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Winter, 192 Years after the Purge

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Little Terreille / I'll bury you good and straight and right
« Last post by Shyloh Knight on Today at 12:23:43 PM »
This takes place after tear me down & if the morning don't steal our soul.
A face-off with death, delivered by the reminder that power alone is not enough to overcome every obstacle, was enough to cure Shyloh of her death wish. She was not eager to return to Mother Night, not after confronting the very real possibility. Shyloh wasn’t even entirely sure that Mother Night would be eager to welcome her, giving her even less of a reason to seek the dark embrace.

Instead, the mystery of Draven Rook haunted her. The man had interrupted her life to proclaim Hush his sister, with a ridiculous name of ‘Marigold’. Shyloh had detested the thought that Hush had a relation, born of blood and not of bond, coming to convince her to leave to Little Terreille.

Shyloh wished now she’d told Hush to go with Draven, had perhaps even gone with them. That way, Hush would have been alive, and Shyloh would not have to mourn the death of her each day anew. At times she forgot Hush was gone, even spoke to the imagined specter of her sister. And in the end, before Logain’s Court had been destroyed by a single Black Jewel, Shyloh had begun to think Draven wasn’t so bad. The man was dangerous and half feral, but in the weeks since Hush’s death, she’d begun to understand the rage that had fueled the Warlord Prince.

Shyloh had thought Draven would have been proud of her, thought that the Warlord Prince would finally have the time to bond with his sister, in the embrace of Mother Night. The foolish man had been so damnably excited to reconnect with his sister. Shyloh recalled how annoyed she’d been, watching the two talk of their lives, the simple happiness in those moments.

And then they’d both been killed.

And months later, she learned that some Darkness cursed person had donned the mask of Draven Rook and infiltrated the Territory Court. That was what made the most sense, but Shyloh hadn’t been able to figure out why Draven. Any other courtier would have made more sense, herself included. There were men and women who’d been far more respected than the half-feral Draven Rook. But, the other possibility was too painful to imagine.

If Draven Rook lived, he would never have let go of his sister Hush. He’d have burned Goth to the ground if he’d learned of Hush’s death. And worse, the man wouldn’t have left Shyloh, not after saving her life. They may not have been much, but they shared one beating, golden heart: Hush.

So, the question of who was Draven Rook haunted her. Instead of rushing headlong into Goth, ribs still aching and her plan to ‘figure it out’, Shyloh plotted. She wove webs that would defend herself against a Gray. Wove webs she thought may even defend against the Ebon Gray or Black, after all, hadn’t the other Widow trapped her with little more than great skill and a little luck. Power was important, but she’d learned a good lesson that night and from the nightmares afterward: power did not mean everything.

As Analeise, she’d hired an expensive private investigator. She’d told her father the money was to try to find those who may have survived the Court. She’d told the investigator that she was interested in a man who’d spurned her love. The Jeweless Blood PI hadn’t much cared for her story, but he’d happily taken the marks.

In the weeks that followed she learned that ‘Draven Rook’ acted much the same as the real Draven Rook. He fought another Gray in the streets of Goth (she’d not needed the PI for that, the news and gossip pages did that for her). But she learned he frequented the Narrows, that he walked the stomping grounds that had once been Hush’s and hers.

Though she’d felt pain at the knowledge, there was a small part of her that hoped the man was not an impostor. She couldn’t fathom why he’d forsaken his sister, but, Shyloh had begun trusting him before Logain’s Court had been decimated. There was longing to trust someone like Hush like she’d begun to trust Draven. Living the lie of Analeise was a lonely existence.

So she planned a trip to Goth. Her father insisted on accompanying her, to which Shyloh refused. She told him she planned to go to the ruins of the old Court, to visit the families of those who’d died. It was a remembrance tour, and one she needed to do alone. Randall, for all his love for his daughter, did not resist her. A different man, perhaps one of the long list of ghosts of Logain’s Court, would not have given in to her. But instead, she packed two bags and vanished the months of work she’d done.

Her body was ready, her ribs almost never ached unless she twisted too fiercely. She was stronger, able to run the length of Courtland’s city streets, able to climb and throw without relying on her Craft. And most of all, she’d taken out the books from her time in the Coven, had extended her arsenal of tools and tricks. The impostor would not find her unaware.

Analeise Montressa booked a room at one of the finer hotels in Goth, under her true name. There was no more hiding that the Gray Black Widow was alive, had survived Logain’s Court. The gossip columns had reported it, but by showing up with her luggage and Court ready dress, she had made a statement. She was not dead, and she was a free agent.
That night she’d left instructions to not be disturbed, beauty-rest she’d called it, and donned the clothing she’d special ordered. Atop that she donned jewelry, nothing too fine as to make her look like the affluent daughter she was. No, the pieces were silver and copper, made by local craftsmen in Courtland. And each of them held a web that she could activate with a word.

A soft-spoken word unleashed the first of the spelled items. With a Sight Shield and Aural Shield, she ghosted out of the fine hotel and returned to the streets that sung to her bones. She longed to reach out to Hush, to feel the webs she’d created for her sister to assure she’d be safe. The lesson hardest learned, power does not save all.

The Narrows

Shyloh is: Amelie Mullins

Shyloh entered the Narrows and let the Shields drop. The woman who stood in her place was neither Analeise or Shyloh, but instead, she was a woman based on one she’d known in the Coven. Her cover was that of Amelie Mullins, common-born Black Widow. Based on the most recent report from the PI, she would find the impostor. A small voice in her head told her to turn back now before she confronted the man purporting himself as Draven Rook. She had no backup, and this time she wasn’t just up against an extraordinarily talented Black Widow. This time, she would be possibly going up against a Gray Warlord Prince. If that were true, and the man truly wore the Gray and not some elaborate illusion, Shyloh would have a truly difficult evening.

The sun had set in the Narrows. The first bar she’d checked didn’t contain the man called Draven Rook, though she’d paid a silver mark to find out he’d been seen down the street. Following the directions, more akin to ‘find the one with the green sign, that bar’, Shyloh took a steadying breath and entered the cheap and dirty bar, the type of bar that Hush and Draven had once loved.

Her gaze skipped along the patrons, to make sure he was there. It hard to miss the man. If he hadn’t been the one she’d been searching for, Shyloh thought her gaze would have stopped upon him anyway.
Hell’s Fire. He looks exactly like Draven. A part of her, extraordinarily lonely since Hush’s death, wanted to rush to him, to tell him the horrible news. To share her pain and perhaps allow that pain to diminish some. It was a foolish want, but thinking the man dead for months, she understood much better now how Roland felt when he’d seen her return from the dead.

The surprise of him, even though she knew to expect Draven to be within the bar, only made her hesitate. Instead, she let her dark and potent scent speak for her as she turned to the bar instead. Confident in her illusion, Shyloh strode up to the bar, feeling the eyes of a fair number of the men and women within the establishment turn to her.

She was new, fresh meat. And as the rest of those Blood in the bar caught her scent, they would know she was not an easy mark. As she ordered a stiff drink, ‘whiskey, neat’, Shyloh did not look at Draven, she would give the Warlord Prince a moment to notice her. Though she wore the face of Amelie Mullins, her scent was entirely Shyloh Knight. If the impostor were for any reason truly Draven Rook, perhaps his mind controlled by some powerful spell, she knew he’d remember. He had to remember.

A mark exchanged for the wooden cup, Shyloh took a deep drink of the whiskey, the burn hard and a testament to how cheap the drink had been. It tasted like the memories of her sister, but she ignored them. Instead, she turned her body to those around her. Still, she didn’t look at him again, but she would in a moment. First, she’d give the impostor a chance, give him an opportunity to act first.

For her teachers had always told her long ago: the spider weaves the tangled web, slow and steady, with each action a deliberate act. Her dance with this man, she would lead him along her web like a spider until she was ready to strike.
Raej / Re: Warm the Heart and Cool The Sting
« Last post by Raet Neith on Today at 11:15:36 AM »
We are the Mother's blessed children and we carry a piece of the Darkness within and upon us.

A person could say what they wished about Syeira Neferet and her cold exterior.. but they could never deny that Syeira was devout.  Some believed her to be fanatically devout, and while Raet could agree to a point, she didn't see that as such a terrible thing.

And it eased her, to see the genuine warmth that her old friend graced her with.  Such warmth was unusual, even for the two of them.  Syeira granted her a few leniencies she did not grant others.  Syeira did not touch others, as a general rule.  But before?  Raet often was able to take her hands, to connect in a way that Syeira did not allow others to commit. 

Syeira's eagerness to help her commune was obvious in the warmth and small tone of excitment to her voice.  It was enough to make a small smile grace Raet's lips.  That, it seemed, would never change.  "We should eat first.  Otherwise your husband will likely be quite exasperated with the both of us." 

She took a deep breath, moving closer at last before extending her hands.  "I ask your forgiveness, Syeira... for my inability to control my temper as I should have before.  And for taking so long to visit you after the Priestess sent Lord Shingetsu away.  I did not wish to speak angry words to you that I would come to regret.  I envy you, at times."  She smiled, her eyes a little watery as she fought back emotion.  She was not going to turn into a blubbering mess on Syeira's shoulder.  She was older now.  She would find a way to handle this sort of grief on her own.

"I have been thinking..."  She cleared her throat, a little nervous.  "Your connection to the Mother of us all gives you such peace.  If it would not offend.."  She paused, squeezing Syeira's hands for a moment.  "Would you instruct me?  I have always found myself more at peace after you pray with me, and I.. I would like to continue this, even when you are not available for me."
Dena Nehele / Re: Hello World, I Am A Walking Disaster
« Last post by Ioan Rosu on Today at 04:22:57 AM »
Ioan had been in Bidea scouting some things out for a guild contract as well as for Toyani, as promised. Or rather, it was one of the smaller towns outside of Bidea, but it was all close enough and the same to him, really. Given the time of year, he was of course bundled up a bit more and had a warming shield up to combat the chill and the rainfall.

He'd been following a rather specific pair - a Priestess and a Prince - for most of the day, simply observing first, making idle plans to come back and gather additional information another day so as not to arouse suspicion. Neither of them noticed him, so for the time being he'd consider it a success. However, he was a little thrown off when their trek had taken them outside of the town, over the bridge and down the road a bit. It didn't seem that they were doing anything that was of further interest to him, so Ioan had made the decision to fall back and just turn around once they were out of sight and earshot.

Or rather, it was the plan until he came across an entirely different sight approaching from the other direction after he'd turned on his heel to head back.

Blinking several times, the Warlord was initially lost for words. A mud-covered Queen and - was that a pig? - her animal companion had not been on the list of things he was searching for this day. Apparently, however, Mother Night held something else entirely in store for him. "Lady...?" The temptation to ask if she was alright was the first that came to mind, but considering her current state he figured it would've been a redundant inquiry.

"Are you injured?" There. That was a more appropriate question. Pausing briefly, he expended a bit of additional Craft to extend the radius of his warming shield to the Queen and her... pet, before continuing to speak. "Allow me to assist you. Where are you headed? I can escort you." She wasn't his Queen, so Ioan didn't feel the instinctive need to help her, but given that he'd been blatantly standing out on the path in her line of sight to begin with, it would've looked entirely suspicious and unprecedented for him to merely ignore her and keep on going at this point.
Dena Nehele / Re: Whisper Whisper, Sinner Sinner
« Last post by Ioan Rosu on Today at 02:06:13 AM »
It was a wise move, and one he himself would've considered similarly had she not gotten to it first. He had no intention of running his mouth about his new Queen to anyone and everyone he knew, that would be foolish and far too dangerous - for both of them. Not to mention it would surely draw undue attention to her, and he didn't think she'd entirely appreciate that.

There was a small part that wanted to argue the point of being compensated for his work by her, but it was just that: small, and easily quashed. He did make a living off of the profession, after all, and while he was more than happy to serve her steadfastly, he wasn't the type to turn away profit when it was offered to him.

Ioan didn't move at first when she strode away from him, instead he let himself listen to her words as keenly as he regarded her visually, nodding along while she explained what he could only assume were her true motives for straying so far from her home Territory. He was both intrigued and impressed by her plans, it wasn't what he was expecting, but it seemed fitting based on her demeanor and what he knew of her thus far.

Finally walking towards her yet again, drawn in almost like a moth to flame, he paused about arm's length away when she extended the small flower out and handed it to him. Ioan studied it with some interest before his gaze snapped back up to Toyani when she continued. "I think it's an interesting plan. Impressive and ambitious, to say the least. And I think you'll have little trouble securing your goals if you go about them the right way." This was less flattery and more an objective opinion, based on his own musings at the moment.

Her request was unsurprising to him, another succinct nod of understanding was his initial reply. "You'll have the information posthaste. Anything I know, you'll know. Any new developments will be brought to your attention immediately. I keep a large quantity of memory crystals at my disposal, all containing anything and everything of import that I've learned over the years. You're welcome to it should you need anything."

The Warlord fell silent for a few moments, contemplating. "If I may make a suggestion. I'm unsure if you already had an idea as to where you'll be procuring your land, but I'd highly recommend Tulzbruja - the land is best there. Moesia is rough and yields the harshest winters with the mountain range there. Aechia doesn't offer much in terms of the land as it's more circled around architecture and being home to the upper class.

It would be good for connections though. I've made countless during my time and I've no doubt there would be more than ample interest among the Aristos as far as opium is concerned. Not to mention favors I'm owed by some, and other things of that nature."
Dena Nehele / Re: Whisper Whisper, Sinner Sinner
« Last post by Toyani no Kagen on Today at 01:32:40 AM »
Toyani nodded slowly along with what her new male had to say. It was a disquieting thing to find his voice so pleasing to hear. Were she not so certain of the bond she'd have thought herself spelled by him. As it were, this new and strange sensation was something she explored hesitantly as she took in the information he had to share.

Some of what he said was known to her, but the broader political landscape was one she would have to bear in mind. "You are a Shaos, Ioan. Do the Shaos take personal contracts?" She asked him with obvious intent, an eyebrow raised.

Yes, Ioan said succinctly, a nod added to emphasize the matter.

"Good. Then I will arrange for one to be drawn up for you to serve as an agent of mine. I both want you compensated and also to hide the nature of our Bond from others who might seek to profit from the information. One never volunteers knowledge of a weapon in one's possession to rivals, be they potential or otherwise."

She strode along the balcony away from him, her gloved fingers reaching out to touch the railing as she looked back to the wilderness beyond them. "The people in Dena Nehele are starving, Ioan. But I do not intend to feed them. One Queen alone cannot bring forth a bounty enough to feed millions, even if she wore the Red."

Turning to look at him across her shoulder, she considered him for just a beat -- weighing if she would share her plans with him. But the Bond told her that he was hers, that he would protect her, and she him. Operating in the dark would only threaten him, and the thought of losing him was...


Very unpleasant.

She slowly rolled her hand at the wrist, and as she did she conjured into being a bright red flower, a poppy. "But I intend to make their hunger abate for a while. I intend to give them the option to escape their terrible lives -- for a price."

Uplifting a thin eyebrow, she turned to him. "Do you know that if you offer a starving man both relief and pleasure at the same cost of an ill-filling meal, he will always take the former?" She extended the flower toward him, but held its gently so as not to crush it.

"After I acquire some land within this Territory to tend as my own, I will grow both the opium poppies and the rice that will be needed to prevent starvation and grow a foundation for a profitable drug trade. With so much unused land the fields will be ripe for use, and I can both practice the arts of the Queen as caretaker of the land and manager of Courts.

That is but the first step."
She nodded as he held the flower now, the future in the addicting little petal he held in his hand. "But there will be many more.

I will need you to bring me all the information you can on any, and all, potential threats to my plans, Ioan."

She paused for a moment. "I will make sure you are well cared for. I reward those who are loyal to me generously."
Dena Nehele / Re: Whisper Whisper, Sinner Sinner
« Last post by Ioan Rosu on Today at 01:09:55 AM »
Ioan would be lying if he claimed to not notice the way Toyani's touch seemed to be a pointedly fleeting and scarce thing. It was unusual for a Queen, especially towards a male that was Hers, but it wasn't a subject he was going to push or question without warrant despite his own persistent sense of curiosity on the matter. He figured she had her reasons and if she chose to share them with him at some point, that was on her. Instead he simply allowed his chin to tilt back downwards, his hands clasping behind his back for the moment as he continued to watch her.

"Above all others."

She spoke with conviction, but Ioan found himself neither intimidated nor concerned - what reason did he have to be? His parents had returned to the Darkness over a decade ago, he had no siblings, no other family. He took lovers infrequently and even then, the dalliances were short-lived. Even his oaths taken with the Shaos didn't break her word. The guilds served the people of Dena Nehele, and for all intents and purposes, Toyani was now a person of Dena Nehele. His loyalty was hers, he was hers. "Without question."

There was a small smirk that upturned his mouth when she parroted what she'd heard. It was blunt, but it wasn't incorrect by any means. "A perfectly fair assessment. My wealth of knowledge is entirely at your disposal, both as a native to the Territory and a long-standing Shaos member. Though I imagine we'd be here far after the party ends if I were to expound upon on all the details right this moment. If there's anything specific you wish to know or need me to find out, you need but ask and it's yours."

Ioan bristled ever so slightly when Toyani mentioned having her own enemies, but that was instinctual more than anything else. It made sense, of course. Being who she was and given her connections, there wasn't a doubt in his mind she had people who wished her ill, but he was hardly going to let such a thing come to fruition. Momentarily, his eyes drifted to her escort and he nodded, mulling over her question for a few beats.

"The other guilds would be fairly high up on that list of people to avoid displeasing. You'll know who's a Jack as they're fairly... boisterous and open with their allegiances. Sebastian Bane, Lady Vlas' Master of the Guard, is their leader. You needn't worry about the Shaos, I navigate freely among them and they shouldn't bother you. The Myos..." he paused a moment. "The most secretive as far as who serves them. And naturally some of the most lethal; trained assassins. Their members are generally only known among themselves and the Guild Master. But all information can be obtained somehow, nothing remains a secret forever." It would've likely been a painstaking task to gather those names, but he imagined it wasn't impossible.

"Naturally, Rilandra Vlas herself isn't one you want as an enemy, at least openly. She clawed her way up from Tulzbruja rather impressively. Somehow managed to weasel the Guild Master into her pocket," there was the slightest hint of distaste in his voice as he revealed that tidbit, clearly a subject of irritation for the male. "The Aristos don't fancy her, so there's potential for opposition there, people you could sway in your own favor. Her court is fiercely loyal, though; an interesting assortment of people roaming about in her circles. Milo Welvert oversees Tulzbruja. Notably, the district of Caecian there has no official Queen at the moment; 'ruled' by a Healer. Lady Pavel of Moesia, and Lady Cosma resides here over Aechia, though her activity has been minimal of late."

Ioan held his Queen's gaze with narrowed eyes as he considered who else she'd be wise not to make an enemy out of. Naturally, there were numerous people who could fall under that depending on who you were, but he tried to keep the explanation related to subjects of note. "Lady Vlas has a male in her First Circle. Prince Garen L'Voide. Many would let themselves be thrown off by his Yellow jewel and his demeanor, but it's a grave mistake to make. I would recommend simply avoiding him entirely if possible."
Dena Nehele / Re: the worst is yet to come
« Last post by Jeremiah Mercer on Today at 01:08:56 AM »
Part of him was concerned about this entire situation. There was a level of disconnect that was so much worse than the sedate feeling the Prince had given before. Whatever his presence had triggered, whatever it was about him, was quite detrimental to the Prince that was no longer so poised. If he did not know any better he would have thought Quertis drugged or otherwise.

Not that that was not necessarily true, considering whatever was in his vial was used to keep his darker urges - or whatever it was - under control and manageable. Jeremiah wondered, briefly, if he would have even been able to control himself had he been darker jeweled. If when his Birthright Ceremony had been performed by his mother-


For a split second his fingers twitched, then his entire body, and there was a harsh voice yelling from within. A hand pressed to his forehead, rubbing once and dropping as he moved to help up the younger Prince. Jeremiah was not even thinking about any payment or getting anything in return. It was, for him, about taking care of others and those that were considered wards of the Court.

"Do you need help standing?" asked Jeremiah, having not dropped the sight shield yet. The Warlord Prince was there, ready and waiting, to offer him an arm if he truly needed. Even if he did not, he would at least make sure that the Prince could stand properly on his own before he would retreat back a respectable distance. "As I would much prefer to make sure you make it back to your room."

An honest statement but then it was likely - still! - being seen another way. Jeremiah genuinely cared and it was, as always, something that he could not just turn off.
Dena Nehele / Re: Ink stained heart
« Last post by Gabriella Robles on Today at 01:01:14 AM »
Sora stood and smoothed her dress, perfectly pulled together as if nothing at all had happened. But it had. Gabri was sure it had. It wasn't just a dream. She had actually screwed up the courage to kiss Sora (!) and Sora had responded very well (!!!). But now Cezar and Marius were there, Cezar who liked her, like, like liked her and who she wasn't expecting to see so suddenly or find her on her knees kissing his Queen...

Sora offered her a hand to help her up and Gabri gripped it, thankful for the lifeline and also wanting the return of Sora's skin against hers. Even in front of her friend's males, she could not bring herself to release Sora's hand, her fingers intertwining with the other Queens as soon as she was on her feet and slipping in next to her, close to her body. Her hand crossed her body and gripped Sora's arm as well as her hand, like Sora would protect her somehow from the disapproval that might rain down on them.

Instead, Sora smoothly invited them to eat with the two Queens, something Gabri was fine with as long as she didn't have to leave Sora's side. Shy now, in front of Cezar and Marius, but feeling possessive of her friend all the same, she sat next to Sora instead of across from her as they all arranged themselves to eat. Cezar sat next to her and Marius next to Sora, which was a common enough arrangement for them but now Gabri knew why and once again she flushed a dark pink.

Cezar noticed and asked if everything were alright, which did nothing to ease her nervousness. Gabri took a bite of the sandwich she had piled meat on top of, realizing too late it was rather an overly large bite, that left her forced to chew for nearly a minute without being able to properly speak to anyone in the room. Her eyes flicked to Sora, praying silently that her friend could save them both from the intense awkwardness that was this meal.
Dhemlan / Your Day at Court is Here
« Last post by Klarika Campos on Today at 12:34:39 AM »
Cantabria District Court, Rio: Fall 192 AP

Klarika lay in bed for hours, just staring at the ceiling in a lethargic state. Dante had stayed out all night once again. He would return, eventually. The Queen knew not to expect his return until dinner at the earliest. She refused to let such immature antics bother her, at least outwardly.

Maximilliano had tried to speak with her half a dozen times; to rouse her from the nest of self-pity she had built. Attempts by other members of her family and Court had been similarly rebuffed. Just when it seemed like a hopeless endeavor, Andres stepped in and took charge of the situation.

*Great Grand-Infant, it is time for you to grant an audience for your people. Get up NOW!* The voice of her elderly Steward remarkably forceful and insistent.

Klarika grimaced. *Yes my dear Steward, I’ll be ready shortly.*

Without further ado, Maximiliano bounded through the door a bright smile on his face. “Sister!” He shouted necessarily. No doubt, he had been eavesdropping on her thread, as his timing was just too perfect. It was a wonder that he had not worn a hole in the floor outside her door with all the pacing he did back and forth.

Her twin extracted her from beneath the covers and spun her around in his arms before setting her on the dressing bench by her vanity. Despite her mood, Klarika could not help but be amused by his show of good humor.

“You wear me out Maxi. I might just have something put in your food after all.” She teased as she began putting on her prosthetic. In short order she had all the straps done and properly tightened, the process nearly second nature to her. Now she was ready for her attendant to help with the rest.

A soft-spoken Hearthwitch entered the room and set to helping Klarika choose an appropriate outfit. Sara had excellent taste and Klarika usually listened to the woman’s advice. Once the Queen chose an ensemble, Maximiliano moved to face the window. The one that boasted the best reflection at this time of day. Klarika paid him no mind as Sara added complimenting layers of silk to the pastel blue dress beneath. Simple jewelry followed, enough to show her status but not be overbearing. A softly coiffed updo finished the preparations. “It looks beautiful as always Sara.” Klarika said as she stood to look in the mirror. The Hearthwitch curtsied in response.

The Sapphire Warlord Prince offered his arm, an action he had been doing much more frequently as of late. Klarika gave a small sigh as she threaded her arm through his. The Tiger Eye Queen tended to make the best of circumstances even if they were less than ideal at times.

Klarika held her head up high as she walked with her brother to the public receiving hall. The assembled Court members stood at attention when she arrived and remained so until she sat in her seat and bid them to relax. A few choice members of her First Circle assembled to either side of her. As much as it might have pleased her ego to have her entire Circle and Court ladies present, it was a waste of their valuable time to idly watch her preside of matters of the District.

At least her trio of Sapphire males were lined up beautifully on display. Everyone needed to see them. Her Steward sat in a chair to her left, flanked on either side by an under-Steward. For being so ancient, Prince Andres still managed to appear alert and attentive despite the curve to his spine.

*It is always a pleasure to see you up before lunch my Queen.* The Prince’s psychic voice wheezed.

Klarika shot the old man a semi-serious glare. *Please tell me who the first supplicant is today, grandest papa.*

Prince Andres gave a hacking cough that lasted for several moments. A fit that resulted in more than one member of the assembled group imaging it might finally be the Steward’s time, but alas the Prince recovered shortly afterwards. Slightly out of breath, the Steward straightened himself in his chair and wiped his face with a kerchief.

*First, there is a natural Healer who claims relation to our family and seeks to reside amongst us.*

*Is she indeed a member of our family? We could always use more Healers here at Court.*

*Yes, not from the best branch but still a member of our lineage. She has been out of Territory for most of her life.* Andres paused. *I think she is seeking a quiet life.*

*Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that you are withholding something from me?*

The Steward rubbed the few remaining wisps of hair on his head. *I would like you to meet her first.*

Klarika smiled. *Ah. Well you certainly have my curiosity piqued. Send her in.*

The doors to the hall opened and in walked a disheveled looking woman. Her eyes roamed back and forth around the room before they came to rest on the Queen. The Healer took a knee, bowed her head and held out her hands. “My Lady, as a servant of Mother Night I humbly ask to return to my family and share my skills with those who have need of them.” Loreley said earnestly.

*Why does she look so old? I thought you said she was my age.*

Andres gave an involuntary snort. *My Lady, the road has had quite an effect on her. I think she could be an asset to the family in many ways.*

“Lady Loreley, please rise. I wish to hear of where you have been and seen during all these centuries away.” Klarika said as she looked over a freshly delivered plate of fruit held by an attendant.

The Healer rose and clasped her hands behind her back. “I served as a Healer in Dhemlan Terrielle to help bolster the Campos bloodline, and then came the Great War and the Purge. Now I have returned home to rest.” The tale of the woman’s life explained precisely and without emotion.

Klarika munched on a grape. “How fares our family members across the Gate? My, that was a terrible point in history, wasn’t it? If I recall correctly, we sent some males to fight didn’t we Prince Andres?” The Queen turning to the Purple Dusk male at the last question.

The elderly Steward hurriedly broke in before the Healer could answer. “Yes that is correct my Queen. Sadly only two of those we sent returned to us, the others returned to the Darkness. We still honor their sacrifices to this day.” The Prince rasped.

“Yes, I remember poor Uncle Antonio was one of them. Oh, he had such a time of it. He never really, fit back in again. It still causes an ache in my heart, having to put down such a brave man like a rabid dog. But after what he did...Ah...I really didn’t have much of a choice.” Klarika glanced at the Healer and for a moment could have sworn, she saw a dark shift in the woman’s demeanor. Yet in the next moment, it was gone and had the Queen doubting her own senses.

The Healer stared at Maximiliano. “I used to know a Warlord Prince with the same Jewels as you many years ago. It makes me wonder if he ever made it back home.” Loreley’s eyes traveled over the other two Sapphire males. “There is such strength and prosperity here in Kaeleer. Mother Night’s will is indeed inscrutable.”

The statement hung heavily in the air.

Klarika smiled awkwardly “She is at that. Anyhow, I believe your request is a reasonable one. I do not see any reason that would prevent you from re-joining the family. Please stay at Court for a few days and recover your strength Lady Loreley. I would very much like to hear more of your story.”

The Healer bowed once more. “Thank you my Queen.” Then departed out of the hall.

The Tiger Eye Queen stared at her Steward with a raised eyebrow. “So, where is the other shoe?”

A pale yellow file folder floated towards her. One velvet soft hand captured the documents and opened the file. “I don’t see why you can’t just tell me. Making me read it, ha.” Klarika’s eyes widened. “Oh my…”

“Sweet Darkness!”

Klarika flung the folder down, one hand over her mouth. “She really did those things?”

“Yes. That is only what we know of on this side of the Gate. I believe her skills can be useful to us, given the right direction. Though she should be seen to by a Widow for everyone’s safety before thinking about that.” The Prince rasped quietly.

“I...I don’t know about that.” Klarika stammered.

Maximiliano bent to pick up the folder but a snap of Purple Dusk whisked it back to the Steward. The Warlord Prince straightened back up with an annoyed expression on his face. He nonetheless returned to his place at his sister’s elbow. “I wish to hear of it later.” He insistently whispered in her ear. The Queen gave no sign of hearing his demand.

“My Queen, we have other petitioners to hear today. Shall we continue?” The Steward queried in a wavering voice.

Klarika smoothed her dress as she managed to regain her composure. “Yes, we shall.”

Dhemlan / Re: Just a pinprick
« Last post by Elena Barbaro on Today at 12:27:41 AM »
Her eyes half closed as he took in her naked form, and she shivered as his gaze passed over her skin, as if his hands were following that look.  He wasn’t even touching her but the heat of his observation grazed against her.  His voice wrapped around her, wrapped through her and heat and need added to the fog of pleasure already encompassing her mind.  Yes, better than any of Graciela’s powders for certain.  Mother Night, if he could do this without even touching her, she could only imagine the intense pleasure she would have riding him through the night.

His hand shot out and grasped the back of her neck, his hand strong and firm.  She liked that, liked a man who stepped to that line and knew exactly what he wanted.  Too many men were soft, who spoke words of power and strength but in the end never measured up.  Not Taxet, the heat from his hand against the back of her head seemed to offer her that always obtainable goal that seemed so far from her grasps.  She arched her long neck back into the grasp, baring her throat to him as she held his gaze through narrowed eyes.  Something sharp grazed against her skin, nails of ice down her spine in warning but never breaking the skin. 

“Yes…” she hissed softly to his promise to make her the Queen she desired, the Queen she deserved to be.  And all he wanted was his own satisfaction first, she saw it in his gaze, the way he stared down at her.  She might be Queen, but in this arena he was the Master and she was quite happy to accommodate that.  His clothing vanished and the scent of him rose up and captured her senses, making her mouth water to taste and lick the source of that spice.  Her eyes travelled down his body, a measured eye appreciating what pressed against her belly with growing interest.

His hand pressed down on the back of her neck and she fell to her knees without resistance.  Elena was no shy woman, she was well versed in what men enjoyed from her body and relished showing off her talents with gusto.  Hunger rushed through her, a hunger to please and to devour, almost as if she had been long denied the pleasures of the flesh and was now ravenous for it.  The hand that had gripped her neck slid into her hair, and she felt those fingers dig into her hair, holding her firm.  She let her eyes roll upwards to his face, a slow pleased smile crossing her lips.

Without saying a word, she set to her task.  Truth be told while some women saw little enjoyment in the act, Elena relished the feel of a hard cock in her mouth.  To be so close to the source of masculine power and to hold that power in your hand or between your lips, to control and give or deny the ultimate pleasure, it was an exhilarating experience.  Men might believe it was an act of subservience, but to Elena, it was the ultimate expression of superiority.

Her hand slid up and cupped the soft sack beneath the cock, her fingers molding and stroking the soft skin as her tongue lapped and played with the engorged tip, teasing the sensitive end with her mouth as she stroked the length with her tongue, savoring the taste with soft groans of enjoyment.  Then she parted her lips and pulled him in, her hand reaching behind to cup his ass as she slid him deep to the back of her throat, her mouth tightening around him before sliding back and almost releasing him, only to repeat the gesture. 

As she took to her task, and enjoyed the process as she explored the taste and feel of him with a slow savoring pace, she began adding pressure to bring him up and backing off with a teasing play to stroke him with her strong hand.  Looking up at him coyly through her eyelashes as she drank the droplets that formed at the head before swallowing him completely again and holding him there until she was forced to release him to fill her own lungs, she dropped her inner barriers to him, exposing her darkest fantasies and deepest desires to his easy perusal.  She liked excitement and danger in the bed, of being subjugated as long as her own needs were also met.  Too many of the men who came to her bed had enjoyed a rather tame, though invigorating definition of what bedroom skills were meant to be.  What pleased her about Taxet was that beneath the educated and well groomed exterior, his psychic scent whispered of danger and just enough pain to bring the kinds of pleasure she wanted.
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