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Miasma Poetica

Shataina, Guardian of the Southern Lands, Lady of Legends, tells the tale:

Lady Seven Hymns Princess and Lady Sep, the Dual Queens of the Bitter Flower Empire, referred to each other as "sisters", and they never appeared to take a sexual interest in each other. Nevertheless, although they each had their share of flings, neither wished to have children by others, either.

The girl Vivid Rapture was hailed and fêted by both queens as their daughter -- apparently, they had decided that each was only worthy to have children by the other. Throughout the Empire, she was treated as the princess of the realm. Indeed, she did take after the empresses in both looks and personality; the only physical difference between her appearance and that of her parents was her hair, which shimmered with a thousand colours. The most common speculation about the possibilities behind her birth involves Isparian spells, but during their reign the two queens quashed such discussions with such brutality that, had there been any evidence, it is generally agreed that it is surely gone by now.

Lady Vivid Rapture was doted on by both mothers, and given the best of the best in everything from training to artifacts. Indeed, she was granted the benefit of the Flagrant Malevolence, which both Seven Hymns Princess and Sep had previously kept strictly between the two of them.

Lady Quicksilver Scribe was a frequent visitor to the Dual Queens' court and beloved by all therein. As Vivid Rapture grew up, she and Quicksilver Scribe became particularly close; Quicksilver Scribe even taught Vivid Rapture the Sweetest Secrets of the Divine Inamorata, which she had stolen from That Which Calls To Shadows -- the now-vanished style which, it is said, utilized the Standard Erudian Circle to the greatest possible effect.

One could say that Vivid Rapture learned too well, for when Quicksilver Scribe vastly offended Sep and Seven Hymns Princess, the two empresses set their daughter to take their revenge. And, loyal to her parents above all others, Vivid Rapture obediently utilized both the Flagrant Malevolence and the Sweetest Secrets to render Quicksilver Scribe helpless and kill her slowly.

Yet Quicksilver Scribe, even when writhing in the throes of most exquisite pleasure, did not entirely lose herself; she had just enough power and self-control to twist her dying breaths into a terrible, sorcerous mist which she instructed to take her revenge. The Miasma Poetica was so deadly that the merest tendril, creeping under the door to a room, could kill all therein; even Exalts are recorded as having perished from the slightest intake of the Poet's Breath. Its other property was an innate tendency to creep towards the Dual Queens, wherever they might be.

But Quicksilver Scribe, for all her self-control, could not vanquish the terrible, betrayed love she felt for Vivid Rapture; and this love rendered the Miasma Poetica useless against the woman who killed her. Thus, although only a few doses of Poet's Breath could have killed the Dual Queens, it never reached the Bitter Flower Empire, for Vivid Rapture utilized the last and least-known capacity of the Flagrant Malevolence to capture the Miasma in one hundred and eleven moonsilver bottles forged from the armour and personal effects of the dead Quicksilver Scribe. These bottles she variously sold, traded, and gave to those who struck her fancy, always on the condition that they never be used against her parents; and not a single vial of the Miasma Poetica ever even came within the bounds of the Empire during the Dual Queens' lifetimes.


~ Shataina

See also Shataina's other Lexicon entries