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Hayll has been in the grip of conspiracy for years, with shadowy hands pulling the strings of a puppet Queen, and attempting to ensure Hayllian dominance well into the future. The Coliseum was destroyed, and the uprising has given a voice not only to the slaves that escaped the bloodsport, but to the frustrations of the people at large. Traditionalists, hedonists, and freedom fighters collide in an effort to shape Hayll, with internecine war a looming threat.
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Author Topic: a starlight in the gloom  (Read 1122 times)

Description: (caelissine) (an altar and a warlord prince)

Offline Talfryn Athanas

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a starlight in the gloom
« on: Aug 02, 19, 04:39:57 PM »
Talfryn's heart still ached for his lost family though he rarely--if ever--let it show. The only way that it was revealed, that it came to light, were in the moments when he was alone with his lover or when he brought his pain to life within his art. Rarely was there a time when the caducity of life was not a thought within his mind. Even though he had thousands upon thousands of years that he would call his own, Talfryn was intimately aware of death.

As an Arbiter there was no way around it. This was especially true in the aftermath of handling arbitration for a family. Being a voice for those that passed on, that left their families and loved ones behind, should have been tiring to him. He was not, by nature, a people person. Talfryn often much preferred being left alone and unbothered but all of that faded away when he spoke for the dead.

Certainly, it made things easier for him. Those that were in mourning, dealing with lose, were not always the easiest to deal with. Often it helped that he could be level-headed and calm in handling the affairs necessary. Even if sometimes his eye would twitch as he bit back a growl. (Talfryn was a Warlord Prince after all and the only time he ever seemed to control his temper was in his work as an Arbiter.)

Today had seen him finishing up with a lesser-known member of the Hundred Families. The nature of the death--the suddenness of it--had resonated with him more than he cared for. Instead of pushing away his pain to help the family, the Warlord Prince had channeled it so that he was able to ensure not only the wishes of the dead paterfamilias were adhered too but that everything was handled as it needed to be.

Unfortunately, it left him feeling somewhat hollow when it was all said and done. That was why he had found his way to the particular altar he was at. Somewhere within the building, he knew Lady Agrippina was as well. He always did mee with her after he concluded his work, though Talfryn wondered if that would continue with her rise in placement ...

The thought was pushed away from his mind as he knelt. It had been too long since he had tried that which his mother had taught him. Not just how to sense others but how to walk within the Darkness itself. Not to commune but to connect. In moments when his soul ached as it did, when he felt the pang of loss, it was a comfort to seek the Darkness. To connect with it and let the wash clean the lingering ache within his soul.

If he could let it.

That was the real question: was he finally ready? Talfryn supposed today he would find out.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #1 on: Sep 29, 19, 05:08:11 PM »
Locale: 194, Spring. Temple District, Draega, Hayll. After Meeting With Xenophon


Caelissine was familiar with that specific kind of ache, the one that followed the hopefully long away inevitability of death's hand. She was headed next to parlay with Prince Athanas, a lovely soul of a Warlord Prince that knew how to not only put the grieving at ease, but also keep those that needed it focused upon the next steps. Because there were people that had such vast estates after the very long lives which Hayllians could lay claim to, the steps to ease worries were thick with regulation and Protocol that not every person knew how to gently navigate in such a fashion that ensured that none were taken advantage of.

More, the Conclave had pushed before her elevation for its own standing military presence, and preparations for that were nearly on a schedule of where they had long deserved to be. That too was a concern upon her plate of business and called for a very delicate hand, one that did not inflame the Courts, Senate, nor any of the Councils that served in their various advisory capacities to Hayllian Queens. Indeed, she was very occupied with one project or another, but really all of these matters were details she had a hand or a toe in for centuries as it was.

It had simply taken Caelissine some time to realize just why she had been appointed; the Conclave had its own take on Hayllian matters temporal and spiritual. While there were facets of the life of her people that she despised, such as the enslavement of any person, she wasn't a fool in understanding that the detail was so entrenched in Hayllian life that rooting it out might well be impossible, not to mention impossible. The first matter would be to get rid of all the debt owed by so many of the commons, and even wealthy individuals fallen on difficult times. That alone was a lifetime task. None of that, however, would ever keep her from offering counsel to an Arbiter when she was asked for or needed.

It occurred to her that the reason she had been appointed was that despite being a member of the Hundred Families, she always treated with every soul as if they retained their honour, regardless of appearance or bloodlines. Caelissine had spent her life trying her best not to ever make judgements, even upon those she found distinctly lacking. One example being the Warlord Prince of Leiria. In fact, there were few people that could make her see red more than her own sibling, was that damned creature of a man. The Priestess stopped there in the hall, knowing that she couldn't attend upon dear Talfryn in such a mood.

Carefully, the lady pushed her hands through her hair, aware they were positively shaking and the sensitivity of her skin was almost too much this particular day. Without Jupiter, she knew it was a detail that could serve as a weapon against her. So she paced and prayed until her nerves settled back to the perfectly calm, soft presence she was known for and reminded herself that despite her misgivings that there were worse people than Prince Pecaro. It wouldn't have hurt if her mother ever stopped talking about how nice he could be, and how well dressed. Nor had she missed the discussion about herself in certain quarters, how the surprise that she had survived the attack on her person, and how most women that had would have either been driven mad or pressed into service as a courtesan of one type or another.

In that regard or any, Caelissine considered herself of a much stronger will. If she could survive her chalice being broken then this mere difficulty was a passing annoyance akin to a lunch that was much too late. A smile curved her lips, and she continued on toward the altar that Prince Athanas preferred. She found the male kneeling quietly, and rather than interrupt, she only allowed her presence to fill the room like soft rain and sunbeams. Not a single word did Caelissine speak, allowing both the fact that her elevation would not change who she was as a person, and that the Warlord Prince could depend on her to always come to him if he needed that.

Offline Talfryn Athanas

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #2 on: Oct 16, 19, 11:48:44 PM »
The Darkness did not console him but then he wanted it to, wished to take it by the hand and demand that it give him respite. That, he knew, simply was not the way of things. His mother had told him as much, Lady Agrippina had only reinforced it, and yet he still found himself yelling within the Darkness as he sought to connect with it.

Yelling did not make it any better. Nor did letting his sorrow--no, it was rage, but he did not wish to admit that--take control of him as he sought the peace that could be found. Not even his lover had truly been able to bring this aspect of Talfryn to heel, finding that even on the best of days it could easily creep in and leave him moody.

Given that he was often moody, it made it easier to ensure no one knew the true source.

Another lie, that. Talfryn felt a flicker, a soft light that grew within the Darkness. That made him shake his head at himself. It was not a light but a presence, though it was that of sunlight. As his spiritual being felt the delicate drops of water hit him, he knew who it was. It could be no other.

Someone who had not changed, would not change and leave him without a point of guidance. Talfryn let himself come back, leaving the Darkness to be free of him until another day.

"Lady Agrippina," greeted the Warlord Prince. He did not move from where he had knelt, knowing that if he did he would likely fall over. It was a bad habit for his body to lock-up as it did but it was something he had not figured out how to stop quite yet.

"I am glad to see you," he murmured. When his body relaxed more, when he did not feel as if everything was strung tight, he would thank her for coming to him, but for now, he bowed his head in greeting to her and waited for his muscles to behave once more. Eventually, he would speak of his work as an Arbiter but for the time being the Warlord Prince was simply wresting back emotional control.

To not feel as if the world itself was weighing him down.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #3 on: Oct 17, 19, 09:05:40 AM »
Truly, Caelissine preferred moonlight, but she knew that Prince Athanas did not, so she often shifted her scent as best she could manage and had done so for a very long time when in his presence. She studied him, aware that if the male did not move soon his legs would cease to like him. Rather than touch Prince Talfryn, she rested a hand on the altar and simply waited for him to regain the control he preferred to have. She found it passing strange and so very different from her beloved Jupiter, all angles and sharpened edges, but in a pleasant way. The Warlord Prince before her would have made an excellent Priest as something of him reminded her of even still of his late mother. She wondered if he was moody because of her loss, or it this was a new one that he had been Arbiter for. It was hard for Warlord Princes, she knew, that did not have enough people that they could claim as theirs.

When he finally said her name, Caelissine smiled. It was always so reverent and polite when he spoke. Her lips twitched as he continued to relax, recognizing the feeling. Sympathy moved through her face and for a time she did not speak, only offering the most gentle nod in response to the greeting given to her. The High Priestess of Hayll gave Talfryn the gift of time, and then laughed inwardly to think of herself in such a manner. The title changed little save gave her more work over Conclave and Court, though it was the Council that truly ruled Hayll and she was of no illusions upon that fact. That and the Senate.

Caelissine let a breath free. "As I am very pleased to see you, today, and every time I have the chance. I hope you have not thought that I would abandon my duty, and choice to visit you, Prince Talfryn. Being High Priestess does not change who I care for and whether I attend to my charges. Are you well?" They had Arbiter concerns to address, but he had felt unhappy to her, thus she addressed the man before the job. Caelissine settled down on her knees next to the Warlord Prince, seeming smaller than she really was due to being all legs. Her midnight hair pooled at her side in a pile of whispering ink.

Offline Talfryn Athanas

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #4 on: Oct 29, 19, 03:28:54 AM »
Sometimes the actions of others were particularly telling. Talfryn could see it in the way that Lady Caelissine's hand came to rest upon the altar; the path that it had taken, the very brush of the air said that she would touch him if she had thought it was allowed.

Was it?

Was it not?

Talfryn could never say for sure, so soured as he was on the inside at times. There were times that he craved touch so much it made him feel hollow. Yet other times the idea of being touched made him want to simply cease. A different day, one less trying, and he would know for certain. Perhaps if his work had not resonated so keenly, if he had not found himself lost once more to his own sorrow. Would he have even accepted an Arbiter if one had been necessary?

It did not matter.

What mattered was the way the High Priestess looked upon him. Strange to think of her that way, though it was fitting. She carried herself well, reminded him so sweetly of his lost mother for all that she looked no older than he did. It was only in her eyes that he saw the depths, the touch of the Abyss that was within every Priestess and the age of her soul.

Strangely that eased something within him that he could not put to words.

He did not immediately respond as she spoke, though the corner of his mouth curved upward all the same. Another burdened was eased and he had not even realized it was one. The Warlord Prince watched her as she sat down gracefully next to him, looking so small but always feeling as if she were so much more (as a conduit for the Darkness this made sense to him).

Talfryn watched her quietly still, very clearly considering her question, before he simply sighed. The Warlord Prince shifted, ignored the sensation of proper blood flow returning to his legs, and let himself slowly tilt sideways. It was well telegraphed, what he was going to do, so it was no surprise that Talfryn ended up draping himself across Caelissine's lap.

One arm slowly came to wrap around her wrist in a gentle hold, his face turned to hide against her stomach. There he stayed, still quiet before a bright gold eye looked towards her through dark bangs. She was not his, not as Percy was his, but she was in the sense that she was considered a treasured part of his life.

"I worried," admitted Talfryn, "but should have known better." It was just that he had lost so much and it made him paranoid. As for her question as to whether or not he was well: "I do not know anything other than my legs are greatly displeased with me. So we will have to wait and see how things are after that passes." A deflection, if there ever was one, but then Talfryn often had to work himself up to talking about what bothered him.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #5 on: Oct 29, 19, 08:10:24 PM »
It was true, Caelissine was particularly careful of even platonic casual touching. The Priestess - High Priestess - she would take time to accustom herself to that fact - liked to know that the most gentle of hugs were welcome rather than presuming that was the case. Plus, any Warlord Prince was a hair-trigger temper even if Bonded, but perhaps just slightly less so. She had never heard Prince Talfryn speak of his personal life, however, and was not the kind of friend nor teacher to pry.

If she had learned anything about the man, it was because he had trusted her enough to explain. Watching him made the woman pine just a little for Prince Jupiter. Caelissine loved her work and was devoted to giving all that she could to Hayll in a spiritual sense but Jupiter was her heart. He had been ... there were really no words for the patience he had displayed when it had been difficult for her to endure even the slightest touch without it immediately shifting to pain.

Perhaps because of her time spent with ... her own Warlord Prince that she was able to see vividly that Talfryn was hurting or aching for something more. However, it was the time she had spent training Prince Gideon even to a minor degree, that made her ask the next question she did, though the Priestess waited until the younger man had flopped over to her lap. It brought a smile to her face that he found her safe enough to seek comfort from.

Part of her keened with a sadness that had not troubled the High Priestess in years now, that he was of an age to have been her son had she chosen to have any children. Those thoughts in part had been some of the fixations that had caused her chalice to fracture, so she set them carefully aside as the Lady Kesare had taught her. Dwelling upon what could not be was of no use.

"There is nothing wrong with worrying, so long as we do not overdo it. Something I know more about than I would prefer," she said with a smile that the Priestess pushed out into her voice so that the Warlord Prince could hear it. She allowed Talfryn his deflection and did not mind the physical company of a friend, so she smiled when his hand curled around her wrist. The truth was, Caelissine loved being touched but did not often allow herself the pleasure from many. "I hope you were not too anxiety-ridden from unpleasant thoughts, which I know are hard to control even on the sweetest of days," she remarked softly.

"I was wondering, however. Would you like to train to be a Priest? There is a vast risk in trying to alter the self in such a way, and some, it is true, do not survive it ... so I want you to be aware of that in the very grave sense that it implies. You spend more time here in the temples than many of the younger acolytes." Caelissine's lips pursed thoughtfully as she studied Talfyrn's face.

"This is not a decision that ought to be rushed, certainly and the training would not help any of your other personal struggles but ... perhaps you might find fulfillment if Mother Night is with you and accepts your plea to touch the Darkness upon your own will and greater than you ever have?" She reached out and waited for that sense of permission, solid and sure before brushing Talfyrn's bangs back from his golden eyes.

"You should certainly speak to your loved ones first before making a decision if you have any that are worthy of being informed of your most private concerns, but I would gladly teach you if it is what your heart is aching for."

Offline Talfryn Athanas

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #6 on: Oct 30, 19, 12:30:24 AM »
Talfryn let out a non-commital huff at the Priestess' words, though it was an acknowledgment that he had let the anxiety get the better of him now that he was no longer within view of those that might say something. Over worrying was a fact of life for him. It was, perhaps, what made him feel so at ease with her; that she carried a similar weight within her chest that sometimes threatened to eat her alive. It wasn't normal, or so he thought because others could simply turn their minds to other things or just shut the inane chatter off and Talfryn had never been able to.

It was what had made him so particularly temperamental, though Percy had certainly helped ease things. Talfryn was not even certain that finding a Queen, one who would hold his leash, would help. (Oh, it probably would. He knew of the Touch of Queens after all but as he spurned contact on even the best of days, it seemed a fantasy to him.)

The Warlord Prince went still--too quiet almost--as he listened to what she offered. Something hot twisted in his chest, though it was not pain. Talfryn could not put a name to it, even as he reminded himself to breathe because his lungs protested his freezing up. His expression was, what she could see of it, terribly open. He was quiet for a time, clearly considering her words before he finally spoke.

"... here," said Talfryn, "I do not feel so out of place." Truly, other than with Percy and when he was working upon a piece of art, there were precious few places that made him feel at ease. "I also remember following mother, shadowing her as she worked." Lady Caelissine would remember as well, those years not so long ago when he had been a surly child trailing his mother as she carried out her duties. A shuddering breath was released. "It always felt right to me, good. What work she did, even beyond that which I do now."

Talfryn turned then so that he was on his back, his head resting still in her lap. His arm loosened from being around her, instead sliding along the soft skin of her inner arm until he could rest her hand against his. Her hand was smaller than his, easily dwarfed, and yet he still felt as if it were not.

"I remember her teaching me so that I would understand what she was doing even if I could not do it." A soft sigh escaped as his fingers shifted just enough to the side to tangle together with hers. "I still try. Sometimes it feels as if it works, sometimes it doesn't ..." Talfryn looked from their hands to her face finally. "More than that, more than the peace it could bring me, I want to help others." He already did though it often did not feel enough but that was likely because of the ache within his chest.

"I will talk to my beloved," as she had suggested; perhaps he would talk to Pisces as well, "but it makes me feel ..." Talfryn was not sure if he could find the words and eventually settled on: "It gives me hope."

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #7 on: Oct 31, 19, 09:25:36 PM »
Caelissine allowed the softest of smiles in response to the Warlord Prince's huff. She knew that he would offer little more than that single acknowledgement and was happy to leave any further commentary about Talfryn's anxiety to silence unless he saw fit to speak on the topic. As a male in a long term relationship that she knew of and with no Queen, there was only ever so far that as a Priestess she would push a topic. It was possibly why she often ended up with Warlord Princes for friends but had never really examined that fact. Her father had been one, and so, she'd learned from her very earliest years what to do, and what not to do.

There were times that the High Priestess wished that Talfryn were her brother instead of Julius. Her remaining brother was turning daily into a man that she was nearly terrified to be around, but the woman couldn't bear to even speak the words out loud to anyone. She'd told Jupiter ... but what she hadn't said was that due to certain ways her Senator sibling (and heir to the estates for now because he was older) had taunted her in arguments after her appointment to High Priestess ... was that she wondered if he had ultimately been the one responsible for the attack on her.

The thought that her brother could have ensured that such a thing could take place even if it had not been with his own hands made her feel like she had lost half her mind. As such, it turned out that Prince Athanas' shift on to her lap had been more well-timed than the High Priestess could have ever anticipated. His touch, as gentle as it was and the combination of how her skin's sensitivity had been enhanced through the attack she had survived was the perfect expression of platonic trust. She paid attention to the way the Warlord Prince seemed to go so very, very heart-still at her question. As if his entire soul or what animated the Blood as a whole went quiet to wait and listen.

As such, Caelissine set aside her worries and drew on the warmth of the moment as for now, she knew that her brother did not quite want her dead. What a horrible way to think of a once-beloved sibling, however. Prince Athanas was by no means an elder, but he absolutely was not the young man or the child he had been which was why as both a Priestess and now, High Priestess that she decided to ask him such a question and offer the life-altering tutelage that Priest training would indubitably be if he managed to achieve it. The manner that his arm brushed across hers did not cause that sudden need to run away as many, many touches did. Instead, it calmed the Priestess while she carefully empathized with Talfryn's gloomy and grumpy mood.

"I am very glad that there is at least one place that you do not feel as though the ground is unsteady completely. Your mother was ... a very, very good Priestess. I would like to think it is very likely she would have been High Priestess instead of me," Caelissine said so, so very softly, while only alluding to his mother's fate with both Protocol and politeness with an additionally keen awareness of Prince Talfryn's emotional and even likely, spiritual pain. "I still feel so often out of place, that there are others that might have had the spiritual capability if not for so many conflicts we Hayllians have survived." Her brows furrowed in listening to how Talfryn's mother had taught him some Priestess Craft.

"It pleases me to give anyone that needs it some hope as best I can. But you in particular, too."

Offline Talfryn Athanas

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #8 on: Nov 01, 19, 12:55:18 AM »
The corner of Talfryn's mouth curved upward just slightly. He was not prone to smiles but when he did it was clear that he felt awkward about it. His expressions were often more stubborn and surly more than anything else and, as such, it simply felt strange sometimes to have them being anything else. Here, as he was now, it simply made sense that the softer side would be visible.

It implied a certain level of trust that it was even visible. Just as he knew being allowed close to the Priestess did the same. There was consideration of her words as she spoke but Talfryn found that they drifted from his mind at the mention of his mother. Pain seized his chest, bright and hot, and did not let go. His hand fell away from hers and he turned again, knees starting to curl before he stopped himself and straightened them back out.

His arm found its way back around her waist once more.

"The work today," said Talfryn softly, "it made me think of my own loss."  This time he did not look upward at her as he spoke, his eyes shut because it was easier than letting the pain be any more visible than it already was. It reverberated throughout him, making his throat constrict and ache.

"It still aches," his voice was barely a whisper, "and I miss them so much. Mother especially." Would she have been High Priestess? Would she have made the same offer to Talfryn that Caelissine made now? He had no idea but those thoughts circled within his mind like carrion over a carcass, a predator upon easy prey.

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #9 on: Nov 01, 19, 01:19:53 AM »
Caelissine noted the manner in which Talfryn allowed himself the absolute, barest hint of a slight smile. She could all but feel the awkwardness of the sunshine in his face that wanted out but it was as if he did not know how to open the window of that world within himself. She continued to stroke her fingers lightly through the straight lengths of the Warlord Prince's hair, with a nearly feather-light touch and just enough to be soothing but not intrusive.

Those soft, tender strands of trust in his face, the way he curled his body against hers were not something she could dare to dash against the sharp rocks of the world, which was why the High Priestess did not choose to linger upon speaking of Talfryn's mother out of respect and care for the Warlord Prince and the memory of Lady Evadne Athanas, who's Opal Jewel had a certain warmth but not the deeper fire of the man next to her. It hurt, suddenly, the thought of the departed Priestess and her skill. It was true that Caelissine had been her elder somewhat, but in her mind, the other woman had been the more skilled and spiritual Priestess. It had taken much longer for Caelissine to come to that deeper spiritual understanding and that fact was something she could admit to with complete ease, these days if asked.

As such, Caelissine waited for Talfyrn to speak before she did again, looking carefully over his shoulder to give him space once his departed mother was a topic. She was always careful that way, not so much tiptoeing around a Warlord Prince ever, but respectful in the way one would give a high cliff face its due, or a viper. For a moment after he spoke, she gave him perfect silence, then rested her hand gently against his back and let the barest edge of Priestess' Craft free.

A gentle stirring and little more so that touch of Darkness whispered up out of where it hid at the right moment as best she could possibly time it. "I would not offer if I did not think that you could succeed, I will say. It might take a year or more, but that will depend upon how intently you study, but it does not mean the rest of your life is set aside for that of the life of a Priest. The goal is to weave it all together like a song or a tapestry. Your art, your Warlord Prince Caste. And Priest." If not for her brother, Caelissine might have offered Talfryn more, but the last thing she wanted was for the arrogant Prince of a sibling to lash out at anyone he perceived her to care about.

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #10 on: Nov 01, 19, 02:07:12 AM »
Talfryn did not tense up under Caelissine's touch. What happened instead was that tenseness faded away, the Warlord Prince relaxing minutely under the warmth of her hand. She gave him the space to process, to work through the tangled strands of his thought much the same as his beloved Percy did, and that let him find a level of calm that was not always easy to achieve.

She was like his mother, he knew, but also not. She had not turned her nose at his art where his mother had often considered it to be a passing fancy, something that he would grow out of. Talfryn never would, he knew that much, and it was then that he felt the touch of the Darkness from her.

His hand curled against her back, gentle despite the gesture, and he reached for it with his Blood Opal. Talfryn cradled it, wished to nurture that connection because he felt lacking without it. Art helped him connect with the world but the Darkness helped him find peace. Without his mother's guidance, without her there showing him the way, he struggled to reach it.

So once he was given the guidance, once it was there, it blossomed.

That's all I want, his voice was a whisper of his Blood Opal against her mind. To find balance, to blend it all together. Strengthen the mural that is my life and in doing so strengthen those around me. A shuddering breath was released even as he cradled that touch of the Darkness close. I cannot get that out. Not when it all hurts.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: a starlight in the gloom
« Reply #11 on: Nov 01, 19, 02:50:25 AM »
Of course, at that moment Caelissine knew what was required. If she was ever uncertain in herself and the way she moved through the world all of that dropped away completely once the Priestess connected to the Darkness. She did not offer more, however, than just that first breath of presence without Prince Athanas' permission, however. She only opened herself as a conduit so that he could reach in and be led down deep into the depths of the Mother's endless and spiralling love. As to Talfryn's art, she found his talent to be truly magnificent though seldom said as much out loud.

Rather, she preferred to show him here, in baring her heart and mind, leaving herself open as a warm sweet and summery glow, wrapped in the perfect velvet of veiled Night. An impossible feat, save for the grace of the one that had made the Blood what and who they were at their centre. When the Warlord Prince's hand brushed against Caelissine's back, she offered a thread of herself and swam through and down, showing him how to allow the sharpened, blade-like pain from the loss of blooded family fall away in blessed motes. As in the Darkness and only here would there be pieces of all the people that had gone past and would one day return, even if in absolute and completely disparate forms.

Here, she offered her Summer Sky, which paired perfectly with the eternal sunlight which Talfyrn preferred while the moonlight and rain of her personality were further away and separate from this moment.  The Summer Sky thread was the presence of deepest forest autumn lady's tresses flowers paired with the endless calm of a sweet-scented meadow full of wildflowers. Sensual earthen hints that crash against rain showers and ocean. If love could be personified and turned into a presence, perhaps this is it, and even when it seemed as if she had given enough, Caelissine held herself perfectly still and open, so that he could descend when he was prepared. These days, she did not even need to light ritual candles to bring a person to this place. To the Truth of what the people of the Blood always was in a spiritual sense.

Descended from Dragons of old. Wings, claws, gemlike scales which had become their seat of Craft and sharp, endless teeth made to rend and tear with pleasure. *Drop, with me. Spiral into yourself and see what you could become. Do you trust me to give you your hope? I swear that I would never, ever take it away. That is why I offer to teach so that you might do for yourself what others have parcelled out on their terms, not your own. In this way, your art could become even more, do you know? Just as you do then, become more.* She understood his pain, as even there though she had been healed, the scars of spiderweb fractures now made whole were visibly writ upon her chalice even now.