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Requiem for the Dream (Reloaded)

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"--And that is all, Lord Galcian," the messenger's voice a little cracked from sheer nervousness; head was down, right fist was held to his left shoulder, kneeling for the full duration of his report before the throne in proper respect. Jade green eyes watched the messenger squirm just a little, impassively, dully, as the powerful man seated next to him took in the news.

Lord Galcian had a thoughtful look to his features when Ramirez hazarded a glance aside at him, staring at the wall over the messenger's bowed head as he mulled the news over. He was perfectly fine with letting the kneeling man shiver and gulp while he thought... Lord Galcian always took time in his work; not enough to be considered indecisive, certainly, but never rash.

Ramirez, too, thought about the routine check that had just been confirmed, ignoring the dull throb of his left hand. The remains of the decimated Valuan capital had been searched carefully by the New Reign's military, years ago, and all survivors had been executed on the spot. Including former-Admiral Alfonso, the Silvite remembered dimly, as the blond man's head had been presented to the ever-careful Lord Galcian by Ramirez himself. As injured from falling debris as he'd been when Ramirez had uncovered him, the final blow had felt as much a mercy as an execution, but his death had been a necessary step in the subjugation of Arcadia nonetheless.

Despite Alfonso's lack of competency in the old order of things, the new Lord had not wanted to gamble on the boy finding some latent grain of ability beneath the grindstone of the new order and organizing a rebellion. After all, for all his apparent lack of skill during his career, the First Admiral of Valua had still been an icon of the old way of things. That alone qualified him as a threat, right along with the likes of the Blue Rogues... who had also been wiped out thoroughly.

Wind Mill isle, the base of the known pirate Captain Dyne, had been visited a second time. And this time, they had not come to take prisoners. This time, the island had been blown up completely... spilling a surprisingly large underground area full of pirates and their families into Deep Sky. The Silvite had witnessed it himself, calmly, from the bridge of the Monoceros. He'd expected to feel something; some sort of feeling of triumph or satisfaction, but... there had been nothing.

A string of giant drums of gunpowder bombs had been licked at by the burning buildings, and one shot from the Silvite's own flagship had set them all off in a chain reaction. An unstoppable progression of rumbling, fiery explosions that would have left the late former-Admiral DeLoco in tears of joy. They had been powerful enough for Ramirez to feel them through the warship he stood inside of, tremors shaking through the air and metal between him and the chaos below.

The hollow island had shuddered, trembled, and then cracked messily down the center with a terrible noise. That chain of house-sized containers had continued... relentlessly... until the land itself had finally crumbled in upon the screaming, bleeding, terrified humans hiding inside. And then that last, fatal barrel had gone off on impact, like the ending note to a war song, and the entire island had fallen apart, racing for Deep Sky with the remaining humans in tow.

Crescent Isle had been visited as well, and similarly destroyed... as had all known bases of pirates both Blue and Black. There simply was nothing left where they had floated, no way for stray pirates to reclaim hidden shipyards and caverns. They no longer existed.

Nothing could have made Ramirez think twice about what he was doing. Not the shrieking of children, nor the howling of pets, and not the sundering of the ground as Arcadia was irreversibly altered, one island at a time.

Anything his Lord asked of him -- anything -- he would do without doubt, without hesitation. Ramirez's loyalty was as it always had been: completely unquestionable.

That had all, however, been many years ago. The wounds of the world were still fresh, but healing smoothly under Lord Galcian's iron control. There was no more greed, for the very act of selling anything had been banned. No more stealing, for no one had much to gain and far too much to lose if they were caught. There was no more... evil. Ramirez straightened slightly, bolstered by a new wave of pride in being able to help this better world come to be, as he always was whenever he thought about it.

Lord Galcian was the world's new light. He controlled their food, their supplies, their rules... through Zelos, he controlled the very weather. Every aspect of the people's otherwise-misguided lives, leading them as the stupid cattle they really were, because they could never be trusted to lead themselves. Any uprisings were squashed; the very sun was denied to those regions that displeased their Lord.

Humanity had, invariably, learned to bow before Galcian; learned to grovel. The Soltisian Armada's carefully-chosen spies only confirmed these facts further and further with every passing day.

Ramirez was content to serve this man, who had brought about the new order where humans did not have the choice to be evil. They did not have the opportunity to exercise their corruption... and someday, someday... they would no longer even need this iron-grip guidance. It would be their new nature, their new way of life. They would know no other path but to continue in Galcian's image of the new world, and changes from that vision would be viewed with fear.

They would learn to live and breathe under his ways, as Ramirez himself strove to every day. The Silvite lowered his eyes in thought as his Lord -- his light -- summoned the next messenger of the day's long list.

Arcadia had finally been saved... from itself.