost & Heir to the Clan

Having defeated and captured Mir'kiin, Ariel brought him before Quain'tana to prove her worth as an heir. Scornfully, Quain'tana noted the boy to be defeated but alive, instructing Ariel to kill him at once. As Ariel protested that she couldn't truly kill him, Quain'tana forcefully reminded her of her earlier desire to kill Syphile, asking if she sought only to kill those of her clan and coldly challenging her to duel a nearby Sar'nel to the death, if that were the case. Insisting that Ariel would have to kill time and time again as her heir, Quain'tana restated her order to kill Mir'kiin. Despondent and with her fellow Sarghress' encouragement, Ariel slowly moved to pull a sword from a nearby weapon rack, before Quain'tana roughly handed her a mace more suited to the task.

Realizing he was truly about to die, Mir'kiin moved to flee, but was crippled by an initial strike to his leg. Though he managed a brief desperate threat, his shouts quickly turned to screams and whimpers as Ariel continued to strike, her inept blows butchering the boy with an excruciatingly slow inefficiency. The deed done, Quain'tana praised Ariel as her daughter, sympathetically stating the first kill to be the hardest, yet stressing the need to be ruthless to survive. Standing and declaring Rosof, Nei'kalsa, and Mandroga to be witnesses, Quain'tana formally declared Ariel to be her heir.[3]

Outraged, Mandroga expressed his disbelief that Ariel was truly Quain'tana's daughter, noting Quain'tana's barren status. He further reminded Quain'tana of his own daughter's status as her heir, noting the many sacrifices and longs years of service his house had provided. Angrily, Quain'tana affirmed Ariel's blood relation, noting tests of her blood and aura could prove it, and further taking Mandroga's insinuations as an insult.

Dissension Within

Despite Rosof's assurances that Koil'dorath would remain Quain'tana's second-in-command, retaining her rights and privileges, Mandroga remained silently seething. Ignoring his frustration, Quain'tana declared Ariel to receive both lands and the protection of the Fallen Legion. Mandrogo questioned if the lands granted were those that had belonged to Laele'aell, but Quain'tana replied that they were in fact those currently belonging to Syphile, as she held hope that Laele'aell would recover. Attempting to push his house's agenda again, Mandroga suggested Koil'dorath's Assault Legion instead be Ariel's guardians. Frustrated by his refusal to drop the matter and his attempts at manipulation, Quain'tana abruptly and threateningly ordered him to leave.

Following his departure, Rosof grimly noted that were Quain'tana to fall, Ariel's life would be forfeit were she in his care. Wearily, Quain'tana agreed, admitting she had not believed he would be as difficult to push aside when years ago declaring his daughter her heir. As Quain'tana lamented feeling burdered and trapped by her clan's politics, unable to take to the battlefield, Rosof reminded her of her importance to the clan; were she to fall without a suitably trained heir, the clan would shatter.

Finally recovering enough to speak and addressing Quain'tana directly, Ariel pleaded to have a request granted. Informing Quain'tana of Vaelia's efforts and loyalty even after being freed, she asked if the Emberi warrior could be made one of her personal guard. Quain'tana readily agreed, stating that even goblins could prove loyal companions. From the side of the scene, Nei'kalsa praised Sar'nel for his composure in the face of the unfolding drama. Yet inwardly, Sar'nel noted that if even Quain'tana could be so sorely burdered by politics, Ariel would need strong companions at her side.[4]

Inheriting Syphile's Lands

Shortly later, when learning that her lands had been given to Ariel, Syphile reacted with her typically petulant rage. Though she attempted to forbid her administrator from leaving and implied a level of ownership over him, he coldly asked if she even knew his name. As she struggled and failed to recall his name from memory, he lectured her regarding her complete disregard for her lands and those she was responsible, expressing a lack of surprise at her recent disinheritance.

Sighting Ariel and moving aggressively while blaming her for her recent losses, Syphile was interrupted by the presence of Myo'na and Jiv'kyn, a pair of Fallen Legionnaires assigned as Ariel's personal guard. Her anger overtaken by a degree of fear and uncertainty, Syphile instead ordered those present to leave her room. Jiv'kyn responded that Ariel now owned her rooms as well, succeeding in provoking her into even more of an outrage before admitting he was merely teasing her. Seeing her former abuser humiliated greatly amused Ariel, but her laughter was interrupted by Syphile's former administrator. Introducing himself as Niende, he informed Ariel of their respective rights and duties regarding the lands she had inherited, describing them in no small detail. With the promise of Niende and Jiv'kyn to train her properly, Ariel began to feel hope for the first time in many years.[5]

Jiv'kyn describes Laele'aell's past.[6]

Laele'aell

As Ariel left for Orthorbbae, accompanied by Myo'na and Jiv'kyn, she was left with the unsettling feeling of being watched. Voicing this feeling to her wards, they revealed that it was a common reaction the presence of Laele'aell. Having heard the name several times before, Ariel asked the pair who she was. Jiv'kyn revealed that Laele'aell was an older daughter of Quain'tana, born long before Ariel. Having been everything Quain'tana had wanted in an heir, she had groomed Laele'aell into a position of leadership, accompanied by warriors trained alongside her since their childhoods, the Fallen Legion. Exceptionally talented and popular among the common soldiers, Quain'tana had found her perfect heir. As Ariel asked what had happened to her, both soldiers grew quieter, insisting the tale was not theirs to tell, suggesting Ariel ask Quain'tana herself if she wished to hear the story. The issue troubled Ariel, though she would very soon have more pressing matters on her mind.

Losing Faen

Ariel lashes out in grief and anger.[7]

Arriving at Orthorbbae at last, the trio was surprised to find an enormous gathering at the gates of the facility, the courtyard crowded with students and teachers alike. Concerned, Ariel had little time to gather her thoughts before Chrys'tel forced her way through the crowd, accompanied by her sister and demanding to know where Faen was. Though Ariel informed the pair that she had not seen Faen recently, both Sharen children maintained a hostile demeanor, blaming Ariel for filling Faen's head with "stupid idea". As Myo'na interceded to prevent the argument from escalating, the two sisters left. Jiv'kyn then returned, reporting the reason for the choas: A student had slain a teacher and severely wounded a fellow student, and the school had been evacuated until the offender could be located.

Running off to locate Master Tralyn, she pleaded with him to tell her that it was not Faen that the school was looking for. Grimly, Tralyn confirmed it was, handing Ariel a letter Faen had entrusted with him before fleeing the school. Within, Faen outlined her best recollection of events leading up to the incident, her powers snapping under the strain she had been suffering and leading to the death of her teacher. Though Tralyn had saved her from being found and executed, Faen knew she was not likely to escape the wrath of the Sharen, even if she took refuge with her clan. Instead, she had opted to flea to the surface, hoping to find a new life and yet still see Ariel again one day.

Though Yafein attempted to comfort Ariel, suggesting they might meet Faen and bring her back, Ariel's grief overcame her. Remembering his failures as a friend, she lashed out in anger, decrying the young boy as useless. Having lost her only true friend and alienated another, a heartbroken Ariel returned to her guards, intent on returning to the Sarghress Fortress.

Characters

Main Characters

Portrait Ariel Val'Sarghress arc1.png
Ariel is a young girl that is trying to live up to her mother's high expectations.
Portrait Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress.png
Mir'kiin is a crude bully that tried to kill Ariel when the attended school together.



Other Supporting Characters

Portrait Vaelia Arc I.png
An injured human slave that Ariel purchased and later freed, Vaelia promises to stay by Ariel's side to protect and encourage her.
Portrait Kel'noz Val'Sarghress.png
Kel'noz is Ariel's older brother. He gives her final words of advice before her fight with Mir'kiin.
Portrait Rikshakar.png
Rikshakar is a half-dragon gladiator that Ariel has convinced to fight by her side.
Portrait Quain'tana Val'Sarghress.png
Ariel's mother and Ill'haress, Quain'tana passes judgement on Ariel's right to be heir to the Val'Sarghress clan.
Portrait Mandroga Nori'fu Sarghress.png
Mandroga is Koil'dorath's father. He witnesses Quain'tana's declaration of Ariel as her daughter and heir.
Portrait Rosof Tions Sarghress.png
Rosof is the head of the Tions subhouse. He witnesses Quain'tana's declaration of Ariel as her daughter and heir.
Portrait Sar'nel Tions Sarghress arc1.png
Sar'nel is Rosof's grandson of Ariel's age. He is the boy that helped Ariel survive the towers tournament at Orthorbbae.
Portrait Nei'kalsa Tions Sarghress.png
Nei'kalsa is Sar'nel's sister and tutor.
Portrait Syphile Val'Sarghress.png
Ariel's old caretaker, Syphile is a dishonored noble in the Val'Sarghress clan.
Portrait Niende Sarghress Arc I.png
Niende is the Sarghress administrator that managed Syphile's lands. He is now Ariel's scholar.
Portrait Myo'na Sarghress.png
Myo'na is a member of the Fallen Legion whose duty it is to protect Ariel.
Portrait Jiv'kyn Sarghress.png
Jin'kyn is a member of the Fallen Legion whose duty it is to protect Ariel.
Portrait Laele'aell Val'Sarghress.png
Laele is Ariel's older sister who has lost her mind to a demon. She trails Ariel on the road to Orthorbbae.
Portrait Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Chrys'tel was Faen's roommate in school. She blames Ariel for Faen's weakness.
Portrait Shinae Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Shinae is Chrys'tel's loudmouthed protector twin.
Portrait Tralyn the Clanless.png
Tralyn is a headmaster at Orthorbbae that Ariel trusts.
Portrait Yafein Val'Sullisin'rune arc1.png
Yafein is Ariel's cowardly friend.
Portrait Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune arc1.png
Faen is Ariel's best friend who has fled to the Overworld.



Background Characters

Portrait Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Naal can be seen in the crowd of students when Ariel arrives at the school.
Portrait Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Kiel can be seen in the crowd of students when Ariel arrives at the school.
Portrait Nau'kheol Vel'Sharen arc1.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Nau can be seen in the crowd of students when Ariel arrives at the school.
Portrait Laan's sixth born Arc I.png
A student at Orthorbbae, she is knocked aside as Chrys'tel moves to confront Ariel.
Portrait Gailen Val'Nal'sarkoth arc1.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Gailen can be seen near the steps Tralyn is standing on.
Portrait Sorane'saniil Val'Illhar'dro arc1.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Sorane can be seen near the steps Tralyn is standing on.
Portrait Dra'jyal Kal'yantra arc1.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Dra'jyal can be seen near the steps Tralyn is standing on.
Portrait Khal'harror Val'Beldrobbaen arc1.png
A student at Orthorbbae, Khal can be seen near the steps Tralyn is standing on.





This article reflects events up to chapter 4.

Sources:

  1. chapter 5 page 8
  2. chapter 5 page 16
  3. chapter 5 page 17
  4. chapter 5 page 20
  5. chapter 5 page 20
  6. chapter 5 page 27
  7. chapter 5 page 33