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Author Topic: Within My Garden Falls a Bird  (Read 734 times)

Description: attn: Abaddon

Offline Talyrian Zima

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Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« on: Aug 29, 18, 03:51:31 PM »
She'd begun enjoying going down near the lake.  True, she tended to avoid being seen when she did.  But there was something relaxing about being near the lake after a long day helping the various villages around the area.  And there was something nice about cleaning her hands in the water.

She had only just finished doing that when she'd seen the strange male that waded into the water.  She'd remained still while he moved, her eyes widening a little as she realized that he was Jewelled... and that shse couldn't sense what those Jewels were. 

Darker than her.  Wingless, and Darker.  That made two DarK Jewelled males that she had met in Askavi, both without wings.  That was.. mildly terrifying, actually.

So she had drifted into the trees, peeking around them to watch the male as he seemed to find some odd sense of relief in the freezing water.  It had a small smile playing on her lips.  She could understand that.

She enjoyed the water too.

Then he had eventually come back, stripping his clothes away as he went.  She'd felt her mouth go dry, and when she saw the scars... well, ehr heart sank.  Was it better to have wings and lose them, or to never have wings at all?  Her teeth nipped at her lips, her eyes remaining locked on him as he.. what was that?

She could swear she smelled Black Widow.  But there was no female, no sign of a Black Widow lurking about other than.. other than..

Her eyes went wide as the double shock of what he must be ricocheted through her chest.  He seemed to lose himself in something he was doing with his hands, and she leaned against the tree as she chewed on the reality.  A black widow male.  A black widow.. warlord prince.. of a male.  Dark Jewelled.

It was as if the Night had crafted a nightmare into flesh, just for her.  And then had made him wingless, just to perk her interest.  Just to make it so that she would be drawn in, curious.  She shook her head, locking a hand on the tree. 

If she were to take off, she'd just get his attention.  If she were to stay here, he might notice her.. and he might not.

It was safer, she decided, to stay here and watch him.  To be as small and unobtrusive as possible.  She could outwait him, surely. 

Movement.  She turned her attention back to the male, watching in fascination as he laid out near his fire.  She'd never seen a Warlord Prince so still before.  She'd never seen one like him at all.

Then he drew on clothes, and she found herself suddenly more aware that he was probably going to start moving soon.  It had her reminding herself to stay still.  To stay... well.. just as she was.

There was every chance that this lost in his thoughts, he wouldn't notice her.  She'd been here for a while, and he hadn't seemed to notice her before.  Surely he wouldn't have been doing, well, whatever he had been doing before shooing her off if he had noticed.

Or perhaps he had shields that made him impervious to something as small as her.  Either way, it had her chewing on her lip in indecision.  To move, or to wait?  To risk attention, or to hopefully continue being unnoticed by remaining still, like a rabbit near a hawk?

Something about that bothered her.  Lady Avilor was rubbing off on her, and this was the worst time for fresh pride to raise its head.  She lifted her chin, but still - she did not move.

Not yet.

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #1 on: Aug 30, 18, 09:58:58 AM »
Abaddon was glad of his shields, but he realized he had not needed them, they had not been tested.  He could sense the young mind nearby.  She was, of course, older than he was, but he had a different sense of age and time in that regard than she or the Eyrien’s did.  He stared into the fire, and closed his eyes, reaching for her Scent, and breathing it in; A Queen.  He let that knowledge play through him, felt it sink into his bones, felt it call upon the instincts of his more Male aligned Caste.  He had been far more Black Widow in recent days than he had been Warlord Prince, even though he was both, their instincts were distinct, even as they mingled into a dangerous stew in his heart and mind.  Abaddon was terribly aware of his spiritual and instinctive duty towards a Queen.  Here she was, alone, and thus she was his to protect.

He expanded his Red shield to include her, knowing she could not sense it.  Abaddon opened his eyes, conjured a folding chair by the fire, and gestured.  ”If you mean to stare, my Queen, you may as well do it in comfort.”  He smiled slightly, golden eyes rising to look exactly where the Queen was hiding.  ”I am a guest of the Steward of Living Lake, it would be impolite of me to eat a Queen, or whatever it is Eyriens believe ‘abominations’ do.  I am Abaddon al-Sabbah.”  Abaddon rose to his feet, and squared his shoulders in a way that was as unconsciously Eyrien as any the woman would have seen.  ”You should not be out here alone.”  He conjured another folding chair and took a seat, stretching out his legs, and steepling his fingers to stare past them into the fire.  ”You are safe with me.  I shan’t rush you back to your Eyrie.”

Abaddon made no move to find the Queen, or to guide her back, she was already corralled by his Shield, he realized, and it was better that he not frighten her into running.  He could sense the streak of fear in her, which was logical and proper.  She did not know him, and he was everything a young Queen should be wary of; Male, Dark Jeweled and a Warlord Prince  add all of the rest, and Abaddon was a dangerous question mark to anyone reasonable enough to consider all of the facts.  Abaddon was used to fear, but what intrigued him was her curiosity.  It had gotten the better of her, and she had remained when she should have left long before.  Besides, even though she was not his Queen, there was a touch of comfort in her company, a touch of universal certainty of purpose, and after the Visions, it made him feel a bit more steady.





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #2 on: Aug 30, 18, 05:30:40 PM »
If you mean to stare, my Queen, you may as well do it in comfort.  She blushed, her fingers digging into the tree a little.  For some reason she had thought he might not notice her.  She was a little belo... oh.  Well, perhaps not according to him.

Lady Avilor kept telling her that as a Jewelled Queen she was not to be ignored in Askavi - but she kept forgetting.  And truthfully, it was easy to forget.  It was easy to slip right past guards here in Living Lake.  They didn't seem to want to see something like her.. and so they didn't.  It was a simple thing to go for a walk sight shielded and know that most would never even think to say something.

And they proved her right, really.  Especially with everything going on of late.

But this male?  he hadn't ignored her.  Maybe because he too was wingless.  Of course, his wings were missing because of removal.  She'd seen the scars.  Maybe he thought hers were too?  She set a hand to the back of her neck, rubbing lightly as she stepped out from behind the tree, glancing at him from the corner of her eyes.

Not hers.  Not unexpected.  Other than her Father, she had no one.  Perhaps Mother Night had granted her the Bond of her Father's heart only to ensure she did not die to her mother's whims. 

You are safe with me.  I shan't rush you back to your Eyrie.

She gave him a chagrined smile, taking a deep breath to gather her courage before moving forward to settle ever so carefully in the chair.  She did not cross her ankles.  It would slow her down too much, and frankly - he was frightening.

Dark Jewelled, Male... his castes were concerning, but really it was the combination of the first two that struck her nerves.

He wasn't as Dark as Vondar.  There was that.  She bit her lip thinking of her wingless host, her fingers tingling at the memory of his face.  That was a dangerous temptation.  One she forced herself to drift away from as she refocused on Abaddon.

"Abaddon al-Sabbah."  She said his name very carefully, intent on saying it right the first time.  That had been drilled into her head too many times for her to release it easily.  "I am Talyrian Zima."  She set her left hand above her heart, dipping her head just a small touch.  "You are no more an abomination than I, believe me.  If Prince Shostakov has accepted you as a guest, you can't.. be too terrible."

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #3 on: Aug 30, 18, 08:15:51 PM »
A blush; that could mean a number of things.  The blood rushing to the surface of her skin could mean she had the good sense to be a little ashamed of slipping away from her guards, or that she had enjoyed what she had seen.  Whatever the case, Abaddon took the Scent and the shift of her mind with just the slightest sigh, exhaling what he had just breathed in with a touch of reluctance.  Abaddon rarely had company after such a visionary assault, so he was appreciative of this moment, particularly because it was a Queen he did not know.  It reinforced her reality.  She was not a dream, not a soul encountered in the Tangled Kingdom.  Souls usually did not blush, though they could become suffused with emotion.  His sense of her was visceral, which was also good.  He rarely had trouble discerning reality from the Kingdom, but it was good to have guideposts, anchors to sink one’s psychic fingers into.

He glanced up at her when she took her seat, noticing how she positioned herself.  His head did not move, but his golden eyes reflecting the light of the fire flicked upward to regard her.  He smiled again, trying to put her at ease, and uncertain if a smile was the right way to do that.  Abaddon said, ”You are free to go or remain as you like, Lady.  I know that I am not--”  He trailed off, searching for the right words, ”—easy company to keep.  I have known this all of my life.”  Abaddon’s eyebrows rose for a brief moment.  She did not have wings.  He was so used to people NOT having them, that he had almost forgotten that this woman should have them.  It was undoubtedly considered rude to inquire, so he resolved not to.

Abaddon chuckled at her somewhat weak reassurances.  ”I am that.  Where I am from, being a guest comes with certain responsibilities that even I would not ignore.”  He gave her a subtle nod, ”It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Zima.”  He lowered his hands to his knees, and still smiling shook his head slightly.  ”I can sense your curiosity, as well as your fear.  Both are understandable.  Why do we not indulge the former, and perhaps that will assuage the latter.  I will give you—five—five questions that I must answer.”  Abaddon raised his hand, ”I will answer honestly, and if you are still afraid, we will return to the Eyrie.”  Normally, the fear would irritate him, but this was a Queen, and there were parts of him that longed for that company, that comfort, even if she were not his own.





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #4 on: Aug 31, 18, 06:04:43 PM »
He didn't lunge.  he also didn't move to touch her.  She was both appreciative and mildly sad - but that was quite normal really.  So while she settled in, she took the time to study him with as subtle a curiosity as she could manage.

She had the feeling she was probably seen through by this one, but she was trying not to stare.  He was obviously Eyrien, at least in part.  It was there in the shape of his jaw, the way his eyes were so deep, the way his shoulders moved.. but he had no wings.  She couldn't help the fascination.  It meant nothing.  She knew that.  Simply sharing a lack of wings did not mean he would be kind, or friendly.  If anything, he might act worse. 

Still.. it was refreshing to not be 'alone'.  She was far less alone now, in Starfall, than she'd been at any point in her life.  It was both astounding, glorious, and terrifying.  That want to catch her breath, to orient herself, had been why she had come down here in the first place.  Of course, she hadn't expected a wingless male to be here.

And she hadn't expected him to be so strange.

Five questions.  He was giving her five questions with which to assuage her curiosity.  That was strangely kind.  So she gave him a shy smile, setting her fingers to the edge of seat.  "Very well.. for every question I ask, you can ask one too.  Though I doubt my stories will be as entertaining." 

It was unlikely, at any rate, that she could compare to him.  He held a feminine caste, and he was a Warlord Prince.  What was that like?  Was he hated for his strangeness, even where he was from?  "What is it like, Prince Sabbah, to be you?"  She blushed, squeezing her fingers on the chair.  "Perhaps that was too forward.  It's just - well - I don't fit in, myself, and I thought perhaps you don't, and I find I'm curious as to.. well.. you know."

Maybe he didn't.  Maybe she'd stumbled wording that question, and simply made a fool of herself.  But he had said she could ask any question she wished, and that was at the top of her list.  What was it like to be him, to contain all the instincts of those particular castes?  How did he not go mad?

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #5 on: Sep 04, 18, 09:04:43 AM »
A Queen’s presence was always better than being away from one.  His own meant the world to him, and it was only by her Touch, that he had ever truly understood what it meant to have that Bond, what it meant to have home and peace all in one.  Others had tried, Elenor had given him her Touch, and while it smoothed some of his rough edges, it could not reach deep and smooth out all of the, still it was better than none at all, that was a simple truth.  Talyrian’s presence called to base but more gentle instincts, to protect and preserve, and even serve in the way Males had served Queens since the Castes were spun out of the Darkness.  If his temperament was that of a hot desert wind, Talyrian was a cool breeze across his skin, a vast improvement.


Abaddon smiled as Talyrian adjusted the rules, noting her own shy expression.  He did not want everyone to see him as an Abomination, but those that did, let them be afraid, let them whisper.  For this young Queen, he would grant the opportunity to know him at least a little, and make her own decision about him, and potentially others like him.  Dual Caste Males must be born in Askavi, if not recently, in the Lady’s lifetime, and perhaps he would make that future Male’s life a little easier.  ”A story is a story, Lady.  I’ve never been to Askavi before, so I am certain everything you have to tell me will be educational, in a sense.”


He laughed at the question, his golden eyes shining, and he shook his head as she blushed.  ”No, that is not too forward.  I did not put any limits one what you could ask.”  Abaddon grew quiet for a moment, his expression briefly serious, before he smiled slightly again.  ”You are correct.  In many ways, I do not fit in.  I was not raised in a place where there was any particular bigotry against a Male like me, but once my snaketooth came in, there was – fear.”  Abaddon gazed into the fire, ”People are always a little wary of a Warlord Prince, and wisely so, their tempers are storied and supposedly well understood.  But, I was always a little more.”  He rolled his shoulders, ”Combat was one of the few places I felt at home.  I craved, I crave I should say, sensation.”  Abaddon sat back in h is seat, ”A Warlord Prince is already volatile, they are like dry wood awaiting a spark, add Black Widow to that, and the fire is already lit, everything else just adds fuel to that fire.”  Abaddon regarded Talyrian, ”I have just come from battle, and you have caught me at a very good time—normally I am irritable, the world is a rock in my boot, and I can never quite get it removed.”  He smiled, ”But it is not all annoyance.  There are visions of heartbreaking beauty, the knowledge of the soul, the instinct and desire to live within the senses—a touch can be everythin, in the right moment.”


Abaddon smiled at Talyrian, ”May I approach without you fleeing in terror?”





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #6 on: Sep 04, 18, 09:35:24 AM »
"No guarantees on that one, though I'd probably run face first into a shield, if I had to make a guess."  She sounded a little dry, but there was humor on her face.  "It isn't your castes that make me so nervous, Prince, or it is, but not in the way you might think."  She recrossed her ankles, sliding her hands atop her thighs so that she seemed more at rest.  It was a very court-like pose, one of the few that she was practiced in truth be told, and she thought perhaps it would put the Prince more at ease.

Or at least keep him from losing what ease he might have.  He said that the world annoyed him, agitated him, on a regular basis.  He also said that she had caught him at a good time, and personally she was relieved.  If he were an 'agitated' Red male, she'd probably have quickly scurried on away like a mouse rather than stand there behind a tree and spy like an errant child.

"Darker males make me nervous in general."  She said it quietly, then took a deep breath and lifted a hand to hold it out to him.  "By all means."  He didn't mean her harm.  She kept telling herself that.  Besides, he was a Guest of Vondar's.  And Vondar had told her that she was safe.

He'd promised. 

Of course, I'm out here without an escort, and that makes me an idiot, but... forget that.

"I'm not originally from here, myself.  Long ago, the Eyriens went across the Gate to try to conquer Kaeleer.  I grew up in their eyries there."  She said it quietly, watching him.  "I've only arrived here in Askavi recently.  So whatever stories I might tell you are of a very different place indeed - and I suppose, that means that I wont' be all that boring to your ears."

She hadn't really thought of it like that before.  The closer he came, the more she caught of his scent.  There was, of course, the scent of his castes.  Those had been overwhelming.  And then there was the deep scent of a Dark male.  She couldn't exactlys ense how dark by that scent, but Dark males in her experience had a 'deeper' scent that stoked instincts in a stronger fashion.

Beneath all of that, there was... heat.  Not the heat of lust, exactly, but that scent of warm sun on mountain rock.  There was also that strange taste of light breeze - as if it carried more scent than expected but none of them strong enough to make themselves clear.

It was fascinating, really.  She had made a habit of cataloging scents when she'd been forced to spend any time in her Village Queen's court.  It had helped her deal with everything else going on around her; it had provided distraction from the indifferent or cold gazes of those that were her betters.

Abaddon al-Sabbah did not look at her like that.  Ah, but Abaddon al-Sabbah was a wingless half-breed.  Which meant he was unlikely to do so.  Her lips turned upwards, shoulders relaxing a little as that nugget of fact settled in. 

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #7 on: Sep 12, 18, 02:07:23 PM »
Abaddon smiled at the young Queen’s declaration.  ”Your suspicion is correct.  You came into my parlor, so to speak, so I took steps to keep you safe.”  He tilted his head as he listened to her, wondering what in particular gave her pause.  He had considered the usual reasons, but apparently she had other concerns.  He waited for her to reveal them, and then slowly nodded.  ”That is a reasonable concern here.”  He frowned very slightly, ”Eyriens do have something of an unfortunate reputation, and I can see that being magnified by a Males darkness.”  Abaddon lifted his eyes to find hers, ”You are safe with me.  In Pruul, one does not harm one’s host, and you are a member of the hosting party, and you are a Queen.  Blood Law places you under my protection, as do my instincts.”

When she agreed, he rose gracefully and approached her unhurriedly, though even then, he seemed to arrive quickly by her side.  ”So, you are a traveler, a pilgrim, not unlike myself.  But you are a Queen, and Askavi seems to need you.”  Abaddon knelt by her side, and his eyebrows rose at the mention of the Gate and Kaeleer.  He knew of the place and the concept, of course, but to actually go there?  No, that would be too far from Ghanima, even out of the reach of her dreams.  He could not do that.  ”Then you have a story to tell, if and when you are willing.”  Abaddon breathed in the scent of this young Queen, feeling her presence affect him, even though she was not his.  All of his rough edges called for a Queen’s Touch or at least her presence to smooth out.  Though, he doubted Lady Zima that he felt that way, that for all of his usual irritation, his soul called out for a Queen’s Bond—and he had one, and still the presence of one that was not his had an effect.

Abaddon lifted one hand, and caressed the length of her arm, so lightly, it would have been easy to think he had never done so.  ”This is what it is like for me when things are good.”  The caress became only a little firm, a little more present, and delicate swirls of sensation eddied out from the simple line he drew on her skin, as though he were somehow disturbing the air around her arm.  ”Touch is like a whisper.  Something to rise to, to focus on.”  He dropped his hand, ”And then all of a sudden, one sees something or feels something, or someone says something, and every inch of skin feels like it is being rubbed raw with sand.  Like you took a single step to kiss a lover, only to find you walked into a fire.”  Abaddon rose beside her, and took a breath.  ”It is not an easy thing.”  He gestured, ”As I imagine it is not easy for you here, living in that eyrie...”





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #8 on: Sep 16, 18, 03:10:34 PM »
He had a graceful way of moving, and it had her watching him in the same way an animal might watch a snake.  Fascinated, but nervous.  Nonetheless, she didn't bolt.  Bolting would just make him worse, and more than likely they'd end up in a position neither of them really wanted.  So she stayed still, waiting, despite the pounding in her heart.

He knelt at her side, and for a brief moment there was the flash of Vondar kneeling between her legs.  It had her breath evening out, though a faint blush touched her cheeks. So you are a traveler, a pilgrim..

"I suppose you could call me that.  Though I would call it being a refugee."  She kept her eyes on him, until he lifted his hand.  Then she watched his fingers lightly brush against her skin.  It made her feel goosebumps.  Touch is like a whisper.  Not to her.  To her, touch was a cascade.  Her fingers twitched, a little, and she forced herself to look away. 

She was almost painfully aware of where he was now, and it was torturously wonderful.  Sadly, he rose to his feet all too soon.  She felt a childish desire to wrap her arms around his legs and keep him in place - but she didn't do it.  She had over a hundred years of practice restraining herself from that needy behavior... he'd have to do more than just touch her arm a few times. 

"It is .. strange.. how two people can experience life so differently and yet be so alone in such similar ways, isn't it?"  She blinked a few times, redirecting her eyes up to watch his face. 

"To be honest.. living here isn't easy, but only because I am not used ot having so much attention.  Prince Shostakov is a wonderful host, one who never treats me like... "  An abomination that should have been killed at birth.  "Well.. let's just say his kindness is unusual for me.  As is Lady Fayrian's.  He is the first Eyrien I have ever seen without wings like me, and now.."  She gave Abaddon a smile.  "Now there's you.  So while I suppose many would think this place is difficult, I find it strangely comforting."

She wasn't so alone.  Even if she never saw Abaddon again, she knew of at least one more of Eyrien blood that didn't have wings.  Granted... both Vondar and Abaddon had the scars to make it clear why - whereas her back was flawless - but the fact that they too could not take to the sky made her feel less alone.

"I am able to go where I please in this Eyrie, anyways, when I am not out helping to feed the land.  There are worse fates."

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #9 on: Sep 18, 18, 10:48:24 AM »
Abaddon was too sensitive to not feel the effect he had on the Queen.  He sensed Talyrian’s blush at the very same time that he saw it, but he did not ask what she was thinking about.  Probing questions that came very close to true often disturbed people, and the young Queen was already a bit skittish.  ”A refugee?  That implies that you ran away from something.”  The Young Spider responded easily, ”What are you running away from, Lady Zima?”  He smiled slightly at her, and observed what his touch did to her.  Goosebumps rose in her skin, and she tore her eyes from the gesture.  Abaddon frowned slightly, ”Do you not have any bonded Males?”  It was the reaction, it seemed to him, of someone that enjoyed touch but did not receive it often enough.

He considered her question, not that it was really that.  It was a statement of feeling, and she was seeing if he agreed.  Abaddon met her eyes, ”We all dream, Lady, we all touch Mother Night and the Abyss.  We are made for echoes, but many of us don’t want to hear them.  It is not that strange, not to me.”  And it was not.  Everything that had happened since coming to Askavi had felt correct.  Abaddon was where he was supposed to be.  He fulfilling a dream and a vision, and at each major point, at each main destination, another thing clicked into place in his head.  Abaddon had foreseen this journey, but he had not understood entirely what he was seeing.  ”Some things happen because they are supposed to, others are tragedies or triumphs of our own design, or someone else’s.”

Abaddon nodded slowly, ”I was surprised to see Vondar had no wings, though I had been warned.  I am only half-Eyrien.  I was, however, born with wings.  They were cut away when I was still very young.”  Then he gestured, ”The land is eager for a Queen, all of Askavi is, but one Queen can only do so much.  I do hope the Steward does not ignore pragmatic solutions.  You have so much water here, you should have many options.”  He paused and considered, ”Which is more important to you now; being accepted? Or being of use?  I ask because I wonder at the measure of Eyrien pride.  They need Queens, but it is clear that you have not been entirely welcomed with open arms.  Am I correct?”





Offline Talyrian Zima

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #10 on: Sep 18, 18, 11:03:16 AM »
What are you running away from, Lady Zima?

She bit her lip, considering how to answer that question.  Some males might take the answer as a challenge - and she certainly didn't want males to go running towards Kaeleer to their deaths.  Of course, those deaths wouldn't be about her, they would be about all the others killed.  They would be about the challenge... and perhaps she was being unfair.  Perhaps she was assuming that the males of Askavi would be ruled by their pride and their aggression rather than common sense.

Perhaps Lady Avilor was rubbing off on her, a little.  Or perhaps she was just embarrassed that the Black Widow Warlord Prince seemed to have picked up on her skin hunger.  Pathetic, and weak.  She took a breath, banishing that memory of her mother from her mind and focusing instead on how Vondar and Fay seemed to see something in her that was worthy.

"I ran from the Black Prince of Askavi, Kaeleer.  He killed most of our people there."  She cleared her throat.  "Well.. those that were within the Keeps, anyways.  I know there are pockets of us left, but my father, brother, and I chose to leave.  It was too..."  Risky.

She took a deep breath, closing her eyes.  Do you not have any bonded Males?

"My father.  He has been with me all my life."  She smiled, cracking those eyes open to look at Abaddon.  some things happen because they are supposed to.  That was a strangely comforting thought.  Had she been born Wingless because the Mother wished her to be?  And if so, why?  What was she meant to do as a wingless Eyrien that she could not do as a Winged one?

Perhaps she was meant to teach her people that even the Winged could be of use - or perhaps she had simply been born wrong, as her mother had always said.

Her fingers carefully reached up, circling his wrist in comfort.  What little comfort she could offer.  "I do not know what would be worse.. to be born wingless as I was, or to have one's wings taken.  The sky calls regardless, and to not be able to answer its song is..."  She paused.  "It aches.  But Prince Vondar manages, and so do we."  She gave him a smile, t urning her eyes towards Starfall.

From here, what little could be seen of it almost seemed a tale or legend.  It was a strange place, full of magic and mystery, even if it was her current home.

"I just want to be of use.  My people will never really 'welcome' me, I think.  But they are my people, and this land..."  She looked down.  "It screams.  So it doesn't matter if the people dislike me, or if I never rule so much as a village.  My people's pride is their strength and their bane.  It makes them stand even when the world tries to break their backs, and it makes them do stupid, brave things.  I will do what I can where I can, and hope that I can help in some small fashion.  What of you, Prince?"

She took her hand back.  "Do your people welcome you with your differences?  Perhaps it is different here, but in Kaeleer a male Black Widow would have no easy turns in life."

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #11 on: Sep 20, 18, 10:01:18 AM »
Abaddon dreamed of Kaeleer, but had little in the way of news or actual meetings from the other Realm.  He could seek these whispers, these stories, these legends out in The Twisted Kingdom, where they made more than ripples, they made waves, but he lept his explorations to this side of the Gate.  ”You fled the forced extermination of your people.  I do not find that choice to be unreasonable, to leave a place.”  He regarded her as she spoke, took note of the hesitations and physical motions of her body, subtle as they were.  The Queen had bonded her own Father?  What a curious experience that must have been for the elder of the two.  How close they must be.  A parent was already protective, even worried about incalculable variables that no one in life can control, but also bent on defending his Queen and child.  He would have to watch for this Queen’s Father, and observe.

She took a hold of his wrist, and Abaddon did not move away.  He returned to Talyrian’s side, and knelt once again.  The hand that had taken hold of his wrist, he now took in his hand, and the fingertips of his free hand caressed her skin lightly.  ”I do not know if it is the sky calling, or the idea that I have been robbed of something fundamental.  You yearn to fly because it is in your blood, but nothing was stolen away, your person was not altered or violated.”  Abaddon’s nostrils flared slightly, and he took a breath, ”It is better not to dwell on what cannot be changed.  I have many other advantages, as do you.  It is not as though Mother Night ignored us completely.”  Abaddon followed her line of sighs, his fingers still lightly playing over her skin, sending those same swirls of sensation like a subtle breeze across the surface of her arm and beyond.

Abaddon scowled slightly, ”These people can be small, for all their years.  You are already of use, but one Queen can only do so much.  You can only give to the land so deeply, before you harm yourself, and having a Queen is better than letting one die for a short gain.”  He snorted softly, ”What other people think is of little use to you, unless they are teaching you Craft or some new Skill.  Listen. Learn, but do not feel bad when people are wrong.  They will be wrong often.”  Abaddon met her eyes at her question.  It was not a question he could recall having ever been asked.  He settled a bit, sitting easily on his heels, muscles rippling in his body as he repositioned himself.  He still held Talyrian’s hand, and still brushed his fingertips over her skin.  ”In Pruul, those with more than one Caste are not generally seen as strange—in my case, I was seen as dangerous certainly, and because of my Father—a tyrant—I was feared.  Were anyone else my Father, I cannot say if I would have grown up feared or not.”  He shrugged slightly.

”It does not truly matter.  Fear has its place, and fear is generally wise, most of the time, so long as it is not used as an excuse for bigotry or other darker deeds.”  He gestured to indicate Askavi, in general.  ”I do not know all Eyriens here, of course, but if the reaction of the Males I have seen thus far is any indication—I will be feared here as well.”  Abaddon smiled in a manner that was entirely predatory, ”That will work.”  HIs expression gentled as he turned back to Talyrian, ”Am I less  frightening or more frightening to you now?”






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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #12 on: Sep 20, 18, 06:47:39 PM »
Abaddon kept playing his fingers against her skin, and she wanted to purr at the feeling of someone genuinely enjoying her presence.  Had she ever had such delicate touch before?  No.  No she had not.  Well, maybe she had as a small child when her father would play his fingers against the back of her arms while she laid out across his lap and tried to sleep.

Sleep had never been easy to obtain when she'd realized that she would never fly.  Her dreams were always plagued by the idea of taking wing.. and she hated waking up to find herself locked to the earth.  Her father had often helped her fall to sleep in those early years, and while it galled her to admit it, he still did sometimes. 

You are already of use.

She lifted almost sleepy eyes to smile at him.  Really smile at him.  She was already of use.  Abaddon al-Sabbah did not look at her and see something weak or pathetic.  "My people..."  She turned her eyes back towards the mountains.  "For all their years, they are still people, with all the flaws and strengths that people can have.  I think... sometimes.. that they fall prey to the illusion of the Short Lived.  Their years may be long - but long years do not grant a person inherent wisdom.  If it did.. perhaps they would not see me as an abomination that should have been left to death at birth."

She sighed, running her fingers through her hair.  "Though.. to be fair.. most of those I've met here are just indifferent.  Perhaps that was a more pronounced problem in Kaeleer."  She grinned, glancing at Abaddon with something almost playful lurking in her eyes.

Am I less frightening or more frightening to you now?

"At this moment?  I find I am inclined to think of you as less frightening, even if only because you are trying hard to be so."  She smiled, bringing a hand over his.  "And to be honest.. you can be as frightening as you want to.  Strangely.. I think so long as I know you are not going to turn that frightening bit on me it will be comforting.  All my life it has been my father and I.. and ever since coming here, I find that the oddest of alliances have been struck."

She snorted, lifting her chin towards Starfall.  "If you had told me a year ago that I would be under the protection of a Broken Queen and a Gray Prince, I'd have laughed at you and hid in my room.  Will you be staying with us long, Prince?"  She smiled, squeezing his hand lightly.  "I.. if it would not offend, I would like to befriend you.  It brings me comfort, not being the only odd goose in Askavi."  She paused.  "Perhaps we could exchange letters after you leave.   I would like to hear more of the other lands of Terreille.  Pruul sounds..."  She laughed, a little.  "Well.. alien."

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #13 on: Oct 08, 18, 02:18:39 PM »
Abaddon had an intimate understanding of sensation and the desire for it.  Touch was a basic and key sense, and it was also one of the many ways the Blood related to each other on many levels, whether it was a kick or a caress.  He held the young Queen’s hand because she seemed to need the attention, and to know that there was at least one person in the world that would gladly do so.  It had a clear affect on Talyrian, and he was pleased that he was able to do so with only the mildest trick of Craft.  Seduction would have been easy, but he would not take such liberties or advantage with a young woman who was also one of his hosts.  ”All people are people, Lady, winged or not.  Only Eyriens believe that being able to fly actually puts them above all of that.  Deephome is lost.  A massacre perpetrated by an enemy they insist on underestimating.”

He nodded in agreement, ”They should be seeing you as a chance for growth, for rebirth even.  Instead they see you as someone or something lesser, even in their desperation.  I read a term for it once, in Hayll, it is called hubris...excessive pride.  Do not get me wrong, there is much to be proud of here, but too much and they do themselves harm.”  Abaddon tilted his head slightly, ”Indifference is just as bad.  I would prefer to be feared or hated, rather than that, then at least I have inspired something.”  Abaddon returned her smile, his thoughtfulness vanishing at the sight of her expression and the mischief in her eyes.  ”I am pleased that you have relaxed.  I never meant you any harm.”

Abaddon shook his head, ”Only as long as it takes for my party to rest and recuperate.  They used much of their strength in the battle we left behind.  It was a narrow escape.”  He laughed, and smiled at Talyrian.  ”I do not believe I have ever been asked so formally for friendship.”  He lifted his touch from her arm, and cupped her cheek.  ”I cannot promise to respond easily, but I will certainly try.  I do not believe my travels are done.  Not yet.”  And they very well could end in Gravesend.  That would be disappointing, but he knew it was possible.  ”Askavi is as alient to me as Pruul would be to you.  Askavi is rich.  They have boundless water, and they are choking on it.  Their traditions blind them to the need for change, even when a Queen gives them opportunity.”  He smiled, ”I do hope you do well here.”





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #14 on: Oct 10, 18, 03:10:15 PM »
Abaddon spoke words that resonated in the air- and that would likely have someone try to beat him if they heard it.  Her lips twitched into a smile, even while he touched her hand and spoke so earnestly, because it was nice to hear someone else say the words she'd thought so very often.  She'd never dare, of course, to tell her winged brethren that they were being idiots.

Even if they were definitely being idiots.

She would never dare because for over one hundred years she'd learned that she had no status, no placement, that would make any of them listen.  She'd merely be an uncomfortable reminder that the purest of them could still be born without wings; a reminder that it didn't take mixed blood to bear cursed offspring.  That is what they would see, always, before ever she dared to open her mouth.

So she had swallowed her outcries down for too long to make noise about them now.  To hear someone else do it?  That was warming.

Abaddon's hand moved to her cheek, and she found her head tipping further into that touch without thought.  He did not turn down her offer of friendship, and hope kindled in her chest.  Yes, the Eyriens of her people's homeland were just as stuck up with their need for wings as the Eyriens of Kaeleer, but...

But here?  She'd already met a few who didn't give a damn about such things.  Fayrian and Vondar didn't care that she could never taste the wind as they had.  They cared that she was a Queen, that she had gifts which could help their home, and that she was willing to be useful.

Now there was this half-breed, and she found herself adding his name to the list of those that she would take care of if ever such care was necessary.  Abaddon al-Sabbah. 

"I do not know if I would call them rich."  She wrinkled her nose, then closed her eyes.  "They have water, yes, but the water is useless if the land cannot provide the food necessary for life.  They have water, but not the coin or metal to purchase what they need.  They have water, but their people starve and wither away while the land screams beneath our feet for all that a Queen can give and more.  It never stops, here."

She whispered those words, shivering a little before forcing her head upright.  "But this is where I belong.  If I can help my people, and I can find a way to help them survive the hardships.. then I am not useless."  And that, really, was all she wanted.

She wanted to be of use.  She wanted someone, anyone, to remember her and how she could do more than be some pathetic clinger-on who wanted more than she was worth.  She didn't need to rule.  She didn't even want to rule.

She merely wanted to serve, and be seen as more than a filthy abomination that should have been killed at birth. 
She wanted respect.  The realization of that had her cheeks turning red.  Lady Fayrian had somehow gotten under her skin.  Well, her mentor would probably be pleased to know that Talyrian, finally, wanted something.

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #15 on: Nov 01, 18, 11:14:16 AM »
It was not youth or impatience that made Abaddon form his perspective, it was knowledge.  It was the information gleaned from his dreams, from his visions, and from the minds of those around him.  He knew that many Eyriens, with their centuries of life, would not see it that way.  Abaddon had hoped to find a repository of history and knowledge in these people, and he was both disappointed and comforted by the fact that this was not what they were.  In the end, they were just people, people with the same errors of thought and emotion, with the same illusions of their pasts—only extended and mutated by the lens and weight of many, many years.  Perhaps, in a strange way, that made the Eyriens more human than human, more prone to the foibles and weaknesses that all of the Blood and Landen carried, only made worse by their long lives, not improved.

The little Queen seemed so young in that moment, as he cradled her cheek in his palm.  ”There are things they can be doing with this water, with the ice.  There’s trade they could be engaging in, if they could get over themselves.”  Abaddon shook his head slightly, ”They can irrigate fields.  The forests grow richly on the mountainsides, and there is game and wild edibles aplenty, that they can bring down to their fields, if they took more than a moment to think about it.”  Abaddon growled, ”I am from a place where even the use of Craft must be restricted for one’s own safety and welfare, where we have far less water, far less green, and we still manage to live and even prosper.  Askavi is under no such restriction.  They have options, with or without a Queen.”

Abaddon smiled gently at Talyrian, ”A Queen always finds her place.  All you have to do is be a Queen, and you will be seen as useful.  If the Steward of Living Lake is smart, he will agree with that sentiment.”  She blushed hotly, and the Black Widow Warlord Prince restrained himself from gently dipping into the surface of her thoughts.  ”I expect that one day I will return, and you will have made a place in Living Lake for yourself.  Askavi cannot ignore a Queen for too long.  Give it time, Lady, you are still a fairly new arrival, and they have centuries of foolishness to shed.”





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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #16 on: Nov 01, 18, 11:53:06 AM »
"They could bring the water to the fields, and hte ice from the mountains... but it would be like pouring water into a hole, Prince."  She said those words quietly, cracking her eyes open to study him.  "Pruul relies on trade for much of its food, does it not?"

Her shoulders twitched, just thinking of how... difficult.. trade would be.  "Askavi has little it can trade to others, even if the others are willing to trade.  Which... I do not think many will be willing.  My people made war too long, and some territories will have long memories.  There are none who can hold a grudge like those who live long lives."  Talyrian raised her hand, holding his fingers against her cheek.

"I never ruled anywhere, and I doubt I ever will in truth but... I watched.  People will delight in punishing those that they believe wronged them or their ancestors.  It will not matter that the Purge was one hundred and ninety three years ago, Prince.. it will matter that now the Eyriens are wounded.  It will matter that now they can be made to pay beyond what Witch did to all of us.  Hayll is an ancestral enemy - and to trade with Askavi is to invite Hayll's ire.  How many short lived territories will risk it?"

Her head shook, sadly, and she dropped her hand.  "I am new to Terreille.. but I am not new to watching others.  This is not an impossible situation, but it is... more complex than I think many believe.  You see the water, and the ice.. and you see wealth.  But could you convince Pruul to trade food for the water?  Would Pruul's Great Clans be willing to set aside the harm the Eyriens caused for so many years to the side for access to the one thing Askavi has left to give?"

She raised her eyes, studying his own again.  "I hope so."

There it was.  Hope.  Askavi was her home now.  She wouldn't leave, even if she could.  The land here called her, it needed her.  It screamed her name with every beat of her heart.  To leave would be to abandon all that she was - and she was not cowardly enough to do that. 

"Provided no one does anything rash.. you're right.  I have plenty of time."  Her lips twitched into a smile.  "I simply hope that our people have that time, Prince Abaddon.  I know that my brother and my father are.. uneasy.. here.  They do not want me to notice, but I do.  I will do what I can, Prince... and I hope that you do well.  I truly do.  You are very kind."

Her head lifted, and she set her eyes back in the direction of 'home'.  A soft sigh left her, and she began to rise to her feet.  "My brother seems to have noticed that I slipped off.  I don't suppose you would be willing to be my escort back, and allow me to fool my brother into not believing that I left alone would you?"  Was that a mischevious smile on her lips?

Yes.  Yes it was.

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: Within My Garden Falls a Bird
« Reply #17 on: Nov 21, 18, 09:37:46 AM »
Abaddon shook his head slightly, and then gave a mild shrug.  ”Yes, and no.  We have two major cities, due to their proximity to large bodies of water, there’s some basic farming and growth there.”    He smiled slightly, ”The caravans move around.  We bring our water with us.  There is life in the mountains, so there is hunting, and the desert is not as lifeless as most would assume.  It’s a subsistence living, but it has kept Pruul free and capable for centuries.”  Abaddon gently caressed her cheek gently with his thumb when she pressed his hand there, ”Queens are important.  They can sometimes mean the difference between hard choices and clear survival.”  Then he added, ”It has to begin somewhere.  You bring water in, irrigate, make one land fertile.  Strength the people there, and they will help others—like water it will trickle down.  There’s no other choice.”

He continued to be close to the Queen, letting Talyrian take what comfort she could in his presence as he took comfort in hers.  ”Askavi has much to trade.  They are either unwilling, or not looking in the right places.  You might be surprised what people will forgive for the promise of profit.”  Abaddon cupped her cheek, and then rose in one smooth, unhurried motion.  He slid his arms beneath Talyrian, sat cross-legged on the ground, and held her there.  It was better than what they had been doing.  Abaddon embraced her by the small fire he had made.  He held her there, and even gently nuzzled her, holding her close against his chest.  ”As trite as it sounds, there is a first time for all things—even for me.”

Abaddon laughed, ”They will all risk it.  Hayll does not rule the Realm, no matter that they might pretend otherwise.”  He smiled, ”Where needs are immediate, Askavi will find trade.  It means, however, that those used to invading with sword and spear will have to invade with goods and coin, or whatever passes for such in any given Territory.”  He nodded, ”The Eyrien Invasion did not get too deeply into Pruul.  We proved inhospitable, and the Great Worms made  the creation of outposts terribly difficult.  There was clearly some mingling, but we did not suffer under the conquest as much as other places did.  Pruul would trade, the real question is what would we trade. Our primary export was salt, and the main mine, a source of much bleak controversy is depleted”

”Askavi must change, but so too must Pruul, as well as other places.  Some things need to happen immediately, others less so—but pragmatism should inform those decisions, not tradition.”  He smiled and hugged her, ”You are a Queen.  You deserve my kindness.  You may not realize it, but I am soothed by your presence, and while you are not mine, that remains a gift I do not take for granted.”  He let her get to her feet and he stood with her, ”It would be an honor to see you back home, as it happens, I should probably start heading that way myself.”  Abaddon conjured dry clothing, and pulled them on, before offering Talyrian his arms.  ”Shall we?”

/END





 

 

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