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Thread: Finis Chaldea

  1. #261
    The serenity of a queen was to be joined by the jovial nature of a court mage. Strangely, Merlin led the knights of Camelot to the Round Table before taking Artoria's left side. He'd known this moment was coming in the aftermath of Artoria's trip to Chaldea, but the same could not be said of the knights who merely came to join an ordinary gathering. Sir Lancelot, Sir Tristan, Sir Gawain, Sir Bedivere, and so on were all gathering at the Round Table of Camelot. In the meantime, Merlin peered through the corner of his eye at the queen herself. A suggestion or request would be coming from her rather soon. He'd been waiting for quite some time to hear it. "How auspicious it is to be called upon by our king so soon after her return. I wonder what she could possibly need us all for today~♪"

  2. #262
    Among those present were also, the Lady Galahad, Lady Kay and Agravain, the latter of whom didn't have a sure gender but would answer to Sir. They all gathered around and Artoria found herself looking out at them, of course, she had no reason to be distrustful. She fully intended to say what she needed to and hear out any concerns. All looked to Artoria recently back from a trip and wondered what she could have wanted, of course, it would be Merlin who would speak first and claim not to know what they were needed for. Those green eyes of hers opened and she cut them to the side at Merlin, she'd always do this, she didn't seem capable of helping it. "I am not one to stand on ceremony. I have found many things about the world above and as a kingdom we have to prepare," she started calmly. "Three major things need to be addressed this day, and I will hear what all of you have to say on both matters," she clarified. "I have not yet won my Holy Grail, but I will and when I do the entirety of this country will ascend with me. The very land and all of its foundations and all of its people," she explained of the coming plan. "To that end, all need to be prepared for the environment of the world above," she expressed. "The other matter has to do with the creation of an organization of Holy Knights, which has already been founded and is being operated by the Queen of Saints Jeanne D'Arc," she clarified. "The last item on the list, is Chaldea as a place and the loyalty we'd have to swear to it. A floating continent that is a collection of islands run like an empire, answering to the King of Heroes, Gilgamesh," She supposed there might be questions, and she would answer them in turn. But getting the necessary information out first would be a major undertaking.

  3. #263
    Artoria Pendragon, Queen of Camelot, needn't say a word to garner the attention of knights. She may have been bothered by the acquisition of a title, but Queen of Knights could be suited to no one else. Her existence commanded the attention of various individuals as they sat around that round table, offering ears to her mention of the mythical land of the sky. Apparently she was to acquire a Holy Grail, at which point the whole of this country would rise along with her. Word spoke of Egypt doing the same around ten years ago. Still, it was baffling for many to hear the intention. Some knights were also still troubled by the idea of Artoria swearing fealty to another, as interpreted by her own words.

    "My queen. If you wish to rise with all of us, we are at your beck and call as always. Do you truly plan to swear loyalty to another, though? You are the Queen of Camelot, the hope of all Albion," said the knight known as Gawain, the Knight of the Sun. Another male knight had things to say. This one was none other than Sir Lancelot, he who sat unrivaled at the Round Table of Queen Artoria. "I would also question my queen swearing to another. Is Camelot not strong and efficient enough? Whoever this Gilgamesh is, why would you ascend just to answer to him? Besides... King of Heroes is a rather pompous title, isn't it? Who calls themselves something like that?" the Knight of the Lake questioned, raising the spirits of himself and a few others with laughter. While this exchange took place, Merlin remained that smiling ball of aloofness that he always was. Ah, but his eyes were trained on Artoria. He seemed... expectant, curious, and just slightly excited all at once. What would come next? Well, it was going to be interesting overall in the mage's mind.

  4. #264
    As Artoria sat at this table with her Knights, she heard their potential misgivings with the current plan. The most of the issues having to do with the swearing of fealty and the nature of the man known as the King of Heroes. The Lady Kay and Lady Galahad both had questions to pose about the nature of these Holy Knights as an organization. "If Holy Knights are to exist, is there some church to which one swears fealty, and what is their mission that you would bring it to us? My queen, such trivialities are normally not your concern," The Lady Kay lodged, though she was in agreeance with both Lancelot and Gawain because it was quite unusual for Queen Artoria to even bring them something of this magnitude without having considered it in some form. The Lady Galahad understood much about Artoria already, so when she brought up the idea of joining another she'd already made a decision on the trustworthiness of such an individual. The Queen of Saints Jeanne D'Arc was also her legitimate younger sister from the other world so, Galahad was certain that there was to be an alliance of sorts already formed in that respect. "My Queen, if you search for the Holy Grail, is it not in your best interest to know the details of its spawning?"

    Artoria heard out for major issues, all of which she would address. Lancelot was his normal self and managed lightheartedness in the face of serious topics, and Merlin himself seemed about his usual level of annoyance. Artoria didn't know of being remotely dishonest and fully intended to reveal all the information she had. "Kay, the Holy Knights Organization has no religious affiliation. The Queen of Saints runs it to interact both above and below. Knights for the protection of the people, against monsters, tyranny and whatever else ails the world. As a person and in garnering alliances I feel that cause is just and such a group could always be helpful. Besides all of that, in being part of the group I can vet the Knights who will work with it. You do not have to participate if you do not wish to, but given how such things work, it will be a benefit to all to help those who are not yet able to help themselves. It is one of the few things I have sworn myself to already, but I am biased in knowing that the Queen of Saints is my younger sister and thus above reproach in all she does," explained Artoria of the Holy Knights. There was no religious aspect, just deliverance from the worlds evils as handed out by capable individuals and any among them could take on such a rotation. "I had a hand in the creation of the Holy Knights Headquarters and I can vouch for it as it exists under Jeanne D'Arc." What else? "King Gilgamesh is the King of Heroes and yes it is a pompous title, I could not agree more. The man himself is also rather arrogant this is a simple truth," Artoria stated. There was no point in lying about that man's annoying nature. "As I understand such titles, they are conferred either by those with power over you or by the world. In his case, the world determined he was the King of Heroes, so arguing such a point has little meaning," she said in full confidence of that particular understanding. "That being said I have witnessed this King with my own eyes and faced him in open combat, he works hard for his people and though he has the underlying attitude of a tyrant... I cannot question his ability as King and leader. He is reasonable in those aspects and played a major role in the construction of the Holy Knights Headquarters, even while being obviously overwhelmed dealing with the fall out of the previous rising of Egypt. I do plan to swear fealty when it happens as the whole of Chaldea is his to look after and I wouldn't have farmers and huntsmen being the only people doing any real fighting when we exist. Even so, I'd be willing to take responsibility if he overstepped our existing way of life," she summarized. That was about as high praise as one could get from Artoria, especially considering how she'd come to be Queen. "As for the Holy Grail, what I understand of it, I understand because of my conversations with the Pharaohs in Egypt and my participation in the previous Holy Grail War. My understanding is not perfect, but I have some knowledge."

  5. #265
    Standing behind Lady Galahad was a young man not yet a knight, but given the privilege of attending these meetings as a squire. He very much shared her curiosity about churches and the like, but it seemed no such religious involvement was at hand here. A sigh of relief escaped him, though he felt he had no place to speak. Sir Lancelot, however, did. "No church is a relief. That's real saintly behavior, if you ask me," he spoke. Many at this table could agree that being deemed "Holy" Knights while demanding or being required to offer tribute to the church itself was no honorable path. Those things didn't truly work out in their original world, and they wouldn't work here either.

    For the most part, numerous knights were willing to put their faith in the alleged Queen of Saints, if only because she was their queen's sister. Artoria Pendragon could do no wrong, many thought. "I believe I speak for many when I say becoming one of these Holy Knights would be an honor. If you have already chosen to pledge yourself to someone, it is only right that your loyal knights should follow suit. My blade will follow yours," Gawain said. "As will mine," added Sir Lancelot. "It saddens me to think of bending the knee to a tyrant, but I have nothing but faith in our queen's decisions," added the red-haired knight, Sir Tristan. In terms of additions, the younger male standing behind Lady Galahad could hardly resist blurting something out himself. "Yeah, and we're gonna meet the Egyptians!" Such a statement could come only from the one known as Freed, squire to Galahad. Sir Lancelot, Sir Tristan, Sir Gawain and Sir Bedivere all glanced quickly in his direction. In response to this, the lad far newer to this world seemed somewhat abashed. "Gomen! There wasn't anything cool left to say. . ."

  6. #266
    As was expected, with the concession that the Holy Knights had no religious affiliation the dissent was calmed among the knights of the round table. The Lady Kay nodded her understanding of this, and also had no problem being of assistance to a woman who could see clearly the issue of associating with religion when goodness was the aim. After another comical statement from Lancelot, Gawain would go on to mention the honor of becoming a Holy Knight of the caliber that Artoria had mentioned. Moreover the Knights at large seemed to agree with her decision making in general. Sir Tristian claimed that he would be saddened joining a tyrant but chose to take Artoria's word as well. And the squire of the group, a young man named Freed, showed excitement as well, though admittedly with less smoothness than the other knights. At least he had the presence of mind to know such a thing. A small upturn of Artoria's lips would happen then, what an interesting young knight he could potentially be. "I would not say it is uncool. The Pharaohs in Egypt are some of the most reasonable people I have met. They think of the well-being of their kingdom and all of its people, not leaving anything to chance. It was their guidance that leads me to another point," Artoria said giving it thought.

    "The mana density of the upper world is intense. I noticed it myself but it does not affect me, but the Pharaohs spoke once of having an issue of having to corral and protect their people from the pressure. Especially the weak and small children. I would not have the deaths of innocents on my hands for the sake of ambition," she explained of the situation. "As such the whole of the lands will need to be ready for the ascent, either by way of slow acclimation on this level or protective acclimation after reaching the top. These are your choices Merlin," she mentioned carefully. "I have a method to test the readiness of all of you in this moment. Any who pass this, and would like to be among the first to wear the mantle of Holy Knight, I would send to Jeanne D'Arc as part of her initial auxiliary force. Though I put her battle capacity between Gawain and Lancelot, the Queen of Saints possesses an innocence I will not see falter. To give her strength and give a few of you the chance to acclimate directly is my aim. What say you to the test?" she asked of the lot. She would not impose such a test with reckless abandon, but the Knights at her table did need to know where they stood between here and the sky. "I will take your test my Queen, but I think my best use of self will be helping along the acquisition of the Holy Grail. I feel it would be a good experience for Freed as well," mentioned Galahad. Kay also nodded her willingness to take this test. Agavain who'd been quiet this entire time also nodded.

  7. #267
    Freed was granted relief. For the queen herself to ease his worries, was the ultimate reprieve from a blundering moment. Moreover, she spoke as highly of the pharaohs as any he'd ever heard, hence his excitement to see Egypt for himself. Now was not the time to harp on that though, as Artoria had more information to share, coming from those very same pharaohs. Ascension had become the goal of many over the last decade, but it came with risks to a country. Dense mana was no stranger to most people in this very room; merely training with their queen, or witnessing said training, was something that could make most of them buckle under the weight of her energy alone. Surely the common citizens could not tolerate that sort of thing if it were applied to the atmosphere itself.

    Merlin had an option, as he knew he would. He could prepare the masses of Albion now, or he could shield them when Artoria raised the country to Chaldea. That smile remained part of the great wizard's visage as his eyes closed, his vision applied directly to the whole of Albion as it was. "A wise decision~ ♪ The world will forge a new Holy Grail no sooner than ten years after its predecessor," he said, casually delivering a bit of foresight. "It would take only six for Albion's people to be strong enough. I must ask though, Artoria... If I choose the latter, have you no concern for those who visit this country? A traveling merchant will die setting foot in the bounded field only four years from now," he explained.

    Meanwhile, Lancelot stood. He would show acceptance of this plan, and any Artoria offered, by holding his sword and standing at attention. Such was a maneuver that would be followed by the likes of Gawain, Bedivere, and Tristan as well. Freed, however, would be siding with Lady Galahad. "Eh? The Holy Grail? That's a huge responsibility, but I feel like I'm not up to par for whatever this test is─"

  8. #268
    Ascension was indeed the goal of many. The Pharaohs of Egypt had lit a fire under the bottoms of all humanity. And no king worth anything was content to have his country sit at the bottom when promised lands and glory were at the top. Artoria knew the truth a bit better than most, the world above was full of its own perils but the people there could be easily protected in these sovereign island nations. Beyond that a single king to unite them meant less infighting which was a goal of all who ran empires. Beyond that was the information offered by Merlin. He'd been strangely talkative for the last few times he'd appeared. Artoria herself would have commented but there were better usages of her words to come. That was a problem wasn't it? But it was not one which she had not foreseen herself. "I have considered this as well. Again, I would not want the blood of innocents on my hand, the Pharaohs claimed that initially they provided their protection to merchants traveling outwards. I will concede not having such methods of my own to give, for those coming in. Instead I could only do something much simpler," she said giving a plan which likely would sit strangely. "There is the possibility of using one of the old keeps as an outpost for trade. A singular meeting place outside of major influence. I would use Loch Ness for such an endeavor. I would leave it behind for traveling knights upon ascension, for my own and holy alike," she said softly. "The other options are quarantine for the duration of the 6 years it would take the people to acclimate, leaving the first few years for preparation or complete quarantine in 10 years time. If you have a better option though, I am listening," Artoria commented.

    Agravain stood at the same time as the others. Credit would be given to their Queen for her careful consideration of the potential issues of ascending. Leaving behind an outpost didn't sound like a bad idea either, in case the need reclaim or help surrounding lands was high. All the knights female or otherwise stood for the test so Artoria stood as well. By her own use of this method on Jeanne's chosen, she had a decent idea that only those with high quality mana wouldn't falter. Of course, making sure the Knights would be able to function regardless of the level of the world they'd be on was important. "Brace yourselves," Artoria said. Chivalry at its finest, just a moment after, there was a massive influx of energy concentrated on the Knights standing before her. Each would feel the weight of her mana, dense in the air around them, like taking steps at the bottom of the ocean. It would be nearly impossible for the weakest to even do what was necessary to take a breath. The next tier might find themselves incapable of movement, until reaching such a point as being able to deny the influence of the pressure. It was a skill, like any other it could be learned with the right amount of time. But this was a test, it was to see who could function as normal if they intended to ascend to help the works of Jeanne D'Arc.

  9. #269
    Ah, Artoria had a contingency for the potential death of Albion's visitors during the acclimation process. Merlin chuckled. He knew how this would end, and indeed it was all for the best possible outcome. Artoria had a very interesting habit of making decisions like that. "Loch Ness, of all places? Well, who am I to argue with insight of that caliber? I might only suggest a combination of things. Quarantine the country to avoid anything going wrong by chance, and send only those with the ability to survive the upper atmosphere to Loch Ness. If that is your intention, I will stagger the use of my bounded field, making sure any visitors in the first few years will confuse the pressure for the cold atmosphere~"

    Soon enough, Artoria was warning her knights of the coming intensity. None could truly be prepared, but surely all were ready to take any test she had for them. The likes of Lancelot and Gawain were hardly moved by this. Both seemed to be in a state similar to one who'd just finished a casual jog. Tristan, however, was pulling at his own collar. Ah, but the male knight who was in a worse state than the others was... Bedivere. The flaxen knight was perhaps the weakest of all who directly served Queen Artoria. He buckled, he fell to his knees, yet he struggled against the pressure just to breathe properly. Of course, there was also Freed, grasping at his throat trying to find even an ounce of breath while gravity took him to the floor. All he could wonder was in regards to why this happened while he remained in the room. . .

  10. #270
    Merlin raised a few valid points, good. He was here to advise and she did trust him in such a capacity, even if she found his actions annoying in most cases. He even seemed to approve of her choice of Loch Ness with only a few modifications. "I can see how it would be for the best, for those people to be able to move between Camelot and Loch Ness without many problems," Artoria said nodding her agreement. "Cold cover is probably for the best, I would not want too many people to worry, if it just feels like cold they might adjust easier," she said to Merlin. It would seem their relationship was a bit more cordial than it seemed initially. Or perhaps Artoria was fine so long as she didn't have to deal with him alone for an extended period of time.

    As for the test, Galahad seemed as unbothered as Gawain and Lancelot, such was expected given her high defense. Her squire however was choking on the ground beside her. The Lady Kay stood by Bedivere who was on his knees choking seeming to garner a similar reaction to Sir Tristan, uncomfortable but not incapable of moving. This was a good showing. Even Agravain though not moving very much seemed to be studying the reactions of the others, placing a hand on the back of their neck and wanting to stand in a more relaxed posture. Strangely with the same ease it had over taken them, Artoria simply compressed her power back into herself. "Oh, that went much better than I could have hoped. As far as the group is concerned, Bedi could use more training," she said of the loyal knight was only as tough as a regular human. Of Freed she looked towards the lad and gave an appreciative smile. "Galahad, he can be made ready quicker with the right guidance. Given his hopes of meeting the Pharaohs, you have your work cut out for you," she said only to have Galahad bow in return. "There is no problem, my Queen. I will see he gets the training required on our adventure. But this is not a full seating of the Knights, how will you test the rest?" she asked frankly. Artoria fought the desire to shrug off the concern as her body would have demanded after such a powerful showing. "In honesty a few knights have gone ahead. Perci was tested with my sister's choices and sent ahead if that helps any of you. A few of the others are out on quests to be relegated to other tasks. I am sure Pellinore would not mind remaining in Loch Ness along with a few others considering the back and forth nature of Percival's work." Artoria seemed to have a pretty decent understanding of her Knights abilities and would leave them to the tasks they felt most comfortable with. "If any of you has a particular assignment you are looking for, now is the time..." she gave a bit more room. She would send any who wished to become Holy Knights up with Jeanne who claimed she'd rotate them in and out as Gilgamesh required. A group who could survive the upper realm would be left to look after Loch Ness and able to switch places with the other once it was convenient to make sure switches at random and all would be well, as far as Artoria could tell.

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