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* Plot Information for Dea al Mon

Gale Galoneth, Queen of Dea al Mon is desperate. 11 of her 12 daughters have fallen ill to the mysterious Waste. While the Brood of the True Born try to conquer her Territory she has opened its borders to call for aid.
Culture of Dea al Mon
Priestesses and Faith
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Author Topic: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument  (Read 353 times)

Description: Let's go on a trip, Rakal.

Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Not only had her mother gained a fresh complement of courtiers out of the mess between her father and the long-lived madman, they’d also devised a fresh new way to imprison the youngest Galoneth. An Ebon Gray Warlord Prince assigned as her escort.
 
“Why should I have to have him as an escort, Valor? I didn’t do anything wrong!”
 
Her opening salvo to the Master of the Guard was shut down with a glare that told her not only had she done wrong, but Valor knew exactly what she’d done. Zephyr. Lost to the Brood of the True Born because Saffron had been an idiot, trusting in one of the Brood in disguise. Inadvertently giving them the access that they needed to steal the Priestess from the Black Castle.
 
Saffron closed her mouth, and her mind kept turning. Everything had a Price. So, the Price for losing her sister would be that she got her back. Had she been foolish enough to share this thought with someone wiser than she, they might point out that Saffron wasn’t the one who ought to name the Price for what she did. Like popping a joint back into its socket, or weaving splinters and fragments back into solid bone, Saffron would fix this just as cleanly. She’d go into the wood, and find Zephyr.
 
Before they lured her to become one of them.
 
If they hadn’t already.
 
The Ebon Gray Warlord Prince was no idiot. He was never far when Saffron mingled in public. Politely distant enough, but never too far to remind her of another engagement, or provide a reason they needed to return to the Black Castle. Ebon Gray cock blocker. If he was only preventing her from acquiring sexual release where she wanted it, she wouldn’t be so annoyed. Her interests were rather specific, and galavanting all over Kaeleer to do her mother’s bidding and to win a place at Gale’s side. However, slipping into someone’s bed would also allow her the chance to quietly slip out of it and get to where she needed to go in order to start the search for her sister.
 
This plan had, so far, failed. Time was running out.
 
Dressed in the leather and linen that suited her needs better than court finery, she found Rakal just where she’d arranged for him to meet her: The study. In any other court, it might serve as the library, but the proper library was grander than this room. Rather, the ceiling was nothing more than twining branches, spell shielded against rain and weather. Sunlight and leaves rained down into the center of the room, strewn with cushions and pillows in addition to low-slung couches. The volumes were fine leather, but most of the work hand-reproductions: The copies had been made using craft, but artisans painstakingly copied illuminations in the volumes. Finer copies of the rare books than most scholars would ever be able to see. The books lined stone shelves, their own personal caves in shadow, keeping them cool and protecting them from the light. Saffron had instructed the attendant for this room to find an enticing stack of books to shove at the Warlord Prince, as well as to have plenty of food around.
 
She didn’t need him more snarly than an Ebon Gray Warlord Prince simply had to be.
 
She nodded to him when he entered, and splayed herself across one of the backless couches. She floated a fat atlas over to her, propped it open, and helped herself to an apple, that she devoured in a few juicy, interested bites. She tossed away the waste, but kept the seeds, which she tossed at the roots of the tree in this particular room. They sunk into the floor, and would be incorporated into the flora that formed the Black Castle.
 
She brushed her hands together, considered the book of maps for a few more hands of time, then looked over the fat book at Rakal.
 
“So, I’m ready to go to, if you are.”



















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #1 on: Jun 23, 17, 06:24:03 PM »
So, there were some benefits to being the escort to the High Healer of Dea al Mon, and there were some drawbacks.

The benefits were that he was able to see Dea al Mon society and its culture in ways he never had been allowed before, what with living so distantly in Devinos in his own rather sheltered existence. He was able to be a courteous fellow; an anamoly to explore for some and something to challenge for others. Given that Rakal had a deep love for the Dea al Mon as a people, he didn't mind the occasional stare or snark which he handed right back without fear. He was an Ebon Gray Warlord Prince and knew exactly who and what he was and wasn't going to let someone walk all over him. No matter if they were Lady Gale's daughter or not.

He got to see buildings and architecture he never would have seen were he to remain chained to his father's ambition. The library at the Black Castle alone kept him busy for hours upon hours after he was done with his escort duties. And he also got a few fun sparring partners around the grounds.

For the first time in his life he felt like he belonged. It was a satisfying and serene feeling and helped to combat the devil in his head.

The bad things, of course, mostly involved Balmung and its whispers while he interacted with the rest of the world. At night his dreams were filled with glorious violence and worse things besides. He'd wake up tasting blood on his tongue and crave it for the first few moments as his heart hammered in his chest and he felt his body awaken with a fierce arousal for acts even a Warlord Prince would find disturbing. The more the Dea al Mon (and Saffron's stubborn nature) would grate on him, the worse the dreams would get sometimes, and he'd have to perform some serious katas to get all of his aggression out.

Few training dummies survived the encounter with one Vanguard Sigurd.

He arrived at the designated place to meet his charge, watching her eat her apple with the uplifting of a very dark eyebrow as he pulled out a seat at the table with a large stack of books. Like her he favored traveling garments over some court attire, so he had a simple (but nicely sewn) jerkin and pants ending in dark boots, all of his garment black so as to make the Ebon Gray stand out on his chest. Always at his side was the black blade that seemed to attract shadow to its side, the rubies for its draconic eyes catching the light in such a way as to seem to stare specifically at Saffron. No matter where she'd stand in the room the blade seemed to follow her around. He reached out to grab some food, settle himself into his seat, and read a good book until she was set to get going to... wherever it was that Saffron wanted to go. The High Healer tended to go from patients to lovers on a whim, so the mercurial lady was ever someone difficult to predict.

He had a book in hand when she looked over at him and said she was ready to 'go' and he looked up at her with that same dark eyebrow lifted in question.

"And where are we going, exactly?"
He slowly folded the old tome, regretful in having to do so, and maybe, maybe just a bit grumpy that she was wanting to leave just as he was getting to the good part.


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #2 on: Jul 03, 17, 01:12:45 PM »
Saffron perched on the edge of the cushion, hands tucked beside her hips and legs crossed. She swung her top leg, twitching to get going now that the idea had taken root in her mind. She just had to get this polite Ebon Gray wall to decide to come with her.
 
“Well, it occurs to me that you, with your big scary Jewel and your big scary sword, are suited to be more than just a glorified nanny, which is what escort duty is most days.”
 
She eyed the blade, the rubies particularly unsettling. Like eyes. When she’d been moving about the room, she had the notion that they were following her, but that was ridiculous. Whatever Craft of magic or spirit it might contain, a sword was simply a sword -- far scarier for the hand that wielded it than for the thing itself.
 
All the same, were she offered the chance to be alone in a room with the blade, she’d politely decline the opportunity.
 
Saffron snapped a Red aural shield around the pair of them -- the trio, if one counted the sword, which she did not -- and leaned forward.
 
“My sister Zephyr has to be found, Prince Vanguard. There is no one better suited to finding her than the two of us. Every day, every hour that she’s in the hands of the Brood -- the speculation is better left to my nightmares. We need to bring her back. I need to bring her back. I never should have let them get past me in the first place, and it is only just that if some Price is to be paid, that I will pay it. We need to find her, Prince.”
 
She’d intended to remain a bit more nonchalant, slip the order in like she were asking him to dance or ride the winds to the other side of the territory for the sake of some particularly good nutcakes. The desperation slipped into her voice, and she clasped her hands in front of her.
 
Blade had to be looking for her. She didn’t imagine her father would give up the fight -- except that given the choice between protecting his Queen and protecting his daughters, the Darkness would allow him to go only one way in that decision. To Gale. Not to the south, to the Murwood and her lost sister.

“There is little trouble that could come our way that the two of us couldn’t dispatch. It’s ridiculous that we’re sitting here in a library, when Zephyr is out there, and she needs us. So, please, I am asking you. Help me with this. You wanted to serve the Black Court? There is no greater service you could do for my mother or for the Dea al Mon than to restore one of our sacred priestesses back to us.
 
“Especially this particular one.”



















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #3 on: Jul 03, 17, 07:50:19 PM »
"Y'know, it's funny. I've been hearing all my life about what my Jewel is best suited for, and yet, every single time I hear it, it still annoys me." The Warlord Prince said with a slight rumble that was almost a growl as he moved to sit fully up. His eyes with their golden hue shifted to look at Saffron more directly then. He noted the Aural Shield and his frown deepened as he was sure he was not going to like this.

The High Healer's suggestion though of what they should both be doing wasn't as off-putting as she may have thought it would be. He'd heard her sister was kidnapped from the Black Castle, and it made sense that Saffron would want to do so. Maybe Queen Galoneth didn't think to risk so many of her people for her daughter. It seemed strange, in some ways, that she'd just abandon her daughter to death or to being transformed into the Brood, though.

Then again, he didn't know much about his new Queen. Just what little he'd seen personally and what he'd heard. She had a spine of steel, but that could lend one to be cold when necessary. Maybe Gale cared more about the Territory than her own family -- a view that he'd seen come from his father in some fashion. Sacrifices must be made for the greater good, son.

Another voice, not his father's, crept into his ear. Yessss. There is no reassson to fear, Rakallll. Make ussssse of my power, and you can reclaim the Galoneth girl and win yoursssself much acclaim.

You would become the mossst favored of Gale Galoneth's sssservants.


Slowly he urged more of his Ebon Gray to his inner barriers, shutting the damn spirit up. He closed his eyes for a moment of concentration and when he opened them again he affixed a focused, cool stare at Lady Gale's remaining daughter.

This was, of course, stupid. The Brood weren't to be underestimated. They were numerous, powerful, and savage. They had assaulted the Black Castle and survived. In some ways they had been victorious, even. Even with his Ebon Gray he couldn't hope to beat all of them.

And yet... he had a sister, too. A sister he'd be willing to go into Morwuud and face anything and everything to save, were she cosigned to such a fate.

"Do you know where she is?" He asked slowly, his eyes narrowing just a bit. "And not a guess. Do you know?"


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #4 on: Jul 03, 17, 08:20:51 PM »
Growly Ebon Gray Warlord Princes. Most people would never even meet one in their whole life, and she’d had the pleasure of being escorted by two. So far. In her considerable experience, they behaved as though they were the only ones bossed around because they happened to have an enormous amount of useful power.
 
“It is irritating, isn’t it? I often feel that way myself. And as much as you may be tempted to deny me just on principle, I can assure you, that won’t be nearly as satisfying as you’d hope.”
 
Her mother assured her that everything possible was being done to find Zephyr, and that the Ebon Guard forces also had priorities. Everything wasn’t being done, obviously, or Saffron and Vanguard would already be looking for her. She’d been reluctant to ask her father. She and Blade went looking for Hope together, and they’d found her. That had been the limit of their success, however.
 
Blade had been unwilling to leave Gale’s side in the attack to protect Zephyr, and Saffron failed. She was supposed to be stronger than Hope, and she failed.
 
Since that failure, she’d kept herself busy healing the wounded left over from the battle, and then with everything else she could think of until an opportunity presented itself for her to set right the kidnapping that was her fault.
 
Vanguard asked where Zephyr was, and she raised her brows, rolling one shoulder.
 
“Yes, Prince Vangaurd. The Brood Mother came to me in a dream last night, and told me in specific detail where they’re keeping my sister.” Her mouth quirked up halfway, and she hoped the barb would be deflected, as she intended it to be. “No, Prince. I don’t have the first clue as to where she is, except deep in Brood territory, I’m certain. She’s a priestess, and so I am sure she is greatly prized among them.”
 
The Dea al Mon went scouring all of Kaeleer for Priestesses, while the Brood simply stole the ones they’d grown themselves.
 
“I’m not going to pretend I have much of a plan, and the truth is there’s little plan to be had.”
 
At least he knew she wasn’t lying to him. She couldn’t even pretend to have a decent lay of the land. Her little excursions into Brood territory had come to an end, thanks to Blade Amdir -- save for the one she’d made with him. He’d only made her promise that she would go with an escort, and taking the most powerful Warlord Prince in -- more than likely -- all of the realms certianly had to suffice.
 
Even for her father.
 
“There has to be a way to find her, but I cannot do it from here. She was taken by our sister Hope, and a Black Widow male -- there can't be many of those running around.”



















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #5 on: Jul 03, 17, 09:24:33 PM »
Rakal smirked just a bit at Saffron's suggestion it wouldn't be very satisfying to deny her. "Why? Because you're persistent, or because you're just going to do it anyway?" The Half-Blood Warlord Prince slowly stood up, a veritable mountain of a man, then grabbed his chair and spun it around on one leg to brace its back against the table. Remounting the chair he crossed his arms across the back and looked over at her as she explained, in her own sarcastic manner, that she didn't really have a plan.

"You're saying there has to be a way to find her, but you don't know how or where. Morwuud's a big place. And I've never been there. How do you hope to find her?"

The Blade's ruby eyes lit up, then. A whisper filled the room, barely audible were it not for the way it seemed to seep into their ears and into their minds. Malice given voice.

I know the way, little insssssects. I can help you find herrrrr. Balmung's voice was a sickening purr, a rumble that crawled along the flesh and left one feeling like oil clung to the hairs afterward. Rakal snarled and with a further exertion of will, shut out the spirit's ability to speak.

Growling, as he was now annoyed at the Spirit circumventing his barriers to speak aloud and also to sow that seed of discord into a difficult situation, looked up from the sword that rested at his side to the High Healer.

"This is a bad idea. Listening to it is only going to cause us problems. I don't even want to use it out there. It's not just a weapon, Lady Saffron, it's like a hungry beast. Feeding it, even the Brood, isn't going to do us any favors.

Do you have some way to track a Black Widow male? If we can find your sister without restoring to using Balmung I'll help you. I'm confident I can handle a few of the Brood, even at once. As long as it's not all of them."


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #6 on: Jul 03, 17, 11:37:33 PM »
If he weren’t her pain-in-the-ass escort, Saffron might like Vanguard Sigurd very much. She might like him yet if he followed through on his potential to help her. He asked if it was her persistence or her annoying habit of doing what she wanted regardless of what was good for her that would most trouble him, and she quirked an eyebrow at him.
 
“I was just thinking of how guilty and regretful you’d feeling, knowing that you could help me, and declining the opportunity.”
 
She leaned in, dangerously close to flirting with him, when the hissing whisper seeped into her ears, the sound slimy and sick, and just plainly wrong. A whimper rumbled in her throat, and she leaned back, putting more space between herself and the blade. That voice, she couldn’t shake the sound out of her ears, the tiny hairs inside still thrumming with the horrible sound. Her barriers solid, and yet, she felt like the thing was inside her mind, a tongue lapping at her brain.
 
“What is that?”
 
She nodded at the sword, though she knew it wasn’t just the blade. There was more to it. She’d heard rumors, stories, but she hadn’t been entirely sure she fully believed the whole of it. The voice frightened her, and seduced her.
 
She believed it when it said he knew how to find Zephyr, and so long as it was contained to the sword, why shouldn’t they turn to it for help?
 
She waited for Vanguard to explain. In the meanwhile, she called in a small box. Solace Tanithil had become something of a friend. Saffron went to her for tea and lemon squares, and conversations that she’d come to think of for what they were: Lessons in being a wife that was also a prize. Someone who was wed and kept for her most objective values: Her position and Jewels. Her Craft and influence in the Black Court. For the pleasure her body could give in the dark, whether the male taking that pleasure found any other charm in her beyond the supple curves of her body.
 
Beyond being the trophy wife of the Territory Steward, Solace was among the most potent of Black Widows in the whole of the Ebon Wood.
 
Saffon opened the box, revealing a delicate web woven on silver wires, strands of Zephyr’s hair woven into it.
 
“This will help. It’s delicate, and will break apart from use a lot sooner than I want it to. It should let me glimpse where she’s been, but since it won’t last terribly long, it will be a lot more helpful if we can get into the Morwuud, where she’s likely to be a lot closer by. It’s something.”
 
She closed the box carefully and vanished it again, eyeing the sword warily. They were nothing more than rubies, but Mother Night, they did seem to watch them.
 
“How do you do it? Refrain from calling on the creature. I want to scrub my brain clean, but I believe him. I want it to help me.”



















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #7 on: Jul 04, 17, 01:41:56 PM »
Had Balmung not spoken up, just then, he may well have barked a laugh at Saffron's suggestion he'd feel guilty for declining the opportunity for a suicide mission. She started to lean in, and he was smirking at her as if in challenge for her daring to invade his personal space, but his companion decided, right then, to make things a little less fun and a little more dangerous.

A growl of anger bubbled from him, genuine and escaping his normal iron control of that emotion. "That is evil in steel, Lady Galoneth. My father was trying to research how to form a spirit pact without a Priestess of the Dea al Mon. He wanted the power that yo... our people claimed before the Purge. To take into themselves the ancient beings that let them create the likes of the Black Castle and the barrier between Dea al Mon and the rest of the world.

So.."
Rakal grabbed the hilt of the sword and pulled it up. As he did, a waft of darkness, like a plume of smoke with no scent, traversed along his arm and along the blade. "He contacted the nastiest, meanest, most powerful spirit he could. Balmung. And with its help, he learned how to make a pact.

That's how I ended up here. He had fed the idea to Lady Journey that the Priestesses could reclaim their art and their knowledge by going with him to this.. thing's prison. And then he tricked her into sacrificing her life to contain the thing once it was freed, so that he could bind it into the blade. To make it serve.

But I don't think my father fully understood what the Pact meant. He didn't buy into the spirituality. He didn't really understand what the Spirits are, or how they work."


He set the blade onto the table, the ruby eyes turning to look directly at Saffron with an intent that looked either lustful or hateful, or some mix of both within the shadowed gems. The darkness around the blade seemed to make the glow of the rubies narrow and twist, like normal eyes contained in gems.

Rakal frowned and nodded to the sword. "Each spirit has a type. They are based around some element, or creature. Like a wolf spirit or a tree spirit. Balmung is like... like.. a spirit of hunger, I guess is the best way to describe it. It's very old. It wanted to devour the Dea al Mon, and Loku helped bind it away in Devinos after they fought in the Morwuud.

So. Yes. It's very, very powerful, and it could give us an edge. But the stronger it gets, the harder it is for me to keep it in check. I've been trained my whole life -- almost built for the purpose of keeping it enslaved to the steel. But.."
Rakal gave a soft shrug. "Like I said, I don't think my father quite understood what it meant to deal with this thing."

He watched her conjure forth the jewelry box, eyebrows lifting in interest. He moved to place his arms in front of the blade, basing his elbows on the table next to its edge and propped up his jaw to look up at her. His eyes looked over the web and he considered it heavily for a moment.

"So you have a way to track her. That's something." He paused, seeming to give it some thought with a frown.

You feeeeear them, Rakallll. You do not want to go because you are afraiiiid. What is the purpose of all your POWER if you are too sssscared to ussssse it.

It's her ssssssissssster. Wouldn't you do the same for your sssssissster?

Wouldn't you do the same for Alussssaiiiiir?


Rakal suddenly let out a loud rumble of a growl and closed his eyes to once more banish the creature's voice back. "I'm going to go on record by saying this is a bad idea."

Slowly the giant of a half-breed got to his feet and picked up the sword as he went. He slid it over his back and exhaled as he felt its weight upon his body once more.

"Alright. It's on you to talk us through to be able to land down in Morwuud, somehow, without half the Court stopping us."


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #8 on: Jul 04, 17, 02:41:38 PM »
The tale of Journey Melewen’s death, and how the Sigurd family came to serve the Black Court had been told to her in scraps and snatches. She had not demanded the details from anyone present, and for the most part, had not concerned herself much with them. Let the Priestesses and the Seekers worry themselves with the spirits and the souls of the Dea al Mon. Saffron had enough to do tending to their bodies. Her people died at an alarming rate, and all of her skill, her Craft, even her Red jewel seemed not enough to even slow the bleeding.
 
This was the first time someone laid all the facts out for her, parsing no words, and someone in a position to know what all of this meant better than most. To be honest, she’d despised the Seeker quest for many reasons, and part of it was her own skepticism that they needed to commune with some unseen force to make all of this right.
 
She could see and touch the Waste. She’d done it more than most, plunging her hands into the bodies of the afflicted, even sometimes as the Waste tried to reshape sinew and organ and bone into something new.
 
This was no Priestess whispering about lost, esoteric knowledge. Vanguard touched this evil, carried it, wrestled with it.
 
She focused on him, doing her best to ignore the ruby eyes that fixed on her. They distracted her at one point, and she stared into them, almost certain they could narrow and dilate, like real eyes rather than the surely metaphorical ones they were supposed to be.
 
Now this creature was strapped -- in every sense -- to the back of this man, simply because he was strong enough and his father deemed it should be so.
 
Growing up the daughter of Blade Amdir came with its own challenges. His shadow stretched long, and there wasn’t a person in Dea al Mon who didn’t have an opinion about his fitness to serve the Queen, to hold his caste, to have been acknowledged as father to his children. More than once, Saffron cursed the inconvenient fact that she’d been born of the two most terrifying people of the Dea al Mon.

A fact she recalculated now, having considered Nemesis Sigurd and his son.
 
Vanguard rose, and Saffron stood with him, something unpleasant pressing on her own shoulders.
 
“I didn’t understand before, and I can’t even fully understand now, what it is you’re carrying for us. You’re protecting us from that...”
 
She hesitated to call the spirit a thing. It lived and consumed and it wanted.
 
“From Balmung.”
 
The word creeped from her mouth, like a slug dragging its slick girth over her tongue.
 
“And now I’m one more person asking you to do something dangerous just because you’re strong enough to do it.”
 
Saffron stood in front of him, feeling dwarfed by him in every way. He towered over her in stature, he plunged so deep into the Abyss she couldn’t fathom it. She understood it just well enough to decide that he would be a useful tool in this quest. For that, she felt sorry.
 
“It’s a terrible idea. Not my worst, but a pretty bad one. I realize that, and I’m asking anyway, because she’s my sister. I couldn’t -- I didn’t protect her well enough when I had the chance, and I don’t know what the Brood has done to her. If they’ve already claimed her as one of their own...There is nothing we can do in any case. That’s more likely every minute I wait.”
 
She blinked, feeling hot tears sting her eyes, and hoping that she’d wish them away before anyone else saw them. She wasn’t going to be some weeping, emotional Healer. The sardonic little smirk found her mouth again as she turned her face up to look at him.
 
“See, this is why Mother Night didn’t give me the Ebon Gray. There would not no asking anyone for anything, or convincing the court. But, it seems to me that we could save ourselves a lot of trouble if we just hopped into the winds...Or just snuck past them.
 
“I mean, what are Ebon Gray shields for?”




















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #9 on: Jul 04, 17, 03:23:13 PM »
It was a little validating to have Saffron acknowledge that she was just one more in a long line of people who were asking him to do something just because of who and what he was. And the truth was, though the task was a dangerous one that she'd wanted to do, it was one he could get behind.

Her question drew a wry smile from him, as it had been one he'd asked himself before in the past. "In my case, it's making sure Balmung doesn't take over my body and use me as a Meat Carriage." His smile bloomed, as the small truth bomb only sounded half a joke. "But I get your meaning. I've said a few times, mostly to my sister, that I feel people who have their jewels have a responsibility to use them to protect others.

Seems to me that this applies. And hey, if we get in trouble, I'm just going to blame you."
His tone held a levity and lightness he didn't often exude with his dark and broody stares and mannerisms. But it was clear smiles came easily enough to the Ebon Gray Warlord Prince with a demon on his back. Or maybe they were just there to help shove away every inclination to growl instead.

"Getting there won't be hard. Maybe even not sneaking around. But if we do get discovered, things are going to get nasty. I'm only going to use the sword as a last resort. But if it comes to that, you shouldn't wait up for me. Grab your sister and get out.

I'll make sure they're more worried about me than they are of you."


He gestured to the door then. "Let's get going then, while there's still light out."


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #10 on: Jul 10, 17, 07:42:25 PM »
“A meat carriage. Oh, that’s charming, Prince.”

She smirked at the phrasing, and might have joked with him that as carriages went, he was a passingly handsome one. Though, she guessed the only thing more common than people wanting to use him for his Jewel would be ladies who flirted with him.

“In our own way, we will be using our Jewels to protect, even during this ridiculous little escapade. We’re protecting my sister, and I assure you, there is no one in any of the realms who is more worthy.”

He joked that he would place the blame on her and she just rolled her shoulders. The blame would fall on her in any case. (Unless it was Blade Amdir who decided to mete out blame and punishment. She’d expect to get her share, but she would not pretend as though she could predict where he’d choose to place his rage should he have any. It would be best, for all involved, if this little trip came to his attention only if they should return with her sister in tow.)

He admonished her to let him do the heavy lifting if they got into trouble, and she refrained from rolling her eyes.

“I appreciate your escort, and I do need your help. I promise, I’m not helpless. I will, however, do just as you say.”

Largely, because as much as she appreciated Vanguard and perhaps even liked him, she owed Zephyr.

“Let’s go.”

They walked out of the Black Castle, and through the grounds, and then to a landing web at the edge of the Black Castle’s property, one considerably less trafficked than the one nearest the front gates. She let him wrap her in a shield and take her on faster winds, navigating radial and tether lines, hopping from one to another with a speed she couldn’t quite fathom, so she simply closed her eyes.

*There’s a landing crystal southwest of the Amuldur ruins. Reach for it. It will feel like me.* She’d had the crystal set into a web made by a talented Black Widow she knew, a perk of having a Province Queen owe her a favor. The crystal encased a web set with drops of her own Blood, so it would pulse Blood Opal and Red, have the sense of her caste, and wouldn’t be detectable by anyone lighter than the Blood Opal if someone set their mind to looking for it.

It wasn’t as reliable as a typical landing place, but unless Vanguard had a particular deficit with that sort of thing, he should have been able to find it easily. Just in case, Saffron reached out with a psychic tendril, pinging on the crystal, then opened her outer barriers to the Warlord Prince, giving him a kind of mental map to where they would land.

When they hit the soil, she sprung to a straight posture quickly, casing herself in a Red shield as she got her bearings. This part of the wood was different from the last time she’d been here.  It had been months, but from the overgrowth, it could have been years. The trees seemed thicker, trunks far too fat for even a large man like Vanguard to reach his arms around. Some of them were too thick for even four of him to reach around. Their branches curled over them, foliage heavy with leafy vines, blotting out the sun. Only a little gray-green light filtered down to them. Little grass survived, replaced with a thick carpet of moss. Insect chitters, bird warbles, the telltale scratching of unseen rodents, the place hummed with life. She didn’t immediately sense any other Blood in the area, though if they were Brood, she couldn’t be entirely certain she would be able to find them.

“Well, this is sufficiently creepy.”

She called in the box holding the delicate web. She peeled it from the velvet, vanished the box, then rested the web on the back of her hand. It sunk into her skin, pulsing against her veins and bone, the silver wire visible just under the top layer. She closed her eyes instinctively, a vision overtaking her as the web worked on her mind. Zephyr had passed through here. Saffron touched the bark of the nearest tree, tapping into the memory held in the soil and the wood. She couldn’t say how long ago, but within days if the psychic memory of the priestess lingered. In the vision, she headed south, so Saffron turned that way.

“She was here, and headed south. Let’s move that way.”



















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #11 on: Jul 11, 17, 07:36:21 PM »
"What can I say? Your mother wanted me to serve in her Court for my charm." Rakal offered the dry response to Saffron's comment, following after her as directed. He took a deep breath to instill some calm in himself and focused on the path ahead of them. Going into Morwuud was going to be a dangerous, scary thing -- probably on the same level as awakening some dead demon God.

A little smile played on his face, despite their impending doom at her obvious annoyance. "Oh, I'd never dare suggest you are in need of my help, Lady Galoneth. The whole Territory knows you can take care of yourself." In more ways than one.

The talk of how her sister was the most worthy of all the realms was an admirable thing; a clear providence of how much she loved her sister. What of her other sister, though? He'd heard that Blade Amdir had three daughters, the last one who shared his jewels and was a Black Widow herself. Why wasn't that sister worthy enough to save?

It was a gnawing question in Rakal's head that would bother him, but he also knew better than to pry into family business. He wouldn't like it if Saffron was digging into how he felt about his siblings, or his father.

After he had covered them both in a shield, he moved them through the halls of the Black Castle both unseen and unheard. They zipped between the various winds that swirled around the monumental capital, allowing for quick access to various levels of the tree-tower. As they left Nieste behind, he would reach out to place a hand on her shoulder. "Going to take a fast wind. Hold on." He would pull her to him then, wrapping an arm around her waist and with a slight exertion of will they took hold of an Ebon Gray wind and were simply gone.

They arrived at her crystal in only a couple minutes, the ride would have been bumpy and terrifying for one not accustomed to it. Rakal set her down solidly on her own two feet, and focused his eyes elsewhere, if she needed a moment to compose herself.

Knowing her, though, she probably just ate it up. Saffron seemed to be a thrill seeker and a little crazy.

"You've been thinking this out for a bit. Or you've been out here before." He said softly, his voice careful not to be too bombastic, given their area. "What with a crystal set out here just for you." The overgrowth and the darkness of the forest made Rakal frown slowly, as he didn't like the feeling that came from the woods.

"It looks like... the wood has gone kind of crazy with its growth? Not just not being cut away or tended to but... mutating also? What is going on here.."

The blade let out a soft chuckle on Rakal's back, one audible to them both. Its voice came forth like oil that clung to their ears and their skin.

Yourrrrr goddessss isss what isss happening, little insssssects.

I ssssensssse herrrrr, even thisss far. She toilssss in her pain and her madnessss.

If you are wise, you will allow me to ennnnd herrrr sssssuffering.


Rakal's eyes narrowed and he put forth a little more oomph in keeping his companion quiet. He'd been distracted by his thoughts and the sight of the forest.

And honestly.. his own fear.

"Well. Lead on, Lady. How about you wrap us both in some stealth shields? That way I can conserve my jewels for if this goes south along with us." He stepped forward to take point. His hand itched to draw the black blade free from its scabbard.

Instead he conjured forth a regular blade, adjusting the grip in his right hand and took point into the dark wood.


Offline Saffron Galoneth

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #12 on: Mar 31, 18, 11:23:28 PM »
If Gale Galoneth found Rakal charming, Saffron would not be surprised in the least. Rakal had met her father Blade Amdir, and so likely had a pretty clear idea that the Queen of the Dea al Mon had peculiar judgment when it came to charm. She seemed to take it with a dose of terror, which would put Rakal right up the Queen’s street.

“Good,” she snapped back at him when he acknowledged she could take care of herself. She didn’t pretend that going into the Brood territory was a good idea, or a thing she could tackle just fine on her own. Too many treated every Healer they met as though she were on some sort of suicide mission, willing to drain her jewels to the breaking point taking care of even the tiniest injury near them.

In fairness, more than one Healer fit the stereotype perfectly. If Saffron allowed her reputation to overcompensate, so be it.

She liked it that way. Besides, she couldn’t content herself brewing up contraceptives for the Territory Court while someone else tended to the fight. She followed closely as they wove through courtiers unseen and unheard. She imagined all the colorful webs of communications, threads going mind to mind seething with gossip that would burn their mouths if they dared to speak it aloud.

She leaned into Rakal as he swept them up into the winds. Not her first trip on the faster winds, but his style of navigating them was not what she was used to. She closed her eyes and instinctively shielded her jewels and her chalice, terror breaking into euphoria once she accustomed herself. By the time they landed squarely where she intended, her cheeks flushed and she needed a moment to catch her breath.

“Of course I’ve been thinking about it for a bit. One doesn’t simply wander unprepared into the Murwuud.”

Little light filtered through the thick overgrowth, leaving the forest in perpetual twilight. Only droplets of light dripped down to where they were, catching the threads of silver under her skin. The web itched and tingled, and whatever Craft had been woven into it also sewed itself into her mind. If this is what Black Widows felt all the time, no wonder they were likely to go mad. The air pressed around her, seemingly thicker, pushing her from trunk to trunk. Saffron focused on keeping her gait steady. The web would lead her staggering about if she allowed it.

“I can almost see it. It’s in the wood, I just can’t quite--” She started to answer Rakal, a torrent of images flooding her mind through the web. It didn’t hold anything for long, designed to catch only those related to her sisters.

The beast in the blade answered instead, and this time, she couldn’t hold back her shudder, like a slimy tongue flicked over her ears and her neck.

I don’t know how you live with that thing. She almost said it on a thread, unsure if that would keep the demon from hearing her. Except, she imagined she did know. He had little choice, she guessed.

“I don’t imagine you ever really get used to that.”

She wove Red shields around them, an a Blood Opal one buffering outside of them. Any noise they made would be blocked.

The shield seemed to make the vibrations from memory hitting the web a bit more tolerable as well. She led them southward, the growth around them becoming more twisted. Some of the trunks wound around each other, as if plaited by the hands of a deft giant. Some of them sprouted as much sideways as upward, others corkscrewing at cacophonous angles.

A kind of path cut through the growth, the wood tangling into a kind of circular wall a few yards around a particularly fat trunk. It was as thick as some of the smaller towers of the Black Castle. A crude door sat in the middle of it. She probed for anything inside, and didn’t get the sense that anyone was inside there.

“There.”

She kept walking and parted the hanging moss that covered the opening. She wasn’t sure what tripped it, perhaps the movement of the moss, but globes of witchlight winked on. Inside, the walls were smooth, lined wood, the whorls that told the story of this tree looping high up into the gloom beyond the witchlight.

Red smears of Blood painted them, intricate symbols she couldn’t read or comprehend. Concentric circles surrounded by glyphs. She choked down vomit. The Blood was dry, but not old.

“Do you smell it?”

Saffron wasn’t sure if she was breathing in the physical scent of blood, or if it was the psychic remnants of ritual pain. A coppery taste filled her mouth. For a moment, she thought she’d bitten her tongue then realized it was a memory.

“She was here.”

Saffron stepped close to peer at a cluster of glyphs, barely brushing a fingertip to them. The force of the backlash knocked her to her knees, and she braced her hands on the ground, silvery blonde hair whipping forward.

She straightened up quickly. Blood sings to Blood.

“Their Blood is mixed in with the rest. Zephyr’s and Hope’s both, I think. But they weren’t scared.”

Someone here had been terrified. Saffron scratched at her arm, clawing thoughtlessly at the web sunk within her skin.

“I’ve never seen anything like this.”

She stood and formed a ball of witchlight in her hands, then released it, letting it fly up into the darkness and showed them in silver-blue light.

The markings, uniform in age and color, crawled up dozens of feet, maybe further.

“So much Blood.”






















Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Argument
« Reply #13 on: Apr 14, 18, 03:06:41 PM »
"No, I never really get used to it." Rakal said softly as he kept to Saffron's side, his eyes sweeping the woods as his blade remained levelled and unsheathed. The black blade that carried the weight of an ancient remained firmly secured in its spelled scabbard. For now the ancient being was quiet and kept at bay as Rakal used the power of his Ebon Gray to keep its mouth shut. "He can speak to me whenever he has something to say. I can shut him up for a while, but never really be free of him as long as I'm bound to the weapon. It's not a one way street, though, and sometimes he has something useful to say.

Heh."
A half laugh, and he smirked sidelong toward Saffron. "Never enough to make it worth it, though." Turning his gaze back to their path ahead of them, he hovered by the Red Jeweled healer to make sure that she felt secure and she could focus on leading them.

As they came through the path Rakal's eyes scanned over the twisted trees and the turns and routes that brought them closer to Zephyr. Or at least, he thought that it would. Saffron hadn't made clear that her intent was to look for her other sister as well.

The smell of blood didn't quite instill the same nausea in Rakal. His father's discipline and training had helped assure that he'd not be undone by an aromatic trigger. Still, he felt a touch of bile claw at the back of his throat and his eyes narrowed as he felt his body shift into a more alert and careful state.

"Wait.." Rakal tried to warn her as she reached for the gylphs, but instead she was rocked backward. He checked over her and helped her to her feet. "Are you okay?" He asked gently, scanning around to make sure they hadn't gathered more attention. When she made an affirmation she was unhurt he refocused. His jaw tightened as he looked over and followed the light to show a creepy collection of blood glyphs and sigils.

"We're in a very bad place here. What is this? Some sort of haunted house or something?" He turned to look behind them, then at the possible exits.

"If they weren't scared this must be some sort of trap or something. Maybe they knew you were going to come looking for them and set this up using Zephyr as the bait."

He hoped he was wrong, but he suddenly was starting to feel he wasn't.

"Lady..." He reached out to see if her stealth shields had remained intact after touching that Glyph, and to see if they'd gathered any new friends.