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* Plot Information for Dena Nehele

With the full force of the Guilds at her back, Rilandra Vlas seized the Territory Throne of Dena Nehele. The common born Province Queen now owes allegiance to the Master of the Guilds for his assistance in both securing the throne and securing Darcia Glassade's continual safety. Trapped between the demands of the Guilds and the demands of the Aristos, Riley is struggling to rule, finding the palace more of a cage than she could have dreamed possible.
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Author Topic: what you kept from me made our world go 'round  (Read 181 times)

Description: Attn: Riley

Offline Dragos Cutrov

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      First Circle/Myos

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      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Dena Nehele

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      [Link]

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      Gavin

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    • There is violence in my heart.

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what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« on: Aug 22, 17, 10:30:04 PM »
Drake, this is all harder than I thought. I don’t know if I can do this.

Dragos Cutrov was not accustomed to being needed.

Aunt Viorica tolerated him. Most of the Bidea Court was coolly polite, though more than few waited until his back was turned to wonder aloud when the Lush Prince would drink himself into a stupor once again. Even his act of being covered with the glitter from a children’s prank was attributed more to his cosmically ill luck and poor judgment than it was a calculated effort to save Riley’s party and avoid political fallout for Lady Roman. He didn’t care what the Aristos or Riley’s Court thought of him. He was in the First Circle because Riley trusted him, because he helped her relax when the demands of her station threatened to crush her beneath their weight like they nearly did last night. Like they almost did today.

I need you to stand beside me.

He was used to being hired. Contracted.

He wasn’t accustomed to being needed.

When he found Rilandra, the day after the party and his...discussion with Sway, Drake was ready to celebrate. The party was a success. Even if the Aristos weren’t ready to declare their allegiance in full, many would hear her out. They’d consider her request for arable land to grow crops and feed the Territory. This morning Val received, by courier, a list of names detailing the Aristos that were most receptive to the Rilandra’s ideas. While not a large list, it contained the names of those families with large tracts of land willing to work with the Territory Court. Perhaps through their example others would be spurred (or shamed) into action. Drake considered it a win.

He arrived to find glass on the floors and Rilandra more furious than he’d ever seen her.

When he was finally admitted into her presence, Drake sat her down and massaged her back while she explained everything that had gone wrong in the last twenty-four hours. Lady Roman’s male being part of that stupid prank (meaning he would live). Prince Traien being replaced as Master of the Guard with the leader of the Jacks Guild (fucking lovely). Rilandra discussing these matters with the Guild Master and several others, followed by Chauncey making her eat and Lady Roman's apology for her male. Then Lady Roman’s mother finally contacting her after years of silence and basically inviting herself to perform one of the most important rituals of a person’s life.

Not once in Rilandra’s recounting of her day did she mention that she’d slept.

She tried to get up a few times to pace the floor, but each time she was met with firm resistance as Drake kept her in her seat. His hands were magic, finding and destroying every knot, every bit of tension, every strained muscle from the base of her neck to the base of her spine. He stopped, midway through, and poured the Queen a tall glass of water. He would hand it to her and watch her drink it in full, not allowing her to rise or continue talking until she’d done so. Once she drained the water glass, Drake poured another glass and handed it to her.

Sip this and keep talking.

He let her get everything out, let her talk until her voice broke and the tears came. He hated tears normally, but RIlandra’s tears were like glass beneath his fingernails and toenails, hammered in with every step, every breath. When he couldn’t take it anymore, Drake circled around her chair and knelt down before her, looking up into her eyes.

What do you need, Rilandra? Tell me and I’ll make it happen.

He expected her to say that she wanted someone dead, even in jest. He expected her to break down in his arms. He even expected her to demand that he strip down and fuck her until they both passed out. Any of those things, he would have understood and given her if she truly needed it.

I need you to be my First Escort. I can’t do this without you.” she said, looking at him with tear-streaked eyes, her voice breaking.

He’d stared at her in mute shock, blue eyes trapped between surprise and maybe a little bit of horror. She wanted him to be her First Escort. She was asking him not just to support her rule, but to be the first peerson she turned to for comfort. Her last line of defense when her enemies eventually came for her. She was opening herself to share her secrets with him, to see the sides of her that she showed no one else.

And she was asking him to do the same.

Dragos Cutrov was not accustomed to being afraid.

Wow, that’s..that’s a big ask, Rilandra. It’s...it’s huge.” he said, rising from his place before her and pacing the floor. His mind was racing now. He could refuse. He needed to refuse. He could refuse her and walk away right this second. Because the longer he stayed, the closer she came to knowing the truth. Once she knew, she could destroy him. She could crush him professionally and personally. She could claim his Jewels for the things he’d done and she’d be well within her rights.

Look, you haven’t slept since the other day. You’ve barely eaten. Let’s lie down. Get some rest for as long as you need it and we’ll talk about it when you wake up. It’ll give us both a chance to get settled. We’ve been through the meat grinder in the last day or so. Can’t make any decisions when you’re emotional, you know.” Drake said.

She didn’t fight him. He expected her to demand an answer, to demand his loyalty right now, but she didn’t. She agreed to lie down as long as he joined her. So when Riley stripped naked and moved to the bed, Drake took off his coat and unbuttoned his shirt. Then he pulled back the covers and waited for Rilandra to lie down. Once she was settled, he slipped into bed with her and pulled her close. She repeated her request and then drifted off in his arms.

Once she was asleep, Drake stared up at the ceiling.

He couldn’t say yes.

But how could he refuse her?


Offline Rilandra Vlas

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • queen
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      Territory Ruler

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      Dena Nehele

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      Phedre

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #1 on: Aug 22, 17, 10:34:17 PM »
She hadn’t meant to say it like that. She hadn’t meant to leave Drake feeling like if he didn’t say yes, he was somehow abandoning her in the time that she needed him the most. She had forced Val’s hand, in part to care for Toby, which really meant caring for Darcia. She had bound him to her on the spur of the moment and given him little refuge to refuse her. She had no say in Sebastian’s appointment. Just as sudden as Val, but without her forcing his hand. She hoped his fear of the Guild Master was strong enough to cause him to grow loyal to her and her Court. Because otherwise, one of the most powerful positions in Dena Nehele had just been handed off to a male who barely knew her.

She had meant to ask Drake calmly, with thought and reason to support her desires. She had wanted to make a case to him, explain what he offered her and why. But none of that had happened. He asked her directly what she needed and she just… told him. ”I need you.” It was unfair. Even more so than with Val, perhaps, because Drake cared about her. She knew he did. They had grown closer by the day and she relied on him more and more.

Maybe it would have been easier if she could have just asked Chauncey to be her Consort. But she knew he couldn’t navigate the Aristos, and, more than that, he was in a state of near perpetual trauma with the nearness of his father to both her Court and her. His fear would ,make him do things that he didn’t want, and she would end up supporting him in a way that she was happy to do, but not as one of her Triangle. He would have no escape, and no reprieve. Every time she thought of the way that he had trembled behind her when he first learned his father was still alive… No.

Drake was different. He was so fucking strong, and he did things out of instinct to protect her. He was exactly what she needed to survive this. She had lost Luca, she had lost the tightly knit Court that she had held in Tulzbruja. She was being forced to compromise her deepest held values daily. Drake reminded her of who she was and where she came from. And that was going to make or break her rule, even if she was the only one who saw it yet.

When he’d suggested that she sleep, she didn’t even have the ability to argue. She undressed, curled tightly against him, small and hurting, and finally, after too many hours to count, drifted off.

When she awoke, it was dark. She could feel Drake next to her, feel the dark weight of his Jewels as she swept outward with her Craft, finding that it was still just the two of them. She opened her eyes, blinking, before turning and pressing her cheek against his chest, seeking whatever warmth he had to offer. The memory of their conversation came rushing back over her and she cringed a little.

“Wow, that’s..that’s a big ask, Rilandra. It’s...it’s huge.”

Her heart ached a little, and the sharp pangs of rejection returned, the ones she had felt just before she had resigned herself to sleep. Tears threatened to spill over again and she fought them back, instead fisting her hand in his shirt. Had she crossed a line? Was he going to leave and go back to Tulzbruja? She had grown so used to talking to him everyday, but… what if he didn’t want this? She clung to him tightly, her voice small when she finally spoke through the aching pressure in her throat. ”Drake? Are you awake?”




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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    • opal2red
    • prince
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      Gavin

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #2 on: Aug 22, 17, 10:38:48 PM »
He knew that she was awake before she spoke. Her breathing shifted and her skin warmed imperceptibly. Well, it was imperceptible to someone who didn’t know what to look for. Drake was so familiar with death and its after effects that he could spot a dead body with his eyes closed in a pitch black room with no Craft use. The Myos Guild taught him many, many things, but understanding death was a pastime he’d devoted himself to outside of his desire to kill those who needed to die in defense of those who deserved to live.

He was still staring up at the ceiling when she spoke, turning over her request in his mind.

Yeah, Rilandra. I’m awake.” he whispered.

He let her orient herself toward him while he remained still. His only movement was to place a hand on the small of her back, just above her ass. He could drift lower, grasp that curve, but he didn’t. He would give her the wrong signal, put out the wrong message right now, and he knew that she’d want an answer. Hours of thinking, of letting his thoughts chase each other without end had yielded a decision. She wanted him to be her First Escort, responsible for her well-being and keeping her in the right mind to rule. He’d be more visible than he ever was with all of the perks and drawbacks associated with it. He would gain new friends and enemies. Her friends and enemies, in a way. When he spoke or acted, it would be a reflection of her rule, whether he wished it or not.

She had a right to know.

I’ve been thinking about your question.” he said, letting the words hang in the air between them. Was the room growing colder or did the gooseflesh on his skin come from nerves. Drake didn’t suffer from anxiety, so he knew that he was dreading the next few minutes. While he knew the way out of the palace in several directions, he also knew that she could marshal a great amount of Jeweled force against him in seconds. He might kill a few but he wouldn’t overcome them all. He would die and maybe, in some strange way, the Price would be paid.

I have an answer for you, Rilandra, but I think it’s only fair that you know some things before you decide. They may change the way you see me. Might even change the way you see a lot of things.” Drake said.

He sighed and went silent for several minutes. His breathing remained steady and even during that time.

Finally, he rolled over onto his side to face her.

Have you ever heard someone tell a story and know that it’s wrong? Not just wrong because they missed a detail but...wrong? It’s wrong because you were there and you know that the person telling the story doesn’t know the whole thing. Not the way you do.” he said softly. His mouth set into a grim line while thought it over. He sighed once more.

For instance. I heard this story once about a little girl who lost her father. Now, the way the story normally goes, her father was a good man who never hurt anyone. He was a pillar of the community raising his little girl alone. That’s what the little girl believes. He hung the moon and stars in the sky.

Little girls are born to love their fathers.
” Drake said, shielding the room with his Red.

But you know this story is bullshit. You know that her father was in league with killers. You know that he’s ruined lives and framed people in order to conceal his own crimes. You know that he’s caused people to be murdered because he did it to people you know. In fact...you know it because he had your parents killed. You’ve known it since you were thirteen years old.

In a way that knowledge ruined your life but it also saved you. It gave you a goal. It gave you a focus for all the anger and the rage inside of you.
” Drake said, his voice growing cold. He felt that anger now, deep in his bones. That anger was carved into his soul and burned black on his heart. When he was cold, it warmed him. It dulled his pain better than any alcohol ever could. When he fucked, it lent strength to every thrust and made the woman beneath him claw his skin like an animal.

He couldn’t purge it or burn it away, no matter what he did.

So you train for years and years. You sell off pieces of your soul to become the deadliest being you can. You throw away things like love. Like friendship. Like pity. You wear masks every day of your life so that no one sees the real you. And one day...you get the chance to pay back this evil bastard for what he did to your family. You take everything you’ve learned, you take every ounce of hate and you pour it into a single moment.

You creep into his house and you beat him so bad you can feel your hands breaking.
” Drake said, remembering how it felt to hit Gheorge Roman with fists like hammers. The way it felt to cut into his skin and watch him crawl in his own blood, watching him slip and fall. The joy of watching him beg Striker to stop.

The tears in his eyes, falling like rain when he realized that Striker couldn’t be bought or bullied or intimidated.

You cut him up because you remember how the people he hired, a particularly nasty cell of Jacks, cut up your mother and father. And right when he bows his head for the blade, when he realizes that he can’t buy his way out of this...his daughter appears at the top of the steps.” Drake said.

Drake’s eyes were focused hard on Rilandra now. She was smart. She’d put it together.

People say that the the man loved his baby girl so much that he fought back against impossible odds to give her a chance to run. And run she did.

But you know the truth because you were there. You slit her Daddy’s throat because he was a monster and then you reached inside that poor little White Jeweled Queen’s head and told her to run and hide somewhere you couldn’t find her.
” Drake said, finishing his story.

That’s the man you’re asking to be your First Escort, Rilandra. Are you sure that’s what you want?


Offline Rilandra Vlas

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • queen
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      Territory Ruler

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      Dena Nehele

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #3 on: Aug 22, 17, 10:47:32 PM »
When he confirmed he was awake, she pressed her body closer to his, needing to feel the reassurance of his presence. This had become almost routine for them, Riley naked, curled against a half dressed Drake, whispering about their lives in the dark. What was between them was unlike anything she had with anyone else in her life. Sexually charged, but not demanding, still acting like teenagers before a Virgin Night. Even now, with the weight of her request between them, she pulled herself closer to him, not running from what he had to say, no matter how much the possibility of rejection might hurt.

She remained quiet and perfectly still while she waited for him to speak, the only sounds the mutual chorus of their breathing. She knew he hadn’t fallen asleep again, but the minutes stretched out before he spoke, and it was everything she had to not create her own narrative of what he was about to say. It wouldn’t have mattered if she had. Nothing could prepare her for the words that came next.

He turned on his side and she adjusted, her hand reaching forward to lay on his chest above his heart. She felt the steady rhythm against her fingertips as he spoke, anchoring her in the moment with him as he told her a story.

It was a story of a child, and a father, and another child. It was a story of death, and lies, a story of justice and vengeance, a story of training over long years until a Price could be paid. It was a story of Dena Nehele. A story of treachery and loss, of the Guilds and the contracts that they laid out, of orphans abandoned and left in terror of what lurked in the night. There was a choice: Become the thing you fear, or find someone strong enough to protect you. Become the monster, or invite the monster into your dreams night after night.

It was a story of the land she loved, a story of the Territory she ruled. It was a story in which she could see herself and Luca, a child Riley and Adrian, Darcia and Gavril. She could feel hands around her throat in the garden, the dark damp that was a year of her childhood, the sting of her hand when she had slapped Moesia for telling her she was a fool to come to the Territory seat in Darcia’s absence. Darcia’s cold, dead stare when she returned with Ventus and Sway. The feel of a thousand Jewels at her back when she had taken the throne for good.   
It was the story of endless nightmares in the night. It was the story of the girl Riley had raised, the young Queen who had been orphaned cruelly who still as a young woman slept with the lights on. It was the story of a young Prince she had known in her childhood who went to live with his Aunt after his parents were brutally murdered. It was the story of a Myos assassin and a young Queen.


It was the story of Drake and Sora.

Tears spilled over despite her resignation to banish them. The sheet beneath her grew damp and a line of wet fell across the bridge of her nose, picked up speed with the salted water that fell from her other eye, and gathered in a small puddle against her cheek.

She didn’t speak. She didn’t move. She simply watched him, allowed him to tell her this story, to build this world that he needed her to understand, to offer her the whole of him, the truth of what he was, and what he had done. The voice that haunted Sora’s dreams was his own. She blinked, slowly, and a fresh stream of tears slid sideways across her face. He had finished talking and asked her a question, one that he deserved an answer to.

Her breathing quickened, her tears flowed, her teeth bared in a snarl. ”Yes,” she said, choking on a sob, fighting so hard to hold all of the emotion that flooded her body and mind.

Her fingers balled into fists and she hit at his chest, launching herself up and onto his frame, straddling his body and glaring down at him through her sobs, pounding at his chest futilely with her fists. She couldn’t bring herself to punch him, couldn’t bring herself even now to release the torrent of grief and fury that tore at her core. She body shook, exhaustion and stress making her feel ill, nausea threatening to overwhelm her even in the midst of her rage.

Her voice stolen with the flooding of her emotions, she reached out to his mind, and poured her emotion into him on the thread she established. She let him feel her hurt and betrayal, her fear, her understanding for what he was and how he had come to be that. *You’re Myos.* The words sounded small even in his mind, a need for him to tell her, a tiny, pathetic demand to say the words plainly. 




Offline Dragos Cutrov

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      First Circle/Myos

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      Dena Nehele

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      Gavin

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    • There is violence in my heart.

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #4 on: Aug 22, 17, 10:54:11 PM »
Drake was so deep into his story, so intent on reliving the pain he’d visited on the man who’d shattered his world that he didn’t notice Rilandra’s growing silence. She didn’t interrupt. She didn’t ask him to clarify. She didn’t beg him to lie to her or tell her that it wasn’t true. Drake outlined the story of his life and the things he’d done to get to this place, beside her in this bed, and Rilandra Vlas listened in silence. It was only when he fell silent and really looked at her and the shadows in her face, that he understood. She hadn’t moved one muscle.

She felt so far away.

Those shadows made her look harder and colder than he’d ever seen her. The same shadows that made him fuck Sway until her ribs broke beneath him, the shadows that made him feel safer and more free than any amount of guards, painted his Queen in the light of destroyer. She held his fate in her hands right now. He’d shielded the room, but if she wanted to fight him, she’d do grievous harm. Drake already knew that he wouldn’t fight her back. The Guild Master’s edict against killing Queens notwithstanding, Rilandra hailed from the Caste that was to be protected and cherished at all costs. Like Sorinna, Rilandra’s body was inviolate. So many other people used her body for their own purposes. They marked her with fists, teeth, and cum. They wanted to own her and control her. They wanted to kill her.

Drake wanted to protect her.

He expected her hate. He expected her rage. She could order him to leave and never return. She could go to Sora tonight, tell her everything, and then let the young Queen set the Price. Drake held no illusions on what Lady Roman would demand. He would be dead before sunrise with an entire Court of males seeking the honor of killing in the name of these Queens. It would never undo what he’d done to her. It would never heal the long-term damage that his actions had caused, but it would be a form of justice.

Knowing that, Drake would still kill Gheorghe Roman every single time without hesitating.

Rilandra launched herself at him and Drake let her come, collapsing beneath her as she mounted him and pounded on his chest. There was anger in those blows but no strength. Rage in her face, but no conviction. If she wanted to hurt him, she could do it. She snarled at him for the position he’d put her in.

He was forcing her to choose between the person she was and the Queen she had to become.

He was forcing her to choose between her First Escort and the girl she raised.

He would never regret killing Sora’s father.

He would always regret what he’d done to Rilandra this night.

When she stopped hitting him, he remained beneath her. His hands moved to her hips out of instinct while she looked down at him.

*You’re Myos.*

The words were so soft inside of his mind that he thought he’d imagined them. She wanted the truth now. He told himself that this day wouldn’t come, that he’d never have to reveal himself to her. He could protect her without resorting to the brutality he used as Striker. He could be there for her without drowning her in an ocean of blood.

Yes, Rilandra. I’m Myos.” he said aloud, confirming her fears.

I swear, I didn’t do this to deceive you or humiliate you. You remind me of a time in my life where I didn’t hate almost everything and everyone around me. You remind me of a period of my life when I thought that maybe I could get past my parents’ deaths and be someone like Val or Traien.” Drake said.

If you want me as your First Escort, I’ll do it. I just need to know something.

Who else do you need to tell about this?
" Drake asked.


Offline Rilandra Vlas

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • queen
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      Territory Ruler

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      Dena Nehele

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      Phedre

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #5 on: Aug 22, 17, 11:12:47 PM »
She remained above him, looking down on him, a view she had grown so used to despite having never sheathed his cock inside her body. ”I assume Sora isn’t an option?” she asked, bitterness dripping off her tongue. It wasn’t fair of her. But then nothing about this could exactly be considered fair.

”What am I even allowed to tell? That you’re a Myos assassin? That you killed Sora’s father? That you waited to tell me this until I asked you to be one of the most important people in my life? That if I hadn’t asked, you likely would never have told me? Or that your condition to accepting is that I carry your secrets? Because I can only assume that is what you are asking of me, Drake.” Her breath was ragged as she tried to fight her way through the conversation, despite her feeling like her heart was being ripped from her chest. “Did you know that it’s your voice that haunts her in the night still?” Her voice was tired. Riley was being worn down, one crisis at a time.

Her hands raked through her hair, her body arching above his, the same gesture she had used with the boys, with Sebastian, her brother, Val, Celina, Sora… the day was endless. Of course, with them, she had been clothed. Even now that she had slept a few hours, it still carried on, twisting around her and demanding. How had her life changed so utterly in the span of a day?

If she could go back, would she? If she could unknow what she now knew, remain in ignorance, would she choose that?  If she would, she was not the woman she thought she was, let alone the Queen Dena Nehele needed.

Her elbows bent, her arms still up in her hair, slid down just slightly to cover her eyes. “Straight razors coated with honey will cut your throat just the same,” she whispered, quoting herself from the first day they met. She remembered that day so well. The feel of the wind on her face, crawling into his lap and making out with him on the roof, running free and wild toward the ledge and leaping up onto it as his Red shield wrapped tight around her. 

Was any of it real? The taste of home. The laughter. The way he claimed she made him feel. The way she knew he made her feel. Was any of it solid? Something she could actually stand on? ”Val will make you sign a contract. Either I tell him or you do, but if he finds out after the fact, you’ll never be able to work together. I imagine Sebastian should know, too.” Her arms wrapped around her body, as if she could ease the pain of the situation somehow.

She did the thing then she knew better than to do. She asked a question, not entirely sure she could handle the answer. ”I have something I need, too. We agreed to be always honest, when we asked a direct question. And so I need to know. Am I a contract?”




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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      Gavin

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    • There is violence in my heart.

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #6 on: Aug 22, 17, 11:27:02 PM »
What am I even allowed to tell?

Drake realized how how much he’d dropped into Rilandra’s lap with his admission and it hurt him to hurt her this way. He could have demanded that she keep it to herself. He wanted to. But it felt wrong to ask more of her than he was already demanding right now. She could  tell him to go fuck himself, which would have been an ironic statement given their compromising position. She could send him packing and make up some tale that would utterly crush his family business and ruin his life. Making an enemy of the Queen of Dena Nehele had life-altering consequences for anyone fool enough to do it.

If she continued to choose him, however, Drake would see to it that her enemies didn’t live long enough to learn the folly of their mistakes.

Ravager would call him a fool. He’d granted honesty to a woman from his childhood, a Queen that he wasn’t bound to, and for what? When it came down to it, that was the piece that didn’t fit. He did not love her. Drake knew that with certainty. He desired her, yes, but he desired Bianca, too. Bianca was a pretty young woman, barely older than Lady Roman, and Drake hadn’t felt compelled to inform her that he was Myos. Why?

Am I a contract?

No.” he said calmly.

You are not a contract for me and you never will be. If I knew anyone wanted to put out a contract on you, I’d find them and kill them first. I’ve killed people already for plotting against you. No, I won’t tell you who they are, Rilandra.” Drake said, refusing to budge on that point. He wouldn’t burden her with anything else tonight and he wouldn’t bind her with these secrets, now or ever. She’d just have to wonder how many people who’d turned up dead in Dena Nehele had done so from natural causes or an assassin’s blade.

But you’re not the sole reason I’m here. I understand that I’ve destroyed Lady Roman’s life. I know you love her like she was your own. I didn’t know she still heard my voice.” he said quietly as an uncomfortable feeling settled in the bowels of his stomach. It took him a moment to place it. He examined it like any weapon and then set it down for it was too hot to touch. It was too much for him in this moment now.

So this is what remorse feels like.

I don’t regret killing her bastard father, Rilandra. But I didn’t know she was going to come down those stairs. I didn’t know she’d wake up..” Drake said softly.

Some people say it would have been kinder to kill her, too, that night. I don’t kill kids, though, so I made her run. I didn’t know what would happen to her when she ran out of that house. I thought she would have run to a neighbor or someone safe. I didn’t know she’d spend the night in a forest.

But I’m glad she found you.
” he said, looking up at the Queen once more.

That doesn’t matter, though. What matters is that I believe Lady Roman is still in danger. Before you ask, I don’t know who is behind it. I want to see if I can figure out who it is and take care of them before they try anything.” Drake said.

He sighed.

Look, I’ll deal with Val...and Prince Bane. I’d rather not tell either of them, because people get skittish about having Myos around. Look at how people deal with Sway being around.

I’d like to limit it to the two of them plus you. I’m here to make sure you and Lady Roman survive. But you’re my focus.
” Drake said.

If you still want me to be here that is. I know that I’m asking a lot. I’m asking for things that I don’t have any right to ask for.

If you want me to go, I will.



Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #7 on: Aug 23, 17, 01:42:49 AM »
"No," she said softly. "I don't want you to go."

"Val. Sebastian. You. Me," she repeated. She thought for a moment over what he had just said, about how it was best because people got nervous when they knew a Myos was around. "Does Sway know?" She didn't know how well the Myos Guildsmembers knew each other, only that Sway seemed to be the only one who walked around with no alternate identity.

She looked down into his eyes for a long moment, quiet. Her mind was racing, but her body was unusually still. Slowly, she slid off of him, turning to lean her back against the headboard. Her arms came around her legs, pulling herself into a tight ball. Drake had seen this behavior from her before, on the roof when she spoke of her kidnapping, of why she never allowed anyone to call her Rilandra.

Now, it was all he called her, a special understanding between them. He was trying to give her back something that had been taken from her. And she was attempting to associate it with light and laughter, with the feel of the wind on her face and Drake's arms wrapped tight around her body as he held her against a wall and kissed her fiercely.

What memory of her name would tonight leave trailing through her thoughts? The pain of learning the truth of him? Or the knowledge that she was agreeing to keep something essential from the young Queen she loved almost more than her own life?

Riley would never have children. That was a decision she had made a long time ago, and each passing year and seen her more resolute, not less. It had been one of so many things that had stood between her and Remus Glassade when they were engaged. Remus had wanted children. A family. A happy life.

These things were never in Riley's future, something she could accept but he couldn't. But Sora... She had raised Sora for over a decade. Sora was the closest thing she would likely ever have to a daughter. Midnight nightmares now involved conversations over coffee in the kitchen as opposed to Riley holding her, singing to her softly while she rocked her back to sleep. But the intent was the same. She would be there when Sora needed her, no matter what.

And she was sitting naked in bed with her father's killer.

Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. No, it wasn't that simple. Drake had lost his own parents and Sora's father was somehow involved. Politics in Dena Nehele, especially between Aristo families, were rarely what they appeared to be from the outside. The man Sora remembered was a very different man than Drake had... no. Not Drake. Drake was the teenage boy she had known, the winemaker from Tulzbruja. The Myos had another name, and it was not Dragos Cutrov.

"What are you called?" she asked quietly. 




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #8 on: Aug 23, 17, 09:05:44 AM »
Drake nodded at Riley’s acquiescence to the people who needed to be “in the know” about his identity. While the personal feelings of others weren’t his top concern, Rilandra was about to invest a lot of faith and trust in him. She was allowing him to join her Triangle and help her rule the Territory. Doing so required trust, if not friendship, with the men who made up the other two sides of that Triangle. Drake considered for a moment what he knew about both men, which was precious little. All three men were Aristos, which solved a particular gripe of the Aristos regarding the Queen’s unwillingness to work with them.

Prince Bane and himself were members of the Guilds, which would allow them both to call upon other resources to protect and guide Rilandra as necessary.

Yes, Sway knows. We came to an understanding last night after she confronted me about it.” Drake said, remembering the way her ribs broke under his unkind ministrations. He and Sway had an understanding, including what he could and couldn’t ask about. For a moment, he wanted to ask Riley what she meant about Darcia Glassade. No one knew what happened to previous Territory Queen and Drake figured that there were a lot of people who’d pay dearly for the knowledge. But if Riley was protecting Darcia like she was protecting Sora, that made it imperative to leave the matter alone. He could not accidentally give away what he didn’t know.

He could not help the arousal that came with the idea of hurting Sway once more, knowing that she’d not complain.

His mind returned to the moment. Riley slid off of him and sat beside him in the bed. He didn’t dare read her thoughts. It was a violation of her trust and privacy, for one thing. For another, Drake didn’t want to know what she was thinking and feeling right now. Well, wanted to know, but he feared that he’d sown the seeds of her hatred and resent with his admissions tonight. It was difficult to tell her those things, to let her understand who he truly was, and allow her to live.

He’d never given anyone that chance before.

He could have kept it hidden, concealed it until something unfortunate forced his hand. If he’d known that Rilandra was considering him as her First Escort before tonight, he’d have found a reason to make a clean break of it. A reason to walk away and let her choose someone else. The idea of having anyone else this close to her rankled his temper and set him on edge. She chose him. Him. She was not his Queen, but she was his and that made all the difference.

She asked him for his name, his true name, and Drake felt a weight lift from his shoulders with the answer.

Striker.

One word, spoken with pride and strength. He never had to fake it his feelings about his true name the way he faked everything about Dragos Cutrov. “Drake” was a good guy. He was good for a party, a few drinks, and a crazy story or two. “Drake” didn’t need much to get through life and he always, always, smiled his way through everything, even when he needed to get angry and hurt something. Striker wished he could carve off Drake’s face and burn it so he never had to look at it again. The pain would be indescribable but it would be worth to be free of him.

Where do we go from here, Rilandra? I accept your request to be your First Escort. I do have a...request of my own. Something I need from you if I’m going to do this for you. I promise that it won’t be nearly as demanding as everything else I’ve asked.” Drake said.

When she appeared willing to listen, he explained what he needed.

Is that acceptable?” he asked.


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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #9 on: Aug 23, 17, 09:45:22 PM »
She felt the shift in him the moment he said his name.

Striker.

"Striker," she repeated, feeling the reverberation of it through the room. It fit him. He claimed he had already killed to protect her, and she didn't doubt he had. So many did. It was something Luca had always eluded to. There were people in the shadows keeping her alive. Stopping her contracts from being executed, stopping them from ever becoming contracts to start. Luca had told her the less she knew about it, the better.

Had Drake, no, Striker, had Striker been one of those shadows? Guarding her, ensuring that she lived long enough to find her way here, to rule all of Dena Nehele? "How long?" she asked softly, the words falling into the physical distance she had created between them in the dark. "How long have you been protecting me, Striker?" It felt natural to use the name for who he really was. She would never use it in public, would not have even used it within her own rooms if he had not aurally shielded the room. But right now, here, during this conversation, it felt important to acknowledge the truth of him, and in turn, offer her acceptance.

"Where do we go from here?" he asked her, and she turned to face him. Before she could answer, he spoke of another request. She slid her hand into his and waited for him to tell her what it was that he needed. She smiled when he said it less demanding than everything else. That was good. She didn't know if she can handle a request more demanding without simply shattering before him.

Riley listened, taking in what it was he wanted, what it was he needed from her. She could feel in the weight of his words that this request was important to him, deeply so. It surprised her, to be honest, the way he chose his words carefully, almost delicately. She waited for him to finish speaking, never interrupting. She leaned down and brushed her lips gently against his, a kind of promise, an agreement between a Queen and a male who was choosing to bind his life to hers. "Yes," she whispered against his lips. "That is acceptable."

She kissed him again, more fully this time, and felt him respond in kind. This was familiar ground for them, this kind of closeness. And yet it was different. She knew him now in a way she never had before. It deepened what she felt when he touched her, granted her more peace than she would have thought possible kissing a Myos assassin.

She slid down next to him and buried her face against his chest, needing the comfort and warmth of his arms around her. She needed... she needed to be close to him, to feel the solid strength of his body. Her mind was overrun with everything that had happened, her body exhausted, even by Riley's own standards. "What now? Well, Val and Sebastian both had things they needed me to change in order for this to work. Do you?"   




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #10 on: Aug 23, 17, 10:23:21 PM »
How long have you been protecting me, Striker?

He expected the question. If he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer how many people he’d killed in her name, perhaps he’d tell her how long he’d been doing it. It would give her a point of reference, a way to chart the number of deaths and missing persons she’d heard of from her various sources. With one piece of information, it was very likely that Riley could gain others to learn what she wanted to know. Striker, however, would not give her that. If the Master of the Myos wished to share that, or if the Guild Master wanted to share that, then it was fine. It wasn’t his place.

Long enough, Rilandra. Let’s just say that I’ve been doing it long enough.” he said softly.

He made his request and, rather than balk at it, she agreed without question or complaint. The kiss between them grew sweeter, deepened, and he pulled her close to him to enjoy her warmth against his skin. She was already naked and she’d made no secret of her desire to have him sheathed inside of her. More than once, he wondered what it would be like to experience her, to suggest that they both open their barriers and enjoy each other without secrets or reservations. What would it be like to experience that with another person?

It sounded like the most terrifying thing in the entire world.

She curled up beside him and asked what he wanted her to change in order for all of this to work, noting that Val and Sebastian had made similar demands of her when they accepted their roles in the Triangle.     

He sighed. “I do have some changes that I’d like you to make, based upon my observations of you. Prince Bane will handle your security and Prince Dumitrescu will help move the Court in the direction you need in order to accomplish things.” he said.

My goal is to keep you alive for all of this to work. Rilandra, you don’t have anyone selected to succeed you in case of a catastrophe. Because of that, you are running yourself ragged, trying to be everything to everyone at all times. You’re the center of this Court, my lady. We take our cues from you.

If you’re so exhausted that you can’t stand up, stay awake, or have a public breakdown when things get rough, we will all be dead or worse before year's end.
” Drake said, his hold on her tightening just a little. He hated the words he used but he needed to impress upon Riley her importance to the Territory Court as well as the Territory. He kissed the top of her head before he continued.
                   
Effective immediately, your schedule would be reorganized with some input from the Steward and the Master of the Guard for coordination. No unannounced visitors. We’ll set a rising time for you and a time for sleep. Before you snarl at me about how you don’t need sleep, you nearly passed out in my arms earlier after you broke down in tears. If any of the Aristos saw how stressed out you are right now, they’d hammer you until you snapped or broke.” Drake said.

Two hours in the garden upon waking. Three meals a day, with snacks. Don’t worry about the times, I’ll set those. You will eat. Two naps a day or one nap and one sparring session. You will sleep at least once. You need time where you are focused on you.” he said, making sure that she was awake to hear him.

Val can determine when you hear petitions and take meetings, but again, no meetings with anyone that isn’t scheduled. I’ve heard you refer to the Court as a clusterfuck a couple of times. We need to end that immediately and turn this place into a well-oiled machine, because that’s the only way the next part of the plan can be enacted.” Drake said.

Rilandra, it’s time to start thinking about the future. Who is going to rule Dena Nehele if you can’t?” he asked.


Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #11 on: Aug 24, 17, 12:12:12 AM »
So many times in this conversation Riley had grown still and quiet. It was perhaps in part exhaustion, but more than that, it was that she needed to really take in everything Striker was telling her. It wasn't just Drake who spoke to her now, the boy she'd known in Tulzbruja, or the winemaker who had come to woo her into purchasing his wares. When she thought now of them on the roof together...

She'd known then it had been foolish. Dangerous. But now... Well, it was a good thing that he was one of the ones protecting her, wasn't it? He didn't answer her directly, but it was enough. She understood that while he had been but a distant memory for her, she had been a very real figure in his world for sometime. It wasn't the first time she had experienced that. Being a ruling Queen meant everyone knew who you were. But somehow, this felt... different.

She listened as he laid out his expectations. Gardening. Eating. Sleeping. Sparring. Napping. Napping?! She should have known that of the three Princes that now made up her Triangle the fucking Myos would have the most difficult requirements. And she had thought Val making her dance with every single Aristo the night before had been hard to endure. That was a single evening, this was... this was her whole fucking life.

His last words caused her to exhale her ire against his skin. He was doing what he had been for... well, long enough, as he put it. He was protecting her. And he was protecting the Dena Nehele she would leave behind. Her fingers drifted lightly over his chest, tracing old Dena Nehelian sigils of protection across his skin. "The Court will support the change. I will fight you about it a lot. Are you up for that? Fighting with me? Holding boundaries when I'm doing everything in my power to get around them?"

It was an earnest question, one asked without anger or defensiveness. She had told him the first time they were reunited that she would challenge him, that he would have to protect her from herself. Now, she asked just how dedicated he was to doing exactly that. "I'll ask Jeremiah to stay on at Court. He'll be able to handle a lot of the things I can't under this new schedule, and he's an Aristo, so... it'll work out."

She thought about what he said. Who would rule Dena Nehele if she couldn't? "It can't be Moesia," she said, as if he were inside her head and able to follow her thought patterns. "I took this throne in part to make sure Darcia would never need to again and Moesia would never need to at all. I want Sora to rule Tulzbruja when she's ready, and she seems the likely heir to rule the Territory. But none of this is taking Gabriella into account. Striker, she could be the darkest Queen Dena Nehele has seen in either of our lifetimes."

She took another heavy breath. She couldn't decide everything tonight. But he was right. She would need to think these things through. The seriousness of the moment fell away and she found herself again the petulant teenager (literally) arguing about bedtime.   

"Do I have to nap alone?" she asked, further burying her face. "And what if I try to sleep and I can't? Am I just supposed to lie here all night?" She sighed heavily, huffing out her breath against his skin.




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #12 on: Aug 24, 17, 12:52:48 AM »
He tried not to laugh when she asked if he was ready to fight her while she was trying to get around him. He wanted to say something clever, but all of the clever things in his head were double entendres that most people would consider terrifying on some level. People who fight me wind up dead, Rilandra. I don’t fight. I kill. You don’t have what it takes to fight me, Rilandra. The longer that Drake thought on it, the better it sounded to his mind to just keep any clever remarks to himself. He sighed and nodded.

Yeah. I’m sure I’ll find away to keep us from wanting to strangle each other in two weeks.” Drake said, chuckling.

He stopped when he realized how that sounded.

Jeremiah? Prince Mercer? He’s still around? Good to hear.” Drake said, smiling slightly in the darkness. Drake was liking this already. If anyone else could get Riley to chill out and actually follow the program, it was the Warlord Prince who’d been her shadow for years and years. He was an Aristo, which would help things, and Drake believed that the young man’s presence would help Riley when Drake wasn’t around for various reasons.

I’ll talk to him. I think he’d agree with my ideas as well. And I think he’ll be keen to see that you follow them. As for sleep...we’ll see that you get the sleep you need. Don’t worry about that.” Drake said, running his fingertips down her spine from the base of her neck down to the curve of her ass.

If by ‘Moesia’, you mean Lady Pavel, then okay. Not her. But it’s good that you bring up Lady Roman.” Drake said, a faint tension creeping into his voice at the thought of the young woman.

Did you know that it’s your voice that haunts her in the night, still? 

You know as well as I do that Tulzbruja is huge. It holds the borders against four Territories and there’s no room for failure. You ruled it, so you know what’s needed to hold it and keep it.” Drake said.

Do you believe that Lady Roman could make her Offering and start ruling Tulzbruja immediately if an emergency came up? You don’t have to answer me. But if you ask yourself that question and the answer is anything other than a firm ‘yes’, we have an issue.” he said.

I recommend that, as part of our plan to help you take care of yourself, that you accelerate Lady Roman’s training. Her Offering is a year away. Assign her some real duties. Give her clear expectations. Let her handle some of your petitions and let her make hard choices.” Drake said.

Both you and she need to be totally certain that she’s capable of handling whatever gets thrown at her and that she can adjust on the fly. Especially if Val’s doomsday scenario comes true and we get Askavi and Hayll using Dena Nehele as their personal battleground.” he said.

The day is coming where you won’t be able to protect her anymore. And she’s going to outlive all of us, no matter where she ends up ruling. The things you’ve taught her, and that you will teach her, will impact Dena Nehele for centuries after we’re all gone.” he said.

If you want anything you’re doing to survive past your lifetime, Lady Roman will make it happen.


Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #13 on: Aug 25, 17, 05:34:04 AM »
Riley laughed when Striker made the comment about Jeremiah still being around. "As if I could ever get rid of him. Not that I would want to. He's been my shadow since we were kids. And yeah, he'll think it's a great idea. Especially the part about starting every day in the garden." She wondered how long it would be before Jeremiah was joining her for these morning gardening sessions. One day? Two at most?

Small hairs stood up on her skin when he ran his fingers from her neck all the way down her back. Riley arched instinctively against his hand, her eyes closing for just a moment. She was so tired. Her body was trying to pull her under, to stop the endless waves of change and chaos that she had been forced to process over the last day and a half. She had hit some kind of internal limit, her mind trying to simply shut down and let her rest.

He was still speaking. He was speaking about Sora. She opened her eyes, watching him quietly, listening again to all the things he had to say. If at any point he thought that this would make him a less desirable First Escort, he was sorely mistaken. He had opinions about everything in her life, and she needed that desperately. She couldn't rule alone, and she realized now how much of that she had been doing.

She nodded, agreeing to his thoughts. "She's more than capable, but I would like her to learn that for herself. I need her to be able to trust her own instincts, to make decisions that are different than what I would and know in her gut that is okay. This would be a great chance for that." She rubbed her cheek against his chest, trying to burrow into him in a sleepy, not fully aware way.

"Besides, we need someone who can leave the Court and handle things around the Territory considering the Aristo Council has kept me locked down here since I took the throne." She kissed his neck, then finished the half asleep thought. "I haven't even been able to tour the land, go back to Tulzbruja... nothing. This palace is as much a gilded cage for me as it ever was for Darcia..." Finally, it was too much, and sleep pulled her under.




Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: what you kept from me made our world go 'round
« Reply #14 on: Aug 25, 17, 10:07:30 AM »
Drake remembered little Jeremiah Mercer from nearly fifteen years ago, all but snarling at him when Drake first arrived in Vaslui to introduce himself to the Queen of Tulzbruja. He remembered that day from start to finish and every thought and feeling running through the mind of a thirteen year-old boy at that time. Jeremiah was doing his duty, even then, to protect his Queen from an unknown male. Viorica had explained it to him later, the possessive nature and tendencies of a Warlord Prince that rose into violence without warning.

Now, more than ever, he’d need that to keep Rilandra safe.

Then I’ll talk to him about it soon.” he said.

His thoughts on Sorinna Roman were far more tangled. Every day he remained here, he risked the young Queen learning of his part in her father’s death. There was really no way to know how she’d react or what it would drive the young woman to do when she found out. Rilandra believed in the young Queen, believed that she wasn’t too broken or destroyed inside to be the Queen that Dena Nehele needed, in time. Drake pondered the consequences of allowing a Queen with long-lived blood to someday rule Dena Nehele. All Sorinna Roman had to do if she truly wanted Dena Nehele was wait for every last one of them to die before she took it.

Did she know that? Did she ever consider it?

Everything Drake knew of the young Queen said that she’d adjusted well despite her father’s death and her mother’s absence. But now her mother was back in play and would come to Dena Nehele eventually. The most telling facet of everything he and Rilandra had shared and endured this night was the tone in Rilandra’s voice when she spoke of Maria Petra Verduzca of Dhemlan. He’d heard the rage, the righteous indiganation on behalf of the young woman that she’d raised to womanhood.

And beneath that, Drake heard the undercurrent of fear.

What if, at the end of the day, Sorinna Roman wanted to be Dhemlani more than she wanted to be Dena Nehelian?

Rilandra loved Sora. She’d never harm her directly unless the need was extreme. So there was no way she'd ask him to enact the plan in his mind. But the role of a First Escort was to anticipate his Queen’s needs and fulfill them, or cause them to be fulfilled.

Rilandra wanted Sorinna Roman to rule Tulzbruja. Sorinna's focus had to remain upon Dena Nehele and her future as a Queen within the Territory. She needed reasons to stay in Dena Nehele and devote herself to this land, to these people. He was uniquely positioned to facilitate both goals.

Maria Petra Verduzca of Dhemlan would die and Sorinna Roman would be comforted by the only mother she'd ever known and devote herself to the only land she'd ever known.

You’re absolutely right, Rilandra. Dena Nehele’s a gilded cage for all of us.” he said, filing away her comment about the Aristo Council keeping her in Bidea, which was another reason that Sora needed to be ready to hit the ground running. He’d deal with them, too, when the time came.

Rilandra snored softly, asleep. Drake pressed his lips softly against the top of her head.

But I’ll make sure that the monsters in this cage don't devour you.” he whispered.

Drake relaxed and looked up at the ceiling.

Eventually he slept, dreaming of all the blood he would spill to give Rilandra the world she envisioned.


~FIN~


 

 

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