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Author Topic: Face to Face  (Read 282 times)

Description: tag; Sora

Offline Kale Heartly

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Face to Face
« on: Jun 05, 18, 11:07:51 AM »
The attack at the playhouse had been almost a month ago now. In that time, the only people who'd really seen Sora were her males, Riley, and Prince Mercer. Well, Lady Adam, too - for some routine checkups to make sure that her healing was going alright. But that was pretty much it - and for that Kale was guiltily grateful because he absolutely was not on that list.

That first day, when they'd brought her back to the Seat, Kale had been the one directing things, making sure she was handled right so as not to disrupt the webs. He was the one who filled in Lady Adam to the best of his ability. He had obsessively remained by her bedside, still covered in her blood, until they had gotten her completely settled. After he'd washed up, and forced Quinten to do the same, they'd both returned and remained by her side through the night. At the time he'd told himself he was there to keep an eye on Quinten, and that wasn't incorrect... but he'd also been there because he'd needed to see that she was breathing. He needed to see that she was going to be okay.

But he'd left a little bit before dawn and hadn't tried to return since. Instead he'd pointedly ignored the trauma of having a girl you vividly resented bleeding out under your near-helpless hands - and the guilt and shame that went with it - and diverted his energies to his Healer studies. Obsessively.

Today he was in the common room of the Ward's wing, and considering the fact that it was early enough on one of their free days, he was by himself - which was one of the reasons why he was usually in here at this time rather than later on in the day. He was dressed comfortably in a pair of colorful, loose flowy pants that hung around his legs much like a skirt when he wasn't seated cross-legged as he was, and a pale blue blouse with wide sleeves and a scooped neck. His eyepatch was a clean white, obscuring the dead eye and a portion of the scar marring the one side of his face. The necklace Quinten had given him during his own recovery at the end of last year was around his throat and hung almost all the way down to his belly button, the different colored stones reflecting light when he moved. He also wore several bangles around one wrist and was absently twisting a ring about his thumb as he studied the flashcards in his lap, flipping through them and reciting the names and uses of each herb or ingredient.

The cards were spelled with the correct answers, which would be recited back to him in his own voice (since he'd recorded the spell) when he ran his thumb over top left corner of each card - so he could check his answers. Radu had helped him put them together, reading off the names and uses from a book while Kale put the cards together. Most students would probable just write the answers on the back - but Kale was still at the 'I SEE A CAT' phase of the whole reading process. So almoreathia root was probably a bit beyond where he was in regards to literacy.

The young Warlord chewed his lip thoughtfully as he studied the card presently in his hands, tapping his nails on one knee. "Come on," he grumbled to himself. "I know you..."



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #1 on: Jun 08, 18, 10:25:49 PM »
She had to get out of her room. Right now.

Nearly one month after she’d nearly died on the floor of Tantalus Playhouse, Sorinna Roman could barely stand to remain in her room for longer than a few minutes. Did the scent of her blood truly cling to the walls? Did Riley’s and Jeremiah’s grief really permeate every strand of fabric in her bed sheets? Did Savi’s guilt actually taint the room’s air with the suffocating scent of a Red Jeweled male’s sorrow?

Sora had no idea. What she did know was that she sensed all of those things, all of those pains in the room that used to be her refuge from the world. She wanted another room, another place to lay her head, but she couldn’t pass that suffering on to another person. So she stuck it out as best as she could. Meanwhile, she managed her physical pain. Her abdomen healed well, but she still couldn’t go as hard as she liked during drills with Savi. The Red Warlord took it easy on her despite her protests. Of course, that was only when he could stand to be in the same room with her for any reason other than training. Once their sessions were over, he always found a reason to leave or avoid deeper discussions Even when Sora invited him to dinner, to sit with her and her males, Savi seemed ill-at-ease, which made things awkward for everyone at the table.

Sora was reading a history book about Dhemlan that Jeremiah had picked up for her as an early gift for her Offering ceremony. She’d been reading that book when her stomach protested the fact that she’d been lying on her back since awakening this morning. She winced and Ben was by her side before she’d taken another breath, asking if she needed to see the healer. Sora declined, saying that she just wanted to take a walk and stretch her legs. Thankfully, Ben allowed her to change into a pair of loose fitting pants and a cotton shirt before shielding her with his Gray.

Ben was protective, and wonderful, that way.

They’d left her rooms and wandered down the halls with no destination in mind. Sora hadn’t played the piano since before the attack. Sitting up for long periods of time was hell on her back and stomach, so she’d avoided it. She had to get back into practice or she’d lose all the progress she’d made since Jeremiah came home. She’d made up her mind to head in that direction until she passed the common room of the Ward’s wing, noting a face she hadn’t seen. At first, she thought it was Lady Petrescu or Lady Licht, a pair of Priestesses that she’d not had a chance to speak to before now. Sora halted and then headed into the common room, intent on striking up a conversation.

The colorful skirt and bracelets caught Sora’s eye and she smiled, enjoying the chosen color palette. But as her gaze wandered upward, she recognized the eyepatch and who it belonged to.

Lord Heartly?” Sora asked, resisting the urge to follow up with ‘Is that you?’. She rested a hand against the door frame, for stability as much as attempting to appear as though she wasn’t in pain. Ben was her silent shadow and she allowed the aura of her Touch spread enough to envelop the Gray Warlord Prince in its embrace.

I’m glad I ran into you.” she said.

There’s something I’ve been meaning to say to you and I wanted you to hear it directly from me.

She took a deep breath and looked directly at Qiuinten’s brother.

Thank you for helping to save my life.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #2 on: Jun 10, 18, 09:08:41 PM »
His fingertips drummed on his knee as he studied the card. "Used primarily for fever reduction... but can also be used as a mild painkiller..." He knew it he knew it he knew it...

'Lord Heartly?'

"Hm?" He looked up and over, having to shift a bit in his seat and turn his head all the way to be able to see the doorway, it being on his blind side (something Savi or Radu would probably thwack him for if they caught him). By the time it fully registered who was talking to him (and the giant Gray Jeweled shadow looming nearby), it was already too late to fake an emergency bathroom break. She was fully in the room, between him and the exit, and she was talking to him. Not to the room - because there was no one else in there but himself - him.

'Thank you for helping to save my life.'

His cheeks instantly flushed a soft pink that was darkest at the crests but faded out all the way to his neck, the tips of his ears also darkening slightly. It was a blush pattern Sora would probably be familiar with - because Kale's older brother Quinten had the exact same expression on slightly different features.

"Oh." A couple beats of silence stretched awkwardly between them as he fumbled for what else to say. He couldn't really go with 'you're welcome' because he still felt ridiculously shitty about all of it. He could still taste the guilt in his mouth as he begged the cosmos not to let her die under his hands as he desperately pulled on everything he could just to keep her from bleeding out. "I.." He swallowed and looked away, then forced himself to face her again. "I'm sorry I couldn't do more. All I did was slow the bleeding." And he felt close to useless doing that much - but he wasn't going to tell her that.

"How are you doing? Recovering I mean..?" The words were out before he could stop them and he almost physically flinched, wishing he could swallow them back down. His awkwardness in front of this girl was painfully obvious. "Sorry." He cleared his throat and ran his fingers back through his hair, fussing with it - briefly exposing the length of his scar and the eyepatch before letting it fall to partially obscure it again. "You don't have to answer any of that. It's none of my business." Nothing about this girl was his business. He didn't WANT it to be his business.



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #3 on: Jun 30, 18, 12:16:46 AM »

Sora hadn’t meant to put him on the spot, but it seemed that she had. She just felt that she couldn’t let the moment pass without taking the opportunity to thank Kale for his help. Without him, she would be dead right now. Quinten had worried over her while she slept, but it was due to Kale’s actions that she’d lived long enough for Jude to arrive and...and…

You slowed the bleeding and ensured that I lived long enough for Lady Grigorie to arrive. That is important. You have my eternal gratitude.” Sora said. She took a deep breath. Why did she feel so nervous around the young Warlord? He was Quinten’s brother, meaning that Sora wanted to take an interest in his life because his happiness (or lack thereof) affected her male.

Please, don't’ apologize. I answer the question at least five times a day before breakfast. Your brother has been wonderful about taking care of me. I’m still a little sore some days, but I’m healing well.” she said, looking for a place to sit. Ben would either join them or stand guard at the door. Sora was fine with either one, so long as it didn’t scare or upset Kale. He seemed nervous around her, though, and Sora wanted to work on that.

Have you been studying Healing for very long? From everything I heard, you didn’t hesitate. You kept your wits about you and you helped me during a hectic moment. Everyone performed admirably that night, save for me.” she said.

You’re going to be great Healer someday, Lord Heartly. Dena Nehele needs men and women like you to remind us that we must take care of ourselves. I was lucky that night. There are thousands of people who get stabbed and aren’t fortunate enough to be a Queen or connected to one.” Sora said.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #4 on: Jun 30, 18, 05:29:35 PM »
In she came, stepping into the room and finding herself a seat as she assured him both that he didn’t owe her an apology and that she was doing well. Healing as best as she could and all that. Well, at least there was that.. though he still felt awfully like he owed her an apology - though if not for prying then probably for something else he didn’t really want to examine right now… or ever. It was just best for everyone involved if she just.. did her thing and he would do his.

Unfortunately, it didn’t look like today at least they were going to be abiding by that unspoken rule of ‘lets keep as far as possible and never talk to each other’ they’d managed to abide since she’d come back to the Seat over Winsol. At least Prince Endland seemed to be able to read his apprehension and decided to remain outside to guard the door rather than crowd the sitting room with his power and bulk. Not that he had a specific problem with the Warlord Prince - he was good to Quinten and that was really the important part - but he also didn’t know him well and he was so obviously Team Sora that he just felt outnumbered with him there. Also. Gray Warlord Prince. He’d be dumb not to be at least a little bit wary.

…everyone performed admirably that night, save for me…

“Oh I dunno, not dying was pretty admirable,” he said before he could stop himself. There was a beat, and he fussed with the soft, flowy fabric of his pants, which draped about his legs more like a skirt than real trousers. “I mean. It’s not just the Healer that pulls someone back from where you were.” You know, almost dead. “You didn’t die, even though it would have probably been physically easier. You probably don’t even remember it - but… you fought to stay alive. So. Yeah.”

Could he sound more awkward? She might not even get what he was saying. Or maybe he was totally off base, considering he was just speaking from his own experience (with the almost dying thing) and a few conversations he’d had with Lady Adam.

“Anyway,” he said with an awkward clear of his throat. “Uh, I’ve been studying Healing since the turn of the new year. Unofficially for a while, since I wasn’t strong enough to really start anything until right before the start of spring. But it’s been a few months now. I think it’s going well. Or.. I like to think it is. It feels right.”

Good job Kale, now she probably thinks you don’t know how to talk to people. She probably would never believe that you were the social Heartly. You know, back in the life where you weren’t questioning who you were and what you were doing every five seconds.



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #5 on: Jul 11, 18, 06:43:58 PM »
It may be as you say, Lord Heartly. At the end of the day, though, I had more to live for than not.” Sora said, looking down at the floor for a moment. She let her affection for Ben flow through their bond, mostly because she needed the comfort of his presence. She needed Quinten as well, but he was busy elsewhere. She would find him later and hug him, just because Kale reminded her of him.

Kale seemed nervous, but it  didn’t occur to Sora that she might be the reason. She liked Kale, and not just because Quinten was hers. She noted the soft, flowy fabric of his pants and she liked that as well. It looked almost like a skirt, but she didn’t want to insult him by saying that aloud. Males were particular about their choices in, well...pretty much everything.

He was studying Healing and Sora smiled in approval. He’d help so many people and he would be able to write his own ticket in life. He could open a clinic like Lady Moon to help those who could not afford it or sell his services to the highest bidder. Sora didn’t know Kale well enough to predict which he might do. Given his upbringing and his love for his brother, both could easily appeal to the Warlord.

I hope for your success, Lord Heartly. You’ve already helped to save one life. I believe you’ll save many more lives in the future.” Sora said.

Her eyes trailed back to his clothes and Sora noted how much healthier he looked since they met. His eye was now damaged, but Kale looked better than he had since the party last summer. He and Quinten were finally fitting in. Being part of the court had done them wonders.

Those pants are wonderful. The fabric looks familiar but I can’t place it.” Sora said.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #6 on: Aug 01, 18, 06:22:28 PM »
She said that he'd already helped to save one life - and he knew that she was probably talking about herself, but he still wasn't all that sure how much credit he could really take for her survival. Or perhaps that was just him being overly critical of himself again, because he felt like he should have been able to.. do more. Still, the person he thought about when she said that was actually Q. Quinten, his big brother who sometimes felt more like a twin and sometimes felt almost like a little brother - but had always been his rock one way or another. Q, who their father had hated so much he'd beaten him over and over again in front of his younger son, and would turn those angry, drunken fists on him too if he dared try to interfere. Q, who Kale had taught himself the basics of healing for long before coming to court and meeting Lady Adam.

Quinten, the life he had saved. Just as Q had saved his life - over and over again over the last eighteen years. So many times it wasn't even a tally anymore. It was just what they did for each other. Because they were brothers, and they'd always have each other.

Except, Q had this girl now. A girl who hadn't come to visit him even once while he was hurting, all messed up in the head and in the heart because he had killed the man who'd sired them. Sure, she didn't know what had happened - but shouldn't she have known something wasn't right? Wasn't that the point of the stupid bond she had with Quinten? The bond that made her so special and important that the lack of her had only made Q suffer more when he should have been healing.

Kale's jaw had gone tight and he almost missed her comment about his pants. Almost dumbly, his gaze shifted down and he touched the soft, flowy fabric. "Oh." He cleared his throat and tried again. "Sorry. Thanks. I got them at a shop in town. They make a lot of skirts from the same fabric." He had a couple skirts, too, and really liked the way they loved around him, but pants were better most days because they were more mobile than skirts. They moved with his legs and he wouldn't trip over them if he suddenly had to run or climb up the side of a building. He wasn't going to go into all that, though.

"Anyway. I'm sure you have a lot of really important stuff to do. I'll... leave you to it." His shoulders were stiff as he turned as if to leave - even though he'd been there first and even though if she had important stuff to do she probably wouldn't be doing it in the common room. But Kale needed to make an escape now before he offended her - because he'd always been bad at disguising how he felt about someone and his resentment was getting harder and harder to hide the more he thought about Quinten.



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #7 on: Aug 02, 18, 10:26:33 PM »
Every time she spoke to Kale, a weight settled on her shoulders like a cloak made of iron. Eventually, that weight, that tension, traveled into from her shoulders into the pit of her stomach. It sat like a stone, refusing to move on or lighten so that she could go on with her life. She didn’t get the same feeling from the other wards. It was unique to Kale Heartly in the same way that her bond with his brother was unique. But where her care and love for Quinten shined on her like the rays of the sun, a sensation she could feel even in her darkest times, the feeling she got from Kale was a lot like an oncoming rainstorm.

She sensed something on the wind, but the rain never came.

Yes, there it was. There was tension in Kale’s body, tightness in his jaw, that she’d missed before. Seeing it now, she remembered seeing that tension that night in the kitchen. He touched the fabric of his pants and, for a moment, Sora was content to let it go as he explained where he found them. Their conversation shifted as Kale assumed that she had really important stuff to do--courtier-speak for someone attempting to leave a conversation that they really didn't want. Their discussion, up to that point, had been safe topics, minus her gratitude for his helping to save her life. But it was clear, as Kale turned to leave, that their entire discussion up to this point had been solely for her benefit. She’d known enough courtiers over the years to know when someone was merely tolerating her presence.

It was only now that she realized the issue.

*Ben, if he moves to leave, let him go.*

No, Lord Heartly, please. You were here first and I interrupted you. I will go.” Sora said, standing up as straight as she dared, despite the discomfort.

But before I do, I need to know something, between the two of us. Answer me this and I’ll leave you be.” Sora said, inhaling slowly through her nose.

You don’t like me at all, do you?





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #8 on: Aug 03, 18, 06:02:55 PM »
Damnit.

Kale flinched at the question, even though he tried not to. He'd tried so hard to avoid exactly this. Well, not exactly, but definitely this in general. It was more that he worked so hard to avoid Sora - because he resented her very existence to absolutely no fault of her own (except she was so perfect and she smelled so nice and oh Kale she talked to me today for a whole hour just the two of us). He didn't want her to know that he was this petty but more than that he just didn't want to deal with her. It was so much easier to deal with her when he didn't have to be around her.

"Oh. Uh..." He looked at her, then he looked toward the door - where the large Warlord Prince seemed to have very clearly removed himself from being anywhere that might have been interpreted as blocking his path (which, distantly, he rather appreciated). There was an awkward pause and he shifted from foot to foot before forcing himself to straighten his shoulders (he wasn't some little kid anymore, he was going to be... no, he was a Healer - and he better start acting like it) and meet her gaze.

"No, I don't." His jaw tightened and he forced a swallow on his very dry throat. "But that's my problem, not yours. So... try not to let it trouble you." He was trying to sound more like her and the other court people. Try not to let it trouble you...? He never would have said something like that out on the streets. But this wasn't the streets - this was court, and as much as he wished he could just tell her exactly what he thought and what the problem was, make her feel at least a little bit guilty for fucking up his life - anything he said would reflect on Quinten. He wanted Quinten to be happy, damnit. And now, for his brother, happy meant.. this girl. So there was that heavy weight on his chest.

Then there was the whole thing with her, you know, bleeding all over him and almost dying and it would have been his fault if she died because he was the one with his craft all over her insides while she was bleeding out all over him.

Something else occured to him and his hands clenched into fists, his heart clammoring with anxious panic. "That day, when you were hurt... at the theatre. I still did everything I could. I never would have..." He grit his teeth, struggling to find the right words, but he needed her to know, to understand that his personal feelings had NOTHING to do with that day. If anything, they'd made him more desperate to keep her alive. "I know you've had a hard recovery. I.. I didn't do anything to you. I tried my best. I swear Iried my best to.. to stop the bleeding and make sure you survived." He knew his voice was climbing a few notches in pitch, tighter with his stress and anxiety, his hands trembling a bit from the scars a life of trauma can leave on a young man desperate to prove he isn't the monster his father was.



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #9 on: Aug 03, 18, 06:42:46 PM »
He didn’t like her. He probably hated her guts, those that still existed. Before now, she would have asked why, would have pinned him down and begged to know what she’d done to earn his ire. But even as the question floated through her mind, Sora knew in her heart of hearts what she’d done to Kale Heartly to make him hate her. Or at least make him wonder if he’d made a mistake by helping to save her life.

Ah. There were have it.” she said gently. “Unfortunately, Lord Heartly, it does trouble me. Not because you don’t like me. I get that. I learned a long time ago that people will invent reasons to dislike you if that’s what they want. But you don’t need that.” Sora said, clasping her hands before her. Telling him to leave, right now, would be the smart move. Letting him walk out of the room to stew in his anger would make him feel less called out, less cornered. Even if he was angry enough to strike her, Ben wouldn’t let it happen.

Letting him go would might be kind, in the moment, but it would make things worse in the long run.

Kale talked about the theatre, saying that he hadn’t done anything to hurt her. That he’d done his best to save her. Sora would have laughed if the moment wasn’t tragic. Somehow, Kale thought that she thought that he’d done less than he could to help her because of…

Kale, I know.

Three words that she hoped would absolve him of any lingering worry.

It can’t be easy for you, being around me. Quinten likes to talk about everything that makes him happy. I’m actually surprised that we haven’t had this talk before now. If I had to hear some girl I didn’t know from my brother, I’d probably want to bash her head in with the first heavy object I could find. While she slept.” Sora said.

I would never, ever try to come between you and Quinten. When the Bond first occurs, it’s difficult for anyone outside of it to understand. One day, the person you love seems normal. Then, suddenly, you have a new person in your life that you never asked for. If you’re lucky, that person is nice enough to pretend you exist sometimes. If you’re not lucky…” Sora trailed off. She’d heard of Queens who demanded that their males immediately rearrange their lives to accommodate them. Some did.

Sora, I left my wife. I’m here to serve you in full.

Some did it even when they weren’t asked to.

You are important to Quinten. Quinten is important to me. Therefore, Kale, you’re important to me, too. I’m...a little bit jealous of you. Both of you.” she said, averting her eyes.

But you’re important to me for other reasons. You saved my life. You didn’t freeze. You didn’t wait. You stepped up.That’s not something I can forget or walk away from. Even if you don’t like me, you’re a part of my life.” Sora said.

That said, this puts is in an awkward place. You know Quinten better than anyone. If he senses that something is off between us, he won’t stop until he figures it out. It’ll bother him. He’ll do things to get us to interact. I don’t want it to be a problem for the two of you. So, I’ll leave it at this:

I won’t try to talk to you again until, and unless, you’re ready. Outside of places where we have to talk, like lessons. But for Quinten’s sake, can we co-exist? We don’t have to be best friends. We just need to be his people. Together.
” Sora said.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #10 on: Aug 04, 18, 07:49:32 PM »
'Kale, I know.'

He still fidgeted, his anxiety was still riding a bit too high for his own pride - but she seemed sincere enough that he felt a bit of the tension drain from his shoulders. His hands stopped trembling. At least she didn't blame him, then. He'd worried that she might.. After all, what reasons did she have to believe that he hadn't held back? It wasn't like they'd ever really had a real conversation before this moment. A few near misses, but nothing substantial. Anything she knew about him she'd likely learned from Quinten, and everyone knew that Quinten was biased as hell.

'I would never, ever try to come between you and Quinten...'

Ah, and it seemed that he didn't have to explain why he couldn't stand her, either. At least the initial root of the resentment. Well, not that it wasn't an obvious conclusion anyway. And her assurance was all well and good but.. she already had come between them. Quinten had already chosen Sora first once, and he hadn't ever had to say a word. It had been in one look, shared between the brothers that night almost a year ago, when the Queen of Dena Nehele had given them an ultimatum.

"I don't see why you'd be jealous of us," he said instead of bringing that up - even though a not-so-small part of him wanted to, wanted to shout it at her you're the reason my life got fucked.

She went on, and said something diplomatic about them being in an awkward place but could they please try to get along, for Quinten's sake? What the hell did she think he'd been doing since she came back at Winsol? His jaw was tight and he tried not to glare at her but he wasn't sure he succeeded.

He wanted to snap at her. He should just dip his head and say 'Yes, Lady' like a good boy and scurry on his way.

Instead he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to channel Madame Guri - one of his favorite characters in all of theatre. Poised, beautiful, confident, and sure of herself, she never let anyone tell her what she was supposed to be feeling or doing and handled her life with a magnetic grace that awed everyone around her. Well, those that weren't trying to kill her - but that was all subplot anyway.

When he opened his eyes, his ruined one hidden behind the eyepatch but the expression still a readable steely calm, he took another moment before speaking. "Lady, I really don't want to clash with you. I have no intention to. Never did. That's why I've been avoiding the shit out of you since you showed back up." Okay, not as poised in wording, but the tone was mostly there. "Even though all I wanted to do when you returned was find you and scream at you until either you ran away in tears or my voice dried up because Quinten CHOSE you. He wasn't just bonded to you by some stupid act of fate - he CHOSE to stay here, to be with you. Then you left, and when he needed you the most you weren't here." His voice was shaking, damnit. So much for being cool. "You. Weren't. Here."

Damnit. Tears were burning in his eyes. He hated crying with the eyepatch on, it was uncomfortable - but he wasn't about to take it off in front of this beautiful girl. This beautiful, wonderful girl that everyone thought was so amazing.

"I am just gonna have to get over it. This whole.. you thing. That's on me. You didn't chose this shit anymore than I did. But I still can't stand you and you... you acting like you need to broker some deal with me about coexisting like I would somehow ever make things harder for my brother when he..." his voice tightened and he sucked in a sharp breath to smother that urge to make a different noise, something far too much like the beaten child rather than the aspiring Healer.

"I will never turn you away if you need help." He said after a moment, after he'd forced some self control on the emotions quickly rising and storming beyond his grasp, shoving them deeper, trying to lock them away for a better time (like never). His voice still shook, and now he wasn't looking at her, but he didn't sound like he was trying not to scream and cry anymore. "I'm not going to try to convince my brother to hate you or not to serve you. I'm not going to work against you. If you ever need healing, or a favor, or whatever - I'll never say no." Another slow, shaky breath and he chanced a glance back at her.

"I'll do anything to see Quinten happy. Healthy. Whole. And you're a part of that whether I like it or not. So you better figure out how to be worthy of him."



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #11 on: Aug 04, 18, 10:21:13 PM »
Kale, I don’t have any siblings. No one to talk to about my family. You and Quinten have a bond that I’ll never know.” Sora said. It was hard for her to stand across from someone who clearly disliked her, who blamed her for something wrong in their life. Kale’s fury sat like a stone in her stomach and she couldn't dislodge it. She wanted to run from the room. She wanted to cry. Yet, she couldn’t do that. Riley faced down people who hated daily.

Sora took a deep breath and faced Kale’s glare. His jaw was so tight that Sora thought she could hear his teeth grinding. For a moment, it seemed like he’d start in on her. Sora didn’t realize she was holding her breath, waiting for him to explode. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, silence between them pregnant with tension. She was ready for anything he could throw at her...except Quinten.

He threw her bond with Quinten in her face. She was stung by Kale’s words, remembering how bad it was when she found Quinten. But even before that, she recalled his letters and the sensation that something was wrong with him, even in Moesia. Kale didn’t understand. He never could understand what it meant to be a Queen, much less a Queen in Dena Nehele.

You. Weren’t. Here.

You’re absolutely right. I wasn’t here, Kale. Quinten was suffering and I was away, learning to be the Queen he needed. Learning to be worthy of him, as you say. But you need to understand something: I don’t belong only to Quinten. I don’t belong solely to any of my males.” she said, her tone firm.

I belong to Dena Nehele. That comes before anything else. Even before my own wishes.” she said, focused upon the Warlord before her. He didn’t need to like it or accept it, but he needed to know it as surely as she did. A Queen was required to feed the land and tend to her bonded, and people under her purview. Males had to make the choice to serve, to hand over their leash to their Queens, something that few picked up on.

When that happens, I know you’ll be there for him. As long as that happens, we will never clash.” she said. A wave of fatigue washed over her, stealing her remaining strength. She wanted to sit down and take a nap, but she couldn’t. Not here.

You answered my question. As promised, I’ll leave you be. You were here first, so I’ll go.” Sora said softly. Her stomach hurt. She wanted to crawl into bed and pass out. She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. But none of that meant anything. If he didn’t stop her, Sora would slowly make her way from the common room.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #12 on: Aug 06, 18, 11:54:13 AM »
Disgust squirmed and squelched in his belly like and eel, cold and slimy as it worked its way through his insides, curled it's way around his heart, then made for his throat - where it threatened to become a vomit of words he would never be able to take back. Kale bit the inside of his cheek so hard that he tasted blood, but he held the eel back.

It was challenging enough to swallow his instinctive response to her... fucking diplomacy that she almost slipped away before he had a chance to say anything at all. Like she had the right to invade his life, neglect his brother, pour on some excuses then waltz away like it was all over and settled just because she decided it was. Was this really what a Queen was like? Kale already prayed he would never find himself bound to a Queen but this.. this moment utterly solidified it.

"Wait." His voice was hoarse, and quieter than he'd intended it to be. He'd meant to sound strong, firm, commanding even - all the things he felt he wasn't. Instead it came out weak and wavering, his emotions warring with his intent.

"Was it worth it? The special things you were doing that you couldn't spare a day to come see your male? He was suffering - but you say that you don't belong entirely to any one of your males. So don't you belong at least a little bit? Or, even if you don't belong at all to any of them and they only belong to you, don't you owe them at least some comfort, some support, when they are hurting?" His voice was rising again, but more in the way of a boy on the edge of panic than a man riding his anger. He wanted to be angry, he wanted to be furious - and he was.. but more than anything else he found that he was scared. He was terrified that the girl, the woman who was about to start ruling, who held his brother's heart so devotedly wrapped around her finger, didn't even value his brother. Wouldn't take care of him like he needed to be taken care of. Wouldn't even give him the time of day. Was she only going to be there for him when it was most convenient for her? How the hell was that okay?

"What do the males get out of it?" he asked. "What do the males get out of a bond? Just.. just the privilege to serve? The honor of laying down their lives and devoting their hearts to you? It wasn't like he was... sad because a girl dumped him. He killed his father whom had.. had almost just slaughtered his brother!? And all you can say is that you don't belong to any one of your males completely?! What kind of bullshit is that?!" He was getting a bit hysterical now.

"I figured you'd say that you didn't know. That if you had known you would have come straight away, at least to make sure he was okay. But.. but you're fucking defending the fact that you weren't there." His hands balled into fists and a growl finally wound its way around the panic as he stepped forward - then froze - because behind Sora there was suddenly a very tall, but very quiet Gray Jeweled shadow. Prince Endland didn't say anything. He didn't growl, he didn't warn him back - he just stood there, ready.

Kale glanced from the Warlord Prince to the Queen, then swallowed tightly and stepped back, hugging himself.

When it came down to it, it didn't matter what Kale thought, what Kale felt. Sorinna Roman was a Queen. She was basically the daughter of the Territory Queen. She had tons of people around her who loved her and adored her and supported her and thought everything she did was perfect and right. Every day she would hear praise about how wonderful she was. Hell - she would hear it from his own brother. Non-stop. Quinten would never tell her that she was wrong. That she should have been there for him. If they ever even talked about it, and Sora said the same thing to him, Quinten would nod and accept it and... feel even less about himself than he already did. Because his pain - his severe and debilitating pain - made his Queen sad but still wasn't worth enough of her attention for her to be there for him.

But Sora wasn't going anywhere. So Kale would, as she had said herself, have to be there for Q when that happened. He would be there to pick up all the pieces that Sorinna Roman ignored.



Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #13 on: Aug 06, 18, 01:18:43 PM »
"Wait."

Sora halted, despite the lingering pain in her gut. Fatigue made her body heavy, but she turned and waited to hear what Kale had to say. He savaged her, asking if her training in Moesia had been worth it. He asked her if she owed them support and comfort and now something in the White Queen’s expression shifted. Ben would feel it, a current of cold anger beneath the pain she felt. Quinten killed his father to save his brother. Kale blamed her for not being there to help Quinten through his pain.

She hadn’t wanted it to come to this, but it seemed that a history lesson was now in order. Kale was allowed to vent his anger, his own pain, because it was right to do so. He asked his questions, rhetorical as they were, because he wasn’t interested in the answers. He needed someone to blame for his brother’s pain and, by extension, his own. While Sora hadn’t been here, it burned her that Kale seemed to be holding her responsible for something that he and Quinten had a hand in.

You ask me if my training was worth it. Yes, Kale, it is. Dena Nehele has lacked in Queens for longer than you or I have been alive. It is only in this generation that they are returning home after years in hiding. I’m one of the few, along with Riley, that wasn’t lucky enough to be spirited away to Dhemlan or somewhere else. So, being able to learn from another ruling Queens with knowledge of Dena Nehele is worth it.” Sora said, fixing her gaze on the young man.

You asked me what males get out of the Bond? Yes, they are granted the privilege to serve a Queen who cares for and protects them. Sometimes, they lay down their lives in her defense. Other times, they save her from her worst impulses when people question her judgement, her commitment to their petty causes, or judge her unworthy because of something they perceive as a slight.” Sora said.

But do you know what else they get out of it? They receive their most ardent defender, the person who will fight to keep them alive and happy in a world that otherwise doesn’t give a shit. I can’t change the world, Kale, but I can shape the one that Quinten, Ben, Marius, Mihael, and Cezar all live in. That is what being a Queen is. They serve me, and I, in turn, serve them. I protect them, even when they do foolish and ill-considered things. Things like setting off a glitter-bomb at a party full of powerful people who would murder them and then dance on their remains.” Sora said, the pain in her stomach fading to a dull ache as she stepped toward Kale.

I humiliated the First Escort of Dena Nehele to protect you. I humiliated him in front of the very Aristos whose favor Riley courts.” Sora said, trying to keep her own tone in check. “Has Prince Cutrov ever demanded a Price from you over what happened that night? No, he hasn’t. Because I told him that I would pay it for both of you. I owe favors to a man that I don’t particularly like because I went to bat for someone who despises me for something that I had no control over.

In short, you’re avoiding the wrong person, Kale.
” Sora said, a sharp pain lancing through her stomach. Her hand moved to the area where she’d been stabbed, but otherwise, she kept her eyes focused on the Warlord.  She was keenly aware of Ben’s presence, but she needed Kale to know just how much he’d benefited from a woman he blamed for wrecking his life.

I spent the following days begging Riley not to let anyone else harm you two. Because if that prank had gone off, I might have been able to protect Quentin because he’s mine. But your brother loves you and I would rather sacrifice my jewel than see him suffer for any reason. But everything has a Price, Kale.” Sora said.

So Riley made Quinten stay here when, otherwise, he would have been in Moesia with me. That’s right. The only reason that Quinten was even here was because he was following orders from the Queen of Dena Nehele. I left for the same reason. I knew that something was wrong with him from the letters he sent me. He wouldn’t tell me what. When I asked Riley, she commanded me to concentrate on my studies in Lady Pavel’s court as I learned to be worthy of Quinten. Riley knew that I’d come racing back if if I knew what happened. I hated her decision, but I understand it. She was right to make it.” she said, feeling hot tears at the corners of her eyes. She would not give Kale the satisfaction of showing that he'd wounded her.

“I will never forgive myself for not being here to comfort him. Quinten has to carry the burden of killing his father to save his brother on his soul, forever. There is no Craft, no amount of love I can give him, and no amount of power I can gather that will ever remove that burden! The best that I can do is make sure it doesn't eat him alive for the rest of his days. That is the Price that I pay for putting Dena Nehele’s welfare above the one who’s heart is bonded to mine.” she said, her voice breaking. Now the tears did escape, because no matter how much Quinten smiled, no matter how sweet he was, she could never make him who he was before she left. Not now.

Not ever.

So, Lord Heartly, you are free to dislike me. You are free to hate me and blame me for taking your brother. You’re free to judge my fitness as a Queen for any reason you can think of. But let me be crystal clear for our future interactions:

Do not ever question my dedication to my people, especially those who are mine. Otherwise, we won’t just clash.

You and I will be at war.


She turned on her heel and walked away, then, leaning on Ben as a wave of dizziness came over her. She couldn't stand here another second. She couldn't stand and listen to one more judgment of her choices from someone who couldn't understand them.

And she wasn’t entirely certain that Kale wasn't right after all.





Offline Kale Heartly

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Re: Face to Face
« Reply #14 on: Aug 07, 18, 11:04:41 AM »
His eyes narrowed and his fingers were so tight in their grip on his own arms that little bruises were already forming beneath each pad. He didn't speak during her self-righteous tirade - he knew better than that and he wasn't prone to interruptions anyway - but he wanted to. He wanted to tell her to shut the fuck up because this wasn't about how they got here or why they were stuck in this fucking court. That stupid party and that stupid prank and the ultimatum that Riley had given them, the one that essentially chained them here whether they wanted to or not. He didn't care what had gone on behind the scenes. He didn't care that it was the work of aristo machinations and favors and bullshit.

All he cared about was that she seemed to believe that it was unquestionably offensive for him to suggest that taking one fucking day away from her lessons on Queenliness was an option to care for and comfort her bonded male. But all she seemed to hear was that someone was questioning her. She didn't care what about. Just that someone dared to oppose the almighty her. He got that she'd been through some shit recently but the shit spewing from her mouth right now was equal parts laughable and infuriating.

'and I would rather sacrifice my jewel than see him suffer for any reason'

Then, ten fucking seconds later: 'I hated her decision, but I understand it. She was right to make it.'

What a fucking hypocrite. She literally just said it was the right call for her to stay away when Quinten was suffering. Maybe he couldn't have gone with her because of the fuckery they pulled at the party, he could accept that as being out of her hands, but that didn't change her pointed, blatant defense of her absence. He knew that Riley had ordered Sora away. He knew that Riley had decided not to tell Sora about what had happened. He had been prepared to swallow it down with the rest of his hurt and resentment as things outside of their control that they were forced to deal with. He was ready to work through his hurt and his anger, to try to stop blaming the girl because, like a fucking idiot, he'd been sure that if she'd had a choice in the matter she'd have at least done the right thing for Quinten.

Then she'd told him Quinten wasn't worth her missing her fucking lessons for a couple of days. That Riley had made the right decision. Oh sure, it hurt her she hated that she had to be away. Emotions meant shit unless you acted on them, and so far as he could see - Sora was only capable of defending and protecting her males when it was convenient for her to do so. At the party, when she acted on impulse and the following events, when she had Riley as a protective shadow. Owing a favor was easy in comparison to taking a stance. Because owing a favor was something in the future. It was distant. It wasn't now. When she came back, and all she had to do was hug Quinten to make him feel better because he loved her so damn much.

But when it came down to making a harder choice, when it came down to living up to her fucking words.

'and I would rather sacrifice my jewel than see him suffer for any reason'

Yeah, no, she fucking failed hard on that one. Sorinna Roman liked to talk herself up, professing all the things she thought she was, but all all Kale heard was 'I am Queen, hear me roar' on repeat.

'So, Lord Heartly, you are free to dislike me. You are free to hate me and blame me for taking your brother. You’re free to judge my fitness as a Queen for any reason you can think of. But let me be crystal clear for our future interactions:

Do not ever question my dedication to my people, especially those who are mine. Otherwise, we won’t just clash.

You and I will be at war.'


Her closing declaration was dramatic, and maybe if he'd been at the outside he might have applauded her for it. As it were, it only filled him with equal parts anger and fear. Anger, because he didn't need her fucking permission to dislike her or hate her or blame her for anything. She even gave him permission to judge her fitness as a Queen. Then a declaration of war should he ever dare to question her dedication.

He had never seen someone so fucking entitled in his entire life. She was dedicated alright, she was dedicated to defending herself until she was blue in the face without even considering that she might -gasp- be WRONG. She did the right thing, it hurt her, she sacrificed so much took so much risk. BUT SHE STILL AGREED IT WAS BETTER NOT TO BE THERE WHEN HIS BROTHER WAS SUFFERING SO BAD HE WANTED TO KILL HIMSELF.

And through the rage - and certainly if he had been a Warlord Prince he would have hit the edge long before now - there was an icy, frightening stab of fear.

Because going to war with Sorinna Roman really would ruin his life. He had no means to fight back against her. Nothing. His one weapon - his connection to Quinten - he would never use. Oh, he'd throw it in her face, but those were just words. He had no reason to trust that she wouldn't have him simply eliminated, and she had all the tools to do so. If she wanted to, she could tell any one of her males to make sure he just didn't come home one day. She could talk to Riley and say that he'd offended her and Riley would see him removed. They'd tell Quinten that he'd had enough and run away, and then Sora would nurse him through his broken heart (for as long as it was convenient and easy to do so).

So Kale took her threat seriously. It lodged a blockage in his throat that even stopped the snarl. His eyes went wide - and he just watched as she left the room with her head high like she'd just won.

And he supposed she had.

He didn't see her strength fail out in the hall and he didn't see Prince Endland scoop her up and carry them off to her rooms. He was still staring at the doorway.

For ten full minutes he just.. stood there, the thoughts and reactions ricochetting around from his brain to his heart to get stuck in his throat again. Then he practically ran as he fled to escape. He needed to get out of this.. this place. The Seat was not his home and it definitely wasn't safe. He didn't tell anyone where he was going, he just vanished - and that night as he curled up in the back room of the place he and Quinten were putting together back in the Shambles, he considered not going back at all.



 

 

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