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For nearly two centuries Askavi floundered, brought low in the wake of the Red Queen’s war. The institution of one court with its Two Queens and the end of restitution payments promises a brighter future. Still, War knocks on the Eyrien’s door from all sides and the people fight against the need to meet it.
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Author Topic: To Serve a Warning  (Read 445 times)

Description: attn: Iridian

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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To Serve a Warning
« on: Jun 15, 17, 06:02:36 PM »
The word had reached the Seekers.  Fel Valley's Landen were getting desperate.  A food delivery had been ransacked, and area around it trashed as the Landen took what they wanted.

Or needed, as the case may be.  He sympathized.  Truly, he did.  Hunger was never a fun part of life... but the idea that Landen would get that rowdy when there were so few deliveries that had to be split amongst others.  His fingers had pinched at the bridge of his nose as he delivered hte report... and his shoulders had twitched as he was told to see to it.

He didn't like dealing with Landen much. It wasn't that he saw them as beasts, like some.  It wasn't that he didn't like them, necessarily... he just didn't like how easily they could be harmed.  He'd murdered a Landen by accident once, and it still bothered him.  Somehow, killing Landen seemed worse than killing puppies or kittens.

But as nervous as dealing with Landen might make him, he was proud to be offered a chance to rise above his past.  So he accepted his orders, fist over heart before taking wing for Fel Valley.  He had always enjoyed these flights... but today he couldn't take the time to just enjoy the process of travel.  If there had been a small riot already, who was to say it would not be worse by the time he arrived?

So he spent the effort to fly quickly.  And he reminded himself to report to the Leader of Fel Valley first.  Queen... something.  Falth.  Queen Falth.  She might have some restrictions, or personal requests in the way he would deal with the problem.

Not that he was looking forward to that.  Personally, he found such interference annoying.  But Drakkar had been clear that they needed to be careful.  That they needed the courts to rally behind them.

Drakkar hadn't said it in pretty words, but the message had been clear enough.  The spinning dive to the landing pad was welcome... but the sight of Fel Valley wasn't his favorite.  He preferred Living Lake, personally.. but that was his problem, not the Queen's.  He raised his eyes to look at the guards, lifting an eyebrow.

"Brekkar Vrykson, Blood Seekers... come to assist in the clean up."  He wasn't nearly as gruff sounding as many would assume a Blood Seeker to sound.  But he had learned ages ago to bottle his Rage until he could use it.  He'd made efforts to smooth his voice, to appear less... brutish. 

Until he had to be a brute, anyways.

Offline Iridian Falth

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #1 on: Jun 21, 17, 06:00:36 PM »
Brekkar Vrykson would find the Province Court of Fell Valley without its Queen. He would see males and females scurrying around, setting up tables, preparing fresh bandages, bringing in scarce food and mashing it up to be easily fed to patients. He would see the guard moving quickly from their barracks and into the sky, their membranous wings flashing in the sun before they dove to the east, towards where the landen had attacked the food cart. Half the court had already gone, following their stubborn Healer Queen as she latched onto the scent of blood.

Most thought being a Queen was the natural instinct that won out in Iridian Falth, but most would be wrong.

She was a Healer to her bone and a Queen in her heart, the two clashing more than once. So, when she had heard landen had been injured in a skirmish, some brutally, and more had mobbed the unfortunate guards of a food delivery, the witch had headed right off. Her court had protested, given her ultimatums, threatened, begged, and used Protocol, but the Queen had looked them squarely in the eye and used the sharp side of her tongue.

Her people were hurting.

She could feel it physically and mentally, like a sob that settled in your ears and then fell down the dark corners of your heart. Usually it wasn’t this bad. Usually it was bearable. But not today. Today, Iridian had to help.

Guards had already rounded up nearly all the landen that had mobbed together, the group now chained, their eyes cast angrily down. It would only be a matter of time before the others were caught too, but that still left the bodies scattered on the road, Blood and landen alike. Iri’s guards clustered around her as she picked up a small landen, the boy no more than a child, his body thin from hunger, and a large gash on his arm from a power bolt. The youth struggled against the Healer Queen when she touched him, frightened. The nails from his good arm scratched at her, drawing blood into the air faster than she could heal it.

Damn.

This day was not going to get better anytime soon.

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #2 on: Jun 21, 17, 08:58:04 PM »
It didn't take too long to get directions to where this little rout had occurred... and it took even less time to wing his way there.  He was, after all, Brekkar Vrykson.  Known for his speed and swiftness... and eager to get this little assignment over with. He'd rather be back at the Camp, training with his new brothers and guarding Drakkar. 

Vannevar was capable, no doubt... but Kaderian would KILLhim if Drakkar got stabbed again after she'd managed to get Brekk into the Blood Seekers.  He'd rather face a thousand Hayllians alone than face Kaderian's wrath in that stuation.  Not that many here in Fel Valley were likely to commisserate with that need, and he didn't need them to. He just needed to get the Landen to realize they couldn't rise up against their Queen, get their Queen to agree to enact new security measures, and then he'd be ablet o go home.

That was the plan.  He was circling above the congested gathering below, eyeballing the situation when he noticed two landen tearing off away from the crowd.  They had bags.  He tucked his wings, plummetting to the ground and snagging both of their collars as he went.  They were off balance, slamming into the ground as he landed... and he immediately began dragging them back towards the guards. They were only stunned... they wouldn't die from a few bruises and knocks. 

He was dropping them at the feet of the Queen's guards when he caught the whiff of blood in the air... new blood.  Queenly blood.

That wasn't the problem.  The problem was... it felt familiar.  With a sense of dread, he felt his head lift. Felt his eyes narrow.  He couldn't keep his legs from marching forward, or keep his wings from mantling up at the sight of blood on the Queen's arm.  His hand dipped low, settling on the back of her neck.  The feel of her skin beneath his fingers was glorious.

Forgotten, for a moment, his dread at such a thing. He felt only the thrill of joy.  The rush of battle and the excitement of victory all coalesceed into the glory that was her flesh beneath his hands.  He wanted to taste her skin on his lips... and it was willpower that kept him from plucking her up to take her off somewhere right then and there.  Not to plunge into her, no...but to hide her from the world while he wrapped himself around her?  Yes.

"My Queen..  Put the boy to the side, allow me to tend him." He wanted her to put that hissing, spitting child to the side before he felt like ripping the thing in half. It had BLED his Queen.  HIS queen.  It was fortunate that he was a male in a state of shock, and not someone more like Drakkar EStaroth... who would have likely taken its head and asked for forgiveness later.

But he remembered his orders.  No killing the Landen... if he could help it.

Offline Iridian Falth

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #3 on: Jun 22, 17, 03:57:06 PM »
Iridian sent a wave of sedation through the young Landen, stopping his fighting before he injured her or himself further. Her Craft raced through him, her Jewels freshly renewed after a long day of tending the land previously. It seemed the blast had severed a few key blood vessels and broken through the bone, but not hit any major arteries. Lucky duck. The Queen was working to seal the bleeding when a hand touched her. Distracted her, she thought, annoyed.

Ready to give the unfortunate male the backside of her tongue, Iridian stopped dead in her tracks when she locked eyes with the stranger. The Warlord Prince. Hers. The feeling flooded her senses, a blinding sense of completion. The beginning of something more, of an adventure she had not yet embarked on.

Her first bond.

So this is why Lukevar had left her.

The Healer Queen was so caught up in feeling, relishing it, that her Craft slipped. Blood spirted out of the wound she had been healing, covering her arm and seeping into her pants. Mother Night, she cursed, returning her focus back to the boy. She would deal with the Warlord Prince once this mess was over. 

“And how would you tend him, Prince? With your sword?”

She stared at him right in the eyes, gold meeting gold. Her gaze ran over him, noting the slight facial hair and the foreign slant of his cheeks. A half-breed. How curious. 

“It takes a certain type of person to fix broken things. You do not look like that type of person.”

Iridian picked up the boy, using a bit of her Yellow to move him onto a makeshift stretcher that her men had prepared. She turned to walk down the path, bending down to tend to a Blood male with a gash over his right eye, his body unmoving. The Healer Queen ran her Craft through him before looking back at the male. Her male. The words felt good, like a broken bone that had finally been set properly.

“Are you coming? Or am I going to lift all of these patients by myself?”

Other Healers had joined them and guards had begun to take away some of the Landen, leaving the ringleaders chained in a circle for their Queen to deal with when she made time. They knew better to try and take her away from Healing.

This male would learn that soon enough as well.

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #4 on: Jun 22, 17, 06:51:58 PM »
His lips turned upwards as she cursed at him.  AT him.  His queen had fire.  His queen had spirit.  His queen..  was going to get Kaderian to gut him.  He felt his wings twitch at the realization of just what this would entail, and his eyes narrowed on her.

He watched as she moved, nearly frozen in place while he tried to piece together a plan of action in his thoughts.  He could, if they weren't being watched, throw her over his shoulder and just take off.  To hell with this riot, and to hell with her thinking she had to be out amongst the danger of it.  That thought was quickly followed by the application of shields over her glorious flesh... the opal of them shimmering as they locked against her skin.  His breath left him in a bit of a loud exhale as he felt his craft lock against her.

It would have to do, for now.

Are you coming?

Not yet.  His lips turned in a small smile at that thought, eyes raising to lock on hers again.  "A bargain then... I do the heavy lifting, you Heal them... and then you let me take care of you for three hours."

He stalked towards her.  There was no other word for it.  Stalking.  "Our lives have changed course, My Queen... I will quiet my instincts for your Healing... and you will tolerate my Care.  AT least today."  He sounded almost amused.  He also hadn't phrased it as a question.  It was a demand, one followed by him lifting a Landen female onto a stretcher, carefully setting her hands at her side.  "Shh.  The Queen will patch you up.  Be at ease."

She wasn't the first Healer Queen he'd ever dealt with.  Sirian had been... very similar to this.  The need to Heal had ridden Sirian more than her Queenly caste, and the combination fo the two had made her sheer hell to try to force into anything.  He'd learned his lessons centuries before.  It had only been 192 years since Sirian's death.  he hadn't forgotten what worked best.

Offline Iridian Falth

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #5 on: Jun 23, 17, 08:10:40 AM »
Iridian shivered lightly as she felt Opal shield cover her skin. Normally, she disliked skin tight shields. They felt so cloying and restrictive, but this Craft was an extension of her male, like their first embrace. The Queen lightly ran her fingertips over the Warlord Prince’s hand, attempting to calm his anxiety at the same time she removed his touch from her neck so she could do her work. The feeling of his skin lingered with Iri, just as drops of the Landen’s blood lingered on Brekkar’s skin from where she had touched him.

He felt warm, like all Eyriens did, but this time, that warm permeated her careful distance and swam inside her like nothing she had experienced in her young life. Did it feel the same for him? Did he wish to lay out on the grass together, their bodies close, their thoughts stilled?

Blood again stained her shirt, a fleck of it landing on her cheek as she stabilized a Landen female. She recognized this one, the young mother of two twins. She had pleaded for more food a month ago, her children crying for it into the Darkness, but Iridian had not been able to help her. Just like so many others. She had stared impassively as the mother had left in tears, but later, when she was alone, the Healer Queen had shed her own. What kind of Queen denied a family the food they needed to survive?

As the stranger lifted the Landen onto a stretcher, Iridian sighed. Warlord Princes needed a firm hand. Clearly set out rules. Otherwise, they tended to make their own. She lifted one perfectly manicured brow, her brown skin glistening in the hot sun. “Very well. But taking care of me better involve your dick staying in your pants, Prince….?” She trailed off, waiting for him to introduce himself. “Mother Night has seen fit to intertwine our lives, not our bodies.” She gave the Warlord Prince a small smirk before turning back to her patients.

The two of them made their way through the rest of the victims of the attack and by the time they were done, Iridian’s Summer Sky was completely drained. Her Court Healer and her assistant began the finishing work, while their Queen caught her breath in the shade of the attacked caravan. Her men saddled up to her, keeping a wide distance from the Warlord Prince, and gestured to the prisoners waiting for the Queens decree.

“The Landen managed to kill the Yellow Jeweled male driving the caravan, Lady. Ten of their own were killed.” Iridian looked over the ring leaders of the attack. Three males and two females, all gaunt with hunger, their wings trembling, stared at the ground. The Healer Queen turned to Brekkar, one long finger resting on her plump lips.

“Prince Vrykson. I assume you were sent here to assist me with handling this situation. What would you recommend as an appropriate punishment for these men and woman?”

She would weigh him by his answer, he had to know. But then again, no one had ever said being in Iridian Falth’s court was easy. And she most certainly wanted him in her court. In fact, she hoped he never left her side again. 

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #6 on: Jun 23, 17, 03:44:11 PM »
*I make no promises, My lady.  He grinned at her before continuing his work.  And he kept an eye on her... because ... yep.  There it was.  Her jewel was draining from all the effort.  Too many wounded.  Not enough food.  Yet again... he felt that familiar surge of anger about the situation their people were in.

The land needed Queens.  Not for the first time, he considered going out to buy some from Raej.  He moved closer to her, reaching out to take her arms in his hands while peering down at her.  Maybe she expected admonishment about her choice to empty herself on behalf of Landen.  She would be disappointed if that was what she expected. 

"You need to eat."  He said it quietly, his thumbs gently brushing down the backs of her elbows.  His head turned towards the males who were trying to redirect her attention, a frown touching his face.  For as calm as he kept his outward appearance, he was furious with the entire situation.

For all the energy she'd dumped into Healing today, she could have fed more of the Land.  She could have been SAFE, instead of trying not to get scratched by hurt and wild children.  It wasn't fair of him... but he wanted to pin all of this on the males trying to direct her attention to yet more work.

They wouldn't know that.  She would.  He was touching her, and the fury of it all was swimming through him.  But she moved... and that beautiful finger rested on her lip, and he was lost. 

"They are hungry.  Starved.  Desperation is understandable."  He said it quietly, forcing himself to release her arms before drawing himself into his full height.  "But they also killed a male, and their actions led to the deaths of ten of their own.  If they were Blood, I would say they should be sent to fight the Jhinka.  But they aren't." 

It wasn't that the Landen were worthless.  They weren't.  But they couldn't fight Jhinka.  So he tipped his head to the side, considering his options.  His instincts screamed that the Male should die... but that wouldn't work.  If anything, it would merely upset more of the Landen.

Drakkar had told him to try to avoid more death.

"The punishment must be a Price worthy of eleven deaths... but simply killing him will do nothing.  How harsh are you willing to be, My Queen?"  He set his eyes on hers, gold to gold.  There was no smile there.  The thought that occurred to him would be terrible.

"Because I suggest a Banishment... and that he be sold to Raej in exchange for food to feed his people.  It will tell others that this sort of behavior is unacceptable... and that they will suffer for it."


Offline Iridian Falth

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #7 on: Jun 23, 17, 06:08:48 PM »
Iridian snorted at the audacity of her Warlord Prince, even though she liked it. Secretly. She didn’t even mind his fussing, because his hand was pressed against her flesh and her shoulder pressed against his, her fingers stroking his arm. Even when she was tired, both physically and mentally, the young Queen marveled at how a single male, given to her from Mother Night, could make her feel light.

*Take a breath, Prince Vrykson.* She scent the spear to distaff thread on her Yellow, conserving her energy. She had read all the books about how to calm a Warlord Prince bonded to a Queen. Studied all the theoretical examples, but it was so much different in real life. Hesitantly, she wrapped him in an embrace with her Yellow, letting her Craft seep into his skin. *If the riot had not happened than you would not be here. We would not have met. Try and think about that rather than ripping my men’s heads off.* She gave him a smile and then turned to her men, listening intently.

She might be young, but the Queen had known what she was going to do with these criminals long before she had asked Brekkar to come up with a solution. Her mouth settled into a firm unhappy line as he first pulled away from her and then offered his solution. “Selling my own people into slavery? Eyriens under the heel of the short lived? Or worse, a Hayllian? That is your recommendation?”

She did not blink as she met his eyes. In all honestly, he had done better than she expected. He was clearly a warrior and Iridian expected a warrior to fall back on what they knew: killing. Unfortunately, some initial instincts were spot on.

“Please, Lady, please. I have children. Five of them. Please. Don’t send us away. We just needed food. We couldn’t bare it. Watching our children starve.” A Landen woman pleaded for her life, tears seeping out of her eyes. The image would no doubt haunt the Healer Queen for weeks to come.

“The rationing system is what is keeping this Province from descending into chaos. By threatening it you have threatened the very fabric of Askavi.” The Province Queen held herself at full height, looking each of the prisoners in the eye. Her mentor had once said that she should never hand out a sentence she herself was not ready to carry out. And Iridian was ready if duty dictated it. 

“As such, I sentence two of you to death through starvation, the same fate that you would have bestowed on those you stole this food from. The punishment shall be carried out in the public square. It is up to you five to decide who shall receive the sentence. Otherwise, the two shall be randomly chosen.” They had the opportunity to save the mother and she sincerely hoped they took it.

“My decision is final. May the Darkness be gentle on your souls.”

The Healer Queen held her chin up high, her face impassive as she turned, her men parting for her. It was only in the carriage later, Brekkar invited to join, that Iri pressed her head against the draped interior and took a long strangled breath. She could feel the anguish from outside, hot and rotten like decaying flesh, the land shuddering with need and her people shriveling with pain. She closed her eyes. It was almost too much to bear.

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #8 on: Jun 23, 17, 06:22:55 PM »
"Are they your people?"  He lifted an eyebrow, hands sliding into his pockets as he waited.  He wasn't surprised by the twist in her gut.  Few people would have the stomach for what he suggested.  But he was someone who could break a person's Jewels in the midst of battle, move on, and do it again to another.  He'd long ago come to peace with being a monster when necessary.

"They broke your Law, and they ensured the deaths of eleven people, not even counting the difficulties in feeding others that this would create."  He glanced towards the sobbing criminals, an eyebrow raising.  "Frankly, I see banishment as slaves to Raej more than kind, considering the treason they've committed.  If this were The War, they'd have their wings broken and heads taken."

At least, under his old commander they would. 

He went quiet as she got 'that' look on her face.  The Queen's look, when the females would hand out their judgements and expect the realms to meet their demands.  He normally hated that look.  Most Queens were worthless creatures, in his estimations.

She sentenced them to pick the two who would die a painful death... and he smiled.  His Queen, it seemed, had some teeth.  His eyes caught on the female's, with her tear-strewn face... and he cocked his head to the side.

He could understand the desire.  Sort of.  But they had done such things stupidly.  They COULD have fled, if they were that desperate.  They COULD have gone to another territory... and while he would have sneered a bit at them for it they wouldn't be traitors.

He had no mercy in his heart for Traitors.

He escorted his Queen to her carriage, helping her in before settling in opposite her.  His arms bent, touching his knees as his hands folded in front of his lips, watching her as she tried to breathe.

He was keeping the shields on her.  In this state, especially, she would be vulnerable.  "It is not a terrible judgement.  You shouldn't let the tears get to you.  There are more immportant things."

Offline Iridian Falth

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #9 on: Jun 24, 17, 05:11:27 PM »
Iridian closed her eyes and she saw the face of that mother, the faces of the children she had brought to her court before this violence had even been considered. They had asked. They had begged. If she had had a child, Darkness help that infant, the Queen couldn’t have promised she wouldn’t have done the same thing.

Males never thought that way though. They held one hand to their dick and drove head long into battle. Perhaps that is why they were the warriors of their society. It left the people who could actually think in charge. “You can never lose the right of your birth, Prince. Once an Eyrien, always one, no matter if you commit treason or not. Slavery is what the rest of the world wants for our people and I will not help them along.” Her eyes were icy as she spoke, but one hand reached up to touch the slight scruff of his chin, a sign of his mixed blood.

Iridian would have thought he of all people would understand what she was saying.

But perhaps such subtleties were too much for him. He certainly misjudged the emotionally fraught ground he treaded when they entered the carriage together, his words causing the temperature in the carriage to plummet. Any icy silence descended while the Queen tried to reign in her temper.

She locked eyes with her male, truly disappointed. “If you wish to spend any more time around me, Prince Vrykson, you will not demean the value of a single life, Landen or Blood, again.” Her hands clenched in her lap. “There is not more important things to think about than the lives of my people. They stole that food because they were desperate, desperate because I am not able to feed them, because Askavi and I are failing them.” While he was occupied with stabbing Jhinka, Iridian knew the real problem.

Hunger.

There would be no one left to protect from those monsters if they all died of starvation. “Death is nothing to you, but I feel it. The pain. The slow wasting away. It is like…like…your skin being peeled back, bit by bit. The land screams every day, like an untended baby, blood seeping into the soil far more than water these days, and it is never enough. Never.” The last word was nearly snarled, but the Healer Queen took a deep breath, struggling to return the air to a more normal temperature.

“So tread lightly. The life of my people is the MOST important thing to me.”

When she returned home, she planned to feed the land with the rest of her Yellow. Iridian hoped that was included in the Warlord Prince’s three hours of care.

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #10 on: Jun 24, 17, 05:19:22 PM »
She touched his chin, and his hand came up to hold her wrist.  It was a deceptively gentle grip... because he wasn't going to let go.  Not right away.  She spoke about the value of lives... and he gave her a crooked grin.

"Like it or not, Lady Falth... your life is more important than any other in Askavi to me.  YOUR word is law in Fel Valley... and they broke your word.  Traitors' lives do not matter in comparison to those that obey.  Your heart is your strength... it is also your weakness."  He wanted to reach out... to cup that face and bring it closer to his own.

But he didn't.

She waws furious.  he could feel the cold of it in the carriage.  But he lived amongst warriors that fought their Rage every day.  It wasn't hte first time he'd felt surrounded by the cold of another's Rage.  Not even the first time he'd been around feminine Rage.  Sirian, Kaderian... they'd been infamous for it.

"My cousin... she was like you.  A Healer Queen, who felt the call to fix bone and flesh more than the land.  She was furious with me then too... for I had no mercy for enemies and traitors."  He leaned forward, bringing her hand up to the side of his face.  "I am not supposed to.  My job is to care for YOU... even against your own wishes.  You emptied a Jewel to heal not only the innocent, but the guilty.  You are angry because two more people will die... but if you do not make examples of those who break your Law, then others will do the same."


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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #11 on: Jun 28, 17, 07:19:28 PM »
His hand felt warm or she did.

Iridian did not know which is was. Her clear golden eyes stared at where he touched her for a moment, marveling at the fact that something so unsexual could feel so good. Why had Mother Night denied her a bond for so many years if it felt this right? The Queen took his hand and pressed it to her cheek for a moment, steadying herself.

“Compassion is never a weakness, Prince Vrykson. It is all that separates us from the Jhinka.” All that separated them from Hayllians really. That and Eyrien’s distinct lack of a rod up their ass, but the latter was a point of debate for some of the people she had met. Taking a deep breath, the Queen settled herself in the carriage and flexed her wings, the smaller mangled one folding awkwardly behind her back. Whenever she emptied her Jewels it always throbbed worse than usual.

The windows had a thin sheen of frost over them and the driver of the coach, a Summer Sky Warlord, sensed something was wrong. *Is everything okay, My Lady?* The males that were flying overhead dropped lower, closer to the carriage. *Is the Prince disturbing you?*

The Queen’s lips turned up in a small smile at her Court’s worry. *Warlord Princes constantly disturb things. It is what they do. Unfortunately. Prince Vrykson is doing it no more than any other of his caste though.* They did not know this man, true, but they were bonded. Iri had heard of no bonded male intentionally harming their Queen, but she was young yet.

Tensing, the Queen’s nose wrinkled. “You can’t possibly know that I like Healing over tending the land.”

She paused.

“But healing is so much damn easier. A bone only breaks once. The land is never healed. It cries out like a starved child, craving attention. Even now, I can feel it.” Like a leach. One that she needed to feed when they got back to the Province seat.

She sighed, the temperature of the air returning to normal as Brekkar was so infuriatingly logical. That was supposed to be a woman’s job, not the two-brained male’s. “I wish things could be different. They are only criminals because I have made them into them.”

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #12 on: Jun 28, 17, 09:30:31 PM »
She had him touch her face, and he went with it.  His thumb stroked along the angle of her jaw, marveling at the sensation of smooth flesh over bone.  She wasn't nearly as filled out as she should be... this was a Queen who rationed herself as well as her people, most likely.  He was proud of her for that.

He was also furious about it, and intent on keeping her from knowing such a thing.

"Compassion is a weakness, my Queen... as the Hayllians taught us in the wars."  He didn't flinch, or wince, as the statement brought up memories.  One of the few times he'd eagerly allowed his Rage to control him had been when the Hayllians had attacked the tent that his cousins were in.  He had known, seeing the movements, that if they breached the tents his cousins would die.  Healers, the both of them... one of them a Queen.

He'd decimated the attackers... torn them to shreds and drank of their blood in his fury.  He still didn't regret that.  Not even a little.

"I can know it.  You have the same fire in you that my cousin had.  She scolded me more than once for my harshness."  He cracked a sad smile.  "She would say as you are now, I think, if she'd ever been forced into ruling a Province.  She would put her people above herself, and would try to fix all their hurts.  She was never fond of feeding hte Land either... for much the same reason as you, I think."

He brought his other hand up, sliding his fingers between hers.  There. That felt better.  Watching his fingers intertwine with hers gave him a sense of peace... made it easier to leash the Monster he carried in his veins.  For the first time in his adult life... he felt as if the load wasn't entirely his to bear.  The relief, the lessening in pressure, was immense.

"They are criminals because they chose to be.  You gave very clear rules, which had sensical cause.  They could have chosen to move to another province.  They could have, if they were desperate enough, left Askavi. They did not.  Instead, they put themselves and others at risk.  Eleven are dead because of the actions of a few... and how many more might die because of the food destroyed in the attack?"

He reached out, cupping her chin.  Trying to force her to look at him.  "We are at war, My Lady.  Our enemy is hunger and death.  Our greatest weapons are wielded by Queens... and you cannot afford to spend all of your strength in Healing those who would spit in your face for your judgements.  Your compassion is admirable... but they don't deserve it."

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #13 on: Jul 11, 17, 12:47:56 AM »
Iridian Falth was far more sensible than most Eyriens. She knew that Askavi was not blameless in the war. They had committed atrocities, started the greatest disaster in history, and then wondered why their land was decimated. But even the most logical person had their flaws. And the Queen knew what one of them was.

Hayllians.

Her lip pulled back in disgust. She loathed the people, even if she had never met one in her entire life. They had taken her parents from her and her people suffered because of them even now. That and they were so damn arrogant.

Still though, Brekk was wrong. And Iridian’s desire to be right outweighed her distaste for the Hayllians. “War breads atrocity, Prince. I doubt either side reveled in their compassion. If they had, the war would have been over centuries before.” It was rare for the Queen to voice her opinion so freely. Such candor could get her in trouble, especially with a certain District Warlord Prince breathing down her neck. This was her male though. Her male.

And he was hurting. The Queen brought her other hand to cover Brekkar’s, squeezing tightly. “She sounds like a wonderful woman, your cousin.” She could feel the pain flow between them, heavy and hot in their bond, and it almost knocked the breath out of her. Every ounce of her body wanted to soothe him, wrap him in her arms and tear about the thing that was making him hurt. But death could not be attacked, even Iri knew that.

“Males always think of things as a battle. Like there is a winner and a loser. This is not war, Prince. This is peace. This is rebirth. It is hard and painful and not solved with a sword, but Askavi’s attention is once again where it should be. At home. On its people. I worry it will wonder once more.”

The carriage came to a stop outside the Province seat and the Healer Queen sighed. She wanted to go get a nice big drink and prop her feet up, but Brekkar was right. The land was bleeding. It needed tending. She stepped out of the carriage, never letting her male’s hand go.

“Let’s go walk in the garden.”

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #14 on: Jul 11, 17, 01:30:48 AM »
"The Hayllians earned every atrocity we doled out to them... and they never should have gotten reparations."  His teeth bared... but not at her.  Never at her.  He was remembering the bodies of Askavi's children in the border villages.  He was remembering the look on Sirian's face.  Especially the look on Sirian's face, when she had seen children left mangled and staked on the ground.

"We showed them mercies they did not deserve.  I never murdered their children in retribution for ours." He turned his eyes back to her, studying her face.  "Peace, my lady, is a lie.  It lures us into a false sense of safety... and it encourages our warriors to grow fat and slow.  How many times must Askavi learn that lesson before others will at least acknowledge that we must never allow peae to dull our senses?"

He swung the door open, tangling his hand with hers gladly.  "Sirian... was a beautiful soul.  Even in the midst of the war, she never lost that gleam that made her a light for our people.  She healed everyone...Askavian and Hayllian alike.  She soothed our warrior's tempers, and their thirst for vengeance.  The Purge took her anyways."

He grimaced, rubbing hsi fingers along her hand.  "She was not even a thousand years old... she deserved better."  He was with Kaderian in his hatred of Witch... though like her, he never said so aloud.  Too many people would see it as inviting trouble. 

"I have hope that you will have more sense than she did.  Trying to caution Sirian into acknowledging the need for harsh justice was like fighting the currents in the Runs... it was likely to get your wings broken.  Sirian did not rule a province or district, my Queen... you do.  You cannot allow your compassion to color your consequences."

He took a deep breath.  He still thought she should have sold the traitors... they could use the extra food gained in the sale.  "Our land is dying.  Starving beneath us.  We need to buy food to feed our people... and we've no coin to do so.  WE also can't afford to send our people out as mercenaries... we need every body we can find to protect the lands from Jhinka.  This section of ASkavi has been relatively unscathed... others... others have not."

He rubbed his thumb along her hand.  "Our people will look to their Queens for saving... and it is the Queens that must shoulder that burden.  You're right.  I can't stab or kill starvation.  But YOU can.  STroke by stroke, one step at a time."

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #15 on: Jul 18, 17, 01:17:53 AM »
Iridian did not press the Warlord Prince on his point. She could feel his pain through their bond, like black tar, pulling every ache out slowly. She had hardly opened her eyes before the Purge. She did not know the pain he was feeling. For as harshly as she judged the Great War and Askavi’s part in it, the Healer Queen had to also remember that she did not know what choices she would have made if she had been in it. It was always easier to judge in hindsight. She would not anger her male needlessly for something that she might never truly understand and something that he clearly was not going to change his mind about anytime soon.

“Your cousin sounds like a gift from the Darkness itself.” The Queen paused, casting a look over the man, wondering if the cousin was on his Eyrien or foreigner side. “It is strange I have never heard of her. I studied many past Healer Queen’s when I was at Gravesend, but I suppose if she didn’t rule...” There were so few Queens now. It was hard for Iri to even imagine a time when a double casted sister would not rule at least a District. It must have been so different then. She had always imagined it more brutal, more bloody, more base, but it had not all been that way.

“I clearly did not.” She said pointedly. The sentence had been handed down. Her Court would make sure it was handled. “Sometimes when a female speaks they just want their males to nod and agree.” Why didn’t men understand that? It was so clearly obvious?

“Thank you, Prince Vrykson. I was unaware our the complex problem facing Fell Valley.” Iridian did not understand why men felt the urge to explain incredibly obvious points to their females. “If only I had known….” The Queen glared at her male, grumpy, her free hand running over the tall corn stocks that were just blooming this summer. She emptied her Yellow into them, following their roots to other nearby farms, the intricate network of life underground just as complicated as the hornet’s nest of people above.

“Let’s talk about the more pressing issue.” Her golden eyes darted to him. “You.”

The Queen let go of Brek’s hand and chose a to sit down on a small stone bench in a thicket of apple trees, semi-private and shaded. She patted the seat next to her.

“Tell me everything important there is to know about you.”   

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #16 on: Jul 18, 17, 02:20:29 PM »
"She denied ruling every time it was brought up."  He cracked a smile, rubbing his hands on his lap. "I would have preferred she have a court, and a place to keep her safe... who knows, if she'd had one she might not have..."  He took a breath.  "At any rate... she always chose to go with Kaderian, her sister.  They Healed our warriors during the War."  He blinked a few times, glancing at her.  "Sirian died without any Bonded.  Her Bonded were killed by Hayllians.  Every single one of them.  And while we thought her a gift beyond measure.. Dreams Made Flesh obviously thought differently."

He couldn't help the bitter sound in his voice.  He hadn't bonded to Sirian... but he'd loved her regardless.  There had been moments when he'd wished with everything he had that he HAD Bonded to her.  If he had... he'd have been with her when the Purge struck.  He'd have protected her, and it would have been him that died.  Not his cousin.

His jaw clenched, a deep breath entering and leaving his lungs as he forced the old Anger down.  Kaderian didn't hold it against him... so why did he keep rehashing that old pain?  "Don't growl at me for pointing out the obvious.  If it is so obvious, why do you use your energy healing Traitors and not doing better things?"  He cracked a grin, looking at her.  It was easier to let the anger go now that he could poke at her.

"I am hardly important.  Just another Male sent somewhere on behalf of the Blood Seekers to ensure that things run smoothly."  He grinned, rubbing at the back of his neck.  "I'm known for having a better grip on my temper than many of my fellows... and as Prince Estaroth didn't want a bloodbath made of the Landen that could be causing troubles... here I am."  He shrugged, moving to settle beside her. 

Her heat burned at his side... and he wouldn't have it any other way.  "I'm obviously not full-blooded.  Better to chafe some people's asses... I am proud of it."  He gave her a side glance, winking.  "My grandmother was Tacean... and they say my grandfather loved her.  Loved her enough to bring her home to Askavi and live on the lower levels so that she could move around as she pleased.  Loved her enough to stay with her unto her dying days, and teach his children and siblings to see that Short Lived folk aren't rats."

He grinned, turning his eyes towards the corn she'd fed.  "I have a good reputation amongst the Camps... and I'm faster than most.  I don't tolerate enemies well, and ..."  he paused, carefully side stepping exactly HOW he had done so well in the wars.  "Well, I'm good at what I do.  I was known for being able to get the message across to my opponents... and I prefer to continue that.  Prince Estaroth finally allowed me to join the Camp my cousin has served with for a few hundred years... and I'm happy to make sure that Askavi doesn't fall to Jhinka or Hayllian betrayal.  I've no use or patience for petty dancing amongst politicians, my Queen.  If you've points to make... make them.  It saves everyone time." 

He paused, glancing at her.  "Not to say that about YOU.. per se... it's just how I see things.  My cousin and I don't really approve of the current administration's..."  He waved his hand.  "Well.  You've seen the result."

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #17 on: Aug 06, 17, 11:29:39 PM »
This cousin of Brekkar’s seemed very curious. The Healer let her Craft trickle down the bench and continue to flow into the soil, her Jewel draining further and further as she absently thought about her male’s words. “I cannot even imagine such a thing....” Iridian’s lips turned downward, trying to picture her life not ruling at least a District. Not forming a triangle. Not feeling the weight of every action. “There are so few Queens now. We do not have the luxury to decide not to rule anymore.” It must have been a mystical time then, an abundance of woman to train with, look up too.

Askavi had truly fallen in such a short time.

She brushed that thought aside though, especially as she could feel the anger and sadness pouring through the new bond she shared with Brekkar. It ate at her heart, concerns and rage that was not her own and yet set her hair on end. The Healer Queen laid a gentle hand on her bonded’s arm, before the fingers snaked up his skin and massaged the tight muscles on his shoulders. She kneaded them there for a long while, her Craft still pouring into the land as it screamed for more and more.

Shaking her head slightly, Iridian laughed, her voice like a soft tinkle. Everything was so black and white to males. “Why are you in a War Camp even though we are not at war? We all do things that we love. We all have reasons for them. Those traitors got too see me working for them—something they don’t get to witness when I feed the land. They were able to put a face to the person they thought was their enemy. Most of the time…that means less traitors.” She let him think on that for a while, her head beginning to ache from the strain her Craft was putting on her body. The land begged for more though. Screamed. It was all the Queen could do but to answer. 

“How fascinating.” She responded, her eyes slightly glazed over. “I have never met someone from the short-lived race.” That was probably the first indication at just how young she was. “I have always thought they would be awfully curious though. Fitting all that living into such a short amount of time.” Iridian cocked her head at Brekkar’s description of his time in the War, but said nothing. She was well aware of the atrocities males committed in the Great Wars. Rape, mental and physical. Breaking. Torture. She wondered which one her male had engaged in and if she really wanted to know.

Her hand stopped kneaded his shoulder when he crossed the line of challenging Illyrian’s rule though. Her fingers dropped away from him and she gave Brekkar a cold stare. “Lady Kriat was one of my mentors growing up. We grew very close over the years and I fully support her actions on behalf of Askavi. I will not have one of my males questioning her. Is that understood?” Just like that, the Healer Queen crossed the delicate line from witch to Province Queen, Healer to politician. It took a long moment, one where the air shimmer for a fraction of a second, Iri controlling her temper just before it began to ice.

“That is not all there is to you, surely. What are your hopes? Do you have a mate? When will you be joining my Court? Where did you grow up? Was it a happy childhood?” She slipped in the question about her court slyly, testing the waters.

Because he would, of course, join her court. He just did not know that yet.

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #18 on: Aug 07, 17, 03:12:25 AM »
"You can keep me from speaking my displeasure about the Lady Kriat's decisions and politics, my Queen... but you can't keep me from questioning her in my own thoughts, or in the privacy of our own discussions."  He shrugged, a sigh of relief leaving him as he felt the tense knot in his shoulder finally give out from her ministrations.

There would be perks to having a Healer Queen as his... and he was absolutely certain she'd make him pay for whatever perks there were, one way or the other. 

He wasn't wrong.  She began badgering wwith questions... and he winced the moment he heard third question out of her mouth.  Him.  At court?  Was she mad?

Of course she wasn't.  She didn't know him.  From the sounds of it, she didn't make a habit of learning of their warriors... and thank the blessed Night for that.  He'd rather not have a look of horror on her beautiful face from her realizing she'd bonded to the Bloody Breaker, of all things.  But someone else in her court would figure it out... and while they might tolerate his presence around his queen unofficially, he doubted they'd let someone so compassionate be unaware of his history for long.

"I'm fairly simple, my Queen.  I've no mate, though I've shared my bed over the years.  No children, to my knowledge.  If any were born of me, their mothers did not see fit to tell me."  He looked her square in the eye, though.  Studied her for a moment.  "Of the females I took in other territories, none bore my children.  And I am grateful for that.  I doubt they would have lived kind lives with their mothers."

He cracked a smile, thinking of his own childhood.  "My mother still lives, though my father does not.  Her name is Viridian... appropriate, considering what her Offering turned out to be.  She survived the Purge, and she helped care for my cousin Kaderian after.  She is the best of Mothers, and none could be better."

He reached out, curling his fingers into her hand before raising it to his lips.  "You should stop.  You are growing pale.  You need to eat, and rest, before attending to your Queenly duties.  Besides, you wished to know more of me.  I would feel improper, discussing myself while you are trying to feed the Land beneath us."  It was sly, and manipulative... but he'd use whatever cards he could to get his Queen to take care of herself.

And the longer he could put off the fight he knew he would have about her Court, the better.

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #19 on: Sep 20, 17, 02:32:09 PM »
“We can have a long discussion about how Lady Kriat has saved this territory some time, but not today. My head hurts to much to deal with stubborn male thinking.” The Healer Queen always had to change her way of viewing things when she talked to males. Make it bloodier and duller. Perhaps it would be different with a bonded though, they were already connected after all.

Verging dangerously close to draining the last of her Birthright, Iri listened to Brekkar and nodded her head every now and then. A loner it sounded like. Nothing wrong with that. Iridian didn’t have many people close to her either. A court filled with people, but none she shared her heart with. Not after Lukivar stomped on it.
 
Iridian set her mouth in a firm line as Brekkar continued. Who her male was and what he did in the past was no concern of hers. She had not been there for him and thus couldn’t guide him along a less rocky path. What he did now though, that was more pressing. She didn’t expect him to be perfect, but she would settle for a restrained terror. “I do not care what you did in the past. But you are mine now. Your actions reflect on me and my court. If Darkness forbid we go back to another War I expect you to take no other women without their consent. Not only because it gives the other territories cause to attack us, but because it is below the dignity of our people. Do you understand, Prince?” She had very few hard rules, but this was one of them. Eyrien’s were not savages. They might be monsters, honed to kill, but they were not cruel.

Sighing, the Queen grumbled at the males cunning. She gave him a long look. “Improper, huh? If I know anything about you its that you are all about what’s proper, Prince.” She smirked at him and severed her connection with the land, her Jewels completely depleted. She stood up, felt the world spin, sat back down, and then got back up again, slower this time. “I want to hear about your hopes and dreams and what you would like to get out of our bond. In truth, you are the first male that has ever bonded with me. I was beginning to think that no one ever would.” The words were the most vulnerable she had been with him and he better not get used to it.

“Let’s go to the roof. It has the best view of the territory and it should be nicely warm from the sun today. Want to meet me up there?” She folded her damaged wings behind her back and nodded that he could fly up there if he wished.

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #20 on: Sep 20, 17, 05:06:44 PM »
He cracked a smile.  Couldn't help it.  She was getting grumpy, and therefore adorable.  I do not care what you did in the past, but you are mine now.  His lips twitched, eyes closing as he let himself enjoy the possessiveness of her words.  Just for a moment.

"As you wish, my Queen.  No conquering women of other Territories unless I get an enthusiastic welcome."  He smiled before reaching out to rub his fingertip against the side of her face.  As possessive as she was, he would be worse and he knew it. 

When she rose to her feet... and then fell back down to a seated position, he couldn't entirely hide the 'i told you so' look in time.  But he didn't feel all that guilty about it either.  He looked at her, studied her, and hten offered his arms. 

"I could take us both."  He offered it quietly, aware that she might not enjoy flight being unable to fly herself.  But he would offer, nonetheless. 

Flying his Queen would be no hardship... and he would enjoy holding her close to do it.  He would focus on the hardships this Bond presented... later.  For now, it was more important to finish his duties.  He'd seen to the Landen issues and not gone on a killing spree while doing so. 

Frankly, he thought he had done fantastic.  But he'd still have to find a way to work this out.  He'd still have to find a way to honor his oath to the Blood Seekers AND keep his Queen from tearing his throat out.

He wasn't sure who would be more terrifying right now...

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #21 on: Oct 15, 17, 11:55:37 PM »
“Don’t give me that look.” She snapped. “You are the male. You are supposed to tell me to stop and I’m supposed to snap at you and then you make sure I don’t drain myself.” The Queen sighed. “You have so much to learn before you are going to be presentable at Court.” Her eyes flashed at the last word and she stepped forward, her hands smoothing his shirt down, deliberately feeding him her Queen’s Touch. It wasn’t very strong, as she didn’t have much cause to use it, but she tried. Iridian had caught his avoidance of her earlier proposal.

For now, she let it go. Instead, Iridian took stock of her male, eyeing him up and down, before nodding her head once.

“Just…be careful. Someone dropped me once, so I haven’t flown in a…a while.” It had to be a few years now. The idiot had lost his grip and Iridian had opened her wings, the air hitting them hard and throwing her into a tree. The experience had shaken her trust in males, but her Bonded was different.

If he dropped her Iri could rip him a new asshole.

Placing both hands around his neck, the Healer Queen pressed herself close, taking in the Warlord Prince’s scent once more. It didn’t only smell good, it felt good. Her head rested softly against his chest and she allowed herself one moment of contentment as he carried her upward.

“I’m told my father used to carry me high up in the air and throw me upward, so I could feel the wind against my face like a proper Eyrien before he caught me.” She half-smiled. “I can’t remember it though.” She paused. “The feeling or my father.” Brekkar had probably known him. Iri’s father had served bravely next to Drakkar in the Great War.

Iridian looked up at her male, her golden eyes neutral. "If you leave me like he did I will unravel every wound your body has ever healed."

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Re: To Serve a Warning
« Reply #22 on: Oct 16, 17, 09:01:22 AM »
He just smiled as she proceeded to snap at him.  He had years of practice dealing with a Healer snapping at him.  Kaderian had done it often.  And with his cousin, he hadn't had the existence of a Bond to assure him that the damage wouldn't be too terrible.  But he also didn't respond to her statement about Court.

Now wasn't the time.  When he told her that he had an oath to uphold, she was going to be furious.  He wanted her safe in her home before that argument started.  It takes two to argue.  And therefore he knew it would be an argument.  He'd fought too long, and too hard, to throw away the Blood Seekers now.

Besides - he needed them.  As calm as he seemed, as cool-headed as he came across... it was only because he had somewhere to let the rest of him loose.  He'd never be able to be himself in a Court.  Eventually, he would snarl, snap, and kill someone.  And then he would have more nightmares to add to the list - namely of her horror when she realized exactly what sort of male she was Bound to.

Not that he could keep that in mind as her Touch drifted into his skin.  It had his eyes closing, just for a moment, as the warmest feeling of peace drifted through his flesh and into his heart.  This.  This was why Queens were so bloody dangerous.  They could unman a warrior faster than any knife edge.

She curled up against him, and he settled his shields and arms around her tightly.  Mine.  "Your father was a good male."  He was being slow, leisurely in the flight.  Some impish part of him wanted to go high and dive, or take her in rolls... but not right now.  Right now she needed rest, food.  Scaring her would do no one any good, least of all him.

"He was a strong warrior.  The Purge took many of our best that day."  He said it as calmly as he always did - but inside he was anything but calm.  It had taken Sirian, Kunedar.. and in a way, it had nearly taken Kaderian with it.  For years, she had said nothing.  She barely seemed to live beyond the strangely stiff manner in which she would eat and clean. 

"Unless another Purge arrives, my Queen, I can hardly leave you in the same fashion."  He sounded almost amused by the accusing glare.  If the Purge came again, he doubted he would survive it this time.  Fortunately, to his knowledge, Dreams Made FLesh had not been reborn.  Hopefully She would not be reborn anytime in his life.  Once was more than enough.

His eyes narrowed as the landing pad to her roof came back into view.  He had flown past it as he took to the air, wanting her to feel the wind on her face.  He had wanted her to feel... whole.  Maybe it had been cruel rather than kind, but he couldn't imagine never being able to fly.  He felt a childish urge to tighten his grip and turn away.. to take her into the mountains and keep her for himself.  His hands did tighten on her, just a little.. but then he sighed and allowed his wings to angle them down towards the landing pad. 

The land needed what few Queens they had. AT least, that is what he kept telling himself.  He did not, however, release her when his feet touched the ground.  "The person who dropped you... do they still live in your Province?"  HE asked it calmly - but he did not feel calm about it.  Someone had dropped a Queen, and if they still lived he would make them regret it.  He didn't care if it had happened yesterday or over a century before... the sin was the same.

They had dropped his Queen, a treasure who could not fly on her own.  He would have to get Kaderian to tend her wing, when she returned. Perhaps... even though she was an adult, Kaderian might be able to fix it.  He chewed on his cheek for a moment before remembering that she might want down.

Not that her wish for it mattered just yet.  "Where would you like to sit?"  HE intended to sit there for her, with her resting on his lap.  And if she demanded to be let up?  he would remind her that he didn't want her tumbling from the roof.  Iridian with a splash of temper was... quite adorable.

 

 

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