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For years, the Dark Religion has persecuted the Light Jeweled with its doctrine of stigmatization. Under the messianic Queen Elisif Brenden, it has flourished, ensuring Glacia’s success in other fronts. But upon her death, a line has been drawn and forces beyond Glacia’s borders are gathering to stop its theocracy once and for all.
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Author Topic: A Light in the Darkness  (Read 817 times)

Description: Attn: Silje

Offline Anias Mathisen

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A Light in the Darkness
« on: Jan 09, 18, 01:16:28 AM »
Keeping misery a secret was a terrible thing. It could weigh an individual down physically while tearing them apart mentally. All the while, life must go on as if there were no issues at all. However, when the depression has all but eaten someone down to the core, all you need to do is take one look into their eyes to find a type of despair that can’t be hidden. Anias had not yet reached that level of hopelessness, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep his mind clear and on task. It was only a matter of time before his breaking point had been reached.

The disappearance of Venla Anderson had been an almost catastrophic blow to the young Midnight Keeper. It was a sudden, unexpected thing that could be likened to having all the air pushed out of your lungs, leaving you gasping for breath. There were no signs and no warning. The woman was simply gone. After a turbulent young adult life, both Venla and the Underground had become the stabilizing pillars that Anias needed. It wasn’t always as such though. Venla had once been on the wrong side of a tragic event personal to him, and it had taken quite a long time to even begin to trust the Healer. Even more so since she wore Dark Jewels. Only through her continued effort at secretly supporting the Underground, introducing him to it, and being at his side every step of the way, did a usually apathetic man warm up to her. Perhaps even becoming fond of her in ways that he never got the chance to express. It had been months since she was seen and Anias would soon have to come to terms that such a chance might never come to pass. He held out hope though and that could be seen as part of the problem.

Anias had seen his role as an Underground Climber immediately cease. Protocols that Venla had grilled into him dictated that if anything had happened to her, he’d lay low and wait for word to come from other members. They would find him and he was not to initiate contact of any kind. This also included steering clear of certain districts in Virratt, currently his home Province, unless it absolutely couldn’t be helped. It also wasn’t himself that was at risk, but his family as well. He knew he had been doing the right thing in helping Light-Jeweled Glacians escape the social norms of their homeland, but that feeling of selfishness doesn’t fully sink in until the people you love fall into danger because of your decisions and actions.

Throughout a cold winter it was hard for Anias to focus, but he’d certainly have to try. There was always work for a recognized Summit member of the Midnight Keepers, and the wayward Anias rarely turned down jobs that had him travel to the farthest corners of Glacia. Not only did it keep mind and body occupied, but it also kept his bitch Widow of a sister out of his business. Rarely did his family ask questions about the private things in his life, but Aleks was an inquisitive stalker who held the rings to her family’s collars. She was always dangerous and staying one step ahead of her, without Venla’s assistance, was going to test him in ways that weren’t imagined yet.

Currently travelling alone, Anias was well underway to serve out another contract that had come to him. His benefactor was familiar and of the distaff gender, as the majority usually are. He had been on the road for several days, but his journey would take him awhile yet. Unless he was ordered to do so for a more expeditious arrival, he’d forgo riding the Winds for a more traditional trip on horseback. It allowed him to enjoy the scenery and the face of Glacia’s beautiful countenance, while even during winter, could always be taken at value. He travelled lightly armored, armed, and vigilant. Maybe even for a moment or two his troubles were forgotten. It was that much of a quaint day.

With a new path chosen for the trip, he was certainly not accustomed to the route he was on. However, Anias was quick to acknowledge a sudden memory of remembrance of the very spot he stopped his horse at. Overcast, the sun struggled to shine through the clouds and the chill in the air should have been enough of a reminder for him to continue to the next town for a little food and shelter. However, curiosity got the better of him and he moved his horse just a little off the path, through a clearing in the wooded area, and came to stop once more at the edge of a magnificent lake. Feelings of familiarity strengthened when his blue eyes fell on a house resting on the opposite bank. Had he been here before? As a child maybe? It would have had to be. The memory didn’t feel like a strange or angry one, but something that had been lost in time.

Being in no apparent rush, Anias would make the decision to study the area a bit more on foot. Perhaps he’d even visit the home. There were plenty of places in Glacia that he had the pleasure of seeing, and even more that were still unknown to him. It was a exact feeling that made him continue to detour. Something that urged him to make sure that he had or hadn’t been around that particular patch of land in the past, and Anias at present had nothing to lose by taking the time to explore it further.

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #1 on: Feb 06, 18, 02:39:22 AM »
The sun was bright in the blue sky, illuminating the blinding white snow that covered everything as far as the eye could see. When Silje had arrived, the weather had been wet and drab, overcast with grey clouds that stole the color from everything. Today was the first day that things had changed and she'd insisted on a tour of her land. Nothing would be able to keep her inside on a day like this, not when it had been so long since she'd been home and away from her birthplace.

She was an in a stellar mood, all smiles and kisses, acting almost childish in her excitement to get out of the house. Glacia had always been magic to her, but she'd never realized it until it was taken away. When was the last time she's felt so free? Not even in Nharkava did she feel the way that she did now. She wanted to saddle her horse and ride to the boundaries of their land, maybe further (if Haakon would permit), get back into the woods and knock the snow from the low hanging branches. She wanted to see the lake and walk on the ice, pull up the dried and frozen cattails from the bank and beat them until they were nothing but fluff floating away in the breeze. It was good to be home.

Haakon had returned late in the night from his own errands, visiting with his own family perhaps. Silje was glad to have him with her. She couldn't have brought Sixten for various important reasons, but she was happy with the way that things had turned out. She expected that Haakon might be away more than he was present, but so far that hadn't turned out to be the case and she was infinitely grateful. He made her feel safe like no one ever had before. She trusted him inherently, understanding that no one had ever done as much for her as he had. She might never understand him, but she didn't think she could ever doubt him again.

Goran, her father, called for the horses to be saddled. He was no longer a servant in his own house, Haakon had ensured that. Goran and Mia, though collared now, were left to run the house after Malena's death. Haakon himself wore those rings. They were Silje's, by right, but the idea of taking them from him was still something she wasn't prepared to consider. Again, she trusted him.

Silje ate her lunch quickly and only under duress. Had she had her way she would have skipped it entirely so that she would have more time to spend outside. Mia stayed back, but Goran and Haakon accompanied her when she set out. She did race to the boundaries of the property, testing her riding skills and bond with her favorite painted Friesian. She'd not forgotten much and it didn't seem that her horse had either. Haakon allowed her celebratory romp for a long time before suggesting that she slow down to better enable he and her father to keep pace. He was certainly a steadying influence. After so much indulgence already, she gracefully complied with his request. She also meant to use the trip and these stolen hours with him to learn him all over again. Now was as good a time as any.

Snow had begun to fall again shortly after the trio exited the woods. Silje had wanted to see the place where she'd pinned Sixten's hat to a tree with an arrow. He'd been teasing her the whole afternoon all those years ago and so she'd snatched the hat off of his head, tossed it up, and launched an arrow into it. It had stuck into an old oak. He might have retrieved it had he not been so intent on chasing her down. The hat and arrow were still there, she'd noted triumphantly.

The lake was next. The breadth of the forest trail had forced Goran out ahead of the group and when they emerged, he remained there, leading the group toward the frozen reservoir. Haakon came up alongside the uncommonly contented Queen. She truly was in her element, cheeks flushed from the cold air, but seeming rightfully so, her eyes as brilliant and blue as the sky. She'd had to be convinced to wear a cloak over her corded sweater and navy riding breeches. The fur lined hood had fallen away as soon as she'd taken off on the horse the first time. She'd not replaced it and now tiny frozen crystals gathered in her neatly coiled coif.

Goran slowed his horse ahead of them and then directed it to trot back around to come up beside Haakon. There was a man ahead, on the other side of the lake. It wasn't uncommon for people in this portion of the countryside to cut through their property. Nevertheless, the men agreed it best for Goran to go ahead and find out who the man was while Haakon stayed with Silje. Her father would know the locals better than anyone else and if there was any danger, Haakon would be with the Queen to see her to safety.

Offline Anias Mathisen

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #2 on: Jun 12, 18, 08:12:00 PM »
Anias was grateful that his lakeside walk was a calming experience. Of course there were other things that his mind could, and should be occupied with, but small reprieves came few and far between lately. Unfortunately, it was usual for the lapses in the ever-moving tempo of his life to be filled with anger, grief, and regret. He was a wayward soul that fought unending battles with the state of mind he was constantly in, and to be free of that for even a few moments felt like being able to take a full breath of air just when you feel you’re about to succumb to drowning.

Save for the newly falling snow that was bestowed on the earth by a temperamental mother winter, the world around Anias was still. Lands south of the frozen tundra that was Glacia were more than likely already experiencing a warmer clime, but Glacia would endure winter’s chilling bite for a little while longer. Signs of the changing of seasons were apparent though. Small, fresh blades of grass pushed through the snow where his foot had been. On the trees, in the same sprouting manner, tiny buds that would develop into lush leaves were trying to push their way through the frost and the snow. It was also a matter of time before the lake would also shed the remnants of winter. Time of year changes could come swiftly, and while Anias was as ever bit of a northerner as could be, having experienced the warmer temperatures that the south could offer warmed his blood in a very good way.

In a few minutes of contemplation, and exploration of what Anias assumed to be public grounds, there was a bit of disappointment that he couldn’t break through his faint recollection of the area to remember why it has given him pause in the first place. He’s been in, around, and all over Glacia. There were probably less than a handful of places that were of significance to him, and of course he’d know why it was. It wasn’t a total lost cause, fortunately. Any break in riding, especially with the distance he’d have to cover, was a break well worth the stop. It would have been good to reminisce, however. Like most, it was a never a comfortable feeling leaving an unsolved mystery unsolved, but even as time wasn’t of the essence, it wasn’t inexhaustible either.

Anias had just made the decision to leave and be on his way when the sounds of an approaching horse turned him around. While the rider approached at a non-threatening pace, his blue gaze also fell on others that were in waiting across the lake. They were obviously part of the rider’s party and seemed to keep a watchful eye from afar. It probably wasn’t hard at all to spot a man wearing brown leather armor and a black cloak roaming around the winter-scape. It would be the first time that Anias would be approached in his journey, and while nothing about the rider screamed danger, he casually pulled back the cloth of his cloak to rest on the hilt of the short sword at his hip. He was very deliberate in the movement and it wouldn’t at all be missed by the rider who slowed his horse from a canter. As the last few feet were being eaten up by the rider to Anias and his horse, the Midnight Keeper quickly raised his hand in greeting. He decided to speak first.

“The only reason I can think of why you’d ride all the way from there to here..” Nodding in the direction of the others in what was obviously a playful exaggeration of distance. “..is because I somehow managed to trespass into an area I shouldn’t be in. I apologize. I was just enjoying the scenery is all. I was also just about to be on my way.” Anias didn’t make any visible expressions that he realized the rider himself was familiar as well. It probably wasn’t a coincidence either, but Anias would rather not try his hand. He wasn’t rude though and would wait for the man on the horse to grant him his leave. The rider, from his elevated position, would be able to clearly see Anias’ face under the hood of his cloak and with further inspection, note the collar he wore as well.

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #3 on: Nov 29, 18, 11:16:16 PM »
As her father went on ahead, Silje had turned her face to take in the familiar scene again for the first time in too long. Something tugged at her attention, though, drawing it back to her father and she noticed that she was reluctant to do much else. There was an apprehension that bloomed which caused her to press her lips together and stare toward the figure moving away from herself and Prince Gunvaldsson. The oddity of the magnetism that she felt made her wonder if she was experiencing some sort of portent. Glancing down at her gloved hands wrapped at the reins, she noticed that she was well and whole, free from any sort of bother, and yet she couldn't shake that she was meant to do something.

Flexing her fingers, Silje didn't look back. Prince Gunvaldsson's eyes would lock her in place, she was sure. He'd see her uneasiness if he wasn't already aware of it bleeding out of her aura. She wanted to go after her father, it seemed the only direction that she could accept if she were to move at all, but what if the sense that she had was one of danger? Taking a breath, Silje held it, staring intently after her father, her jaw set firmly enough that it strained her throat.

"Haakon," she whispered, skepticism heavy on her brow, "I feel very strange."

It was neither a good feeling or a bad one, and it wasn't even that strong. But it was undeniable. It made it difficult to think clearly. The unknown triggered a fear response which told her that needed to respond, but to what? And how? Finally, she did glance back at Haakon, but only for a moment and then quickly down. Her horse plodded the ground with heavy hooves that crunched in the snow. If she followed after her father, Haakon would be with her.

So without waiting, she nudged the horse onward, again fixing her eyes in the distance, that curious something making her feel lightheaded. The ordinary nature of the horse moving beneath her and the nostalgic brush of a chill wind of her cheek made her think herself very silly in the moment, but reason didn't make any of that unnameable feeling go away.

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #4 on: Nov 30, 18, 12:05:20 AM »
For all that once upon a time, Lady Silje Frisk had assured Haakon that her place was anywhere but here, he’d rarely seen her in such joy. Still uncommonly beautiful, ethereal and rare, now the trails that had pushed her to this point had tempered her fierce spirit into something so filled with delight and gratefulness for her home that he could scarcely look away from her. If she had merely found family’s resurgence and the well-being of her estate under Haaakon satisfactory, he would have been content. The honor of her choosing him to ward her family, down to holding the control rings even yet, would have been more than enough to make his hard work on her behalf worth it. But to see her whole demeanor come alive, to watch her chart every finger-length of ground she could call her own touched him far deeper. This was the Silje Frisk she should have been, from the begining. As much as Haakon felt he’d played a small roll in her resurgence, he was profoundly, achingly aware that the lion’s share of her healing had come from the strange Prince Priest who had sheltered her Nharkava.

As her father rode away on his beautiful Friesian, Haakon turned his gaze upon Silje. Her painted Friesian was nearly as exquisite as she was, both sparkling with frozen ice-diamonds and bands of snow gilded to golden by the sun. His faint smile appeared, as it has all morning, when his gaze rested upon Silje. In an odd parallel habit of thought far more rare with Haakon than it should be, he too had determined to reacquaint himself with Silje whilst they were in terror-filled Glacia.

 “I have rarely seen such joy in you, Lady Silje. You are so at peace with who you are. Is it the gift of your Prince Priest to settle hearts so thoroughly?”

But her gaze did not linger upon him for long, but returned to the man in brown leather and black cloak, speaking with her father. The smile which had, for all of the morning, lurked in her eyes even when not upon her lips vanished. Her jaw set, hard and fierce. Tension radiated from Silje, and Haakon’s piercing, hostile gaze followed after hers to find the source of her unease. A breathtaking lake glimmered, doubling the man and Goran both in mirror image, and Haakon at once spun a defensive Shield about Silje. And her horse; she was so fond of the beast. A heartbeat later, and with an effort he reached to wrap her father in a cocoon of Red Shielding as well.

Her words caused him to move his borrowed horse closer to hers, and reach out to grip her shoulder in an iron-clad grasp; he made no move, just yet, to check her forward motion. His harsh voice was heavier, sharper than it had been only moments before, but did not carry fear or stress, not yet. He reached out to sense the newcomer’s Jewels, and was certain he could handle the man, if it became necessary.

“Strange how, Silje?” Though it was not his custom to address even those very familiar to him so informally, some few had slipped past his guard ... like Silje. This time, the intimacy of her name was unencumbered with a title; she had that effect upon him, from time to time. Likewise, that she felt no need to use his title felt proper somehow. Whether the young lady realized it or no, she’d slowly moved into the small collection of ladies Haakon considerd to be his responsibility.

“Do you know him?” Haakon considered the situation for a few heartbeats more before speaking. “It is unlikely to be any kind of trap spell, given how long you have been from home. Likewise, I do not think you need fear a Widow’s Webs at his range. I’ve shielded your father, nonetheless.”


Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #5 on: Nov 30, 18, 12:52:13 AM »
Even Haakon's voice, the one that had so often pulled her from the nightmare of her thoughts, even this could not fully gather her attention. Her head began to turn toward him when he spoke of joy and peace, yet her eyes didn't follow, not at first. They did when he spoke of her Priest Prince and her settled heart. Her eyes sat with him for one complete cycle of breath, in and then out. Prince Gunvaldsson wasn't a man who made jokes, and often he spoke exactly what he meant. Prince Acharya had been more kind to the Frisks than Silje would have a chance to earn or deserve within her lifetime, but her settled heart wasn't a gift from him. Haakon himself was more responsible for her happiness than the strange outcast. Haakon, and the snow, the land, her land. All things distinctly Glacian. Perhaps that was what she was feeling, a sudden and full acceptance of the pleasure of having returned home.

"No," she answered, not meaning to disrespect the Prince with such easily divided attention but she was already glancing back toward the lake. It just seemed imperative.

Haakon's hand rested on her shoulder and grounded her both in the moment and lightly restrained the eager notion to advance. She shivered as he spoke again. She didn't have an answer, still didn't. Shaking her head ever so slightly she tried to put it into words, but none made sense that didn't also make her feel very foolish. She didn't like coming apart at the seams. It was messy. And though she was far from such a thing, she wasn't composed either. Was it Prince Gunvaldsson? A touch of levity entered her thoughts as she noted that her emotions had always had a tendency to spike when he was present. Silje wet her lips and shook her head, devoid of a proper response.

"Who?" She asked, when he inquired if she knew the man. She realized what he meant before he answered her though and shook her head again, this time a little faster as though she was confused. She'd been staring after her father thinking that maybe the odd sense had something to do with him when it could have been the other man. But at this distance? It didn't seem safe to investigate further, but at the moment, Silje felt safe with the decision to move closer.

"Thank you," she murmured. In the recesses of her mind, she knew that she wasn't giving Prince Gunvaldsson the respect that he was due, but the something else that pawed at her consciousness begged to be acknowledged and she simply couldn't fathom how.

Her horse trotted for a few strides to close some distance between she and her father before she slowed it to a walk again. She wasn't in a hurry, and she understood the risks, but she was compelled, after all, to continue. Goran was talking to the man before Silje had closed half of the distance. Haakon was close at her side, his concern shaming the Queen for her refusal to pay it any heed.

Silje's father eased when he stopped just short of the unannounced guest. The collar changed the shape of his gaze and summoned a friendly smile. Goran couldn't sense the jewels of the Blood man who had sunk deeper into the abyss than he himself, but the collar indicated that he bore no more than a Purple Dusk. It was a formidable Jewel, but nothing worth noting except to shame as far as Glacia was concerned. This made them brothers in a way and Goran was ever receptive to those who bore that shame.

"No apology required, friend," he assured. "This is the land of my family, my daughter, the Lady Frisk. It sounds as though you were merely doing what we'd arrived to do, ourselves." There was a hint of pride in Goran's tone. Finally, the day had come where he didn't have to say that the estate belonged to his malicious mother. This fact alone made the land more beautiful in his eyes. "Are you not from the area? I can direct you if you tell me where you mean to be."

By now Silje's horse had nearly arrived around the curve of the lake, Prince Gunvaldsson preceding her by half a horse for the sake of safety. Without consciously acknowledging it, Silje had become nearly numb. In the short distance covered, it was as though she'd been lulled into a trance. She rode well, still, her body knowing what it was meant to do to remain seated atop her mount but nothing was a purposeful choice anymore.

"Haakon, I think he's mine," she whispered with reverent awe. Her fingers began to tremble and so she clamped them into fists and rested them near the top of her saddle.

She'd only ever bonded one other man and that had been Sixten. She couldn't recall the sense of it as, for all she knew, it had occurred while they were yet in the womb. Knowing that there was no one accepted description for the sense of discovering a bond, a missing part of one's soul in the form of another, Silje had never been able to prepare herself. Sure, she'd fantasized as a child, but in recent years she'd all but forgotten those fantastical scenes. She wasn't in a white flowing gown with her hair loose and blowing over her shoulders. He wasn't atop a white horse, nor returning from war or losing the strength in his knees at the sight of her beauty. The stranger was merely speaking to her father who entreated him.

Offline Anias Mathisen

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #6 on: Dec 05, 18, 02:59:52 AM »
Expecting to be sent away in one manner or another before the rider before him spoke, Anias called his horse over to him with a light whistle. The animal was in the middle of grazing any seasonal green that survived beneath the blanket of snow that covered it. Even now, a very light flurry of snowfall began to occur. Knowing the temperament of mother winter within Glacia where mild weather could turn severe in the span of a breath, it was probably best for Anias to be on his way. However, it wasn’t as simple as mounting his horse, bidding farewell to the stranger, and finding the road north again.

Not so simple at all.

The feeling that beckoned him off the path in the first place, of which he had simply chalked up to a fleeting remembrance of the area, had washed over him once again. The sensation was so powerful the second time around that the Glacian had to regard it a bit more seriously. His eyes lowered in thought as the leather reigns of his steed, now at arms length, was taken into his grasp. It seemed while one part of him was aware that he needed to go, another part of him desired to stay. It wasn’t a request to himself either. It was more like a command. What started off as a mental and psychological tug had manifested itself physically into a feeling of anxiousness. The rider in front of him may or may not notice that Anias’ grip on the reigns tightened. Or that the fingers of his free hand balled into a fist and released a few times over. The man was speaking to him now and the wayward Glacian swallowed hard against his collar before forcing a light smile across chilled lips.

“Lady Frisk?” Anias recalled memories of hearing the name before while conducting business and overhearing conversations that weren’t meant for him. While he couldn’t quite remember what those discussions were about, it was easy to call a unique name such as that to mind. Even so, there might have been a few more particulars about it that could have been recollected, but Anias simply couldn’t think straight currently. It was difficult to retain a respectable attentiveness to the stranger who seemed friendly enough, whom he didn’t want to offend, but couldn’t help looking beyond the man to the two riders around the lake’s bend. When there was a singular focus on the female rider, instinct immediately kicked in and the Warlord realized everything he felt was due to being in the proximity of a Queen. He’d been around very few Queens and even fewer where Dark Jewels - her own descent still unknown to him - were concerned, but her Psychic Scent was quite distinctive.

“I just need to..” He paused. “I need to..” He almost forgot to lick his lips after the longest time. “Is that the Lady over there?” The pull to her was remarkable. Nothing like he felt before or even expected to ever feel. Anias was both afraid of it and wanting more of it. It was a visceral thing to experience and his body responded in kind. Realizing fully what was happening now, he opened his mouth to speak once more, but the words were stolen by fright that struck as quickly as lightening. Craft had come into play, though with his senses assaulted he didn’t know if it was offensive or defensive, but took a defensive posture just out of sheer habit. “What is this??” He hastily questioned. His mind envisioned the worst, and for a moment Anias thought he was caught in some elaborate plot. His hand was already around the hilt of his weapon, but surprisingly the Warlord didn’t draw. The Queen and the other man that he assumed was a guardsman were fast approaching and the false return of the pulse he sent psychically confirmed that they were shielded. The safeguard was strong, but it didn’t lessen what the birth of the bond had created. Soon, the Queen and her male would be eye to eye.

There were no definitive answers as to what incorporates the bond. As far as Anias was concerned it was meant for properly Casted males who found themselves yearning to serve in a political atmosphere far too procedural for his liking. Minus the fact that Anias loved Glacia, but hated the majority of its inhabitants, it was clear what his path was in terms of his place in the world. The Midnight Keepers was his job, the Underground his passion, the Dark Religion his enemy. There were always doubts about his life, but if contemplated with a sense of purpose, the path.. was.. always.. clear. That is until he looked into those pale blue eyes surrounded by a countenance that was as soft, and as certain, as the flakes of snow that continued to fall from above.

“My..” His lips trembled trying to find the word best suited for the Protocol of a situation that Anias was both not familiar with or prepared for. He did ease up on the strenuous grip of his weapon’s hilt and ignored the sharp pain in the joints of his fingers. For a brief time there was only him and her. She was strikingly beautiful, but probably just as shocked as he at their bonding. In the midst of everything happening he had just only realized that he didn’t shield himself and did so if only to protect his inner barrier, his most sacred thoughts, and secret intents. There were few things more frightening than knowing a Glacian Queen that most likely has fallen into a dark descent to know just exactly what kind of man he really was.

A traitor of Glacia.

Steadying himself, Anias took in a deep breath and more keenly felt that part of her that was now part of him. It was a strangely calm feeling wrapped around his own being which encompassed anger, hatred, and waywardness. She would feel these things too as the bond itself seemed to transcend the shielding, if not just by the look in his icy eyes. The Warlord regarded the trio a moment more before slowly removing the hood of his cloak. Messy hair with light and dark hues spilled across facial features locked in a showing of uncertainty, but Anias managed a bow to his Queen. Managed a stern look of acknowledgement to Haakon, and managed a nod to the man first met.

“My Lady Frisk.” He carefully assumed while finally answering a question posed to him by Goran a short time ago. “I believe I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, sir.”

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 18, 01:43:50 AM »
Fall, 193: The Frisk Estates, Glacia

Silje’s lovely blue eyes were torn from Haakon’s, the pull of a stranger on her lands overwhelming all else. Well, almost all else. When Haakon dared ask about that forbidden man whose existence showed the Dark Religion to be false, her distracted gaze had landed fully upon him. Such a look was therein, that Haakon might take a lifetime studying every nuance and never come to the end of it. A single word, No, was vouchsafed to him, before all answers were ripped from his grasp. The angle of his jaw tightened to painful, as he crushed his own wishes in order to better attend to her needs. Shadows gathered in his soul, ice crystals in his blood. Silje was rarely at a loss for words, save when he kissed her. The young Queen had learned composure and calm in cruel situation.

Whatever fey power had stirred in the Queen pulled her inevitably towards the object of her obsession. It was not in Haakon’s power to direct her attention away from the stranger; he moved with her, sweeping the area with a powerful pulse of his Red Jewel. The rising distress coloring Silje’s Psychic Scent was a goad, a burning annoyance that breathed over his body and coiled through his senses. A deep, angry pull of power from his Opal strengthened him, and enhanced his senses. If a threat awaited, Haakon would annihilate it. The problem was, he couldn’t find a viable target. The young man they approached had not reached for his Jeweled powers, nor had he made a single aggressive move.

Goran was calm, a smile upon his face; his entire body language suggested the stranger was equally considered no threat by Silje’s father. It was as if he offered an esoteric harm only to Silje. Haakon, at least, considered harm when she all but fell into a trance, whilst they rounded the lake.

Haakon, I think he’s Mine.

The breath exploded out of Haakon as if he’d been punched in the gut; rage swirled through him, but was ruthlessly suppressed, shoved into the icy caverns that were the foundations of his soul. A storm shuddered within, though outwardly his cold, stern expression altered very little. This would be the fourth time he’d been blessed, or cursed, to witness that binding, enduring wound-in-the-soul which was the Queen’s Bond. Haakon reined in, so that Silje’s painted Friesian came along side. Briefly, his powerful hand settled over Silje’s fists. The well-bred and perfectly trained horses permitted him to stop his mount so close that their knees brushed. A nearly invisible shift of weight, and his horse stopped altogether. Carefully, Haakon wove his Shields so that Silje moved easily, unaware when her own skin tight Shields dissolved into the Globe of Power that protected her father. As she passed near, it was seamlessly extended to include this newest threat.

Bonded. Her newest Bonded.

With a grace that proved he was Glacian born, he dismounted and offered a Protocol perfect bow to the newest complication in his life. Reflexively, he’d offer to assist Silje to dismount, easily lifting her to the ground if she waited for his assist.

She might not; she was that way, sometimes.

His glacial gaze studied the Warlord intently, listening to every word he spoke, though Haakon himself expected to be all but invisible to the man. Yet Haakon could not settle, for a perfectly understandable terror radiated off of the young man. That terror provoked; Haakon longed to destroy the source of all Light Jewel’s eternal fear, but could not. He as the source; Silje was. The cursed Dark Religion, twisted out of true like a man with a bad Queen’s Bond. The composure and self-control of the Warlord was sufficient that he merely gripped his blade, and did not draw it. Light Jeweled, inexplicably Bonded to a completely unknown Dark Jeweled Queen in the middle of a random field? Not even a howling sleet storm atop the coldest mountain in Glacia would be more terrifying. Only the bitterly cruel visit of the Territory Queen herself, come to torment your Queen, could be. A fierce play of emotions ran through the Warlord’s Psychic Scent too swiftly for Haakon to analyze them all. Yet Haakon offered him the courtesy of attempting no Craft that would harm or breach or even touch the young Lord’s skilled Shields.

The Warlord pushed back the hood of his cloak, his eyes icy, but he managed a bow and spoke quietly in an acknowledgment of the fierce and brutal change that had so swiftly come to uproot him.

Haakon was aware that Silje would need to dismount, to touch her new male. Yet that odd dance of Protocol and instinct that governed all such interactions amongst the Blood made it harder than it should have been to remain a step behind her, not shouldering in front of her stop this. Nothing could stop it; it was as Mother Night Willed. Sometimes bad, sometimes good. Haakon was bitterly aware of how deeply a Bond with the wrong person could twist someone out of true.

A pained breath in, his voice strained and harsh, as at last Haakon spoke.

“Peace, Warlord. I am Prince Gunvaldsson, Acting Steward of Nharkava.” He gestured to their small party. His face was all but unreadable, to a stranger; cool, cold, controlled. His aura radiated only a false-calm that all but shouted of the raging turmoil underneath.

“We mean you no harm.” Haakon couldn’t even promise that no harm would come to them, whilst he stood watch. The powers of the Territory Court were such as to make his Red Jewel insufficient protection.

“This Craft is beyond any mortal’s control or will. Lady Silje has been given into your keeping, and you into hers. Ward her well, for hers is a brilliant soul, and dear to me.”

Another Protocol perfect bow, a bitter war within himself, and Haakon melted backwards, to sand watch whilst two slivers of a phantom whole were bound more tightly than fingers upon a hand. It was painful, bitter and beautiful every time it occurred. And always, fear was the greatest of his emotions.

Who was this man with the cold face, who would suddenly be worth dying for, to Silje?
What Price would this Bond demand of each of them.


Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #8 on: Dec 17, 18, 08:37:37 PM »
The young Warlord grew increasingly anxious, at least it seemed to Lord Frisk, the father who had so recently become reacquainted with his Queen daughter. Prince Gunvaldsson had gone through great lengths to secure Silje's future, or at least prevent it from spinning so wildly out of control. Years had passed and now they were here. Goran had prepared for this eventuality but with all that readiness came a desperate need to preserve what had been acquired, purchased with blood. The attention of the man before him wavered so easily that Goran wondered if he were drunk or otherwise inebriated. He didn't bear himself like a drunkard though. In fact, he'd seemed rather well put together only a minute or so before his daughter and Prince Gunvaldsson began to approach. Was this what had changed his demeanor?

The stranger repeated his daughter's formal name and Goran's ears shifted as he set his jaw. He fought the pull to glance behind him, but the urge was tempered by the seed of doubt that had only just broken the soil. Was this man a threat?

"Pray tell, what is your name, young man?" Goran asked, only his wrinkles showing signs of concern. Still, he didn't think to disguise his apprehension either. Prince Gunvaldsson was at his back. Even if he wasn't capable of negating some threat to his daughter, Haakon certainly was.

"Are you from the village?" He nodded only slightly in the direction that led to the small hamlet over the hill. Before hearing an answer in the affirmative, he went on, seeking to meet the stranger's wandering eyes. "Of what family?" Goran steered the horse between the man and his approaching daughter if only as a sign to Prince Gunvaldsson that he wasn't sure about this one. Nothing that he had said seemed to garner the attention of the collared stranger.

"I just need to..."

Goran narrowed his eyes sharply, gritting his teeth tighter now. Even being perfectly assured of Prince Gunvaldsson's eagerness to protect his daughter and likely even himself, it felt strange to simply stand by as the bizarre encounter unfolded without doing anything. Not that he knew what he might do if the onus was upon him to act. Goran had never been a fighter, and never even much of a protector. He was little more than a lover and a dreamer despite his distinctly powerful build.

Whatever possible danger that was latent in the moment, it increased with the sound of crunching snow that marked each step of the horses at his back. On the other hand, so did the proximity of one of the most powerful Princes in the land, likely within the realm as well. Danger and danger's bane as it were. When Lord Mathisen's hand shifted to his sword, Goran pulled his horse quickly back, keenly aware that he needn't exist in the space between Haakon and a man about to die at his hand.

"Woah!" he shouted as his horse scuttled backward and then reared up on its massive haunches.

With her attention fixed, Silje schooled herself to maintain her form and demeanor, at least as best as she could. Now she was very intimately aware of what it was like to want to rush toward someone and embrace them and yet to not be able to do so. Even if she gave herself to the impulsive whim, wouldn't Haakon restrain her? One or the both of them might look very foolish if she did this thing and all she could think was how awfully the moment would be ruined if that happened. If this was what she believed it to be, she would recall and retell the story a hundred times before her death. She wasn't going to mar it by acting like a child no matter how badly she wanted to ignore all the rules she'd ever made for herself and do just that.

Unblinking eyes snapped to her father as his horse backed toward the lake. Had something happened? Was something wrong? Loosening a hand from the reins before her, she didn't look away, but she did move her arm to the side laying fingers to rest gently on top of Prince Gunvaldsson's forearm. It was a relief to feel him so close, even now. His presence made all of the chaos that she held at bay seem perfectly manageable. She could fail all day long and end up making the poorest of all of the choices presented to her, but he would still be there to pick up the pieces as he had always been. She didn't know if this made her stronger or simply dependent, but she'd not ever turn him away.

Seeing the fear in her father's eyes Silje gasped quietly. Shaking her head absently, she reached across the thread that they shared to assure him of what she became more and more aware of as she approached. *Peace, Lord Frisk.* The wavering strength of those psychic words attested to her distraction.

When again she could see the young Glacian Warlord, she felt that it could be nothing else except the bond that beckoned her closer. She was shivering, though the Queen found herself far from disturbed by the cold. He drew back his hood and Silje bit her lip. By the Night, he was handsome. Tortured, as well? His stray emotions all managed to train themselves to her heart and pierce its frigid shell. Breathless, Silje swallowed hard, confused by the man, his heart, and how readily she mirrored that hurt in her own.

Perfectly timed to her undoing, Anais said her name with a voice that carried the weight of a glacier with it, a weight that wound itself around her very soul and Silje found herself glad to be apprehended and sinking toward the undeniable unknown.

Haakon was beside her before she knew that her horse had ceased its advance. His hands were familiar, strong, perfectly placed and not an inch out of place. In this way, he was as predictable as the infinite stars in their paths across the night sky. On some other day, in some other situation, she might have thought to have an opinion on the matter, but all that mattered was that he was moving her closer to what she knew that she needed.

Prince Gunvaldsson was speaking, but individual words were blocked out by her fixed attention. Silje only managed to absorb that he was giving a sort of blessing. He was all but offering her to a man that was to now and forever more be woven into her future. Now, the thing that kept her most from running toward the stranger was the pain that he emanated. What did it mean? Could she fix it? He bowed and Silje let out a quiet but shrill tortured sound.

The few steps that it took to reach Anias seemed the heaviest in all of her life, the longest she'd ever taken. How could he be anything but elated? She needed to know. She wanted within his thoughts if only to seek out the source of this pain. She wanted to soothe him, to know what it might be like to do so, never once thinking that this was not the only man who might benefit from her Touch.

Goran dismounted from his horse, bowing his stern features toward the ground in awed reverence as his daughter dropped neatly to her knees in front of the Warlord. Silje reached for Anias' face, Craft seeping from soft fingertips as they spread over his features. Her bright blue eyes seemed nearly slate colored in the shadow of her concern laden brow. She sought his eyes in order to truly see him, to see into him. His troubled aura felt more real than the thick and heavy cloak about her shoulders.

"Peace," she pleaded, tears escaping the confines of her lashes. Smiling nonetheless, her emotions warred with each other, elation and distress far from canceling each other out. Knowing that she was little more than a snarl of inner tumult herself, the Queen's smile spread until she laughed in spite of herself, still fixed on Anias' features. "You are where you need to be."

Feathering the strength of her Touch stronger still, she nodded, attentive and unaware of anything else but the man before her. Her fingers brushed the smooth edge of his collar causing Silje to jerk them away. Her smile disappeared when her chin trembled in response. Was this his pain? Or merely where it had begun? *I will take care of you,* she promised him silently.

Offline Anias Mathisen

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 19, 03:33:01 AM »
Anias and his Queen were eye to eye, and she had him in an embrace that spanned several long moments. All the while, her fingers sought to explore and burn to memory the features of his face. He was also compelled to continue to look into that beautiful countenance. It was as pure and as flawless as the flakes of snow that continued their journey downward from a shadowed sky. She had tears in her eyes and the look on Anias’ face seemed one of shame. He knew that there was a part of her that wanted to know all of him, inside and out. His inner barriers didn’t relent though, and she’d get as far as prodding against the edges of it. Though he knew if she really wanted, she could tear them down and get right to the core of his thoughts, memories, and all of himself. *I don’t think I’m worthy of that yet, my Queen.* He returned on the same thread. *There is much we need to discuss.*

The last words that came from Anias’ mouth seemed to paint a picture of a man that had quickly accepted his fate. In truth, the wayward Glacian didn’t truly know what to feel. When the first few moments of shock and awe wore off, Anias was left with the residual effects. It came in the form of a solemn feeling that was so strong, so overbearing, that he was afraid she might take notice of it if she looked beyond the blue of his eyes. Right down into the depths of him. It was as if his entire life had crashed down on his shoulders because of the singular even that just occurred. He couldn’t even begin to fathom what things would be like going forward, and that’s what worried him the most. He followed principles that included due diligence and preparation, but Anias had long since put off the prospect of ever bonding to a Queen. He even figured that being a Midnight Keeper solidified that belief even more. Fate, it would seem, was not without a sense of irony as he had become part of a system that he fought against for most of his life. Not all Dark-Jeweled within Glacia played the part of oppressors, but Anias wasn’t about to let his guard down completely just yet. Despite her showing no ill will whatsoever, there was no telling which direction his Queen’s pendulum swung just yet. There were plenty of secrets that needed to remain secret still.

“Thank you for the welcome, Prince.” He offered a genuine smile to Haakon, though his brows rose curiously at the reveal of being Nharkava’s Steward. Acting or otherwise. “That’s quite the position, and as it would seem, you’re a long way from your post.” When there were Light-Jeweled that needed to be smuggled out of Glacia, and Anias was given the choice of passage, the one to Nharkava was the one that was chosen the most. There was a wide assortment of trusted people there that could further render aid to Glacian expatriates. However, the northern territory’s excursion south in recent months has slowed the business of freeing the many Light-Jeweled looking for new lives elsewhere. It’s left the Underground with fewer options and less hope. He absentmindedly wondered how much his new Queen was involved with Nharkava as well. Despite Haakon obviously being Silje’s protectorate, Anias remained close to her. Dark Jewels or not, he felt obligated and hard-wired to be an almost defensive presence for her.

“I was on my way to conduct business.” He didn’t mention what or for who. “If there are no objections, I would like to speak with Lady Frisk. Alone.” He glanced at her, hoping his lack of correct Protocol in such matters wasn’t easily noticed.

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: A Light in the Darkness
« Reply #10 on: Feb 05, 19, 09:02:42 PM »
Fall, 193: The Frisk Estates, Glacia

Silje wept.

Haakon’s expression grew grim, as the tears traced her delicate cheeks. It was a silent reproach; for all he’d witnessed the Bond several times (and had experienced it himself) he remained helpless before it. This was one more thing he could not defend her from. Yet not one hint of that self-loathing and coiled rage showed as he responded to the Warlord’s courteous and genuine greeting. Of all the many events that occurred just then - Lord Frisk’s horse protesting a sudden reversal, Lady Silje touching a stranger, the plethora of intense emotions running through the four Blood - it was Silje’s distress that moved Haakon to action. He took a step closer, not in threat, but merely because he did not think Silje would hear anything but her Bonded for a while, yet.

Shame flickered upon the young man’s face, and Haakon felt himself a voyeur, for witness so intimate a moment. No man could be worthy of a Bond to a good Queen, so Haakon felt that he understood the source of the man’s shame. More, he thought the better of the young man for it. The man offered a genuine smile, and his quip in response to Haakon’s introduction demonstrated that his wits were yet functioning despite the newness of his Bond. Two more marks in his favor; many became hostile to anyone in proximity to a newly-fashioned Queen Bond. For Silje’s sake, he attempted to smile back; what was achieved was a brief glimpse of the tormented man beneath the mask of calm acceptance.

“It is your right and privilege to attain private dialogue with your Darkness-Blessed Queen, Lord.” Haakon assured the younger Warlord. The words might either sound like pompous quotation or empty formality were it not for the reverence and pain with which Haakon spoke the words.

Crystal tears danced over Silje’s face, anguish painted over joy, for Mother Night could never bestow a blessing without a curse.

Everything has a Price.

“But this place is far from safe for the two of you to fully concentrate upon your Bond. My Lady Silje,” Haakon deliberately chose the intimacy of her first name, despite how he hated the ruin of his voice, and how it mangled the ethereal delicacy of her name.

“Your father and I could back off enough to allow private discourse, but still be within sight of you.” From a security stand point it was less than ideal; not to mention she was likely to get chilled, being so still for so long. But at least he would be near to hand if she needed him, and it would check the natural, yet unwise impulses most Bonded felt.

“Or we might escort you both back to your manor, where you could retire to a salon?” That offer grated, as Haakon knew precisely how the sudden, intense emotional intimacy could provoke an unwise race to physical intimacy. But security-wise, it offered a far deeper and more layered series of protections, including set-spells. He waited, willing to set either plan in motion as soon as one or the other of them made a choice.

Silje wept, a perfect picture of the mingled pain and delight of the Wound-in-the-Soul known as a Queen’s Bond.