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Thevshi

Tales of the Praetorians: We Are Legion

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The heart of the Delaztri Empire

Over two thousand years ago

 

Amara Val-Ren knelt on the smooth polished white floor of a large great hall of the headquarters of the Praetorians as she repeated the oath of allegiance to the Delzatri Empire.  Her voice joined those of over a dozen other beings kneeling nearby, as they all swore their loyalty and life to protecting the Empire and its citizens.  

 

Amara was dressed in a full length white bodysuit, with black diamond shapes, surrounded by golden yellow trim, on the shoulders, upper chest and back.  Her long black cape rested over her and was spread out slightly on the floor around her.

 

For the young Naram, this was a moment she had long dreamed of, ever since her older brother had joined the ranks of the Empire's greatest protectors.  Following in his path had been a difficult one, yet despite the hardships and sacrifice required, Amara had not wavered in her devotion or focus. 

 

"And I shall not falter in my duty, even unto death."  Amara recited as she completed the oath along with the others around her.  As she finished, Amara raised her head, looking up at the room around her once more.  Gathered along the wings of the hall were more than sixty members of the Praetorians, gathered to watch the newest members recite their oaths.  Gathered at the front of the hall were the six senior most Praetorians, with Amara's own brother, Daar Val-Ren in the center, similarly watching on.

 

Darr Val-Ren was well over six feet tall, with a powerfully built physique.  He had dark orange skin which was characteristic of Naram, with short dark blue/black hair.  He was dressed in a uniform similar to Amara's, only his was primarily black, with red diamond patters and a long red cape.  "Your oath is complete, welcome brothers and sisters, to the Praetorians!"  Daar Val-Ren announced in a strong voice that carried easily through the large hall, followed quickly by a booming cheer from the gathered members.

 

Amara stood back upright, an feeling of elation sweeping over her as she looked to her brother with a small smile, before turning to begin congratulating her fellow new Praetorians...

 

Edited by Thevshi

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In her many, many centuries of service Sitara had never quite gotten use to the pomp and ceremony that the various forces had insisted on enacting. Maybe it was she had seen some many similar ceremonies or maybe she missed the simple one of her home but now they bored her to tears.


In fact whilst the majority of the ceremony was taking place she had been gently dozing lent against her staff, another skill learned from too many battlefield to count. She did make sure to be awake from the end of the festivities, it would be rude to miss everything.


With the ceremony over she weaved through the crowd quickly losing the jacket they insisted she wear until she had reached the newest recruit. She gave her time to enjoy the moment before speaking.

 

“Hey kid welcome to the Praetorians. Now how about we hit the Old Town to celebrate? I know this little dive of a bar...â€

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Amara was still riding something of an emotional high in the immediate aftermath of the ceremony, after all she had worked long and hard for this day.  The young Naram was congratulating another of her fellow new recruits when Sitrara came over to the pair. 

 

Turning to Sitrara, Amara gave her a small smile and a nod.  "Thank you, I am Amara Val-Ren, although I have chosen the codename Paradigm."

 

Darr Val-Ren arrived at that moment, having maneuvered his way through the small crowd around the new recruits, as he gave his younger sister a warm smile.  "Congratulations sister."  He stated, resting a hand on her shoulder, he then glanced at Sitrara as he added, "may I introduce Sitrara, also known as Traveller.  She has also recently joined our ranks, although she has centuries of experience."

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Lady Gaius takes back her sword, her oath accepted, and sheathes it. Not the sword. Simply a ceremonial piece. Her own blade is elsewhere right now.

It's a bittersweet moment as she rises to her feet, looking about at her new brothers and sisters in arms. The highest honor her empire has to give, yet it cost her so much. Her career. Her command. Her place among her people.

But I am still the Elite.

The sword exists to protect. It does not serve pride, nor glory, nor personal gain. Now, it will simply protect in the hands of a Praetorian, rather than a Murian general.

"It is an honor to serve," she whispers audibly, as much a prayer as a statement.

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To Kharag, taking this oath wasn't something done lightly. To him, HIS oath had to be reflected with another oath, this one taken by the Delaztri empire. His people had to be given a respectable place within the empire and be guaranteed safety within said empire. Of course to other species, these terms would be quite strange; how does becoming warriors for an empire, down to the last man and woman be considered safety and a respectable place? But to the Za'akis people, this was what safety meant; the safety of always finding something to test their mettle against.

 

Rising to his feet, Kharag gazed at Darr Val-Ren for a moment. The gaze was heavy with many meanings, none of them spoken out loud. The two had a deal and the honor and future of Kharag's entire people rested on this agreement.

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GM

 

Elite

As Lady Gaius sheathed her ceremonial sword and looked about at her new comrades in arms, a large male F'terrix approached her. Like all members of his species, he was feline in appearance, with deep brown fur and an even darker brown mane of hair on his head and upper shoulders.

"Welcome to the Praetorians Lady Gaius, or should I say, Elite." The F'terrix began, his voice almost low growl. "I am Raark. You and the others will be seeing a lot of me in the weeks to come, as I am one of those responsible for overseeing new members as they integrate into the Praetorians."

Kharag

Even as Kharag regarded Darr Val-Ren, a soft voice came to his mind, as a familiar figure emerged from the crowd around him. < Greetings once again Kharag of the Za'akis. I trust your people's integration into the Empire has been going smoothly?>

The "speaker" was Chrystaa, one of the Praetorians most powerful mentalists. She was a thin humanoid, with pale, almost white skin and soft features. She had long purple hair, with similarly colored eyes. Chrystaa had been present during Kharag's duel with Darr Val-Ren, acting as translator during the negotiations that had proceeded and followed the duel.

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Kharag's eyes narrowed and he folded his arms, looking at Chrystaa, sneering, before answering back on equal terms. <You would be wise to announce yourself before entering the King's mind. I have torn and flayed away the mind of sorcerers on my world who would have dared to do so.> To the Za'akis, the line between barely-understood sorcery and psychic abilities had always been thin. As for entering Kharag's mind, the god-king did not take lightly to anyone simply doing so.

 

<My people are a large and varied lot.> He explained, despite the fact that a few billion really wasn't actually that much in the scheme of things compared to larger space-faring civilizations. <But they will adapt to galactic civilization. They've come a long way under my rule and they will continue to do so.>

Edited by RobRX

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"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sir Raark," Tatiana curtsies, despite her uniform's lack of a skirt. A rather demure gesture for such a visibly battle-hardened figure. Her mechanical arm, hidden under both sleeve and glove, betrays no lack of grace or mobility in the gesture, either, motion as fluid as flesh and blood.

"May our service safeguard the peace." Another oath. This one, of the Murian military, oft shared as a subtle way to gauge outsiders' ideals. Offworld warriors so rarely agree with her people on the purpose of the sword, or the soldier, but she's long since gotten used to being a moderating voice in joint-force operations.

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GM
 
Elite
 
Raark seemed to smile once more as Tatiana replied and curtsied in greeting.  “Please, beyond being a Praetorian, I have no formal title or rank.† He stated as he considered her additional greeting with the Murian oath.  “The peace and prosperity of the Empire are indeed worth our sacrifice, perhaps a day will come when we can fully enjoy it ourselves.†   
 
Kharag
 
Chrystaa showed little reaction to Kharag’s response, certainly not one of fear of deference.  <My apologies Kharag, I meant no insult.>  She responded calmly.  <Telepathic communication is my people’s only means of announcing ourselves.  And you may not find my mind so easy to break.>
 
She paused a moment before continuing.  <You will likely find your time in our ranks easier if you remember that you are now among equals and peers.>

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Silvar Drash chuckled to himself, letting out a small puff of oilly smoke. This is what he knew he always deserved. Denied by his people, his own family, now he had earned the status as warrior. Protector.
 
He had prepared carefully for this day. Scrubbed his skin for hours till his scales were a bright warrior red. Blackened his horns, claws and teeth. All as traditional of his people's coming of age cermony. His dress uniform covered his chest with a shiny gold fabric. Unsuitable for combat, of course, but suitable to impress in a formal gathering like this.
 
He carefully repeated the oath along with the others. He would defend the Delzatri empire. Of course he would, it was his home now. There was no returning to his birthplace. "Good riddance", he muttered in his native tongue. Silvar Drash had entered this hall, but he rose to his feet as Dragonid.

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Chrystaa's comment did little to calm Kharag. 'A king has no equals.' he commented telepathically. 'On my world, being the King or Emperor, whichever you choose to use to describe my rank, means living by the way of the apex predator; one that is an apex in the physical, mental and social as well as in skills. I cannot allow myself to be lowered down even further. I have taken my oath and that is as far as I will go; I must continue to lead as the apex, even if that height now only go as far as my position as the leader of the Za'akis.'

 

Sneering at her once again, he added: 'It is my way to only show respect to those who have truly earned it. Understand that to our way of life is not one where trust and respect is easily earned.' Harsh worlds create harash people, after all.

Edited by RobRX

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GM

 

Kharag

 

<Perhaps.>  Chrystaa replied to Kharag's statements about a king having no equal and what had been necessary on his world when holding that rank.  <But you are no longer on your world, and no longer a king.  It would be good for you to remember that, and that even if you feel others of us have not earned your respect or trust, you are at least expected to behave in a civil manner.>

 

With that, the Praetorian mentalist gave another small bow and moved on to congratulate another of the new Praetorians.

 

Dragonid

 

Following his oath, Dragonid was greeted by several older Praetorians who had come forward to congratulate him.  Soon the former outcast found himself facing another of the Praetorians' new recruits, a hairless humanoid with greenish-blue skin and bony ridges, dressed in clothes made of leather, bone and animal fur.

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Dragonid greeted his seniors with pride and thanked them for their congratulations. "I hope to be a valuable defender of the empire and stand with my brothers and sisters against any who would threaten it."

When he approached Kharag, he decide to practice the strange facial gesture the humanoids favored. He pulled back his lips and displayed his large sharp teeth. "It is quite an honor we have received today, I hope we prove to be worthy of that honor." he said to the hairless scaleless humanoid "I call myself Dragonid, brother. My fires are at your service."

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"You may not recognize me as King." he said out loud as the telepath. "But to my people, King or not, I am still their God." And in his mind, that aspect of him could never be taken away no matter what.

 

Kharag stood silent for a moment, merely looking up and down at Dragonid, both equally curious and repelled by the newcomer's appearance. It had the kind of face only a beast would have, but since it spoke fluently, the God-King had no choice but to concede that this creature was indeed sentient and not some kind of animal. After all, at this very event he had started to realize just how strange and varied the various people of the stars were.

 

"You should be careful, showing your fangs, stranger." Kharag explained at the reptilian being as it smiled at him. "With a visage such as this, some might think you are showing your intent to devour them. I will assume that is not the case however."

 

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"Do not worry, if I meant to eat you, I would roast you first." Dragonid snorted loudly and breathed out a puff of smoke. "Thank you for your advice. I will not try a 'smile' again in the future, then. It is a strange custom, and among my people would be taken as a claim of dominance. Not appropriate among equals and it was not my intent."
 
"What do you call yourself?" He asked, "If we are to fight side by side, we should know each other. A stranger at your side may turn his back when the battle flows against you.."

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"I have many names, althought you may address me as Kharag. Normally, I would require you to address me with proper respect, but as a member of the Praetorians I am obligated to treat each and everyone of you as a form of equal." Dragonid couldn't quite tell, given the difference in body language and cues, but Kharag showed a certain reluctance to the fact mixed with an invitation to talk on friendlier terms. For the Za'akis, it was a strange experience; while he had always held himself as above his people, this was the first time in centuries he had ever tried to speak with someone on more equal terms.

 

"I would be more than honored than fight by your side, provided you prove yourself worthy."

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"Stations and titles are funny things," Tatiana muses. "They vary greatly from one race to the next, and rarely translate well. I do try to err respectful. After all, as a Praetorian, you are a knight, in a manner of speaking, no?"

She looks over the assembly, new and established alike. The fallen Za’aki king, even. A campaign she was involved in personally. Thankfull, it did not have to end in slaughter, though it remains to be seen if there will be forgiveness, should she be recognized.

"So many peoples united under one banner," she says to the F'terrix. "It must be a great task to bring us all into the fold.

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Moon-Moth Found himself slightly put on edge by the constant ambient noises that surrounded him, used to the serenity of his atmosphere-less home even the wind felt strange and exciting as it blew over his antenna, rustling the fine feathery fur lining them an his heavily groomed mane. Opting to wear simple but elegant Poncho, dyed a deep dark magenta to honour his clutch and embossed with the circular sweeping designs of his culture, Mainly to cover his vestigal wings and Keep them from scattering scales over his hosts belongings.

 

finding himself somewhat distracted by the conversation going on around him he felt suddenly very aware of his own mouth and throat for with his somewhat lacking grasp of the delzatri's language he'd opted to swear his oath non-verbally than risk misspeaking and though that hesitance to speak was now vastly diminished in the somewhat more relaxed environment it lingered still in his mind.

 

<I Will have to speak, eventuality.> he reasoned as the energetic tones of those around him tickled in his ears and spotting an opportunity to join the conversation seized it.

 

"Indeed, It must be very difficulty to accommodate such varied peoples." he tries as his antenna betray his anxiety with there rapid flicking.

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Dragonid nodded at Kharag, "I ment no disrespect. I know the pain of those who do not recognize one's rightful status. I am sure we will have time to show our worth before long."
 
He rambled on as he looked around the room, noting the vast variety of faces in different shapes and colors. "It is still difficult to imagine an empire as large as Delzatri. Among my people, a great warlord might control half a continent, and still have many enemies who would take it from him. With an empire controlling so many whole worlds, the struggle to maintain it must never end."

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GM

 

"Stations and titles are funny things," Tatiana muses. "They vary greatly from one race to the next, and rarely translate well. I do try to err respectful. After all, as a Praetorian, you are a knight, in a manner of speaking, no?"

She looks over the assembly, new and established alike. The fallen Za’aki king, even. A campaign she was involved in personally. Thankfull, it did not have to end in slaughter, though it remains to be seen if there will be forgiveness, should she be recognized.

"So many peoples united under one banner," she says to the F'terrix. "It must be a great task to bring us all into the fold.

 

"I suppose being a Praetorian could be viewed as being a knight."  Raark replied with a small nod.  "Although not an association I typically make."  The F'terrix then considered Tatiana's comments about the great diversity within the Praetorians ranks.  But before he could respond to her comments, another voice interjected on the subject.

 

"Indeed, It must be very difficulty to accommodate such varied peoples." he tries as his antenna betray his anxiety with there rapid flicking.

 

Raark turned to regard the speaker, given a small nod of his feline head.  "Greetings, welcome to the Praetorians.  I am Raark, and this is Lady Gaius of Muras, also known as the Elite."  The F'terrix replied to the new arrival.  "The Delaztri have long shown a talent at incorporating many different groups, we tend to view ourselves as the best example of the great diversity that exists within the Empire."

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Dragonid nodded at Kharag, "I ment no disrespect. I know the pain of those who do not recognize one's rightful status. I am sure we will have time to show our worth before long."
 
He rambled on as he looked around the room, noting the vast variety of faces in different shapes and colors. "It is still difficult to imagine an empire as large as Delzatri. Among my people, a great warlord might control half a continent, and still have many enemies who would take it from him. With an empire controlling so many whole worlds, the struggle to maintain it must never end."

 

"A single world alone is indeed a massive task." said the God-King, remembering by far the hardest part when it came to unifying Za'ak, althought in his case the enemy was just as likely to be neighboring barbarian tribes as the local flesh-eating flora and fauna. In a sense, there had never been any peace on his world and there never could be without razing the entire ecosystem to the ground.

 

"I suppose duty demand we mingle with the rest from here on." he then added, somewhat reluctantly. He'd have to assume every one of them had proven their worth, however simply reading their minds to obtain the information wasn't something the other telepaths would let him pluck at his leisure.

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Darr Val-Ren arrived at that moment, having maneuvered his way through the small crowd around the new recruits, as he gave his younger sister a warm smile.  "Congratulations sister."  He stated, resting a hand on her shoulder, he then glanced at Sitrara as he added, "may I introduce Sitrara, also known as Traveller.  She has also recently joined our ranks, although she has centuries of experience."

 

After a few seconds consideration Sitrara gave the other woman a friendly hug. She then pulled back and gave her a wide smile.

 

“I am much older than I look. In my village back home you were lucky to last forty years, whilst I’m at least four thousand years old. Though I spent a portion of that in a healing machine whilst empires fell.†for a moment there was a hint of sadness in her voice.

 

“Do you know which unit you will be assigned to? I assume in their wisdom there put all the newcomer together.â€

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Amara's yellow eyes widened slightly at Sitrara's comments about how long she had lived.  "That is indeed a long time."  She replied.

 

Her older brother then interjected before she could respond to Sitrara's question.  "The Praetorians do not have standing sub-units.  Mission teams are selected on a case-by-case basis, which provides for more opportunity to work with a wide range of other members.  That said, for the first several months, we do tend to have the newer members working together under the guidance and supervision of a few senior members."

 

Darr then looked back at his younger sister, giving her a small smile.  "I should go and congratulate the others, we will talk more later."  He gave Sitrara a small nod and smile, and then moved off back into the crowd.

 

The young Naram looked back at Sitrara, giving the woman a small smile as well.  "Well, it would seem we will be working together a good bit.  I look forward to learning from you, I would imagine with so much experience, there is much you can teach."

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"thankings you; It is pleasurable to make your acquaintances, Sir Raark, Lady Gaius." he says with a small bow of his head, antenna's flailing slow to a more casual pace as he calms down somewhat, though still flitting a little as he hopes he got Raarks gender correctly.

 

"I am Myothizar, you may calling me Myoth" he squeaks somewhat pleased with how well its all going "It is a very nice empire indeed, quite a many Lanternians including my own family have left to explore; It is comfortable to think they'll not be treated badly for being Lanternians." he trills softly.

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"I suppose duty demand we mingle with the rest from here on." he then added, somewhat reluctantly. He'd have to assume every one of them had proven their worth, however simply reading their minds to obtain the information wasn't something the other telepaths would let him pluck at his leisure.

 

"Yes, there any many potential allies here" agreed Dragonid and looked around the room and focused on a small group that a senior Praetorian was just leaving. The winged one was intriguing, though its wings did not look like enough to carry it. The others, like most scaleless, were difficult to judge, but one carried an impressive sword.
 
He walked across the room, toward this group. "Greetings, brothers!" he roared to announce his arrival. "I am Dragonid, and I am proud to have joined you as a fellow Praetorian." He struggled with the last word, forcing his great jaws in to strange contortions.

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