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* 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

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Author Topic: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis  (Read 767 times)

Description: 192, Spring: Hjordis arrives in Nharkava to become High Priestess. Attn: Hjordis

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« on: Dec 14, 17, 09:15:56 PM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)


Nharkava.

It seemed impossible that this fierce jungle paradise bordered the frigid Glacian basin. Not long ago, standing upon the Landing Pad at his cousin - the Sapphire Priestess Hjordis Nurmi - regal ancestral home in Glacia, they had been surrounded by icy wind, crystalline air and the pristine joy of a spring snow storm. Now, warm silken air caressed around and over the Red Shields Haakon had used to shelter both himself and his cousin from the Winds as he carried them to Orissa.

The capitol of Nharkava, the land of which he was now Steward.

Haakon’s arm tightened briefly, as he carefully helped his Cousin find her footing before he dropped the Shields. Released, the last cool breath of Glacia’s air poofed into a steaming mist, then blew into the rich, vibrant jungle. Macaws and Toucans cried out as the brilliant morning sun warred with the sudden cloud. Monkeys and other jungle animals hollered as the cool air startled them. Brilliant, diamond hard sky was pierced with a thousand colors of green, and a rainbow of pearlescent colors formed into leaves, flowers, birds, frogs, lizards and insects. Flowers of all sorts and sizes ringed the green canopy that ringed the Territory Court’s private Landing Pad, an untamed riot that seemed both promise and threat.

At least to Haakon.

Framed in that perfect imagery was the lavish Territory Seat of Nharkava. It’s brilliant colors and ornate decorations were fair warning of the vibrant people and rich customs of the land. Lady Brenden’s wrath had left a surprising amount of the palace untouched, and the highly competent staff had swiftly put to order that which needed repairing. That swiftness, the very quality of the work, spoke not to their devotion to their Glacian overlords, but to the loyalty and love they bore for their own history and culture.

Only two weeks after the biter destruction of Lady Maarika Sydän-Harmaa’s Court in Glacia, this complex edifice did not yet feel like home. Yet the warm air, the intricate mix of jungle scents and Psychic presences which greeted Haakon, did. Even the foreign-feeling Nharkavan auras.

It was their home, after all.

Haakon’s harsh voice was less jarring, with the jungle serenade in the background. “Welcome to Nharkava, Lady Nurmi.” He bowed formally, pride in her warring with a sinking feeling. He realized that he had planned her first glimpse of this place so carefully because he wished her to adore it. He moved forward and off of the stone lip, before turning to assist her in stepping down from the Landing Pad. Upon his expected arrival the Gate of Webs, Craft and weapons between the Landing Pad and the main Estate had been lowered the moment he arrived. The very competent staff had notified him upon private Thread the when it was safe to debark.

The Coach carrying his cousin’s dependents and possessions would be arriving soon after them, so Haakon could not give Hjordis as long as he would have liked to catch her breath and brace against the veritable assault on the senes that Nharkava could offer. Once Hjordis was safely on the ground, Haakon saluted the officer in charge and introduced the Sapphire Priestess to each guardsman there. Their deference was for more than his Red Jewel; it was something deep and indefinable that had come to his Queen’s people in recent weeks. Yes, there was respect for him as Steward; care for his Cousin as his relative, a Priestess and their Queen’s chosen High Priestess. But it was even more; that silent cry to battle that echoed every now and again in their Queen’s scent had changed them all.

The pain at Nharkava’s core was familiar enough. It was the hope he felt, when he thought of caring for this Territory, that seemed so alien. Nothing could save his beloved Glacia from the cruel Messiah at her helm; but for Nharkava, there was yet hope. He saw no way out, for his Queen or her sister; for the gentle Lady Sanna or the other hostages gathered to bend their neck beneath Lady Brenden’s heel. But here?

Hope.

Into this war zone, the Red Prince brought his beloved cousin. Haakon did not fool himself; Lady Brenden had declared war upon this nation when she’d murdered her own parents without even an attempt to negotiate their release. He trusted no one more, to guide his Queen; Hjordis Nurmi was both devout, and wise. If anyone could think of inventive ways to subtly protect their charges from their overlords, it would be Hjordis.

His stern features softened into an almost-smile as he offered his cousin and the court’s true High Priestess his arm, prepared to Escort her on a brief tour of his favorite places. His mind ranged further afield, notifying Prince Raines of their arrival and brushing his Queen’s mind with no more than a sense of accomplishment, and his presence. She’d know he was back, anyway; that he did not doubt.


Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #1 on: Dec 15, 17, 12:41:38 AM »
Locale: 192, Spring, Nharkava. Orissa; Territory Court Private Landing Pad; Palace Tour.

Be no burden, be polite;
Say goodbye, and say hello.
Wait your turn, sit upright.
Go to bed now, sweet dream ...
Find the kind heart, rest your feet and soul.
May your kind heart find the land of gold ...

Lady Nurmi had not arrived within the Nharkavan borders unprepared. Unlike any that could have been sent by Lady Elisif to watch the Lady Sydän's court and serve as High Priestess, Hjordis was not only a scholar and an author committed to her privacy, though had managed to gain a considerable following where she had least expected it - the Light Jewelled of Glacia, even if it was kept explicitly quiet by them. The reasoning? As a Dark Jewelled Priestess, she had never written that those without Jewels at all, or even Landen, or the Light Jewelled, were inferior. The version of the Dark Religion that she followed and believed in fervently did not exclude, cause harm, nor hate, all while taking a grave care and gracefulness in fighting the Silent War at its roots. Recent efforts in the last year had seen a book for children published, offering delight, mystery, and wonder in learning how to use their Birthright Jewels for the very first time, parental love, and protection of a view of Mother Night that was carefully neutral.

Why did impure darkness occur in souls?


Lady Nurmi's Appearance
Free will. Choice.

Because people chose to stray from Protocol and adoration of life itself. In fact, she might have been the very last choice as High Priestess, as more than that, she did not believe the Glacians belonged here as anything but guests permitted by the Nharkavan people. The fair skinned woman had taken care to hone Skin Tight Sapphire Sun Shields of her own to keep the sun from destroying her skin; more proof that this place had not been for them to take. Yet, she did very much enjoy the array of flowers, delightful birds, and absolutely ethereal beauty. Cerulean blue eyes took in every bit of colour in the way an innocent child might, and though Hjordis was almost never given to emotional or passionate display in public, in the moment that Prince Haakon's Red Shield exposed her to the air, the heavy weight of it, and the way steam rose away from them, her laugh was soft, touched with a rich darkness of her middling soprano voice.


Lady Nurmi's Wardrobe Choice
Her attire as well, was both reasonably Glacian, but only in its colour. The weight, pattern, and appearance was somewhere in the middle of what she might wear at home, and what the common dress of one living in the extraordinary Territory Court Palace at Orissa. Soft golds, and somewhat vibrant, paired with a cream and gold hat that held Air and Skin Cooling Craft so that she wouldn't overheat and grow faint from the humidity. Hjordis did not want to embarrass herself, or be viewed as a mockery, untutored, or uneducated as to the people here. Thus, everything she watched, she kept any potential immature, or ignorant commentary to herself. There would be time enough to repair any misconceptions, but silence was the best path, Lady Nurmi believed, to gain trust.

Eventually, Hjordis imagined that she would adjust, but for now, she needed to learn how that would come to pass. Though she had of course, not cut her hair, and never, ever would, most of it was either piled with craft beneath the beautiful hat, or coiled with care at the nape of her neck, allowing the shorter front to frame her face. Unlike many, Hjordis did not keep her Jewels on display in an obvious fashion, though there were hints of Sapphire threads in her dress. She would observe the tendencies of Nharkavans and then ask what was best, in that regard, and many others. Not a Saree, for she was not Nharkavan and her choice of attire had not been made in the confines of the culture here.

Not would she pretend to belong even while choosing to be respectful. The Sapphire Priestess very much understood that Glacian presence here was only just settled upon an unpleasant, near to explode war. So her goals were that of making sure that the spiritual sense of the people was not obliterated by Elisif's stupid crusade against people and a place she didn't belong. Hjordis had a list of items that she would eventually want to address, but for the present, she kept them to herself other than having allowed Prince Haakon to review her ideas: inclusion of Nharkavan Prayer Rites, with Extremely Limited Introduction of Glacian ideas channeled through an appropriate, Nharkavan viewpoint.

She'd want to have a Priestess from here, that lived here, that Orissa in particular was their home so that she could learn, and take care to not offer offense, but also, the last thing Hjordis wanted was for her new Court to end up just as blown up as the last one. The thought was on in which she very, very much hated her people. Her grip on Haakon's arm grew hard to the touch, and for a moment, the Lady Nurmi trembled, even as she recognised that even her outrage on behalf of the people here in an emotional sense, was not correct. While closing her eyes and easing the tension between her shoulders, she looked up at her elder cousin and immediately formed a Sapphire Aural Shield.

"We do not belong here. Not at all." Her voice was very soft, too soft. "Seeing this, does not make me wish to go home, Haakon, not ever. Which is the most dangerous thing of all. It is beautiful, but not ours. But I am pleased to learn it, and try to help as best I can. You have the Court Contract I've signed, yes, and made sure to retroactively date it, so that at least legally, by Blood Law, your Queen is safe?"

Very unlike the expression that was terribly guarded that she usually held, there was a vibrancy that took place, almost as if rather than only in metaphor, Hjordis had stepped out of a world of grey and into one of passionate colours. "None of my books have prepared me for this, and even though I expected that fact very clearly, it is overwhelming, just a little. I do not want them to hate me, even though standing upon this pad, they all should. It does not matter where my heart lies. But the hope here, it sizzles along the skin. Can you feel it? It is like this entire sky and land are like our Prayer Caverns." Gently, she toyed with the Prayer Book chained to her belt with gold now, and would not help her in anyway conducting rites in this place - except for those others that were Glacian like herself. At least learning had always been quite the strong suit.
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
♪ Writer's Tracker | A Midnight Dreaming Rose ♪

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #2 on: Dec 15, 17, 07:38:56 PM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)

Nharkava worked it’s magic upon Prince Haakon’s cousin.

Every fierce cry of the birds and fluttering wonder of the butterflies seemed etched onto the souls of the people here. You could never subjugate them; the only way to force them into Glacia’s mold would be to burn out the jungle and invite an eternal winter. Not even the Eyrien War Machine had managed that; the terror of two Realms had retreated in confusion after a year. Glacia, of course, was more stubborn. His homeland’s cursed Messiah held all Glacia in thrall. No Glacian could hope to truly belong; their frozen souls must melt. No conqueror would ever rule, not in truth, for the jungle life could not be forced, only yielded too.

He’d have missed it, if his Queen had not taught him the dance and rhythm of souls; the yielding and the taking in turn. Yet his cousin saw the truth of this place at once; pride soared within him. A bitter joy; bitter, because he risked her. Risked them all, for a Queen he hadn’t wanted and a Territory that could only hate him.

Yet now? He would not choose differently.

This was the fight he’d been born for. One with a chance at winning, however slender.

No more than Lady Hjordis, was Haakon prone to public displays of emotion. But his own, rusty laugh had mingled with her beautiful, richly dark one, as the last gasp of their shared homeland mingled with the jungle and was gone. She was beautiful, on any occasion; yet today her cerulean eyes glowed as she drank in the fierce and vivid life around them. Without hesitation, or doubt she understood the deadly trap here.

Lady Hjordis’ moral courage had ever outstripped his own.

The warm, jungle air brushed over her, cooled by skillful craft that let wind and sun through only enough to Heal, not hinder. Haakon wielded the same. The instinct to maintain hers was strong but she must be able to stand on her own, so he contented himself with studying her work. It had been a skill he’d learned only after his arrival, yet hers seemed well practiced. Siphoning cool in instead of out had not ever been necessary in Glacia. Not once. Now it was literally life or death; too much sun caused its own series of bitter illnesses.

Haakon’s own skin was weathered and rough; sunburnt despite Glacia’s cooler climate, due to his rough lifestyle. But his cousin had not even that protection; her skin was silken soft and without visible flaw in the pale gold and cream confection she’d chosen. Her laughter had transmuted to a vivid fear; that and rage lashed through her Psychic Scent, darkened her eyes even as her grip upon him grew fierce. The emotions storming within her transmuted to that odd guilt so many here bore, for the actions of their enemies, upon those who now must perceive them as enemies in turn.

The sacred brush of his cousin’s power assured him that Lady Hjordis shielded them from anyone overhearing them with a Sapphire Aural Shield.. Courteously, he followed suit at his own depth of the Red. Life seemed to breathe into her, from Nharkava; as if it’s very daring and hope had ignited some heretofore unknown fire of the soul in the devout Priestess. She touched her Prayer Book - the one she’d made herself, with her own hand.

Roughened, battle hardened fingers brushed he spine of her Prayer Book with reverence.

“You’ll need to make a second volume. For Nharkava.” He pause, thinking over all she had said. There was no easy answer in any of it. His hand lifted to brush reassuringly over the back of her hand; dual Shielded as they were, it was the lightest of intersections.

“The contract is signed, post dated, and sealed in Blood and Craft. It will at least complicate matters, and buy us time.” A long silence followed, as he sought the right words; even here, he did not outright voice treason. The cost to others would be too high, if it were scried.

“I believe that Glacia cannot possibly succeed in ruling Nharkava. Yet Lady Brenden’s last official act, before assigning our Queen here was to destroy the native rulers. Their Territory Queen, all three Province Queens and any Wards or students of theirs. At a minimum, four of that rare and sacred Caste were killed that day.”

“Every Nharkavan must hate every Glacian, even when they offer them shelter.” Haakon hated speaking that truth. Hated the coldness in him, that left him unable to comfort one who was so dear to him. Who risked everything for the binding trust and love between them. Yet he could not say it; could not risk a thank you in so public a venue.

“They must hate us, if all they know of you and I, our Court, is where we were born, how we look.” That hate was justified; but it was not helpful. It interfered, so Haakon battled it the only way he could: Slowly. He gave his tactic as a gift, offering not comfort or the warm hug she deserved, but ... hope.

“The word ‘we’ is our enemy, now.” He chose his words with extreme care, meticulous as always. Almost he had resorted to a private Thread between them, but she was alive and he did not wish her to feel that mental touch as a scold or rejection to the subtle joy she revealed. He cherished that fearful joy, the light of purpose in her eyes, and feared to so much as breathe lest he endanger it.

“Any generalized term should be avoided when referring to this Court. Each of us must differentiate ourselves as individuals, even to the point of allowing first names. Not ‘a Glacian Steward ruling Nharkava.’ But ‘Prince Haakon Gunvadlsson, Lady Maarika’s Steward.’ Not the Glacian High Priestess of Orissa, but ‘Lady Hjordis Nurmi, Lady Maarika’s High Priestess.’” This, from a man who still struggled to use his Queen’s unadorned first name, and had addressed his beloved cousin so only a handful of times in their life.

“It seems a small thing,” he said firmly, willing it to be true. Yet ... it is vast. “We must become distinct individuals, especially the Queen of our Heart, thus standing apart from our heritage or theirs.” He paused, for it was so slender a thing. So fragile. When every move had to be so terribly subtle, and the people they were so arduously courting had no reason to search for hidden truths in their words. Despair threatened; was battled down by the symphony of life around him. He waited for the cries to fade, as if speaking as much to the jungle as to his cousin.

“I never argue with their hate; I never insinuate my post is anything but temporary. They have a right to their hate and fear; it is justified. I strive to be seen for what I do rather than who I am. a vast stillness echoed his words, as if something out there listened.

“We do not belong here, as a conquering people. It is entirely possible we will not be allowed to stay, even if hope wins out. But I think Nharkava will leave it’s mark upon us, forever.” His gaze lifted from hers at last, to drink in the vivid landscape.

“Their land is sacred to them.” To me.

“I believe it will change us like a Queen’s Bond does. If we survive the conflict, we will neither fit here, nor within Glacia.”

 “But we will be the better for it.”


Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #3 on: Dec 18, 17, 04:01:14 AM »

Magic it was, very much so. Even as Hjordis offered first commentary in reaction to her initial sights of the most lavish part of Orissa, she suspected, given that it was the Territory Court, she remembered why there was a Glacian Court in Nharkava at all, though even if she hadn't, Haakon was there to explain and remind; instruct. In quiet form, the Priestess listened to her cousin. He was right, really, though she imagined that Lady Elisif was too stubborn to believe herself unfit for ruling even the one Territory she had charge of.

It was not often that Hjordis wished poorly upon another person, but the sheer number of people that had been harmed in that woman's name was almost suddenly enough to make her spit, if it hadn't been gross, certainly rude, and a random, potentially misunderstood action. Also, she had noticed the incredible difference in Haakon even just over the amount of time that had passed since he had first told her of his Bond to the Lady Maarika Sydän. Incredible perhaps only by the measure that she knew her cousin and having grown up alongside each other, in part; Haakon surprised her in the best way.

His laughter joined her own. That was enough to consider the situation they were in both as family, and potential courtiers at least on her own side of matters that despite the considerable danger, that Hjordis did not need to allow herself that bitterness at least to be seen. As Haakon continued to explain matters and how they were in Nharkava, Hjordis remained a calm, studious listening ear. She never would have considered not referring to herself as High Priestess of Nharkava, but when Haakon explained, it made perfect sense. A Glacian, no matter how skilled, could truly be the High Priestess of Nharkava, especially not after the horror that Elisif had visited upon the Territory Court preceding Lady Maarika's appointment. If one wanted to call it that.

Hjordis ticked off upon her hands each subject that Prince Haakon mentioned, repeating them to ensure she did not mistakenly forget any; the absolute last thing the the Priestess wished to do was offend someone without planning. "Be individual. I am a Glacian, but I do not represent it. Accept that Nharkavan hatred is simply a way of life, for we are the intruders, following no Protocol of Territorial Rule. We, in that sense, is a danger, exist outside of it. I will see these things done, and we will have to search the libraries in Orissa, as well as ask as many as we can to construct a prayer book I can use that is fair to everyone here. But that can wait."

However, Hjordis froze with such disgusted stillness, to know that Elisif had literally ordered the deaths of a plethora of Queens. It had been enough to understand the woman was clinically and absolutely beyond all redemption and sense, but to know she had swept her hand out and committed pointless attrocity even beyond the Territory Court, it made the Sapphire Priestess sway upon her feet. For the very first time the hope that she had consistently tucked away in hiding was sullied. But more, to think if she felt this way, given how few the Blood were, how precious Queens were ... "I do not understand how any of that creature's Court has not killed that woman in her sleep, and woman is too good a word for her. They must all be pointless, useless sheep, or simply that afraid, which is even worse."

Lady Nurmi's blonde head shook as she straightened her stylish hat, which seemed so very savagely anachronistic. "We do not deserve it. But I would still welcome this change, and hope it should will not kill us or them. I brought everything I needed in personal Craft storage, anything else, I would seek a Nharkavan tailor that won't seek my death every time I ask for their aid, even as I know I do ask for the incredible, the impossible. I would weep for what has been done, except I know my own tears are nothing safe for the people that live here, and would serve only as annoyance. So, where to first?"
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
♪ Writer's Tracker | A Midnight Dreaming Rose ♪

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #4 on: Dec 31, 17, 12:21:35 AM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)

Haakon Gunvaldsson watched his cousin’s lovely, cerulean gaze; the way her face so subtly mirrored the intricate emotions of her Psychic Scent. The rage and disquiet he knew his words must produce pained him, deeply. He felt both the shame of hurting her, and the coiled rage of not being able to protect her from that very painful truth. If he’d only been Darker Jeweled, smarter, stronger he need not surrender his homeland to the Silent Civil War.

Hjordis listened intently, not offended, though he knew his manner could irritate. Nor did she tune him out, or interrupt with questions. She heard him out, and her brilliant mind considered all that he had said. She summarized his points with vastly fewer words, and his almost-smile snuck out of hiding once more. He nodded approval to each of her statements, though his expression retreated to remote as he considered the incredible trial she would face just trying to get any Nharkavan to discuss their actual customs or beliefs with her. Not after 20 years of systematic repression.

Outlawing dancing.

Haakon was not about to arrest, detain, harm or complain about anyone for a dance.

The utter stillness that came over his cousin, was as loud a shout of defiance and rejection as Haakon had ever seen. If what the Queen of Glacia had done to their people and the Dark Religion near to broke Haakon’s heart, how much heavier would the rage and hurt feel, to a devout Priestess like his cousin? He could not mend the wound, nor even bind it up. But he could offer what tiny sliver of hope he’d found, before addressing her deadly dangerous comment upon the Glacian Territory Court.

“They love music, with their worship. One of the early rules enacted to suppress the local faith was to forbid dancing. I’m unclear, even yet, if its only Priestesses dancing our predecessors took exception to, or any religious or cultural performance. But you might find a common ground through your own great love of music.”

His gaze swept over the area, searching for those who might have reacted to her words; the gesture was habit, not true expectation that they were being observed. He considered her questions carefully, with all of the serious thought he’d into that very subject since the day his mother died.

“The Blood have no law against murder. Which means you can only avenge a murder if you can gather a larger strength of Jewels than the killer.”

“A Queen’s Bond ... is bitterly powerful. Even if her own Bonded hated her, I doubt they could either act against her, or stand aside for someone else to do so. And she has three Ebon Grey’s for her Triangle. Lady Maarika’s whole gathered Court could not protect our Lady from even one, when he dared to touch her against her will.”

“Yet ... until recently, all of the Territory Queen’s actions have been small, incremental violations. Most of her assurances and edicts have been first spread amongst the Priestesses, who are the symbols of Justice in Glacia.”

His voice dropped, to a deadly quiet, furious whisper. “It is only in the last year that she has taken to moving against Dark Jewels, as well as light. You know where this is headed. Before she is done, only those of her Jewel rank or Darker will be free.”

Perfect, soft hands adjusted her hat, and Haakon fell silent until it was perfectly arranged. He nodded, to indicate approval when it at last met with the rigid, exacting standards of their homeland. Then he reached out with Craft, and chose a small, local flower to complement her eyes, and wove it delicately through the brass brads upon her hat. He had no notion if his cousin would tolerate the small rebellion, and would make no demure whatsoever if she removed it.

“First to your rooms.”

Yet the walk, from the Landing Pad to her rooms, was nearly all either outside, or through courtyards. At last, they fetched up at a lovely private courtyard, which opened onto an exquisite room. The fountain in the middle was filled with native, brightly colored fish, and the large trees offered welcome shade and the illusion of coolness.

“I thought it would please you, to have a fountain. But your rooms can be changed, if you prefer elsewhere.” Unlike most ruling palaces, there were many empty rooms, for Maarika’s staff was far from full strength.


Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #5 on: Dec 31, 17, 07:38:21 AM »
Hjordis did her very best to hold on to the surge of rage that caused the Priestess to sway upon her feet, and her knees nearly buckle in the shock she felt at people being barred to worship. For several moments she halted her steps with Haakon, with her left arm wrapped around her middle. Dainty though Hjordis was, the woman did not cry, even though once more she felt so terribly hopeless, so truly without power in coming to understand even the surface feelings of those living here.

The Nharkavan people had done nothing to be treated the way that they were. So once more, it took Hjordis several moments to compose herself, which she managed without causing a scene. Not easy, for the pain she felt for these people, and how her own had been so twisted beyond repair it nearly seemed impossible to fix. No doubt, that was the truth of the matter, that the Glacian people simply were as they were, and nought could be done. "If it is permitted of me, I would like to find a way to return dancing to the people, without alerting the Lady Elisif and her foolish sycophants. For I would sooner die before I permitted someone to take my music from me, or my prayers. You are precisely correct, dear cousin."

The admission made it possible for Hjordis to let her anger pass through her, without touching or harming anyone else near. It was always one facet of her presence that she was very cautious regarding. Rage of a Dark Jewelled person like herself was as like to contribute to oppression as instant death, and she but possessed a rich and rare Sapphire. To think of someone further gifted and the training it would require brought a further stillness and care into her consideration. "I would like to free my father, if you would allow it, as I am hoping to have a Black Widow finish his mind healing, and I'd like to rid myself entirely of my one and only control ring. It is not something I wish to contribute in bringing to this place. It is not much, on the whole of revolution and withstanding cruelty, but I think my father could thrive and heal."

It was all that Hjordis would offer regarding further discussion upon the nature of Queen's Bonds and the sheer seeming difference between the Ladies Elisif and Maarika, other Queens that had been settled in the middle of conflicts that did not need to exist at all. Such however, was the nature of the Blood. As Haakon had said, to murder was no crime. But that did not mean of course, that one did not pay a social price.


Lady Nurmi's Rooms at Orissa
Elsewise, she finally settled her hand back in Haakon's  care, only to carefully and deliberately stroked over his forearm and plucked at the palm of her Princely cousin's hand for a little while longer, halting only once they arrived to the rooms she had been planned to take. The walk had been, despite even the deep sadness of their place here, nothing short of perfection to Hjordis, and having time to adjust to the fact that she would be within Orissa for sometime to come, she'd even toyed with her shielding even more, so that it could be properly variable. Given that Hjordis didn't need to concern herself with much combat at all, the use of her Jewels that way wasn't a hardship as it might have been to some.
 
Softness of Hjordis' expression however shifted to absolutely dreamy once her actual quarters were in sight. The fountain in all its elegant glory as if she had stepped into a painting drew the Priestess still once more with that unfettered and almost childlike wonder. She dropped her gaze and laughed tenderly when stepping past the fountain and actually into the sitting room, of which, beyond it was the bedchamber in the same delectable and richly cultural style as the rest of the Territory Court Palace. There was in no way that she could truly state that yes, Nharkavan people are lesser than Glacian in any way. Any attempt of such was flat out a disservice to all those whom believed that they were Mother Night's blessed people. They were all Blood, and even if the Landen were intended to cared for by the Blood, nothing about the situation was acceptable. Yet, the beauty she was now surrounded by helped immeasurably with the sense of lingering despair.

Turning, she released her baggage that had been within her own personal Craft storage, and levitated each item to the place it would belong for putting away. With that task completed, Hjordis rounded upon Haakon and hugged the Red Prince ever so tightly. "I cannot possibly imagine what I might do without you, dear cousin. I love the rooms quite keenly. I promise you."

In tending to Haakon's Jewels and offering the smallest bit of a ritual connection to the darkness, she gave warmth for ensuring that given the weight of their discussion, and potential fear of her presence here giving way to at least, she would be somewhere Haakon could see and offer aid where it was needed, Hjordis hoped as well that it would be a tiny start to offer some measure of peace. With a squeeze of the older man's hands, she studied his severe, deeply caring, attractive face; for all that Haakon ever was, she knew he cared so much that it was sometimes very painful. In considerable regard, it was remarkable to observe her cousin both care and maintain a safe, respectable and cautious distance from all things Nharkavan, even as he took pains not to cause harm. Hjordis considered even this subtle, very Princely manner, and filed it away for later knowledge. "Now, where shall we go from here? I do not find myself overtired or requiring rest, thus, if you would be keen upon taking me to your Lady, that is permissible, unless you have other plans first, of course?"
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
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Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #6 on: Dec 31, 17, 03:08:16 PM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)

Haakon Gunvaldsson remained a stoic, unyielding stone in his beloved cousin’s rage. He reminded himself that telling her these things now, Sight & Sound Shielded, Psychic Shielded, warded by every power at his command, he was protecting her.

Not tormenting her.

The battle rage that gripped the fierce Priestess threatened to erupt into motion, for a few seconds. When she went still, curled upon herself, but he was not fooled; she was protecting every thing here from a wrath that wanted to demand a Price from anyone who prevented another from reaching out to Mother Night.

His own tension eased, as hers did; only when she’d returned enough to herself to see him, and address him, did he clasp her hand between his own rough ones. He nodded her approval of trying to find a way to at east avoid persecuting dancing, should a way be found that would not condemn them, dancers and all, to Lady Elisif Brenden’s wrath.

“The Northern most Province is nearly entirely possessed of Glacian trained and approved Priestesses. Child Priestesses who, at their Birthright, might descend to a Dark Jewel are systematically taken to Glacia to be tutored until their Offering. I have so far been unable to discern where they are taken. From what my records show the other two Provinces are less in Glacia’s thrall.”

When she spoke of that great hurt in her heart, Haakon raised her gloved hands to his lips and pressed a reverent kiss upon them. “We will speak with Lady Maarika; if he remains in the Palace ... it is unlikely. But we may be able to attain a residence for him out of public view. Would it wound you less, to have me hold it?” The offer was neither condescending nor arrogant; his cousin knew his secret. The one that would tear his family apart, should Glacia learn of it. But that very flaw, that deep fault, might ease her heart, a tiny bit, while they sought healing and true freedom for her father.

They walked on then, as she placed her hand upon his arm once more. Gently, she soothed the near-invisible, bitter rage he felt. The soothing connection between them, real and deep, silently assured him that she was safe. That she was here, where he had some small chance to protect her. Their silence was soothing and familiar, rather than brooding.

Haakon’s gaze was fixed upon Hjordis, as they came to the courtyard. He was absurdly proud of the fountain here, for no reason that he could discern. Only that something of it beauty and shape had reminded him of his Cousin. The staff here had gone from utterly terrified to the same bemused indulgence his Lady’s bore when as he fussed over their preparations for the arrival of his cousin. The fourth or fifth time he’d offer to attempt to Cleanse the Psychic impressions from the room with his Red, Lady Patel had finally stepped in to shoe him off. It was one of the kinder, happier exchanges he’d ever had with a Nharkavan, and that left a subtle brush of warmth, welcome and acceptance in the room.

Watching his cousin come alive for the elegant rooms pleased Haakon immensely, and he slowly relaxed. Her soft, delighted laughter summoned him the rest of the way indoors. She fit in her rooms, as he did in his. How neatly and easily she placed her things was proof enough of that.

But it was the sudden, deep and genuine hug that wrung a laugh out of him. He wrapped his arms about her in a sheltering, loving embrace, his face threatening to squish her perfect hat. He, the Prince, the diplomat was bereft of words. He could not share with her his deeper emotions, as he could with Lady Maarika.

Once again she reached past that barrier within him, offering him the quiet solace of Communion; tending to his Jewels and soul at once. His fierce embrace softened, and the words in his heart sought release.

“I could not settle, with you so far away.” The Queen Bond was so much; he could not choose to be other than with his Lady. Yet it had not erased or lessened those ties and loves that guided and shaped who he was.

Lady Maarika had not let it, despite the initial instincts to make it so.

His beloved cousin examined him quiet carefully, her scrutiny both practiced and concerned; he had no doubt she correctly traced the lines of stress and work upon his features, but also the spark of hope that burrowed under his skin.

“As you are rested, let us by all means seek out my Lady. She has a great need of you.”

They walked this time through the palace itself. Brilliantly colored rooms filled with life sized friezes of elephants (Haakon paused in mild bemusement and delight at each such item), and brilliant crimson and gold decoration (complementing his Jewel, oddly enough) alternated with elegant water works and lovely gardens.

Until they came to the large Orissa formal garden. There, in the midst of the grand display, was his Queen. He paused, though he needed no Craft to know precisely in what direction his Queen was. The shear effort of attaining anything resembling proper security for a Garden of that size had given Haakon nightmares for weeks; he was utterly grateful to be Steward, and not Master of the Guard. Yet Finn Hallman was a devious and clever man who had eventually come up with a security organization that they could all live with.

Haakon’s unerring gaze went at once to the small, elegant white building, that in Glacia would be some sort of Gazebo. Here, he had no notion as to its formal name, merely referring to it as  the prettiest gazebo in the Orissa formal garden. Silently, he guided his cousin to this meeting, tension once more clawing at him.

He needed, quiet desperately, for these two central people in his life to be in accord. Once more words failed him; he’d told Hjordis all about the factual things she needed to know, yet had never found words for the deeply spiritual and brilliant Lady who was the central heart and crowning Jewel of this entire palace.

Haakon approached slowly, formally saluting the Blood Opal Warlord Rugaar with a closed fist to his chest, then bowing with deep precision to his Queen, all with a deadly, athletic grace that did not dislodge his beloved cousin from his arm.

“Lord Lang, Lady Sydän-Harmaa, my beloved cousin, Lady Hjordis Nurmi ...”

His words faded to silence; a subtle feeling from the Wound-in-his-Soul stole the breath from his lungs, that would have allowed him to finish his introductions.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #7 on: Dec 31, 17, 11:40:36 PM »
Despite how much the present Queen of Nharkava had on her plate, she was currently enjoying a bit of leisure in the garden. She had long ago learned to appreciate the benefits of seeing to her own health and wellness, not only for how much stronger she felt when she did so in general, but in how much it eased the tensions of those who took it as their divine mandate to look after her. Tahvo had taught her that her males would be less anxious about trying to monitor her eating and resting and other schedules if they knew they could trust her to at least attempt to not deprive herself regardless of how busy she got. There was still some fussing that went on, of course, but Maarika liked to think it was all as tolerable as it was because of her attention to such details. If she allowed herself to go all day without eating or resting, she imagined the fussing would be exponentially worse.

It was in moments like this, where she had no one hanging on her for answers, and no one begging for her time, that Nharkava had begun to weave its subtle charms on her. She'd hated the sweltering heat of the place at first; even now in the oncoming winter, it was warm enough out to have been an early Spring day in Glacia. Now she enjoyed the warmth of the place. Having no appointments but her own care at the moment, she had slipped her feet out of the sandals she wore and was enjoying the feel of warm grass beneath them. She'd not been brave enough yet to change her wardrobe to the Nharkavan style (it felt disrespectful to do so, somehow). Yet there were tells that her tastes were being influenced, such as the lively blue dress that swayed airily about her legs as she walked along the grass.

Rugaar warned her of incoming company, and Maarika stepped back into her shoes and made her way back the few steps to the covered little patio nearby. There were benches there beneath the constructed shade, making a sweet little nook that made for comfortable reading or general perusal of the gardens. Had it just been Haakon, Maarika would have remained where she was, but Rugaar informed her that Haakon was not alone. As Maarika knew Hjoris was due to arrive soon, she opted to not risk meeting her new High Priestess while barefoot in the grass.

As it usually did, Haakon's approach drew a satisfied smile to Maarika's lips. He was such a striking fellow, after all, and he moved about with such sober determination, all the time, as though no matter what errand he was on it was the most important one in existence. She could only imagine how vexed he was at the moment, about to introduce his Queen to his cousin whom he so dearly loved. Maarika reached out to him before he was even near, brushing his mind with her own and sharing with him how pleased she was to see him.

It didn't last long, though. Maarika's attention shifted to the pale blonde at his side, and she felt the most peculiar rising of her spirit, as though it'd woken suddenly and sharply after having been asleep for some time. It almost felt like... like... but no. That didn't make any sense, did it? Maarika's expression turned from polite expectation to something more curious and hesitant. No, not hesitant. Just... confounded, though only gently. But not even her confusion could entirely mute the quiet joy that sparkled through her, more strongly with every step the pair took nearer. By the time Haakon and his cousin stood immediately before her, Maarika was smiling brightly at the Priestess of the pair, and she stepped forward before Haakon had even finished his introductions. She lifted both hands, inviting Hjordis to surrender her own, and she laughed. Just a soft, tinkling little thing, just an overflow of the wonder and mirth that suddenly gripped her.

"How... is this possible?" she asked the Priestess before her. Her Priestess, in a way more binding and eternal than any court position could decree.

Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 18, 04:30:24 AM »
If the time to consider the moment of meeting Haakon's Queen had been given more than the nervous jitters than Hjordis had allowed it, a soft, amused laugh might have been her response for the very idea that she fall so completely as she had into the other blonde's presence. Lady Maarika was more soft, pleasant sunlight in early spring with a touch of winter to Hjordis' own glacial moonlight presence. Even though Haakon had told her plenty about the Lady Sydän, to be presented with the woman herself was terribly startling. It was akin to having a blessed, perfect painting described rather than the heart healed while still beating. Hjordis had spent her life in a protected, cautious state, but now, in this moment she was aware vividly that only half breaths had been taken her entire life. The Priestess' lips parted, then closed. Almost, she took a step forward, body practically moving upon its own accord before she swiftly rethought that approach; Haakon's cousin or no, there was Protocol to be observed.

If the lady was confused, then surely Hjordis only echoed the same feeling and thoughts. But ah, then the issue was relieved for her, because Maarika herself stepped forward with a smile as bright as the Nharkavan sun. For several moments Hjordis only stared at the woman's hands, before it shortly dawned upon her that she was being invited to take them, which of course she did. What Hjordis did not expect was warm silk. That was what the Queen's skin felt like, a combination of a best friend, the warmth of a friend that with Glacia the way it was, she had never been able to obtain, not to speak of give to another, and so many other things. It took everything not to gently sway upon her own feet while trying to understand what it was she was feeling. With confusion, she looked at Haakon, but was immediately drawn back to the Lady Maarika like a moth to a bonfire.

Head bowing, Hjordis threaded her fingers with Maarika's. That felt like it made perfect emotional sense. "Possible? I could entertain the mystical and scientific discourse, but I cannot imagine that is what you mean, to desire such dry and boring conversation," It was a soft, soprano echo of the Queen's words with her own refined opinion added in all while the Priestess did her very best to stop falling into Maarika's eyes but couldn't exactly manage that feat. Perfectly pale cheeks turned a soft pink in a combination of confusion and slight embarrassment. Absolutely no-one would want to listen to her go on for hours about various historical ramifications of Craft, she was sure of it. Hjordis had shaken her head as she attempted to parse through what the lady could mean, until the knowledge of her own Priestess Caste smacked her in the face with exactly what she was feeling, The Sapphire Priestess didn't dare actually speak the word, instead, stepping gently around the issue at hand while marvelling at the incredible. Moreover, she understood with blade like precision why Haakon spoke of Maarika the way he did; she was so beautiful it would have been physically painful to look at her, if of course, Hjordis had not all together been a great deal more settled than her intense cousin was. Not to say that she did not have that same essence, but it was by contrast, despite the Sapphire she bore, ferociously disciplined.

In dislike or disapproval, Hjordis was not the type to shout or yell, but more carefully use reason and knowledge to slam into her opponent with the formality and strength of her beliefs. More over, she was unflinchingly loyal. The Priestess never, ever flaunted the aristocratic bearing gained through her deceased mother, but rather let it breathe sweetly around without judgement. Just now however, she remained perfectly, delightfully centered upon the Queen.

Yours ... 

Because, surely, such a rare thing like a star exploding hadn't just happened to her. The instinct to say, but I am simply a quiet author rose up and fell away. To say as much would have been perhaps insulting to the place that the Lady Maarika had been trying to permit her, was seemingly now solved, one might so hope. "Ah. Hello. We are ... well met, Lady, I do so kindly pray." The soft laughter caused Hjordis' pulse to rush forth until it was all she could hear, nearly.

Sheer will kept her on her feet, instead of what the riot of colour dancing before her eyes demanded - fainting. "The garden suits you," she said in a rush of interest. "The greater question however, is do I suit your purposes?" Almost absently, her left thumb brushed over the back of Maarika's hand while waiting for an answer.

Please let me stay, she thought, aware suddenly that she'd do almost anything safe, or even not safe for this lady, this Queen. It was blessed and curious, even as a piece of her was terribly afraid for them both and everyone here by connection.
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
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Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 18, 11:17:08 AM »
"Can't you?" Maarika countered, with an amused cant to her smile. "I may be a Queen, Lady Nurmi, but I assure you that doesn't always preclude one from using their head on occasion, rather than being led about only by their heart. But, that particular conversation can wait. I don't need to know how something's possible to accept that it's happened, and suddenly I want to know everything about you." The Queen squeezed the Priestess' hands gently but eagerly, smiling brightly enough to challenge the sun. It only then seemed to occur to her to explain to Haakon what was happening, and she turned the shine of that satisfied countenance towards the Prince who stood so patiently by.

"You have brought me more than a Priestess and your beloved cousin, my Haakon," she told him, releasing just one of Hjordis' hands so that she could take one of Haakon's. "You have brought another piece of my heart here to me. Hasn't he, Lady Nurmi?" she said, looking once more to Hjordis. "As unexpected as this is, you are mine, entrusted to me by the Darkness by bond and faith." A shiver shimmied through her, unbridled excitement as she said the words and the reality of it began to sank in. She laughed again, softly, an almost helpless expression of sheer delight.

"Come, come, sit with me, please," she beckoned, giving a gentle tug to the Priestess' hands while gesturing towards the shaded little seating area nearby. Hjordis' question won a knowing little smile from the Queen, who nearly tsked at the innocence of the query.

"We have been spared the need to ask such things. Whoever you are, Lady Nurmi, the Darkness has decided that you suit me precisely. Whatever our relationship turns out to be, it will be exactly what the Mother feels it should be. We will sharpen one another, serve and protect one another, though who can say what form those feats will take? Time will tell."


Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #10 on: Jun 07, 18, 12:41:51 AM »
Hjordis' lips parted as if to offer some manner of sensible reply before she realised that the Lady Maarika was every so gently teasing her, but also trying to draw her out, that they might learn the other. Having built a life based upon knowledge and its place in the world, especially her own, she certainly understood the balance in using one's head as well as the heart to gauge a situation. She too, looked back to her cousin, with absolute bafflement and delight in her expression. "I too, would like to learn you as much as I may," Hjordis finally said with lips that had slowly curved upward. In the riotous colour of the garden, the Priestess was akin to a pale, moonlit figure brought to life. Around her and fueled with Craft, the air remained pleasantly cool, while she smiled and moved to sit with the Lady Maarika when asked, cerulean eyes keen upon her new lady in service but as well, heart.

A still shocked gaze moved toward Prince Haakon, and though she had half a thousand words she wished to say, none of them seemed remotely accurate for the moment. A pink hue bloomed along her cheeks and she bowed her head. "Yes, I suppose that is true. I simply cannot help wanting to know why, but I will spare you from questioning my own worth," the lady said in rather dry amusement. She couldn't help but caress Maarika's hands, a bubble of adoration rising in her chest like sunrise on a perfect day.

It seemed only correct to tell the Queen about herself. "Well, about me. Haakon and I grew up not far from each other. As he is my elder, he has always been very carefully protective over me, for which I have always been appreciative. Ritual Craft brings me great joy, I should mention. I am entirely willing to learn the people here, and their Rituals to set them at ease ... if one could ever be at ease in such a situation," she said very gently, with great compassion and a particularly pointed lack of judgement, even as in Hjordis' eyes, it was clear enough that with her calm, was also concern.

Pleased as ever to find her Queen a clearly very strong, and beautiful woman, Hjordis could barely tear her eyes away, save for studying Haakon every few moments. But more than anything, she did not want the Lady Maarika harmed, and wars, even the silent type, were expressly painful. "You may call me Jordi, or Jo, if you like, my lady, if we are not required to be stiff-necked parodies of a certain Dark Court." It was both conspiratorial, the comment, but as respectful as she could manage toward a woman like the Lady Elisif and her desire to claim everything or at least, as it appeared on the surface.
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
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Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #11 on: Jun 26, 18, 06:28:57 PM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)

Haakon Gunvaldsson had actually had a long, deep conversation about just how the Nharkavan ladies managed to go barefoot so very often without injury. He’d have been deeply amused, to see his Bonded Lady engaged in just such an activity. He may even have been moved to tease her about it, had the soothing, sturdy Warlord who currently stood guard over their shared Heart been so moved as to communicate her activity to him. Save, of course, for two things.

His deep tension about this meeting, and he wasn’t perfectly sure how teasing worked, anyway.

Lady Maarika reached out and soothed him with the Bond, untangling the knots in his soul.  She gifted him with all the warmth and informality he craved, and could not show. It eased his breathing, lit a warm hunger in his gaze.

Made him think he might try that whole teasing thing, after all.

But any such inclination to light hearted behavior fled as he watched his Lady once more find part of herself enshrined within another living soul. However did she bear it, the deep drive to know? The longing? So many people, pouring their needs into her heart and mind, unable to so much as breathe if she were in anyway distressed. So many whose own distress, hurt her? His jaw clenched, for a moment, fighting as he must against jealousy. His need to possess and hold onto something for himself. Even he could not say, which he was more jealous of, how his Queen laughed so gently, so freely, while holding his cousins’ hand. Or how his Hjordis offered ... offered ... a ... nick name?

A growl threatened.

Yet it could not stay; neither jealousy, nor growl. What was his own pain, when weighed against Lady Maarika’s joy, or his beloved cousin’s delight? When his Lady had Bonded that horrible, loyalty-compromised Little Terrellian, it had been ... difficult ... for Haakon to share her joy. A torment, truly; he knew only fear, about that Bond. She had one Bond already that threatened to tear her apart... that smuggler was no doubt going to hurt her, as well.

But this? No one, but no one, would safe-guard the heart and soul of his Lady as his cousin would. A fierce joy, equal and more to the jealousy he’d battled a heartbeat before, stormed through him. His Lady would offer his Cousin the sweet companionship she so missed, as well as being a soul searching, spiritual companion.

Their fingers twined, soft and sweet; he felt the joy, the sense of homecoming and belonging pouring off of his cousin.

The wonder, from deep inside his Queen.

His heart lurched; he thought it might be breaking. His soul ached, with want and need. It took every fiber of his will, to stand still. He wanted, so fiercely, to embrace them both. To kiss them. Laugh, and cry with them. But this was not his time.

How is this possible?

His Queen had spoken the very thoughts of his soul.

Haakon’s demeanor was quite odd; the stern, harsh lines of his face misaligned from their normal places, to something both ineffably sad, as if he fought tears, and utterly content with that pain. His gaze was oddly unfocused, as he restrained the violence of emotion tearing at his control. Still, even that slight waver from Hjordis, as she fought not to faint, had summoned him instantly forward. His hand had settled protectively on Hjordis’ back steadying her. He tried to speak but could not force words out.

When his Queen addressed him, and held out her hand. So gently, so carefully did he capture that extended hand and bring it to his lips it might have been made of glass. Yet he kissed it, hard, and fierce, as if afraid he’d loose the privilege. He had had to clear his throat, before he could speak. A tightness lingered in the words, a beautiful fierce joy that was near to unendurable. “Aye, my Lady. Mother Night has yielded one of her own sacred Priestesses into your keeping, and you into hers.”

It had hurt, when Maarika tugged free of him and brought Hjordis, too, away from the protection of his semi-embrace, that the ladies might sit and speak together. But that was his normal response anytime either Lady moved away from him, and it was comforting in its own normalcy. Haakon had shadowed their movement to the bench, though he sent a sharp look to his Queen, when she spoke as did of the Bond. Haakon felt that every one of a Queen’s Bonded had the potential to suit her. But the Queen had to choose to heal them (as she had not, with Jonothan), and they had to choose to serve (as he still doubted, with Markos).

A battle hardened hand reached for Maarika, and stopped. There was no need to speak his concerns, for his Hjordis would most assuredly choose to serve, and his Maarika would absolutely choose to heal. Their voices soothed, as the mingled laughter did. The faint, lovely blush to Hjordis’ cheeks, and the spark in Maarika’s eyes threatened to destroy his ability to think.

And yet... Jo??

Haakon carefully considered Hjordis’ summary of their life to date, oddly amused that his beloved cousin had managed to say so little about herself.

“Lady Hjordis,” his harsh voice, always out of place when ladies discoursed, was more roughened and hoarse even than normal. Yet the emphasis on the entire name being spoken was clear, and as clear to teasing as he ever got.

“Is a gifted author and teacher. She loves Piste, and snow.”

The urge to ask if either Lady was hungry was a strong one, but barely, he resisted. After all, he’d managed to feed his beloved cousin before their trip out here, and Lady Maarika was well known to actually take care of herself.

Most of the time.


Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #12 on: Jun 30, 18, 05:17:29 PM »
Haakon's struggle wasn't lost on his Queen. Maarika was neatly torn precisely into two, one half of her heart wanting to shut away the world in its entirety so that she could soothe the male whose soul called her, and the other half wanting not even that beloved distraction from the focus she gave the Lady Hjordis. She compromised by turning her head and meeting Haakon's eyes, feeding more of her Touch into him via Craft, and assuring him with a look that she saw him, and cherished him. But even while her Craft continued to try and soothe him, she turned her eyes back towards the Priestess and listened as the woman spoke.

A knowing little smile surfaced at the reference to Haakon being "protective", though Maarika suspected it had little at all to do with the Prince being the elder of the two. She had little doubt that all such ladies for whom Haakon cared suffered the same loving treatment, regardless of age. Maarika nodded at the notion of learning the local rituals and people, and thought that a very useful interest to have.

"These are difficult times between our court and the natives of this land," she admitted, furthering the nod a little. "Any bridge right now is a welcome one. We've a long road ahead of us before the people here will know true comfort in our presence, but any steps you take in that direction will only help."

Hjordis' final comment caused Maarika to glance towards Haakon briefly, before returning her attention to the Priestess. An Opal shield climbed the space around them, containing their conversation among the three of them alone. Maarika had no doubt that if Haakon was already shielding the space he'd let her know, and if he wasn't, he'd insist on taking over the task without much room for argument.

"I do not know how much your cousin has yet told you," the Queen said, gently. "But we must be very careful for the time-being to appear outwardly to support Vaasa at all times. Even here, even when it seems we are safe and unobserved. We have taken measures to help increase the security against trespasses here, but we have been forced to take on a substantial number of help from among the locals. It's impossible to say whether they're all just what they seem to be or not. We must give them no cause to doubt our loyalty. Say nothing here outside of a shield that you would not say while standing before Lady Brenden herself. Threads are preferred even above shields, lest you wish to give your cousin a more severe case of heartburn than he surely already suffers," she said, warmth softening her words into a gentle tease at the last. She glanced up at the Prince in question, and invited him without words to stand at her back and set his hands on her shoulders. She desired contact with him, even if she kept the bulk of her attention on Lady Hjordis.

"Hjordis is a beautiful name," she commented. "And you must call me Maarika. Protocol has its place, but the Darkness has made us sisters at the very least." Haakon's insertions about Hjordis drew a smile to the Queen's lips, though she tsked a little sadly. "Then you have sacrificed much to come here and serve," she recognized. "I don't think you'll find snow or piste anywhere in the whole of this Territory. But some of the dances and customs they have here are enchanting in their own right. You must come with us when we make our rounds next month, and see for yourself. Nharkava is not without its challenges, surely, but it has its share of charms as well."

Offline Haakon Gunvaldsson

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #13 on: Jul 02, 18, 05:39:54 AM »
192, Spring: Orissa, the Territory Court’s Private Landing Pad and then tour of palace.
(This thread follows Bend Toward Skies Most Grey and I Spy with my Little Eye.)

With that one searingly intimate glance, Maarika forced life back into Haakon’s soul. Her Touch scarred and seared him; threatened to thaw the frozen glaciers that formed the very shape of all he was. So it was each time his Queen offered her Touch to him; knife edges of welcome and belonging cutting into the fear and grief that formed the core of him. Despite the stinging pain that the first stirrings of hope over despair must always engender, Haakon craved that Healing, thawing touch. A breath shuddered through him as he all but wrenched the wound-in-his-soul wide, that he might drown in it. Only that brief, stuttered breath and the way the stern planes of his face re-aligned themselves revealed the shear, almost unendurable power of his Queen’s care to the outer world. She crept in where even angels feared to tread, and wrapped her presence through him, a silent assurance that not even the wonder and mystery of Bonding his Hjordis would distract her over-much from tending to Haakon.

To any of her males; Lady Maarika understood as few did just how deeply into the soul she crept.

He knew, he absolutely knew, that he needed to leave his beloved cousin and precious Queen to learn each other. That they would be better, happier, freer in their joy of each other if his own, gargoyle-like presence could just take himself away for a while.

He’d done so when her estranged husband all but destroyed her.

And again, when that man’s agent showed up and Bonded her.

But this time was different, and he found himself locked in place, allowed the privilege of breath only because his Queen reached out to ease his tortured heart even in the midst of her joy.

Haakon’s rough hands settled upon the satin of Maarika’s skin, striving not to cause pain as his fingers sought stress. He attacked those areas with the same constrained aggression he applied to every problem. He moved close enough that she might lean against him, as if he were a back rest. Once the worst of the tension was eased, his touch would ghost over her skin, feather light caresses that he assured himself were for Maarika’s comfort, even more than  his own.

His right hand would settle tenderly upon Hjordis’ shoulder, supporting her as well, though he knew his cousin well enough to wait for her silent permission before attempting to tend to her own tensions in similar fashion. Both hands froze, suspiciously, when the topic of his protection was allowed to pass unchallenged.

He felt Maarika’s aural Shield snap into place, and his gentle touch settled to protective. His mind brushed hers, reassuringly. *I have Shielded us since our arrival, Maarika. On the walk here, I explained our ... predicament. I left out the details about the Ladies Sanna and Magdalena, and that we have traitors in our midst. Those I felt, rightfully belonged to you to share.* It did not occur to Haakon now, and had not before, that the shear depth of danger ought to have been fully shared with his cousin before she agreed to commence her service with his Queen.To Haakon, nothing and nowhere would ever be safer than sheltering under his Shields.

He nodded silent approval to his cousin attending his Queen on her formal rounds. Lady Hjordis would only aid Lady Maarika on such a journey. The forcibly tender touch of his hands as they soothed his ladies shouted his love and devotion more clearly than his words could ever convey.


Offline Hjordis Nurmi

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #14 on: Jul 02, 18, 01:59:42 PM »
A faint sadness wrapped around Hjordis, but it quickly there and gone. The last person to shorten her name so kindly had been her beloved mother, the woman she so often had tried to emulate the best parts of. However, the Priestess did not view the moment as a defeat, but a postponement. Perhaps she would explain sometime why the less formal did in fact, matter to her for those that were closest. Haakon, as much as Hjordis absolutely adored her cousin with an unconditional love, she would never have expected him to address her in any fashion that Protocol did not dictate. He often fretted over her father - who was their shared relative and did not, she expected, recall her mother as well as she did. While some might have been territorial over sharing the moment of a Queen's Bond, Hjordis was not at all. To her, it was sublime joy itself that one of her very few living relatives could attend and she hoped, be proud of the rare gift. After all, it was even rarer than the males that Bonded Queens to almost be unheard of. With Maarika's touch and the softly amused knowing smile, the Sapphire Priestess let out a quiet and stately laugh.

"I do not mind his protectiveness, I promise. We have always worked well together, I see it as a tender indulgence that I can allow to show Prince Haakon how very much I care about him, even if there are matters we do not agree upon. One of those is a husband and children, you should know. That is my goal, someday, but I would not wish to choose someone that would take me from you, Maarika. Haakon was assisting me in considering someone that would suit." Where his hands laid upon Maarika's shoulder, Hjordis sighed and rested one on his while keeping her fingertips of the left hand in the Queen's keeping before returning her right hand to the lady's possession. To Hjordis, it was truly perfect. She was delighted that the Queen agreed with her about the local rituals, even if being saddened by the reasons they were here, at least they could surreptitiously assist the Nharkavans. "He did explain a number of things to me, but we are shielded, my dear Lady," she said with a gentle smile and bemused pleasure at her new Queen's protectiveness. A blush suffused Hjordis' face, even.

"He always shields me. Always, Lady," Gripping Maarika's hand, she stroked it, soothed each time they touched but allowed her own shields to be visible, which were interlaced beautifully with Haakon's Red Shields. It was a layer of protective, breathable, skin-tight shields, but as well, a mutable Aural Shield that included whomever the Prince wanted within it. They had relaxed with Maarika's touches and shifted to allow the woman to touch her, Hjordis noticed.

"I would never speak of Glacian politics without being careful. I have been warned. We would not want him to worry too much and make even more unhappy faces," she said with the constantly firm, but agreeable nature, though there was a hint of answering amusement in her expression, as she understood that not everyone found Haakon's manner welcome and useful. "Moreover, I would not desire to endanger you especially when we have only just met! Your shields too, are beautiful and useful. One cannot be too careful, I realise quite keenly." Hjordis reached out her hand to allow her fingers near the Opal Aural Shield but did not touch out of respect.

Appreciation filled her expression the way Maarika managed to focus on her, but also offer tender attentions to Haakon. She hesitated at using the woman's name consistently even though her heart screamed to do so. Was there anyone else in her life that she was so informal with? The answer to the self-thoughts was surprisingly sad, but also curious. "Maarika," she murmured, leaning forward and whispering the Queen's name into her ear. "Sweet Maarika, Lovely Lady Maarika, passionate star of my life," Hjordis said softly again before settling back and squeezing her hands. Tender laughter resounded at Haakon's interjections. "I do like those things, yes, but I do not see it as a sacrifice at all. Not when my two best-loved people are here, and there is ever so much more to learn about life than snow, and piste! Making the rounds with you would be delightful. Are there any particular duties you require of me firsthand? Shall I meet the rest of your Court? Truly, I am amenable to whatever you need."

For several moments she was quiet.

"But first, may I hug you both?" She couldn't help the delicate sheen of tears in her eyes, but they were paired with an excited smile and did not last too long, Hjordis preferred a private display of most emotions if she could help it. "My only request before we might attend upon others as duty demands." This, however, was a terribly rare and special moment, and she did not want to lose the pure, precious essence of it, nor how terribly, beautifully light her heart did feel just then.
"On the outside, lies ice, yet within one is spun flames to lure loyalty and trust."
♪ Writer's Tracker | A Midnight Dreaming Rose ♪

Offline Maarika Sydän-Harmaa

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Re: O Fortuna, Velut Luna, Statu Variabilis
« Reply #15 on: Jul 09, 18, 06:34:02 PM »
In truth, Maarika hadn't sincerely doubted that Haakon would have advised Hjordis against speaking openly. Haakon was--well, she couldn't truly call him paranoid, not considering how many powerful people could make mincemeat of all their lives if any of them slipped up in the wrong place. But he was adamant to be certain when it came to security and the secrecy of the displaced court's true loyalties. Maarika had had no real expectations to find herself the only one shielding their conversation. The gesture had been for Haakon's benefit, that he might think on it later and be slightly comforted that he'd witnessed Maarika actively taking pains to try and be safe.

His assurance that he did in fact have the trio shielded against eavesdropping caused the Queen's slender hand to lift and cover one of Haakon's at her shoulder. She let her shield fall away and silently thanked him.

*Will you make time for me this evening, Haakon? I have missed you.* Her hand gently squeezed his, but as the bulk of her attention was swallowed by the conversation before her, that was the extent of her reach. Hjordis' shift, the way her shields became visible caused Maarika's gaze to flicker up towards them, and her lips parted gently in a soft expression of wonder as she studied the sight before her. She could manage only the most basic of such shields herself; having been surrounded by men who rushed to do such things for her, she lacked the practice and skill to weave such beautiful cooperations of Craft with others, as Hjordis did with Haakon. The Queen knew envy then, for a heartbeat, before it shifted into a more palatable sense of simple appreciation. "How lovely," she said, without the first hint of irony. It was a beautiful sight, and unexpected.

The moment moved on, and Maarika surrendered a delicate laugh at Hjordis' enjoyment of her name. She squeezed the Priestess' hand and let her smile bloom warm and bright. She felt so full, in such a light and ethereal way. They could've sat there without saying a word and Maarika would've been content for a time.

"Yes! Yes, of course, you must meet the others," Maarika said, as though she'd forgotten about such logistics until Hjordis brought them up. "They are..." she said, pausing to cast an amused glance up at Haakon, briefly. By the time she looked back to the Priestess, she was grinning. "Well, they're all one of a kind. But they're the bravest, strongest, most loyal people in the realm. You'll love them." She paused, and her smile slanted to one side. "Eventually, if not immediately." Hjordis asked for a hug, and Maarika did not hesitate before rising to her feet and tugging the Priestess to hers to match. She pulled the other woman into a strong and warm embrace, grinning all the while.

"I have needed you," she whispered, in the midst of the hug. "Exactly you, exactly now. I've never felt more blessed."

 

 

anything