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* Plot Information for Pruul

Seven children are destined to save Pruul and shake the traditions of the territory to their very core. In response, factions have broken the peace of a previously unified territory and violence has erupted across the dessert. It is a battle between the past and the future, the young and the old, and blood won’t stop seeping into the sand.
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Author Topic: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change  (Read 415 times)

Description: Attn: Mineborn

Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« on: May 25, 17, 08:37:14 AM »
The sand blew gently across the entrance of the Vaya Temple, the tall doorway wide and gaping. The great tribe that had built the place were lost now, their bodies piled under the sand, dissolved into the great landscape of Pruul. They had known the sand covered all. They had known the sand took everything. Mothers, fathers, children—all bodies—the sand covered them all. Wars, jewels, ambition, treachery, history—swallowed up as the sand swept over the shallow attempts of civilization. 
 
But not this.
 
Not the temple that they had carved with their own hands, blood smeared into the carved letters that greeted every visitor: In Darkness, the Darkness Reigns. The words had been their tribe’s words, their promise, but now they were all of Pruul’s. A testament to its survival. Cool shadows rested under the arches of the circular room inside, stained glass windows allowing colored light to dance on the intricately painted mosaic of the floor. It depicted a sandworm winding around the center, its large mouth eating its own tail. Seven large statues, one for each caste, held up the ceiling—just as they had held up the territory for millennia.
 
Inside, shadows wrapped around a black clothed figure that had lit a single candle in front of the Queen. A single hope. A single prayer whispered from chapped lips. He carefully wrapped a shield around the tiny flame, knowing that by the time it melted down to its finish, he could be dead. The Warlord Prince left quickly after that, the door closing silently behind him, but if he had stayed a few seconds longer, he would have seen every single candle within the Vaya Temple catch fire.
 
*Are we ready? I’m headed to the palace.*
 
Lucky met up with Khadi there, Omid a look out. Protected by a Sapphire sight and physical shield, the Warlord Prince stepped onto the Killing Field with relish. Here were the people who had denied him his Khadijar. Who had trapped his siblings. Who had taken his Queen.
 
They fell easily, like the drops of blood that clung to the point of his sword. Fin had cleared most of the guards out, but there were still the true believers. The ones that Lucky wanted to disembowel, pull their intestines out like rope, and hang them from the ceiling.
 
No time though.
 
Hadjara stepped lightly over one of the fallen bodies at the entrance, feeling a mixture of remorse and satisfaction at the blood spilt in the sand floor.  She wasn’t sure who had cut these men down, either Lucky or Fin for certain.  For some reason, it was more comforting to think that Omid hadn’t spilled their blood.  Not that he couldn’t or wouldn’t for one of them, but there was a precious gentleness to her brother that she would never want to see spoiled.
 
Khadi had moved on ahead and was a bare shadow in the darkness of the tunnel as Hadj tiptoed carefully forward.  She could hear the distant clash of fighters elsewhere in the palace.  Her job, as she understood it, was to find Nima and work to spirit her out and away while the warriors cleared the path.  Still, she clutched her little bronze dagger tightly in her shaking hand as she darted her gaze back and forth, ready and waiting for danger to appear.
 
Something squished loudly under her foot and she winced at the sound, giving Roshan an apologetic look before moving her foot again to drier ground.   *Khadi* she called to her sister’s mind, *we should head upstairs to the bedrooms, that’s probably where she’ll be* before relaying the same message to Roshan’s mind, nudging her chin towards the large ornate stone stairway that led upwards.  She spied Khadi’s rapid movements as she climbed up the side of a pillar and scrambled up over the railing that edged the upper walkway and hurried up the stairs, her slippered feet making a soft patting sound.
 
A shout, and a heavy body fell towards her, khadjar outright and Hadj squeaked softly, moving out of the way as she lashed out with her dagger but it was mute as the guard continued falling forward rolling down the stairs, dead. Hadj looked around but didn’t see who had felled the enemy but thought a quick and silent thanks to the Darkness for their intervention.   More shouts, and the sounds of reinforcements heading down the corridor.  Hadj cast a look at Roshan before hurrying down in the direction that Khadi had scurried, counting that the Black Widow would follow behind her.   
 
Something struck her from the side and she stumbled, striking an opposite wall.   Another strike, and Hadj instinctively threw up a Blood Opal shield as another strike sparked against it.  *Khadi run!* she shouted as she turned to face her attacker, her arm raised and dagger brandished.   The guard seemed surprised, obviously expecting a little Rose jeweled Priestess would not be able to hold off the assault of his Summer Sky but quickly changed his tactics, rushing her with brute strength.  Hadj dropped into a roll and felt the swipe of his hands brush her arm but didn’t catch.  *Ro, get out of here* she sent on an Opal to her sister.  If she could keep him occupied, maybe her sisters could get to Nima and get her out.
 
Another pair of arms grabbed her from behind and Hadj growled loudly, struggling against her captor while the first guard smiled smugly at her.  She tilted her chin up and gave him an arrogant glare as they pulled her down the corridor.  “Mineborn wench,” the one who held her hissed as she struggled harder and he pressed his blade to her neck to still her.  Hadj fell silent but not from the cold steel against her skin.  Something pulsed inside her, strong and primal and deep.  She shivered from the overwhelming feeling of something pressing against her heart and the steady beat that echoed through that link she felt with her siblings.
 
“Lucky” she whispered to no one but herself and smiled.  Lucky had found Nima.
 
Roshan needed no further urging to scuttle away. The old patterns of self-preservation were strong even now, and she was no fighter as their Priestess and their Warrior were. She had aided this venture by spinning spells to hide scent and veil sight, but that skill was apparently not enough of a match for an experienced fighter. The Widow’s throat burned with rage and disappointment and she longed to find an enemy to take them out on. But her siblings, greedy bastards that they were, seemed to have stolen all the good prey! She pressed onward in search of their goal, the thing that would make it all worthwhile. And the silence -broken by an occasional muffled *thump*- absolutely did not make the Black Widow’s skin prickle with uneasiness.
 
Khadijah al-Izar ghosted through the night, silent and invisible, her will intent upon the death she delivered so swiftly. The youngest Mineborn did not use corridors, or hallways or door. Like the assassin she would one day become, she phased through walls, rather than announcing herself, yet she found little prey. Some had followed Lord Finn, in his bid to remove the mad cancer eating its way through Pruul, others had been more liberally slaughtered by one of her brothers or sisters. She thought often of Eannead, wishing he was here for this madness.
 
Yet glad he was safe.
 
Twice only, did Khadijah’s silent strike end a life bent upon destroying her own family. The witchling did not fight as Lucky did, nor even as Omid. Her vicious blows were meant to end the fight as swiftly and silently as possible. She was, of all her siblings, an efficient hunter. But her prey eluded her, no matter how she searched. That thread of darkness and rage, deeply elemental purpose that she had come to discern as the Bond between them drew her not to the upper levels as common sense and her Sacred Thing’s words suggested, but down.
 
Into the earth.
 
Khadijah’smind roamed often, touching on each of the Mineborn; even daring the occasional, delicate touch to the Healer. For the Healer had a plan, and even if Khadijah herself had not found their Queen, at least she could tell Zahira where not to look. She was aware of the passing of time, the thudding of her heart beat bleeding away the precious few minutes of confusion and disorientation that Lucky’s plan relied upon. Stronger and stronger that pounding in her chest grew, as if her frail, slight form had to contain the hearts of all of her siblings.
 
This was not a good plan, nor properly developed. They had nowhere to flee to, even if they found and woke their Ghanima; it was simply the only thing Lucky would agree to. Lucky was going to suicide by chasing after his Queen, and after much heart-searching, Khadijah had decided she could not let him go alone. But she understood that the decision did not mean victory, or life.
 
They were all here to die.
 
Prince Cinnerus would mourn, as would Lady Kesare, and that eased her. They would not die unremarked and unremembered.
 
So when the Guards closed in upon her at last, Khadijah fought fiercely and violently, with the full power of her Craft. There was no need to save strength for later, and nothing within Khadijah’s spirit of that patient waiting and hope which permitted the others to be taken while still conscious. While she fought strength surged through her, a furious glee that told her one at least of her siblings had found Ghanima! Her attack upon those closing in on her doubled, for her goal now was merely to buy enough time that Ghanima and Lucky might escape to freedom.
 
Roshan’s general strategy was to track Khadi as best she could, though the sneaky little witch was prone to simply phasing through walls that Roshan preferred to go around physically. The little mind-touches helped to soothe here, however, and she quickly sent reassurance when able. But all too soon, she had her own problems to worry about. A pair of warlords on patrol found her eventually, and only instinct honed by years of harsh practice saved her. She snuck tendrils of Craft through their shields even as they shouted at her to ‘Halt!’ and ‘Surrender, foul creature!’, and at a snapped Opal command, they fell silent. Hers, at least for the duration of the power flowing from her new Jewel and the focus of her mind and will.
 
The Widow flowed through the corridors with her new meat-shields, letting them handle the rare trouble they found. The Sabbah Traitor had apparently done his job well. But their fortune passed, as all good things did. Roshan had just acquired a third ‘escort’, her mind braced against the strain of wrapping three sets of balls and will up in her own, when an opened door brought them not to Ghanima, but to a clutch of the Old Spider’s Sayyadina. Roshan cursed and sent her meat-shields flying to attack, hoping to buy herself the time to escape.
 
The battle was short but furious. The elder Widows did not hesitate to cut down traitors to their master, no matter that their will was no longer their own. Roshan screamed in fury as she felt the first links snap, lashing out at the women around her with Snake-tooth and knife-claw. She got one, two, three lucky strikes in before a blow to her back shook her concentration badly enough that she could feel the minds she’d captured slip out of her fingers. She fought with increasing desperation, knowing it was over but unable to quit (driven by a collective strength and will not entirely her own- a Widow might fold and conserve her strength for a more opportune moment, but a Mineborn had will for days). Her free hand clutched at a shoulder, pulled away cloth to find skin, and she gave a harsh cry of victory as she sank the venom of an Opal into the body. There was one Sabbah who wouldn’t be getting up again.
 
Her trumph was short lived. Even as she sent death into one of her tormentors, the same burning pain pierced her neck and hissed as she turned to look at her assailant. The woman, she saw, only wore the Tiger Eye, but the poison still put her on her knees while her body dealt with the intrusion of the foreign substance. It was enough for her remaining former meat-shield to secure her- though the knife at her throat failed to penetrate through enough of the muzziness to scare her as much as he intended it to. Small favors, she giggled. The knife scored her skin in warning, but the small pain was as nothing compared to the burst of awe of completion that next flowed through her mind.

A strange kind of calm possessed Zahira. Nothing thrummed in her veins except for her own Blood, touched only by the power of her own Rose. Nothing dulled the pain or slowed her limbs, leaving her in a world that felt for days entirely too sharp. Like the first time she was exhumed from the Mines, and breathed in sunshine, the dart of that light a hundred needles in her eyes -- it hurt, but only at first. By the time Lucky led them to Vaya Temple, the pain was gone. The noise of her sisters and brothers in her head pummelled her, an endless cacophony. Even that had waves she could crest and ride, picking out what she needed from what she did not. She cloaked herself in her own shields, and whatever power was loaned to her by others.
 
This would be her trial. She’d touched the poison into the mind of the Old Spider, and now she needed only to deliver the potion to the lips of her Queen.
 
She wasn’t alone. She felt the peculiar strength of Blood easily dismissed not so long ago as a pack of brats, now true in their own power. Khadi tapped at her barriers, and for once, she let them fall -- just to her sister, to that timid, unoffending touch. She reached back, a psychic tendril tinged with Rose, a precious drop of power when she had little to spare.
 
Before she made her Offering to the Darkness, she wanted something to offer. She would finish the task set to her by the Bali, and if she succeeded and lived, she would descend to the Abyss to learn what power she might yield in a new life. She instinctively followed psychic threads, searching for sickness, for pain. She traced one to an infirmary of sorts, but that wouldn’t be where they kept someone so precious as the Mineborn Queen.
 
She moved quickly, and stopped pushing her body through wall after wall. Her Rose waned, and there would be no Offering to the Darkness if she broke it. Shielded and silent, she found the room where they kept Ghanima. She dropped her shields and kissed her sleeping sister’s forehead. She called in the vial, which held the carefully crafted brew, and pressed it to her lips, pouring it into the Queen a little at a time. She waited long enough to be certain she’d swallowed it and hadn’t choked. Then, she left. Ghanima might never know, and she heard her brother Lucky approaching. He needed to believe that he brought his Queen back to them. She passed out of the room, bared without enough strength to feed to a convincing sight shield. A guard was immediately upon her, grabbing her arm hard. She growled up at him, and squeezed his wrist, sending a single burst of her corrupted power through him, opening up old scars, rebreaking set bones. He yowled and fell away from her, and she laughed, a strange crystalline sound that was as much in her mind and through their shared link as it was made of voice and breath and mirth and fear. Any more Craft, and she’d risk losing her jewel.
 
The hard thud of her body slamming into another body, and then into the sand, was the last thing she remembered. Later, she would wake up in chains with her siblings, just as she had been born. Later, she would hold their hands, squinting into the brightness, just as she’d been reborn.


 
Lucky al-Izar stepped over the stilled body of another guard, wiping the fresh blood that stained his knife onto his pants. His skin was alight with fire. Not from the killing. Not from the violence. But because Ghanima al-Izar, his other half, his Queen, the one-that-did-not-want-him, laid in front of him. She was perfect, even after all of these months, the sharp contour of her face the most beautiful thing he had seen on a woman. Sliding forward, the Warlord Prince dropped to his knees before the Queen and reached out a hand to touch her face. Even with the focus that violence usually gave him, even with the slow blackness that faded his feelings, he could not stop his hand from shaking. Here was his heart, beating, for all to see.
 
His skin had just touched her, lighting coursing through him—complete, whole, anew—when guards burst into the room and surrounded them all. One of them had Roshan and the other had Hadjara, bright shining khadijars at their slim necks. Hadj gave her brother an apologetic look, her throat swallowing hard against the blade’s edge as she fumed with embarrassment at being caught.  *I’m sorry brother* was all she could say to him, mind to mind.
 
*I’m not.* Whether Hadjara had meant her thread to stay private or not, the Mineborn were closely-linked enough now that Roshan had caught it. And she wasn’t. She had had done what she could, and had nothing to be sorry for. No regrets. It was how she tried to live her life in general, really. They were together and the shadow of the Twisted Kingdom beckoned through her poisoned haze. There were worse ways to go.
 
Gritting his teeth, Lucky slowly dropped his knife and stood up, his hands raised. If this was the end, if their lives were forfeit for trying to save their Queen, then at least they were all together. At least the bond that wove through each of them, like thread through a needle, burned hotter than ever. The Mineborn could feel it more keenly than ever, even as the guards roped strong Craft around him, caging his movements. He could feel it like a thrumming beat, ever since he had touched Ghanima, thrumming in his ears.
 
Ba-bum. Ba-bum. Ba-bum. 
 
The six of them were pushed into a cell for the few remaining hours until dawn.
 
Ba-bum. Ba-bum. Ba-bum.
 
The smallest Mineborn woke in a small cell, Craft-locked, with only the dimmest memories of precisely how she had arrived here. Her chest ached, burns seared along her arms and legs. Her hair, wild at the best of times danced around her body, badly singed. Her body trembled with rage, but her laughter rang out. They had failed to kill her yet again. A gentle hand stroked her brow, despite the chains rattling and moaning with each movement. The smell and feel of her Minesibs surrounded her, and Khadi relaxed into the violent, loving Darkness that was her birthright.
 
When the trembling of her limbs eased, Khadijah set to removing the chains binding each of them. Yet she did not manage to free all of them before dawn came, and with it the Spider’s version of justice.
 
Cold chains, all too familiar, wrapped around Lucky’s wrists as they were led out into the sun, into the open desert that wrapped around the palace. A crowd had gathered, the news of the Mineborn’s arrest having spread like fresh water to parched lips. The six children looked small in comparison, the entirety of the Sabbah and any of Onn who were interested scattered around the platform that Adramelech al-Sabbah preceded over.
 
He sat on a raised dais above the wooden make-shift stage, his sunken eyes bright and a smile pulling apart his thin lips as he watched the children approach. Ghanima laid next to him, on a velvet lined pallet, her fate for all to see.
 
Once the children were pushed before the Voice of the Sabbah, he rose his hand for silence, looking out of the gathered people for a long moment.
 
“People of Pruul, these six children have committed treason of the highest order. They have stolen the greatest light that Pruul has ever known just when we needed it the most. Look! Look here. Look at your Queen, the great Mother.” The Old Spider paused, letting them take in the unmoving form of Ghanima. “They have trapped her inside her mind. Robbed her of her true destiny. And in turn, because of this, taken the very water from the sky.” Adramelech’s most faithful supporters screamed in protest.
 
“Such treachery can only be repaid with one thing: death.”
 
Khadijah al-Izar’s war cry shook the gathering. The call of a hunting hawk, sighting its prey. In the brief silence thereafter, spoke aloud. She had practiced the words, imagined them. Dreamt of a time when she might speak them to the mad spider’s face. Though chains that equaled her body weight sought to weigh her down, she surged forward. ”You are a madman, and a liar. Rain has not fallen in the desert in your entire lifetime, yet alone ours. We were not even born yet, when the skies dried up.”
 
The poison having dried up over the course of that long, dark night, it was a keen-eyed and clear-minded Roshan who studied the scene that had been staged for the benefit of the errant Mineborn. It was a farce. A Black Widow knew insanity when she saw it, and nothing they could say or do would penetrate the special world Adramalech had created for himself and his kin. She bared her teeth at the pack of baying hounds for show, unwilling to go without at least a display of defiance. But Khadi had spoken well for them, and she suspected Omid would have words of his own.
 
Her own mind was strangely calm, her attention focused on the fact that the Mineborn were finally all in one place for the first time in years. She dropped her snarl to laugh, bright and oddly loud in the face of all that hostility, the link singing through her veins and the visions flashing in her memory combining to harden into a point of diamond-hard point of surety. “It is time.” The Widow crooned aloud, her predator’s smile tinged with a hint of the madness all of her ilk always carried hidden within them. Time for what, she didn’t know. But wouldn’t it be fun to find out?
Omid had tasked himself with determining where Adramelech’s soldiers gathered off-duty. If nothing else, delaying them while Lucky worked to save Ghanima seemed like the best way to help his siblings and avoid hurting the Sabbah unnecessarily. His siblings might hate the Sabbah, but Omid did not. Not truly. He understood that they were lead by a madman, but that did not mean that the clan as a whole was bad.
 
Now, more than ever, Omid al-Izar understood the importance of not writing people off based on one facet of their personality.
 
His Red jewel felt like a weight around his neck, his responsibility to bear no matter how life became. The Mineborn Prince had found the tavern where they gathered and simply kept an eye upon it, making sure that no one left without notifying his siblings. When a pair of males left and headed east, in the opposite direction of where his siblings were, Omid noted it but did not worry. He started to reach out to Lucky to check his progress when Omid saw several of Adramelech’s warriors from their tables in unison and file out of the bar, headed in the direction of his siblings.
 
Omid stepped forward and challenged the soldiers, throwing up shields of Opal and Red energy to stop them, to hold them back, but he was still too knew to his deeper well of strength. He still might have succeeded had he not been struck from behind.
 
The last thing he saw was darkness.
 
Now, the sun was too bright as this mock trial commenced.
 
Adramelech was outside of his mind. He could feel the anger and fear of his siblings as the Black Widow Prince pronounced the sentence: Death.
 
He was glad that Rania and his mother would be getting away from all of this. Omid had never wanted to hurt anyone or cause people pain. He’d never meant to be a burden.
 
But today, he wanted to burn the Sabbah’s world to ashes.
*Written by Kenna, Caryn, Idariel, Gavin, Nicole, and Lene

Offline Storyteller

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 17, 08:56:36 AM »
NPC:

Adramelech al-Sabbah
Black Widow Prince
Summer Sky to Blood Opal
Written by: Kenna

Sweat beaded on Adramelech's face as he looked down at the chained beasts. Traitors. Enemies. Spies. His eyes swept through the large crowd, wondering how many more of them there were. How many people he would have to let fry in the sun cells until this would be over. Until his precious daughter would be safe. The Black Widow Prince's eyes had begun to turn yellow, the same color as the vomit he choked up int he morning. These children had not only infected Iksana, they had infected him as well. They were devious that way. Smiling at the world, basking in their false prophecy, while they worked their way under his skin, poisoning the Sabbah.

This was not quiet how he had seen their end, but it was nearly perfect. A shame some of his guards had to die, but they were a sacrifice for the greater good. Just as letting these runts live in the mines had been. A sacrifice to get Ghanima, his Queen, his heart, his soul. She would awaken when they died and she would finally see that all Adramelech was trying to do was cleanse the world of people against the Great Mother. He was trying to secure her future. Their future.

A future that began with death, but would end in life for all of Pruul.

"The traitors shall be first broken of their Jewels, then their minds, and finally of their lives. Their blood shall be collected and once the Great Mother has tasted of it, she will awaken from their spell. I have seen it. I have seen all of Pruul's glorious future." The Old Spider wished to bend over and touch Iksana's hair then, but he didn't. He had to remain watchful, his eyes surveying the crowd and watching for anyone that might be a traitor as well. He would execute all of Onn if he needed. If it was required of him by mother Night to awaken his Queen. Their lives were but pale shades in comparison to the destiny that Ghanima al-Sabbah possessed. 
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Offline Hadjara al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 17, 03:05:26 PM »
Hadjara sat quietly in their cell, her hands folded on her lap with the weight of the heavy crafted shackles around her slender wrists.  She wanted to rant and be angry, but as she stared at her siblings, looked down at the metal that held her hands bound, she felt nothing but calm.  The situation before them weighed heavily on her, and it was a small blessing that they were still living, instead of having been cut down where they had stood.  It also told her that perhaps there was a worse fate planned and in store for them.  The guards spoke of nothing, and certainly didn’t speak to them.  Khadijah managed to slip her chains and was helping to free the rest of them, but when she came to Hadj, the Priestess refused her help.  Khadijah didn’t like it, but Hadj just looked at her sister, reaching up with her manacled hands to gently run her fingers in the witchling’s wild and and smiled softly.
 
“They need to see Khadi sweetling,” she said, folding her hands back on her lap.  She spent the rest of the evening moving from sib to sib, checking on Omid, who had been rubbing the back of his head with a pained expression, to Lucky where she sat silently next to him, just placing her head on his shoulder in a silent gesture of comfort and then to Ro and Zahira, though the latter she was respectful enough not to offer her the touching comfort she wanted.  The Healer mineborn seemed very uncomfortable with unwelcome touch and so Hadjara wanted to respect her wishes.
 
When the day rose and the sunlight began to pierce their cell, guards came armed and pulled them forcefully from the cell, marching them out into the hot day.   There was a crowd who stood witness, the soft roar of voices the only sound as they were marched to the center of a stadium style area, with a raised platform where she could see the Old Spider, who stood beside another raised form.  Soft face, groomed with a face that held too much peace for her natural state.  Hadjara  turned to Lucky and saw the hungry look on his face when he too saw her. 
 
Nima.
 
Hadjara felt a touch of anger and resentment at the young Queen, who should have never allowed all this to happen.  She was the Queen, she should have been able to keep them together, keep Lucky sane.  She didn’t look like Nima though, she was too still, too peaceful looking.  Hadj hadn’t seen her sister in over a year, but Nima had never been calm or peaceful.  It almost seemed like an illusion of Ghanima, a creature made to look like her but not truely her.
 
She looked up at Adra as he issued his accusations, his verdict and still, nothing but that overwhelming sense of peace.  She glanced at Roshan and heard her sister’s whispered words, feeling the pieces of something long since scattered and disjointed slipping into place.  She returned Roshan’s feral smile with something of her own, not so feral but a brilliant smile of success.
 
Hadjara opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by the sound of outrage from the crowd.  She turned to look at the speaker and recognized the Jinan woman, standing tall and proud, echoing defiance against the procedure.  Ennead followed and Hadjara spared a glance at Khadijah and Ro to see their reactions.  Another voice, and Hadjara watched the color fade from Omid’s face as he whipped around to stare at the slender woman who stood with her back to them.  The gentle Hearth Witch, stood between the crowd and the Mineborn, calling out Adra for his persecutions and then…
 
Hadjara stared in disbelief.  Had she misunderstood or did Rania just...pledge herself to their family?  Hadjara still wasn’t clear on how someone formally joined a tribe or a clan, but she was pretty certain that was exactly what Rania was doing.  Could she even join them?  They were not a recognized clan, beyond the seven of them.  Had she made herself clanless and unprotected in a rash decision.  When Cadence spoke, Hadjara couldn’t help but allow the smirk of amusement to touch her lips.  For such a serious and somber occasion, it pleased her to hear Cadence chastizing both the crowd and Adra like any mother would a child who had misbehaved.   The Healer might believe she was powerless because she could no longer wear jewels, but she didn’t see the influence her tone had on the group assembled.  Hadjara could see the curtailed and shameful casting of eyes downward to their feet at her words.
 
Still tensions were high, and the weaponed men in the crowd still had so many on edge as everyone waited for Adra to issue his orders to his men.  Hadjdara looked around the assembled and took some comfort that Babak hadn’t arrived, or perhaps he had chosen to stand and protect his son.  It was better, though her heart longed to see him one more time.  He was too much the warrior, and would throw himself headlong to protect her, and if things happened badly, he would give of himself to save her.
 
“Peace!”  Hadjara called, lifting her hands high above her head where the sunlight would catch the metal and cast a gleam of reflection into the eyes of the assembled.  “Please peace!”  She waited for a moment of silence before continuing, her shackled hands still raised high into the air.  “Please, brothers and sisters of Pruul.”  She let her eyes drift over all the witnesses, her face calm, “Please, your words give my heart so much, but I would not wish harm upon you and yours.”  She turned her head towards Adra.
 
“I do not understand how we have offended you so.  I don’t understand how a small group of half grown men and women hold such fear for you.  As you have shown, with a simple word you can have our lives and our blood spilt at your pleasure.  I don’t understand why when Saiph left you didn’t simply rid yourself of us.  Instead, you bound us, broke us apart for a year and still we grew closer and closer.  You broke us of our queen, stole her from her bonded male and still he stands, strong and sure.   At every turn you have feared and underestimated what we were made of, and at every turn you have been proven wrong.  Even now, you think that your threats of breaking and death will scare us.  We were born into death, our first breaths marked the last of our mothers.  And I tell you now, as a Priestess of the Darkness,” and she brought her shackled hands together hard, the metal clinking loud enough to be heard even to the dias, “that if you kill us, you will bring about the end of your own desires.  Our sister, whom you have taken and rendered in an unbreakable sleep, she is bound to us in salt and water and blood, and our death will be her death.  You will lose everything your insanity has driven you to obtain.”
 
Hadjara stepped closer to her siblings, feeling the pull of their bond from within her chest as she stopped talking, wrapping herself in the feel of her family as a smile slipped across her face.  No matter what, she would not give him the satisfaction of fear or pain in her face. 



Offline Omid al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #3 on: Jun 01, 17, 08:59:01 PM »
Omid al-Izar’s anger grew the longer he stood listening to the Old Spider run his mouth.
 
Was this a taste of what Lucky and Ennead felt on a regular basis? Omid never know the cold rage of a Warlord Prince. He’d never known the Killing Edge in his life, for always he strived to be the calm one, the reasonable one, the voice of thought among the Mineborn. More than once, he wondered if that made him the weak leak among his brothers and sisters. All of them were ready to fight for their lives a moment’s notice, no matter the enemy's numbers. Omid hated the idea of fighting because it signaled to him a war that would never end, both inside and outside.
 
He was afraid to fight because he knew, deep down, that he’d never stop fighting. Especially not now that he called the Red his jewel of rank.
 
If Omid had his jewel now, he’d tear into Adramelech al-Sabbah with all of the power available to him and wipe him from the world. Only now, at the end, did Omid understand what Mother Night and the Darkness tried to tell him in his mind and heart.

Adramelch was darkness. It was his task to bring the light.
 
At least Rania and Mother are safely away.
 
So comforted by that thought was Omid that he didn’t register it immediately when the bystanders spoke.
 
Adavera al-Jinan, Voice of the Jinan, spoke first against Adramelech. It seemed she was more against him than for the Mineborn, but Omid was glad to know that she still cared despite their initial resistance. He’d not gone when she asked to meet with them, so wrapped up in his own thoughts was he. If they lived through this, he would make that right.
 
Ennead was next and Omid smiled a little brighter despite the madness about them. He was every bit as fierce as Lucky, but devoted to Khadi and Roshan besides. That comforted the Prince, for Ennead was a safe place for them. A place that Omid himself was not. Not truly.
 
If those voices made him happy, though, the next voices he heard made his heart fall into his stomach.
 
Rania.
 
Her voice was clear and strong, stronger than he’d ever heard it. She’d outright challenged not just the Old Spider, but the Sabbah and most of Pruul itself. It was madness. Omid’s mind raced. Had they turned around and come back when they heard of their capture? Had they been captured and forced to watch?
 
Or had they not run at all?
 
Omid hung his head, for he knew it was the third. A tear escaped just then, for her finally understood the depth of a mother’s love for her son, even if she had not birthed him herself.
 
Why did my own mother not love me like this?
 
The passion and fury in Rania’s voice struck Omid like lightning. Mother Night, she’s so beautiful.
 
Her objurgation of the Old Spider didn’t just gladden his heart. It steeled his resolve and stoked a hunger that Omid usually found easy to push aside. He wanted her worse than he wanted water in the moment, wanted to take her back to his room and properly thank her for her defense of his siblings and himself.
 
He’d wanted to live before, but only because death was dark and final. He didn't want to go back into the dark.
 
Now, though, Omid wanted to live for his siblings. For his mother.
 
For her.
 
We are not dying today, everyone. No matter what this decrepit bag of sandworm-shit says, we are not dying here.” Omid said. He wished he could send a thread to Rania, but he couldn’t. He needed his jewels. They needed a distraction.

He needed to buy them time.
 
You’ve persecuted us for years, Adramelech al-Sabbah, because you’re afraid. Your webs have shown you the truth you can’t escape, the hole at the center of the world. Today isn’t the our end, you old, eyeless spider.
 
The only person who will be broken and cast down is you.


Offline Khadijah al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #4 on: Jun 02, 17, 01:52:18 PM »
191, Spring: Oon, after the Spring Festival
(This thread is follows Descend into the Darkness to find our Strength, where in the Mineborn gain their Offerings.)

Khadijah al-Izar's head ached and the deep, burning sun half-blinded her. Her skin burned, and a slow, oozing cut leached blood into the parched desert air. Soon, Pruul would have all of her blood so she did not begrudge this piece of ground its small blessing.

No one had listened, when she'd said her piece. Not because her words were wrong, but because everyone here had already chosen a side. There was no one to convince. They should just stop shouting and get to the killing already.

Khadijah was bored.

Her precious Roshan, though, grew more and more gleeful, as if she had a secret. Khadijah, therefore, had not forced the enemy to beat her unconscious as they dragged everyone into the sun.

Hadjara was serene; Omid challenging; Lucky ... thoughtful?

But it was the a single, piercing call from the audience that had Khadijah surging forward, scowling fiercely. Why was he here? And with him, she counted up the handful of folks whose loss would harm her.

Rania, who made her magic cookies and patiently explained when Khadijah might eat a cockroach with offending others, and when she could not.

Candace, who was teaching the fierce, feral Mindborn to Heal. To ease fevers, and set bones.

Babak, who had bound his heart and soul to the Mineborn. His gaze was fixed only upon Hadjara.

Nearby, on a roof top, was Kurush, no doubt here fully against his father's will.

She sent a frazzled, frustrated look to Omid; he, too, had thought their loved ones safe from this madness. Her gaze sought out Eannead, then. She growled low in her throat. She had never been one for posturing. Never cared for politics. While she did not have a loud voice, some trick of acoustics, or a disaster of timing, made her single question ring out over the oddly silent crowd.

As if every other creature in Pruul was captivated by their Queen's plight, gazes drawn to her oddly compelling form.

"Eannead!" Khadi willed him to feel, hear, understand her. And so she reached, as deeply as she could, into the Mineborn Bond. And she shouted her will, heart, Mind, Soul. To him, to her family, to her lost Queen and newly cherished friends. 

"*Live. and so defy your enemies!*" It echoed on every band of power she could reach, her first ever Broadcast Pychic Thread; it tore from her throat, a howl a joy as well as rage; it redoubled pierced back through her, echoing through the Bond.

She threw her head back, and screeched her warcry.

It was if all of Pruul answered her, for a thousand thousand voices answered, and power rushed and swelled, pooling around the slumbering Queen.




Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #5 on: Jun 02, 17, 06:58:14 PM »
The sun rose above them, all of them, Pruul spread out like a sea of glass, the crowd of people a great imperfection on its surface. Time stilled just as the air did, wind ceasing as the sun kissed Lucky’s skin. He stood on the platform, his hands and feet bound with iron. They had even attached a tight ring around his middle, blocking his wings from spreading out. The Warlord Prince had been quiet since they had been captured, his eyes staring through the bars and into the darkness. His fingers rubbed together, back and forth, like he was trying to remember something. Something just out of his reach.

Voices called from the crowd, threads touched against his mind, skin brushed against his skin, but the Mineborn swayed back and forth, the warm tingle that had spread through his body at his Queen’s touch like a slow drug. First it had infected his skin, a soft glow spreading through him, and then it had sunk into his blood, like singing to like, until finally, at last, it touched his heart.

There was no reason today.

No words.

No wars.

No, death wore a shroud today, her face covered for the end of Pruul. The end of the territory as everyone had known it.

*Don’t fight it.* He sent the words to both everyone, the thread flying up into the sky and setteling like a blanket over the crowd--his siblings, Ennead, Adavara, Rania, Cadence, the Sabbah--every man, women, and child. *Can’t you feel it? It’s like…like…coming back to life. Seeing the sun-stilled desert for the first time. It’s coming. Let it happen. Just stop fighting.* The Warlord Prince leaned forward, his body straining towards his Queen. He did not forgive her. He did not worship her anymore, but she was his. Right there.

And in that moment, Lucky felt as if he had been under water for these past two years. He felt as if he was just breaking through the surface, drops flying into the air like diamonds, as he breathed deeply for the first time. 

*Come back to us Ghanima. Come back to me.* The thread travelled through the air, through the Mineborn bond and along the faded strand that forever connected a Queen to her male.

*Please. Come back. We need you.*


Offline Ghanima al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #6 on: Jun 03, 17, 11:19:29 PM »
There used to be other songs in the deepness, in the wild place that shifted beneath her wandering soles and between her empty fingers; there used to be other singers, caverns and hollows that caught their sounds and echoed them back at one another.  But those songs faded, their colours leached from them by too many caresses over the years, worn smooth of life and shape.  Sometimes Ghanima could hear the new singers, could almost grasp the presence of other lights flickering in and out of the tangled roads she walked.  Only, she did not walk.  Mostly, she ran, she searched, threw open rusted gates and tore off strips of her skin on hungry iron claws.  If she was very, very lucky, if she turned the right corners, climbed the right wrong-side up stairs, Cutter would be waiting for her, the heat of his pleasure reflected bright on her cheeks.  He loved her, she knew, for all that her love for him could never be the same.  He loved her wholly, generous and pure, and though she loved him best, he too knew that she had always hidden something away from him.  Selfishly, she had kept him in her world of mirrored pasts anyways.  It had been the best she could do.

Or it would be Lucky scowling as a grim mood turned to wry humor, his wings proudly on display as he lept from the ground, streaking across the sky.  Perhaps Hadjara, with her gentle voice and warm heart, her impossible patience and indulgent laughter the wind beneath Lucky’s wings. Khadi and her child-girl-self sneaking all sorts of things in the spicy pepper sauces; grinning with full bellies and the sound of disgruntled kitchen staff.  Omid, distant and far, yet never too far from her eyes.  Roshan, Zahira, all of them happy, fed – safe.  Once, there in the slip-flip-daze of almost and maybe, Zahira had let her touch her cheek, and smiled.

On days when the music painted things violet and dusky, weaving through skies with deep, undulating forget-me-not clouds of blue, there would be incense and bold Gideon; tall and dark and something in his eyes that looked like her name written in smoke, hidden away in the depths of gold.  Errai, leaning against a wall, a pretense of danger and haven bound in one hand lightly resting on the hilt of his blade.  His gaze was always tender and heavy with the reflection of white water-fat skin and white silk-soft hair, filled with stars and a girl whose softness haunted Ghanima through the shadows. 


Saiph. 

 

Saiph was here, in her barely seen glances.  Was here, holding her hand, brushing her hair.  Was here, in desert lands, in canvas tents, under twin suns, perched by cold water and secreted inside of grottos older than sin.  Saiph was here, all the time, with a crystal in her hand that changed colors and calling her name, over and over, trying to remind her, trying to keep that one thing whole in a place of nothingness.  Ghani, Ghani, Ghani. 

Always, she heard Saiph’s voice in her ear, felt the beloved Queen holding her, smelled unyieldingly clean linen and sunshine. And always, she tasted blood on her lips.  Chances.

 

Untouched.  Unbroken.  Unflinching. 

 

Everyone was here, everyone that mattered: never at once, but catching glimpses of them, even separated, in small pieces was worth it. 

Small pieces.  An eye here, an arm there, their guts spilled hot on the marble floors.  A chorus of screams, a concert of whimpers.  Who was Ghanima, without her people? 

 

What is a heart, without a body?

 

They were hers, they are her – their pieces were her finger joints scattered to the wind, the segments of her spine torn from her back.  She slipped into the mists poppy lost and yearned for them, these shattered fragments.  The syncretism of despair and wrath and terror, too intimate with them to become anything other than the source, the birth, the once-more.

 

A Whisper in the Dark, she dreamt of everything she lost.  Once more, time, to get it right.

 

There came a chord, a pale note that strained in the air and it ruptured the careful insanity.  It was the first song heard in a very long time.

 

The silence had always been of her own making, born of a heart frayed raw and sundered from prayer and condemnation, so the new voice was painful in the grace of penance.  It deafened her in the needful roar as it hurtled down, down, down – up and up through her veins to her ears, to her seeking eyes.

And something changed. Her world rippled and thinned, like fabric stretched too tight, it patterns distorted, and she could almost see through the veil of cobwebs and guilt.  A glimmer of light, of a ghostly finger of sun bouncing off mirrors, trailed after the shadow.

She pulled her threads in as Saiph had shown her, spinning for momentum to gather all the precious pieces bright enough to brave a foreign gaze corrupting her flawless illusions, and smashed into the shadows, the-almost-dark.  Ghanima wove as she went, a crude, basic weave, drinking deeply of strength that ignited in frozen rivers beneath her husky shell.  The rough strands were thick, snagging on all the important bits of the fear and rage and voice.   She would not let it fall any further than this, this score that harmonized with her own, the haunting fragment that had called her from deep within her kingdoms of sand.
 
No, she commanded – she was still a Queen and she would be obeyed, her curiosity satisfied.  It thrashed at her, squirming in the grip of her power, but she would not relent.  Not hard enough to crush, to destroy, the grip she had was unyielding.  It resisted a moment longer, but her hands were steel and her will was absolute.  It made her smile, a little, that defiance which reminded her so acutely of others she had left behind in the waking realms.

Still, it had drawn her from the madness, this sweet new pain that danced in her bones, swimming into her veins.  Ghanima forgot herself then.  Fire, charring her skin.  Ice, crystallizing her within.  The sun, seeing all and all seeing.  The moon, unchanging and unknown, full of her mysteries and contraries, for she changed every night and shared every sky.  The earth, ripe with life, ripe with color and fury, rattling with the quake of power flooding through rusted riverbeds, thrusting aside sticky cobwebs and burning blots of memory-ink into giant pillars of smoke and oblivion. 

 

Ghanima welcomed it with open arms.

 

Far, far, far above, the vessel of flesh and bone rippled.  Once, and only once.  On the air, Rose power bloomed stronger and more fragrant than a riotous garden of thorn’ed flowers.  The rag-doll Queen took a breath that went from her lips to the heart of the land pressing up at her, rooting in a vise-like grip more tenaciously than century-old trees, electric as a lightning bolt shoved from the heavens into the unsuspecting realm below.  Her eyes blazed from her upturned face, sapphire and sunlit, gilded with molten gold, and she shook with a clarity and fury so startlingly still the rest of the world held itself apart for her. 

The Queen stood, an ancient hatred alone holding her body accountable for its actions, and in the silence saw all that her impossible eyes might touch upon.  In them was tenderness so loud the aching was silent.  In the silence was a yearning acorn-small and oak-tree old.  From the tree, fell the leaves of her thoughts, each one a shadow across her face, and each one she loved and lost as it crossed from branch to brittle autumn shells.  That was one sliver of the Rose Queen’s love, and one sliver of her desire; its perfect mirror was pressed in the crackle of her vengeance and the weight of her long-suffered parting. 

She saw, and wondered if Saiph saw too, from inside the misty places they had walked together.  Ghanima’s gaze settled, finally, from its wandering upon the man beside her. 

 

“Adramelech al-Sabbah.”



She knew.

She knew because Saiph knew.

She knew because Lucky knew.

She knew because Khadijah knew. 

She knew.



And knowing made of her power, her primality, a terrible thing. 

 

He who was held in rapt exultation, who face was split in white-hot joy and ferocious triumph, trembled.  She looked at him and saw what Saiph had seen, what Saiph had shown her, had whispered to her, had promised her.  The voice which echoed and did not move, which held the end of worlds and the blinding light of first-sun, filled the space and pushed at the edges of reality, slipping for a moment back, back into the misty place, back into the Abyss, where Ghanima tightened her hold and grit her teeth. 

“Do you pledge to me all that you are?”

She already knew.

And this time, she knew because she was Ghanima.

“Yes.”

Her hand was upon his breast when she smiled, sharper than the glint of Errai’s khanjar.  It was cool and steady.  It did not betray her.  He was breathing so hard his chest rose and fell as if his lungs had ceased to serve their meager purpose, his eyes fluttering closed in a moment of bliss so surreal the moment would stay with her until the end of days.  The Rose pulsed, flashing brighter than the daystar from the valley of her breasts.  And then his eyes were open again and her hand was gleaming and warm, wet with blood before Adramelech al-Sabbah, Voice of the Sabbah Clan, could finish forming his last words.  The thud and beat of the organ dripped in a thick, hot river against her clenching palm. 

Saiph had promised her his heart.













Offline Hadjara al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #7 on: Jun 04, 17, 11:17:39 PM »
Pulse.
 
Hadj felt it, like sands shifting beneath her feet.
 
Pulse.
 
Her skin rippled with the beat of it, the slow pulse that seemed to ripple around her and through her and beneath her.  She felt her body respond, relaxing into an almost hypnotic state, her awareness fade from the immediate to something else.  Something distant and fogged but a growing presence.  Khadi’s warcry jolted her mind back, and she blinked quickly, turning her gaze to the crowd - to the voices of allies who roared their opposition to the Old Spider.  She saw movement on a rooftop and felt her heart rise into her throat as she recognized Kurush, crouched low against the edge watching her.  If he were here, then…
 
She panned the crowd, saw the faces almost shift and part as if responding to her silent request as he slid the burnoose from his head, his eyes hawk-sharp and piercing as he stared down at her - only to her.  The heart that was in her throat pounded under the emotions of that gaze and she reached up unconsciously to stroke the silver ring beneath her Rose pendant.  She lifted her chin and held his gaze, giving him a smile as her lips moved in time with the words she cast towards him like a lifeline.
 
I love you.  No matter what comes of today, I want you to know that you are my heart.
 
She reached for Kurush, drawing him into the connection.  She let her feelings soar through the threads that bound them, telling them both in more than mere words her feelings for them, her joy at having them in her life.
 
Pulse.
 
The throbbing from deep within was stronger now, strong enough to pull her free from her connection to Babak and Kurush and turn her towards the dias.  Lucky was standing in front of her, his body swaying ever so slightly and she realized it was in time to the thrum of the pulse she was feeling.  No not quite, she realized as she watched the sway of his arms, his hips.  The core pulse was there but there was something he was hearing that she wasn’t.  The chains around his wrists and waist clinked softly with each shift of his body, and even though they couldn’t move, she swore she saw his wings twitch and flex as he stared up at Nima.
 
Nima.
 
*I feel it Lucky,* she whispered as she stepped to his side, not touching him but close enough that she could feel the heat that radiated off his skin.  Hadjara followed his gaze to Nima who was still prone on the raised platform, her pale skin still resting beneath the outstretched hand of Adramelech.  Only Lucky wasn’t angry, he was...calm.  The air around them was almost palpable with excitement as Lucky’s words rang through the minds of everyone in the arena and she saw him shift his foot just slightly forward as if being drawn towards Nima by some unseen force.   She felt the pull through the Mineborn bond and saw the reactions shift on the faces of her family as they too felt it.
 
Pulse.
 
Her chest tingled and she placed her hand on her Rose pendent, feeling it warm against her skin, and realized that the pulse was there as well, drawing her attention back to that place away from her awareness.  She followed the draw, obeying Lucky’s command not to fight the feeling and was only vaguely aware that her knees suddenly vanished, dropping her onto the hot sand as her conscious mind descended into that shadowy place that she saw in her meditations, her own path into the Darkness.   The stone walls vibrated as the pulse she was feeling grew stronger and more frequent and she followed the pull and the draw aware that the air was growing warmer and fragrant and….
 
Rose colored?
 
In the shadowy darkness, she heard a sound, a call, a sound….almost a battle cry akin to Khadi’s.  Hadjara rushed towards the sound, the pull and call of the rose jewel at her chest growing warmer and warmer with each step until she felt as if she might light ablaze with the heat. 
 
*Please. Come back. We need you.*
 
She heard and felt Lucky’s plea as it fell through the darkness, traveling on the thin silvery thread of the Mineborn bond that she saw like a vein of mineral that coursed through the stone walls of her inner mind, lightning streaking down into the shadows.  Hadjara gasped as the two pulses combined in a magnificent display of light, and the silver thread stretched and grew.  She reached out and touched it, felt the warm living essence of the bond between all the Mineborn as it grew stronger and stronger.  Finally together, finally stronger, finally able to fully bond as they were meant to.
 
It is time.  Ro’s words whispered in the shadow, but not Roshan’s voice.  The silvery thread of the mineborn pulsed again harder and Hadjara pressed her hand against it, into it.  Felt her family as if they were all in her head and knew something was growing and building and it required….more.
 
Nima.
 
Hadjara reached out to that spark that had not been there before, the spark that was her sister and her Queen, her twin in the Rose and brushed the spark. It flared at her touch and for a moment she felt her sister and they were one and not enough.  I needed more, wanted more, called for more.  She would give it more as the feeling grew from deep within the abyss, beckoning and calling to her, to them all.
 
Nima.
 
Hadj felt her in the thread, felt the flutter of awareness that had been so long dormant and absent from the connection as it sparked and flared and her mind was filled with the Rose as it exploded up through the abyss, fueled by the proximity of the Mineborn and drove her back into her own body.  She lifted her head and stared up at the dias, realized that a startled hush had crossed the arena as everyone stared at Nima, the slender pale girl stood staring at Adramalech, her hand touching his skeletal chest.  She couldn’t hear the words but saw her sister’s lips move, saw the look of joyous triumph on the Spider’s face as Nima’s eyes sharpened a split second before her hand vanished and reappeared, holding a strange dark shape in her palm.  It twitched once, twice….and then nothing.
 
Hadjara stared at the scene, as much in surprise over Nima’s resurrection as the sudden act that she had just performed.  She scrambled to her feet, reaching out her hand and found Roshan had moved to her side.  Of course she had.  Roshan knew this moment was coming, as she always knew what would come or could come.  Hadjara’s fingers intertwined with her sister’s tightly as she watched Roshan slide her hand into Lucky’s.  Omid moved to her other side, his warm hand large and strong in hers.  Khadi then, taking Omid’s free hand and then Zahira, who had always refrained from showing any willingness to touch anyone, placed her hand into Khadi’s.  Each hand touching was just the physical representation of the connections that wove through them courtesy of their bond.   A chain of power.  That was the thought that Hadj had as they moved.  Nima was the Land, she was the Darkness, Ro was the Webs, Lucky was strength, Omid was wisdom and power, Khadi was courage and joy and Zahira was heart and healing.  More than just the castes they held, they all embodied something more and that was important...it mattered in a way she hadn’t seen before.

It stretched out to those who stood with them, the faces of the known and unknown in the crowd and beyond.  Suddenly it wasn't just the Mineborn, it was more and larger than she could have imagined and affected so many more.
 
“Take our hands, Nima,” Hadj said softly, gently to the woman who stood frozen on the dias as the roars of outrage began to break the stunned silence and watched Lucky lift his hand up for her to take.  “It is time.”



Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #8 on: Jun 07, 17, 06:02:43 AM »
Roshan echoed Khadijah’s warcry, a hunting hawk’s fierce shriek of triumph, as their Queen rose to join them at last and claimed her due. The Widow’s body pulsed with the thrum of power through the Mineborn’s bond- that strange phenomenon they’d all shared for so long, with no explanation why. She could faintly hear shouting and blades clashing, wished she could turn and meet the threat (so vulnerable up here!), but, caught between the edges of the Twisted Kingdom and the pull of the Mineborn bond, she couldn’t have pulled herself away from them for anything at this moment.

Shadows danced along the Black Widow’s inner sight and among the strangers in her peripheral awareness, growing stronger as the bond unfurled. She could dimly see the potential in them, dark cobwebs coming from Ghanima and linking her to Hadjara, to Roshan herself, to Lucky, to Khadi, to Omid, Zahira. Their edges flared beyond the group into the skies and across the city and to the sands beyond as far as she could see- the promise of destiny awaiting fulfillment.

Roshan stretched out a mental hand to those webs; watching, waiting, listening for the right time to act. She shivered as their Priestess invited the Queen to join them, watching Hadjara’s outstretched hand like a child might a striking snake. So small a gesture, but the Webs that danced in the Widow’s mind told her it would change everything when Ghamina took it- for them, for Pruul, and for the Realm itself.

Offline Omid al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #9 on: Jun 11, 17, 04:01:43 PM »
So many things were happening at once that Omid struggled to keep up with all of them. But he knew that he had to, that he needed to because someday, people needed to know the story of the Mineborn and how Pruul had changed to what it became from this day forward, for better or worse. Omid wanted to be able to recall these things later in his life, even in his old age when young children came to him and asked him about all of the things he’d seen and done. When he was that old, Omid hoped that he’d lived a life worth telling stories about, with the wisdom that such a life imparted.
 
The Old Spider died at Ghanima’s hand and Omid envied Lucky, just a little, in that moment. Lucky was seeing his Queen, their sister, wake from her slumber like some goddess given form to slay the man who’d oppressed them since they came to the surface. The Sabbah Clan would be damaged, possibly beyond repair by this, especially if the rumors were true and Lord Fin was truly dead. That thought saddened the Red Prince.
 
Lord Fin had risked his life trying to sway them, and then save them, from this course.
 
And here they were.
 
The crowd devolved into chaos when Adramelech died and fighting broke out. Omid scanned the crowd for Rania and Cadence, but he couldn’t see them, couldn’t pick them out from the sea of bodies that now took up his field of vision. Ennead appeared from nowhere like some avenging creature and slew one of the warriors that had gone after his sisters and now Omid wanted out of these chains so that he could find a weapon and help somehow.
 
His eyes fell upon Lady Sabbah, who’d used her Craft to utterly destroy three of the Sabbah warriors who’d set themselves against...Lord Fin?! He was here!
 
The others would remember, later, seeing Omid cheer on the Eyriens who stood against the clan that had betrayed them. He also caught Leila’s eye and saw nodded at her display of power. Certainly, it wasn’t the same as the healing he sought to learn, but even a Healer could destroy, given the right motivation.
 
Omid looked around at his siblings, each of them, and nodded to himself.
 
The right motivation, indeed.
 
It was instinct that pulled him to join hands with his siblings, to lend his strength to what was coming. This day had been foretold and Omid now realized why they were all truly here. Adramelech had set it as an execution, a time of death, but that was being postponed.
 
Instead, the time had come for a new Pruul to be born.

Offline Ghanima al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #10 on: Jun 15, 17, 07:47:12 PM »
Ghanima saw, in the sacrosanct seconds thereafter.  She saw, in the brief and foolish final contractions of the heart she held in her hand, all the blood that would come from it and beyond — far past the stillness, past the silence, past the flowing, ebbing, linear river of time that she danced around with unthinking grace, she saw the deaths not yet come to fruit and felt them strike against the mine-tempered and hell-forged iron of her soul.  And as Ghanima saw these strange, foreign shadows fall into the endless grains of sand, she saw also within, where there were mists and no seeing, no sight.  A promise was unfurling inside her chest.

She saw Hadjara stepping above what was to come, what was coming, what was here, her thin arms wide and hands open.  She did not wait for them to ascend onto the platform: Ghanima went to them, walked down the steps in the fleeting pause of a stunned crowd, and the Queen of the Mineborn could not stop the wave of strength that answered the Priestess' call.  Like her, Hadjara wore the same Birthright.  Like her, they dwelt in the same place, the same horizon in the Abyss.  And for what was to come, a Priestess must take the first step.  Perhaps that was why, in the end, it was and had to be Hadjara who welcomed the lost one back to the Realm.

Their hands touched.  Ghanima’s smooth and soft on the surface, hard with scarring and labor beneath.  Hadjara’s carrying the imprint of incense, of prayer.  Her other hand brought Adramelech’s heart to her mouth, and Ghanima swallowed the thick tang of iron, a shudder of power pulsing through her spine.  Never did those lightning streaked eyes of blue leave Hadjara’s gaze.  Though gentled by her time in the overlands, the primality bent onto darkness would never divorce itself from her.  Around them, violence exploded in careless, reckless desperation.  Craft, regardless of the long feared monsters who hunted the deserts of Pruul, rang freely, doling out life and death in equal measure.

Yet, however Dark the craft, however potent the strength, none of it would erase the one dominant note that rang across all the chords being strung.  Rose power, already heavy in the air, boomed with a resonance far deeper and darker, ringing across all the many webs, from as far down as Red to as light as White.  It went to bone and more, laced every breath, every bead of sweat, every inch of skin coated with emotion.  It was nothing like the bond between Queen and male, yet Ghanima felt everything that had been held at bay by Widow Craft and slumber rush into her mind like a bursting dam, a spear of clarity and fire lancing through the thick fog of spiderwebs.

She clung to Saiph’s voice, to the secrets whispered to the soul of who and what she was, and let that song rule her.

Do you trust?

In her mind, already soaring far below the world of paltry husks, anchored by the death and blood of Adramelech himself, Ghanima saw them all, arrayed in layers, delicately and incomprehensibly entangled in folds of fate fearsome enough to enrapture the spirit of a Black Widow Prince for decades, eventually driving the man to madness.  Like a single crystal, a single stone torn from the earth itself, ranging a spectrum of colors at its heart, so too were they intertwined in ropes and chains of caste and power; reflecting, refracting, refining all that had been sacrificed upon an invisible Altar of dreams. 

Rose, Summer Sky, Purple Dusk, Opal, Blood Opal, Green, Sapphire, Red. 

The possibility of all that was Blood laid out here, in her, between them, where the psychic selves could and did span infinity itself.

Spirit.

Hadjara.

Mind.

Roshan.

Body.

Zahira.

Sword.

Lucky.

Path.

Omid.

Will.

Khadijah.

All of those strands being offered to her, flung out to her, waiting for her to collect them like thick strands of raw silk, waiting for her to sit and card them until they became smooth, to both braid and spin into one sparkling, shining rainbow that would bridge the earth and the heavens. 

It was too much.

Ghanima sobbed, choking on a sudden fear, on the reality of how little she knew and how ill prepared she was to handle the very essence of those who she loved so well; choking on, in fact, the enormity of what the Mineborn could be.  How it might subsume her every thought, mired in the sharing of the universe unborn betwixt them.  But there, in the Abyss, sat the unshakable calm that was the love of Saiph, the enduring faith of Gideon, the fiery and defiant resilience of Errai.  There was the adoration of Cutter and the wonder of I’timad.   

And, ultimately, most absolute of them all, was the Queen who had been born in the mines, the girl who had emerged from slavery blinded by the sun, the witchling who had survived both poison and blade.  There was no death she did not already know, no fear she had not already tamed and named friend.  Lucky was with her and he was fearless.  They were fearless. 

So Ghanima took that which was so readily given, and she began to braid, even as she began to spin.  How did one do both at once?  She did not know, but the answers had been given to her long before the question, long before waking.  Saiph had taught her how and now she hoped she would do the violet-eyed girl proud.

There was none who sat at the Red and above who did not sense the rippling tides of what the Rose Queen did now, none who were unmoved or untouched by the psychic brush of her hand upon those webs of power, drawing them into the circle that was the Mineborn.  In the fulcrum, living the dream of one who had gone before her, Ghanima repeated the seeds of prophesy planted in her soul.  She saw the Dark Presence and knew what would come.  What had already gone.  She walked in water baptized by her starred one and felt Saiph all around her, marking the undulating trail with Purple Dusk and Sapphire need, a need she would never be able to turn away from.

She turned to Omid to navigate that need.  Drank deeply of his restraint to step out from the quicksand of want.  He stood with her there as they flailed and he pulled her out in a burst of Red.

“I am come.”

Ghanima braided and braided and braided, weaving together all that was Blood, all that would be Blood, all that Blood could be.  There was no Dark Presence, but for the Darkness born within her, the Darkness she had known since breath.  The Darkness that was the skeleton upon which the ivy tendrils of a lost Queen might grow. 

“So I see.”

From a distance, resounding from Ghanima’s heart, came the echoes.  The prayers and chants were in a dead language Ghanima had never learnt, but those in the living realm would hear it, would heard Old Pruulian spill from the lips of one too young to have ever known of its existence.  In this, the Queen grasped Hadjara’s thread in one hand and spun her mind into the depths and reach of Roshan’s.  Priestess and Widow and Queen, a mirror image of the key who had unlocked the way.  She borrowed the will of Khadijah and rested the care of her vessel in comfort and ferocity of Zahira.  With them, she would not break.  Together, they would transcend the telltale travesties of time.

You will always know that you are alone, apart.

Tears were running down Ghanima’s face, though she did not know it.  In the ring of grown children, the heart of Adramelech al-Sabbah floated above them, dripping blood, bleeding destiny.  Salt water fell from eyes that painted visions of storms.

There was more than the Red here in the web sown into the fields of Ghanima al-Izar’s soul. 

Whispers of Grey. 

Fragments of Ebon Grey. 

The final, fading kiss of Black.

Down the spiraling labyrinths of the Abyss the Mineborn Queen paced, holding the hand of a ghost who led the way, and she sang the song that would unite parched land and abundant ocean, for she was the heart.  There would be none who did not hear it. 

All the while descending down, down, down, a falling star reaching for the endless Dark.

In the sand, softly, in a sigh of surusurusuru, came the ancient refrain to her voice.  Mixed with her tears, with Adramelech's blood, was the beginnings of rain.











Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #11 on: Jun 22, 17, 08:59:05 AM »
Lucky al-Izar could feel the violence around them like the heat upon lust-filled skin. Some might find it choked the oxygen out of the air, but the Mineborn Warlord Prince felt like it finally allowed him to breathe. A deep glorious breath of the future of Pruul, the breaking of the hourglass, so that time flowed forward and backwards through the seven child prophets. A tightness in his chest relaxed and he closed his eyes, turning his face up to the sun as war broke out around him, the screams of courage and cowardice echoing across the wide expanse of desert that threatened to consume their small city. 

This is what home felt like, he thought. This is what peace was.

Smooth skin grasped his rough palm, fingers grazing his own, the hand small and delicate. Lucky opened his eyes and gazed down at his Queen, the heart of his heart, and felt his body tingle. So many months he had waited for this moment, dreamed about it, cried. Not the Rains, no, but Nima here beside him, her brown hair close enough to smell, to laugh into. As their power gathered and the Queen led them into the unknown, away from the masses of people struggling for power, away from the pain and the rage and the drought, Lucky wondered if it had been painful for her too. If she had felt anything when she had deserted him. If her mind had fractured and cracked with the weight of it.

And as his Sapphire unfurled, his power braided together with his siblings, the Warlord Prince wondered if he could ever forgive her.

“We are together, at last.”

The words left his lips at last. The sky opened up, jagged cracks of thunder, at last. Mother Night took and took and took from the seven Mineborn, their power flooding from them like the water from a broken damn—at last.

At last, the Rains had come to Pruul.

At last.

At last.

At last.

The last thing Lucky al-Izar saw before darkness overtook him was the upturned faces of his siblings, their bodies and their minds connected, their lives intermingled, and their destiny sprinkling around them like tiny pieces of their beating hearts.

Offline Zahira al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #12 on: Jul 03, 17, 07:21:37 PM »
Fate chained Zahira to the other wretches born into the despair of the Mines. She wouldn’t even call it Hell. In Hell, she’d find peace, and if anyone ever loved her and died, she would find them as well. She’d find monsters beyond her comprehension, which would be preferable to the ones she understood only too well. Those monsters linked her to her Mineborn sisters and brothers with physical chains, wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle.
 
They baked in the heat, her rose warm on her breast, and full again. She wasn’t sure exactly how long she’d lain unconscious in a cell, and grogginess clouded her head. The cry for their jewels and their blood woke her up quickly enough. She let the others speak for them. She didn’t have many breaths left, and she wouldn’t waste them on a mob.
 
Instead, she reached out a psychic thread to Omid, just a thought more than anything. A light knock on his barriers. He’d assured her he was always there, and look. There he was right here at the end. She did the same with Khadi, who had always taken care not to leave her behind. She caught the eye of each of them if she could, ready to stand with them. Ready to die if that was the price exacted upon them.
 
Ghanima awoke, and with her, something inside the Mineborn. Lucky and Hadj seemed to feel it first. As for Zahira, she was transfixed.
 
The still-beating heart of Adramelech al-Sabbah pulsed in the Queen’s slender fingers. His blood first braceleted her wrists, then sluiced down into scarlet gauntlets. Triumphantly, their Queen showed all who gathered to condemn them exactly the sort of power they would confront. And she’d only begun.
 
Fist in fist with her siblings, she squeezed their hands and closed her eyes, letting their combined power spiral and focus on Ghanima. She gave her will, her Jewels and her life to their Queen in that moment, and let her plummet them down into the Abyss. They were pure power, each in their specific form.
 
The sputtering heart of the spider. The working brain in the Blackwidow. Khadi’s hands. Lucky’s muscle. Ghanima’s heart. She was the vessel for them all, made of earth and flesh and blood and sand. Of the dust in their mouths and in their eyes. In the depths of the Abyss, she cradled Ghanima’s body until it became her own, or until she lost her own to the Queen, the sum of their bone, Blood and muscle, their organ meat and nerves more than they could be each on their own. She who had never allowed herself to be touched merged with their Queen, and with each of them, as Ghanima used them as a focus for her spell. As they each became a note in the song, a thread in the tapestry, and soon a drop in the flood.
 
She lifted her face to the sky, lips parted, and tasted the rain. The tear salt of thousands, their Blood and their debts, she drank them in before drowning in darkness.

Offline Hadjara al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #13 on: Jul 30, 17, 09:41:13 PM »
Hadjara watched with anticipation as Nima studied them, eyes blank and uncomprehending as she stepped down from the platform and placed her hand into Hadjara’s.   The other hand brought the bleeding heart to her lips and swallowed the thickening life blood.  Hadjara watched her throat work, felt the power pulse and then the world narrowed to a pinprick.  The shouts and sounds of the uproar of the crowd vanished as she felt the bond of her siblings flare and coalesce into a single stream of consciousness.  They were together, finally and completely together and the feeling of all those minds and hearts together brought tears to Hadjara’s eyes.  Tears of joy and sorrow for the hard road they had fought together to tread to reach this point.

She felt Nima’s nimble hands weaving through her, the recognition of the Rose to Rose as her lost sister gathered threads of power that slid down into her Blood Opal.  It felt like she were drawing strands of hair from her chest, pulling them into an intricate pattern as she drew upon the power from all the others until she saw the rainbow cord pulsating in the Darkness, a line that descended farther than she could see and ascended past them all and up...up….up….

Hadjara looked up, her sight returning to the real world, looked up into the blinding sky expecting to see that cord but saw nothing...and then a shadow and two...and power rushed up through her, rolling up around them from the sands and beyond and the sky roared and rippled.   Others heard it and she saw faces turn towards the sky; Rania and Candace stood transfixed and then more and more of the angry crowd quieted as the sound grew louder.

Hadjara closed her eyes and felt the sky open.  A kiss of cool and then, splat.  Splat.  Splat.  And she opened her eyes, smiling brightly as the sky darkened and the Rains came.



Offline Ghanima al-Izar

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Re: Bleed Drops of Prophecy, Bleed Drops of Change
« Reply #14 on: Aug 04, 17, 06:34:25 PM »
She was the mine-born, the mine-crafted, the precious hope saved from the hands of darkness and death by some morbid blend of destiny and fate.

She was all these things, the Rose Queen who had been born to flesh and bone to tunnels of stone and salt, to iron and the furious wishes of mothers with cold hands and colder hearts, so distant they were stars that burned like ice for want of warmth. 

Old Pruulian prayer songs rose from her bones in flaking pieces, unwinding from her ribcage in a shadowed voice Ghanima barely recognized as her own; in flesh, they fell unceasing from her lips, growing from a murmured whisper to an echo that filled the chambers, rolling through the roots of the earth like a great turning beast.  The Queen cared not for what happened there, now, up where the stone heaviness of her vessel stood unmoving before a floating heart that still contracted, beating with the strength of her Rose, pumping a never ending loop of blood.  She cared not for the same mirrored blood that painted her mouth, her hands, the links between her and the bodies of the other mineborn becoming drenched in rain. 

Ghanima cared only about here, about this, about the weaving and the web, the spinning and the spun, the songs of earth and sky.

Only one strand, hair thin from each of them, rooted at the Rose that was her Jewel of strength, spider silk thin and each one potent enough that her slender fingers could break them all with a flick of her wrist.  She took them as far as each one would go, as far as they would ever go, and Zahira perhaps further than she should have, needing the Healer as their bodies faltered.  She brought them spiraling into an endless ebony wave, forgetting to breathe, forgetting the breath that united them: she forgot the sun and the moon as she went, letting the stars grow brighter and brighter until they blotted out her vision. 

Over and over, she wove the spiral rainbow web.  Over and over she spun, shuttling from one end of the Abyss to another, waiting for the moment the Abyss itself would be invited to live within the web, waiting for the paths to open to the Grey, the Ebon Grey.  The rainbow web kept her whole, sane, beating at her chest in a resounding, marrow-bending rhythm as she descended from each level of the Abyss to the next.



She held a weeping inside her like a precious thing, a fragile beauty, as she remembered how Saiph had sacrificed.



She held a silent weeping as she remembered their promises.



She held it and did not fear it, and walked through the final door of Black, and felt, strangely, a silent breath of welcome, a whisper of relief. 



And then the Black rose up in a tide, rising faster than sandstorms swallowing unsuspecting wanderers, pulling her deep into a well of power.

One by one, the other mineborn fell, drained to the brink of their being, their threads twisted into knots to keep them anchored, but safe.  One by one, she felt their spirits quiet, too far for her to reach as they fell into the safe arms of sleep. This was not for them to walk, these winding roads of no return given to her keeping, safe and secret as a prayer seeded in a flame of incense burning. 

But Ghanima was not yet safe.

The Queen closed her eyes, sang the songs of rain, of marrying ocean to land, and heard, for the first time, the voice of the dead earth opened up to her.  A living hunger.  A living plea.  A girl's soft voice:

"Ghani, I am Pruul."

In that moment, Ghanima understood, and she in her understanding became as the Mother and the Mother's mother had foretold, by Saiph's words passed to her in dreams: in all things defiant and in all things defined.  In that moment, the Queen understood, and she in her understanding became as the lover she had been born to be, and loved the land and the people, loved Pruul.

Here, in that love, all things gave way, and there were no other words written to the sway of windblown storms from across the horizon above.  Ghanima became the daughter born to, and returned to, the embrace of Darkness.

In Pruul, rain fell, and did not stop falling, even after the last of the mineborn standing finally toppled over, streaked with rain and blood alike.  She joined them in their slumber.




fin.