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With the full force of the Guilds at her back, Rilandra Vlas seized the Territory Throne of Dena Nehele. The common born Province Queen now owes allegiance to the Master of the Guilds for his assistance in both securing the throne and securing Darcia Glassade's continual safety. Trapped between the demands of the Guilds and the demands of the Aristos, Riley is struggling to rule, finding the palace more of a cage than she could have dreamed possible.
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Author Topic: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous  (Read 1366 times)

Description: tantalus playhouse | wards + mom & dad + reds + shaos ladies + sway

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« on: Mar 21, 18, 01:33:12 AM »
The arrangements had been made, the necessary steps taken in security and otherwise, for the Wards along with a select collection of adults to go see a show at the Tantalus Playhouse. For every con Jeremiah and Riley could think of there was another pro that had come to mind. Ultimately it was felt this was something that was very much needed. There needed to be more events like this, times that saw them out and about with the Wards versus time exclusively with them at Court and only at Court.

They were just arriving at the outside of the building that housed the Tantalus troupe within the arts district of Bidea, gathering together before heading inside. Jeremiah stood beside Riley, adjusting the cuffs of his suit (one that spoke of the spring season they were coming into) and then looked to the gathering Wards and the selection of adults that had been invited as well. "We'll be heading inside in just a moment, once Lady Vaduva comes to greet us. They've put together a special performance of their show just for us without having to be concerned about the crowds that gather."

Not that he particularly understood why the Lady Black Widow of Tantalus wanted to greet them before they were ushered inside.

Leaning, Jeremiah brushed a kiss to Riley's cheek before he offered his arm to Sora as he was - for this evening - her Escort. Not that he actually had moved that far away from his Queen as he was still right next to her even as his attention went to the Queenling that was his daughter by fate.

"If you would do me the honor, my Lady, of joining me this evening?" Without any of her bonded males presence, save Quinten, it fell to him to do so (and he did so to avoid any kind of favoritism of one bonded over another as the others were not here but Quinten was). Drake was, as he was meant to be, Riley's and young Prince Tromeur was escorting Orianna. Even Lady Armistead, for this evening, had an escort (it was Nick) as she was coming as a favor. A glance went to Savi, who was present as one of their appointed guards. Between Savi, Drake, and himself there was appropriate protection within the group itself. Never mind the other arrangements that had been made to ensure they had adequate protection inside the building. There was, after all, three Queens all gathered together.

Jeremiah's eyes, eerily bright as always, looked back towards Riley a moment after surveying the gather group. It was on their thread that he spoke. *So far, so good,* he said, then added, *I hope that Aleia and Archie enjoy their evening off.*

His fingers, without thought, covered Sora's a moment and squeezed lightly. Mostly because - as Riley would know - he wanted to ensure that both her and Orianna had more normal moments in their life like this. Contracts on Queens were done away with, they did not need to hide away anymore. Being able to go out, see performances, and experience the world this way was something that had been sorely lacking in the years that had gone by.

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #1 on: Mar 21, 18, 02:09:54 PM »
Nick had never been to the theater.  He had no particular feeling about it one way or another, but it seemed important to Riley and Jeremiah, and he would not disappoint them by dragging his feet.  Clothes had been selected for him, probably via a combination of Prince Belmont and Lady Sala's choices for the Wards.  Archimedes Belmont looked well-pressed at morning drills, and he doubted that he would allow the Wards out in public without making certain the attire spoke of their station.  Nick had on a suit, three pieces, mostly black, to contrast his pale complexion, but the finishing touches, such as buttons and cufflinks, were in a green that matched his eyes.  Already vibrant, in the suit, Nick's eyes were usually the first thing people noticed about him.  His hair was neatly brushed back, as dark as his suit, and around his neck, under the clothes and against his skin, was his Jewel hanging from the same heavy chain.

He had been given instructions, and a schedule.  Nick functioned best when he knew exactly what was expected of him, particularly when the situation was new.  He showed early, took the time to make sure his hair was brushed, though he used the appropriate toiletries, he completely ignored any touch of cologne.  Luckily, it seemed that Nick would never be terribly hirsute, perhaps a touch of foreign blood somewhere in his past, but he shaved his face smooth of whatever stubble had the nerve to attempt to make an appearance.  He preferred to be clean shaven, down to the skin and smooth, because with five o’ clock shadow, he had a tendency to see his Uncle in the mirror, and that was not something he wanted to deal with consistently.

Nick was dressed and ready, and the first to appear for the trip at the appointed time.  He had taken the time to make sure he was properly dressed.  Everything in line; everything in order, all the pressed creases unbroken, the buttons buttoned, his cuffs linked.  He had added one thing that had not been a part of the assembled attire and accents.  Nick had added his Grandfather’s watch, recovered by Sway.  The astute would see that as he arrived, thanks to his jacket being unbuttoned for the moment, that there was a glint of metal from a dark silver watch-chain worn appropriately, strung pocket to button to pocket upon his waistcoat.  Nick even pulled it out to check the time, making sure he was punctual, revealing a burnished watch with a stylized wolf upon it, before it clicked shut, and he put it away.  He had settled then into almost a parade rest stance, as he waited for everyone to get organized and sally forth into the City.

Having arrived, Nick understood his role, and moved to seek out Lady Armistead.  He was to be the Lady’s escort, practice, he was certain, for escorting Queens.  Erika had been quiet, which he appreciated, and it had made the ride over quite easy.  However, it had been heavily implied that he should at least try to be good company, so he had asked the Lady if she knew the budget for the Library.  That had led to some mathematical discourse, and ultimately to talking about books, albeit quietly, and with what Nick considered comfortable silences.  Now, having milled about a bit upon disembarking from their conveyances, he was by Lady Armistead’s side again, and he offered her his arm politely.  ”My Lady?”  He inquired in his quiet voice.




Offline Laszlo Quertis

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #2 on: Mar 21, 18, 02:16:46 PM »
Theatre.  Laszlo had never once gone to the theatre for enjoyment or pleasure.  Any time Mother had dragged him along on her arm it had been a display of power or an act of bragging on her part.  Father would always insist that he be dosed extra before being taken somewhere so important.  Which meant Laszlo didn't actually remember the theatre.  Just the build up anxiety, the exhaustion, and then the treatment from Mother that would come later.

Neston, on the other hand, loved the theatre.  It was one of the few activities that the Welverts would take them to and nothing would be required of him except to sit still and be quiet in the dark.  Which meant that Laszlo could just sit and let his brother plan their clothes for him as the issues he was having as of late were starting to weigh on him.  Neston chose him a suit that Archimedes had purchased for him and a suit for himself. 

Aleia had inspected them both, running a comb through his increasingly difficult volume of hair and straightening their clothes with loving tugs of craft.  She had approved of the clothes Archimedes had helped him procure and even more so now that they were on him and put to use.  She'd kissed them both on the cheek before shooing them out of the ward's kitchen.  Presumably to get ready for her first night off in what was probably a decade or more.  From the look on Archimedes's face as they left, she wasn't going to be doing much resting.

With Neston close to him, his hand on his elbow, Laszlo let his twin lead them down to where the group had met to go out.  Laszlo wasn't entirely sure why Jeremiah Mercer had decided that this would be a good idea but he trusted him.  Staying close to his twin, Laszlo for once let Neston lead them. 

The carriage ride was uneventful at best.  Laszlo was impressed by the one they called Savi.  He was large and imposing.  Even Neston shrank back a bit at the presence of the other male, curling closer to Laszlo.  Both twins had been relieved that they were not asked to escort any of the females that night.  Too much was happening on their personal levels to deal with a female being their responsibility. 

Laszlo and Neston watched Jeremiah for cues as to what was needed and expected of them while they waited to be seated.


Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #3 on: Mar 21, 18, 05:54:36 PM »
She’d been looking forward to this out for weeks, but now Sora was too distracted to enjoy it.

She’d offered Marius and Cezar time away to see to their families, but her males had seen it as a rebuke. It had taken hours to soothe them and explain, in full, that she was grateful for their presence. She was grateful for their protection in Moesia and everything that they’d done for her. But she also recognized that neither man had visited his family while they were in Moesia. Sora wanted to rectify that, hoping to prove to them that she did not demand that they give up their own lives to serve her. She also explained that it was unfair to lean so heavily on them when she needed to be there for Quinten, Ben, and Mihael as well.

Marius was clearly unhappy with the idea. He was the first to speak up, to ask her to reconsider. Cezar chimed in shortly after, asking if he, or they, had done something to offend her. It took some time to reassure them that she wasn’t unhappy with their service, that it was just the opposite. By the end of that evening, she’d finally gotten Marius to accept going home to Iasi to visit his brother. He rose and went to pack his things, though he’d hugged her tightly before departing, leaving Sora and Cezar to speak alone.

Their talk has a little more heated, more pointed and honest. Things had escalated to yelling until they both fell silent, unsure of what to say next. When Cezar suggested that he leave, Sora didn’t stop him. Their parting was cold, a bit terse, and without the physical affection that Marius had bestowed upon her. The door closed and Sora sat on her bed, unwilling to let herself cry. She’d gone to speak to Riley, only to find that it was Riley’s night to read to Orianna’s bedtime story. Sora remembered those nights well, sometimes the only nights she could sleep without waking up screaming and in tears as the ghosts of the past tried to destroy her in her dreams.

She left Riley and Orianna to bond, knowing that the younger Queen needed Riley more than she.

She retired immediately after dinner on the evenings after their departure, using her free time to study or write letters. While Sora kept up with her lessons, she was noticeably distracted. Inquiries about her distraction lead her to smile and explain that she wasn’t sleeping very well, and the White Queen politely demurred other inquiries while channeling her sorrows into reading in the library. She tried to spend a little more time with Quinten and Ben, where possible, and wrote letters to Mihael to curb how much she missed him.

The night of the performance arrived and Sora had taken Lady Sala’s advice and worn a nice dress for the evening. The Hearth Witch also coached her in the tasteful application of her make-up, making Sora look and feel less tired than she had been. Being without Marius and Cezar was an alien sensation, but it was alleviated some by having Jeremiah as her escort.

Thank you, my Prince. I would be honored to join you.” she said, flashing Jeremiah bright smile. Still, she was distracted by her tiff with Cezar. She would not discuss it further as tonight was not about her, but about all of the Wards and enjoying their company. Perhaps she’d even feel better by the end of the night, enough to go to Riley and ask her advice on how to handle things. Yes, she would ask Riley and Jeremiah how to fix all of this at the end of the night, when all was said and done.

Sora greeted First Escort Cutrov politely, paying tribute to his station. The Red Prince was unfailingly polite to her and seemed like he was looking forward to all of this. She’d heard that he enjoyed all kinds of shows and the ballet, which seemed odd for...well, him. She greeted Riley the same, opting to dial back on their familiarity this evening. She greeted Nick and Lady Armistead and would also greet the Quertis twins as politely as possible, though she did not linger with them. She did not know Laszlo or Neston Quertis and she did not want to offend either man by engaging them in small talk when they’d not truly spoken before now.

Savi received a smile from Sora along with a proper greeting. He protected them all and probably had the most difficult job here this evening, trying to coordinate keeping all of them safe. The Red Lord had coached her in some sparring drills, teaching her some self-defense that could be used as needed. The lessons were good and she found that Savi was actually a pretty good talker once he got going. At least, until he remembered she was a woman and then clammed up. Sora decided not to try making him blush just now and let him be, but not before asking if they were still on for lessons tomorrow afternoon. Once he confirmed, Sora returned to Jeremiah’s side while they waited for Lady Vaduva to introduce them.

Sora had heard great things about Tantalus and she let her anticipation and the energy of the evening turn her mind from her troubles. Fane and Orianna looked like they were having a good time. Even Radu was on his best behavior. She was surrounded by people she knew and wanted to know and that made her feel a bit more hopeful about tomorrow and the days after.

She looked over to Quinten and waved, reminding herself to check on him before the end of the evening. She wanted to know what he thought about all of this, but she wanted to know what he thought of all this. She would ask him soon enough.

For now, she took a deep breath and calmed herself, trying to stay in the moment instead of dwelling on all the things she couldn’t fix right now.





Offline Erika Armistead

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #4 on: Mar 21, 18, 07:58:03 PM »
Erika hadn't actually intended to go with the Territory Court contingent to Tantalus. She didn't even like stage shows; they were embarrassing to watch for reasons she didn't care to examine. Pretending to like, and want to see, a show worked a lot better when one wasn't immediately tapped to be a practice run for a Green Birthright Warlord Prince's escorting skills. Now she actually had to watch the show, and pretend to enjoy it. Was she even that good an actress? Looked like she was going to find out.

She would have been perfectly happy to sit in silence with Prince Faa. Every moment of the act that she put on grated on her; she was not a dishonest person by nature, only by necessity. Since he was a new addition to the Wards, she didn't even know how to begin to play him the way she ought to have. Her old trainer would've been disappointed. Honestly, she was disappointed in herself. This was exactly the kind of assignment she probably could've gotten out of without any trouble. Here she was, and for what, a tenuous connection with an undescended boy five years her junior? Who benefited from this? No one. Poor Prince Faa had to sit with her, and she wasn't even sure how to be a good escortee anyway, since she'd never really had one before. Sticking to Protocol was her best bet, personally, while trusting someone else would take over the parts where she lacked.

Her bitter rumination was interrupted by a question about the library's budget. It had recently been expanded, not by much, but the acquisition of new books was an important duty of the Territory Court; scholars the Territory over sometimes came to the grand old palace to look. In the days of the Contas, there'd been a charge. Now there was a grant application process overseen by the librarian and underwritten by the Court itself. Nick had turned out to be an interesting conversationalist, and she felt a little better about the whole thing as they arrived.

Later, she'd have to come up with some excuse to speak to Raluca alone. She sighed, thinking about it, even as she took Prince Faa's arm. The dress she wore was a pale, shimmering champagne gold, crossed like a Tacean robe over her chest. It wasn't the outfit she'd intended to wear, but for an outing with the Court... The finer details of the dress were hidden beneath the coat which her brother had purchased for her a long time ago, the black fur collar bracing against the chill of late winter.

Orianna Aegle



Erika glanced behind her, checking on the other wards once she was sure hers was well in hand. (Not that Nick required much corralling.) The Quertis brothers were well-dressed but as standoffish as they had ever been. Nolan Savu was there, the great bulk of him less a reassurance to Erika than it seemed to be to Lady Roman and the youngest wards. Orianna, the little Tiger Eye Queen, usually favored white and almost always wore flowers in her hair, but for this occasion she had been convinced to leave the flowers behind and to wear a sweet bell-skirted dress in a warm brown so dark it was almost black. She seemed perfectly happy to be there, chattering away to Fane, though the difference in their ages was sizable. At that age, five years felt like five decades... but she supposed it was better than assigning one of the Heartly brothers to the escorting of the thirteen-year-old Queen. Though she rarely interacted with any of the wards--hardly any of them were interested in becoming Stewards or learning the sort of number-work she did--she did know that Prince Orfan and the Heartlys were particularly behind in training, compared to Prince Faa.

What would her patron say to all this? Better not to think of it. Erika hooked a lock of her long dark hair behind an ear and looked to Prince Faa. She wanted to say something, start the easy conversation they'd had on the ride from the Court back up, but everything sounded unspeakably awkward even within her own head, or else it was a lie. "Our collection of plays is honestly lacking," she said after a moment's worried thought. "It's only the old, boring stuff. Nothing new and interesting. I read a review of an avant-garde piece--that's not just an adverb, it's apparently an entire movement in the theater world--that called most of the anthologies in the Court library trite." That was true. And it called back to their Library discussion. Perhaps that would be a good start.


Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 18, 04:36:51 PM »
Kale didn’t really have words to express how he felt about the outing. Alright. That was a lie. Sort of. He didn’t have words of his own to describe how he felt. But he could probably ramble off a sonnet or two that would get the gist of it across. He did, actually, while he and Q were getting ready this morning. He figured he should probably get it out of his system before he embarrassed himself in front of everyone else when they went.

Which was the scariest part of this entire outing, wasn’t it? Sure, he spent most of his day with the other wards - but if he was honest, other than his brother and Radu, he only ever really interacted with the two youngest. Usually in the course of showing them his new tricks or singing them songs or being the otherwise entertaining sort of big brother. Or at least, that was what he hoped he came across as to them. They seemed to like him well enough - and he was far more comfortable around them than he was around the Quertis twins or Prince Faa. Lady Sorinna… he avoided her as much as possible, and made very sure that they never got stuck in a room together. Luckily, she was pretty much always accompanied by some escort or another - and the quickest way to get Kale to leave the room was for that ‘escort’ to be his own brother. If there was one sight he couldn’t stand more than anything else, it was watching his brother and that girl.

Yes yes, he knew he told himself he was going to try to be better. And that was all well and good. And in his he’d it sounded great - but when it came down to it, he was still angry and he still blamed her, and he was still very unwilling to do anything about it other than try not to brood and avoid her at all costs. Luckily for this particular outing it was Prince Mercer who stood at the White Queen’s side. He was sure Q was jealous, or pouting, or miffed, or something, but whatever it was Kale was pointedly ignore it.

He’d spent more time in front of the mirror this morning than he had in months, since before the… his injury. As a general rule, Kale didn’t like looking at himself anymore. He tried to arrange his hair so that it covered the marred side of his face, and had fussed over an eye patch so that people wouldn’t stare at the dead eye. He’d even very lightly applied a bit of the cosmetic that Radu had gotten for him and Lady Vladika had taught him to put on. It wasn’t anything extravagant, or even really noticeable unless you really looked at him and knew what you were looking for, but he’d added a bit of color to the crest of his cheeks, just slightly - very lightly lined his good eye to draw attention to it and how long the lashes already were, the line itself brown to draw out how blue of blue that single iris was. He deepened the color of his lips just enough to accentuate their shape, pulling a line of attention to the way his cheeks dimpled with he smiled.

Even though the eye patch covered the most unsettling part of his.. disfigurement.. there was still a large scar cutting down his cheek and he’d blended it to try and hide it  more. It wasn’t perfect, and he still wasn’t comfortable with people looking at him, but if he turned his head just so he thought that maybe he could be a little pretty.

It felt good to think that, and he wore the necklace his brother had gotten for him when he’d first been recovering. His clothes fit nicely - very nicely actually considering the muscle he’d been building from the daily training. He wasn’t as proficient at the daily drills and physical training as most of the other males - and his depth perception was awful - but he worked hard and had a generally good spacial awareness and physical grace, so that was something.

The physical training was fine. Practicing Protocol was fine, too. It was a bit like acting, and he liked that. Pretending that he was playing the part of some noble in a show. Studying was another matter altogether - and one of the main reasons he avoided the other wards. They were all doing these.. advanced studies. Kale was struggling to remember all his letters and which sounds they corresponded with. He was able to cheat by a little bit because he was good at memorizing things he’d heard - but matching it up with shapes and squiggles on paper was another thing entirely.

He didn’t want them to know how… uneducated he really was. He didn’t want them to call him stupid. He didn’t want them to reinforce how little he actually belonged here right when he was starting to, if not find a place at least patch together some kind of temporary equilibrium.

But today - today none of that mattered because today- today - he was going to the theatre.

They all unloaded from the coach and Kale tried not to fuss and fidget with the fabric of his vest or the lay of his eyepatch as he looked up at the theatre house.

He didn’t bother to hide the broad grin, though, or the excitement that caused him to bounce a little on his toes.




Offline Radu Orfan

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #6 on: Mar 25, 18, 10:06:19 PM »
Kale was so excited he was nearly vibrating in place.  If Radu were asked, he'd be truthful - he was rather interested in this little outing too.  He didn't really do.. events.  Not because he didn't want to - but before the Court, he'd had no money to do it. And what money he managed to scrimp for? Well, it couldn't be spent on frivolous things like plays and dance recitals. 

His fingers touched at hte damned tie around his throat, reflex making him want to tear the damned thing off, though he managed to restrain himself.  Archimedes Belmont would give him 'that look'.. he was certain of it.  And that wasn't even considering the Hearth Witch that was apparently in charge of all of them.

And then there was Mercer.  What are you willing to do to make a change?

Anything.

That answer had not been a lie.  He had told Sway to get him a Ring of Obedience for a reason - even if the very existence of those things made his skin crawl.  He was willing to do anything - because if he could get a better grip on himself, then Sway would not be in danger.  At least.. not from his own actions.  That didn't mean that he was comfortable overnight with ties and suits and shiny shoes.  Hell, just getting into this get up had felt like he was a monkey trying to look like a person.  And the tie?  That had been impossible.

No, the tie had been done by Prince Belmont.  He'd done it in a no-nonsense way. 

He'd been nervous about that, oddly enough.  Prince Belmont had this.. classy way.. of looking.  Everything about him was impeccable.  Even his hair.  How the male got his hair to obey like that ALL the time made no sense.  Radu had done what he could.  It looked nice enough.  He'd had it trimmed recently, and it wasn't a mess atop his head.. and apparently that was good enough to get him past Belmont.

This time.

So when he came out after Kale, he gently set a hand on the male's shoulder before taking a deep breath.  "This is my first one."  He glanced at Kale, and then back at the building.  He was on Kale's 'good side' for hearing - just to be more polite.  But it didn't change the fact that he was being a bit more protective now that they were out of the Palace.

It didn't matter that there were plenty of official folks here who could guard them all - what mattered was that Kale was his, in a way, and he wasn't going to risk him.  "Any advice on how to watch this and NOT seem like a.. barbarian?"

He was trying to do better about the self-deprecating words.  One of those 'fake it till you make it' mantras that his old friend had once told him about.  Whether it worked?  Who knew.  He hadn't been trying long enough.  But he did have to admit.. dressing nicely, trying to follow Protocol to the letter.. it gave him things to focus on.  It gave him.. boundaries.  And rather than feeling overly constricted - admittedly, sometimes it grated - he usually felt.. safe.

Weird.  But tonight?  Tonight, that sense of safety was a good thing.  He took a deep breath, glanced at the bouncy Kale Heartly again.. and found himself gaining a small smile.  Just a little one.  "Careful.  If you bounce much more, you might fly."



Bleeding isn't optional for most of us.


Offline Nolan Savu

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #7 on: Mar 26, 18, 09:10:29 PM »
Savi had enough difficulty managin' the safety of the Wards inside the palace. Being out here, in public, in Bidea proper, was enough to make him twitchy.  That woulda been the case if it weren't for the three Queens all in one place, but that, that just seemed like disaster waitin'. The Queen of Dena Nehele, the White Queen, and the Little Queen were all present, each with an escort of their own. Orianna's escort was nothing more than a boy, but he did wear the Blood Opal and needed the practice to learn how to escort an' the like. He would be a proper Prince, growin' up with all the trainin' the Court could offer 'im.
 
Keepin' an eye on them in particular to make sure the Little Queen was safe, while still watchin' over the rest of the lot was a challenge he figured Seb was happy to have dropped on someone else's shoulders. T'was only fair, really. He was Master of the Jacks cuz Savi shrugged it off his own shoulders in a way. All things had a way of comin' 'round.
 
He had known that going to the Tantalus Playhouse might have him runnin' into Raluca. But it wasn't until Mercer said that Lady Vaduva would be coming out to greet them that he started to sweat with the surety of it. His hand came up to rub the back of his neck, a slow red creeping up his skin, quickly approachin' the color of the Jewel that hung 'round his neck. If Savi was regularly awkward around women, Raluca was enough woman for him to be ten times as awkward. He hovered near the edge of the group, keepin' an eye while waitin' for Raluca to do what only Raluca seemed to be able to do.




Offline Quinten Heartly

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #8 on: Mar 26, 18, 11:32:34 PM »
Quinten had been putting on weight slowly since Sorinna had returned. He wasn’t quiet sleeping through the night, but there were moments now—moments when he felt light again. They were few, but the young Jack was trying to nourish them, one by one. He was hoping today could be one of those moments. Even if he felt painfully shy, even more so than Kale normally did. Sorinna would be here. Radu. Savi. Jeremiah. All the people Q had come to admire. He didn’t want to mess this up. Not like last time.

He was glad Jeremiah was his Queen’s escort. He wouldn’t know what to do, not really. Although, the boy had gently touched his Queen’s hand in the carriage, extending a soft Summer Sky shield over her skin, hesitantly at first. So if she did not want it, she could ask him to stop. But if she had not turned his gesture away, Quinten would feel a small seed of warmth at the thought of adding a small piece of protection to his lady.

Loitering near Savi, hesitant, as the other wards trotted forward, Q’s eyes settled on Kale and Radu. Memories of laughing and playfully trying to topple the Warlord Prince ran through his mind. Radu had said he forgave him, but Quinten had given him space. As well as his own brother. Mainly because he had become consumed with trying to keep himself together. But now…maybe…

“H-hey guys.” He stammered, catching up to the pair. “Mind if I sit with you?” Not just Kale. The both of them. “I-I figure Kale can explain everything to the both of us.” Quinten tried to give a small smile—an attempt to make up for the distant mess he had been lately.


Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #9 on: Mar 27, 18, 12:23:39 AM »
When Riley explained that they planned to take the Wards out for an evening at the theater, Drake had stared at her as they sat in his office. Several thoughts crossed his mind in the sixty seconds or so it took the Prince to weight out the gravity of Riley’s statement. She wanted to socialize the Wards and show them that they weren’t being kept inside the palace like hostages. She and Jeremiah wanted them to get a bit of culture in the lives and where better to do that than a Tantalus show? Drake had been to one of their performances once, years ago, as an escort to Aunt Viorica. The older woman had raved about Tantalus for months and he’d had juggle several commitments (and a contract) in order to attend with her none the wiser.

He watched Riley for a moment, expecting her to tell him that she was just kidding.

Oh shit, you’re serious.” he said, palming his face when her expression didn’t change.

Wear a nice suit.” was all she said before she stood up and walked out of his office, though not without a little more sway to her hips than was wholly necessary. Drake had watched her go and then quietly decided that, after the show, he would take ownership of the rest of her evening.

He stood outside of the theater with Riley on his arm, a Red shield wrapped around her from head to toe. He knew that the others would be watching out for her as well, but it was his duty, first and foremost, to see to Riley’s safety. Drake made small talk with a few people here and there while he noted everyone’s placement. Sora was with Jeremiah and, somehow, that seemed fitting. Something wasn’t right with her, though, and Drake surmised that it had something to do with Marius and Cezar leaving several days ago. Those guys followed her everywhere, so they were conspicuous by their absence.

The Quertis Twins were here as well, seemingly enjoying themselves, but it was hard to tell.

He didn’t know Prince Faa, but he’d seen the young man escorting Lady Roman during the night once, so Drake considered him decent. Radu, on the other hand, earned Drake’s ire by dint of his existence. Drake forced his iron smile to stay in place, sweeping the rest of the area while he made sure that no one was out of place for this part of town. Drake also looked upward, seeking any other watchers that were following the group. If Sway was around, Drake supposed she might be up there, rather than playing her role as “Lady Ciora” just to fuck with the Raejian Ambassador. Her recounting of that story made Drake laugh a little, but not from humor.

He saw Kale and Quinten and offered a small smile and wave to both boys. He’d never forget them.

There was still glitter in his fucking beard, months later. He didn’t want to string them up by their thumbs anymore, but every time he saw glitter anymore, he wanted to kill the person bearing it on principle.

Instead, he squeezed Riley’s hand leaned over to whisper in her ear.

You owe me for this, Rilandra. I will collect.” he said. His tone was teasing, but there was subtly implied threat beneath it. Or was it a promise?

He’d let her puzzle that one while he made small-talk with someone else.





Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #10 on: Mar 27, 18, 02:07:03 PM »
Jeremiah could appreciate that both Riley and himself were rather coordinate. Him in his blue suit, her in that blue dress. They cut a striking image, next to one another, and still close it was clear that one or both of them had coordinated the entire thing. His fingers had brushed along the pulse point of Riley's wrist, a quick layer of Rose shield sliding into place. It was not often that he bothered to do so but he had a need in him, stronger than before, to confirm his place.

The quiet conversation along their shared Rose had ended, at least for the moment, though the thread remained open as it always did. Drake was given a polite nod, Jeremiah glad for the Prince's presence. It meant, at least, between Savi, Drake, and himself they would have things under control. For now, however, his attention was upon Sora.

His fingers pressed against her arm, a touch of concern evident in his face. Something was bothering her, that much was clear. It was not something he would miss, not after all these years, and Riley picked up on it as well. The rush of cool Rose slid into place, another layer of protection upon Sora.

"We can talk later," he said quietly to her as he leaned to whisper into her ear. "After the performance, alright?" His expression said he could read her, that he knew something was amiss. More than that: he had had an unsettling dream during the night. Jeremiah was not meant to wander the Twisted Kingdom but the dreams and visions came. This one had been muddled and not at all clear, it only made him anxious. They had prepared well for this night, however, and nothing would stop it.

"As soon as Lady Vaduva appears," said Jeremiah to the entire group, "and sees us inside, we've particular seating arrangements." A look went to the Wards, each of them. It was a firm gaze, one that left no room for argument. Riley and himself had planned this all out, worked out the details, and that included seating. This was one of the concessions given that they did not have a heavy guard retinue with them.

"We'll be sitting in two rows. Prince Cutrov, Riley, Lady Roman, myself, Lady Aegle, Prince Tromeur, and Lady Armistead will be sitting in the second row. In the row ahead, sitting in front of Riley, will be Prince Faa, then the Quertis Princes, after that both Lord Heartlys, and finally Prince Orfan. Lord Savu will be off to the side and is, for the evening, one of our guards." Calm blue-green eyes gazed over to Savi and nodded in acknowledgement before turning back. Jeremiah was about to say something else, to add, but then realized that Lady Vaduva had practically materialized out of nowhere and had wrapped herself around Savi's arm.

That poor man.

Offline Raluca Vaduva

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #11 on: Mar 27, 18, 02:07:14 PM »
The truth of the matter that this was something of a joint operation between the Jacks and the Shaos. In so much as that Raluca had spoken with Sebastian and she had some of her Shaos on hand to work as extra guards. It would not do for her to have put all this together, a private performance for the Territory Court, and have it all come crashing down because someone got a crazy idea that it was a perfect opportunity to strike out at those gathered.

Raluca smoothed a hand along her jacket, smiling to herself, as she came around the corner instead of out the double doors that lead inside the Playhouse. She practically wrapped herself around Savi's arm, smiling up at him and then at the group gathered. "You don't mind if I get comfy here, do you, Savi?" asked Raluca, eyes batting at him.

Not that she really waited for a reply before she greeted everyone. "Welcome to the Tantalus Playhouse, Lords, Ladies, and Princes." Raluca let go long enough to give a bow with flourish and then attached herself to Savi's arm once again. "We've two performances for you to partake of this evening. One is a specialized show, something of a visual treat, and the other is a shortened version of the play that we are currently running."

Raluca's eyes glittered, the Rose Black Widow seemingly at ease despite the man she was holding onto sweating. "If you'll follow me inside, I'll take you to your seats and we can see about starting things, hm?" Just like that, she tugged upon Savi's arm and headed towards the door to lead them inside. The double doors of the Tantalus Playhouse swung open, the interior plush and clearly recently remodeled. No expense had been spared on ensuring that the theatre was a place even the most picky of Aristos would come to. There were people inside, though they looked to be those who were part of the troupe. Their style of dress was, strangely enough, Tacean in origin.

Raluca nodded to a couple of the workers, leading them through to where the seating was. "I'm going to borrow you for a little bit longer, Savi," she told him, pulling him towards the stairs that lead to the stage. "I trust you have seating arrangements already worked out?" Prince Mercer inclined his head in agreement. "I'll leave you to that while I get things ready to start."

The curtain was still down upon the stage but Raluca had an air about her, even as she stole Savi away for a moment, as she settled into place upon it. This was clearly her element and there was a show to put on.

On a thread, she reached out to Sway. *I'll be ready for you just shortly, so finish preparing.*


Offline Laszlo Quertis

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #12 on: Mar 27, 18, 02:58:48 PM »
It was obvious that the Red Jeweled Warlord was very interested the Rose Jeweled Black Widow.  If he wasn't so large and imposing, Laszlo might have laughed at his blush.  Instead, Laszlo bit down on his smirk, giving Neston a knowing look who could only smile back at him quietly.  Poor bastard.

Laszlo watched Jeremiah Mercer with cool interest as they were told where to sit.  While the twin wasn't the greatest at social cues, the Prince completely understood the hidden message under the Warlord Prince's command.  So without complaint, Laszlo sat where he was supposed to next to his brother.

Turning in his seat to make sure Jeremiah was close, he noticed the young Queen.  Aleia had told him that the young female was a fan of tea parties and a subject Laszlo couldn't get either his Matron or Archimedes to discuss with him.  Ever.  The Prince wasn't certain why no one wanted to talk to him about brunch but he figured this little Queen would.

With a quiet psst, Laszlo turned to look at the little Queen.  He hadn't interacted with her out of courtesy and protocol but now, in the presence of several, Laszlo wasn't as worried.  Once he had the young Queen's attention, the Prince spoke in a quiet, nearly secretive tone that could be easily heard by her escorts but was also quietly appropriate for the theatre.  "Lady Sala said you were the one to speak to about Brunch."

At his comment, Laszlo felt Neston all but turn in his seat to look at him incredulously.  He could almost feel the expression of 'Not this again' coming off of his twin.  Which the Prince ignored as he smiled at the young Queen in what he hoped was a friendly expression.  "What even is brunch?  No one can tell me what exactly this mystery meal is... or why it's so popular."


Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #13 on: Mar 28, 18, 03:55:07 PM »
Nick's detachment allowed him to objectively survey the scene.  He watched as people clambered out of conveyances and gathered in front of the theater.  He thought they were all dressed very well, his eyes moving from person to person, never lingering long.  He thought Sora and RIley both looked great in their chosen attire, and he would say as much given the opportunity.  Nick was intrigued by the idea of other people entertaining the for the evening, and he wondered what form that entertainment would take given the slow conversation he and Erika had indulged in during the trip over.  His eyes lit on the twins, but he made no move to join them, as he was on duty, so to speak.  He remained near Lady Armistead.

He wondered how the Orianna and Fane were doing with the trip.  Nick imagined they were excited.  Children should enjoy new things, and he rather likes Orianna.  She had pointed him at the idea of drawing, which had turned into something he did to keep occupied.  Something he even enjoyed, possibly.  Erika ultimately took his arm, and she continued to discuss an aspect of the library.  "I believe I have read some of the plays.  They suffer on the page, I think.  I have never seen them performed, or anything performed, for that matter."  He paused a moment, "Will this mean new books for the Library?"  Nick spent a lot of time in the stacks, and new books would very much interest him.

Kale, Quinten and Radu fell into a trio, with no one to be responsible for.  Nick kew that Quinten was bound to Sora, it was no secret, and he had noticed that brief moment with his Queen.  His eyes fell on Savi, one of his most common sparring partners in the mornings.  He was the man that Prince Bane was certain he could not hurt.  He appreciated the man's silence, and his patience.  Nick tended to be quiet most of the time, so the two never wasted a lot of time on greetings or chatter, they just got right down to work.  He knew that Savi would be looking out for the young ones, for all of them really, but the young one's especially.  Nick moved gracefully by Erika's side, his eyes finding the Red First Escort; there was a Rule about him, though he doubted he knew it.  Jeremiah was escorting Sora, of course, it was rather what he expected.  The Queen's Shadow addressed the group with an expression that told Nick there were to be no deviations from the plan.  He decided that look was not for him; he would not have deviated save for a matter of defense.  He memorized the seting arrangements, and nodded.

The Lady that appeared made a beeline for Savi, and Nick sympathized.  The Lady Vaduva was certainly distracting, but he had never seen Savi at such a loss, not that he had vast experience in the man's company, but this was something new.  Nick escorted Erika to her seat, and waited properly until the Lady took it.  He gave a slight bow, and as he leaned over, he quietly said, "Thank you." to her, before taking his own in front of Riley.  When he arrived by his seat, he followed the tenets of Protocol; he greeted both the Queen and her Escort properly, bowed to Jeremiah and Sora before taking his seat.  He disliked having Rule #6 behind him, but there was nothing he could do about that, and RIley's presence made that bearable.


Offline Erika Armistead

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #14 on: Mar 28, 18, 06:41:14 PM »
Erika fought the urge to disappear into the theater as the rest of the group caught up and crowded around her. The younger Lord Heartly wasn't a problem. At the Yellow, he'd never be Dark-Jeweled. The elder Lord Heartly, now, there was a concern. Who knew but he might descend to the Green, and be a threat to her? Not as a Shaos, because he was a Jack and therefore would develop different skills, but... in general. Dark Jeweled males were never to be trusted if one could help it. Prince Faa, he seemed alright, and so did Prince Neston Quertis, if she was honest. But then there were Prince Orfan and Prince Laszlo Quertis. One of them reminded her of her father. The other reminded her of a man she'd murdered.

She was glad she wouldn't be sitting next to anyone particularly frightening. Prince Fane was just a little boy, and no threat to her yet. She regretted that her conversation with Nick had to end, but she still politely curtseyed to him before he took his own seat in the row in front of her. She draped her coat over the back of her seat and settled in for what would, no doubt, be a harrowing and embarrassing however-long this show would be.

This, unfortunately, gave her a front-row seat to another embarrassing conversation. Watching a thirteen-year-old explain brunch to a male twice her age was both worthy of amusement and horrifying. Orianna appeared to think about it, scooting to the forward edge of her seat. Erika hoped against hope that the gregarious Queenling would restrain herself and not do anything particularly embarrassing to explain away later. Her hopes were in vain.

orianna aegle



"Maaman says that brunch is the only acceptable way to be drunk before noon, and that's why adults love it," said Orianna. Erika wanted to cry, but wasn't going to. "It's like breakfast, because you can have waffles and omelettes, but it's also like lunch, because you can have a salad and a sandwich, but usually without meat in them. But it's also its own thing, because sometimes we get to eat really thin pancakes with hazelnuts in chocolate sauce, and strawberries, and powdered sugar..." She trailed off. Was it over? No. That would be too kind. "Adults like it because if you put orange juice in champagne, you can pretend you're having a fruit salad for breakfast." She laughed. "Okay, that last part was a joke, the part about pretending that you're having fruit salad. Because they don't pretend it's fruit salad, they're just like, It's a mimosa, I'm having a mimosa for breakfast. But sometimes it's actually a tomato juice and vodka thing. I think vodka is potato wine, but no one will tell me, because I'm too young.

"And anyway, that's why you have brunch before a wedding, because why would anybody get married if they weren't drunk?" She shrugged. "I'm going to grow up and have five boyfriends, just like Lady Riley. Getting married would cramp my style."

Erika leaned forward and waved a hand to catch Prince Mercer's eye. She gave him a look that said I hate everything, please correct this travesty of an explanation, but... they weren't that close. Maybe he would just let it stand.

Meanwhile, Orianna said, "Do you think Lady Sala would let me plan a brunch? I'd be good at it."


Offline Laszlo Quertis

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #15 on: Mar 28, 18, 07:20:34 PM »
If Laszlo wasn't sedated, he would have maybe had his eyes glaze over anyway at the answer he received from the young Queen.  He'd expected... Laszlo wasn't certain what kind of answer he was going to get from the young female.  Blunt, almost harsh honesty was certainly a surprise and the smile that it brought to the Prince's lips was genuine.  "That sounds far more exciting than I had thought."

Apparently brunch was the go to topic for the young Queen that would send her off into another dimension speaking.  Maybe that's why Aleia had told Laszlo to ask her about it.  As the young Queen continued to talk to him about alcohol, a topic which made Neston give him a look, Laszlo only nodded.  "Don't worry.  I've never had one either.  So if I ever do, I'll be sure to let you know first hand."

At the mention of Riley and all of her boyfriends, Laszlo glanced at Jeremiah, a smirk on his lips.  Interesting.  This court was more than interesting.  Not entirely certain how he should even comment on whether or not a thirteen year old Queen should have multiple boyfriends, Laszlo cleared his throat.  "Well.  I don't know anything about getting married or having boyfriends but if that's what you want to do, I'm sure you can make it happen."

Laszlo smirked at his twin's quiet groan.  Who was Laszlo to tell this girl what she could and couldn't do.  At the mention of Aleia, Laszlo couldn't help but take an opportunity to throw his own Matron to the wolves.  With the enthusiasm of a male trying to not scare the shit out of a child, Laszlo smiled.  "I can almost guarantee that Lady Sala would love to have brunch.  And if you do, be sure to invite me fair?"


Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #16 on: Mar 29, 18, 11:57:55 PM »
The press of Jeremiah’s fingers against her arm brought Sora back to the present. She was here to enjoy a night with the people she cared about and her peers. Instead, her fretting had become so obvious that Jeremiah and Riley had both picked upon it. Jeremiah promised that they would talk later and Sora was somewhat relieved that he’d picked up on it. It meant that she wouldn’t have to find a way to broach the topic later. She nodded at Jeremiah as he moved away from her to address the group. Sora memorized where she’d be seated and then looked around the group, finding her eyes settling on Savi.

And then Lady Vaduva arrived and Sora’s stomach might have lurched, just a little.

The red-haired woman was drop-dead gorgeous. Sora was certainly ready to see this performance, especially if she was going to be in it. Savi, for his part, looked like he could vanish just as fast and Lady Vaduva appeared. Sora had thought, perhaps, his nervousness with women was only with certain women or women he didn’t know. But despite their training sessions, he seemed no more at ease with Sora than he had at their first meeting. Sora tried to flash Savi a reassuring smile, but then everyone was being herded inside the theater to take their seats. Sora decided that she’d tried to find Savi later and make sure that the big guy hadn’t exploded due to self-consciousness.

The inside of the theater was magnificent. Sora actually found herself speechless, unable to recall a more breathtaking sight. Tantalus Playhouse had already won Sora over. She wanted to bring Cezar, Marius, and Ben here so that they could experience this place. She wondered, for a second, if Ben had already been here. He was a century older than her and had probably been here a thousand times. She ‘d ask him the next time he saw him.

She took her designated seat and watched as everyone else settled in. Orianna was whispering to Prince Quertis. Drake was whispering to Riley. Sora looked toward the stage and tried to see if any of the performers were lurking behind the curtains. She hoped there would be time to meet a few of them after the show. She had so many questions!

Sora sat back in her chair, finding it pleasant to be distracted from her troubles for a time. This night was just what the Healer prescribed.





Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #17 on: Apr 06, 18, 04:23:14 AM »
Riley was not by far the easiest person to escort. She had a habit of not standing still for more than a few seconds at a time, darting about like a humming bird. Dressed in deep blue to match Jeremiah, she moved through the crowd of Wards overflowing with excited energy. Even Savi got a quick visit from Riley. She wouldn't draw it out knowing his discomfort, but she wanted to confirm one more time everything was set with security. He gave a decisive nod and she thanked him and turned back to the crowd at large.

When Drake finally had her in one spot, he teasingly threatened (promised?) to collect on the debt of his attending this with her. It left her speechless for a moment, an impressive feat to be sure.

Even once she sat down, she kept leaning forward, checking on the Wards, smiling, laughing, offering a reassuring touch to the shoulder or hand. It was like an octopus had suddenly seized hold of her limbs and did its best to use two arms to do what eight should be capable of. Nick got a hand pressed to the back of his neck, warm and steady but not threatening in any way. Sora had Riley wrapped around her arm at one point, Riley's head resting on the younger Queen's shoulder. Jeremiah was reached by crossing her arm in front of their adopted daughter, her wrist settling into his grip so he could feel her pulse one last time before everything began.

Her fingers lightly brushed against Laszlo's shoulder while a smile instead of touch was offered to Neston. Orianna had her rapt attention with her excellent explanation of brunch. Clearly they all needed to have brunch together. And of course Orianna should plan it! She beamed at Kale, so happy to see him looking excited and animated. Her gaze always held a touch of concern when seeking out Q recently, but he too seemed in better spirits than usual. She allowed herself to linger on Radu for a moment, her face growing more serious, before she took a breath and sharply turned her focus to Erika, who received a sympathetic nod. Fane earned a broad smile and a large wink, which caused him to sit up straighter. He was taking his duty as an escort very seriously today.

It took Drake pulling her back to her seat and whispering in her ear for her to finally stay still, her hand going to his leg and tighening against his thigh as his words floated softly to her hearing. Her lips parted, a sharp inhale creating a soft sound as he continued. Soon, the performance would begin, and as the moments stretched on, anticipation raised an excited hum from the gathered Wards.











Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #18 on: Apr 07, 18, 11:05:35 PM »
Jeremiah's fingers brushed along Riley's wrist, only leaning back into his own seat with a smile after he had felt the pulse of life under her skin. It was not that he was not paying attention to the conversation between Orianna and Laszlo - her explanation of brunch - but that he saw no problem with. If anything, he looked amused. The corner of his mouth twitched upward at the mention of Riley's boyfriends, knowing he was among that number.

A glance went to Erika finally and Jeremiah simply smiled, the sharp points of canines visible. There was no chance he was going to stop any of this as he still was not entirely happy with the accountant and the entire incident involving stories about the Jack named Bear. The ones that had lead to Orianna being very, very concerned that somehow there were bears in existence that were just as intelligent as people could be and that Francheska, the stuffed one that existed at Court, had been one just like Bear was. It had resulted in an incident where Orianna had been upset and Jeremiah had to comfort her, easing her worries enough to find out what had caused the turmoil in the first place.

Needless to say, judging by the sharp smile Erika was given, he had knew it was her and was still not happy about it. Eventually his focus went to Orianna and Laszlo. "Prince Quertis is correct. Lady Sala would let you plan a brunch if you speak to her about it. Whatever you might need, I am certain we can get." Then, as he thought about, he added: "You're not incorrect about vodka. Often it's fermented potatoes but other grains can be used and there are some that use fruits." Better to confirm her knowledge than anything else. "Though I can't say I am one of those that drinks during brunch."

Jeremiah wasn't. What he was, however, was the man who kept a high quality scotch tucked away in his psychic cabinet for those moments when a drink was absolutely necessary. He settled back into his seat, arm brushing against Sora's shoulder as he did so. His head tilted towards her, arm coming to lay upon the armrest. Fingers wiggled at her, an eyebrow raised in quiet invitation. A hand to hold or grip onto if the need arose. With Lady Vaduva clearly getting ready to start things, Jeremiah had no doubt that it would be an interesting evening.

If only because of they might find out how red Savi could turn.

Offline Raluca Vaduva

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #19 on: Apr 07, 18, 11:05:47 PM »
Raluca was never going to go cold again with the flush that was heating Savi's face. She looked particularly pleased with herself, glancing over to the side of the stage and wiggling her fingers at someone to the side (it was Marku). Squeezing Savi's arm again, her head leaning against his shoulder, she looked out into the audience where they had seated.

"Tonight," she spoke with flourish, one last squeeze to Savi's arm given, as she stepped away from him, "you will be experiencing not only a play but a visual feast." Her eyes glittered. "If you have not heard about performances here, allow me to explain: here, when you watch, you are taken to the very lands the story is taking place in. You may have noticed that the style of dress for some of the ushers was not from here? That is because we strive for authenticity. Not just that, we want you to feel as if you are there ..."

Her wrist flicked, fingers snapped and Rose craft pulsed along the edges of the stage and around those seated. It was a sight shield that shimmered into place before becoming opaque. Raluca's eyes were closed, working intently upon her Craft. The walls of the sight shield shimmered again, shadows moving along them until they were suddenly no longer shadows. The far edges of the theatre blurred into soft grass and trees being blown by the wind, sounds of which just started along with gentle raindrops.

Raluca had already moved away from the center of the stage, her fingers dragging along the curtain and pulling. It slowly opened to reveal a grove of trees, the sound of rainfall continued but seemingly blocked by the heavy canopy above.

"But first," said Raluca, finally freeing Savi to return to his post, "a different sort of scene. A forest nymph whose heart was broken by a mortal, the sky itself crying in her honor ..." The Black Widow disappeared into the trees of her created forest, seemingly no longer there. Only the sound of wind and rain through the trees remained and the quiet sound of sobbing in the distance.

*That's your cue,* she whispered along Rose, waiting for the performer to start.


Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #20 on: Apr 08, 18, 12:01:53 AM »



Sway gave an acknowledgment to Raluca that she heard her and was ready to begin her performance. While she had not been required to perform with the Tantalus due to the way she had joined the Shaos, which was, for better or worse, through Ventus' cruel teachings, she had a standing invitation to perform with them whenever she liked. She liked Raluca and Marku and the direction they were taking the Shaos in, and hearing that the Wards would be receiving a special performance, had arranged to surprise them.

For a long moment, the forest remained empty except for the sounds of wind, rain, and tears. Rain filtered through the canopy of trees, pouring more heavily, splashing water across the stage. Sway ran from one side of the stage, slipping in the water and falling forward, sliding along her hip to the middle of the stage. Dressed in soft fabric of flowing greens and browns, leaves wrapping around her, her clothing was soaked through, leaving it nearly sheer and clinging to her body.

The nymph pulled her legs close to her and sat shivering in the rain. Her hair was drenched and slicked back from her face, showing easily the blindfold that she wore over her eyes. Music swelled, a haunting voice beginning to sing as a man wearing only black pants approached her. Shy at first she pulled away, until she accepted his touch. Lying above her, he removed her blind fold and she gazed up at him.

Together, they told the tale of how the mortal who had won her heart through dance and movement, rain shimmering against their skin. They moved beautifully together. Sway hadn't trained as a dancer originally, but once she started working with some of the Tantalus performers, she realized much of the way she already trained and moved had allowed for her body and muscles to be particularly adept at it. She took to the training like she had everything else she set her sights on, with a singular focus and willingness to practice until her feet bleed and her body protested fiercely.

The mortal replaced her blindfold and suddenly, without warning, he threw her onto the ground. She struggled in the rain as she moved away from him, shocked at hurt. He spun away, kicking water at her. Struggling to her feet, she stumbled through the forest, finding at last a pair of vines that hung from the canopy. Wrapping them around her wrists and forearms, she pulled herself up into them.

What followed used all of her grace and fearlessness as she spun, climbed, and moved through the vines. Using a combination of movement and held poses, she danced in the air, allowing the vines to be her sole form of not falling to the stage below. Sway used no Craft for the performance, instead relying on the strength and skill of her body. The blindfold remained in place throughout. The music swelled and she wrapped her legs around the vines before letting go and falling toward the stage, catching herself with only her legs. She hung from the vines upside down, water pouring down her body and running from her hair to join the rain as it fell.

As the performance came near to the end, slowly other nymphs stepped onto the stage, standing still and watching as she continued until finally she lowered herself to the ground and the music faded away, leaving again only the sound of rain. She stood facing the audience. Reaching up slowly, she removed her blindfold and met the eyes of each of the audience members, her gaze imploring, before she stepped backwards and with all of the other nymphs, slowly faded into the trees.







Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #21 on: Apr 08, 18, 01:33:09 AM »
 Nick could hear the discussion about Brunch if he focused on it.  He did listen for a little while, at first a little surprised by Laszlo’s curiosity, and then more surprised by Orianna’s confident response.  It did not show on his face, but he was a little bit amused, though he would never have said so to the little Queen.  She certainly had her own ideas, and if he were being honest about it, they were not entirely wrong.  Nick had attended an uncomfortable brunch or three thanks to his Uncle, and it seemed like he was destined to attend a few more, though the discomfort would be for entirely different reasons.  He had to get used to having meals with a group, and this would just mean one more, albeit with a different tenor, if Orianna had her way.

Behind him, he could sense Riley’s gentle fussing, simply by hearing the rustle of fabric.  Her presence made other things more tolerable, and when she touched the back of his neck, her hand resting across the nape of his neck gently, he failed to restrain the gentle sigh she elicited.  Nick was becoming increasingly used to the presence of a Queen, whether it was Sora or Orianna, but where the others were tentative, Riley was always so sure.  He did not turn around in his seat, but he closed his eyes for a brief moment, and let her know he appreciated her concern by leaning against her hand for the small space of time that it was there.  Nick’s eyes moved around the theater then, just taking the place and its décor in.

Nick heard Jeremiah chime in on brunch, catching a piece of it, but distracted by Riley’s touch, he had not focused on the conversation as he had earlier.  Instead, his eyes were on Lady Vaduva, who had yet to release his sparring partner, Savi, from her gentle grasp.  He was not sure Savi wanted to be released, but Nick could not recall ever seeing a man with quite that expression on his face.  The Lady projected her voice, and he was not sure there was Craft in it, but rather practice.  She spoke clearly and confidently, letting Savi go as she moved into what Nick could only think was a small performance of her own, in a way.  She set the scene with a few words, and faded into the forest that materialized into view.  It had to be an illusion, but it was so artfully done, it had Nick’s full attention.

At first, Nick could sense only that Craft was being worked, that what they saw was being actively and artfully created, and then he sensed more.  Sway was there.  He tilted his head, it was only the slightest tickle to his sense of her, but he reached for it, focused and he knew for certain.  Wind and rain rose on the stage; he could hear the patter of it, smell the scent of the water and the forest.  He even thought his cheeks were tickled by a breze, and then the performers appeared.  It was Sway, but in a way that he had never seen before, and had never expected to see.  She looked…she looked like a fairy tale, like a story come to life.  She was incredible, in appearance and in motion, and Nick allowed himself the pleasure of the sight, knowing that here, at a show, in that theater, he did not have to pretend she did not somehow command all of his senses.  He leaned forward slightly, unaware that he had done so.  With one graceful pirouette of a toned form upon the stage, the Green Warlord Prince was absorbed by the performance.  Nick wanted to tell her how beautiful it was, how beautiful she was, but he dared not interrupt the performance with a thread of any kind.  He would have to wait.

It ended too soon.  Nick found himself breathing again, not realizing that when Sway had fallen through the vines, he had caught his breath and all but held it.  She faced the audience, and Nick wanted to leap to his feet, shining with an unexpected surge of pride that well up in his chest, and made his face nearly as bright as Savi’s had been.  Instead, he clenched his jaw, and IF he could even catch her eyes for a moment, he would try to communicate all of that in one shining look, but she faded back into the scene and Nick was not sure if he should applaud or go and look for her.  He decided to remain in his seat, and see what everyone else did.


Offline Radu Orfan

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #22 on: Apr 11, 18, 09:31:24 AM »
He knew that Riley and Jeremiah were watching all of the Wards.  He knew that - and he moved as if he didn't.  He moved as if, even if he might, he didn't care.  The truth was - he did care.  While the learning process of Sway's leash on him had been... er.. painful... he'd found a peace in it. 

Sway would be safe.  She wouldn't let him make a misstep - they'd made sure everything would be fine.  So even if Riley and Jeremiah worried - he seemed at ease.  While he wasn't laughing, or participating in Orianna's little conversation about brunch, he was paying attention and trying to relax.  True, he still looked around in the way he usually did.  He was still watching for trouble, in his own way - but he was relaxing.

No one should think that odd anyways.  He'd been raised ont he streets, and had to deal with ambushes for most of his life.  He would likely always be watching out for such trouble.  Most didn't have to know that he wasn't really looking for ambushers of that nature anymore - he was keeping an eye out for more nefarious trouble.  Trouble that was flavored more like Sway, or himself.

There was every chance he wouldn't see it.  But he might, maybe, get a flash of warning and be able to shield the Boys and the Queen in time, should anything happen.  He expected nothing would.  The Guilds had an ironclad agreement with her about her own safety - and between Jeremiah and the others, no threats should arrive at all.

But there was always a chance.  So he paid attention, in his way, and likely would have been able to maintain that attention through any distraction - if not for Sway herself.

When she arrived, he found his attention forcibly dragged to the front.  He watched, breathless, as his Sway took the stage.  She was the nymph, the most beautiful creature he had ever heard of, and he believed in that moment that she would put a nymph to shame when it came to grace.  In that moment, he understood Kale's love of theater.

In that moment, he was enraptured by it - by her.  Every movement had his breath catching.  When she seemed harmed, he found himself outraged.. when she seemed to fall through the vines, he found himself ready to weep.  Every crash of emotion through him, he knew, would echo through the Ring.  It didn't matter.

In that moment, the love he felt for her was not just about the wild and feral nature they both held.  It wasn't just about violence, sex, or blood.  It was.. just love.  A warmth that spread through his limbs and soothed the riled beast in its cage.  His fingers rested against his lips, body leaning back in his seat as he watched her finally reach the ground. 

He could say nothing.  He could not cheer, he could not weep.. he simply sat there and embraced all the emotion she stirred in him.  His dark witch, his Lady, his Sway.  He felt it down to his bones, even as she disappeared into the trees.  Rattled, he raised his fingers to his eyes, taking a moment to clear his head and force himself to take stock of his surroundings again.

Only Sway could do this to him.. and he hoped she knew that.



Bleeding isn't optional for most of us.


Offline Laszlo Quertis

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #23 on: Apr 11, 18, 02:43:16 PM »
Laszlo felt his attention going to the Queen as her fingers brushed against his shoulder.  He wasn't sure if that was a silent command to stop baiting the little Queen with questions or of she was just the touchy feely type of Queen.  Instead of provoking further conversation, Laszlo dipped his head to the young Queen when Jeremiah confirmed that, yes, there would be brunch.  Giving the little Queen a wink, Laszlo bowed his head in his seat.  "Thank you for your insight.  I knew you would guide me straight and true."

Turning his focus to the stage, Laszlo spared his twin a glance before the lights lowered signalling the start of the performance.  Laszlo knew about nymphs.  His real mother had told them stories of nymphs and harpies.  Sometimes Laszlo had wondered if his mother had become a harpy.  A notion that Neston had agreed with in the quiet way he would speak to Laszlo.

As the Witch appeared, Laszlo took a sharp breath in.  She was beautiful.  As the dance began, Laszlo leaned forward in his seat, elbows resting on his knees as he watched the intricate and almost violently beautiful dance.  At some point, Laszlo felt Neston's hand land on his back.  Clearly, Neston was not as enthralled in the performance as he was. 

It wasn't until the Witch vanished into the trees that Laszlo finally sat back, his eyes dry, more than likely from not blinking the entirety of the performance.  As he sat back, Laszlo realized he had been clenching his fists the entire time as well.  Trying his best to relax his hands, Laszlo ran his hands along his pant legs as he took several deep breaths in.  Neston's voice was quiet in his ear as his fingers found Laszlo's wrist. 

Something in the violence of it all riled Laszlo in a way he wasn't expecting.  Perhaps Anya Welvert's subtle and quiet violence against him was having a fuller affect than Laszlo had ever realized.  It was clearly doing something to the Warlord Prince three seats down from him.  He could tell by the look on Neston's face that he was slightly alarmed by whatever he was all but sandwiched between.


Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #24 on: Apr 12, 18, 12:05:17 AM »
Jeremiah's gaze slid along each of the Wards, lingering only on two before the performance two: Laszlo and Radu. Both for entirely different reasons. Laszlo because the Warlord Prince was acutely aware that interactions like this, on such a scale, were not something that he was the best with (and because he knew far too much of the dark things therein); Radu because there had already been words said.

So many of them.

So the gaze that lingered upon Laszlo was a touch softer than the one that ended up on Radu, especially with the way that he was carrying himself. It was not as if Jeremiah did not keep a psychic finger upon the emotional pulses of those around him - as such things were often clear to him - but it was the presentation that often mattered the most. It was a point for later because, very clearly, Sway understood all about presentation. There was a beauty to the witch as she moved, emotions on display in such a way that it almost did not matter there were other people there.

Yet while that was stunning, Jeremiah was also taken with the shadow building that was being used. It seemed that Raluca Vaduva was a talented Black Widow, in such a way that he had not experienced yet. Seeing someone create an environment, one that looked real and surrounded them, was something else all together. Between the setting, the sounds, and Sway's performance it was very clear that they had practically been transported to this ethereal place.

Jeremiah met Sway's gaze, head inclined slightly in acknowledgement. While he was not as moved as the others were, he still appreciated the performance and her abilities. It was when she faded away that his attention rapidly shifted. First there was a brief glance to Nick, if only because of his reaction. The way that he leaned forward, the extra spark of emotion that was there. It was interesting, to say the least. Radu he understood - the Court's worst kept secret was that the Blood Opal Warlord Prince and Sway were something else - but Nick was different. Something to contemplate later (though, really, young men would forever be swayed by pretty witches; not that he was wired that way) because his attention flicked immediately to Laszlo, having been keeping an eye on his state of being (for good reason) because it was something that fluctuating more and more often.

Leaning forward, his hand came to rest briefly on Laszlo's shoulder and squeezed lightly. At the same time there was a gentle pulse of Rose that would be felt; an unspoken and quiet it's alright, you're fine, everything is okay. With Aleia and Archie both not present, it fell upon him to help guide the younger Prince and ensure that everything would be alright. It was, after all, what he had promised he would do.

Only after he was certain that Laszlo was alright that he settled back into his seat, a glance towards Riley and Sora, then to his other side where Orianna sat. It did not matter that there were others here to protect - two men he trusted wholeheartedly - because his own gaze would have to confirm their safety. While only one Queen was the beat of his heart, a bond between them, the other two were under his protection. His arm settled once more upon the armrest, the offer to the Queen he was escorting there once more.

Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #25 on: Apr 16, 18, 10:47:50 PM »
Lady Vaduva’s voice was warm and someone entrancing, causing Sora to sit up in her seat while listening to her. She’d heard so many good rumors about Tantalus that Sora considered it near-impossible to be disappointed in anything she saw here tonight. Sitting beside Jeremiah and in the presence of people that she knew and liked, Sora decided that she wanted to do this more often. Getting out like this, away from the palace, made her think about seeing more of Bidea. She wanted to bring Cezar and Marius here when they returned home. She also wanted Mihael and Ben to come just so she could see all of their reactions together.

She looked over Radu, Quinten, Laszlo, and Nick, gauging their enjoyment of what they were seeing. When Jeremiah’s arm returned to the armrest, however, Sora sat back and laid her head against his shoulder briefly, taking comfort in his presence. Lady Vaduva then introduced the story of a nymph mistreated by a mortal and Sora wished that Gabri was here to see this. She didn’t know what passed for good theater in Dhemlan, so she resolved to ask her friend when next they saw each other.

The scene on the stage had Sora sitting up in her seat once more.

The sounds of wind, rain, and tears caught Sora unaware. Her eyes watched the show, unfocused, while her mind went back across the years. Nothing good ever happened in the forest, not for her. The land beneath her feet was always alive and hungry, but there were bugs to crawl on her. The wind was always so loud that she couldn’t hear herself think. Her grasp on Jeremiah’s forearm tightened a little.

The nymph shivered in the rain. She looked so lost and forlorn that Sora had to look away for a moment. She looked up to find the nymph dancing with a male who left her soon after. Jeremiah, who sat closed, could now see that the young Queen was fully enthralled by the performance, not even looking around to view the expressions of her fellow wards. The nymph rose and used nearby vines to pull herself up into the canopy. Is she using Craft? She’s gotta be using Craft… Sora thought to herself watching the stage (or what she thought was the stage) with rapt attention.

Sora wanted her autograph when this was over. She ask Jeremiah if it was possible.





Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #26 on: Apr 16, 18, 11:38:17 PM »
Drake knew Sway the moment he saw her.

He’d never taken her for a dancer, but it made sense the longer he thought about it. His hand captured Rilandra’s and he considered how often Sway must have needed to practice to ensure that tonight went off without a hitch. Drake knew that Sway would have taken the whole thing deadly seriously and devoted herself to putting in a top-notch performance. Later, he’d ask Sway what it was like to be part of an acting troupe, expected to make people feel things that they tried so often not to feel. He could only imagine what she really felt about having to do this.

Drake had to admit, as he watched, that Sway was good. Damned good.

He cast a surreptitious glance at the people around them. Radu and Laszlo both seemed transfixed, which Drake attributed to Sway’s skill. Lady Roman looked like she was a few seconds from standing up and clapping this place to pieces, sitting so far on the edge of her seat. Aunt Viorica told him that a Tantalus show was an experience that he needed to enjoy at least once in his life. Drake now wanted to see Sway and Bianca perform together, wondering who held the greater technical skill. His first instinct was to be on Bianca, but the young woman wasn’t a trained killer. Stealth and dancing used a lot of the same muscles and skills. The Prince gave Rilandra’s hand an playful squeeze as he set his mind to comparing the dancing skill of Bianca and Sway based on everything he’d seen from the pair of them. He needed more information and several more shows in order to complete his research. It was a nice little project to keep his mind occupied while he investigated Lord Shingetsu further.

He reached out to Rilandra on a thread, thumb rubbing against her palm.

*You enjoying the show? I’m surprised you didn’t invite Lord Shingetsu. The guy likes to dance, doesn’t he? All those….form-things he practices in the gym every day. Looks like he’s getting ready to come and perform on a stage or something.*

Drake continued to watch Sway while he played with Rilandra’s fingers and looked around at the “place” they’d been transported to.

Lady Vaduva made this  place run like clockwork. He wanted to ask her some questions later, if she was done making Savi turn as Red as his Jewel.






Offline Raluca Vaduva

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #27 on: Apr 27, 18, 08:15:38 PM »
The forest remained after the nymph disappeared into it, the sounds of rainfall eventually fading away and daylight filtering in through the canopy of the trees above. Raluca's voice was heard again, though the Black Widow was not visible. "... and so, she faded away. Learning the truth of the heart of mortal men. Yet not at all mortal men were without merit, such as the hunter that hunts these woods ..."

There was the baying of a hound in the distance, paws hitting the ground but the animal never seen, and a man in clothing that was Tacean origin (an older style most would not be aware of). A hunter, his name Yusuke, was tracking a great stag that could be seen in the distance but almost always out of reach. The hunt began as an elaborate dance, Yusuke's movements pulling the great stag closer to him until finally he was able to strike it down.

Yet the stag was not his to kill, the forest that he was within part of a Clan that he held no allegiance to. A woman, her name Akira, appeared then, ethereal and beautiful, claiming the stag as hers just as the forest was. The pair danced around each other, Yusuke challenging Akira's claim. The two of them eventually ended their dance, coming to stand right next to one another and their gazes locked. Romance clearly blossomed and they both leaned forward at the same time, a kiss shared between them. The lights faded upon the pair and their moment.

When the scene was visible again, time had clearly passed as Yusuke was meeting again with Akira within the forest. If anyone doubted that time had passed, Akira's belly was swollen with child. The dance that started between the two was an entirely different tone than before. What had been clearly been playful in the previous scene was now strained between the pair of lovers. Yusuke clearly was in love with Akira, the same could be said of Akira with Yusuke. Through dance and narration it was revealed that Akira was soon to be given to the Queen of Hell.

A marriage between the pair that would see Akira trapped in a half-life between the darksparks and the light. Yusuke clutched at Akira, held to her even as she made him promise that he would go on with his life. Forget her, love another, and live a happy life. Akira left Yusuke there, his heart broken. It was the appearance of a small spirit that lifted up the hunter’s spirits. There was a way that Akira could be saved but Yusuke would have to follow after. So he did, helped along the way by spirits as each ducked and weaved along his path granting him guidance and assistance that true love might prevail.

The scenery slowly shifted as he traveled, the sound of heavy footfalls heard. A procession was walking by Yusuke, a palanquin holding both the Queen of Hell and her soon to be Bride Akira. Not wasting any time, Yusuke reached up and yanked down Akira to his arms holding her to him. The spirits had prepared him, had told him that to win back Akira he would have to never let go of her. Not through anything that happened.

Incensed, the Queen of Hell grew in fury. The shadows lengthened and became darker, more foreboding, as the Queen of Hell began her own dance. She was one with the shadows as she moved about and as she danced around the pair, the rest of her Court onlooking, Akira began to change shape. She changed Akira into all manner of beasts big and small, trying to ensure Yusuke would release his beloved but no avail. In her fury, her anger at this mortal for dare challenging her and his unrelenting love, she turned Akira into a pearl and grabbed it from his hand. The pearl was thrown into nearby river, Yusuke running to it and searching. At no point did he stop, the motions of his dance becoming more and more frantic. It was only as he fell to his knees, hands pressed desperately to the water, that a spirit made it’s appearances.

Touched by the love and devotion, it brought the pearl cast aside to him. The moment it was placed into his hand Akira appeared, her arms tossed around him as they began to dance once more reunited. Nearby the Queen of Hell yells, screams her bitter defeat, but she cannot contest this. Not in the face of such display and not when even the spirits side with them. The Queen of Hell and her Court slowly disappear one by one until only the Queen is left. She looks upon the happy lovers forlornly and then disappears herself.

The final scene is Yusuke and Akira, dancing again with one another within the forest glade where they first met. The lights fade as they stare into each other’s eyes, together at last.


(tl;dr it’s tam lin. also thanks to reid for helping me conceptualize <3 ~)


Offline Nolan Savu

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 18, 09:42:38 PM »
When Raluca had released him, Savi had attempted to slink away, as much as it was possible for someone of his height and build to slink. It had taken him the better of five minutes to snap his head back into place. He could still smell Raluca on his clothing. It didn't fuckin' help.

He had stood off to the side through Sway's performance watching the Wards as much as not more than his gaze had flicked to the stage to watch the assassin. He an' Sway had history, the kind that involved him almost dyin' at the edge of her blade. Shade herself had contracted Savi to follow her wayward Myos and it was Shade who had stepped in and yanked the leash that pulled the terrifying Summer Sky off of him. It wasn't until after Darcia was kidnapped and things went to Hell that he understood why she hadn't wanted to go to the Shaos with the contract, even though it woulda been better suited.

Now that they were both in the same Court, even if he didn't quite get Sway's role there, he was doing his best to be cordial when they saw each other, if cordial meant staying the fuck out of her way. It had been a solid plan so far and Savi saw no reason to fix somethin' that wasn't broken.

The play was a different experience entirely, but still he watched the Wards more than the stage. That was his job. He wasn't along for the fun of it, he was there to protect the youngins the Queen had taken in. Three Queens in the same place made him right nervous. He was closest to the little Queen and kept watch over her and Fane the most sharply. The boyo was doin' a right proper job as her escort. He'd be a good one when he grew a bit older.

As the performance drew to a close and the applause started, Savi heard something off to his right, a bit away from where the Court was seated and closer to the door. He focused his senses sharper and the hairs at the back of his neck stood on end. With a quick thought sent to the First Escort at the other end of the seats that he was stepping away for a moment, Savi left the group and went to investigate.




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 18, 09:45:20 PM »
Jeremiah had quietly assured that, yes, an autograph could secured. There was also the teasing remark that he could ensure she learn a few moves like that. *If you're wanting to learn something like that, I think arrangements can be made,* he said along a thread. *Though not from Savi and while I could pull some of that off ...* A mental snort escaped. *Some of it would be impossible.*

Yet he knew that Sorinna was wanting to learn more, to protect herself, and with his schedule being busy as it was he had not - quite yet - gotten to have a chance to work with her as much as he would like. This evening was something that was needed, as much as he had been caught up with his training and keeping up with Court and recent turmoil. If it was not the odd dream of a Birthright Red Healer then it was other things that would crop up.

An uneasy feeling had settled itself into his stomach of late, one that had put him on guard, but as the play pulled him out of his thoughts he was letting go. Especially as the joy and delight from Riley was felt along their Rose, Sorinna's and Orianna's felt but only from his perpetual keeping of tabs upon the other two queens who were important within his life.

As the play came to an end, the lovers reunited and together, Jeremiah found himself clapping. Then blinked as he caught sight of Savi moving, the feeling that had been plaguing him returning in full force but with so many others around ...

It would take too long for him to determine if something was out of place.

... and this place was well guarded, was it not?

Leaning forward, an eyebrow was raised and an unspoken question was pinged towards Drake but otherwise was only on the same alert that he had been for the rest of the performance.

Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 18, 09:46:19 PM »
Everything about this performance combined to make Drake wish he’d come to watch a Tantalus performance before now. Sway’s performance was great and Drake reminded himself to tell her that at the next opportunity. Given the nature of their relationship, they rarely talked about anything that wasn’t related to the Court or to the Myos Guild. He could count, on one hand, the number of conversations he’d had with Sway that didn’t fall into those two groups. And given where their conversations usually lead, Drake of saw no reason to discuss anything else. But her talent here awed him and Drake would tell her that.

Or, he was going to, before the next performance blew him away.

Drake was usually able to keep a piece of his mind free while watching a performance to critique it on technical skill or simple to observe the things that didn’t belong. The main act of this performance, however, drew him in from the start. Drake shifted in his seat, forgetting that he was watching performers act out a Tacean play. He didn’t even stop looking long enough to view Rilandra’s reaction to everything.  The performers were crisp and sharp in their movements. They did not miss a beat. If Drake didn’t know any better, he’d swear that he was watching the events as they happened, rather than two people who’d simply trained their entire lives to bring this moment to life.

When the performance ended, Dragos Cutrov stood and applauded with everyone else. It wasn’t merely polite applause or following the lead of those around him. He gave Tantalus a standing ovation because they’d earned it. He was already thinking over how to get Rilandra to return and see another show with him. And then he’d have to get Aunt Viorica to come out and see this place, because he knew the older woman would love this just as much, if not more, than he did. Everyone was enjoying themselves and having a good time. Tonight, Drake’s role as First Escort was in the primary position, rather than Rilandra’s personal bodyguard and confidant.

Savi reached out to him, brushing against his outer barrier to advise that he was going to check out something. He caught Jeremiah’s eye and reached back to him. Not sure. Savi’s checking it out. In response, Drake simply reformed the skin-tight shield over Rilandra that he’d dismissed once they were seated some time ago. This was a secure place. Anyone fool enough to attack the Queen of Dena Nehele here deserved to die and die badly.

Drake leaned over to whisper in Rilandra’s ear.

What did you think?” he asked, wanting to know her opinion on the play. He didn’t know how often she’d gotten out like this before, but he assumed that it wasn’t much. When guys like Gavril Conta wanted you dead, and tried to kill you regularly, it left little time for pursuit of the arts or enjoying them. Drake wanted to change that for Riley. He reminded himself to ask her later, when the story of Yusuke and Akira was still on her mind, but she’d had some time to really think it over.





Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #31 on: May 06, 18, 09:47:05 PM »
Days from now, Sorinna Roman would remember this night down to the very last detail. Weeks from now, she’d pick out all of the things she sensed were wrong, from the moment she woke up in the morning until that evening inside the Tantalus playhouse. Months from now, she’d recall how she felt, watching the performance from start to finish. She’d be shocked to learn that it was Sway, Sway of the Myos, who’d so enthralled her with her dance, preparing her to be awed by the upcoming act. 

Centuries from now, she would not be able to watch a play without her blood turning to ice in her veins.

The second performance began. Sora didn’t think that she could be as impressed as she had been with the first act, but the first few minutes of the next play proved her wrong. The baying of the hound startled her and she was a little embarrassed at her reaction. The sound was so authentic, though, that Sora thought she heard the creature’s footsteps. She looked about for the hound, but found the stag instead. It was beautiful, but Sora’s attention was on the forest itself. Did Tacea truly look like this? Would Lord Shingetsu tell her if she asked? She resolved that she’d at least try to talk to the Raejian Ambassador who just happened to be Tacean. Rather than preoccupy herself with the possible story behind that, Sora’s attention returned to the play itself. The romance between Yusuke and Akira enthralled her.

The pair circled each other warily, but eventually came together. Sora could not help but be reminded of Riley and Jeremiah, the two people she’d loved and known longer than she’d known her birth parents. They were bound together, yes, but Sora believed there was something deeper between them. Eventually, Sora believed, they would see it as well. She knew that Jeremiah would never let Riley go, not even on pain of death, if it meant keeping her safe, and the reverse as well. They belonged together and Sora believed that it was just a matter of time before they understood that. It was in that vein that Sora watched the performance to its conclusion, the pair living happily ever after despite the outside world’s attempts to tear them apart.

Sora rose to her feet and clapped excitedly, tears streaming freely from her eyes. The story, the performances, the costumes...all of it had taken Sora’s mind away from her troubles. Her fight with Cezar didn’t matter; they would get through it. Quinten would be fine. Ben would meld seamlessly with her other males and prove his friendship to the rest of her Bonded. Mihael would come home someday soon and she could take care of him as she’d dreamed. The White Queen’s optimism was boundless and it showed in the bright smile plastered on her face even as the tears smudged her makeup.

So it took a moment for the pain to register.

Once it did, though, Sora’s eyes widened. Jeremiah was looking at Prince Cutrov. She tried to say something, to get his attention, but no sound came. Her mouth moved, but she couldn’t speak.

The sensation struck again and then intensified as something twisted low in her belly. She didn’t see anyone. Sora looked down. A hand withdrew from the hilt of the blade, to a place behind her that she couldn’t see. A crimson stain spread from a similar wound just inches from where the blade rested. Take it out. Gotta...take it out…

Her hand closed around the hilt of the knife, but when she tried to put it free, she...couldn’t. Her arms felt too light, too weak. She tried to reach into her White for the strength to draw the blade free, but it wouldn’t come. Her knees buckled. Sora dropped back into her chair with a heavy sound, though it wasn’t louder than the applause for the show.

Why can’t I hear the applause anymore?

Cold spread from her wounds, racing through her veins and turning her blood to ice. She was so cold. She should have brought a coat. Quinten would have brought her a coat. Cezar and Marius would be furious that she hadn’t brought a coat for this night. Especially Marius. You never dress warmly enough, Sora.  Daddy used to say that, too. He used to block the door until she put on her coat and shoes. Only then could she play in the snow. Was it cold like this when the Myos came for him? Had the Myos finally come for her after all these years?

Sora’s last regret was that she hadn’t thought to say goodbye.





Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #32 on: May 06, 18, 09:49:48 PM »
As if Sway's performance was not enough, the play that followed was nothing short of magical. Even Drake seemed transfixed. He wore an expression she had never seen before. Riley spent the first half with her attention split between those seated around her and the play. Sure that everyone was enthralled, she finally allowed herself to get lost in the story as well for the second half.

When it was over, she rose to her feet just as quickly and clapped with all the enthusiasm she could. Sora stood with her, but then suddenly sat back down. Riley glanced at her, continuing to clap. The realization that something was wrong was likely only a fraction of a second long, but it felt like an eternity.

Jeremiah's voice rang through her mind. *No, no, no, no!* It was sharp, loud, along the Rose thread that was forever open between Riley and Jeremiah. Pain sung along it, not just her Shadow's feelings that she felt (as was common) but the muted hurt and fading of their Queen daughter.

Riley dropped to her knees to reach for Sora. Jeremiah was already there, pulling Sora's hands away from her abdomen. In the dark of the theatre, inky black seemed to spread across her stomach and the front of her dress where something stuck out at an odd angle. Riley's brain wouldn't allow her to register what it was.

Fury pulsed out from both Queen and Warlord Prince. Any who didn't realize something had happened would be quite suddenly sharply aware that something was very fucking wrong.

*Don't let her pull out the blade. She'll bleed to death, Ryllis. We need Jude, now.*

Riley nodded, taking Sora's hands in her own, only to realize they had gone slack. "Fuck!" she swore loudly, one hand going to press against a wound that didn't have a fucking knife sticking out of it to help ease the bleeding.

She reached her other arm out over Sora. "Orianna, Fane! To me!" Jeremiah was already moving over her, cold rage so vicious she felt the chilled wind against her skin as he joined Drake. Pulling Orianna and Fane close, she continued to issue orders. "Nick! Radu! Layer shields over us and guard! All of you, make a circle around us and shield yourselves and each other. And someone get me Jude Grigorie."

Her entire focus then shifted to her adopted daughter. ”Sora. Sora! Stay with me, honey. Hold on. Just hold on. Please.”











Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #33 on: May 06, 18, 09:56:08 PM »
It had happened before he realized it. Jeremiah kept tabs on those close to him, their emotional states and what they felt a guiding point that everything was alright. When Sora's delight and enjoyment lessened and confusion bled in along with sharp pain-

Something had gone wrong. *No, no, no, no!* The words were said along Rose, moving to catch Sora's hands and stop her, telling Riley to not let her move the blade and get Jude. She was the best, he knew, that could handle such injuries like this. As he said that, he noticed the shadowy illusions of the play were breaking. Disappearing not like smoke but breaking. There was sounds from the stage, the performers clamoring, but none of it mattered. His fury, his rage, was not only his but his Queen's as well and flowed between them in that moment.

He did not submit to it, did not let it take him over, but his breathe became cold and the air temperature dropped around him. A handkerchief, cooled because of his fury, was placed into Riley's hand to press to wound. With the shields that had enveloped them breaking away, there was-

"Drake," his voice was a cold snarl, "that way." Not that he was waiting for the Prince to truly respond. His anger was focused, his fury directed, and it would not relent until they caught the attackers. This was not just a Warlord Prince that had been brought forth but a different sort of beast. The one that had been born of his training and the past months. A Warlord Prince who was tempered by the training of a Black Widow.

The last thing he said, before he truly started moving and followed what he knew was the right way, was to his Queen. "They will be found." Savi was already ahead, he would move towards the Warlord and trusted that Drake would be at his side

Offline Raluca Vaduva

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 18, 09:57:56 PM »
Something had gone terribly wrong and Raluca knew it the moment she felt that pulse of anger from both Queen and her Shadow. She watched as the Birthright White Queen fell back towards her seat and-

A hiss escaped as she realized what happened and she immediately began breaking her own shadows and shields, getting Marku to do the same to his, and immediately calling upon an open thread to only those most trusted.

*Close down the playhouse! Lock it down! There's been an attack!* She heard Riley as she cried out, moving forward quickly weaving through the seating as her own people were forming another unspoken barrier between the Territory Court and the rest of the world. "Get our best runner to Lady Judith Grigorie!" A location was given as well, the Shaos Co-Leader knowing well where the Jacks pair would be.

"Send word to the Master of the Guard and-" A snarl escaped her. "Someone tell me how the hell someone get into my house and staged an attack!" There was uncomfortable shuffling and that was when she realized that there was one person missing, someone who was not just a Tantalus troupe member but a Shaos as well.

Someone was going to die this night.

It would not be Sorinna Roman.

... but it would be a Shaos traitor, once her hands were caught. A thread went out to Savi. *Be on the lookout, we have a betrayer.* There was a mental picture, a name of the individual as well. Not that she said anything more at the moment, instead pushing until she could get close enough to ensure that more cloth, her jacket in fact, was taken off to pass for the Queen to use.

Then she was moving, following after the the the First Escort, Shadow, and Protector.


Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 18, 09:58:44 PM »
Nick was glad that he waited.  He was not emotionally effusive at the best of times, and this was not that.  Any action on his part could be read and interpreted, and he had a secret to keep, and those secrets were not just his own.  When others applauded, so did he, and why should he not?  He had been kept like an attack dog.  The theater had not been part of his education, and those times when he was enacting foul deeds on behalf of his Uncle and his co-conspirators, there would have been no time for sight-seeing, even if the compulsions had left room for it.  They had not, of course.  Nick was glad of the chance to applause, to show at least a common man’s appreciation for a woman that held a rare sort of bond with him.  He kept his eyes forward, and waited for the next part of the show.
 
The next part of the show held his attention, perhaps not like Sway’s had, mostly because he did not know these actors.  It occurred to him that might have been the point.  The story and the Craft both from Jewels and from Skills alone were something to see.  It was an experience he had never enjoyed before, and while he followed the story closely enough, he could not find any room in his heart and mind for sympathy.  These were characters, as unattached to him as anyone or anything could be.  They were not his, and certainly on a logical level he understood the feelings involved, on an emotional one, only the artistry of it all seemed to impact him.  Even Sway’s Nymph, as much as he was thrilled by the performance, had more to do with who it was, rather than the story.
 
Nick was aware of those around him, he had to be.  He was in front of the Territory Queen, the Escort he had been warned about, Jeremiah and the younger Queen Sora, not to mention the Little Queen and Fane.  If the people around him were not his, those that he had decided needed it, at least fell under his protection.  Nick had been tasked as an escort, and while the Lady was not seated with him, he still felt the need to continue with the responsibility handed to him.  He had been aware of Savi’s return, and was not aware of his departure, there was movement in Craft and in body, a shifting of seats that suggested something was happening, but whether that something was simple conversation or something else, Nick had yet to determine.
 
Applause roared up for the end of this performance, and Nick got to his feet with a few others, and then he caught the scent.  Queen’s Blood.  Sora’s blood.  She was tied to him, tied to Jeremiah and to Riley, and someone had caused her harm.  The anger surfaced swiftly, racing towards Rage, the Green hidden by his clothes flared beneath his suit, causing an emerald haze to wash up out of his collar like a brief halo as his Senses and his Power unfurled around him.  Nick’s expression did not change, but his eyes grew colder, and those that knew him best would surely register the rage that suddenly flared within him.  His nostrils flared, and frustration grew instantly as no enemy made themselves readily apparent.  Riley’s order snapped through the haze, and he dropped asymmetrical Green shields, like a small crazy castle, around Riley, Sora, Orianna and Fane.  Adding a breakable layer for each spectrum, he leaped atop the hardened construct and held there, crouched and ready.  Nick’s eyes searched for and found Jeremiah.  His jaw clenched as he realized he would have to stay behind and protect rather than attack, rather than hunt.  Riley needed Nick, not Trance, and she would have him.  He took slow, deep breaths, doing as he had been taught, containing the Edge, letting it keep him sharp rather than crazed.


Offline Radu Orfan

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 18, 10:19:49 PM »
The play was amazing.  He'd never seen anything like it, and with each movement and turn of hte story, he understood more and more why Kale loved theater so much.  So when the act ended, and everyone stood?  So did he.  He even clapped, his eyes crinkling in enjoyment. 

And yet..

Something was off.  He wasn't sure what it was - and he'd attributed it to him being uncomfortable.  He hated being surrounded by people on the best of days.  So he'd pushed it to the back of his mind.  He didn't cheer, or laugh.. but he clapped.  He smiled.

He let his enjoyment of the evening transfer across that thin thread to Sway, wanting her to know that whatever his unease was, he was fine.

Until he wasn't. 

The first whiff of Queen's blood had the hair on the back of his neck standing up, his senses ranging out as if awaiting an ambush.  Sorinna.  It was Sorinna.  He twisted about, jumping over his seat to get closer to the Queen.. Queens.  Hell's fire, there were three of them in this damned place.  And one of them was just a baby. 

He snarled, his Shields slamming into place around the huddle of Queens.  He sealed them off, intent on making sure no one else got in without him knowing.  That no one else would get so much as a paper cut while there was no Healer to attend them.

"Kale... can you do anything to help slow the bleeding until the Healer gets here?" 

He had a surprisingly calm voice, considering the situation.  But he would.  His eyes were moving outwards, studying every flicker of shadow with an intensity that Kale would recognize.  He'd seen it before.  This was Radu on the streets.  This was Radu watching for trouble, all too prepared to put it down and crush it into red paste beneath his boot.

Someone had gotten in behind him - had gotten past Mercer, and Savi, and Drake.  Someone had managed to stab into Sorinna Roman.. and now he had to try to keep them from getting at Orianna or Riley.  Someone was attempting to be a Queen Killer.

Sway.. Someone has stabbed Sora.  I've got shields in place.. but I can't see them.  And I can't smell them over Queen's blood.



Bleeding isn't optional for most of us.


Offline Laszlo Quertis

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 18, 10:21:33 PM »
Laszlo had to admit that the sensation of both Riley and Jeremiah focusing their attention on him with careful touches did a great deal to ground the Prince out.  The second performance was just as intense but with all of Laszlo's focus he was able to calm himself with steady, deep breaths.

The scent of blood drew Laszlo out of his daze as did the sudden, panicked movement behind him.  Rising to his feet, Laszlo turned to see the young Queen holding her stomach as the others gathered around her.  Feeling Neston's hand close around his wrist, Laszlo looked at his twin as color drained from his face. 

With a strained sound, Laszlo burned through his tonic as he called on his Gray jewel, erecting a shield of Gray around the Queen and those who were working to staunch the flow of blood as it poured from her gut.  From what he'd learned from his Mother, Laszlo knew just how horrific an injury like that could be.  Especially if the blade were to be removed prematurely.

Both Neston and Laszlo moved, taking up a position close to the youngest of the females and Riley as Neston layered another Sapphire shield around the youngest of the group that were with them.  Laszlo watched as his twin turned the young Queen to face him, his voice soft.  "My ladies Orianna and Fane.  Don't look at that.  Focus on me."

Laszlo moved to stand back to back with his twin, watching their surroundings as his Gray jewel pulsed with anger.  The Prince was already on edge with the strangeness of the performance he had just witnessed.  Having to use his jewel to put up a shield meant that the tonic wasn't going to get him home.  At the moment, Laszlo didn't know if that would matter.  For the moment, all Laszlo could do was focus on their surroundings and keeping the shield around the inner circle intact until Prince Mercer told him otherwise.


Offline Erika Armistead

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 18, 12:35:10 AM »
Erika was sure it was a beautiful production, but she couldn't appreciate it. Time seemed to be running like cold syrup, dripping over her, nauseating. She found herself staring into the safe middle distance, appreciating the colors even if nothing else. They were nice colors, and she didn't have to deal with the embarrassment of watching something so... so. Hopefully Raluca wasn't waiting in the wings with a quiz and a costume of Erika's own. Erika wasn't sure she could produce anything at all of what the show had been about the moment it ended.

She was still seated when Sora was attacked, but the moment she realized what was happening she threw out both hands, a Blood Opal shield springing into place around Orianna and Fane. It was the furthest her shield could stretch: she wasn't trained for it, after all. She bodily shoved the children into Riley's arms. The boy was crying, but Orianna had gone quiet and still, and in her hands was a fucking knife, a simple metal thing with a wickedly curved blade. How long had she fucking had that?

"I'm fine, Prince Quertis," said Orianna, her voice level, her hands steady. Erika didn't know what to do with the tiny, still creature that had replaced the happily gossiping Queen. "Maama and Grandmama Fairuz taught me what to do if this happens." She reached out to touch Fane's hand, cover it with her own, and even Erika could feel the strength of the Queen's touch as it calmed the young Prince. Despite her claims of calm, Orianna wasn't looking away from the Gray-Jeweled Prince.

With the force of the Gray protecting the children and multiple enraged Warlord Princes on the hunt, Erika peeled away from the group to help secure the perimeter.


Offline Judith Grigorie

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 18, 12:35:27 AM »
In her day, Jude had tended to the life-threatening injuries of many different people. Gangrene in the improperly-set leg of an aristo, sepsis in the abscessed tooth of a crone, and yes, knives in the gut of a Jack or a child on the wrong end of the wrong noble. It wasn't anything particularly new for her. She didn't fear the metallic scent of blood or the slight burn of acid from a gut wound on her skin. Still, if Raluca's runner hadn't said there were children and Queens involved, she would've turned the young man away. She still wanted to say no. The request was unclear, and she wasn't officially contracted to anyone in the Court. Even if it had been the most beautifully composed message in the world, she had her own reasons to be reluctant to use Craft.

Carson argued in their favor. They could at least assess the situation. If it wasn't as urgent as the runner said, then there would be time to call Ji Yoon. And if it was as urgent as they said, well, he didn't really understand why Jude longed to say no, did he? He'd agree with her if he knew.

So they left. It was a quick walk from their apartment to Tantalus; their home was in the theater district, above a fancy bakery, and they carried that calming scent into the chaos of the theater. Jude herself was a dark-haired island of calm as she followed in Carson's wake. The Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince had no problem bullying aside panicking attendants, clearing space for the smaller Healer to pass into the rows of seats. He got her passage through the layers of shielding, too. Jude knelt at the side of the young woman, let her psychic senses--the most Craft she felt safe using, and even that twinged, pain like the yank of her hair--stretch out...

Her carefully-constructed calm collapsed in her hands like a meringue on a hot and humid day. There would be no time to call Ji Yoon to take the work. Pala Dornei was much further away than the little apartment. Two paths lay before her: Act now no matter the cost, or let Sorinna Roman die. She hesitated. Mother Night, she thought about it.

But in the end, there wasn't really a choice at all, was there?

"Carson, clear them away from me, shield me and Lady Roman, shield the reserves on my Blood Opal, don't let anyone interfere," she said, strength in her voice that she didn't really feel. "Lady Vlas, you did well to keep the pressure on and to leave the knife in, now get away, you'll interfere with my monitoring spells."

With her orders obeyed, Jude took a deep breath to steel herself, then drew on her Blood Opal. The cramping pain hit instantly; she gritted her teeth through it, took a shuddering breath that tasted of salt and blood. "Jude," said her Carson, concern in his voice, laced tight with the agony of a Warlord Prince straining to ignore the Queen's blood scenting the air.

She shook her head. Let them think the tears were for Sora. Carson needed to focus, they all did. There would be time for her own petty sorrows later. She shook her head and she bent to her work, shining Blood Opal latticing severed sinews and collapsed veins, drawing each to each. She siphoned bile away from delicate tissues, filtered pollution from blood. Only once the first wound was closed beneath the lace of her Blood Opal did she remove the knife from the second wound.

This one was worse. Deeper. She couldn't save all of it, but... If Sorinna Roman hated her later, at least she'd be alive to do it.


Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 18, 01:43:22 AM »
Although requested, Kale didn't really end up explaining the performances. He didn't really have to - and even if maybe it had been necessary, he was far too caught up in the productions to do so. Tantalus. He'd heard of them, on the streets - but he'd never been able to sneak into a performance. The wards around the building far surpassed his ability to slip through, and he'd never possessed enough expendable coin to see a performance legitimately. But he'd always wondered...

He didn't have to wonder anymore.

He - all of them - were completely transported to another world and it was beautiful. Amazing. Wondrous. Everything else melted away. No longer was he in a place he barely understood, struggling to find his footing. He forgot that he was half deaf and half blind. All his personal troubles regarding Quinten and that girl were gone. His worries that he'd never find his place, vanquished.

All there was, was the story - and oh how he soaked it in. Not once did his attention waver. Even when the curtain closed and he surged to his feet along with everyone else in applause, his whole attention was all wrapped up in the play.

So it took an extra moment for it to sink in that there was something... else.. happening. The flurry of motion and alarm around him was jarring and unnatural. It all happened so fast... One second they were happy and... together. The next there was shouting and movement. Shields were being thrown up and orders were being barked.

"Kale... can you do anything to help slow the bleeding until the Healer gets here?"

One voice, deep and familiar and weirdly calm, cut through the film of confusion around him. Kale turned, and that was when he realized just what was happening.

The girl.

Sora.

The one he couldn't stand, even though he'd barely spoken to her. The one he'd wished would go away so many times it was a reflexive mantra in his head every time she came up in conversation or he caught sight of her in the damned hall.

She was less then six feet away from him - the row behind and a few seats down - and even with the bodies and the shields and all the action he could see the blood. He could smell the blood. It was sharper somehow. More potent. Meatier. The sense of it had his stomach clenching with dread, and an instant later... instinct.

He was moving forward before he realized what his legs were doing, clearing over the seats and--

WHAM

He crashed into a shield. No, not a shield. Half a dozen of them. All darker than he could even sense.

"WAIT! PLEASE!" His voice was sharp, rough, insistent and he used a touch of his Yellow in hopes it would draw more attention. "Let me help! I can help..!"

He needed to stop the bleeding. He could do that much. How many times had he done that with Quinten? Slowed the bleeding, at least, redirected it, kept the blood from filling him up and putting pressure on his other organs. Maybe he wasn't a fully-fledged Healer or anything close to it yet, but... but he was here, and he could help. He.. he had to.

Something sick like the twisting of guilt was gnawing at his quaking heart. He resented her, he'd wished her away but he'd never wanted...

"I can help... just... I can slow the bleeding enough to--"

He didn’t get the chance to finish his pleading promise because the shields slipped away just enough for him to stumble in. He fell to his knees and leaned in.

“Riley, keep pressure on the wound. Real firm. Don’t worry about hurting her.” His voice was iron and confident, loud and clear over the calamity around them - in part because he was damn certain that nothing was going to hurt the girl more than the wounds already draining the life blood from her, and also in part because he was too terrified to be anything but.

Then everything else disappeared. There was nothing but blood. He closed his eye, because sight wouldn’t help him - he’d already learned that lesson. Instead dipped his hands in Yellow and pressed them firmly over Riley’s where they were applying that steady pressure on the girl’s… on Sora’s wounds. He found the biggest tears and devoted fistfuls of raw energy to stopper them then wash over and through her to reinforce the strength of her own body. It was rough, and it wasn’t much. At the very most, all it would do was buy time - but Kale knew absolutely nothing about healing a wound this deep fast enough. All he could do was pour in power, and intent, and direct it to the right places.

And pray.

Mother Night please let the Healer get here soon… I’m nowhere near enough… Please… she can’t die. Don’t let her die.




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #41 on: May 11, 18, 01:42:51 AM »
Jeremiah paid little attention as they pushed open the doors that lead to the rest of the Tantalus Playhouse. Savi was just ahead, Drake was in step next to him. It was only as he left that a quick thread of Rose went to Nick. *Protect them, Nick. Keep them safe and listen well when the Healer comes.* To Laszlo, as he knew the Prince had stepped into action it was just a sense of approval. To keep doing what he was doing until Riley or himself said otherwise.

Jude would be there soon, he knew, and she would be able to help. She had put his insides back where they belonged once, when someone had decided they needed to not be inside him any longer.

It was just as the doors closed behind them, separating them from the scene of the attack, that they were pressed open once more by the Black Widow leader of Tantalus, Raluca Vaduva.

"They did this in my house," she said, her voice cold, and that was enough. "No one is getting in or out right now either. Not unless I give the okay; the building is on lockdown." Not that he was truly paying attention. No, he was focused elsewhere. The moment that the shields had fallen away what had been at the edge of his attention came into startlingly clear focus. Feelings so loud he was not quite sure how anyone else could not miss them. Lines were blurring between his Black Widow training and Warlord Prince, heightening natural instinct into something truly dangerous.

Raluca only watched the Warlord Prince as he paced forward and paused, hand hovering over the doorknob and then pulling back. "No, not there." Not far away either. The deeper one went within the Playhouse it was clear that it was meant to be labyrinthine, which was something to contemplate at a later date. Jeremiah said nothing as he moved forward, an eerie predatory grace to his movements that was entirely unlike him but fitting all the same.

There was the sound of scuffling, someone scrambling behind a door that was closed nearby. A sob was caught in his throat, Jeremiah knew, without even laying eyes upon the Blood male. *In there,* he said along a thread to those that were with him, *just one, the others are further in.* The air was chilled still, the Warlord Prince wanting to snap forward and simply break whomever was within.

Yet that could not be done when there were still more and this one ...

*He is remorseful,* he growled out. As soon as the door opened, once they were prepared, there was a Summer Sky Warlord rocking back and forth in the corner. His head was in his hands, blood covering them, and he looked up wide-eyed and shellshocked.

"I'm s-" The words did not even get out because Jeremiah was a blur of motion, the Warlord lifted up and a hand tight around his throat.

"Save your words because they mean nothing. Your actions spoke quite clearly." A Queen's blood had been spilled, a Queen that was his daughter in all the ways that matter even if not by blood. "You live only because you have knowledge we need and," frost spread from Jeremiah's fingertips along the Warlord's skin, the closeness of the Killing Edge made apparent, "because you will face punishment." Even as every bit of him wanted to claim his life, spill his blood and body pale just as had been done to Sora.

Jeremiah snarled then, throwing the Warlord towards Savi and taking a step back. "How many." It was not a question but a lowly spoken demand.

The Warlord did not pick himself up from the floor, he stayed where he was. He had not prepared himself for what it meant to take a life, he was no assassin, merely a hired thug who had been blinded by the offer of money. "Two others," his voice shook as he spoke, "and the guy that helped us on the inside."
   

Offline Judith Grigorie

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #42 on: May 11, 18, 06:38:27 PM »
Jude hit the bottom of her well, the Sapphire shield defending her core, before she had completely finished her work. So she swapped to the Rose. Her Birthright came to her so easily, with so much less pain, and yet what else could she do but dread the inevitability of after? Everything has a price. The Yellow spells preventing the Queen from bleeding out were easy enough to brush aside once they were no longer necessary, but the problem lay in extracting the... mangled... organ. Jude hesitated, looking up at the nearby cluster of people.

Two children, one a Queen, one a Prince, both too young to be faced with the reality of the Territory where they lived. Wards, one of whom had, before Jude's arrival, keeping the Queen from bleeding overmuch. The Queen, too, and a Gray-Jeweled Prince. "Carson," she said, tiredly, "Sight shield the patient and I, please, no one needs to see this part."

Once she vanished behind Carson's Sapphire, she slipped her hands back inside the Queen. Without any blade to cut, she was forced to use her Rose for the entire operation. Cauterizing what was no longer needed, removing what would have eventually gone to rot. What did they imagine was going on behind the shield? She supposed it hardly mattered. Jude burned what she removed, fast and hot, and healed the gash.

"Done," she said. The sight shield dropped. Jude laid a bloody hand on Sorinna's forehead and closed her eyes, one last diagnostic spell, and nodded to herself. She looked to Riley, then. "She's stable. I've put her in a healing sleep. She'll be fine. There's damage that I'll have to talk to her about later; your Healer can check on her if you want, but I'd prefer being the one to tell her about the lasting effects." No way she wanted some Court Healer sneering about what Jude had done in extremis.

She pushed herself to her feet, and her vision grayed out, pain ripping across her lower abdomen, lancing up her spine. *I need Ji Yoon,* she told Carson. *Please.* He scooped her up, and oh, even that was pain. Could he feel it? Did he already know? "She'll be alright," said Jude into his shoulder. Hopefully her voice was loud enough. "She's just sleeping. She'll be fine."

"Exhaustion, probably," said Carson. "Happens, with strenuous healings. Bear can tell you. I'll take her home."

jude's out, have fun u crazy kids


Offline Dragos Cutrov

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 18, 10:30:55 PM »
One moment he was asking Riley how she liked the play. Her answer interested him because he’d never seen her at an outing like this before. She looked beautiful, smelled even better, and Drake was suddenly reconsidering his their agreement regarding a relationship. After all, if she was enjoying Tantalus, he knew of a few other productions across the Territory that she’d love to see. Savi had moved to check something out, but Drake was confident in his ability to keep Riley safe from any danger.

The scent of blood, Queen’s blood, reached his nostrils and set Drake on edge. Riley was standing right in front of him. She was fine. Anyone who dared to attack her would have to go through at least two Red Jeweled males plus a Rose Warlord Prince who, in recent times, held a sharper and deadlier focus than almost anyone Drake knew. But the blood on the wind wasn’t Riley’s. Drake’s head turned in the direction of little Orianna Aegle who was wielding a fucking knife (good job, kid!), but wasn’t bleeding. Prince Quertis seemed to have taken command of the smaller Queen’s safety and Drake was glad for that--

No.

No.

No, no, no, no!


He couldn’t see Lady Roman.

Riley was already on the way to her. Everyone was closing ranks around the Riley, Sora, and the younger Wards, so Dragos Cutrov promptly sat the fuck down and let Striker take over. Striker hated showing up without his real face, but that didn’t matter right now.

All that mattered was finding out who’d tried to undo his carefully cultivated work.

"Drake, that way."

Jeremiah’s thread was accepted and Striker’s head turned toward the rear of the theater. At least three men, one of which had an enraged Warlord Prince on his tail. Striker didn’t even bother feeling pity for the fool. He’d come here and tried to murder a Queen. No Myos in Dena Nehele was willing to cross the Guild Master by defying his edict. In fact, any Myos who’d even thought of doing so would have been dead long before this evening. The culprit wasn’t a Myos.

But he’d had help from someone inside the building, because no would-be killer would have gotten this close without being among tonight’s crew.

Striker leaped over the rows of chairs,  loosening and then vanishing his tie altogether as he tried to close the distance between Sora’s attackers and himself. By the time he cleared the last row of chairs, he was beside Jeremiah while Savi was headed in pursuit of the accomplices. Lady Vaduva appeared and said something about the building being on lockdown. If that was true, then it was just a matter of when, not if, these bastards were caught. Jeremiah would want to tear these men apart. Once they knew who was responsible for this, he wouldn’t stand in the Warlord Prince’s way. But he wanted to know who did this so that he could personal explain to them (with a face full of arrows) why they’d made a poor choice in targeting this young woman.

He did not consider whether or not Sora was dead at this point. Riley would will that girl to live, no matter how bad the injury, or die trying to save her. Beneath that, though, another thought whispered across Striker’s mind.

You failed.
You failed.
You failed.
You failed.


He pushed the thought aside because they located the would-be killer in short order.

Jeremiah’s cold rage was a terrible thing to behold. Could Striker react the same way if it was his daughter or son that had been attacked. I have no children. the voice countered quickly and ruthlessly. Striker had no children or family, except the Myos. He had only Riley, who was now under the protection of her court.

You better not be lying about the numbers.” he warned the Summer Sky Warlord.

Let’s find the others, Prince Mercer.” he said, falling back on Protocol so that he didn’t push the Warlord Prince over that precarious edge

Striker's eyes fell upon the sniveling wretch being held by Savi for a brief moment.

If Sorinna Roman returned to Mother Night today, this man and his family would join her.





Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 18, 03:03:03 AM »
Sway moved with such a speed it was as if she flew through the air, feet barely touching the ground as she sprinted from the depths of the theatre. The assassin vaulted over chairs until she finally reached the gathered group from the Territory Court. Her teeth were bared, but the fight she arrived at was the fight for the young Queen's life and not that of guarding her from the attackers. She looked around quickly, taking in who was there and who wasn't. Her mind brushed against Drake's and found only Striker. That was all she needed to know.

She strode towards Shift without hesitation, joining him at his side. She was still dressed as a forest nymph and was still drenched. Water poured down her body and her hair was plastered to the sides of her face. The thin fabric of her costume stuck to the curves of her body. *Raluca! Get this shit off me.* It was as if someone snuffed out a light. Where Sway had been soaked through before, she now stood completely dry. Sway shook out her limbs and took a deep breath, as if she could suddenly breathe easier.

Seeing that they weren't in immediate danger, her arms went around Radu, hugging him quickly from the side before releasing him and taking up guard at his side. "We didn't do this," she sent on an individual thread to Shift and Trance both. The we in question was not just the three of them, but their Guild. She needed them to know that the Myos had not betrayed them and tried to claim the life of a Queen they both knew and cared for in their own way.

Her eyes went to Nick's and held for longer than they likely should have for two supposed strangers. She felt safe no one had noticed. They had better things to worry about. When she saw Carson, she squeezed Radu's arm, silently letting him know to release his shield for Jude to come through. She watched the Jack's Healer work and only grew concerned when the sight shield went up.

Well, fuck. Whatever it was, it was bad enough Jude didn't want anyone to see.







Offline Rilandra Vlas

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #45 on: May 13, 18, 03:09:48 AM »
One blood covered hand clutched to Fane's small form, holding him close to her side. Riley leaned back against Nick's leg where he had moved when Jude had arrived, while Riley knelt in the aisle. Orianna stood before them like an avenging angel, her sharp knife wielded against any foe foolish enough to come at what she guarded. In that moment, Riley saw the future of Dena Nehele in the hands of Queens like Orianna and she knew Dena Nehele would survive. She thought the girl had never looked more beautiful.

She snarled when the sight shield went up between her and Sora, but she understood. The Queen of Dena Nehele had been to enough gruesome healings in her life to know there were somethings that didn't need to be seen, especially not by young, or not totally stable, minds. Her eyes raised to Sway's where the assassin stood pressed against Radu. The Myos gave the slightest shake of her head. It wasn't the Myos. Riley didn't need to go to war with the Guild Master. Riley nodded, before glancing at Radu. He had reacted quickly and done well. She nodded at him as well. Now wasn't the time for words of praise.

Riley's mind was reaching as far as she could, calling out to those at the Palace who needed to be notified of the attack. Her mind brushed in a wild tangle of emotion and images against Seb and Val's, before finding Chauncey and Adrian.

The sight shield fell. Riley listened carefully to the words Jude used. Sora would be okay but something was wrong. Something important enough that she didn't want another Healer to tell her. Sora would survive, but there would be a price. As Jude nearly collapsed in her escort's arms, a sick ache flowed over Riley. Sora might not be the only one who paid a price for this Healing.

With Jude's permission granted, all Riley wanted was to get Sora home where they could watch over her and protect her while she healed. Q would stay by her side, Riley was sure of it, and Ben could come, too. Cezar and Marius had taken some personal time off at Sora's insistence, something Riley had supported at the time and was now furious with herself over supporting. It would take hours for them to return and Riley was certain they would be somewhere between sick with worry and terrifyingly furious by the time they arrived. 

And the guilt... She would try to tell them it didn't matter. If they had been there, the attacker still could have gotten to their Queen. If they wanted to blame someone, they could blame Riley. After all, it was Riley herself who had failed her adopted daughter. She had gotten caught up in the play stopped her usual sweeps for any surrounding Jewels. She had trusted that they would be okay.

The Queen of Dena Nehele should know better than to trust.

Riley sent a short message to Jeremiah along their Rose. *Sora is alive. I'm getting them out of here. Tell Drake and Savi.*  Standing up and slipping her hand into Fane's, she said, "We're leaving. Kale, can you advise us the best way to lift Sora without disturbing her? There is a coach coming from the Palace, but we have to get her outside." Kale's Craft had stopped Sora from bleeding out before Jude got there.  He had helped save Sora's life and Riley would make sure that Sora knew that when she woke up.

She looked around at the Wards and the expressions of concern, fear, and fury. "They will not get away with this." Whether it was to reassure them or herself, she honestly didn't know.











Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #46 on: May 13, 18, 03:03:33 PM »
Sway approached swiftly, faster than he had ever felt her move before, even when they were exercising by running across rooftops, turning it into a game of keep up with a particularly enticing prize by the finish line.  Nick always knew she was near, he had sensed her just before her appearance on stage, and now that she had his attention, it was like keeping a finger on someone’s pulse, he felt the nearness or distance of her ebb and flow, until she charged into view.  Made more beautiful by the ferocity of her sudden appearance, as well as the illusory look of her performance, Nick’s eyes still did not linger upon her.  They clicked to her, working her presence into the overall equation of the space he was in, occupied by those he protected, and those that were either allies, unknown, or hidden enemies.

She caught his eye briefly as he scanned the room, and he felt her assurances.  *No.  This was not us.  Poor execution.  I would have chosen the cab ride, or out in the street.  Even if one knew the building well, there are only so many exits.  The streets offer a better chance of escape.*  Trance offered his opinion with academic detachment, though his Rage boiled and paced beneath the surface, like an angry tiger caught in the cage of both his will and necessity.  He was  glad it was not Myos; they would be able to catch and punish those responsible.  A Myos would have done the deed and disappeared, Nick was certain of that.  Nick had received Jeremiah’s thread, and he had let the older Warlord Prince know where he stood, *With my life, Jeremiah.  They tried to take what is ours.  We have lost enough.”

Nick was soon within the shield, moving into the space when Jude did, determined to be close to those he meant to keep safe.  He was not Jeremiah, but he had long since learned to move and mirror his mentor, and so he stood close to Riley know, occupying the place where her Shadow might have been, if he were still present.  Nick remained vigilant, and Riley could now feel the tension in his body.  He breathed slowly, with conscious effort, still perturbed by the smell of Sora’s Queenly Blood, but comforted by his proximity to Riley, even in the wave of her anger and remorse.  He remained still to support her, his expression as impassive as ever, though the brightness of his eyes betrayed the intensity of his thoughts.  Nick could not reach Riley’s wrist, as Jeremiah might, so instead he gently brushed hair from her face, and caressed the curve of one of her ears, letting her take comfort in his presence if not his strength.  He told her firmly, his tone as caring as it was adamant, ”I remain by your side until Prince Mercer returns.  No one else may dismiss me.”  He spoke it, and broadcast it to her on a thread, and to those nearest.  Riley would be near Sora, and he would be near Riley.


Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 18, 11:54:47 PM »
*Thank you.* It was the best response he could manage to Nick, Jeremiah having gone cold for all that he had not slipped over the edge. Instead he watched with a dead-eye stare as Savi grabbed the Warlord by the scruff and snarled himself. If ever there was a behave or else motion this was it, though the Warlord Prince knew that death was the answer if he did not behave.

"I'm not!" the Summer Sky Warlord choked out. "I'm not!" Not that he did not seem to turn to being a blithering fool a moment later, despite the fact it was clear that Savi was not killing him, merely restraining.

His focus snapped to Drake - no, Striker - as he spoke, Jeremiah giving a clipped nod of his head. The air was noticeably cold around him, the Warlord shrinking back as Jeremiah passed him and moved onward. There was no need to wait, he knew Striker would be at the ready. Somewhere in his mind he knew he would not be satisfied until blood was drawn and spilled for the life that had-

*Sora is alive. I'm getting them out of here. Tell Drake and Savi.*

Steps halting, he spun on his heel to inform the others. "She's alive." Then along a thread: *Riley and the others are departing.* No need to say that aloud, in case the Warlord was still communicating. The hum of Rose, always open between Jeremiah and Riley, was suffused with too much emotion. He was trying, truly, and giving it focus but it was clear he was on the edge.

*We've caught one; the one that drew her blood. They will not get away, Ryllis. I swear it.*

To Lady Vaduva: "The other ways from this area of the Playhouse, can you have trusted people watching to ensure the attackers do not make it back to the theatre proper?"

Normally the Black Widow would have snarled herself, would have laughed at the audacity of that implication, but tonight Raluca could not. Instead she merely nodded, immediately reaching out on a thread to those that she held near and dear. Marku, the lead performer, her fellow Rose Black Widow, and a few others that were - without a doubt - absolutely loyal. *Ensure those of the Territory Court have a clear path and get them out. I also need paths blocked and ensure all security measures are up and in place.*

She looked to Jeremiah and Drake a moment later. "It's taken care of."

His head inclined in acknowledgement, the Warlord Prince started to move before he turned to Savi. Not that he had to say anything, his old mentor nodding his head already in understanding. The Red Warlord would hold the one they had already caught while Drake and Jeremiah dealt with the others. Raluca, it seemed, would stay with the Warlord and ensure their prisoner could not go anywhere.

If there was anything to say between Striker and Jeremiah it would be along thread, but the Warlord Prince's action spoke enough. Their quarry were further ahead and would be found, there would be no stopping until such happened. It was clear that he was using more than the usual fare of tracking Craft to try and locate the others involved.

A wordless inquiry was set to Striker, the knowledge given that Jeremiah did sense something but it was shapeless. Further in, most likely, and not close.

Not yet.

Offline Nolan Savu

  • Character Account
    • broken2opal
    • warlord
    • reddescent
    • Role

      Guardian & Trainer of the Wards

    • Faction

      Jacks Guild

    • Territory

      Dena Nehele

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Phedre

    • Posts

      96

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #48 on: May 18, 18, 10:34:41 PM »
Savi let out a breath through grit teeth when Bear said Sora was alive. Thick fingers dug harder into the back of the Warlord's neck. "Ya hear that? You failed, you fuckin' coward." He snarled in the other Warlord's face and the weakling started up his beggin' and pathetic mewling again. "Shut your mouth. Have some fuckin' dignity, yeah?" Savi gave the traitor a hard shake like he was nothin' more than a rag doll.

He grunted a nod at Bear's instructions, remaining with Lady Vaduva as the Queen's Shadow and First Escort took off after the others. He was relieved that the Queen was takin' herself and the others back to the palace where Seb could protect them. Seb wouldn't let anything happen. Savi, on the other hand, seemed to be in the middle of the shit each time something happened.

Why did it have to be the White Queen? Not like he'd be might happier if it was Riley or the little Queen, but he'd been gettin' to know her, trainin' her. What good was any of that trainin' if he couldn't even stop her from bein' attacked while it was his fuckin' job to protect her?

The more the guilt coiled around his gut, the more angry he got. The Black Widow's voice broke the cycle of his spiraling fury and gave him something to focus on. "Get a good hold of him, if you would, Nolan." Savi didn't so much dislike being called Nolan as he wasn't used to it anymore. But it was hearing it from Raluca that made him feel like flinchin'. She used first names about as often as Riley used last.

Held in place for her, the Black Widow approached and conjured a web to hand. Savi watched as she stretched it 'tween her fingers as she approached. He cringed a bit when she placed it directly over the Warlord's eyes. Savi didn't know what it was exactly, just knew that he wouldn't want it anywhere near him. The Warlord tried to squirm, but Savi's grip was fierce and painful hard.

Raluca's hands held it there and Savi was aware of her usin' a touch of her White as she activated it. The webbing disappeared like it sank right into his eyes. Darkness clouded over the eyes of the Summer Sky male. "No sight until further notice," she said grimly, "and be happy that is the only thing I am doing to you."




Offline Dragos Cutrov

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      First Escort/Myos

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Dena Nehele

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      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin

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      168

    • A straight-razor coated in honey...

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Re: bet you didn't know that i was dangerous
« Reply #49 on: May 21, 18, 01:31:17 AM »
Striker’s anger was palpable as he left the sad-sack would-be assassin to Savi’s tender mercies. He wanted to tear the son-of-a-bitch apart and paint Bidea with the man’s heartsblood. It would serve no purpose but to make the Myos feel better. But Striker’s feelings held no weight here. His feelings would not return Sora to health. They would not assuage Riley’s fear for her adopted daughter. They would not thaw Jeremiah Mercer’s cold rage. So Striker settled for the next best thing.

He’d kill someone else.

Jeremiah informed that Sora was alive and Striker nodded once. They wouldn’t have to tell Petra Verduzca that the daughter she abandoned twenty years ago had returned to Mother Night. The Dhemlanese Priestess would have other questions. She would probably be angry, right alongside Riley, Jeremiah, and all of Sora’s males. When Spring arrived and the Priestess arrived to insert herself into Sora’s life once more, it would be Striker’s task to keep Riley from tearing into the woman with all of the fury that the Queen of Dena Nehele could muster, because Riley would. Riley would demand to know why the woman had left her daughter in a land of murderers for her safety. Riley would demand to know why the woman hadn’t come to Dena Nehele before now to take her away from all of this.

Riley would demand to know why Petra loved whatever she loved more than the daughter that Riley had gone against an entire Territory to save. And the Queen would have her answers. If Striker didn’t like those answers…well, Sora would live long enough to heal from losing another parent at his hands.

He’d already given her the tools.

Jeremiah indicated that he sensed something, prompting Striker to sink down into his Red and extend his senses as far as they would go. While the Myos sensed a number of people in the Playhouse, only a few matched his standing in the Abyss. The majority of the others were in the auditorium, tending to Riley and the others. But Striker sensed two people moving deeper into the Tantalus Playhouse, away from the chaos while others moved toward it.

His pace quickened. He assumed that Jeremiah was following. Striker stepped around a corner and down into the bowels of the building. The doors to this place had been locked down per Lady Vaduva’s instructions. The would-be killers clearly hadn’t planned to be trapped after their attack or they’d have come up with a contingency. Striker moved down a long hallway, hearing footsteps at its terminus, just a few feet ahead. The footsteps abruptly stopped when Striker reached the edge of the hall.

He took two more steps forward.

A Purple Dusk Warlord snarled and tried to jam his blade into Striker’s eye.

Striker dodged backward and the knife sunk into the drywall of the hall, but the accomplice wasn’t done. He lunged at Striker with murder in his eyes, slashing high, then low, then high again. The man followed it up with a power bolt at point-blank range. Striker’s shields were good, but he couldn’t form them in enough time to blunt the worst of the power bolt that would turn his head into paste. So he drew upon his Red and felt the world slow to a crawl, saw the man’s fingertip brighten with Purple Dusk Craft meant to kill him where he stood, and threw himself against the wall to his right, allowing the bolt to fire past him.

The Warlord’s shock was written plain on his face. He was already bringing his knife around for another slash, but Striker used his forearms as a shield, stopping the man’s arm from completing his deadly follow-through. The Myos slipped under the man’s guard and drove his elbow into the back of his opponent’s skull earning a curse, followed by the satisfying sound of the man’s head striking the wall. Even so, he turned spun and swing wildly, hoping to surprise the First Escort with a quick strike.

Striker trapped the Warlord’s arm and forced him to turn around or risk having his arm broken at the elbow.  The Red Prince slammed the man’s back against the wall and forced the knife hand up, up, up until the point of the blade rested beneath his attacker’s chin. His opponent titled his head back, striving to keep the point of the blade away from his skin. Striker pressed harder, holding him fast against the wall.

Just so you know, “ Striker said, fixing cold blue eyes on the would-be assassin, “you’re the lucky one.

Fear suffused the man’s scent in that final look. Striker wished he could savor it.

Instead, he drove the knife into the soft flesh beneath his opponent’s chin, then pushed it upward viciously. He watched blood-tinged metal enter the man’s mouth drive upward through the roof of his mouth and into the would-be killer’s brain. Fear fled with life and the man’s eyes rolled back. Striker learned forward just a little to hear that last breath flee his lungs. The body went limp. Striker dropped the dead weight like a sack of dung, leaving the knife buried in his chin.

Two down.” Striker said, looking to the Warlord Prince. "One more down that way."

Striker almost felt bad for the guy who'd have to deal with Jeremiah.





 

 

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