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* Plot Information for Hayll

Hayll has sought a suitable Queen to rule for years, but the one it has chosen has become the pawn of a manipulative Prince plotting genocide. While slaves fight for their lives in the Coliseum, Nero Augustus, Consul of Hayll, plunges the Territory towards war safely behind his puppet Queen.
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Author Topic: here to help  (Read 333 times)

Description: Attn: Sophie

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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here to help
« on: Jan 29, 17, 06:48:16 PM »
Draega Early Winter, 191 AP.

Gaetano Accorsi did not want to keep his meeting with Senator Sophronia Ocella, but that wasn’t her fault in the least. He’d interacted with the young woman a handful of times over the past century and considered her someone to watch in the Senate as she became more seasoned and more accustomed to the flow of the workload within the chamber. She was attractive, intelligent, and capable of articulating her points in a civil, yet firm manner. All of that nearly made Gaetano overlook the fact that she was a Black Widow and the Senate had few enough Black Widows in their ranks as to need the diverse viewpoint.

It was not her fault that Gaetano had issues with Black Widows. He kept telling himself that as he made his way to the central park that Lady Ocella was known to frequent when doing charitable work. Sophronia (Gaetano did not understand why she went by Sophie) was one of the few members of the Hundred Families that worked in public to interact with the people of Hayll, rather than the hope that someone might see her doing it. Appearances were everything, especially with members of Vox Populi and the Harpy of Hayll out there, ready to report on every single foible and fault that the members of the Hundred Families possessed.

Bitterly, Gaetano wanted to find one of them and ask if they’d seen who murdered his little brother. Chances were that they hadn’t and, even if they had, they wouldn’t give a fuck.

Member of the Hundred Families dies. Celebrate because it was a member of the Hundred Families!

He could damn near see the headline on the next issue of the Daily Hayll right now. The Prince’s anger ran deep today as he contemplated just how he was going to explain Giovanni’s death to the rest of the family. It was hard enough telling them about Troius and Salome, and that felt like it had happened only yesterday. The only balm for his raw feelings right now was that Emiliano and Paloma were both in Dhemlan just now. He didn’t want them exposed to the growing madness in Draega.

He arrived at the park that morning, headed to the garden that the Ocella family funded within the northwestern portion of the park. People milled about them, but not nearly in the numbers they had when the park was first developed, 191 years ago. The Senate used it to commemorate the end of the Great War and Hayll’s survival of three centuries of occupation. Gaetano remembered that day, remembered feeling the hollowness of creating a park to commemorate a war they didn’t even win.

But the Ocellas were friends of Troius’s and it fell to Gaetano, as the scion and patriarch of the family, to keep those ties open. He needed to know if Sophronia would consent to aiding in Prince Brutus’s plan.

When he saw Sophronia, Gaetano used a bit of Deception Craft to hide the anger he felt. He needed to create a good impression. He wore jeans and  a simple shirt, expecting to get dirty in the process of helping his colleague with her work.

Lady Ocella, good morning! Fancy seeing you here. I’m Prince Gaetano Accorsi.” he said, offering her a bow and a warm smile. He didn’t have to fake the smile, letting his gaze take her in fully. He was solidly built and know to engage in a number of sports to stay that way. Today, however, Gaetano looked ready to help.

I saw your call for assistance and thought I’d come to help. I hoped also that I could discuss something with you, if you have the time.

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: here to help
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 17, 11:46:23 PM »


Draega
Early Winter, 191 AP.

Sophronia lived in the shadow of a sibling gone nearly two centuries and, because of it, she held a real affinity for the sun. Days set aside for time in the Memorial Garden funded from her personal coffers were ones the Lady cherished. Rare were the days she was pulled from the consuming work of weeding, potting, watering and pruning to deal with matters of citizen concern. The Black Widow could count on a single hand the times she'd been visited by a fellow senator. Most felt the particular project was a bit too literal a take on being unafraid to get their hands dirty. While she didn't share her family's affinity for hearth craft Sophie did possess the work ethic. It was nice to get lost in tasks instead of webs, schemes, or ledgers. All three were involved in tasks she'd scheduled for later that day but none of them mattered as her hands deftly worked.

With winter's first snowfall on the way Sophronia  found plenty to be done in the garden plot she sponsored. A smart jacket and a warming spell wrapped tight about her kept the season's chill at bay as she worked to prepare her plants for winter. There were people she paid ones who would come and secure the work and take care of whatever she forgot and they were compensated well for doing so. It still felt nice to contribute. The Black Widow sensed Gaetano just as she finished covering a small tree with the fabric and netting that would keep it safe from the coming frosts. Dark jeweled with a mind heavily burdened she was keenly aware of Prince Accorsi's state before he came upon her. Though concerned for her fellow Senator's turmoil she found herself grateful that his musings alerted her to his arrival. In truth she had otherwise forgotten the senior politician and she had agreed to meet during her well publicized monthly work and community meetings in the garden.

Gaetano would find his arrival greeted by the Black Widow with a smile that didn't falter though she felt the workings of craft meant to conceal about his person. Another woman of her caste may have pried but Sophie knew better than to test the mettle of her Tiger Eye jewel against craft much darker than her own. As it was she respected the Prince's secret and focused instead on what he presented. Freely given, willingly heard was the best way to start any exchange. “I know the figure you strike well Prince Accorsi and I find myself flattered by your visit. It's not often at all I'm greeted by fellow Senators during these jaunts of charity in which I indulge. Forgive the garden, she's sleeps this time of year but come Spring she's a point of pride for the park.

When the Prince spoke of time the Lady Ocella gestured about them in the area that was nigh abandoned on the clear but cold day. “Your timing in meetings is fortuitous, I've been busy without end. It was clever of you to remember this project of mine. Come now, lets get some good done before we're both off managing the fires burning in the city since...” Sophie didn't need to say since what and  the young, demure Senator shrugged when the thought trailed off. The Colliseum had fallen. In the revolt's wake she felt sick about the enjoyment the bloodletting once gave her to watch. That storm of feeling she concealed tight within her web-trapped inner barriers and its currents didn't shift or dim the bright, determined look on her face as she took in Prince Accorsi's being. “There's not much to be done by hands not used to a garden's needs but if you can stand near, block the wind, and hand me what needs handing I see no reason we can't talk while we work. Pass the twine,” A pointed, black tipped nail indicated the string she sought, “and say what's on your mind.”

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: here to help
« Reply #2 on: Jan 31, 17, 12:56:43 AM »
Gaetano moved to block the wind and passed the twine as Lady Ocella directed. He noted her skill working with the plants and wondered where she’d learned it. For a moment, watching her took his mind off of his troubles and allowed him to be the man he normally was: gregarious, friendly, and somewhat charming. He was glad that Lady Ocella remembered him well enough that he didn’t have to introduce himself further. He looked around the park itself, though, and noted how well-traveled some areas of the park were.

The Ocella’s money had kept much of this place afloat since its inception, yet beyond that, it seemed that much attention had not been paid to this place.

I admit, I haven’t been here much myself before now. I fought in the war and I lost a lot of my family. I don’t much like to think on it unless I’m forced to.” Gaetano said, handing her more twine when she asked for it. He watched, briefly, while Lady Ocella worked. Her hands were deft, skilled from seeming long hours of practice and toil. The Prince had worked with his hands in the past, but never to this level.

But I’ll come back in the Spring and see her when she’s awake. Provided that Draega doesn’t burn down around our ears in the coming months.” he said. She’d touched on it already, the fall of the Coliseum. The last time he’d really spoken with Lady Ocella, they’d had a debate about the necessity of the Coliseum and its usefulness in today’s Hayll. Now that it was gone, Gaetano wondered if, perhaps, Lady Ocella didn’t have a point about it after all.

You know, with everything happening, there are a lot of people who believe that the Hundred Families are reaping the rewards of their actions over the past few millennia. I don’t know if that’s valid, but I do know that that’s the dominate thought making its way through the papers. The Daily Hayll and its gossip columns look for any reason to slander the Hundred and the Senate.” he said.

There’s a growing movement inside the Senate that believes that maybe, just maybe, they have a point. Maybe the Senate needs to stop playing small ball with the initiatives we’re working on and tackle some real reforms.” Gatenao said.

I know that you submitted thirteen bills for renewals and expansion of the park, as well as making the surrounding area a target for renovation. All thirteen of those bills died in committee. Some of my colleagues feel that younger members should be seen and not heard, like small children.

I think that view is garbage, Lady Sophronia.
” he said.

I’m working with some Senators that want to shake things up and make a difference. I came down here to find out if you’re interested in joining us.” he said, making sure to adjust his position enough to keep the wind off of her while she worked.

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: here to help
« Reply #3 on: Jan 31, 17, 02:12:12 AM »
Sophie did not remind Gaetano that everyone alive during the war lost people. Having pain wasn't the same as sharing it. She recognized his truth for what it was - an offering of honesty in waters thick with deception. Instead she noted his truth and, were he a friend, she would have given him some kind of reassuring touch. As it stood Lady Ocella was keenly aware that to most a casual touch from one of her caste was tantamount to a threat. “I lost my sister at the altar not far from here. She loved to garden just like every Queen in every book you've ever read with one in it. Honoria was like the best of them. We like to keep this place something she could've been proud of. Hayll lost a great heart that day.

A half smile lightened the impeccably styled senator's features in response to Prince Accorsi's grim humor. “Oh I think we'd know by now if Hayll was set to burn but not even the doomseers have cried of fire.” Of course, they hadn't seen the Colliseum's revolt coming either. No one had.

No one had and they should've. Fates ripples defied time and it was those of her caste blessed to sense and see those vibrations in their visions and tangled webs. The fact an act of such magnitude sounded no alarms left Sophie cold but such wasn't a matter of politics. That was a matter for witches, robes, webs, rituals and darkness. To everything its place and that day in the garden was a place for work done in the light. Instead of chasing a strand of spider silk down roads meant for Widows alone Sophronia allowed talk of spring to further brighten her demeanour. 

I hope in Spring you'll think of it as her memorial and not the wars. Sometimes grief is best processed through art. Making something beautiful out of something horrific is sometimes the only way a living soul can continue to carry unyielding truths.” Chipper though her manner could be Sophronia spoke true to her caste with uncomfortable insight into the mind's roughest roads. There was an age about the young senator that came not from her but the aura of Mother Night's mystery that clung to all of her caste and sung danger in the same melody as promise. Only an idiot would discount a witch with the insight and work ethic Lady Ocella possessed. It was unfortunate for the aspiring politician that the Senate was bloated by the stupid, old and cruel. She understood the people''s anger and often Sophie shared it.

Silence fell over the Black Widow as Gaetano explained the reason for his calling. A delighted, surprised laugh escaped her and was abruptly silenced for propriety's sake as the senior Senator deemed his colleagues ancient attitudes to be garbage. Quickly did the witch focus  as to not miss the rest of Prince Accorsi's proposal. Sophronia was stunned to a loss for words by what the slick politician offered. She found herself traitorously hopeful in spite of the likelihood that Gaetano his colleagues  were simply using her well known political agenda as a means to manipulate her. Hope, that dangerous thing, continued to try and rise in her breast. Sophie stifled it with will alone enough to demand she ask questions, good ones, the kind of enquires that would let her know if she was being set up as someones sacrificial lamb.

Latching on to the first strong question that came to mind Lady Ocella shifted to better take in the measure of Gaetano and his proposal before asking, “What kind of difference? Change is a grand ideal achieved to best ends with a plan and a purpose. What's your purpose, Prince Accorsi?”

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: here to help
« Reply #4 on: Feb 26, 17, 08:46:47 PM »
Gaetano recognized the selfishness of what he’d said as soon as the words were out of his mouth. There wasn’t a person in Terreille that hadn’t suffered from the Purge or the war preceding it. His losses were not unique or special, save to him. It was easy to forget that when people refused to discuss their pasts or, worse, tried to fuck them or drink them away. If there was any truth to the allegations of indolence and excess of the Hundred families, it lay in a group of people trying to keep Hayll from moving forward in order to enshrine their agony for future generations to see and recognize. So much of Hayll’s corruption and degradation stemmed from that. Even now, it was hard for Gaetano to separate his feelings on how things had always been done to how they should be done.

It never gets easier, does it? Letting go.” Gaetano said, taking a deep breath.

My brother was murdered recently and I...I’m having trouble with it. It's made me question a lot of things in life and just what I've stood for...and what I should be standing for.” he said.

I know who did it. I know why they did it. I just...I can’t think of the proper response.

He gave a grim smile and a nod at her estimation about making something beautiful out of something horrific. Gaetano wanted to believe her. He wanted to take the faint hope she was offering and run with it, praying to Mother Night and the Darkness that they’d deliver him from the pain that he thought had ended with Purge and the dual losses of Troius and Afentra, his brother and sister. But Lady Ocella was a Black Widow and Gaetano couldn’t trust her in full, no matter how kind she was or what kind of hope she’d offered. Her caste had been behind all of the major losses of his life and, while she was kind enough and a Senator in good standing, he found it hard to truly, truly trust her.

We want to prove that the Hundred Families still love Hayll as much as the common man. A long time ago, being a member of Hundred Families meant respect for our accomplishments and deeds. We made things happen and, in turn, the people trusted us with power and to hold their best interests at heart.” he said.

Now, if you read the papers, the Vox Populi lambast and skewer us at every turn. They look for reasons to point out our failings. And we’ve earned that, in a sense. What I, and my allies, want to do is regain that trust. Earn back what some of our less scrupulous colleagues have squandered with their nepotism, their corruption, and their lack of ethics.” Gaetano said.

A number the public works projects and renewal efforts that were narrowly defeated in the past are about to return to the Senate for hearings. With enough backing, we can either pass them or force enough debate to change the minds of some our other colleagues who are disheartened and don’t see a way forward.” Gaetano said.

But someone’s got to stand up and start doing something now, before it’s too late. The Hundred Families of Hayll still hold the power to heal her, if we use it. But I’m one man and I can’t do it alone.

So I’m seeking more allies who want less business-as-usual and more shaking-things-up in the Senate. That’s why I came to you. You still have the idealism that a lot of us have forgotten. That’s why you’re important, Lady Ocella.


Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: here to help
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 17, 04:00:50 AM »
Sophronia found the business of vengeance exhausting and she had to work a bit harder than usual to keep her sunny disposition flawless and unassuming as Prince Accorsi expressed desire for his own.  She was bolstered in this endeavor by the way the man of dark jewel, powerful connection, and deep of pocket spoke of her bills which had been killed not for lack of merit but instead for spite.  Lady Ocella hadn’t been expected to last a decade in the position meant for her sister who would’ve served the Senate as a Sapphire Jewelled Queen.

In five years the year 197 AP would mark her seventieth year of service. While her career held a surprising number of wins considering the stubborn current of “the way it’s always been,” against which she fought every battle, Sophie couldn’t deny the appeal of backing promised by the kinds of powers Gaetano spoke of holding at his side.

I read the papers,” she interjected – her only interruption of his drawn out proposal save for the occasional nod and murmur of assent.  Unlike many Senators, she was not prone to interrupting others as they spoke their peace.

Still, what the Prince had to say? It scraped against her caste’s pride that this man who outranked her in jewel but sat beneath her in caste was able to accomplish more because of something as banal as age.  As a Black Widow with the power of webs woven and memories pulled from wood and stone at her fingertips, she technically held the knowledge of millennia past and future at her fingertips. But the Senate was bloated and fat on greed and pride without substance behind its ego.

About them both then in that Garden dedicated to the sister whose shoes she forever struggled to fill Sophronia felt the lines of fate thick would tight between them. Beneath the stream of her racing thoughts she could feel the pull of prophecy which she’d later chase for guidance in the deal she already knew she was going to accept. From the Twisted Kingdom Sophronia heard a strange call and from it she pulled her attention to focus on Prince Accorsi’s earnest offer and handsome form.  She grounded herself in the work and in the weight of his words.

That’s why I’m important?” Sophie snapped, against her better judgement, as she focused on  the insulting manner in which Gaetano summed up his reasons for courting her vote. “Prince Accorsi, you’ve come here apparently to court me on issues that my voting history will already tell you makes me your ally.  Then you suggest that my optimism is the reason for your outreach.

Not my work ethic or consistent and frequently demonstrated desire for a return to the true and original purpose of The Hundred Families and Hayll’s assorted upper classes, but my ideals


Sophronia shook her head and brushed her hands one against the other with a bit of Yellow jeweled power to see them cleaned of her afternoon’s work. There was a sharpness that came over the Black Widow that the Senator would have only ever before seen from a distance on the forum’s floor during debate. “It’s not my idealism, Gaetano.” Sophronia threw out his familiar name as was the right of a woman who, as she did, held rank above him in caste and knew powers strange and dangerous a man of his gifts would never understand, only ever admire or fear.

“Idealism is for children and the sheltered. I do what I do because it is what is necessary and while you will have my vote, because I won’t change my morals to spite the misguided hubris in your offer, you won’t have my alliance  assured today." She shook her head, clearly frustrated at how little he and his allied constituents seemed to understand her positions.

"I stay with me and mine, without promise of anything but my own principled vote, unless I am given proof that I am valued for who I am and what I do in this alliance of yours.

It’s not the youth I possess and you’ve long forgotten that will pull the constituents who like what I have to say, and have little patience for the less vocal of the self proclaimed reformists, to the corner you and yours fill.

Since the beginning of my service, and for its duration, I will always stand with what is best for Hayll.

That won’t be with my name tied to you and yours without greater proof that such is that case for the coalition of allied desires you’re building.  You have my interest, Prince Accorsi. You seem less bloated and distant from the people than most, but you’re completely wrong about why you and yours need me.

Until I’ve proof I’m valued beyond the position you’ve described, which sounds quite a lot like that of a figurehead with little practical say, I’m afraid all I can give you is the honor of my word and the character exhibited by my body of work.”


Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: here to help
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 17, 09:28:51 AM »
Gaetano got the sense that Lady Ocella wasn’t tracking what he was saying. Granted, his mind wasn’t fully on the conversation at hand, but he was present enough to know that there was a disconnect between them. He listened to her, as she done for him, and took a deep breath in order to center his thoughts. Perhaps much of what he took for granted about this discussion needed to be said aloud.

Senator Ocella, I believe you misunderstand me. Your body of work and your principles are why I’m asking you to be part of this. I am not sure what you believe I’m saying, but I’ll make it plain: we’re a group of Senators out to change the way things are done in Hayll. The Hundred Families are the lifeblood of Hayll, no matter what the papers say.” Gaetano said, trying and failing to keep the heat out of his voice.

But they have to be better. We have to be better. I think we’re agreed on that point. Correct me if I’m wrong, however.” Gaetano said.

He waited for a moment for her to correct him. If she did not, he’d move on.

Ideals matter as much as the body of work influenced by them. Your body of work and your record is impressive and that’s why I’d like to work with you. I didn’t feel the need to point it out as part of our discussion, because I thought it went without saying. I’m not sure what you’re hoping to hear in regards to proof that you’ll be valued. That statement doesn’t say much to me. If you’d explain what you’re after, that would help.” Gaetano said.

He tried not to take her comments about him being “less bloated and distant” from the people to heart, but his frame of mind wasn’t at the place to endure insults as placidly as he once did. He understood now that he shouldn’t have come here, not when he was grieving the loss of his brother. It wasn’t helping his focus and it was driving him away from the person he usually was. He needed a break. Or a vacation. But Senator Cinerus was counting on him to rally others to their cause.

I’m not looking for figureheads, Senator Ocella. I’m looking for people with the courage to tell people like the Orsinis and their allies that they don’t represent all of us. I’m looking for people that are willing to stop us from provoking a new conflict with Askavi just because they need something to break up the quiet of the last 192 years.” Gaetano said.

I appreciate your taking the time to hear me out, at the least.” Gaetano said, suddenly tired of talking. He just wanted to head home, open a bottle of wine, and drink until he went numb.

It was easier than this.

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: here to help
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 17, 02:43:24 AM »
The divide between Sophronia and Gaetano wasn’t communicative, it was generational by over two millennia.  She wanted to write him and his mission, likely a façade for a more sinister man’s agenda off. Experience with many pretty promises broken had her feeling ready to leave until she caught and really let herself feel the pain clinging to Prince Accorsi.

Grief wore him in a strange parody of productivity and too suddenly she understood his desperation for change and why his words weren’t as pretty as she may have liked. Given the chance to correct or interrupt the impassioned senior Senator, she chose silence and gave him the space to be heard.  Training in a household like the Ocella’s came with instruction in open, attentive and inviting body language. They were a family with fortune after fortune made through hospitality’s arts. When Sophie entered the Hourglass for her training she had a leg up on many of her class when it came to matters of reading faces or even rooms. She applied those technical skills without the intrusion of Craft as Gaetano explained. Conveying compassion and interest were easy when they were genuine and Prince Accorsi’s words inspired both.

“I appreciate you coming to my favorite garden,” the Black Widow smiled and it was a beaming thing quickly humbled by the words that followed, “and I’m sorry I grew defensive. It’s hard to remain open in this job while also protecting one's self from its perils. Forgive me for saying I see it weighs on us both.

A breeze full of chill that promised a frigid afternoon and frozen evening blew then and Lady Ocella shivered while responding with a small warming spell fueled by her Yellow. “I feel as if there’s much we should discuss still and I find my mind always works best over a good meal and well, me I like tea you can have whatever you like.  That is if you’d be amenable to the notion?” Sophronia asked and in the same breath continued talking, a thing not uncommon for the highly motivated witch, “I’d like to give our passion of interest the attention it deserves and while I love this park I see those clouds rolling in and I’ve no love of the cold if the sun isn’t shining.

What she wanted to say but did not was, I can feel the way you want to bury yourself in that anguish you’re carrying. Please don’t smother your light running from a thing you can’t change. Sit with me instead, laugh instead, plan instead. Cry if you need to, but please don’t carry that alone I promise you don’t have to. Black Widows were always holding back saying those kinds of things. Most people, even those skilled with shielding their emotions, didn’t realize just how much slipped to a witch of the Hourglass.  Sophronia hoped he’d take the offer of company and, if needed compassion. However she knew from experience not to press on the matter of a proud stranger’s pain.

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: here to help
« Reply #8 on: Jun 22, 17, 10:27:21 PM »
No, Lady Ocella, please don’t apologize. You’re not at fault here. I am.” Gaetano said, his own town sober and humbled. He should be mourning Roberto. He should be with his family, appreciating the ones he had left. He should be praying to Mother Night that Troius and Roberto were together in the Darkness with their parents, having good food, good wine, and waiting for everyone to shop up. He was barely holding it together and now he was here patronizing someone who didn’t need it. Lady Ocella should have been easier to talk to and Gaetano found himself, for the second time in his life, without the words he needed to make this right.
 
I apologize for any offense, Senator. I promised myself that I wouldn’t become one of those Senators, talking down to people because of my age. And yet I find I’m getting dangerously close to it.” Gaetano said softly.
 
I would like to talk about this again in the future. I will keep you informed of what I’m hoping to accomplish in the future. If you’d consider doing the same in the future, I’d at least like to make certain that we’re not working at cross-purposes.” Gaetano said, offering her a sad smile.
 
Black Widows were known for being able to repair the damage to chalices. They could take away painful memories. For a moment, Gaetano almost fell to his knees and begged Sophronia to remove the memories of his brothes, of his parents, of Ximena. Just get rid of all the things that caused him so much pain that it hurt him to breathe most days, the things that he kept wrapped up behind the mask and demeanor of a esteemed Senator and combat veteran. He could ask her to remove his memories of the Purge and all of the loss he suffered with his men.
 
She could probably do it.
 
In the end, Gaetano didn’t ask her to. He didn’t ask her to share a meal. He didn’t consider trying to seduce her, didn’t try to drown his pain by sheathing himself inside of a woman.
 
I’m just not good company right now. I should go. But I hope to see you again soon.” he said.
 
If Sophronia did not stop him, Gaetano would leave the park and head back to his townhouse.
 
Only when he was behind the door and safely behind the aural webs did Gaetano Accorsi finally break down and weep for both of his brothers.     

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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    • yellow2te
    • bw
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      Senator

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      Hayll

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      Petrichor

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Re: here to help
« Reply #9 on: Jun 22, 17, 11:20:59 PM »
You’re being very hard on yourself,” was Lady Ocella’s response to Prince Acorsi’s repeated apology. He was a man stuck on, and in, the worst of himself. The witch found herself charmed by his intentional goodness and the effort it must’ve taken him in his state to plan, gather allies, and work for something better.

Gaetano spoke the word future again and again. It was as if he hoped it was a spell that might take him far from the present’s difficulty. Many liked to believe that given enough time any wound of the mind left alone and in the dark might heal. Sophronia and those like her who specialized in healing of soul’s hurt instead of flesh’s fragility knew better. The only way out of that kind of horror was through. She could tell when someone badly needed a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Places of the mind like where the Prince struggled were full of important but gruesome lessons about pain and how it changes you.

When his words turned to potential conflict in their future she smiled and looked down at the ground before looking up to lock their eyes in contact. “I find it unlikely we’ll come to odds anytime soon. I find it best to work with and through problems with those I call my allies and I like my allies to become my friends. Besides, it would be beneficial to us both if we met regularly to talk about the best ways we can use those whose voices we represent to effect more good in the Senate.

She was careful to be gentle in her extension of friendship because in truth, what she was seeking was not a relationship of equals. Already there in the garden dedicated to her sister’s memory, Sophie started seeing the Prince as a patient. The air between them was thick with the rich tapestry of his grief. Any Black Widow in the immediate area would’ve sensed the emotional distress but the younger Senator was close enough to be submerged in its currents.  Experienced as she was in dealing with the trauma of those in the need Gaetano displayed she held firm able to sense and understand what secrets and sadness slipped the elder man’s barriers.

He fought what was threatening to be a very public display of Dark Jeweled emotion. In what little time she had as the Prince began his hasty exit Sophronia was forced on the spot to decide the best course of action.  The matter was complicated by the real danger the wrong gesture of friendship could seem threatening to a wounded warrior. She didn’t want to wind up rousing the predatory nature that lurked in every beast.

The spiraling Prince was quickly taking his leave. Sophronia, uncomfortable with the need for hasty decision but too much the therapist to leave someone to be near drowned by suffering, was forced to jog. With relative haste in her kitten heeled boots she caught up with the man who held over a foot on her. Absent of a suitably elegant plan Lady Ocella reached out to place her left hand on Gaetano’s left arm. “Please,” she spoke in an excited puff of breath that clouded in the winter air for its heat and dissipated as her quick words broke its shape. “Please Prince Acorsi, it’s not a very good idea for you to be alone right now. I don’t speak to you as a Senator but as a Sister of the Hourglass. Let me help.

Suffering is a tricky labyrinth but together we can find you your way. Hayll needs you strong
.”  Enough would’ve been said there to hear his words but once she got started Sophronia could have trouble stopping when it came to making a compelling argument.  In her enthusiasm to help and fear for Gaetano’s wellness she wound up saying everything she’d told herself not to say only moments before. “I know you want to bury yourself in that anguish you’re carrying. But you can’t smother your light running from a thing that  can’t  be changed. Sit with me instead, laugh instead, plan instead. Cry if you need to, but please don’t carry that alone. You don’t have to do this alone.