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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: Little Birds in Big Cages  (Read 222 times)

Description: tag; Nina

Offline Aaryne Haugen

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Role

      Spy/Servant

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      14

    • *disguised as Jewelless Blood*

    • View Profile
Little Birds in Big Cages
« on: Apr 14, 19, 03:20:41 PM »
Around and about the Salo Province Court - be it the grounds, the residential wings, or the rooms and halls intended for official court business - there really wasn't anything that Aaryne didn't do. He assisted the butler, he took care of chores and cleaning, he ran messages for the staff as well as between members of the Court itself, he even spent time in the stables and at least once a day he found himself doing something to support the kitchens. He volunteered for the odd jobs and made himself inconspicuously available for differing assignments to be volunteered for so he didn't look too eager to be all over the place - which, of course, he was.

His caution was likely unnecessary. He would see the same man three times in one day, while performing three different jobs, and he wouldn't be noticed once. A part of that was his own subtle ability to blend in and be utterly unmemorable - but part of it was also that he was staff. He wasn't really a member of the Court, not really. He was a servant, and he was non-Jeweled Blood. As far as many of the other Blood would be concerned, even the light-Jeweled courtiers and members of staff, he might as well be a part of the scenery. A chair conveniently out of the way, or an extra swath of fabric hanging in the shadows of the drapery. Nothing consequential, nothing to pay any mind.

But for Aaryne, it gave him all the access he needed to get to know the Court - from the people to the policies to how strictly those policies were enforced. It allowed him to keep an eye on the notable members of the Court - which was not just its full, dark-Jeweled members.

No, there were a few others he was keeping close tabs on - and two of those individuals were Queens. One of them was obvious - his Queen, but beyond that she was also a Priestess Queen and the younger sister of the current reigning Queen of Salo, which made her a very valuable piece even without his more personal connection.

The other was the younger sister to one of his Queen's dark-Jeweled bonded. Annina Uljas.

Aaryne was paused outside her door now, balancing the tray on one hand as he knocked gently on her door. He'd made sure he was in the right place at the right time to be given her tray, meant to take it up to her room and deliver it for her to have a solitary supper. He didn't know why the Lady was dining alone - if it was by her own request or the decree of someone higher up in the Court - but it gave him exactly the opening he needed to see how she was doing, and perhaps learn a bit about her situation. And - if he were particularly lucky - the relationship between her and her brother.

"Lady? I've been sent up with supper for you," he called gently with another knock, his voice a warm and easy tenor.

Offline Annina Uljas

  • Character Account
    • whiteBR
    • queen
    • Role

      Ward

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lomenar

    • Posts

      11

    • View Profile
Re: Little Birds in Big Cages
« Reply #1 on: Apr 18, 19, 08:19:13 AM »
If there was one thing that had become increasingly clear to Nina after having moved into Queen Vladis’ residence, it was that she -hated- court life. She dreaded leaving her rooms every day, having to face the looks and whispers that seemed to follow her everywhere she went. She usually managed to steel herself enough to soldier through her day, only to collapse on her bed in the evening; completely exhausted from trying to avoid the dark jewelled blood in residence as much as she possibly could as she went about her various lessons and chores. Her only escapes were her room, the library and the garden. The latter two were not quite as safe as her own room, however.

Most days she managed to keep her energy up enough to eat dinner with the court, but not tonight. It had been an absolutely dreadful day and Nina had requested that a light meal be sent up to her room so that she could dine in solitude. There was still some time before her tray would arrive, and Nina spent the time fluffing the pillows on her bed and changing out of her court clothes and into a pair of pastel pink pyjama bottoms and a soft knitted sweater. She would spend tonight in bed, pretending that she was not feeling well so that she didn’t have to deal with anyone else, and read the latest romance novel she had managed to procure from the estate’s library.

It was on nights like this she missed Taavi. If he’d been here he would have brought the food for her, no doubt, to make sure that she ate. Then they would have cozied up on either the sitting room sofa or the bed, sharing a blanket and each of them would be reading a book they enjoyed. They wouldn’t spend a lot of time talking, they would just enjoy each other’s company and the companionable silence. Eventually Nina would fall asleep and Taavi would tuck her in before he left. It hurt so much to be apart from him and she missed him more and more with each day. it was almost unbearable.

She was pulled from digging herself even deeper into her misery by a knock on the door and a voice she did not recognize. The voice sounded friendly enough though, so she donned a polite smile and went to open the door.
“Good evening. Thank you for bringing me my supper. Do you want me to take it from here?”
Her smile was a bit wobbly around the edges as she beheld the stranger, but he had her supper in her hands, so she would be nice...just for a little while longer.

Offline Aaryne Haugen

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Role

      Spy/Servant

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      14

    • *disguised as Jewelless Blood*

    • View Profile
Re: Little Birds in Big Cages
« Reply #2 on: Apr 22, 19, 05:56:56 PM »
The door opened and for an instant, just an instant, Aaryne thought he was looking at another young Queen after a very long and trying day.

Her eyes were wide, and blue, and rimmed red from frustrated tears - her shoulders set but her mouth trembling as she struggled to hold onto her young dignity all the way across the threshold of their small house.

'Nadia, sweetheart, what's wrong?' Aaryne had hurried to his daughter, noting the distress instantly. He looked behind her to his husband, Cyrus, who looked sympathetic but not upset - which soothed at least a few of his ruffled feathers. Cyrus was considerably more temperamental than he was, and if he wasn't angered by whatever had happened then it wasn't anything to cause too much worry.

'I just can't do anything right,' came his daughters small voice - strengthened by frustration with herself despite her tearful expression. 'No matter how hard I try, it doesn't talk to me.'

Aaryne sank down into a crouch so he could look up into his Queen-child's face, taking her hands in his. She was ten years old - so young, and she felt so, so much. She always had. Always carried the weight of the world on her thin shoulders. It was a trait he hoped she would conquer as she grew, something she would be able to turn in a way that would help her become a great Queen without letting it weigh her down too much.

He squeezed her hands, encouraging her to go on.

'The land, papa... I keep trying but... I just...'

Aaryne smiled and kissed her forehead. 'Aha. You're still young, sweetheart,' he assured her gently, squeezing her hands again. 'You've had so few springs. Maybe it just needs to get to know you a bit better. Remember Nana's cat? How it always ran away for almost a year when she started watching you?' He waited for the little girl to nod. 'And what happened after some time, after it got to know you better?' He waited, and eventually Nadia shifted and gave a tremulous little smile.

'It always comes out for pets and treats...'

'Exactly, sweetheart. Sometime, things just need a little bit of time...'


The flash was over in an instant, and the girl he was looking at was older, taller - but not that much older... not that much taller. She was still a girl, and something was troubling her.

He lifted the tray with a warm, almost sheepish smile. "I can bring it on in for you, Lady. Just tell me where to put it." He'd move into the room once she let him in, setting down the tray where she indicated, before taking a little look around then letting his gaze return to the young Queen. "I think they added an extra roll, too, but I can see if I can round up something sweet for you too. It's still got enough of a bite in the air outside for some hot chocolate, what do you say?"

Offline Annina Uljas

  • Character Account
    • whiteBR
    • queen
    • Role

      Ward

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lomenar

    • Posts

      11

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Re: Little Birds in Big Cages
« Reply #3 on: Apr 27, 19, 10:21:13 AM »
Nina stared at the male in the doorway for a few long minutes, trying to decide if she should let him in or not. On the one hand, she just wanted to be left alone, to wallow in her misery and feel sorry for herself that Taavi wasn’t here. It was completely unworthy of her and she should be stronger than that, she knew. But today...today she just didn’t have the strength to set her feelings aside. So...on one hand she didn’t want to let anyone in, to let anyone see her like this. But on the other...he was just bringing her a tray of food. He would come in, leave the tray and then retreat to allow her to be miserable by herself, right? It would not be so bad. It was just a few more minutes after all. With a small sigh she stepped aside to allow him entry into her room.

“If you could put the tray on the table by the window, that would be great.” She put on her best brave and polite smile as she watched him walk across the room to put the tray of food down where she’d indicated. She was not feeling terribly hungry, but the food did smell good regardless. Perhaps she would eat a little after the male had left and then curl up in bed with her book. And was that freshly baked bread she smelled? Her nostrils flared a little as she took in the scent and she took a few involuntary steps towards the table with her dinner. She’d never been able to resist freshly baked bread. It was one of her absolute favourite things, especially with a thick layer of butter that would melt on top of it and make it even more delicious. And the kitchen had added an extra roll with her dinner, had they? Wasn’t that just perfect!

“Oh...the cook knows I am partial to her bread. Would you thank her for adding an extra roll, please? I would go down and thank her myself, but that means I’d have to leave my room…” she cut herself off, realising that she’d said too much already. With a sigh she drifted over to the tray and picked up the bread roll to stop herself from saying anything else. But then the male offered to bring her hot chocolate. Hot chocolate. Another one of her favourites and one of the things Taavi would make for her when she was feeling sad. It always helped to perk her mood. Thinking about it made tears sting behind her eyes and she fought a vicious battle with herself to keep them back.
“Hot chocolate would be nice, please. It...it seems it’s one of those days, indeed.”

Offline Aaryne Haugen

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Role

      Spy/Servant

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      14

    • *disguised as Jewelless Blood*

    • View Profile
Re: Little Birds in Big Cages
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 19, 06:27:27 PM »
'I would go down and thank her myself, but that means I'd have to leave my room...'

The young Queen cut herself off, but Aaryne didn't need to hear the rest of whatever she might have continued with to know what she meant.

...and I don't feel comfortable out there - I don't feel safe, or good out there...

His heart ached, but he held himself back from pushing. She was young and uncomfortable and afraid - no matter how nonthreatening he was, if he was seeming to intrude upon what little safe space she'd cultivated for herself he was only going to make things worse. That was the last thing he wanted to do.

"I agree," he said with a nod when she remarked on it being one of those days. "Hot chocolate is a bit of a treat, but it's soothing too. Good for the body and good for the heart." He smiled and then dipped into a polite bow before slipping out of the room, closing the door behind him. It was only a matter of minutes to cut downstairs through the servants' passages and staircases, then right back up again with a tray balancing a mug of hot chocolate. He'd added a cinnamon stick as well out of habit, because that was how both of his own daughters loved the drink. Nadia liked to eat the stick first, then drink her cocoa. Isana, on the other hand, preferred the opposite. She always tried to drink some of the cocoa through the stick like a straw, with only very rare successes - and then saved it for the very last.

Mother Night, his whole body hurt with the ache he felt for them, with how badly he missed them.

This time, when he reached Lady Uljas's door, he knocked twice and called out gently. "It's just me, Lady. With the hot chocolate." Then, barring any immediate protest, he opened the door gently to bring it in.

"I hope you don't mind the cinnamon stick," he said quietly, almost sheepishly. "I added it before even thinking. It's how both my daughters drink their hot chocolate and I..." He cleared his throat. "If you prefer it without, I will of course return to the kitchen to make another."

Offline Annina Uljas

  • Character Account
    • whiteBR
    • queen
    • Role

      Ward

    • Faction

      Salo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lomenar

    • Posts

      11

    • View Profile
Re: Little Birds in Big Cages
« Reply #5 on: Jun 18, 19, 08:22:13 AM »
Nina merely nodded at the male’s words and offered him another weak, and disturbingly polite, smile as he disappeared out the door. Once he was gone she took a few hesitant bites of her food. It was very good and the flavour prompted her to eat a little bit more. She decided to save the bread rolls for later, wanting to savour that particular treat while she was curled up in bed with her book. And she would have hot chocolate too. Perhaps this evening wouldn’t be a complete disaster after all. It’s hard to be sad about anything when you have hot chocolate...provided, of course, that the hot chocolate was well made and had cinnamon in it.

When the male returned and called out to her through the door she dropped her utensils with a slight clatter, having been completely lost in her own thoughts. She swore softly at the mess her clumsiness had made on the table and tried to dab up most of it with her napkin. She was so engrossed in her task that she forgot to give him permission to enter, though it turned out that she didn’t have to. Once she turned around, dirty napkin in hand, there he was...with a cup of steaming hot chocolate.

Nina stared at the cup with the cinnamon stick and felt like crying. It had been a long few months without anyone but her sister and brother showing her any bit of kindness at all. She tried to be strong, she tried to accept her place as an inferior and flawed citizen that needed to be guided and punished for being lesser in Mother Night’s eyes, she tried to not feel despair at her situation and she tried not to miss Taavi...but for all her bravado and brave exterior, she was only 20 years old, barely out of her girlhood yet. It was very, very difficult to be strong sometimes.

“Cinnamon is perfect, thank you.” even to her own ears her voice sounded weak and miserable. She held out her hands for the cup and once she had it in her hands and felt the lovely scent of chocolate and cinnamon tease her nostrils, everything broke. First it was just a single tear that trickled down her cheek, but one soon became a torrent that she could not stop. She stood in the middle of her room, a dirty napkin in one hand and the cup of steaming chocolate in the other and sobbed uncontrollably. it was absolutely mortifying and undignified, but there was nothing she could do to prevent it. Nothing at all.