The Silver Lion
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Once upon a time, in the heart of Aldemarc, a prince of gold was born. With hair as fine as woven straw, and eyes of blazed goldenrod, and a heart too big for his body, the Queen looked upon him with exhaustion and fondness, for she had never known a greater love until that moment. She and the king had tried time and time again to bear a child, but to no avail, and even still the prince of gold looked as healthy as a baby could be. Now with a suitable heir, he was to be raised into the Avani lineage.

The Queen hardly held her child at all, however, as he was often in the hands of various trusted maids and schoolteachers, and even though she herself was under the thumb of the corrupted king whom she used to love but no longer, she still craved to care for her own miracle child.

One chilly morning, upon entering the garden she often frequented, the Queen heard a great cry of anguish and upset. She heard the cries of a baby that hadn't been her own. Quickening her pace, the queen made her way to the center of the garden, where a wriggling basket sat perched squarely in the center of fine white rose bushes. Closing in, she glanced upon the snowy head of a wailing baby boy, fussing and squirming in his confines despite appearing newborn. He fought with great fury and need, and despite that, the Queen scooted up to his side and held the baby in her arms tenderly. Soon, he quieted as she hummed gentle hymns, a sweet smile on her lips.

"This one," she concluded with a whisper, "This one will be a fighter."

His potential was unmistakable, and despite how the king insisted that she not pick trash up off the ground, he eventually gave in if it would cease her impudent whining. One of the finest knights in their midst became his mother, and that knight named him Paeris, a gentle name for a soul of glorious fire. From the moment he could hold a sword in his fist, Paeris was taught to defend the prince of gold with every fiber of being, as he then became assigned as the prince's personal knight. The Queen's heart ached that she, yet again, had given her heart to another child only for fate to derail her wishes, but another's need was far greater than hers, and thus she sacrificed her own desires for that need.

As Paeris reached a certain age, he was fully integrated into the knights of Aldemarc, and he began to learn of the darker secrets behind the crowned Avani family. Learning these secrets came with a price, as all knights of Aldemarc are fit with a curse the moment they receive their knighting. The King, powerful in influence and questionable magic, cursed his knights will a spell of Silence, which forced them to hold their tongues whether they liked it or not. Desperate to hide his corruption as his knights flitted from neighboring kingdom to neighboring kingdom, he figured that if no one could speak, no one could reveal. And, following that, departures and arrivals were very closely monitored as a result - no one left or entered the castle without the kings distinct approval.

Paeris became close with a select group of 4 other knights including his object of protection, the golden prince, and eventually developed their own divergence of Thieves Cant which allowed quick and discrete messages passed along through knocks, morse code, and a completely fabricated style of sign language. And through this closeness, they developed their own unofficial suborder, the Order of Silence, so they could convene and communicate in absolute secrecy.

One day, for a laugh, the two spell casters of their small order were polishing their trade, and one cast the Zone Of Silence. Expecting nothing of it, he spoke and found that the consequence of glass shards digging against his vocal chords never reared, and he found he could speak in this way as the Zone spell effectively trumped their cruel curse.

Once the others were made aware, the 5 knights often met to vocally discuss the state of the castle and kingdom, and after involving the prince they eventually came to the agreement of staging a mutiny. If the king were exposed, he would be forced to abandon his crown and perhaps would be executed in the process by angry prisoners, allowing the golden prince to take his rightful place in bettering Aldemarc and her people as they deserve to be bettered. The plan was simple: release everyone in the dungeons, and allow chaos to bear peace.

Paeris and the prince, backed up by the remaining 4 knights, went into action before first sunrise, and descended into the dungeons of the castle, popping the locks on each and every cell in sight. As expected, the prisoner's rioted, and the group lost each other in the frey. Most escaped, some were executed, and others tried their luck at getting a descent shot towards the king, only for their efforts to be in vain.

However, it was almost enough to convince the public, as most of this prisoners were simply evading the high taxes or were accused of tyranny against the king when it was simply a matter of negative opinion towards their ruler. Prince Theren stepped forward to take the blame, and the king was furious. In anger, he ordered for his son to be executed, but due to the intervention of his kindhearted wife, the sentence was downgraded to absolute exile.

The public, however, believed Prince Theren to be dead, and the blame for the riot simply chalked up to coincidence and circumstance, and the knights were never known to have been involved, not even to the king himself.

Even Paeris, the leader of his little order, believed Prince Theren to have perished, but one day he receieved a letter during his rounds outside the castle, informing him of the Prince's whereabouts and the new disguise he now donned in an effort to slowly right the wrongs his father had done.
And even though Paeris couldn't see his prince, his love, he had every hope that someday they would meet again and rejoice, and they could all escape their shared grievances, and better the kingdom one battle at a time.

At least, until Maldemos fell…

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