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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: Why Kill what can be Broken?  (Read 203 times)

Description: MATURE, attn: Bashir and eventually Judiah and Fin

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Why Kill what can be Broken?
« on: Oct 03, 17, 03:17:23 PM »
Summer 192, shortly after http://www.bloodrites.net/pruul-42/break-me-shake-me/ and http://www.bloodrites.net/pruul-42/i-don't-hate-everything-just-most-things/

Elenor had started feeling unwell during dinner but knew better than to mention it to anyone. Fin was gone for a few days on business, and the other males who were working in her provisional Court had been busy beyond reason trying to contend with all the dissenting voices among the Sabbah who always seemed to pop up in greater numbers when their Dark Jeweled and ever watchful Eyrian Voice was away. She had not wanted to add to their concern by mentioning that she wasn't feeling well because they would have tried to fuss, and that would have kept them from their work, and the work of the Court had to come before every inconsequential ache and moment of exhaustion.

Lying in bed an hour later through, absentmindedly stroking the fur of her new puppy, head spinning and stomach cramping, she began to wonder if maybe she should not have put off finding a Healer she trusted so long. She could go to Judiah, but after lying in her lap pouring out her life story and all her secrets and insecurities to her, invading her privacy to ask for more help seemed like too much for one week, especially with her worrying about Fin when he was away.

Maybe a walk would help clear her head. The desert was so much cooler at night, sometimes descending to true cold. Yes, a walk would help.

Sitting made her aching head spin worse, but Elenor pushed through. Fresh air and contact with the land always made her feel better. her hair was loose from brushing it before bed, and she didn't feel like changing back into her day clothes, so she just wrapped a robe around her nightgown and walked to her door. Since she knew Fin would have her hide if she went for a walk in Onn without escorts, and two of her Second Circle Guards were still up playing cards, Elenor asked if they wouldn't mind accompanying her, trying hard not to let them see how much standing was taking out of her.

By the time they were out of her residence Elenor was starting to think that this had been a mistake. The world was blurring around the edges and spinning terribly, and her legs felt stiff as if she had run for miles as they took a path into the park that bordered her residence. It was nothing like the lush green parks and forested hiking trails of other Territories, but it had its own stark beauty, especially in the dark. Tonight, though, it was lost on her.

"Actually, I think we'd better turn back, I think I need to see a Healer," Elenor whispered, as a wave of vertigo unlike any yet washed over her, making her sway and almost lose her balance. One of her Guards offered an arm to steady herself, face concerned as he leaned in to look at her.

He was close enough that when the knife flashed across his throat, the hot, red blood splattered across Elenor's face.

She screamed or would have if a gloved hand had not slammed against her mouth, muffling most of the sound. Elenor flailed, but whomever it was that had her was bigger and stronger, and in the time it took her cloudy mind to remember that she had Jewels and could use them, her other Escort, too, was down.

*Fin!* She shouted into the Darkness, but even if he heard it, he was too far away to do anything, and there was something wrong with her Jewels, as if reaching for those reserves of power that had always been there for her required plunging her hand through thick honey.

"Let's go," the man holding her ordered, and Elenor froze. She recognized that voice, even though her muddled mind couldn't pin a name to it. It was someone from Clan Sabbah, though, she knew because the timber of his voice and the depth of his Green Jewels had been among the group that called themselves the True Sabbah when Fin had pointed them out to her.

Even though she knew that her Opal would do nothing against the Green, Elenor still flung up a shield, tight to her body. Maybe if she could just break free she could run and hide. She had done so before, although she hadn't been so dizzy then.

"Move." She was shoved forward, although the hand on her arm never lessened, and he did not pull his hand away for her to reply. Out of the shadows, three other males emerged, two flanking them and one leading the way. Yellow, Tiger Eye and Summer Sky. Why couldn't it have been one of them who held her?

She tried to struggle as they marched her deeper into the park, into the dark areas where no one would be walking so late at night. Each step became harder as her legs began to shake from the effort of staying upright. When she stumbled her captor chuckled.

"How are you liking our Black Widow's brew? Don't worry, it won't kill you. We have no intention of killing you. You're a Queen and have an established Court. Why destroy something that can be broken and put to better use?"

The blood drained from Elenor's face and even though she knew it was pointless, she began to descend to the depths of the Opal.


Offline Bashir al-Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 03, 17, 04:53:53 PM »
Bashir wandered around the tents with nowhere to go.

Eskandar had found his Queen. Just like he had always wanted to, dreamed about. Whatever. Bashir had known it was coming and had just held it in denial the entire time. He had really hoped that Eskandar would show up at Simin’s doorstep and she’d just send him away. Wouldn’t that be fucking awesome? All of those years, pining for her, and Eskandar just gets sent away, finally losing something instead of winning.

Except that, even as he thought it, he knew he didn’t want it to happen. If it had, where would they have gone? At least now, they had a chance of joining the Jinan or something. If that’s what they wanted. Bashir didn’t like the idea of hanging on Eskandar’s saddlebags anymore but he had no idea what he was going to do either.

This fucking sucked.

As he always did when he found himself lost and wondering where to go, Bashir found a spot to lay on a dune, pillowed his head on his arms, and stared up at the field of stars above him. They were gorgeous -- twinkling white and blue. One or two even looked a little red sometimes. Why was that? No one could ever tell him. Maybe no one knew. Didn’t matter. They were still pretty. And eventually, he would start to feel like they were watching him, silently offering their support somehow.

Silly, yeah, but he’d been doing it since he was a kid, and if Eskandar got to have silly little dreams that came true, Bashir could believe that the stars were watching over him.

“This sucks,” he told the stars, who did not answer. “I mean...why does HE get everything in life without having to try and I’ve got to wait for it?” He fell silent with his grousing but his mood said it all. He was envious of his twin. He wanted that same success, same happiness, same assurance, same purpose in life.

And he was getting tired of chasing it down so much. When was it going to be his turn to win?

Probably never. Bashir let out a sigh. Yeah, probably never. He was going to be stuck as some servant in the Court, shoveling sand out of tents or some shit, because no one was ever going to give him a chance.

He was still thinking that thought when he heard voices nearby. Great, people to come ruin his thinking, to tell him to cheer the fuck up or something. Bashir hoped they would stay away. Sounded like a few of them. “Move!” he heard one of them say sharply. He turned his head their way but they were still pretty far off. He could barely make out four...no, five figures. One of them was being led along like he was drunk. The oddness of that made Bashir roll over to get a better look.

And that’s when he heard: "How are you liking our Black Widow's brew? Don't worry, it won't kill you. We have no intention of killing you. You're a Queen and have an established Court. Why destroy something that can be broken and put to better use?"

Wait, what?!

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 03, 17, 07:24:37 PM »
Before she could unleash the power building within her, she was startled out of her descent as the four males stopped, now well out into the dunes and rock formations. For the first time since arriving here, Elenor regretted how close to the outskirts of Onn her residence was. Usually, she enjoyed being able to look out onto the desert, but tonight it just meant that she was further than ever from anyone who might be able to help her.

She was handed off to one of the others, and the one who wore the Green circled to face her for the first time. All four wore cloths over their faces as so many Pruulians did to ward off the blowing wind, but his eyes above it were a roiling mix of hatred and excitement. He stepped forward, taking Elenor's chin between his fingers and forcing her face up at an uncomfortable angle.

"So pretty and pale." He murmured. Elenor blinked repeatedly, trying to keep his face from splitting into two copies. What had they dosed her with? Once again she tried to focus on reaching for the power at her disposal, but it was like walking on greasy floors. It kept slipping out of her grasp, sputtering out before it could build to anything more than a spark. Even she shield was faltering, growing weaker.

"Whatever you're doing, it's not going to work. You won't get away with it." Elenor said, trying to make her voice sound defiant and brave, but not doing a very good job of it.

The Green Jeweled man laughed, then stepped forward, and began untying her bathrobe, and suddenly, Elenor understood the full scope of what was happening. They knew, somehow, they knew she was still a virgin, that her power still wasn't safe. Maybe someone had overheard her and Judiah talking about it or had guessed, but they knew. The comment about breaking her before took on a much darker meaning. He hadn't meant hurt her until she submitted. She might have been able to fake that, endure it at the very least, but there was nothing to fake about this. It wasn't just her Jewels that were at risk during a witch's Virgin Night, it was her mind too.

And with that thought, she started fighting. She kicked forward, but her aim was off and movements slow because of the drug, and the Green-Jeweled man just stepped to the side, ignoring all her attempts to get away from them as he parted her robe and reached for the hem of her nightgown.

They were out too far for it to make a difference, but without anything covering her mouth anymore, she pulled as much air into her lungs as she could and screamed for help. The sound was cut short by an open-handed slap to the face that was so hard she tasted blood.


Offline Bashir al-Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 03, 17, 09:28:48 PM »
Wriggling on his stomach, Bashir scooted closer to the conversation going on within earshot of him. It was still really hard to see who was who but the person in the middle of the group, the one surrounded and struggling to keep her balance, that was the Queen. "Whatever you're doing, it's not going to work. You won't get away with it," she said and even though it sounded drugged, Bashir could feel the strength in her voice. Like, real strength. The kind that tugged the heart strength. He scooted closer.

One of the guys laughed and stepped closer to her. Fooled with her...clothing? Looked like that. Suddenly, the Queen flailed angrily but none of her punches landed. The other guy just stepped aside, laughed. Man, that laugh. It made Bashir angry. What the fuck was this guy pulling, messing with a Queen like she was some street rat? Bashir felt himself bristling, rising to the fight. He was going to fuck this guy up!

But then, the thought hit him: these guys, they might be Darker than he was. They might be Warlord Princes too.

And he was outnumbered.

Think, dammit all, think! That fucking Trial of Mind had given Bashir the biggest problem when he was going for his khanjar and he cursed it again now. Think! What was a Summer Sky Warlord going to do against a group of guys who like this? There had to be something! He couldn’t just let them get away with this!

The Queen screamed. The guy backhanded her. And Bashir knew he had to act. Now!

It came to him like a lightning strike. Diversion. No, deception! Make it look like he had more than just himself. Somehow. Okay, how? Not by revealing himself, that’s for sure. Okay, so how to get their attention without really getting their attention? How to get them to get away from the Queen without making them come after him?

That last bit made him think of a game that Malika used to “play” with him. It really only served to piss him off and get him to chase her but in that moment, he saw a use for it. A real situational use for it. A little bit of Whimsy Craft, a dash of witchlight, a pinch of a power bolt, all aimed at the sand a few feet from the first guy and…

BOOM!

Sand erupted into a roaring plume, falling everywhere. And had the shock value that Bashir was looking for. He drew together another spell and aimed it for a patch of sand behind the assailants.

BOOM!

The third one was bigger, the fourth was bigger still. He started timing them, chaining them. Kept them going off at various intervals, spraying sand everywhere, obscuring the night even further.

It worked.

It was fucking working!

The guys backed off the woman, confused. “Yeah, be scared,” Bashir muttered to himself, concealing his words with another BOOM! of a shot. They started Shielding, looking around for the attacker. One even charged off in the wrong direction, shouting profanities in anger. Bashir quickly laid out a timed round of six explosions and took his chance.

Sight-Shielded, he ran straight for the woman the moment the first BOOM! went off. The second BOOM! gave him the additional cover he needed. The third and fourth BOOM! were meant to hide them both from view as his hand closed over her wrist and pulled her away. BOOM! number five covered their retreat. And the last BOOM! landed right at the feet of the Red Jeweled asshole as a parting gift.

Bashir couldn’t help but laugh in glee. He’d done it! A real, life Trial of the Mind and he -- oops, wait, better do one or two more just to be certain.

BOOM!

BOOM!

“That’ll teach those bastards,” he said, pulling the girl along towards the safety of the Sabbah establishments. He felt supremely victorious, having besting the pack of them. “Did you see that?” he asked the woman, grinning broadly. “Those fuckers had no idea what hit them!” Elation made him heady and it wasn’t until they were in the shadow of the tents that he realized she wasn’t keeping up so well.

He slowed, keeping the Sight Shield up. “Hey, are you okay?”

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 03, 17, 10:13:09 PM »
The Green-Jeweled bastard had just gone back to pulling up the hem of her nightgown when an ear-splitting explosion tore through the air. Elenor squeezed her eyes shut as sand sprayed all about them, and had just cracked them open to try to pinpoint what had caused it when it happened again.

And again.

The men holding her were looking about in alarm and confusion, then fear. Whatever expressions might have passed over what little of their faces she could see after that though was obscured completely by the sand that was now everywhere, gritty in her eyes and mouth but infinitely preferable to what had been about to happen. She wasn't sure what was causing it, but she had never been one to waste a lucky break. Two blasts of uncoordinated, but still Opal, power, and the men holding her arms let go with curses and shouts. Elenor stumbled away, ears ringing, only to have her arm almost yanked out of her socket as someone she couldn't see pulled her forward. A hand that was much less worn and calloused than any of those of her attackers.

Pulling her free arm up to cover her eyes, Elenor stumbled forward at as close to a run as she could manage. By the time the sand cleared and she was able to look around, the world was spinning much too fast to make out anything about where she was other than not dunes. Someone nearby was whooping and shouting in glee, but the words hardly made sense, and that was when her legs finally gave way, and she crumpled to the ground, coughing and wheezing.

A face, young, concerned...handsome... swam into her field of vision. He asked her something, but the sound echoed in her ears as if she were floating underwater. It was only by watching the shapes his lips made that she pieced together that he was asking if she was alright.

"They gave me something...I think...my head is spinning." Forming words was hard, but thinking was harder. She needed help...who could help? Fin. But Fin hadn't come. Fin was away. Her escorts? She reached up to touch the spots on her face now caked not only with blood but with sand.

"Thank you. I don't even know you, but thank you."


Offline Bashir al-Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 04, 17, 10:50:03 AM »
She really wasn’t okay, he realized. She had collapsed to the ground, coughing and wheezing. Maybe he had misjudged a shot and gotten sand in her lungs. And now that he stopped and could catch her face in what little light was available, he saw a lot of things that made him both weak and whole.

She was young, his age. Had to be. And not Pruulian. Just like him. She was fucking beautiful, even with the blood smears on her face. The color of her eyes, even though the pupils were wide with intoxication, they were incredible. A part of him felt a growing horror over the realization that those fuckers had probably been about to seriously hurt her, maybe rape her. It chased away the elation he felt over besting them. Who were those guys? They had been really dangerous! And who was this Queen? Why had they wanted to hurt her?

Aside from all of these questions, something else began solidifying within him, this...strange tactile feeling encircling his heart. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her, even though he knew it was risky and stupid to just sit there and stare. She needed help! "They gave me something...I think...my head is spinning," she said, her words slow and slurred.

Drugged, yeah, and that pissed Bashir off. Those fuckers! Drugging and hurting a Queen! He’d find out who those assholes were and he’d beat the shit of them again! He watched her gingerly touch the caked blood on her face and he got even more angry. Those fucks! Don’t mess with his fucking Queen!

Wait, what?

Even as he looked back in surprise on that possessive thought, there was something so...right about saying it. That tactile feeling of being linked. Leashed. Man, this was really weird. Okay, figure it out later. Get the Queen some help. Figure this shit out later. Maybe love at first sight really did exist? Nah. Anyway. Get the Queen some help, figure it out later.

"Thank you. I don't even know you, but thank you," she told him.

“Bashir,” he answered. “Don’t worry about it. And don’t worry about those fuckers either. I’ll protect you from them. Come on. Let’s get you to a Healer or something. Can you stand? Uh...which one is your clan? You got a place to go?” He almost smacked his forehead. Of course she had a place to go! She was a Queen! But what he meant to ask was where she was staying so that he could get her there. “I mean, where's your tent? You can lean on me if you need. I don’t mind. I’ll get you home, I promise.”

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 04, 17, 12:02:51 PM »
He was staring at her with wide eyes, and her spinning, shaking world settled just a little as she breathed in and met them. Instinctively, without thinking about it, because thinking wasn't something her mind was in any way capable of right now, she reached up and brushed a messy lock of hair almost the same color as her own out of his face.

As her fingers brushed his cheek, a jolt of recognition, like lightning in a clear sky, shook through her, so sharp and insistent that it gave her a second of clarity.

"You're...mine."

The words slipped from her lips unintended at she all but gaped at him, and wondered if she was just destined to meet every single one of her males while in the midst of a crisis or covered in sand.

Bashir," she repeated, trying the name out. It sounded Pruulian, but he didn't look it, not all the way. It was a good name though, it fit him. "I'm Elenor."

Her scattered thoughts coalesced on the next stream of words he spoke, trying to make sense of them. She looked around, trying to pinpoint where they were but having no luck at all. "Sabbah Queen's Residence in Onn...I don't...haven't found a Healer I trust, but you can take me to Judiah. She'll be able to help me."

The men that had taken her had said the poison wasn't deadly. Judiah would be able to keep her safe until Fin returned, Elenor was sure of it. No one would come looking for her in the rooms of her bonded male's lover, not when their friendship was something new that few realized existed. Knowing where to hide had been the tool that kept her alive for centuries. Hopefully, it would do so again now.

She reached up to let Bashir help her to her feet, hand tingling where it touched his and causing her to stumble right into him. Having anyone that close after what had just happened, and what had been about to, should have sent her into a panic, but he wasn't a threat. He was hers, Elenor was sure of it, even more so as she sucked in a breath and his scent -clean desert, horses, the open night sky- flooded her senses.

Then she remembered the important thing she kept forgetting and clamped her hands over her mouth. "My escorts. They were hurt badly. We need to find them."


Offline Bashir al-Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 10, 17, 11:47:51 PM »
He tensed, shied from her fingers brushing his cheek. And the moment they stopped doing so, he wanted her to do it again! For that moment, everything felt crystal fucking clear. Like he knew exactly what he was doing, where he was going, everything!

"You're...mine," she said.

Yeah, that sounded just about right.

"I'm Elenor," she said. For a moment, he was reminded of his mother’s true name, not the one his father had made her go by. She had been from Chaillot, wherever that was. Her true name had been Elise. His father had renamed her Safiyah but it hadn’t fit. She had never looked like a Safiyah. But Elise? Yeah, she look liked that. And this Queen -- she looked like an Elenor. Pretty. Simple. Fucking amazing without doing a damned thing.

She was really messed up though. He could tell. She kept looking around like she wasn’t really in the real world. He gripped her shoulders lightly but firmly to anchor her. Judiah, she said. Take her there. Who the fuck was Judiah? Sabbah’s Queen residence. Okay, maybe he could find that first and then find this Judiah. She stumbled against him, unsteady, and Bashir felt both a thrill and a fear with that -- a thrill that she was so close and a fear that she was so vulnerable.

Was this the torture that Eskandar had lived with every day after meeting his Queen?

No time to think about that. No way that Bashir was going to ask his twin that sort of shit either. No, he had to keep this Queen safe. "My escorts. They were hurt badly. We need to find them," she said suddenly.

Bashir’s brow crinkled. Escorts? Had he seen...no, he hadn’t. “Lady, I don’t...I didn’t see anyone but those bad guys,” he said truthfully. And if he hadn’t seen anyone but those guys and her, then there was only one logical reason for that: her escorts were dead. But even if they were just badly injured like she thought, there was no fucking way he was risking himself to go back there to check.

“Look, how about we get you to the Queen’s residence first and then...and then I’ll go back to find them, okay?” he suggested, even though he knew it was stupid. They were dead and she just didn’t know it yet. But she had already been through a lot and was drugged to boot so he didn’t think she would catch what he was trying to pull just yet. Besides, he needed to see her safe somewhere first. And then he could worry about other things.

“Come on,” he said, tugging at her to follow. “This way.” He had no idea where the Sabbah Queen residence was. Did his twin know? Maybe. Risk talking to Eskandar right now? That was another story entirely. She couldn’t have ventured far from it, he figured, in her condition. So it must be close, right? Dammit! He should have paid attention to this sort of shit more.

The man he stopped on the street to ask for directions looked at him funny when he barked out twice where he was trying to go but he pointed in a direction and Bashir took it, dragging a stumbling Elenor behind him. “This way,” he said, though he had no idea if it was the right way or not. Looked like it. The tents and establishments took on that regal sort of feel so he trudged on.

Finally, he was at a set of guard-looking people, with Elenor struggling behind him. “I’ve got you, don’t worry,” he told her with sincerity, before turning to the two guards and saying, “Hey, I’ve got your Queen here. She needs Judiah. Whoever the fuck that is.”

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #8 on: Oct 11, 17, 12:26:17 AM »
“Lady, I don’t...I didn’t see anyone but those bad guys.”

Elenor shook her head, looking around into the dark, trying to sort through the jumbled mess that was her recent memories. She had known where she was when she had been attacked. She could find her way back...or maybe not. Nothing looked familiar anymore. There were tents here, noises of people muffled and echoing and confusing. But she had to do something. Members of her household, of her Clan, were hurt and she was still mostly standing. She needed to at least try.

“Look, how about we get you to the Queen’s residence first and then...and then I’ll go back to find them, okay?”

His voice startled her out of the myopic train of thought she had been diving down. She focused back on him, nodding slowly.

”Yes...that makes sense. You’ll find them. You found me.” That logic seemed to compute, mostly, and she didn’t resist as he dragged her behind him through the streets. The lights were all too bright and the myriad of smells that on a normal day would have made her mouth water now just made her have to fight down wave after wave of nausea. EVerything was starting to blur together when she caught sight of a familiar landmark and looked up to see the familiar lines of her home here in Onn as they rounded the corner.

”That’s it. She said, legs wobbling with relief as much as the drug as they crossed the street and Bashir banged on the door until two guards appeared. They rushed forward, both speaking at once, but stopped when Elenor held out a hand. She didn’t want them to pull her away from Bashir. He had said he had her, and she believed him. He would get her to Judiah, and then everything would be fine.

”Don’t leave your stations. Don’t tell anyone about this until tomorrow except for...Fin. You can tell Fin…” She wobbled, and Bashir caught her by the waist, supporting most of her weight as she leaned into him, his scent enveloping her once again. He smelled good. She pressed her face into his shirt and gestured vaguely forward.

It felt like it took hours to reach Judiah’s rooms, but it couldn’t have been that long. The halls were deserted this deep into the night, but the moon lit their way. They passed by Elenor door without stopping, although she was sorely tempted, and with his help, she hobbled around a few more corridors until they reached a familiar door.

”Here,” she whispered, clinging onto him to keep upright as he banged on the door.



Offline Judiah Vidanic

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #9 on: Oct 11, 17, 02:14:58 AM »
Judiah had been drifting in a lovely dream laying by the lakeside in Hayll’s countryside, basking in a warm sunlight that didn’t threaten to singe or burn.  Fragrant breeze of the rich greenery flowing around her, enriching her as she soaked up the light.  Away from the stench of the city, the gloom and filth of the ditches that she played in as a child.  That part of Hayll she would never miss, but the pleasure of the fresh air, of sweet flowers and lazy afternoons - she did miss from time to time.  Not enough to regret her decision, never that but it was something.

Something jarring, pulling at her mind and she fell out of the dream and became aware of the bed beneath her, the satiny sheets and the slight chill of the deep night against her bare skin.

*Lady Judiah, it’s the Queen* she heard on the Rose by a voice she didn’t recognize.  Her mind was still half asleep as sat up in bed but before she could respond there was a vicious angry pounding at her door.

Without thinking, Judiah leapt from the bed without thinking of her state of dress or non-dress and threw open the door.  Elenor was there, hair dusty and mussed, dressed in her robe and nightgown with a blossoming bruise spreading across one side of her face and the hint of bruises that were starting to stain her arms.  Judiah reached for her, pulling her close against her and noticed the way the child seemed almost limp against her arms.

“Elenor!” she said in a shocked voice, seeing but also ignoring the man that had been standing in her doorway.  He was young, but they all were.  Perhaps a guard that she hadn’t yet met.  She steered the girl over to her bed, sitting her down before crouching between her knees, her hands lightly splaying over the injuried face.

“What happened?” she asked, turning now to the man still standing at the door.  Her golden eyes flared with fury, “What happened?!  Who did this?”   Her first instinct was to blast this strange male out the door with her Rose, a potential danger to the young girl in her care but only a second of thought told her he wouldn’t have brought her here.   A little more aware now, she grabbed her robe from the edge of her bed and quickly wrapped it around her own naked form.

“Elenor,” she whispered, “Shhhh,” she murmured soothingly as she brushed her fingers through her hair and noted the grains of sand that fell out.  Sand?  Elenor had gone to her rooms after dinner feeling ill, why would she have sand in her hair.

“Answer me Prince,” she snarled sharply.




Offline Bashir al-Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #10 on: Oct 11, 17, 12:34:08 PM »
The door flew open to reveal an older but still incredibly attractive -- and incredibly NAKED -- woman. Bashir was stunned into silence but the woman -- was this Judiah? -- was not. “Elenor!” she cried, dragging the drugged Queen away from him with startling speed. “What happened? Who did this?” she asked. Bashir could only stare at the curve of her ass, the line of her back, the...oh my Darkness, those thighs! And those --

Whoa, now, focus. Focus!

He tore his eyes away from the naked beauty that had taken Elenor to that sumptuous bed, who was now soothing her with soft sounds. Had to be Judiah. Wow. Okay, so what was Judiah besides really naked? Not a Healer, since Elenor said she hadn’t picked one yet. So maybe a maid or something. Black Widow? Maybe. Too many questions, no answers. But damn, she had a nice ass.

“Answer me, Prince,” the naked woman snarled at him.

That snapped him out of his dazed state. “Hey, don’t you fucking yell at me!” he shot back, advancing towards the pair. His eyes were wisely fixated on Judiah’s. “I just found her, outside of the camp, wandering around with those bad guys.” How the fuck did the Sabbah just LET their Queen wander around with shit escorts that got jumped so easily? That’s what he wanted to yell.

If he focused on what HAD happened, maybe then he wouldn’t get so distracted by her nudity. “They gave her a Black Widow brew,” he told Judiah. “Said it wouldn’t kill her. Said they didn’t need to kill her if they could just break her and put her to better use. Then one guy hit her, tried to do something to her. It was dark, I couldn’t see. But that’s when I got her out of there.”

Suddenly, two and two collided violently and Bashir paled. “They...FUCKING SHIT THEY WERE GOING TO BREAK HER?! LIKE REALLY, REALLY BREAK HER?!” he yelled, his hands threading into his hair in horror as he just stared at Elenor. “That’s what he meant, isn’t it?” he asked Judiah but before she answered, he had turned around, trying not to let panic take over. Panicking so soon over this Queen. It should be too bizarre of a feeling but he didn’t know what else to feel. Those assholes had drugged his Queen and were going to...going to...

Luckily, anger followed closely on panic’s heels. “THOSE FUCKS!” he shouted. “I SHOULD HAVE AIMED THOSE BLASTS AT THEM!” Not that it would have worked nearly as well, given his Jewel of Rank, but it would have made him feel immensely better. “Shit. shit, shit, I didn’t see their faces. Shit! SHIT! We need to find them, fuck them up!” He moved like he was going to rush from the room, intending to do just that, a mere Summer Sky Warlord taking on whatever Jewels had been out there, about to permanently hurt his Queen.

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #11 on: Oct 11, 17, 12:48:18 PM »
Elenor fell into Judiah's arms with a sob of relief. That relief quickly turned to confusion and fear again through as she dragged her away from the man who had saved and protected her.

As soon as the back of her knees hit the bed she fell onto it, eyes glassy and muscles weak as Judiah cupped her face, looking Elenor over with open concern and growing anger.

"I went to take a walk...wasn't feeling well...they knew, Judiah...I'm not sure how, but they knew I was still a virgin...they were going to..." and that was when she started crying. She didn't lean into Judiah, or seek comfort, just wrapped her arms around herself as hot tears burned down her cheeks and her chest heaved. Without even thinking about it she called in her Opal Jewel, right into the palm of her hand since she had never actually had a chance to have it set, and clutched it tight, trying to remind herself that Bashir had gotten to her before anything had happened.

Bashir!

She could hear him yelling, and then he was moving to the door and... "Stop." The command came out sharp and clear, despite everything. "Bashir, you will not go out there alone to find four men who outranked you. I will not lose anyone else tonight."

That was about all the fight she still had in her. She crumpled again, this time falling back on the bed and curling up, knees to her chest.


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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #12 on: Oct 11, 17, 07:35:27 PM »
Judiah stared him down, despite his rude sputtering of swears at her own angry tone.  It wasn’t until he began making sense, talking instead of staring at her with anger and lust in his expression did she look back at Elenor.  She gently tilted the other woman’s head up, murmuring apologies as she held open her eyelids and stared into her dilated eyes that seemed to be unable to focus on much, tears beginning to form.

“Oh my poor poor darling, I had thought we had more time to prepare you,” she whispered gently as she heard the Warlord sputter with the realization of what the attack had actually intended to achieve.  She rose up to press soft kisses to Elenor’s chilled lips, tasting the hint of blood that indicated the blow she received might have cause injury to her lip.

“Yes, they were truly intent on breaking her,” she said, affirming his words as she brushed sandy blond hair away from Elenor’s face as she began to speak in a low, detached voice.

“The walls have ears dear one,” she said softly, her eyes darting to the Warlord as Elenor spilled her closest secret to this male.  She wouldn’t do that, she was oh so careful, so Judiah gave the young man another assessing look, the way fury made his face redden but yet he stared at Elenor as if she were the most important person in the room.  She was well acquainted with that sort of look when Elenor was in the room, she had seen it coming from Fin a time or two.  Oh Mother Night, the pup was Bonded to the Queenling. 

Elenor curled into herself, sobs wracking her body and Judiah crawled up onto the bed with her, about to wrap her into a comforting secure embrace when the male swore again, swearing vengeance and began to move towards the door when Elenor stiffened and Judiah felt something sharp and hot crackle in the air as she ordered him to stop with that tone of command in her Queen voice.  It stopped the Warlord in his tracks and it made her own body still in response.  Again, that strange tone of command that made her stop and pay attention.  She would have to seek out information about this.

With that, Elenor wilted and balled up on the bed.  Judiah gently wrapped her arms around Elenor, hands slowly sliding over her arms as she whispered.  “Let him shield the room Lady, and then we need to get you out of these filthy clothes and cleaned up.”  Remembering how Elenor had panicked over a simple trick of Rose craft, she didn’t want to cause the already traumatized woman more harm.  Receiving the soft but confirmed permission, Judiah looked up at ...Bashir she had called him and said, “Aural and protection shielding around my suite please Warlord while I attend to the Queen.  You outrank my own jewels and she needs to feel safer immediately before we can calm her.”

As soon as he went about his task, Judiah bowed her head and began placing light kisses over Elenor’s tear-stained cheeks, gentle and probing before settling her mouth on the Queen’s, giving her one of those long, drawing kisses that she knew distracted and detracted from her whirlpool of fear.  “Come on darling, come back to us now.  You are safe and loved, protected from harm.”  She pulled her robe more around Elenor, hoping her words and her scent would begin to sooth her heart-wrenching sobs.




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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #13 on: Oct 11, 17, 08:41:06 PM »
“Stop!”

That simple word was a whiplash laid across his soul. He flinched, feeling it cut sharply. He stopped as though he had hit a wall. "Bashir, you will not go out there alone to find four men who outranked you. I will not lose anyone else tonight." Something about the way she said it made his heart lurch in his chest. Losing him. Losing her. There was something about that. He just didn’t have the focus to figure out why it bothered him so much in that moment.

In that moment, because he had been rushing out the door, he didn’t see Elenor collapse into a little ball, with Judiah encircling her to both comfort and protect her. But Bashir heard her say, “Yes, they were truly intent on breaking her.” And that chilled his blood.

The Queen of the Sabbah was a virgin? The fuck was wrong with his clan? Why had they let a young Queen still not past her Virgin Night -- oh, fuck it, it didn’t matter why. What mattered is that they didn’t fucking do it again!

Luckily, Judiah had a cool head in the middle of crisis. “Aural and protection shielding around my suite please Warlord while I attend to the Queen.  You outrank my own jewels and she needs to feel safer immediately before we can calm her,” she requested in that soft, sexy voice that probably drove guys nuts in the right situation. In this moment, though, it helped Bashir focus.

“Yeah, yeah, Shields. Shields, got it,” he said, finally at a much more sedate pace as he went to do as Judiah asked. He placed his hand on the closed door and poured as much strength into those Shields as he dared. For a moment, he thought about calling for his twin, Eskandar. Kandi would know what to do.

Then Bashir remembered that Eskandar was ensconced with his own fucking Queen, the one he had been chasing for all of those years. And bitter envy flared so he discarded that idea.

Once he had set the Shields, he approached the bed hesitantly. “Should I...? What do you want me to do? How do I help her?” he asked. If he couldn’t go beat the shit out of the guys who tried to hurt, he was now at a loss. At least Judiah had put on a robe so he wasn’t distracted like that. But the sight of Elenor curled up on the bed, crying her eyes out, made him...hurt. Fucking badly. He wanted to fix that and didn’t know how so he stood there with his fists clenched angrily, helpless. Fucking helpless. “How do...how do we help her?” he asked again.

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 11, 17, 09:48:52 PM »
Elenor hardly moved as Judiah curled up with her, lips pressing against her own, familiar, comforting scent washing over her. She passively complied to the kiss, neither pushing her away or deepening it. She felt numb, body and mind not quite wanting to connect, soul hurting. She should never have come here, should never have stopped running. There had been safety in her solitude, and it had never hurt like this did. People were cruel and would use her, that’s what happened to Queens. Useful to have, but only the way they wanted, never the way Elenor did. She should never have come. Never, never, never…

“Come on darling, come back to us now.  You are safe and loved, protected from harm.” Judiah’s words hardly pierced through the fog she was drifting in, but where words could not reach, the body did. The warmth of hers, wrapped around Elenor was a tether in the swirling fear and regret, one that glowed like the sun and slowly, oh so slowly, began to reel her back in.

”They were going to hurt me, Judiah. They’re going to try again.” Elenor murmured, as she heard Bashir move to the door but not leave. Obediently she allowed the other woman to pull her to her feet, then behind a decorative screen. With gentle, careful hands, Judiah helped Elenor shrug out of her robe, then lift the bloody, wrinkled nightgown over her head. A murmured question and a quick nod and Elenor felt a touch of Rose as Judiah cleaned the dried blood off her cheek and sand out of her hair. The Hayllian called in a cloud-soft and fairly modest nightgown and helped Elenor pull it over her head, but standing was growing increasingly difficult. Elenor had to lean heavily on Judiah as they returned to the large, luxurious bed. She sank back into it with a sigh. It smelled like the courtesan, but also like Fin.

They settled back down, and settled back to where they had been. Seconds later she felt more than heard Bashir approach. When he spoke she knew he knew he was asking Judiah, not her, but she there was pain in those words, confusion, and that need for direction drew at the part of her that was a Queen in a way little else did. Wordlessly, she held out a hand to him, and when he took it, she pulled, not hard because her muscles still trembled, but enough that he sat down on the edge of the bed. Shifting a little, still keeping contact with Judiah, she moved to rest her head on his lap.

A moment later, she felt his hand tentatively begin to stroke her hair, and she breathed out a whimper of relief and discomfort. Relief, because his scent pulled at her the way Fin’s did, promising safety. Discomfort because even good, safe touch was still more than she wanted right now, even if it was exactly what she needed.

She heard Judiah and Bashir exchange words above her, but didn’t focus on them. Time passed. The brew she had been dosed with coursed through her system, nauseating and starting to make her fade in and out of consciousness...that was until she felt the sizzle of dark power coming up from below the depth of her Opal, eyes flying open a moment before Bashir stiffened, and then Judiah.

Sapphire.

Fin.




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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #15 on: Oct 11, 17, 10:40:23 PM »

“Shhhhh,” Judiah soothed softly, whispering gently to the shivering woman in her arms as she lamented her fears of another attack, “they can’t hurt you again.  We will make sure of it.”  Even if she had to spend every single moment with Elenor when Fin or another trusted person wasn’t right there, she would live up to that promise.

She gently pulled Elenor from the bed, casting a glance at the Warlord to wait as she led her behind one of the decorative dressing screens.  She’d never used it of course, but it seemed to be something found in most of the ladies’ rooms and right now, Bonded or not, this Bashir was still too new to be trusted.  Carefully she helped strip the other woman of the filthy clothing, leaving it to the side.  She would ask Fin for a Black Widow of the Sabbah that he could trust, or if not she would contact Roshan and seek to find answers in what remained embedded on the clothing.  Cleaning her of sand and blood and wiping her face clean of the tear streaks, she called in one of her more modest gowns, a soft warm thing that she wore when she felt the need for pillow softness against her skin instead of silk and sensuality.   

Elenor was exhausted, both from her ordeal and from whatever strange brew was flowing through her.  Judiah momentarily lamented her lack of skill in the Coven or Healing crafts beyond basic healing, but what she could tell the brew would have no dangerous results but just a passive, numbing effect designed to render the imbiber unconscious or too weak to fight back.  The latter was evident in the way Elenor leaned into her embrace with barely the strength to walk.

“Rest now Elenor,” she said gently as she helped the Queen back into her bed.  The Warlord approached, the anger muted behind helplessness as he asked what he could do.  Before she could respond, Elenor reached out for him, pulling him down to the bed before she dragged herself the small distance to press her head against his thigh.    Judiah wanted to protest but it seemed to soothe her, the tremble in her body slowly fading so instead she moved herself behind Elenor and wrapped one arm around her waist, cradling her body against her. 

“Thank you Bashir,” she said finally, looking up at the Warlord, “and my apologies for my rude behavior.  Elenor is very dear to me and I was overcome with concern.  I should introduce myself, I am Judiah Vidanic.  Lord Fin al-Sabbah, the Voice of the Clan asked me to be a companion for the Queen and instructor her in certain areas.”  That was as close to the truth as was needed for now.  Elenor lay quietly between them, her breathing switching between rapid and exhaustedly slow.  Judiah wasn’t sure how long they lay in the dark, listening and soothing the distraught woman when Elenor suddenly stiffened, her eyes opening.  A moment later, she saw Bashir react in the same way and before she could ask either of them what was the matter, she sensed it too.

Dark, angry, a cold roar far beneath her in the Abyss.  She knew that power, had felt it brush over her from time to time.

Sitting up, but not leaving Elenor’s side, she looked at Bashir.  “Take down your shields Warlord.  Whatever you do, do not confront or prevent him from approaching Elenor.  He will never harm her, he is her Bonded as well and has the prior claim.  He is also a Sapphire Jeweled Eyrien warrior.  He could have your head on the floor before you got in a blow and that would break your Queen’s heart.”  Judiah pulled her robe tighter around her, placing one hand on Elenor’s hip as she faced the doorway.

When the door flew open, she gave her lover a calm look, her hand staying carefully splayed against Elenor’s hip.  “She is safe and uninjured.  He is hers Fin, as you are.  He saved her.”  Short phrases meant to quickly share the most important information that needed to be said as she waited for his reaction.




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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #16 on: Oct 11, 17, 11:05:47 PM »
Fin entered the room and found the trio together on the bed.

He did not snarl but it was clear that he wanted to advance and put a large among of space between the interloper and his Queen. Fin didn’t care if the male was the High Lord of Hell just then. He was too close to Elenor for Fin’s liking and Fin wanted to cross the distance and toss him outside on the cobblestones while he took stock of Elenor’s well-being for himself. Even Judiah’s words did not balm his anger as they normally did.

Fin’s normally endless well of patience neared its end.

I know who he is, Judiah. Bashir al-Sabbah, brother to Eskandar and Malika, son of Safiya and Husain, now joined to Nadira.” he said, his eyes focusing on the young Warlord who had his hands on Fin’s Queen. His hand moved to the daggers at his hip while his wings twitched behind him. Those wings wrapped around Fin’s shoulders, draped like a cloak over his back.

You look much like your mother.” Fin said, before turning his attention upon Elenor in full. Judiah was explaining that Elenor was safe and uninjured, but Fin barely heard her. Elenor’s fear was nearly palpable in the space between them, the same fear that had lead him to risk using Craft in the desert to take flight and speed his return to Onn when he felt it. Fin only knew that his Queen had been in fear for her life. Even now, surrounded by people who would protect her, she was still afraid.

What happened? Where are your guards? I will question them once you’ve told me what’s happened.” Fin said, his tone low and cool. He’d raised young women. A nagging voice in his mind told him that he wouldn’t like the next words that left Elenor’s mouth. All the same, he steeled to hear them. He would learn what happened, find the party responsible, and return them to Mother Night.

Tell me everything and leave nothing out. No matter how small you believe it, my lady. Tell me everything.

You will not be harmed again.


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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #17 on: Oct 12, 17, 03:41:47 PM »
Her hand extended towards him weakly. Uncertain but needing...something...Bashir took it, and Elenor tugged him closer, making him sit on the bed. He tensed in surprise but then relaxed in...contentment? when she rested her head on his lap. Did that mean she liked him? Well, duh, a Queen was supposed to like her males. So she should like him. Maybe it meant that she trusted him to protect her. He could totally do that. Somehow.

Tentatively, he reached over with his other hand to carefully touch her hair, which turned into him petting it over and over again gently. She had nice hair. It reminded him of his mother’s. Elenor made a sound and Bashir stopped for a second, trying to figure it out if it was a pained sound or a happy one. When she didn’t make another sound, he went back to his ministrations, confused but needing this contact still.

“Thank you Bashir,” Judiah said after a long silence of them wrapping Elenor in whatever comfort they could provide, “and my apologies for my rude behavior.  Elenor is very dear to me and I was overcome with concern.  I should introduce myself, I am Judiah Vidanic.  Lord Fin al-Sabbah, the Voice of the Clan asked me to be a companion for the Queen and instructor her in certain areas.”

“Nice um...nice to meet you,” Bashir answered, not really sure how to interpret her role in Elenor's life. But Fin al-Sabbah. He knew that name. Might have even seen him once or twice during trading excursions with his father. Thing had changed in the last month or two in the Sabbah clan, with Adramelech being violently deposed by the Mineborn. Bashir wasn’t sure how he felt about that. No one had really LIKED the old fart but the Mineborn were just kids like him. It seemed like an awful lot of responsibility and hope to place in the hands of them. But the Sabbah -- well, most of them -- now followed the lead of those kids, something that Husain had vehemently opposed. Bashir and Eskandar kept their own counsel on that, but Bashir had, of course, played the opposite side of the argument just to piss their father off. He rarely passed up a chance to do that.

He was still thinking about this Fin al-Sabbah when he felt...something...change. He tensed warily. Something was coming. “Take down your shields Warlord.  Whatever you do, do not confront or prevent him from approaching Elenor.  He will never harm her, he is her Bonded as well and has the prior claim.  He is also a Sapphire Jeweled Eyrien warrior.  He could have your head on the floor before you got in a blow and that would break your Queen’s heart,” Judiah warned him.

But Bashir rose from the bed anyway, interposing himself between the women and the door. And while he did take down the Shields, he said defiantly, “Like Hell he will.” Come at me, he thought. He hadn’t had the chance to beat the shit out of the guys who had attacked Elenor but if this newcomer was willing to throw down, well, fuck him and the Sapphire Jewel he wore.

Fin al-Sabbah stormed into the room and Bashir readied himself for a fight. He heard Judiah’s calm voice telling Fin who he was. His gaze never left Fin’s, defiant and young, a naive buck ready to take on the world. Bashir watched those wings tuck themselves back like a cloak as Fin said, “I know who he is, Judiah. Bashir al-Sabbah, brother to Eskandar and Malika, son of Safiya and Husain, now joined to Nadira.” A pause and then, “You look much like your mother.”

That blew the fight out of Bashir immediately. Shocked that Fin not only knew his lineage but knew his mother, Bashir straightened. “You knew my mother?” he dumbly asked. But Fin was no longer looking at Bashir. The Warlord had passed from the other man’s mind as he focused on their shared Queen.

“What happened? Where are your guards? I will question them once you’ve told me what’s happened.” Fin said, his tone low and cool. “Tell me everything and leave nothing out. No matter how small you believe it, my lady. Tell me everything. You will not be harmed again.”

It was Bashir who answered first, regaining his youthful defiance. “Damn right she won’t be harmed again!” he yelled, advancing closer to Fin. “Her guards fucked up, that’s what happened. They weren’t with her, or they got killed, or something! Either way, four assholes managed to get her drugged and dragged her beyond the borders of the town. You can fucking guess what they were going to try.”

Angry that it had almost come to that, Bashir thumped his chest. “I got her out of there before...before they could hurt her. They’re still out there though! They need to be found and have the shit beaten out of them for this!”

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #18 on: Oct 12, 17, 05:27:09 PM »
Elenor started as the door was flung open, even though she had expected it. She pushed herself up half way, hand flying to grab Bashir’s arm as he stood to maintain contact and maybe try to stop him in case he did something stupid and rash.

She had spent a year with Fin now, and not once had she had reason to fear him, but as he stalked into the room, hand on his knife and wings as black as night, it wasn’t his face that she saw, but those of the Eyrians who had attacked her when she was just a little girl.

Their eyes glowed like the eyes of wild animals, but a thousand times more deadly. She clutched her Rose Jewel, heart thundering, the hands of the Priestess on her shoulders bony and tight as Elenor backed into her and looked up. Gone was the encouraging smile she had worn during her Birthright and in it’s place was only greed.

“I told you I found the missing little Queen. Dena Nehele is willing to pay richly for her return, but you offered double so she’s yours.”

“You’ll have your money, and may you rot with it. Now give us the girl.” One of the men in the dark growled, although she could not tell which one.

Confused, scared, Elenor tried to pull away but the hands at on her shoulders became vice-like. As she began to struggle, one of the Eyrians, Yellow Jewel flashing in the night, lunged at her and she screamed. A blast of raw, unpracticed Rose power exploded out of her, sending Eyrian and Priestess stumbling back and Elenor ran.


She was jolted out of the memory when she heard his voice. It pierced through the fog just as Bashir’s had, giving her a moment of clarity as Bashir filled Fin in on the bare bones of what had happened. That wouldn’t be enough though, she knew that.

”Fin, come here.” She ordered, not having the energy to mince her words or dance around what she needed. As soon as he was within arm’s reach she let go of Bashir and grabbed Fin’s hand with her own. His calloused palm was warm against her clammy skin, and the touch so welcome she almost started crying again.

*Take what you need.* Mind to mind, skin to skin, knowing full well that he was about to find out her secret in the worst possible way but not having the energy to convey it in any other, she opened the first of her inner barriers to him. Memories of the last few hours floated near the top, but she realized too late that she had not thought to shield what his arrival had brought up either. *It was a momentary fright, Fin. I’m not scared of you. I never have been.*


Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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    • pd2sapphire
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      Voice of Clan Sabbah

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Re: Why Kill what can be Broken?
« Reply #19 on: Oct 13, 17, 11:44:40 PM »
Fin’s patience was fraying. Bashir was still talking. He appreciated the young man’s devotion to their Queen. He even understood his desire to protect her, to defend her against anyone he saw as an interloper. Those feelings were a credit to him and a credit to the desire that Elenor inspired within him. But the boy’s constant profanity grated on Fin’s nerves with each passing second. Fin’s hands, already near his knives, resisted the urge to fling said knife at the boy’s head and un-man him in front of Elenor. But his yap, yap, yapping like some insolent puppy was sharpened nails scraping against Fin’s bones.

If he didn’t shut the fuck up, and soon, Fin would break his jaw.

 His attention shifted, imperceptibly, toward Bashir and the soft space he knew existed beneath the young man's sternum, right beneath his shirt. A dagger blade, buried to the hilt, would quiet him for eternity. It would horrify Judiah and Elenor, but the immediate silence would let Fin think.

Elenor’s voice, soft as it was, was a crack of thunder across the plains.

Fin, come here.

No one had commanded him to do anything in centuries. Even when he was Master of the Guard, Fin carried out his duties quickly and efficient, but it never escaped him that the previous Voice of the Clan always couched his desires as requests rather than orders. Elenor’s tone, soft as it was, grasped at something primal, something hungry in the back of his mind, and brought it to heel with just three simple syllables.

He crossed the distance between them, Judiah and Bashir forgotten unless either of them attempted to bar him from reaching Elenor. He would not hurt Judiah, ever, but he could not turn aside from his Queen to see to her. Not in this moment.

Bashir would fare worse if he even looked like he was attempting to bar him from Elenor’s side.

He knelt before Elenor extended his hand, letting her touch him as needed. Her fear was cloying, almost suffocating, but Fin did not turn away from it. He let her touch him so that she understood that he was here for her as he’d promised. The people responsible for this had waited until he was out of sight to attack her. Her guards had either failed her through inaction or given their lives in her service. Men that he’d watched grow from children to adults had served his Queen and possibly fallen in her defense. He would learn the truth.

He would learn tonight.

When Elenor bade him to take what he needed, his brow furrowed in confusion. Then she lowered her barriers, opening her mind to him. Only twice prior to this night had he engaged in such intimate exchange, and one of those times was with Judiah. Elenor showed him memories, showed him her recollection of the attack.

The males who attacked her were now known to him, at least by their jewels. They will pay.

Moving further back, he saw Lucky coming to the house with...with a dog. He’d come here, been close, too close to Elenor. He tolerated Lucky’s antics most days but the idea of Warlord Prince near Elenor made Fin want to reach into Lucky’s stomach and pull his guts out through his ass, then bind his wrists and drag him across Pruul for coming near what was his. Elenor would feel the momentary spike of anger upon seeing that memory and know that Fin would speak with Lucky soon enough about respect for a Queen.

You’re a virgin?

Confusion assailed Fin once more. Lucky’s snarl, the sheer temerity of his question made the Eyrien want to find him and punch the Warlord Prince into the dirt until he was nothing more than smear on the streets of Onn. But that was secondary to the shock that took root as he Elenor practically confirmed it and demanded her guards keep her secrets. Lucky was many things, but he wasn't loose-lipped. That left the breach of trust to her guards. Information that could have been tortured, bribed, or otherwise coerced from them in order to…

Fin grew deathly still.

The two of you,” he said without preamble, “are to remain with Lady Lirion until I return. I will be back before sunrise.

Lady Lirion, you are to remain here for the time being. We will speak upon my return.
” Fin said, rising from position, gently withdrawing from inside of his Queen’s barriers. A deep, cold anger settled into Fin’s heart. He did not care how they begged or pleaded; the men responsible for attack Elenor would be found, broken, and slain. He would not rest until he located them and eliminated them.

The anger helped him focus.

It drove back the realization that he’d nearly lost her tonight.

 

 

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