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Pruul / Re: Healer's Mark, Beautiful One
« Last post by Elenor Lirion on Today at 08:48:40 PM »
“Elenor Lirion al-Sabbah.” Elenor corrected, forcing herself to keep a measured, even tone to match that of the healer, even as she continued to poke at the open wound that had been festering since her earliest memories. That sense of not belonging anywhere, not among the short lived or the long, not in Dena Nehele, not in Shalador, not even here, where she had worked from the very first moment to learn as much as she could. “I am well aware that I will never be able to change that I did not grow up in the desert, but I earned at least my name today, even if the merit of my rule won’t be worth judging until I do the work.”

When the Healer went on to berate her about using Craft from a book on her dog though, her eyes narrowed and voice grew chilly. “When your dog is the only creature in the world that knows or loves you, when they are slowly dying and there is nothing you can do and nowhere you can take them because the only people close enough would collar and rape a woman alone before offering her aid, then you do whatever you can think of to help. When he is crying and bleeding and you know you’re going to have to put him out of his misery if you can’t fix what’s wrong, when the thought of being alone again is enough to make you want to slit your wrists, trying Craft out of a book is sometimes all you have. I would never experiment on an animal. I had to learn what I had to to survive. If I had not learned from books then I’d be dead a hundred times over because the option to learn from others wasn’t something I was provided. I was on my own without help from when I was eight years old, in a time when Queens were seen as tools, not people. Everything I know how to do is by learning it by trial and error.”

She took a breath, searching for calm now that her touch of temper had been let out. She sighed, “I’m sorry. You do not deserve my anger, not with how kind you are being. Animals are very dear to me and I would never hurt any of them. My question was one of genuine curiosity. I have always found the work of Healers to be incredibly fascinating, and while I know it is not something I need to learn, it doesn't change that it interests me. When I was little I had wanted to train as a Healer. I was three when the witchstorm hit, so many of my earliest memories are of people who were living in the aftermath of much misery. I wanted to find as many ways as I could to help, but things...didn’t go according to plan.” Elenor realized she was babbling a bit, and restrained herself before saying any more. She had grown used to talking non-stop when she had been alone with only a dog for company, and it was a habit she had never entirely lost.

So she did what Leila kept suggesting and listened as the Healer spoke of what she had been doing, lips slowly lifting into a quiet smile.

“The work you were doing sounds very noble. It...warms my heart more than you can imagine to know that there are those among the Sabbah who are so selfless. I know most of Pruul has less than stellar opinions of our Clan, but when I first walked into the desert I knew nothing of the politics at play, just that the people I met, Blood and Landen both, were kind and warm, and spoke to my soul in a way no other people ever had. I’m glad they have had you to watch over them. One day I would love to hear some of your stories, I am sure you must have many.”

She hesitated, then added, “I used to do much the same before coming to Pruul. I spent most of my time not alone in landen towns and villages, especially ones that had not seen a Queen in years. Feeding the land and giving them a chance at a good harvest was always the way I showed my gratitude for their welcome. I couldn’t afford for them to know of my Caste, but I couldn’t leave them to starve either. It’s those who most need the help who often are the last to receive it, and that breaks my heart.”

Elenor lowered her eyes to her wrist as Leila worked, listening to how she had come to Onn. When she finished her work and asked about how long it had been since she had seen a Healer though, her eyes rose back to those of the other woman.

“Thank you, and I’ll be sure to take it easy on my wrist until you tell me otherwise.” She paused, exhaled, and admitted, “I’ve never had enough money to see a Healer, not enough money for food either a lot of the time. I’ve been eating as much as I can since coming here, Fin has insisted on it, but it’s been...about one hundred and eighty years since I got any more medical care than a Landen medic could give.”
Dena Nehele / Re: The long way down
« Last post by Rilandra Vlas on Today at 08:47:42 PM »
With Jeremiah leaving for Tulzbruja, Riley had assumed she would be seeing more of Artur during her morning time in the garden. Seeing. As in, witnessing his existence. They did not talk or socialize. The most she ever got was sounds of agreement if she talked to him, which she only did if someone else came to the garden. For show. She knew more about him than he would like, and he knew everything about her. His cover at Court was important. Easier to use Sway to send messages back and forth than to risk his cover.

Besides, after an introduction that had involved him strangling her with a scarf in this very garden, what words really needed to be said?

So when he rose to his feet and raised a Red shield around them, she was surprised. She supposed she shouldn't be, she had just sent Sway to him and demanded a protection contract for Striker without explanation.

Rilandra. Okay, seriously, if this was Drake's doing that everyone had started slipping her full name into their vocabulary this conversation would be irrelevant because she would just kill him herself.

She stared up at him. Used to seeing him on his knees working in the garden, she had completely forgotten how imposing he was. "When did you get so huge?" she asked, tempted to try to snatch the paper from his hand but knowing better than going up against this particular opponent. He looked at her, his eyebrow raising, his expression clearly stating that he was not answering such a silly question, despite his expression being an answer in and of itself.

Riley sighed heavily before dragging her fingers through her hair. "The last contract her took caused a clusterfuck. He killed my Seer's mother, while she was in the room, without knowing who the fuck he was killing, and doing it in a way that allowed her to identify it was a Myos who wore a Jewel darker than the Sapphire." Her eyes sharpened on him.

"We both know how few of those there are." She held up a finger and circled her wrist several times, indicating the Red Shield that encased them. "I personally know of three, and I made a guess that it wasn't you or Shade who took the contract. There may be more, but you see my point. He risks exposing himself. And beyond that, my Steward called for his dismissal on the spot."

She closed her eyes for a moment, raising her fingers to the bridge of her nose. She knew he would have a price. She would rather just pay it than stand here and try to explain, but Artur had the power to undo the protection order, and that would mean losing Drake. Or Val. Or both. None of which were acceptable outcomes. 

"We both know how valuable having him in my Triangle is. Keels wants Guild Members in my Triangle and my Court? Fine. But I have to be able to keep my fucking Court in one piece and not having them take contracts on each other."
Chaillot / Good morning, starshine
« Last post by Marie-Odile de Ghislaine on Today at 08:32:05 PM »
It wasn't often that Odile got to work with a patient from the upper house. She was a full Healer, capable of working alone, but she only rarely chose to function as a Healer. Her real worth was in the sedatives she brewed and restocked in both houses, and in the medical advances she made using the men and women surrendered to her will. Her potions, sometimes called poisons by her patients, were brewed specifically by Jewel strength. There were different herbs in each different formulation, but each one also had its counter: an antidote, one per each, that Odile kept in her lab.

Today, as the Warlord Prince lay still as death in his drugged slumber, Odile considered the rack of carefully preserved drugs. Knowing who her patient was and the crime he had committed, she was deeply tempted to pick up the sedative for those poor souls who wore the Gray. Even a quarter-dose would kill a Green Jewel. Her hand hovered over the vial. It would be so easy to explain to Lenore, and it would be so... justifiable. The Dark-Jeweled and high-casted always used their power to grind those beneath them into the dirt. Wouldn't it be nice to take one of the predators out back and shoot them? Just the once? Odile wasn't even sure she'd feel guilty for it.

She selected the antidote for a Green Jewel, drew up a dose into a clean syringe, and jabbed it into Jean-Baptiste Prejean's upper arm a little more harshly than she strictly needed to. Lenore's orders were explicit, and had all involved Jean-Baptiste surviving the night.

"Wake up, Prince Prejean," said Odile, turning back to her racks of vials. Hm. Running low on Green and Sapphire. It would help if Regarte Berrault was treated with fewer sedative stabs and more proactive containment. "Time to talk about the consequences of rape, hon, I'm sure it's not a conversation you've had before..."
OOC Account Registration / Re: Blue
« Last post by Haloriel on Today at 08:31:02 PM »
 ;D Welcome back. I think I had only heard about you having written stuff before. Hope its fun times again for you.
Nharkava / Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Last post by Maarika Sydän-Harmaa on Today at 08:18:08 PM »
Marko hesitated before answering, and Maarika sank down to sit on the couch beside him, her body turned towards him. She watched him, both cataloging the look of him and his little ticks and tells, and letting her deeper senses spread out into the bond between them in an attempt to "see" more of him. It would've been easy to have let herself get distracted by the revelations about Jon, but it almost felt as though she needed a ration of time alone just to process everything she'd learned in that regard. She could do that later, when Marko wasn't in front of her. He was here now, and the first moments of a new Bond were important; she knew that from experience. Maarika set the topic of Jon aside, mentally, and focused on learning as much about Marko as she could.

He answered her at last, and Maarika's eyes widened slightly. She couldn't have been more surprised if he'd said Elisif herself held the ring to his device.

"I'm sorry..." she said, closing her eyes for a beat. She seemed to reset herself, as though she thought she'd simply misheard him. When her eyes opened again shortly after and found him once more, they were muddled by equal measures of doubt and... something else. Something quietly furious.

"Reija Harmaa put an Obedience Ring on you?" She looked away, her jaw subtly tightened. She shook her head, then tipped back a swallow of her drink, and refrained from voicing whatever thoughts were causing that angry tension in her form.

"Explain what happened, please," she said, intentionally softening her voice to make it clear that Marko himself was not the cause of her anger. She looked back to him, and made herself sit back further in her seat, a facsimile of relaxing. "I assume it was business for Jonothan that took you into Glacia?"

Dena Nehele / For heirs to come, be brave
« Last post by Rilandra Vlas on Today at 08:04:05 PM »
Summer 192 AP

It was not yet mid-day and Riley had fucking had it. She had dealt with the glitter bombers and gained them as official wards of her Court. She had talked Radu down from a ledge she didn't understand until he told her Sora  was the focus of his rut. She had made her way to see her brother the Master of the Guard only to discover that the Guild Master had relieved Traien of his duties and granted them to Sebastian Bane. It wasn't Sebastian's fault no one had bothered to inform her that he had altered a side of her Triangle,  but he had endured the results regardless.

Talks with Traien and Claudia had followed, talks with Sora had still yet to come. But right now, she needed to see Moesia. The Purple Dusk Queen had arrived at the party late and retired to her suites early. Riley understood why. The scent of a witch at her moontime tended to set all the males on edge, but the scent of a Queen at her moontime tended to drive them mad. Her brother Cristian had been her escort while her Steward had escorted his niece, the Purple Dusk Birthright Queen who seemed to appear from mid air.

They were set to leave that afternoon. She needed to ask if Gabriella and Draco could stay behind and leave tomorrow. Hopefully when everyone understood why, it wouldn't be an issue. And hopefully asking Moesia to take on another young Queen near her Offering would not be an issue either. In theory, this conversation should be perfectly smooth.

Except nothing between the two Queens was ever perfectly smooth. They fought like sisters, vicious and unrepentant in the words that they used to cut the other. Their males tended to try to keep them apart as much as possible, but it seemed their nature to be drawn back toward each other, no matter the efforts on both sides.

Riley arrived at the wing with the rooms that had been set aside specifically for Moesia and her people. They were always here, ready, reserved so that there would never be a time when Riley could not welcome (or shelter) the sister of her heart in her home. The guards nodded to her as she passed and she went directly to the Queen's door and knocked. As expected, her brother, Cristian, answered.

Riley nodded in both acknowledgement and respect to the Red Jeweled Warlord Prince. Whatever he thought of her, she was appreciative that his Red and Draco's Gray were present to protect the Queen who should have, by all rights, worn a Green Jewel and been the darkest Queen in Dena Nehele. Instead that fell to Riley, at least until Gabriella went through her Offering. "I need to talk to her, Cristian. It's important." He stepped back to let her in before settling in the corner of the room, out of the way, but present and waiting if anything got out of hand between the two Queens.
Dena Nehele / The long way down
« Last post by Artur Woden on Today at 08:02:25 PM »
Artur Woden used to serve in Riley's First Circle, but that had been before. He'd held the rank when Tobias Coitell was still Steward, and then--abruptly, shortly after Darcia's return--requested to be moved down to the Second Circle, an easier rotation that required no personal service. Instead, he'd become her representative to a minor Court in Moesia, for reasons completely opaque to anyone who didn't know the exact timing of Darcia's disappearance from the Territory Court. He'd gone with her to the tiny cabin where Tatiana lived with Iuliana and their guard, and there he had remained.

But some months ago, he'd made a return to the social scene of Bidea, though he was never so active as he had been while awaiting Darcia's return, or while she had served as Queen alongside Riley. He never actually seemed to do anything; he sort of... existed... at the fringes of Court life, doing the bare minimum. Artur Woden never showed up for training: not in the morning, not in the evening. Artur Woden never made himself available to the ladies and gentlemen who visited the Court. He never stood with Riley at galas. He served escort shifts in the garden, and nothing else.

So that was where he cornered Riley: He was crouched in the dirt below a red-leafed maple tree, and she entered the garden without any other escort, expecting his silent attendance and then his absence when his shift ended. She did not get it. As he sensed her Opal approaching him, he rose, and surrounded the inner paths of the garden with a Red-Jeweled psychic shield. The aural shield was nested within it, safe from detection.

"Rilandra," he drawled, because he could. "Care to explain why Shade's errand girl demanded a protection contract for an assassin? Or shall I rescind the contract? I'm sure Striker would be pleased to return to work." He called in the folded sheet of vellum that would inform Striker of his next target, but didn't offer it up. They'd already handed over the Leader of the Jacks Guild to serve as her Master of the Guard, hadn't they? Were they so concerned that Striker could be turned to nefarious purpose? It wasn't like Sebastian to admit defeat.
Glacia / Re: Facets
« Last post by Leif Tostain on Today at 07:57:59 PM »
Leif... a Priestess...

He set down his tools immediately.  Inform her that I will be out immediately, Analis.  He was willing to let his sister flex her wings and cater to the customers that entered their door.. but there were a few rules he was steadfast about.

Warlord Princes and Priestesses, he saw to himself.  IT didn't matter how Dark their jewels.  They could be Whites, for all he cared.  His sister was not to be teh targets of their attention for longer than was necessary.

He pulled his hair back behind his neck, pinning it in place with a simple leather tie.  Then the jacket went on, his fingers idly plucking at the cuffs to ensure everything was in place.  His mother had once told him he should ensure his appearance was always immaculate.

He had, however, found that people respected him more as a craftsman when they saw that the work was his focus, not the dance of a game that he could never in a million years win.  He could be the smoothest speaker (he often was) and the most brilliant of Princes.. (he didn't think himself too shabby in that regard) - it would never make up for the fact that his Jewels were not 'blessed' enough.

It would never make up for the fact that his people saw him as something that needed to be collared.  Controlled.  He tucked those thoughts away, set them into their boxes where they could cause him no trouble from his 'guests' so long as his guests remained polite and stayed the hell out of his head.

Priestess Kalas...  The fear in his sister's thoughts had him straightening his chin, his back, and then marching out into the public rooms of the store.  He did not flutter.  He instead moved to the counter, plucking a few boxes out from beneath them and then giving the Priestess a polite smile.

"Lady Kalas.  May the Night bless you in your journeys.  How may the Tostain family assist you this day?"  His body bent at the waist, head remaining tipped up enough to allow him the 'honor' of viewing her.. and keeping her from being able to slam anything down onto his head without warning.  Not that he would say THAT where anyone could hear him.. out loud.

Straight to business.  That was his reputation.  He 'could' make small talk, and certainly did admirably when forced to attend parties as a guest and not as a servant.  HE preferred to not have to deal with such nonsense.  Why bother pretending he was worth anything when his people had made it so clear he was so obviously not?

It was only with Analis present that he ensured others showed some smattering of respect.  Analis deserved it.  She was his world, and always would be.

"I was just explaining to the Lady Kalas that you have been making quite the name for our store, Leif."  His sister, the sweet thing, recognized that this sort of customer could send them soaring to great heights... and also see them dead and broken on Glacia's ice covered shores.  Even Analis, for all her naivety and joy, knew that Lydia Kalas might be a 'very bad thing'.

Leif gave Analis that smile, inclining his head towards Lydia Kalas herself.  From what he'd heard, she could be a terrifying b... person.  And that was without the threat of a public function hanging over her pretty little head.  Regardless of what drove the woman here, he doubted that it would be an entirely comfortable experience.

He didn't try to direct her attention towards anything in particular.  Most of the 'blessed' Jewels of Vaasa knew exactly what they were looking for when they came to him - and it was rare that such a piece was 'already' made when they arrived.  No, he made customized orders, mostly.  The things on display were his own personal projects - things he had made just to keep himself busy.

Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, armbands, even Torques.  Some done in simple, seemingly forgettable fashion - and yet they kept drawing hte eye.  That would be the Craftwork.. meant to enhance the wearer and keep drawing attention.

Other pieces were the stereotypical bits that those with wealth and power liked to show off - and those had their own effects.  Mostly to warm the observer in their perceptions towards the wearer.  He wasn't sure what the Priestess would want.. yet.

Sadly, he knew whatever she wanted he was more than capable of creating.
OOC Account Registration / Re: Blue
« Last post by Idariel on Today at 07:34:55 PM »
<3 welcome back, blue! <3

We chatted quite a bit before you left, but never got to write together. I hope we can now!!

Pruul / Re: Healer's Mark, Beautiful One
« Last post by Leila al-Sabbah on Today at 07:31:23 PM »
Leila arched raised her brows as she noticed the Queen did at least truly understand much of the point of weeping. To cleanse the heart of as much pain as one possibly could, before trying to find a solution to the problem or problems one possessed. "A Caste in Pruul only means so much against the desert. You may wish for the Sabbah to be your people, but I would disagree that they are yours yet. Some are yours, others will wait to watch for your actions, and still others might never accept you, which is, their choice. They won't tell you, for many, because we learn by watching and doing, Elenor Lirion," the Healer remarked in the same soft, easy tone she'd always used when trying to heal someone, and maybe if the moments were marked well, teach something.

"Watch them, and remember. That is all that is needed. Mending is Healer's Caste business. Not for Queens. You could kill someone, trying Craft from a book like that. That was cruel to your dog, using the poor animal as an experiment," she snorted after speaking firm and plainly, eyes glittering with uncertainty. "So no, I am not going to tell you how to mend a bone," the Healer murmured recalling the respectful manner that Prince Omid had asked about her Caste, and not the prying busybody that this one seemed to be.

"You do not need to do every job, you know, with hands being full of learning how to be a Queen. There are safe, beautiful ways for example as I remember, that you can spill your blood to help what little growing plants we have. Your bonded just need to know in advance. I remember seeing it once as a very young girl being where she wasn't supposed to be."For several moments, she looked away and sighed, doing her best not to laugh at the question. She had come to the Sabbah upon her marriage so long ago with hundreds of hopes and dreams, but most had gone fully to dust and memory. Leila did not know how to explain that to a woman that had never, as rumour had it, had not seemed to have done more than let the years pass her by. But, even she could admit, that life sometimes was just that way. It filtered through them, and then it was an effort to remember why one had arrived at a certain place.

"I cannot say that I remember the last time the Sabbah had a good ruling Queen. One honest and willing to listen and wait, and be still. Perhaps never. So, you have a chance to build something - if you listen," she explained slowly, varying the weaves for the restoration of bone. The wrist especially, was a very, very delicate part of the body, and had almost as many tiny bones in that one section of the body than most of the rest of it. It was as well imperative that just the right weave was used to mend it, and not too much Craft, nor it could make the hand and wrist unusable.

"You can learn everything you need to know by listening. I have lived among the Sabbah since my twentieth year. Just because you did not see me, does not mean that I have not been here. I spend my time healing the lightest Jeweled, the poorest among the Sabbah, and indeed some of the True Sabbah as well," Leila continued, voice calm, at ease, and very, very neutral as she spoke. There was still anger in her, how the Sabbah had allowed Adramelech to treat the Mineborn in the end, and that they had needed to save themselves, practically, and very, very few, despite their belief, had taken action. But unlike those that had chosen to give themselves new names, flee to the growing "al-Izar", call themselves the True Sabbah thereby making the whole problem worse instead of working together ...

Healing was what she was gifted in. Healing then, was what she would keep doing, if nothing else out of her memories that had turned to ash in too many ways.

"The Landen among us that cannot afford Healing. You would have to leave the residence, and talk to those that do not like you very much.You would need to risk learning understand them, lady, on their terms. Because they are right. But ah, they are also, very, very wrong." She studied Elenor's face before setting down the brush and laid her fingertips to the woman's temples, and carefully began to heal away the physical evidence of her emotional stress. To truly fix everything, the woman would need to seek out another Queen, and a Black Widow she trusted on top, but one matter at a time.

Leila snorted again and shook her head. "The Sabbah are all a little broken inside in various ways. Even and especially Lady Zhaleh. She was sucked in upon the seeming brightness of the Spider's plans, like too many were. He earned his death alone simply by keeping the Mineborn Queen as he did. Just because you have spoken to that fiery one that has called himself our Voice in the most unfortunate way possible and Bonded him, does not mean you know us at all. He isn't even Pruulian, soft on the eyes or no."

Mending bone had taken Leila most of her life to master, and it wasn't something one could just "take a stab at", nor was it appropriate to simply explain that training to someone that read a book once about her Caste and chose to experiment on a helpless, poor animal. Nearly, given the topic, it was enough to almost make the Healer shed a tear. Her son had loved dogs, but they were better as city pets than an animal one could keep in the deep desert. "Then make touch uncomplicated. Start with children. They are easily, regardless of whether they are Blood or Landen, the most emotionally open you could find. Or elders. The very aged tend also to care much less about nonsense niceties, and just want to hurt a little bit less, and love honesty."

"I spend most of the year in the desert, lady, and make my rounds back toward Onn eventually, as most Clanspeople do. The people that stay in the city have reasons for not doing what is normal for us. They are too wounded, cannot stay out among the dangers for long, are with child, and so on." There was the faintest flinch; it would never not hurt, she imagined, ever, that topic. But a smile was enough to endure and learn.

"When I come back to Onn, it is for festival, those that have sent out a message that wish my particular touch. Hearing that a foreign Queen was going to rule the clan that I have bled for, however, was enough to make me curious as to what kind of woman you actually were as rumour does not tell much about anything, does it? These rooms of mine were not put together in a single night, nor even a single decade."

Smoothing her fingers over Elenor's formerly broken, but still very, very delicate wrist, she said, "I have mended your wrist as much as I dare to in one session. I'll need a few more, so that your body can adapt and adjust to the mending, but, when is the last time you have been seen to? Your body seems terribly neglected, which is not good for a Queen, or anyone. How often do you take meals?"
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