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* Plot Information for Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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: Let Me See a Wandering Star  (Read 534 times)

Description: Tag: Raziel, 193 Spring, Just before Queen's Gala

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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      Haloriel

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    • "I love without pride, sans artifice."

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Let Me See a Wandering Star
« on: Jun 11, 18, 10:16:53 AM »

My heart's been right there all along, no more fears. No more sighs, no more tears; I've said my last good-byes ...



"Lady, Lady."

Estrellien flipped over on her chaise lounge in her office, muttering a curse about her schedule. The noise grew louder, and she covered her head with a pillow. Then, music interrupted her trying in vain to rest. "All right! I am up. Are you sure I cannot have ten more minutes? There was a dream with--eh, nevermind. Thank you, Prince Alcides."

"Prince Cavallero will be to collect you in two hours, and that is if he is early by thirty minutes, Lady Gualtierrez." The expression on the woman's face was absolutely deadpan in response to the announcement. If I cancel, he will either kill me, laugh while killing me, or never take me at my word again, Estrellien thought while pressing her hands to her eyes with a long, heavy sigh. Of course, it wasn't his fault that she had been unable to sleep for the last several nights. At least not well. It had not been anyone's issue save for her own.

"Up, now. If you are ready to go before he arrives, it will be all the easier for you," the elder Prince adjusted his tie with a no-nonsense expression, which appeared moveable as granite.

Grumbling, Estrellien rolled to her feet - or at least she tried. A small paperweight sculpture had found its way from the desk to the floor, getting in her way of rising with any sense of grace. As Prince Fernandez turned toward the door, there was a screech and a loud crash. Turning back to face the Priestess Queen, the man's brows practically moved into his hairline while he struggled not to laugh, despite being a typically dour sort of individual. Estrellien blew several loosed locks out of her face and picked up the little statue of a stand of trees from the floor, gently pinging it with Craft to let the item float back to her desk.

"Just as it will be easier for you, just letting it out. Go on, get it over--"

She twitched at the guffaw from the man, remarking dryly, "I suppose now, I am awake," there was a time that she would never have been able to listen to being laughed at without offering some cruel turn in exchange. At this moment Estrellien almost laughed, though more in nervousness, herself. I promised him two days and we are probably going to end up dead, but at least it would be a good, satisfying death.

"I shall inform you when he arrives."

"No need. I will simply wait in the guest parlour, downstairs. It is neutral enough." The connecting door between her office and the hall that led to the woman's bedroom opened and shut; Prince Alcides continued to chuckle while straightening the office. Lean fingers rubbed over her face while she moved to go bathe, and dress. Simple attire, nothing complicated. Estrellien was awful at not-complicated anywhere near Raziel. Though she had teased him a little, her racing heart and thoughts were the issue primarily.

Trying to be better was easier spoken than actually practised. Her two Bonded males meeting had actually gone more reasonably than she expected, and while Estrellien planned to allow Prince Salvador similar time alone with her, she was anxious about that idea for entirely different reasons. With a nervous slowly drawn breath, the lady shoved her worries out of her mind after easing out of the gown she had been wearing and leaving it on the bed for the maid, which had already been prepared with a series of clothing options by the paid help.

Thank Mother Night she did not have to choose.

Estrellien sank into the bath up to her neck and then further until she was fully under the water. As she did not dally and linger, it took only three-quarters of an hour to finish both ablutions as well as her hair. Thank goodness for Craft and so many luxuries. Every time she dressed, this time with a tension radiating particularly strongly, she considered the items worn as a child. Restitched handed down dresses; her mother had been so skilled with a needle and thread that it was almost impossible to see. This time as she slid into red lace stockings with embroidery up the back of her legs, into a silk chemise in the same near burgundy hue, Estrellien was almost grateful for those old dresses. If anything, the experience had taught her the value of luxury that most Dhemlanese Blood no doubt took for granted that they would never lose it. The gown, however, was the sweet piece, as it had not even any metallic hooks. Just simple hidden buttons upon the shoulders while the back of the gown swept away from the shoulders to bare most of the skin there, clinging with soft lace.  The skirt held only three layers of the softest cotton to make a very full skirt to fall all the way to her ankles, enough for a beautiful sense of movement with the fabric and no more.

For Estrellien, the choice was extremely subtle, but she wanted something, as agreed upon, that she could move in, run or jump in. A simple necklace of freshwater pearls she placed around her neck, while long black hair was wrapped neatly into a bun at the nape of her neck secured with plain silver pins. After all, not every single clothing item the Priestess Queen possessed held to that standard she had created to fit in with the other Queens. She'd had to dig into her collection for these items not wanting to buy anything new as it would defeat the purpose. Once, what seemed eons ago now, she was just a student at Salamanca on a scholarship, hoping to make her way to something special. The shoes were simple, low red heeled boots. Looking in the mirror, with only a little blush and lip colour enhanced with Craft, Estrellien snatched up a delicate red floppy hat and settled it gently on her head.

In two bags small enough to not burden a Craft closet, she tucked four more dresses and accoutrements to go with said items, smoothed her dress again before twirling once for the mirror.

Yes, a good choice.

Altogether, it had taken the Priestess Queen an hour and a half to get ready. Going to the stairs, she eyed the long bannister with a playful, shy smile.

There was no one there to see her, she assumed. Biting her lower lip and looking about like a bandit, Estrellien hopped up, managing to balance--

And slid down the curling path with a happy shriek. Might as well pass the time, after all.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #1 on: Jun 11, 18, 05:39:11 PM »
*thud* went the last barrel of product into the storage shed in the back of the butcher shop. Raziel wiped his forehead. "Does she really need all this meat?" Raziel complained to himself after leaning on the most recently carried barrel from the carriage. To say that he was anxious about the upcoming 'date' with Stella was an overstatement but to everyone's credit, especially his own, anger didn't swarm through him at the idea: Confusion did. The confusion was why he could approach this date with some normalcy in comparison to how he would have acted in recent years. Which meant he needed some good food and some decent vintages - and was why he laboring for a butcher lady.

Raziel could not cook. He can boast, with pride, of the ability to burn water when trying to cook. So he found others who could. Prior to the butcher he paid off a debt for desserts by transporting flour. The butcher asked for a supply cart to be unloaded. The only thing he didn't have to work for was the appetizers - he had the Court chef make those. With the last bits of labor done and the butcher making due on her promise, he packed the rack of smoked lamb away. He did a double count of whether he had everything he needed - Soups, meats for sandwiches or just straight up consumption (his plan), and dessert pastries. A small but filling meal for a night picnic. He then checked the time.

Fifteen minutes after the promised time Raziel returned to the estate with his hands in his pockets, his bowler lightly tilted and fresh-faced. He had changed out of his working clothes to more relaxed ones, a simple tee and slacks. The only thing of note was his worn but sturdy riding jacket and a light sombrero. He didn't even make it to the front door before being addressed by the Steward. "You are late."

The relationship between Raziel and the Steward was a rocky one. Estrellian's lead bureaucrat loathed Raz's impulsiveness and disorganized methods. Raz, similarly, saw the Prince as a shut-in and the equivalent of walking pen-and-paper. Great for his role, but little substance behind. The feud and heavy estrangement between Raziel and Estrellian however put him often as referee and the two had buried their hatchet with the Steward telling him frankly that he would never get involved, as it was none of his business, and that he would never choose sides - the situation was far too complex, in his view, for any side to be chosen. Raz didn't like it, for obvious reasons...but he respected that view. They then brushed shoulders ever since.

"Why? What time is it?" He looked at the sky. "It ain't THAT late." He waved a hand. "I had to finish working off for the food for tonight!"

"That is what we have a chef for, Prince." The Steward's frown deepened. "And given the tenuousness of the occasion, tardiness is going to make her frantic." His voice then took a more nuanced tone. "I am of the opinion that this is an ill-advised venture. No guard and no formal escort. She will be vulnerable. You will be the only one, should the unthinkable happen, to protect her."

Raziel arched a brow at him as he pulled off his gloves. "And?"

"The safety of the Queen is paramount." Prince Alcides looked him square in the eye, a characteristic that few had. He didn't even flinch when exposed to the pressure of his Jewels and the Warlord Prince's emotions either. "Promise me you will keep her safe...and show her a good time." He added the last after a moment's pause. "...Your word, Raziel."

Raziel hadn't thought of that. She would be alone with him. No eavesdroppers. No guards looming overhead. He could kill her and no one would know. Anything could happen to her...and no one would know. Raziel let out a breath and shook the Stewards hand once. "My word, Alcides. She will return safe." The two nodded and then the Steward revealed a rose, and offered it to him. The Warlord Prince eyed him oddly. "My dear Alcides. I didn't think you cared about me that much....but to offer me this the day of my date with another-"

The Steward cleared his throat to interrupt him. "It's not for you. I figured you would be too scatter-brained to remember the simple things." He then turned from Raziel. "She waits for you in the guest lounge. I will-"

"Nah! I got it." He slapped Alcides on the back and made the man stumble a foot forward. "Take the day, hombre. If I can't fetch her then why are we even bothering, si?" He then walked past the Steward as he re-adjusted his attire and left to his own affairs.

At nearly twenty minutes past the mark Raziel entered the guest lounge and saw what Estrellian called her 'come-me-down' outfit. He half anticipated that she would wear some upteen pounds of gold somewhere on her person since they agreed to outright wear money. This outfit though? It made her look....well...practically human. Ensorcelling, just the hint of seduction but a presentation of simply beauty to his eyes that required the person to carry the image more than the dress. It worked for her, whether she would ever agree with it or not.

"How is it possible for us to dress like civi's and I still feel under-dressed?" Was the first words he spoke to her. "You look entirely radiant mi amor." He offered her the rose stashed to him by the Steward. "Though now I feel like this does a disservice."

He adjusted his sombrero. "We have a bit of a ride to get to where we will be going. Since your going to where I am wanting us to go first, I feel it only fitting you take the lead for our second day si? Then be back here by nightfall. I would recommend midnight, but I fear sweet Prince Fernandez would have a heart attack." He smirked.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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      Haloriel

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #2 on: Jun 11, 18, 07:37:30 PM »
She had only managed three slides down the bannister before Prince Alcides caught her and made a distinct face of disapproval. It had been worth it however and even while pacing the parlour and anxious, the moment had made her smile. So lost in her own head, and aware that the First Escort was late, though fifteen or twenty minutes was hardly a big deal, she hadn't noticed the discussion out by the front door at all. The Priestess Queen was in mid-turn when Raziel made his appearance; she was hit like a brick to the abdomen noticing how she felt the Red Jewelled Warlord Prince's presence before she ever turned her head to see him. For centuries, Estrellien had long chosen to ignore that pull because it gave her such conflicting feelings. Now, she quietly revelled in the power of his presence, releasing a slow breath. Hands folded together, the lady smiled.

No, I do not care that he is late, only that he is here.

Aware that her pulse thumped along like a snare drum in the midst of a concerto, Estrellien did her best to play it cool.

Radiant, he said, so much for cool.

The red lace hat she wore obscured her face as she looked down, hiding the pink spreading over the crests of her cheekbones. A tiny smile curved her lips. "I might seek to portray a certain look to match other Dhemlanese Queens, but I was properly taught how to dress down or up ..."

She stilled, however, at the sight of the perfectly bloomed, brilliant red rose, with its little end cap to protect the roots and a sufficiently long stem wrapped in ribbon. "So good ... no, no. This is beautiful," the Lady Gualtierrez remarked. Since the thistles were covered by ribbon, she did not have to worry about pricking her skin. For several long moments, the Priestess Queen stood with the rose brushing against her cheek; as she held it the flower even further came to life while it was questionable if even a dead man would have missed the subtle flash of boiling desire in her golden eyes as she smiled wide and laughed low.

"No. It is perfect."

Twirling once, she looked around the guest parlour and finding a pretty, empty crystal vase on a table, that had been waiting for other flowers given the water next to it, she gently placed unwrapped the roots just enough and placed the flower in the water. She stepped back away from the flower on the table and clapped her hands. "Perfect," she repeated, and while walking back to Raziel, brushed a thumb over one of his hands. No Craft, just an ordinary touch.

"Shall we go? I am entirely yours."

Another smile, even as her insides were wholly butterflies.

Is this really happening? Mother Night, preserve me.

"You look good, you know. Really. Do not underestimate yourself."
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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      Lochlan

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #3 on: Jun 13, 18, 08:33:30 AM »
"And here I am only trained in how to put one leg on at a time." He feigned dissatisfaction, but gave her the rose laying the wrapped end into her hand. It was strange, seeing her so happy. He could envision, which he did, her laughing at being offered such a thing. It was rare, that any amount of common decency would be received with warmth from her - she just as much would suspect foul play on his part, some trap to lure her in. Now however, she simply looked normal. Which was both frustrating, confusing and satisfying all at the same time. So he simply ran with it.

She will slip and reveal her intentions soon. She always does. This game she plays. The thoughts, in silence from his face, ran through his head. Perhaps it was the fact that the Prodigal Son was darker than both of them, giving her some semblance of security and gave her a prideful jolt where once Raziel's presence would make her cower? Did she need a reminder? That not only was she is, but to do with as he saw fit? No. The simple answer never worked. Perhaps she had finally managed to swindle the Steward in on some scheme against him, and was why the Steward extracted his word - knowing Raziel would go to Hell and back before breaking it if he could help it.

Perhaps the Prodigal Son was the answer after all? Estrellian nurturing anything resembling love with Raziel was alien. Her nurturing anything with Raziel was alien. Estrellian nurturing it, to rip it from his hands and laugh as she hop-skipped with those little red slippers to Salvador's chambers?

That....sounded more like her. The Last Laugh, huh? He kept it in the back of his thoughts, and the confusion gave way to caution - something more easily navigable than the bafflement he had been left in by her actions.

"Bah! I look like I just rolled in from a horse stable, and not working them either." He looked over himself. Then he waved his hands as if to dismiss the issue. "But I suppose we should! We have a ride ahead of us. Say adios, mi amor. We travel the country tonight." Raziel had touched base with friends of his in Salamanca to double-check the weather in the area. They had told him everything he needed to know and was why the day was specifically chosen when it was. 

Raziel took her outside, mounted his steed and helped her into back saddle. Then he galloped off into the country. In many ways, Estrellian got to see what Raziel did most of the time while he was away. Riding the roads, passing through the city and then what villages they past as he rode. Many even waved or shouted hello at his passing. A shout to one, a wave to another. The trip took about an hour before Raziel cut off the main road and went into the adjacent woods and steered the horse into a quaint little strut. It was a little after sunset with the last beams of sunlight beginning to vanish.

He stopped when they breached the treeline, entering an open field flanked by woods in the distance on various sides and distances. The sounds of the city and everywhere else had vanished. Only the sounds of the world existed here, a sound that put Raziel at ease. "And. Here we are." He said, slipping off of his horse and then helping her down. "Welcome to the back ass end of Dhemlan." He said with a gesture of hands to...well...wilderness. "Not a soul or village for miles." He put his hands on his hips. "I suggest we make ourselves comfortable. The show will begin when the sun finally leaves which..." He looked up at the midnight-blue sky hued with orange. "Doesn't seem to be that long from now."

"Now! We have all the necessary amenities." And out came the hard work he had prepared for. A basket containing a full course dinner, a blanket (which was Raziel's window curtain from the manor, he suspected Alcide would lose his mind when he found out), Two candles in glass bowls that he lit with witchfire, a warming spell to help fend off the cool summer night and a bottle of wine and two glasses to top it off.

"And.....There we are. A cozy dinner for two with a front-row seat." He gestured to the setup with a 'tada' sort of flare. "No metronomic Stewards, no sassy courtiers, no eye-gouging aristos. Just a hombre and his bonita." He settled down onto the blanket. "And feel free to dig in! There is plenty." As he began emptying the pic-inic basket. "I have one more gift for you before the show, but let us eat hardy first si?"

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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      Haloriel

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #4 on: Jul 05, 18, 06:04:04 AM »
"Adios, pretty mansion," Estrellien murmured with a tiny smirk.

A simple steed, though the quality of the animal was not remotely in question, Estrellien had not expected. Her interest lit up, between this, and the rose. Even if she had been aware that her Steward had taken the first efforts, Raziel would not have had to give it to her. Really, he did not have to be here at all. As such, the Priestess Queen was quiet in being assisted on to the horse, of which, being an experienced rider these days, was a simple matter. It was true. Her nurturing anything but irritation with her first Bonded was abnormal. She had always had felt something for him, regardless of her chosen actions at most times. She brushed a tiny bit of Craft over both their hats, so they would stay on for the ride while manicured hands slid over Raziel's back before settling smooth and still just below his heart. When he remarked they were departing, she turned her head back toward the Queen's Residence. They did not take roads that were familiar to her save by the occasional view of a map, or occasional travel through the district before leaving even that place.

It was what felt a long hour to Estrellien, with plenty to look at, which she did. As a girl, she had been familiar with the look of smaller places when her mother and father could get out for sightseeing once every five years or so. It was odd to be so comfortable with Raziel like this, so quiet and peaceful. Almost, she thought to say something, small talk, but the Priestess Queen couldn't bring herself to try, for fear of ruining how nice the first half hour had been. It was at that point Estrellien rested her head upon the First Escort's shoulder. During the second half hour, she almost fell asleep, which was telling. Estrellien almost never trusted anyone near her when that vulnerable. Thankfully, the change from cutting off the main road roused the lady. She only rumbled against his shoulder, noticing it was almost sunset.

Attention snared by the treeline and the open field with the forest all around pulled hard at her Queenly Caste in a way that being in the city never did. At first, the lady did not speak and only allowed Raziel to help her down. When her heeled boots touched the earth, she gasped, leaving only a hand on his chest for several moments before murmuring a thank you. "Comfortable," Estrellien whispered. As he placed his hands on his hips, she very absently kissed the man's cheek before stepping away, but not far. Only about five steps. "Yes," she said quietly, perhaps half hearing him. She was not sure if he thought through the ramifications of bringing a dual Casted woman to a forested area, but those were thoughts that were only half important now. What mattered was that she was here, surrounded by absolute beauty that she had only ever dreamed of.

Twirling on her feet, she snapped her fingers so that the boots would slide off, and shielded her legs and feet just enough so that she wouldn't run across a surprise sharp stick or something. The hat came off next, she just dropped it gently over the shoes, moving both out of the way of the blanket, which made the woman's awareness snap back to the present instead of the unintentional Land Delving that she had just done. By that point, she very much needed the food, and barely managed to remain standing without some minor embarrassment. It took true effort to pull herself back from the trees and the land. She carefully sank to her knees after he sat down, trembling. "The show," she echoed, voice cracking with emotion. "It is very lovely, Razi," she complimented, exhaling slowly. "Even without the show, this is ... so clear and clean, and pretty. Unspoiled. Yes, that's it."

Collecting one of the glasses of wine, Estrellien stared into the little bowls of witchfire. Just then, she was fighting not to cry, which was stupid because it was all so pretty. However, when she thought about that, her clever mind took other paths she did not mean to take. Breathe, Estrellien. By the mother, you will not ruin this. Carefully, she cleared her throat, lips twitching upward to a smile. "You have surprised me, very beautifully done," swirling the glass of wine carefully, she lifted hers to smell the tannins, which were rich, due to the age of the vintage alone. In unpacking, where he needed it, Estrellien lent her hands, letting her wine glass float about until choosing to claim it again each time. As usual, salad, and fruit, she claimed those first, which was particularly the case when nervous. When angry, she might have meat first, or when lightheaded from a loss of blood or the use of Jewels. Nibbling on an entire plate of tiny orange slices, she swayed from side to side. The lady made no mention of courtiers or anyone else, and instead, quietly watched the sky while eating.

Reaching out, she brushed her hand over the grass just beyond the blanket, where the remnants of stress simply pulled free of the Queen. Returning to eating, she watched Raziel until she cleared one plate, completely. Blotted her mouth with a napkin. Cleansed her fingertips with Craft. "It is like we both have pieces of ourselves that are entirely unknown to the other." She had meant to say that he had pieces unknown, but Estrellien slipped and tipped a hand she didn't plan. It grew a little hard to hear over the sound of her own heartbeat. "I like this. These pieces of you that are new to me. Thank you for bringing ... us here." A smile, unguarded and honest, softened her face as she decided to try to relax. She let her wine glass spin in the air like a tiny dancer.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #5 on: Jul 17, 18, 06:52:51 AM »
Raz took a look around the forested periphery as Estrellian danced and seemed to relish the openness of the land. No roads, dirt or cobblestone. No urban structures plotting everywhere. It was the wilderness where civilization hadn't reached yet. Raz wasn't a sap, but his hometown wasn't necessarily highly urban and instilled in him an appreciation for the rustic. And the wilderness, that the city just didn't have. It was open. Raw. Ever present. Nothing loomed, like a building or palace. Everything just was in a way that fed into everything else.

It was relaxing to look at and he didn't even need Queencraft to feel that way. "I agree." He said with a smile, nodding to how she described where they were. "I can't remember the last time I went camping. Legit camping si? Ships and other people's houses don't count. During college. Had a big camping party. Even then it was just like...there is something...here, that you just can't get in the city." He would never know, but Raz liked not knowing. He only knew what he felt, and that was enough.

"Guess it is part of the reason I enjoy my circuit so much! I mean, I get to ride around in places like this all the time. Can't beat that." He ended to begin eating. When she spoke of him surprising her he didn't understand it at first. He could call it predictable - the romance, the scenic view and giving his paramour the opportunity to step into a world that everyone saw but never really took the time to step into. Where politics was on the afterburner and life could just be had. What did one of his superiors call it? Stopping and smelling the roses. Right. The opportunity to relish the outcome of duty and service with someone you love.

Then he remembered why it surprised her. It was her. All she knew of him was rage, angst, righteous scorn and slivers of the man who believed that it was an honor to serve - not just a job. The rest? The musician in the corner playing at a rowdy bar or sharing stories over cards and too much liquour or swooning the prettiest face in the village for a one-night stand coupled with wine and coo'ing were some of the things she had never seen. To some degree he didn't even want her seeing it. She took enough from him, she wouldn't take his fun.

"I would certainly hope we do." He returned her a comment of both of them having things they didn't know. "Because if we didn't then we'd be some seriously shallow people si? Eh? All things considered?" He smirked and finished his own sangria.

"I suppose though...to be honest, it makes sense in a way." He mused, mostly to himself but spoke of it openly. "I mean...we've been bonded how long, and how many minutes have we spent, alone, in each other's company?" He specifically said minutes to suggest that to his knowledge the number was so abysmally low he wouldn't even bother trying to count the hours.

He went to go look for something to snack on after the full meal was, to his Jewels' credit, happily demolished when he realized he didn't even need the candles to find some sugar pastries in the basket. Which could only mean one thing. He looked up.

"Ah. Looks like it's getting ready to be showtime."



He looked up and tilted his bowler up more onto his forehead. He shook his head lightly, giving a light smile to his face. He had seen skies like this before. Out on the sea where the only thing in any direction was water and birds the only thing scenic was the sky. He would sit on the deck and look at it, imagining Mother Night painting him a picture as the stars would dot the sky and then the color of the sky would change in ways he was sure some nerd in Salamanca could tell him.

But that was long ago. Now he saw it in a different way. Mother Night didn't paint him, or anyone, pictures. Mother Night didn't do anything but inflict suffering, indirectly, from her ineptitude. A sky like this was beautiful because it came during a time in which she gave a shit. Wonder dotted his eyes imagining what that would be like. Where the void wasn't there, or the dull chill at the base of his spine just waiting to slide up his spine to his mind and kill the woman next to him, or her precious boyo, or her parents, or their little family shop.

For a moment, he felt something he hadn't felt in a very long time. peace. The bond wasn't necessary for his amor to see the gargantuan weights lifting from his shoulders as he mindlessly gazed upward. A breath taken as if Mother Night literally sat down and blew into his mouth.

Then the wonder was gone, as quickly as it arrived. Because Mother Night didn't care. No one did. Not Estrellian, save caring in her vanity. Not her parents, who he wanted to bap over the head with a pickaxe for leading her to think she was only as valuable as her assets. No one cared and those who tried were ground away because they dared to do so. Then everything returned as if it had never left. The ennui re-settled and he was as he was any other day.


 

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #6 on: Jul 18, 18, 05:15:40 AM »
Estrellien's brows only furrowed slightly at the description. As a Priestess Queen, even one shoved to and fro by the political whims of the Cáthedra, there were plenty of experiences she was unfamiliar with. Camping was one, even though she listened carefully to the words spoken. Apparently one could not do so in other people's homes nor on board a ship. Once more, the quick witted woman looked around. He must be meaning a place like this, to sleep under the stars. Technically, she could have found a similar spiritual freedom in a quiet temple, though Estrellien suspected that mode would not be a method Prince Raziel would accept. Rather than ask more questions, however, she allowed the Warlord Prince his quiet while eating.

It turned out the reward was to listen to him talk further while enjoying the meal. Though for herself, Estrellien waited while sipping the remains of her drink. When directed to look up, she was too surprised even to allow a gasp and instead only stared. The sky had become akin to so much fire in the darkness. Even as Raziel had allowed himself to sink back into the ennui that was to Estrellien, the man's greatest weakness she remembered what Salvador had said to her. That the Blood change and do not need to tie themselves to the past, so long as they remember and atone, so to speak. As such, the Priestess Queen rose to her feet and laughed, having finished her own glass of sangría moments before. It was nothing short of perfection, this sky. Having learned enough about constellations and the sky itself as one of many of her subjects of study over the centuries, the lady simply stood and observed. For a while it seemed as though she might remain quiet and not speak again for the remainder of the night.

It might have vanished, that wonder for the Warlord Prince behind her, but not for Estrellien. In her steps forward, her hat slid from her head, and she let it fall, too busy watching all of the stunning starscape and views before her. With soft whispers, she pointed out each cluster of brightness and each of the names within those groupings. "There are Landen names that are different for all of them, and in Scelt they are entirely different," she whispered softly enough so as not to ruin the beauty that surrounded, but as well be heard. Another several notes of silence held whole until Estrellien spoke again.

"It is beautiful. Do you wish for us to stay the night? It seems only right to greet the dawn as well in such a perfect place. The choice is yours entirely of course," she finished speaking before returning to sit next to Prince Cavallero. "I have noticed you for more than a few minutes, Razi." It was too hard to admit to all of the time having mattered, and very likely too dangerous to speak the words.

All near six hundred years had made a difference to Estrellien. The trouble was that she had noticed this fact far too late. A smile turned her lips upward in the gloom, brightened by starlight and witchlight. As Salvador had said, all she could do was become someone new, better, different. So, Estrellien did not even choose to remark further than that mysterious statement. Let him think of it what he wished. "Thank you for showing me this beautiful mystery. It is very much like you."
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #7 on: Jul 18, 18, 02:57:26 PM »
Watching Estrellian look up and try to name every millionth star in the sky was like watching a kid step out and see Winsol, and it's presents, for the first time - going no way are you kidding me?! Witch is the shit.. He crossed his legs at the ankles and poured himself another Sangria as he kept his eye on her, the other simply taking in the surroundings.

"Really?" He inquired as to the use of landen names. It made sense though, landen naming every star in the sky but what didn't make sense was that different landen called them different things. Why would it be different in Scelt than here in Dhemlan? It might be that the landen are not as globally-oriented as the Blood are - being able to traverse the winds making distance not a concern, all speaking the same language and having the same rules that dictate all Blood. Landen didn't have such things and he did know how long of a sail it was from Dhemlan to Scelt...it was a long time. To someone without his powers, it would seem a world away.

"I have rooms set up at the closest village, about a twenty minute ride from here. We can greet the dawn from the roof for sure." He told her. "Your steward, and no doubt your boyo, but mostly your steward, would be over the moon if they learned I took you to a remote forest out in the middle of nowhere and then we stayed here the night." He smirked. "So we'll stay out here until your ready to head in. I have plenty of booze and plenty of treats to last the stay." He anticipated she was waiting for him to pull a sexual move so she could turn it down again, say that Salvador is the greatest thing since sliced bread and then act like she didn't do anything. He would cut her off at the pass and not even bother suggesting anything remotely like it.

He didn't give the mysterious saying much thought. He figured she was talking about tonight, which in a way was true...they had been on a 'date' for more than a few minutes. That was the extent of his musing into her words - having learned never to take her words for much emotional depth. It's usually just a trap. "Why are you thanking me? The show hasn't even started yet." He poured himself a glass of sangria and then took a drink. "Speaking of." He revealed a spyglass and put to his eye, a hint of Craft sparking when he did. He looked around for a few minutes before noticing something and smiled. ...."They weren't kidding."

He tucked the spyglass away. "Showtime." He pointed to where he was looking, a little off to the west. "About halfway up from the horizon." He cast a spell that seemed to magnify the sky around them, a trick he learned when he was out at sea so that she could see a growing mass of streaking lines faintly darting across the sky. He moved out of her way so she could watch as he settled onto his back and crossed a leg over the other so he could look up.

"Always wanted to see one. Too many colors out at sea so it blinds them." He told her as he watched the streaks like someone trying to see if he could catch one.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #8 on: Jul 18, 18, 04:57:36 PM »
Almost absently the Priestess Queen nodded, gaze once more back on the impressive sky. To her, there was more energy, more romance in just these moments. Even if she could never, ever have him, it would have meant a thousand things to her. Noting Raziel's standoffish caution mingled with enjoyment told her a thousand things more about the man than any of the kisses that she had managed to delightfully receive from him. Estrellien had sent herself upon a course that would be difficult to track with his focus on revenge, and she had understood that weeks ago. That he was here and they weren't fighting was like a sweet breeze of air whipping through the treetops. More than once her eyes glittered with tears, but she studiously kept it out of her voice, swept her hands through her hair to disguise the falling blend of water and salt. It left the beautiful, yet simple arrangement revealed to have very few pins entirely removed over the space of a half hour, the pins placed neatly in the hat before both were vanished away.

The truth of the matter was that having two Bonded, one that knew the possibility of every fault and how far negatively she could go and one that did not and could forgive her were the sweetest gifts in the world that she had not earned the right to, yet. But I will try, I swear it. "Yes, really. The expense for Landen, Jewelless Blood, and even Blood that are not aristocratic nor cannot ride the winds is considerable. While you were away we tended to a number of judgements in their favour, and in so doing, of course, had to study Scelt before a fair decision could at all be made. Most I am sure, would choose in favour of the Dhemlanese Long-Lived. But we have so much wealth that eventually most of those decisions won't affect those traders trying to make their living. I am only lucky I suppose that I did not make any obvious enemies!" She gave the Logrona Court its due credit but claimed the right of others retaliation for herself alone. The marked difference in the wording was something she simply skipped over to the next topic. It would be a miracle, she imagined, if Raziel felt something for her more than indifference, caution or hate, and nor had it occurred to her yet that both men would defend her right to exist with particular ferocity. Estrellien did not realise that the person she dearly wanted to become was what had likely drawn Salvador to her in the first place.

"A village." There was a long, decidedly, and surprisingly unhappy pause. "I see ..." She didn't realise until that moment that sleeping just out here would have been beyond every possible dream. Normally, she'd have complained at a mere village. A frown creased Estrellien's face, which was neatly turned away that her First Escort could not see it. The last thing she wanted was for him to misunderstand the reason for it. In fact, she was feeling so much and trying her best to keep it under some semblance of control that a sensual interlude probably would have been easier. "I suppose I was hoping for something almost as unusual as this, but the beauty of the sky, untouched lands, but you are right. Prince Fernandez would be beside himself," she continued, "but even a village could be construed as unusual beauty," Estrellien remarked carefully.

"I am not sleepy, so for now, I would like to stay. But if you are feeling tired, please tell me?" If she had known that he never took her for much emotional depth, Estrellien probably would have laughed herself to sleep. As a woman and not even a Priestess or a Queen, she was the precise opposite. Yet, she had spent considerable time convincing Raziel otherwise, that it seemed he believed the ruse. Sadness welled up and rather than wallowing, she shaped and formed it, learned why her sadness was late and less important than the pain she had caused. The ability was a distinct merging of Emotional Healing and an ability to connect to the Darkness with the ease that half the Cáthedra liked to pretend they could. Her interest in the spyglass peaked, but she didn't dare touch it, only watched. When he magnified the space they were looking at, Estrellien did gasp and slide forward on to her knees. It was proper at such a moment, to make a wish at least it had been according to her mother. She closed her eyes and threw out a thread into the sky, unfettered and beautiful. *I wish more than anything in the whole of Kaeleer to be a real Queen and a Priestess that loves. Compassionate and true to myself.*

With Raziel's attention on the sky and her wish given, she focused Craft in her hands while staring at the sky, bits of sand pulled from the soil very, very carefully so as not to destabilise the blend here. It was just enough to create a glass globe. Sapphire spun around her as she took a little witchflame and real fire, then preserved it. It took nearly all of Estrellien's cut Sapphire with a tiny speck left to make the little globe. She very humbly floated the rich, incredible work of art to Raziel, which had captured the 'falling stars' almost perfectly as anyone could, with a balanced blend of Caste craft that was quite priceless. "For you, Prince Cavallero," she whispered. Then proceeded to dig through the food and pour herself another sangría because that had been work. "It is not the sky for real, I do not think anyone could actually capture it. But you clearly love it so ... for you."

After a length of thoughtful silence, she spoke again.

"I am thanking you because I should. You were not required to agree to this outing." There was a tremor in her voice that Estrellien couldn't help. "It is outside the range of our Contract." She leaned over where he lay, before choosing to stroke her fingers near his cheek, but not actually touch. "Tell me a story about these stars, please? You must have a thousand." Impossible hair made a pillow as she too lay back on the improvised blanket. "As to our dear Steward, he's going to scream, you know," Estrellien remarked with a huge grin.

"I can hear it now. You did what with your curtains?! I cannot imitate the stiff posture he takes when offended."
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #9 on: Jul 21, 18, 06:47:53 AM »
"Huh." was all Raziel had to say about the landen and non-Jeweled blood. His thoughts seemed to be on the nose. Too far away and too distinct that they make up their own names and nomenclatures. I guess that is culture for you.. He pondered if, one day, he went to Dhemlan in the Realm of Light would the place be utterly different. Possibly. The Realms were the closest thing the Blood had to 'half-a-world-over' in terms of travel.

"Ha!" Raz laughed at her desire for something more unusual than sitting out in a forest. "I promised I'd keep you safe and a promise is a promise." He even crossed his heart. "And he totally would." He smirked. He took on a face that was nothing more than monocromatic, then spoke in a deadpan monotone. "Camping exposes her to too many dangers Prince. The risk of such a venture was too high." It was his best Alcides question.

When requested to tell her if he was tired he simply nodded. Raziel did not get tired easily, even when he was out in the district riding and talking and drinking and working and doing business all day. Sleep was never something that went well with him. To sleep was too dream, and Raz didn't like his dreams. Death and pain and suffering nearly every time, the others were typical dream-seizes that made no sense and vanished moments after waking. She didn't need to know that though. She didn't need to know anything. A possible reason for this date perhaps, to try to slither under the skin of the viper without it's fangs knowing.

Sure enough, another attempt to get under the skin was presented to him with her Craft gift which he watched her make with curiosity. When she put it in his hands he stared at it, eyeing the hundreds of lines crossing the little sphere the same way they did across the sky. "I must say...a nice evening and a gift? Color me surprised. Thank you." The words were meaningful, the words 'thank you' softer than the rest of his sarcasm as if it was entirely drowned by it, struggling to reach the surface. Gifts. When was the last time he received a gift? A personal one, like the one she just offered him. He didn't even bother to stare at the sky anymore, staring gently into the sphere of ever-passing stars with it's backlit night sky. "Mother Night may be the greatest absentee mother of all time...but she had some creative chops. No denying that." He said to no one as he kept looking.

should. Thanking him because she should huh? He supposed it couldn't be helped. He practically drilled into her a way of living through threats of violence and subversion. No desire or want. Just ritual. Things are done because they should be done, not because they want them to be done. Must be a Priestess thing. Or repetition. He shrugged. The fact that he didn't have to, that it wasn't stipulated in the contract made him smile. Why did he come then? The answer was as easy, and plain, as how he said it.

"Mi amor asked me on a date. Why would I say no?"

The quip about Alcides once again made Raziel smirk. "...finally noticed, huh?" He chuckled. "I'm sure he will be too flabergasted to respond properly. Then say something along the lines of 'Please refrain from using the -draperies- in one of your future silly schemes, Prince Cavallero.'" He shook his head. Alcides just needs to get laid. Or drunk. Preferably both.

"A story about the stars?" He looked up at them again. He had never seen the shower before, hence why he wanted to come out and see it - something new to share to waylay the usual same-old routine between the two of them. He knew of it, and thus took him a few to realize he didn't have a story about them. So like any sane person, he made one up on the fly.

"A long time ago, stories say, there was a man and a woman in love. The man, one day, went out to sea but never returned. The woman believed that Hell had taken him before his time, and set out to find her beloved. She sailed for forty days and forty nights, overcoming every obstacle the world set out for her. Brigands attacked her, but she defeated them. A storm stole her food, so she learned to fish. She sailed to the depths of Hell, where the High Lord In His Glory awaited her saying that no living soul shall touch the earth in Hell. He wrecked her ship, but she swam. He sent the sharks and the beasts of the sea after her but they could not catch her. 

The High Lord offered her gold to make her turn back and she declined. He offered to kill her, to rejoin her husband in death but she refused. She would reclaim his soul, for she was his and he was hers. Her insolence infuriated the High Lord, who smote her in his wrath for defying the will of Hell - but not before she touched the shores at his feet with her finger. Upon her death, Mother Night felt the loss of their love, one so strong it could defy Hell itself, that she went to Hell and claimed them both. It infuriated the High Lord, being robbed in such a way for violating His law, and set out fiends to reclaim them. It is said that the shower is the chase. The lovers the first to cross the sky, with all of the High Lord's goon squad following them in vain."

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #10 on: Jul 21, 18, 12:24:47 PM »
Musical Embellishment: Locura (You Tube)

Estrellien snickered in response to the laughter and smirk. "I suppose the frightening and terrible wildlife is going to eat me and all you will have to bring back is my dress and one shoe. Just one, because a wild squirrel ate the other," she remarked with a very dry, deadpan tone. Yet, the woman shook her head with an intensity that it was nearly possible to pluck from the air around her. She wished dearly for the day that he might not be so surprised that she was kind, that she had most of the time, deep and moving, passionate thoughts about everything from sunlight to ocean currents. Her hands balled to fists, confused about this sudden, new emotion that tore through her.

Most of her gifts, if she gave him any at all had always been completely in bounds of the Contract between them, First Escort to Queen, and nothing more, though certainly also never less. So she very much understood the sarcasm, as well as the way his voice softened. The globe had been a little bit of something she had learned to make based upon a model prototype her father had created, but never could get it to sell. She perfected it in her first year of University, hoping that it would help make ends meet, but the prideful Warlord did not want his daughter to use her skills that way. There were half a thousand things Estrellien could have said in response to the First Escort's reaction, but instead, the lady opted for silence. She did not want to ruin the moment, so instead, she simply watched the little globe with him.

A subtle movement followed from her that was so soft it could have been easy to miss without attention paid. She'd turned on to her side, and rested her head very lightly against Raziel's shoulder. She made no comment to his thoughts on Mother Night, as it had already been made very well plain that they had vastly different feelings on religion, whether or not her Red Warlord Prince believed her capable of ocean deep thoughts or not. She viewed the Mother as completely real, and true, that she could feel her presence every single time she Connected to the Darkness. Estrellien gave no care at all to the idea that the Priestesshood was reserved for status and politics, and found herself always moved by the warmth and truth of pure ritual for the sake of itself. No, not absent at all, just that all of her creatures had Free Will, with the single exception of Witch returning however as often as she was needed to be reborn to balance the scales of their world.

Yet, even Witch and the way she was born and lived, there existed free will, she felt, which explained cruelty, explained the existence of evil thoughts and things, and people. It explained how and why a Priestess Queen such as herself could end up corrupted so badly she begged for death. Yet, Estrellien had come to respect Raziel's beliefs, and as such, she again allowed for a gentle silence. Truly, it was perfect timing considering the story that followed it, neatly on the heels of his words, while likely not intended to have done so, plucked around those ill-used parts of her heart. There were a thousand and a half or more reasons he could have said no, and given that they both knew this, the curious tenderness of his response moved her. Rising up on one elbow, Estrellien moved to kiss Raziel's cheek. From there on as he told the story, the Priestess Queen laid every bit of her attention to his words, the way he breathed, and not least, the passion of the story.

"Very, very beautiful story. My turn, for a tale of romance, deserves music," Estrellien finally said after allowing a little quiet to process the details, the subtle pieces of what he'd told her. She wondered if he would be such a star at the end of his days, chasing after a once-lost love in the skies, forever. Still leaning on her elbow, the Priestess Queen leaned forward, very near to Raziel's ear while tilting her head down so that the softness of her voice might brush along the sensitive skin of his neck. Drawing in an almost nervous breath, the middling soprano of her voice carried a rich, low weight as she sang very intimately, quiet toned, clear that the tiny offering in exchange was not for the world, but only for him. The song was about a dancing girl in love and waiting for a man that had taken his life, not realising that she had been waiting for him as long as he had for her. She hoped the song would serve two-fold; a repayment for the story and a kickstart for her Red Warlord Prince to find a new muse out somewhere in the world.

♪'La locura que tenía en los ojos,
Y el fuego que ardía en su cuerpo.
Con mantilla por las calles bailaba,
Su aroma esparcía con el viento,
Morena...
 
Lágrimas de un amante desesperado,
Su alma llena de tristeza, se quemaba.
Si él supiera que por las noches, lo estuvo esperando,
No hubiera terminado con su vida;
Que pena!'♪

The sound of her voice was edged with a muted raspiness, clear that she had not sung in quite a while. Estrellien followed it with the same song in the common tongue, though it considerably lacked the infused beauty of the older tongue, though the way she had sung it was very indicative of her origins as a one of the Blood out of a commoner class than any kind of aristocrat. She wondered as well if Prince Cavallero believed in the story he had told, of its purpose and passion, the undying, perfect and beautiful love. The consideration crossed a sharp, unyielding mind that she might ask in a future moment if things between them were ever less tangled and painful.

♪'The craziness her eyes had,
and the fire in her body burning.
Dancing in the streets with a scarf,
her scent spreading with the wind,
Brown girl...
 
Tears of a desperate lover,
his heart full of sadness was burning up.
if he knew that all these nights, she was waiting for him,
he wouldn't have ended his life,
What a pity!'♪

Though tempted to offer him her Queen's Touch, she still had not discovered why it did not seem to work well for him. As such, Estrellien did not want to ruin the moment as it could entirely backfire. So very much, she wondered if he was content in remaining with her, and so dearly desired to gift him more. At the same time, she understood that offerings of warmth too swiftly spaced could also lead for him to distrust her motives, and fairly so. As such, the lady was quiet afterward and settled one hand over where Raziel's heart lay, making the decision to lay mostly still at his side.

Soon it would be time for her evening prayers, tenderly spoken love letters to the Mother, but for now, Estrellien very much liked right where she was. It showed in the rather vast manner her psychic scent shifted. The impression of pure avarice that seemed to always be there in Estrellien to some degree even if it was very small and subtle absolutely vanished. At that moment all the Priestess Queen was thinking, feeling, and breathing in was the male at her side. The instinct to press her lips to his bloomed from a startling warmth which spread from head to toes, though she did not give herself into it. Instead, the lady chose just to allow an observation of those emotions, aware that it had been long centuries since she had felt anything resembling this peculiar selflessness.

"Mi amor, my love," she whispered, barely able to hear over the sound of her own wild pulse. "How are you feeling? Is this good? Can I do anything for you? Hold you, listen to you?"
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #11 on: Jul 30, 18, 02:39:00 AM »
"...but at least she had a good time!" He smirked, believing her deadpan demeanor to be her version of the Steward. It was a good one. He wouldn't deny her that. "But I wouldn't bring the shoe home. I'd keep it as a memento, sailing on my own quest to Hell to get mi amor back and i'd need it to make sure I found the right person." He tapped his temple. "Think ahead."

Raziel did not flinch or move when she settled herself, slowly, onto his side and shoulder. He wasn't even growing stiff as he might have before. He still suspected some longer game being played, some 'gotcha' moment that she was going to pull on him at the last minute that would make him curse everything from her to the Darkness for once more spitting in his eye. That suspicion however did not overwhelm the general feeling of warmth that came from his amor being next to him.

Lost souls amongst the stars huh? It seemed his off-the-cuff story came from somewhere indeed. He thought on it as he continued to swirl the globe in his hands have anticipating it to turn to water but it didn't. The specks of light continued to travel around and around in the globe never ending, and turning it simply refreshed the image he would see before. The same sky with it's low ambiance of color and the streaking lovers and their pursuers.

Then she sang.

It was...odd. Hearing Estrellien sing. A part of him believed she could have burped the alphabet, and he still would have felt it was the best thing he had ever heard. Truth be hold, but vehemently denied by him at all times that the parts of Estrellien she was thinking he thought her incapable of were the very things he admired in her. He had come to the conclusion, so very long ago, that the bond between them just made what was already there real. Ever-present and almost tangible in it's realism. It is why he hated her just a bit more than necessary and gave her freedom more than his hatred demanded. His hand would stay when he would try to end her and was comfortable when everything should be uncomfortable. Not even the emptiness he felt everyday could swallow those feelings away as much as he wanted to.

She was doing an awful lot just to pull a fast one on him. The longer she remained as she was, this woman who was now next to him the more Raziel began to doubt any charade. Which just made him more confused and ever more numb. He finally decided to vanish the globe so he could look up at the real thing before the sky swallowed them whole, idle wonder dotting his face. The kiss to his cheek, the hand on his chest. It felt nice. Right. And the Bond had nothing to do with those feelings.

"Mi amor..." He said when she asked what she could do for him. "It's funny. We have said those to each for how long...but never anything else." A moment's pause before he let out a breath. "...I wouldn't need the bond to love you, Stella. I wouldn't need...the gold, or the pompous fanfare, or the fancy dresses-but-they-certainly-help-sell-your-figure." He let out a breath looking to another part of the sky. "...Your far smarter than you give yourself credit for. And innovative. Your faith is as big as your oft-times gilded ego and have that slight sense of wonder to make sure that life never gets boring." He nodded a few times, mostly to himself deciding to simply speak what was already there and vehemently cursed for being so. "...No. I wouldn't need the bond."

He pursed his lips, thinking again before he nodded, shifting away from her drape so he could look at her. "Remember the last time we spoke like this? Where you said you didn't understand how I felt? And that nothing seemed to make sense?" He offered her his hand. "Take my hand, Stella...and don't run away."

Her hand felt soft to the touch against his own calloused ones. He took a moment to brush a thumb along the top of her hand before the sensation of Craft eminated from him, an Emotional Projection to give his amor the very thing she seemed the most confused about. The bond only offered context as he let her feel his emotions slowly.

.....

Confusion. What does it mean to serve? To fight? To kill? To exploit? Who do I serve? Confusion. The people or those in power? But what if the powerful hate the meek? What if the meek seek to supplant the powerful? Did I serve? Guilt. Killing people stealing only to avoid starvation. Slaughtering those who spoke against the regime. Ignoring food smugglers. Defying orders to return pirated goods to command by dispersing them among the villages. Why is the cost so high? Loss. Everyone is dead. Dhemlan killed them. Bandits, the Cathedra. Estrellien. Pirates. Mutineers. Should there be a price to serve?  The Purge. The maddened crewmen. The broken sailors. Those who sought the deep rather than succumb to madness. On Dhemlan....gilded goblets. Laughter. Crystalline ornaments and unfathomable decadence. Why did they not suffer? Anger. The starved people under manors built from gold. Why must I pay their price? More Anger. Visiting gravestones. Laughter. Estrellian. But I love her... Confusion. Laughter.

THEM Rage. Conceited and drunken aristos. Laughter. I HATE THEM! Rage. Watching landen officials from across the street. Sneaking into their homes and reading their letters. I'LL KILL THEM!! Spreading the blood eagle of the landen who salted the earth. THEN I WILL KILL HER! Estrellien. Laughter. A dozen threats. But I love her. Love. Watching her from the shadows as she performed rituals. Listening when she wasn't careful. Keeping an eye on her as she traveled from a nearby table. IT'S THEIR FAULT! Rage. Estrellien laughing with other aristos. Choosing which of seventeen different golden necklaces to wear. Siphoning more taxes to pay for more jewelry. SHE IS ONE OF THEM! Rage. Laughter. SHE WANTS TO BE THEM! More rage. Laughter. THEY DID THIS TO HER!. Anger and Determination. Raziel's barbed words to her. His adamancy on reasonable rulership. Scowling as her avarice grew unchecked. His continued circuits to hear what all thought of her.

...but Mother Night will take her away. Fear. The bodies of his lovers. The bodies of his friends. WHY WOULD SHE DO THIS? Confusion and Rage. His prayers yielding nothing, not even a feeling or instinct. His offerings left at the dark altars for Estrellian to laugh at him the next day. Loneliness. Severe loneliness.

Then, suddenly, there was something different. A strange feeling emerged from the rocket ride of swirling, interlacing emotions that built atop themselves like a cabin house...a dull ennui. A muted bliss. Nothing was gone, they were simply background noise now. The power and strength of his feelings immediately went away and was now dominated by that one, single sensation. To sink into it made everything numb. Emotion vanished for practicality and reason. The heat of the emotions tempered to a soothing yet sinuous chill down the spine. A smile would feel sinister. Losing that ennui would make you feel lost. Why? Everything makes sense now.

Mother Night doesn't care. No one cares. I do. I will. And I'll kill anyone who doesn't like it.


...

He took his hand from hers and let the spell immediately end out of fear of possibly spreading to the void to another unfortunate soul. He rotated his wrist as if he had just held something heavy for several hours. He hoped the second and last gift of the evening would help her understand, if at all, where Raziel was in relation to everything. Why he needed to find the answers he asked her not so long ago. Why it was difficult for Raziel to reconcile his feelings for her with Estrellien's antics. Why he perceived his life as a never-ending joke Mother Night was pulling for fun and that Estrellien represented most of everything that caused his confusion in the first place.

"...It is no globe, mi amor." He said to her. "But...it is the most personal thing I could give. In memory of the date."

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #12 on: Jul 30, 18, 07:13:37 AM »
Raziel's amusement at her reaction, part of which had been an approximation of their poor, maligned yet skilled Steward, tugged a little more of a smile to Estrellien's face. There was an intensity in her expression which grew further from what it had been when the Warlord Prince spoke. There was a deep tug in the region where her heart was supposed to be when he said that he would keep the shoe to go and bring her back.

If the conversation had not already moved on, there was no telling what she might have done to hear such a thing, a deep and honest truth. I do not deserve for you to bring me back from any kind of death, however, ran that hard and painful line of thought. Perhaps he would be better off simply moving on, limping from the pain of the loss of a Queen's Bond. It was very difficult to say because it wasn't like Queen's Bonds were easily replaced or something. She could eventually sense the blend of uncertainty and suspicion from him as well as a surprising warmth received from her nearness.

A lack of trust was absolutely expected, and completely fair. Yet, it was the warmth that startled her enough to need to smother a soft gasp. Dark, well-arched brows furrowed while lips that had long lost the little bit of face paint Estrellien had used many hours ago pursed. That he did not choose to interrupt her song allowed her pulse to race all the more with too many imaginings and thoughts of what that might mean, both positive and negative. In this case, just as all the rest, the Priestess Queen could never tell what was intended.

If she had known his thoughts about the Bond and what it meant, she might have wept for the beauty of such a thought. She did not know however that his considerations were a similar mirror as to her own, though the reality of Estrellien's musings could have been counted as certainly more romantic than she might have revealed to anyone watching. Love was possible between any Queen and male, she believed, Bond or no Bond. Her considerable gift with Touch and the Blood Magic able to strengthen it several-fold even in a man that she had no Bond with told her that very thing.

When far younger, and less drawn into the "scene" of Dhemlanese Queens, she'd managed to cultivate a very minor following of males that had practically survived off of her Craft abilities due to a lack of a Queen that could tend to them. For a moment, she regretted not remaining there among those students, for the more pure creature she could have been, rather than following the ache of power that had been a foolishly tempting craving. Curious, yet hesitant golden eyes studied Prince Raziel as he began to speak.

A flinch was held back when he said that he could have loved her without the Bond altogether, as that stirred feelings that were almost too painful to consider. He shifted away so that he could see her, but for a moment there was absolute panic because he moved away. Eventually, Estrellien understood that Raziel was trying to look at her directly, and found herself deeply puzzled at such feelings. Yet, there was no time to grant them a study. He was right about her faith. If there was one thing about her that had been unchanging in all the time that the Red Warlord Prince had been Bonded to the Priestess Queen, it had been her belief. "You love me?" It was not that she had not heard him say the words before, but that at this moment, alone with Raziel it was a little different. There was no one for either of them and especially her to perform for. That he had said such a thing willingly without the usual strife between them ...

Slowly, a blush built in her face as she bowed her head slowly, though not before Estrellien heard Raziel ask for her to take his hand, to which after a few seconds thought, she did. If she had expected anything, in particular, it might have been the brush against the backside of her hand with his thumb. The shock was what had followed that curiously roughened touch. She was pulled under as if the Craft that rippled through her were an ocean current that tugged her at a further depth each passing minute. At first, it did not seem so bad, just something of a pinch or a twinge of unsettling emotion. "I ... am not sure what I should--"

Fighting the roiling Emotional Projection had not been her intention, but the Priestess Queen was almost suddenly aware that if she chose to it could prove deeply unpleasant for her. He had told her not to let go, not to run away. That was the difficult part. She wanted to hide, to flee from the waves of feeling that she had no word for except immense. A tremor moved through the Priestess Queen, she who was doubly blessed as to deal with the spirit and the heart at once.

Sharply, she shook her head, turned away, but through some miracle the lady did not let go of Raziel's hand, nor deny the connection. It took several minutes, but she eventually stopped curling in on herself and bearing down against such an onslaught of pain, rage and confusion, she opened her barriers. A low, soft sob was her response when she did so. It couldn't be helped that a considerable amount of the inside of the layered feelings the man possessed painted her as a monster, and for a time, a very long time, Estrellien had been exactly that.

Buying to appease herself instead of those beneath her? There was a time that she did those things and just barely, the original village she had snatched from her first Bonded's once beloved mother had suffered. That first century with her as Queen had been as close to pure evil as one could possibly count, and only just far enough shy of breaking any actual laws that she wasn't of course, displaced. She had softened after he'd left several times, matured in his absence just enough not to be a little of an unholy terror, with her faith being the only thing that held her from real, vile darkness.

Tears slid down her face. He had not been wrong, and his service to the Navy had not helped entirely, no. There were too many times, she realised now that it had set her beloved backward and been unbearably painful - at least it would have been if he had been able to feel anything past the rage and need to kill. That had been her doing, at least in part. It hurt too much to weep, in truth, as tears were not a strong enough response to what he had endured in part for her sake, and as well for simply being fortunate to have been born Dhemlanese.

When Prince Cavallero released her hand and eased away from the Craft working, Estrellien still trembled. She barely heard the words that followed at first, laying her hands over her face. She was silent for a long while before struggling to rise to her feet. She raised a hand in his direction as if to signify she needed a moment, with the same hand that still shook a little before walking a distance away. It didn't seem to make any difference as to whether he followed her or not, because she made it perhaps ten steps before collapsing. 

"I'm fine. I will be, at least."

Curled in a ball, she wept for a time, which might have almost seemed no different from anything seen in previous emotionally overwrought moments. This time, however, Estrellien did not make a single sound. No, there is a better way. Instead of continuing weeping, she dried her face. Then, with the skill that had been cultivated for centuries of learning that she had tucked under a sleeve and hid, she cast Craft that pulled blood from her with the smallest droplets and force spread over much of the field that Raziel had brought her to.

"It seems it is you that I did not know," she sighed with a resigned ache in her voice, "There is so much that I should have said, as without it, of course, you couldn't begin to understand how much I ... feel. Not your fault." The woman clucked her tongue, pressing her lips thinly. "Death is not a mark I cannot get rid of easily, but I will never stop trying. Seeing these things, who you are, only tells me more of your value," She shuddered and finished it because one should finish what was begun.

Placing her hands upon the earth, she listened to the whispers; became the earth. The grass bloomed suddenly and furiously into a riot of moon-white flowers. This time when she tried to stand, Estrellien only made it as far as her knees before crumpling down. "I know I was born to love you, and I ruined it. Of course, I know and knew. I know better than any Queen possibly could understand it. I see the spiritual everywhere I go. When I close my eyes, and when I wake, my love. I would do anything to take it back, but life does not work that easily."

"You deserve so much more, Raziel Márques Cavallero. Not just a game of revenge and death. Thank you for sharing yourself with me." Slowly she took a breath and rubbed her hands down her arms. Because of the way she had shed her blood, there was no waste, no cut, though it had drained her Blood Opal to give that way.

"It is late. I believe we have a village to get to, do we not?"
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #13 on: Aug 01, 18, 11:26:02 AM »
Something...anything. A part of Raziel wondered if he should ignore her emotional instability, on account of what she felt, and offer her comfort. The same man who felt the very things she was now exposed to simply stood there and watched her get up, arch a brow at her needing a minute and then went back to staring up at the stars - the gesture meant to do precisely what she desired.

He would give her a minute, a time to collect herself. He didn't say anything, or offer explanation or give some jab. No. The opposite would do even more, doing nothing. It was the final stroke of that barbed gift, letting her feel what he felt everyday. No one, was there to give Raziel comfort or answer his questions. Neither his Heart Queen who partook nor Mother Night who perpetrated. The end result was what she experienced everyday when she dared grace his presence. Flinched under the viper's smile and stiffened at the viper's gaze. A blissful malice that festered like an infected wound. Slowly spreading while dulling the pain. As there were no healers of a wound of the spirit, Raziel simply gave up bothering to clean it. It gave him peace, in an otherwise maddening set of circumstances.

As she decided to tend the land, feeling the gesture of familiar Craft come from her he started to pack their things. Connecting to the land would tire her out, especially after the gift was given so he didn't bother waiting to see if she wanted to remain. He slipped up to his feet and tossed everything into the basket, vanishing it and then bundling up the window drape before vanishing it too. When she spoke to him again, he was already halfway done packing. He even had his bowler back on.

"Death is a stain that never washes out." Raziel told her with a tone denoting finality. "I have come to find...in a way...it shouldn't be able to. If someone could easily wipe away the stain like brushing bread crumbs then life doesn't matter very much to them." He brushed his hands from cleaning up and then turned to look over at Estrellian as she finished. As she spoke of his value he wanted to scoff at her. Say something cheeky like what? The walking death machine who is more dangerous because he can cross the water to get to you? He wanted to laugh, but kept the humor for himself to enjoy.

Her admission of being born to love him made him smile. But it was the viper's smile. The methodical one as if the joy was something in his head more than anything the world offered him. He tipped his hat up making his golden eyes shine violently from the starry sky. "Looks like Mother Night laughs again. Doesn't she?" He had a sudden urge to spit but restrained himself. He simply shrugged. "More than revenge and death? Oh mi amor. Didn't you just say that life doesn't work that way?" He winked at her before leaning down and grabbing the last of the candles, blowing them out and vanishing them.

"Then off we are and away! He smiled, reigned the horse to help her up.


Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #14 on: Aug 01, 18, 02:17:39 PM »
Except, the greater irony was that she could indeed heal wounds of the spirit, which was why it hurt so very badly and even more than it might have, that as his Queen, Estrellien had helped to create that wound. She wanted to curl up and do little save for weep. It was only right that she accepted no comfort. What the lady almost wanted to scream was why he walked around this way, when precision Craft and therapy would have done wonders for at least the metaphysical.

The Blood were not meant to wallow in their pain and swim in it, as true damage could be even then passed to the physical form. In watching Raziel, she wondered and felt such sadness. There were correct Protocols in dealing with these kinds of wounds. Yet, because he still did not trust her, it would not make even the slightest difference. As after all with any therapy, any healing, the one needing the aid had to want the help. It was clear to her that at least on some front, he did not believe it possible, did not believe in the various miracles of the Bond because she had been broken in that way for a very long time.

Oh, my beloved Red Warlord Prince, I swear to you, I will find a path.

"Then we are more different than I ever could have believed. Even when my path before all of this was a righteous one." Estrellien struggled to her feet, exhausted and weary, as though she had seen a thousand more years. It very nearly killed something flowering to life inside her heart, to know that this was how he lived every moment. But stubborn as she had always been, the Lady Gualtierrez refused to cut away any more parts of herself. "While I too believe death may not be washed away, I do believe in redemption. The price is high, however, the path is not an easy one," she murmured, as her voice cracked.

"No, she does not laugh, not to me. Rather, the depths of your own heart, that is where the laughter lies, because you do not let her in. It is only your very unfortunate viewpoint, that in my short-sightedness, I helped at least a little to cultivate in you. If there were a purpose in hating myself for it, I would. However, I have learned there is no gain from hatred, save for more pain." Estrellien startled when he winked; her heart did a strange flip that flooded the Priestess Queen's senses, kept her still while the horse lay ready for her to step up to. Estrellien rubbed her arms, shivering, while she stared in the direction of the field of flowers. Instead of mounting the horse, she walked away and bent down toward the flowers, and with the very last, tiniest hints of Craft Estrellien had left, she plucked one from the earth with a precision, cautious removal that would not disturb any of the rest. The roots were tied off, and the Priestess Queen perfectly preserved the specimen.

"A gift, from me. From life to life, instead of pondering death and pain. And then we are off, as you say," she whispered. "Thank you, mi amor," Estrellien murmured, with a subtle difference in the tone, which even if she noticed it, the lady made no particular remark as to the meaning, only then moving toward the steed.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #15 on: Aug 01, 18, 04:13:41 PM »
She did not realize it, but her words on the nature of redemption rang true to Raziel's ears. He simply put it in different lights than she did, given the gulf between them regarding Mother Night and her nature as the polar opposite of a helicopter parent. It was what someone did after that mattered, and the after beyond that one. To simply kill, wash their hands and not bat an eyelash had some bolts loose in their heads. But to kill, know that you did, and reflect on it to make sure both it and future events were not needless or could be avoided was the 'redemption' that Raziel considered possible.

Mother Night won't wave her magic wand and miracle-forgiveness it away.

As she spoke more of her view however Raziel gave her a look of extreme suspicion. He could easily let go her gripe about his view of Mother Night. At this point in his life, centuries in the making, Mother Night had been all but cast aside. There were times when Raziel sought Estrellian for her comfort and relief. In hindsight, perhaps it was because Mother Night offered nothing that what meager attempts she tried to give would never have succeeded considering who she was replacing was a deity with infinite powers. Perhaps he sought too much out of her those few times when he sought solace. He had others he could talk to, but to understand...there was no one but her. The bond made that possible.

So she saw fit to remind him that Mother Night, and her laughter, were all in his head. He simply smiled brightly at her but said nothing. He didn't bother going through the endless litany of offenses Mother Night could be responsible for. Not just to him, personally, but the grievances of so many that could also be put on her shoulders. Everyone shouting for a savior who isn't there, praying to the matron of the world who isn't listening and worshiping the Darkness personified who ignores them. Either she makes it happen, or just absently watches from afar like watching ants in an ant farm go about their business with a bland, cosmic curiosity that he suspected rivaled on boredom.

Then she gave him another gift. This one not as tantalyzing to the senses as the star globe but it was just as meaningful. Confusion hit his face when she offered it to him, the viper recoiling away as other thoughts came to the forefront. The confusion lied in the purpose that she was doing all these things for. He had been vigilant, keeping an eye on her steps and mannerisms. Watching how she spoke, seeing if she led conversation this way or that. Yet there was none. She didn't try to feint a jab, save when it came to her faith which he expected. He and her, had very different views on the nature of the divine.

But what if there, he gave himself a hypothetical, wasn't, a scheme? That would mean this was, very much, a date. He knew Estrellien well enough to know that she would only lie or scheme if something suited her interest - which she got when Raziel said yes. That would mean...she was being honest the whole time. Stella. His Stella. Honest? Her odd behavior had been something even before Salvador entered the picture, the prodigal son that he was. Estrellien tempering her proverbial edges to which Raziel had witnessed, in secret, when she was alone.

He twirled the flower in his fingers. Life...to life huh? He thought. My life has ended. It died with what was left of my life. Of me. He clucked his tongue while he looking to Estrellien as she got ready to mount the horse. What is left is mine to do with as I will. And Estrellien is mine, to do with as I please, for that is the price she paid. That is when it hit him, the utter irony of the whole situation. Of him. Of all of it. The relationship between his Heart Queen, who he truly loved yet loathed and himself.

Mother Night is a piece of shit landlordess who'd spit in your eye as much as look at you. And look at me. Wanting to spit in her eye when she, unlike so many, is trying desperately to earn meaning. And...is actually trying. I guess Mother Night is inside me after all.

"Wait." Raziel's voice was, strangely, very winded for some reason to keep her from getting on the horse. He walked over to her and took the flower and placed it into her hair, just atop her ear. "My life ended when my family died. They were the only pieces of a life I had left before you came into it." He held up his hand to suggest she not interrupt, also implying 'yes we all know what happened'. "Now I have nothing, trying to start again without...someone, showing up and ruining it." Someone not meaning her. "Or pulling the carpet from under the feet or...you get it."

"THE POINT!" He half-shouted to keep stammering. "Is. You once asked me to forgive you, for the crimes you committed against my family. It isn't my place to forgive you for all of it." Many more suffered to put her on the seat of his ancestral village. "...but what I can forgive. I do."

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #16 on: Aug 01, 18, 10:34:35 PM »
Given that Estrellien had expected to leave at that juncture, the fact that Raziel tried to stop her from getting on to the steed was really very puzzling. However, it was certain that she might have been surprised that their views were more alike than dissonant. He often seemed to think that she believed their goddess would simply enact measures by her powerful hand when that was not at all the case. Never once had she felt as though explaining it was possible, at least until now. Patiently, though it was exceedingly difficult, the Priestess Queen waited for Prince Cavallero to sort through what confused him rather than making any single remark upon it. Discipline had always been difficult where he was concerned, Raziel inspired high passions and high pain, and waves of poetic sadness. She had come to realise only in the last pair of centuries that it simply was him, with little other explanation than life. The Lady Gualtierrez toyed with her pretty, simple dress, and waited as calmly as she dared, even as her pulse raced rapidly.

As he twirled the flower, her gaze dropped to his lips and almost immediately ripped away as she pounded further self-control within her mind, thoughts, and actions. Not yet, not yet. Let him grow and be. When he spoke of his family, she drew in a breath as though to explain, and because he caught her fully by surprise, a stamp of heartbreak lay exposed upon her face for that loss of his parents, rather than her participation in it. It took concentrated effort to swallow the soft sob that had built in her chest. They were never supposed to die. It was supposed to be different. He did not know, could not know how she had been led around by her own self-importance by the older men she had been bonded to and she had stupidly allowed it, who had not sought to improve her in that critical moment but make things a thousand times worse. Though the ache of those two lost bonds remained, it had long been a muted pain, like that from a diseased part of the body, cut off. She wondered if he really looked and had any inkling how he had saved her life from exacting his Price. Estrellien blinked away tears and listened, even as she burned to say something, anything, though she did not, understanding that it was not her turn to speak.

Tremors moved through her when he placed the flower in her hair, not so much for that action, but for the words that followed it. That he could not forgive everything, because of course, he could not. He had not been the only one that mourned the loss of the Queen and First Escort of Llorova. Quite a number of people had been injured in that riot, though they were the only ones that had died. Others further had lost their livelihoods and considerable wealth due to the Landen Council interfering the way they did on her behalf. Estrellien knew these things because she had a long list of people from the area that she sent regular assistance to, but she was fairly certain that Raizel was unaware of said help and had taken great pains to keep it that way, as attention had not been what the Priestess Queen desired when she offered it, but remembrance and the refinement of her own character. "I am thankful, more than you may know at this moment, for your kindness and tenderness of character displayed."

For long moments, Estrellien studied her Bonded male, then reached up and brushed her fingertips over the flower, plucking a single petal from the whole. Stepping forward, the Lady Gualtierrez tucked the petal into the brim of the Warlord Prince's hat, securely. "I would never ask for that, for what you cannot give me," she explained then tapped her nose. "It is my actions that can and should be responsible for more. My actions and mine alone. You have been very good to me, so please do not think I do not notice, for I have and I do."

Estrellien offered the words in turn before managing a lovely curtsey, understated dress or no. While walking with a light step around Raziel, she brushed her fingertips over the man's jawline in passing, humming softly as she moved back to the steed and patted down its muzzle, whispering tenderly to the animal for making it wait. With just a little Basic Craft, she called forth an apple and sliced it with the same delicate, faint energies. A full-bodied laugh rippled from her as the animal all but stole the whole apple, with barely time for her to cut it. "Shall we go, beloved?" It had taken every bit of self-control she had not to try to drag Raziel into her arms and kiss him until they both forgot how to breathe. More than anything, she wanted this moment, beautiful and light, to stand apart, to simply be. In waiting, she rested her head against the steed and it snuffled her hair before she eventually stepped away, waiting.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #17 on: Aug 27, 18, 11:49:48 AM »
Forgiveness was a difficult thing to do when the woman he was forgiving is the walking, talking billboard of everything he had come to hate. Regardless of her growth, his recognition of it and the decision to let that recognition temper him did nothing to settle the insidious ennui that had become second nature. How so many people had told him live and let live, to let it go and move on that somewhere amidst the chilled numbness he believed there would be some catharsis. An awakening of the spirit that would just go 'ahhhh.' and all things would be answered.

There wasn't any. Nor were there answers, nor any peace of mind.

So it was with his, now known to Estrellien, emotional compass that he watched her curtsey as if she had just suffered a flippant breeze. As if to say 'whatever' and move on to whatever else he had planned. At that moment he wanted to shove her head in the horses' mouth and hoped it was as hungry as it gobbled the apple. Yet this time he was aware, unlike so many times before, it was the shred of hope that made everything seem worse than it was. There would be no horse stuffing and trotting along the road with the District Queen helplessly flailing from the horses' mouth.... But the thought did make him smile.

Hope. Such a worthless emotion. There was no such thing as hope. Only determination. Mother Night was a creature of hope, and it was natural for anything of her dominion to fail. Such was the ways of gods and humanity, even Blood.

She gave him a walkaround, she lined his jaw with her finger. One thing that no one could ever overshadow was the long lost feeling he got whenever his amor gave him a walk about. The fun, playful seduction that cast aside all trappings of their history and the general play lovers do. Nostalgia hit him, for feelings that only rarely showed themselves nowadays save for the extremely rare moments the two didn't claw each other to have them.

He loved her. He did not lie when he said it. Such feelings wouldn't exist if he didn't. He didn't, this time, damn himself for having them.

She put a petal in his hat which made him take it off and look at it. It had to match! And it didn't match. The earthen brown of his hat and the deep scarlet of the rose was an eyesore like being a Red Moon male secretly soliciting good times by code. However, it was from his amor, and it would be rude to just pluck it out and go 'yuck'. So he adjusted it to where it wasn't so much of an eyesore and put his hat back on.

The end of the evening declared he gave a nod with a smile. "So we shall." He gave her another smile as he climbed onto the familiar saddle and settled in to make way to the nearby village where, as he said, they would have rooms prepared. Raziel had no compunction about 'slumming with the locals'. No silken sheets or goose-feather pillows. Comfort didn't require gold, and the food was exceptionally good and was why this particular village was selected from the one far closer to where they were. There was no sharing of rooms. Each had a room of their own and the proprietors made extra effort to make them comfortable, only due to Raziel's personal reputation as First Escort which, unlike Estrellien who could somewhat masquerade using dress, Raziel looked like himself all the time when going to such places.

As much as Raziel thought the night should end with a tumble between the sheets, or mere coexistence, a night without gutting each other's throats was good enough. It fulfilled his promise to Alcides that she would survive and only then did he realize that once again, little was given by Estrellien in the trade of personal openness. He considered it the fruition of some devious scheme only to realize that what he had given her, really, were things she already knew but didn't understand. Understanding doesn't really play into any one-upmanship and the idea quickly faded.

"Peaceful end to a peaceful evening." He took off his hat and tucked it under his arm, shaking his hair to release it from it's in-hat state. "The food is great, so we have plenty of wiggle room for breakfast then back it is to the abode." He was mildly sad at the idea, reflected in his voice, only because it occurred to him it would be nice to have Stella the Waif as a companion on his myriad of circuit runs. Estrellien the glutton could stay home.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #18 on: Sep 01, 18, 08:57:19 AM »
Estrellien was aware precisely how difficult it was, as the fact that he'd done it weighted upon her the entire ride to the village they would stay in for the night. She'd been quiet the entire ride, where often the lady was in fact, more prone to prefer conversation. Instead, she was introspective. It hurt, that she did not know how to fix what Raziel suffered from, that the only "cure" she could think of was simply time. Yet, what kind of answer was that? The Priestess Queen well understood that if it had been herself and someone explaining that time would cure her ills, she likely might have thrown said hypothetical person out a window and that just for fun and to ease the rage of their thoughtless response. It really wasn't a mentally healthy reply, that was for certain.

Her eyes took in the quiet village, lit softly by witchlight where there was lighting. There could have been more permanent, Craft powered lighting, she knew, but that required funding. Most villages weren't nearly so lucky. The place she'd grown up had less even than this place. It struck her as part of the reason she was so often obsessed with beautiful things and wealth. She never wanted to be reminded, despised it when certain memories that she couldn't control popped up. It was perhaps in part, why their views were so different. Without a belief in anything, she would not have survived at all, particularly, without hope, without some sense that there could be small pieces of joy. I do not know how to explain this concept to him, or any of what I think, knowing how he thinks, Estrellien thought, wrapped in a quiet, personal melancholy as sleepy as the streets here were.

It did not take her long, however, with her eyes upon a new and interesting place to consider with the mind and senses, to at least temporarily shelve her feelings about the difficulties still present between them. One couldn't simply wipe out swaths of history, after all regardless of remorse held. Estrellien had accepted the idea that as a villain, true happiness was barred to her and the idea that the past was what it was. However, Prince Cavallero had allowed her to see and feel something very considerable this evening. It deserved some kind of deeper response than words, she knew, even as, and here, she was shocked once more, as the same strange nervousness assailed her. They had their own rooms, and indeed, would return home soon. But she by no means wanted it to be over.

A soft sigh followed the melancholy sound of her Bonded's voice. "Wait," she begged with a halting, almost tender tone. This time, when Estrellien circled Raziel, she did her very best to hold his gaze, blinking twice. Just enough that he might not feel inclined to slam her against a wall from any hint of a challenge. The delicate tips of her fingers brushed over the Warlord Prince's right hand, along the span of his shoulders, his right hand. Her breathing gave away a clear anxiousness tangled with a pinprick of desire, like Queen's Blood against the pure white field of silk in the mind.

Hoping she had his attention. "Tomorrow, I have plans for us. Something new," she decided clearly, suddenly and spontaneously. A tiny smile curved her lips even as they trembled. "We should have the whole the two days. I mean it." Sharp and graceful, suddenly Estrellien twirled and halted in front of him, leaving them face to face.

"I find, however, after everything tonight, I ... may I kiss you good night, my Prince? You are not required to say yes. I wanted to feel your lips on mine, with no other worries. No weights, just you, and just me." She would die a little inside, Estrellien knew if he said no, but at the same time the Priestess Queen very much understood she deserved to, just a little. She remembered that ennui, that was not quite boredom, or listlessness even but deeper even than a weariness of the spirit. She drew a breath, two, three and realised precisely how terrified she was to lose him to it, completely. A spark of selflessness shimmered in her expression, a pebble of innocence that seemed impossible to exist.

Never did she think she'd say it. Ever. Not to him, certainly not again.

"Please?"

He shouldn't have to lose everything. It was too unfair for words.

"I believe in hope, because I cannot believe in a world where you do not get to be happy and loved ..." Estrellien sighed softly and bowed her head.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #19 on: Sep 03, 18, 09:15:30 AM »
The rooms were secure. It was a short distance to bed, and let sleep have it's fill of him. It wasn't that Raziel was itching at the britches to get rid of Estrellien, which was a strange sensation. They had spent hours together at this point and when the bubble of disagreement or discord began to surface either he, or she, didn't respond. It was refreshing, kind of nice, but exhausting.

While his mind still nagged at how this was some duplicitous plot to one-up him, he did learn things about his amor that he didn't know yesterday. She had some spunk left in her, if only one could pull her out of the gilded cage and let it soar. Her parents seemed to tug on her, for reasons that weren't entirely clear to him yet but he would learn that with time. The term gilded cage seemed more apt to describe his amor better than anything. A prison. This time, he realized, it was a cage not entirely of her own making. If it had been, there would be no spunk. There would be no enamored look in her eye to the night sky, or contentment, possibly even close to happy, with nothing more than dress-down skirts at village inns on bare-bones funded picnics. Most importantly she would have no desire for another day of it.

He knew Estrellien better than that. If she hated the evening, she wouldn't bother to hide it. The illusion would fade, she'd stomp her foot and demand to be returned. Probably slake her thirst on the Prodigal Son, or whomever was warming her bed nowadays, then be back to normal.

Again. Weird. The whole notion of Estrellien wanting to spend time with him that had nothing to do with either Court, one-upmanship or malcontent of something he did.

She circled him again. She was doing her 'come hither' expression, looking at him as if she hadn't seen him before. The shiver was delightful, save this time she never broke eye contact, or when they did he would find her eyes boring holes in his head trying to find them again. Then she floored him when she said the words he knew felt like sandpaper on her tongue.

Please.

He turned to regard her fully, a quizzical look on his face as she spoke of hope. Her hope, that he could find happiness beyond the void in his soul that had been eating at him for centuries. If the evening had been strange but in a good way, this was weird in an unbalancing way. She had always baited him, tried to exploit him or otherwise slither around him. He was a terror in her Court, and she acted the part. Eggshells lest her temper flare then she was as hot-headed and nasty as he was. She never said please, save once. She also NEVER offered him hope of happiness. That was the lopsided part of it all. Even more than the please.

After a moment he did probably she expected. He laughed. Not a scathing or harsh one, but one of extreme amusement. "Ohhhh, Stella. Don't you get it yet?" He shook his head. "You are mi amor. Mi bonita extravagante. Of all the women of the world, from the snow-ridden craglites of Glacia to the urban fests of Little Terreille and back, you." He tapped her on the nose with a finger. "Are numero uno. You may infuriate me, I may infuriate you, we may cause excess damage to wherever we're at but one thing is for certain. You never, have to ask for a kiss." Then he leaned in and savored every ounce of taste her lips and tongue had to offer. Slow, yet slightly nervous.

How long had it been? A century? He couldn't count up to the last time he kissed her. Intimacy with Estrellien was a mixed bag simply because it occurred at random times when both were vulnerable or especially wanting. When it did it never really lasted long. For Raziel the simple idea of making out with a gluttonous gold-digging sycophant would make him gag. Or Estrellien would push him away for whatever reasons crossed her mind to do so.

This time though? He didn't mind not stopping for once. Without the rut or the cold chill to change her flavors to sinful poison the taste of her was exactly what he would imagine her lips were like. Fullness, plump enough for play but tender enough to bruise. Her tongue felt like silk on his. He was happy he decided to go slow rather than try to consume her lips in one go, otherwise he wouldn't be able to enjoy something that oftentimes he only did second-hand.

He broke the kiss, licking his lips and rubbing them together. "...Now that I think about it. I think that is the first time we've kissed where I wasn't riding some edge somewhere." The shiver from the kiss trickled down his spine and then he smiled at her. "Never have to ask."

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #20 on: Sep 03, 18, 07:29:29 PM »
One thing is for certain. You never, have to ask for a kiss.

Estrellien's knees buckled just barely as Raziel kissed her. Sweetest Mother, she saw stars behind her eyelids when they closed just from the brush of the man's mouth. She'd left her senses open to it this time, rather than guarding herself akin to a golden encrusted iron fortress upon an unassailable hilltop. His kiss was like a hot poker to the Bond they shared; she physically jolted before the soft, whispered delighted sound indicated her enjoyment. Estrellien's exploration of Raziel's mouth was timid, tender, cautious and very gentle, allowing the Warlord Prince to lead the dance without the slightest question.

In fighting all the ridiculous instincts she had honed, the Priestess Queen was trying to give freely, to love openly, even with the understanding that it would take time for him to believe that that goal was not to rip out his heart. It had surprised her, on a thousand levels, that he had desired more. The Priestess Queen knew he had a thousand others or more that he could go to, and had never once questioned it, nor would she. When the First Escort pulled away, it was difficult to allow, as contrary to what he believed, she hadn't entertained a lover in quite some time. That was even considering Salvador being the precious, patient tease that he was.

In response to his further words, the lady offered a quick nod. "Yes. That is certainly new," the lady replied with a light, very warmly airy and open laugh of her own. "Sharing a kiss, with neither of us being frustrated at the moment with the other," she reached up and slowly stroked a hand over the man's face. Estrellien drew in a deep breath and considered the Warlord Prince. A smile eased her expression. "I deeply enjoyed the evening, Prince Cavallero. You entirely surprised me, and never disappointed, not even for a second," she offered as a compliment while approaching him once more. She hadn't intended to ask for another, but Estrellien wanted just once to kiss Raziel the way he deserved to be kissed by his Queen. She thought to tease the man by delicately kissing her way along his collarbone, then up his neck, putting her nervousness to use. The raw effort for one word was ridiculous, but it was important that he hear it, just in case the man thought by morning that it was all a dream. "Please."

Let me love you. Let me adore you.

Seldom did she make use of the hold she had over him as every Queen did their Bonded. But now, she thought to do so for pleasure, at least a little. With every single brush of her lips, she timed those light metaphysical tugs. "I understand. Every little bit of this is learning something new and learning if it is safe for you with me. I won't bed you. Not yet, and understand, in this interim, there is no one in my bed, for now." She feathered kisses down Raziel's jawline, tenderly attentive even as it terrified her to open herself so much to him. "Your words were beautiful, artistic." Only briefly did Estrellien hold Raziel's gaze, before quieting herself to make love to his mouth. She was not a fool and was razor sharp in self-awareness that this did not make up for all of the fights, the unhappy moments.

Carefully, she backed up to the wall, coaxing and tugging the Warlord Prince with her. It was in a fashion the Priestess Queen normally would have never permitted, as Estrellien cared very little for being cornered by him due to a considerable lack of trust. For all of the too many words and bits of confusion he had experienced over the evening, she offered up her lips as a brief but willing and sweetened sacrifice, taking care not to wind those kisses to a point of frustration. She kept her worship of his mouth slow and soft, intense enough to boil away any tension, but not so much that he'd need to spear her against the wall. Here, Estrellien did her very best to show Raziel, this once, even while understanding it was a mere beginning of clearing a space with more painful regrets to give them a name and voice. "Mine, mine," she spoke with a great care against his lips, before finally pulling her mouth away from his with a deep reluctance. The Lady allowed the quiet in the aftermath of such a kiss, savouring every sweetness of it, each subtle nuance. With trembling hands, she reached up and straightened Raziel's hat.

"Tomorrow is a new day, with new beauty to be envisioned," Estrellien remarked carefully while trying to regain her ability to breathe easy, golden eyes heavy-lidded with a desire the Priestess Queen was only just able to restrain; the truth was that she had desired him for centuries and had no idea how to be open or explain herself. She'd let it out during the last kiss, and had no idea how to put herself back together. Or more was the sudden, and very strange thought was if she wanted to. Was there a need to be a Queen for the eyes of others, or only for her own eyes? Perhaps not. The lady let out a slow breath as the idea occurred to her that she did not have to be someone's view of what a Queen was supposed to be.

"Would you like some company to get to rest, or shall you be fine? I know this is all very strange and I would understand if you wished to be alone." Softly, Estrellien smiled back, and the sudden tremor down her spine made her gasp.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: Let Me See a Wandering Star
« Reply #21 on: Sep 06, 18, 01:28:55 AM »
Please.

This. All of what had transpired, had been things Raziel did not expect from Estrellien. He chose to go on a date with her because she was his amor, and that he would give the chance to see her without her jewels, machinations and venom. Yet he expected what all vipers expected - the backbite. The poisonous stab with penetrating eyes widening in success at catching their prey unaware. Then cackle with glee as she had managed to wound him, as he had her before. Her superiority assured she would leave that 'date', to prance back to the Court holdings with a click in her step with superiority on her face. She didn't.

He expected her to laugh when he offered her a taste of what he had tried to tell her about but couldn't get her to understand. Scold him or even laugh at him. Laughter. He hated her laugh. Laugh and say that it was stupid for a Warlord Prince to have such feelings over what some might say as 'part of the job' or 'idiotic'. That the questions that burned in him so deeply he didn't realize he was still searching for them even if he wasn't conscious of it were not complicated and he was being entirely foolish. She neither laugh or mocked.

Here, at the end of the night he expected her grand finale. The masterstroke of her plot and the signature of her machinations made manifest. A snub or a sniff. The lure of the bed but a promise broken instead. Probably laughter. No. Definately laughter. Victory assured, getting him this far she would end it with panache. Instead she touched his face, and put herself to the wall tugging him closer as if a girl trying to hide from possible eyes with a paramour and remind him of the luxury of what dancing in the shadows with her means. She kissed him, the kind of kiss that Raziel enjoyed. Passion. Sensuality. Exploration with enough desire to confirm to anyone what those lips and tongue were wanting to say without words.

In many ways Raziel expected that Estrellien had little to no heart for him. She was his amor, his love and she was his Queen whether he liked it or not. Enough to love her, and more than enough to despise her. At times she would be the Queen Raz needed. The ear. The companion. The confidant. But never. ever, the lover. The other times, now at the inn, did not need to be reiterated. But the kiss, the desire to bring him in against her and to kiss him even with her please told a different story. That she, in many ways, was more like him than he thought she could be. That she had a heart for him surrounded, he assumed, by spite. Just as he did for her, surrounded by rage. Though it seemed the spite was thawing.

He couldn't deny it at that point. She fooled him. He expected deceit but was wrong.

He leaned into the kiss, the bond tugging pulling a moan into the kiss along with his lips of raw satisfaction. With her against the wall she had nowhere to go but against him. His arms laced around her waist and a gentle tug to press her chest gently against his, tilting his head slightly to taste even more of her in those slow, desiring brushes. He took the tease in stride, the natural urge to just lift her, say 'surprise', and lower her onto himself didn't happen. Raziel enjoyed the game. The teaser made the play better. Magical almost, than simple rut-laced boning.

And it was his amor who was doing it. He, unlike her, had many women. Flings, one-night stands and friends with benefits were par for the course with a Warlord Prince who delighted in passion. All of those fond memories, the sweaty passion and the thirst for more flitted away with those lips. The sight of Estrellien in a position of sensual vulnerability as she looked at him with lidded eyes and a heavy breath that accented her chest with each heave. He knew, that if he wanted to...he could. He could scoop her up, take her to his room and for all the words she said to the contrary she would even help him rip everything off to do the deed. She told him so in that kiss. The way the bond made pleasure ripple up and down his spine. The desire he never knew existed on the other side of their very old, antagonistic relationship.

To taste her...in ways so many could only dream of. His amor naked, legs spread, those eyes on him and soon after to have her wrapped around him making sounds and noises that told the entire village exactly what the hell was happening in that room.

He let out a breath, resting his forehead against hers for a moment to take in her scent. A scent he knew all to well, but a scent he wanted to keep for himself in this moment. This, exact moment, so that no one not even her could take it from him even if she tried every scheme in her book to do so. He lifted away and tilted his head, his now-straight hat going with. "My my Stella. Are you offering to go to sleep in the same bed with me?" He gasped. "Ugh! Such scandal." A conspiratorial tone entered his voice as he whispered. "People would think we mean to destroy the village. Our time table is not exactly known for being long." He winked at her, leaning away and leaning on the wall next to her, resting his elbow on the wall near her head to prop his head up.

He eyed her for a second, then shifted off the wall. "No. That is not a question for me." He leaned in and slowly undid the few pins of her hair, less articulate than it normally was to let her hair tumble. He flicked, literally off his hat from the back and caught it in the other hand. "That, is something only you can decide." He put the hat on top of her head. Her head a toucher smaller than his, but his hats weren't deep. He tipped it back out of her vision. "Bed is an intimate thing, si? Even if it's just sleeping. Naked and pressed together, arms around each other." He let out a 'mmm' sound. "I'd wager it's more intimate than sex itself." He clucked his tongue.

"Besides. I know how to cross foundation bannisters. One window to another is no small thing si? I'll just sneak in to tuck mi amor in and steal a kiss before I 'go home' for the night. Steal a look maybe. Possibly a taste. Never know. As of course is proper for a date."