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Scelt is a Territory in turmoil and peace is tenuously held together by the Sceltic Queens. Rivalry between the Clans errupted into horror for the Territory that resulted in many dead, on both sides, and culimated in Clan Sheane being outlawed in the Territory. Further troubles plague the Territory in a variety of manners - Landen villages are raided, Courts are attacked, and no one seems to be safe.
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Author Topic: To live in the minds left behind...  (Read 316 times)

Description: attn: Desmond

Offline Blodwen Lyons

  • Character Account
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      Queen of Tramore Province

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      Scelt

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      Phedre

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To live in the minds left behind...
« on: Oct 23, 17, 03:09:58 PM »
Fall 192, Lyons Manor, Tramore Province

More death. Not bloody, this one, but every death now seemed to bring back the feel of Scelt's green hills washed in scarlet. Her hands went to her throat, an unconscious gesture that she had picked up ever since the last time she had seen Davos, the morning after the slaughter. No bruises were there now. They had faded long ago, but still, her fingers played over the pale skin of her neck, as if she might discover them blossoming anew.

Blodwen had not yet met Desmond Clery. She had known his father and had business dealings with him throughout her rule. And she had met his brother, Drummond. But she knew very little about the Clery who had inherited both the weight of being Clan Laird and the head of his father's company. She wondered idly what he would be like as she walked through the rose garden in front of Lyons Manor.

She never liked meeting new people. Despite her nervousness, which was in and of itself enough of a barrier, she knew she was likely to misspeak and, if she was in especially rare form, to trip or break something. She'd considered staying out here in the gardens for their discussion, but then she risked falling into the thorns of a rose bush. Or, worse yet, causing him to.

Dressed in grey, she floated through along the path like the early morning fog that still enclosed the estate, making it feel for all the Realm like it stood alone in a land of mist. Her fingers brushed against the petals of the roses, aware that if it weren't for the Craft of the Lyons Queens, they would not be flourishing so well as Autumn settled firmly upon them. The Lyons grew winter roses as well, determined to have them all year round.

Lost in her thoughts, she failed to pay attention to the morning as it grew later and approached the meeting that she was to have with Lord Clery. When he arrived, if he decided to seek her out himself, he would find her wandering through the arching trellises of roses, the last of the morning mist spilling out over her feet.







Offline Desmond Clery

  • Character Account
    • ss2bo
    • warlord
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      Clain Laird

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      Clan Clery

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      Scelt

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      Gavin

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #1 on: Oct 23, 17, 10:37:37 PM »
All of his father’s notes said that Lady Blodwent Lyons was an excellent Queen, one who could be counted on to pay her bills on time and make a fair deal. Desmond respected that and knew that such words were high praise from Nolan Clery. The old man could be abrasive and hard to get along with on the best days, but he’d been the Laird that Clan Clery needed after the Sheanes fell from grace. Standing at the entrance to the manor, thinking of his father threatened to blur Desmond’s vision and shatter his newly rebuilt heart into a thousand pieces.

Nearly a year since his father had passed on and Desmond still felt like he’d received the news last night.

Desmond’s winning smile was already in place when the servant arrived to escort him to Lady Lyons. Desmond spared a glance for whatever decorations he could find inside the manor. What drew his attention most, howeverr, was the sheer number of people he found wandering the halls. Clan Lyons was a large clan, maybe as large as  his own. Desmond smoothed the lapels of his navy blue suit, straightened his silver tie, and followed the servant toward the back of the manor and out of the back door to the garden.

Lady Lyons will see you in the garden, Lord Clery.” he said, holding the door open for Desmond. The Warlord walked out into the garden and hoped that Lady Lyons was as stable and kind as he’d been told.

He found her near the roses and watched her for a moment, just to observe her as a person. People were often very, very different in private. She seemed enamored of the roses and the garden, something Desmond had heard about a number of Queens in the past. Was Taryn like this whenever he wasn’t around? Desmond couldn’t say for sure. His clan hadn’t had a Queen in centuries, something that worried him daily.

Lady Lyons?” he called, hopingt that he hadn’t startled her.

Lady Lyons, my name is Desmond Clery, with Clery Shipbuilders. Is this a good time? If it’s not, I can return at your pleasure.” Desmond said, remaining in his current location until the Queen bid him to approach or told him to leave her be.


Offline Blodwen Lyons

  • Character Account
    • ss2pd
    • queen
    • Role

      Queen of Tramore Province

    • Territory

      Scelt

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      Phedre

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #2 on: Oct 24, 17, 12:56:32 AM »
So absorbed in the moment, seemingly alone in the garden, she hadn't heard the Clery's Clan Laird approach. When she heard her name, she turned suddenly, her hand moving too quickly as she spun. She felt the sharp sting of thorns pierce her fingertips. "Ow. Damn it," she swore quietly turning her hand over to look at it for just a moment. Bright red dots of blood beaded on three of her fingers, above the scar she still bore down her hand from the time she had gouged it and stubbornly refused to ask for Myrna's help.   

She held it a bit away from her body in an awkward gesture and focused on her guest. "Lord Clery! This is a fine time. Please forgive me for not meeting you inside. The roses won't last much longer. And I just meant to come out for a little while but they're beautiful, aren't they?" She was rambling. She hated it when she rambled. And there was no one here to stop her. Lovely.

She walked forward to properly greet him or at least as properly as she could with blood smeared across her fingers. "I must beg your forgiveness again for not offering you my hands, I would hate to get blood on you. Or your clothes. Or, well, anything really. Just please don't tell Archibald.  He threatened to sit me in the kitchen surrounded by hearth witches last time Something about how I clearly need supervision." She looked up at him for the first time, really taking in his features. She swallowed hard. "Archibald is our butler. I know it doesn't sound it, but he really is quite terrifying."

What did Lord Desmond Clery care about her butler? She had to get it under control. Yes, it was probably unlikely that most people had a butler who wore a darker Jewel than they did, let alone one that they had been scared of since they were children. They were finding their way, slowly, but still. And none of this was appropriate to share with her guest.

She reached for something solid that wouldn't make her sound even more like a complete and utter fool. "I know you, of course, or rather of you. Your father was well liked here. I'm deeply sorry for your loss." She had sent winter roses to his wake, but had not attended. They were not close enough for it to be appropriate, and a Queen, even one as nervous and awkward as Blodwen Lyons, seemed to draw attention away from the purpose of the event.

"Would you like to go inside? In theory, my office should offer us some small quiet to discuss things. It can get rather loud." She sounded almost apologetic. While she loved her family more than anything else, she understood that those from other Clans were not used to the loud and boisterous way of the Lyons. 







Offline Desmond Clery

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      Scelt

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #3 on: Nov 01, 17, 09:36:18 AM »
They are beautiful.” Desmond said, noting that the roses were well-tended. Ever since he’d met Adam Rhyne in the market, Desmond paid a bit closer attention to the plants and shrubs around him. He was no gardener or Hearth Witch by any means, but he liked to believe he’d learned a bit of something from his fellow Warlord. Lady Lyons babbled on and Desmond thought she seemed nervous. He pegged it as her having forgotten about their meeting by getting wrapped up with her time in the garden. He didn’t fault her for it or take any offense; she was a Queen. This was what Queens did.

He caught a glimpse of the crimson her hand, however, and the protective nature of a male flared to life within the Laird of Clan Clery. He took the gray pocket-square from his suit and offered it to Lady Lyons. He would wrap her hand, if she allowed it. Otherwise, he would hand it to her and step back far enough that he wasn’t intruding or encroaching upon her personal space. He didn’t see any other males around her but that didn’t mean that they weren’t there.

It would be utterly shit luck to get killed by a sight-shielded male for obeying Protocol.

Please don’t apologize, Lady Lyons. Your secret is safe with me.” Desmond said, favoring her with a knowing smile and a wink. On anyone else, the combination would have been silly, even a bit corny. On Desmond, they were still a bit corny but they were earnest enough that she could tell he wasn’t making fun of her.

She offered her condolences for his father and the smile faltered, just a little, before Desmond composed himself. He wouldn’t show weakness in front of this Queen. She wasn’t here to make him feel better about losing his father, nor was he here to be comforted. This was a business call and Desmond reminded himself of that inwardly while his smile returned to his face, a bit more subdued this time.

Thank you, Lady Lyons. The winter roses were beautiful, by the way. I know that my family appreciated your thoughtful gesture and kind words.” Desmond said.

We can move to your office, if it pleases you. If you’d like to wander your garden a bit more, though, I’d accompany you. This is your Court, Lady Lyons. Please let me know where you’d like me to go.


Offline Blodwen Lyons

  • Character Account
    • ss2pd
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      Queen of Tramore Province

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      Scelt

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      Phedre

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #4 on: Nov 12, 17, 09:45:47 PM »
The Laird of Clan Clery offered her his gray pocket square for her hand. She paused for just a moment, unsure of besmirching his clothing with her blood, Queen's blood no less, but it was that last thought that had her offering out her hand for him wrap around her fingers. She did not need the entirety of the manor in an emotional uproar because she cut her fingers in the garden. Again.

When he offered to accompany her through the gardens, her face absolutely lit up. "You don't mind? I realize it's not a proper place for a meeting but these are the last few weeks for most of the flowers and I really would prefer to be outside." Away from her beloved family, and beloved Court, although almost all were the same and interchangeable. There were some, like the Gray she had demanded from Loreniel, that were not Clan and Court. Brogan was miserable to be here and she was frequently miserable to play host to him. But it was what it was. Despite the days that she missed Davos and wondered what would have happened if she had agreed to stand at his side in a war against their Queen, this was her reality.

Desmond Clery offered his arm, and she accepted with her uninjured hand. Stepping in closer to him, brushing his shoulder, her finger tips against the curve of his elbow through his clothing, the ache inside of him was nearly overwhelming. She didn't think so much to do it as it just started happening, gentle washes of Purple Dusk emotional healing sinking through his coat and into his skin. Were she less nervous, it's likely she never would have offered her Craft to someone without gaining their express permission first. But the combination of her inherent discomfort and his need for solace and an easing of his deep grief pulled forth the natural desire in her to offer what comfort she could.

"Your father and I worked together for sometime, and my mother before me. Did you know a Lyons Queen has ruled Tramore for as many generations back as any can remember? It's quite an intimidating thing to stand before." Why did she say that? He wouldn't care to know that, and it just made her sound weak before the new head of the Clery Clan. Her fingers moved nervously against where they touched his arm, her Craft sinking in deeper. If he noticed it at all, it was likely a warmth that flowed from where she touched him, flowing through him and gently cradling the deep well of sadness within his heart.

"Well, I suppose you want to speak about business. You did come all this way. I am happy to continue the arrangement I had with your father. If taking over management of the company means you will need to be increasing your costs, please give them to me inventoried and I will run them by my Steward. As long as we can expect the same kind of excellence as always, I don't believe there will be an issue."

She waited for his response. So much had changed over the last little while and she wanted desperately to have some things just... stay the same. She knew it was likely too much to hope for. She had dragged her feet filling her First Escort role, she just couldn't see how someone other than Rhys could do it. But he was with his Queen now, and that hadn't been her. Her inability to bond to her males, with one or two exceptions, was a constant shadow upon her heart, proving to her that she was not actually worthy of the position she held. Still, it fell on her shoulders to carry, and she loved Tramore and her people above all else. She would fight for them as hard as she had to in order to protect them from having to fight for her.

They stopped before a particularly beautiful climbing vine of pink and white late blooming roses. Winter teased at her breath, as soft puffs of white followed her words when she exhaled. She hadn't realized it before, but it was a bit colder than she had anticipated when she had first come outside. Her fingers fell from his arm as she turned to face him, her Craft drifting away subtly.  She studied him for just a moment, her hands coming to cover her bare arms, the gray pocket square still secured in place. "I hope this isn't too forward, but I have heard that you are courting the Queen of Denford, Lady Taryn Kerry. Is it true?" She stood and looked at him, a gentle expression of true inquiry playing across her features.







Offline Desmond Clery

  • Character Account
    • ss2bo
    • warlord
    • Role

      Clain Laird

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      Clan Clery

    • Territory

      Scelt

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      Gavin

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #5 on: Nov 23, 17, 12:51:52 AM »
The scent of the Queen’s blood played hell on Desmond’s senses, despite the fact that he wasn’t bound to Blodwen Lyons in any way. He’d all but shoved the pocket square at her, hoping that she’d refrain from cutting herself further on another else before they headed inside. If she was as clumsy as she alluded to being, Desmond wondered why there wasn’t someone out here with her right now to watch for this sort of thing. Then again, in a place like this, Desmond could only imagine how often the family ran into each in every room and around every corner. It would drive anyone mad.

If you’d like to talk out here, that’s completely fine, Lady Lyons. It’s your Court, after all. I just wanted to deliver the news of Prince Nolan’s passing in person. I noted the long relationship between my father and your mother, and his kind words about you. This sort of thing isn’t something to be told in a letter.” Desmond said, shrugging as they walked through the garden together.

She noted the intimidation factor behind legacies and Desmond smiled softly. “I understand what you mean, Lady Lyons. Not to the extent that you must feel it, being a Queen, but legacies are important. It’s up to each of us to maintain the name we were given. We’re only borrowing it until we pass it on, as they say.” Desmond said to her. He stuffed his hands in his pockets so that he wasn’t tempted to touch anything during their walk. The last thing he wanted to do was encourage the Queen to touch another thorny plant and tear her fingers open a bit more. By the time one of her males finally did come out here, they’d want Desmond’s head on a plate for the blood on her skin.

But when she asked about his courting of Lady Kerry, Desmond actually looked a bit shocked. He hadn’t expected the Queen of Tramore to pay attention to that sort of thing. Desmond had a good reputation in Denford, but he’d not expected anyone from the other Provinces to pay anything attached to him any mind. It surprised him.

Well, I’d like to get to know her better, yes. I cannot say that I’m courting her, though. She’s not consented to such a thing.” Desmond said, noting the chill in the air. It didn’t bother him, but he could see the prickles of gooseflesh raising on Blodwen’s arms and now he felt like an idiot for not offering sooner. He took off his coat.

Can I offer you my coat, Lady Lyons? There’s a chill. You’ve already cut yourself on my watch. I’d hate to have you catch a cold as well.” Desmond said. He’d put the coat on her if she allowed it, and then step back to give her some space.

How well do you know Lady Kerry, if I may ask? I’m trying to  learn about her without grilling her entire Court and  seeming too interested.” he said.


Offline Blodwen Lyons

  • Character Account
    • ss2pd
    • queen
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      Queen of Tramore Province

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      Scelt

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      Phedre

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #6 on: Dec 02, 17, 04:16:37 AM »
He offered her his jacket and she accepted, feeling rather silly she had left without grabbing a scarf and wrap from the overflowing hall closet near the front doors of the estate. Too many people lived at the Lyons Manor to keep everything straight on whose was whose, so they all ended up grabbing whatever was available. Blodwen hadn't bothered. In part she had thought she would only be a few minutes, and in part because she was struggling to accept that winter was coming.

"Thank you," she said, smiling at the man who had already sacrificed his pocket square and now his coat to see her cared for. Blodwen could feel the pain that he still held for his father's passing. He was kind with her, respectful but neither skittish nor boastful. Despite the fact she clearly already knew of his father's passing, he had traveled here to speak to her about it in person. These were the markings of a male that Taryn would be lucky to find herself courting.

She considered the question he asked. She did know something she could share, but it was dangerous to do so. Wrapping his coat around herself, she stopped shivering and turned her full attention to him. For the first time since their meeting, all nervousness fled from her body and her speech. The Queen of Tramore stood before him now, and shadows of the burden of that responsibility danced darkly across her features.

"Did you know the Sheanes, Lord Clery?" She had not been expecting his surprise when she mentioned the Queen of Denford, but she was now. It seemed a rather sudden change of topic, not to mention a potentially dangerous one. "I know they are no longer a Clan and that speaking of them may be uncouth, but a Clan is made up of individuals, and each is different in thought and action."

Her hand unconsciously rose to her throat, touching the tender skin that had held Davos's bruises after she had refused to join him in war against Loreniel Killan the morning after the slaughter. She had neither seen nor spoken to him since that day. The friendship that was ruined was just one more life to mourn among the dead that had piled at the Queen of Scelt's feet. Blodwen had still not forgiven Loreniel for her bloody actions. She didn't know if she ever would.

She turned to look out over the roses, her profile etched perfectly against the vines at her back. The skin of her cheek and throat pale against her flame colored hair, the angle of her jaw suddenly much more apparent than before. She waited for a moment before she spoke, as if she was thinking something over. Finally, without turning to look at him, Blodwen said, "People don't just disappear because their Clan is banished." She had no way to know if he would understand what she was trying to share with him, if he could feel the empathy and compassion she was praying he take on this matter if he truly wanted to win favor with Taryn Kerry. She couldn't say more than she had, not without risking far too much.   

When she turned back to look at him, the shadows fell away from her face, the echo of the Queen who stood before him fading again until she was simply Blodwen Lyons once more. "She'll always take ale over tea," she said, as if what was spoken before had not even happened.







Offline Desmond Clery

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      Clain Laird

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      Clan Clery

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      Scelt

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      Gavin

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #7 on: Dec 10, 17, 01:24:55 PM »
Only a couple, really, and only in passing.” he said, answering her question about the Sheanes. They’d ruled Wexol District for a long, long time before their fall, long enough that one would believe it would just stay that way for all time. Their outlawing and destruction, notably by the Queen of Scelt herself, sent shockwaves through the District and the Province at large. The last couple of years had been one attempt after another by the remaining clans to gain an advantage or assert control over the area.

Yeah, I’m sure they weren’t all behind whatever happened, but...when the Territory Court comes down on you, it doesn’t matter. They’re gone and that’s that.” Desmond said, matter-of-factly. He regarded Blodwen now, wondering how well she’d known any of the Sheanes. He couldn’t tell if she was defending all of them or a few of them, but her next words caused his expression to grow darker because it went back to his discussion with Molly after his father’s passing.

People don’t just disappear because their clan is banished.

He stopped mid-stride and simply looked at her. Was it warning? Was it a threat? Did she know what he was planning? She sounded earnest, making Desmond wonder exactly what she was trying to convey by putting that piece of information out there.

I wouldn’t tell anyone how to live their lives, Lady Lyons, but if I knew of any Sheanes who hadn’t disappeared by now, I’d tell them to vanish and never return. It’s kinder than the alternative.” he said.

She mentioned that Taryn liked ale over tea and filed that away for later. That was useful to him, to know that she liked a stronger drink. Tea was fine for talk and business, but ale was a good way to determine a man’s, or woman’s, character.

Good to know, Lady Lyons. I just wanted to put out there that, the deals that you had with my father are still in place and we’d be happy to work with Tramore Province in the future. His relationship with your Court and family was important to him. I’d like to keep that bond strong.” he said.



Offline Blodwen Lyons

  • Character Account
    • ss2pd
    • queen
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      Queen of Tramore Province

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      Scelt

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      Phedre

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #8 on: Jan 07, 18, 03:25:08 PM »
Blodwen's fingers fidgeted with the blood stained pocket square. Her message had not been clear enough to tell the Laird of Clan Clery what she was trying to communicate, but it had offered her his own insight into the issue. It was  sensitive one, and something she could not hold him in disrespect for not offering a kinder word for those who had overnight been named anathema. For all he knew, Blodwen held a hardened heart against the former Clan that ruled the Province that lined her border to the South.

It saddened her, though, both for Taryn and Alis. Well, any question she had had about sharing with him his half sister's maternal heritage was suddenly resolved. She and Alis had already decided not to tell him that she was his father's daughter, not yet at least. That was something Alis could share in time.

He was speaking business again, and she forced herself to focus on the words he was saying now and not the words she was about to. "That is very honorable of you, Lord Clery. Thank you. Tramore looks forward to the continued bond, as do I."

She reached for him then, stopping their wandering, her Craft once again sinking through the cloth of his clothing, soothing the ache of his deep losses. "Your father placed a great deal of trust in our Clan when he placed Alis with us, and we have done our best to be worthy of that trust. She's here. Would you like to meet her?"

Desmond blinked, not recognizing the name Blodwen gave him. "Who?"

Blodwen tilted her head. She had known that the Warlord wasn't aware of her parentage, but she hadn't realized he wasn't aware of her existence at all. How had his father hidden this? "Alis Clery. Her parents are dead," technically true now... "and she has lived with us since your father placed her here years ago. You... really don't know about her? He never mentioned that I've been... I feel rather foolish now. I would have gone about this very differently if I had realized..."

She tried to settle herself and her breathing, but her anxiety spiked fiercely. "Lord Clery, Desmond. Alis has been under our care and tutelage. She is a Queen of Clan Clery. And she wears the Sapphire."







Offline Desmond Clery

  • Character Account
    • ss2bo
    • warlord
    • Role

      Clain Laird

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      Clan Clery

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      Scelt

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      Gavin

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #9 on: Jan 08, 18, 02:52:42 PM »
Blodwen Lyons could have hauled off and kicked Desmond in the crotch just then and it would have surprised him less than her words.

Your father placed a great deal of trust in our Clan when he placed Alis with us, and we have done our best to be worthy of that trust. She's here. Would you like to meet her?

For a moment, Desmond just stared at the Queen of Tramore Province. Then he blinked at her as though, perhaps, she’d grown a second head and four extra arms while standing there. The scent of her blood was distracting, but even that had become a secondary concern as his mind puzzled out what she meant. The name she gave, Alis, held no meaning to Desmond so it was odd to be asked to meet her. The normally elegant Warlord responded with the only question that came to mind.

Who?

Desmond realized, just then, how monumentally stupid he looked. Desmond had come here to deliver sad news, accept the usual condolences, and then leave with a promise to do more business with the Tramore Court. Lady Lyons, on the other hand, thought she was doing the right thing by informing a Clan Laird of a deeper tie between their clans. Desmond needed to sit down and think all of this over.

But Blodwen was watching him.

Uh, yeah. Yeah, I’d love to meet Alis, Lady Lyons. Yes, let’s do that.” Desmond said, plastering a smile on his face.

But before we do that, can I just ask one more question?

How long ago did Prince Nolan leave Alis with you?
” Desmond asked.

A Sapphire Jeweled Queen, one Province removed from the clan she was supposed to rule seemed...convenient. Nolan had never even hinted at having a clan Queen available. Something awful settled in the pit of Desmond’s stomach, intertwined with thoughts he’d rather leave un-examined. Thoughts that, as long as they remained unspoken, did not have to turn his family’s lives upside down.

He waited for Blodwen to answer, mostly because if he started talking again, he’d charge past Blodwen and demand to see this Alis and make her tell him whatever Nolan took to his grave.


Offline Blodwen Lyons

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #10 on: Jan 27, 18, 07:15:18 PM »
Blodwen was terrible at things like this. She had stumbled her way through her negotiations with Lord Clery well enough she supposed, but she definitely didn't feel she had the confidence to stumble her way through this.

"Six years?" she said, as if she was unsure of the exact date that Alis had come to be her ward. "Perhaps seven now, I suppose." Her mind reached for Alis, distaff to distaff. *He wants to meet you, but Alis, he knows nothing about you. Not even that you exist. I knew Nolan would have kept the relation a secret but... I didn't expect this. I'm sorry.*

It was up to the young Queen now to decide what she would and would not reveal to the man she was about to meet. Blodwen studied his face for a moment, wondering if she could see any of Nolan in him. Would he and Alis look like siblings standing next to each other? There was a resemblance, certainly, but then that was not unusual for members of the same Clan to look like each other. They were kin, after all.

When Alis joined them in the garden, Blodwen motioned for her to join them. "Lord Clery, this is Lady Alis Clery. Alis, this the new Clan Laird, Desmond Clery, Nolan's son. I'll give you two some privacy so you can get acquainted." With a polite tip of her head, she excused herself from Desmond, her non-blooded hand coming forward to squeeze Alis's fingers warmly while she passed.

The future of Clan Clery rested on the shoulders of the two who were just meeting now for the first time. Darkness help them both.







Offline Alis Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #11 on: Jan 27, 18, 08:43:51 PM »
Alis sat on a bench in the garden, wringing her hands. Blodwen was talking to Desmond.

Desmond Clery.

Eldest and legal son of Nolan Clery. The one their father had spent every Winsol morning and the one who had been allowed to attend his wake. All that while Alis got the scraps, and yet...Alis had known. Nolan had eventually told her the truth about his other family while Desmond had apparently not even known his father had sired another child, and a Queen no less.

She heard them approach and jumped to her feet, brushing a lock of riotous red curls back behind her ears and regretting not putting it up for this meeting. Alis had deigned to wear a formal dress if nothing else because she did not want to make Blodwen and her Court look bad. It was a rich blue, close to the color of the Sapphire Jewel that hung at her neck, the setting so very, very close to the one that had held Nolan’s. Her father’s Jewel. She believed it and perhaps Desmond would see it too and understand, because the thought of meeting this man and breaking the news that their father had an illegitimate daughter was not something she was looking forward to.

He was exactly what she imagined him to be: well dressed, serious, his features so reminiscent of their father that it made Alis’s breath catch. She curtsied politely if a little clumsily as they approached and Blodwen made the introduction.

“Lord Clery, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’ve been looking forward to it for some time. My… condolences, on the death of our previous Clan Laird and congratulations on your elevation. Lady Blodwen and I thought it was time for us to become acquainted.”

That was more big, courtly words than Alis usually used in a month, but she had rehearsed this little greeting over and over for days, editing out any of the questions she wanted answered. Still, dishonesty did not appeal to the young Queen. As Blodwen squeezed her arm and departed, Alis flashed her a shaky smile, then directed her whole attention onto Desmond Clery.

“Lord Clery, if you would indulge me, might we sit and talk for a bit?” Inwardly she cursed. Talk for a little while not a bit. Ugh. Still, she gestured to the bench and sat, waiting for him to join her.

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #12 on: Jan 28, 18, 03:34:44 PM »
Seven years.

His father had kept a Queen a secret from him for seven years. Seven years. If the old man was alive, Desmond would return to Wexol and punch him out just for this. It would mean the end of his life, for provoking a Warlord Prince was a good way to get dead in a hurry, but it would have given Desmond an outlet for the anger, the rage, the hurt that coursed through his veins at the moment. But Nolan Clery was dead and this revelation had been dropped in his lap. Desmond had not yet worked his way through the knowledge of what else his father had lied to the family about because it meant shattering a ton of precious illusions.

His own foremost among them.

He turned when Alis arrived and felt like he’d been punched square the gut. For a moment, he feared that the Queen Bond had ensnared him and bound him to a woman that he not only didn’t know, but couldn’t (wouldn’t) serve. But the seconds ticked by and Desmond didn’t feel that bond settle into place. He still hurt, though.

She looks like grandmother.

Desmond’s expression was neutral, though he plastered on another smile as he stepped forward to pay her respect due a Queen. He obeyed Protocol and inclined his head in respect, but only just enough. When she said she’d been looking forward to their meeting for some time, it confirmed Desmond’s fear that Lady Clery had known about Nolan’s family where they hadn’t known about her. Desmond felt himself growing colder, sharper as he looked at Alis. His eyes wandered down to her Sapphire and its setting. The cut of the Jewel...no. Not possible.

It’s just a coincidence.

Mother Night and the Darkness weren’t so cruel as to give this girl their father’s Jewel so soon after his death. But the setting looked so much like Nolan’s own. Desmond willed himself to be colder, harder in the face of this new Queen. She was only a Queen. It didn’t matter who she was or who she might be. All that mattered now was that she was useful. She was part of Nolan’s plan, whatever that was. But Nolan Clery was dead now and Desmond was Laird of Clan Clery.

That meant that Alis Clery, Queen that she was, was part of Desmond’s plan.

"I wish I could say I’ve been looking forward to this, Lady Clery, but it’s clear that you’ve got me at an information disadvantage.” Desmond said. His tone wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t effusive or warm, either. It wasn’t nearly as kind as it had been to Blodwen, who’d gotten the fuck out of dodge the moment it was socially acceptable. Desmond didn't blame her. In fact, he wished he could have joined her.

I guess I should be extending those same condolences to you, Lady Clery. You lost him, too.” Desmond said, joining her on the bench she indicated. He sat at the edge of the bench and regarded her, briefly, and noted the fiery hair, the color of her eyes. She was Nolan’s daughter. That made her family--

No. No, it didn’t.

Forgive me, Lady Clery, but this is a shock. Prince Nolan never mentioned, never gave any idea, that you were here in Tramore. He liked to keep his plans close to his chest. Always did. Even when it would have helped everyone around him understand things, he preferred to keep his own counsel.” Desmond said.

I’m sorry you got caught up in that.” he said.

His gaze took in the garden before he returned to her.

Seems that Tramore’s treated you well, though. Have you, uh, decided on your path now that you have your Jewel of rank?” he asked.


Offline Alis Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #13 on: Jan 28, 18, 03:56:32 PM »
He went a few shades paler than his already fair skin when he caught sight of her, and Alis winced internally. Part of her had hoped that Nolan had at least mentioned her in passing, as Queen if not as a daughter. Clearly, that had not been the case, and not for the first time, Alis cursed the old man for dying before he could tell her what his plan was. How was she supposed to carry it out if she didn’t have a fucking clue as to what it was?

But at least she wasn’t alone in that question. Desmond bowed and then started, eyes focusing on the Sapphire Jewel at her neck. Was it the depth of her power or the cut of the stone that caught his attention? Perhaps it was both, but when he looked up and met her eyes, there was something in his that made her shiver and pull the shawl she wore closer around her shoulder.

“Not one of my making, I assure you. I had assumed you knew of me, or Lady Blodwen and I would have arranged this meeting differently. In fact we were under the impression that meeting me was the most likely reason for your arrival here. I apologize for the assumption.”

He joined her on the cold stone bench and Alis nodded her head as he extended his condolences to her. His phrasing was… odd. Did he guess already? Should she just say it and be done? Was there an easy or gentle way to break the news? Queens were supposed to know how to speak to people, but Alis had always stumbled over her words a bit, especially when the topic of discussion was serious.

“Thank you, Lord Clery. I appreciate that.”


She shifted, trying to look him over once more without seeming to stare. She didn’t want to seem like some country girl with no poise or polish. There was a good chance this man would define her life in the coming years much as Nolan had defined her childhood, and it was important to make the right impression.

“He was a secretive man. I would have liked to understand his plans for me and why he brought me to Lady Brodwen’s Court instead of one in Wexol, but unfortunately he died before we could have that talk, so I suppose it’s left to us to try to puzzle out his ambitions and hopes for the future from what he’s left behind.” A pause, and then, “I’m sorry I missed the wake. I wasn’t informed of his passing until several weeks after the fact.”

Whatever emotions were riding this brother of hers, he seemed to need a moment before focusing back on Alis and asking her of her plans. Alis shrugged, a little helplessly. “Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’m still adjusting to the Sapphire, and after that… I was very much hoping that you might know something of what his plans were, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #14 on: Jan 31, 18, 12:28:34 AM »
No, Lady Clery, I didn’t know. We didn’t know.” Desmond said, taking a deep breath.

When I say ‘we',  I mean myself and my siblings. I’m sorry, I guess I should say our siblings. There’s Drummond, who is a couple of years younger than me, followed by Brenna, who is just a few years older than you.” he said. Their siblings. Something about that sentence just felt wrong to his mouth, wrong in a selfish part of his brain that this young woman was knocking up against, but finding no entry. He also knew that this wasn’t her fault, not really. She was as much a pawn in Nolan’s plans as the rest of them. But Desmond’s mind kept sticking on one thing.

Every year, when he left us, he went to you.

Yes, he was secretive. He and I butted heads over a lot of things. He subscribed the belief that Black Widows can’t be trusted. I was in the navy for many years. I spent time around Black Widows in Dhemlan and I know different. Not to mention that we have family and friends who are Black Widows and they’re among the best people I know.” Desmond said.

So yeah, he and I had our issues. He told me one thing, but it’s clear that he had other plans where you were concerned. Like I said, I don’t know what those were.” Desmond said, leaning back on the bench. He tried to suss out his father’s plan based upon what he already knew. The only things that lined up so far pointed to Nolan having a back-up plan in case his first plan failed. He’d wanted Desmond to pursue Taryn Kerry, but having a Queen available either meant that he didn’t expect Taryn to remain in place long...or that he wanted to ensure that Wexol remained in the family’s hands for the future.

Desmond looked at Alis.

Young. Pretty. Likely to attract a male or two (if not many) who would serve her. If she bore a Queen daughter, then the clan’s rule over Wexol was assured for at least two generations and maybe longer, so long as she Sheanes stayed dead and away. Nolan probably expected to be around long enough to guide her, but now that task fell to Desmond.

Whispering in the ears of two Queens gave him more reach. Three, if he could keep himself on Blodwen Lyons’s good side. A new plan was forming in his Desmond’s mind, but he needed to make sure that Queen in front of him was on board.

Well, you’re in mourning, just as the rest of the Clan is, my lady.” Desmond said, orienting himself to face her. He reached out gently, taking her hand if she allowed it.

When you feel up to it, I’d love to have you down in Wexol to meet the rest of the family. I’ll even take you to where No--where we laid Dad to rest. You deserve to see him, too. Then, if you feel up to it...we can talk about the future.

No pressure. No strings. Just spending time with the people you should have been spending time with before now.
” Desmond said.

Will you give it some thought?


Offline Alis Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #15 on: Jan 31, 18, 12:23:38 PM »
He knew. Even though she had not stated it outright, he was clearly an intelligent man and quick to understand what the situation really was.

Desmond. Drummond. Brenna… Alis.

Nolan’s four children. Of course Alis had known their names before now. Once Nolan had admitted to his other family she had managed to squeeze a little more information about them out of him, but still… To be sitting here, next to her brother was surreal. It was hard to even imagine what growing up with this stranger beside her would have been like. She looked him over once more, wondering if his features and body language would ever be as familiar to her as Kester’s, the brother of her soul. Maybe, but somehow she did not think it likely. There was something lost in starting late.

“Black Widows are a Caste like any other. I’ve not been keen on the idea of judging folks before I get to know them myself.” She had made that mistake with Blodwen, and had felt like a right idiot after pitching such a fit about coming here, only to find that she loved it. “I suppose secrets are an accepted tool of statecraft, but it seems to me that no good ever really comes of them.” Alis wrinkled her nose, then relaxed the expression and studied Desmond right back, as he stared at her.

He looked so much like Nolan.

“Yes, I’ve been in mourning, but if I sit around any longer crying I’m going to go mad. I’ve wanted to come to meet the rest of my family and Clan for years, and if you are returning after this meeting, I’d be honored to accompany you.” She paused, swallowing past the lump of pain in her throat. “And yes, I would like to see where he’s been laid to rest. I think I’ll feel much more settled once I’m able to say a proper goodbye.”

Alis took a breath and clasped her hands before her. “Then I think it will be time, as you say, to talk about the future. I’m a Queen and a Clery. I’m not sure what exactly my future holds, but I know I want to do right by my Clan.”

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #16 on: Feb 01, 18, 06:32:31 PM »
Desmond couldn’t help smiling at his kid sister when she spoke about Black Widows. He was glad, at that moment, that Blodwen had chosen to leave them alone to speak. Desmond knew that his views weren’t widely accepted or appreciated, so he didn’t discuss them much. Yet he was glad that Alis hadn’t inherited their father’s stubbornness where Black Widows were concerned. Things between them wouldn’t always be sunshine and roses, but Desmond felt a little bit of a kinship with his sister on the matter of Black Widows.

Especially since she was the first of his siblings to agree with him.

Yeah, secrets are a double-edged sort. That much is true. You want to know everyone else’s secrets while keepin’ your own close to your chest. It’s a hard line to walk. Most people never master it.” he said, feeling himself slip back into his using the accent he’d spent years getting rid of. He presented himself as a clean-cut and put together male. He did not have a Queen and felt fortunate that the Darkness had not seen fit to give him one, especially on this day. Being bound to one’s sister or daughter as a bonded male sounded like a level of hell reserved for people who cheated on their tithes or their wives…

Desmond froze as he considered it. Had Nolan been bound to Alis? Desmond couldn’t think about that right now. He didn’t think it was so and yet he’d lied to everyone for years about Alis. Whatever his plan was, Desmond would never know it.

Yes, I’m going back to Denford when I leave here. I’d be happy to escort you there, but if, and only if, Lady Lyons signs off on it. She’s been responsible for your welfare for many years, Lady Clery. I’ll not have her say that I disrupted her Court or disrespected her by marching in her and taking her Ward without so much as a by-your-leave. Dad respected Lady Lyons and Clan Lyons and I’ll see that trend continue.” Desmond said.

But after we deal with the mourning, you'll meet Lady Kerry, the ruler of Denford Province. I’m going to reach out to her anyway as soon as possible. She deserves to know that a Dark Jeweled Queen will be residing within her Province for the time being.” he said, sitting up.

I don’t know what the future holds, either, Lady Alis. Wish that I did. We missed a lot of yesterdays, but we’ll share a lot of tomorrows.” Desmond said.

Right now, my goal is to see that you learn about where you come from. We’ll play the rest by ear.” Desmond said, smiling at her.

But Desmond knew where all of this was heading. The pieces were on the table and all he needed to do was assemble them properly. Clan Clery had languished in the shadow of the Sheanes for centuries, unable to break through. Now the Sheanes were gone. Sad thing, but nothing lasts forever.

Except maybe what I’m gonna build.

You want stay out here for awhile? Or should we go talk to Lady Lyons?


Offline Alis Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #17 on: Feb 01, 18, 07:04:34 PM »
He smiled at her and Alis blinked once, saving the picture for later reflection like Kester had taught her to do. Desmond’s smile was a good one, not nearly as uptight as the rest of him. She might be able to get along with that smile. It was, at the very least a place to start.

“I don’t think I’d want to know everyone’s secrets, If I’m being honest. It sounds a bit… I mean, I think I’m happy to see some people just on the surface in the way they want people to see them. Usually what’s beneath is quite sad.” Just as every smile she had shown people in the weeks after Nolan’s death had hid her grief, and the jolly nature of the baker she had picked up a loaf from daily for most of her childhood had been a front for the pain of the illness slowly killing him had been. What had driven Nolan to hide Alis? Was it shame at his affair? Worry for the future of his children and his Clan? Things they could not even begin to imagine?

Then he agreed to take her back to Denford with him and her somber mood lifted the sun coming out after a storm. “Oh, I’ve already cleared it with Blodwen. She suggested it, in fact. I’m even packed. Figured if I didn’t go with you, I would go home to see my- the family that raised me. I only came back here to have Blodwen help me practice my Queen’s Craft with the Sapphire and so that we could be together after… Well, anyways, I’m ready, all I’ll need is a few hours to track down everyone and say my goodbyes.”

She was nearly bouncing as she started getting excited about this whole venture. She was going to get to go to Wexol! It was the one place that she had been forbidden from going her whole life. In her excitement she practically spoke over him, “Of course I’d love to meet Lady Kerry. I think she may have been one of the people who popped by after my Birthright. Lots of Queens and other did, but I was too young to really understand why they were taking such an interest in me and-” She shut her mouth and put a hand over it.

“I’m sorry. I talk a LOT when I get excited. Drove da- I mean, Nolan mad sometimes. Used to say I could give him a headache even whisky couldn’t dull.” Alis took a breath. “I’ll try to control myself. I doubt you need a little sister chattering at you while you’re already busy enough trying to put Nolan’s affairs in order and stepping into his shoes. Unlike what Blodwen might say about me, I can not cause trouble, when I put my mind to it.”

Oh fuck, she was making a fool of herself, wasn’t she?

“Sorry. I’ll stop now.”

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: To live in the minds left behind...
« Reply #18 on: Feb 10, 18, 10:28:04 PM »
Desmond understood her mindset. Before he went to Dhemlan, years ago, he felt the same way. He wanted to go along to get along, not bother anyone and still make his family proud. He had no interest in other people’s secrets because they didn’t involve him. Hearing Alis voice those old thoughts and feelings made Desmond much more confident that she was his kin because they sounded a lot like the values that his mother tried to instill in him once upon a time. But the longer Desmond listened ot her, the more he believed that she’d change her tune in time.

Once she got a taste of being a Queen, of ruling for herself and growing into her own power, Little Sister would learn very fast who she really was.

Just like I did.

Surprise colored his features when Alis said that she’d already cleared her departure with Blodwen. Desmond had thought to speak with the Queen once more before leaving, smooth out any perceived hard feelings about everything. While Blodwen did not have to care about Desmond feelings regarding his father’s request, it appeared that she did. He wanted to keep the relationship between himself and Clan Lyons intact, if only because they were good customers. She was also an attractive woman, if he was honest with himself, and he felt it only fair that he not leave a pretty woman unwilling to see him again.

How about this? We’ll stay the evening and you can say goodbye to everyone you need to say goodbye to. We’ll get on the road in the morning. I’ll speak with Lady Lyons about staying on overnight. Perhaps she’ll indulge Clan Clery with one more favor.” Desmond said.

She seemed excited about coming to Denford, evidenced by how much she talking she was doing. It hurt, a little, when she brought up the old man’s favorite saying. Desmond had grown up thinking that there are a million things in the world that whisky couldn’t cure. Listening to Alis talk about brought forth a pang of sadness and jealousy that he couldn’t shake. It dimmed his mood just a tad, but he reminded himself that her birth wasn’t her fault. She was dealing with a new reality the same as him.

The real culprit had returned to the Darkness and left him to sort all of this out.

It’s okay, Alis. We’re going to sort all of this out together, as family. But let’s worry about the technical stuff later. You’ve got friends and people to bid farewell.” he said.

Let’s get you to it.

And if Alis had no further questions or objections, Desmond would escort her back into the palace proper to find Blodwen and inform her of their decision.


 

 

anything