The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Forged by Fire into a Queen
The context for this post: Eric has been attacked in Roalt Castle by someone using animated armor as flunkies. After Kasile's sentinel defeats him, she sends in a team of specialists to investigate the armors.
Anyone who can tell me what their names refer to gets a digital hug.
The sound of five pairs of boots distracted Eric. A group of five young women tore down the hallway and into main hall. They wore light armor made from silver-grey metal and studded with red-gold emblems. Their chest plates, gauntlets, and greaves were decorated with the royal Ataidar Crest. Around their waists were segmented skirts made of four plates with each plate representing an animal from the Avatar Alliance. Around their foreheads was a circlet bearing an Eye of Order crossed out with red-gold. Each of them had a different hair color, yet all of them had strands of silver-grey mixed in; they reminded him of Kallen's strands of golden-brown. When they saw him, they stopped and said, “Trickster's Choice.”
He slouched. “Yes...What about these guys?”
One of them stepped forward. Eric assumed she was the leader by her more ornate armor. She also had the least grey hair among the five and the rest was a shade lighter than the golden-brown of elves. It was shoulder length and covered by a transparent red veil held in place by the circlet. She produced a badge that depicted the Eye of Order imprisoned in the claws of Ataidar’s Crowned Tiger.
“I am Kimberly Johnson, leader of Her Majesty’s Ordercraft Security and Compliance Team. Please step aside and allow us to perform our jobs.”
“Sure.” He turned around and Kimberly spoke up again.
“Please stand by because I will need to debrief you. Also, don’t try to cloak yourself because I will still be able to see you.”
Kimberly turned to address the other four. “Taylor Jones, Daniela Cranston, Thuy Kwan, and Jasmine St. John, you know your specialties. I want to know everything about these armors in five minutes. Understand?”
They dispersed to check each body. They ran a scanning device over them and jotted down the readings. They traced with their hands and eyes for reasons that Eric could only guess. Only sparingly did they use the eldritch light of Order. When they finished with one suit, they switched to another. The fifth kept watch over Eric. She sized him up with a mixture of suspicion, curiosity, and disappointment.
“Your hair is solid red.” Not sure what else to do, Eric nodded. “He'll change that soon enough.”
Tasio wants to change my hair color?
An ethereal hand descended on his shoulder and another settled on his head. Shadow Dengel stood behind him and his shroud draped over him. I have figured it out. You never will.
Order's power leaches the color out of their hair as it does everything. Eric answered to remind himself and not because an arrogant figment of his imagination challenged him to. Chaos' power stains what it touches golden-brown because that's what chaos looks like inside a world fruit. Kallen has it because she was in the Siduban Chaos Explosion.
The four ordercrafters consulted with each other, then stood and returned to their leader's side like planets orbiting a sun.
The black-haired one, Taylor Jones, stepped forward. Eric noted that her hair was unusually long for a soldier, down her back. He also noticed that her bangs were as even as a ruler, and two side locks came down to her shoulders. She saluted and said, “This humble one traced the metal to a mine in Anich and it was likely processed in Liclis before being shipped elsewhere. There are no identifying marks other than the runes.”
The redhead, Jasmine St. Jones, stepped forward. Her hair was short enough to be a crew cut. She saluted and said, “I determined the runes to be standard ordercraft for creating automatons with extra for deflecting or negating mana. Absorbing runes are not present. If someone wanted to make anti-mage weapons, these would be effective.”
The brunette, Daniela Cranston, stepped forward. Her hair was in a braided tail. By now, Eric was putting a puzzle together. This was the fourth distinctive hairstyle and hair color. She saluted and said, “As for me, I can’t find any trace of necro or soulcraft. They’re purely automatons. The only thing animating them was their control crystal. It is unlikely that anyone has worn any of these suits.”
Is it deliberate? Let’s see…Ordercrafter means Order philosophy which means….
The blunette, Thuy Kwan, stepped forward. Her hair was in a bun. She saluted and said, “My evaluation can confirm that because I sense no hostility in these suits. Nor do I not see a connection to Epideus or his lieutenants. They were either enchanted by an impersonal force like Latrot’s Grand Obelisk or an unregistered and stoic ordercrafter.”
“I see,” Kimberly said. “The fact that a common thug had access to this technology will assist Her Majesty and Abbott Tolis in their media war against King Epideus. My thanks to you all.”
They put their hands over their hearts and said, “We only seek to fulfill Her Majesty’s will.”Looming Shadow, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon
To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit its Tvtropes character sheet.