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* Plot Information for Glacia

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: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden  (Read 365 times)

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Offline Patrik Aaltonen

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The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« on: Mar 22, 19, 04:04:39 PM »
“Give it up, Tooney.”

Patrik exhaled softly, then looked over at his brother, Kaarlo, who had interrupted him. On the other side of Kaarlo, pulling at his own row of crops, Patrik’s cousin, Taavi, gave him a sympathetic but tired smile. If Kaarlo was blunt enough to tell Patrik to let it go, Taavi, at least, held some empathy.

It had, after all, been two years, and he was still talking about Kiersten Danielsen.

By now, his cousins and brother were mostly tired of this habit. While Patrik didn’t do it as much as he once had, he still did it often enough that the annoyance didn’t have time to fade. He didn’t liken it to picking at a scab. He felt it was more like a puzzle that refused to be solved. Except, the only problem was, everyone around him had given up on solving that puzzle, content to leave it unsolved. Patrik couldn’t.

He exhaled softly again and shut up.

They worked for another two hours without Patrik bringing up anything remotely close to Kiersten again. Talk about weather, strains of plants, harvest shares. The usual stuff for farmers like them. Once the sun hit its zenith, they stopped for a rest, opting to head into town for a little bit until the weather cooled.

Kaarlo was seeing this new girl and wanted to find her something as a gift so the trio of young men began winding their way down the streets, making suggestions and sharing the occasional, almost sexual joke. They stopped in front of a sweets shop for a moment before Kaarlo opted to go in. Taavi and Patrik lingered on the street, people-watching mostly, until Patrik found himself thinking about the time he had gotten Kiersten chocolate-covered cherries and they had shared them in between tart kisses in the moonlit park.

He still remembered the feel of her hands in his, how they felt like soft cotton against his callouses.

“You’ve got that look in your eyes again,” Taavi said, interrupting him. Patrik sighed, defeated. What was it about today that kept bringing her up? It seemed to come in cycles. A week or two, maybe three, with hardly a thought about her. And then one day, it would be one, two, three inescapable memories in a row. It was like stepping into a boxing ring. Well, it used to be like that, emotional gut punches and all. When Kiersten had...vanished...Patrik felt like he had been sideswiped with a solid left punch. For the first few months, any time he thought of her, he still felt like someone was landing a body punch on him.

But, after two years, the punches were a little easier to dodge, even though they still sometimes came out of nowhere.

“Just thinking about her,” Patrik admitted, though he need not. “I just...Taavi, I wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking about her, you know? I can’t help it.”

“Yeah, I get that,” Taavi replied blandly. “I mean, you were hoping to marry her and all. That’s got to be rough to get over.” Taavi, who had never had a girlfriend over six months, was at least trying to be understanding. But even Taavi had his limits. Patrik figured he needed to figure out something soon before even Taavi got annoyed with him.

Another guy came to look at the sweets offered in the window while the cousins conversed. Patrik continued talking.“It’s not like her to just...leave, you know. And I know I keep saying that but it’s true. I can’t...that’s what I struggle with. Her leaving. I mean, I know she didn’t like her parents but her sister? They seemed like they were on each other’s side. I can’t imagine her sister doing anything to hurt her. But I’ve got nothing else to go on and what I have to go on doesn’t make any sense for her. She wouldn’t--”

“Are you STILL talking about Kiersten?!” That was Kaarlo, now emerging from the shop. The stranger at the window looked Kaarlo with surprise but Patrik’s brother didn’t stop his outburst there. “Give it UP, Tooney! The Danielsens told you she was dead! What more do you need? A damned grave with her in it?”

“Kaarlo, man, relax,” Taavi said, stepping forward with placidly raised hands. “I know it’s annoying but--”

“He needs to just give it up, Taavi. She’s gone. Whatever. Move on,” Kaarlo snapped. To emphasize his point, he began walking back the way they had come, most likely done with his shopping and therefore going home. Taavi shot Patrik a strained smile but said nothing else.

Excuses only went so far.

“You catch up to him,” Patrik said to his cousin. “I’m...going to keep walking. I’m obviously not the best company right now. Not with Kaarlo, anyway.” Taavi clapped his cousin on the shoulder with a wordless goodbye and picked up his pace to catch up the storming Kaarlo. Exhaling softly, Patrik’s attention went back to the window, then to the stranger still standing there. “My apologies, sir,” he said respectfully. “Didn’t mean to air out some family drama in front of you like that.” He nodded his head and added, “Have a good day.”

With that, he slid his hands into his pockets and began ambling slowly down the street, letting every thought that kept chewing at his mind like a dog refusing to give up a worn bone have their way with him.

Offline Kiersten Danielsen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 19, 11:30:36 PM »


Alwin thought the man’s family would never leave. 

Prince Alwin Ericsson hated Glacia. He hated the people who lived here pretending that everything was just fine when the world was going to shit. He hated the people who profited from the suffering of others. He hated the people who cried their fake little tears in public about Lady Brenden’s death while celebrating it in private. He hated the fact that he could be with the woman he loved for reasons outside his control.

Maybe that’s why he sought out Patrik Aaltonen in the first place. Two years ago, he’d helped a young woman leave Glacia. Alwin had left in the past and moved on. Then the whispers started. A daughter of a noted aristo family had murdered her younger sister in a rage, hidden the body, and then vanished. The family had hired a Midnight Keeper to look into the matter, but there hadn’t been updates in some time. Alwin would have written the whole thing off as Glacians being Glacians, save for the fact that he knew the sisters in question. Still, Alwin would have left it alone.

Then someone started asking all the right questions in all the wrong places.

Briefly, he’d thought that Lord Altonen was a Midnight Keeper hot on Kiss’s trail and trying to smoke her out of hiding. A mention of Kiersten here or there might have done if it Kiss was anywhere to be found. Alwin didn’t know where Kiss was, but he knew people who knew people who did, and he didn’t want to be the one to give her up.

But time showed him that, whatever Patrik Aaltonen was, he wasn’t a Midnight Keeper. He wasn’t like most men who wore a Sapphire, drunk on his personal power. He seemed like a decent man. Alwin knew that he should have left it alone, but he couldn’t. Not when he could do something about the situation in front of him.

He’d come to the shop because his niece liked the cherry truffles they sold here, but also because he’d seen the young men step inside. When the others went on their way, the Warlord turned toward him and apologized for the scene. Alwin found it odd, but shook his head.

No need to apologize. It’s hard to let go of the one that got away.” he said. “You have a good day.

He waited until Patrik was turning to go.

Just curious, friend….was there a funeral?

Offline Patrik Aaltonen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 19, 05:01:22 PM »
He had already dismissed the stranger at the window, chalking it up to those chance interactions that happened daily that never bore any fruit other than a polite well-wishing for the day. He had already returned to figuring out, again, how to move on from Kiersten when that question stopped him as solidly as a hitting a wall.

Was there a funeral?

His brow furrowed, not with thought (because he remembered it all just fine) but with that old feeling of something not quite right. It had stuck with him, had added to the already large pile of events and words that just didn’t add up to reality when he looked at it over and over again.

Patrick exhaled. Maybe he really did need to let this go.

Still, paused in the middle of walking away, with his hands in his pockets, he answered the man, “There…wasn’t a public one, no sir. Just a private one for the family. No one else allowed.” Maybe that was what had stung the most out of that day – Patrik, so important to Kiersten, hadn’t been allowed to attend the funeral. The Danielsens had already dismissed him from their lives, buried away in their minds like their daughter.

After he spoke, his gaze drifted out towards the street, looking at nothing in the present. “It was just…odd, how it happened. How quickly it happened,” he admitted. “I knew she didn’t get along with her sister but…sisters fight. Like brothers.” He looked over at the man, his expression confused with a hint of old hurt. “Sisters don’t murder each other. Not Thyra. She cared about Kiersten. They were all in it together.” The “it” being the problems they had with their parents. But Patrik wasn’t going to air out that dirty laundry to a complete stranger. He had said more than enough already.

That drifting gaze returned, still holding on to the confusion. “It just…seemed too convenient, I guess. It never added up. But…” He lifted one shoulder in resignation. “I guess it never will.” Patrik would never consider the possibility that it had been a set up or planned. Even though families fought, he still believed that the heart of them was good and wouldn't hurt each other so gravely. He gave the man a strained smile. “Like you said, it’s hard to let the one that got away go.”

Patrik tipped his head like he was tipping an imaginary hat. That strained smile was only a little less strained as he said, “Have a good day, sir.” Thinking that the conversation was over, again, he turned to continue walking away.

Offline Kiersten Danielsen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 19, 05:27:05 PM »


Alwin could see the wheels turning in the other man’s mind, the feeling that something didn’t add up. But if he hadn’t pursued it before now, what would having the information change for him? Maybe he didn’t love the girl as much as he said. Glacia was a scary place, but the rest of Kaeleer was scarier to anyone who hadn’t ventured beyond Glacia’s borders. And it had been three years since she vanished. There was every chance that they were talking about a dead woman right now. Little Terreille was a real scary place, what with all the gangs and the natives who wanted nothing to do with the Glacian population.

Private funeral, restricted just to family. I guess that makes sense. No one to intrude on their grief.” Alwin said.

He let Patrik talk a little longer as the Sapphire Warlord noted the bits and pieces that didn’t add up. Close sisters suddenly turning on each other was all-too-possible in Glacia, but there was usually an external force behind it. Patrik had his doubts, but Alwin saw him trying to push those doubts aside. He had a lot to lose if he followed this path. And if her parents got wind of the knowledge…

Every man’s got one that got away. No shame in that.” he said, as Patrik turned to go.

But hey, just one more question. Indulge a hopeless romantic, if you don’t mind.” he said, walking over to Patrik.

If you knew she was out there, today, what would you do?

Offline Patrik Aaltonen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #4 on: Jun 02, 19, 10:42:26 PM »
Any other person might have been annoyed that the man kept asking questions. A Warlord Prince would have definitely snapped or grown visibly annoyed. A Prince might have shown the brief irritation at having been interrupted from his thoughts once again. Patrik, a Warlord and equally a hopeless romantic, just turned, with his hands in his pockets, and calmly let the man ask his question as he approached.

“If you knew that she was out there today, what would you do?”

Patrik’s expression grew a tad sorrowful as he remembered the last time he saw – actually, the last time he was supposed to see Kiersten. “We were supposed to be going on a date,” he said. His voice took on the emptiness of someone remembering something sad and far away. “I hadn’t seen her all week – we’d been busy – and we made plans to meet. I showed up. I waited.” There came a pause, heavy with sadness. “She never showed up. She didn’t answer my threads. She just…disappeared.” And it wasn’t like her, but he had already said that so he didn’t say it again.

Patrik took a deep breath. “If she were still out there, I’d…” He’d thought about this sort of question a lot over the years yet no one had ever asked him. Now, the answers he thought made sense in his mind didn’t seem so logical. What would he do? Well, there were a lot of things he would like to do but it all depended on what she wanted to do. So he started his answer there.

“I’d ask her why she didn’t show up to that date,” he said, because the answer she gave regarding that determined the rest of his questions. “And…if…if she was still interested in me, like she was, if everything was alright between us, then…”

He fingered something in his pocket, having called it into this plane of reality, and then removed his hand so that the stranger could see it. A slim metal ring. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, nothing too feminine. Honest and simple, like him. “I’d give her this. Because I planned to give it to her on that date and ask her to marry me,” he admitted to a complete stranger. When he had told his family that, they had responded with cries of dismay that a wedding wouldn’t happen. He and Kiersten had been a good match and everyone on the Aaltonen side of things looked forward to her accepting his proposal. For a few weeks, a bitter and confused Patrik wondered if Kiersten had run away because she was afraid of that proposal. But, eventually, he had decided that she wouldn’t have run away because of that. She would have been honest enough to tell him no.

Patrik fiddled with the ring for just a moment and then vanished it again. He gave the man a remorseful smile. “I suppose it’s tough for us hopeless romantics to let it go, isn’t it? Two years and I still have the ring. It seems mite silly, doesn’t it?”

Offline Kiersten Danielsen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #5 on: Jun 12, 19, 01:48:03 PM »


Alwin expected the other man to snap at him, to tell him that he’d trespassed upon something sacred with his discussion of the youngest Lady Danielsen. The Warlord stood deeper in the Abyss than Alwin, so he could have ended the conversation decisively if the questioning grew to intimate. He didn’t, though, and the Prince saw what his boss saw in the other man. He was a bit lovesick, yes, but he was also loyal. He seemed like a genuinely good man, from Alwin’s reading of him, and those men were nearly impossible to find in Glaica. Patrik Aaltonen was an endangered species here, and the machinery of this place would either grind him into nothing, or shape him into something terrible.

He nodded at Patrik’s story, letting the other man speak until he’d said all he wanted to say. The ring was unexpected. Alwin wondered how that would go over. He supposed it was fair enough to let the two of them work it out, if that’s what they wanted to do. He looked around briefly, making sure that no one was paying too much attention to the pair of them. Unlike the Light Jeweled, they had the assurance of privacy with their thoughts and being left alone unless they were actually causing trouble.

He stepped closer to Patrik and quickly erected an aural shield to keep their words between them.

She’s alive and willing to see you. Hanging on to that ring must have brought you some lucky, friend.” Alwin said.

But you can’t tell anyone what I’ve told you. I’m sure her family is still looking and they’d love to drag her back home.” the Prince said.

You got time, you meet with me this evening and I’ll tell you can see her again.

Offline Patrik Aaltonen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #6 on: Jun 27, 19, 11:28:36 AM »
Patrik expected the man to offer his continued sympathies after he showed and vanished the ring. He prepared another farewell, had it readied on his tongue, and then felt it freeze when the stranger stepped closer. He got a good whiff of the man’s psychic scent – Prince but not as deep in the Abyss as Patrik – right before the aural shield swirled into place around them, blocking their conversation from eavesdropping.

Patrik immediately tensed but made no other move to defend himself. He let the man speak, because he believed in the good in others. Most people didn’t want to hurt other people, even the ruthless Blood. Most people. And Tooney wasn’t going to give into the fear that maybe this guy was part of the population that enjoyed hurting others. To give into fear was to become enslaved to it. And if Tooney gave into the fear, he’d be giving up the goodness in others.

“She’s alive…”

He didn’t hear anything else that the man said. Just those two, heart-dropping, heart-soaring words.

She’s alive.

Alive.

The instant that he wrapped his entire being around those two words, he also took a hard step back from the edge of hope. “Is this a fuc---” He swallowed the word. He didn’t like cursing unless he was really angry. The fact that he almost had would have revealed to someone who knew him about his tumultuous state of mind. “Is this a joke?” he hissed, disbelieving yet wanting to believe.

Realizing that the stranger could easily be lying to him, a flicker of hardness entered Patrik’s eyes. “I didn’t tell you my story so that you could play games with me, Prince,” he said softly. “If this is a joke…” There was no threat to Patrik’s words but there was a thin line between him trusting and him walking away hard for good.

The option to meet him at dinner had Patrik considering. The need for closure overrode the caution. He’d easily be able to make an excuse to skip dinner, especially after today’s spat. It might be for the better if he wasn’t there. After a moment, he said, “I’ll meet you. You have one chance to prove what you say is true. Then. Where am I meeting you?”

Offline Kiersten Danielsen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #7 on: Jul 31, 19, 11:33:00 PM »

Alwin was well aware of the danger before him. The Blood were a dangerous and passionate race and here he was, telling a Sapphire Warlord that the woman he’d believed dead for two years was actually alive. The news would shake any man to his core. The reactions could be as mild as disbelieve and as severe as murder for seemingly profaning her memory. The Prince had to play this carefully or he’d end up a smear on the sidewalk with no-one the wiser. So he focused Craft into his words and locked eyes with the angry Warlord.

No jokes. No games. Kiersten Danielsen is as alive as you and me. I had to know that you were serious about her, though. Because if you’re some Midnight Keeper’s buddy or you’re in good with her parents, it’s better that people thing she’s dead.” Alwin said, looking up and down the street.

Was that woman on the corner looking too intently into that window? Had he been made?

Right, Lord Aaltonen, this is no game. I would never make a game out of something so personal. Here’s the thing. She’s alive, but not here. If you want to see her, you’re going to have to do some work.” Alwin said, trying to get the man to think instead of react. This was an emotionally charged matter and, for all that Alwin wore the Opal, Lord Aaltonen still wore the Sapphire. A fight between them in a public place would do a lot of damage. Matters in Glacia were tense before Elisif Brenden’s sudden and shocking death. That tension had increased with attacks on the Dark Jeweled of the Territory.

Last Chance Tavern in two hours. Be there and you’ll get the answers you need.” Alwin said.

He wouldn’t give Patrik a chance to refute him further. He turned and left quickly, letting the other man stew over what he’d learned.

Offline Patrik Aaltonen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #8 on: Aug 01, 19, 11:24:12 AM »
She was alive.

His heart wanted to soar with hope and he struggled to keep it tempered. Two years. Two long, arduous years of wondering and puzzling. Things that just didn’t add up that kept him awake at night. Two years and now there was a chance?

The man’s words reminded Patrik that this wasn’t as innocent and easy at it suddenly seemed. “I’m not…I’m not with the Midnight Keepers,” Patrik replied. In some of the more familiar circles of his family, they might phrase that a bit differently, riding that fine line of defecting and judging. But Patrik was not that sort of person. He wasn’t about to bring any more attention to himself than he already had with his argument with his brother. His gaze was focused as the man told him when and where to meet. “I’ll see you there,” he answered with a single nod.

They parted ways and the next two hours took a lifetime to finish.

The first quarter of the hour sped by because his mind refused to focus on anything. It felt like a maelstrom of emotions had taken it over and hundreds of questions darted back and forth like frenzied birds within the cage of his brain. He wandered aimlessly throughout the city after sending a hurried message to his cousin that he would be coming home later. The remainder of that hour was spent spiraling down from the emotional high brought on earlier.

Then the second hour started. And it seemed like Patrik kept looking at timepieces and clocks as he wandered, wondering how it had only been two minutes since he had last looked at one, even though he was certain he had walked for far longer than that.

He was at the Last Chance Tavern a full half hour before he was supposed to be. After looking up at its rubiginous coloring, he postponed going inside for a moment longer, managing to eke out another ten impatient minutes, before going in.

It took a moment to adjust to the darkened interior as he crossed inside. Should he Shield? No, he was not going to give in to a caution that was grown out of fear. No one was going to hurt him in a tavern. Well, probably not.

Anticipating that they would need to continue their private conversation, Patrik reviewed the interior of the place and then took over a table in the corner. Without waiting for his contact, because his emotions were edging back towards high again, he ordered a plate of smothered fries. He ate a few idly and then stopped, as his mind began wondering if this was a setup. It was in this brooding state that Alwin would find him, pushing fries around on a plate of gravy.

Offline Kiersten Danielsen

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Re: The Boy With A Cinderblock Garden
« Reply #9 on: Sep 10, 19, 11:02:09 PM »


Alwin was prompt because he was paid to be. His employer paid good money for his skills and he prided himself on doing the best job possible for those who acquired his services. Last Chance Tavern wasn’t a place that he would have gone to on his own, but it served as a good meeting place for two Dark Jewelled males who wanted to have a good meal, maybe an ale or two, and some good conversation. Alwin wasn’t fool enough to consider Patrik Aaltonen a friend, but the man wasn’t his enemy right now. Not when he wanted information.

He found Patrik playing with his food and felt a twinge of pity for the Warlord. He had no clue what he was getting into, the door he was opening. Alwin considered, briefly, telling him about Lady D but his instructions were clear. Find the guy, get him to make the trip and let her handle the rest. He dropped into a seat on the opposite side of the table and tried to block out the heightened emotion in Lord Aaltonen’s psychic scent. The guy was clearly on edge, evidenced by the seemingly untouched plate of gravy-smothered fries he was knocking around on the plate.

Hello, Lord Aaltonen. Hope you weren’t waiting long.” the Prince said, trying to remain relaxed. He summoned another aural shield around them and looked to the other man.

So, it’s just like I told you. Kiersten is alive and in Little Terreille. She’s been there for a little while now. Her sister paid for her transport out of the Territory. She also arranged for Kiersten to quietly, without a fight.” Alwin said, calling in a pair of items that he laid upon the table after a quick look around.

The first was a sheet of paper that he unfolded to reveal a stunning sketch of Patrik’s own face. Kiersten had always loved to draw and she’d drawn pictures of him more than once and left them in his pockets or in places she knew he’d find them.

The second was a memory crystal. If Patrik looked at it, he’d see Kiersten offering a small wave. She was dressed in a black coat, white shirt and black pants that all appeared of good quality. Her hair was shorter than it had been, but the thing he’d most noticed was how the smile on her face didn’t reach her ice blue eyes. Kiersten had never smiled at someone without meaning it, but the expression on her face appeared...forced. As if smiling was a foreign expression to her.

I’m offering these as proof of life, but I know what you’re thinking. They could be fake. The only way you can really know the truth of what I’m telling you is to go and see her yourself.” Alwin said.

He sat back in his chair and hoped that this guy was as composed as he looked, or it was going to be a bad time for everyone in this bar.