collapse

* Welcome!

* Important Links

* BR Councils

* COTM and TOTM

* COTY and TOTY

Character of the Year


Thread of the Year

* Affliates

Affiliate with Us

Blood Rites RPG

Listed At

RPG-D Nerd Listings

Our Affiliates

   

* Credits

RSS Feed  Facebook  Tumblr    E-Mail

Canon: © Anne Bishop
Board's Plot: Blood Rites
Points Scheme: Mother Night
Ratio System: Blood Rites

Blood Rites best viewed in Firefox.
Established February 2010
by Jamie, Gina & Bowie.


* 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.
Culture of Glacia
The Dark Religion
Smuggling in Glacia
Priestess & Law
Black Widows

* Welcome Guests

You are currently viewing our forum as a Guest. While you can see all we do, you can't participate. Please think about joining, we love new players. Click Here for more information.


Author Topic: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse  (Read 690 times)

Description: Midsummer festivities throughout Glacia

Offline Ulric Lindgren

  • Character Account
    • sapphire2eg
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      37

    • 'tis better to be feared than loved...

    • View Profile
The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« on: Jul 25, 19, 11:25:54 AM »
Midsummer.

The day when the hours of sunlight stretched far into the traditional hours of night. When daylight was at its peak but, from this day forward, surrendered its strength to the glorious night. But on the day of this ascendance, while the sun still held its full power, the Blood celebrated the weather, the growth, and the fertility of summer.

In the oldest histories of Glacia, there could be found myths about an old deity whose feast day used to be this day. But, in a more secularized Glacia, that deity was no longer celebrated. A shame, really, Ulric thought, because he did enjoy ancient history and their traditions. But, being that the deity was male and Glacia diminished the power of males so greatly, it made sense that such a feast day would become forgotten.

For this day, Ulric would be taking a quiet retreat to his summer cabin on the seaside in the far north. A few days in (mostly) solitude with his wife and daughter would be ideal at this point of the year. They, like many other Glacians, would light a bonfire to celebrate the holiday. Besides a few other personal traditions, that would be all of the festivities Ulric and his small family would be partaking in. He had little desire to join the rest of Blood society in their celebrations.

For the majority of Glacia, the three days around Midsummer would progress much like this:

Most of the Court took a brief holiday, though one or two members usually opted to remain close in case of an emergency. Aside from restaurants and stores that pandered specifically to the festivities, most other businesses shut down. In every town, village, and city, a great festival began. Decorations of birch branches, aspen leaves, and late spring flowers like lilies and lilacs began appearing on doorways and light poles. The streets became lined with vendors selling barbecued foods, cool and fruity drinks, and other holiday delights like lingonberry pies. Stages were erected for minstrels with their kantele harps, bands of every flavor music, and, in between the music, there was storytelling and poetry.

As the sun neared its long set, the faithful crowded into caves and other holy places for a prayer service. Ulric absolutely loathed going to these with the commoners because they usually reeked of sweat and alcohol. Oh, and let’s be honest, they were truly only there to pay lip service so that they could return to their partying. It was despicable but it was not Ulric’s place to reprimand. He left those chastisements to the Priestesses.

Once the holy services were over, the crowds dispersed to their partying once more, this time with abandon. Bonfires began cropping up along every hillside and shore. Again, the old histories stated that this had begun as a way to banish evil spirits but the reason had been lost with time. Singing, drinking, and dancing around those great fires remained.

Though the partying continued well into the shortest of nights, the next morning, hungover and grumbling, most of the crowds stumbled forward to participate in the raising of the Midsummer pole and to begin their next round of partying. The pole, usually cut from spruce or birch, was decorated with long, colorful ribbons attached at the top. Youths wearing crowns of birch leaves circled round, eager to be involved in the celebration of new life. A hearty portion of the morning was dedicated to an intricate dance that would wind these ribbons into a complicated braided pattern around the pole. After that tradition was complete, the people would return to their festivals, drinking, and eating.

One could see how Ulric, a man of moderation and calculation, could grow bored of these festivities.

And that was not all of the traditions. Women, eager to find suitable partners, often wove charms of flowers into their spells during this period. One such charm involved seven flowers from seven different fields and somehow, gathering those flowers would bring a dream of one’s true love. Another flower ritual involved rolling naked in a dewy field. Ulric had always thought of these rituals as banal but teenagers were often lacking wisdom. Still, society held on to these silly little rituals and thus, Ulric kept his opinions to his wiser colleagues.

The only difference between this year and the last centuries of this event was that tensions between the Dark and Light Jeweled of Glacia ran higher than usual. While Midnight Keepers kept a bit of an eye out, the majority of the Dark Jeweled thought that there was nothing to fear at Midsummer, since it was a time of revelry. So, while the rest of Glacia partied their way into an alcoholic stupor, Ulric retired to his quiet little cabin up north.

And missed the fun.

Offline Riia Lindgren

  • Character Account
    • pd2green
    • queen
    • Role

      District Queen

    • Faction

      Ilsalmi District

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      23

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #1 on: Aug 26, 19, 11:10:20 AM »
It was her first Midsummer in Ilsalmi. It was her first anything in Ilsalmi, honestly. Having only arrived a few weeks prior, Riia was elbow deep – no, shoulders and head deep – into everything that she had to do to get Ilsalmi back on its feet after the death of its Queen that she had almost forgotten Midsummer was nearing.

The moment her newly formed Court reminded her, however, nearly all of her gears switched towards the preparations. Was there enough in the budget for decorations? What events and gatherings was she expected to attend as the new Queen? Or was she expected to host one of her own? Who to address the invitations to and on what day to hold it? Someone in her Court asked her when she was going to take a day off to enjoy the festivities and Riia nearly laughed. A day off? Now?! Impossible! She simply had far too much to do and it was a wonder she was allowing herself a luxurious six hours of sleep a night with such a list.

Of course, her Master of the Guard was preparing everything for her safety but Riia didn’t have time to think about that. Besides, the previous Queen had died of old age, not of nefarious instances, so Riia wasn’t seen as a usurper, just…new. And a dozen people had already figured out that she was related to the illustrious Prince Lindgren, who was the Steward of Glacia, so who would question her skills and devotion? No one.

Riia couldn’t figure out if that connection further infuriated her because it made her appear as though she hadn’t gotten this position through her hard work or if she was just imagining that perception of the people. Either way, she tried not to think often about her cold cousin. She was here to make a difference – a good difference.

Even though most of the Court dispersed for the long festival, Riia remained holed up in her office, using her daylight hours to breeze through paperwork and familiarize herself with the District even further. Eventually, one of her First Circle practically begged her to leave for a few hours, to get out and be seen, which made sense to Riia so she agreed. With another First Circle male flanking her, the new Queen strode out into the quaint main city of Ilsalmi and got a look at her people celebrating.

She didn’t stay out too long, just long enough to visit some food vendors and purchase a few tourist trinkets for friends so that she could send them back something. Then, she returned home to work another few hours. Oh, the service! She nearly forgot about it! Riia rushed out the door to make it just in time for the Priestess to give her benediction and for no one to notice that she had been just a little too late for fashionable.

As the crowd dispersed to begin their long night of partying, Riia went home to continue her work. She did, however, light a few candles in pale replacement of the bonfires burning outside and kept a glass of traditional Midsummer drink nearby so that she was sort of celebrating. In her own way.

Tomorrow though…tomorrow she would go to the maypole dance. Ever since she had been a little girl, she had loved the raising of the pole and the dancing around it. The flower crowns, the braids. The rhapsodic vibe of it all. Maybe she would get one this year. The people would like that, wouldn't they?

As Riia readied for bed, she found that one of the servants had left a bouquet of freshly cut flowers in the hallway she passed through and she paused. Fingering the soft petals, she thought about silly little rituals young teenage girls did to attract a mate. Wistful, and perhaps a bit lonely, she plucked one of the stems out of the bouquet and brought it to her room, twirling it thoughtfully between her fingers as she walked.

A good male. A strong male. One who didn’t look down on her. One who matched her strength and was willing to work hard with her. One who made her laugh and…

Well, she wasn’t going to voice any of those thoughts.

And as she lay down to sleep, she tucked the flower under her pillow, foolishly hoping that she would dream about this male, wherever he might be. Maybe, she would meet him at the pole raising. Maybe…

Offline Lilja Syklee

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • bw
    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Haloriel

    • Posts

      83

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #2 on: Sep 25, 19, 03:00:33 PM »
Lilja's Midsummer holiday found the trained Black Widow largely homebound, with the exception of the festivities that people were expected to be seen, perhaps. Weariness had been her warmth and enjoyment, and any sense of joy that she might have gained from viewing the various customs was only observed through a haze of the various concoctions which let her forget her loneliness. Holidays like this one reminded her that her purpose, to bear children, especially Dark Jewelled ones despite the tensions were as yet unfulfilled. Despair had whispered alongside her every breath, each choice for which gown to wear, how much extra to give the servants for their hard work. She had stopped trying to offer herself to her husband, or even hinting at what needed to be done despite the fact that he clearly only saw her as a status piece. Yet even this, she could not rouse herself with any anger. With her beloved Queen gone, even if Lilja had to admit the woman's policies had been part of what pushed Glacia into the state it was now, she had not done it alone.

It had both been something of a shock as well as a relief that the business of Glacia would continue as the status quo always had been, and not change even as the rumours had perhaps become more than mere conjecture. More, she had begun to wonder even if she had been so favoured with a child, like so many that did not care to teach their children well - if the Jewel rank mattered as much as it was said. Despair and a lack of love had caused Lilja to wonder. So, beyond the Midsummer festivals that she attended faithfully, and without the same foolish lipservice that some deigned to offer forth, she offered herself with the wholeness of her heart and spirit. At least, what there was of it that was left for any hint of the Darkness to claim. Though Lilja was not in a position to outwardly rebel against anything or anyone, she did offer her time and something of herself to one of the orphanages in Vaasa. Dark Jewelled children, were there any which had such an unlucky path as an orphan always found someone to live with among a family. But there were rarer positions still where the Light Jewelled and Jewelless, Landen children slipped through, which was what such places were for.

It was there that Lilja spent much of her time over the three days of the holiday, asking for nothing in return save the ability to drink in the innocent faces of those that had less and no one to love them, as she did. Weeks ago, when she had seen her mother last, the woman believed that Lilja was the newly hired housemaid, and screamed herself senseless when she tried to remind her who she was. While true that Lilja should have perhaps not risked the visit at all due to the webs she had placed in her father's mind to keep him from hurting her, it was just once that she practically couldn't help herself. It had been months since she had so much as whispered a word or sent a letter to either Prince Matias or Lady Kaija. As her husband was understandably occupied with his brother and the child born from the once and former Queen of Glacia, Lilja had allowed herself to vanish into the cracks of pain produced by such a loss.

It had been a bright, and lively moment spent helping, until she had to go home, confronted by an empty house and a very, very empty life. Perhaps these things were her doing. Perhaps she had indeed brought some of it, most of it, all of it ... upon herself with her own hand.  Once home and heart heavy, Lilija put away her hat, cloak, and shoes as all the servants by such a late hour were asleep. She made her way to her solitary bedroom only to close the door. Sliding down the closed-door after managing to cover her lips so that no one would hear her sobbing, it never once occurred to Lilja to try to dream to have any different of a life or a love of her own. Wouldn't that have been disloyal to the man that had never truly wanted her in the first place?

She pulled the pins slowly from her hair, exhausted and defeated. The blonde masses of hair slipped like silk from their mooring, pooling like cast-off sunlight upon the floor around her. If there was one thing she wanted greater than all things, it was a divorce without the stigma and pain from going through the process. But miracles were in short supply in Glacia, even for those that might have deserved them. For the space of a moment, before she fell asleep from pure emotional exhaustion, Lilja dreamed of a world where both men and women could have their dreams in Glacia regardless of who they were or had been born as, and that Protocol was more than mere lip service. That weddings only happened for the sake of love.

Offline Jakob Volkshund

  • Character Account
    • white2rose
    • wp
    • Role

      Third Circle

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      77

    • the Queen's hound

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #3 on: Oct 01, 19, 03:39:02 PM »
Midsummer.

Time to do some fucking partying.

Or fucking and partying, depending on how you saw it.

Tensions in the Ivalo Court were still running high, because Miina was still chugging that Dark Religion juice. At least her fanatical sister had been sent to Nharkava so she wasn’t prowling around, looking to hook Jakob for something she thought he was still involved in. Knowing that the Court would be released from most of its duties during Midsummer came a sigh of relief for a lot of people. “Come on kid, we’re going to have some fun,” he had said to Warren that morning, not bothering to ask what the shrimp was up to. Nope. Typical Warlord Prince, making plans for someone else.

That morning, they had watched the braiding of the maypole to start their celebrations. So now, they were strolling down the street in Lohja, sipping something way too fruity for Jakob’s tastes (but hey, it had alcohol in it), and listening to music as they passed. Oh, and Jakob had two lingonberry pies in his hand and was halfway through one of the handheld pastries. Typical Warlord Prince, always eating.

“Man, I hate this song,” he remarked to Warren as they passed yet another rendition of one of the traditional Midsummer songs. “Seems like the musicians should come up with other tunes to play, don’t you think? All the music in the world and we’ve heard twelve variations of this song today.” His grousing was something that Warren was getting used to since tensions were high. Without Miina, Jakob wasn’t getting the um…workout he was used to and his attitude was souring. He planned to change that tonight. He just had to find the right pretty girl for it.

And yes, Warren could flirt with Jakob all he fucking wanted to but Jakob was definitely taking home a girl tonight.

“Where to now?” Jakob asked, but the moment that question left his lips, his eyes scanned the crowd and noticed someone unfortunately familiar. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he muttered. As if summoned by the cursing, Iiro Valkonen’s head turned in their direction and a smirk appeared on his face.

Maybe the kid wouldn’t see the Prin--- nope, never mind.

Offline Warren Winters

  • Character Account
    • white2te
    • warlord
    • Role

      Head Chef

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      52

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #4 on: Oct 02, 19, 04:08:55 AM »
Warning: Mentions of self-harm and suicidal thoughts.



Warren had not intended to go to any sort of Midsummer celebration, thank you very much. He just wasn't feeling all that... celebratory. Nowadays he couldn't even find sanctuary in his own kitchen - a place where in the past he'd always been able to depend on being able to disappear. If he was being honest with himself (and he really did try to be so as much as possible) he was falling back into the patterns he'd had when he was a teenager, right before he'd run away, the last time he'd been Nik. He did what he needed to do when he was at the Seat, did his job and put on a happy face for everyone who was around - then the second he was able to he'd be out the door. He was starting not to even care if someone took issue with it. He was isolating himself even from the people he'd been close to, cutting himself off in preparation for being hurt -- because he knew it was coming. With Miina...

Fuck, even thinking her name hurt. Even peripherally.

Point of the fact was, that with the Queen (with his Queen) herself preaching loud and clear the creed of the Dark Religion, it was getting harder and harder for Warren to justify living. In fact, it was getting to the point where his logic was beginning to agree with his depression. If he died, he wouldn't have to suffer this anymore, and no one would have to worry about him. If he died, maybe Miina would wake up or someone would do something about this. If he died, then at least any conflict about him that anyone carried in their hearts would end. Usually, when Warren got bad like this he was able to use logic to pep-talk himself away from the edge. More recently though... more recently it working against him. It was slowly but surely becoming a full-time job to keep breathing, and he didn't know how much longer he was going to be able to do it.

It was impossible not to think about this while he was at the Seat, so he spent as much time away from it as possible. Midsummer was a pretty perfect excuse, except for the fact that everyone else was out celebrating too - so it was the Court... out and about where he wasn't supposed to have to worry about the Court. Plus, there was joy and music and dancing and he just didn't have the energy.

Try telling that to a Warlord Prince.

"Jake, I don't..." was about as far as he got in his attempt to do so. Then he was being whisked off to join in the festivities whether he liked it or not. A secret, tiny, hopeful part of him was grateful for it, though -- was glad that someone was... there. That wasn't entirely fair, and he knew it. Raj would be there if Warren let him... right? Maybe? No, yes, he would. And Fred would too... right? Yes. Definitely. Maybe? Yes. It was just... there was too much history with Frederik. They had finally gotten to a point where they were able to be something like brothers again and Warren didn't want to ruin everything all over again because he couldn't reconcile his head and his heard into something remotely functional.

With Jakob, there wasn't the weight of that history. And the bond that they both shared with Miina enhanced an understanding rather than carved a gulf between them - since they were both collared by her, watching her become... the perfect Glacian Queen. That, and Jakob was always good for a distraction. He was... a friend.

So now he was here, with his friend, begrudgingly accepting that he felt better getting out of the Seat than he would have been if he'd been allowed to remain behind and marinate in his own misery.

Warren sipped his drink as he mused over this whole friendship thing, smirking as Jakob complained. "You know, I bet if you took your shirt off you could convince the musicians to play something else." It would certainly be a welcome distraction.

He hummed in thought as the Warlord Prince asked where next, then his attention was drawn to whatever it was that had caused him to curse, his body tensing - sure that it was going to be someone from Court that they'd rather not run into.

Instead, he found himself grinning.

Talk about welcome distractions.

Offline Iiro Valkonen

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • prince
    • Role

      Stringer

    • Faction

      Underground

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      9

    • be vigilant

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #5 on: Oct 02, 19, 04:35:28 PM »
Ah, culture.

Not the theocratic bullshit that the elite of Glacia pushed upon its population in the hope of making it culture. No, tried and true traditional culture, tracing its origins back generations innumerable, with the reasons for those traditions lost to the sands of time. That kind of culture. The kind that lived in a peoples’ bones. To Iiro, Midsummer was one of those deep, cultural events.

He knew plenty of origin stories about the different traditions of Midsummer – from bonfires meant to scare away evil spirits, to particular flowers gathered to ensure finding the love of one’s life – but stories were best experienced in life, in real time. And as the hamlets and cities of Glacia began changing their plumage to match the celebratory season, Iiro found himself looking forward to drifting along the festivals, seeing what arts and music were brought to enjoy this year.

As he made his way along the vendor-lined streets, he stepped into various galleries and stores, perusing their new selections. His favorite antiquities dealer, unfortunately, did not have a new shipment in, but Iiro planned to check back with the shop in a few weeks. The only intrusion upon his personal space that he allowed was when a young woman, smiling bright, offered to pin one of the freshly picked lilacs she had gathered to his shirt. Only six more needed, she said with a wink, and then his dreams would show him his true love.

Iiro had just smiled and kept his sarcastic remarks about the folly of visions to himself. No need to ruin good intentions just because he could. Today.

He paused to listen to a stylistic rendition of one of the more traditional Midsummer songs, nodding his head and appreciating the changes, but the beat was still just a tad too slow for his liking. Still, he applauded the musician for his effort when the song ended and then continued to drift along. He paused to watch a small theater ensemble doing a quick skit of sorts and it was then that he caught the familiar prowling gait of Jakob Volkshund from the corner of his eye.

Iiro didn’t hear Jakob curse but it was clear from the Warlord Prince’s expression that he had. And that made Iiro smile smugly. Good to know that he invoked such a visceral response from the other man.

But what Iiro was more pleased to see was that Jakob had brought the effervescent and witty Warren with him. Delightful! Ignoring the darkening expression on Jakob’s face, Iiro drifted their way, avoiding everyone in the crowd as easily as though they were magnetically repulsed by him. “Prince Volkshund,” he said in his purring, cultured voice, his light eyes glittering with mischief that probably only maddened Jakob. And then, in a warmer tone, he greeted Warren with, “Lord Winters.” The glitter in Iiro’s eyes for Warren might have been interpreted as a sapiosexual attraction – or maybe another sort – but the enigmatic smile threw it off a little. As ever, Iiro was hard to read and he wanted it kept that way.

“How fortuitous that I run into you today,” Iiro said, now interjecting himself into their company. “You look like you could use another to your party. Have you tried the knotted breads yet?” If they answered no, Iiro would gladly lead them towards one of the vendors, who offered traditional knotted and tied breads with all sorts of dipping sauces. And, on the way there, he would ask Warren most of the questions, promptly shunting Jakob to the role of third wheel at a date.

Oh, that would rankle him so much! Delightful.

Offline Matias Saari

  • Character Account
    • sapphire2eg
    • hwp
    • Role

      Master of the Guard

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin, as written by Tal

    • Posts

      112

    • Healer Caste is hidden.

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #6 on: Oct 02, 19, 05:37:20 PM »
Midsummer festivities seemed to make people happier. The loss of Elina, the death of Lady Brenden, and a general malaise over the Territory made Matias think that there wasn’t a damned thing worth celebrating, but here he was. Mikael and Mariella wanted to enjoy the festivities. His son had made friends, real friends, and it seemed to help him through the general loss of his mother. She’d been gone over a year now, but things were still difficult for both of them. Matias would have been fine writing and filing reports, but his children wanted to enjoy Midsummer. They’d been asking about it since Spring, leaving Matias with little choice but to acquiesce.

He did not trust their safety to the Midnight Keepers. He didn’t doubt their ability, as a group, but the Midnight Keepers were not men given to bodyguard duties, outside the Patriarchs. He relied on men from the Court, good ones that he trusted, to serve as the details for the daughter of the Territory Queen and her brother. Matias still could have stayed in to work, but it was suggested that he needed to get out more...by his kids. Having them so close was wonderful, but when they pointed out how much he worked, Matias figured that it wouldn’t hurt to indulge them with a little free time.

His suit had been spelled to keep out the worst of Summer’s heat, lightening his mood but not by much. All around him, people suffered at the edge of heat stroke, or with rashes, or with various illnesses that they left untreated. He explained to Mikael privately, before they left, that he had to keep his secret, no matter what. “If something bothers you and you can’t stop yourself, come and find me right away. We’ll work through it together.” Matias said.

And then he took Mariella asied and charged her with helping her brother, both as his sister and his Queen. “He needs you, Butterfly. Be there for him.

Mariella promised her father she’d do just that.

Without the threat of violence from saboteurs, Matias thought that the celebrations would go well. He thought he saw Lilja among the crowd, but lost sight of her while making sure that both children were protected and minding their manners. He also saw Prince Ulric, but the Steward looked less than thrilled to be here. Matias smiled at that. Someone who enjoyed their work more than he did, he could respect.

Would Magdalena enjoy any of this? Would Aslaug? Possibly. Both women had diverse interests and enjoyed interacting with the world around them. He enjoyed their company for different reasons. For now, he focused on the revelry and hoped that no one did anything to cause trouble. He really didn’t want to go back on duty tonight, but he felt like he would have to before it was all said and done.

Elina would have loved all of this. He hoped that Markus brought the children along.

It would be nice to talk to someone about her, just for a minute.

Offline Warren Winters

  • Character Account
    • white2te
    • warlord
    • Role

      Head Chef

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      52

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #7 on: Oct 14, 19, 11:33:38 AM »
There was a distinctly pleased smirk playing on Warren's lips by the time Iiro reached them, despite Jakob's anticipated irritation at the intrusion.

"If it isn't Prince Valkonen. Here perhaps to give me that mud-wrestling match you promised me?" No promise had ever been made, but Warren liked to stay hopeful. Besides, with the weather so lovely and rain nowhere close to threatening their festivities, perhaps the Prince would endear to him to make it now -- then Warren could get crafty in making sure there was mud present at their next meeting. There was just something highly entertaining (and yes, arousing) at the thought of such a put-together Prince getting utterly filthy. And, perhaps, also at the idea of maybe getting an invite to help him clean it all off.

Warren sighed and took that little fantasy and put it away for later examination.

Iiro smiled and flirted in a way that might as well just be breathing, but Warren appreciated all the same and responded in kind. He felt a little bit guilty, knowing that Jakob wasn't a fan of him, but he was just too eager for the distraction right now. He'd be sure to make it up to the Warlord Prince later, with a large basket of his favorite treats and Jakob-tailored main courses for the next week, for sure.

"We haven't yet, no," Warren responded with a grin to the question of the knotted breads. "One of my assistants' family is running a stall today and she brought me a sample yesterday. I was impressed." He said it with a smile, the praise genuine. "Honestly the best parts of these festivals is always the food. Well, and opportunities for finely-shaped men to take their shirts off, be it for entertainment or persuasion." He teased Jakob here with a grin, then offered a more heated version of the same teasing smile to Iiro. "Though I don't recall there being any official events of the sort in years past. Then again, there is always the opportunity for new traditions to be started. You're a historian and an anthropologist, aren't you, Prince? How might we best go about beginning a new tradition along those lines?" He was only half-joking. He was sure his brother and plenty others would find his eagerness to flirt and lose himself in the physical form of an attractive man as being incredibly shallow, but Warren didn't really care all that much if others thought such of him. He'd rather them think him a shallow, superficial airhead than seeing past the fragile masks he was hiding behind with shaking hands to the gasping, wounded creature beneath.

Offline Iiro Valkonen

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • prince
    • Role

      Stringer

    • Faction

      Underground

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      9

    • be vigilant

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #8 on: Oct 17, 19, 11:12:25 AM »
Warren’s unabashed flirting earned him an appreciative chuckle from the Opal Prince. It probably rankled Jakob to no end, being around a man flirting so shamelessly with other men, but points to the Warlord Prince for not being a total dick in his unwavering heterosexuality. He had plenty of other ways to be a dick already.

As the trio began drifting towards one of the stalls, hopefully the one that Warren’s assistant was running, Iiro draped an arm casually across Warren’s shoulder, interposing himself neatly between Warlord Prince and Warlord. “Hmmm…” he purred thoughtfully, stroking his neatly bearded chin in mock thought. “How to create new traditions?” he mused aloud.

“Well, certainly you know all about the existing ones,” Iiro said, with just enough pompous airs to his tone to indicate that he thought everyone studied at least some old history. If Warren said that he didn’t, then Iiro would gladly fill in him on the bullet points on why there were bonfires, birch branches, seven flowers under one’s pillow, and beer. “Of course,” Iiro said loftily as his cultured tone adopted a cadence akin to the one he used when delivering a lecture to his students, “all of this originated from a time when Craft was not around, when evils stalked the lands and the Blood were not the caretakers of the Realms. Yet.” That would have been thousands upon thousands of years ago in history but the way Iiro spoke of it was like it was in recent memory for some.

There was a mischievous glint to his eyes as he said to Warren, “A good thing that the Blood came along and banished all of that, don’t you think?” That was the fun with mythologies. They might be true, they might be false, and one never knew which it was.

“But,” Iiro continued on, “the traditions remain and we still celebrate like the heathens we are. Beer?” He had paused them at a brewer’s stall and ordered three beers without assent from the other two men. He knew Jakob would drink one easily but Warren might be a bit more…reserved. There was something about the little Warlord that intrigued Iiro greatly, as though he might be a puzzle to be taken apart.

Now, that was a cruel thing to think of someone but in Iiro’s mind, there was great appreciation and care behind that thought. He wouldn’t dismantle someone just because he could and leave them in those pieces. No, he would inspect every trait, every flaw like a piece of fine machinery, strip it of its impurities, and put it back in place, better than before.

His…colleagues…didn’t call him Keen because he carried a knife. His mind was a knife.

Luckily, Warren had very little to fear from the intrigued Prince. Iiro wasn’t in the habit of psychoanalyzing everyone to death but it was sometimes fun to do when he was bored. Since he was not bored today, no psychoanalyzing. Just recounting histories, mythologies, and possibly a few risqué stories that Iiro shared with Jakob.

Just to irritate him, of course.

“Do you have a favorite holiday?” Iiro asked of Warren once they were back on their way walking. “I know that Prince Volkshund’s a fan of that lover’s holiday because he’s…well…” Iiro made a gesture with his hand that made have been a disparaging shot at the libido of Warlord Princes but the charming, toothy smile he shot at Jakob dared the man to disagree. “Oh, and he likes the Volksfest, not because they share the same name as he, but because…you know…beer,” Iiro added.

Yet as they walked further into the crowds, there seemed to be something…amiss. Not with Warren. Nor with Jakob. Iiro’s constantly sweeping eyes noticed…something with the way some people were avoiding eye contact. Or ducking around corners. Or walking briskly somewhere else.

Perhaps it was just his paranoia getting to him.

Offline Lilja Syklee

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • bw
    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Haloriel

    • Posts

      83

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #9 on: Oct 18, 19, 09:49:47 AM »
Lilja had not remembered spotting Matias in the crowded first day of the Midsummer holiday until she woke for the second day, exhausted from a poor attempt to gain any real semblance of sleep. The Black Widow lay still in her bed, staring at the ceiling, breaths calm and shallow. She remembered crying herself to sleep, and at some point had apparently managed to make it to the bed that she slept in alone despite having been married for years. A soft laugh eased from the woman. It was getting more difficult not to slip to the Twisted Kingdom with despair as her guide.

She shivered and forced herself to get up. You can do this, she thought, despairing heart truly aching for anything, any shred of acknowledgement. Your life needn't revolve around a man that has never, ever wanted you but for one purpose: to make his house look beautiful.

One of Askel's best bottles of scotch with several glasses of water was breakfast; after all, she wasn't trying to dehydrate herself, but rather remain comfortably numb. It barely put a dent in her ability to feel, but it did just enough to leave her floating. She didn't know how to obtain a divorce without her husband irrationally trying to end her life because he viewed her as a possession despite her long evidence of loyalty ... that it had taken half a year for her to admit he didn't deserve. Yes, she spent his money to attend her needs, but that was the only benefit she had truly received from the Winterton name.

Perhaps he hadn't beaten her to death, there was that, Lilja thought cynically. By the time her stomach started to cramp from a lack of food, she relented and sent a maidservant for a proper breakfast despite the fact that Lilja didn't want it at all. She wanted ... her lower lip trembled while her pale hair was a wild creature all on its own around her shoulders and down her back. The trained Black Widow's chest was tight with too much pain, and loneliness, and she was tired of - no - vastly wearied of having no one that would accept her overtures as a lover. The triple Casted Queen hadn't feared who and what she was married to, a terror of a man at best. Everyone else did. She ate her way through breakfast as a matter of survival and not withering away to become a whisper in the Darkness.

Would anyone notice?

She looked out the window of the library, tears sliding down her face often enough that she hardly felt them. She had been forced into this situation by 'well-meaning males' who thought she needed protecting and children. She didn't really feel protected, Lilja felt forgotten and unloved, and children - dark Jewelled children ... that was a joke. A vast, joke. A helpless laugh bubbled up that was half panic, and her vast, near crazed want for passion, was akin to knives turned inward under Lilja's skin. "Call for Lady Valda to dress me," she allowed finally, leaving the Library to bathe and present herself for something more than a pure, tragic appearance. As a Winterton lady, she would never dream of leaving the house not attired to absolute perfection, despite the pallor of her skin and the manner that Lilja's hands shook.

She stood perfectly still as Lady Valda, one of her resident Hearth Witches, readied her in a soft silvery confection of a gown, covered in delicate lace which looked like glacier ice through sunbeams. The Lady did her very best to attend to the hollows beneath Lilja's eyes and the weight she had lost; the plush form of her hips had lost some twenty pounds. The fragility of her presence back out in public was enough to give even a Warlord pause, one offered a helping hand before he recognized who she was and hesitated to touch her.

"I ... forgive me. Lady Winterton."

"It's quite alright, you needn't ..."

He fled and her heart sank, face crumpling.

"... Run from me."

That had been the last straw. Aching to find a private place in public, she ended up in a children's toy store, weeping while holding three teddy bears and two tiny dolls. The Lady Lilja did her very best not to so much as make a sound, not wanting to make a scene of all things.

"Lady?"

"I ... yes?"

"Do you intend ... to purchase those?"

"Y-yes. I do. Forgive me."

The toy store owner went white, paling more than he had already been naturally.

"No, no forgiveness needed. I simply wanted to be sure."

She waited until the milling crowds found something worth doing that second day, and aimlessly with no real intentions, Lilja followed them. The Black Widow scent of her continued to increase, winding ever tighter. As the festivities continued, she wandered aimlessly into the evening before eventually heading toward her carriage and the empty, aching home it would take her to. It was that evening that her father remembered what she'd done to him to keep him from trying to remove her from the Winterton household due to a lack of performance, and came for her.

Lost in her despair at her front door, Lilja never saw the snap to the back of her head coming as she walked inside the house. She struck the paved, beautiful stone steps hard of her side of the house where few people actually went, namely her husband, her head striking with enough force to leave blood behind. Her body was dragged off, and lifted, but not before a distinct trail and bits of lace ripped away from her gown. Glacia continued to celebrate, but the lovely despairing Black Widow would not be. The satchel of children's toys covered in a woman's tears dropped to the ground and rolled under a rose bush.

Offline Warren Winters

  • Character Account
    • white2te
    • warlord
    • Role

      Head Chef

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      52

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #10 on: Oct 22, 19, 06:02:02 AM »
Warren was very proud of himself. He managed to bite his tongue on all the dangerous, sarcastic little comments that sprang to mind as they walked and chatted about traditions and lore. About how the Blood became caretakers of the Realms (because oh, they were doing such a great job and all that) and how lovely it was that that had all happened. Perhaps in other Territories, but Glacia seemed to be struggling more than a little bit with all of that. Warren would love to launch into a questioning argument on the contradictions between the long-upheld truths revolving around the purpose of the Blood and the gift bestowed upon them by Mother Night -- and this whole bullshit with the fucking collars and the supposed wrongness inherent in the light-Jeweled Blood, but he unfortunately still had some of those pesky self-preservation instincts still intact.

Gallows humor struck him smartly and he had to wonder with a small, twisted sort of smile that he masked with a sip of his drink - if perhaps it wouldn't be that much longer that he'd have to war with them. Maybe it would be better to go out with a bang and a shout, a scream rather than a rasped sigh on a cold bathroom floor.

No, I couldn't do that to Miina... I couldn't bring that shame to her, or to Fred. I couldn't hurt Jakob or Raj like that.

Guilt flooded his gut and he drowned it by finishing off his drink and offering a sweet, sassy grin to IIro as he wiggled the now-empty cup. "A beer would be perfect, thank you." Tiger Eye or not, he could handle beer well enough as long as it wasn't Craft-spiked like was often done for the darker Jewels.

They continued on, chatting and socializing, and Warren let himself get distracted again -- pushed himself toward it really -- as he sipped his beer and mused about the various holidays. He didn't notice if anything seemed a little bit off here and there, and he certainly didn't register any conern from either of his companions. Warren was a very astute young man, he was generally hyper-observant -- except for when he was determined not to be. And today, as he walked through the festival and debated the differences between the benefits of different holidays (their value entirely related to what foods were served over the course of the celebration) he was determined not to see or notice anything other than what was right before him. Otherwise he'd be jumping at every shadow, sure he was going to come face to face with someone he more assuredly did not want to see.

Offline Storyteller

  • Character Account
    • plot
    • council
    • OOC

      Plot Council

    • Posts

      170

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #11 on: Oct 22, 19, 09:26:32 AM »
They did their best to hide their numbers. They didn’t even have a name. Yes, some of them came from the Underground but most of them didn’t. They didn’t have a true leader. They didn’t even really have a concrete reason and they definitely didn’t have a formalized mission statement.

They were just pissed off.

And pissed off, oppressed people did very dangerous, very unprecedented, very terrifying things.

Though there were a few more Midnight Keepers and other Dark Jewels watching to make sure the festivities went as planned, most of the general population believed that they were absolutely safe throughout the  fairgrounds and villages because it was Midsummer, a holiday that everyone celebrated equally, regardless of Jewel. They went about partying and hosting, hawking their wares, wolfing down food, and quaffing alcohol like there was no tomorrow.

But they had planned it that way.

That false sense of security would soon be ripped away. As those who had been recruited under this unnamed banner began setting up in various cities, towns, and villages, they spoke only to one or two others. The Territory Court had previously only reason to fear the Underground, but they likened that relationship to an ant protesting the fall of a boot upon it. What these people were doing, with their grass roots organization of fury, was not expected. They didn’t want to do anything more than send a message.

As maypoles went up and were braided, their plan swung into motion. An hour after that festivity, as the afternoon sun shone brightly, another braiding of power took effect, one that layered Jeweled power on Jeweled power. That layering effect gave the spell far more power than one Jewel alone could fuel. Unseen to most celebrants, at the base of as many maypoles as they could get access to, was a small focusing crystal, concealed from plain view by Craft. And since many of the inhabitants had been drunkenly dancing around those poles just an hour before, no one noticed the etching of Craft laid down in radiating lines from those poles, extending far into the crowds that now passed those poles by without notice. 

It began with one maypole, but when the others heard of that first spark going off, it started the rest of the chain reaction.

In the major cities, the giant maypoles erected burst into bright witchflame, the fire shooting another ten feet higher than the pole into the blue sky. As the focusing crystal near the base burst, it set off the radial lines into that same bright witchflame, streaking through the crowds faster than people could blink. In a matter of moments, clothing caught fire and the screaming began as people tried to escape the lines of flame around them and help those who had been caught. Calls for water rose as people tried to extinguish the flames through Craft and other means.

A few moments after those lines caught fire, the maypole itself exploded in spectacular, raining fiery splinters upon the crowd.

Vaasa. Tamsa. Akaa. Kotka. Kerava. Boralus. Soderhamn. Forssa. Oulu. Lohja.

As many cities, towns, and villages as they could affect.

The moment they cast their message, they fled, scattering to remote areas to eventually regroup. Most cast other conflagration spells at businesses as they ran, adding to the chaos and destruction. A few of them, giddy with victory, foolishly taunted those in power and paid for it dearly. But the ones caught by Midnight Keepers knew they had been heard, even if their voices would be physically silenced by their deaths.

The Dark Religion could preach all it wanted but now it was going to listen to what the Light Jeweled had to say.
This is a Plot Council controlled account. Please address all questions and PMs to a Staff account or staff@bloodrites.net

Offline Iiro Valkonen

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • prince
    • Role

      Stringer

    • Faction

      Underground

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      9

    • be vigilant

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #12 on: Oct 22, 19, 09:28:31 AM »
It had to be his paranoia getting to him. Being a highly intellectual being, Iiro was aware that his skills in mental faculties meant that he was prone to anxieties and paranoia more than most. As he tried to compartmentalize the itchy feeling between his shoulders, he maintained a pleasant mask with Warren and acted as though nothing bothered him except the possibility that some drunken idiot might run into them and spill the beers.

“A toast to Midsummer!” Iiro proclaimed once they all had their drinks. He clinked mugs with Warren eagerly and smiled at Jakob’s begrudging involvement. Yet, when the Warlord Prince’s eyes followed someone in the crowd like the predator he truly was, Iiro sent on a private thread, **Something wrong, Prince?**

Jakob grunted back but didn’t say anything more. And that bothered Iiro somehow more than he thought it would.

He was just about to distract himself by launching into another conversation with Warren when he caught someone he…knew…walking quickly by, head down, eyes averted. Well, averted until they caught sight of him, standing in the street. Then, the man paused, momentarily stricken. **Keen?** Iiro heard him say on a private thread.

**Dirge,** Iiro replied back. He knew the man through the Underground but not very well. Dirge had a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. His fanatical hatred of the Dark Religion would one day be his downfall, Iiro believed, because he was unable to restrain it and channel it into more useful avenues. That alone was why Iiro kept his distance from the other man, in more ways than one.

Dirge looked back over his shoulder at the maypole in the center of the town. Then at an alley way. Then back at Iiro. **Shouldn’t be here, Keen,** he warned ominously. **Trouble’s brewing.**

Iiro’s eyes narrowed. **Trouble is always brewing,** he answered cryptically. But he wondered what Dirge meant by that.

Dirge shifted his weight nervously and looked back again at the maypole. Then, with one final glance at Iiro, he said, **Don’t bitch that I didn’t warn you.** He ducked his head again and angled sharply down another street. Iiro watched him go for a long, thoughtful moment.

The itching unease didn’t quite darkened his eyes yet as he turned his attention back to Warren, suggesting, “How about we move off the street? It’s getting a bit crowded. I know of a perfect little venue doing some live music with plenty of seating just two blocks away. We can enjoy the festivities from there.”

They had barely taken two steps in that direction when the first of the explosions happened.

Offline Jakob Volkshund

  • Character Account
    • white2rose
    • wp
    • Role

      Third Circle

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      77

    • the Queen's hound

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #13 on: Oct 22, 19, 09:46:00 AM »
Jakob was not having a good time.

Not only had that damned Prince Valkonen somehow managed to find them and insert himself into their fucking party like he had been invited, but now he and Warren were chatting it up and flirting like Jakob was some fucking invisible ghost. Not that he hated gays or something but for real – could the two of them quit it with the act and just go find a room somewhere and get it on?

At least the bastard had bought Jakob a beer.

If he had to put up with Valkonen, then he was going to drink – heavily. He was halfway through that first mug, looking for female tail to chase, when his gaze caught someone else that he really didn’t fucking want to see either. He really should have thought this whole social thing through before dragging Warren out. All sorts of annoying fucks out and about.

Speaking of…there was another one.

**Something wrong, Prince?** Valkonen asked. Jakob grunted back rudely. No, nothing was wrong – yet. But if that mother fucker over there got any closer, there might be. Jakob couldn’t remember the guy’s name but he was always getting in trouble with the authority. Jakob had run a few jobs for him years ago but he had been more trouble than the money was worth, always blabbing his mouth about how Lady Brenden was gonna get her fucking due one day.

Seriously, people needed to keep that crap to themselves.

He was so busy scowling at the guy from across the street that he missed Valkonen having some private conversation with someone else. It wasn’t until the Prince suddenly suggested that they go to some other place to enjoy the music that Jakob realized how long he had been tracking the dude in the crowd.

“Fucking fine by me,” Jakob muttered, finishing the rest of his beer. He took two steps forward, in front of the other two flirting men, and that’s when the shit hit the fan.

The first sound – the roar of a fire igniting rapidly – caught his ear, turning his head. The startled screams put him on edge. And when the explosion hit, lighting up blazing lines of fire in all directions, Jakob had taken four steps back and was now in front of Warren and Valkonen, interposing himself between danger and the Tiger Eye shrimp.

Fucking bring it. Jakob wanted a fight.

But the fire didn’t streak their way. Jakob watched as the crowds were trapped between radiating lines of flames. What had been initial screams of surprise became screams of panic as fire licked at flesh and clung to clothing. With a snarl, Jakob wrapped a protective shield around himself and called in a dagger. He went to cast the same shielding on the kid but noticed that Valkonen had a grip on Warren’s upper arm and a look in his eyes that meant danger. He felt stronger Craft slid over his shield. Was…Valkonen protecting him?

The fuck?

**This your people’s doing?** Jakob barked to the Opal Prince privately. Angry. If the fucking Underground was causing this much shit now… it was only going to end poorly for everyone else. Kids like Warren got caught in the crossfire of shit like that, unfortunate casualties. Well, not on Jakob’s watch. Not today. He was going to beat the shit out of whoever decided this was a good idea.

Offline Iiro Valkonen

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • prince
    • Role

      Stringer

    • Faction

      Underground

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      9

    • be vigilant

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #14 on: Oct 22, 19, 10:06:03 AM »
Paranoia paid off. Sometimes.

In the second that the explosion sounded, Iiro was already in mental motion. A shield protecting himself, a shield protecting Warren, and, though Jakob would most likely bitch about it later, a shield around the Warlord Prince, who was, Iiro admitted, their best protector. Sure enough, Jakob moved to interpose himself between danger and them. Bravo. Predictability at its finest.

When Jakob asked if this was the Underground’s doing, Iiro’s expression darkened even further as he tried to put together Dirge’s warning and the things he had seen. **If it is, they did not see fit to inform me about it,** he informed Jakob firmly. If he later discovered that the Underground had organized something this public, he was going to be resigning from it rather quickly. Iiro worked best in subtle machinations – not riots and revolts.

Despite the Rose Warlord Prince riding the Killing Edge in front of them, they were not safe. There was no telling what other surprises lay in store and Iiro had no desire to tangle with unknown Craft like the fire lines streaking along the streets. **We need to move, Volkshund. Now!** he snapped. He should have exercised a bit more caution when addressing a Warlord Prince and the moment Jakob looked over his shoulder, he realized that.

So, he switched tactics. Destruction or protection. That was how Warlord Princes operated. Well, those two things and sex. **Warren is not safe here,** Iiro pointed out. Even though he had the Tiger Eye Warlord in a tight grasp and shielded, if the situation turned for the worst, Warren was the most vulnerable. **We need to get him away from here.**

Astoundingly, logic worked. Iiro let Jakob protect their backs as he pulled Warren forward. “With me, Warren. We must go.” Within that soothing tone was a gentle caress of Emotional Manipulation, one of Iiro’s strengths. It pulled at Warren to trust Iiro in that moment.

Later, Iiro would wonder if he needed to use such a Craft at all, but in that tense moment, he did not risk it.

With Warren sandwiched between snarling Warlord Prince and cunning Prince, they quickly made their way six blocks or more, dodging other fires that had been set as the unknown instigators fled the scene. “You need to get Warren back to the Court,” Iiro eventually said, once the screams were barely audible. “He’ll be much safer there than on the streets.” Please, let Volkshund see the logic in that. “I will take you within one block of the gates but after that…” Iiro added. He couldn’t be seen – yet – at the Court. There were things he needed to research, seeds he needed to plant, before he could walk into that place welcomed.

While he waited for Jakob to make up his stormy mind, Iiro gently touched Warren’s jaw, right next to his ear. “Prince Volkshund can protect you better at the Court,” he said, dropping his voice to a husky tone that he reserved for more intimate moments. “You should with him while I find out what happened.” He pulled back on the emotional Craft, feeling a bit guilty that he had used it on Warren so easily, but he promised himself that he would make it up to the Warlord later.

“A raincheck on our conversation?” he suggested, trying to lighten the mood just a bit. “To be continued over dinner another time?”

Offline Wulfryck Sigurdson

  • Character Account
    • rose2bo
    • prince
    • Role

      Rook

    • Faction

      Midnight Keepers

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Sol

    • Posts

      15

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #15 on: Oct 22, 19, 11:30:49 AM »
Wulfryck had come to the midsummer festivities with only one goal in mind, to see Lilja Syklee, and to let her know that he would be in the neighborhood for the duration.  They were bound to cross paths, and while that was not at all an unpleasant thought, he did not want to surprise her.  He had played a role in Lilja’s past, a rather delicate one, and a Prince did not put a Lady in a difficult position if he could avoid it.  Certainly, a Rook should not do so to a Dark Jeweled Black Widow.  He had informed Kaija of his desire to do so, understand that they did know each other.  Once Kaija was safe in the Territory Court, performing necessary duties with his Cousin, Matias, nearby, Wolf felt like he could safely undertake this small errand.

The streets were buzzing with people, on foot and in carriages, or riding horses.  The Rook disliked such gatherings, they were security nightmares for him and his brethren.  Most people saw the Midnight Keepers as some kind of secret enforcement arm, and that was not entirely true.  He was far more concerned with the safety and protection of his Ward, and if he were honest, other Black Widows.  Liking the women of that Caste was not a requirement for his position, but it certainly helped, and Wulfryck had always been an excellent student of his faction.  The memories he had of Lilja were not unpleasant, save for one particular idiot, but they were the sort of intimate memories that could cause embarrassment or awkwardness, and Wolf wanted to avoid that if he could.

From what he had learned, it seemed to him that Lilja could use a friend anyway.  Kaija gave him the address, and he was heading there under his own power.  Normally, he would have avoided crowds and such, but he had good word that Lilja was taking part in some way by spending her time with an orphanage and the children they cared for.  It spoke well of her, and did not surprise Wolf.  Lilja had been kind from the start, despite all the rumors that go around about her Caste, the Blood Opal Rook did not really expect that to have changed.  He found that he was too late for the orphanage, so he hailed a carriage to get himself across town to where Lilja lived.  He worried he would be too late there as well, but an old friend could hardly be blamed for delivering a midsummer gift, or so he hoped.  He was smiling when he hopped out of the carriage, and began to wall along the paving stones to the front of Lilja’s home—his smile vanished.

Wolf knew instantly that something was wrong.  He enhanced his senses.  This was not an entrance that Lilja used, she used another, which he found odd anyway.  He circled and foun another path, enhancing his senses still more he found disturbing signs.  There was a bulging bag, toys almost sliding out of it, under a bush.  His eyes narrowed, and he found a spot of blood on the cleanly made steps.  There was a  trail left by a body being dragged away, and a scrap of lace.  Wulfryck lifted the scrap to his nose and breathed in.  He growled.  It took him a minute to summon up the memory of that night, but this was Lilja, he was sure of it.  Something had happened to her, and he meant to find out what.  Wolf scowled.  He could not pursue this now, it would be irresponsible, and Kaija was his Ward, not Lilja.  He cursed, and ran back to the street, hailing a carriage, and demanding he be taken back to Court where his cousin and Ward waited.

He paid the driver extra to get through the madness after the towers of witchlight exploded into the night sky, going so far as to shield the conveyance, and name Matias as his employer.  That always worked wonders.

Offline Kaija Aili

  • Character Account
    • pd2bo
    • bw
    • Role

      Head of the Hourglass

    • Faction

      Court of Glacia

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Phedre

    • Posts

      105

    • The Winterton Widow

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #16 on: Oct 23, 19, 06:03:47 PM »
Kaija flipped back through the pages of her book, rereading a paragraph from the previous chapter. The words began to click into place in her mind now that her current chapter had further illuminated the concept she was grappling with. The web that was her and Wolf's first attempt at long distance contact sat in its frame on the end table beside her. Every so often she ran her fingers over it in a gentle manner, sending Blood Opal Craft through to her Rook in a soothing reassurance that she remained unharmed. She wore a light black dress that was essentially a fancy slip, her heels kicked off and her bare feet tucked beneath her. The scent of Ebon Gray permeated everything around her.

She looked like she might on any given day curled up at home. Except this wasn't any given day, and she wasn't at home. It was Midsummer, the second day of the festivities. Mat sat at his desk, going through paperwork. It had been arranged by the three of them that Mat would attend the first day with the children, Wolf would be free to do so the next, and he would escort Kaija on the third day, leaving Mat on his own to choose for himself. This plan was tailored to ensure Kaija was never alone, which she both appreciated and felt was overly cautious.

The web had been spun, the link established. She had relied on Craft she had learned from the former Head of the Hourglass. It was based on something used on Glacian spies infiltrating Nharkava. She didn't need the disguise aspect, but the ability to communicate long distances was exactly what she had been looking for. It was a first draft, really, one that could be further refined, especially if she could find a way to interweave the Craft with the tattoos that covered Wolf's skin. Which happened to be what she was researching at the moment.

When she'd inquired as to why she couldn't simply stay home, it was pointed out to her that the time to test the communication thread was when they didn't need, as opposed to when they did. Even Kaija couldn't argue with that logic.

This was not the first time Kaija and Mat had shared companionable silence. She far preferred his company over that of all of Vaasa. That duty would be required of her tomorrow. It was not something she looked forward to particularly, enjoying this quiet afternoon far more than any festival with throngs of people.

The web beside her began to glow softly. She assumed it would be Wolf saying he had found Lilja and would be back for her later that evening. Brushing her fingers across it, Wolf's voice filled her mind. He was on his way back to Court. Under no circumstances was she to leave Mat's side. She channeled Blood Opal into the web, acknowledging she understood. The last thing she heard from him was Stay inside before the communication ended.

"Matias. Something is wrong." When he didn't immediately reply, she looked up at him. He had that distant expression that crossed his face when he was having a conversation with someone on a psychic thread. Or several conversations. The depth of Mat's Craft meant all number of things were possible. She rose from the couch and came to stand beside him, leaning against his desk. She didn't interrupt, just waited, fear and concern growing with each passing moment.

Kaija was patient. She rolled her shoulders. She flexed her ring finger, the snake tooth hidden there slowly extending and then retreating into its sheath. Mat's eyes focused on her. “Something is very wrong. Word is coming in from more than one of the Midsummer festivals. There’s...we’re under attack.”

Offline Ulric Lindgren

  • Character Account
    • sapphire2eg
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      37

    • 'tis better to be feared than loved...

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #17 on: Oct 24, 19, 09:43:16 AM »
In the late afternoon of the second day of his retreat, Ulric was…interrupted.
 
Having completed his social and spiritual obligations the night before by attending first the holy service in the cave near his summer cabin and later a pleasant dinner with a select group of likeminded compatriots, Ulric expected to spend the remaining two days alone with his wife and young daughter, reading books on the porch, enjoying a fine meal, and perhaps lighting a simple bonfire that night.
 
He was well into his second hour of reading that afternoon when a nearly frantic thread reached his mind. **Prince? Sorry to interrupt but there’s been…there’s been an incident – incidents – at Midsummer.** Ulric, of course, recognized the voice as one of his associates, a Warlord that he often gave challenging tasks to throughout the year. So, what perturbed Ulric was not who was contacting him but why? As one of the males of the Court that was publicly on vacation for these few days, it irked Ulric that someone had seen fit to interrupt that. As Steward of Glacia, his time was very precious. So why was he being contacted instead of one of the males who had opted to remain behind to handle Court matters?
 
The incompetence of others vexed Ulric sometimes.
 
He set down his book, rubbed the bridge of his nose, and asked, **What sort of incidents?** He did not bother to keep the annoyance from rippling into his tone. As he waited for details, he let his fingers caress the cover of the book longingly. Seated across from him, absorbed in her own reading, his wife noticed his change in demeanor and gave him a mildly questioning look. “Work,” he said, simply. She did not question any further not did she voice any opinion on the matter. Such an understanding woman, his wife.

But as the details came pouring in, jumbled in some aspects but keenly coherent in others, Ulric’s vexation turned into something far worse: hostile disgust. Not for the man reporting the incidents, no. For those who would dare desecrate a festival with their political scheming. For those who would dare interrupt his precious time. The storm that began building within the Ebon Gray Prince was slow like a hurricane and just as wide. His judgment would not fall upon a small group of errant perpetrators, children playing with a fire that they did not comprehend.

His judgment would fall on all of them.

Briskly, Ulric rose, tugged at his vest (for even on vacation he was still impeccably dressed), and went to find his matching jacket. Apologizing to his wife, he said, “I will return shortly.” He caught the Ebon Gray Wind to Vaasa, using those brief moments to compose his thoughts and order the man’s report into a narrative that made a half sort of sense.

Once he landed, one of the guardsmen greeted him, babbling something fearful about fire everywhere in the center square. Ulric did not waste his breath ordering it to be put out. How obvious must he be? Instead, he commanded, “Locate Lady Anderson,” and the guard darted off to do just that, leaving Ulric with another few moments to discern their course.

He strode into the estate as Vaasa, the home of the Territory Court, and went straight for his office, making himself available to those who needed to give report. “Ready the jail cells,” he told one of the guardsmen who approached him along the way. Surely, they would find out who was responsible for this terrorist activity and then…

Lady Anderson would not be needed for what came afterward.

Sitting at his desk, with his eyes closed in concentration as his mind cycled through psychic report after psychic report coming in (Boralus, Lohja, Kotka, Tamsa...was there nowhere not affected?), Ulric reached out to only other person he believed could handle such a mess with the same calculating, merciless rigor as himself.

**Prince Saari, what is the situation?**

Offline Riia Lindgren

  • Character Account
    • pd2green
    • queen
    • Role

      District Queen

    • Faction

      Ilsalmi District

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      halyonix

    • Posts

      23

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #18 on: Oct 24, 19, 10:16:54 AM »
**Lady Lindgren! Fire! Fire in the main square!**

The startled voice of one of her First Circle males – was that Isakki or Juuso? That sounded like Juuso – interrupted her train of thought like a sharp knife. Momentarily stunned, it took Riia a heartbeat or two to understand all of those words strung together.

It was the second day of Midsummer, in late afternoon. Riia had gone to the morning’s maypole celebration, as expected of the ruling Queen of the District, and had spent a good portion of that time introducing herself to as many people as she could. It was exhausting, honestly, trying to establish all of these links and remembering all of these names, but that’s why Riia was now holed up in her office, nibbling away at food and writing down the names and something recognizable about all of the people she had met that morning.

The ink dripped on the page as she reached back to Juuso with, **A fire? What do you mean?**

**The maypole, Lady! It just exploded. There’s fire everywhere in the main square. I think we have it contained but…**

The way he let that sentence trail concerned Riia. Should she go there? Should she stay here, where it was safe? No, here might not be safe either but she was Queen here now – she should be there, with the people, helping in some way. That’s what a good Queen would be doing and Riia was determined to be a good Queen. As she grabbed her cloak from its hanger, she sent out a quick message to her Master of the Guard about heading to the main square and a second message to her Steward. **Prince Hjalstad, there’s a problem. We need to go to the main square.**

Her Master of the Guard would protect her, she had to trust in that, although Riia decided that it wouldn’t hurt if she kept a Purple Dusk Shield around herself just in case. And having Frederik with her meant that he could give her feedback on what resources to allocate and where. Frederik wasn’t the person Riia had expected to take on the Steward’s position but he had really taken to the waters with it and that’s what Riia needed.

But when she arrived in the square in Imatra, the main city of Ilsalmi, Riia wondered if anything in her long line of experience could have prepared her for crisis.

Juuso was right. Fire had etched its way into the lovely gardens that surrounded the square. Trees burned bright and hot. Off to the side, there were a group of people, on the ground and crying. It looked like a Healer was with them, tending to burns. The remnants of fire smoldered in odd lines around the square. People were shouting for more Craft and water to take care of the remaining flames. And all around, other people were milling, terrified and clinging to each other. It was a cacophonous, overwhelming sight. Riia was certain her own fear showed on her face.

One thing at a time, she told herself. She wasn’t a Healer so she couldn’t help much there but she strode that way as a starting point. The touch of a Queen showed that she cared, right? So while the Healer gave her report, Riia went from injured to injured, resting her fingertips lightly on a shoulder or arm, letting them all know that she saw them and was here to help.

It still felt ineffectual, but it was something.

Her next stop was talking to the people scrambling to put the fires out. They seemed to have it under control, mostly, with a system in place of who was grabbing what and whose Jewels were being used. “Witchfire and real fire,” someone told her, which explained the doubled effect. As Riia looked up at one of the burning trees, sadness settled on her shoulders. Those lovely trees. The pretty little gardens. Burning. Destroyed.

“Who did this?” she wondered aloud.

No one answered her.

She couldn’t do anything for the land yet, not until the fires were put out, so that would have to wait. She caught up with her Steward as she strode towards the maypole, the source of the fire, which was now dripping and charred, doused. Gently, she placed her fingers to the blackened wood. Witchfire and real fire, someone had said.

One of Riia’s strengths was an ability to glean additional information about a Craft spell, which she employed then. Maybe it would help with putting it out, she thought, as she extended her senses. Little lines of Green appeared along the cracks of the maypole. And then, those glowing lines slowly expanded down, along the ground, revealing a pattern of lines that the fire had used to streak into the crowds.

She couldn’t tell who had done it but at least she had an idea of how it had happened.

Offline Warren Winters

  • Character Account
    • white2te
    • warlord
    • Role

      Head Chef

    • Faction

      Ivalo Province Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      WrenStar

    • Posts

      52

    • View Profile
Re: The Stage Is Set For Tragic Verse
« Reply #19 on: Nov 14, 19, 12:37:42 AM »
To say that Warren had been unprepared for the wicked little turn of events was a gross understatement. One moment he was sipping his drink and thinking that perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing that Jakob had dragged him out of the kitchens for the day, and the next all hell was breaking loose. To be honest, he wouldn't be fully certain of what had happened until several hours later. In the moment, the only thing that really registered was the sound.

Shattering. Smashing. The deep rumble and a boom that was almost like thunder but also far sharper - far too sinister to be something of the natural world. Whatever it was - wherever it was coming from - it was manmade. There was a different sort of terror that people felt when the threat was coming from human intervention rather than something of beasts or nature. The screams sounded different. It was in the inherent betrayal of the thing that lashed out at that naive child at everyone's core that cried out with bewildered, fretful pain, 'I trusted you!!' - not because of any individual, personal connection, but because on some level, they were all supposed to be of the same. They were supposed to be kindred of spirit, if not kind of blood, and that had to accound for something... didn't it?

Warren only had a few moments for that fear to sink in, and then they were moving. Iiro's hand was firm around his arm - and normally he wouldn't be particularly pleased with the man's assuption that he needed to be lead, but a calm was invading the fear that reminded him that he could trust the Prince - that it was going to be okay if he just trusted him. So, he did. It was easy to do, and it was so much better than the fear.

Not that he wasn't afraid anymore - but his fear just shifted back a few slots and first and foremost was that notion that he could trust Iiro, and that when he did everythign would be alright.

He swallowed tightly, then gave a nod, and moved with the Prince willingly at a quick step that wasn't quite a run but really couldn't be called a 'walk' either as the trio of them made their way through the chaos until the cacophony of it all finally started to clear. Later, he'd think about the soot-smeared faces, how some of them were so afraid, and others were so angry, and some were terrifyingly gleeful in a way that shook him to the core.

When they finally came to a stop, Warren's heartbeat was still doing a very aggressive tap-dance of anxiety against his ribs, but he felt less like hiding in the pantry than he though he probably should have. He wasn't about to question it, though - it was a relief not to be a complete and utter disaster, and it felt good to be able to trust someone.

Iiro drew closer and Warren looked up to meet his eyes during the quiet murmur of an almost too-intimate moment. The attempt to lighten the conversation wasn't missed on him, but he found it more difficult to take the bait than under usual circumstances - explosions must throw him off his flirting game more than he thought they would. He'd have to work on that.

"While you find out what happened?" he asked, feeling worried and bewildered. "Don't tell me you're planning on going back into that mess." He took Iiro's hand and gripped it tightly. "What if it's not over?"