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[PK] Sovereign's Last Breath


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Beneath the stars, in the wastes beyond the druid’s grove, an aging man stood. Ornately carved wooden crutches were propped beneath his arms, and the pastel purple shirt he wore caked with red sand from his tiresome journey. His mustache was still trimmed in the same fashion as ever, though seemed to be less full. Twisted, gray-barked trees stood silently around a motionless pond, and the signs of a makeshift structure sat up ahead. Gail Cordius, the retired sixth sovereign of Talon's Port limped through the tall grass, having reached the small, red marking on the map he had been summoned to.

 

“Briala?” Called out the recognizable voice of Gail, though the booming tone once dominated any space sounded far more quiet, weaker, now.

 

“Here.” Gail’s friend of decades called out in turn, beckoning him towards the encampment. Beside Briala, a fennic fox was curled up in a peaceful rest. Gail wandered towards the clearing by the lakeside, letting out a haggard breath, clearly labored from the exhaustion of such a long journey. As he approached the structure, he stiffly lowered himself to the ground, back against one of rough wooden posts for support.

 

The two sat in silence for a moment, dry wind shaking the leaves above them as Briala shifted her palm to rest behind her and propped herself up on it, “You lost a limb.”

 

Shifting his gaze downwards towards his amputated leg, Gail nodded minutely allowing a soft sigh to slip through his lips as moonlight danced over the pond, “That I did… some years back, in the Talon's Port tavern, a band of mercenaries entered the city. I don't know if they acted on their own accord, or were hired, but they attempted to kill me… I managed to hold my own until the militia arrived… but, as I tried to shift from the corner I had backed myself in, I ended up falling to the ground from another wound… trapped.” Silence reigned once more as Gail recalled the event, “As I fell… I would have died, but a halfling threw themselves at the attacker… a citizen. They knocked them back a step so that their warhammer only shattered my leg…” Gail sucked in a breath, closing his eyes and speaking quietly after a moment of silence, the hint of a tear rolling down his cheek, “…they died to save me…”

 

Briala shuffled forward, gently placing an arm around Gail's shoulders in an attempt at comforting her old friend. “They... They did what they thought was right for Talons Port. They cared for you, and the city.”

 

His head hung low as more tears rolled down his face, “I don't even remember their name…” He croaked, racked with guilt, “They gave their life for me, and I don't remember anything about them… sacrificed themselves because they cared that much for my vision of that city….”

 

The forget-me-not druid looked up at Gail with her brows set stubbornly, “And I am sure they would do it over and over again with no regrets. To them, you were worth it. And because of them, your wife still has a husband and your child still has a father.”

 

“I met their cousin… he walked up to me in the square, and asked where that man was…” Gail was slumped against the makeshift structure, “What do you think that does to me? Having to tell somebody that their family member died defending me? Because of me? That I was alive because their cousin was not?” Gail's voice sounded broken as he kept his head in his hands.

 

The druid fell silent then, a deep sigh emanating from her, “I'm not wise. Not even smart, really. I learned to read at thirty. But, I know I would give my life to protect someone like you. You're good. Wholeheartedly, without a doubt, good. There are few people like that. Most are out for their own gain, ti? But not you.”

 

Gail opened his eyes slowly, his head inching upward to look at Briala, “What did I do to get seen in this light? Any light… I knew of those who stormed from the city, seething over one decision or another I made… important figures, pillars to the government who wouldn't even step foot into those brick-lined streets while I still had any sway there… what makes me a good man after that?”

 

“Did you enjoy any of it, Gail? Leading a nation, watching your citizens die to what most called a lost cause? Did you enjoy the sliver of power you had?” She asked earnestly, no hint of malice in her tone as her deep eyes pierced into his aging gaze.

 

The retired sovereign went silent at her words, staring towards her before he closed his eyes again, “…no.” Gail responded quietly, and utterly honestly, “I did it because I felt like it was what had to be done….”

 

“That is what makes you a good man. You did what you had to do, not what you wanted to do.”

 

The companions trailed off, staring languidly over the sparkling waters of the lake as they recollected their thoughts, Gail seemingly at peace after having admitted his deep sense of guilt to more people than just Aeline. A weight had just been lifted off his chest, and as he clambered towards one of the hay-filled corners of the structure to rest in the wilderness for the night, he thought of everything with a fully cleared conscience. Goldblight, the man who had granted him a chance- Aeline, the love of his life- Lelina and Valerie, his daughters- Jorden, one of his closest friends- Vivian, who had worked tirelessly upon reaching Talon’s Grotto- Ayred, a reliable man of unwavering loyalty- Pep, who had first welcomed him to Talon's Grotto, Briala- and countless others raced through his mind. Every single one’s story intertwining gracefully with his own, every single one shaping him into the man he was that day.

 

With raised spirits, Gail crawled beneath one of the sets of blankets in the structure, settling himself down for the night. With placid features, he closed his eyes, breathing easy as thoughts of his younger years spilled over him-- the humid tropical air of Talon’s Grotto, and the glowing coral that protected Talon’s Port so generously. He wandered through narrow brick streets and sailed across treacherous water as his world began to spin. He took his last, easy breath.

 

He was left to peace.

 

Gail Cordius – 1751 FE to 16th of the Grand Harvest, 26 SE.

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Briala never wanted to see the day her oldest friend drew his final breath. She had told him she was not wise nor smart, and she had meant that. But she was happy she had the foresight to invite her friend for one final visit. One final talk, before he was beyond her grasp forever.

A confession, left between the two of them and a hedgehog who had long since passed. The first lie she ever spoke to him. The way his laugh filled her chest with a bittersweet warmth. It all swirled around her head the morning after, when she woke to see the lifeless eyes of Gail Cordius staring back at her from across the sheltered area. Regret was the first thing she felt.

 

As Briala pulled his body to her chest, the regret was mixed with a terrible ache. No, not an ache. A sharp, searing pain in her chest. She did not cry. She was strong.

She was strong.

She was strong as she trekked across the desert, past her old home, to the East. She was strong as she stayed up for a full day and night, her legs moving slowly but surely to their destination. When she finally reached Veritas, Gail's body was almost too much for her to carry anymore. As she hit the first step of the city, she collapsed. For the first time, this grime-covered girl who had not slept in days allowed herself to feel the full extent of her grief.


And so, Briala accepted what she was: a weak coward. And she wept.

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The ghostly figure of the fallen Jorden Brashton, sat silently as she did while keeping a watchful eye over the quiet city of Veritas. It started off as a normal day until the elfess, Briala, came rushing into the city, carrying the body of the fallen Gail Cordius. The idea of seeing a friend, fallen to the plague of death, a small frown formed over the forever ageing woman. 

 

“I’m sorry, dear.” The specter called out as she guides the elfess to the home of Aeline, “This is their home” After the duo converse a little longer, Jorden takes her leave, returning back to the shadows. 
 

“Gail, we have known each other for many years now, we have had our good times, even times of standing by my side protecting Talon’s Port. You were a good friend, I will see you in the seven skies soon enough, my old friend.”

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Athri Onfroi Belrose shook her head. That was truly all the woman could do, as many memories of the man had faded away over the time. Vague bits and pieces only remained, yet from what she did remember, Gail had always been a good man.

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Vivian Maelstorm had been pacing the ballroom below the city hall of Talon's Port, contemplating what events she wanted to next hold within the walls before her plans for the future bore fruit, when she had heard of the passing of the man she had called her brother for many decades and immediately dropped to her knees upon learning of Gail's death.

Only a hundred years, and yet another person she loved so dearly has passed away.

She had recalled every good memory that she had with
Gail, from requesting to be a part of Talon's Grotto, to building with him, to redoing the entirety of the Alley Alehouse with him and James... To going to him for advice on how to end things with Joakim, then with Seryne... Watching him receive the crown of the Depths, then leaving when news of Eoghan's suicide had gotten out.
Each memory had a smile, whether it was a happy one or a sad one... and each memory she recalled, she choked back a sob.
Her brother was dead, and she resented him for years... But he still cared for her and showed pride when she took up the mantle and became the Sovereign.

A few moments passed before she stood and searched for the painting she had once commissioned as a wedding gift for
Gail and Aeline, smiling to herself, thankful that she instead gave them a hand-crafted lantern. 
Once found, she hung the painting of the two above the fireplace in the Sovereign's office. He would be at home there, she decided.


"I will make you proud, Gail. I will do everything I can."

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Tianrui Ren strides through the halls of the Long Keep in Yong Ping, looking to the window as a bird arrived with missive. News of another old friend passed. The two man had their differences, but Ren solidly believed that Gail had done what he thought best in the trying times that he reigned Sovereign. He sighs, feeding the bird a handful of seed before sending it off. Trailing the quiet evening road, he casts his gaze towards the coast, to the west waters where Talon's Port rested nestled in the jungles of Idol's Garden. One of the first he had met in his time in Talon's Grotto, Gail was always a man of the community. Dedicated, hardworking, caring, and above all a good friend. It is with this in mind that Ren meditates in the Temple, lighting another candle.

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((Disclaimer: Currently, I play her DAUGHTER. They may have the same name because I'm lazy.))

 

Asami Ambrose would welcome Gail Cordius with outreached arms in the land of the Dead. She would grin with a shimmer in her eyes as she held out her hand. Their lives are short comparably to some other long-lived races, but in the times they have lived—they have made several bonds in the times they have lived.

Time is something that is relative to all beings, for one develops at certain paces due to only the time they have. Some children, due to their diseases, may live even shorter lives but had you asked them, they would all reply that they enjoy life and would like to continue. Even though life can be painful, the bonds of life, enveloping the individual that can change or cultivate the soul. Magics that can contort and change the soul—shifting and transforming the person from a descendant to another being or corrupting the core. The times she saw of her friend from when they first met in Talons to how he grew and developed into an experienced and steadfast leader—the struggles he had faced to bring the Settlement of Talon's Port into The Sovereign State of Talon's Port.

 

From the Metinen Company's past conflict with the State of Talon's Port and Tai Ping (Previous Home of the City-State of Yong Ping), Gail Cordius chose to fight bravely with the citizens within the tavern. It was their choice to give their lives to their leader that they believe in. That Gail was able to inspire such loyalty and sacrifice meant that there are people who placed their trust and belief in him. That he was worthy enough of such love that his people—that Talon's Port rested upon his weary shoulders. Asami Ambrose whispers, "Gail, you did enough. You did your best." Within the past of Talon's Grotto beautiful ports and gigantic trees that towered above brick rooftops, Asami Ambrose would look back to the past where it was simply just a group of friends struggling to keep their place within the old lands of Arcas, the faces of James Avery, Anastasia Dokar, Pep Leparda, Vivian Maelstorm-O’Cathain, Nathaniel Goldblight, Eletha Avery, Castiel Valaker, Gusiam Jusmia, Ania Dyer, and many more flitted across her mind as she would welcome them if they would reach their final rest.

"
You did your best and it was enough, you deserve this. Welcome home, Gail." She would state with a ever curious gleam in her eyes and a smile that hid her vicious appetite for mysteries. "Though the path forward is unknown," she gestures to the haze of the forests beyond Talon's Grotto, "You are not alone."

 

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Aeline woke up that morning as usual, making her way upstairs of her and Gail’s home, ready to make some tea, though a sight of what lay by the fire place made  Aeline let out a pained sound, “Gail-“ she scrambled to his lifeless body, seeing how pale it was, trying to hold back tears she found a letter pinned to his chest. From an Old friend he had gone to visit, “n-no...no this...you...you c-cant leave me now...p-please” she said with the most pain, the most pure sadness in her voice as her arms wrapped around his lifeless corpse. “P-please sweetheart, I’m n-not ready f-for you to leave me” Aeline’s sobbing was heard throughout Veritas. The elfess who usually tries to keep such an emotion hidden from others did not care in this moment. In this moment nothing mattered.  “You were s-such a good man...you did your best for everyone...I’m s-so thankful to have m-married you” the words pained Aeline. Seeing her children’s father lifeless in her arms opened up a hole in her chest. A hole that burned, a hole that felt like it could get bigger and bigger until nothing was left of her. 
 

After hours of crying, hours of thinking of their memories together. When Aeline told Gail she was pregnant with Lelina, their first child. When Gail asked Aeline to marry her. Their countless adventures to different settlements and their drunken nights. She ended with how it all started; Aeline drinking some very strong booze, Gail trying it and coughing and wheezing and a bet Aeline had lost with a friend, then had to go kiss any man in the square back in Talon’s Grotto.  Aeline wiped her red, puffy cheeks. Trying to pull herself together but her legs shook, her head was spinning. “I love you...forever and a-always, sweetheart” she finally whispered  with a smile that was mixed with love and sadness 
 

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Eletha Avery was in the midst of her life within the wilderness with her husband. She quirked a brow as a bird had seeked her out, news of Gail's passing held in it's beak. The 'fenn held a hand to her mouth, a sharp gasp coming from her. Tears rolled down her pale cheeks, her whole body shaking like a leaf. "N-ne." The 'fenn choked out through her tears, her heart aching as despair and dismay rocked her body. She knew this day would come, it was the inevitability of the human race. "Gail, I hope wherever you ended up you are finally at peace." She murmured to herself, a melancholy smile coming to her face.

 

Her gaze shifted from the missive in her hand to her aging husband, before she squeezed her eyes, gripping onto the page. "Gail if you can hear me, whenever you did end up...I loved you like a brother, I will always miss you for long as I remember you." She whispered to herelf, hugging the page to her chest tightly as her body would rock with sobs. 

 

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James Avery read over the piece of parchment that Eletha had gotten regarding the death of Gail. He'd read it several times over, seeming to disbelieve what he read before his eyes. After having seen his wife's reaction, he knew that the worst had happened to his old friend. James gripped the letter tightly, his lips turning into a slight quiver, "It was quite the ride with you, brother." He spoke quietly, a light tremble in his usually steady voice. "I wish I could've been there to protect you."

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Alexander d'Arkent would sigh as he heard the news. Gail had been a good man in the few times they had spoken. His home in Talon's had changed much since he has stepped down, and it wouldn't be the same without him.

"Till we meet again friend"

With that, Alexander would take a long sip of his drink and watch the sun rise above the Imperial skyline.

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Anastasia Dokar would read the paper, sitting in a small chair in a far away cabin. A small tear would drop onto the paper. She slowly folded the paper, hand shaking as she placed the paper on the table. A shaky whisper would leave her mouth, "I'll miss you, friend."

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Kallian Syrivir  let a soft sigh escape after taking his time to read through the letter with the news from Gail's passing. After a moment passes he eyes the bottle standing in the corner of his tent. The mage stares at if for a moment before letting it teleport into his hand with the glowing of his eyes along with a small glass, pouring a drink of whiskey and lifting it up into the sky. "For you old friend, be at peace and may the sun shine upon you" he states to then quickly drink the glass up and places it back down upside down. 

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