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  1. Previously... The Architect's Ascension: Part VII “Ilazio! Traitor!” Arama said in disbelief, reproach in her voice. She screamed as the guards dragged her and Luca, the former Rego, who showed no emotion towards his surroundings, lost in deep thought, further into the depths of the remote Varlyrian castello. Panic surged through her. “What are you going to do with us?” He could throw her from the top of the tallest peak in the west. They could both die with their bodies left in pieces at the base of the rocks. Ilazio didn’t answer. Luca stared at Arama in shock. For the first time he heard her speak to Ilazio as though she knew him, like she had an understanding with him. What had she done? “What do you mean ‘traitor?’” he said coolly. Was she even on his side? Tears welled into Arama’s eyes, and for the first time a burst of fury passed over her. She shook her arms and jerked herself out of the hands of the guards until at last her wrists were red with the chaffing of the hard rivets and she fell upon her face on the hard stone flags. She turned her face up and looked at Ilazio Moccenigo piteously. Arama cringing behind Luca. “You promised Luca and me amnesty,” she said and her voice broke. “What did it all mean to you then? Nothing?” Her lip trembled. “Che?” Luca looked at her curiously. “I did,” the new Rego replied calmly. “You and Luca are safe from the popolazione, who would have torn both of you into pieces, and they are safe from your deception.” “My deception?” Arama cried, turning herself over and pushing herself up with her hands. “Moccenigo, what about peace?” “Oh, there will be pace now.” Arama looked so hurt, Ilazio felt sorry for her again now. But he didn’t show it. He just slowly pushed open the heavy metal door overlooking the neighboring towers. Arama looking out over the desert wasteland. There from the tallest stone tower, hung from an over jutting beam of wood, sagged a rope, upon which swung a noble looking guard, with the epaulets of the Captain of the Rego’s Old Guard. It was Aluysio De Cioto. The pale blue sky behind him stretched out far over the desert, and a cold wind whipped through the stony chamber. Aluysio De Cioto, hanging between the desert and the sky. “What about no bloodshed,” Arama asked, terrified and trembling, kneeling in front of Ilazio, Luca’s hand keeping her up. Her eyelids quivered with tears for her brother. “There are other ways to kill,” Ilazio smiled and he looked at her with cold, hard eyes. “As far as I can see,” he said, “this is only fair.” Arama knew it was. She had used the same tactics when she had betrayed Råiden and Brabantio for Luca. She had begged her brother to swear allegiance to Ilazio, to support the new Rego—but he had refused. She looked at Ilazio Moccenigo mutely. Did she see remorse in the repentful man’s eyes, or just cold calculation, the same he had used to cut her down on the rooftops? She felt something pressed over her eyes. “Arrivederci, Luca di Carlo e Arama di Athena De Cioto,” Ilazio said in a calm voice. She felt a rope wrapped about her neck and then she heard the tramp of the guard filing towards the wall. “Pronto!” Arama cringed and a low cry of fear escaped her. She only knew one thing: she wasn’t ready to die! Ilazio put his hand on her shoulder and lifted her up to her feet. She leaned sickly against the wall as her blindfold fell from her eyes. “Take them below, and keep them there,” Ilazio said with a smile, “safe.” Arama opened her eyes with a bitter, painful feeling of relief and regret. She was breathing hard. Luca put his hand into her hair, and she twisted her head to look at Ilazio one last time. “Addio, Arama,” Ilazio said. And with that, the pair were dragged beyond the sight of Ilazio Moccenigo, deep within the vaults of the old desert castle of the west. Luca and Arama were thrown into the same cell, deep beneath the surface of the sand. The architect of their ruin had traded them blow for blow. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Back in Illaryian, in the unfinished Palazzo Vincenzo, as the newly crowned Rego of Varlyrio, I wandered the halls that mio padre had prowled at night when he first discovered the secrets that had led me here, secrets now known across all of Varlyrio. The Chiaro boy had brought me my crown in good time, once it had been removed from Luca di Carlo’s brow, and I had personally conveyed the late Rego and Arama De Cioto far out into the west, together with several other dangerous traditori politici. It had been necessary to lock the pair up in the strongest, deepest castle in the realm, far away across the mountains in the wastelands, for even there, they could still cause caos if given the chance, and I was afraid that wouldn't take much. The rest of the traditori would never trouble Varlyrio again… that was certain. I gave a slight smile as I looked off into the sunset towards La Tigre di Illaryian. Although there still remained mia famiglia to restore, that could wait; for my vendetta had succeeded. I was satisfied! It was the same feeling I had received after my first commission, aided by my wise and shrewd father, that I won against the dastardly Edmondo Ziccardi, albeit narrowly and through un piccolo legal knothole. Even though those responsible for la morte di mio papà were still alive, I felt better this way! Perhaps it would do them good. Maybe, I had a thing or due to learn from mio nipote, Aurelia. I could never completely abstain from shedding blood, but rule with giustizia e il mio ingegno; my blade would only shine bright red when it was required to maintain the peace of the realm, and perhaps to construct a better Varlyrio. I laughed. No Rego could do that, even Sana Argenta herself hadn’t been able to quell the storms that bashed our guild… but one could hope. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  2. Previously... The Architect's Ascension: Part V Never while she lies before me, crippled and at the death’s door, shall I strike down another soul with blood in vendetta. I knew not why I made this oath to myself. What did I owe her anyways? I hadn’t meant for it to be so brutal. Maybe I had gotten carried away a little. It had almost all gone wrong. I shook my head, vacating the chair that I had occupied the entire serata. I needed to clear my thoughts. “Ilazio?” a weak voice called out as I gently opened the door. I looked behind me at the pale figure sitting up in the infermeria bed, Arama. She seemed enervated, but at least she was alive. I gave a slight smile, closed the door, and walked across the room towards her. “Che cosa?” I whispered. “You saved me. Perché?” she asked. “E allora? That doesn’t mean that I particularly like you,” I responded gruffly. “That’s not the point,” Arama said, looking extra pale and even trembling a little. “Maybe you should be Rego. If you really mean to be like this.” I looked at her, shocked, shaking my head in denial. She had done it for me! This wasn’t the first time today that my weeks of planning had turned out pretty differently from what I expected. But it was all the same in the end. It had to be. I would play my cards all the way. “No,” I said coolly. “Then what is it you want from me? You’ve been sitting there, su quella sedia, all night!” Arama swallowed, frustrated. “I can’t give you anything, more than that.” “No? Non voglio niente. I don’t want that. Nothing, I’ve repented of my vendetta. Mio papà can rest now, riposare in pace. You should too,” I answered ruefully, exasperated. “I don’t offer it for you, and I certainly don’t offer it for myself,” Arama begged, looking even more fragile than before. “But you can’t do it without me,” Arama grinned. “Lo sai.” “Perhaps I could have. Perhaps I didn’t want to. Buona Notte.” I gave a twinge of a smile as I left for the night. It turned out it was even easier this way. This was one maniera to gain vengeance over the dastardly Rego without even shedding blood. My month of hard work, research, and desperate secrecy would pay off soon… and both promesse could be preserved. You didn’t need to shed blood to kill. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Arama De Cioto was eating from a small bowl of porridge when Ilazio entered the following morning. She thought it was delicious even though she knew it tasted horrible. She looked less pale and more determined to Ilazio. He was surprised she hadn’t left. “Sicché?” she questioned indifferently as he closed the door. “Indeed,” he replied calmly despite the severity of his words. “Hai ragione. Luca has only, besides his peace with the Kolgari, caused turmoil and death per la nostra gilda. The last Rego was possibly killed off at sea and look where that got us. If I am to assume the Regoship, I want to do so with popular support. Nessuna violenza.” Arama sighed, bit her tongue, and stared at Ilazio. “You and me, we could do it,” she said. Ilazio shrugged. “At least we could try. If you really mean it. If you don’t mind what people think of you.” “I need you to swear,” Arama said through her teeth. “Swear what? I’ve already sworn in my heart. You think I could have stopped myself from killing you if I hadn’t barred myself with an oath under the moon last night? I will never shed blood again.” Ilazio closed his eyes. “I will become Rego because Varlyrio needs me. That’s never what I wanted. I just wanted to avenge my father! But you’re right. There’s something better for me to do. We need peace, justice, and friendship. I’ll give that, I swear!” Ilazio Moccenigo lifted up his hand and shook it at the roof. Then he sank back onto the sedia. “If we can, I mean. I swear I’ll never stop trying: by Sana Argenta!” Arama looked at him with her mouth ajar. “Bene… I,” she paused, not sure how to continue. This was betrayal, but it was for the best. Everything she had done with Luca, what had it gotten them? Now it hurt to think of the people who were gone—all gone forever, and it was her fault. Did she think it was all a game? What had she done? Whatever it was, she didn’t want to do it anymore. “I agree,” she said at last. She took a breath. Her headache vanished magically and even though she was in physical pain, she had never felt so light and happy before. And it would be fun to do Luca a favor he never imagined. She wondered if he’d appreciate this. But who cared? It didn’t really matter whether Luca understood it or not. It wasn’t up to him. She tried not to laugh. She knew it would hurt her stomach. “This costs me nothing, but everything for you,” Ilazio remarked. This arrangement only seemed to benefit him, ma forse she had some ragione occulto. “What do you want this for?” “Maybe I need to repent too,” Arama countered, both to herself and to Ilazio. “I found out something last night. There are two kinds of hearts. And I have both—at least I think I do.” She winked at Ilazio. Ilazio nodded as he gathered his cloak about himself, preparing to leave. “Then it’s settled. Due giorni and I will return here. If you’ve left, you must come too, at this hour. Then, we will present our case to le famiglie di importanza. Rest well, mia compagna ancora di nella conspirazione.” “This is treason,” Arama grinned. Ilazio grinned cautiously back at her. He would watch her carefully. “Al demone with treason or patriotism!” they both said together. Arama swallowed back her laugh. “Which one even is this?” Ilazio added thoughtfully. “Non lo so,” Arama murmured. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Luca di Carli, Rego of Varlyrio, was writing a letter to be sent to the Queen Ylspeth who demanded tidings detailing the recent assassination attempt, and regarding the death of the famous Tiger Prince, Råiden Tígrisdýrið, when Arama di Athena De Cioto limped in without knocking di mattina presto. “Arama!” he said, curious and alarmed at seeing her bloodstained clothes and pale face. She hadn’t bothered to change. Luca knew she liked going around all bloody and dirty. “Cosa! What happened this time? You can’t dream how anxious I’ve been; I sent out your brother looking for you with a trusted band of guards.” Arama grunted, wincing as she collapsed into the nearest chair. She smiled at him coyly, looking out from under her eyelashes with a resigned but merry expression. Luca leaned over the desk, rolling his eyes as he spilled ink on the letter to the Queen—he would probably just leave it that way, it was kind of artistic—and helped Arama into a sitting position. “Stab wound,” she replied, somehow nonchalantly. He frowned trying to repress any amusement. “Posso vedere. Why don’t you explain, per favore?” “Ilazio ambushed me,” she replied, licking her lips thoughtfully before confiding more. She knew, for one thing, that Ilazio’s agent was watching her from the other room. Well, he was wasting his time. Apparently Ilazio’s pacifism didn’t stop him from worrying about getting killed by someone else. “And he didn’t murder you like he murdered me?” Luca questioned ironically. “Oh, sorry, of course,” he apologized when Arama laughed. But there was something strange about her laugh, a pensive air to her face. Luca guessed that it wasn’t very comfortable for her to laugh at the moment. “Dispiace, didn’t mean to make you laugh,” he said apologetically. “It’ll make me live longer—maybe,” she said. “But no, he’s not dead either.” She smiled at Luca’s astonished look. “You flatter me,” she remarked bashfully. “What? All he cares about is revenge.” “Maybe… not all,” she said slowly. “Do you know what he cares about?” Luca quizzed her, leaning back against the table and accidentally putting his hand on the wet ink. “Accidenti!” Arama didn’t make any remarks. She seemed a little sad, her eyes lazily gazing out the window instead of at Luca. “Arama, you seem… distracted?” he said, concerned. Before, when he had seen her injured, she just wanted to fight. Now, she seemed perfectly happy, or at least perfectly normal. “That’s strange,” Luca accidentally muttered out loud. Arama looked distracted, gazing out of the window instead of at Luca. Arama nodded in affirmation, flinching, but both of them knew that it was a lie. It was… actually, pretty normal… that was what Luca found strange. “Well, it seems the Moccenigos aren’t a threat to us anymore. They know how to kill us but they still can’t. His last attempt on la mia vita has discouraged him, bene?” he said triumphantly, expecting Arama to tease him in return, but instead he disappointingly received nothing. He laughed. “Get some rest. Servo, fetch un dottore, per favore, to attend to her wounds.” “Sì, mio Rego,” the servant replied, bowing in deference. “We don’t really need to worry if all the world sees us together now, ehi?” “I don’t know, Luca,” Arama said hesitantly, “better not to be so reckless.” Luca nodded and gave a slight smile to Arama as she was carried out of the office. He sighed and then began adding some more artistic blotches to the report for Queen Ylspeth. Later, when little Arama De Cioto was more herself, he would find out the details of her disastrous fight with Moccenigo. Everything happened the way she wanted it to happen, he knew that pretty well. He grinned and shook his head. “Sempre impresionante,” he muttered. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Due giorni dopo, I went back to the farmacista to get Arama. We talked about the complicated details, safe exile, how she would get Luca to go with her, riservatezza delle informazioni, extenuating deals. The point was, I had to treat her fairly, and it was pretty tough to arrange it with the De Fioris and the Conzagas, but we did. She would be safe whatever happened, and Luca would be too. As for me, I made sure there was no way anybody else could take the spot I wanted. If things were going to change, I would be the next Rego. Arama was inflexible on that point… and so was I. And without us, nothing could happen. So we got what we wanted. And now it was all up to Arama di Athena De Cioto. I was shocked at the way she chose to do it. What was she thinking? I wasn’t ever going to kill another man, and she believed that. I think she became a little infatuated. She had some pretty terrible mood swings. One second she seemed to be drifting in the sky with joy, and the next hour she would be so sad and silent, I really started to worry for her. Would she do what she had agreed to do? I was committed to make sure that it happened peacefully, or it didn’t happen at all. Fortunately, la ragazza had an idea for how to accomplish that. All we needed was to get the most powerful famiglie of Illaryian on our side… That was what we were about to do, in the most brutal, inconceivable way possible. Arama was going to confess. I helped her limp to the sala conferenze, arranged with some of the most important famiglie of Varylrio, who all together would easily be able to sway the populace. If Arama told the truth… Would she really do it? Once we arrived, I left Arama on a couch in the antechamber. She asked me for a knife and I refused to give her one. “You don’t trust me?” she said, and she almost sounded hurt. “I’m trusting you.” “You don’t have to,” I said wistfully. “But knives aren’t for peaceful people.” Arama’s eyes fell on my one. I took off the belt and the knife and tossed it out the window. “There.” “I can get a knife if I want one,” Arama said. “You don’t want one,” I said, looking at her keenly. She smiled. Before I proceeded into the designated room, guarded all round by faithful De Fiori mercenaries, I tucked my father’s last written words into my pocket and I looked at the girl on the couch one last time. “Ilazio?” she asked weakly. I wondered at how she was planning on giving a speech in this state. “I need…” “Che cosa?” I replied “I need to know what we’re gonna do once I tell them. There are some things that I… I’m not proud of, segreti. I tell them to everyone, and we have to have a plan, how’m I gonna get out if they don’t keep their side of the deal? You bet they’ll want me dead,” she whispered. “They’ll want me dead very badly.” I smiled at her sadly. “I think they’ll know that you’ve changed now. Why else would you be telling them?” “That’s not good enough.” Ilazio sucked on his lip. “Then turn around and leave when you’re done. I’ll give you time to get away. You have to go get Luca, stay safe with the Royal Guards for now.” Arama nodded disconsolately. Those gathered nodded their heads towards me and many whispered greetings or condolences for my father as I entered the room. We began without any pointless delay. “You know what you’re here for. We made a deal. Anyone not know what it involves? Does anyone dissent?” “We’re waiting,” Alesio said, almost coldly. “It’s your turn, Moccenigo.” “Where’s the assassin?” a young man asked. He was a Lord of Baiamonte. I wasn’t scared of him. I nodded. “No one will touch her until she’s done. Then she leaves in peace.” “In pace? Why should she live? Shouldn’t you have killed the assassina the first time?” one of the younger nobles voiced mockingly. It was the same Baiamonte. “Do you think I am an assassin?” I asked calmly. The Lord of Baiamonte blinked at me. The Lord of Baiamonte blinked. “Leave her to me,” I said. “I broke her spirit, isn’t that enough? You know the deal. Violence is what characterized the last Rego’s reign, and the one before that. And the Baiamontes’... but it’s a foolish path. You’ll see that if you wait a moment. If we are to gain the support of the cittadini, we must use a different tact,” I replied coolly. The young noble laughed. He shook his head. “You’re weak, Moccenigo.” I smiled, and looked at the rest. Then I laughed. “Weak? What’s the use of power,” I said, “if you don’t know how to control it?” I advanced towards the insolent ragazzo. Even though I was shorter than him, he seemed to back away as I approached. I advanced towards the insolent ragazzo. “Mio padre aveva l'adagio, ‘Those who are weak give in to their impulses, but those who are strong resist.’ I could have easily killed her, Baiamonte. But we need her,” I said softly, mio voce cutting him like ice. “And everyone here will do as I say in this matter, until the crown of Varlyrio is on my brow, or until I myself am killed.” Silence filled the air of the sala conferenze. “Arama di Athena De Cioto,” I said quietly, “venire.” A gasp ran through the room, and I even felt a few hands stiffen around their swords. “This is your assissina?” Alesio said sharply. “What’s next, Ilazio Moccenigo?” I smiled at the cunning man with the patch. “Ascoltare.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. A servant walked in, helping Arama, who looked much paler and weaker than when we had arrived, to a nearby chair. I went to stand next to her, while De Fiori, Conzaga, and others stood motionless in their places. “Pronta?” I asked quietly. She nodded in affirmation. The same ragazzo who had made un pazzo of himself earlier, unwisely decided to speak up again. “Signori, I thought you said this was una assassina? Certamente, di Carlo couldn’t have any use for this weakling?” Arama bent over and whispered to me, “Perhaps you should have given me that knife.” She grinned at the young Baiamonte. “Perhaps, if you would let her speak, then you’d think differently,” Conzaga replied to him. The ragazzo frowned. Then, he nodded politely in the direction of Arama. “Signorina, per favore inizia.” Arama took a deep breath. Then she got up out of the chair, grabbed it by the top bar, and whirled it around an inch in front of Lord Baiamonte’s face, all in one smooth movement. She set it back down and leaned against it in the center of the room. Fire lit up her eyes. “Now maybe you’ll believe what I say,” she said, biting her lip harshly. I offered assistance but she picked up the chair in between me and her. I saw the pain in her eyes that her physical effort was making, but although her arms trembled, the chair never wavered until she set it back down beside her. Ilazio about to offer Arama assistance. “Arama, we know the part you played before the coronation, and afterwards,” Alesio said slowly. “None of us here bear you any goodwill. It’s about Luca di Carli, Rego régnant, that we need to know. Is it true? What did he care about Brabantio Moccenigo? About the Tiger of Illaryian?” Arama stood there shakily for a few moments, whether from fear or because of her wounds, I know not, but then she opened her mouth and the story came out in a quick torrent, like she didn’t want them to even understand her. But they did. “And about Cadgie De Fiori, Capri, Staffen Conzaga, other names I don’t need to say. The De Fiori backed Luca di Carli to replace old Supano Amancio, my cognato, by secretly murdering him at sea, or something like that. I backed Luca too, and I backstabbed some of you. But it wasn’t just me. Staffen Conzaga was killed by Luca soon afterwards by recommendation of Signore De Fiori.” Alesio gasped and glared at her. He hadn’t expected her to tell that. She knew too much. He looked at the Conzaga watching him bitterly and said pertly, “Staffen Conzaga was a traitor. He had plans that wouldn’t have left the realm in pace for another month. What do you say to that?” “Staffen Conzaga was a traitor. He had plans that wouldn’t have left the realm in pace for another month." Arama smiled and sighed, sitting backwards on the chair. “Of course it was justified to the Guardia Reale as tradimento on Staffen’s part. My brother was captain of the guard then. Each of you can believe it or not—I do, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t kill him. And because Alesio knew too much, we sent un assassino after him, but he failed; however, the ruffiani we sent after Cadgie succeeded. Maybe I should have gone myself. But we had Capri sequestrato in the confusion, and the Conzaga ragazza too. Then, to make Luca look favorable in the eyes of la popolazione and to the De Fiori, we made as though I was behind all of the murders and kidnappings.” Alesio stared at Arama with his one good eye. “Luca and Alesio stormed the Amancio Palazzo to find Capri, and I was injured. Then, Luca di Carli’s position was a sure one, but if anyone knew that the De Cioto’s were close to him, that could end it all. Your father, Moccenigo played the part of ricatto. That,” Arama said and she shook her head, “wasn’t very wise. But he almost got revenge… after he was dead. You know, Ilazio Moccenigo. The Tiger had to pay the price for peace with the Kolgari. It was his life for that of a thousand other Varlyrians and Elves. He was my friend, and I miss him, but it was a sacrifice he might have made himself, if he could have. He had a noble soul.” Arama confesses. I stopped Arama short. She was leaning against the back of the chair with her head now. “Luca didn’t know I had killed your father,” she murmured. I started and tears irrepressibly sprang into my eyes. “He didn’t know?” Arama just shook her head, crying into her sleeve which she viciously wiped across her eyes. “What does it matter now, hadn’t you forgiven him?” she said gently. “Of course,” I exhaled. Lord Baiamonte looked at me in confusion. “Well, the kidnapping of mio cugino Fiorello, which we orchestrated in the dead of night, was a tricky piece of work. Ilazio, we entrapped you in the trap that you had set for the Rego. But it wasn’t really a sequestro at all, it was just a scary serenata for my little cousin.” Arama took a deep breath. “I did most of this. I told Luca some things, and I didn’t tell him others. Then you almost killed him. You would have if it hadn’t been for me. And he actually pardoned you, Moccenigo. I had him pardon you.” Arama looked to her left to see me watching her intently. I helped her out of the chair and whispered, “Grazie.” Arama shot me one slow look. “I was joking,” she said, limping towards the door in a sudden hurry. “I was about to kill you.” “Lo so, I meant thank you for what you just did,” I said again. “It was brave, Arama,” I whispered into her ear. “Grazie.” Arama grabbed the door and pulled it open. “Arrivederci,” she said, holding onto it for one instant. Then she pushed off and ran down faster than I thought she could go, down the stairs, through the room, over the rail, and into the street. There was an awful silence in the sala di conferenze. I called the guards to close the doors. “So,” Conzaga said, “most of what you suspected was just so. It seemed like there was a surprise in there for you too, though, Ilazio Moccenigo. How do you know that what she said was true?” “The same way I know that what you all promised me was true,” I smiled cleverly. “You don’t have any other options.” Then, the great De Fiori stood forward. “We know your demands, Moccenigo. We are tired of the rule of this domineering di Carli. Let us hear the response of all present here. We all want peace, and we need to work together if there is to be no bloodshed. What about the Royal Guard?” “They’re taken care of,” I said, nodding. “If you bring the populace to our cause, gentiluomini, I will do all the rest.” I waited in suspense to hear their response. Alesio de Fiori went first. “As you all fully know, Ilazio Moccenigo, the son of the unfortunately deceased Signore Brabantio, possa riposare in pace, has offered us a plan to take down the Rego.” Those faithful made the signs of Sana Argenta; the bucket of water and the sword. Alesio looked at them with a wise and almost scornful look. “Signore Moccenigo,” he spoke again, giving a slight nod in my direction, “we had already prepared our course of action, seeing you have fulfilled your first part, we of the famiglie di Illaryian gathered here on this fine morning have all agreed to put all our influence and wealth behind you until you’re crowned. But we work together in this. We can’t do it without you… but you can’t do it without us.” “We will have our eyes on you,” Conzaga said slowly. “Your position as Rego will be dependent on us. Do what you will, but betray us…” Conzaga looked around at his fellow conspirators. “And there will be a civil war. Or perhaps only a dagger in your back. We here are not pacifisti.” Baiamonte laughed. “Viva la Gilda!” I said coolly. “Viva la Gilda!” several others muttered. Those with wine glasses, filled with red Conzaga wine, naturalmente, raised them and took a long sip. I waited until they had finished questo rituale. “In our correspondences Signore De Fiori, I did not explain all of i dettagli,” I said to the nobles gathering closer around me. “Listen. This is how it shall be done…” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  3. Heyo dalee! Mesa Oky Oky Binks. My can taken yousa to Otoh Gunga. Tis hidden city and da most safest place on Naboo. Yousa follow me now okyday? One of the many things that don't get enough love in the prequels is the design of the Gungan city, Otoh Gunga. With all its glowing orbs and the angelic John Williams music playing, I can't help but feel a sense of wonder every time I see it. This vignette depicts the scene in The Phantom Menace where Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui Gon Jin and Jar Jar Binks take a Bongo sub to travel to Theed and includes a light brick inside the main bubble. Here is a reference image:
  4. Corporal Hardy of the 26th Foot had spent the last year on the island of Terraversa under Captain Brickleton. He had traveled to the island with Brickleton from Wullham at the onset of hostilities with Oleon. Even though those tensions with Oleon hadn't come to a head and Corrington was currently treating with Oleon regarding a joint effort against the Lotii, Hardy was still haunted by a dream of a charge that had never happened. In the dream, an Oleonese heavy lancer was charging at him and he was kneeling ready to fire his musket at the oncoming horse. He strategized that once the horse was downed, he would charge the cavalryman with his bayonet. He would wait until the horse was a cart's length from him and then fire. 3.. 2.. 1.. And then he always woke up ------------------- OOC: I backed the CrazyLegs kickstarter and they just arrived in the mail this week. Wanted to try them in a build!
  5. Hi everyone, I have built a few video game themed vignettes for a contest on the BrickBuilding channel on Discord.. so, I thought I would share these here and turn it into a little "guessing" game. You can try to guess the title of each game, the answers are hidden in the spoiler tag sections along with a reference picture. Game #1 Answer: Game #2 Answer: Game #3 Answer: Game #4 Answer: Game #5 Answer: So.. did you guess them all.. and which one is your favorite?
  6. Chapter IChapter IIChapter IIIChapter IVChapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII Chapter XIII Chapter XIV Chapter XVChapter XVIChapter XVIIChapter XVIII Chapter XIX (you are here) Chapter XX When news of Edward Argentum’s untimely demise reached Corrington it immediately worked its way into a nursery rhyme: Rock a-bye baby, Safe in your crib, Captain Argentum can’t get you; He’s dead! Okay, so I obviously was having way too much fun with these "reaction" builds. I enjoyed trying a new floor pattern out. My limited quantity of gold grill tiles made the footprint of this vignette fairly small, but I still was ambitious enough to get an all LEGO shot out of it. I'm making up for burning the Corry flag a couple builds ago by having a micro version on the wall here. I hope you're still enjoying the Captain's story, it is drawing gradually to a close, I promise. C&C welcome!
  7. Hi! This is my first post in the Trains sub-forum (comments aside). I'm here to share my latest MOC: the Epic Subway Saxophone Battle! One warning, though: this was built as a lively interior first, and a train second. I'll go further into the specifics of that later, but first let's see the build. At times, pretty weird and amazing things happen on the subway. With many different people on the move for many different reasons, briefly sharing the same space, it's a game of chance until the next encounter between strangers leading to an unexpected scene! I was inspired to build this after watching the 2013 viral video "Two Total Strangers Have Saxophone Battle On NYC Subway Train". I built it as an entry to the IDEAS LEGO House contest, category "Minifigure". The premise of this category was to create a fun or whacky minifigure vignette, no larger than 64x32 studs. I built two subway cars with minus one wall and the roof, to show the interior. The base of the build measures 62x10 studs, the cars are built on a 29x10 studs platform wide. Since the 8x16 straight train tracks have a slight overhang, I couldn't use four of them for this entry (maybe diagonal). Three, on the other hand, would be too short. Another issue I had with these is that they were a bit warped, making the cars look a bit wonky. I solved both problems by using 15 8x4 flexible rail pieces. As for the proportions and lay-out... I have taken a lot of uneducated decisions here.😬 The cockpit and exterior were built 'freestyle'. And though I am quite sure that a standard passenger car has doors both front and back, I didn't have parts to make four sets of doors. The doors open and look pretty good from the inside in my opinion, though they don't follow the curved profile of the exterior. For the interior, I looked at the NYC subway for inspiration: And here is the video: Final shot: That's it, let me know what you think of it! Do you like what you see, or does it pain your eyes as a train fan? Feel free to call me out on bad or inaccurate design choices... Thanks for viewing!
  8. George Lucas founded Lucasfirms in 1971 and it had created one of the most beloved franchise in the history of entertainment and toys. Fast-forward, and it is the year 2021 -- the year Lucasfilms celebrates its 50th anniversary. So naturally, there has to be a 50th anniversary Star Wars products. This is a nice little gift that would come along with it... Thanks for TLG and Jim to making this review possible. Now let's jump into my 34th RA review, 40451 Tatooine Homestead. Overview Name: 40451 - Tatooine Homestead Theme: Star Wars / Promotional Year: 2021 (1H) Pieces: 234 pieces Minifigures: 0 Price: FREE Gift with Purchase (GWP) -- Qualifying purchase: $85 / €85 / £85 threshold for all Star Wars purchases The promotion would run from 1st May to 5th May 2021. Do check with your local shops for details. Introduction So right off the bat, this is not a set for sale. It is a gift with purchase which you can get from qualifying amount of Star Wars sets purchase as written in the overview section above. Its packaging looks about the same as the other vignette promotional sets released so far. Let's check the details. Front view Front side of the box pretty much over everything it has to show, including the sand of Tatooine, which is coarse and rough, and irritating ...and we all know how the line goes on as Anakin complains. This is the first time that we actually see Luke's childhood home in microscale. If you revisit what was released back in 1999, most of the Tatooine references are just vehicles. There's Landspeeder, Podracers, Desert Skiff, Droid Escape Pod, Watto's Junkyard and so on. There is nothing about Owen and Beru until the Sandcrawler came out in 2014 (actually 2005 as pointed in later in the comments) -- but only with special appearance of Owen Lars trading with the Jawas. Unfortunately, aunt Beru is still missing in action. Back view At the back of the box, we can see how the memorable scene is depicted as it is in the set, with stills from the movie as reference. Those round studs are representing the characters present in that scene. Let's see if you can figure out who is who later Side view Pretty standard side view with that single piece for 1:1 ratio picture. Perhaps that done is chosen to remind us that it represent the actual homestead in Tatooine. Now let's slowly see what's inside. I really like the way this opens like IDEAS set even if it is only a promotional set. Don't you wish all sets open this way? What's inside the box? We get 4 clear plastics bags without any number and an instruction booklet. Build I enjoyed arranging the parts this way... simply because I have nothing else better to do. Right? Right. Just want to appreciate the tan colour this way... there are really great parts included here. Slopes, slopes.... SLOPES! Putting them together.. So, when you build this set, it appears that you are building it sideways. Then, as I complete sections of the build, indeed, I am building sideways. You can see how the SNOT techniques are used to squeeze the centre piece in between the left and right side of the vignette. And as you put the sub-assemblies together, they fit nicely together. And so, it looks like this at the end -- So from this view, let me try discerning who is who. From left to right. The single piece brown studs are obviously the Jawas, so... white stud on top and dark tan bottom - Luke. two-layer gold studs - C-3PO (obviously) silver stud - R2-D2 tan top and dark brown bottom - Lars Then, at the centre of the build you'll see a medium azure stud on top of a dark orange stud. Guess who is it... That is aunt Beru! Aunt Beru appeared in this microbuild set... but only as 2 studs.... Next to them is the cute build of Sandcrawler which is very "playable" on its own because it sports 4 black roller skates as continuous track wheels. Apart from the skates, one of the notable part usage in this microscale is the use of white lipstick as one of the towering moisture vapourators. Also, not forgetting that this set includes a 2x4 black tile with "Star Wars 2021" printed on it. This side is the not so camera-friendly side of the build. Here is another angle to appreciate the smoothness of this build. Now for the extra pieces, this is what you are left with after completing the entire build... and it's pretty generous for the amount of small pieces here. Conclusion Pros: Very iconic scene preserved in a vignette display set. Tan parts! Printed 2x4 tile "Star Wars 2021" Cons: Generally not for sale, unless you get this "ala carte" somewhere else. Aunt Beru only appeared as 2 studs! So as I ponder on who this set is for, it is hard not to think who this set is NOT for. You see, this is the first scene where Luke, C-3PO and R2-D2 actually bumped into each other, and they stuck to each other for a really long time. Not only it is an iconic scene, it is also very nostalgic. So, for what it is -- every Star Wars fan should be able to appreciate this in one way or another. I can't think of anything negative for this set except the silly reasons I have written as "cons". But then again, we do not have Aunt Beru minifigure yet, so we may have to wait for quite sometime before we finally get a system scale Lars homestead with those "missing minifigures". For now, enjoy this microbuild. Review summary Playability: 5/10 - This little vignette isn't meant to be played but the Sandcrawler is so cute to play with! Design / Building Experience: 7/10 - Very satisfactory build for what it is supposed to be. Slopes are everywhere and it's tan so it's insta-like for me. Price / Value for money: 10/10 - If you get this as a gift with purchase, this is naturally a perfect 10. Overall: 7/10 - It is a cute small vignette that all Star Wars fans should be able to appreciate.
  9. Yoshifan33

    Bespin Luke Vignette (WIP?)

    "I won't fail you. I'm not afraid." "You will be. You will be." First ever attempt at a minfigure display - my white whale, Bespin Luke! This might have some workshopping done to it, so expect updates - maybe? (full Imgur album here!)
  10. Howdy all! I’d like to show this expansive modular MOC that I’ve worked on and tinkered with for the past couple of months. It’s called BIONICLE Legacy: Storytelling with LEGO Bricks because I aimed to build something that conveyed what the theme represented to many fans, and the impact it had upon release 20 years ago. Even if you haven’t been overly fond of or familiar with the BIONICLE theme, I hope you’ll still take a few moments to check out this project! I’m very hopeful and proud of this project, but it has been struggling to gain the needed attention to progress, and it clearly won’t get very far without your help and support. I greatly appreciate all support, comments, and shares. Fingers crossed! :) Uploading images proved to be a bit tricky, but you can also find higher-res images at Flickr:
  11. Hi everyone! This is a series of scenes based on the popular Disney+ series "The Mandalorian" which I built for Bricks LA 2021, a free virtual AFOL convention that is happening this weekend. First up, a vignette of the mandalorian armorer taking on a squad of stormtroopers inside her workshop with nothing but the tools of her trade as seen in "Chapter 8: Redemption". This Chapter is my favorite as it is filled with badass moments like this. There is a Mandalorian crest above the doorway, a table with forged helmets and jetpacks to the right, and the armorer's toolbox to the left. From the cold open of the same chapter, this vignette depicts IG-11 showing up to rescue the Child from the hapless scout troopers that kidnapped him. Nearby, you can see the transmitter that the troopers had used for target practice earlier. Next, we have Cobb Vanth riding his speeder made out of a podracer engine through the deserts of Tatooine from Chapter 9: The Marshal. There is a hook for storing Boba Fett's helmet behind his seat. This MOC will make a nice addition to the Trouble on Tatooine set coming out this year. Based on Chapter 12: The Siege, this vignette shows Cara Dune, Greef Karga, and the mythrol escaping the Nevarro Imperial base with a stolen Trexler Marauder and being chased by speederbikes and TIE Fighters through a canyon. The Mando shows up in his Razor Crest to shoot down the TIEs to save them. That's it for now. I still have a few ideas for vignettes, so keep an eye on this thread as I may add more. Let me know what you think of these and if there are any particular scenes you'd like to see. May the way be with you.
  12. After learning of the Onondaga's myths and constellations, Captain Brickleton wrote a note to Elsabeth Stockton detailing the encounter with the medicine man. He arranged for his father, retired General Brickleton, to purchase and deliver a telescope and bottle of port to her family's country retreat outside of Belson. Elsabeth's servant helped her set up the telescope on one of the 7th floor balconies high above the estate's tree tops. From there, she followed Captain Brickleton's notes to find the Onondaga constellations. She enjoyed some port in the night air, and then retired indoors to begin a long letter in reply. OOC: I wanted to try a vignette build where there was a rooftop high up above some trees, and you could only see the treetops. Not sure I pulled it off, but was fun to build.
  13. evancelt

    [MOC] The Return

    Returning bluecoats receive a warm welcome at the fortress. Muttonchops are in style this season. Inspired by Isaac's castle build
  14. Geoffrey "Fiddlesticks" Cooper was born to be a drummer. As a three year old, he banged wooden porridge spoons on his mother's hearth kettle until she felt she would go mad. As a six year old, he tap-tap-tapped on the neighbor's fence until it fell over. At age 13, his mother sent him to join the Corlander army as a drummer boy. By age 16, he could make his drumroll so smooth he could fool the uninitiated into thinking there was a wasp about. Now at age 22, Fiddlesticks is the best drummer in the 26th Foot and can keep a tempo during the fiercest fighting.
  15. W Navarre

    Lumber Foraging

    Hello all, here's a little vignette I recently made. Hope you'll like it! Expedition: E1 Foraging by General 尓àvarre If you like it you could favorite it on flickr, I would really appreciate that! All comments and criticisms are also welcome, thanks for stopping by! (P.S. I put a few more close-up pictures with my train, for those of you who asked.)
  16. BrickChampsCOM

    [MOC] Brick built Smurfs

    [MOC] Will you smurf me? This will be a gift for my wife for our upcomming 1 year wedding anniversary. I had a blast designing this. The parts will arrive next week. I hope she will like it! Polybag competition I have created some more Smurfs as entries for the Polybag Competition at Each polybag contains one Smurf with associated accessories. All the polybags comply with the rule of "approximately 50 pieces". Collect all the polybags to gather a small Smurf Village! [MOC] Jokey Smurf comes with a giftbox... BOOM! [MOC] Papa Smurf comes with a magic book, cauldron and potion bottle [MOC] Vanity Smurf [MOC] Baker Smurf comes with a delicious cake and rolling pin [MOC] Sleepy Smurf comes with a pillow and flower... ZZZzzz
  17. Unlike many other people, Mr. Hill always preferred simple and quiet forms of vacation. (Top) Here we see Mr. Hill peacefully relaxing on a beach. Warm sunlight and gentle breeze, soft sand and quietly whispering waves - everything was perfect. (Left) A humble picnic meant a lot for Mr. Hill. Without traveling too far, one can earn a place of peaceful solitude, close to nature and free of any disturbance. (Right) It is a fascinating book which makes an ordinary weekend at home so special. Here, sitting in a comfortable armchair in a warm room, Mr. Hill once again enjoys a moment of meditative solitude. It may well turn out one of his best though imaginary journeys. Created for the Lego Ideas contest 'Build that holiday into THAT holiday!' in which submissions are limited between 150 and 250 parts. Thank you for your attention!
  18. Just a small, simple vignette, for positive vibes in those hard times. The soothing music of the waves, the gentle sea breeze, and a good book - what else?
  19. toastergrl

    [MOC] Another perfect day in space

    A Classic Space vignette by yours truly. I had a *lot* of fun making this, for sure - it's my first ever serious display scene, and I'm quite proud of it. What do you think? Check the album for more angles and detail shots, and check my signature for a more general-purpose Classic Space collection. Thanks for looking! ^u^
  20. Here is a small reversible vignette made for a contest on BrickPirate. The concept is simple: DO a vignette and make its mirrored counterpart (a bit like Stranger Things). I have selected Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader in a very classical way. Light side, dark side by Veynom, on Flickr Dark side, light side by Veynom, on Flickr A few highlights: Anakin becomes Darth Vader, that's the obvious central point; Clones become Stormtroopers, still a natural evolution. Trade Federation droids become rebels ... this is a daring evolution. Blue lasers become red, and vice-versa The light side is chasing droids in an evil environment but the dark side is hunting down rebels in a bright and white environment. In the end, which side will you go for ?
  21. Inspired by the fierce warrior The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this was built for a vignette contest that had to feature 1 or 2 minifigs. The Black Knight more on Flickr
  22. ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix _____________________________ A little vignette about one of my favourite scenes from the Order of the Phoenix. Poltergeist Peeves wreaking havoc. His character never appeared in the films, to my regret, so it seemed only fair to give him a LEGO makeover, based on the video games' design for all you potterheads you get the reference, enjoy . Chandelier design inspired by the fantastic Xenomurphy (If you don't know his work, check him out, he's awesome!) Blue waistcoat provided by Thank you for your time and attention Geertos13 signing out
  23. Hello again! Thanks for stopping by! Here is my second moc for the Varlyrio Guild Challenge. It is for 1B Family and known associates. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Octavia... What can i tell you about her? I've defeated her pet kraken once. Nobody anticipated that! That is how i've got mer scar on mer face. I mertioned it earlier, if you were paying attention. I think she will never forget it, nor forgive it, but that is when we crossed currents for the first time, and later we managed to form a bond. A strange friendship i would call. Merbe more? She is an octopus lady or something, a daughter of Ceto. Scary creature of the deep. Like mer sisters... Did i mertion, she has eight legs? Strong, large, long, lime limbs, with sticky stuff on them. I believe its called suckers. Well, it sucks to be grabbed with those, i can tell you that! Squeezes you like you were a sponge on the waterbed. She was not friendly at first, and that is an understatement. So under, it's underwater. Utterly hostile, but nowadays she "tolerates" us. Mer, a little bit more. Her older sister Pri'Scylla is not like that, but she is getting there i presume. I'd like to. Until then, Octavia is the connecting link between our volk. We had our battles, and differences with the Children of Ceto, but these days there is a fragile truce between our people. Officially. Back to Octavia Oceana. That is her whole name by the way. Do not tell anyone, i told you! I will deny it! She would hug me to death with her tentacles. Not a bad death, but still a death. Anyway, she has long dark green hair like a garden of beautiful seaweeds. Eyes, as dark as the depths of the waters, a killer stare, which is one level less menacing than the petrifying gaze of her younger sister Echo. Alluring lips, pretty, but assertive face, with some shiny silverish lines all over it. She likes the deepest parts of Lorelei Loch. The ice cold water is her favourite. Not a big social... How do you dryskins say it? Social butterfly? She has a soft spot for abandoned places, especially ship wrecks of yours. Knows how to defend herself, but not a fan of fighting. Do you want to know more? Mer too! OctaviaIntro3 by Erhard Maas, on Flickr IMG_2902 by Erhard Maas, on Flickr OctaviaUW2 by Erhard Maas, on Flickr IMG_2917 by Erhard Maas, on Flickr More pictures can be found in my Flickr album.
  24. LegoMathijs

    [MOC] Hogwarts secrets

    Last week, I've made a Harry Potter MOC. This MOC isn't based on a scene of the movies, books or videogames. Harry has discovered a secret room in Hogwarts. He have to turn the statue to find a secret book. Some pictures: 01_Hogwarts_secrets by Mathijs Bongers, on Flickr 02_Hogwarts_secrets by Mathijs Bongers, on Flickr 03_Hogwarts_secrets by Mathijs Bongers, on Flickr This picture shows the playable function in this MOC: 04_Hogwarts_secrets by Mathijs Bongers, on Flickr I hope you like this Harry Potter MOC :) Pictures also on Flickr: