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* Plot Information for Little Terreille

A naive Black Jeweled witch has destroyed the Territory Court. From its ashes a new court is being constructed, one run by a manipulative killer. As the blood runs in the streets of Goth from open gang warfare, the Steward of Little Terreille begins a gambit to rebuild the Territory from the ground up and challenge the Star of Kaeleer.
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Author Topic: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear  (Read 988 times)

Description: 193, Summer: Roland and Amerys discuss life, the Unvierse and Everything Attn: Roland

Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« on: Jul 08, 18, 07:12:54 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.
Theme: youTube Sia Unstoppable Link


Sometimes it appeared that Jon had not, in fact, provided for any concern save security, when making the vast, stone tower that now cast its shadow over Goth. It was austere; no one could claim he’d wasted money on opulence or art. Aside from the large painting of Jon, Breck and Roland that Amerys had commissioned she’d left very little mark upon the safety-driven architecture the three males had chosen. Each for their own reason had either declined to protest Jon’s focus upon defense, or aided him to feel safe. Yet each one, in their own ways, had rebelled at the last, and made some portion of the structure to suit their own sense of elegance and comfort. Even Jon had desired such traits in his own office. And Breck - well, he’d used his own wealth to ensure that his domain reflected his personal taste, as well as security. Amerys was utterly convinced each male had put in their own secret passages, so of course ... she had too. Confusion to the enemy, right?

The young Queen had merely waited until she was using the space to determine just what changes she required. Likewise, she’d employed her own people for the changes, at her own expense. Mostly, to avoid the arguments. The single thing Amerys most desired and needed in her ruling seat was life. Flowers, trees, shrubs. The vast monolith’s central Courtyard was not filled with enough life and motion for Amerys, nor was there even a museum or shops to fill the bottom floor and lure visitors. With a will and determination no less than the rest of those who shaped her Court, Amerys had added vast, wrap around balconies off of her own quarters and her office. She’d put in roof gardens wherever the architecture permitted, and laid out plans for a lovely, extensive garden around the austere tower. She and Breck, the natives of Goth, had discussed other, more serious changes to be made to the grounds around the tower in order to make it a part of Goth, not a looming symbol of half-mad power that couldn’t even decide on a solid policy towards the gangs.

Pushing aside that enduring frustration, she focused upon the elegant hanging garden that she and the hearth-witches had designed together. It wasn’t the same as standing upon the earth itself, but the bounty and beauty of her garden was still a delight. While a few strictly ornamental plants had found their way into her garden, Amerys was enough a chid of Goth to have chosen mostly food or medicinal plants to nurture here. And the Queen’s Bounty was largely distributed to the poorest souls of Goth. Which was another sore point; why were her people still hungry during the winter? Her school of agriculture had been implemented in Little Vasa, her program for turning the deep soil of the sea into top soil for Rockland was going well, and the school that had replaced the destructive terror left in Morr’s wake was thriving. Yet it was not enough, and Little Terreille was still not importing all that it needed.

Amerys banished that thought, too, focusing upon the calming peace the fragile, cantilevered garden brought to her. Dangling strawberries, bursting red and sweet, tempted her on one side. Blue berries, plump and ripe, warred with black berries and raspberries to make the most beautiful aroma in the air. Apples weren’t due yet, but the cherry blossoms of the Upper Garden Balcony drifted down through the air, lending a magical feel to her refuge. A few small vanilla trees were placed around a young cocoa tree; it would take a few years for those to mature enough to delight her people. Sometimes, things simply took time. Tears threatened, and were firmly banished. She’d rushed things, in her life. Each time, she had paid a Price. Amerys wasn’t going to rush things again, especially where Roland was concerned. She waited, deep in her garden, for Roland’s arrival. Felt his presence pause at the door to her office, imagined the scene as Vonshtaad ushered him in. Roland’s aura grew steadily stronger, as he walked into the balcony garden.

Her gown helped her hide in the shadows, even though the long fringe required a constant low level application of Craft to keep it from tangling in most undignified ways. Her hair was bundled up, in a formal style, and her jewelry was reflective of her rather pensive mood. Despite a mischievous urge to make him search her out amongst the greenery, she waved to him in greeting, and called out.

“Roland, its good to see you.”

To ascertain his mood and well being, Amerys studied him carefully. Even as she did so, she extended her ungloved hands to him, offering a warm hand clasp.

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #1 on: Jul 08, 18, 09:54:21 PM »
Roland tried to keep his time with Amerys sacrosanct, refusing to let anyone or anything prevent him from reaching his Queen. The ghost of his attraction to her lingered, no matter who he took to his bed. Roland had spent a considerable amount of time processing his feelings and working through his issues in order to be the First Escort that Amerys deserved. Maintaining his friendship with Breck helped, as did his visits to the Bodleian and finally laying eyes upon Ana after nearly a year of believing that Lord Black had killed her. While Roland’s life wasn’t perfect in any way, he was more focused and directed that he had been in over a year.

That allowed him to place his focus on strengthening his bond with Amerys. They were working at friendship and there was no reason that they couldn’t be friends. The trick lay in learning to manage his expectations where she was concerned. Amerys tended to the souls of her people, rather than just the ills that plagued them. It showed in the things she supported and the way that she tried to learn the names and lives of everyone in her Court. It showed in her friendships with Hayden and Breck, and the way that she even tried to help Jon.

Roland couldn’t ask his Queen to accept him as he was without accepting her as she came.

Vonshtaad greeted him when he arrived at Amerys’s office. Roland took a moment to speak with the man and see how he was doing. Tarn Nataniel had a lot of people who were here for various reasons, but the ones who were her for Amerys, Roland wanted to really know and trust for his own reasons. They chatted a moment and then Vonshtaad took him to Amerys. He emerged on the balcony garden, dressed in a dark pinstriped suit with a deep crimson tie. He looked every inch the First Escort of Little Terreille, complete with the ring of office that Amerys had gifted him just two years ago. Two summers since their world had changed without warning. Things were different now. And yet, they were still here.

Amerys called his name. Roland’s attention immediately snapped in her direction and he oriented himself toward the sound of her voice, looking for her among all the plants that she’d installed up here. Seeing her, Roland’s expression softened and he stepped forward, taking her hands in his own. She was the Queen of Little Terreille and she was his. No number of males would ever change that.

Hey, Amerys. It’s good to see you, too.” Roland said, flashing her one of his warm, genuine smiles.

He stood taller and straighter than he had in a long time. He seemed more at ease than he had in months, as if some of the weight on his shoulders had lifted. Overall, Roland felt good.

This place has really grown since we moved here.” Roland said, gesturing to the garden.

How are you doing?” he asked, surrendering control of the conversation to her. Right now, he wanted to hear her out and understand what was on her mind before they went into anything regarding Little Terreille at large.




Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #2 on: Nov 03, 18, 02:58:50 AM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Amerys’ inner sense of mischief was alive and well; she loved the way Roland had to hunt for her amongst the plants and shrubs she’d installed. She flicked a few fronds his way, though she was careful not to let any blooms dust his exquisite shirt with pollen. Silvery eyes sparkled, and she very nearly giggled at him. Even more endearing was the gentling of his expression when he saw her. They had worked so very hard, to get to this point. It was hard, sometimes, but they had managed to see past the hurt and fear for each other, so that they could help each other. His smile softened her wicked grin to a warm one of her own. She squeezed his hands tightly, studying him.

“Thank you, Roland; they were just little sprigs when we started. But look what we’ve made of it, so far,” she murmured, seeing the small garden as a metaphor for the changes she sought in Little Terrielle. Her gaze returned once more to Roland, studying him intently. Whatever was going on in his life, he seemed ever so much stronger and centered than he had before. He, too, had gown while they were here.

Some questions were harder to answer than others; she found it oddly difficult to frame a reply to his simple, habitual inquiry into how she was doing. Her chin lifted, her smile flickering a bit, before settling into a wistful one. “I am good, Roland. My Court is settling, I’ve made friends. My family is happy ... if anything, I suffer from the occasional surprise that we are both still alive.” and other, more hurtful surprises. But that ... could wait, at least a few more minutes. It wasn’t something that could wait forever, but she was happy to delay it for now.

“You look more at peace than I’ve seen you in long time, Roland. It always brings me joy to see you happy. May I know what has settled your mind so?” She suspected that she knew; but she so often guessed wrong, with Roland, that she wouldn’t bet on it. Still, she hoped he would tell her, rather than leaving her wondering. Those things that made him happy, mattered to her

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #3 on: Nov 07, 18, 12:31:01 AM »
Amerys looked carefree, happy even. While he knew that such wasn’t the case (she was the Queen of Little Terreille, after all), he sensed no tension or pent-up worry through their Bond. The garden around them was a testament to her ability to dream, to build something out of nothing whenever possible. Amerys saw possibility in the world, in all of the people around her, no matter their origins. Roland was a man of facts and figures. He believed in the information set before him. Seeing things from Amerys’s view had been hard for him.

He was getting better.

He laughed when she said that she was surprised that they were both still alive. He wouldn’t have laughed about it awhile back, but he had to admit that Jonathan had a thousand chances to kill them both before now, especially with the way he’d stacked the Court’s ranks. A simple accident could have befallen one, or both, of them long before now. That it hadn’t pressed Roland to work harder on his plans to leave something worthy behind before the end of his life.

You and me both. Little Terreille’s gotten better under your leadership. I think the people are starting to believe that this place can be better than it was.” Roland said, enjoying the feel of her hands in his. Despite her work in the garden, her hands were soft. He knew just how soft. Once upon a time, things would have been different for them. That time seemed to have passed.

Amerys commented that he seemed at peace. Was he, though? He considered it, the effort hidden behind Roland’s effortless and winsome smile. Peace had been elusive for him in the last couple of years, but that was what he felt now. His visits to the Bodelian had been instrumental in helping him relax and center himself. Delaney was a miracle-worker, and Roland smiled a bit brighter at the thought of the White Witch.

I started taking some time for myself, Amerys. When we first started, I was all about this job. I wanted to save Little Terreille, and I still do. But I learned that it was okay to schedule some ‘me-time’, too.” Roland said.

Also, I’ve been working on a project or two to keep myself busy. You, and this garden, inspired me. You showed me that the greatest changes take time, Rys. Nothing changes overnight, and trying to force it just leaves you frustrated and unhappy.

I didn’t want to be that guy anymore.
” Roland said, releasing one of her hands so that he could stand beside her. He would lead her to walk along the garden paths, if she chose to follow. Right now, Roland just wanted to enjoy her presence, and the feel of her hand in his. Her touch was soothing, even before she used her Craft. Their mornings together helped him get through the rest of his day. Roland was glad that their relationship was getting better, but he knew that it wasn't completely figured out.

Still, Roland looked forward to talking to Amerys and getting everything figured out.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #4 on: Nov 09, 18, 01:57:35 AM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Amerys would have been surprised to know that Roland thought her carefree. That he thought she had time to dig in her garden or pot the plants herself. She loved the garden, helped plan it, blessed it with her Gift. But she had no time to tend it herself. It might have helped her to understand his frustration with her, if she understood that sometimes he found her ability to take joy in the moment, to equate to being actually happy in an existential sense. That he saw her warmth with people as either naivety or being too stupid to see the situation as it was. It would have shocked her, that he thought her position weighed upon her more than the stress and deceit between them. Even more would she have been horrified that he contrasted his skill with numbers with her ability to be at peace. As if the ability to avoid jadedness or the appearance of misery somehow rendered her unable to deal in facts and figures, blind to the truth of things. She might have known, right then, why things never seemed to be peaceable between them. Her ability to hold in her mind both how things were, and how they needed to be angered him. He could not see, even yet, that only by holding both present and future before her when charting her path could she choose the best possible outcome for her people. What wouldn’t have surprised her, was his mis-reading the Bond between them. She knew it was off, and she finely had a concrete lead on what had gone wrong. Sadly, it would take time to fix.

Everything worth doing, took time.

Still, Amerys was pleasantly surprised when Roland laughed, instead of launching into a lecture, when she reminded him that they had both outlived the deadline they had privately set for their expected executions. It gave her a breath of hope, that laugh. She asked of his inner peace, and he gave her his masking smile and a non-answer.

It angered her, and she withdrew her hand from his. Amerys had thought they were past his lying to her for no reason; his evasions that served no purpose save to place distance between them. No, they served a purpose. To protect him from her. A shake of her her head, and she replied to his evasion with a cool,

“Self-care is always important.”

He talked about a few projects he was working on, ‘to keep himself busy.’ Why not say it mattered to him? Why pretend he had bountiful free time, when his job was already so time consuming? He didn’t put in the hours she did (she had a daily schedule literally timed to the minute), but he still worked hard. He liked having his own things, separate from her or his work here. But why couldn't he just say it? His revelation that he’d finally come to accept that lasting change was hard work and took time won a nod of assent, which he may not have seen, for he wove through the garden perched upon her wide, extended balcony, though he did not seem to see it. It meant something else to him, just then, besides a bounty of hope for Goth. She did not follow him, but then it wasn’t like the balcony, suspended several stories up, was so wide that he could get lost.

“You never really see me as I am, do you, Roland?” Her voice came floating to him from the small forest of life she’d created in the barren air. He might just make out her presence in the screening greenery.

“Why do you feel the need, Roland, to try to hide from me a fact that literally hundreds of people who hold you far less dear than I do, know?” Her voice was baffled and weary.

“No, you don’t have to share all or even most of you life with me. You are entitled to your privacy, and you’ve made that a point between us. But at least respect me enough to simply admit to me things that are already common knowledge. No, you don’t have to discuss it with me. But please stop with the lies and evasions. I get that from enough people; I shouldn’t have to deal with it from you.”

There were many secrets that Roland kept from her. But in truth, there was only one that mattered. Only one ‘secret’ that Roland knew would come around to her, no matter what. He’d gone against her expressed command, publicly, in a way that absolutely guaranteed Amerys would learn of it. He would have to pay the Price for that choice. That is what made his reluctance to share his success and joy with her all the more painful. Because very soon, given his refusal to discuss his personal life with her, they would have nothing at all to talk about.

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #5 on: Nov 09, 18, 10:00:42 AM »
Roland was getting much better at figuring out the moment things changed between himself and Amerys.

She withdrew her hand from his, remaining rooted to her spot when he wanted to take a walk around the garden. He had questions, maybe a few things to say, but those things were shelved in favor of the coolness of Amerys’s response. He stopped a few steps from her and turned, unsure of what he’d done (or not done) to earn the sudden shift in her demeanor. It was hard to know, with Amerys, because she put so much stock in things that Roland found inconsequential. But that was her way, and it always would be.

You never really see me as I am, do you, Roland?

What kind of question is that, Amerys?” Roland asked evenly. A year ago, a question like that would have been the opening shot in a drawn out argument. Roland felt irritation rising in him, but he recognized it and battled it back. He put his hands into his pockets and regarded Amerys quietly for a long moment, focusing his Craft upon her. He sighed as he realized that she’d wanted to know exactly what made him happy. She wanted names, dates, and places, rather than the information he’d already given her.

And, more still, she wanted to know about his meeting with Lady Gold.

I see you exactly as you are, Amerys. I’m not hiding anything. I thought we were having a discussion about feelings. But then you pulled a bait-and-switch. Your framed your question one way, and then withdrew when you didn’t get the answer you wanted. That’s not fair, Amerys, and I thought you, of all people, wouldn’t do something like that to me. So why not just ask me about Laurel Gold from the start?” Roland asked, looking away for a moment.

That meeting wasn’t hidden. It was in my appointment book, and you have access to that book. I went to see Lady Gold because I wanted her aid with the trade school I’m trying to build. Whether you like her or not, she’s a Province Queen and she’s the longest-reigning Queen in Little Terreille. She’s also a noted businesswoman and this project is going to help Little Terreille. That is a goal that you and I share, last I knew. You and I were working our way toward talking about it, but you lead with asking me how I’m doing.

I answered you and then you accused me of lying and evading.
” Roland said, shaking his head.

He approached her now, but stopped just outside of her arm’s reach. No matter how close he was to her, he always felt like he was this far away, watching as she accepted other people closer to her with less restrictions than she placed upon him. Roland should have been closer to her than anyone else in this Court, and yet he was somehow still the outsider. It was maddening, but it was her way and it always would be.

I tried sharing my life with you and you shut me down. You said needed deeper connection to be with someone, but nothing I give you is deep enough. So, will you tell me what we're here to do? I don't want to walk away from this angry or upset. I don't want that for you, either.

But if I think you're being unfair, I'll say so. Right now, I think you're being unfair.
” Roland said.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #6 on: Nov 09, 18, 04:18:38 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Roland turned to face her, and entirely missed the point of everything thing she’d said. She watched him avoid what she needed to know, once again. He didn’t address her, when she said he never really saw her. He didn’t stop, and tell her how he saw her. How he found her concerns inconsequential. He just charged on, deciding it was unfair of her to want to know what made him happy.

Lady Gold was brought up (as she was always brought up between them.) Always Roland, not listening to how she really felt about Lady Gold, or why. Him just assuming, and assigning her motives that she did not have. It broke her heart, more than anything else. Why did he never listen?

She held up a hand, and said simply, “You should always tell me, if you think I’m being unfair. But you should also think about my words. Consider them not as a child spitting useless things like emotion at you, but as an adult. I have chosen my words with care. You don’t see me as I am, Roland. But you also won’t tell me how you do see me, so we can’t fix the disconnect. I don’t know if it is due to the Craft that has Twisted the Bond between us - and yes, it is twisted; I have found out why, how and by whom. You never even looked into it, or believed me when I told you something was off between us.”

The ground held much interest to her, as she navigated intense feelings of grief and rage; but that rage was not rightfully directed at Roland or Lady Gold, and she would not make him think it was. A deep breath, and she looked up again, something like despair in her gaze. She did not shield her emotions away form him, though she felt that she ought to, since she was unsure what he was receiving.

“I love you Roland, but I don’t know what makes you happy. You are part of my soul, and I don’t know how to tend to yours. You’ve found some secret - walks in the park, meditating by the shore, incense, a massage, a way to talk to someone who heals your heart. Whatever it is, I would like to know enough to offer you some of that peace. To protect and cherish whatever or whoever it is that heals you when I cannot reach you.”

“You won’t share yourself with me. I know that’s my fault; I seem so young to you. I’m so cold, when I’m hurt. All intellect, no emotion. I have no private life, so you assume I’m keeping lovers or romance or even friendships from you. So you hide yours, as if you think I don't want you to be happy. Sometimes you look at me like I’m an idiot. Or stupid. I’ve tried showing you that I’m both educated and intelligent, but it doesn’t seem to reach you. All you see is someone too fragile to be your friend.”

“We are talking about more than the fleeting emotion you have right now. We are talking about whatever it is that has settled that deep pain within you. I think ... that when we met, you didn’t even know what would make you happy. That you felt the pull of the Bond, as I did, and thought you would be happy just to be in my presence. But that didn’t work, because ... I’m not who or what you wanted in a Queen.”

“I’m not Laurel Gold, and I don’t think you’ll ever forgive me for it. But no, I do not dislike her. I respect her, and I fear her, far more than I fear Jon. I know her, Roland; she helped train me. You would know how I feel about her if you ever listened when I told you these things. She’s tough, she’s brilliant, and until recently I thought she had messed with our Bond.”

“Only a Queen can affect a Queen Bond right? But do you know who can weave a complex emotion shield into a trap, and settle it upon a Queen’s Jewels so she can’t correctly read her male? A Black Widow. It happened at my Offering, just after we met. The Chetan Queen and Widow couldn’t compel me to assign you to their service, since they had to remove the Webs in my head at my Offering.”

“But they could and did poison us.”

“I can’t trust my intuitions with you, because my Birthright Jewel was tampered with.”

“So when you won’t communicate with me, tell me the facts and places and things that bring you peace, you are telling me that you don’t want me to know. Or you escalate, like now. Question my motives, my honor, my competence because I dared to ask you a question, and called you out when you could not bear to answer me.”

He moved back to her, but stopped short, as he always did. But he was close enough to see the tears that didn’t mar her voice, the clenched hands.

“Only you aren’t being honest, and just saying ‘this is all i am comfortable telling you.’ You are pretending to share, while not sharing anything at all that is actionable. Then you can blame me, for us not being close. I know you have your own projects; you always have, and the last time we discussed it you made clear that it was not something you wished me to be part of, or to ask about. Sometimes I think you want to be close to me. But then ... you stop short.” She gestured to his placement, then continued the movement to place her hand upon his cheek, caressing him gently.

“I wish you were comfortable in my service. I wish that when you saw me, all the things you wanted to tell me would come tumbling out. I wish you could not wait to tell me of your achievements, instead of hiding them away. I’m pleased you wish to make a trade school; it would pair perfectly with the Agricultural school Lady Grey, Lady Gold and I have started in Lady Grey’s District. I know you respect and love Lady Gold. I’m very happy that she is not the one who tried to destroy our Bond.”

“But Laurel Gold is a different issue, and one ... it appears ... that you have never understood. I explicitly commanded you not to deal with Territory matters with her.”

“I told you not to shield her from me, or me from her.”

“I told you that I feared you would be at risk, if you met with her, but that so long as you avoided Territory Politics, meeting with her was your decision.”

“Reports have come to me that you chose to address her as if you came from me, and you have been instrumental in assuring that she has not yet had to acknowledge me as the Territory Queen. You are skilled enough at politics to know what a dangerous and tenuous position that places me in. I told you the Price, if you insisted upon meeting with her in lieu of her meeting with me.”

Amerys shrugged, beyond weary. But she smiled gently, none the less.

“I have not pushed to meet her only because I intend to do so after I have dealt with the Trap between us. I will then tell her honestly what occurred. I have no doubt that she will offer pithy advice afterwards. I write to her often, and vice versa. She has been very supportive of the project to create new soil in Rockford using sand form the ocean floor in Portland. I am vastly relieved that she is not behind the trouble between us. I know you care for her, and respect her, and I never want to deny you any friendship or association that is good for you. Now I don’t have to be afraid, when you meet with her.”

“But I truly, deeply would rather deal with you, and the Bond, right now. You matter more to me than politics or Laurel Gold.”

“Roland.” Her voice was gentle, entreating, not angry. And she finally gifted him with her Queen’s Touch, to soothe him because he had admitted to hurting. To fighting off being angry.

“You are Mine. Our lives will always be intertwined. Shared. We are not the same person, but we are linked more profoundly than sex or protestations of love can ever match. I will always want is best for you. But you ...” she shook her head, letting her fingers run over his face whilst her power ran through him.

“You didn’t want to share your life, you wanted to control mine. Until you can surrender to this Bond, until you can choose to serve without all these reservations as to my competence, intellect, or power, we aren’t even going to manage to be friends. I love you, but I am not a mirror. I am a person of my own. Please see me for who I am, for what I can and have accomplished. Someday, you will respect me as a Queen. Someday, you will trust me enough to let me know who you are.”

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #7 on: Nov 09, 18, 06:52:24 PM »
Roland fell silent while Amerys spoke. From the start, her words struck him as unfair and a bit cruel. He’d never known Amerys to be cruel, casually or with intent, so listening to her tell him, once again, that he wasn’t listening to her pushed his buttons. The news of their Bond being twisted earned her a tilt of his head, both from the surprise of that information and generally because, of all the reasons that he thought things between them were bad, that one wouldn’t have scratched the top ten, from his perspective. He wanted to immediately counter and go on the offensive, but he realized that she was expecting him to do that. She was expecting him to cut her off and interject.

So Roland stayed silent. He bit down all of the retorts he had, because none of them came from a place of logic and understanding. They all came from hurt and a desire to strike back at her for being the one who hurt him. His Queen was the one hurting him and Roland couldn’t stop her or himself. Defending himself went badly. So he stood there and continued to hear her out.

He remained silent. Several times during her explanation, Roland struggled with that silence. He struggled not to turn on his heel and simply walk off. It would just push this talk to another time and another place without resolving anything. She kept saying that she wanted him to share his life with her, something that Roland believed that he was doing. He delved into his Craft once more, searching for what she wanted...and found himself saddened and resigned. She wanted the truth. She expected the full, unvarnished truth. She wanted to know him, even when she was having him followed. There was no way to prepare her, so Roland resigned himself to opening himself up to his Queen.

He let her get everything out, putting aside her talk of Prices. If she still needed that when all of this was done, he would pay it and deal with whatever came next.

First, please do not say that you love me. You may think that you do, but I’ve only had two people in my life say that and mean it. Not only did they mean it, but they backed it with their actions. When you say it, it hurts because I can’t feel the truth in it, Amerys. And if someone tampered with our Bond, you can’t even be sure of your feelings in that regard.” Roland said, keep his tone even. The words would hurt her, and he knew it. But she wanted the truth, so he would give that to her.

The aural shield snapped into place, keeping their words between them.

I see you as you are, Amerys. You’re intelligent, strong, and determined. You are also nosy, pushy, and unconcerned with the consequences of your actions. Before you say anything, I will remind you that you wanted to know how I saw you. You think you have a right to every facet of my life because you are my Queen. But I think you don’t want someone to share your life with. You want a yes-man who won’t challenge you.If that is not what you want, you’ve gone out of your way to convince me otherwise.” Roland said, watching her closely. She was upset. He understood that. It upset him to see her that way.

You are cold and too intellectual, even in private. You have all the answers, which makes advisers unnecessary. You are young. I am thirteen years older than you and I’m at a different stage in my life than you are. You view the world as you’d like it to be. I see it as it is. I don’t want you to be Laurel Gold. I respect her business acumen. I respect her ability to rule her Court, and her strength as a leader.

But when the going got tough, she left me to the wolves. That’s a running theme in my life, Amerys. People need me until they don’t, or they find someone better. Something more important to do. Someone who won’t question them.
” Roland said. Perhaps she saw where he was going with this. Whether she did or not, it didn’t move him.

When we met...I was not in a good place. The woman that I wanted to marry had, just a few days prior, told me that we were ‘too different’ to work out and ended our relationship. Two years gone, just like that. I put a lot of myself into that relationship and, when it ended, the only thing I had was work. Numbers don’t lie. Facts and figures don’t lie or disappear when you need them.” Roland said, half-shrugging as he looked at her.

I never told you that my parents abandoned me, either. My birth parents, I mean. We were homeless. Went to sleep one night, then woke up the next day to see that they’d left without me. I’m not telling you this for pity. I saw enough of that when I was a kid to last a lifetime. I used to think that finding my Queen would mean an end to that kind of…” here, Roland’s words trailed off. It wasn’t like him to be a loss for words. But he held his hands in front of his chest as though they were loaded with something heavy that he couldn’t set down.

I thought it would be a fresh start. For a while, it was.” Roland said.

But now I know that it wasn’t a fresh start, because someone else wrecked that before we even got started. So we’re really back at square one, only we can’t be because it’s been too long to go back. So now we’re here, trying to figure out how to hurt each other least instead of not hurting each other at all.” he said.

You want to know what brings me peace, Amerys? I paid someone to fuck me, long and hard. I was looking for information on Glacians who might try to kill your Steward, and ended up at a place called the Bodleian. It’s a nice place. I paid for someone’s time and had sex with her. But more than the sex, it was the feel of being close to someone who wanted to be near me. Even if she was just trying to snag a repeat customer, she catered to me.

And for a little while, I was the only person who mattered to her. Imagine getting that from a complete stranger and not one’s Queen.
” Roland said sadly.

So I hope that whoever you had following me told you that while they were tracking my movements. Lady Gold has concerns about Lord Black. I assuage those concerns. Because I’d rather have Lady Gold pulling for you than against you. And if it came to that, I’d be on your side, not hers. That you even question that is just more proof that this isn’t working.” he said.

The peace he’d tried to cultivate felt so fragile now, but her Touch strengthened it. But her words hurt him, because there was ring of truth behind them that he didn’t want to acknowledge or consider before now. Roland sighed. Saying more felt unnecessary, even if he could go on forever. He didn’t need to tell her that he found his birth parents, or about Delaney, or about Ripley.

We’re both very different people, Amerys. If you have a Price to collect, then go ahead.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #8 on: Nov 10, 18, 05:28:17 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Roland’s words were a watershed of rage and grief. His pain poured out, all of his worst wounds on display, raw as if they’d never had a moment’s healing. Amerys listened through Roland’s long, accusatory speech. He could see in her eyes, her face, her body how he wounded her. The long suppressed Bond surged and faded randomly, revealing anger, hurt, betrayal, a stifling feeling of being trapped. The horrified pain as he ended with a blatant challenge, as always returning to Territory matters, denying her the ability to address his own pain, or find a personal resolution. She found it hard to breathe, somehow. Forced a deep breath.

“Thank you for telling me the truth of how you feel, and what you think of me.” another breath, that cramped and fought her.

“You finally opened up to me, even though you meant it as a weapon, not a reconciliation.” Her hands squeezed his, Craft surging through him much more powerfully than normal.

“All of this anguish ... because I was frustrated when you wouldn’t tell me how you found peace? I did not insist. I let it go.” She shook her head, baffled.

“You speak as if you don’t recall our agreement, that men could shadow you as long as they did not report back on your activities. I have kept the letter, as well as the spirit of that agreement. In all our association, I have never betrayed you, nor your trust.” She started to speak; stopped. Looked up at him.

“You have rejected any trust or healing between us. Just as you rejected me, the first time you misjudged my words. I need you to recall how I showed you, mind-to-mind, where I cannot lie, that I was praising your skill, not questioning your loyalty. Then I need you think about how you still consistently accuse me of doubting your loyalty, even though I never did.. And you know that, for a fact. Since I never doubted you in the first place, does it come up because you doubt yourself?”

Amerys settled into a seat in the garden, and gestured him to a place beside her. If he came, she would let her hand rest upon his arm, and continue to administer her Queen’s touch. But she would not chase him down if he refused

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #9 on: Nov 11, 18, 12:20:03 AM »
Amerys, I thought we were already reconciled. But when I extend you my trust and tell you things that I don’t tell other people, and then you say that I’m using it as a weapon...what can I say to that? I’m telling my Queen why I am the way I am, and you say that I’m using it as a weapon to hurt you.” Roland said, failing to understand why it was so hard for her to understand why he kept to himself. The longer they spoke, the more Roland felt that they were talking in circles. He couldn’t make his words 

When you ask me how I feel, and then I tell you, and then you tell me how I feel...that makes me reluctant to open up to you about anything else. At all.” Roland said. He took a deep breath. He was hurting and upset. He wanted to leave right now, head to the Bodleian, and sink himself into Delaney until all of this was just an unpleasant memory. His jaw tightened. He exhaled through his nose and considered the problem at hand. Someone had poisoned the Bond between them. They hadn’t targeted Dax or Mani. Davos was new to the circle. Someone had gone after the two of them. The thought of that pissed Roland off.

Amerys, let’s take a second here. We keep talking about Court business and personal stuff interchangeably. Let’s shift back to the personal side of this because that’s where my problems are.” Roland said.

Roland looked over the balcony and saw Goth in all of its splendor. The sight helped drain away some of the tension. He loved Little Terreille. He loved everything about it. It took him a minute to really form what he wanted to say. The undercurrent of anger she could feel shifted into hurt. He let her sit down and then sat beside her. Still, he didn’t speak because he wanted to find the words to say what he needed her to know.

I told Breck that I was bad at this. Really bad.” Roland said, by way of introduction.

When we met, I was in a bad place. Meeting you made it better. I was worried that there was too much that was different about us to help us get closer. Then we were together. It wasn’t the bond that drew me to you, Amerys. It never has been. But when you decided that we weren’t going to work out, I...didn’t know how to take that. In my mind, I didn’t see a reason that we couldn’t.” Roland said.

I’ve been hurting since. Especially when you want me to tell you things about myself that I’ve only ever shared with people that I was deeply intimate with. I don’t know how we work if we don’t work that way. You don’t fit into any of the boxes that I have for everyone else in my life. We don’t feel like friends and we’re not lovers. But it is in my soul to protect you and fight for you because you are mine.” Roland said. The confusion in his tone was echoed in the Bond.

I can’t wrap my mind around you and it it’s a dagger in my mind.” he said.

He shifted a bit so that he could face her fully, letting her hand remain on him.

When you accuse me of lying, or not being honest, that is, to me, a question of my loyalty. It reminds me of when you told Jon and Hayden that I could have gotten out of my contract with Laurel if I wanted to? It feels the way that felt, but worse.” Roland said.

That’s not what you intend, but that’s how it comes across. That is what hurts me. And when that happens, I can’t bring myself to hear anything else you say. You might meant something different, but that’s how it reads to me. I hate fighting with you and you know that.” Roland said.

Amerys, before I met you, I was rebuilding the dream I lost with Analiese into a life that I wanted to live, no matter who was in it. That meant money and power. That meant status. All of those things felt like the right ways to replace her. Then you came along and threw all of those plans into chaos. The need to protect you inside of me is at war with the idea of serving you. If I do one, I can’t do the other.

And if I surrender to serving you, then I stop being me. Roland Cade gets the job done. He seals the deal, no matter what it takes. And he wins. No matter what, he wins. But I don’t know how you and I win together.
” Roland said.



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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #10 on: Nov 13, 18, 04:25:13 AM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

“I see.” Amerys finally said, and leaned over to give Roland a hug.

“Thank you for agreeing to speak of personal matters separately from Territory matters. Because you told me that you aren’t sure how to serve, I will tell you that it would have really made me feel safe and Cherished if you could have spoken of your willingness to separate the two in a way that acknowledged my earlier requests.” She gave him another hug, and pulled away enough to watch see him clearly.

“I apologize that you feel that I was telling you how you feel. I can say, I was telling you how I felt.”

“Thank you, for telling me you aren’t sure how to be close to me without sex. It helps me understand you and how you feel. I deeply apologize for having assumed you were comfortable with sex as one thing, and intimacy as another.”

“That you didn’t know how any of what you said might feel like an attack on me, is an important key to why I cannot risk either sex or a romantic entanglement with you. It is one thing, if you knew what you said would feel like an attack, but had to say it anyway. Sometimes it is necessary to say such things, and accept the damage done in order to heal a relationship. But it is a different level of not knowing me that makes you not understand how I might feel that way at all. Does that make sense to you?” She needed him to understand, and searched his face and his Bond for any clue if he had.

“Roland, you can say no to me, and still serve. Especially when I ask you a question, if you don’t want to answer it, please say so. Just say how you feel; as an example, ‘I am not willing to discuss this,’ or ‘Nope, I’m keeping this for me,’ or even ‘Not yet; I’m not ready.’ Those all work for me. They are being true to both of us.”

Pain drifted through the sorrow drifted through the aching grief.

“Please, Roland. I need you to stop throwing old hurts at me. You know what I meant, all those years ago. Yet you have never acknowledged to me that you misinterpreted. And you still throw my poor phrasing at me, every time we argue about anything. Without ever taking responsibility for how you behaved, and for what you thought of me. Do you think your absolute conviction that I saw you that way isn’t a knife in my heart?” she shook her head, and forced herself to a sit up straight once more, rather than leaning away. There was no place to hide, from a Queen’s bond. It was; and it was the most eternal and powerful thing Mother Night ever created.

“I’m so very sorry, but this is another reason we cannot be romantically involved. A lover hurts you more often, and more deeply than anyone else. I can’t hand you that kind of weaponry, when you never seem to heal from old wounds. If I knew how to move you past that event, help you address the feelings and self-talk that tears you apart, I would. But I don’t how. Every time I think we’ve healed it, the wound open again.” she shrugged.

“This has all been so very difficult for you, Roland. On so many levels. A Queen’s Bond isn’t like any other relationship. It’s as inevitable as blood ties, as complicated as family life, as intensive as any love affair. Yet this powerful thing is thrown at two complete strangers. Worse still, every single Bond is utterly unique between the two so tied together.” she let the hand resting on his arm squeeze him reassuringly.

“We are in each other’s souls, Roland. Forever. It is closer, richer, and more real than sex or even family. We will never fit into any neat category; we can’t. We are a unique tapestry, carefully woven together, like the warp and weft of a loom.”

“You won’t lose yourself in service to me, Roland. You’ll find yourself. And there is no way to protect me, if you can’t serve. Protect. Cherish. Obey. The Three Laws embody service. A Blood male is made to serve, especially Princes and Warlord Princes. Even as a Queen is crafted to rule, so you have all the tools and strength you need to serve already within you. Peace and a sense of wholeness won’t come from sex, not with me or anyone else. You’ll find it, by learning how to serve.”

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #11 on: Nov 26, 18, 01:18:31 PM »
Amerys hugged him. Roland wanted to feel all right with that, wanted to believe that things would get better. Perhaps, if he just let go of his anger, things would get better. If he could just shove down what bothered him most about this Bond and this relationship, he could suffer his way through to something better. Yet something in that felt wrong to him and made him wonder what (and whom) he would be if he allowed Amerys to win. She explained all of the reasons that she could not allow him closer for personal reasons. In his mind, that sealed things between them.

Amerys, I didn’t know what you meant back then. Your explanation at the time rang hollow. Now, I understand what you mean. It happened and I’m working to move past it, but it’s a slow process. To my knowledge, you’ve never made a similar comment about any of your other Bonded. If that’s not true, then I can admit being wrong. Otherwise, it’s been hard not knowing where we stand outside of the professional. Did I take what you said in the worst way possible? Yes, I probably did.

Does that mean that we have to be at odds for good? I don’t know
.” Roland said.

Without going into Territory talk, I believe that I do serve you, physically and emotionally. The Bond is supposed to be a source of peace between us. That’s everything I was ever told was that it was supposed to complete my life. But if the Bond between us has been corrupted, then...how can we ever know if this is going to be any better than what it is now?” he asked.

I’ve sat back and observed your interactions with Dax and Mani. I’m even willing to be that things between you and Davos are less difficult than what we’ve endured. I hate that. It makes me believe that there’s something here is far more wrong than just someone stepping in to mess with our Bond. Maybe it’s me. I can’t say for sure.” Roland said.

But I don’t think you’ll ever truly understand where I’m coming from. You knew what you were meant for before we met. I found it over years and years of searching for a place for myself, and having the rug pulled out from under me again and again. I find my footing and I get thrown down. It’s...difficult to deal with. But I deal with it.” Roland said.

Roland sighed softly. Speaking about this helped to lance the wound, but that didn’t make it to know what was coming.

You and I can’t be anything romantic or sexual. I think we’ve established that. So that leaves the question of where we stand beyond today. What would you have us be from this point forward?” he asked.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #12 on: Nov 27, 18, 01:46:25 AM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Roland chose first to address his enduring anger from two years ago. Amerys listened without argument, as he told her that her explanation back then rang hollow. Her lips thinned, but she only nodded once more. She was frustrated, but not surprised; that would be clear, through the soul-deep Bond that tied them together. When he reverted to his assumption that she meant he was disloyal, and immediately compared her relationship with him, to that of her with her other Bonded, he’d feel more frustration. He lost her briefly, thereafter; she could not figure out his segue from The Phrase into how it had been hard on him not knowing where they stood, personally, and back again.

Then he suggested that they might be at odds, forever.

She closed her eyes for a second, then stood and began to pace. Anger simmered along the Bond, though with it would come the effort she put into fighting it down. She worked hard, to keep listening to him.

And then, he insisted that he did take care of her, emotionally.

All movement ceased; she didn’t pace, didn’t speak, didn’t even breath. She just stared at him. Not even her anger survived that. She didn’t really follow his exploration of her earlier statements about the Bond. Didn’t begin to track accurately until he insisted she’d never understand him. An eyebrow rose, she nodded and resumed pacing. He once more worked around to not knowing where he belonged. To saying he’d lost everything far too often to feel safe.

Meditatively, she mused, “It’s been two years, Roland. If you were going to either learn to trust me, or to let it go, I think you would have.” There was no heat in her; not in her voice, or the Bond.

“Even if you had believed me when I told you I felt you were capable of winning free of your service but had chosen not to because you felt it was more important to look after my political interests than to be by my side daily, I fear we would still be here, now.” She held up her hand, to stall his anticipated protest.

“I’m sorry, Roland. I had great faith in you; I could not conceive of a better negotiator than you. Now, I have a better understanding of the forces arranged against you, but I didn’t, then.”

She went silent for a time, pondering deeply. A few plants received a touch of her Craft, for she had a powerful urge to tend to something, and have joy come of it rather than grief.

“I grieve for your pain, even if I don’t understand it.”

Her gaze fell to the plants before her, and she tenderly touched each strengthened leaf.

“I am tired-.”

Shook her head, to stop herself from speaking more. Visibly bit back what she had meant to say. Rubbed at the headache, at the sore muscles in her neck. Sighed deeply.

“I do not feel emotionally tended to by you. I do not feel cherished, or mentally safe in this relationship. Maybe that is your destined role in my life, to be angry and disapproving.”

“You are mine. My Bonded.”

“That is eternal and blessed by Mother Night. I will not abandon you. But neither will I force my presence or my rule upon you.” A strange, hurtful peace suffused the Bond; Amerys’ heart knew that Mother Night made no mistakes, no matter how it felt in the moment. Her silvery gaze settled upon Roland.

“If you wish a daily role in my life, then we need to find a way to become friends. We need space and time away from the power struggles and the anger.”

Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #13 on: Dec 14, 18, 04:36:36 PM »
By now, Roland was out of words. He’d laid out his issues and Amerys had laid out her own. The problems between them were deeper than he’d ever known or understood. He didn’t see a way past them, not in their current form. He stood there, quietly, not certain of what he could say that wouldn’t be interpreted as an attack against her. Had he always known that they’d end up here? Was it always going to be difficult for them to relate to each other? She said that someone had warped the bond between them. Was that even possible? He’d need to talk to someone about it.

For now, he and Amerys were far apart.

When you say things like ‘I won’t abandon you, but I won’t force my presence upon you’, it sounds like you’re telling me to step down as First Escort. If that’s that’s the case, then I’d prefer if you say that to me directly. No matter the problems we have, if we can’t be honest with each other, this doesn’t work.” Roland said.

"But I hear you. You don't feel cherished, or emotionally safe, or tended to by me. I realize that all of this has made it difficult for us to trust each other. I hope that there's a way to work on that."

He slipped his hands into his pockets and sighed. He needed a drink. He needed a lot of things, few of which he believed that he’d find here tonight. Amerys was upset as well, which made it all feel worse. He needed out of this place for today so that he could get his mind in order.

Friendship is a lot better than what we have going right now. My friends and I spend time together. We drink, we go out and sing, sometimes we even play cards. We cook and enjoy each other’s company.” Roland said.

What would you suggest in order for us to become friends?” he asked.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #14 on: Dec 16, 18, 11:05:03 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Roland listened to her intently, but Amerys felt his emotional retreat through the Bond. His need to be elsewhere. Worse, she felt his questions rise up, and then be suppressed. Guilt wracked her; he wanted a deeper answer from her only he didn’t think he dared to ask. The Bond did not give her words or specifics. Only the emotions, without context. Yet ... he’d not asked her one question about what was wrong with her, or who was working on the Bond, or if she was ok. She thought he must be feeling those things, to want to know them, but was unable to ask her directly. Finally, he returned to her, whatever deep thoughts he had giving way to speech. What he chose to say both surprised her and pleased her. The simple, direct communication was something she felt she knew how to respond to.

She hoped.

The anxious pacing ceased, and Amerys returned to Roland. Unwilling to repeat a hug that had seemed more imposition than comfort, she rested her hand upon his shoulder. Her fingers were chilled, fatigue etched across her eyes. She had yet a long day at Court to get through, and already she felt overwhelmed. She closed her eyes for a few moments, and wrestled with herself. What to say, and how to say it? That he’d offered friendship, after what sounded to her as offering to sacrifice the role of First Escort, was humbling. He’d been clear with her about how much power and authority helped him to define himself.

“Thank you, Roland, for telling me how what I said made you feel.” She opened her eyes, and smiled up at Roland, though the smile was tired, it was genuine.

“Earlier, you had said that you didn’t know how to serve, that you feared loosing yourself if you did. I realized that I had utterly failed to comfort you on that issue; in fact, what I said seemed to me to be easily interpreted as insisting you serve, or I would shut you out completely. So I tried to let you know that I would not force anything upon you, but give you choice. That you read a deeper meaning, and are concerned about your roll as my First Escort isn’t wrong. I do need to talk to you about it, and I have been considering asking you step down.” There was a pause, as she weighed how to address his concern with being First Escort, without being diverted into what was really a separate conversation. Well, two separate conversations that would inform the third; she simply didn’t see how to jump from here, to there, without confusing and hurting Roland, rather than ...

Rather than asking for his help on this decision.

“Please be patient with me. I need to talk to you about the Bond, and about us and why it is not your fault that we aren’t clicking the way we need, as Bonded and Queen let alone as First Escort.” She looked anxiously up at him, worried he’d be too upset to really listen, but unwilling to just ignore his frank question.

“I’m hurting, Roland. I am aware you are, too, and I’m so sorry. I don’t know how to reach across the divide between us, how to help you feel cherished and respected. I can only promise to never stop working on it.” Amerys squeezed his shoulder, wishing it would be a comfort to him and fearing it would not.

“I am very tired, and quite upset about the news I got last night, regarding what is wrong with me and our Bond. It is hurtful to me, that you don’t ask any questions or seem interested in what is happening to me, to us. Yet I’m aware I’ve made you too anxious to feel safe just asking. I’ve told you I have a trap-spell on my Jewel, and you had no response that you cared to share with me. That leaves me feeling very alone, and isolated; as if only the rank I hold, and the rank you hold, keeps you in my life. That makes it harder than it should be for me to express to you when I need or want your help. Or when I don’t feel happy with something you do. It’s a weakness I have failed to overcome.” She looked down, and let her hand fall away from him to needlessly fuss with the fringe upon her dress.

“Because of my own stress and fatigue, I have not been as attentive or supportive as you need, right now. I feel dreadful about it, but I simply can’t turn off my own reactions and feelings, in order to tend to yours. I need to talk about what is happening to us. If you need to go anyway, I will understand. But please give me a little more time.” Amerys settled down beside him on the bench, and fought tears. They embarrassed her. When she cried, he didn’t seem to know what to do, how to comfort her. But then he had no sisters, so he truly might never have been exposed to such before. Tears must upset him, she thought, and she didn’t want that. If he permitted, she’d rest her hand over his, and gently weave her Queen’s Touch into him.

“It hurts me, when you hurt. It always will. A healthy Bond is such that when one person hurts, so does the other. That compassion, the empathy, it is what is supposed to shape us both into better people. This thing in me, it amplifies the anger, the hurt, the despair instead. Which hurts us both. Because of what’s been done to me, to my Jewel, I can’t read you accurately without a lot of help. Help that terrifies me to ask for or need.” Amerys shook, she actually shook with fear just talking about it. She hated to be so weak. Feared that Roland didn’t really want to know what was happening because it would be a goad to act, and there was precious little to be done. But she didn’t know how to get to being friends, without admitting to all of it. Her gaze focused once more upon Roland, though she didn’t meet his gaze.

“A Bond is also supposed to share good emotions. So when my protections are in place, if you are happy, I become happier. When you relax, I will relax in tandem.” She took a deep breath, and then forced herself to move on.

“At the moment, I have a series of trap spells, set spells, Widow’s Webs and compulsions tied into my White Jewel. These twist my perceptions of the Bond, magnifying pain, grief, anger, and loneliness. Without spells and assistance to suppress those traps, I don’t perceive or recall the good things, even when they exist along the Bond. The joy, the acceptance, the peace - that is what is blocked. And it has left me far more insecure than I can possibly understand or justify.” Another breath, and Amerys forced herself to look directly at Roland, trying to read his response.

“Emily had been helping me to work on this, but ... her absence really shook me. I couldn’t or wouldn’t get more help, for a while. I’ve been working with a small team of people I know well, to try to find a permanent solution. When Compulsions and Webs have been in place too long, the mind tends to support and reinforce those notions on their own; they don’t think simply Breaking my White Jewel would fix it.” Amerys rather thought it might; she considered it almost daily. It would be worth the irreparable loss, surely, to have Roland hurt less.

“You and I met and Bonded as I was preparing for my Offering; I am afraid I was terribly proud of Bonding you and not discrete about it. Emily believed that the foundations for these Webs were layered in place for years, but refined and triggered just before my Offering, when the Chetan Court High Seer had to remove the Compulsions and Webs she’d placed in my mind when I was a child. I happen to agree; I’ve rarely let a Black Widow get anywhere near me since then. On the other hand, she’s such an obvious target that it makes me wonder if someone else was messing with me. I have no memory of her touching my Jewel at all, but she or a darker Black Widow could certainly have compelled me to give it to away, and then erased all memory of it from both of us.” A harsh, rejecting shrug followed. Her lips curved in an attempt at a smile that melted into grief. She whispered quietly, “I hate Black Widows.” focusing upon Roland again, her voice rose to something close to normal conversational volume.

“That this is focused so tightly upon you strongly suggests that time frame, as well. Mani’s Bond was not affected, though I was terrified it would be.” Her gaze finally met Roland’s again.

“Do you have any questions about this? What do you need or want to know?”



Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #15 on: Dec 17, 18, 12:18:28 AM »
Amerys confirmed his fear that she was considering asking him to step down as her First Escort. That confirmation both sobered him and made him feel like he’d finally read her properly for once. The idea of not being her First Escort bothered him. How could he serve in her Court after being asked to step aside? Wouldn’t it diminish them both to admit that they could not find a way to make it work between them? Roland didn’t want to weaken her standing that way, nor did he want to weaken his own. But he nodded and sighed softly, acknowledging what she’d said.

He remained silent and listened as she voiced her feelings and the things that she’d kept back. She was hurting, which he knew, but it hurt him to be part of the source of that pain. He wanted to speak up several times, but he did not. She’d listened to him and she was trying to answer his question. He fought down the urge to react, to look for holes in her thinking and logic, and listened to Amerys. Seeing her pain and watching her fight back tears (in front of him. Him!) hurt him most. She was supposed to feel safe enough to cry, or rage, or simply be upset in front of him and...she did not. It didn’t matter how many deals he closed. It didn’t matter how good he was at reading people or how well he spoke.

His Queen did not feel safe with him. That made him a failure at the singular job that he’d been assigned.

That meant he failed her.

He listened further as she explained the depth of the problem. She thought that he didn’t care, or didn’t care to know, what was happening to her. Unable to see through his own anger, how could he see her suffering? She was dealing with this alone, while he was dealing with his own issues alone. He felt disconnected from her. By that token, he was disconnected from the Court. Her Touch kept the worst of the pain from getting to him, but Roland was now reexamining everything over the last few years and trying to understand how this had affected them.

And as he did, his anger at the people responsible grew.

When Amerys finally fell silent, Roland did not speak immediately. She would sense, once more, that he was thinking about how to address his questions and thoughts. Roland was clearly not a fan of speaking “off-the-cuff”. He presented a polished appearance because that commanded respect. Respect lent weight to his words. His words could do damage or bridge gaps. How would he bridge this one?

Thank you for helping me to understand where you’re coming from, Amerys. It was never my intent to make you feel alone, or neglected, or not cared for. Never. I keep trying and coming back to you because I need you. Forget this Court. Forget the position. Forget all the other stuff. I cannot live the rest of my life without you in it. I can’t.” Roland said, reaching out to take her hand.

It’s not that I don’t want to know who did this to you. I do. The problem with me is that I am problem-solver. I know, in my head, that I should be taking you in my arms and holding you until you do feel safe. Until you do feel cherished. Until you do feel cared for. And I want to do that.

But before I can do that, I want to find the people responsible for doing this to you and kill every single one of them. Then I want to find anyone who knew what they were doing and didn’t come forward and kill them, too. And I want to follow the chain back until everyone who was even partially connected to this is dragged forward and destroyed.
” Roland said, looking down at the floor.

You didn't ask that of me. You didn’t tell me you needed that. But someone hurt you and I won’t be able to rest until I make them bleed for it.” he said.

But I know that if I ask you and you don’t tell me, I’ll look for the information until you break down and tell me or until I find it. You’re stressed and upset as it is and I’d be adding to it again. You need comfort and caring. And it feels, to me, like I’m not doing enough if I just tell you that everything will be okay.” Roland said.

He turned to look at her.

But as I listen to myself say all of those things, I recognize that all of those responses are based on how I feel. On what I need to do to feel better. That’s not based upon you and it needs to be, if I’m ever going to be worthy of the Bond between us.” he said.

I should have asked the right questions. I should have asked more questions. I’m going to ask you a few questions to start. The answers to those questions, if you choose to answer them, will determine what I can ask next.” Roland said, taking her hand in his.

First, do you have any concrete proof that it was the Chetan Court? Has your team found anything we can use? If the answer is yes, what can we prove?” he asked.

Finally, is there anything that I can do to help with this today? I am ignoring what I want to do, which is attack, and focus on defending you until you tell me otherwise.” he said.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #16 on: Mar 21, 19, 11:48:33 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

To Amerys’ intense relief, Roland did not accept her offer to leave. Roland’s passions ran deep, even for a Dark Jeweled Prince, so it would not have been unreasonable for this situation to be more than he was ready to talk about without a few hours or days to think things through on his own. That willingness on his part, to once more do what was in her best interests instead of his own, touched Amerys deeply. Stressed as she was about the topic, that he listened while she forced the terrible truth out into the air between them was yet another gift. Amerys could only squeeze his hand tightly in appreciation. She gave him his time to think, simply resting her head upon his shoulder whilst he carefully considered the vast mountain of information she’d offered. The hurt in him that felt as if it was aimed back at himself was keen, but not as keen as the anger that slowly grew and flourished within him. She kept the steady reassurance of her Queen’s Touch soothing through him, but did not make any attempt to deflect his anger.

He was right to be angry.

When he did speak, Amerys was stunned. Her head lifted off of his shoulder so she could look at him in order to memorize precisely how he looked. He thanked her, instead of yelling at her for waiting so long to tell him. The Bond between them flooded with her relief, with her joy. A deep, near-constant ache of fear faded away as he told her that he needed her in his life, not just the court, or their positions, or the power or wealth. Just to be able to exist together. He reached to take her other hand, and she gripped it just as tightly as she had the first. Hard enough to hurt, until she recalled herself and gentled her grip. A little. Some, anyway. All she could do was to silently reassure him that he didn’t have to live without her. That she’d always be reaching for him, no matter what else happened.

When he spoke about how he was a problem solver, and how he was driven to find the threat and eliminate it -  them, their neighbors, their dogs, their neighbor’s dogs - she gave a little smile and nodded fiercely in agreement. It was precisely his need to act that she had suspected of causing him to be resistant to asking her questions. She refrained from bursting into speech then, though he’d see it was so very difficult for her to do so. She was not the natural diplomat he was. She was all about an easy, spontaneous way of speech and a warm understanding of people. (Which of course left her at a disadvantage with the sorts of career criminals and hardened politicians she trusted Roland to both recognize and deal with.) Roland was fiercely protective, first and foremost. He was focused upon seizing the initiative, not building castle walls. She had asked him to be something he was not, for far too long, and she was not going to do that anymore. He couldn’t relax enough to simply soothe, when his instincts correctly screamed at him that something was wrong. He needed her to be safe, even before he needed her to be happy.

“The First Law is to Protect, Roland. You’re not wrong, to feel the way you do.”

That Roland needed action, and needed to see justice done himself rather than through a proxy, ate itself into her mind and soul. It did not make her comfortable, to see in him the risk taker she’d simply refused to believe him to be. For a moment, rebellion rose within her; she didn’t want Davos taking dangerous trips here, there and yon to recruit Sheanes. She didn’t want Dax off dealing with the brutal monsters who ran the gangs of Little Terreille. She didn’t want Mani, sweet little Mani, pushed into the violent path of a Warlord Prince. It seemed like just too much to have her beautiful, civilized, brilliant Roland also wanting to go put himself at risk! She bit her lip hard, wrestled her selfish feelings not so much under control as shoved into a box to haunt her nightmares rather than tormenting her days. The legendary stubbornness both she and Roland were blessed with had all but destroyed them, more than once. On this topic, however, she would not fight him. He simply could not let it go, and still be Roland Cade.

“This is who you are, I believe: fiercely loyal, stubborn to a fault, and driven to succeed. Even your desire for wealth, power and titles are merely external evidence of your intense competence and the respect others hold you in.” She took a deep, shaky breath.

“Thank you for asking your questions, Roland. For seeing me, even though you are so hurt by all of this, and angry at whoever did it. I do not have any concrete proof as to who it was. It is possible that if I let a Black Widow peel apart or study some of the deep work in my mind or on my Jewel that they will be able to find a signature. So far, I can’t tolerate her touch that long.” Shame flared and burned in Amerys.

“We do know a little about where some of these compulsions were laid. I can give you a list of the locations. We know that three Castes were involved, a Priestess, a Black Widow and a Healer. Their rituals left marks that are still being decoded; that’s why we are still unclear as to precise Jewel strength.” she released one hand to dig a battered paper, folded upon itself over and over again, out of her belt. She offered it to Roland, for upon it were the scant facts she had to go on.

“You are not wrong, Roland, about your priorities. It is your right and duty to be sure I’m safe before you worry about if I’m emotionally settled. I didn’t realize how badly you need to see to the dispensing of justice yourself. I should have, when you insisted upon going after the thugs who stole Mani. This matter impacts you, too, and you have a right to see it through.” The ability to believe that those she loved were inviolate had been lost, over the last two years. It was something that had ghosted into her soul on the wings of the mass genocides she’d failed to prevent. Banishing such thoughts, she looked back at Roland, her voice quiet as a whisper.

“The problem here is that I don’t have a clear enemy to send you at. Not yet. But ... I believe you could help find them.” That she trusted his competence and skill would be clear in the Bond between them. “I hadn’t wanted to ask before because you may have to disappear for days at a time without me knowing anything at all about where you are going. You dare not tell me anything, even what you suspect, in case I’m wrong about who is behind it and the person who actually did it has access to me.” She thought carefully about what she actually needed, verse what she wanted.

“Today, I need your promise to be as safe as possible, while you look into this. I need to know you don’t hate me for this. I would like a hug, and to be able to reassure you, somehow.” She offered a tentative smile.

“I know the timing is awful, with your need to get out there, so the rest of what I’m asking for, is simply what I’d like someday, not a need for now. It’s not a demand. Topics for you to consider, and make a plan for.” She watched him a moment longer, than slowly began.

“First, I want to become your friend. I don’t want only good intentions, but something real and actionable to get us to that point. It won’t be easy, because I simply don’t have very much time. I work every single day, and most days I put in 16 hours. My Court isn’t properly experienced or ...” she paused to pick out just the right word. “... cohesive enough for me to have a more reasonable schedule. You work at court; You have your family to care for, your business interests, your projects, your friends. So it will take an actual plan and effort for us to carve the type of time you have told me you need out of my schedule.” it seemed a daunting task, to Amerys. Especially because any extra time she gifted to Roland she’d have to find for her other Bonded, as well. Daunting, but well worth it. Determination burned within her.

“Second, I’d like to talk about First Escort. I’ve hesitated to bring it up because I keep hoping we will fix me, and that will fix us. Yet more than ever, Roland, I’m seeing how fierce you are, how much you love to do things on your own. How much you need to get out there, and find these people yourself. The sharp edge of the sword, rather than the shield.” One hand lifted to touch his cheek gently. “I feel like I’ve been trying to cage a wolf, to have you be First Escort. Stuck in Court all day instead of investigating or negotiating or seeking justice.” She tried to see him, really see him, not who she wanted him to be.

“I’m not wholly convinced the roll of First Escort, as I currently see it, is a good fit for you. I’m willing to work on re-defining some things, or on splitting the post ... or ... you see? It’s a whole discussion, on it’s own. If it won’t hurt you, I’d like to speak with Davos about what First Escort means or is or can be. He was a Province ruler in his own right, and I think he could have some powerful ideas on how to either make this work, or to split the traditional First Escort position into three, including the First Ambassador position I want to ask you to take, no matter what is decides about First Escort.”

“... which leads to Three, the need, at some point, to discuss trade negotiations with the other Territories, which is where my notion of making you First Ambassador comes in.”


Offline Roland Cade

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #17 on: Mar 25, 19, 11:21:24 PM »
Roland did wish that Amerys had told him sooner so that he could try to help, but he understood why she didn’t. It bothered him to know that she didn’t feel comfortable to do so. He wanted to inspire and motivate her to be her best self. Roland wanted Amerys to see him as a source of strength and a benefit to her rule. This new truth would eat at him for a long time. But he had now, at last, a path that he could follow in order mend the damage between them. He didn’t know how long it would take. He did not now if there would be more difficulties between now and that time; he expected that there would be.

But he wanted to help her.

She said that she had information he could use to look into things, and Roland nodded. Amerys would see and feel the shift in his demeanor at the idea of doing something tangible to help her. Roland wasn’t a Black Widow, a Priestess, or a Healer, but he had connections. He could put his best people onto the task of looking into things and then wait for the information to come back. Gather information, examine, share those findings with Amerys, then give new orders. When Amerys felt comfortable enough, strong enough, to seek more help, he’d be there for that, too.

Whoever did this to her couldn’t hide forever.

Amerys, I’ll be careful. I’ll put my best people on it and continue with my current duties in the meantime. That means supporting you and making sure that you have what you need to get everything done. I don’t hate you, Amerys. Not for this and not for anything. Not ever.” Roland said gently, taking her hands.

We’ll figure out who is behind this and then we’ll drop the hammer on them. Simple as that.

He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her. Not only did he hug Amerys, but he held for as long as she was comfortable with it. He let her talk, let her suggest things that she wanted him to think about, things that Roland thought could have waited, truly, but they were important to her. So Roland listened and determined how he could give her what she needed from him to feel that they were in a better place.

Friends make plans and do things together. We went to dinner at that Nharkavan place once, right? We could do that again. But we should go somewhere that people won’t recognize us and a have a good time.” Roland said. “I have a couple of places in mind that I want to take you to, if you’ll let me.

Her words about the position of First Escort were harder to listen to and she’d feel him tense a little bit as she made her suggestions. Even still, he said nothing and allowed her to speak until she was done. The bit about the “First Ambassador” was also interesting to Roland but he thought there could be others who’d serve in that role.

Amerys, I’ll say it plainly: I hate the idea of not being your First Escort. It’s not about the status of the position. It’s about the fact that you and I are from Little Terreille. We talked about what it would be like to work together like this in the past. It’s been rough, I admit, but I don’t think that’s any reason to quit.” Roland said.

Stepping down as First Escort feels like quitting. And your First Circle is filled. The Second Circle is filled. That puts me in the Third, at best, meaning that I’m further away from you.” Roland said.

I don’t want that.” he said, his hold on her tightening for a moment. “But if you’d prefer Davos or Dax as your First Escort, then I understand.” he said.

But I need you to promise me that whoever you pick is bound to you by blood and the Bond. Can you do that for me?” he asked.

He didn’t say anything about the position of First Ambassador yet because he wanted to address the issue of the First Escort before they went any further.



Offline Amerys Tiernan

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Re: Leave my Sunglasses on While I Shed a Tear
« Reply #18 on: Apr 13, 19, 11:43:29 PM »
193, Summer: the Lower Garden balcony, the Territory Court
This thread follows Sort it Out, Cupid Carries a Gun, Like Thunder, Going to Shake Your Ground and Respect Between Peers. It is also part of the story arc that includes It’s Never the Right Time, and I’ll Put my Armor on Show You How Strong I am, and Unstoppable Today.

Amerys watched as Roland’s keen mind focused upon ferreting out the who and why of this situation. It wasn’t so much that his tension eased, as simply a sharpening of focus. Her eyes widened, when he insisted that he’d put other people to the task of ferreting out these enemies, rather than going himself. The warm clasp of his hands as he promised he didn’t hate her was inordinately comforting.

As was his confidence that it would all be handled.

When he wrapped her in his arms she hid her head in the pocket of his shoulder for a very, very long time. It was like he willed strength into her, and she felt her see-sawing emotions steady. A few more deep breaths and she was ready to finally, finally pull her head out of his shoulder and answer him. But really, only because if she was quiet too long she felt he might think she was angry.

“I don’t have a lot of free time, Roland. I work very long days. Even on ‘holidays’ like Winsol or High Summer, I have Court duties, just no audiences. I work from our hour together, every morning,” Which hour took place an hour or so before dawn, even in summer, and several hours before dawn in winter. “And I keep at it until long after the rest of Court has sought their beds.” Thus had begun the tradition of sneaking into the kitchens late at night, and her oddly comforting and helpful chats with Draven.

“We’re doing better, as a Court. But with the Triangle not actually working as my Triangle, and a lot of my First Circle likewise not truly at my command ... I am reluctant to delegate.” In truth, they were improving. She did have time for social engagements, now and again. She’d even found time for two whole days spent with Isbeil! With Hayden, Vonshtad, her parents ... they worked play and social time into and around their duties. Roland needed there to be a firm line between the two, perhaps because he focused so totally on what he was doing at the moment?

“I can free up one to three hours a week for a meal or adventure, probably? Most of my meals are committed to Court functions, as it stands. But I already have one meal a month with my just my parents.” Of course, if she gave such personal time to Roland, then Dax, Mani and Davos would need some, too. She could probably substitute play-time for Mani, and long walks with Dax. Maybe a library reading with Davos? Unless he liked adventures; which he might, after all. Call it twelve more hours a week, carved out of her minuscule free time.

Who needed sleep, anyway?

“I can’t cook at all, unless you count roasting marshmallows at a beach. I’d love to watch you make a meal; you are so meticulous. I’m sure anything you made would be so good.” Her stomach grumbled; all of her meals being business-related meant that she didn’t always eat as much as she should. Just the notion of a private, quiet meal with Roland made her ravenously hungry.

“Mostly, my friends and I used to go on long walks. I love swimming in the ocean.” Another thing she’d not done since this happened. Might never be permitted to do again, given the security concerns. No matter how she looked at it, it simply wasn’t much fun to be her friend, any more.

“E-emily and I used to talk philosophy, religion, poetry.” before Emily had gone home to visit her family and then gone missing. Yet the hole in her life formed from Emily’s absence was another reason she worked so hard. Emily would never have tolerated it.

“I enjoyed that dinner together. I’m not sure it’s very realistic to think we go anywhere people won’t recognize us, Roland. But I’m happy to go where ever you’d like, so long as you run security past Breck and Draven. I refuse to be caught in the middle if you three gentlemen have different notions of what is appropriate or safe.” As with Jon, Roland still desperately wanted a private life. That was one gift she could only give him if he chose to sacrifice his place as First Escort. She simply didn’t know how to reconcile the urges of his heart, which seemed to her to pull him in opposite directions.

“Roland, even if you had chosen to stop serving in the Court when we fought so bitterly, you would have instant access to me. I still would have made this special, private time for you. You are part of me, and I will not relinquish you.”

 A willful smile flared; one he’d likely not seen in years. “Besides, I don’t have to limit my First circle to 13. That’s the minimum for the First Circle, in order for a Queen to form a Court around her. Thirteen males willing to serve. That’s Blood Law. While yes, it is expensive to have more than 13 men and women paid so exorbitantly, there are Queens whose entire First Circle would be composed only of their Bonded if they thought that the minimum meant the maximum. You need not fear I’d tolerate any of my Bonded in any Circle but my First, but most especially you.”

“Dax, my first Bonded, was First Escort until I decided he would not be able to handle the complexities at this level. I’ve often wondered if I failed him. If I should have trusted him more, and my instincts less. He, too, is from Little Terreille.” While Dax had hated it, he’d accepted his ‘demotion.’

“What do you mean, ‘bound to you by blood and the Bond.’ I don’t want to guess at what it.” it wasn’t that she didn’t intend to answer his question, but she was diverted by his stipulation.