29th of the Aster’s Gloom, 2030 D.C.E
Kingdom of Lubon, Province of Paladi — Pallas Academy, Aquinas Building
Byanca Geta settled down on the bed, took off the feathered cap that symbolized her elite, Bersaglieri status, and started to unpack her things. It was late, and she was tired down to her very soul. She hadn’t slept the day before, and she hadn’t found respite now, neither from the situation nor from her own errant thoughts. She would probably not sleep tonight.
She had been forbidden from taking up residence with Salvatrice, though this was what the Legatus had in mind when she assigned her to the task. Neither the Princess nor her Handmaiden agreed to Geta’s permanent presence in the apartment, though they allowed her to come and go as necessary during the day. For lodging she was on her own.
Thankfully the school administration was sympathetic and allowed her to make full use of the Headmaster’s private suite on the floor below Salvatrice’s own. It was not much, compared to Salvatrice’s lodgings. One small tea room, a bedroom and a bathroom. Headmasters held the key and sometimes worked out of it on busy days. But it was hardly used by the current Headmaster, and everyone welcomed the additional security that would come from lodging a Blackshirt Centurion in the building. They even promised food.
On the plain beige bed and its plain beige sheets, Byanca dropped her bag and started to pick things out. She unpacked a few black uniforms, white underwear, a jacket, a few white shirts, a few pants, a few ascot ties for casual days. She put a framed picture of Saint Orrea’s Hope on her bedside table. It had been taken from a biplane as it overflew the mountain. Prominent in the picture was the old monastery tower, rising diagonally toward the heavens thanks to the photographer’s perspective, framing the mountain in a corner of the shot.
At the bottom of the bag was a wrapped bundle of documentation. She pulled away the plastic strips binding it and sat down, rifling idly through these scattered scraps of her life, flipping past old joys and old sorrows and skimming them to occupy her mind.
She was putting off writing a report of the past two days. Writing the report would mean solidifying one course in her life over another. It would decide her allegiance.
20th of the Lilac’s Bloom, 2025 D.C.E.
I feel like we get more munchkins everyday! Where are all the parents disappearing to?
Because I’m the oldest girl left the sisters make me do everything with the kids.
I liked it better when Aldus was around. This place was better as a pointless research institute for magic horseshit with a few kids around than a full-fledged orphanage.
I guess the Primarch’s trying to look good turning Saint Orrea into a big convent.
So he can say that he came from a really important community center.
And not some no-name magic workshop. It’s just as well. I’ll be out of here soon.
I told the kids to call me Dame Geta, for soon I will be among the elite Knights.
Just one more year until I can walk down those steps without looking back.
I wonder how you are doing, Grazia? Will your sword knight me, perhaps?
41st of the Yarrow’s Sun, 2026 D.C.E.
We spent the day doing verbal evaluations and finding accommodations. The Sergente says that the first week is known as “The Reaping” and that I will fail. I am confident in my abilities. I’ve always been sprightly and strong. I know that I can make it into the Knights. I do not possess patronage nor privilege of any sort. Primarch Sextus opted not to endorse me — it is just as well. I don’t need him, I need only myself and my saint. That alone will carry me.
43rd of the Yarrow’s Sun, 2026 D.C.E.
Though enrollment in the Knights is allowed to the peasantry, it feels as if the entire program is designed to exclude. My knowledge in marksmanship and combat is already being tested though I have learned nothing of it. I fear that I will not make it. It lies heavy on my heart, the idea that having come this far, I might fail. I had invested so much.
I am so exhausted. I am tired to my heart. I am tired to the roots of my hair. My ears ring with the screams of the Maggiore telling me to run faster, climb harder. I’ve hardly been in this room and yet I fear I will never see it again now. I feel like I will die tomorrow.
I feel like I have lost the breath that made my limbs move. It’s been beaten from me!
45th of the Yarrow’s Sun, 2026 D.C.E.
what is the point of anything anymore, when I have been left by God on this Earth with nothing, put here with nothing, given nothing, aided with nothing? i feel like death
this is my last entry. i’m done. if you find this, fuck you. you didn’t help at all
[RETURNED UNREAD] 20th of the Dahlia’s Fall, 2026 D.C.E
My name is Byanca Geta, you know and remember me. I am a recent departure from an orphan program you once personally administered. My fortunes have turned in a bad way and I require your assistance. I am lodging in the aisles of Her Lady Of Saintly Grace in Palladi, eating from the soup kitchen and working odd jobs. I wish to return to the Convent and become a nun but I require assistance traveling from Palladi to Vicaria.
Please spare a trifling fund for this poor believer whom you used to laugh with every Halloweday around the tree. She longs to give her life to the Lord but has nothing left!
PRELIMINARY EVALUATION — LEGIONNAIRE’S COPY
Legionarius: Byanca Geta
Height: 172 cm
Weight: 57 kg
Illness Record: Clean
Sprint Time: 10 seconds
Lifting: 50 kg
Breath: 7 minutes
Exam Score: 89%
Assignment: Palladi, 17th Legion
47th of the Postill’s Dew, 2027 D.C.E.
They’re serving Pizza at the garrison cafeteria! Happy New Year to me!
Today my training 2-Pounder jammed and the Doctore made me throw the shell with my hand, and recorded that as my day’s shot score. It can’t even get me down though, because the mozzarella and the tomatoes and basil were so incredible. I can still taste them.
Water’s out again, but I’m gonna write a letter about it. The other girls are too timid, but I’m not going to live without showering. Our barracks are bad enough without this.
Last night I dreamt about Grazia. She was laughing at me. It was wrong; she wouldn’t have laughed. She always told me I was good and right and just. She wouldn’t laugh.
PRELIMINARY ALTERCATION REPORT, 17TH BLACKSHIRT LEGION
It is alleged that at 1200 hours a physical altercation broke out between Legionnaries Geta and Minimus while on temporary day-leave on the Palladi piazza. According to Geta, Legionnaire Minimus made a rude piece of sexually-charged comedy directed at the Royal Family. Legionnaire Geta severely beat Legionnaire Minimus, sustaining no significant injury herself. A civilian colleague of Legionnaire Minimus, a certain Eric Brosh, attempted to insinuate himself into the brawl and also sustained injuries. Brosh has since been arrested for assaulting a soldier of Her Majesty’s Coorte, as part of the investigation.
OFFICIAL ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSE:
On behalf of the Legate’s Office you are to swiflty intervene in this case and clear
Legionnaire Geta of all charges related. Discipline Legionnaire Minimus as desired.
Forward Legionnaire Geta to me for private consultation. ~ Legatus Tarkus Marcel.
13th of the Postill’s Dew, 2028 D.C.E.
Happy new years to me! I just touched ground in Borelia! Fuck!
Gonna be part of 52nd Legion here in the colonies for a while. Centurion tells me he’s gonna work me hard because he’s never been assigned a Bersaglieri before. He thinks it means that the Legate is serious now about cleaning up the Queenshome area.
I hate it but these days I hate everything so it’s not like it matters.
Everything here is so hot and dry, I don’t know how anyone can call this part of the North. Dirt everywhere; the floor, blows in from the windows. I sneeze a lot now!
Centurion tells me we’re here to help patrol for roadside grenade attacks. People either go on mech patrols or they support mech patrols, those are the two jobs. He’s gonna try to ramp up the offensives though, because he just got a 25% manpower boost in the form of little ol’ me. I did the math — he counts me as five people for some reason.
People going this way and that, always going after something. I just barely made time to write. I’m thinking I might be too busy to even think — probably the only upside here.
Hot as hell. Picture this: dirt. Lots of dirt. We got some bushes too. More dirt.
Queenshome shouldn’t exist. I don’t know how people live here. I get told people herd cattle here. I pity the cattle, all they eat is dry grass. I eat pizza once a month.
Saw the regional governor’s daughter taking a lorry ride, all dressed up fancy.
Made me feel dehydrated just looking at her. Had to tell her not to ride around because we’re still hunting down some petrol bomb tossers in the hills. Didn’t give a shit.
Out to the sticks again today on an op with the boys. Village of Dewrang in the hills outside Queenshome. There was a roadside grenade attack there. Nobody was hurt. Shit grenading if you ask me. Centurion says it so I have to do it. Rode there in a Gemini. Love that beast. Ours has a Mitra 22. I like it better than the Myrta gun by far. When you hold it by the grips and squeeze that trigger, you really feel the power.
Suddenly nobody knows what happened or who anyone is, typical. Leave again.
Found a tame horse wandering the village. Belongs to the raiders. They ride in, throw bombs at lorries and wagons and ride back out. They’ve been trying to get at the Governor or his Daughter for months now. Nobody takes them seriously except us. Villagers don’t care because the raiders don’t kill villagers, only gov/pol/mil people.
Why would they ditch a horse? Falling on hard times? One of their men die?
Until we find where they’re hiding we can’t do nothing but patrol and try to catch them in the act. We can only patrol so much though. Queenshome has a whole lot of nothing to cover. People disappear into the bushes, the rocks, the mountainside, all the time.
Centurion putting in a manpower request. Says he hopes to get an extra Gemini.
The Gemini can take a grenade. Six dead. One ours. I chased a straggler down on foot. Caught him. I’m basically the fastest woman alive on Borelia right now so it was pretty easy. The Centurion says we can wring the location of the nest from him now.
Raided the nest. Won’t be a lot of trials because none of ’em made it out alive. Found lots of bombs. Lots of bombs. Some food, a radio, docs. They were hiding in a cave.
Lots of bodies. Could recognize a few as villagers. Regrettable. Some were friendly.
Got some shrap in the shoulder, I’m ok though. Least it wasn’t my legs. Need those. Bersaglieri are expected to run everywhere. Would be bad to lose my feathered cap.
It’s the only thing I’ve got anymore that says “hey, you’re worth a damn!”
Happy new year! We had Pizza and it counts against our monthly Pizza! Fuck!
Centurion says he wants to promote me for putting him out of a job in Queenshome.
50th of the Dahlia’s Fall, 2030 D.C.E
Byanca, the lord looks down on you from the heavens, and oh does he smile, and oh do his blessings rain upon you! It has been made known to me, though in my heart and soul I knew it was but a matter of time, that you have been elevated to the office of the noble Centurion! Congratulations on your promotion! Though I am busy in my tireless service, should you give me perhaps a month’s advance notice, I would love to meet with you Byanca. I await your return to the mainland, so that our souls may be in earthly correspondence once more.
I knew from the moment that you were entrusted to Saint Orrea that you would grow to wondrous office in service of Lord, Queen and Country. I knew you were destined for greatness. When you were rebuffed by the Knights, Faith carried you. Faith, my child; it will carry you anywhere and through anything. I knew that Faith would serve you well. Look at you today, my child! Feast richly upon what the Lord has given you! Praise be!
You always had the skill and the strength for the Knights, it is their loss; Her Highness’ great Legion has had the privilege of honing you to your fullest potential. And you will have the privilege of serving an authority that is second only to the law of God!
I cannot express with words how proud I am. You, Byanca Geta, you are the example that I can hold for all the orphan children who weep and idle in the convents. Those who let go of their pasts and embrace their future in the arms of God will always succeed!
Remember to keep the faith alive; that torch in your bosom will light any darkness.
Say your prayers twice a day, and steel yourself against sin. You will fly far, my child.
Praying always for your strength and advancement,
Kingdom of Lubon, Province of Paladi — Pallas Academy, Aquinas Building
Byanca Geta dropped her old effects at her bedside and laid back, sighing.
She rubbed one hand over her stomach. It still hurt — she felt as though the princess’ heel had dug right into her heart. She had prostrated herself before her majesty, and received a punishment for her admiration. Punishments seemed to come easy to her.
But she had not been lying to Salvatrice. After all this time, though Salvatrice did not remember, Byanca did. She held those memories in her heart, right under the bruise.
She felt deeply stupid about the aimless trajectory of her life. But God had denied her so many possibilities and paths. Laying down in bed in her Legion uniform, a lingering pain across her stomach and chest, a headache from lack of sleep — she couldn’t see any other way that things could have gone anymore. This was all just what happened.
She felt that in life she could’ve either been a Knight or a Dragon. She became a Dragon and became loathed by her Princess. This was all just what had happened.
At this point she was resigned. At least now she could do this much for her liege.
Maybe couldn’t carry her out of the tower, but she could breathe her fire for her.
She smiled at herself. She liked that picture. It brought some hope to her life.
Maybe if she was with Salvatrice from now, hated or no, she could smile.
STATUS REPORT 17TH BLACKSHIRT LEGION, GRUPO Rossa
AGENT: Centurion Byanca Geta
I have investigated the shooting on the 28th and come to the following conclusion.
Isaac Gillard, the shooter, is a violent individual with an eerie temperament and little of worth to call his own. Even now he sits dead quiet in his cell as though he has died in soul if not in body. I believe that helt entitled to the lady Minna’s attentions and this is the root of his violence. He was not a student, but he was an autodidact poet who traveled in similar social circles as the victim. Ms. Minna is well known as a lady who receives much unwanted attention from men and who has a temper against these advances. Acquaintances of the shooter describe him as a quiet and circumspect young man who put strange passions into his poetry; a few pages are attached. Friends of the deceased argued to me that the man likely lusted after Ms. Minna, and was broken down by his inability to claim her.
Legatus, I request permission to close the case as it stands. I have no recommendation as to a course of action to take. This attack was driven only by the pervasive malice of man towards woman, and is unrelated to the recent “anarchist” actions in Palladi.
On the second item, I made contact with Rossa. She is concerned about her well-being in light of the recent events in the school and gladly acquiesced to my protection. She confided in me some monetary woes — she has been attempting to gain spending money by investing the royal bonds in her name, thus turning them into wholly personal funds when profits are returned. This is the root of her contacts with Carmella Sabbadin and various other figures that we have uncovered. My recommendation is that if her economic activity bothers the 17th or the Crown, then Rossa should be furnished with personal funds.
I can confirm Rossa has made no contacts that the Legion would be unaware of.
I can say with confidence our information on her is still near perfectly accurate.
As far as my own condition is concerned. Legionarius Minimus of the medical corps greatly exaggerated in his insipid report and I believe he is attempting to undermine me due to past grievances. I suffered no injuries in subduing the shooter and of course I suffered no injury making contact with Rossa. His accounts of bruises to my body are farcical, and my fatigue is his mere imagination. I must personally request he be transferred out of the 17th Legion since he appears to be doing nothing but causing inconvenience. I do not want a whole Centuria in the school — I need only two men who know protocol, do not ask questions, and who do not submit specious reports behind my back.
Let it be known I will file a report again when there is material worth filing, Legatus.
FILING APPROVED BY LEGATUS TARKUS MARCEL.