Sadly the fiction that was produced for the Bane Chosen event seems to have been slapped together on short notice. Though I will give whoever wrote it credit for the Nero reference at the end "fiddling while the Lost Lands burn" I have tried to stay true to the feel of the fiction. This is simply my revision of the current fiction that went live today. Original credit goes to EA/Mythic. Anyways, here's my attempt to revise the fiction. Tell me what you think. Queen Zhah was lost in melancholy, idly studying the human who sat across from her. Queen Dawn sat quietly, admiring the beauty of the palace garden. The Gargoyles had gone to great lengths to preserve the garden, which was once an artifact of their fallen empire. The Queen of Ter Mur was saddened that on this auspicious day, the first summit between Britannia and Ter Mur since the completion of the Abyssal Outposts, she was the bearer of ill news. Contemplating the beauty of the garden she leaned back in her chair, wings expanded behind her to for balance. “Sorrow be damned.” She thought to herself as she broke the silence that hung between the two monarchs like a blade. “ My dear Queen Dawn, on behalf of Ter Mur allow me to extend to you my deepest congratulations on the completion of your outpost in the Abyss.” Queen Zhah reached to a plant and plucked a leaf from it, holding it between her long fingers. “I had thought” she began “that your mage’s theory of Virtue Nodes was naught but drivel, but your results have proven the truth of the matter.” With a flick of her wrist she sent the leaf dancing into the water of the reflection pool. Annoyance shot across Queen Dawn’s face. How could this person consider the Virtues drivel? “Congratulations are in order for you as well Zhah. My people have known the power of the Virtues since the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. Perhaps now that you have seen their power you will study them for yourself one day.” The Queen replied condescendingly. Zhah never ceased to be amazed at how emotional humans could be. What had she done to insult Queen Dawn this time? Queen Zhah’s world was on the very brink of annihilation and this young pup of a woman was sermonizing her on the Virtues? Zhah had no time for such petty annoyances. Ill news or not, it was time to deliver it. From within the folds of her robe Zhah pulled a scroll. “This is a ciphered report from my Warden in the Abyss. He reports that a host of hellhounds and strange black dragons have begun to reach the surface through the fissure.” She passed it to Queen Dawn. Dawn quickly read over the scroll and placed it beside her. “Thank you for sharing this information with us. We had only just received a similar report” she replied. “We have also received word that some adventurers calling themselves the Bane Chosen have taken to taming the dragons and hellhounds. So far we have yet to be able to determine their motives.” “Ah yes, the Bane Chosen.” Queen Zhah said. “I presume you know they have been recruiting here in Ter Mur? My guards have driven them away.” It was time to soothe relations with Dawn with a bit of candor. “The Void has taken much from my people, Dawn. Some have lost everything, including their families. I do not wish them to align themselves with strangers for the promise gold or a better life without knowing their intentions.” Queen Dawn took a breath and began to speak. She paused and studied the face of the Gargoyle Queen. It was only right that she be as candid with Zhah as Queen Zhah had been with her but moments before. “Their motives are certainly suspect. Aside from the insidious nature of the title Bane and their use of hellhounds, the uniforms they wear remind me of those worn by the Chaos Soldiers who once tried to take over Britannia. It could be remnants of their army trying to reorganize under a new banner. That is purely speculation though, you understand.” Looking at the reticent queen, Dawn prepared to share even more. “My spies are infiltrating their camps. They have not been seen near any of my cities as their attention seems to be focused on the Ophidians of the Lost Lands. They seem to be at war with them. Curiosity swept over Zhah. “Who are the Ophidians?” she asked. Human society was a complex interaction between various factions, but the Scholar in her was intrigued by such things. “Who? I would not say who. What is more the term you are looking for. They are an evil race. They take the form of snakes and always seem to be at war with somebody, whether it be the Terathans or even Britannia. They attacked us once when an artifact was stolen from them. Wave after wave of them assaulted our cities and we were only able to sue for peace by finding the thief and returning the artifact.” Dawn carefully explained. “I shall throw a glaive in the dark here. Perchance was the thief named Ricardo?” Queen Zhah asked. With a groan Dawn leaned back and rolled her eyes. “Ricardo? How do you know of him?” she asked. With a throaty laugh, the first overt emotion that Queen Zhah had displayed that day, she spoke. “My dear, who doesn’t know about the incorrigible Ricardo? His research into Lord British’s Vault is of great interest to me.” “Yes, entirely too many people in the world know about his research.” Dawn said with a sigh. “We will be forced to open the vault soon before someone else does. Initially it was feared the Bane Chosen were going to attempt it, but they seem to be focused on the Ophidians.” “Forgive me for prying Dawn, but some of my reports say that Ricardo is a thief, while others say he is your advisor.” Zhah’s curiosity had gotten the better of her. Such a statement could provoke Dawn’s temper and end the meeting. Evidently Zhah was getting more skilled in diplomacy as Dawn’s temper held steady. “Yes, he was a thief, and yes he was my advisor. He stole the artifact from the ophidians and served a good deal of time in prison for it. Eventually I pardoned him for his help in the battle against the Shadowlords. After the war he remained one of my advisors, but the horror of the war slowly drove him mad.” Dawn replied. Unconsciously adjusting her wings as she leaned forward, fascinated by the bizarre story, “Is madness a common malady amongst humans?” she asked with childlike innocence. “No. It is not.” Dawn replied tersely. “We put him in Yew Prison because we didn’t know what to do with him. He had left the castle one morning saying he was off to visit some friends. A few weeks later he was found on Fire Island completely insane and covered in blood…and naught else. What is strangest is the fact that the blood was not his own. I think he may be the victim of an enchantment. I pray a cure will be found soon.” The two queens seemed more relaxed now. Together they admired the beauty of the palace gardens. What tension there had been between the two seemed dissipated by the sharing of information. With a sigh Queen Zhah broke their reverie yet again. “What are you plans to deal with these Bane Chosen?” she asked Queen Dawn. Leaning back in her chair she replied, “In the past I would have advised my commanding officer that we should go up there and do something about them.” “Surely you as the Queen can order that done.” “Politics” Queen Dawn sighed and stood. “It’s always Politics.” She said as she began to pace back and forth. “I think I was much happier brandishing my sword rather than my diplomacy.” Dawn looked at Zhah and whispered, “Do you ever wish you were not the Queen?” With shock on her face Zhah answered with a short “No.” Queen Dawn placed her hand gently on the shoulder of Zhah. “Forget I said that.” She said as she took her seat and attempted to relax again. “As I was saying, I am constrained by Politics. My advisors have told me that any official military action against these Bane Chosen could easily be an unpopular decision. Many of my people have lost loved ones to the Ophidians and bear them ill will. Some see the Bane Chosen as instruments of Justice. Any interference could easily result in yet another faction forming. We will do nothing but remain neutral for now.” With a laugh Dawn spoke again. “If only being Queen was as easy as Music. You know our bards have made great advancements in their magic lately. Maybe I can keep my people on the proper path by supporting the arts, though we could end up playing the fiddle while the Lost Lands burn in the flames of war. Zhah was confused by Dawn. She seemed to have such little control over her people, yet they held her in high regard. Human society was truly complex! There was much to think about. Zhah was pleased that she had gained so much information, but was exhilarated by the fact that Dawn seemed to have opened up with her. She had always been uncomfortably formal with her in the past. Hopefully the connection made today would only strengthen their alliance. The summit was a success. Not only had Queen Zhah received beneficial information, she had also sown the seeds that would potentially become the sprouts of a friendship with Queen Dawn.