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Winter, 192 Years after the Purge

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Established February 2010
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Dena Nehele / Re: Becalm the wandering mind
« Last post by Erika Armistead on Today at 10:38:09 PM »
Erika had been unsettled by the joke originally, but now she smiled and clinked her glass against his. She took her seat and called in the neatly-organized and stapled stack of receipts. "I made copies," she said, and when she said copies she did mean copies. Hers had taken concentration, unlike Val's, and time. Nor were the copies she handed him as perfect as his own would have been. Then, he had a caste inclination to the work, and years of practice that she didn't. She intended to catch up, if only because then she could be of more use.

"I know," she said, "I told Lady Moon that we were concerned about it, but she insisted. She says her father serves in the Tacean Territory Court and can find someone to send for her."

Ji Yoon hadn't said any such thing, but she'd left the letter out while answering the door. Erika read it she'd been working on in the three minutes Ji Yoon had taken to send her caller there away. It didn't seem unlikely; the Healer had also referenced a brother who was in Shalador. Erika had sent her own inquiries about that through channels that she'd never mention to Val, not for love nor money. Suffice to say, the Tacean witch was... interesting... to Erika. Why would someone so evidently connected come to Dena Nehele, which was a hellhole?

She was quite happy to sit and wait in silence for Val to finish his notes. She was less happy when the focus of the conversation turned to herself. "Aechia," she said, which was rather less specific than he might have wanted. "My father served as First Escort to a Yellow-Jeweled Queen there. When he... passed..." She shrugged uncomfortably. "And the Queen died, I came to Bidea with my brother," who was conveniently no longer around to ruin her lie, "and I needed a career... I'd always liked numbers. I used to help my mother inventory her Healing stocks, before she died. Anyway... My brother got me lessons, and I was in the right place at the right time for my teacher to recommend me to the Third Circle when Gavril Conta was Consort."

Erika paused for a moment, and then added in quieter tones, "And my brother was the Head of the Hourglass at the time. I suppose that helped." It certainly hadn't hurt. But the Steward who had hired her was long gone, and no one could say either way.
Common Grounds / Re: The .gif Game, Part IV: THE RETURN
« Last post by Ciprian Voda on Today at 10:28:50 PM »

...from safely outside of the DN murderyness.
Dea al Mon / Re: dismal Situation waste and wilde
« Last post by Hearsay Elerbeck on Today at 10:25:02 PM »
Hearsay could have kept himself clean. He could have but then he never really thought about the bits of the forest that clung to him as not being part of him. Nature was home when home had never been anything of the store. Trees were sibling when Brevity had never wanted anything to do with him. These things were part of him and he was part of them. It had been a simple fact of life, much like that he had no place within the life others had.

Eyes flicked towards her hand, that instinctive desire to flinch kept at bay because of the moment. Something very clearly hummed between them, a connection that jolted through them both as she cleaned away dirt with the pad of her thumb and revealed fair skin. Hearsay tilted his head towards the hand, nearly nuzzling into it for the need for simple affection overwhelmed everything else.

He wanted to hear her speak, waited on bated breath for it to happen, and was not disappointed when he heard her voice. It felt right, sounded right, and everything - for the first time ever, it seemed - appeared that it would go well. A breath was released, one he did not realize he was holding, when she agreed with him and he heard her name. It was fitting, he thought, that she would be named Epiphany.

Wasn't that what this very moment was?

It was second nature to open himself to the emotions of those around him but this was a pinpoint of focus. Epiphany's feelings were a mess, all over the place, and a steady beat of mine mine mine that nearly drowned out everything else. Restraint was there, as if she holding herself back. From what, he could not say, her scent was sharp and overpowering everything else around them.

Every emotion from her was welcomed and felt deep within him, nearly echoed. From the relief to the care and even that sharp, bright spike of hope. Hearsay felt it all as sure as it was his own feeling but it was that fear that made him pause. Made his head duck, nose pressed to the center of her palm and watch her out of the corner of his eye. Underneath all the bits of the forest, the leaves and bark and pollen, was him.

"Hearsay," spoken softly; then repeated, "my name is Hearsay." The words were breathed out, against the skin of her wrist. His hand came up to curl around hers and hold. To catch and have this one moment because he did not know if he would have more than that. Everything said mine mine mine now but would it last? There was no point in drawing it out, his craft fading as he stopped masking that last bit of his presence.

"You would keep me, Epiphany?" he asked in a soft voice, fingers tangling with hers and squeezing. There was more meaning to that question than she would realize immediately but she would understand soon enough. Hearsay did not want to let go, it would break his heart to have something like this and then lose it, but he steeled himself for it. For another ache that he would have to carry with him forever. With nothing in place, no masking, Hearsay knew she would notice sooner rather than later. The moments ticked by as hope burned not just in Epiphany but Hearsay as well. A hope that he did not want to have die.
Pruul / Re: That Which Is Truly Important
« Last post by Adavera al-Jinan on Today at 10:10:37 PM »
She listened to the emotion in Matin's voice... and after a moment, reached out to set her fingers to his wrist.  Nothing grabby, nothing too forward.  But enough for him to know she SAW... she understood.  Maybe not WHY it affected him so, but the why wasn't so important.  Perhaps he had been close friends with the girl's parents.

That was more likely, truth be told.

She was not a monster.  She was many things, but she was not a monster.  She would never throw a child, who had already been declared innocent and thus worthy of life, into the cold cruelty of abandonment and neglect.  She might be just fine with the idea of killing off Geiba as young as nine, at the time it had happened, but that didn't mean she was going to advocate for the abandonment of those who had been deemed too young to pay the price for the sins of their Clan.

I have some awareness of the difficulties you have with the memory of the Geiba...

Her jaw clenched, fingers withdrawing in that moment.  Torin even straightened, and for the first time since the day of the Riot, she felt his anger start to bleed into the air.  She raised a hand, catching Torin's attention.  And quiet as the first whisper of a sandstorm... she told him to leave.  They both knew why.  If both of them lost their temper, this meeting would be a disaster.

It was only as Torin went into the other room that she fixed her gaze on Matin, narrowing her eyes.  "I have heard that statement more times than you can imagine, Prince... and now, just as before.. those who say those words have no f.. idea what they are talking about."  She kept her voice low, as even as she could.  But her hand dropped to her leg anyways, remembering all too well the pain of that cave in.

Remembering all too well the pain of Overseers and their cronies tearing into her in order to sate their lusts within her flesh.  She locked that thought away, barred it beneath weaves of discipline.  Matin al-Sabbah had not meant offense, she was certain.  But the Geiba? They were not a subject that was safe to discuss with her.

"The things the Geiba did would give you nightmares, as they have me and every other survivor of their cruelty.  For this, I will ask that you kindly ... not mince words when it comes to them.  'Difficulties' with their memory?"  She leaned forward, looking him in the eye.  "I will be haunted by them until the day I die... and I might live a very long time indeed.  Taisha is innocent of their crimes, and I will raise her to honor her past, and her future.  But I can not, and will not, tolerate people minimizing my 'difficulties' with her clan of origin."

She took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment to regain her sense of calm.  Like a blanket being thrown over a horse, she used breath and thoughts of Torin to calm the Rage that froze her blood.  "It is the very reason I requested you, rather than take her to the Sabbah encampment myself.  I have..."  She forced a hard smile.  "History... with some of the Sabbah.  Some who would very much like to try to rile my temper."

Her eyes cracked open again, studying him.  "And as we can both see... in this subject, my temper is easily raised.  I thought it best to approach someone who might be willing to help find a way around... that issue.  I would love for Taisha to play with those that can understand her.  I would love to ensure that she has a connection to those who will not judge her."

She held up a finger.  "I cannot say that I am capable of ignoring my past to play nice with those who would be all too willing to lay a blade against my throat... but then I have never been the sort to obfuscate or dance around the truth, have I?  You, at least... are trying to not be angry with me."  Her lips turned up in a genuinely amused smile, brow arching as if challenging him to deny her words.

"Be honest, Matin al-Sabbah.  Were it not for Taisha, would you have anything to do with me at all?"  She was fairly certain she knew the answer.  The True Sabbah were Elenor's problem, this much was truth... but they were also Adavera's.  After all, it had been her words and her pain that had riled the crowd enough to bring Adramalech's power down.  It had been her willingness to stand first, and tell him to shove it, that had quite possibly crippled the Sabbah's supremacy in the current age of Pruul.

It could be argued that the Jinan's distaste for the Sabbah was helping to contribute to the ongoing distaste for the Clan in the eyes of hte public - and that argument would not be entirely incorrect.  The True Sabbah had reason to hate her - and she was willing to acknowledge it.  She just... didn't care.
Dea al Mon / Re: Make Me Numb, Make Me Feel
« Last post by Sabre Tinuron on Today at 10:04:52 PM »
Sabre paced the corridors.

He was still on alert, his nerves tight and tense even after they arrived at Glory Glade and were shown to their respective rooms.  He had indulged in the availability of a scalding hot shower and some food, before throwing himself into his bed hoping for sleep.  Sleep elluded him, haunting him with dreams of mad dashes on the back of a rabid horse while the trees of the woods seemed to reach out for him and in the distance he could hear the call of Ria begging him for help and just as he seemed to reach her, just as he could almost see a glimpse through the trees, he would break through the forest and she was gone.

He had woken in a damp sweat and sought another shower, this one cold and bracing.  He just stood under the spray until his teeth began to chatter before finally shutting off the water and drying off.   Instead of attempting sleep again, he did a full workout complete with the slow, precise formations that he had learned in the Guard, each movement a fluid partnership of will and muscle.  When he had finally come back to his senses, he had felt the sun on his skin coming through the window. 

Focused at least by his exercises, he joined Willow at breakfast, a silent member of the table as some woman who spoke far too much and far too fast for his temper to handle was chattering excitedly to Willow about the developments and news that was filtering in about the Brood attack.  He listened passively, mostly for news of the Coven and perhaps even of Ria.

He rose silently from the table, unable to stomach the chatter any longer without launching something at the woman’s head, choosing instead to walk the corridors of their lodgings as he tried to use movement to chase away his thoughts and worries but his mind was too well trained, too used to remaining focused until a problem was resolved.

He needed a distraction, even for a few hours, time to give his mind a chance to rest and recover.  Rest would help restore clarity that adrenaline and a flight response had robbed from him.  So he went to the one person he was certain would have something he could use.

Normally Sabre was not a man who indulged in anytihng that fuzzed his senses, preferring a clear mind over unfocused bliss but if he didn’t find a solution and soon, a wrong word or a wrong glance might have repercussions that would warrant no excuse.  He returned to the direction of the rooms that they had been given, passing by his own to the next door.  Adjacent but not connected, he had to knock on the corridor for admittance.  Granted he could have simply passed through the wall between the two rooms, but it probably wouldn’t be wise to attempt such things on the chamber of a Black Widow, even one who seemed constantly in another world.

He knocked once and heard a faint giggle from the other side.  A momentary pause with his hand raised had him wondering if perhaps Willow hadn’t found some wiling member of the male staff to entertain herself for an hour or two but he hadn’t see any males sniffing around her during the morning meal.   He waited and listened and when he didn’t hear anything that served as evidence to that fact, he knocked again.

Nothing.  But he could hear something on the other side, though it was so faint he wasn’t sure.  Perhaps she just didn’t want to be disturbed and if so, he should respect her need for solitude and privacy.  He almost walked away at that moment, almost decided to return to his own room and seek out some sort of solace in sleep but his hand closed on the handle of the door and not sensing any sort of shielding or craft, he knocked again with his free hand testing the door.

It wasn’t locked and so before he could be refused and turned away, he slowly opened the door an inch.  “Lady Willow, it’s Sabre.  I wanted to speak to….”

The scent hit him like a blow to the stomach, a blow that went straight to his cock.  He inhaled the sweet scent a second time, breathing in great lungfuls and the fire that raced through him was insane.  Without invitation, he stepped completely into the room and shut the door behind him, eyes widening at the sight on the bed.

A robe that was barely covering a writhing, naked and aroused body beckoned to him like a seductress and he groaned softly, his pants becoming extremely uncomfortable.  The room was filled with a haze that he absorbed with every breath, the air suddenly very warm.  Too warm.  Like stepping fully clothed into a sauna.  His mind screamed to turn around and leave before it was too late but…

Mother Night, it had been so very very long since he had enjoyed the feel of a woman beneath him.  All those long months, almost a year now, he had denied advances and invitations from all of the Coven, all in the hope from one word from Ria and she was gone.  Sorrow, grief and lust combined in a hungry vicious monster that overrode all of his self control and he advanced on the bed, dropping his shirt in the short distance before falling atop her, his mouth bruisingly hard against her throat as he pistoned between those welcoming thighs showing her wordlessly what he was willing and ready to offer.
Dena Nehele / Excellence
« Last post by Minerva Tailor on Today at 10:03:31 PM »
Usually, when Minerva dressed to meet a man, she dressed to advantage. What advantage generally depended upon the man in question. Was he the sort to be swayed by cleavage? Did he prefer to think of women as innocent, docile creatures that required his protection? Was she there to win him to her side? Or was she there to make him win her support? For better or for worse, Milo Welvert was already--well, not on her side. Not really. But they were, roughly, allied. That could change, as everything in mercurial Dena Nehele could, but there was no need to misrepresent herself. So she had donned an easy ribbed white turtleneck and charcoal gray slacks, simple and saying nothing particular. Her hair lay against her shoulders in careless curls. Her Purple Dusk--she shared her Birthright with Milo Welvert's Jewel of rank--glittered from a ring on her right hand. It was an appropriate outfit for a meeting with one's boss.

Her meeting today was a welcome distraction from the annoyance of the past weeks. Jeremiah Mercer had broken the betrothal contract without so much as a by-your-leave, the motion approved by the Territory Queen without consideration for the clauses written into the body of the contract itself. There was a rumor going through aristo circles that Minerva Tailor was the subject of an investigation, though Minerva had heard nothing of the sort herself and had not been called to Bidea to defend herself or stand judgement. Either way, there was nothing to find. Everything about the engagement had been aboveboard, and honestly, why would she take the risk and spend the marks to have Jeremiah Mercer mind-fucked into marrying her? What would the point be? The entire Mercer family was rumored to be highly resistant to Widow's webs in the first place. What a waste of money it would have been.

Still, despite her personal drama, Minerva had good news for the ruler of Tulzbruja. Her habit of befriending anyone who even looked useful and playing them as best she could had paid off: she'd secured the services of a Queen for Caecian, and perhaps Lesser Caecian if Carmen played her cards right. Not just any Queen, either, but an aristo with the Blood Opal. At least Phoebus had turned out to be good for more than his aristo parents shoring up her rule...

Milo's secretary showed her into his office, where she bowed: a Healer to the Warlord who outranked her socially, but not in caste or Jewels. "Lord Welvert," she said, "I hope your Winsol was delightful."
Common Grounds / Re: The .gif Game, Part IV: THE RETURN
« Last post by Laszlo Quertis on Today at 09:58:59 PM »
Dena Nehele / Re: Becalm the wandering mind
« Last post by Valeriu Dumitrescu on Today at 09:50:09 PM »
"Please, call me Prince Dumitrescu, why stand on only one ceremony?" he joked, smirking wickedly in a way that implied very clearly he was pulling her leg. But he, having rolled back the top of his bar, obliged her as he grasped a carafe of water from within it, and lifted the stopper keeping it pure, before turning the decanter on its side to pour it from one glass into another. This one, of course, was smaller, and easier to hold, but he always found the reproduction of effort a curious thing even when necessary. Stepping away from the roll top with a water for her, and something brown sloshing in his own glass, he moved to lean against his desk so he could not see the stacks behind it. He offered to clink glasses; and the offer was not really entirely allowing for a refusal. Glasses clinked, he took his drink, nodding to her as he took in what she brought him.

The story of it, at least; he had not bothered to take the file from her until now, his hand reaching out to snag it from the desk she passed it over to after she had first finished her explanation. The glass sipped from again, he set it down beside himself on the desk, and opened the folder, to begin to page through it, nodding again as he repeated her words to himself while considering the provided documents that now accompanied her recounting of her work. "I trust you," he agreed, while clearly not trusting to ensure the pages were done to his specifications, "but I really worry that not finding an escort for her is a terrible notion. The reimbursement, that's all reasonable. Are there receipts?" he asked, uncaring really if there were, but his voice implied the strange fact he might just enjoy seeing receipts. Not as a matter of trust so much as an interest in receipts.

His eyes skimmed the pages quickly, but certainly, and he finally found his way to the end of them; if she was paying very close attention she could see Craft stranded through his quick brush over the pages before him. Some manner of appraisal craft. He seemed satisfied at the end of the documents, and moved back to the page he knew needed his signature; any of the triangle could authorize this manner of thing, but he was the one entrusted to the purse strings. Purse strings he resented, because he knew the bag they often pulled from. He had begun to supplement it with his own fortunes, though far less than he'd like, proving to be little more than a drop against the ocean of its origins and the monster who provides them.

But his signature spent the "Court's" money, and he produced another small collection of papers. Ink began to appear on the duplicate pages, rolling down the pages from top to bottom, seeping in and forming words and sentences as written exactly on the opposing pieces. It was careful work for most, but he'd grown exceedingly skilled in the doing. So much so that he took a slow, sharp breath, and set them both down, breathing out heavily as he turned away, the pages continuing to copy precisely the scripts of its counterpart. Himself, he turned back and grabbed his drink and took another draught of it, draining the thing entirely, before he turned towards other fresh documents, and he began to write quickly; this was less stringent than a formal contract or letter.

It was a memo to document the transaction in the treasury records. Apparently the action required a stiff drink, or perhaps he just wanted that issue of the unfinished drink resolved, as he set to the task of spelling out the agreed bill being repaid.

"I really can not express to you my gratitude for your invaluable assistance,"
he spoke aloud, proving he had at least some capacity to do just that. He even stopped his writing to look up and sell it with a soft smile and a meaningful pause to settle his eyes on hers when speaking his unflowered praise. But it was just a moment, before he returned to the tedium, clearly having not yet dismissed her, from the pace with which he wrote, assuredly expecting her to await its completion.

Then, somehow, he chose to just pitch smalltalk. "Where were you before you decided to become a Court accountant, anyway?" he asked, the slightest tone in his voice implying he might have his theories.
Common Grounds / Re: The .gif Game, Part IV: THE RETURN
« Last post by Gavril Conta on Today at 09:44:17 PM »
Common Grounds / Re: The .gif Game, Part IV: THE RETURN
« Last post by Dragos Cutrov on Today at 09:41:19 PM »
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