Cicero

in #writing10 months ago

Villa De Karkaldwin, The Farmlands, Pryldahn, the continent of Posiil, 1439 ATC

The morning atmosphere was thin and crisp, with faint sounds of whistling winds blowing in the distance. Far above the ground, white and fluffy clouds were painted hues of orange and yellow as the sun lit them from below the horizon, giving the illusion of warmth when in reality there was none.

Venser poured a cup of piping green hot tea from his kettle within the kitchen, watching the steam rise out of the mug as the warm aroma of green tea and warm honey filled the air around him he paused to take in the scent, knowing that tea was meant to be experienced, not simply drank on this fine morning. The warm steam billowed upward, filling his nose and wetting his cheeks, bringing him a few moments of silent peace before the rest of the household came bellowing in.

"I want hot chocolate!" Screeched Venser's eldest, Soarin as he jumped up and down eagerly. His twin sister Lucinda was much calmer as the younger siblings were served first, with Kari using her cryonic abilities to cool each cup at a rapid pace before handing them off to each child carefully.

"Wait your turn sweet monkey. Youngest ones first." She said with a smile to her seven year old son. Rowena already walking around like a pro and being able to speak briefly bounced up and down. "Hot chocolate! Hot chocolate!" Sanna cooed and bent down to help her infant daughter take the mug and raise it to her lips. "Very good mhmmhhhm!" The little girl with long curly black hair, tanned skin, and big grass green eyes beamed at her mother and father and giggled.

"Hot chocolate daddy!" The man let his green tea cool down as Rowena ran up to him and he bent down as she offered the little mug to him, and Venser took it and sipped a little of the cool, sweet liquid.

"Mhm! Very very good!" He handed the mug of hot chocolate back to his daughter and kissed her softly on the forehead. "Very good, and very sweet just like you!"

"Daddy!" Rowena giggled and rushed forward to hug her father, upon releasing both hands from the mug she nearly spilled the hot chocolate all over the hard flatwood, prompting Sanna to reach out for her to be careful. Madalina soon strode out from the kitchen with a large plate of biscuits, already shoveling a few into her mouth.

"Oh dear... I hope no one minds that I helped myself first?" She asked just as little Rowena rushed up to her after hugging her father.

"Hi Maddy!" She beamed up at her, before jumping up and down with her hands raised.

"Hi there Rowena!" Maddy cooed as Venser just stood up and posted himself a nice mug of green tea with honey,, inhaling the scent before taking a slow sip of the warm liquid. It traveled down, leaving a feeling of warmth and comfort in its wake, as the first sip always did. Venser took another sip and leaned against the counter, watching his wives gather the children and head to the dining room, sniffing the air and catching the scent of freshly cooked scrambled eggs and sausages that the servants had whipped up.

Thorn would be the last one to arrive at the breakfast table. She was never too far behind when it came to a family gathering, especially when it involved food. She arrived wearing a black coat that was in the style of a poncho, which covered what she was wearing beneath on her torso. However, those harem pants were always visible, along with the red and black silk and cotton dancer skirt that she wore over the top of those pants. Bare feet cold to the touch, but it did not seem to bother the pink haired demoness. "Morning peepo's!" She announced her arrival with a cheerful tone, followed by a twitch as she held up a sack. "Thorn has brought her own supply of salad cream this time!" Salad cream, it was like a phase she was going through where she put it on everything and in everything. If she met a stranger who saw her devouring it alone, they would swear she was pregnant. She approached the table and had no trouble dumping her sack on the table top with a thud, moving to crouch down on a seat, rather than use it properly. "Does Thorn smell sausages?! Oh! Thorn wants some, please? Yes, she does!" She clapped her hands together, both hues blinking out of sync.

"What is this... Cream salad?" Inquired Sanna blinking while helping her daughter into her high chair, Rowena waved her arms about and chanted, "Cweam salad! Cream salad!"

"Cream made from salad!" At least, she assumed. Then, she remembered. "It's got eggs in it! And water!" No, that's all she could remember. She reached in to the sack and pulled out a tub full of the white stuff. "Sausages please!" The pink haired demoness grabbed two handfuls and smiled widely, noticing everyone at the table staring.

"What?"

"Oooooooweeeee!" Called Megumi from down the hall, running on all fours and slowing down, rising up on two legs now to join the family in the dining room. "Mornin' Mastah Vensa! Mornin' Maddy! Mornin' Kari! Mornin' Thorn!" The talking pink anthro dog kept prattling on excitedly dashing around the long table. "Ooweeee! Snausages today! Ooweee! Ooweee!"

It was now Thorn's turn to silently stare as Megumi was quick to start eating the sausages right from her hand. A rarity for the twitchy demoness.

Venser Karkaldwin deflected the thoughts of the events of the Falling Temple and the events of the previous night, no he pushed it all out of his mind and watched his family gather into the dining room. Currently he had no pressing issues, no upcoming events or gatherings all of his business was handles by Cierra and Gloria and both of them would visit if they needed to inform him of anything. All that existed in this particular moment was herself, the forest and his cup of tea. Nothing more, and nothing less as he watched Sedna and Elanaea walk into the dining room. Little Elanaea looked older than her sister Rowena, and admittedly was walking much better and could speak more than Rowena despite being younger. Sedna had been pregnant with their daughter for about two years and he had noticed the rapid aging... And Venser feared that she would grow up too fast and miss out on her golden childhood, and perhaps she would even outgrow, overgrow Soarin and Lucinda? It would be very weird.

A servant girl with short, curled, auburn hair, smooth pockmarked tanned skin and brown eyes with an oval face approached the Master of The House and bowed, and Venser took a few moments to look over her form thay was covered in a long wool gown the servant girls wore in the winter, as normally he made them go nude any other time.

"Master, Lord Protector Cicero is here to see you..."

Venser's eyes widened in surprise. He had heard of Y'vonne's mysterious spymaster, Ambassador, Lord Protector... Which one was he? But had never met him. He was apparently her right hand man but was very mysterious at court and worked in the shadows. The day Venser met Y'vonne it was apparently another Ambassador mission to the south somewhere.

"Uh thank you... What was your name again?" He asked moving past her and into the atrium.

"Nila, sir."

"Nila, right. Thank you, nice tits, keep up the good work." Immediately dismissing her Venser sipped his green tea and scrunched his face while he walked away, all of his slaves were really quite beautiful and he had any of them in his bed whenever he wanted but today would not be appropriate. That was the exchange after all, he took care of them, and they worked for him anyway he and the family wanted.

He glanced up at the retractable roof that was installed over the open atrium, the wood seemed to be holding nicely. No snow indoors and the place was still well lit with flickering lanterns.

From the front doors, Cicero strode towards the strange man from another dimension that his Queen was quite fond of; And he could feel the very real fear and uncertainty for the meeting he was about to have, and curiosity as they saw each other face to face.

The man was a head taller than Venser, with he has pale, marble-like skin, a picturesque beauty and bruise-like purple shadows under his vermillion red eyes. And despite his pale, statue like beauty, a grim scowl was etched into his face. A thick long black coat eith fur on the shoulders was worn over a dark red scale armor and the edges of each scale gleamed and shimmered in the most subtle manner when he moved, two daggers of rare origin sheathed to his sides as he moved. And on his head he wore a simple circlet, with two dragon horns very similar to the crown his Queen wore.

"Focused and serious..." Venser thought as he straightened himself up.

Cicero walked towards Venser, expression completely unimpressed. At home the man wore his usual baggy red pants and covered himself with a furry red robe. This was Venser's house after all and his visit was unexpected. Coming to a halt in front of the man, Cicero took a moment to study him, looking deep into his emerald slitted eyes.

"This man was cursed. This man is clearly human and has not a drop of dragon blood in him." The Lord Protector thought. "A cursed man not from any known country on Laguna..."

"Lord Protector Cicero." Venser said with a nod.

"Venser Tybalt Karkaldwin," Cicero greeted. "Head Bartender of the Dragon's Head, Ladies Man, Master of The Melon, Calamite of Posiil, Jester of Y'vonne's court or was jester, Master of The Knights of Ven, Lord of An Array of Ridiculous Titles... Troublemaker." His voice dripped with doubt saying Master of The Knights of Ven aloud and wondered if he really did have knights to call upon. A battle harem? Mercenary contacts?

Venser nodded respectfully, watching as the taller vampire paced around him, he waited for Cicero to speak. After a few awkward moments...

"Er... Lord Protector or Spymaster?"

"Lord Cicero, and just Lord Cicero." The vampire commented as he walked around the strange man. He had heard so much and yet never met Venser in person, not even on the day he had rescued Y'vonne from an island prison that always switched hands from the Pryldahnians, the Korans, the Dark Elves from the Obsidian Islands, the Islandic Elves from the Alphonse Islands and the like. This man had to originally be a prisoner, or a pirate. Some sort of scoundrel.

"So, Lord Cicero, what can I do for you? I'm surprised I wasn't summoned or something else. Or like, Von didn't appear to me in a dream or come herself or something." He said. "Can I offer you some breakfast or some green tea?"

"I am not interested, there are a great many things to do after a mission of diplomacy Jalerno." Cicero turned to stare Venser down. "You, my snake eyed friend, also have many things to do."

Cicero hoped that Venser explained not only his actions although he had already decided this was not going to be a very long interview, but also what he was doing exactly to help clean up the mess he helped cause. Hunting down every Luektorem drone, donating coin to fund orphanages, anything aside from running around and doing absolutely nothing ignoring the problem. Cicero was determined to prevent it from getting worse, but he needed to learn more from Venser in person about what had happened and find ways of ensuring it didn't get out of hand. In one day he and a couple of other realmwalkers, aliens to Laguna had destroyed nearly a thousand years of stability. Albeit the continent was mostly pleasant and brigands were quickly put down, there was very little reason for radical change.

The Cataclysm was caused by the arrogance of the Kundalandians, and their creations the Luektorem. Their magic, weird science, and their strange artifacts were responsible for the current, shattered world in the first place but they were long gone and their artifacts buried; And now Venser uncovered a mountain sized treasure trove of Kundalandian artifacts and the ancient horror long since lost and for good reason.

Cicero remembered the human like cat-folk, clad the their white stone armor. Masters of stone and metal, brilliant engineers who blended magic with technology. Their artifacts, their weapons thay included the Flickering Blades Cicero kept on himself were all highly rare and were evidence of their mighty civilization and were highly sought after. Scholars and makes over hundreds of years since have studied and sought to replicate their work to no evail.

Cicero knew that Venser understood the depths of his mistakes, and knew from his Queen he had lost loved ones who set out to investigate the falling temple, but the vampire lord needed Venser to understand that he needed to leap into action immediately.

"I know... I spoke with Y'vonne and King Rian and I'm not quite sure who else to speak too or where to begin... I know that I am pledged to him and I have to act, whenever I am called." The man explained.

"The Council of Counts. The Posiil Pact of Mutual Cooperation and Assitance." Cicero furrowed his white brows in annyoance. Venser had gone in with no clear plan in mind and was simply waiting for orders.

Y'vonne had told him Venser was a wild one, another adventurer and yet he was different. He was from another world and his void magic largely ignored the rules of magic here on Laguna. Cicero truly believed Venser to be a man of action, albeit a silly one but perhaps he was wrong. He saw Venser wince.

"Fucking beaurocratic nightmare by the void... Why don't you put your fist right up my ass?" The Master of The House thought readjusting his furry red robe before clearing his throat to reply.

"Well fuck. I mean, errr.... What what I going to do? Just wander around a frozen swamp and... Uh..." Venser's words trailed because Cicero had moved so silently and gracefully and was now standing so close to him, that now he was intimidated with those red eyes glaring down at gim with the utmost seriousness.

"That's exactly what you will do, Venser." Lord Cicero reached into his long coat and shoved a scroll into his hands, taking note of the prosthetic one the Luektorem had fitted onto him.

While he and Y'vonne shared the thought that while their ancient advanced artifacts could do good, they believed the world was not ready and needed to further progress without such influence from the corrupt cat-folk. Slowly, at a safe rate. Being one of the first vampires in existence Cicero was ageless, as was his Queen a Higher Dragon. To them the world could take as long as they needed to evolve.

"What is this? Is this a call? Coming from you I certainly know it's not anything smutty." Venser commented unscrewing the top of the container. "Little joke. A lewd sketch would be a fine addition to my collection. It helps."

Annoyed Cicero sighed. "This is a call. And this a map of Jalerno, along with scouting reports of where the remaining Luektorem hide. A massive sphere in the Northern region." The Vampire Lord retorted, letting a lot of his inner anger bleed into the conversation they were having. He was getting very frustrated and very angry with Venser's lack of action and and his attempt at humor to lighten the mold. Was he scared? The ancient vampire could sense an uncomfortable aura, but not fear.

"As you know," Cicero went on, pacing around as he spoke, "The Jalernoese are very reclusive and isolate themselves in the swamps where they make their home, and while they are few in number individually they are some of the most skilled warriors on the continent. Metal is scarce in swamps, and their ruler, Daiymo Hirhito, had requested that everything in the sphere be eliminated and the sphere itself turned over to his men."

Venser blinked a few times. "And with all of the artifacts inside?"

"No. Everything except for the metal and porcelain must be either destroyed or confiscated." Cicero replied. "And remember, nothing in there can survive. You must strip their lair down to the bones and deprive the Jalernese of any and all knowledge that you will find inside. The Luektorem knowledge and everything they have ever created is too dangerous to allow into their hands.""

Venser rolled his shoulders back and cracked his knuckles, on one hand at least as Cicero circled him once more and stalked back out the front door. "Assemble a small team, find their lair, and destroy it. You have before winter is over. No, you have before New Year's Day."

Venser's mind raced as he dragged his thoughts away from the relations between Jalerno and the rest of the continent, and finding him and Cicero shared the same belief thay advanced technology corrupted and forced on what Lord Cicero had ordered.

"New Years is less than a month away. I'll need time to prepare bombs and... Well, get together a plan this is serious business..." He turned to watch the Y'vonne's spymaster go. Again Cicero stopped at his words. Venser carried on, and the ancient vampire felt his confidence falter. This is who his God Queen really put her faith in? Useful idiot, he supposed. This accursed human from another dimension was still needed to clear up the mess he had made the mistake of making, and to prevent the spread of the Luektorem and bury their legacy once again.

"Deal with this quickly and quietly, Venser. Through any means necessary." Cicero told the Man of The House as bluntly as possible, before stalking off again and Venser said nothing as he watched his long black cloak vanish behind the closing doors of his luxurious villa, off into the winds of winter.

"Master of The Knights of Ven..." He mumbled turning around to rejoin his family and get back to his green tea and honey.

"I like it. We will all have to get matching uniforms and shit. As much as I hate save the world situations and all that jazz... Why not do it in style?""

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