collapse

* Welcome!

* Important Links

* Chat Box

Guest Friendly. No advertising please.

* BR Councils

* COTM and TOTM

* COTY and TOTY

Character of the Year


Thread of the Year

* Affliates

Affiliate with Us

Blood Rites RPG

Listed At

RPG-D Nerd Listings

Our Affiliates

The Games
   

* Credits

RSS Feed  Facebook  Tumblr    E-Mail

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

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


* Plot Information for Nharkava

Rebellion has swept the Territory in the south as Glacia dominates the north. Landen and Blood join forces to spread a message of equality with any method possible while Glacia works to infuse the land with power and the people with their Dark Beliefs. The Rebellion, led by a Council of Eight, is not always in agreement but none can resist the power, and the danger, the movement has generated.
Culture of Nharkava
Divisions in Rebellion
History of Nharkava
Landens View on Blood
Gods of Nharkava

* Welcome Guests

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


Author Topic: Nature of my Circuitry  (Read 580 times)

Description: Attn: Maarika and Court

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Nature of my Circuitry
« on: Nov 07, 17, 05:00:27 PM »
Marko had been called to one of Jonny Boy's bars for a drink not long after his meeting with Silver. At first Marko had worried that Silver had blabbed all of the things he'd told her in confidence around and word had gotten back to Jonny Boy who would then want some answers. Though Marko had done his best to avoid giving out information that only he would know, Jonny Boy could dig information up when he had a mind to and he had no want to get himself in his boss's crosshairs. But instead of some grim talk, Jonny Boy had bought him a beer, talked about some old times that filled him with some warm feels (and precarious concern that Jon might turn on a nickel with all that sentiment) and then offered him a job.

A job that, coincidentally, been along the same lines that Silver had wanted from him. Huh.

Sometimes life was funny.

Sometimes life was also not funny.

He had taken the job and gotten caught outside of Goth by Reija and Einar to talk further of their continued arrangement. That meeting had not gone as well as it had with the other Harmaa, and Marko was more than a little grumpy about the situation at present. He couldn't go to Jon for help because then Jon would know Marko had sold him out to his sister. Silver's trick had happened to be fuck-all useless, but if he went to her for help her bright idea would be to drag him through the Dark Gate and fuck that. Besides, she might not even go for that. Silver fucked him but he didn't get that she had quite the same resorvoir of compassion for him as she did for squeaky little Lionel.

No, he'd have to figure something else out. He had to keep the matter secret for now, as much as it chafed him (physically and metaphorically).

So he arrived at Orissa, as directed, letter held tightly in his psychic cabinet. He hadn't opened it up or looked at it, knowing that a trained Glacian Court would be able to suss out any sort of tampering and quickly. Normally Marko wouldn't go into a job without full information, but given that it was from Jonny Boy and if he fucked it up he'd end up very, very dead, he was going to err on the side of trust.

The benefit of meeting with Reija and Einar beforehand was that he didn't really have any apprehension walking into Maarika Sydan's Court. Positives!

Wearing leather jacket and pants, Marko looked far out of place for the Territory and he knew it. The scarred Warlord had gotten off the landing pad and made his way to the Court. He'd done a lot of business with Glacians and Nharkavans, so the two people together didn't really unseat him. Though the Glacians of this Court had a slightly different air than the ones that had been in the Territory elsewhere. Maybe they knew they had to be careful because they were in the heart of a shitstorm.

When stopped by the guard, Marko lifted his hands up slowly in a mark of surrender. He repeated the words that Jonny Boy said, specifically, to say. All this cloak-and-dagger shit was worrisome, but he also knew that this was a sensitive affair and it was best to do as he was told. Between the two of them, Jonny had pulled off more secretive shit than Marko (though, to be fair, Jonny didn't seem to know that Marko was backstabbing him at the moment).

"Hey. Uh. I'm Lord Richard Marko. I'm to deliver a letter to the hands of Lady Sydan from Prince Aalto."

Of course, nobody would know who the fuck Prince Aalto was, Jon had said. But Jonny said that Maarika would know.

It was the name of her dead mother.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #1 on: Nov 11, 17, 04:15:13 PM »
The darkness that threaded itself through Maarika's sight wasn't quite black. It shimmered too much, showed too much of the play between light and dark. She could think of no better color to describe it than black; it was too dark to be gray. Yet she knew, somehow, that it was not merely black. It was much more than black. She watched as it spread, though she couldn't decide whether she was seeing a drop of ink bleeding through the cracks in a piece of broken glass, or roots sprouting out into loose soil. It felt dreadfully important, and yet she couldn't even discern whether she ought to fear it or celebrate it. She felt both, impossible as it was.

Roots. They were definitely roots, she decided. She could feel it as those too-dark tendrils spread out before her, could sense them as though they were her own fingers digging into the earth in an attempt to grasp it. This, whatever this was, would possess the earth it held more strongly than her feeble mortal fingers ever would, and in fact she felt the darkness begin to constrict, as though flexing that grip that was so insidiously threaded through the width and breadth of the land around her. It moved, and it felt to Maarika as if the entire world shook. It pulled, and she gasped for how real the sensation of the jostling of the earth felt.

And just that quickly, the vision left her. She blinked, slow to come back to awareness of her surroundings. She was not out on some earthen landscape, watching strange vines twist though the soil below. She was in her office, with her loom in her hands, her blood staining the spider silk that hung upon it. Something had disturbed her, though she couldn't immediately say what it'd been. Maarika looked down at the web in her hands, and contemplated the nearly suffocating feeling of importance the strange sight had carried with it. There was something she needed to know. Needed, like she needed air to breathe.

Ruugar repeated his knock at the door, betraying the source of her interruption. The Black Widow snarled internally, impatiently. The Queen sighed, and vanished her loom. She turned her seat to face her desk properly, and silently bid Ruugar to enter. He looked concerned, but refrained from asking his Lady why she hadn't answered his first knock, which Maarika appreciated. Instead, he informed her of an unscheduled and oddly-dressed visitor, someone who claimed to be tasked with delivering something to her in person. Prince Klasson was prepared to send the man away, Rugaar assured her, but he insisted that she be told that he had a message from a Prince Aalto. When the name caused Maarika's expression to change to something pensive, Rugaar's blood pressure rose a bit.

"Lady Maarika--" he tried to object, but Maarika had already made up her mind.

"Thank you, Rugaar. Have Dirk take our guest to see Lady Lindquist. If she clears both him and this letter of his from danger, then have him brought here." Her voice was soft, unbothered. Rugaar looked as though he considered arguing for a moment, but ultimately decided against it. He was on edge without one of the Reds present to pass such dangers by, but Anitra was a formidable Black Widow. If there were hidden traps on the suspicious-looking newcomer or his message, she would find them.

Rugaar left to comply, and Maarika rose from her desk. She turned to the arched window that dominated one end of the room, and let her thoughts wander while she studied the landscape beyond. Somehow, she knew there was no simple trap web in whatever message was coming. Something important was on its way.

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #2 on: Nov 11, 17, 06:29:38 PM »
Marko instantly felt that he'd walked into a trap by coming here. The guards of Lady Sydan were on high alert and they all looked tense-as-fuck. He'd down work with Winters and with Talbot and none of their men were as hyper-vigilant as Sydan's people. He wasn't sure if the Little Terreillian Queens' men were just lazy or if the Glacian Queen's were just more protective or better trained. The end result was the same: Marko was on thin ice.

Thankfully, he'd had lots of practice of keeping his head on his shoulders.

The guard told him that he'd be allowed to see Lady...Harmaa(?!) only if he submitted to an inspection from her Court Seer. Getting checked by a Black Widow was never someone's idea of fun. He was also pretty sure that the other... Lady... Harmaa's...(!?) mark would get detected. But then again, what choice did he have? He couldn't go back to Jonny Boy empty handed.

But now he felt set up. This Lady Sydan was really Lady Harmaa, which meant she was Jon's... cousin? His other sister? Jon had mentioned he had two sisters, right? What sort of racket was Jonny Boy running, and why use Marko was the courier?

He pondered those questions but tried to keep his thoughts to himself as he was inspected by the Sapphire Black Widow who had ice for teeth. All these Glacians and their cool demeanours bugged the shit out of the son of the city, and he refrained from anything but terse answers and the most inoffensive smiles he could muster.

He was guided by Lady Harmaa's guard to the door to her office. Something in the air suddenly got Marko's attention and made a swell of irritability rise up in him. Anger, unwelcome and unbidden, rose up inside of him and swelled into his mind and on his tongue. He had to bite back a snarl that had come out of nowhere as the door was opened and he was brought inside. That irritation only rose higher as he walked in and set eyes on the beautiful woman behind the desk.

Rhubar, or whatever-the-fuck-his-name-was, started to talk in introduction. The world narrowed to just the anger that was swirling inside him and the apparent source of it -- the woman with crystal blue eyes, perfectly soft-looking-hair, a mouth that made him a little dizzy, and perfection in her face.

"I'm Richard Fucking Marko." He said with the snarl that was finally allowed to cut loose, and he stepped past the smaller man and away from the Sapphire Black Widow -- almost inviting ruin -- as he looked into the eye of the source of all of this bullshit.

"Who the fuck are you?" He said with that same growl toward the Lady of the house, his irritability beyond the scope of sense as he hurled an angered challenge that might well cost him his life.


Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Nharkava

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Idariel

    • Posts

      107

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #3 on: Nov 12, 17, 11:30:11 PM »
192: Orissa, the Territory Court of Narkava
Haakon Gunvadsson wasn’t, strictly speaking, on duty. A man of intense loyalty, when Ruugar’s request for a Red came to him, he forced his over-heated body into a Court suit (enchanted to cope with the weather as well as defense, thank the Darkness). His dark blond hair (the very darkness revealing he was not a Glacian Aristo, like his beloved cousin) was slightly tousled. On another man, it would add a vulnerable look; upon Haakon, he merely looked that much more like a man just returning from killing something. He sharply questioned the Guard that had let the stranger take even one step off of the Landing Pad without challenge, but didn’t put him on report. That would be Finn’s pleasure, and Haakon was certain the Master of the Guard would have something special in mind for him.

A swift knock on the door behind which his Queen was hidden resulted in his admittance into her presence. Lady Maarika was silhouetted by the burning, green tinged light of a jungle summer day; her hair was more golden and light than the sun, her skin more pale than the distant clouds. She was made of porcelain and pain, patience and rage.

Haakon’s glacially cool gaze didn’t so much warm, as sharpen, as he blatantly studied her. She was utterly beautifully, and tragically strong. His harsh, wind-roughened “My Lady,” was meant to set her at ease. Instead of the warmer greetings she preferred, a cooly correct bow followed. It often irritated her, his strict adherence to Protocol, but the bow was meant to inform her that he was here as her formal Escort for this current ... visitor. The prince had calculated that it would be harder for her argue with a bow, than a blatant statement. Still, if she crossed to him or beckoned him closer, he’d kiss her hand with an odd mix of tenderness and passion. Even permit her to straighten his hair, if it occurred to her to do so.

With a predator’s lethal grace, he took up his protective stance, between his Queen and the door yet not blocking her view of where their visitor must enter. And if he layered a properly paranoid series Red Shields between her and the door, her and the window, the floor, the roof ... well.

There was no one here likely to take issue with his paranoia.

Lady Maarika Sydän-Harmaa’s husband had made an impression on Haakon during his memorable visit. Haakon longed, deeply, to have a few minutes to speak to Jonothan Harmaa. For his Queen’s sake, could keep himself from killing the Midnight Keeper as punishment for the bitter pain the Warlord provoked in Lady Maarika. Probably, anyway. Assuming the man didn’t kill him, first; a Green Jewel in the hands of a cunning man could slay someone much more darkly Jeweled. Like, say, a certain Tri-Casted Queen. His dark thoughts spurred an icy energy through is body, made his cold, expressionless face into something grim.

A Thread informing him that their ‘guest’ had passed the High Seer’s tests brought him to a more formal, battle-ready stance, and locked his attention upon the door. After months of working together, Haakon and Ruugar’s shields folded around each other so seamlessly that it was likely their guest was unaware of the small bubble of safety he traveled within.

The stranger whose presence had ended Haakon’s brief attempt at walking in the jungle was alien, in every way. His gear was a mix of rural and urbane; Haakon associated leather gear with hunters, or those used to the weather. Yet the fit and styling suggested a more polished origin or purpose. The Warlord didn’t fit into any neat categories, and that bothered Haakon.

The Red Prince displayed his unease with only a deepening of his cold demeanor and expressionless, cool eyes.

Haakon had grown used to how people’s hearts stopped, for a moment, when they first met Lady Maarika. He was accustomed, however, to that admiration of her beauty and innate Charisma to result in calmness, flirtation or joy.

Not rage.

Richard Fucking Marko’s voice and words snarled snarled into the room, seeking confrontation.

looking for a way out.

For about a heart beat, Haakon allowed himself to hope that the rage was that of a foreign Light Jewel for the Glacian Dark Jewels.

but there was no shield to protect either of them, from the Darkness.

The man asked a question to which he already knew the answer; he’d requested this interview; he knew precisely whom he was meeting. And that terrified Haakon, in many ways. Either the man was on a suicide mission, or the Darkness had chosen to complicate their lives once more.

Haakon’s gaze met that of Ruugar’s for a moment, a pained question hidden beneath his impassive, unreadable visage. Almost, Haakon could forgive the rage, the swearing. The man must be utterly terrified.

“Lord Marko.” the name was an icily cold rebuke for the use of such language. If the man swore again, Haakon fully intended to silence him until such time as he could speak civilly. An Aura shield around him would be easily spun.

“It is my honor to present Lady Maarika Sydän-Harmaa, Queen of Narkava.”

Only if Lord Marko managed to look away from Lady Maarika would Haakon introduce Lady Anitra, Lord Rugaar or himself.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #4 on: Nov 13, 17, 03:22:06 PM »
Maarika's Court Seer was reserved, it was true, but she took no effort to drag out the impromptu inspection of the stranger any longer than necessary. She was coolly professional as she studied him in that staring-but-not-staring manner someone got when using Craft as well as sight. She made no comment about any Craft she found about his person. After inspecting the letter he'd brought with him and finding it entirely mundane aside from the Opal lock on it, she returned it to him and gave a short nod to his escort. She remained behind, and Marko was taken to Maarika then in short order.

In the interim, Haakon's arrival at Maarika's office drew the Queen away from the window with a tsk and a sigh.

You're supposed to be relaxing, she chided him, though she did not seem unhappy in the least to see him. As usual, all his internal calculations were for naught. She didn't argue with his bow, but moved forward to embrace him anyway, in spite of it. Formal escort or no, he was still Haakon and she still delighted in seeing him. He likely would've preferred her to stop at allowing him to kiss her knuckles but she was a moody creature of late, and at the moment she didn't feel like yielding to his formality.

She did straighten his hair afterwards, but it was clearly just as much for the sake of touching him further as it was for any aesthetic preference. At his prompting, she'd allow him to retreat to an escort's position, that he might not be distracted by contact between them while she was entertaining an unexpected guest.

Maarika felt his anger before she sensed anything else about the coming guest. It carried heavy, a choking depth to it that made it feel bone-deep and oppressive. Not the frozen knife's-edge of her Warlord Princes, but something more grounded and pervasive. It sang to her in a way that it shouldn't, a way she didn't yet understand. She felt as though the spiritual equivalent of a bully had just stormed into her home and shoved hard at her heart, for no other reason than to try and knock her down... and that was before the doors opened and she was confronted with the man in full.

He looked every bit as angry as he felt. Everything from his clothes to the cant of his face to the scars that scraped their way across it screamed fuck you as clearly as his words did. Maarika was speechless for a beat. Though outwardly she looked as placid as ever, save for the slow rise of one judgmental brow, inwardly she was stunned. She met his eyes (his terrible, painful, angry eyes), and felt that queer sensation of a piece of her soul sliding into place, filling a spot she hadn't know was barren before that moment. For a few breaths, Rugaar and even Haakon faded from her sight, and she and this Richard Fucking Marko were the only souls in the room. Haakon's solid tenor helped to pull her out of that displaced moment, and she found her feet beneath her again and stepped out from behind the desk to approach the warlord.

*He is mine, Haakon,* she whispered against the Prince's mind, though her eyes didn't leave Marko. *You must let him touch me if he wishes. Please trust me.* It was difficult to diagnose the conflicting emotions in her psychic voice; not even she was entirely certain how she felt in that moment. There was some amusement, some novel fascination with how each one of her males came to her in such a different fashion. Several of them had been resistant to the Bond, though none quite so severely enough to curse her before ever hearing her voice. There was hurt, in a tiny sliver, as how could there not be? Much more palpable was the resolve she felt, and the recognition that this was going to be another fight, another dance that would pit determination against fear. There was also uncertainty, and confusion, and excitement and reservation and hope. But it all shifted and blended so much that all she could truly discern was that this was an important moment. Haakon introduced her, but that didn't stop Maarika from answering the man's question more directly and more quietly herself, once she stood before him.

"I am your Queen," she told him in an even and calm timbre, all the regalia of her caste and station in those smooth syllables. Though she was not smiling - could not, in the face of his very evident pain - there was a softness to her bearing that made it seem she wasn't as upset as he. "And you are my Warlord. You're in no danger here, Lord Marko." She extended a hand towards him, though whether she was asking for the message he held or asking for his hand was up to him to guess.





Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #5 on: Nov 13, 17, 03:51:43 PM »
The most beautiful woman in the world stepped up from behind her desk. It was like there was sunlight for hair and crystal water for eyes, held contained by a symmetric face that made Marko's heart stop for a moment. Marko was almost 50 (though he'd live a long, long time more) but he'd never had his heart stop for a woman before. It was eerie and surreal. There was this love-at-first-sight sort of sensation that went through him that was more than just wanting to fuck her. Certainly, she was a hot, hot lady. But his first thought wasn't about how good she'd look naked. It was about why the fuck does this room smell like her blood?

And that thought made him angry. It made him defensive. It made him want to clobber the fuck out of everyone here, and Marko never felt that protective of anyone else besides himself.

So for a moment, as the introductions were made, as the guy with the dark hair, the Red Jewel, the intense stare that told Marko to tread with caution, said her name in full, Marko was silent and struck dumb. When she rose up and spoke, his heart lifted and he was left speechless and almost blind to her beauty. His eyes locked on hers and she offered her hand up to him.

I am your Queen. She said the words, and they were the truest, purest, most wonderful things she'd said. It was like he was standing at the altar and she'd just offered an "I Do" at the end of the ceremony. Or it was his daughter saying her first words and they were "I love you Daddy". It was such a deeply powerful moment that he teared up a little, as much as he would never admit it to another soul in the world for as long as he lived.

Slowly his hand lifted up and he took her offered hand. His were much larger than hers, so his fingers when they closed around the smaller digits easily dwarfed them. Though his hands were rough from being a boxer and a laborer, he handled her like she were a little doll. "..Yeah... yeah you are, I think?" The words felt alien in his mouth and also an honesty he found compelling.

"Wow." He let out a breath of amazement as he looked down at her. "Wow this is... this is wonderful and... wow it's fucked up, too. Maybe."

He turned her hand over and looked down at her fingers. "I smelled your blood on the way in." rumbled softly, letting his thumb gently slide across the single pinprick he found. "Made me want to come in here and kick everyone's asses halfway back to Glacia." He looked up then, over to Haakon and Ruugar and let out a bright laugh. "I wouldn't have lasted two seconds. But.. I felt it. Like.. like I was drowning and needed to breathe, y'know?"

He looked back down to her and a goofy, wide grin dominated his face. "Night this is crazy. I was just sent here to do a job. And this happens. Is... is there a way for people to know beforehand? Like.." He paused and he leaned in very, very close, whispering and hoping people's ears couldn't pick up on it (as he sensed an overt use of Jewels would have gotten him killed right then and there).

"Like.. did you and Jon plan this?"


Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Nharkava

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Idariel

    • Posts

      107

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #6 on: Nov 13, 17, 06:12:27 PM »
192: Orissa, the Territory Court of Narkava

Haakon Gunvadsson had not won this round with Lady Maarika; and yet, she made sure he had not lost. A fierce hug, the more precious because he knew just what risks she faced, eased him as few things could. It was still alien, bitter and beautiful in equal parts, this thing between them. The Wound-in-his-Soul that he would not choose to have mended. A rusty laugh rattled her hair, before he resumed his proper place as Escort.

He knew, now, that she was a Black Widow as well as Queen. But he made a point of not acknowledging that part of her life. The Sacred Queen’s blood which she shed for ritual or knowledge aggravated Haakon, but rarely enraged.

It comforted, oddly enough.

The small, ritual amounts lost bespoke control. Precision. Power. All the things their enemies would strip away.

So it had not occurred to him, to Cleanse the scent before a stranger was brought near. Somehow, the dual nature of his Queen had become so habitually accepted that he had not even thought to rid the room of the scent before Ruggar returned. Or a maid entered. Or ... the stranger.

Bitter rage, inwardly directed, savaged Haakon. That was the sort of carelessness that could cost his Queen her life. He had to stop being distracted, and attend more closely to details. For all he’d served in one Court or another all of his life, he’d taken pains to have more distant service, Courier or Diplomat.

Escort ... was a deadly business. One misstep, and all was lost. His narrow lips thinned to nearly invisible, as he watched the center of his Soul comfort and claim another male.

And Darkness, yes, there was jealousy.

And by Mother Night, fear. Even terror.

But mostly, hope. Both for the way the Wound-in-his-Soul bled Maarika’s sense of wholeness into him, and the thought of one more body to stand between Maarika and death. And by the looks of him, Richard Fucking Marko was a survivor.

He tensed, deeply at war within himself when Maarika told him she needed to touch her new male. But Haakon felt that need. Even more, he remembered.

Ruugar had shown the way, when it had been Haakon’s mindless, unreasoning rage that filled the room. So Haakon remained utterly still, yet poised to lethal response. His body ached, with the sheer effort of will it took to permit her to approach the swearing stranger. Breath burned within, as Haakon balanced deadly, opposed instincts. The Prince clung to Maarika’s mental touch, ripped open the Wound between them as widely as it would go, knowing His Queen would know before he did if violent response was called for.

And still Haakon’s statue-stillness was tested when Richard Fucking Marko took her hand. His pulse raced, and he fought a bitter battle within. The laborer’s hands cradled the Queen’s without harm, to either. No, it was Haakon whose head snapped up and teeth ground when the man mentioned smelling her blood.

Sacred Blood.

The guilt spiral of rage and fear won another round, tearing through the frozen center of Haakon’ soul. Right until Richard glanced around, and laughed.. Joyfully; brightly. Haakon’s gaze sought deeply into the man, hungrily drinking in his unfettered joy. Richard responded the way Maarika deserved to be responded to. The goofy grin, even the way the Warlord leaned close and whispered some shared secret into Maarika’s ear was so alien to the Glacian Prince that Haakon stared openly.

More than most, Haakon knew that Maarika needed joy. And being Haakon, infected by the task set before him by his cousin, he immediately began sizing the man up as a potential husband. He seemed too brightly natured, for Hjoris; perhaps he would do for Magdalena, when they got her here? A hard worker, a survivor, and a man of deep, profound joy. Bonded to her sister. The precious Healer could hardly do better; and this Light Jewel was not hobbled by a lifetime of being told he was less than Dark Jewels.

Briefly, he considered if the lovely and delicate Lady Josefina Saari would be a good match for Richard. Only then, did he realize he fully intended to rescue that brilliant Priestess from her untenable home-life, when they went to claim Lady Magdalena. Probably, he should talk to both Prince Raines and Lady Maarika about that.

It was bizarre, for a man so against marriage and children, to need to be thinking these things. But his Cousin had asked for his aid in finding her a husband, and Haakon would not deny her. That thought, bolstered by Richard’s easy joy, brought one of Haakon’s nearly invisible half-smiles to light.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #7 on: Nov 13, 17, 08:32:03 PM »
Marko took Maarika's offered touch and her pale, slender hand flexed so that it was not merely being held, but holding his in return. He confessed that he "thought" she was his Queen, and a smile lit up Maarika's face, followed by a soft little laugh. It was only part amusement at his uncertainty, and part a release of joy at his acceptance of the bond. He looked properly shocked for a few moments more, and Maarika allowed him the pause and the space to reclaim his bearings. Haakon was a veritable maelstrom of emotions at her back, and she tried to soothe him as best she could via psychic thread and the bond alone. New as her bond with Haakon still felt, though, it was far more mature than the one that was even now still crystallizing before her. Her focus remained primarily on Marko for the time being for that reason.

"...not the most flattering summation of the Queen Bond that I've ever heard," she quipped, with a smirk. "But not the least, either."

She watched him, studying his unfamiliar features while he turned her hand over and spoke of the urges that'd gripped him. There wasn't as much humor in her tone when she gave a soft, "I do know" in response. There might have been a note of regret, some sliver drifting somewhere in the vast sea of sensations that now were open between them. More than merely sensing her psychic scent, Marko would find himself privy to measure of his Queen's mood, her state of being, that was deeper than what he could typically sense in others. "It's okay to take a moment to process," she told him, that little smile returning alongside a sense of warmth and contentment. "It's alot to take in."

Her smile only deepened in response to his grin, though it tempered down to a more thoughtful expression when Marko asked if there was a way to predict a bond. She hadn't quite started to answer when he stepped closer, and whispered to her like a Landen might. She turned her head slightly, not opposed or fearful in the slightest in response to his sudden nearness. Yet the words he whispered forced her to pause. Her expression fell, and she leaned back enough to look him in the face, her features suddenly cast with uncertainty and concern.

"Did... did Jon send you?" she asked, as though she couldn't believe that to be true. It was astonishing, after all, if that was the case. It was an odd moment for Maarika; she could not doubt the veracity of the bond. She was well acquainted with it in various forms, and she knew as surely as she was breathing that the man who towered over her now, his hand dwarfing her own, was hers by writ of the Darkness.

And yet, the fact that he'd come from Jon was... disconcerting... at the same time. She couldn't doubt what she felt, but she doubted Jon entirely.

"No... not that I've ever heard of," she said, in a rare moment of having been pushed off of her stride. Her words were not a stammer, but they were as close to one as anyone had heard from her in quite some time. "There's no way to predict a bond." Her hand flexed once more, softly gripped against Marko's hand, and she righted herself with a breath.

"Come, sit down with me, won't you?" she asked him, gesturing with her free hand to the couch on the far side of the room. "I'd like to speak with you for a bit, if you have time." She thanked Rugaar and dismissed him with a thread, and then gestured towards Haakon.

"This is Prince Haakon Gunvaldsson, my Steward," she introduced. She paused there, suddenly uncertain about whether to betray his bond aloud. She knew he viewed it as a terrible liability sometimes, and no matter how much faith Maarika had in the Darkness-blessed pairings herself, she didn't want to put Haakon any further ill at ease than he already must be. So she left it to him to reveal it if he wished. She also left his presence in the room up to him. He had to know she wanted some time alone with the strange new addition to her males. Yet he'd been just as broadsided by this development as Maarika had been, herself. If he needed to stay to be at ease, then she wouldn't begrudge him that. She wagered that asking him to leave her unattended in the presence of a stranger, bond or no bond, would test the limits of his generosity.

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #8 on: Nov 14, 17, 02:02:18 AM »
"Ah.. Sorry. I'm not much of a poet or anything. All of this is a bit more than what I typically can handle, emotion wise. Like, I've never even had a girlfriend longer than a year or two and.. wow. I just feel like.. like I know you and can trust you. Like as bone deep as the fact that the sky is up and the ground is down. It's unreal." He managed with true astonishment at the feat. Marko was clearly impressed by this thing that was discovered between them, and he shook his head in amazement. "If this is some type of Craft or something, I need to figure out how to do it cause Night, it's strong.

I'm a little surprised. I didn't know Warlords could get bonded. Not that I'm complaining! Just.. didn't know."
He babbled for a bit as she suggested it was a lot to take in, but as the reality of why he was here settled in, it caused him to assess what he'd just said. He looked around at the others in the room, then back to Maarika. But he could trust her, he knew he could!

"Yeah.. uh.. Jonny boy's kind of my boss. He said to keep my mouth shut about why I was coming here and to deliver a message. That he was putting me in your employ, if you'd have it. It's all in the letter I brought, I think. I didn't read it though because he told me it'd probably explode and kill me if I tried." He let out a bark of a deep laugh, seeming amused by that. "Jonny Boy knows me too well, I think.

It's alright I said that, right?"
He added, suddenly uncertain as he looked around at the others. "He didn't tell me you two were related. Are you what, his uh.. his sister? His cousin or something? He just said that you'd know the name I'd give and knew it was important. He didn't give me many other details."

She gestured for him to sit and he hesitated in releasing her hand. Instead he sort of awkwardly lead her there -- though he was a gentle giant about the matter as he took her to the couch and then settled there. Marko was quite a bit bigger than his new Queen, and that difference in size became all the more clear as they sat together.

Her introduction of Haakon wasn't unnoticed, though, and he turned to the brooding man with a wide smile. "Ah. Right! That makes sense." Marko got up then, releasing hold of Maarika long enough to extend a burly hand toward the Red Jeweled Prince. "I'm Marko, Prince. Nice to meet you. Sorry if I am giving you guys all a scare -- but this cloak and dagger shit is pretty second nature to me. I didn't risk anything by coming here."

He turned to Maarika and offered her the letter then, figuring that it was best to get it out now. "This is the message. Your Black Widow said she disarmed it but I didn't peek. He made it clear only you were supposed to see it and then I was supposed to do whatever you told me to do." He shrugged and then moved to sit beside her again if she allowed him.





Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Nharkava

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Idariel

    • Posts

      107

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #9 on: Nov 14, 17, 11:04:38 PM »
192: Orissa, the Territory Court of Narkava

A pale, perfect hand twisted and clasped a rough, workman’s hand. Two souls Bound together, will they or nill they, for the rest of their lives. There ought to be fear. There ought to be wonder, and questions. But the only one who seemed filled with doubt was Haakon himself. His gaze remained fixed, upon that brilliant, terrible clasp of hands. He knew, as the young man likely did not yet realize, that Lady Maarika had become Richard Fucking Marko’s central symbol of home, safety and belonging forevermore.

Haakon waited, for the shock and horror to set itself upon the Warlord. Prepared to Shield one or both of them, or answer questions, if the man had the same intense drive to know and delve every aspect of the Bond as Haakon had. He fought to steady his own emotions, offer support and understanding.

And to a degree, the icy chasm of his soul settled, if only for a moment.

Maarika’s soul reeled; doubt pounded at Haakon, through the Wound-in-his-Soul.

Did ... did Jon send you?

Hell’s fire.

The Prince took a single, deadly smooth step forward, every nerve on edge. His craft swept the area in a damaging, powerful pulse. His mind ranged far, touching on mental presences in a thorough roll call. Lord Jonathan Harmaa had slipped cleanly through their defenses last time; it was entirely possible he was here, somewhere, now. The High Seer could have been a target, or any one of the Guardsmen who’d Escorted this man in to see Maarika. But mostly likely it was Maarika herself who would be wounded by whatever was planned.

Haakon found a growl trying to claw its way out of his throat.

If anyone could compel a Bond, the way to do so would undoubtedly be discovered in Glacia herself. He did not doubt that, for a moment. In fact, he’d accused Maarika of that very thing. But having been fearful of that event, he had done fairly extensive research. Yet once already, Lord Jonothan Harmaa had done the impossible. Had he engineered this?

“I know a Priestess, a powerful one, who can help you determine if the Bond is true. But no matter what Lord Harmaa may have done or decreed, Our Lady would neither violate Mother Night’s role by forcing a Bond, nor could she be fooled by clever Craft.”

Lady Maarika and Lord Marko settled upon a couch; Haakon was quietly amused by the disparity in size, muscle and weight between the two. She seemed a dainty porcelain doll, next to an Olephant.

Rugaar left silently, but Haakon bowed him out formally, all the same. Then Lady Maarika introduced Haakon as My Steward and a touch of warmth soothed through him. For a long time, his gaze remained upon her. That she needed time alone with her new Bonded, he did not doubt. Yet he was troubled; he’d left her alone with her husband only to find her weeping on the floor. And that same clever, deadly man had somehow orchestrated this.

When Lord Marko offered a hand clasp, Haakon honored him by accepting it. His own hard, warrior’s hand held strongly to the huge workman’s hand. His hand clasp was firm, but not punishing. He studied the Richard Fucking Marko carefully; with such size and reach he was likely formidable in a fight. But the Prince was at a loss for how to put him at ease. Severin Raines should be here. He was the one with a gift for words.

The right words.

I yield...

The memory of that moment upon the Landing Pad echoed through Haakon. His harsh, damaged voice shattered the air, an assault upon the senses, as he made his decision. “Well met, Lord Marko. I doubted the Bond. But Our Lady never forced the issue, not once.”

A pause, an a faintly raised eyebrow. A touch of dark humor, likely to go unnoticed.

“You risked everything, Lord Marko; Nharkava is a war zone. Even more so ... you’ve met your Queen. We’ll talk, later, about your cloak and dagger skills.”

and everything you know about Lord Jonothan Harmaa.

His mind brushed over Maarika’s, a silent apology and support.

*Only let me learn about the letter, and I shall guard you from the hallway. I know you need to be alone with him ... but he has taken this too easily, by my measure. The shock and reality has not yet set in.*


Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #10 on: Nov 15, 17, 01:42:27 AM »
Marko looked over to Haakon as he mentioned that he knew a powerful Priestess that could help suss out the truth of the bond. That sounded weird to Marko, and he also felt uneasy at once. The last Powerful Priestess from Glacia he'd met had been Jon's sister, and that had not gone as swimmingly as he'd hoped. Glacians had a weird idea of how to protect people who were important to them. He knew that from experience.

A lot of experience.

So Marko kept his loud mouth shut, save to offer a quiet and warm "Thanks" to Haakon's offer. If this was a bunch of whammy craft then Marko wouldn't have much to say about it. Haakon here had the Red, Ruugar was darker than Marko too. Hell, even the pretty little Queen could flatten him into paste if she had a mind to it. Marko might have been the biggest guy here, but in terms of raw magical power he was the weakest. So he did what he always did when he was outclassed and under-powered:

He smiled, he played the part of the willing servant, he looked at the positives and he made sure that they'd invest into greater dividends later.

"Oh I'm not worried about it, Prince. This is great!" He said exuberantly as he looked back toward His Queen (that was weird to think of her that way, but certainly as truthful as sunrise.) with an equally warm grin. "Best thing that's happened to me in a long time! I mean can you imagine? Warlords don't get Queen Bonds very often. It's super rare, right? And not only do I get a Bond, but it's to.." He turned to Maarika with a wide grin. "Pardon me if this is over the line, Lady.." He turned back to Haakon to finish this thought as he gestured to their mutual Queen. "One super hot Glacian lady. I mean that with the deepest respects, of course." He returned his golden eyes back to Maarika, all charming smiles and quick deference. "Like I said: Not a poet. I'm just a man who speaks plain, and you're fuckin Gorgeous, Lady."

Quickly he pulled free the letter from his jacket and offered it to Maarika. While she sought to open it (it was marked safe, after all), Marko turned back to Haakon. "And you don't have to call me Lord Marko, Prince. Just Marko's fine. You're the highest casted, and pretty much head and shoulders over me in any peckin' order. That's polite of you and all, but I've always been kind of shit at Protocol. I just know to duck my head at the right times."

While Marko smiled and smarmed it up some, Maarika wound find the familiar writing of her errant husband in perfect lines. Jon's writing seemed certain and determined: Professional and cool.

Maarika.

Knowing you, you're not going to sit around Nharkava and do Sif's bidding. I've sent Marko to help you. He's a smuggler and a criminal, but he's loyal if you treat him right. He can help you in ways your Court can't.

It's in our mutual interest that you can get the Nharkavans to support your rule, rather than try to murder you.

Marko knows the routes in and out of Nharkava and knows how to keep out of trouble. He talks a lot, but he's smart. I'm sure you'll find him to be a valuable asset.


The last part of the letter, the words were darker, bolded.

Don't write me back.

I don't want to talk to you.


Take care of yourself.


The letter was unsigned.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #11 on: Nov 15, 17, 11:22:18 AM »
Marko talked about the Bond like it was a gift he'd opened on a Winsol morning, and his sheer delight and amazement in the feat drew a certain kind of warmth from Maarika in response. She would have thought before now that she'd seen just about every reaction there could be to the sudden leashing of one soul to another, but somehow Marko had managed to surprise her.

"It is far more rare," she agreed, when he commented castes. "But you are not the only Warlord in my care. It does happen. And I'm glad it has," she added, her smile deepening appreciatively while her hand squeezed his. She was less effusive for a moment while she processed the introduction of Jon into the matter, and while Marko babbled on about working for him and the letter and greeted Haakon, Maarika tried her best to quell the strangely conflicting, internal reactions that weren't really all that strange, considering that Jon was involved. Always, he was the sharpest of the thorns in her side, yet her very soul yearned to keep hold of him.

Haakon neared, because of course he did. More sensitive to most to the tides of his Queen's moods, he aptly judged how the taint of Jonothan's influence on this matter raised doubt in Maarika's mind. Only her mind, though. Her spirit knew no such doubts, not where Marko was concerned.

"There's no need," she said to Haakon, when he volunteered a Priestess. "At least, not if that offer was for me," she clarified, looking over to the Prince. She looked back up to Marko. "I know a Bond when I feel it," she said, smiling again before she led him / was led to the couch. She reached out to Haakon wordlessly, affirming permission for him to stay for the moment, and soothing his worries with her affection and thankfulness. She was not afraid, truly, but she did appreciate his vigilance and care.

There was already alot for Maarika to unpack here, even before Marko handed her Jon's letter. Even the look of the Warlord was enough to tell her that he wasn't like any of her other males (was that the gold of the long-lived in his eyes?!), but that thought was echoed by the way he'd acknowledged the Bond's power and then immediately thought of wanting to use it on others, to his advantage. Something about that initial response whispered a warning to her, though she withheld judgment for the moment. She chose instead to enjoy the moment, and she laughed and smiled at Marko's compliments, and sat with him and leaned near. She did everything that felt right in order to assure him that he was welcome and his bond with her a thing to celebrate.

And then the letter was in her hands and both Marko and Haakon's voices while they talked faded out a little for a few seconds. Maarika  opened the envelope and was greeted with the trace of scent that was Jon's, both psychic and otherwise. She felt his presence immediately, and only moreso when she opened the note and began to read; she could hear his voice in her head as though narrating the words he'd written. Something tightened in her chest and emotion tried to swell, though not even Maarika could discern whether it was joy or misery. Some strange conglomeration of both, most likely. That was common, where Jon was concerned.

Don't write me back.

She traced the fingertips of one hand over the line, felt the depressions in the paper where he'd made those strokes so much more strongly than the others. She thought she could taste it, the pain and the anger and despair behind those words. She was simultaneously wounded to imagine him in such a state, and overjoyed to sense it. That passion behind those words meant he wasn't as lost as she'd thought.

But it was Jon, and she had to consider that he was still lost to her, and this was all some clever ploy to play on her Bond to him. Maarika didn't believe for a second that the Bond with Marko was false. At most, maybe Jon had known it would happen, through some feat of scrying or luck on the part of a Black Widow near him. Maybe. She would've thought it impossible (and honestly, she still thought it wasn't the case), but it seemed more likely to her than him having fabricated a Bond somehow.

Jon had sent Marko to her, though, and for purposes other than what he'd professed in the letter. Marko had said as much himself, having revealed that Jon had asked him not to divulge his true purpose to her. This was a puzzle, a mystery that was too new to be fully understood by her. She'd have to proceed with care.

Maarika looked to Haakon, and extended the letter to him to read. It was private, yes, but Haakon was not only hers but in her triangle as well. He would understand better than most everything the letter meant - and didn't mean. She was trying very hard to not let herself get carried away with hoping, but she couldn't help it. Even if Jon thought he hated her, she'd take that over him simply being gone in every way he could manage.

"Jon's my husband," she said then, turning her head to look back at Marko. With the letter removed from her free hand, she moved it to cover the hand of his that was holding hers. "We're... estranged. We have been for some time. We are also bound by the Darkness, so ours is... an unusual relationship, to say the least." She paused, considered, and seemed to hesitate out of wariness before meeting Marko's eyes pointedly. Her expression, her bearing, even the psychic scent that subtly wound its way around him at her side, promised that she was not the reason she and Jon were at odds.

"Did he send you here to hurt me, Marko?" She didn't tell him that he could be honest with her. She didn't promise him that he was safe, regardless of his original intent. Not aloud, at least. She made those promises to him, but she did it by feeding those truths through the connection between them. She was the wounded party here, she seemed to be showing him, and was just trying to gauge whether her errant husband was launching an attack against which she'd need to defend.


Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #12 on: Nov 15, 17, 11:47:51 AM »
"Oh? Good!" Marko replied with great cheer to her remark he wasn't alone as the lowest-casted in her ranks. "You must have a fuckin gaggle; bound or not bound. This place is huge. Glacia really pulled out all the stops in setting up shop right here." He let out another laugh, seeming deeply amused. "No offense -- if you're really here for Glacia and all. But Jonny boy said you weren't. Just like.. assigned here, or somethin."

Marko was about to jest and joke around some more, but he sensed through the new Bond (how strange that he could just instrinsically know her mood) that Maarika was going through a swirl of emotions. Hurt, concern, determination, hope. Huh.

See, Marko was just a Summer Sky Warlord. He wasn't a threat to Maarika Sydan-Harmaa or her Red Jeweled Prince. Both of them were powerful Glacians, trained from a young age to be the best at what they did. He couldn't hope to hurt them. But Marko had ran circles around Glacian nobility before. Jonny boy's sister might have gotten him under her thumb at the moment, but there was an opportunity here and Marko never avoided an opportunity.

She just shy of pouted as she moved to focus her full attention and her precarious predicament on him. He opened his eyes wide, surprised, and whispered an astonished. "Oh!" when she said that Jonny Boy and her were husband and wife, and that they were in a bad way. She made it clear without saying she was the injured party.

Fuckin Glacian Queen with the Opal, a whole Court of people, ruling a whole Territory. Yeah. Right!

Marko, for all of his smiles and his cheer and his seemingly plain acts, was exceptionally good at crafting the right face, the right tone, the right words to fit the situation. It wasn't all craft, though. A lot had to do with sensing the mood and the wants of others and then reflecting that in himself. He was a scarred portrait to be painted on and to become what was needed.

So he looked shocked at her suggestion that she was there to mean her harm. It looked like she had wounded him a bit just at the thought. He quickly seemed to panic as he turned to Haakon; as the mere suggestion ought to throw the Red Prince into an uproar (for surely, it would have Marko if their positions were reversed!). "Whoa, whoah. No!"

Quickly, he pulled her hand up to lay a kiss on her knuckles, and his attention turned back to her with burnished gold in his gaze. "No, Lady, listen to me. First of all -- that would be suicide. And second, he doesn't want me to hurt you. Honest. Jonny sent me to help you." And now..

Now Marko plyed why he had always been able to survive these situations: The intuition of knowing when it was okay to betray a person's trust, and when not to.

"And spy on you. Jonny Boy's got a plan to fuck Glacia proper, I think. It makes sense, given everything that's goin on. He wants to team up, I think. Or at least -- that's what I had figured when I was coming here.

I didn't know you two were married, though. He'd never even said, that rat!"
He shook his head, anger clear in his mien at the apparent betrayal of both Marko and his new Queen. "But no, never hurt you. He told me straight up to do whatever you wanted and to be as helpful as I could, just to keep stuff about him and LT to myself."

Ah, but why just stop there when he could be helpful to his new Queen?

And maybe get some more information, himself.

"So.. you and Jonny are married, right. Both in Glacia?" He added slowly, then moved to the true interest point as he spoke. "Do you know who Lord Black is, then?"


Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Nharkava

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Idariel

    • Posts

      107

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #13 on: Nov 15, 17, 05:03:56 PM »
192: Orissa, the Territory Court of Narkava

Haakon was off balance, though not obviously so. The odd juxtaposition of Lord Harmaa’s involvement and Lord Markos open jubilance left Haakon on edge. It was like he could sense an opponent, but could not localize him enough for an attack, nor even to prepare a strategy. Haakon’s polite smile of interest fell back into utter expressionlessness as the Warlord kept talking. He talked of how beautiful Lady Maarika was, but in a way that somehow failed to grasp the greater things that Maarika held within herself. As if she were only beautiful. It was disrespectful. Though Haakon couldn’t prevent a sharp look meant to check further swearing in the Queen’s presence, he didn’t otherwise correct her new Bonded. Lady Maarika Sydän-Harmaa was fully capable of guiding him herself. She’d see to his deportment, if it bothered her. And it might not; Haakon knew himself to be a touch too formal for her tastes; mayhap, the Warlord’s open exuberance pleased her.

“If you know when to duck, then your skill at Protocol will suffice, Lord Marko. Protocol is all about navigating our instincts. As for etiquette ... that’s a matter of survival in Glacia, though apparently it is less life-or-death here in Nharkava.”

The Prince paused, curious. “You served in the military, somewhere? I’ve not seen the usage of a single surname, sans title, for public address save in those circles.” The two men looked to Maarika in tandem, as her emotions tormented her. That single moment, alone, declared the relationship of Blood Brothers between them.

Maarika’s emotions clawed into her, hope and fear spiraling to a disturbing degree. Haakon’s own spirits fell in tandem as her rose; he didn’t see any way for this to go well for his Queen. Her anxiety and hope spiked as she caressed the letter in her hands, before handing it to Haakon.

And what Haakon read there, was hurt.

Haakon still had no notion, whatsoever, of why Jonothan was furious with Maarika. She’d not banished him, nor burnt down his estate. She’d not dared to search for him, because if she had found him, ipso facto, Lady Elisif Brenden would find him too.

No, the rage and hurt between them had less to do with how the Mad Queen had burned down two entire Courts to appease her own ego, than with them. It went far beyond the current moment, it’s roots in their shared, bitter past.

The key point of the letter, was the if you treat him right. How did one treat a smuggler and a criminal right? A riddle hidden inside the puzzle Lord Harmaa had set them. Haakon looked to the golden eyed Warlord, pondering just what it all meant. It was less unsettling to think of that, then of the fact that the furious Lord Harmaa knew his wife well enough to predict her rebellion.

Which meant Lord Harmaa anticipated how she’d react to the pain-filled rejection at the end of the letter.

“You and Lord Harmaa know a lot about Nvharkah, Marko?”

Maarika’s emotions wound tighter and tighter as hope set its destructive tendrils into her. 

Which meant he would have to say what Maarika didn’t want to think. But he waited; let her speak of her marriage, say what she could to his new Blood Brother. But then she said the thing that set his pulse racing, that urged Haakon to lung towards them, ready to place himself bodily between them.

But first and foremost, Haakon had always been a man of intellect and control. So though his eyes narrowed and Craft wrapped, skin tight, around Maarika, Haakon had not moved when Marko turned to face him.

Hurt, fear and denial was broadcast so openly in the Warlord’s face, if not his Psychic scent, that he seemed almost a man in a play. Had Haakon not spent these last months in Nharkava, he’d have been convinced that the very clarity and openness of the emotions meant they were false.

Haakon nodded, a faint, ice-blade smile appearing on his otherwise impassive visage. Dark, bitter humor raced through him; Jonas, Finn or Severin would likely have half killed the man for the mere suggestion he meant Maarika harm. The man’s response had been perfect, Protocol wise. The Prince’s harsh, damaged voice intruded into the room. “Your Protocol, Marko, is excellent.” he let that sit between them, for a moment, his gaze locked upon his target.

Richard Fucking Marko was the key; the key to understanding Jonothan Harmaa and thus repairing this gaping wound between the man and his wife. For all Haakon spoke and moved with apparent clam, he ached for violence. The need to ease his Queens’ wounds chilled his soul and punished his body. But no; words were needed, not action. His control was pushed to his limits when the instrument of her pain kissed her knuckles, but Haakon already knew how she felt about him interfering in such things.

Marko insisted, again, that he was here to help. But the mere fact that the man referred to Lord Harmaa, over and over, as Jonny boy suggested the Warlord did not know Jonothan Harmaa as well as he thought he did. The news that Jonothan had a plan to ‘fuck Glacia over proper’ sat ill with Haakon. Haakon wanted change; he wanted certain people removed forever from the political landscape.

But Haakon didn’t want another Court exploded, the very rocks melting. He didn’t want countless deaths, or full scale war. He didn’t trust Jonothan Harmaa to share such restraint.

“I know Jonothan sent you here to hurt Lady Maarika, not to kill her. The Midnight. Summit would have done that himself, had her death been his goal.”

Haakon handed the letter back to Maarika; she was sentimental, about such things, and would likely keep it. His voice gentled, such as it was possible for him to so. “I expect, Lady Maarika, that Jon also sent Marko here to help.”

“Jonothan Harmaa does not seem a man of simple motivations, to me. But whatever his intent, it is not truly safe for Lord Harmaa to return to your side, my lady. Not yet. Those who hunt him yet remain in power.”

He turned his attention back to Marko, and replied calmly, “I know of no Black family in Glacia.”

It was likely the last time he’d be clam for a long time, should Marko care to explain


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #14 on: Nov 17, 17, 10:24:26 AM »
Marko crowed about the 'gaggle' of men Maarika must have and the size of the palace at Orissa, and Maarika responded at first with a wordlessly doubtful expression, as though she wasn't sure just how to react. There was nothing about her transition to this place that felt celebratory, but she reminded herself that Marko had no reason to know that. He didn't seem to be of a Nharkavan persuasion in any sense, and she couldn't imagine him in Glacia any more easily. Not with that mouth, at least, and how easily he referred to the possibility of Maarika's court being here for any purpose other than "for Glacia".

She hadn't decided how to respond before the conversation moved on without her. The two men greeted each other while her attention sank to the letter from Jon and what it might mean. Marko declared that he had no intentions of trying to harm her, and she seemed to accept his assurances easily enough. His kiss at her knuckles won a small smile, though she didn't interrupt him when he went on to talk about why Jon had really sent him. She reached back across her bond with Haakon, trying to wordlessly assure him that she was unbothered and unharmed. The news that Jon wanted to assault Glacia wasn't a surprise; he was an angry man, and hated Sif as much as anyone else did. The news that he had a plan to do so was a little more disconcerting.

"LT? You're from Little Terreille, then?" she asked, holding onto that fact for a moment with some satisfaction. It made sense for Jon to be there. She knew he'd had some business there in the past, though had no idea to what extent. She only knew that he loathed Nharkava and he would have been daft to remain in Glacia. Haakon handed her back the letter and she looked it over one more time before vanishing it.

"Lord Harmaa returning to my side is not a matter at question, just now," she said, the slightest edge to her tone, indicating it wasn't a topic up for public debate. As if anyone could dictate to her whether she invited one of hers to her side or not! She told herself that Haakon meant well, that he was right anyway, and that Jon didn't deserve her indignant response. "The questions of the moment concern Lord Marko," she said, re-centering her focus on the man at her side. "But this means you'll stay here, doesn't it? At least for a while? I want a chance to spend some time with you," she told him, both hands settling once more on his.

She nodded at Marko's confirming question about having married Jon in Glacia. Before she could counter with a question of her own, though, Marko asked another that stopped her. Half-heard rumors of a Black Jewel having surfaced in Little Terreille over the past year tugged at her.

As did the recent confirmation that Jon was in Little Terreille.

And his mysterious entry and exist from the heavily-guarded Orissa estate.

Maarika's heart chilled, a little.

"Lord Black?" she repeated, bending the name into a careful question.

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #15 on: Nov 17, 17, 04:15:51 PM »
"Me and Jonny? Oh, yeah! We've ran smugglin out of Nhark for years now. Moved Light Jewels in and out of the T for close to a decade, I think. I helped Jonny's sister get situated when he took her over. And I helped get him set up in Goth years back. Know a lot of the routes and the right people to talk to in order to move things." He paused to turn to Maarika, checking on her reaction of this abundance of information he gave her. "That's why Jonny sent me here. He figured you could use a guy who knew the backstreets. Lots of stuff gets moved above and below channel, right? Best way to hedge every bet is just tax both, rather than try to move one to the other. Least that's what we found over the years."

Haakon asserted that Marko had come to hurt Maarika and it was clear that such a comment instantly instilled deep resentment in the scarred man. "Hey, now. Nobody sent me to hurt anybody, least of all her. Jonny made it real clear he wanted me to help. Yeah -- he wanted information back, but that's what we do. When we hurt people we don't get wishy washy about it. When we help people we do it right." He turned to Maarika, looking at her more fully, his expression one of earnestness. "Honest, Lady. You can count on me. I was going to try to be here for a while before, but I'm definitely in for the long haul now.

I got a lotta livin left, if I got anythin' to say about it. You can count on me to be around as long as you need, eh?"


Marko's thumb slid along Maarika's fingers and her knuckles, finding reassurance in her touch. He sensed some trepidation as she seemed to gather what he was talking about, concerning Little Terrille and Lord Black. As there was a note of coldness -- fear? -- he frowned as he sensed he had caused uncertainty in his newly found Queen.

"Oh. Shit. You didn't know either, huh? Fuck. I'm sorry. It's nothing to be worried about, right? Jonny's obviously got nothin' against you if he sent me to help, right?" Marko had clearly not read the letter and did not understand the intricacies of their relationship.

"Lord Black." He said again, turning to Haakon to explain. "As in.. A Warlord with a Black Jewel. Nobody's seen his face, but he and Jonny Boy destroyed Logain Morr's court. Burnt it to ashes. Then they took over the Territory. Jonny's Steward of Little Terreille -- like the Territory Court. They appointed a new Queen and then destroyed the nastiest Gang in Goth to show they mean fuckin' business.

Got everyone in line quick, too. Yeah, Amerys is Queen of LT but everyone knows it's Lord Black's show. Those closer to the court say Jonny runs the show, that what he says goes."


Marko turned back to Maarika, concern clear on his scarred face. "You don't know who he is? Everyone figures the guy came from Glacia with Jonny. There a Black in Glacia, or a Red Birthright you guys know about?"

He added, softer, more uncertain. "Jon don't really have a Black, does he?" There was, perhaps, just the slightest twinge of fear in his words.


Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • prince
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Nharkava

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Idariel

    • Posts

      107

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #16 on: Nov 19, 17, 09:18:22 PM »
192: Orissa, the Territory Court of Narkava

Haakon Gunvaldsson bowed, a deadly and practiced movement perfectly tailored to express both acceptance of his Queen’s priorities, and an apology. Too Haakon, the two topics - Marko and Harmaa - seemed inextricably linked. He let his bow say it all, as his Queen navigated both her invitation for her husband’s spy to remain indefinitely, and the fact that apparently Marko was an accomplished smuggler.

Thoughts of Lady Magdalena must come to mind.

Marko seemed genuinely aggrieved as Haakon, but Haakon only met his gaze steadily. Marko thought Haakon was suggesting direct violence, rather than subtle trap; indeed, the Warlord’s  reply suggested that the man had very little notion of the nature of the icy crevice Jonothan had dropped him into. But Haakon would be there, to pick up the pieces when Marko hit bottom; Maarika would need him to. The Prince studied the Warlord closely for several seconds. The conversation moved on before Haakon had fully picked apart what about Marko’s reply bothered him so.

We. He used ‘we’ too much.

That’s what we do..

We hurt people.

We help people.

Who was ‘we’?

Were he and Lord Harmaa that close, or was he part of a larger organization the missing Warlord had organized? Haakon was so focused upon those thought’s that it took a moment or two before the meaning of ‘Lord Black’ hit him.

Teeth clenched, he found himself reflexively tracing genealogies in his mind, looking for possible Red Jewels who might Just have completed an Offering. Because clearly, if Jonothan had had a trained Black at the time, he’d not have needed to run, not just then. He could have ambushed his enemies one at a time. Haakon would give Jonothan a better than even chance of assassinating Lady Brenden with his Green.

If Jonothan Harmaa had a Black as an accomplice now ... were they all saved, or forsaken?

Haakon’s harsh voice shattered the small, stunned silence that had taken the room.

“Jonothan Harmaa is a Purple Dusk to Green Warlord.” Haakon had only met the clever Warlord once, yet he’d never forget it.

And was unlikely to forgive it.

Silently, Haakon’s rough fingers reached out for a faint, gentle touch to Maarika’s shoulder; meant perhaps to comfort, or protect or a silent promise that Haakon and every man on this Estate would die for her, no matter who came after her. It was reverent, rather than sensual, as hope and fear renewed their bitter battle for his soul.

A Black Jeweled friend would explain so very much about the devastating meeting Jonothan and Maarika.

Quiet, and intense, Haakon’s gaze settled upon Jonothan’s ... what? Friend? Employee? A man who had helped rescue Jonothan’s sister, anyway. The term ‘Enforcer’ came to mind.

“I know of no Red Birthright in Glacia, Marko. Such a child would either be promptly hidden, or forcibly removed to the Territory Court.” He held up a hand briefly, expecting protest. “The Queen is Grey, her entire Triangle is Ebon grey. They could challenge or control even a Black, if they worked together.”

Despair won the upper hand, curdling his stomach.

The extreme under reaction to the news; the way Maarika’s heart chilled and Haakon’s demeanor turned the least bit bleak might tell a perceptive man that it was not unfettered good news, that Jonothan had such a powerful ally.

“My Lady, there are security concerns I should see to.”

*With your permission, Maarika, I will inform Klaus, Finn, Severin and Rugaar about this. We have to rethink our contingency planning.*

From fighting to fleeing. They could not take a stand against a Black.

“Marko, I ask to meet with you when Lady Maarika releases you. We can discuss your ideal place in the Court, and how best to protect Lady Maarika in the current environment.”

‘Estate Security’ was feeling more and more like a crumpled dream, than a hope to aspire to. Haakon’s gut hurt; his jaw had gone from aching to numb in the course of this meeting. Yet touching his Queen, however faintly, could not but echo into Haakon the wholeness it brought her, to have Marko here. The deadly, trap-filled hope of Jonothan, that was meant to distract her.

A faint, quiet joy forced it’s way past his fear, and brushed Maarika’s mind even as Haakon’s fingers dropped away from her shoulder.

*I rejoice with you, that Mother Night has given another soul into your keeping, my Lady.*

If no one stopped him, Haakon would bow gravely and exit the room.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #17 on: Nov 21, 17, 09:54:11 AM »
Svea, Maarika thought, while she listened to Marko's claim that Jon had been smuggling people out of Glacia for nearly a decade. She knew he'd been involved; he'd told her as much himself when he'd offered to help get Magdalena out. Still, if what Marko said was true, Jonothan had been moving people out of Glacia long before Svea left. She wondered for a moment if she might have misjudged some aspect of Jonothan. Was it possible he'd been more selfless than she'd thought? But she'd no sooner had the thought than dismissed it. No, if Jon had been working with the Underground it was because he'd seen a personal benefit in doing so despite the tremendous risk it posed to him and his family. He wasn't as heartless as he probably wished, but he was certainly no bleeding heart, either. Marko's comment about taxing things above and below the board settled that for her. For as much as he'd claimed to have hated Nharkava, he'd certainly made the most of his time here, hadn't he? Maarika would've been amused, had there not been so much else going on to steal her attention.

...like the revelation that Jon likely had a pet Black Jewel who'd helped him take over Little Terreille.

Maarika was quiet for a beat. Stunned, really, and silently working through what it would mean if what Marko was saying was true. She only vaguely heard Haakon assure Marko of Jon's Jewels, and forced herself to tune back in despite the portent that was licking at the farthest corners of her mind's eye. She wanted to go back to her webs, but it would have to wait. It was more important to stay for the moment and help Marko and herself adjust to the new Bond between them.

"Even if they weren't," she said, shaking her head gently to Haakon's point. He had such a severe outlook on things. While the scenario he painted was surely a possibility, she imagined a good deal less force would've been required to apprentice a young Red Jewel to those in Vaasa. "It's unlikely a Birthright like that would have remained hidden in Glacia. Even if the attending parents had wanted to hide it for some reason - which is also unlikely, given how much prestige such a thing would've brought their family - the Priestesshood is meticulous about their records. If Lady Brenden had a Red Birthright at her side, we'd know it."

Maarika's eyes lifted and she turned, looking up to Haakon when he suggested he needed to leave to see to security matters. She reached up to cover his hand at her shoulder with her own, and she fed her Touch into him in an attempt to counter the terror which was coiling within him.

*He won't hurt me, Haakon,* she assured him, with a newfound confidence. *Even if Jonothan could bring himself to do it, he'll be looking for an alliance for when he tries to take on Glacia. If he could bring himself to do it, I am certain he would have done it while he had a Black Jewel on these very grounds. Jonothan's not to be taken lightly, but if his ultimate aim was to harm me, he would have done so already. I need your trust in this, my Haakon.*

Outwardly, however, she only nodded at his mention of leaving. The whisper of joy Haakon shared with her on her behalf touched her deeply, and she let that appreciation warm the link between them. Affection coiled around him and tried to soothe him, but she did not stop him from leaving the room.

Once they were alone, Maarika turned her attention back to Marko. She started to speak, but stopped herself, and eyed him doubtfully, with narrowed eyes but a lightly probing expression.

"I... want a drink, I think," she admitted, a tremendous understatement for the heaviness of all that Marko had made known. "Would you like one?"

The crooked smile that crept onto her lips suggested that she knew damn well it was too early for drinking to be absolutely proper. She didn't particularly care. She'd just been given a new Bond and found out her estranged husband was ruling the neighboring Territory with a Black at his side. She was damn well going to have a drink, whether Marko indulged with her or not. She released him only to go and retrieve said drink(s) from the small cabinet on one side of the office.

"This room is warded against eavesdropping and scrying," she told him, having long ago relented to such in the face of Haakon's rabid paranoia. "The windows are warded against people looking in from outside. An Ebon Gray or Black could surely break through those protections, but the odds of them failing without our Seer being aware of the breach are low. We can speak freely here, but elsewhere in the estate you'll need to be extremely careful about speaking of the Underground or Jonothan out loud. We have representatives from Elisif's court here,
 undoubtedly returning to her any information of interest. As far as I know, Elisif and her people - and most everyone else as well, for that matter - are entirely unaware that I have any sympathies that are not entirely patriotic, and I'd like to keep it that way."


If Marko wanted a drink she'd return to where he sat and offer it to him, and if not she'd cross the room anyway to stand before him as she continued, her own drink in hand.

"Speaking of patriotism, Anitra has informed me that you've been ringed, despite you very clearly not being Glacian." New as the Bond with Marko was, a flame of irritation flared up within her at the thought of someone else considering him theirs. He was not, and if Maarika had to see Blood spilled to see him released from that device, so be it. "To whom will I be speaking to have that corrected?"





   

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #18 on: Nov 21, 17, 01:55:41 PM »
Marko didn't talk while Maarika and Haakon went back and forth about Red Jewels and status and Glacian political bullshit that he understood, he just didn't care about. Glacians were a cold lot that liked to stroke themselves off about how awesome their Jewels were, but Marko had always been lighter than the least important Glacian noble, so he'd always seen their society through a lens of contempt. Even now he had to resist the urge to roll his eyes as Haakon seemed to freak out about the idea that Jonny Boy had a Black Jewel in his pocket. If he wanted to kill you fucks he woulda done it. He thought, as he considered of Morr's Court and the like. It seemed backward to send Marko on some sort of stealth subversion mission if you were just going to blow everyone up anyway.

Still, he smiled warmly toward the Red Jeweled Prince who offered a discussion of his 'place' in Court, even though he figured he was better off squaring that away with Maarika first. "Sure, that sounds good man. Maybe I can acquaint you with a good watering hole here. Bet you could use a tour guide." He winked toward the more powerful man, his bearing easy and relaxed as Haakon detached himself from the discussion and left him alone with their mutual Queen.

It was an odd thing still, to consider this stranger as someone he was intrinsically tied to and felt he could trust. Trust didn't come easily to Marko, but when someone had it they had it as far as deeply as he could afford. He had concerns about Jonny for a second when he first felt the Bond, but once he realized it was Maarika that was the source, that questioning of his friend's motives faded. No, Jonny hadn't set him up. If anything, Jonny had done something amazing for him.

And Marko had betrayed him. Just a little, but he had.

"Uh, yeah I'd love a drink." He replied with a grin as Maarika got up. He took his time watching her, appreciating the curve of her backside, her hips, the way her face looked when she smiled. He could definitely get used to seeing her on a more consistent basis. The one things that Glacian women had going for them is that they looked good.

Plus, Maarika didn't seem as much of a cold bitch as the others he'd ran into.

Maarika returned with a glass and he gladly accepted it. Marko drank slowly of the liquor she'd gifted him, his golden eyes looking her over with the appreciation of a man who saw a very, very fine woman and was conveying he liked what he saw without saying it aloud. He let out a slow hiss of heat and an 'Mm' as his eyes slid closed and he nodded in deep approval of her choice of booze.

Another point to Nharkava's new Queen.

He opened his eyes and sipped again, looking up at her as she hovered above him like both potential executioner and guardian angel. Her question didn't cause him pause or to stutter -- he figured that the cute little Black Widow had found out real quick about his new personal jewelry. That Maarika had some indignation about that and talked about correcting it gave him a swell of not only hope, but pride and reaffirmed loyalty to her.

Yeah. He got lucky on this one.

"Ah..." He slowly brought a finger up to scratch along the long scar that ran down the side of his face. "That's a mite bit embarassing." He cleared his throat, the finger trailing up and down along the scar. "Surprisingly, not the cock ring in and of itself -- cause, y'know, I'm open minded but..."

He looked up after having turned his eyes away, his eyes directly onto Maarika's own paler gaze. "The ring belongs to Jonny's sister. Reija. She and her gimp, Einar, nabbed me on my way here."


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #19 on: Nov 22, 17, 08:18:08 PM »
Marko hesitated before answering, and Maarika sank down to sit on the couch beside him, her body turned towards him. She watched him, both cataloging the look of him and his little ticks and tells, and letting her deeper senses spread out into the bond between them in an attempt to "see" more of him. It would've been easy to have let herself get distracted by the revelations about Jon, but it almost felt as though she needed a ration of time alone just to process everything she'd learned in that regard. She could do that later, when Marko wasn't in front of her. He was here now, and the first moments of a new Bond were important; she knew that from experience. Maarika set the topic of Jon aside, mentally, and focused on learning as much about Marko as she could.

He answered her at last, and Maarika's eyes widened slightly. She couldn't have been more surprised if he'd said Elisif herself held the ring to his device.

"I'm sorry..." she said, closing her eyes for a beat. She seemed to reset herself, as though she thought she'd simply misheard him. When her eyes opened again shortly after and found him once more, they were muddled by equal measures of doubt and... something else. Something quietly furious.

"Reija Harmaa put an Obedience Ring on you?" She looked away, her jaw subtly tightened. She shook her head, then tipped back a swallow of her drink, and refrained from voicing whatever thoughts were causing that angry tension in her form.

"Explain what happened, please," she said, intentionally softening her voice to make it clear that Marko himself was not the cause of her anger. She looked back to him, and made herself sit back further in her seat, a facsimile of relaxing. "I assume it was business for Jonothan that took you into Glacia?"


Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #20 on: Nov 23, 17, 02:37:43 PM »
This ice blonde, beautiful creature that had made Marko the center of her focus was making the liar and smuggler feel things he'd never quite felt before. She was a stranger to him, someone new and bizarre in some way. He felt a very strong sensation of calm that washed through him while he was in her presence. It wasn't that Marko was unsettled or a tempest of a man, but on the opposite side of that point he was never a zen and truly happy person. He could laugh and he could enjoy aspects of life, but true joy was a rarity in him. He could feel accomplishment at times, mostly when he'd done something clever, but Maarika sat next to him and the mere fact she was in the room with him made him feel better.

He felt that he could trust Maarika, when trust was something rarely won and honesty evern rarer.

He felt the want to do right by Maarika; to protect her and to treat her fairly and kindly, when he knew it was a dog-eat-dog world and that sometimes you had to fuck over even your friends to get ahead.

The Queen Bond was a trippy, strange thing, but it felt so natural that Marko didn't resist it's call. She wasn't no damsel in distress, he knew that, but he also felt that as much as he wanted to protect her, he could almost taste the protectiveness that came from her over him.

He sat there quiet, contemplating the ramifications of what would happen if he told her the truth. Not the whole truth, of course, but the truth of why he was wearing a ring around his cock.

"Yeah. Reija. You know her, I take it?" He asked, not knowing all of the connections between Maarika and Jonny Boy (who had kept him in the dark).

She asked for an explanation, and he felt himself on that ledge. Did he stay back where it was safe or did he take the plunge and go with the gut instinct that she'd catch him?

"I..." He began, trailed off, then looked up to her eyes after he had let his gaze fall askance. "Had worked with her before. To sell her info on where Jonny Boy was. Jonny had no business with his sister. I knew about her from reputation and that she was doing business in Nhark around the same time I was.

Jonny pays me good, but I got parents who are in a bad way. So sometimes I need extra. There's only so many jobs you can do in LT before you step on other people's turf. So I outsourced. Got some good money for helping her figure out where Jonny was. She had an axe to grind.

And..."
Marko quieted for a beat as pieces of a puzzle had aligned himself in his head. There was a silence there where Maarika could have spoken, but it was clear he wasn't done. If she didn't speak the quiet dragged on for a few moments as Marko's eyes faltered, went to his drink, and considered just what it was that had pushed everything together.

"You were supposed to have been at Kerava, right?" He turned to look at her, then. "His wife. He told me he was from there. That his house was there. By the sounds they put a hit on you, or something right? Maybe he thought you were dead, but something changed. He had changed from the guy I knew, years back when we were smuggling and doin work together. Colder. Jonny always could be cold when cuttin throats were needed, but not like this.

Was like someone took out all the joy in him, y'know? No more smiles. No more jokes. Just business. He was like every other Glacian asshole with a Dark Jewel. No offense, but I think you know what I mean."


He cupped the glass with both hands as if it were an anchor for the storm he was throwing himself into. The dive had been started, he just wasn't sure if he'd hit the bottom.

"So I hedged my bets. I think it went sideways, but Jonny don't know. Reija had someone keep tabs on me, so on my way out she and Einar grabbed me, held me down and put a ring on me to make sure I knew who I belonged to. She said I had potential."

Marko paused to purse his lips, to consider what to say next. He knew it was a precarious position he was in. He settled his gaze back up from the liquor and unto Maarika, his manner serious in all forms. "I'm not a hero, Lady. There's a reason Jonny knew I'd be good help to you in doing shade in Nhark. But my heart's in the right place, y'know?

I do what I gotta do, sometimes. It ain't pretty, but it's goin to the right place."


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #21 on: Nov 24, 17, 09:01:31 AM »
"We've met," Maarika replied, rather than suggesting she really knew Reija. They'd met a few times at functions, but in truth, the two had never really had a real conversation. Before today, Maarika likely would've disliked Reija just because she was a Glacian Priestess who supported the collar rule. Now, of course, she had an entirely new catalog of reasons to dislike the woman. It didn't matter that Reija couldn't have known that Richard Marko belonged to Maarika. He did even if Marko himself hadn't known it, and someone else trying to lord themselves over his life pricked at Maarika's temper.

Maarika was quiet then for the duration of Marko's explanation. She rested easily in that quiet where he deliberated on how much to tell her, and when he paused to figured out how everyone involved was connected. She was attentive, and interested in what he had to say, but there was no impatience in the way she watched him while she waited. Only when his eyes fell to his drink did she interject at all, and that was only to reach a hand to clasp lightly at his wrist. Not to hold it in place, but just to touch him. To comfort him, even if he hadn't learned all the ways she could do so, yet.

He asked her if she'd been meant to be at Kerava when it fell, but he didn't stop there to hear an answer. So she merely nodded gently for the moment, allowing that there was some connection there, even if he didn't have it entirely accurate. The gist of it was that Jonothan had thought her dead, which was enough to explain the changes Marko had seen in him.

There was too much to unpack in everything Marko told her before he stopped. Maarika sipped at her drink and considered it all. That he'd sold Jon out to Reija was no small thing, and coupled with the recounting of how Maarika's "death" had changed Jon, she felt something dangerously close to sympathy for her errant husband, for a moment. That Marko had parents that he cared for, parents who were "in a bad way" was something that kept demanding attention in the back of her mind. It was squelched by the growing irritation with Reija, though, especially when Marko spoke again of having been held down while that ghastly device had been put on him. Who in the sweet Abyss did that woman think she was?

But even that line of thought, gripping as it was, was set aside for the moment once Marko turned his eyes back towards Maarika and confessed to not being a hero. Her thumb brushed over his knuckles and her hand squeezed his wrist gently, and Maarika smiled a sly little smile at him.

"There are no heroes here, Marko," she assured him quietly, her tone lined with a mildly dark sense of humor.  She paused, as though something had occurred to her, and her eyes slid aside as she pondered whatever it was, for a beat. "Well, maybe Jonas," she amended, with a blooming smile that paused behind her glass before she took a sip. "But you know what they say. It takes all kinds." She tipped back another sip of her drink and then leaned towards the coffee table before her to set it down. When she righted herself again, she set her second hand to join its mate in resting on Marko's arm. Her fingertips were chilled from the ice in her glass, but they warmed quickly to match his skin.

"We were paired by writ of the Darkness, Marko. Whoever you are, hero or villain or neither or both, I need you in my life. And you need me. That doesn't mean we have to agree on everything, or that you need to be here one second more than you want to. The Bond is not going to magically make a relationship between two strangers perfect. But it has made it so our fates are tied. It tends to force trust, because of that shared fate. Can you feel it yet?" she asked, reaching for that ethereal connection between them. She pushed the sense of her satisfaction towards him, though she couldn't do so without also sharing the slivers of concern and upset that she'd compartmentalized off for later inspection. How broad or detailed the strokes of that picture would be depended on the unique nature of the Bond between them, but she thought he ought to at least be able to ken a vague sense of contentment from her.

"...that link? If you were in despair right now, I'd feel it. And you would mine. Even if I had no other motivation to want you to be happy, it would be self-serving to help you be so. Hurting you would only hurt myself. So..."

She sighed and sat back, smiling even as she released his arm back into his own care. "We're partners, in a sense, at the very least. You don't have to tell me that your heart's in the right place. I'd suss it out eventually. Just like you'll eventually figure out by experience that my heart may not always be in the right place, but I'm still a good Queen. I'm not looking for perfection in those the Darkness has given into my care. I hope to eventually have honesty, but I know it can take time before that feels natural. You'll just... have to hang around for a bit and see for yourself," she said, that gamine little smile returning. She leaned to pick up her drink once more, and sipped from it as she sat back.

"Will you tell me about your parents?" she'd ask, if he didn't take the conversation in a different direction in that pause.

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #22 on: Nov 24, 17, 12:15:00 PM »
"Well. That's a relief." Marko said in reply to her assurance that there was only one hero amongst them. "I didn't wanna stick out more than I already do." A toothy smile came as he made light of how different he was going to look compared to all of the blonde haired, blue-eyed assholes that were around her.

Maarika had both hands on his much larger arms now, the bulkier flesh barely covered by her smaller, more delicate fingers. The chill of her skin faded quickly, but even the rush of that was exciting as it made the hairs on his arms stand up a little in anticipation and a rush of arousal and comfort. He shifted in his seat a little, but not to dislodge her.

"You put it a lot deeper than I would..." He turned his head up to look at her, away from the glass, and placed it fully into the hand that was free of her possession. He reached over to set the glass down, then moved that larger hand to cover her knee as he leaned his body toward her in attention.

"But.. yeah I do feel somethin'. It was weird, like, when I came in I was angry cause I thought you were in danger, even if I hadn't known it was you yet. I just look at you and I feel better -- more.. certain, y'know? Like I know which way is up and which way is down. And yeah.. I felt that I could trust you. That there wouldn't be any judgment here, I ain't gotta be scared. You may not like it -- like I don't think you'll go along with anything I say or do but.."

His eyes focused on her face, her mouth that was full and he wanted to cover with his, and then on her small tiny nose, then on her eyes. Her eyes were the best part. They were bright, and crystal clear, and they somehow seemed to look right past his skin and bones and into his heart and mind.

"But I know you'll always have my back, Maarika." The way he said her name was soft, with reverence. The first time he used her name and it felt like honey on his tongue.

His eyes closed as he focused on the bond, his head lowering some as he turned his attention inward rather than outward. "And..yeah. I can sense you're happy. Angry, too. Angry someone touched something that belongs to you." His lips twisted into a crooked grin, and he opened his eyes and looked at her. "That's a funny thing, right? To belong to someone. Well. Maybe not for you, but...

For me. It's funny to have someone feel that way about me. And weird that I feel that way about you, too."


She moved to sit back, but he didn't let her. His hand stayed on her knee and the other shifted to slowly take her hand and pull her back closer. If she allowed him, he'd slowly direct her into his arms. He didn't quite put her into his lap, but he did move to encompass her in a gentle hold, to allow her to lean against his chest and his arms and to make a pillow out of him as he leaned back into the couch and give her more room to spread out.

"You ain't gotta worry about bailin' any time soon. Your taste in booze is too good." He joked, just lightly. Being deep and personable wasn't Marko's strongest suit, but he figured she'd pick up on just how content he felt as well.

"My folks aren't my real parents." He said softly in answer to her question. "Adopted. I was some squallin kid on the street. Probably a whore's son, or somethin. They're not like me -- they're short lived. Older folks too. I have a younger brother that they took in, too. Never thought of 'em as fake parents or not-my-brother. My dad was a Hell Lord, my Mom was a teacher. So I grew up with the good and the bad.

Hell Lords used to run protection, prostitution, drugs, all kinds of things before Lord Black blew 'em up. My Dad was out by then. He had kinda retired, heh, if there's such a thing. My Mom, too. She still does nice work around Goth. Volunteering when she should be just taking it easy -- but good luck tellin her that.

Anyway. They're just old and poor. They've always been poor. So I pay for their place and what I can for them. What I can set aside I give to them. I keep a fair bit for myself, because my Mom would have my ears if I didn't, but still.

They took care of me, so I take care of them."


He turned to look at her more fully, then, gauging her expression and trying to make use of the bond, then, to suss out how she felt about what he had said. None of it was a lie, and he wasn't trying to deceive her. But he was, maybe, trying to gauge how she responded to certain things. They were learning about one another, but Marko's aim was to improve their relationship to provide himself a proper cushion, a proper protection.

Old habits died hard.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #23 on: Nov 24, 17, 10:11:12 PM »
But I know you'll always have my back, Maarika.

It was such a silly thing, really. Simple little words, and an entirely common sentiment. It wasn't even particularly elegant or poetic, the way Marko said it. Still, he looked over at her and expressed something that it so often took months or longer for bonded males to grasp, and Maarika couldn't help the satisfied smile that bloomed full over her lips. It warmed her in sweet and proud ways, and in the following moment when he turned his attention inward, he'd surely feel her approval washing freely over him.

He called her on her possessiveness, and when he opened his eyes again to look at her, her expression had shifted to something more mysterious. It was't quite shame she showed him, but a quiet acknowledgement that the motives bred into her in regards to Marko weren't absolutely altruistic. She did want Marko freed from Reija's ring for his own sake, but there was without a doubt a part of her that also recoiled at the notion of anyone trying to control one of hers for any reason.

Maarika began to shift some, and arched a brow in a silent, playful chastisement when Marko refused to let her move away. She didn't mind at the moment, as was evidenced by how she accepted the new arrangement and relaxed back against him. She listened as he spoke of his parents, her smile rising and falling at different points in the telling. It was sweet, to think of a big and burly man like Marko being afraid of his mother "having" his ears, and it was endearing to hear of how he cared for them as much as they'd let him.

"Your mother doesn't sound like the sort who would take hand outs very easily," she said. "Nor do they sound like they need them, really. But you should know that I wouldn't see them want for anything, Marko. If they're important to you, then they're important to me. You can always bring them to me, wherever I am, and I'll see that they're cared for as well as I'm able. Just so it's said."

She threaded her fingers through his, one of their hands paired and stretched out before them so that she could watch them twine and untwine as she spoke, Though she faced away from him, her voice was warmed by the smirk she wore as she added, "You've a much bigger family, suddenly. And we take care of our own."

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #24 on: Nov 25, 17, 02:16:25 AM »
Maarika's promise to him was touching, especially as it trailed on the backend of her possessive interest in keeping him safe and free. When she moved to lay against him, lacing her fingers around his own he smoothly ran his fingers around hers. He moved his other hand to splay them on her belly, holding her smaller form against his much larger frame. It was comforting to touch her -- beyond just the fact that she was a soft, beautiful creature. It was good to be close to her to be kind to her and to keep her comfortable and present her a measure of peace.

There had been trepidation in her. Fear. Anger. A mixture of things. He didn't understand it all, but he was starting to suss it out. Something between her and Jon was bad news. Haakon wouldn't have freaked out if they were cozy. Maarika wasn't acting in line with Glacia's Super Queen, but she was in good standing still. Something with Kerava burning? Was it a lesson? Was it an example of what happened if Maarika and Jonny boy didn't get in line?

Marko didn't know yet. Too many pieces missing in the puzzle. But what Maarika was up to wasn't loyal to Glacia, and that made him being here, as a Light Jewel, very dangerous.

Maarika suggested his parents didn't need his help, and that caught him surprised for a moment, and his fingers on her stomach paused as he shifted to look down at her. "...What?" His tone sounded a touch offended by that. "You ever been to Goth?"

He exhaled slowly, shaking his head. "I know you mean well, Maarika, but I ain't gonna bring my folks here. This place is fucked up. And you're at the center of it. If it was safe, I wouldn't be here."

He leaned back and reclined his head, sighing slow as he released the strike of annoyance. She didn't mean anything bad by it. She was trying to be reassuring, he knew that. He probably upset her by his rebuke and his dose of truth here. But he held her to him and he took another deep breath and sighed.

"That's why I'm here. To help ya so that, soon maybe? Soon we can make it so it is."


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #25 on: Nov 25, 17, 05:49:05 PM »
"I haven't, no," she replied, in regards to Goth. She turned her head to look up at him, a brow lifted. "But I wasn't suggesting that they don't need help period - just that it sounds like you are already taking care of them, at least, as much as they'll allow."

He told her he wasn't bringing his parents to the estate, citing her inability to keep them safe, and it was Maarika's turn to feel offense snake sharply through her.

"You're awful sure of your opinions for someone who just arrived," she pointed out, and though her tone was a touch cooler than it'd been a moment ago, that was the limit of what she'd inflict on him for his comment. For now, at least. "But know that the offer stands, regardless of whether you ever deign to accept it." Alright that was all she was gonna say about it, maybe. And even that, there wasn't real heat behind the words. Just a touch of snark, the wounded pride of a woman who'd grown accustomed to having power enough to promise such things as safety.

Once upon a time, at least.

"In any case, you must have questions. What can I answer for you? Since Jonothan didn't explain the fact that he's still my husband, it seems a safe bet to assume he didn't tell you anything else about that little situation, or the history behind it. Do you know why I'm in Nharkava?" She turned her head again and looked up at him. "Did you read his letter?"


Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #26 on: Nov 25, 17, 06:25:31 PM »
"Oh." Marko said slowly, the word somewhat drawled out as he realized what she'd meant. "I misunderstood. Thought you were sayin I didn't have to do nothin' by 'em cause they could take cares of themself." He gave a little shrug then. "Yeah they're stubborn old folks but sometimes you gotta push stubborn old folks in the right direction. They know I mean 'em the best. It's a cycle, y'know? Parents take care of their kids, and kids take care of their parents.

Least. That's how it should be."


She looked up at him, and he could feel that he'd riled her. He knew what he was in for when he said it, and though it.. wow, physically pained him to upset her.. he nonetheless took a slow breath to settle that notion. She was only trying to help.

"Hey." He said slowly, daring a finger beneath her chin to tip her face back up toward him as she'd seen fit to set her sights away after her moment of snark. "I will. Once it's safe. Y'know? I'm not saying you're bad.

But you ain't new to town either, Maarika. I don't get the impression you're dumb. Be fair. This place ain't safe yet."


She reclined into him, and he curled his arm more protectively around her, seeming content to hold her in that warm and caring position. He considered letting his hand explore a bit more, as the scent and the presence of her body against him was deeply alluring, but Marko was also wary of Haakon coming in and squishing his head for trying to cop a feel.

"Naw, I didn't read the letter. It was locked, remember? Probably would have if it wasn't, heh. That's why he locked it.

But I got a ton of questions, yeah. Like what's the deal between you and Jonny. Why you're here. What happened to the old Court that got blown up. What you're tryin to do here, that sorta stuff.

I figured you'd have a pamphlet or something, but I like this way of teachin'."
He turned his head to grin down at her, his smile the definition of mischevious.



Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #27 on: Nov 26, 17, 01:56:26 PM »
Maarika did not care for the finger beneath her chin, as though he was a correcting adult trying to get her to admit she'd been wrong. She reached up and pulled his finger away, and turned her head. She was gentle in those movements, but confident in them as well.

"Safe is a myth," she told him, her voice a touch quieter. It got under her skin to have him keep suggesting she couldn't keep her people safe. Maybe it was true, but that didn't mean it didn't upset her to hear it. "We were 'safe' in Kerava. Logain Morr was 'safe' in Goth." She looked back to him, walking that line between sullen and annoyed. Less at him than at the situation in which she found herself, but it might've been hard to tell. There was a near-bottomless well of pain beneath that button he kept pressing, though she was trying damned hard to not let it rise to where he'd sense it. "We are Blood. There's no such thing as 'safe', Marko." Her discomfort had little to do with his parents at all, so she didn't mind leaving the question unresolved before moving on. If Marko wanted them to stay where they were at, she didn't mind that in the slightest.

"I remember that it was locked," she conceded, in regards to the letter. "But that means less than it should, sometimes." It was a long trip from Goth to Orissa, after all, and if Marko was the criminal Jon had introduced him as, then she didn't think it beyond him to have engineered a little creativity if he'd been motivated. She summoned the letter back into her hand with the intent to let him read it, but for the moment she just held it instead, her eyes lowered to its folded linen while she steeled herself.

"I met Jonothan after he murdered the man I loved, years ago," she said. "I'd been on the verge of marrying the man, but Jonothan killed him and I was terribly, terribly angry. When I met him and realized he was mine, I wanted to hurt him as much as he'd hurt me. I demanded he marry me in Arne's place, and then spent the next several years punishing him by sending him away. I sent him to serve in Elisif's court, sent him to work in Nharkava. I sent him wherever I could to keep him at arm's length, to deny him what I felt like he'd denied me. I'd only had one Bonded before him, and Tahvo was nothing like Jon. I didn't understand then that there were alternatives, that if cared for properly, the Bond can heal a great deal of hurt. I'm not entirely proud of how I handled things, but the past is set.

"And that, dear Marko, is why Jonothan and I profess to hate one another, despite being both wed and Bound,"
she said with a sigh, before she tipped back the last of her brandy. Afterwards, she moved to rise from the couch, and would insist even if Marko tried to stop her again. If he did object, she'd assure him that she wasn't going far. Indeed, she only moved back to the bar, where she refilled her glass and then returned with the decanter in hand, in case Marko wanted more as well.

"But the Bond is a funny thing. As much as he and I have hurt each other, no one else is allowed to do so. My first Bonded, Tahvo..." She paused, nigh imperceptibly, and slid daintily past the chasm of blackness and despair that wanted to open up beneath her at the recalling of that night. "One of Elisif's males - Otso, her first Bonded, in fact - got it into his head that Tahvo had killed his son. So he killed Tahvo in response." She hadn't meant to pause there, but she did anyway. She was very still then, looking down at her glass and trying to treat this as though it was just another topic of conversation, and not a gaping wound that still bled somewhere inside of her even to this day.

"I was devastated," she said, not having meant to whisper, but whispering anyway. "When Jonothan found out what happened, he killed Otso. Elisif's first Bonded male and First Escort to the Territory Ruler of Glacia. Jon didn't care. He killed him for what he did to Tahvo, what he did to me." She sipped at her drink and drew a breath that now burned with the chill of the liquor. She sighed it out, and turned back to look at Marko again finally.

"Elisif eventually found out somehow that it was Jonothan who'd killed Otso, and she was furious, of course. I didn't know where Jon was at that point, so when Elisif came to me and demanded his head I couldn't give it to her. She reassigned me to Orissa and burned down Kerava, and staged it to look like I'd died there in hopes of getting back at Jon even though she couldn't find him. She needed someone here anyway, I suppose, so the move served dual purposes. As far as she is concerned, Jonothan is still missing, and I'm here helping to tame the uncivilized Nharkavans under something like Glacian rule."

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #28 on: Nov 26, 17, 02:21:27 PM »
Marko was a bit thick-headed at times, but he also was a quick study. He realized he'd erred in pressing on his point about his parents, and about trying to redirect her attention in the physical way that he did. This was a proud woman, he was starting to realize, and he would have to make sure her ego would succeed in these moments where her safety was not a concern. So when she moved to get up he let her, and when she returned he accepted a drink but didn't reach for it. He left it at the nearby table and rather than reach for her again, he left her some space as she sat beside him (but not against him) as her focus was on her glass and the past.

Maarika hadn't been wrong that he could have been crafty enough to unlock the letter if he knew what he was doing. He hadn't taken the risk because he had extended his trust to Jonny. Even now, in this moment, he felt regret for not trusting her or her offer to protect his folks. His worries about Nharkava had outweighed his heart and what he knew to be true, but the destruction of Orissa's old Court and the destruction of Kerava were heavy in his head. Something nagging told him he was in a dangerous place, and that instinct had saved his life more than once.

Still, such concerns could wait. It only came to the forefront of his mind because he had stung her and she now seemed to be circling back to some other pain. When her breath caught, describing this 'Tahvo's' death, he felt the sting of pain, too. He took in what she said about Jonny, Tahvo, and Arne, and what came to the forefront was sympathy not for those who lost their lives or suffered a break in time with her, but for her.

It could have easily been a manipulation -- a 'woe-is-me' lie, but he felt her agony and her pain.

So Marko sat up and reached slowly for her glass. Gently he took it out of her hand and set it down. She might have resisted, but unless she threw some Craft around he was a lot stronger than her physically.

Then the big man wrapped her in a warm hug. It wasn't some patronizing move, something to give false sympathy, but the hug of a man who loved her and wanted her not to feel alone in that moment. It wasn't something Marko normally did; but he was an expressive man, a physical man with his emotions, and he felt nothing but pain for her pain. It was a great swelling of hurt that lingered beneath the surface, and so he pulled her against him and held here there as he put his face into her hair, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath of her scent.

"You don't deserve that." he said quietly in her hair. "I'm sorry you've lost so much, Maarika." His words were heat across her scalp. He kissed the top of her head, then drew back enough to look down at her face if she'd look at him.

"What's between you and Jonny is what's between you and Jonny. It ain't got to do with me. It brought me here, so maybe there is such a thing as the Darkness and it's will, y'know?

It's a shit excuse for what you suffered. It ain't right.

You're right, in that safe ain't a real thing. I know that myself."
He lifted a hand up off her back and gestured to the long scars on his face. "But I feel safe with you, Maarika."

The big man was quiet for a beat, looking at her and considering her. "You and Jonny good, now? You want me to try and get him to come here?

Or you rather not?"
Marko seemed to understand, intrinsically, what Maarika had mentioned of how she wasn't proud of their relationship. The Bond, feeling it himself, feeling her near him and touching him, being in her presence -- he understood how powerful it was.

"Either way, what can I do to help?"


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #29 on: Nov 26, 17, 07:16:38 PM »
Marko moved to take her glass away and for a moment Maarika did hesitate. She'd just poured it, after all, and she'd poured it for a reason, and she didn't want to teach him that the Bond gave him leave to do whatever he pleased, as far as she was concerned. In some way she knew, though, that the point of his gesture wasn't to keep her from her drink, but something kinder. As much as she wanted to recoil from that as well, she made herself release the glass into his care, and let him pull her into an embrace. It would've been far easier for her if the hug had been for his sake instead of hers. He was hers, yes, but he was still new to her and it left a bad taste in her mouth to so quickly have him offering her comfort. It should be the other way around, she thought.

But she could feel the care and sincerity in the gesture, and unfamiliar or not, his embrace did make her feel less alone in her pain. What a ridiculous and impossible thing this is, she thought to herself, for what must have been the millionth time since she'd first laid eyes on Tahvo. How the Darkness must be both love and wisdom, to give us this impossible and ridiculous thing.

She didn't reply to his sympathy. He told her she didn't deserve what'd happened to her, and she knew he was wrong. She didn't argue, though, in part because she hadn't the strength and in part because she knew it was too early for him to truly understand. She did give him a tight squeeze of her arms when he told her he felt safe with her, though it was a frightfully ominous comment, in some ways.

"You're definitely a man of strange consequence," she admitted, when he mentioned the possibility of a plan from the Darkness. "To encounter not only me, but Reija and Jon as well, and not through each other? That's unbelievable, almost. I wonder what it'll all mean in the end."

Marko asked about Jon and whether he should try to get him to visit Orissa, and Maarika sighed and pushed to sit upright. She reached for the letter she'd discarded at some earlier point, and offered it to Marko so that he could read it.

"Jon and I are... complicated. We always will be, I think. How well do you know him, Marko?" she asked, her eyes narrowing slightly in curiosity as she watched him. But she reminded herself that Marko had already commented on Jon's coldness and his reliability when it came to throat-slitting, so she went on. "The nature of the relationship between Jon and myself is changing, and I can't say for certain that he'll act now as he's always acted in the past. However, he's always been extremely jealous. If you go back to him and tell him that you belong to me, I would not be surprised in the least if he tried to kill you in response. It will not be welcome news, even if he does not."

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #30 on: Nov 26, 17, 07:43:59 PM »
Marko drew back, a little, from the hug after she reached for the letter. He didn't try to pull her back in, much as he'd like, because he felt that would be a little too pushy and probably land him in hot water. The gesture had been accepted and that was enough. It meant that, if needed, he could rely on her to be a bit soft when it came to him and give him an inch when others wouldn't. It was useful information, and though it was exploitative it wasn't exactly selfish. It was feeling things out in their new relationship, testing boundaries and letting him know, clearly, what was okay and what wasn't.

Some things couldn't be outlined in a document or a contract. Some things people were embarassed to say or admit. So he would test the waters until it burned and let him know that there were some places he was not allowed to tread.

He reached for her glass and handed it slowly back to her, taking the letter and reading it himself. His face showed a modicum of concern, some hesitation in his features. The coldness was nearly palbable from it, and he winced as he read the last line.

"Yeah. You two ain't the poster children for a happy marriage." He dodged the question about Reija, best to leave that one alone. After all, he had admitted that, in a way, he had met Reija through Jon. He just didn't share the fact that he was fairly certain Reija had tried to kill her estranged hubby.

Yeah. He could see that going badly.

"Uh. Jonny's pretty close to my best friend. He set me up for a job few years back. Before then I was muscle for the Hell Lords and other oddball crew. Didn't like it much. Jonny paid good and the smuggling biz was interesting. Scary sometimes, but fun too. And Jonny saved my ass a few times when it woulda been better to let me rot. Figured I was worth the investment, I guess."

He handed the letter back to her, uncertain what she'd wanna do with it. With his hand free he reached for that good stuff she was sharing. He drank it slowly and while he appreciated the warmth it gave him the news that Jonny was jealous of her both made sense and seemed strange. The latter cause he'd seen Jon with other women. The former because there was no woman who made Marko feel like Maarika did. If Jon felt something like that, it sort of made sense.

"He'd kill me, knowin' it'd hurt you?" He asked, his eyebrows raised. That was weird, but scary too. Given that Jon had killed Elisif's bonded just to avenge Maarika over a rival was extra weird.

"Uh. So should I not tell him? Or are you tellin me to steer clear of LT for a while?"


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #31 on: Nov 26, 17, 08:04:57 PM »
"Maybe, yes," she admitted, her eyes wandering as she remembered the last time she'd seen Jon. "At this point, maybe because it hurt me. It's hard to say. Things between Jon and myself have become twisted, a bit. Like I said, it's very complicated." Marko asked if he should refrain from telling Jon, and Maarika's expression shifted to something doubtful and thoughtful. "I don't know. I know if you do tell him, you shouldn't be alone with him when you do. But we've got time to think about it, don't we?" she asked, looking back to Marko as she did so. "You'll be staying here for a little bit before you go back, won't you?"

Once she had that assurance from him, it was easier to think about the other things he'd said.

"What kind of jobs did you do for him? This sort of thing, where you gather information? You mentioned smuggling, as well... Does it bother you to tell me about it? I'd like to know what you're good at," she said, a little smile surfacing at last.

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #32 on: Nov 26, 17, 08:14:21 PM »
"Oh." Marko looked for a loss for words for a moment as he considered just how bad stuff between them must be for Jonny to want to do that to his own Queen. "Shit, man. That's crazy." He just tried to put himself into Jonny's shoes for a moment and consider how he'd feel to not only be sent away from Maarika (who he just found!) and then to want to hurt her so badly like that. "Isn't that... I don't know.. some kinda Ourabouras? Like. It just keeps eating itself forever -- never getting better, never getting whole. Just hurt each-other ad nauseum. That sounds fucked up."

Marko paused and turned to her. He considered the Queen that he had felt so deeply for so quickly. Maybe he was losing his perspective. Or maybe Jonny was a lot more fucked up than he assumed. But if Maarika wasn't the good Queen she portrayed herself to be, would it matter? Marko was no hero, and Maarika was his and he was hers.

Would it matter if she fucked Jonny over, as long as she kept him safe and happy?

"Yeah. I'm definitely staying. Whatever you want me to do around here I will. I can take a Court appointment if that's better for the up and up, but I ain't got polish like your Haakon does. I'm pretty blunt, as you've noticed." He grinned widely, taking pride in that as he rolled the liquid in the glass slowly and then tipped some more back. He sucked on his teeth and hissed a bit, but then returned his focus onto her.

"I smuggled black market goods. Ran things through the mountains and the jungle. Roughed up some rackets in Goth that were infringin on our shit. Killed a few folk. Moved the Light Jewels from the drop-off points in Nhark to other spots in this Territory or to LT. Got a lot of people to Rockland and Courtland.

As for what I'm good at... eh..."
Marko shrugged. "Anything I put my mind to." He grinned a touch wider, some bragging taking place. "You wanna see just some of what I'm good at?" He made his open innuendo, leaning in with an eyebrow raised as his grin turned more into a smirk.

"I've got a lot more experience than I look."



Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #33 on: Nov 26, 17, 08:53:05 PM »
Maarika made a soft sound, a short breath that would've been laugh, maybe had there been heart behind it. "That's... exactly what it's like," she agreed. The analogy clearly meant something to her, as she seemed to ponder it further in silence for a few seconds. She considered the drink in her glass, tipping it slightly just to watch the liquid in it shimmer some. "For both of us."

Maarika smiled anyway when Marko suggested he lacked polish and was blunt. She shifted in her seat and sank down at his side once more, though she faced forward so that she could hold her drink in both hands, still.

"I'm not sure it'll be necessary, though you're welcome to a court appointment if you want one. One of the boons of being the effective ruler here is that I don't have to explain your presence to anyone if I don't want to. Elisif has agents here," she said, pausing to glance over at Marko as she said it, a little smirk rising. "But none of them has position enough to question it if I take on a new Little Terreille liaison, no matter his polish."

She listened as Marko went down the list of the work he'd done for Jon in the past. She was still considering the implications of how useful he could be to her Court when he shifted into something more flirtatious, and she laughed softly at his grin.

"While I'm not opposed to learning, Marko, I don't think now's the time. The number of proverbial ears at the door right now would make things difficult." She tipped back some more of her drink and sighed, her eyes narrowing thoughtfully as she did so.

"As much as I hate to admit it, Jon's letter was right. I have a vested interest in getting the Nharkavans to support my presence here. It's a monumental undertaking, and one that must be handled delicately. Elisif has my sister, Magdalena, at the court in Vaasa. Ostensibly she's a guest there, but in truth she's a hostage against my good behavior. I don't believe Elisif expects me to act out, but she knows how furious I was at being sent here. If she gets any indication that I've not been a faithful patriot, Magdalena's life is forfeit." She paused and looked over at Marko, and for a moment was overwhelmed by the oddness of the situation. Here were things she'd never tell most people in the world, yet she was sharing her most dangerous secrets with a man she'd known less than an hour.

Ridiculous and impossible.

"I have tasked my triangle with finding ways to endear the people of Nharkava to this court, and to act as though they are doing it independently of the others here, myself included. We are, of course, outsiders and usurpers in their eyes, so it's going to take time and luck, not to mention a tremendous amount of care to ensure that Elisif's people don't get wind of what we're doing. I'm not sure if you vouching for them in certain circles would grant them an in, or if it'd just ruin your credibility. But any help you can give in helping them find places to help, it'd be invaluable."

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #34 on: Nov 26, 17, 09:19:28 PM »
"Well, aural shields are a thing, but I know for a fact I'd ruin your concentration if we got into it." Marko winked from the eye that held the scar, and his grin became more arrogant than anything else she'd seen. "I'd hate to make more of your males jealous o'me than Jonny boy."

But he didn't press further on that route. The flirtatious offer had been made, and they had just met. As appealing as it would be to make her feel good right now, he also knew that this was a precarious time. He was still testing the waters of what he could get away with and, like he had considered earlier, pushing too hard would get his fool head killed.

She mentioned her sister, now, and that drew a frown of concern away from the light flirty nature he was bearing before. He reached out to her hand, not trying to take all of her control of her glass, but to give her something other solid to hold onto.

"We'll get her outta there." He tightened his fingers around hers, giving her a sample of his strength that she could draw on. His lips twisted into something more mischevious -- and a touch darker than the side he'd shown her thus far. "Elisif may have the Gray, but she ain't been on the bad side of 'ol Marko yet."

He released her hand and moved his own back to his glass, holding it steady as he nodded along with the thought she'd tasked her blond-haired blue-eyed boys to ingrain themselves with the populace. "Probably won't work, given that they know you're Glacians. Your people stick out bad here, and Dark Jeweled Glacians ain't gonna make anyone comfy.

Now... you get me, and some of your Light Jeweled people to do it. Get some locals who know you're for real. That'll help a lot more.

I can do it for ya."
He said solidly. "Don't give me a Court position. Put a collar around my neck, sure as the regulars here, and let 'em see that I'm just some other Light Jeweled sap stuck under Glacia's heel, right?

You have the ring, so I'll be safe. But everyone'll find me less assuming than normal, and more likely to hate Glacians for it."


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • bwq
    • Role

      Ruling Queen

    • Faction

      Nharkava Territory Court

    • Territory

      Glacia

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

    • Posts

      403

    • Black Widow Caste is hidden

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #35 on: Nov 27, 17, 12:00:12 PM »
"Proverbial ears at the door," she countered, at Marko's comment about aural shields. "As I said, this room is already shielded, but this..." she said, pausing to push a feeling of warmth and peace through the bond between them, just to draw attention to that connection. "...isn't something that can be as easily shielded against." The moment was less about whether or not they were going to fool around just now, and more about teaching him about the nature of the bond. "With effort, I can temporarily shield myself, so that those bound to me are protected from that natural feedback you're feeling. I tend to do so in more... delicate moments to keep the others from being incited without need. But if I dropped off of their senses now, when I'm alone with a man they don't know... well, I fear our conversation would be cut a little short," she said, with a wry little smile on her lips.

"It's not as restrictive as it probably sounds. It all just requires a little juggling and some intentional respect, and it works out alright. With the exception of Jonothan, the rest of the Bonded get on well with one another." At least, they did now that Tahvo was absent, she thought, with a note of quiet remorse. Marko put his hand to hers when she spoke of Magdalena, and promised that they'd free the Healer. Maarika turned her hand over, releasing her glass fully into the hold of the other one so that she could take Marko's hand and squeeze it in return. She gave a little smile at his comment about Elisif, but the moment was too somber for it to be a full and bright thing.

Maarika nodded at Marko's suggestion that her Glacians would stick out and be distrusted. She knew it wasn't ideal, but she was working with what she had. Now that Ryder was here, the odds of actually making inroads with the Nharkavans seemed to vastly improve. Funny, how the Darkness seemed to provide precisely what she needed when she needed it. It explained why he wasn't Glacian, as far as she was concerned, as she'd never considered that she'd bind to a male who wasn't. She looked over to him when he suggested she put a collar on his neck, first to his eyes and then to the neck in question. When she looked down to her hands again, it was to the set of rings that graced her right hand, hateful things that had been turned into delicate-looking jewelry.

"Some day I'll only wear one of these horrible things," she whispered, before pursing her lips. She tipped back her drink then, and sighed.

"Well. Let's find you a room, Marko. I'm sure Haakon wants your ear for a few minutes, and I've a summons to send off to Lady Harmaa."

Offline Richard Marko

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • warlord
    • Faction

      The Black Claw

    • Territory

      Little Terreille

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

    • Posts

      35

    • View Profile
Re: Nature of my Circuitry
« Reply #36 on: Nov 27, 17, 01:51:53 PM »
"Hey, you don't gotta worry about me." Marko said gently as she went over how tangled all of the bonds might become. Different males all learning to share the same Lady could be tough, but given how powerfully he felt about the Queen Bond he almost felt guilty about trying to keep her time when her other males were left bereft of her company. "I ain't worried about sharin." He grinned, playful in his mien even in the face of her thoughtfulness. "And I understand, too. Like -- if I was outside and you had some new dude in here with you, and I couldn't feel you anymore?

You're damn right I'd come in here to kick some fucking ass and make sure you were safe."


The warmth she spread through him, the affection and the care, made him feel whole for the first time in a long time. He reached out for her hand and took it, lifted it up to place a gentle kiss on her fingers. While the bond's warmth lingered, he took it in stride with the heaviness that settled on her shoulders about putting a collar around his neck.

"You can put it on at night, if it'll make you feel better." He grinned past her fingers, looking at her with clear playfulness.

He didn't rise right away when she suggested they should. Instead he pulled her closer and leaned down to place another kiss on her forehead. "I owe you. Y'know. About the ring, and Reija. Don't matter that I'm yours and you're..." Mine. "My Lady.

We're gonna do some great stuff, Maarika."
Her name was cumbersome on the tongue -- like molasses. He'd have to figure a way to shorten it in a way that was pleasant to the ear.

He slid away from her to get up first, offering her a hand. "And, y'know, when you're done being the Queen of a whole fuckin' Territory, you can find that room 'o mine.

After you've sorted out everyone else, so no-one's scared."
Marko's grin was full, and he gestured for her to lead, willing to follow her anywhere.