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Thread: Finis Chaldea

  1. #241
    And so, Siduri was gone from the Citadel of Uruk. Gilgamesh sighed. He hadn't been alone in this throne room in many a decade. The last time he was, as he recalled, it was the night prior to Enkidu's arrival. He'd been a tyrant working his people to the bone, taking maidens from their bridegrooms prior to their nuptials, upholding himself as a thing to be worshipped simply because he was a divine king. How laughable. To think, his detest for Ishtar was nothing but a mirror through which he could not see clearly for years. The fog had been lifted at least in part now. Through his eyes, King Gilgamesh saw infinite futures. Now, in solitude, he found time to peer once more into the depths of infinity. Where would his city go? Wherever did his legacy lead?

    No. No, those were not the questions. If he wanted these lands to flourish, he had to do what was necessary and go from there. If he wanted his legacy intact, he had to create stories worth telling, and take a bride worth keeping. Oh... right, he'd thrown that out the window as well, hadn't he? It seemed hubris was a tool whose handle was no duller than its blade in the end. Oh well. There was something in the future─ some vague image with long, blonde hair cascading over a most curvaceous form. Try as he might, his vision was cloudy and showed him nothing resembling a face. Gilgamesh witnessed little more than a white dress, golden locks, and... emeralds. 'Damn it all! It is not yet done,' he thought. That damned clairvoyance of his still refused to cooperate. It behaved for his needs, but never for his wants. Or... was there perhaps something clouding his vision? The more he thought about it, the more that premonition seemed something less foggy and more... simply blinding, as if locked behind a radiance that outshined the sun.

  2. #242
    King Gilgamesh would be left to his visions for now. While a certain set of dual blondes spent about a week preparing the base for the incoming people. Gardens were tended, siblings enjoyed each other's company and a bit of relaxation passed between the two of them. They shared drinks and spoils, and even entertained the attendant from Uruk for a day or two before her return trip. At the same time, the Pharaohs of Egypt got to experience all the fun and good drink delivered by Siduri herself. Of course, each day that passed would lead to some level of completion. And eventually when the space was completely ready for the inhabitants to come, after a sparring match or two, the pair would eventually find themselves back in Uruk. Here, they would be having a quick chat with the King Gilgamesh, to show their appreciation and to find out anything else he might need upon the return of either or both of these individuals.

    Ah but before they would reach the palace, another stop would be happening. That same child from before would stop them again in front of the statue. They were still dressed strangely, and had an interesting bearing. Perhaps they'd enjoy another story? "Miss, Miss... I have another tale to tell... it's fresh!~" claimed this child. He had a short hair cut with a long thin ponytail and all of his hair was a brilliant shade of blue. He was dressed in a little vest and a pair of baggy pants, and was still about half the size of Artoria. She smiled and looked to Jeanne. This was a losing argument the Queen of Saints knew. Another time the cape would be spread. "Carry on, little one... what story do you have to share, and what is your name?" asked Artoria. The child grinned brightly, missing a tooth or two with eyes the colors of sapphires. "Alajin." he claimed his hands on his sides. That hit Artoria's ears wrong though, but she understood, missing teeth meant a lisp and it was easy to decipher. "Aladdin. I understand. I had a lisp like that too for a while... hers was horrible," she said pointing to Jeanne who nudged her with an elbow. "Oi, that's mean... I grew out of it," she said pouty but knowing that was a technically recent development. "Oh, I know mean. Let me tell you a tale of the time mean Istar, descended into the underworld!~" claimed the child and thus his next story began even with a lisp on the name Ishtar.

  3. #243
    Days later, nothing had changed in King Gilgamesh's visage. In fact, nothing had changed about his position or activity either. He'd taken time to eat, drink and so on, of course, but the end of each short break brought him right back to business on the throne. He'd actually gotten through all of the nonsense involving Nippur, finally moving on to a place called Kish. Still, mountains of tablets filled the ziggurat. For every one he addressed, two more arrived. All these newfound additions to Chaldea were creating too many questions, too many concerns. Gilgamesh even saw the occasional mention of that headquarters being built near the mountain of Mashu, and only thought the reaction to it moronic after an entire country appeared only ten years prior. Whatever the case, concerns had to be addressed in time... though he could do without citizens rushing into the ziggurat in a state of panic over new events. These things would eventually come to an end, he thought. When that was, even he could not see. Well, most of the work was of his own creation in a roundabout way, so it wasn't as if he could put it off regardless.

  4. #244
    While Gilgamesh dealt with the questions of his people, Jeanne and Artoria listened to a story of Ishtar's Descent into the Underworld. The gist of the story, narrated by Aladdin was that the Goddess was arrogant and pompous and thought to take the underworld's power as her own. Apparently the Goddess of the Underworld didn't tolerate the disrespect, but played along with the game. She stripped the woman naked, taking all her authorities and strung her up in the underworld as a penance for her ill-behavior. But some mindless people decided she needed to be restored and though she couldn't just be placed back, there was the offer to switch her with someone else. The person chosen to take her place, her former husband who hadn't minded being rid of her and thus doomed himself to eternity in the underworld in her place. What a shame that was, but according to the lad, this is why the return from death had a price, by declaration of the Goddess Kur, none could leave without an exchange of equal value, and to return one must lose. What an interesting story. The boy for his part in this, acted out all of the important parts. Let out a few squeals and even danced evilly after stringing up the goddess in his imaginary play. Once again, multiple other children ended up gathered around them, with one little girl ended up situated in Jeanne's lap for the duration of the story. It was overall a very cute scene to behold. After it was over claps escaped the group. "Nice story... I do wonder where you hear all these things..." Artoria mentioned as she gave the child a pat upon his head, much to his own enjoyment. "The old Miss Stranger. She tells the best stories," the kid said his arms pressed into his sides. Apparently kids here weren't alerted to the dangers of talking with strangers, it was nice to see children be so carefree. Artoria stood soon after, offering a chivalrous hand up to her younger sister, who placed the small child in her lap down on her own feet with a pat on the head to go with it. "It was a really good story, I still can't believe you are so content to hear them," she mentioned to Artoria. The lass picked up her cape and slung it over her shoulder. "See you later, Aladdin..." she said to the boy as they walked away.

    "I like a good story. That kid is amusing and I think we deserve that sort of break..." she said with a knowing smirk. "You still can't draw your weapon, Eri-nee... I need you to behave," Jeanne said to Artoria who had her eyes closed as they approached. Her head was tossed back in absolute defiance. "Little Sister, you wound my pride. I would never go against our already established agreements. I am the pinnacle of honor," claimed Artoria. But her eyes were closed what kind of thing would she open them to seeing.

  5. #245
    What would the "Queen of Knights" open her eyes to? Well, Gilgamesh had to do a great many things at once in the absence of Siduri. Such things included tending to his lions while still occupying the throne. This only meant there was a small pride of the large felines sauntering about the entryway, all seeming more well-behaved than even house kittens. There were about nine adults in total, and several cubs each pouncing about at play around their mothers. Meanwhile, the one male lion of the bunch was keen to laze about at the bottom of the throne stairs while the lionesses around it moved about like guardians to the throne. The adults were all in calm states, but the cubs were rather excitable. When Artoria's eyes opened, she was liable to first witness the direct pouncing of a particularly rowdy cub, just before one of its siblings jumped after it. All the while, the king's eyes were glued to yet another clay tablet. At the rate he'd been going, he was almost ready to play secretary for the whole of Chaldea. What a laughable state he'd basically leapt right into. . .

  6. #246
    Ah, yes, Jeanne could see all the lions wandering about the throne room and she knew what would come next. A light sigh escaped her, as she prepared to have to defend her sister's honor and keep her calm. "Well, this is going to be interesting," she mumbled, just as a lion cub pounced. Artoria opened her eyes in surprise catching the kitten and only just avoiding a girly shriek. The second prompted a giggle, but she immediately put the cat down and clasped her hands behind her back. Right, she couldn't appear to be so enamored. She was a knight, the Queen of Camelot, surely a few lions wouldn't cause her to abandon all honor and hope. Ah, but they would. Her eyes were bouncing around the room, pupils fully dilated. Artoria was holding back a scream of elation while her hands were clasped steadily behind her back.

    Jeanne couldn't help it, she laughed outright. "Heheh---hahahaha!~" she couldn't help it, and was soon covering her mouth but that glee in her eyes hadn't gone anywhere. She was amused when her sister had reacted to the sphinx, but here and now in front of her absolute favorite animal she was a total mess trying to get her life together and having it not work. Inside of Artoria she was repeating a mantra to herself over and over. 'I am not a child. I am the Queen of Camelot. I will not fall apart. I will stand on my honor.' Yes those words repeated over and over but the moving of her fingers behind her back was worse than when she wanted something dead. Having had a decent amount of fun at her sister's expense, Jeanne went on to speak. "Thanks for helping me get set up. I'm heading back down to pick up some people and get started on whatever rotations you have for me," she mentioned happily. "Ah, before all that though... my sister might die if she can't pet the lions. She's trying her hardest not to ask... but it's really killing her. They are her favorites after all. I imagine she'll become a complete girl for maybe a full minute this time~" she mentioned casually giving up all kinds of information about Artoria.

  7. #247
    With the pounce of a single lion cub, Gilgamesh received another major distraction today. This one, he didn't particularly mind. This one, he briefly glanced up from a tablet to behold with his bare eyes. This one, he'd once have welcomed with a bit of pomp and flair. Ah, but there was no point in that now. Perhaps one day, that pursuit would return. For now, there were greater concerns. First and foremost would come the announcement of Jeanne D'Arc. She spun the brief yarn of her upcoming escapade and the settling of Chaldea's newest addition. "I take it that old belt found its use in your hands, Queen of Saints. I suppose anything is better than it collecting dust outside one of Kur's temples," he stated, his gaze returning to that slab of clay. Jeanne went on to speak of her sister and some obsession with petting the lions. Foolishness. It didn't take a form of Clairvoyance to see she was barely holding herself together... or maybe it did. Frankly, Gilgamesh was starting to lose track of what counted as obvious, and what he could see beyond the norm after all the focus on his supernatural optic prowess. "And what good would it do asking permission to interact with a beast? Hmph. I suppose they are my pets, so I will acknowledge well-mannered restraint with due magnanimity. Come," he said, waving about his free hand to bring rise to the male lion, as well as its mates. The lot of them assembled before the throne as veteran soldiers would, all facing the king as if they were trained to prepare for some sort of circus act. Feline though they were, they appeared more mild-mannered before the king than lapdogs.

  8. #248
    Ah, yes, a nice conversation between royalty. This was about what Jeanne expected, though if she was being honest she didn't have a problem with most people. She could see that King Gilgamesh wasn't as bad as he seemed on the surface, and she was a saint, seeing people's better qualities was a special skill. "Yes, it was quite helpful. I'd like to keep it a little while longer... I or someone else can hunt for meat, but vegetables are necessary. I don't want to be murdered by nii-chan for not eating properly," she stated as if it was perfectly normal for her to be afraid of anything. Moving on from that though, there was the matter of Artoria and these lions she was scarcely holding herself back from. Ah, but what was this... he was feeling magnanimous was he? Acknowledging they were his pets and not free to simply frolic with until her heart was content, "Squee!~" a light squeal and a giant smile crossed Artoria's face. She didn't even have the grace to be properly embarrassed, she seemed almost jittery before taking that first step. "Eri-nee your girl is showing. Go... pet the lions~" she said with slightly narrowed eyes. The difference between her sister's work face and her normal face were starting to once again become obvious to Jeanne, of course, she'd had all week to readjust and knew for a fact that she was in love with the idea of petting lions.

    Artoria almost skipped forward, only maintaining the slightest posturing. Soon after those dilated pupils settled on this male lion. Eyes sparkled like emeralds as pieces of armor completely disappeared from her person. Unguarded, in a slightly altered version of her dress Artoria reached out to pet this lion and had her eyes close gently as she close her arms around it. Petting and cooing would ensue as the Queen of Camelot lost herself in the endorphin rush attributed to happiness. A couple of giggles and squeals entered as well... it was actually quite cute as a sight to see. "If you're going to be like that, you could be more honest..." Jeanne said while rubbing her face. To be fair, perhaps she should warn King Gilgamesh, if he ever wanted to have a conversation with Artoria that didn't involve a battle to the death, a lion or child in the room would control her baser instincts.

  9. #249
    "It will go to waste otherwise. Keep it as needed. If you produce excess, it will be of use for trade," Gilgamesh proclaimed, remembering a great source of annoyance for him since his return. Jeanne possessed within her a greater innocence than most people of this plane knew, so he thought to offer the woman a warning of sorts. "Be mindful that there are some mongrels who think themselves great enough to demand forests for trees. Assert yourself as holder of the Holy Grail and crush their expectations underfoot, lest you be left with nothing." His explanation was offered in good faith, but there was a mighty tinge of annoyance present on his face throughout. Those bastards had some nerve, thinking they had any right to make demands in any situation.

    The king was content to continue working while offering Jeanne a bit of useful information about this realm, but an utterance from Artoria stole his attention away once more. In the aftermath of a squeal from the smaller woman, Gilgamesh peeled his eyes away from the tablet once more. The moment he viewed the maiden with her arms wrapped around a lion, he bore witness to something very different. Gone was the armor, and... what was that gleam in her eye? It was such a familiar, even unmistakable quality of emerald, and... if that dress were made white. . .

    Impossible! Shock claiming his visage, he looked into the face of Jeanne D'Arc. Everything about Artoria in this moment matched his vision, bar her physical form. Was it the other one then? No. Instead of emerald, what he saw in the other one was sapphire. Back to Artoria he looked, doing nothing to fight against the widening of his eyes. Was there a stroke of good fortune in his future? If so, how distant was that possibility? He had to delve deeper. "Queen of Knights. How many years have you walked this planet?"

  10. #250
    King Gilgamesh was being a completely reasonable person today, by Jeanne's own standards. He claimed she should keep the belt which helped her produce crops lest it go to waste, and use the excess for trade. Though he gave other warnings, about making sure she wasn't taken advantage of by those of this plane. In the moment Jeanne managed to look surprised, this wasn't the first time she was given such advice. Her own sister, said it as well while they were working, the Pharaohs of Egypt also gave this advice, and the wine-maker Siduri mentioned something similar. Jeanne nodded her understanding. "I suppose the advice of five different people cannot be ignored. I will be vigilant," Jeanne said managing to look abashed. How innocent did she seem that everyone thought that the people would take advantage of her. While petting lions Artoria looked up and chuckled, "With the title Queen of Saints, you possess an innocence the rest of us cannot," she mentioned while rubbing her face into the side of this lion's mane. It was so fluffy. It felt so nice under her touch and rubbing against it gave her an amount of happiness her body didn't often get to know.

    But it did something else as well, it let her child-like self leak through just a bit. It distracted her mind of her conscious suppression of all her necessary personality traits. Gone were the thoughts of direct assassination, but also gone were the thoughts of the King of Camelot as she was originally named. Ah, yes, right at the moment she was above such things and seemed to be enjoying it. How much? Well, so much that when King Gilgamesh used her title to ask her a question, she found herself answering as she reached out to a female lion and petted that as well. "I believe it has been about 100 years... whether I am being stingy or generous with the number. I have lost track as it is not a matter of great importance," she mentioned, even managing to ignore the reference to her title, but that only made Jeanne scoff. "How are you that much older than me while looking so much younger?" Jeanne questioned directly. "I am actually nineteen right now!" This whole animal therapy thing was working, she'd not managed to get a straight answer out of her sister about her age in the week they'd been together. "I have always looked a bit younger than you, in spite of our previous two year age difference," retorted Artoria, with her nose up in the air. That one still stung even now. Both her and Rie always held a minor bit of jealousy over the more feminine body their youngest sister possessed. Rie was convinced that Eri was just a late bloomer, but Artoria as she was, knew it probably wouldn't happen for her. Not while she lived this time anyways. "If you wish to understand my youthful appearance, I have been unchanging since I pulled Caliburn from the stone, when I was fifteen," she said shooting a devious look at Jeanne, oh, a moment of teasing was coming an old one straight from the past. "You are four years older than me, aneki~" Jeanne's eyes widened at this set of words. Artoria, or rather Eri, had been prone to calling her the older sister, while being older, and it was shocking, nostalgic and it stung just a little.

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