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* Plot Information for Dhemlan Terreille

It is natural for a Long-Lived Territory to remember the past, but it is equally essential to for them step into the future, and Dhemlan’s future is Democracy. With a proud tradition of representative government already in place, post-war Dhemlan has chosen to let the people decide their path forward. With drought and starvation looming, no one knows who the next ruler will be, but they do know this: the fate of Dhemlan Terreille will be decided not on the battlefield, but at the polls.
Culture of Dhemlan
Parliament
Males of Dhemlan
Priestesshood
Black Widow Justice

Author Topic: I carried this for years  (Read 663 times)

Description: Modina

Offline Mamoru Salazar

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I carried this for years
« on: Apr 30, 19, 01:51:20 AM »
Modina Palomo was a friend from the bad old days. It took a lot for Mamoru to describe a period of time as the 'bad old days' when most of his life had been lived beneath an Eyrien yoke, but in this case the days had a special significance. He hadn't moved much in the wider circles of the Onyx Company specifically until after the massacre at Montserrat that had claimed his sister Corrina's life. Modina was one of those Priestesses that lent her particular talents to the protection of holy sites and cultural touchstones. She had a set of skills that weren't common, even among Priestesses, and it had made them... perhaps not immediate friends, but at least easy ones.

Now that everything was over, he supposed they'd drifted apart for a reason. She had her cousin in some faraway Province, one that Mamoru didn't particularly care for or about. He had Sarque, and the Sect, though he was sure Modina hadn't connected those dots yet. Between the two of them, between Modina's travel and whatever had drawn her to Dena Nehele for as long as it had, there just hadn't been time to catch up.

Today, that changed. Mamoru had no doubt that the cause of the change was the election. As the only living descendant of the Priest Prince Fermin, Mamoru held quite a lot of sway with the people of Sarque. As the Patriarch, he held a great deal of sway with the half-long-lived Blood among the Dhemlanese. He didn't pretend that his support wouldn't be valuable to whatever candidate claimed it, and to that end if that was Modina's purpose he had several points to bring up to her for her candidate's consideration. Not the least among them was the issue of Gravardi, Sarque, and Atholi: Mamoru had no intention of allowing the reunification of Anagon, even if it was to the betterment of all three Provinces in the short term. In the long term, it was unsustainable.

As was usual for his appointments as Mamoru Salazar--separate from those as the Prince of Sarque or the Priest of his particular chapter of the Archive--he took the meeting after serving lunch to his petitioners. Modina arrived shortly after Mamoru finished serving the midday meal, after he'd eaten his own stew of lentils and sharp spices and cleared everything away. He rose to greet her after a novice showed her to the patio where he had been reviewing accounts. "Lady Palomo," he said, as warm as he had ever been, which wasn't much. "You're looking well."

Offline Modina Palomo

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #1 on: Apr 30, 19, 11:17:21 PM »
When word arrived that Mamoru would see her, Modina was thrilled. While she wanted to discuss the election and whom he endorse, seeing her old friend was the greater appeal. Sarque was caught between the protege of a monster and a Province that was known in less-polite company as Atholi’s bitch. More than once, Modina thanked Mother Night that Joana had fewer issues than Prince Salazar, but that would change. The longer this election and all of this campaigning continued on, her cousin would make enemies.

She hoped Joana was prepared for that.

Modina was also glad to speak with Mamoru for the simple fact that he wasn’t Joana. Modina loved her cousin like a sister, but there were things that she just couldn’t tell her, not after keeping secrets for twenty years. Whenever she was in the same room with the Queen of Illbeda, Modina always felt like she was one moment away from telling Joana everything. The Priestess saw no redemption or salvation in telling her cousin the truth. The questions would be immediate. Why didn’t she say something sooner? Why did she keep the secret? Modina didn’t want to answer questions or regret her choices. She did that enough for ten lifetimes on a daily basis.

Miguel sat across from her in the coach on their journey to Sarque. As always, Modina watched the world pass beneath them, glad just to be on the move once more. She loved Ilbeda, and Sarque, but she’d promised herself, after the War, that she would never root herself to one place permanently. She hadn’t even reached her thousandth year; there was plenty of time yet to enjoy the rest of the Terreille and everything it had to offer. For now, though, she wanted to talk to her friend and put aside the troubles of the Territory and burdened hearts. The views of the mountains always stole her breath and captured her thoughts. Their arrival at the Landing Pad made Modina sad that the journey was already over. Miguel, on the other hand, looked like he couldn’t get up and stretch fast enough.

They’d arrived after the midday meal and were escorted inside and they made their greetings promptly. Miguel accepted the offer of a tour, if only because discussions between members of the Archive held little interest for him.

And you, Prince Salazar. It’s been so long.” Modina said, smoothing down the front of her blouse. She was already feeling a bit more calm outside her brother’s presence and the need to be functioning at all times. She forgot, at times, how much she missed Sarque. Despite all the horrible things she’d seen and done in this Province, she felt as close to this place as she did Ilbeda.

How are things here?” she asked.

Offline Mamoru Salazar

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 19, 12:34:37 AM »
Mamoru rose to greet Modina. Though he felt no small amount of trepidation at this serendipitous timing, a knot loosened in his chest. Unlike many Castes, he felt strongly that Priestesses weren't meant to work alone; a Healer could get in her own way, Black Widows were strange, solitary creatures, Queens and Warlord Princes were apex predators. Priestesses were meant to work in concert with others, or with other people. Though there were other Priestesses at the Archive in Montserrat, many of them were young. That was an artifact of the Eyrien slaughter here when Mamoru was in his forties. His first life, he thought of it sometimes. Mamoru, too, was young compared to Modina, but he wasn't so young he didn't remember the fucking war.

"As they ever are," he said. More affluent than they looked, for the first thing. He hadn't reported the presence of Nova in his territory the few times she'd come through lately, and, well. He'd scaled down the banditry since he'd taken over control of things, but all in all, Sarque wasn't doing as badly as it appeared to be to an outsider. "You're looking well, Modina." Once the formalities were out of the way, he made the easy switch to personal names and gestured for her to sit. If Modina liked refreshments, he would send for some, but for the moment there were none. The midday meal had just passed, and Sarque wasn't that well off yet.

Not like it will be, he thought. "It's been some time, hasn't it?" There wasn't any judgement in his voice for it, since he hadn't gone seeking her out, either. The work wouldn't wait, but when one lived for thousands of years--even if his natural lifespan was half Modina's--there was time to drift apart for nearly two hundred years.

The patio upon which he sat looked over a gentle slope to a greenish valley. After the winter, the tall grasses were well-watered for the moment. It wouldn't last. The brown was already creeping in. But it was better, wasn't it, and it would continue to trend upwards if he had the chance. "Atholi's still a bitch to deal with. I almost miss serving in Parliament over the Executive Council, but..." Modina knew Mamoru's position on Sarque. Aside from the Darkness, it was the one thing he loved more than life. "The bastard ruling before me was a shit," he concluded. "The last thing we need is Isadora Diamente 2.0 ruling all of old Anagon."

Offline Modina Palomo

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 19, 12:24:38 AM »
Once he used her first name, Modina relaxed a bit more. He had a great deal on his mind at any given time, she knew, and Modina never sought to make light of it. “Thank you, Mamoru. I appreciate it.” she said, moving to sit where he indicated. She would ask for water with a bit of lemon and nothing more. The refreshment was welcome, but she couldn’t eat just now. She wanted to focus on the conversation and renewal of friendship between the two of them. They’d both served in Onyx Company and Modina took those ties as seriously as she took the ties of blood between her and Miguel.

It has been a long time, my friend. Thank you for seeing me.” she said, crossing one long leg over the other.

No, Isadora Diamente is a bad memory, best forgotten. I know little of Lady Frabizia, but we can only hope that Isadora’s dream of a restored Anagon died with her.” Modina said. The idea of reuniting Anagon disgusted her. Centuries of warfare and immersing herself in Sarque’s culture and way of life gave her greater respect for the people who lived here. Gravardi and Atholi didn’t deserve to claim any part of Sarque’s success or strength for itself.

Sarque is fortunate to have a ruler who puts its welfare first, as you do. Dhemlan needs the same.” Modina said. Savion Euskara wasn’t that man. He’d been cast down as another bad memory that was best forgotten. Dhemlan was still recovering from the Purge, but Sarque seemed in better shape than many other places in the Territory. Modina looked around the office for a moment before returning her attention to Mamoru.

Atholi seems to have its hands full with bandits and getting itself in order in the wake of Lady Diamente's fall. Do you think those bandits will target Sarque next?

Offline Mamoru Salazar

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 19, 01:52:26 AM »
Mamoru didn't say he'd do the same for any member of the Priestess's Conclave or the Archive, because he wouldn't, and he made it a policy to minimize his lies. To do less would be disrespectful to Modina and the relationship they shared through the Onyx Company and the Priestesshood. "I doubt it," he said. Every time they saw each other in the meetings of the Executive Council, she reacted... well, it wasn't pleasant. If she didn't long to complete her mentor's work and take the throne of Anagon, he would eat every hat he possessed. Guadalupe Fabrizia was entirely too young to be ruling a Province... but what good would it do to point that out when there were no Queens to take her place? One only had to look at Dena Nehele, rocked repeatedly by scandals and attacks, to see the problems inherent in the rulership of the very young over massive swaths of land.

"Sarque's long had a bandit problem. I believe we're getting it under control, but if Atholi's problems spill over into my Territory, I'll bring it up to the Executive Council." He shrugged. "Plenty of Warlord Princes about that might as well make themselves useful, otherwise." Of course, part of Atholi's banditry problem had been sourced from Mamoru's people. Had been being the key word, since there were enough rogues on the border now that making those runs into Atholi was too risky to be profitable. He needed to protect the half-blooded who followed the Sect, after all, since they'd be the someday-core of a new, reborn Sarque.

He shook his head. "We haven't had much luck with the Territory Seat lately," he acknowledged. "My great-aunt wasn't blessed with the strongest of the steel spines, and Savion..." He'd been trying to keep Isadora off the throne. It'd worked, and thankfully the men who served Isadora had exposed her perfidy before Savion could be dethroned. "Kidnapping a Queen from another Territory could've ended much worse than it did." That was fairly clear and honest. "We're lucky Dena Nehele isn't on our doorstep demanding a Price we can't afford to pay."

The Priest Prince didn't rise from his seat, though he was perched on the edge of his seat as if he'd like nothing more than to pace. "Heavy talk for a reunion," he said. "But there's not much going on but for politics for me. I presided over a young witch's Birthright Summer Sky. That was... hopeful." He arched a brow at Modina. "Anything interesting in your neck of the woods?"

Offline Modina Palomo

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 19, 11:58:29 PM »
Modina nodded and then took a sip of her water at Mamoru’s explanation regarding the bandit issue. He was right about the number of Warlord Princes in need of something to do. They could be compelled to help defend Sarque, since of them had fought in, and survived, the Great War. Warlord Princes were always ready to spill blood, but many of them never lost the combat-ready edge that they’d gained after centuries of warfare. Her brother kept the same schedule and routines that got him through the Occupation and the loss of his Green.

Modina nodded again when Mamoru spoke off the Queen who lead to Savion’s downfall. Gabriella Robles was somewhere in the world now, probably enjoying her newfound freedom. Did the child ever think of Dhemlan? Had she made peace with her time here? Modina was genuinely curious, given the years she spent here. The girl hadn’t been too far away from her Offering when she disappeared. Lady Robles' Offering would have come right around…

It could’ve ended worse, but it didn’t. Soon enough, everyone who could think to ask for a Price will be dead. As well, Prince Euskara has returned to the Darkness. The matter, for good or ill, is closed. Besides, Dena Nehele has its own problems. Mother Night has judged Dena Nehele and found it wanting.” Modina said, shrugging a slim shoulder as she regarded him. It was heavy talk for a reunion, but Mamoru had brought Dena Nehele into the conversation. She’d have to circle back to that. His insight would be useful.

I’ve been helping my cousin try to get the people of her Province pulling in the same direction. Everyone’s so focused on keeping what’s theirs that they aren’t seeing the larger issues in front of us. It’s a lot of ego-stroking and managing of feelings, but...the struggle continues, you know?” Modina asked rhetorically. She was certain Mamoru understood that in his day-to-day duties. But she knew that her friend could be more ruthless than her cousin. Mamoru’s vision for Sarque was all-encompassing. Modina didn’t think he brooked some of the dissension that Modina saw among Ilbeda’s rulers.

The Archive keeps me busy and I keep in touch with as many of our comrades from the old days as possible. Helping them find things to do with their time or ways to contribute.” she said.

I was supposed to perform an Offering in Dena Nehele last summer, but...plans changed.” Modina said, sipping her water once more. She looked away from Mamoru, briefly, and tried to regain her focus.

Other than that, my cousin suggested this election and intends to run. So I’m helping her with that as well.” Modina said.

Offline Mamoru Salazar

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18, 19, 05:42:09 AM »
"Sarque is blessed with a lack of aristo bullshit," said Mamoru, which wasn't to say he didn't understand something of what Modina's cousin had to put up with. It wasn't like he was without people to appease as the Priest Prince of Sarque; he had ever lacked any iota of respect for the Warlord Princes of the Territory, a position only reinforced by how useless they had been in the aftermath of the massacre at Montserrat. Mamoru still saw the witchblood whenever he walked past the old town. The black-throated flowers choked the streets where he'd grown up, and though a new town with the same name now stood nearby, it seemed almost a joke. Or a reproach. Whichever it was, it was proof that the 'warrior caste' didn't value the right things.

Modina mentioned Dena Nehele twice in short order, which wasn't strange, considering Mamoru had been talking about it in the context of Lady Robles in the first place. But he looked over at her with narrowed eyes anyway at the mention of the last summer in the northern Territory. "I highly doubt an unstable slave was the chosen tool of the Mother's will," he said. His somewhat heretical beliefs about Witch were well known among the Priestesses of Dhemlan. If someone had judged Dena Nehele, it would be the little Healer wearing the Black and no one else. Mother Night would not have brooked such wholesale destruction, such undiscerning murder. Yes, the Mother would someday send Her avatar to strike down those who were unworthy of living beneath Her gaze... but when that avatar wrecked the Mother's wrath upon those who defied her, they would not take the innocent with the guilty as Yua no Ariake had done. "I suppose your candidate for the Offering didn't survive the Decimation?"

They moved back onto the safer topic of the election. "I remember her suggestion," said Mamoru. He'd already been on the Executive Council as ruler of Sarque then, though he was by far one of the newer rulers on the council. "I wish you luck." And if he liked what Joana had to say about Sarque, he'd even offer his support. His support that would be rather more efficacious than even Modina expected, since he had la Familia at his back. "Ozymandias Galante's daughter is running as well. The Healer, Ascencion." He didn't think they'd met. "She served in Emerald Company during the War." He rested his chin on his knuckles, watching his old friend. "She says she'll leave Sarque to Sarque, and dismantle the aristo tithing exemption."

Offline Modina Palomo

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #7 on: Jul 31, 19, 11:24:27 PM »
Modina’s laugh filled the room as Mamoru talked about Sarque’s blessed lack of aristo bullshit. Illbeda seemed to have a surplus of that bullshit at times, enough that Modina had suggested (more than once) that Joana let her Gray handle her business. Or, if she didn’t want Ysmael getting his hands dirty, to let her and Miguel handle her problems. Joana declined each time, but the point remained. The aristos were getting in the way more than they helped at times. Modina kept those thoughts to herself most days, but right now it was good to hear that someone had found an answer to the upper class. She knew that he cared little for Warlord Princes, hence leaving Miguel to his own devices while she made this visit.

Something Marmoru said next surprised her, though. “Wait. An unstable slave did all of that damage to Dena Nehele? I’d heard that no one knew the actual cause of what happened.” Modina said. Or that’s what I’d been lead to believe.. She needed to reach out to her contact up north now, because she didn’t appreciate being caught off-guard in conversation. Still, the idea that a slave could do so much damage spoke of incalculable power. She disliked the idea of that, if she was being honest.

No, she survived the Decimation, as they call it, safe and whole. But she lost someone she cared for and I’m not there to help her through it.” Modina said, looking away. Guilt gnawed at the corners of her mind, but Modina tried to push it aside. If she stopped to consider all the things she regretted in her life thus far, she’d never breathe again.

Talk turned back to the election and Modina nodded at the mention of Lady Galante’s candidacy for the Territory Seat. She was sure that Lady Galante was a good woman, but Modina wanted Joana to take the Territory Seat and lead Dhemlan. Joana was meant for greater things and, when she ruled Dhemlan, that would free up Ilbeda’s seat to be ruled by a worthy Queen who could guide it into the future.

I’ve never met her, but her reputation precedes her. I admired Emerald Company’s work.” Modina said. They were nearly as vicious as Onyx Company in their attacks on those thrice-damned Eyriens. If only they could have cooked up something terrible to send back to Askavi so that those bat-winged monstrosities could continue to suffer for their attacks.

Those are strong promises. Removing the tithing exemption will anger the very aristos she wants to Court, but it’ll get their attention, too.” Modina said.

Joana wants Sarque to remain Sarque as well. She never cared for all that garbage talk about Anagon being Anagon.” Modina said, resisting the urge to spit at the mention of it. Let the Slaver Queen’s dream die with her and leave it at that.

She’s also got a few ideas on how to feed our people and bring back our success. She’s found success in Ilbeda that could be expanded to encompass the rest of the Territory.” Modina said.

Offline Mamoru Salazar

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #8 on: Aug 01, 19, 03:27:27 AM »
Mamoru shrugged. He'd gotten his information from a trusted source, and that source had gotten her information from another trusted source that had been directly involved. Whatever the actual provenance of the information, he had little reason to doubt it. What reason did Nova have to lie? "I would imagine that no one would want to admit to it," he said. The loss of control of one slave, so soon after the Coliseum's destruction and collapse beneath those slaves? It probably wouldn't look terribly well for the Dena Neheleans who traded with the Hayllians on a regular basis... though he didn't pretend to understand that. "I don't know what led up to it, but I don't believe that Mother Night would strike out with violence against the innocent. No matter how obdurate the rest of the Territory was, indiscriminate destruction wouldn't be Her answer."

That came perilously close to dogma, which wasn't something Mamoru was necessarily opposed to. He was opposed to looking like a fanatic in front of a possible political ally. Not only that, but it also came close to the edges of the scars they both wore in the aftermath of the Purge. He had no desire to drive Modina off when their conversation was turning to a topic of intense interest to him. "Her service in Emerald Company is going to look well for her," he agreed, in the way that service in Emerald Company always looked well for Healers. They'd withstood vicious attacks, all of them. Mamoru had a soft spot for the veterans of the Healer's company. His sister had been among them before the massacre at Montserrat.

"Then I can at least promise that I won't oppose her," said Mamoru, "but I want more than simply leaving us be from any ruler who wants to claim my fealty, and more than plans to feed the people." With Nova a known quantity and willing to make the trip to help, Sarque was nowhere near as direly off as it had been when Savion took the throne. He paused there to gather his thoughts, then continued: "Though I suppose you aren't the one to make promises on your Lady's behalf."

Offline Modina Palomo

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Re: I carried this for years
« Reply #9 on: Oct 08, 19, 03:49:47 PM »
Modina considered Mamoru’s points. He sounded certain of what had happened. That Modina had not heard nearly as much bothered her on many levels. It could mean that Lady Nieto, or her escort, had perished. Modina did not intend to go to Dena Nehele quite so soon, but the need to confirm her suspicions outweighed caution. It was exactly for that reason that she shouldn’t go, but Modina was already trying to figure out how to explain the situation to Joana.

A mother’s worry was among the strongest forces in the world.

We show respect to those who fought against the Occupation. That is a good thing, at least. My cousin did not serve, of course, but she understands the importance of Sarque’s independence. Atholi may supply the grain that feeds people, but Sarque is the reason that Dhemlan still exists. I won’t let that be forgotten, no matter who sits in the Territory Seat at the end of all of this.” Modina said.

I know my cousin’s mind very well. If you’re willing to share your concerns with me, I’m happy to explain your position to her and see where you can find common ground.” Modina said. While she couldn’t make direct promises, she had Joana’s ear. Mamoru Salazar’s endorsement would be a major boon to whoever secured it and bring along several undecideds, possibly even turning adversaries into supporters. But if Modina couldn’t get his support for Joana, she’d accept his willingness not to oppose her.