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Dhemlan has become a land divided. The corruption that Witch’s Purge wiped out in the rest of the Realms was preserved by the well-meaning sacrifice of the territory’s Ebon Gray Queen. As such, the corruption here has only intensified. The tension between the Landen and the Blood who were meant to care for them is fast reaching a boiling point.
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Author Topic: Aiming Blind  (Read 2717 times)

Description: Seville Province Court // Tag: Caelestis, Delilah, Rodrigo

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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      phinneas

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Aiming Blind
« on: Feb 08, 18, 08:56:58 AM »
Really, there were processes in place for matters like this. Naraii knew as much, if only because Headrix and others had repeatedly reminded her of that, usually while trying to scold her for having circumvented said processes, somehow. Still, the wheels of justice turned entirely too slowly for the witch's tasted. It'd been months since Naraii and Lorenzo had discovered collared Glacians on a Dhemlanese naval vessel and freed them. Lope's people were still making their way through the people involved, interrogating and investigating. There were many hands to account for, between the two ships involved, the freed prisoners, and the chain of command which had control of the navy's ship. There were many minds to search for the truth and for corroboration, and the Coven was already heavily focused on routing out the last remains of the old, corrupt coven before it. It was a frustratingly slow process all the way around, and Naraii was glad to at last be getting out to do something aside from sitting on her hands.

Granted, the odds were high that she would come away from the Seville Province court with no more leads than she currently had. After all, even if the Queen or her court were involved in the atrocities taking place in her Province, there was no reason to expect they'd confess as much when asked. Naraii told herself it was worth it to look the Queen in her eyes and ask the questions, though. Maybe the Queen had heard things. Maybe it was a problem she'd been trying to combat on her own, without alerting the Territory Court. Maybe the Queen was an over-drugged, over-sexed, over-coddled wretch of a woman, and was oblivious to everything going on outside of her own Keep. If nothing else, Naraii thought she'd come away from the interview today with some sense of what kind of leadership and oversight (or lack thereof) was present in the Province.

Eager to begin, Naraii arrived at the Provincial Estate in Carmona before the others. She expected Delilah and Caelestis to join her, though each had an errand to run en route. She was loathe to begin without the aide of Delilah's intuition and the legitimacy Caelestis represented, but she was also terribly impatient. Naraii went in, and she informed the porter that she needed to speak with Lady Barbero on behalf of the Territory Court. Queens were never ready to be seen at a moment's notice, Naraii reasoned. She'd just get the waiting out of the way while Delilah and Caelestis caught up...





Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #1 on: Feb 09, 18, 03:35:23 PM »
Who is here?” Rodrigo asked. Again. Placing much more emphasis on the first word of that question the second time around. The better question was “Why?” but he had not yet gotten there.

“A Lady Naraii Elizondo, from the Territory Court,” the man repeated, now looking a bit more uncertain of his words now that the Province Steward’s expression was settling into a finely crafted scowl.

Not a name that Rodrigo was greatly familiar with but one he had probably encountered before, since Rodrigo knew most of the names of those serving in the Territory Court. He just couldn’t remember anything about her. “And why is she here?” he asked pointedly.

“She requested an audience with the Queen,” the porter replied flatly, obviously. Of course. What else would a member of the Territory Court request?

Rodrigo made sharp, dismissive gesture as he said, “Put her in one of the parlors with refreshments and I’ll be there shortly.” The man left with a bow, off to carry out Rodrigo’s orders. The Steward of Seville stood there at his desk, with both hands planted squarely, thinking over all of the reasons as to why someone from the Territory Court would be here. Unscheduled. That little detail was what bothered him: unscheduled.

Had Prince Palacios, that prick of a businessman, hinted at some dirt that Rodrigo was involved in to ears close to the Queen? No. If there was anyone in a deeper pit than Rodrigo, it was Palacios.

Certain then that Palacios was not the reason for this Lady’s visit, Rodrigo then began to explore the possibility that a Court member was here because of the business with Alejandro Delgado’s father. Which, again, had to do with Palacios, but now had more to do with Rodrigo, especially since Alejandro had...attached...himself to Elena like a parasite Rodrigo dreamed of destroying.

Maybe this witch was here to relieve Rodrigo of that burden. It seemed unlikely but he could hope.

Rodrigo spent the next few moments running over all other possible reasons for an unscheduled visit such as this until he decided that speculation would get him no further in the readiness. He straightened, buttoned the soft gray jacket over the pale teal tie that cushioned his Summer Sky Jewel, tugged it to remove the bumps, checked his cuffs, and then began striding towards the parlor that he assumed held the waiting Naraii Elizondo.

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #2 on: Feb 09, 18, 03:49:58 PM »
Unbeknownst to the approaching Steward, the porter, on his way to fetch the Lady waiting, had passed the maid known as Valeska Drachlan, the newest member of the household and by far the most exotic. Whereas most of the Dhemlanese possessed dark hair and golden eyes, skin tanned by generations in the bright sun, Valeska was, by stark contrast, pale and gold, with skin that burned after more than an hour outside and hair that shone in the sun.

Rodrigo had told her that her primary job was to tend to Elena but there was obviously so much tending Valeska could do. Rodrigo hoped that Valeska would also act as a spy for him but the cowardly maid could not. Elena was far too nice for Valeska to betray her like that. And besides, Elena already believed that Rodrigo intended to use poor Valeska for such a thing and kept her secrets. Mostly. There were things a maid -- an observant one eager to please her mistress -- noticed but she said nothing because she didn’t want anyone to know she knew anything at all. Valeska hoped that if she proved to be useless to Rodrigo, he would leave her alone, and that Elena would protect her from any harm. Somehow.

Except for the fact that Rodrigo still held the controlling ring to Valeska’s collar. And Elena was still oblivious to the Craft behind it. Valeska could not find the courage to tell the truth, even if it meant the possibility of her going home, because she was that afraid of Rodrigo.

Unbeknownst to Valeska, Rodrigo was on his way to the very parlor Valeska had been ordered to deliver refreshments to. The wraith-blonde maid stepped into the room with a polite curtsy at the witch waiting there, saying, “Some freshly squeezed juice and tea for you, Lady. And fruit tarts the cooks just made.” She did not make eye contact and was dressed simply but finely -- nothing to draw any more attention to her than she already did. Fitting in as just another servant of the household was daunting enough. Luckily, most of the household thought that the dainty collar around Valeska’s neck was just a necklace she had been allowed to keep.

“Is there anything else I can get for you, Lady, while you wait?” the Glacian asked, her eyes darting over Naraii furtively, noting her attire and her posture, wishing she had such confidence in her pose like the other woman. And she was so pretty too, just like Elena. Was everyone in this Territory beautiful?

Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #3 on: Mar 18, 18, 12:23:30 PM »
191, Autumn: Seville Province Court, in Carmona
this thread is a few months after On the Right Track Baby and shortly after I can feel your Halo.

No, not everyone in Dhemlan was beautiful, though Caelestis, if asked, would be delighted to explicate, at length, about both the general beautify of the Dhemlanese soul and Naraii’s more particular charms. And then’d he’d flirt, because it was second nature to him, even when it was down right dangerous to do so.

A lady, any lady, deserved to feel beautiful.

And a Prince ... he deserved to feel on time.

Caelestis despised being late with a vehemence normally reserved for wasting diseases or national disasters. He’d stopped by the Territory Court to get paperwork deputizing the more unique members of their team, but the young third circle male who’d been assigned to do the paperwork in question had been so ruffled at the notion of letting any short lived (let alone several of them) have any legal authority within Dhemlan that it had delayed the process unnecessarily.

A black storm cloud of grief had weighed upon Caelestis for months; he’d had no real desire  to offer either conciliation or education. Instead, the young courtier in question would not be back in court for weeks ... counting out precise species of shore muscles at midnight, along the southern borders of Dhemlan would be a dirty, smelly, and miserable enough task to assure the bigoted, stupid fool hid at University for a few more centuries before daring to face Caelestis again.

Not to mention what Cael had done to the man’s hair. He’d be months before he looked the part of the dapper Prince again.

idiot.

But Caelestis had arrived in Carmona at last, with the sigils for each of all his assorted investigators (even Naraii), proving that they had the legal and political protection they needed to perform as Lady Teoda’s deputies in this matter.

And a small stipend, not that one of the short-lived he or Naraii had recruited had even asked. No, they helped for justice, or friendship, or simply prestige. It bothered Cael, that in his current state he didn’t wasn’t sure which motive to ascribe to which of those they’d recruited, when he should.

That reflection was enough to slow his headlong pace to something more appropriate to a Courtier, though ... Naraii was not waiting at their agreed upon rendezvous. Which ... didn’t surprise him.

Or even make him angry.

It wasn’t like he didn’t know where she was going.

Caelestis took a moment to assure that his Court-suit was flawless, the ring of his station in place, and the helpless grief and simmering rage of his aura masked and focused into that nearly as terrifying state: a Sapphire Jeweled Prince just looking for an excuse.

His attempt might take the weight of pressure from most people, but someone as sensitive as the tri-Casted witch, or a Queen, was likely to feel ... something.

Caelestis was shown into a small room where he expected to see the rest of his party.

What he didn’t expect, was to be face-to-face with a Glacian.

Hard, cold eyes studied the foreigner closely; powerful shields wrapped around the room, layer after layer. Instinct surged, and for one moment he did not care that he had not brought enough Jewel strength with him to take down the entire Court.

But he was no Warlord Prince, and it was only for that single heartbeat.

His gaze met Naraii’s, and a wordless gesture surrendered the attempt at conversation that must follow to the canny, beautiful witch.

Offline Delilah Montest

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #4 on: Mar 31, 18, 06:05:44 PM »
What Delilah had discovered was that Prince Chavez was incredibly serious. He got a bit of a pass given the fact that his sister had just died and that he was Naraii's friend, but she didn't much care for the Sapphire Prince's company. Delilah didn't like males as a general rule. Not that boys were particularly bad, but having lived most of her young life pressed into service in a Red Moon House made her prefer the company of women. The itch of her Caste would occasionally have her bed a male, and if the itch came up she might have considered Cael a good enough looking partner for the job. But Dhemlanese men tended to be more arrogant and self-satisfied than the Short-Lived. Cael was probably fine. After all, Naraii wasn't likely to be friends with him otherwise. But for now, whoever Cael truly was felt buried beneath his duty and his grief.

The Tri-Casted witch was the last to enter the room, having bounced around outside of the estate to check on a whim to discover the edges of Lady Barbaro's home. She caught a familiar psychic scent. Something familiar, but..

She found it near the pad and was flashed with a sudden image of spiders crawling up out of the earth and covering her; consuming her. She jerked alert and bounced backward, rushing to follow after Cael, her eyes furitively scanning around. After a few frightened moments with shorter-than-needed breath, she recovered and told herself it was just an odd vision. A warning, maybe. Or maybe a glimpse into the past. It was hard for her to tell, sometimes, what came from her art.

The sight of a Glacian may have infuriated Cael, but it caused Delilah only to be curious. She had often been alone in this Territory as one of the Short-Lived, and the sight of another one drew a full smile from the plump lips of the Black Widow Priestess Healer. "'Ello darlin'. The spread is great. Ya'll got any biscuits or cookies? A'h could use some bread after last night." Delilah did, after all, tend to drink heavily and not eat enough. She tended to be on some sort of buzz some time or another, or hungover from one.

She felt she could use the former, rather than the latter. "And some wine? Or some brandy t'go wit this juice?" Cause what sort of adult drank juice?

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #5 on: Apr 25, 18, 02:42:32 PM »
Valeska was not certain what she had done wrong but she could very well tell that something wrong had been done.

Speaking with the first visitor had gone as planned -- a bit unpolished but still polite -- but after the male, the Prince, had arrived, something in the entire situation had somehow changed. He studied her with sharp, unnerving interest, so intense that Valeska nearly shook as she dipped into a curtsey. “P-Prince,” she said. “I’ve brought refreshments for you and your colleagues while you wait for the Queen and her S-Steward.” She hated that her tongue stuttered over two of those words but even though she could not think of anything she had done wrong, she still had the feeling of something wrong being related to her.

And then a third person -- another beautiful woman -- arrived, looking a bit breathless but very curious to see her. Valeska shrank away just a little. It was one thing to be the talk of the town when she was allowed to leave the estate with Lady Elena but to be under scrutiny so close was scary! “L-Lady,” Valeska managed to say, dipping into another curtsey and feeling less steady. Her heart was pounding like a scared rabbit. She wanted out of the room as soon as politely possible!

Thank the Darkness that new visitor gave her that by asking for something other than juice! Sometimes visitors were a little rude and asked for more than was offered but in this case, because it would get Valeska out of the room, she didn’t think any longer on it aside from answering, “Yes, Lady. I will see what I can do.” Like a rabbit bolting from a trio of hawks, Valeska moved quickly towards the door.

And found it barred by dark Shields.

Now terrified, she wondered if these three were going to hurt her, like Palacios would have. Like Rodrigo could. Was this Territory just a nest of vipers, beautiful but deadly?

Trembling, she turned and curtsied again. “If y-y-you would p-please let me out,” she asked to whomever of the three was locking the room.

And she tried very, very hard not to start crying.

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 18, 09:24:26 AM »
Naraii had hoped in coming here that she'd find some kind of answer about the shadiness involving the Glacians on the Bravado. Or, if not answers, at least a lead that she could follow in hopes of answers coming eventually. She'd hoped, but some part of her knew better than to expect this to be an easy or quick investigation. If there was foul play going on at the Seville court, surely it would be well-hidden from any casual observers. This visit was just the first step, and deep down Naraii knew it was unlikely to yield anything useful other than starting the inquiry that would likely last for months.

But then, of course, she was greeted in the parlor by none other than a Glacian servant, and the surprise of it struck her nearly dumb for a moment. Caelestis and Delilah showed up nearly at the same time, and the former seemed just as struck by the blonde woman's presence as Naraii was. Moreso, even, as he seemed to make assumptions that ratcheted up the tension in the room exponentially.

*Cael,* Naraii whispered on a thread, reaching out a hand to touch his arm and hopefully bring him back to the present. At least, she assumed his mind was elsewhere, otherwise he'd surely see how he was frightening the maid. Naraii turned her attention towards the blonde and smiled, the expression easy and natural, and warm as the midday sun. Though she did hope Cael dropped his shields, Naraii didn't hesitate to raise aural shields herself to limit the reach of the coming conversation to those within the room.

"You'll have to forgive the Prince," Naraii said. She didn't usually impose her Craft on others uninvited, but Valeska seemed on the verge of wetting herself and it worried Naraii that she was so upset. A tendril of Purple Dusk lanced out and soothed her, gently smoothing away the worst edges of her apprehension. "You're Glacian, aren't you? And the only Glacians we've seen in some time are a few that we just had to save from some unfortunate situations. I think the Prince is just on edge out of concern. My name's Naraii," she said, a hand touching her chest. "What's your name, Lady?"





Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #7 on: Jun 26, 18, 04:15:39 PM »
191, Autumn: Seville Province Court, in Carmona
this thread is a few months after On the Right Track Baby and shortly after I can feel your Halo.

Caelestis’ true self was indeed buried in grief, swallowed by layer after layer of duty. The millennia-old yearning which sometimes threatened to tear him apart ought to have prepared him for this; if asked he would have asserted that he could hide and function under any emotional anguish. He nearly always masked his inner hurts in flirtation and the easy charms of his Caste. Yet the double blows of the brutal corruption in his Navy and the sudden, unexpected death of his very pregnant sister had torn such walls asunder. The dual calls to serve and protect were not mere words to Caelestis, but part of his identity. They were his honor and his will. To have lost his sister without even the chance to save her somehow hurt more bitterly than if he’d tried and failed. It had slowly, yet inevitably, focused his mind on the ones he might still be able to save.

Other people’s sisters, mothers, lovers, and friends who were being tormented here, in Dhemlan herself. That the way his grief and loss so honed his purpose and focus might harm the more delicate sensibilities of the Ladies he was with had entirely passed Caelestis by ... until Naraii’s gentle touch to his arm, and equally soothing brush through his mind.

Yes, she did not know him well, only a few years. But his was an open, trusting, Crusader’s soul and he felt neither shock nor infringement that she offered such an intimacy to him. What he felt, was friendship. A further assurance of that mutual trust and protection any true friend offered. It was easy to die for someone.

It was vastly harder to help them live up to their ideals.

His hand briefly brushed over where she had rested hers upon his arm, before releasing her to bow gracefully to the frightened ... maid? Who but Queens employed a Jeweled witch as a maid servant? Yet he knew several who did so, and could only acknowledge that a visitor from the Territory Court might well be best served by such an individual ... the notion being, of course, that they would be less terrified than those without Jewels.

Yet ... this Lady was truly terrified.

Not merely that edge of other that seemed to so deeply plague the exquisite Tri-Casted witch whose exotic accent was nearly hypnotizing. Nor was it the sort of fear spike as had first assaulted that Lady upon their arrival here. That bit of ruffled and troubled aura which she had brought with her bothered Cael, deeply, not least because he should have stop, and gently inquired as to her well being. A tri-Casted witch was burdened by keen insights and instincts on every level, and deserved proper care by their Escort.

Even if she no doubt would declare loudly she needed neither fussing over, nor an Escort.

Caelestis found no fault in a guest asking for what they needed. A well-fed Jeweled Blood was always calmer than a hungry one. An iron clad aspect of Protocol was to feed ladies, as often and as well as they would tolerate. Somewhere, he found a crooked, apologetic smile for Delilah, though he did not interrupt the flow of her soothing voice.

Caelestis, anyway, found her voice calming.

It did not appear that the Glacian maid did; she bolted away from the three of them and into Caelestis’ Shields before he could drop them. He cursed, and with the deadly speed of the warrior he was managed to reach her as she rebounded off the shields. His touch was feather light, a steadying brush to be certain she had her feet under her, and then he stepped back. His voice was gentle, oddly rough and a touch ... embarrassed.

“My apologies, Lady.”

Lady because she was a Jeweled witch, and therefore one of the Aristocrats of the Blood, no matter how she had to earn her keep.

Lady because she was female, and Caelestis revered them for their closeness to Mother Night, for their grace and beauty (and he’d never met a female that he could not find some way to delight in their appearance).

Lady because he was made to serve and protect, and his signal failure to do so in this instance truly mortified him.

“Are you alright? You moved too swiftly for me, I confess.” He offered her a kerchief (carried in his breast pocket, as a matter of course, precisely for such emergencies as a lady whose lovely blue eyes were threatening tears). A charming smile was beyond him, but if she dared a glance at his face she’d see honest concern in his expression. No lust-for-pain, nor even hostility.

But still that hawklike purpose and intense focus.

Caelestis took another careful step away from the delicate short lived, torn between the instinct to keep her within arms reach until he knew she was safe and calm, and the knowledge that caging her was not going to help. With not one but possibly two less-than-calm ladies with him (though at the moment he blamed himself entirely for Delilah’s earlier distress), it was harder than it ought to have been to release the Shields upon the room.

Had he been aware of Naraii’s soothing Craft, lowering the Shields would have been less stressful. As it was, he swept his gaze over all three ladies, and moved to the side. He badly desired to be between the door and the ladies, whilst not within the Maid’s personal space or blocking her from leaving, if that was her will. That he couldn’t possibly accomplish it with out a door several times wider than it was, resulted in his tension coiling in on itself once more.

*Naraii. Thank you.*

*Let us hope she leaves the room calmly, and does not try to run. Else I’ll have even more to apologize for.* A glimmer of his normal, wry  sense of humor might have revealed itself in the thread to Naraii, yet it was a certain kind of tragic that Delilah was likely unaware of it.

Though given her gifts, anything was possible. If the mere idea put visions of destroyed hallways and contritely begging pardon for his sins from his beloved Queen in Cael’s mind, it was entirely likely that each witch there might discern some glimmer of what might happen if Protocol failed utterly.

Offline Delilah Montest

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #8 on: Jul 18, 18, 06:43:19 PM »
Delilah had been inwardly excited to get her drink on. While Cael and Naraii were finding the presence of a Glacian to be cause for alarm, the naturally fair-haired Tri-Caste Witch had not even considered it to be an indication of something sinister. Did Dhemlan not have any immigrants at all? She didn't seem to wear...

Delilah stopped, really looking at the Rose witch for the first time. Her skin paled some as she came face to face with the instrument of her own enslavement for most of her life.

"Darlin', wait a second." She called out to Valeska, getting slowly to her feet while Naraii and Cael backed off. The Tri-Caste witch, part sensual, part soul-searcher, part mender of bones, moved forward with an allure and calm that would set her apart from any single-casted creature. Her strange tattoos and manner of speech gave her an exotic mystique, but as she came closer to the Glacian her psychic scent was one of almost serenity.

"Ain't nuttin t'be scared of, child." Delilah said through lips that could speak Mother Night's blessings, and she drew close as her painted nails lifted up slowly toward Valeska. Not like a predator, but like a soothing sister, Delilah reached for the Glacian girl's face.

If she did not rabbit in the face of this mysterious woman who's eyes radiated like pure crystal water upon her, Delilah would lay her fingers on her cheeks and looked like she were about to kiss her. "A'h been scared once, too. But not no mo'. Now the world won't scare me, suga.

Yer eyes. They were my eyes, once. Dat look you got? Dat was me, once upon a time."
She leaned closer, the Black Widow in her luring her to soothe even as the fear was its own allure to the predator of the Blood.

Delilah's lips passed over Valeska's, sensual and calm -- just the barest breath away from a kiss. The tips of her right nails slid gently down, down to her neck, and hovered barely above the thing that had drawn Delilah's third eye.

A collar.

"Who put this on you, suga?" She whispered, opening her eyes to look down into Valeska's own. "Who made you afraid?"

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #9 on: Jul 23, 18, 10:56:07 AM »
Valeska stood there with her gaze shifting nervously from person to person as she waited for one of them to lower the Shields blocking the door. Not that she would know if they were lowered until she tried again (and she so desperately wanted to try again!) but she waited, as patiently as she could despite her fluttering heart, and stay stricken in place as the first of them, a woman who named herself Naraii, approached to soothe her.

Being the level of Rose, the tendril of calming Purple Dusk worked, gently easing away some of the panic gibbering at the edges of Valeska’s mind. “You’re Glacian, aren’t you?” Naraii asked and Valeska nodded, not trusting her voice in that moment.

But the pretty woman had asked her a question -- what was her name -- and it would be rude not to respond. Valeska cleared her throat and it still came out high-pitched and breathy. “V-Valeska,” she answered quietly. “Valeska Drachlan.” Not that her surname had any weight here like it did in Glacia, where her mother was a Sapphire witch and her aunt was a Summer Sky Queen. Somewhere. The Drachlans were good, loyal Glacian stock. They followed the Dark Religion happily and revered Queen Brenden accordingly. They kept their promises and cared for their own. Unlike this place so far, with its lies and masks.

The Prince with them apologized and Valeska correctly guessed that it was him who had locked the door. She belatedly remembered that some males were very protective of females, whether they knew them or not, so maybe he just thought that she thought she was in danger somehow and was trying to protect her from...himself? Maybe. That made a convoluted sort of sense. She curtsied towards him in answer and was about to leave when the third woman in the room, the one who had asked for more than the refreshments Valeska had brought, called for her to wait a moment and stepped forward.

Valeska should have been scared. Even more scared. But she was rooted, fixated as she watched this beautiful creature approach. Queen Elena had that same sort of allure to her, and it attracted all sorts of men, but this woman embodied it, incarnated it, and Valeska wasn’t sure of her reaction. She thought her heart might simultaneously stop in fear or burst from it as the woman gently touched her face.

“Yer eyes. They were my eyes, once. Dat look you got? Dat was me, once upon a time," the woman whispered sensually. Too close, close, close, why was she so close, close, close, back away, back away, want to go home, back away, too close.

And yet, she couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, even as those nails slid towards the dainty collar around Valeska’s neck.

"Who put this on you, suga? Who made you afraid?"

There were two different answers to those questions and Valeska had a sinking feeling that the trio in front of her wasn’t going to like either answer. “M-M-M-My parents,” she answered to the first question.

But she couldn’t find the courage to answer the second question, which was them who had made her afraid. Them, this entire Territory. It all made her afraid.

And that let the trio misconstrue the entire situation.

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #10 on: Jul 26, 18, 08:53:24 AM »
Caelestis reined himself in and Naraii was glad for it. While her hand remained on his forearm she gave him a grateful squeeze for the restraint that she understood must be difficult for him. The witch who called herself Valeska curtsied and seemed to right herself for the most part, and the strange little moment nearly ended with the woman's exit from the room.

Her flight was halted by Delilah, however, which re-affixed Naraii's attention to the pair of them with a blade-sharp focus. At first, she merely looked interested and uncertain, not understanding Delilah's intentions. None what the tri-casted witch made a great deal of sense to Naraii, at first.

...until Delilah asked about the pretty necklace Valeska wore, and someone making her afraid. All at once, Naraii understood. Her temper surged like a white-hot flame inside of her, though she managed to hold her tongue, for the moment. Barely. Hands clenched and jaw set, she watched as Valeska answered.

"Delilah, is that--?" she started to ask, but couldn't bring herself to even say the words. Her eyes burned, indignant fury lighting them from within. Had someone dressed up a slave collar to hide in plain sight? Was someone in Dhemlan secretly using it to force this girl's obedience?! She consciously tried to calm herself, telling herself the collar might just be a holdover from this girl's captivity before she fled Glacia. Her heart tried to rip through that flimsy pretense, and assured her that it was TOO convenient that they'd find her here, when they'd come looking for news about slaving that'd crossed into Dhemlan's seas.






Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #11 on: Oct 25, 18, 10:48:58 PM »

191, Autumn: Seville Province Court, in Carmona
this thread is a few months after On the Right Track Baby and shortly after I can feel your Halo.

Darlin’, wait a second.

Those words drew the bulk of Caelestis’ attention to the exotic Tri-Casted witch, rather than to the Glacian ex-patriot he’d already terrified. There was a weight, in how the Delilah moved; a  power that was mesmerizing for more than the profound sensuality revealed. How the lady could radiate power, invitation and deep serenity all at once, Caelestis could not say. But whatever the lady’s intent, and despite Caelestis not being the target, he was soothed by that unfurled Psychic Scent, and Naraii’s touch. He found himself relaxing, inside and out. Something in what Deliliah Montest offered promised a Healing, even if only indirectly, for the aching wounds he carried. Cael watched as the frightened young lady permitted not merely closeness, but touch. Felt a different kind of heat, as he struggled to parse through what the Tri-Casted witch said.

A'h been scared once, too
Yer eyes. They were my eyes, once.
Dat look you got? Dat was me, once upon a time.

As much as the almost-kiss drew one sort of passion forth from Caelestis, so her words brought him back to the edge of battle. So neatly did she balance him there, that he was not even enraged.

Not yet.

Merely poised, and waiting. But he felt an echo of Naraii’s rage, deep in his soul, and reveled in it. His hand brushed over Narai’s, but he did not keep his hand there. He wanted them both free to erupt into violence if it became called for. The Prince waited, watching not the Lady Valeska Drachlan, when she said that her parents had collared her and made her afraid, but Delilah. That astonishing Lady had apparently recovered from a collar, gotten it taken off, and was here to hunt more slavers. She might very well be able to point Caelestis at a target. And so he breathed in the mingled scents of the three ladies here, and fixed them in his mind as those to be protected. He remained utterly still, leashed by Naraii’s soothing touch to his arm and by the promise of violence-to-come inherent in Delilah’s powers

Offline Delilah Montest

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #12 on: Nov 09, 18, 09:12:45 PM »
Delilah ran fingers that had worked over a myriad of the human condition across Valeksa's neck near the edge of the collar. Her touch was supple and gentle - the trained hands of a courtesan who earned a Queen's ransom in her day as a Red Moon house slave. The Tri-Casted witch whispered to Valeska, her bright blue eyes of a distant land held only for a girl who's gaze was not too far from her own. A kindred spirit of sorts, maybe, bound by fate across Realms.

"Ya'v tried t'touch it at night, haven't y'darlin? Scratched at it when it itches. The weight ain't ever feelin like it comes off. Chokes ya even in yer sleep, don't it?"

Naraii asked her question, but Delilah didn't turn to regard her new friend. She focused instead on the Glacian, and she leaned close to press a gentle kiss to Valeska's cheek, and then another, and then another - feather light as she made her way to the girl's ear. "A'h wore it too, once. When A'h was 'bout yer age, suga. But Fate took it off me - and Fate brought me here, now, with you."

She leaned close, nestling her face into Valeska's neck as she sat afraid, like a deer in a predator's trap, unable to flee, but her fingers soothed upwards into her soft hair. An intimate and sensual caress, and the Tri-Casted witch's breath was sugar sweet and warm against her skin.

"A'hmma get you outta this darlin'. You just gotta tell me who be holdin' the Ring. Ah'll make sure no harm comes t'em. A'h didn't murder my mastah, and A'h don't want their blood on yer hands.

Mother Night'll decide their fate."
She drew back slowly and smiled down at the Glacian, her eyes bright as stars. "Y'best believe that."

Her hands slid down from Valeska's hair to her shoulders, held her steady. "Will y'whisper it t'me suga?" Delilah drew closer, her eyes sliding slowly shut, her mouth hovering just in reach of Valeska's own lips, a breath away and invitingly soft. "Y'can whisper it in m'mouth, if y'like."

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #13 on: Nov 21, 18, 02:18:34 PM »
"Delilah, is that--?" the other woman asked. Valeska’s eyes darted briefly her way, flashing with fear and confusion, but then back to Delilah, who was coming closer. She held her breath, trembling, as those fingers brushed against the dainty collar that had been her protection and her confused pride.

"Ya'v tried t'touch it at night, haven't y'darlin? Scratched at it when it itches. The weight ain't ever feelin like it comes off. Chokes ya even in yer sleep, don't it?" the woman named Delilah purred. Valeska could taste her breath, inhaled it shallowly into her own scared lungs. She somehow managed to shake her head, denying that it had ever caused her a problem, but even as she did, she remembered the first night it had been clasped around her slim neck, how she had spent hours fingering it, tugging it lightly, testing it, wondering why it felt dirty even though it was shiny and clean and supposed to protect her.

Delilah’s feather-light kisses down her cheek confused, thrilled, shamed, and disgusted Valeska even more. She formed the word “stop” on her lips but couldn’t say it. Delilah wanted a name. How was Valeska going to say it when she couldn’t even tell the witch to stop what she was doing just then? How was she going to form three syllables when she couldn’t voice one? 

"Will y'whisper it t'me suga? Y'can whisper it in m'mouth, if y'like,” the witch purred, her mouth just a fraction of an inch away from Valeska’s. But Valeska didn’t want to whisper it in the other woman’s mouth, or anyone’s mouth! She was shaking so hard that she thought she was going to pass out and yet, Delilah pressed the issue. They all did, with the one named Naraii bewildered and bordering on angry, while the Prince was ready to bathe the room in blood.

Valeska closed her eyes tightly. Turned her head away from Delilah’s. No longer did her lips form the word “stop.” Now, they formed two words, two traitorous words that would ruin everything, that would surely bring her pain and worse because the person behind those words reveled in cruelty and power.

Still, it took her three tries to even say the first word, so terrified was she of the repercussions, yet she could not lie to save this man’s reputation, or even his life, though Delilah had promised she didn’t want blood on her hands. Even as she finally said the words, she felt no better, no relief. In fact, she felt far worse.

Because just frantic heartbeats after she said, “The Steward,” did the very man appear at the door behind her, as if summoned by that very name.

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #14 on: Nov 21, 18, 02:44:08 PM »
Enough time had passed for a servant to bring refreshments to their unscheduled guests for Rodrigo to make an appearance. He had dragged his feet just long enough to remind them that they had been imposing upon his very precious time and would politely remind them of that once he entered the room. It would do the Territory Court -- whomever they had sent because it definitely wasn’t the Queen -- well to remember that not everyone jumped to Lady Araneina’s whim and that they had their own Provinces to attend.

He had been confident in that approach -- assertive yet lightly chastising -- as he strode down the hall to the parlor and did not think he would need to turn away from it until he opened the door and found himself in a very confusing and volatile situation.

There were three guests -- two witches and a Prince. Which one was Naraii was not yet apparent to Rodrigo but the Prince was obviously Dark Jeweled and unhappy. No, that was putting it mildly. He was upset about something in the room but his attention was now on Rodrigo and that couldn’t be right. The woman closest to him was a heady psychic scent of Black Widow and other. Rodrigo would have loved to give her his undivided interest then but he was distracted by the room’s two other inhabitants.

One of them was the third guest, nearest to the glowering Prince.

The other was the pale Glacian maid, who was near pissing herself with fright under the gaze of the Black Widow blend.

Damn.

“Good afternoon,” Rodrigo said, mentally cursing whatever shitstorm he had just walked into. He did not like it when Valeska saw to certain visitors. It raised too many...curiosities. He would have to speak with the woman in charge of the servants to see that Valeska’s responsibilities kept her behind the scenes more.

But, he had to take care of the situation at hand. He met the gaze of each of the three guests, while ignoring the shaking maid nearby. “Is there a problem? A food allergy? A preference for another type of refreshment? We can, of course, oblige,” he said smoothly, hoping that it was, indeed, something as simple as that and the stupid girl had messed it up somehow. He wanted to grind his teeth and snap at the girl so badly but he restrained himself. For now. Later, he told himself, he would indulge himself on venting his frustrations on the problematic girl. Remembering how she had screamed and begged for him to stop using the ring on her that one time was a delightful memory recalled to keep his anger in check.

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #15 on: Nov 26, 18, 11:49:40 AM »
Naraii watched as Delilah all but accosted the young witch in what must have been the most confusing of ways. Twice, she nearly reached out to suggest Delilah back off, as the discomfort rolled off of Valeska in waves and Naraii wasn't unsympathetic. She was furious at the notion of someone collaring the woman, but the fact that a darkly Jeweled male had felt the need to reach out and reassure her had brought to her attention just how visible she'd let her temper be. Naraii calmed herself, reminding herself that this wasn't a matter that could be solved by rage. This girl had been collared by her parents, she'd already said. The abomination around her neck was simply leftover from her time in Glacia, where the barbarian short-lived creatures were set on enslaving their own. Naraii reminded herself to breathe, and sent a grateful pulse towards Caelestis before summoning the words to interrupt and call Delilah off of the mortified witch.

"Deli--" she started to say, a hand lifting towards the tri-casted woman. But it was then that three syllables stuttered free from the Glacian's lips, timid and fearful.

The Steward.

Naraii's hand lowered again, and the words she'd meant to say stilled on her tongue. The Steward. She looked to Caelestis, her expression blanked as though she could not fathom there being truth in what the girl had said. The Steward. An agent of this very court, a Dhemlanese court perpetuating slavery by collar! As eager as she'd been to find answers, Naraii found herself not wanting the words to be true.

Before she'd entirely sorted herself after that revelation, a new figure appeared in the doorway. Naraii's attention snapped there, and she was moving across the room before she'd consciously meant to do so. She'd never met the Steward of Seville, but she knew the sight of him. She was now interested in getting quickly and violently acquainted with him, but she managed to refrain from greeting him with a fist to the face. He might not know it by the briskness of the way she stalked towards him, or the way she encroached on his personal space a bit before she came to a stop.

"I am Naraii Elizondo, inquisitor for her Majesty's high court of Dhemlan," she said, her tone remarkably even for how wildly the urge towards fury stormed within her. "Release this woman from the collar that binds her." There was no question in that demand. No room for leniency, no bartering, no plea. There were a thousand questions Naraii had about how this situation had come to be, and a million non-inquisitive things she'd like to say to the man regardless of the circumstances that'd brought them here.

But first things first.





Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #16 on: Nov 27, 18, 03:56:57 PM »
191, Autumn: Seville Province Court, in Carmona
this thread is a few months after On the Right Track Baby and shortly after I can feel your Halo.

Lady Montest ran skilled fingers near to the despised slave Collar, and for a second Caelestis let himself hope that she had some secret to remove the cursed thing from the young, terrified lady. Gentle kisses were pressed along the Lady’s cheek, whilst the Tri-Casted witched murmured reassurances and a repeated plea for the information as to who was tormenting the collared Lady. Yet the Lady Delilah’s care didn’t seem to calm or soothe. The room became thick with fear, mortification and guilt; not comfort, passion and hope, as Cael had expected.

Slowly, painfully, it occurred to Caelestis that Lady Valeska might be terrified of Lady Delilah. Touch being soothing to the idealistic Prince, it took him long, painful seconds to reason out why this delicate young Lady might be horrified by Lady Delilah’s close proximity. Cael was a Prince of the Blood; he was built, bone deep, to serve and protect ladies. He was moreover both a romantic, and a crusader. There was only one possible solution to this problem, and that was the deep, burning need to destroy the forces that had enslaved and hurt Lady Valeska Drachlan.

The answer to who holds the control ring to your collar wasn’t some safe, distant Glacian who could be disposed of with violence and no remorse. No, it was a bitter, simpler answer. Caelestis’ first, murderous impulse upon spying the collar appeared to be fully justified. The Steward was a walking dead man. And his Queen would answer to Lady Teoda herself. It might be they needed two Province seats to be filled.

Cael’s gaze collided with Naraii’s, horror and repulsion echoing between them, though without question rage roiled most powerfully within Cael. Seconds later, the Steward himself walked into the room and Cael’s attention settled upon the Warlord with all of the menace of a deadly predator sighting prey. Sapphire Shields spun around them all with startling efficiency, closing the room off from egress or escaping Psychic Threads.  Even as Naraii advanced upon the man, more Sapphire Shields glimmered into being. Skin tight around himself; a globe around Valeska and Delilah. A half-dome before Naraii, but not one that would interfere with her own battle tactics. One that melted out of her way, allowing her to menace the Steward, or even slug him should the urge overcome her self control.

That the Steward ignored his own terrified servant told Cael all he needed to know about Rodrigo. The measure of a man was not in how he treated his betters (and all three guests exceeded Rodrigo in at least two of the three ways Blood judged such things - Caste, Jewel Strength, Court service.) It was in how a man treated those beneath him in the deadly hierarchy of Blood society. It took a man inured to cruelty and terror to not even glance at the miserable young Lady.

With deadly, feline grace Caelestis glided forward to flank Naraii, and physically place himself between the Steward and the Glacian, yet without blocking the Tri-casted witch’s view or ability to punish if the urge so took her.

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #17 on: Nov 27, 18, 06:56:57 PM »
Valeska whispered a name - nay, a title - and though she lacked Court training, Delilah knew well enough that what was said could not be unsaid, nor hidden again. When said title came waltzin into the room, proud as a hound with a rabbit in its mouth. Said rabbit was in Delilah's hands, though, and the fear that radiated from her at his arrival made Delilah's stomach churn. The empathic and sensitive Tri-Casted witch suddenly felt a strong desire to vomit and she had to hold back the urge. Rage didn't fill her at the sight of the man - not like it did Naraii and Cael. It dawned on her then that neither of the Long Lived, despite their experience over her, had much history of dealing with those who consorted with the trade of flesh, bondage, and subservient wills.

"Thank ya." She whispered into Valeksa's mouth, then placed a chaste kiss to her cheek and slowly drew back. Turning to face the entering male, she studied him for a moment. The hunger in his eyes was no stranger - she was used to that look directed toward her. As things went, his was more tame than what she'd seen in her time. Memories flashed of the past and for a moment she lost her bearings as she remembered certain words, voices, and the smells of certain colognes or male musk.

Her stomach roiled. She didn't throw up. If anything, she held it together rather well and just looked distracted for a moment.

Planting her best smile, she walked up behind the others and rested one arm on Cael's shoulder, using him as a leaning post as she hovered behind Naraii.

"You should do wut she says sugah." She said toward the Steward, not that Naraii needed her help, but she felt the desire to encourage them both - albeit for different reasons. "She's the nice one."

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #18 on: Dec 17, 18, 11:50:28 AM »
This was turning into a terrible situation far too quickly.

Rodrigo scowled briefly as one of the women stalked purposefully towards him, introducing herself as Naraii Elizondo, the inquisitor of the Court. Damnation! And then to demand that he release the little pale mouse from her collar. It left him little room to maneuver and he resisted the urge to grind his teeth. He, instead, plastering a placating smile on his face.

Until the Sapphire Prince with them began stalking forward, no doubt Shielding in preparation to strike him down. His resolve wavered for a moment as he considered how best to approach.

“You should do what she says, sugah,” the second woman purred. “She’s the nice one.” Oh, Rodrigo had no doubt of that. If the Black Widow was calling the witch the nice one, then it meant that he was headed for hot water quick.

Rodrigo took a step forward and raised his hands placatingly. “Ladies, Ladies, my apologies,” he said smoothly. “There appears to have been a misunderstanding regarding the nature and contract of this member of my household. Now, if everyone can just take a moment to breathe, I can most assuredly explain what is happening.”

The way to make a lie believable was to tell just a hint of truth to it.

“This young woman is an employed member of the Seville household. A personal maid to my sister and she treats her very well. Better than some, you might say,” he said, motioning towards the still shivering Valeska. Damnation! Could she at least look like she wasn’t about to pee on herself and embarrass him? What use was this girl to him now? “It is true, she wears a collar and is from Glacia. But the collar she wears around her neck is not an enslavement collar.” Did he have their attention? Hopefully. The longer they listened to him, the better his chances of escaping certain death. All because of a stupid, worthless maid.

Damn Palacios and his business ideas. Rodriga o made note to begin cutting ties with the Prince as soon as this was over. Palacios was obviously about to be in very big trouble.

“In Glacia, they hold dear a custom that those who wear Lighter Jewels are to be protected by someone with a Darker one. A spirituality they embrace,” he said, waving his hand loftily as though short-lived religious customs were the craze of the long-lived week. “The girl’s own parents placed this upon her as a sign that they love and cherish her, and I, as her employer, continue in that tradition, since causing offense to another Territory is the last thing I would want to do.”

He turned his attention to Naraii. “Have you heard of this tradition, Lady Inquisitor? I would assume that our illustrious Queen has and understands the importance of respecting other cultures.” And perhaps the importance of making accusations before discovering the truth!

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #19 on: Dec 20, 18, 11:22:02 AM »
It probably would not have mattered in that moment if the Steward of Seville had been a saint. He could've been the most innocent man the Realms had ever seen, and the combination of circumstances around Naraii's introduction to him would've turned her opinion against him. She could focus on little else except her outrage over what she'd seen, that slave collars that had found their way into the hands of unscrupulous Dhemlanese. And now here was one man who willingly held a control ring to a collar that'd been dressed up both in appearance and in justification, yet was still a slave collar even by another name. His explanation for its presence on the Glacian's throat was unsatisfactory, to say the least, and Naraii was quiet for a beat afterwards purely because it required every ounce of her focus and willpower to not physically assault the man who was fast becoming a symbol for her of everything that was wrong with Dhemlan. Her hands were tight fists, her jaw locked, eyes blazing. Headrix's voice in the back of her head pleaded with her to restrain herself, reminded her that not every problem could be solved with impulse. It was such a battle! Yet for the moment, she somehow managed to shove down her ire and find words to respond with instead of fists and Craft.

"That device is meant to cause pain and assert ownership," she said, and though she'd managed to avoid shouting somehow, her teeth were still clenched. "Neither of which is appropriate, especially in the case of a foreign national." Still inside the man's personal space, it was too tempting to cross the invisible line between mere confrontation and assault, but she couldn't make herself take a step back, yet. She pivoted instead, tuning towards the meeker witch while one foot stayed rooted nearly toe to toe with the Steward.

"Lady Drachlan, no one here is going to harm you," she said, unable to ignore the way the woman trembled still. Her tone softened intentionally, and she tried to reel in the hostility rolling off of her in waves in response to the Steward's attempt at justification. "Please speak truthfully. Are you wearing that device entirely of your own free will? Do you wish to continue wearing it?"





Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #20 on: Jan 29, 19, 04:43:20 PM »
There was so much going on.

Valeska thought that they were angry with her, the trio. At first, anyway. And then, she began to think that they were angry at something but maybe it wasn’t her. And then they focused on her collar – the collar her parents had gently slid around her neck, telling her that they did it to show everyone that they loved her and she was protected – and Valeska didn’t understand why they were so angry.

And then the Steward had walked in and the situation had gotten just so much worse.

The kiss the sensual witch left on her cheek made Valeska shiver with shame and fear. She watched with growing terror as the trio began advancing on the Steward, warning him. Were they about to hurt him? As much as Valeska wanted to be free of his influence, she didn’t want him hurt – he would hurt her double for it! Valeska tried not to cower any further, especially when the one called Naraii turned her attention back to the maid.

Her attempts to soothe Valeska only worked minimally. She believed that no one would harm her now, not with so many people ready to hurt the Steward on her behalf, but that didn’t mean someone wouldn’t hurt her later. Naraii bade her speak truthfully: was she wearing the collar of entirely of her own free will? And did she want to keep wearing it?

The only thing Valeska really wanted was something that Naraii hadn’t asked. And that was to go home. That was the only thing Valeska wanted to do, no matter how kindly Elena treated her – she wanted to go home. But Naraii hadn’t asked that.

Valeska, afraid to meet Naraii’s gaze but doing so, nodded.

To illustrate her point, as shocking as it was, she hooked a finger around the dainty collar. “It’s…a p-promise. P-Protection,” she explained. “My p-p-parents love m-me. That’s…that’s w-why I w-wear it.” Valeska knew that the Dark Religion wasn’t in prominence here but surely these people had heard of the blessings and judgements of Mother Night? If it fell to Valeska to explain, she would probably do a terrible job of it. She was just a Light Jeweled and just past her Offering. What did she know?

But Naraii was right about one thing: the collar could be used to inflict pain. Pain that the Steward definitely had used on her once before. Pain her parents had never  inflicted. She had never seen the collar as punishment until she came here.

But she wasn’t about to tell Naraii that. Not with Rodrigo standing right there.

Offline Delilah Montest

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #21 on: Feb 12, 19, 10:24:02 AM »
Delilah had taken a back seat for the moment for the 'negotiations', settling to pick up an apple and bite into it as hunger had finally gnawed at her enough to feed the pangs that hit her body at times. Most of the time she couldn't stomach food - everything tended to make her sick unless she was high or had just finished using her Jewels and needed to restore her reservoir. The bright-eyed tri-blessed witch knew that Cael and Naraii were the true representatives of the Court, here. The Court was law and order in every Territory.

But that didn't mean they were necessarily going to do the right thing.

She chewed softly on her apple as memory intermingled with the present conversation. Rodrigo's voice was smooth and confident, not unlike the man who'd put a collar on her own throat when she was young. Delilah found her fingers moving of their own accord to touch at her neck, feeling the skin where the collar had once choked at her, had administered pain and forced obedience. Were her memories of Raej so very awful? Parts of them, certainly, mostly involving men who spoke of her like property or lied and said she was a valued member of the family. Her skin tingled beneath her fingertips. It all felt so smooth now - weren't there supposed to be lines where the collar had burned so hot at her neck it branded into her skin? But her fingertips only felt soft skin and not the marked scars of a former slave.

Slave.

The word struck her so poignantly in her mind that she felt her stomach roil. A voice that was foreign to her that smelled of spiced rum and cigars reeked across her face. She stopped chewing on the apple and forced herself to swallow, and the taste of it on her tongue made her stomach rumble and she felt like she wanted to retch.

Rodrigo, Naraii, and Valeska's voices sank into the background for a moment as she warred with her own body to assert control. Memory, dreams, visions, and the reality of the situation all swirled in her senses. She saw a black tree with bloodied roots, felt Pasha's fingers in her hair, heard Valeska pitifully whimper that it was for protection, and saw Rodrigo's disarming smile.

Slave.

She had walked forward, slowly, looking distracted as they'd talked, the apple in her hand, half-chewed. Her mouth tasted of cum and apple and blood and Raejian wine that she'd drank before she met with a client when she was thirteen. She tossed the apple over her shoulder and then she punched the Steward in the face.

She caught him by his shirt before he could fall - one smooth motion where her first had met against his cheek and then fell to grip him by his tie and pull him close. The other hand, the one with her (admittedly weak) snaketooth pressed against his face so that the venomous claw could hover over his eye.

"Give. Me. The. Ring." She snarled the words out like a ferocious wolf, and all of the fears, pains, swirling visions, and upturned stomach faded as fury burned all other sensation away. Mother Night sang through her veins and turned her teeth into fangs that were now around Rodrigo fucking Babero's throat.

"Now."

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #22 on: Feb 13, 19, 07:51:07 PM »
Just when Rodrigo thought that the situation was once again coming under his control, it all went to shit.

At least the maid wasn’t the one who did it.

The little scared girl had sputtered out some religious dogma about how the collar was a promise from her parents that they loved her and that she fell under their protection. Honestly, how such a piece of Craft even equated to that, Rodrigo failed to understand, but it was useful to him. He had ambitions to see such pieces on more servants, specifically the troublesome ones. It would certainly make the household run more smoothly! Rodrigo imagined men like Prince Palacios would love to see these things on entire harems of women, bent to satisfy his every whim. Rodrigo could only think of one other woman he could find reason to slap one of these things on and it was his own sister.

Lucky for him, she did not know about this meeting, nor about his fantasies.

The witch Naraii could be swayed to see reason. Rodrigo was, obviously, not harming the girl. She was given room and board and clothing. Far better than what she had arrived with! And she had duties and was paid, albeit not enough to live on, but even that was better than a slave! Surely, with a little more speaking, Rodrigo could get the emissary to see that he was not abusing this exotic servant.

And then the other witch, the Black Widow mixed one, decided that wasn’t enough.

His attention barely caught the movement of her tossing the apple over her shoulder but he turned just in time to catch the full force of the punch she threw. Indignation filled him, righteous rage in its wake. How dare she! Clutching his bleeding nose, he managed to cry, “What is the meaning of this?!” just before her grip tightened and she hauled him upright once more.

It took him far too long to realize that she had poised her snaketooth over one of his eyes, ready to pierce it with poison. When he did, Rodrigo nearly shat himself. She was mad! Insane! To attack the Steward of the Court like this? Insanity!

“Give. Me. The. Ring.” She growled, each word clipped and cutting. “Now.”

Rodrigo felt the situation rapidly slipping out of his grasp again. Elena would surely hear about this and what a headache that would also cause besides this unexpected visit. Blood began escaping his clamped fingers, streaming down to his necktie, ruining his attire. That only added to his irritation. Once this crazed witch let him go, he would be certain to write a very lengthy complaint, along with a bill for the ruined suit, to the Territory Court.

“It’s…It’s in my office,” he stammered out. His eyes kept flickering to the snaketooth poised to strike and the snarling visage of the woman that wielded it. “I can take you there!”

Hopefully they took that offer because, Mother Night, was she about to poison him in front of everyone else?!

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #23 on: Apr 01, 19, 11:07:31 AM »
"Deli--" Naraii started to say, but it came to nothing. She hadn't even gotten the woman's name out of her mouth before the tri-casted witch had punched the Steward soundly in the nose. Naraii felt the tension inside of herself clench into a tighter fist, and for a second she couldn't say whether she was more upset that Delilah had acted out of turn or that Naraii herself hadn't done the same damned thing a second prior. She'd wanted to, but she'd had Headrix's voice in the back of her head, yammering on about propriety and due process and a hundred other concerns that were not nearly as satisfying as a punch to the nose would've been. She was certain now that she wouldn't escape this interaction without incurring some kind of reprimand, but at least someone had gotten the pleasure of punching the smile off of that smug bastard's face.

"Prince Chavez," Naraii said smoothly, her eyes on the Steward. "Will you kindly wait here with Lady Drachlan? Lady Montest and I will go with Prince Barbero to retrieve the ring." As she said the latter, she glanced at Caelestis. He'd been uncharacteristically quiet, and she checked for silent confirmation that he was amenable to staying behind. The Glacian seemed the most in need of a guard at the moment, though she might disagree about the matter. Either way, Naraii trusted Caelestis to be the epitome of Protocol and kindness despite the strain on him at the moment.

Barring an objection from anyone involved, Naraii would then walk with the Steward and Delilah to his office.

"Where did you find Lady Drachlan?"
Naraii asked Rodrigo as they walked. "How did she come to serve this household?"





Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #24 on: Apr 01, 19, 01:11:48 PM »
191, Autumn: Seville Province Court, in Carmona
this thread is a few months after On the Right Track Baby and shortly after I can feel your Halo.

It’s a promise

The words were horrific.

Perhaps the only thing worse than slavery, was to create a situation where the one so entrapped thought it was the morally correct behavior. It was a way to wind slavery through a person’s mind and soul. It silenced him, indeed. He could kill the monster with the ring, kill all of them, even take the collar off of the lass, but it wouldn’t matter if her soul was still entrapped.

What Cael wanted, just then, was to kill the Steward and every member of the Court that knew about this abomination and ignored it. To sweep the young lady off to his Queen, and have her soul and heart be put to rights. And maybe, maybe that is what would have happened, had not the Tri-Casted Witch smashed that smug, self-justifying coward right in the face.

The tang of blood in the air was satisfying, as was the fear coming from the horrid man.

The situation was also a clear lesson.

He spoke gently, the very timbre of his voice carrying the woven tapestry of protection, honor, and compassion that was the bedrock of who he was.

“Lady Drachlan. A promise of protection is what every child is owed, by every adult and parent in the world. I promise, by its very nature, is not enforced by threats of violence or terror. And even if you beleive this level of control is a loving right excercised by your parents, these people are not your parents and don’t love you.”

Definitions, they were always tricky. You had to be sure people used words the same way. Whatever else he knew about Glacia, he didn’t they used words like love and protection to mean what he thought they meant.

“That collar about your neck is extortion, compelling obedience through power, just as Lady Delilah is using force.” He studied the Steward, and said conversationally.

“I think he’s lying. I suspect he carries the ring in his Psychic Cabinet. He could not afford for some random person to discover it. But you know where it realy is, don’t you? I don’t expect you to trust me, Lady. But please trust Delilah and Naraii.” His smile was achingly sad, as he sought to meet the terrified Glacian’s gaze.

“If you tell us where it is, no one will punish you. That is a promise ... not a threat. If you say nothing at all, you still will not be punished by us. The trap of his gaze was oddly gentle, despite the rage echoing within, as he sought any flicker of understanding in that tear-drenched blue.

A formal, lethally graceful bow was bestowed upon Naraii, when she asked him to stay with Lady Drachlan.

“As you wish, my lady. I will do my best to see that no harm comes to her.” He didn’t tell Naraii to be careful, but he did sweep his senses out to their widest aperture, in order to tell her what Jewel strengths he could sense on a private, quiet thread. He could only hope she’d accept it.

 

Offline Valeska Drachlan

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #25 on: Apr 08, 19, 01:42:59 PM »
It was wrong, it was wrong, it was all going wrong, wrong, wrong. And it was her fault! Or, at least, everyone saw it that way? As Valeska quivered fearfully somewhere close to Prince Chavez, she couldn’t help but wonder how something so simple, so obviously benevolent like her collar could get her into so much trouble with these people! In Glacia, this NEVER happened! Yes, some of the Light Jeweled reported being harassed but they were bad people who hated the Dark Religion and didn’t understand that it was their own good! Valeska was a good little witch and a good personal servant to Lady Elena. Just ask her!

In her fear, she almost reached out to the only haven she had here, the only person who would believe her, but she stopped. Bringing Lady Elena into this would only anger the Steward more and he was already so angry!

When the sensual one, the one who had nearly killed Valeska, suddenly surged forward, pinning the Steward with body and claws, Valeska let out a scream and cowered away.

With her eyes closed and her shoulders hunched, braced for something more to go wrong, it took Valeska far too long to realize that the Prince was talking softly to her. She looked up at his exotic face as he spoke, his voice calm and compassionate, but his words were hard and Valeska couldn’t swallow them. No, she agreed with him that these people were NOT her loving parents but the collar being about extortion? No, no, that wasn’t right! Why did no one understand this? It was a promise! A promise of protection, of love. No one was supposed to mess with her if she had the collar on!

Valeska shook her head over and over, trying to resolve religion, reality, and this awful nightmare that had twisted up into both of those things. She didn’t notice the others leaving. She remained cowered, with the Prince to protect her, but she was lost in her own fears.

Tears, big and bright, filled her eyes and for the first time since the conversation had begun, with only Prince Chavez to hear, Valeska sobbed out, “I w-w-want to g-go h-h-home.”

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #26 on: Apr 08, 19, 02:05:46 PM »
He had bought himself some time. As the crazed witch retracted her snaketooth just enough for him to move, he straightened his tussled tie and shirt, mannerisms built to give him a sense of returning to control and confidence. With a tug of his jacket, he said, “It would be my pleasure.” And it didn’t sound quite like he was lying.

Damn Palacios! Rodrigo should have never taken the deal!

As they walked, Rodrigo began constructing ways out of this predicament, ways this could all play out. The Prince Chavez had promised that he would escape punishment if he cooperated. But how to maneuver this to his advantage? The outcomes all began pointing to him having to surrender the maid and pay a Price. But what if he could negate some of that hardship? What if…

Surrendering the maid was no consequence. He could get another, even one as exotic as her. As Rodrigo walked with the two witches, he began to see how much ignorance and blame could help him in this situation. And it was not too far from the truth! Did that not make the most believable of lies, the ones that had a kernel of truth to them? Yes, yes it did. And he would use that to his advantage now.

As Naraii asked him how he had come by the maid, Rodrigo answered truthfully. “She was a Price from a Prince Alberto Palacios, whose men attacked the father of one of Lady Elena’s Bonded. The father was grievously wounded and the Lady’s Price was a termination of Prince Palacios’s contract with the Court, as well as hefty fines. He paid part of those fines with the mai—the Lady Drachlan, since she had experience as a personal servant to aristocracy. How he came to acquire her, I have little idea. I wanted to wash our hands of him and did not look into it any further.”

And if he survived this encounter, all of his under the table contracts with Palacios would be terminated as well. This man had cost him far too much trouble!

“And despite the girl’s fears, you will find that I have been a magnanimous member of society with her. Prince Palacios intended to…cultivate…her for twisted means and I believe he turned that collar she wears against her in an effort to train her. Lady Elena will vouch for me – the girl has been treated very well since her arrival.”

Mostly. There was the initial incident where Palacios demonstrated the electrifying power within the collar but Rodrigo had never used it since then. The threat of its use had been enough. But Elena, if she ever left her bed and males, could honestly state that Valeska had been a wonderful addition to their staff and well-cared for.

Now it was Rodrigo’s turn to ask a question, of sorts. “I assume that our Lady Araneina is investigating leads that perhaps Lady Drachlan and others like her did not come to our Territory through…legal means?”

Offline Naraii Elizondo

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Re: Aiming Blind
« Reply #27 on: Nov 07, 19, 01:36:46 PM »
"So..." Naraii said, letting the syllable drag out in a pointed fashion, drawing attention to her next words. As she continued, she watched the man walking at her side with a narrowed, disdainful eye. "What you're telling me is that you accepted her as payment. A Blood woman. You trafficked her. Am I hearing that right?" Though her tone was quiet and even, there was a danger in the careful enunciation of the words and the way her amber eyes held so tightly to him.

Prince Barbero insisted that Valeska had been treated well, and though Naraii maintained her composure in response for the most part, her hands subtly fisted at her sides.

"You could build an altar of appreciation for a stolen piece of art, have it tended to by experts and guarded by the best paid security team around. Surely you can understand that the art would still be stolen, and proof of a crime, yes?" She spelled the metaphor out clearly for him, all but daring him to deny the truth of it.

His final comment gave her pause, and as they made their way into his office she was quiet for a beat in response, trying like hell to shove down her temper and approach this conversation with more brain and less instinct. Instinct assured her that Delilah obviously hadn't hit him hard enough, as he was still speaking with polish. Intellect reminded her that they'd never actually gotten around to explaining what'd brought them here before the drama had unfolded. He knew by her title that she was likely here looking into something for the Queen, but he'd made the leap on his own that the whole matter was about Glacian slaves. Or was he just guessing, given how distracted the trio had been by Valeska's situation?

"What others like her?" she asked, keeping her tone as neutral as possible.





 

 

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