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Author Topic: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven  (Read 678 times)

Description: 192 Summer/Tag Calista

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • pq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Logrona District

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Haloriel

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      61

    • "I love without pride, sans artifice."

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Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« on: Dec 01, 17, 02:35:44 AM »

Go, look for another love, open other doors ...



While when he was in residence, Prince Raziel offered enough attention to those of the lesser and lower classes in her District when she could not, after all, a Queen could not be in every place at one time, there had never been anyone in any Queen's court that she knew of that could inform of the disposition and needs for the Landen. Though her goal was to take La Oratova, and not for the purpose of being Queen of Dhemlan eventually, but to give something back to the region where she had been born, there were other steps needing to come prior to that.

That she had ruled Logrona for two centuries, and had spent the remainder of her days after the awful mistake of Llorova four centuries before that atoning at far too high a Price almost made her want to rip it from the Lady Mencia's hands. Almost. She had well learned that while taking a life, or causing a death without understanding the ties that bound or without the death being earned, might not have been illegal, but there was still a cost. The measurement of said cost against the heart, mind, and spirit was higher depending on the type of person one got rid of. A red Jewelled Priestess only seeking to have a Queen rule a throne that wouldn't immediately try to depose the current Queen of Dhemlan was absolutely fair.

So in retrospect, it was rather perfect, for Estrellien to hold the said honour. The Cáthedra had aligned themselves against her for so long and had, she discovered only recently traded favours to keep her from a throne had turned her into the very monster that they did not want for a ruling Queen in Dhemlan. Indeed, Estrellien was greedy, and had no qualms with that fact, just as much as she had no qualm helping those deeply in need all in the same breath.

Lady Gualtierrez didn't seek the entire world to burn even if her life in Dhemlan made the thought feel very good, but merely accept the delicate shred she was owed. More than that, she could not prove they had an involvement in the trade from the Landen Council, and knew well enough that was the result of her own naïveté and not asking enough questions, or outlining precisely what she wanted: a Queen's death, or anyone's death, had not been the goal. But, one took the deeper darkness with the light. She would never apologise for being Blood. But she could do better with actions, rather than wasting words and breath.

Enter Calista Abarora. Daughter of a well-known dancer, and after some deeper digging, she discovered through delicate whispers that there was Blood in the woman's family, though not nearly enough to have the smallest shred of the power of her own. What she had been able to find out, was certainly suspect. But it was that very fact that made this particular woman valuable to Estrellien.

Though the Priestess Queen attired and put on the airs of a Queen born to Aristocratic heritage, Strella was nothing of the kind. Her family had been the less-than-perfect, lower middle-class Blood citizens of Dhemlan. Her mother had trained into the Healer caste, due to how strangely rare they were among the Dhemlanese, while her father had been a mere Warlord, and managed to feed and clothe the family in its earliest years by tending to considerable swaths of Landen and Jewelless Blood.

So the pulse of the lowest of people in Dhemlan had always been Estrellien's most treasured of interests, despite the fact that one would need to rip that truth from her flesh, if at all. The Queen's heart in truth was doubly warm and caring, given her natural inclination. But of course, her potential new employee did not need to know this. What she would need, Estrellien surmised, was an invitation. Thus a graceful letter was penned, short, sweet, and with an offer that might be hard to refuse.



Miss Abarora:

You do not know of me personally, but I imagine, that like some Landen, you pay reasonable attention to whom has which throne, or what position in Dhemlan, to avoid violence and pain, to live out your life in relative peace.

Thus, I will not waste your time, nor threaten, as it is your honesty that I require most. While I am Blood, and well blessed among the rites and traditions of my kind, what I do not have, what no Queen has, is a direct understanding of what Landen people wish and desire. There is the Landen Council, but that too is much dependent upon whom is known where. I have sent my Steward and one senior guard that is Jewelless to escort you; I thought that a learned man, rather than entirely a martial one would turn your interest, and allow for safe feeling, and passage. Landen people make up over half of the Dhemlanese population, and all too often, are treated as though you are far fewer.

I have a proposition for you, Miss, that could offer the beginnings of a solution. Prince Alcides Fernandez is my Steward and Former Naval Lord-Commander Rafael Verdad will arrive at your place of work in three days time for an honoured escort to the Queen's Palace here in Logrona for High Tea Time, in a reasonable private setting. I look forward to meeting you, even if my idea is not to your liking. You may bring two guests for your own comfort and peace of mind that are not Blood or are if you have a few known that you trust with your life and well being.

Dutifully,


Lady Estrellien Gualtierrez, District Priestess Queen of Logrona

As far as ideas went, it was the seventh on her list to shore up weaknesses in her rule, as if Prince Raziel was returning, it would make matters easier if she needn't go toe to toe with the man over foolery, not to mention, it was just good for business. Landen money was still money, and power was power.

"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Calista Abarora

  • Character Account
    • landen
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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      Idariel

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #1 on: Dec 18, 17, 02:40:04 AM »
192, Summer: The Plaza del Toro, then Estrellien’s palace in Logrona.

Calista Abarora did indeed have ties to the Blood; her own father, Artemio Ureña, had been a Blood male. Though Jewelless, he’d been bitter and violent, relentless in his pursuit of his family. His crimes had been so widespread and caused such damage amongst the Landen that he’d eventually been publicly tried.

During that trial, Calista and her mother had been required to be public witnesses.

To this day, the tiny Abarora family was paying for both the bitter justice received and the infamy of their soiled blood. Calista’s soiled blood. Not close enough for power and acceptance by the Blood, nor far enough away to be forgiven for her heritage by the Landen. And now, once more, the connection was reaching out to draw Calista back into the deadly arena of Blood politics.

The change was heralded by the arrival of a luxurious coach bearing two men; Calista had only seconds to decode their dress and body language sufficient to determine which one was Prince Alcides Fernandez, District Court Steward at Logrona, and which one was ‘merely’ Naval Lord-Commander Rafael Verdad. Though her heart was pounding, Calista revealed no other sign of nerves; she’d been a performer all of her life. She stepped lightly forward, her elegant red dress curling around ankles and trailing behind. Her white shawl, last remnant of her famous grandmother’s wedding dress, was an elegant confection of aged lace. Upon her coiled hair were perched fresh roses, and a faint veil dusted over her hair to lend consequence and formality to her profound presence.

Calista curtsied deeply to the Prince and Blood male, a touch deeper to the Prince-and-Steward, then remained in that position until signaled to rise. She spoke softly, in polite upper-class accents she’d worked hard to learn to mimic. “Prince Fernandez, Lord-Comander Verdad, be welcome here. If you require a rest, before we depart, lemonade and snacks are available on the veranda.”

Only a dancer at the Plaza, her rooms were simple, near to the stables to protect their precious horse, but the grounds were entirely elegant and beautiful. Just to the north of her rooms was a covered patio filled with exotic trees in pots; center-most in the display was her nephew, Arturo. Only sixteen, he nonetheless was well grown, serious minded, and a veteran performer. On cue, he bowed. “That is my nephew, Arturo; he will accompany me to visit the Lady of Logrona.”

While Calista could not read, the exact text of the terrifying letter she’d received was burned into her mind. The Stablemaster had read it to her until she had it word-perfect. He’d been against Arturo (or anyone) accompanying her, despite the invitation to bring two people. But Calista knew enough of Blood ways to gamble that things would go vastly better if she had a male of her own in attendance. So long as she complied sweetly to whatever was demanded, he, at least, should be returned unscathed.

And he’d have no protection whatsoever, if Calista failed to return.

The Priestess Queen of the Blood was known to Calista more by rumor and whisper than fact, so the Flamenco dancer had determined to ignore all of it and simply react as her instincts directed her. The terror was real, but so was the hope. Much of that letter had been more brutally honest than any Blood had ever been, before. Yet for as honest as it had been (even to confessing that Calista had no choice but must obey) it had left Calista confused as to just what it was she was being summoned for.

Besides High Tea.

If the gentlemen agreed to refreshments, they would find Calista to be a comfortable hostess, good at drawing them out. She listened politely, laughed honestly, and kept glasses and plates filled, despite the prodigious amount any member of the Blood could devour. Once settled in the coach, she’d once more ask open ended questions designed to draw out a brief picture of the Queen she was to have tea with. Personal questions directed at Calista would be skillfully diverted into natural segways, such as the history and traditions of Flamenco Dance, the cultural importance of the Plaza del Toros, or diverting the topic of conversation back to them. In fact, despite a sweet surface compliance in offering answers to any direct questions, the two Blood would discover she’d volunteered very little about herself during the trip.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • pq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Logrona District

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Haloriel

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      61

    • "I love without pride, sans artifice."

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #2 on: Dec 31, 17, 10:38:52 PM »
The ride was as placid as one could be, but amicable enough; it took close to an hour to get the Lady Abarora and her nephew prepared for meeting the Priestess Queen of Logrona, which had included the Steward and the Lord-Commander Verdad sitting down for a brief repast. Prince Alcides had been directed to offer any kindness he could to soothe the dancer, and convince her of the positive intent, despite the very real danger Landen often found themselves in when it came to the Blood. As for herself, Estrellien had attired herself with considerable more relaxation for this meeting, simply due to the fact that there was no one that could look down upon her. A very rare event the Priestess Queen found herself able to delight in, but beloved nonetheless. She might not have allowed the admission ever out loud what pleased her best for the danger it presented, but Estrellien could and and did revel in sweetnesses that were precious and rare.

Extra time was taken with the bath; her attendants had been allowed to take care of her entirely, from her hair to the tips of her stylishly manicured feet. After being washed and conditioned, dried and curled with Craft, her coiffure was formed to seem appropriate for an afternoon of tea. Most of it lay presented into a bun settled around an open iris, which had been flash frozen and Craft Preserved so that no bees would seek to settle in her hair ornament. They would have to find their own pollen and nectar.

A slow smile curled Estrellien's lips as a light cosmetic was applied to her face, enhancing those deep golden eyes. She'd chosen a deep burgundy gown to wear with a minimal amount of embellishment upon it, though the dress more than made up for that lack by the layers of silk in the gown itself. Paired with a deceptively simple shawl covered in tiny seed pearls, Estrellien looked the part of the Queen going for a casual walk. For the six attendants whom had been responsible for tending her body and attire, she gave each one an extra three gold marks, and the afternoon off.

As such, by the time the carriage turned into the drive with Calista and Arturo Abarora, Prince Fernandez and the Lord-Commander, the spread for tea had been settled on the outdoor veranda, which was accessible simply by a short staircase from the drive. The Steward and the additional Jewelless Blooded Guard stepped out to allow Arturo to serve as his aunt's escort, while Estrellien herself rose to her feet so that she would be seen from the elegant, white stone circle drive. With her, a pair of female servers bustled around the table to finish preparing last minute food and drink options. The lady lifted her hand in greeting, and waited for her guests to join.

It might have been notable that most other staff were not at all present, and a very light appearance of guards were visible to the eyes, most of them Jewelless primarily for the comfort of her guests. "Be welcome to the Queen's Palace." With curious eyes, she watched as the small party made their way up to the space where the table had been set with a full tea service, small sandwiches and plenty of freshly poured sangría to be enjoyed. She had taken care that most food had very little Craft infusion as she preferred it, aware that her guests would not have been able to withstand typical Blood arrangements. What Estrellien had made certain of however, was that the sheer quality of the food and tea were absolutely exquisite. Well beyond what most Landen would have been able to afford at their luncheon tables. Even the temperature around the food and table, were maintained so that it was all light, and pleasant. After all, her goal was to get a Landen woman to join a Blood Court. This was by no means expected to be an easy undertaking.

"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Calista Abarora

  • Character Account
    • landen
    • female
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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      Idariel

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #3 on: Jul 01, 18, 12:22:06 AM »
192, Summer: Lunch on the Veranda, Estrellien’s palace in Logrona.

To Calista’s delight, the young Blood gentlemen were just that - gentlemen.

Not all Blood were.

But the Steward, Prince Fernandez, and the Lord-Commander Verdad accepted or failed to note her skillful evasions, making the coach ride pleasant rather than terrifying. Calista was a performer, and she did adore attention. Between those two facts, their subtle purpose, to make her not run screaming from the grounds as soon as the Queen’s back was turned, seemed to be achieved. Arturo, stoic as ever, handed Calista out of the carriage with very little hint as to his emotions showing upon his face. Yet he was tense enough that Calista could feel it in his hands, in the precise care he took to see her settled gracefully upon her feet.

Calista smiled assurance at Arturo, and floated upon his arm like a vision come to life. Such was her skill at acting that the moment she perceived her hostess was garbed in a deep burgundy, whilst her own gown was red, she merely paused in her forward progress. That the distinguished Queen acknowledged them with a wave was the only reason she didn’t immediately feign a disaster to her gown that would justify her changing it. There were Blood Queens who would kill even another of their own for daring to wear the same color; she was pretty sure a Landen would easily be executed for a color even so close in mien as Red and Burgundy. Let alone the Queen’s perfect seed-pearl shawl to Calista’s ancient lace one. Fear burrowed like a parasite into her stomach, but was not allowed to paralyze her.

A polished smile appeared, and Calista curtsied right where she was. No it wasn’t perfect Protocol but it was the sort of easy symbol of submission that was likely to ease the insecure, and unlikely to offend those comfortable with their power. The stairs were elegant, the walk through the outdoor garden to the lovely veranda incredibly soothing. It was easy to let herself believe she was not trapped here, when the sky soared overhead. Arturo’s subtle cues for the guards he spotted were carefully memorized, but even he grew less tense as they came within sight of the beautiful Queen. The courtesy of the Queen in not having an army of staff to swallow up and intimidate the Landen paid off in this powerful, yet subtle way. Arturo seemed almost unable to tear his gaze from the exquisitely garbed Queen, and bowed quite low to her, even as she greeted them. His gaze returned again and again to the incredible iris preserved so perfectly in the Queen’s hair. When it wasn’t on the Queen’s hair, it was drawn inexorably to the fantastic tea set before them. He could not resist a few deep breathes of the heavenly scents rising from the exotic dishes. One might almost think he’d be willing to die, to eat such a feast.

Be welcome to the Queen’s Palace.

Calista offered a second curtesy, in perfect time to Arturo’s bow; but her gaze, when she permitted it to rest politely upon the Queen, lay more with the golden eyes and flawless body than the hair. The hair could offer no clue to emotions, intentions or reactions. Calista’s life had often depended upon her ability to read an audience or individual flawlessly. It most certainly did now. “Thank you, Lady Gualtierrez.” The two gentlemen from the carriage had been subtly cued to say the Priestess Queen’s name several times, so Calista’s pronunciation was exact. Carefully, she schooled as much as possible of her low class accents out of her voice and word choice. She was under enough stress to fear that such might show through, despite her years of work to sound, talk and move like the Blood.

“It is a deep honor to meet you. Thank you for your insightful invitation. This is my nephew, Arturo Abarora.” Gracefully, as if she sat down to tea with those with the power to destroy her with a thought everyday, she accepted a seat when it was offered to her. Vaulting, after all, was not a profession without risk. Adrenaline sung in her veins, and that odd combination of focus and euphoria that accompanied a critical performance flooded her.

Calista’s smile was brilliant, beautiful and genuine. Her moves graceful, gentle and polite without being servile or annoying. “I have a feeling this will be the most memorable meeting of my life.” At least, she’d die well fed, if the scents tormenting her were anything to go by.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • pq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Logrona District

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

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      Haloriel

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      61

    • "I love without pride, sans artifice."

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #4 on: Jul 04, 18, 10:22:47 AM »
Estrellien chuckled kindly, eyes flashing with a very calculating warmth. "I thought that I would offer a tribute to your profession with my attire. I hope that you do not mind my poor attempts to emulate a warmth for the culture of the life that revolves around dancing for the splendour of the Toros." She offered a warm curtsey in turn with the same moments that Calista and her nephew did. The Priestess Queen noticed that the nephew was indeed, just a boy. Her manner immediately softened. She would never, ever harm a child of any age. While the woman wondered if bringing the boy along was a calculated thought process and admired it if it was, she delicately fixated upon the young adolescent. Estrellien noticed how he took in all the decor, and particularly her hair with the flower.

"You like what you see, young Arturo? Here. Have my flower. I have many more like it, while for you, I am sure it is a rare treasure." She eased close and plucking it from her hair, tucked the preserved specimen in the young man's lapel before smiling wide. The Queen had never decided over her eight centuries of life to bear her own children, concerned ever so much more with political gains. The lady swept a hand toward the table, inviting the pair of near-Landen to sit. Near Landen, because Blood called to Blood. She could sense the otherness though terribly slight, simply because of the fact that she dealt with true Landen at times, and her Priestess Caste alongside the Queen whispered to that effect. She hoped the boy would find the flower soothing as well, as a result. Estrellien served the pair sangría and tea herself, while the Steward as well took a seat, with Lord-Commander Verdad joining as well. Estrellien's Steward, Prince Fernandez, made certain the meal was attended to, beginning with a series of vegetables and fruit, both brightly fresh and pleasant to the eyes and nose.

"I am sure you are curious as to why you are here, Lady Abarora. As such, I shall not waste your time." She sipped the sangría before continuing with a smile. "My court could use a woman like you. I would like you to join us as an official Advisor. It is a paid position, and I am willing to offer your nephew a place at one of the local private Landen schools for young men since as we all know, the family is very important," Estrellien murmured warmly while accepting the salad served to her by the Prince. "I would then see to it that he gains a full scholarship to the University for any of the Landen studies available at Salamanca. The position, of course, is a paid one, and includes lodging for you here, at the Queen's palace, as well as elsewhere, should you choose it. I can ensure your safety if you are at all worried."

An intrigued expression crossed the woman's face before she nibbled on a strawberry. "What say you?"

"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Calista Abarora

  • Character Account
    • landen
    • female
    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      Idariel

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #5 on: Oct 27, 18, 04:27:29 AM »
192, Summer: Lunch on the Veranda, Estrellien’s palace in Logrona.

Arturo bowed quite gracefully, when the powerful Queen offered him the flower he had so admired. She assured him that she had many; he thought so that he need not feel bad for accepting it. But in truth, it was an odd moment for him. He did not wish to turn down the flower, not because it was valuable (although it clearly was), but because holding it in his hand made real this whole, amazing spectacle. Yet the powerful, wealthy and beautiful Blood Queen pointing out that he had nothing like it stung, a little. At 15, he was old enough to feel the sting of shame, and old enough to feel guilt that he could not take better care of his sister.

“L-lady Gualtierrez, thank you.” Arturo did not usually stammer, and a fiery blush washed over him as his tongue stumbled. He did not know what to think of this lady, save that she was both dangerous and beautiful. He sent a desperate glance to his sister, then offered a shy, disarming smile to their amazing hostess. “Thank you,” he repeated. “It will always remind me of meeting you.” Having no Psychic Cabinet, he fretted about the flower remaining in the button hole on his jacket, fusing until he was certain it would not fall out.

Calista managed to remain calm as a total stranger leaned close enough to touch her nephew, her smile remaining firmly in place. Such control was rewarded, both in her nephew’s smile and her hostess’ serving of both Sangria and tea. Sangria was difficult to drink gracefully, if you weren’t accustomed to it. The little fruits and flowers often found within could be tricky to deal with, but despite her concern both she and Arturo managed to avoid disaster. It was soothing (and very thoughtful of her hostess) to have the two Escorts from the carriage ride join them. While not quite like having old friends about, it was still comforting to have people with whom she had a slight acquaintance at the table. The Steward seemed to represent all that was good in a Blood male, making certain Arturo had plenty to eat.

Calista was starving, but found it hard to appease to the male by eating. Nerves refused to be fully quieted, though the meal, beauty and charm of their Hostess helped. She had not missed the hint of restraint or calculation behind what seemed to Calista to be genuine warmth. Nor could she fault the Queen’s softening for Arturo. That in turn eased Calista, for she sensed nothing predatory or scary in the Lady’s courtesy to the youth.

The Landen’s polite smile widened to appreciative, as the Lady Queen (Priestess and Queen, in one!) chose to answer the curiosity burning within her. She nodded agreement, sipped some Sangria to clear her mouth, and listened intently to the proposition placed before her. With care, she placed her drink back down upon the table. This clever, clever lady knew precisely what Calista hoped for her nephew; indeed, what the lad dreamed of, for himself. He had frozen, when the offer was made, and Calista feared he might break in half if she took too long to answer.

With a clam and poise fully astonishing to the young Landen herself, Calista smiled and answered the gracious Queen. “Lady Gualtierrez, I am, more than most, aware of the tensions between the Blood and the Landen.” it was daring, to so boldly say it. Yet acting stupid would accomplish nothing; she had to know if she was here as an advisor, in truth, or merely the appearance of one. Either way, she was certainly going to accept; she had to, for Arturo’s sake.

“I would be honored to assist you and your Court in easing those tensions, if that is what you desire. I would ask for quarters with your Court for myself, my nephew and his horse, and should she be found, my mother. I confess that both Arturo and I would need some tutors, to be fully of value to you; he will need some to catch up in school. He’s very bright, but less educated than I like.”

The salad appeared as if by magic, and Calista spared a sincere smile for the Steward who so honored both her and Arturo by serving them. She murmured a quiet thank you, before turning her attention once more to this most non-traditional of ruling Queens. She took a deep breath, as if to speak, but paused for a moment. More quietly she said, “My safety could be an issue, Lady Gualtierrez. I have relatives on both sides,” meaning, Blood and Landen, though the Queen and her Court might be forgiven if they didn’t know that. “Who may become unsettled by this position.”

Calista studied those present, searching for the least clue that they knew of her sisters’ death, and the disastrous Court ruling that followed it.

The one that had betrayed her existence to her Blood Grandfather.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • pq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Logrona District

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Haloriel

    • Posts

      61

    • "I love without pride, sans artifice."

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 18, 09:53:09 AM »
It would have been centuries ago, the initial trouble that caused Calista's life such upheaval, and Estrellien had taken the time to do as much research as she possibly could - but in the end was unaware precisely which family that the Abarora's present before her had sprung from among the Blood. But as the moments went by she wanted this knowledge. She wanted, with her own bare hands, to rip the head from whichever man of her people had left those of his own Blood in such a place. It took raw effort not to let that deeper violent desire show upon her face, because without question, they'd have run and that would have been quite the shame.

More, she suspected the gentle creatures were soft, and likely would beg for mercy even if it had not been deserved. Impatience aside, she dug deep within herself to treat with Calista sweetly - even if her nephew was easily one to allow her softer side visible. With the pang of shame that rose in the child, her eyes widened sharply. Once both were seated, she considered some way to repair the unhappy feeling she'd caused in the young man, even though for now she knew it better not to place him overly much in the spotlight.

"You are very welcome, brave one." Almost, she called him 'little' but realised that a boy of his age would probably have started to feel those tiny manly urges. "I am pleased that my choice for a Landen Advisor - no, we will call your position Social Advisor, as to call attention to your background would need to be the total package, and while I suspect there is pride in being Landen for you, even being slightly sensitive to the Blood ... leaves one yearning for both worlds." She nodded slowly. "Yes, I can sense it, but that is likely due to experience more than any other reason," she said gently without the slightest shame or dislike in her voice.

After all, neither Calista's nor Arturo's doing that they had been born the way they were, and in her opinion, shouldn't have been blamed or marked because of it, even if they had likely often been. Alcides Fernandez offered quiet, helpful assistance to both near-Landen; he caught the hints of near-spills before Estrellien ever would have noticed them, while the Jewelless Blood server that paid attention to Arturo was a short, rather young woman not very far from his age still learning to serve properly. Her sweet face was all fire when she passed near, but kept her learned grace despite the wide, wide golden eyes in her heart-shaped face. The young lady-server wiggled her fingers toward Arturo, despite the risk that she could be replaced with another; the Priestess Queen didn't notice. For his part, Lord Verdad watched with a piqued interest.

"Those are all desires that I can grant, but first, we should consider your pay. I would think to pay you the same as I would any Blood member of the Second Circle of my Court, to start, while your lodging, tending for your steed, rooms for tutors and private education for yourself, young Arturo, his scholarship with clothing allowance and spending funds for you both, and the eventual studies at the Landen level at Salamanca would all be listed in a contract. In addition ... your unique defensive needs as a near-Landen woman and child in a Blood Court would be a grave consideration." It became apparent that another man approached the Steward, and began taking notes as the Queen spoke, catching both everything she said and did not say, but implied.

That harming the Landen additions to her Court would essentially be asking for death by the one or ones responsible. She took a slip of parchment, smooth and perfect, and making use of the notary's extra quill, wrote a figure upon it, and passed the note across the table elegantly. "This is where we bargain. You are allowed to ask for more, and this is the time that most Blood in the same position would do so. It is expected that you choose to do so, to make your value clear." Estrellien explained because the young impressionable and still growing Arturo would dearly need to understand that she was not taking advantage of his Aunt, despite being more than capable.

"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Calista Abarora

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Re: Undeniable Proposition Number Seven
« Reply #7 on: Apr 12, 19, 11:57:44 AM »
192, Summer: Lunch on the Veranda, Estrellien’s palace in Logrona.

Indeed, the root of Calista’s troubles was centuries ago; it rested with her great-grandfather. Warlord Prince Zacarias Ibáñez del Vigo was a powerful, wealthy Aristo from an ancient family. None of his children or grandchildren had survived the Purge. Until Artemio Ureña’s trial in 190 PP, Zacarias had believed that no descendants at all would survive him. While the Blood male himself was deeply criminal, Artemio’s daughter Calista was untarnished in the eyes of Blood Law. Her only flaw was her humiliating Landen Blood. That could not be worked around directly. Yet ... with the right father ... any child of Calista’s would have a decent chance at a Jewel, and a full place in Blood Society. Muddied bloodlines or no, such a legacy was better than none at all. But only if he could hide the tainted Blood from his peers.

There could be no public acknowledgement of any relationship to Calista herself.

Only her children or grandchildren mattered, and even then ... only if they were gifted a Jewel by Mother Night. So for the last five years, the Warlord Prince had haunted Calista’s life, terrifying her from the shadows and controlling her family’s fate. Ashamed of her Landen status, he forbid her to call him or speak of him, even when he destroyed the dancing troupe Calista and Ynes had been part of. It was Zacarias himself who had forced the Plaza del Toros to hire Calista, but made no provision for the rest of her family. The young dancer was unsure, even yet, if he’d approve of the position the Priestess Queen was offering her, or be offended at her claiming sanctuary here. And in many ways, it would be sanctuary; a District Queen would surely have the reach and power to protect Calista even from him.

The Priestess Queen gently soothed Arturo’s distress, then addressed Calista’s subtle question. The dancer nodded thoughtfully at the chosen title, Social Advisor, tensing a touch at the reminder that the blessed Lady knew precisely of Calista’s dual heritage, yet a yearning, hopeless need surfaced briefly within her golden gaze. Calista longed for what she would never have, forever torn between worlds, neither of which could accept her fully. Embarrassed, she dropped her gaze, for the clever Lady’s accurate depiction of Calista’s situation was far, far too accurate. Wonder drifted through her, and even a hint of relief. It was somehow as soothing as it was terrifying to be seen so clearly.

Arturo, brave lad that he was, wiggled his fingers back at the pretty girl near to his own age. A sharp gaze studied her for a heartbeat, unsure where to place her in the Blood hierarchy. He’d heard that as she was serving, she must be of low rank, in Blood society. Maybe someone who while vastly more powerful than Arturo (given his nearly-homeless status) but unlikely to get in trouble for talking to him. His keen gaze flickered to the amazing Steward who tended so ... so ... kindly, was the only word that he could think of. So kindly to his Aunt. He hadn’t the ability to sense if the young servant were Blood, or Jeweled, or merely Landen like himself. He had only social cues to go on; but he so was so busy studying the Steward and the sweet-faced girl that he utterly failed to note Lord-Commander Verdad’s interest.

Calista noted the interest, but as the Lord-Commander didn’t seem irritated, Calista let it pass without comment. After she’d collected herself her gaze politely returned to her hostess, privately amazed to be granted all that she’d requested. Second Circle! That was high ranked indeed. Further, every concession Calista had thought to ask for (and several she should have asked for but hadn’t) had been granted. Yet even that thought could not distract her from the conclusion of the Priestess Queen’s words.

Protection? A male Calista had not seen approach, and did not know, was somehow standing to the Stewards’ side and taking copious notes. It was both a silent assurance to Calista that protection was in order, and a touch unnerving. There were so many clues about Court life that she knew she was missing. The subtle and profound offer of protection still resonated deeply within her; She’d never been protected, ever. In that moment, in a heart-beat, the Lady Estrellien Gualtiererrez won the first stirrings of true loyalty from Calista. She was too used to false promises and betrayal for her to truly trust this court, just yet. But that first, powerful step was taken.

The number was written upon the paper; That she could make out. It was more wealth than she’d ever been offered. The many words in the Scribe’s hand danced and soared across the page. But Calista herself could not read; a few words she knew on sight, as one might recognize a painting. Her name. Her brother’s. His horse. With a gentle smile that concealed her dismay, she handed the note to Arturo. He read it over slowly, his brow wrinkled as he battled with many words that were beyond his ken. Yet he’d been listening, and he nodded to his sister as he saw that everything agreed upon was indeed written upon the page. He offered a grin, “Tutors! School! It’s all here, even the clothes and some bits I don’t understand about protection. Please say yes, Aunt Calista.” He sent a yearning gaze towards his aunt, then blushed crimson and cleared his throat. “I beg pardon for speaking out of turn.” He looked up at the Lord-Commander. “Sir, how does the protection work?” His spine straightened and he said gravely, “My Aunt will need it.”

Calista smiled reassuringly at Arturo, before returning her wondering gaze to the Queen who told her to bargain. And why. “I have connections at every level of Landen Society, and a decent number amongst the Blood. I have travelled extensively, and lived both in wealthy circles and upon the street. I have fought for food, and yet been feted at the highest circles.” And every degrading, painful, fearful step in between. She’d lived a hard, demanding life, squeezing more into her scarce century of life than most of the Long-Lived did in a millennia.

“I have suffered through those areas in our society where Landen and Blood so often miscommunicate ... including both the Landen syndicate and Blood Court rulings.”

“I am skilled in creating understanding - and perhaps even good will -  where there is currently only fear.” She paused a moment, searching for the perfect ask. One that would respect both the majesty of the woman before her, and her own needs.

“The more that I ask for, Lady, is Blood Healing for myself and my family. Should we find my mother, a Healer of the Blood could restore her leg. And enough time of from my duties to continue my own education, including dance.”

 

 

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