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* Plot Information for Rihland

A Black Jewel has obliterated the longstanding Eyrien rulership of the Territory. As the Rihlanders begin to reclaim their homeland they do so under the stern gaze of their "savior". Three separate peoples struggle to both claim their own identities and become a unified nation, but old hatreds are difficult to shed.
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Author Topic: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete  (Read 372 times)

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Offline Hjalmar Lindgren

    • opal2sapphire
    • warlord
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      Glacia

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      halyonix

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Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« on: Mar 07, 19, 12:10:32 PM »
The markets of Avorla were pleasant, sprawling avenues, rich with shops and foods reminiscent of Glacia yet different enough to harken to Rihland. Glacian weaves were intertwined with Rihland designs. Glacian food was seasoned with Rihland spices. Glacian architecture and fonts were interspersed with Rihland structures and wording. Glacian attire had Rihland flair. It was enough like home to remind him of home but still different enough to remind him that he was not home.

It was a perplexing state to exist in and Hjalmar found himself rumbling his unease for more than usual that day.

“Dad, it’ll be fine,” his eldest daughter, Leija, reminded him for the third time. Her father’s usual distaste for crowds and markets was well known but it wasn’t the only reason he was uncomfortable that day. “We’re just getting a few things and then we’ll go back.” He couldn’t keep them cooped up forever and he knew that. But he was so…off balance with the death of his wife. She had been the center of his world, the sun to his orbit. Without her…

“Oh! Bee sting cake!” That was Diona, the younger daughter. “Dad! Can we get some? Please?” Without remark, Hjalmar handed over a mark from their dwindling supply. His assimilation into Avorla life had gone slower than planned. As part of their payment for crossing, Viida, his wife, had agreed to help with the Healer community here, offering her services. With her death…

It always came back to her death, didn’t it?

Hjalmar’s rumble became a resigned sigh, another stone of grief piled atop the growing mountain of it in his chest. Lady Drachlan (he could not call her Signe just yet) had been generous…was generous. They had food, clothing, the recommendations for tutors and schooling, a warm place to sleep. But he didn’t want handouts. He wanted a life, something carved out from his own hands. A smithy of his own with a house for his family.

The life that he wanted, though…that was no longer an option. He could have a smithy and get back to his work as a metal crafter. He could have a house for his family to make their own. But his bed would always be empty without his wife. That tarnished the whole dream, and Hjalmar, struggling to move forward, just couldn’t do it.

Strapped across his chest, Isaak, the newborn, cooed softly, interrupting Hjalmar’s unhappy thoughts. Hjalmar looked down to see if he was waking and when he looked up again, Diona had disappeared into the crowd ahead of them.

Hjalmar scowled. Peered.

No daughter.

Correction, no daughters.

Leija had gone with her. Or so he assumed. “Son,” Hjalmar rumbled, the faintest stirrings of panic beginning to rise up within him. That had also changed with his wife’s death. Now, the moment he lost track of their children – the only living memory he had of his wife – Hjalmar felt like he couldn’t breathe and he needed to have them in sight at nearly all times when they ventured out of the estate.

His eldest son, Istvar, looked up. “Yeah?” At twenty-one, he would be moving out on his own in plenty of time. A moment that was coming far too soon for Hjalmar, who was rapidly realizing that not only would his bed be empty, but so would parts of that new house.

“Find your sisters,” Hjalmar rumbled. Panic fluttered, trapped in his chest. He strained to see far enough into the crowd for that familiar bob of hair. A sea of blondes and sandy browns greeted him and even his height did nothing to help. “Diona!” he roared, startling a dozen people in his vicinity. He ignored them. “Diona!” He could see Istvar winding through the crowd, looking for his sisters. But no Diona or Leija.

Panic escaped. Took charge. “Move,” he growled at the nearest person in his path, as he began charging forward.

They couldn’t be far, he told himself. They couldn’t be far.

Offline Agneta Nilsson

  • Character Account
    • yellow2rose
    • witch
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      Rihland

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      WrenStar

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #1 on: Mar 22, 19, 11:59:34 AM »
Agneta was sitting cross-legged on a bench, a pen between her teeth and a notebook open on her lap. It was brisk outside but not frigid and she was comfortable enough, especially with the sun out and warming her so nicely. She'd just needed to get out of the house for a little bit, clear her head, and translate some of the information she had been processing these past few weeks down into something more.. tangible. She liked data - numbers and patterns and connections and the mechanics of a functioning system. She liked the mechanics of a non-functioning system too - it posed a fun challenge to take apart and put together again.

But the first step with anything was always observation - which was what Nena was doing right now, observing.

And because she was observing, she saw the whole ordeal from the moment the two girls slipped away to the one where their father realized they were missing. To their credit, Nena didn't think that the girls meant any ill by wandering off. She was pretty sure they'd seen something at a stall across the street - then ended up inside the store just behind it because there was something of more interest there. By the time their father started hollering for them, they probably couldn't hear him - the sound of his shouts melting into the general bustle of the busy market.

The level of the large man's panic was alarming though, alarming and... heartbreaking was a good word for it. It was like he thought they'd been stolen. Though, considering what she knew about the reasons some people crossed the pass to get to Rihland, she supposed that wasn't exactly an unreasonable fear.

Agneta closed her notebook and tucked it into her satchel, slipping off the bench and making her way toward the panicked father.

"Excuse me," she said with a smile, stepping up to him and raising a hand to draw his attention. "I think I saw your daughters enter a shop down the street a little ways. I can go tell them you're looking for them and worried, if you like." She offered this first, as opposed to just pointing in the direction - because Nena really didn't want to make matters any more upsetting for him or his daughters, and as a daughter herself she knew that there was nothing more upsetting than your father charging into a shop yelling for you.

Offline Hjalmar Lindgren

    • opal2sapphire
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      Glacia

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #2 on: Apr 03, 19, 10:03:55 AM »
The crowd parted but not fast enough. And, despite his great height, he just couldn’t find his daughters in the crowd. That latter part panicked him more. If he couldn’t see them out in the open, it meant they were somewhere inside, out of sight.

Anywhere.

He nearly stepped on the petite witch that stepped up to him. Even as she said, “Excuse me,” and grabbed his attention, he was rumbling impatiently. She was holding him up. His lip began to curl into a snarl, the words demanding her to move rising in his throat. And then, she said she saw where they had gone and offered to help him.

Instantly, the anger at being held up vanished. “Show me,” he softly demanded, clapping one meaty hand on her little shoulder. Mentally, he tapped his son, who was having no luck in his direction, and then followed the little witch through the flowing crowd. For someone so much smaller than he, she cut through the masses like a little tugboat pulling a large ship. Every so often, he would continue his blasting roar of, “Diona!” in case she could hear him coming.

**They keep saying they’re fine, they’re in one of the shops,** Istvar reported, **Diona can hear you just fine so stop yelling she says. You’re scaring people.**

Hjalmar growled. He was going to yell a lot louder when he finally found them. And to Hell with scaring everyone else – he was scared. How could they just wander off like that, after all they had been through?

“Which shop?” he asked of the witch guiding him. If she brought him to his daughters (safely), then he would owe her a measure of gratitude. And he would probably stop being so intimidating.

Offline Agneta Nilsson

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    • yellow2rose
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      Rihland

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 19, 05:22:55 PM »
Nena almost stumbled as that large, heavy hand landed on her shoulder - not because there was any violence in the gesture at all, but rather just because it was that big and that heavy on her thin frame. She kept her feet, though, and smiled calmly up at him and reached a hand up to pat his hand as if to say 'There there now, it'll be all right, just you see' - though she didn't verbally confirm the sentiment.

Instead, sensing that what the man needed most was to be reunited with his children, she gestured for him to follow her and began leading him back down the street the way he'd come. Thinking of her father, and how the only times he'd ever seemed unsettled was when either her or her sister were hurt or upset, she could certainly sympathize with the big man's panic - even if she didn't quite understand it's intensity and the root behind it (though she was certain there was one and a highly traumatic one at that). So she lead him quickly back to the section of the street where the shop was - which wasn't quite that far at all - and then paused near the walk. She rested a hand on the Lord's arm and then pointed with her other hand to a shop window - wherein the figures of two girls could be seen, safely perusing the merchandise and talking with each other.

"There, see? Wait just a moment and I'll go fetch them for you. I'm sure they'll come out quickly when they realize how worried you are." If only to avoid a scene, she added silently to herself - again thinking of how incredibly mortified she would be if her father burst into a shop while she was trying to look at things, no matter how understandable his upset for her suddenly vanishing from under his nose.

Without giving him the chance to protest or barrel on in without her, she flashed him a sweet, dimpled smile, then slipped away from him, weaving through the small crowd on the walk before vanishing across the threshold of the shop in question. If he was watching, he would see her through the window, approaching the two girls with a friendly smile and a wave.

"Hi there," she said upon approaching them. "Sorry if this is weird. I know you don't know me, but I figured you might prefer me coming in than your dad." She gestured through the window toward the man in question. "He's been really worried. Maybe you should come out and let him fuss a moment. If you don't he'll probably barge in anyway..." She gave a sympathetic grimace.

Offline Hjalmar Lindgren

    • opal2sapphire
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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #4 on: Apr 22, 19, 10:26:18 AM »
He almost charged into the shop the moment he saw his daughters there. The relief he felt over them being safe – over them just casually chatting as though nothing was wrong – was drowned in an anger towards them for making him worry so much.  It wasn’t until the young woman who had guided him here pat him on the arm, a mannerism so like Viida, that he paused in jarring shock. His smoldering eyes looked down at her, blinking owlishly, but she was not his dead wife. She was just a witch, a stranger, a helper, offering to fetch his daughters from the shop.

Still jarred from that memory-not-memory, Hjalmar let her do just that.

“Dad?” his son asked, coming up behind him, his voice wondering. “Everything okay?” Hjalmar just grunted something akin to an affirmation and the two men watched Agneta disappear inside to talk with the girls.



“I think the green looks better on you,” Diona said as Leija wrapped a light blue scarf around her neck and admired it in the mirror. “You’ve always liked—” Both girls turned as someone new joined them with a friendly smile and a wave, introducing herself as something of a messenger for their father, who could be seen looming outside.

Diona, in typical thirteen-year-old fashion, rolled her eyes. “He’s going to have to let us leave his sight one day,” she muttered. “We’ve done it before!”

With a sigh of understanding, Leija put down the scarf. “Yes, but that was before Mom’s death and coming here. We’re in a new place, Di, not Glacia. We should have told him that we were going to wander. That was definitely my fault.” She looked over at Agneta and gave her a quick, strained smile. “He never lets us out anymore. We were just…antsy, you know?” She hoped the stranger understood. Gripping her sister’s elbow lightly, she said, “Let’s go apologize and show him we’re fine. And don’t start a fight with him, Di. He’s already got that look on his face.”

Without much thanks to Agneta, the girls exited the shop, where the spent the next few minutes being softly growled at (which was a fairly terrifying experience coming from their giant of a father) and lamely trying to make their defense.



Eventually, he was done chastising them for their disappearance. They had a point – he needed to get to the point where they could go out on their own again – but he was still…scared. And it showed in the furrow of his brow. He was obviously trying to figure out how to do this single father thing in a strange land without keeping his children under lock and key all day.

With a long sigh, he said, “Go look at the pretty things in there, while I talk with our friend.” The girls skipped back into the shop. Istvar, his son, ducked into it as well, probably to continue the conversation a little, but Hjalmar’s attention turned towards the slight figure that had helped him.

“Thank you,” he rumbled, with his tree-trunk arms crossed over his chest. He sighed, closed his eyes – an obvious pained or struggling expression. “It has not…been easy, since their mother…” He stopped just before that final word, feeling his throat close involuntarily. It took him a moment to recover himself, but when he did, he extended one meaty hand out to Agneta and said, “I am Hjalmar Lindgren. Who do I have the honor of thanking today?”

Offline Agneta Nilsson

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    • yellow2rose
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      Rihland

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 19, 08:03:30 PM »
A papa bear, Agneta mused silently to herself as she watched the big Warlord growl and fuss at his errant daughters. Completely nonthreatening and affectionately gruff until you interfered with his young. It was rather endearing, in it's way, and Agneta didn't bother stopping the smile that rested affectionately on her lips as the family conferenced.

She hung back, but didn't leave - wanting to make sure that everything was, in fact, alright, once all was said and done. As such, she was lingering nearby when the Warlord shooed off his children (certainly to a place he was keeping monitored out of the corner of his eye) and then turned back to her.

Her expression was warm and sympathetic, but not quite pitying, when he mumbled about the children's mother and faded off. She didn't need to hear the story to know the ending. Their mother wasn't with them any longer. Maybe she was killed or captured or hurt or betrayed - but whatever had happened had fractured their family and they were doing the best they could to keep trudging forward, in a new land with a new life. It wasn't going to be easy for anyone. Not the children, and certainly not their father.

"Agneta Nilsson," she introduced in kind, slipping her much, much smaller hand into his but nevertheless granting him a firm and confident shake. "It's really no trouble, I was glad to help." She considered him for a moment before she spoke again. It was easy for Agneta to talk to people, to share things, it always had been. Moreover - she noticed that when you shared a bit of yourself, it helped people see you, and when they saw you, they could listen, and when they could listen, they could trust. Lord Lindgren seemed like a man who had lost a lot of that trust and faith in people. He seemed like a man who really needed to trust someone again. Even just a little. Even for a moment.

"We were lucky in that my whole family made it across and we're still together, but my sister is struggling to adjust. It's not so much the new place but the displacement of it all. And the fear. It's been really jarring for her, realizing so suddenly that there's all this danger, how close we all came to.. well..." Her smile tightened, only a little, at the corners of her mouth. Agneta had been aware of the dangers a lot longer than her older sister - but then again, Agneta had been actively keeping networks of informants and aiding her father in shuffling escapees across the border so she was understandably a bit more intimately entangled than Agatha.

She cleared her throat lightly and offered a shy sort of smile now. "I guess what I most mean to say is that... it's going to be alright. You're safe, and your family is safe. And they sell wonderful pastries on this street. Can you smell them?"

Offline Hjalmar Lindgren

    • opal2sapphire
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      Glacia

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #6 on: Jun 04, 19, 05:20:41 PM »
“Agneta,” he echoed. his pronunciation of her name was crisp and clear, like he was tasting each syllable for sourness and finding nothing but apple sweet. She had a wholesome radiance to her but that firm handshake told him she had a fierceness beneath that surface. She was also a recent transplant, coming over with her family. But, unlike him, her family was still intact. He would not let bitterness cloud his heart but it was still difficult to still accept another’s simple happiness as not a commentary about his own grief.

“It is never easy to move to a new place,” he rumbled, folding over the layers of his own struggles with that and burying them further down. When she assured him that everything would be alright and then that this street sold some of the best sweets, Hjalmar, even dense as he could be, didn’t miss the hint.

“A pastry is not adequate thanks for you helping me,” he said, “but perhaps a conversation while enjoying pastries will be a good start.”

He half-turned, balefully eyeing the store and rumbled, Craft-enhancing that deep sound, “Diona, Leija. Let’s go. We’re getting pastries with our new friend.” That seemed incentive enough for the girls to leave the store amiably. Istvar grinned at Agneta and offered her his elbow as a proper escort while Hjalmar lumbered just to the side. As they walked, he occasionally looked over his shoulder at his daughters, making sure that they didn’t stray off again.

“We lost our mother in the crossing,” Istvar murmured to Agneta as they walked, unaware that Leija had told her the same thing. A soft rumble from their giant of a father behind them had Istvar switching to a mental thread instead. **He’s still mourning. It makes it hard for everyone because we’re not used to being so…watched. He’s not as scary as he seems though. Just…worried about losing someone else. But thank you for talking to my sisters. And him.**

They followed their noses to the sweets shop, where Hjalmar instructed the kids to find a table large enough for them all and converse with Agneta while he ordered their desserts. It wasn’t just because of his size that he ordered more than anyone could possibly eat. One went to each person at the table, three for him, and there were still six left over.

“What do you do for here? As a job?” he asked once everyone was digging into their pastries. That seemed to be his biggest hurdle now – even though he had a Queen, he didn’t have a job. He didn’t really want one but he knew he needed to do something with his time besides obsess over his children.

Offline Agneta Nilsson

  • Character Account
    • yellow2rose
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      Rihland

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Re: Back At The Start Of It All, Starting Incomplete
« Reply #7 on: Sep 03, 19, 06:49:14 AM »
Her smile, ever-present as the stars in the sky, remained quietly cheerful as she waited while Hjalmar called his children to attention and they began down the street, her on the arm of his elder son - a sweet and charming young man that she liked to think rather took after his father in intent if not in presentation. After all, though gruff and kind of terrifying to the eye of a casual onlooker, Agneta could tell he was driven by his love for his family - and now, sadly, the grief of losing his wife.

**It's no trouble,** Agneta returned along the private thread as they wandered toward the sweets shop. **I'm really happy to help. Besides, your father doesn't frighten me. I can tell he just loves you all very much and that he's just very.. um.. loud about it.** She flashed him a smile and a playful sort of wink. What she didn't say was that she was rather used to being around the frantic and the fearful - from small children to massive men who look terrifying but are really just terrified, themselves. She liked helping, and it felt good to be doing something again - even if it wasn't quite the same as what she'd been doing before their sudden flight.

The sweets shop was a delightful thing, brightly colored and smelling like heaven in a bottle - and they were lucky enough to find a table big enough for Hjalmar all of them to sit at comfortably.

She hummed around her first bite and let the sound turn into a quiet, wistful sigh at the question that was then posed to her.

"That," she lamented, "is a bit of my own struggle right now." She took a bite of pastry and chewed slowly, swallowing it down before speaking again. "There's a number of things I could do - and because of the work me and my family did leading up to us coming over we've got some connections here and there that'll at lease get me something to do. But I'm not looking for something just to.. do. I want to do something." She blinked, then laughed. "Sorry, that probably doesn't make any sense."

She smiled across at Hjalmar before studying her pastry, contemplating where to take her next bite to get the best ratio of filling to flaky deliciousness. "My friend suggested I talk to the Queen and see if maybe I can offer my skills to her, but I wouldn't know where to start there. And there's little reason for the Queen to take me seriously even if I could figure my way into a meeting with her. So.." she sighed and shrugged, taking a bite. Because she was polite and her mother raised her well, she chewed and swallowed before continuing her sentence.

"...right now I'm just sort of... floating. It's a bit frustrating to be honest."