The Verdant Palace
|Size:||A large, crumbling palace.|
The Verdant Palace is well named. Covered with Verdigris, vines and trailing plants, it is difficult to make out the palace structure beneath the foliage. The building itself is constructed of white marble, which is now crumbling in places. The creepers and vines are slowly pushing their way into the cracks and literally pulling the palace apart stone by stone. The intense micro-climate of this region doesn't help, with the combination of mountains and verdant flora combining to ensure that little moisture escapes the area and that it is permanently wet or raining here.
From the outside it is possible to see that the palace is covered with soaring towers and minarets, and the centre of the whole structure is dominated by a huge glass dome, which once would have looked resplendent but now is tarnished and green, with moss covering its northern side. The Verdant Palace looks more like an abandoned ruin than the home of the Queen of Ibini.
The central glass dome rises nearly four hundred feet into the jungle skyline and the marble building itself stretches off into the near distance on both sides to be lost in the jungle. It is impossible to say exactly how big the place is. In what appears to be the centre, one can make out a pair of ornate looking double doors made from the same marble. The doors are carved with swirls and frescos which look chipped and tired. A trailing ivy vine climbs up one side of the doors and meanders across the top to disappear up into the canopy overhead.
The autumn rains lashed down on the domed glass roof, the intense noise threatening to drown out the words of those sheltered beneath it. The jungle palace of Lily Jade, the Verdant Queen, had been designed and built over five hundred years ago, before the Lucarcian Empire had been founded. It was not in a good state of repair and a deluge such as this exposed the weaknesses of the structure. Karim Moonleaf turned the collar of his green cloak up and tried, in vain, to snuggle deeper into its protection as he listened to the latest rant of his liege.
“He cannot continue to get away with this!” roared the Verdant Queen from her position on the elevated throne in the dead centre of the room. “First he destroys my fleet, sinking all my ships and killing all their crews. And as if that was not bad enough, he then kills my nephew!”
Karim stole a glance out of the corner of his eye at those assembled next to him. The Verdant Queen’s court were a ragged bunch. If any of them had come to court with self-esteem and confidence, it only took a few short months in the vicinity of the rages of the queen to whittle any such self-belief away. She was never happy unless she was telling them how useless and hopeless they all were.
“And who let him?” demanded Lily Jade of her courtiers. “Who?” she continued rhetorically, “You lot did! You who are supposed to be my loyal servants and advisors. You who are supposed to be looking out for my interests and the interests of Ibini. You – you did nothing.”
Karim knew that this was not true. His network of spies had been out and about all through the spring and summer. His men had advised the queen’s nephew, Nikolai Kester. They had infiltrated the courts of all the noble houses, even the Imperial Court in Lucar. They had turned one of the Trade Lords’ major operatives to their cause. They had been successful in everything they had set out to do. Everything , that was, apart from stopping the young noble from Providentia from ruining everything.
“Reynard Ferrand, son of a minor noble from some small town on the south coast of Ursum,” the Verdant Queen almost spat his name out. “Somehow he managed to thwart all my plans!”
“Not just him, your majesty,” interrupted one of the advisors from the floor. Karim cringed at the sound. Yongo was new in court, having only been here a few weeks. He had yet to learn that you never interrupt one of the Verdant Queen’s rants.
“What!?” screamed the queen. “How dare you interrupt me?!”
“I was just saying, it was not only Reynard, ma’am. He was aided by others from around the empire and beyond.”
Karim shook his head. Yongo had just interrupted the queen as she told him not to interrupt her. This would not end well.