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Messages - Jupiter Cinerus

Pages: 1 2 »
1
Hayll / Re: don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Nov 04, 19, 11:26:39 PM »
Jupiter didn’t consider himself in any danger by serving his Queen. On the contrary, he considered anyone fool enough to act against her in danger. Slaying them quickly would be the kindest thing he could do to them, depending upon their transgression. Sabine hugged him like never before. Was it wrong that such affection from his Queen unsettled him? He enjoyed every second of having her in his arms, but after six years of distance, the permitted closeness made Jupiter wonder what had changed between them. He hated himself for thinking it. Accept that she is granting you what you desire, and leave it at that.

She was so thin. He worried that he might shatter her if he held on too tight, but he couldn’t bring himself to just let her go.

My lady, I’m a Warlord Prince. Danger will always find me. I’d rather meet it head on than attempt to hide from it.” he said, drawing back to look at her. He held her hands in his own, stroking her fingers with his own. Her Touch flowed through him, quieting those cruel voices that said she was using him, that it was only a matter of time before she pushed him away again. The peace she granted him consumed him. Jupiter worried that he would be too much for her or not enough. Here and now, he did not worry. He was enough.

She was enough.

I would rather meet it standing between you and your enemies than anywhere else.” Jupiter said, lifting her hands up to gently kiss her knuckles.

Lady Sabine...if I’m to do my job properly as your First Escort until Aurelius returns, then I think we need to have a very open and honest discussion about what you require from me and what I need from you. We’ve spent some time at a distance before now. I don’t want to cause you discomfort or upset.” Jupiter said. He wanted to avoid it for himself as well, but he didn’t voice that concern. He wanted her to feel safe with him.

Shall we take meals together? If so, which ones? And what recreational things can we do together that will ease the burdens of ruling for you?” he asked.

2
Hayll / Re: don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Sep 17, 19, 10:58:26 PM »
Sabine’s tenderness surprised him as she drew invisible sigils on his skin. He couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so openly affectionate to him. They were in the privacy of her chambers, but it was still more than she’d shown him in nearly their entire relationship. Six years of distance was hard to reconcile with the woman who stood across from him now. He hated being unable to simply accept his Queen’s attention, even as his mind wondered when she would draw back into the cold, unreachable woman who still drew him to her with the simplest crook of her finger.

The news about Aurelius made his shoulders tense beneath his suit. Aurelius and Jupiter were never close, owing to the fact that Jupier saw Aurelius is just another person using Sabine for his own benefit. He raised her, yes. He cared for her, maybe. But Aurelius was Sabine’s First Escort and somehow she seemed even more lonely and just alone to Jupiter. It sat wrong with the Green Warlord Prince and he’d avoided bringing it up only to avoid causing Sabine any further distress. But now Aurelius was leaving and Nero was trying to fill her schedule with pointless social garbage and glad handing, the very thing that were forcing Jupiter to make his decision to go away rather than bear his irritation in silence.

It felt like there was more she wanted to say beneath the surface of her words, but Jupiter couldn’t figure it out.  Maybe it didn’t matter anymore. He reached into his coat, moving to draw out the letter.

"But as for my personal day to day needs, I would like you to be the one to fill the role of First Escort in Aurelius' absence.

He froze again, confusion etched on his face.

Me?” he asked, unsure that he’d heard her correctly.

The world shifted and fell apart beneath him, reforming around Sabine as it had the first time. Caelissine told him to be kinder to Sabine, to be more understanding of her plight. She was asking him--him--to stand by her now that Aurelius was gone. She took his hand, reinforcing her intent. She needed him to help her through this time. Jupiter had come here to leave her service and find his own place in the world. The past year had its share of ups and downs that he was navigating. His relationship with Sabine had never been as close as he wanted and now she was asking him to be closer to her than ever.

She said she needed him. No matter his original intent in coming here, he couldn’t have denied her if he wanted to.

He pulled Sabine into his arms and held her close.

Your will is my life, Sabine. I’ll do it.” he whispered against her hair.

He would find a way to make his world work around it.

3
Hayll / Re: don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Aug 13, 19, 10:41:49 PM »
I am well.

She was always well. Perhaps another male would have taken those three words at face value and left it alone. Perhaps, it he was bound to another Queen, Jupiter would have left it alone. The distance between himself and Sabine had certainly warranted it. She’d never had much use for him outside of the fulfillment of his duties. It should have been an easy thing to take her at her word, produce the letter, and explain why he was leaving her. The reasons were clear and simple, in his mind.

As simple as knowing that the Darkness had made her for him. She’d clawed at her skin when the bond closed around her heart and demanded that she allow him in. She couldn’t breathe or think. Whereas the bond between them was a comfort for him in those first days, proof that Mother Night hadn’t forsaken him by allowing him to remain without the woman who completed him, Sabine saw it as a collar or a noose meant to restrict her freedom rather than set her free.

Jupiter’s right hand raised, moving for the inside of his coat. The letter rested in the pocket that lay over his heart. One motion and he’d have it in hand, ready to hand over. One movement and this sad little dance would end with far more grace than it began.

Then Sabine touched his hand and Jupiter froze. When was the last time she’d reached for him of her own accord?

His eyes found hers and he saw it at the same time that he felt it, a sadness that rested on the air between them like a light perfume, the sillage worn after several hours of exposure. Jupiter held her gaze as though she was some kind of woodland creature. Too quick or sharp a movement and she’d bound off into the brush, never to be seen again. Or worse, she’d lock herself behind that impenetrable, damnable mask of coldness and he’d never see her again.

Had he not been watching her lips move, had he not felt her skin against his, Jupiter wouldn’t have believed that she’d asked the next question that came from her mouth.

She wanted him to stay here...with her. She’d just asked him to stay here. Of all the days she could ask him to stay at Court with her, she picked the day that he’d chosen to leave her to her shiny baubles and the men she chose to fill her life with. He should have been happier. He should have overjoyed.

Instead, he was wary.

In what capacity would you have me serve, my lady?” he asked, starting with the most neutral question he could find. His mind was still trying to catch up to all that had happened. He’d come here to leave and she was asking him to stay.

What was he missing?

4
Hayll / Re: don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Aug 07, 19, 11:26:49 PM »
How could someone so perfect be such a mystery?

Jupiter stepped forward to take her hands, offering Sabine her tribute as both his Queen and the Queen of Hayll. She was always the Queen of Hayll to him. He did not know who she would be if she did not have that power attached to her name. Jupiter didn’t know who he would be if she wasn’t the Queen of Hayll. He didn’t care if she was the Queen of Hayll or the the ruler of nothing at all. He would have followed her into obscurity as easily as he’d followed her onto the grand stage of Terreille’s notoriety. 

She welcomed him home, her fingers brushing against the skin of his wrist. He wanted to pull her close, hug her tiny body against his and allow her to breathe him in just as he wanted to breathe her in. He mirrored her movements for as long as she allowed it, fighting the urge to take more than she gave to him. For whatever reason, she’d never been comfortable with granting him anything more than the barest slivers of her attention and care. He wondered, at times, if he’d done something or shown her something that made her fear his reaction to her.

Then he realized that Sabine did not need anything from him except his service. He tried to live with that.

He was still working on it.

Your absence was noted.

Well, there was that, at least.

He released her hands and she bid him to join her on the couch near the room’s windows. He unbuttoned the top button of his coat and sat down. His eyes looked out over Draega and Jupiter sighed. He loved the views of the city, but he couldn’t enjoy them with the one woman that he thought would appreciate them as much as he. He wanted her to rule well. He needed her to be happy with him. But she seemed merely content to see that he wasn’t dead.

The way she moved sparked worry inside of him. Was she hurt? Or did she always move that way and he was merely being overprotective?

”Tell me, Jupiter. Are you well?”

No, Sabine, I’m not well. I want my Queen to do more for me than notice my absence. I want you to throw yourself into my arms and tell me to do something. Anything. Hug you. Choke you. Fuck you until you beg me to stop.

I’m okay. I left to address a family matter, as you know. I did so but things were difficult for a time. I’ve been recovering from that.” he said, offering her a small, sad smile. How did he tell her that a trio of Black Widows entered his mind and viewed his darkest, most painful secrets? That they taunted him over his inability to connect to her, his latent desire for a woman who held no warm feelings for him? Sabine would likely laugh him out of the room.

Or worse, she’d just sit there with that same indecipherable expression on her face and note his discomfort. She’d take note of his need but do nothing to assuage it. Jupiter forced himself to breathe and think. Caelissine told him to be gentle with her. She had a difficult life as well, despite her power. She was bound by the needs of Hayll, rather than just his own. She had to put Hayll above everything, and everyone, else.

But I’m okay now. I’ve returned to address my duties and my place here at the Court.

He wanted to reach out and take her hand, but decided against it. He didn’t want to spook her or upset her.

What about you, my lady? Are you well?

5
Hayll / Re: don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Jun 30, 19, 09:43:12 PM »
Drawing closer to Sabine’s suite, Jupiter heard the soft melody of the piano that she loved to play. She had true talent, the kind that would have won acclaim and praise if she shared it with the world. She’d never played for him before, but there were times when she played while he was on shift and he imagined that his Queen was playing for him and him alone. Jupiter’s footsteps slowed.

He listened to her play, wondering if Aurelius was in the room with her now. He fought down the spike of irritation at the idea that the older man would be in there with Sabine. Jupiter rarely, if ever, received any time alone with Sabine. He was always sharing her with one person or another because “a Queen’s duty to her realm never sleeps” Aurelius had once said to him in that tone he used when he thought Jupiter was being a possessive, needy male. Jupiter never made a fuss about it. He merely smiled and moved on with his day.

Pulling her guardian’s lungs out through his nostrils wouldn’t earn him Sabine’s favor.

The door to the suite was open, giving Jupiter an unobstructed view of Sabine in the thrall of the music. She looked so young, so pretty just playing her piano and letting the music carry her away. She was free and weightless, in her element. It was the first time that he’d ever seen her this way and the Warlord Prince was enchanted by his Queen. He couldn’t look away. He wanted to sit closer to her, sit beside her and let her lean against him while she played. He would listen as long as she allowed it before they had to discuss other, less happy subjects.

She looked up and their eyes met. For a moment, Jupiter was transported back to that day in the street when Mother Night had first shown him the woman who held his leash. She’d stopped her procession and held out her hand to him. Jupiter didn’t care that they were people watching. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, but she had eyes only for him. His eyes his mind, and his heart were all hers. He’d fallen to his knees and wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her close. Her guards wanted to kill him but he would have died happy to know that he’d found her.

Don’t you dare touch him. He’s mine.

That was the first time, and the last, he’d heard those words from her lips.

The look in her eyes reminded him that day. She moved around the piano and stood there but did not come closer. Was that joy or hope he felt across their bond? He couldn’t tell. He reached for that feeling, attempting to pull it close and examine it as though it would bring her along and deliver her body into his arms.

Instead, Sabine’s visage became distant and cool, a door slamming shut before he could walk through it.

Jupiter.

The way she said his name echoed across the space between them and pushed deep into his soul. He took a deep breath, stood up straighter and rolled his shoulders back. He clasped his hands in front of him and watched her closer.

My lady, I’ve returned from my hiatus. I’d like to speak to you about a few things, if you’ll indulge me.

6
Hayll / don't mean to leave you with a trivial excuse
« on: Jun 30, 19, 09:36:18 PM »
Winter 193 - Draega Territory Palace


The day began like any other.

Jupiter Cinerus woke, bathed, and dressed in a tailored suit befitting an appearance at Court. Then he sat down at the large hardwood desk, his father’s old desk, and took out his quill and paper. He wrote. He misspelled her name on the first draft, so he tossed it in his trash can and started again. He made it nearly through the first page of the second draft before stopping to read it. It was too needy, too hurt to convey the message that he wanted to get across to her. So he tossed it into the trash and leaned back in his chair.

He checked the time. Two hours left before he saw her. His heart hammered at the mere idea, but each beat was punctuated with pain.

She.
Has.
No.
Need.
For.
You.


He closed his eyes, rubbing his hand over his face. The anger, the ever-present anger inside of him threaten to burst free. People told him to be patient. Other people told him to run as fast and as far as he could before she took him down with her. Once voice, an old voice, implored him not to give up so easily. What none of them knew was that this wasn’t easy. This was the hardest thing he’d ever done in his life. He hated it. But the longer he waited, the worse things became.

It didn’t have to be forever, reasoned. He could take some time for himself and then find another way to serve. He could find something more in-line and befitting her needs...and his own. First, he’d return home to Faro and sort out his mind. Some work on the family estate would help him clear his mind and burn away the excess energy. Caelissine would join him, if he asked. Their last outing had ended with having to beat a bunch of men completely senseless, so Jupiter thought that this would be a welcome change of pace. Not to mention that he could ensure that the estate was protected from the rebels in the south.

He dipped the quill in the ink and started writing once more. This time, the words came freely.

When it was done, he used a bit Craft to dry the ink before folding the letter. Then he folded it, placed it in an envelope, and tucked that envelope into the breast pocket of his coat. He checked the time again and found that he had half-hour before he needed to arrive at the palace. Standing, he prayed to Mother Night and the Darkness for resilience and then left his town house to head to Court.

At the palace, Jupiter greeted the members of the Circles with whom he was familiar. He headed to his office to check on the message he received, creating a neat pile at the center of the desk. He didn’t know if he’d be back to read them, but there was always hope. The letter felt like an anvil in his pocket, heavier than the duty that kept him bound to this place. Leaving his office, he headed toward the suites that Sabine kept at the palace to make his weekly reports and deliver pertinent letters or reports that he felt she needed to see.

Just another hour and it would all be done.

7
Hayll / Re: Rarest rose, ever dared to bloom
« on: Apr 28, 19, 02:08:38 AM »
Jupiter had taken the basin for the water with great reluctance and some deep annoyance. He didn’t need to be gathering water. He needed to be tending to Cassica. He needed to make sure that she wouldn’t die from the safframate poisoning. Once he knew that she would be well, however, he wanted to go back and find the men who attacked them. Find them all, one by one, and pull out their lungs through the smaller orifices in their bodies. He imagined Blood Opal Warlord Prince screaming in terror as Jupiter slowly removed those lungs through his nostrils, or slowly clawing an eyeball from of the other men.

But first, he’d check them for anymore of their dirty little poison and use it on them so that they understood the horror they were going to visit on his lover. Then he’d find the one who made it for them and kill them for peddling it. He hoped that they were with the Coven, because Jupiter had a lot that he wanted to say to the leader of the Hourglass Coven with his Dominion in hand.

The basin whined in protest beneath his iron grip. A layer of ice had formed on the floor beneath his feet. Jupiter forced himself to breathe, in through his nose and out through his mouth. Mother had suggested the technique when he was young help him leash his anger. He was the master, not the cold rage. He needed to get himself under control. Cassica and Caelissine were counting on him. Sabine was also counting on him to be under control when they next saw each other. The thought of his Queen proved comforting, though Jupiter couldn’t say why.

He was grateful that she wasn’t here to witness all of this. He didn’t know how she’d take Caelissine. He suspected that Sabine and Cassica wouldn’t get on well at all.

It took several minutes, but Jupiter was eventually able to string together a few thoughts that didn’t include mutilation of the men who attacked them.

He filled the small basin with water. Cassica had sent him out of the room for his own benefit, and for Caelissine. He wouldn’t think less of the Priestess for what had happened, but she was more vulnerable than he’d ever seen her. Having her own body turned against her like this was a humbling experience. If their roles were reversed, Jupiter would feel the same. He wanted the people in his life to see him as a powerful man, in control of himself at all times. He’d been anything but in his younger years, so he had a lot to make up for.

The water basin filled quickly and quietly. He’d just turned off the water when Cassica’s thread reached him.

*Jupiter, it’s ready! I need you to come back before your lover destroys this lovely, and probably very expensive, dress!*

He headed for Cassica’s workroom, water in hand.

He arrived to find Caelissine pulling at her dress and Cassica steadfastly working on what he hoped was a cure. Jupiter quickly set down the basin on the floor nearby and looked to Cassica.

I need you to steady her. This broth is ready, but it’s warm and we need to make sure she drinks all of it.” she said.

There's no other way?

Cassica looked at him like he had sprouted two extra head upon asking that question. “There is, but I picked the most difficult one so that I could watch her suffer while I angled for a threesome. No, there is no other way! Now hold her steady so that I can help her!” Cassica snarled.

Jupiter moved around to the head of the cot near Caelissine’s head. He had to steel himself against the scent of her need, deep and powerful, mixed in with the scent of fresh rain that he loved so much. “It’ll be okay, Caelissine. It’s going to be okay.” he whispered, trying to sound reassuring.

Cassica’s made something for you. She’s the best cook I know. You’ll like it.

No, she won’t.” Cassica corrected him as invisible hands held up the bowl and brought it close to the other woman’s lips. “In fact, she’s going to hate every second of this and probably not want to fuck ever again. You can't see it, but I'm mourning the death of your sex life.

"Pay her no mind, love. Cassica's humor runs a bit dark."

"If only I was trying to be funny right now.

Jupiter held Caelissine by the shoulders and pray the that bowl of...yellow-green broth tasted better than it smelled. It smelled like swamp water that had been left to its own devices for a few centuries.

Together, they brought the contents of the bowl to Caelissine’s lips.

"Drink, my lady. Drink. All of it. Every drop..." Cassica murmured.

8
Hayll / Re: Rarest rose, ever dared to bloom
« on: Mar 06, 19, 11:37:17 PM »
Jupiter carried Caelissine through the streets quickly, keeping alert for the path that lead to his destination. The cobblestones in this part of Draega weren’t as well maintained as the area they’d just left, but Jupiter didn’t fear being attacked here. He’d nearly killed several men for attacking him and Caelissine tonight, but he’d taken it easy on them despite the injuries they’d bear for the rest of their lives. Caelissine had moved him to mercy despite the poison in her veins. But Jupiter understood that, in this part of town, he wasn’t even close to the scariest thing walking the night. That distinction belonged to her.

It’s okay, Caelissine. It’s going to be okay. I promise. No, don’t talk. Don’t move. Just relax.” he said, refreshing his shield every few seconds to ensure that it didn’t break and expose him to whatever was on her skin. He wanted to go back and kill those bastards, but that meant leaving his Priestess to whatever fate she’d find at the hands of this vile toxin. He kept moving forward.

The door to Dream’s End Tavern was a solid wooden affair with a golden knob and four stained-glass panes. That door stood between him and the only person in Draega that might be capable of saving Caelissine tonight and ensuring that she felt no lasting ill effects. Jupiter carried Caelissine up the stone steps toward that door, noticing at the last moment the large “CLOSED” sign on the front. Jupiter snarled and reached for the Black Widow’s mind once more.

*Cassica! Where are you? I need your help! Caelissine--*

*With all respect due, Prince Cinerus, I heard you the first time. Come inside before you draw further attention.

Jupiter gently set Caelissine down on her feet, wrapping his arm around her waist. The door was unlocked and Jupiter pushed it open, guiding Caelissine inside. Witchlamps flared to life the moment they entered and Cassica stepped out of the back room, blue-eyed gaze flinty as she looked at the Warlord Prince and his lover. She came around the bar, noting that Caelissine wasn’t standing on her own and glared.

What happened?

We were attacked by a group of men. One of them poured something on her and she’s….something’s wrong, Cassica!

The Black Widow squinted and then snarled.

Get her to the back room and lay her on the cot right now!” Cassica ordered, turning back the way she came.

Jupiter picked up Caelissine once more and carried her to the backroom. He crossed the room quickly and then carried her inside the spartan room, laying the Priestess down on the cot with the scratch sheets that Jupiter hated. He pushed that thought out of his head and focused on Caelissine.

What is it? What did they give her?

9
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Mar 03, 19, 02:09:06 AM »
Jupiter watched the Blood Opal Warlord Prince break his legs and felt an inward surge of triumph. They had back-up incoming, two males to replace the three that had already been beaten or dropped, but Jupiter knew that this fight was winnable. They’d assumed too many things and their assumptions had been wrong. They hadn’t counted on Caelissine fighting in her own defense. They’d also failed to account for Jupiter’s power. He was putting a strain on his jewels, readying himself for the next attack, but the Green Warlord Prince was ready to cut these men down in defense of his favorite Priestess.

Even as Caelissine was firing off power bolts, something strange was happening to Jupiter. His cold rage, always his ally, started to dull. They had this well in-hand, didn't they? He didn’t need to fight quite as hard. He felt himself growing calmer, growing warmer as the three males tried to close in around him to split his focus. His anger was receding like the tide and Jupiter shook his head to clear it.

His Jewels refilled like a glass of water suddenly filled to the brim. In the same breath, the rage that had been dimming and drawing back suddenly reversed course and flooded back into him, ice coating the ground once more. Jupiter snarled, realizing what happened as his gaze fell upon the Purple Dusk Warlord holding out his right hand and mouthing the incantation of a spell in his direction.

Jupiter raised his sword and stepped forward quickly, slashing with his sword. The sword struck and sliced.

The Warlord’s right arm hit the ground.

Blood spurted from the wound as the male screamed in agony. Jupiter almost drove his weapon through the fool’s forehead, but a lost limb would do wonders for teaching lessons. The next time he tried to steal a Warlord Prince’s rage, maybe he’d remember this night and rethink it.

He felt Caelissine disappear from his back and turned around to find her covering her face.

Caelissine!” he roared.

Jupiter felt himself shoved forward. Caelissine’s shield broke and it was only that shield that saved his life from the power bolts aimed at his head. He turned, channeling his Craft through Dominion to turn aside the next. The Rose Prince yelled out the plan, involving some kind of liquid that Jupiter could now smell in the air. It was familiar, but he couldn’t place the name just now. But the poison on her skin, her distress, and the sheer idiocy of these men snapped the last moorings of Jupiter’s control. He was sick of this shit.

He stopped holding back.

Green Craft suffused his limbs, adding strength and speed. He lunged forward and drove his fist in the Purple Dusk Warlord’s face. Still clutching the stump of his lost arm, Jupiter’s fist drove into his jaw, breaking it in a single shot, and dropping him to the ground.

Jupiter ducked the power bolt that came at his head from his left and lashed out with his sword, a vicious slash that caught another man on his flank and opened a wound to the deep meat. He howled in rage and pain, but a sharp punch to the throat cut off that scream and then Jupiter kicked him in the chest, sending him crashing through the window of a shop across the street.

Jupiter spun and found the Rose Prince trying to reach for Caelissine, trying to complete his task before Jupiter could get to him. The Rose Prince saw that Jupiter had downed his companions.

Their eyes met.

Jupiter was ten feet away one moment...and directly in front of in the space between heartbeats.

He grasped the Prince by the throat with his left hand, squeezing hard enough to cut off the bastard’s air.

What did you give her?!” he growled as ice crystals began to form in the Prince’s hair and on his eyelids.

He didn't speak. Jupiter squeezed harder.

What. Did. You. Give. Her?"

The Prince just grinned. Jupiter vanished his sword. Then he clenched his right fist and punched the bastard in the face. Once. Twice. Thrice. A fourth time. Then fifth.

Broken shield. Broken teeth. Cracked orbital bone. Broken nose. 

Cracked skull.

Whatever happens to her, happens to you.” 

Jupiter punched the man once more and then dropped his limp carcass to the cobblestones. Blood and cuts marred his hands. His suit shirt was torn and there was blood in the air. He wanted to kill all of them for what they’d done, what they’d tried to do, but they’d all live. Maybe they’d hate life for a long time, but they’d live. He wished to Mother Night that he didn’t have to let them live.

Caelissine was more important. He gathered her up as carefully as he could, careful not to touch her skin, and pulled her into his arms.

I’ve got you, Caelissine. I’m so sorry. I’ve got you.” he whispered. He carried her off the street and through the alleys and side streets to the only person who could help her out right now on such short notice.

*Cassica! I need your help. Someone hurt Caelissine.

I need your help.
*

10
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Feb 22, 19, 01:49:11 PM »
Eleven-hundred years ago, Jupiter Cinerus was a younger man drunk on his own power and importance. A moment like this would have seen him lunging forward to rip into the four men before him, dealing out death and dismemberment. Impressing Caelissine, or even protecting her, would have been at the far back of his mind. He took slights at the smallest things to justify “avenging” his family’s honor. He’d killed men who deserved it, and maimed others who didn’t, to prove that House Cinerus was not to be tested or crossed. He thought he was so smart and valiant back then, feeding his ego and calling it defending his family.

Eleven-hundred years ago, he would have been one of the brutes attack him and Caelissine right now.

The scent of fresh rain and sandalwood, mixed with the faint scents of honey and jasmine brought his mind into focus. This fight wasn’t about him, though his skin practically itched to make it so. There were four men with various strengths in the Abyss across from them. If he charged forward, he left Caelissine open to attack. If he lost his grasp on the control that he’d spent centuries honing, they would both die, but not before Caelissine was violated while he lay dead or incapacitated. Their options weren’t good, but Jupiter was prepared to give everything he had to keep her from death or worse.

Fortunately, Caelissine chose not to be passive in her own survival.

He sensed her drawing up her shields even as she told him that she’d watch his back. She couldn’t know how much he admired her in that moment, how something in his blood heated as he saw her snap off those power bolts. He was terrible with power bolts, meaning that she had to see to their long-range defense while he dealt with their personal combat concerns. That she was actively fighting alongside him, however, wasn’t something that Jupiter would ever forget.Her desire to stand up for her own defense made him think of his own mother, who’d endured worse to spare him and his brother the worst of the tortures that the Eyriens devised for them. So Jupiter let his mind focus on precision and efficiency to get them out of this.

Four men versus the pair of them. He saw in their approach, their tactics, that they expected numbers and fear to carry them. They wanted to separate their targets and pick them off. But their tongue-wagging and random attacks signaled to Jupiter that they weren’t fully committed, as a team, to their attack. They could have attacked from cover all at once and overwhelmed them. If Jupiter was in their position, he’d focus on keeping the escort tied up in skirmish while securing the female. Once they had Caelissine in hand, they’d be able to make him stand down by threatening her person.

They shouldn't have wasted time talking their fight.

They disrespected Caelissine with crass japes and juvenile descriptions of what they’d do to her. Irritated on her behalf, he grasped Dominion’s hilt until his knuckles were white, suppressing his urge to lunge forward. She wasn’t bothered by their words and that helped him retain his poise. It was still losing ground to his desire to bathe the city in their blood and present Caelissine with their heads as proof of his devotion to her...but it held for now.

He vanished his suit coat and his tie and then sharpened his senses. She moved back to back with him and Jupiter smiled. They didn’t bring enough people to this fight.

Keep talking, boys. Just makes it easier to kill you.

One of the males called him Peter, deepening his fury. He remembered how easy it was to provoke Gideon when he was younger and recalled his own words to his younger brother.

Get angry and get dead. Draw your line, then make people pay for crossing it. But don’t you cross it, either.

The continued to malign the two of them, but they were getting closer. Caelissine pointed out the male who was one of the Orsini and agreed, grudgingly, that they couldn’t kill these men. He’d killed a member of the Orsini on a whim in the past and his family was still paying for that lapse in judgement over a thousand years later. He would not put Caelissine in that position. He would not put Brutus or his mother in that position.

But missing a limb was dead and Jupiter knew a lot of Healers this time around.

Well if you’ve got a lesson for me in mind, class is in session. Teach me something.” he said.

And then he tuned out all of the talk and reached into his Summer Sky, followed by his Green. His senses remained heightened, but fighting Eyriens in the war taught him that a battlefield existed in more than three dimensions. The other Warlord Prince sprinted at Jupiter, building up a head of steam for whatever he had in mind.

*Count to five and then drop your shields and turn to where I’m facing now. Fire another bolt and keep their heads down. I’ll pick it up.*

He inhaled once, cut the air with his blade and exhaled.

The Warlord Prince, on the run, didn’t see the cobblestone of the street ahead of him buckle and crater. Faced with an obstacle in the path of his motion, Blood Opal Warlord Prince had a choice to make.

Jupiter didn’t bother watching him make it. He was already spinning toward the man who’d grabbed for Caelissine’s dress. She kicked him in the face and then held him at bay with her shields but he was too close to her for Jupiter’s comfort. If she dropped her shields, he wove a hard Green shield directly in front of her and lashed out with a thunderous kick to the man’s torso, driving him several feet away from Caelissine as he rolled to a stop against a nearby building. He wasn’t unconscious, but he wasn't rising as fast as he did before. Jupiter felt ribs give way under that kick. The beast beneath his skin snarled in approval, the sound echoing from Jupiter's own mouth. 

He sensed Caelissine keeping another man at bay with her Craft-reinforced fist. Jupiter put his back to hers once more and searched the street for the other Warlord Prince who’d rushed toward him. Three versus two was a closer fight, but Jupiter wasn’t celebrating. He brought his sword before him at mid-guard and sought their other foes.

They weren’t out of the woods yet.

11
Hayll / Re: stuck in my ways, I am changing
« on: Oct 30, 18, 10:52:13 PM »
Jupiter smiled at the thought of Caelissine. She did make him happy. Did anyone make his mother happy? He knew that there were areas of her life that she kept private. The hell that the Eyriens put her through would have crushed a lesser a lesser person into fine powder and swept them away. Jupiter thanked Mother Night and the Darkness for sparing his mother death and breaking, but he knew that the woman who survived the Occupation wasn’t the woman who’d given birth to him.

Jupiter had trouble imagining Gideon surviving such a Queen until he recalled how feral and wild Gideon had once been. He laughed softly to himself. That laugh died a little at the mention of Sabine. Lilith could feel Jupiter’s mood change when Sabine became the topic of discussion. It was so strange to hear his own mother express more optimism for their relationship than Jupiter felt. He wanted to believe that Sabine could change. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch. But Jupiter had earned his redemption and personal control over one-thousand years of work. He recognized his problems and dedicated himself to changing them.

Sabine didn’t even recognize that she had flaws, let alone that she needed to change.

From your lips, to the Darkness, to her heart.” Jupiter said, seeking a change of topic from this extremely uncomfortable subject. The mention of Karlissa earned him a cold stare from his mother, but Jupiter was so glad to be talking about something other than Sabine that he bore it gladly, for all it made him feel like he was eight all over again.

Mother, I understand that Karlissa is her own person and that she can handle herself, but I couldn’t let someone take a shot at her with impunity. I wouldn’t allow it to happen to you, or Uncle Brutus, or Gideon, or Keziah. This wasn’t about my ego. It was about protecting our family.

As it was, I didn’t lay a hand on Cosimo’s son. He attempted to strong-arm a couple of Black Widows who last saw Karlissa and it went badly for him. He probably wishes that he’d run into me.
” Jupiter said.

I left him with a Healer so that he could be returned to his family. Cosimo won’t trace it to me.” Jupiter said.

12
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jul 31, 18, 11:14:10 PM »
The streets were quiet enough, indeed, as they walked. They almost felt too quiet for this time of night in Draega, but Jupiter was willing to overlook it. For once, it seemed, the night was going his way. He wasn’t worried about Sabine. He did not dread showing up for his shift tomorrow. Whatever came next would happen. He would deal with it and move on with his life because seeing Caelissine again made the annoying things worthwhile. Even when she faltered at his suggestion that she see him through a Rut (and he subsequently realized that he’d read too far into her words about staying), Jupiter recognized it as part and parcel of a deepening understanding between two people growing closer. There was no reason to worry or fret.

He and Caelissine were learning about each other.

Her fingers moved along the lapels of his suit and Jupiter felt each digit as it brushed against the expensive fabric. Jasmine and honey combined mingled with sandalwood and burned itself into his nostrils and mind. Beneath them, the hint of fresh rain made Jupiter feel strong and renewed in the corners of his mind and soul. Being near her energized him and made him feel that all things were possible.

Please, I meant no pressure, Caelissine. We can talk about anything you want, whenever you want. Just know that I’m not going anywhere. Yes, being open like this, with you, is a risk for me. But for the first time in a long time, I want to take that risk and see where it leads.” Jupiter said, reaching up to place his hand atop hers. His heart hammed against her palm with a fury all its own. One-half, he would say, belonged to the effect she had on him. The other half was just the fury that lay beneath his skin, coiled and ready to emerge at any time.

She called him patient and Jupiter smiled.

"I suppose more than that you should know, there isn't anyone else ... I could see myself--"

His attention focused sharp on her, enthralled by her words. He leaned in. He didn’t want to miss a single word. He wanted to hear every word, every breath, and understand every lilt of her voice.

And the power bolt that struck her shield, shattering it, stole their moment.

Warm summer wind, present one moment, was gone the next. In its place came a chill, deep and terrible, that might have been summoned from the farthest climes of the north. That chill lead to an ice that coated the ground beneath their feet and crept up the walls to be shattered by the remaining two bolts that hit the wall. Jupiter spared a glance at Caelissine to ensure that she had been injured. Confirming that she wasn’t, that allowed him to focus on sinking into his Green and extending his senses outward to determine the number of assailants. He cursed himself for letting his guard down, even a little. Caelissine would not be harmed tonight, but Jupiter’s cold rage was slicking the ground around them, reaching across the street itself and further still.

Anyone who didn’t recognize the signs of a Warlord Prince reaching the Killing Edge deserved to die this evening, along with the fools who attacked them.

There! He sensed another Warlord Prince among the assailants. He vanished his coat and quickly loosened his tie. Both were more danger than use in a fight. He felt Caelissine against his back, but she wasn’t cowering. She...was standing with him. She was standing with him.

"Or I can be completely fucking wrong!"

And yet this moment, even when they were likely facing injury or death, felt so right.

"Peeeeeeeeeeeteeeeeeeeeer. Come on and play with us. We can pass the bitch Priestess around until she's raw and doesn't even know her name."

The male’s voice, daring such familiarity raked Jupiter’s temper to the flesh. Even then, he would have let the fool off with a few missing limbs as a Prince for his disrespect. But then the words “bitch Priestess” left the fool’s mouth and Jupiter Cinerus promptly decided to fuck civility and second chances. People would die and he would enjoy it. He extended his arm and conjured his longsword, Dominion, into being. The weapon shined bright under the witchlamps from long years care and maintenance. He channeled just a bit of his Summer Sky into the Craft-enhanced weapon and the metal thrummed with silent and deadly strength.

If you know my name, then you know I never share what’s mine. But if you think you can take her, come a little closer. I dare you.

*There’s a Warlord Prince among them. I just need them to come closer. Snap off a power bolt as soon as you see movement. Let me know where they are.*


13
Hayll / Re: stuck in my ways, I am changing
« on: Jul 25, 18, 11:14:50 PM »
Watching Antony protect and care for his mother gave Jupiter some comfort. The dog followed his mother faithfully, basking in her attention. She had not divorced herself completely from her emotions. Her attention to the hounds gave him hope that, over time, she might reclaim more of herself from the horrors visited on her by the Eyriens during the Occupation. He knew better than to hope that she would ever return fully to the woman that she had been, but Jupiter had prayed more than once over the last century that he’d see hints of the old Lilith in his mother’s mien, like the sun peeking between the clouds.

She suggested that he tell her about Caelisssine and, once more, Jupiter’s smile returned. His hands slid into his pockets as they approached the door, Jupiter staying a step behind his mother. He didn’t expect an attack here, but Protocol and respect were ingrained in him.

Her name is Caelissine Augustinus-Agrippina. Her family is from Faro as well. She’s a Priestess at a temple not far from the Territory Court.That was how we met, actually. I went in for Communion and she just happened to be on duty. We talked at length before and afterward. I didn’t tell her who I was at first, just because I didn’t want her to feel odd in my presence. When I did tell her my name, it turned out that she knew Gideon once upon a time.” Jupiter said, reaching up to scratch the back of his neck. Even now it was weird to think about Caelissie and Jupiter, but the initial flash of jealousy that came with the thought was gone. It happened in the past. It was over now.

For Jupiter, that was the end of it.

She’s compassionate and very patient. Patient enough to talk me through dealing with Sabine at times. When I'm around her, everything that makes angry just falls away. I feel better around her. It was good to see her when I returned.” Jupiter said.

"So, I'm optimistic about where things are headed."

He was glad to hear that Gideon had made peace with his bond to his Queen. There was no sense in both of them having trouble with their Queens, so Jupiter was happy for his brother. Imagining him in the hellish desert that was Pruul, though, was hard to do. Then again, no it wasn’t. Gideon probably felt closer to Mother Night away from Draega, where people didn’t hate him for the blood he carried.

I’m glad that he’ll at least have some centuries with his Queen. He deserves the chance to get to know her. And she, him.” Jupiter said, walking with his mother. When she asked where he wanted to have breakfast, Jupiter motioned to large tree about thirty feet away that provided decent shade. The heat here wasn’t as oppressive as it could be elsewhere in Hayll. It certainly wasn’t as bad as Raej around this time of year. For that, Jupiter was grateful.

They walked toward the tree in question.

There was some trouble with Karlissa recently. Or I should say, someone tried to make trouble for her over a some business with Calandra Peccaro.” he said. His father’s sister had her own issues, but he knew that his mother would want to know if something was amiss.

There was a price on her head, funded by the Orsini family.” Jupiter said, knowing that his mother would know the family in question. One-thousand years ago, he’d killed Cosimo Orsini's eldest son and nephew for attempting to harm Anarius. Jupiter had changed since then, but the Orsini family was never far from his mind.

Cosimo sent his son to harass one of Karlissa’s old friends. It didn’t end well for him.” Jupiter said.

I helped her get set up in a safehouse up north, but I wanted you to know what was happening. I haven’t talked to anyone else about it.

14
Hayll / Re: stuck in my ways, I am changing
« on: Jul 21, 18, 02:17:31 PM »
Jupiter was visibly relieved to see the hounds in residence and looking well. He would acknowledge each of them, for he loved them as much as if they were his own. Seeing them reinforced his own decision to obtain a dog of his own in the near future. Maybe he’d discuss the idea with his mother and get her advice on selecting one a proper one for himself. He looked her over from head to toe, inner dismay building as he saw how thin she was. The simple white gown covered her frame just fine, but it was her eyes that gave Jupiter the most pause. Long ago, Lilith Cinerus could look at anyone and make them feel like they were the important (or even the only) person in the room.

Now, looking into her eyes felt like she was searching for something in him. Jupiter was never, ever certain if his mother found what she was looking for when she gazed at him. Combined with the lack of sound from the rest of the house, it felt like they were the only beings in existence in the world. Not for the first time, or the last, Jupiter cursed the Eyriens for everything they’d stolen from his family. Every family in Hayll suffered from the Occupation and the Purge thereafter, but it felt to him like their family had lost the most. A self-pitying thought, and one his mother wouldn’t indulge, he was sure of it.

That never stopped him from thinking it.

Thank you, Mother.” Jupiter said to her compliment regarding his suit. He was definitely going back to this new tailor based on that approval. He was about to remark on her seeing Keziah, something that Jupiter himself had been mildly delinquent on, when his mother’s tease about grandchildren entered the conversation. Struck momentarily speechless from the way his mother smoothly segued from talk of her youngest child to discussing grandchildren, Jupiter could only reply with a sharp bar of laughter. In that moment, she was the woman of his youth, the Lilith who always had a quip at hand or a joke to share with her sons. Anarius had inherited that from her, an ability to lighten a mood with a change of topic that never felt forced. Would she smile more if his brother had survived? There was no way to know.

Well, Mother, I did meet someone a little while back. She’s a good woman.” he said, his smile shifting something warmer at the thought of Caelissine. The idea of his Priestess meeting Lilith was by turns intriguing and terrifying. But it was more intriguing than terrifying, which spoke volumes about his feelings for Caelissine.

I’m optimistic, but it’s still a bit early to tell.” Jupiter said.

Have you heard from Gideon?” he asked. Jupiter knew that his mother worried after her younger son, so if anyone had heard from him, outside of Keziah, it would be Lilith. If he needed something, however, Jupiter would be there for him.

15
Hayll / stuck in my ways, I am changing
« on: Jul 18, 18, 06:07:14 PM »
Draega - Summer 193

Jupiter was only a few weeks returned from helping Karlissa, but his heart and mind were still heavy. The torments laid upon him by the Black Widows hunting his aunt caused him restless nights. He couldn’t go before Sabine like this. He didn’t want to see Caelissine in this state. After another night of little sleep and increasing annoyance with the world around him, the Warlord Prince reached out to his mother, Lilith, and asked if they could have breakfast. She’d agreed so quickly that it surprised him. He realized, later, that it shouldn’t have. She had never shunned his company. But she’d changed over the centuries, with good reason.

Still, it was hard for him to let go of the woman she once was in favor of the woman she had become.

Jupiter dressed in his finest suit and made his way to his mother’s home in Draega, knowing that she’d be awake at this early hour. Jupiter could count on one hand, in thirteen centuries, the number of times the sun found his mother in bed, with fingers to spare. Her work ethic surpassed all of the most diligent people that he’d ever known, inspiring Jupiter to emulate it to the best of his ability. He would make a request of her today and prayed that she would understand it and grant it to him, but there was no guarantee.

Upon his arrival, Jupiter looked for any sign of his mother’s hunting hounds, Kaiser and Antony, who were never far from her side. Now that he was older, Jupiter was considering a dog or two of his own. Immediately following that thought was the notion that he should check with Caelissine to see how she felt about it. He smiled to himself and set that thought aside. He’d think about that later.

He located Lilith in sitting room, making just enough noise to avoid startling her. Startling any witch was a bad plan, but having a Gray Black Widow react on instinct to an intruder was a recipe for a sudden and brutal conclusion to one’s life, even among the their kind. When she acknowledged him, Jupiter closed the distance between them and greeted her properly, first in line with Protocol and then as her son. Deep respect and appreciation for women had been instilled in Jupiter since his first days in the world and reinforced by his father’s example in the way he took care of his mother and tended to her needs. Only a woman could give birth to a man, however, and Jupiter recognized his mother’s titanic strength of personality and will had absolutely nothing to do with the Gray Jewel that signaled her rank in the Abyss.

Good morning, Mother. You look wonderful, as always.” Jupiter said. He meant it. Being in her presence calmed him in a different way than being near Sabine or Caelissine did. Lilith was the only woman who’d known him longer than he’d known himself.

Before his Queen or Mother Night, Jupiter had worshipped his mother.

How have you been?

16
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jul 10, 18, 12:28:38 AM »
The way you say it, it sounds to me like you’re not used to being fussed over. I think you should grow accustomed to being taken care of.” Jupiter said. Why wouldn’t any man give his eye teeth to tend to her? Jupiter honestly thought that he’d be fighting for the privilege of taking care of Caelissine, that he’d have to get physical in staking a claim on her just so that she understood how serious he was about being near her, with her. But hearing her say it made him question the judgement of every male in this Territory.

No matter. Their loss would be his gain.

He laughed when she talked of him plying her with wine. “Well, I’m thrilled that you can be plied with wine. Between my mother and Cassica, I've got more than I can ever drink alone. I think I' have a couple that you'll like.” Jupiter said.

But let's leave this place. I don't feel like sharing you anymore. ” he said. And then he leaned closer to whisper in her ear.

"None of these people can make a sound that excites me as you do."

Jupiter lead her back through the manor and out of the party, sparing little time or attention for anyone that wasn’t the Priestess at his arm. Perhaps they understood his intent, because no one dared block their path as they exited the manor. The hostess would probably take it ill, but Jupiter couldn’t be bothered to care. Caeliessine wished to leave and so did he. If these indolent playboys took insult, Jupiter wouldn’t stop them...so long as they kept it to themselves.

They emerged on the street in front of the manor and Jupiter lead her away to the west. His townhouse was just a few blocks away, but the hour was somewhat late. Draega at night was only slightly worse than Draega during the day. Then again, Draega during the day was spectacularly shitty on its own. The night seemed to bring the worst out of some people in this Territory. Jupiter hoped that the brave-but-stupid youth were sowing their oats and staying off the streets.

They walked on.

She consented to coffee, causing him to smile, but her further intimation of when she wanted to enjoy coffee with him was a surprise. Jupiter was silent for a moment, looking to Caelissine to determine if, perhaps, he’d misunderstood what she was saying to him. She wanted to help him through his Rut. Jupiter slowed to a stop, looking down at her with a mixture of curiosity and relief. He loved his Ruts. The freedom was second-to-none. But he worried that it was too soon, too much to ask that she might help him through one in the future. He wanted her to be the one he needed; he’d wanted since shortly after they met.

If you meant what I hope you mean, Caelissine...yes. Yes, I would love to spend that time with you. You have no idea how much I’d love that.” he said, brushing the thumb of his right hand across her left wrist.

I’d like to start spending more time with you. More than just a few times every few weeks. I’d like it if we could see each other more regularly. I know that your schedule at the temple is busy and that your duties there are paramount. But we ran into each other by chance tonight. I don’t want to do that anymore.” Jupiter said.

And what can I say? My townhouse feels like a different place where you’re in it. A place I want to be, rather than a place that I just go to from time to time.” Jupiter said.

Would you come home to me--with me. Would you come home with me more often?” Jupiter asked.

17
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jun 28, 18, 07:04:59 PM »
Know that I would adventure anywhere with you. Be it all the way to Chaillot or the farthest realms of Kaeleer...or just down the street for coffee.” Jupiter said, leaning in to kiss her on the neck. Her scent was so strong and yet so subtle that all he wanted to do was inhale it until the stars in the sky darkened forevermore. Jupiter had only enjoyed true intimacy with a few women in his life, but that intimacy never felt as natural or enjoyable as it did with Caelissine. The Priestess made him consider things, think about things, that he would never have indulged in his youth.

She spoke about how she might meet the Queen of Hayll and Jupiter was actually impressed when she did not hint or suggest that he introduce them. He was bound to Sabine and was in her First Circle. He could have done it without much trouble, but Caelissine did not even suggest it. Jupiter couldn’t count the number of people whom, once they knew his name, slowly began suggesting all the ways that they could help Hayll, if only Lady Sabine or the Consul would just listen to their ideas. Or the people who feigned obsequiousness and friendship because they feared angering a scion of the Hundred Families. Those people were the worst, truly, and Jupiter stayed well away from them.

He’d given Caelissine his nickname when they first met, just so that the Priestess didn’t feel obligated to tend him or speak kindly to him because of his status or station. Caelissine had treated him like everyone else until they learned that they had Gideon in common. His hand grasped her ass tighter, more possessively at the thought of his brother and Caelisine. It was a long time ago. Jupiter took comfort from that.

You’re right. Senator Orsini is due respect because of his station and status. And I act as a representative of my Queen at all times. I can’t pick and choose when and where that comes into effect.” Jupiter said.

I’ll tread carefully with him, and with her. I promise.” Jupiter said.

She touched his jewel and refilled it, filling Jupiter with a sense strength and purpose that he didn’t realize he needed until that moment. He looked up at her as she said that she was ready to leave this party. He was ready to leave when he arrived, though he was glad that stayed long enough to find her here. His townhouse wasn’t far away and Jupiter was thrilled to take Caelissine somewhere private.

But when she asked to stay with him tonight, Jupiter was pleasantly surprised at the request. He would have said yes, plans or not, but he was glad that he didn’t make plans tonight. Otherwise, he would have disappointed someone by not showing up.

I’d be honored if you stayed with me tonight. Or any night.Or all of them.My townhouse isn’t far.

He  allowed her to rise so that he could get up as well, though he didn’t let her get far before he was moving to offer her his arm.

Have you eaten? We could get something, if you haven’t. Otherwise, we can just have wine and talk about all the territories we’ve visited or want to visit. I have a few on my list. If you’re there, I’m not picky about where we go.” Jupiter said.

Or we could just have coffee.” he grinned.

18
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jun 05, 18, 12:10:39 AM »
Caelissine’s sound, logical advice was a balm for Jupiter’s worry. He spent too much time in his own head, worrying over which way to turn in regards to the people that mattered to him. When it came to dealing with matters of Court or handling issues for strangers, Jupiter’s decision-making process was always biased toward action and weighted toward the outcome that did the most good for the most people. When it came to Cassica, Sabine, or his mother, Jupiter found himself on the back foot.

She spoke and he listened, trying to soak up all of the knowledge that a Voice of the Darkness offered. Her views on Hayll mirrored his own, if Jupiter was hearing her correctly. He abhorred slavery, despite being raised in a house full of them. He’d never known his father’s feelings on the slave trade or the heinous collars that were so prolific across Terreille. There were at least two other territories where slavery was prevalent and Jupiter had stayed well away from both until recently. His hand reached up and took hers, fixing his molten-gold eyes on hers so that she knew he’d understood.

Despite my lifetime of exposure to slavery, I hate the practice, Caelissine. I wish Hayll wasn’t as corrupt as it is. That corruption is doing harm to the people I care for and the land that I love.” he said.

I wish I could do more.” Jupiter said, letting his arms encircle as she desired. Honey, jasmine, sandalwood, and fresh rain water stole away more of Jupiter’s worries and his grasp tightened on her body as his hand grasped her ass. He reminded himself that she was comforting him. Still, Jupiter wanted nothing more than to add Caelissine’s moans and sighs to the symphony around them. He knew, inwardly, that if he asked it of her that she would submit to him right here, tonight, in the garden. But Jupiter didn’t want to share the sight of her body with anyone else. He wanted to enjoy her in private, unwrap her like a gift and worship her the way that she deserved. Caelissine deserved that much at the very least.

Jupiter would honor her.

So far as I know, you have never met my lady, Sabine. You have met Cassica all of once. Yet you somehow speak to the core of my feelings for both women and your advice is so concise, so simple that I don’t know how I didn’t see the answer before me. I worry for them both, but I can’t let that stop me. If I wait for them to ask for my help, I will be disappointed.” Jupiter said.

Cassica’s matter is easier to deal with. I’ll request a meeting with Senator Orsini and ask him to relinquish his issue against her. If he does not...well, I have the ear of the Territory Queen. I’m a member of the First Circle and I am bound to the Queen of Hayll. Not to mention, I’m the scion of House Cinerus. If Senator Orsini cannot, or will not, understand the precariousness of his position, then I’ll explain it to him in terms that he will understand.” Jupiter said.

Cassica can be annoyed with me, so long as she’s alive to be annoyed.” he said.

I’m hard on Sabine, as I’ve said. I want her to be better because...if she’s better, then maybe I can be better, too. A Queen is a reflection of her males, correct? I need to show the world that she’s good, even if she hides it.” Jupiter said. He sighed. Caelissine wasn’t asking him to prove himself or be anyone else. Yet Jupiter wanted to be worthy of her attentions, too.

Her attention turned to the settings of his jewels, earning a smile from him.

Yes, they’re new. A Winsol gift to myself, as it were. I hadn’t changed them since just after the Purge. Every time I looked at the old ones, I was reminded of a different set of mistakes I made.” Jupiter said. His head rested against her for a moment. He thought about something, then made a decision.

How long did you plan to stay this evening? This garden is a bit...busy for my tastes. I’d rather spend some time in your company, away from here.

19
Hayll / Re: take my advice, just let me be
« on: Mar 22, 18, 12:30:25 AM »
When he was Sabine’s age, he would have called it paranoia to sweep the area for invisible pursuers to make sure he wasn’t followed. But centuries of warfare against the Eyriens, combined with captivity by the same, taught Jupiter that there was no such thing as paranoia when people really wanted to kill you. When he’d picked up on someone following him the first time, his outrage at being tailed nearly drove him to confront his pursuer. He stayed his hand because killing that pursuer would not have told him who was behind it.

So he’d let his pursuers follow him, hoping to catch them off-guard. He cursed his head-blindness just then, because it would have been good to know what he was up against. Thus far, he was certain of one thing:

They were not Warlord Princes.

They didn’t speak as they unleashed their Craft. They simply started casting, hoping to take him down before he mounted a defense. But he’d seen Cassica use similar gestures in the past; Jupiter knew that this particular Craft meant nothing good for him.

You’ll shield yourself on instinct to protect your Chalice. And that’s what will kill you.

He wished, now, that he’d asked the elder Black Widow to join him on this little mission. She might have seen all of this coming.

Jupiter forced himself to reinforce his Chalice instead, pouring the power of his Green into the Craft to ensure that, even if they found purchase, they couldn’t slice his barriers to ribbons and then rip apart his mind. The Widows’ Craft struck his shields and slid away like rainwater on glass. The tendrils probed his barriers incessantly, searching for any fault or weakness in order to disable him and bring him low, but it found no purchase. The Summer Sky Widow cursed, having expected Jupiter to be beaten already. Instead he summoned his sword, Dominion, and lashed out with a strike meant to cleave her in two. The Summer Sky Widow threw herself to the floor, outside the arc of his swing, though a lock of black hair fell to the ground dropped to the floor beside her, sheared away by Jupiter’s blade. His right hand continued the arc backward and behind him to disrupt the concentration of the Rose Widow who was still casting. Dominion slid right into her ribcage, cutting through her midsection...to dispell the Shadow that the Rose Widow erected to distract him. Jupiter snarled, channeling a Green shield into being.

It closed half a second after something stung him in the neck. The wound burned and Jupiter felt the poison spreading into his bloodstream.

Fuck.

The Rose Widow, the real one, dropped her sight shield and Jupiter lunged at her, raising his sword to strike. At least, that’s what he tried to do. But his arms wouldn’t obey him. He couldn’t feel his neck, or his hands, or his face. 

Dominion hit the cobblestones with a heavy metallic sound and Jupiter knew it was over. They’d rip his mind to shreds first. If he was lucky, they’d stop once they had the info on Karlissa and make sure no one found his body. If he was unlucky...they start by tearing his mind apart. They’d take his memories of Caelissine. They’d rifle through his thoughts about Sabine, his mother, everyone in his life. Jupiter roared in anger, but it sounded more like a wail of sorrow and agony, the poison in his veins spreading faster as his rage climaxed. The ground beneath him turned to ice, but Jupiter couldn’t feel anything.

One step forward and the world spun on its axis. His knees buckled and he hit the pavement hard, unable to brace his fall with his hands. It probably hurt, but he couldn’t feel anything. His skin was numb. His body wouldn’t move.

I survived the Great War to die like this.

The worst part of it was that they’d take his father’s sword, the sword that Brennan d’Maris had used in his failed attempt to defend his wife from the Eyriens who would go on to hold her captive for three centuries, forcing all manner of torments upon her before the Purge set them free.

Mother Night, forgive me.

Just let Karlissa get away.


20
Hayll / take my advice, just let me be
« on: Feb 17, 18, 02:29:02 AM »
Jupiter spent Autumn searching for Karlissa, quietly using every resource at his disposal to find her. She stood accused of murdering the former High Priestess of Hayll, Calandra Peccaro. Rumor held her family would soon go to the Queen of Hayll, his Queen, and demand a Price for her actions. When their last hunter failed to return (on account of Cassica’s brand of “protection”), the Peccaro did not take it as a sign to let the matter pass. Instead, word filtered among the circles of Hayll’s underbelly that the Peccaro were paying top marks for anyone willing to locate Karlissa and bring her in. One of those people owed Jupiter a centuries old debt and passed him the information so that he could form his own plan.

The Peccaro wouldn’t wait for Sabine’s judgement, if they even received a hearing. Sabine’s recent demand for the death of a member of the Hundred Families made most of the Hundred unwilling to deal with her mercurial temper. Jupiter numbered among them and he wasn’t willing to measure his aunt’s life against his Queen’s mercy.  Sabine wouldn’t spare a woman who’d murdered her High Priestess, even if she and Jupiter were close. Their relationship could be described at best as tumultuous, leaving Jupiter to decide that he’d handle the matter on his own.

He’d told the Master of the Guard that he needed time to address a family issue in Faro. He did not take no for an answer. Once the Master of the Guard signed off, Jupiter began his search for Karlissa in earnest.

That was months ago.

Every trail had since gone cold.

Jupiter’s patience was frayed. He did not want to explain this to his mother or seek her aid. He didn’t want to disappoint Keziah or appeal to Gideon for aid, either. He redoubled his efforts but the failures mounted. He feared, deep down, that he was too late. If the Peccaro already had her, this was become a rescue mission. He’d have to wage war against another of the Hundred Families which would draw the Territory Court into the fray and draw Sabine’s attention, which is the last thing he wanted.

The thought became a cancer of the mind as he returned to his rundown hotel in northern Draega that evening. He could not locate someone who’d vanished so utterly.  His lucky seemed exhausted. It would take Mother Night’s hand to guide him now. He tossed his bag on the dusty couch and closed the blinds, ready to fall down in his bed and --

Jupiter looked up at the blinds.

I closed those this morning. I’d bet my life on it.

Jupiter cursed himself for not checking for intruders. He drew Dominion, his family sword, and extended his senses throughout the room, seeking for anyone hidden. It was a harrowing twenty minutes for a man who dealing with exhaustion and frayed nerves. Finding nothing, he finally vanished his sword and moved to the couch, flopping down and sighing heavily.

The note lay on the table before him as though it had been sitting there the whole time.

Was he that exhausted? Or just that panicked? Jupiter grew more annoyed by the moment. He picked up the note, a small, simple scram of cream-colored paper with a message written in familiar script. A single word flowed into his mind, whispered in Karlissa’s haunting alto. 

Ilsara.

On the note, her directions.

Find me, Peter.

Her scent was the only signature. He only knew it as Karlissa’s and not that of a Black Widow. He was already rising as he tried to place the location of the city. Ilsara was a small city thirty miles from Draega and close enough to reach on the Winds. He wanted to rest. He needed to, but this was the first lead he’d had in weeks. If he delayed, her life might be in further danger.

He could rest once Karlissa was safe.

21
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jan 10, 18, 11:57:24 PM »
Jupiter forced himself to ignore the sounds of the people who didn’t possess the same restraint as Caelissine and he. Muffled cries and audible gasps sounded here and there, but Jupiter kept his attention focused on the female holding his hands. He wondered, idly, how she always kept them so soft, despite her daily work. While he wondered, he didn’t want to know. He considered such a thing its own special magic, magic that would lose its potency if explained. He chuckled when she talked about saving his attire from the splatter of fools, but that chuckle turned into a leonine smile  as Caelissine said that she’d be going to give out her donations to the people who needed them most.

Then consider me your escort on that day and any day that you’re going to those areas. Those are rougher areas of town, Caelissine.” Jupiter said, looking her square in the eyes. His mind was already plotting routes through the area, determining where to stand as she moved. Perhaps he could get a few of his old friends from the Guard to join him that day as well to ensure that anyone else who went with Caelissine from the temple would have an escort as well.

Her hand rose to his cheek after he spoke of Sabine. She must tire so much of hearing about her. Jupiter thought. He expected patient and measured words about his Queen from her, words that Caelissine might have to force out because she hated Sabine. A lot of people hated Sabine, as Jupiter gathered it. It angered him on behalf of his Queen because they owed her their loyalty. They owed her their support.

Of course, he knew how most men wanted to support Sabine and that made Jupiter want to kill anyone who even looked at her. He pushed that aside when the (his) Priestess swore that she’d always be there for him. Did she just say what he’d heard? She couldn’t have meant it that way...right? But Caelissine didn’t backpedal or amend her statement. She soothed him, but differently from Sabine. He never had to wage war with Caelissine to gain an inch of ground. He never struggled to get her to share her feelings with him. She just did those things and helped him to do the same.

But Caelissine went on to empathize with Sabine in a way that Jupiter hadn't expected.

Neither of you have it simple or easy. Our home is not an easy place…

The words dropped like a stone into the still waters of his mind, rippling back and forth through his memories. Jupiter questioned, privately, if he’d been bound to Sabine as a punishment for how he’d treated his father. He’d tested Brennan d’Maris to the limit and beyond in his youth, all because he thought he knew better than his father what it meant to have a name. Jupiter fought anyone and everyone who spoke poorly of the Cinerus or d’Maris lines, considering the act of shedding blood the highest honor he could pay his family. Eleven-hundred years later, Jupiter recognized his past self as an idiot of the highest order, wishing he could reach back and slap the stupid out of himself before harder lessons made him the man that sat with Caelissine now.

He’d never once considered that he could guide Sabine away from his mistakes. He just judged her and moved on.

You...I don’t think I’ve ever shown her any real compassion. She...we infuriate each other regularly. I guess I just thought she had it better...easier, because she’s a Queen. I never thought about the effect that Hayll could have on her. After the incident with the Eyriens, I didn’t know how to talk to her. I still don’t.” Jupiter said.

So I do my duty and we just exist. I hate it. But I don’t know how to help her.” Jupiter said.

Just like I don’t know how to help Cassica.” he said. Caelissine slid into his lap and he held her close. He inhaled her scent, letting his fingertips trail along the curve of her thigh, past her knee, down to her calf. He reversed course and caressed her skin for a minute as she implored him to talk to her. She admitted to thinking about him all the time and Jupiter looked up at her then and kissed her full on the lips.

*Then next time I’m not thinking about you, I’ll be sure to point it out. Hasn’t happened yet, though.*

The kiss broke and Jupiter looked down for a moment.

Cassica’s in trouble. I’m afraid that I’ll have to do some bad things to help her. Bad things to people I’ve already wronged, once upon a time.” he said softly.

I’d like to avoid it but I don’t know if I can. I promised some people that I wouldn’t be that man anymore, enforcing my will with a weapon. But if I don’t, my friend either dies or has to leave Hayll for good.” he said.

There’s trouble in Faro, people starving in the streets...and I’m trying to figure out how to save someone who’ll probably be angry that I went to this trouble.” he said.

22
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Jan 02, 18, 10:35:49 PM »
A wide grin, warm and genuine, lit up the Warlord Prince’s face when Caelissine invited him to join her. Jupiter did so, striding over and joining her where she sat. He paused only to unbutton the coat of his suit, then sat and oriented himself to face her. Here, under the light of the moon, she gained an ethereal quality and Jupiter thought for a second that he saw a halo of the moon’s energy outline the form of the Priestess. She looked happy to see him and that made him, in turn, happier to see her.

His eyes slipped downward, briefly, and caught a flash of her thigh. Jupiter’s eyes lingered on that revealed skin for a beat longer than was proper before his gaze returned to her face. His hand lifted, tentatively, to graze the curve of her jaw with his fingertips, stroking softly for a moment before he drew back. He wanted to pull her into his lap and hold her there, ask her about everything that had happened with her since the last time they saw each other. He refrained solely because this wasn’t his home. He did not want to embarrass Caelissine or take undue liberties with her.

They could go elsewhere for that.

I thought I saw Prince Julian in there. But if I’m honest, I waged that you were here because he was.” Jupiter said.

I’m glad that I wasn’t wrong.

He relaxed, visibly, as she turned her attention toward tending to him. Even outside of the confines of the temple, she still worked to balm his soul. Jupiter was thankful for her kindness and grace. Hayll was fortunate to count Caelissine among its Priestesses and Jupiter had increased his own donations and volunteering to the temple due to his time spent with her. When he wasn’t tending to Sabine or quarreling with Cassica about something or other, at least.

I’m good, actually. I’m glad I found you, though. I almost ripped some idiot’s tongue out and it would have caused a scene. You know we can’t make a scene. It’s so gauche.” he said, returning the squeeze of Cassiline’s hands with his own. Her hands were soft, but stronger than one might expect. To him, that encapsulated Caelissine in full. She could yield, but she could also remain firm and strong, asserting herself when needed to care for someone who had issues doing so.

He couldn’t stop smiling. What was wrong with his face? He still watched her intently, noting every one of her movements, noting any tension she carried in her body. But he was just glad to be here with her.

Things with Lady Vicentius are not ideal, but they are better. You helped with that and I thank you. There have been some...other issues. Cassica says hello, by the way.” Jupiter said, declining to deliver Cassica’s actual message to the Priestess.
 
Thank you, Lady Caelissine, for helping Jupiter take the stick out of his ass. I knew if we kept digging, we’d find a personality under all that Warlord Prince!

Jupiter fought the urge to roll his eyes at Cassica then, just as he did now when he thought of her message.

What about you? I mean, your project sounds worthy. I’d love to help out, if I can. If not, I’ll encourage you as best I can.” Jupiter said.

First, though, tell me how you’ve been.” he said.

23
Hayll / Re: This Isn't My Night
« on: Oct 18, 17, 10:44:28 PM »
Jupiter Cinerus was having a difficult night.

He’d not seen Caelissine in over a week, but not for lack of trying. Lady Sabine was bothered about something, something she refused to share with him. Jupiter’s relationship with his Queen was a constant source of frustration in his life. Whenever they talked about politics or family, they found a strange equilibrium, a harmony that allowed them to enjoy each other’s company as a Queen and a her bonded male, rather than just the Queen of Hayll and a member of her First Circle. Yet whenever Jupiter tried to speak to her, tried to counsel her towards action that would truly improve their homeland, Sabine turned cold and pushed him away.

She refused to discuss her reasoning for having the Eyrien ambassadors slain in the Coliseum. She wouldn’t discuss the lack of response toward the uprising in Faro. Every time Jupiter thought they were getting somewhere, Sabine found something shiny to focus on, leaving Jupiter tense and angry.

Such was his mood tonight.

Sabine dismissed Jupiter and the Warlord Prince left the palace, choosing to enjoy his personal time elsewhere. He wanted to find Caelissine drown his sorrows by sheathing himself in her, but the Priestess had her own life to attend to. Jupiter would not come to her temple expecting access to her body. He needed to exercise control over his own life. So it was that he found himself several streets over and headed to the other place in Draega where he had friends that hadn’t served with him in Praetorian Guard.

Jupiter approached the door to Dream’s End Tavern, but his steps slowed as he drew closer. The scent of burning flesh assaulted him as he arrived. Jupiter shielded himself and extended his senses toward the bar, feeling the myriad layers of Black Widow webs lined throughout the building. Jupiter had teased Cassica more than once about her paranoia, but the Black Widow always laughed it off.

My webs have saved my life more than once, my dear Prince. I’ll keep my own council on how much is too much.

There were four people inside of the building. Cassica usually closed up around this time, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t in residence. He conjured his longsword, Dominion, and opened the front door.

The smell of burning flesh struck him like a physical blow, followed by the smell of...vomit?

He found the Yellow Jeweled Warlord lying in pool of his own illness.

The back of the bar, with all of the wondeful Craft-infused wines he liked, lay in ruins. Smoke wafted from beneath the counter. Jupiter stepped inside, sword held to his side as he viewed the lone occupants capable of speech.

Cassica sat in a chair, her right arm hanging useless at her side. Her body was a collage of broken glass, blood, and cuts. The scent of blood from Cassica and the other female drew Jupiter across the room toward them. The urge to defend them, to keep them safe from all harm and intruders moved to the forefront of Jupiter’s mind and now he scanned the area for any other attackers. Finding none, he stopped a few feet away from both Black Widows and looked them over. He noted the other woman’s cut and immediately offered her his violet pocket square. Watching her a moment, Jupiter realized that he knew her.

Senator Ocella? Lady Cassica? What happened here…?

Jupiter’s eyes landed on the body lying on the floor. His eyes were drawn to the man’s silver signet ring on his right ring finger, one that Jupiter knew before he knelt to examine it. When he did, he cursed aloud.

His looked at Cassica and the young Senator.

Senator Ocella, my name is Jupiter Cinerus, but that’s not what’s important here. Do either of you know who this man is?” he asked.

Cassica glared. “He tried to kill me, so he’s the man who got what he deserved.”

No, Cassica. This is Faustus Quintus Orsini, current eldest child and scion of the Orisini family, son of Senator Cosimo Orsini.” Jupiter said, trying to keep the distaste from his tone. He reached down, pressing two fingers to Faustus’s neck. His pulse was thready, but there. He was alive, but barely.

He’s a brute and an animal. He’s also an enforcer if you can meet his price.” Jupiter said.

How did he come to be here?” Jupiter asked, looking between both women.

Cassica half-shrugged and Jupiter narrowed his eyes.

He looked to the Senator, wondering if she had any information about all of this.

24
Hayll / Re: Tale of a Moonlight Garden
« on: Oct 02, 17, 11:35:30 PM »
Jupiter Cinerus had known of Lady Numinicus most of his life. He’d not expected the invitation to the party, but when it arrived in personal stationery and closed with her family's wax seal, Jupiter sighed. Her parties were often the social event of the season; invitations went to the scions of the Hundred Families, important members of the Territory and Province Courts, and even to the Territory Queen and her males. Sabine had not, in their five years together, deigned to attend Lady Numinicus’s parties, unwilling to endure the press and crush of people sought her favor on a daily basis.

Jupiter, on the other hand, was not so fortunate.

He was a scion of the Hundred Families, a member of the First Circle of Hayll, and bonded to the Queen of Hayll herself. When he left Sabine this evening, however, something was wrong. He sensed a deep sadness in her, one that he couldn’t determine a cause for in that moment. Sabine wished him well and then went to her rooms, leaving Jupiter more confused than ever on where he stood with his Queen.

He was still ruminating on it when he arrived at the dinner party. He considered it during dinner and while having a glass of wine and making small talk. He watched the interactions of the people around him, paid attention to those who quieted whenever he came close. Jupiter engaged in polite conversation with a few people and discussed the matter of the revolution that had made its way down to Faro. A few people, deep in their cups, were less charitable and more free to speak their minds.

We should kill every last one of those ungrateful bastards. How dare they damage our Coliseum and then advocate for slaves! Of all things! Slaves!

Someone came and gathered up the drunken Prince before Jupiter broke his neck.

It was later in the evening when Jupiter headed out to the gardens, unable to stomach the presence of so many upstanding members of the Hundred Families any longer. No wonder the Daily Hayll ripped them apart on a regular basis. Jupiter almost believed that this rebellion might change Hayll, might make it better once it swept away the corruption that the Hundred bred in their wake.

Almost.

He walked through the garden, glass of wine in hand, trying to decide when he’d go home, when the scents of honey, jasmine, and rain water. Jupiter paused to bask in that scent, to burn it into his nostrils and memory the way he had nearly two weeks ago when he saw her last. He dropped the glass where he stood. Lady Numinicus could buy another one if she missed it so damned much.

He wandered through the twists and turns of the garden, heart hammering as he made his way toward the source of the scent. Made his way toward the only person who seemed to understand him.

That the Lady Numinicus herself had been willing to donate toward my intended cause was nothing short of Mother Night granting a kiss to mine fingertips ..."

If Lady Numinicus didn’t donate generously toward whatever cause you’re supporting, she’d be a fool.” Jupiter said, stepping into view from behind a tall bush on her left. He smiled a real, genuine smile for the first time all night, maybe the first time in weeks. His black suit was freshly pressed and his leather shoes sported a high sheen. His Summer Sky was set into a new, silver ring on his left hand while his Green hung from a silver chain at his neck.

He inclined his head in a deep nod of respect toward the Priestess and smiled, moving to take her hands if she allowed it.

Good evening, Lady Agrippina. May I join you for a moment?” he asked.

25
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: May 25, 17, 03:12:57 PM »
Jupiter, too, lost himself in the hunger and throes of passion. Caelissine’s screams, moans, and pants were hunted down and claimed in equal measure through the force and fury of their coupling. Only when Jupiter met his climax sometime later did he consider that he’d been, perhaps, too forceful with her. Of course, this was nothing akin to a rut, that sex-crazed state of mind that drove him toward one woman and burned away all else save that desire. Once they were done, he withdrew from her body only enough to grant her the comfort of not having his weight atop her.

He remained close to her as well.
 
They lay on the floor of the villa, him on his stomach, while he played with the odd lock of midnight hair that now pooleon the floor beneath them. His breathing steadied and he started to drift off when Caelissine called his name.
 
His eyes opened to slits when she spoke of marring him.
 
Oh. So that’s what the stinging sensation is.
 
You’ve nothing to apologize for, Caelissine. I came as a supplicant to worship and you guided me along properly.” Jupiter said, grinning lazily. He was sated for now, but it wouldn’t last. Caelissine wasn’t the kind of woman to enjoy just once and then move on from. Suddenly, he understood Gideon just a little better and a little less in the same moment. He propped himself up on a elbow to watch her, surreptitiously checking for any lasting damage he might have done to the Priestess in turn.
 
In any case, they’ll heal like the other scars.” he said, and many of those scars were lain for her to see. Long, slender marks and a couple of rough and jagged gashes. Some were from his time in service to Hayll during the war. Others were from the occupation, when Jadar Denvo and his idiot brothers held his mother hostage against his goodwill. A rare few were from his younger days, before he’d dedicated himself to changing his life and becoming a man that would bring pride to his family, rather than one of the many scions of the Hundred Families that made the rest of Hayll curse them all in a single epithet.
 
He looked around, noting the disarray of the sitting room and chuckled.
 
Oh my. Seems we’ve made a mess.
 
A genuine, warm smile tugged at his lips, making him seem younger for its existence.
 
We’ll have to destroy another part of the house to see if this is a pattern or just singular event.” 

26
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: May 25, 17, 12:32:15 AM »
Jupiter, please…
 
Jupiter’s mouth kept working, driving Caelissine to climax. Even if Jupiter wanted to stop (he didn’t) he couldn’t have. The movement of her body, the heat, the feeling of the Priestess yielding to him, all of these things incresed his hunger tenfold as he kissed her nether lips in agonizing slowness. It occurred to him, briefly, that Caelissine might not be enjoying herself, but he quickly discarded that thought. She made another wonderful noise of pleasure and Jupiter knew that she wanted everything he could give.
 
I need you.
 
Those words brought him back to reality.
 
I need you.
 
I need you.

I need you.
 
His mouth went still and he looked up at Caelissine through lidded eyes.
 
He nodded once and rose to his feet.
 
He pulled Caelissine up from the couch and bent her over the arm so that she could rest on her knees. Midnight black hair cascaded down her back on both sides. Jupiter followed the elegant curve of her back to her ass. He reached down, grasping his shaft with his right hand and making the head swell, before pushing against the lips of her cunt. He took a deep breath and sheathed himself inside of her slowly but intently. Hardness met incredible warmth and tightness. The Warlord Prince growled and focused long enough to use a bit of Seduction Craft to heighten their enjoyment of this moment.
 
His left hand reached out and tangled in her hair.
 
Then Jupiter slammed himself into her, again and again again. His first few thrusts were gentle, but they gave away to the furious drive of man claiming a woman, a Warlord Prince claiming the female he’d chosen this night. He’d wanted this the day they met, but had denied himself for a thousand reasons. In this moment, though, Jupiter couldn’t remember a single one.
 
Her cries drove him onward, clawing at his mind with every moment and demanding that he take everything. When they tired of that position, they moved to the floor, Caelissine on her back, while he sheathed himself in her once more. Now, he was deeper inside of her, buried to the hilt while only one thought echoed on the thread beteween them.
 
*Yours.*

He was, indeed, pleased.

27
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 28, 17, 11:39:51 PM »
*That’s exactly what I mean.*

Jupiter groaned when Caelissine bit his neck. The sensation, combined in time with her writing against his cock, hardened him even more than their foreplay up to this point. He vanished her robe in full, unwilling to get it between them, then vanished his own clothes in full so that all of their skin touched between the pair of them. He would have marks tomorrow and Jupiter didn’t care. He wouldn’t let Sabine see them. And even if she did, so what? His Queen never saw him that way and Jupiter did not see her that way in turn.

Nor had she ever uttered the word that tore from Caelissine’s throat during her climax.

Yours!

Mine.

Now, all he cared about was taking what was so freely given.

He shifted, then rose and lifted Caelissine off the couch. He spun, still holding her and shifted their positions so that she was now seated, naked, upon the couch. He bumped the table with his calf, so Jupiter used the most handy solution possible to address it: he kicked the table, books and all, back several feet across the floor. The table didn’t break or fall, but it skidded across the floor and bumped against the far wall.

Now that he had space to work with, Jupiter dropped to his knees and spread Caelissine’s thighs to reveal her sex to him. The scent of rain, of her, permeated his nose and his mind, and it was all he could do not to simply bury himself in her and fuck her until she wrapped herself around him and dragged her nails down his back until he bled. He kissed her mouth once more, then her neck, and downward further. His mouth trailed over her chest and stomach, before kissed the tops of her thighs.

He looked up at Caelissine once more.

*I like it better when we aren’t good.*

His head dipped down between her thighs, tongue finding her pearl. He grasped her hips and drew her further forward, allowing him greater access to her sex. He paused, biting the inside of her thigh closest to her nether lips, before his tongue returned to her depths with a will, flicking against her pearl quickly and smoothly while Jupiter focused on the heart of her skin and drowning himself in her.

*Say it again.*Jupiter demanded as he sought to bring her to another climax. A single word, so simple, yet utterly powerful.

28
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 21, 17, 09:03:32 AM »
Caelissine relented and finally gave him leave to kiss her neck and her throat. Jupiter took that permission with ease, drowning himself in her scent and the feel of her body against his own. They felt connected, molded together on that couch, and Jupiter did not want to cease or pause any longer than he had to. Both of his hands moved to her breasts, then, coaxing her nipples to firmness while his kisses grew deeper and more hungry. His teeth tugged at her lower lip and he smiled brightly, then, drinking in her sighs and moans as one might indulge in fine wine.

His hands withdrew from inside her robes, moving to her shoulders. He slid the fabric off of her shoulders and down to her waist, exposing her breasts and the whole of her torso to him. His eyes moved over every inch of skin there, followed by his fingers, and then his hands. Each time her hips twitched against him, Jupiter smiled. They wanted the same thing, but now Jupiter was minded to tease her, to make her voice her desire as she’d denied him his own.

I am of sound mind and yes, this is what I wish. You do not take advantage. I seek to have you. But it’s different from the way that I wanted you when we first met. That was just...instinct. Pure and base instinct that wouldn't enjoy this, or you, correctly.” Jupiter said, shaking away that idea. Certainly, it would have been fun to have her at the temple. Ultimately, it would have meant little. They might not have spoken again after that and Jupiter would have just considered it a one-time meeting. Their subsequent meetings, however, drove him to madness with wonder about her. Did she like tea? What was her favorite thing about Faro? What else about her life could he learn just by talking to her.

Each time, it was those questions that brought him back to her. Every question answered provoked another. Every unanswered question demanded that he return to her and find an answer that suited him. And then there was the small sense of peace her rituals granted him. When Sabine was difficult, Caelissine’s company soothed him enough to return to his Queen and endure her fickle nature and difficult moods.

It’s not about instinct anymore. I want to learn what you like and give that to you. I want to spend more time in your company, even if it means being a supplicant.” Jupiter said.

Most of all, I know that I’m not the only person here trying to be good, Caelissine.” Jupiter said, his head dipping forward slightly to kiss the top of her breast. His lips found their mark, but then his mouth moved to capture one of those nipples, long-hardened by his claiming of her, and he responded on the thread between them with the same slow-burning hunger he’d held from the first.

*But I don’t want to you to be good anymore, Caelissine. Not now and not for me.*

29
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 18, 17, 11:59:30 PM »
Jupiter’s grip on her ass was secure, firm enough to claim possession without denying Caelissine a means of escape. He was loathe to let her get away from him, of course, but he’d (grudgingly) allow it if she felt unsure. She rocked against him, though, feeling his cock brush against her in the doing. Only her kiss, hungry yet firm, kept him from focusing on the feeling of heat at her core, and kept his mind intact as he followed her instructions to explore this connection to the Darkness through the jewels that Mother Night gifted him so long ago.

Like many Blood, Jupiter could be accused of taking the awesome power contained in his jewels for granted. He certainly did in his youth. Even today, he sometimes used his power without thinking, be it to move objects with the power of his mind or to intimidate others on behalf of his Queen or to get his way in a tense moment. Upon thinking over those things that he did without care, Jupiter regretted his actions and promised to better himself. Many times, he succeeded at doing that. Now and again, though, he required reminding that his jewels were an extension of himself and his connection to Mother Night.

Caelissine’s instruction proved worthy.

He descended through the ranks with her, starting at the White and following her down to the Tiger Eye, where the first part of her power stemmed from. What was this power like for her, a Priestess, whose life had been similar to his, yet utterly different? Jupiter’s strength was at times a scalpel used to remove specific issues on behalf of his family or his Queen; at other times, it was a sledgehammer used to defend his people and ensure that someone else could live and breathe unmolested in ways he’d never know.

Still others, his power fueled a deep and abiding rage that lingered just beneath his skin, warming his body in even the coldest winter.

He followed her down further, to the Summer Sky, opening his barriers to her as he did so. He should have been more worried about letting her into his mind, but this moment required honesty as well as strength. He had no desire to share merely one or the other with her. He needed both as much as she sought to give them.

The world here reminded him of Faro in the day, and he shared with her the memory of himself and his brother, Anarius, walking with their mother in happier times before all the horrible things that happened to each of them came to pass. Lilith Cinerus looked genuinely happy as her sons escorted her through the orchard in their family’s estate. Jupiter’s own smiles came easier back then, bright and full in a way that made him seem younger and lighter than he was in real life.

The edge of her power, however, was merely the start of his own. Reluctantly, he left Caelissine to dive deeper into the ocean of his strength. He dove deep, the drumbeat of their hearts growing into sync with their breathing as their kisses deepened, grew hungrier as heat between them sparked into flame.

Once he reached the depths of his Green, Caelissine bid him rise, but her voice sounded far away. He felt more than heard, her call to him. Jupiter swam back to the surface, inhaling das though he’d taken his first breath after being underwater for a thousand years. The air was sweeter now, her scent stronger and different in his mind and nose. Her body felt softer and firmer all at once, and he was deeply aware of her warmth on his skin.

He tried to kiss her throat and any other part of his body that he could find, but each time she pulled him back with her lips. He growled once, but continued the kiss otherwise. Her hold on him felt like she was holding onto him for dear life. His jewels began to refill and the sensation of his mind and body opened to the Darkness and Mother Night drew a startled gasp, the sensation so very different from their last communion. His grasp on her changed, one hand moving to the small of her back while the other reached up and dragged his fingertips down the her spine beneath her robe. Fingertips examined every inch of skin, every plane of her back. Then, one hand moved round to the front of her body and Jupiter found the curve of her breast and grasped that, though he did nothing further.

Do not stop. Please.

30
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 15, 17, 11:12:53 PM »
Jupiter listened to Caelissine’s words with most of his attention, though it was difficult with her fingers trailing along the curves of his face. Everywhere they brushed left small trails of warmth against his skin. Jupiter leaned into that touch as best he could without interrupting the lesson she was trying to impart to him. It wasn’t Sabine’s touch, so rarely given. Even when his Queen did grant him her touch, the peace that seeped deep into his mind, his heart, his very bones, never seemed to last long enough to quell the beast in his soul. Caelissine’s touch held the promise of a different peace, not the Craft-laden and ephemeral peace that tossed heat upon the cold rage burning in his soul, but the kind of peace that resulted in knowing and being known by someone who cared to look.

Jupiter could only count one other person in recent memory who cared to know him that way.

She moved to straddle him and his hands adjusted, finding her waist with ease through the fabric of her robe. She did not, he knew, intend to arouse him or make him desire her but she’d long ago lost that particular battle. The matter now came to when, if ever, he might enjoy her. She brushed her face against his and Jupiter inhaled her scent, letting it fill not just his nostrils, or his mind, but let it flow through him and fill him from head-to-toe. He sighed softly, fully aware of her weight against his body. She was a such a lithe, willowy thing. One part of him wanted to break her into a thousand tiny pieces and reassemble her bit by bit.

Another voice snarled in his mind, recoiling at the thought. He wanted to treat her gently, hold her close and simply bask in her presence until he could stand it no longer. He breathed in her scent, then built a small box about it to protect it, to keep it inside of him for some time beyond now when he needed it more.

She told him what to do and Jupiter closed his eyes. He focused on his mother’s laugh, light and airy when he could still see joy in her eyes. Not the joy she pretended to have, no, but the joy and the love she once held when Father was still alive. The joy she had when Anarius came into the room with one of his sketches of her, made when Mother’s attention was focused elsewhere. Jupiter drew upon the warmth in her eyes when she first brought Gideon to see him, warmth in the feeling that even in days of sorrow and nights of pain, that something good came from something horrible.

Little by little, the tension in Jupiter’s shoulders, in his mind, melted away, traveling down his body. It flowed down his torso, into his hips and then down his legs to seep into the tile of the floors. Shirt buttons loosened, Jupiter felt it when Caelissine’s fingers brushed across his bare chest. He murmured softly in encouragement, the tactile sensations different and more intimate than nearly any touch he’d enjoyed in longer than he remembered.

The kiss registered slowly at first, the darkness filled with a thousand points of light drawn solely from the other places on his body that she touched without restraint. He returned the kisses slowly enough, the feeling of her lips among his flowing and blending into the warmth of the sunlight from beneath his favorite tree on the grounds of the family estate in Faro. Each kiss, slow and deliberate, took him back across the centuries to the days spent alternately chasing and hiding from Anarius, living only as young boys could live: wild and free without a care in the world.

Watching his mother and father dance without music, their love for each other powerful and tangible.

Nights spent attempting to sound intelligent while he talked politics with Uncle Brutus during his teenage years...and the small portion of rum he’d let Jupiter try, just to watch the young man’s face when he coughed from the burn.

Staying awake long into the night to sneak out and stare up at the stars, wondering if they’d still look the same in a thousand years as they did in that moment.

Jupiter’s pulse, or maybe it was Caelissine’s, thundered in his ears. His hands found purchase on her ass and Jupiter grasped. He needed to take her now, to throw her down on the couch and bury himself in her until they both cried for release.

Resist.

The word registered to his mind, if not his body. He fought to wrestle both under control, focusing on Caelissine’s words and the heat between them as a dam against his deeper desire. He mouth continued to kiss his, her hands massaging, and she told him that they were merely attending the needs of their spirit. Reason slowly but surely asserted itself in Jupiter’s mind. He was not alone; he was with someone who’d taken the time to listen to him, to minister to his spirit and well as his body. Even with the space of nearly a month between their last visit, it felt as though they’d picked up right where they left off in that office.

Her lips settled against his and Jupiter’s hands slid away from her hips, down her body, to her thighs. Then they moved beneath the fabric, work-worn hands gently dragging his nails along the flesh beneath her robe. He was prohibited from taking....but not giving.

His mouth found Caelissine’s chin and he kissed it once, then moved his lips along the smooth line of her jaw. The curve of her neck came next, as Jupiter’s lips moved slowly, tortuously across the skin he found. He was one of the better map-makers in the Praetorian Guard when he served.

A map of Caelissine’s body, traced in his mind and drawn by his lips, sounded like a project worthy of his time.

31
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 12, 17, 09:50:55 PM »
I’m aware of how the Eyriens use their wings. They are a sight to behold when they fly. That is the first and only compliment I grant them.” he said.

Jupiter stroked Caelissine’s leg softly with his fingertips, noting the golden flesh visible from beneath her robe. She sat in his lap, in her natural state, and told him that the feelings that he worked to keep tightly leashed and controlled were natural and a part of him.

Intellectually, Jupiter knew what she was saying was true. He still felt the need to keep them as restrained as possible to avoid hurting someone or doing something he couldn’t undo. He’d indulged himself in the past and gone too far. He swore to himself after that that he’d sup from the well of his rage in moderation.

Though the woman before him tested that vow to its utter limit.

Did I ever consider become a Priest?” Jupiter asked, hoping to clarify her question. It stunned him to silence, but only for a moment. Gideon had the temperament and desire to become a Priest, to leash himself with that kind of discipline and control. How difficult was it for him to engage? The connection to Mother Night and the Darkness certainly seemed more powerful and his brother’s serenity often put Jupiter to shame.

No, I didn’t. Even if I did, I wouldn’t know where to start.” Jupiter said. “The anger runs deep within me, Caelissine. I am not sure if my path lies that way.

He could only imagine Sabine’s reaction, if she cared to notice. It was a sad statement that he knew Caelissine better in some ways than he knew his own Queen. Jupiter turned his thoughts away from that with force, refusing to lament a situation over which he had no control. Mother Night had bound him to Sabine for a reason and, perhaps, that reason would become apparent someday. They were both young enough that such things had time to bear themselves out. For now, he focused upon Caelissine’s touch, the way her hands played over his body.

She wasn’t trying to seduce him and he knew it. That didn’t stop Jupiter’s skin from burning with delight and hunger for of her touch, more of her attention. She could pour her attentions into him over and over and over and it would never, ever be enough for him. He knew that now. This would probably end badly for both of them.

He could not walk away.

She dispelled the make-up she wore and, rather than seeing her as plain, Jupiter thought her even more beautiful without the enhancements. She did not need them.

A man could do worse than having you all over him. The honor would be mine.” he teased, running his fingers through her midnight hair. The long dark curtain of her hair fell and fell down her back and onto the couch, where it lay in a dark puddle behind her body. His fingers followed that wave of hair from the top of her head down her back, and further still to the base. He stopped just short of cupping her ass in his hand, content in this moment just to register the minor reactions, the hitch of her breath, the heave of her chest as he touched her. And every one of those breaths drew him closer to her, made him hunger to know what other sounds she’d make under duress.

What ... makes you happiest?

The question had so many easy answers that they came to Jupiter all at once.

Talking with my uncle about politics and history. My mother’s laugh. My sister’s smile. Arguing with my brothers, even when it drove me nuts. My father’s eyes when I did something that pleased him. The way my aunt grins when I ask her a question she likes.” Jupiter said.

The short answer is...my family. My family makes me happiest.” Jupiter said, holding that thought in his mind.

He did laugh when she questioned whether or not he could avoid ravishing her, if he could be very, very good. Golden eyes narrowed at the challenge. He wanted to be anything but good right now, but she’d made him an offer. He could not refuse her without damaging what they’d built thus far.

I’ve resisted that urge for sometime now, if memory serves. I can manage just a little longer, O Mouthy Priestess.” Jupiter teased, his right hand reaching down to tickle the soles of her now-bare feet.

32
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 11, 17, 11:59:36 AM »
Some of the tension drained from Jupiter’s posture when Caelissine explained the nature of her relationship with his brother. She’d been his teacher, his lover, and she’d helped him when many others might have turned him away, either due to his heritage or his caste, or for other reasons. There was no fault or blame to be had here, though Jupiter realized, in hindsight, that telling her his name up front would have been better. It would have allowed them to operate on the same level of understanding. He was glad that the information was laid bare between them now, because hearing it from anyone that wasn’t her or him would have lead to the reaction that Caelissine had feared.

Probably still fears, by the way she’s standing.

You’re both better people than I am. I can’t help but hate the Eyriens, even after all this time. I watched for too long what they did to the people they conquered.” Jupiter said. He unconsciously rubbed his shoulder, then, as the sensation of a razor-sharp knife parting flesh returned to his senses across the years. Despite the scar he felt beneath the fabric of his shirt, he could still feel the sting of the wound, the heat and pain of its infection.

Jadar’s brothers were as much animals as man who raped his mother for centuries.

The temperature in the room plummeted and Jupiter’s voice chilled along with it, though he remained in control of his fury.

And yet, my brother bears part of their lineage. Let me be clear: I do not hate him. Gideon and disagree on some things. Important things. I don’t know that we’ll ever be close. He's my brother. But I hate his father’s people more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my life.” Jupiter said.

With some effort, he drew his hand back and down to his side.

I don’t know what to do with that, Caelissine. It’s so easy for my anger to slide into hate. Then for that hate to slide into fury.” he said, his voice trailing off.

He paused for a moment to regain his composure.

I’m glad you were there for him. Thank you.” Jupiter said, meaning it.

She called him a good man, like Gideon, but Jupiter understood the truth. He wasn’t a good man, not when he carried hatred so close to his heart. He did not comment on that, remaining silent so that Caelissine could speak more. He knew so little of her and all of their discussions to date had been about Jupiter or his family. It felt odd to speak to someone so much of himself without learning anything in return, so Jupiter stopped talking so that he hear her.

It has been decades at this juncture that I have considered a man for anything beyond a casual encounter…

Those words brought a smile to Jupiter’s face. He couldn’t imagine Caelissine having just casual encounters with anyone. He didn’t attributed unearned virtue to her, so much as he imagined that she felt too deeply to truly leave anything at the casual level. Jupiter understood that, respected it. The walls of Protocol and supplication were an effective barrier against misunderstanding and unintentional insult. They were created to keep men like Jupiter from killing people at the slightest provocation and to give everyone else, like Caelissine, a way to interact with men like him without ending up dead.

I apologize for my rudeness. Will you sit with me? I want to enjoy your company as long as you’ll allow it.” Jupiter said. He lead her to the nearby couch and sat down only a moment after Caelissine did. She took his hands and the remaining tension within Jupiter moved from his shoulders, flowed down his body, through his feet and into the floor. Her presence gave him a sense of peace and Jupiter was determined not to walk away from it now. Not this time. He let her hold his hands for several minutes, but it wasn’t enough for him. This just wasn’t enough.

So he freed his hands from hers and reached out, grasping her slim waist. If she didn’t resist, Jupiter would pull Caelissine into his lap and hold her close. He found her neck and inhaled that scent he enjoyed once more, this time determined not to let her move away unless she truly wished it.

33
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 10, 17, 09:15:46 AM »
Now, now, that’s not fair. Sometimes I stand and brood. Or even lie down and brood.” Jupiter said, accepting the teasing remark and running with it a little bit. While he wanted to refute her statement and claim that he didn’t brood, or that he did so for good reason, the truth was that Jupiter was prone to brooding and retracing his actions thousands of times to check his motivations for his actions. He’d picked up the habit centuries ago and it had served him well. If he was ever meant to atone for his previous actions, that is where it would begin.

Where Caelissine was concerned, Jupiter found himself brooding much more often these days.

I come here mostly to clear my head when she and I have difficulty understanding each other. So I’m here a lot, as you can imagine.” Jupiter said. He shrugged out of his suit coat and hung it inside the closet, taking a deep breath as she looked around the space. It was odd to have someone here but Jupiter didn’t feel the sense of violation he might have felt if Caelissine had, say, managed to find this place on her own.

Why did I bring her here?

The Purge damaged us all, as did Askavi’s monstrous acts.” Jupiter said, his tone growing cold as his eyes shifted to one of the paintings on the wall. It depicted a young man receiving his first Praetorian helmet, to the pride of his commanders and family. Jupiter remembered the day he’d received his own with deep and abiding pride. It was the first thing he’d ever worked for, ever earned, and that feeling was so powerful that he finally realized what his father had been trying to tell him for years before that.

My mother hasn’t been the same since my father was murdered. The Purge did us no favors, either. I...I was ill. My brother and I held captive by the Eyriens who took Hayll for...for quite some time.” Jupiter said, taking a deep breath.

So it’s hard for me to just be, Caelissine. I...I wish I could explain it to you. Please, don’t misunderstand. I am not saying you are incapable of understanding. But some feelings just can’t be put into words. Not the ones I carry and not the ones…” he said, his voice trailing off.

He sighed.

Not the ones that you invoke.

She told him that she didn’t dislike him, but that the opposite was true. He watched her, trying to parse her words as she struggled to get them out. She has trouble speaking her feelings. I think Mother Night is telling me something.

She paced, unsure of which direction she was moving and her words became a little harder to follow. Oh, her voice was clear, concise, and strong, but her meaning took Jupiter moments to parse. What did Anarius have to do with any of this? Did she know him? He’d been involved with a woman way back when, but Jupiter had never been able to get him to speak of her. He’d been gone so long. The whole left in Jupiter’s heart from his brother’s passing never seemed to grow smaller or hurt less.

That made him think of Gideon and how close they weren’t and Jupiter’s eyes focused on Caelissine as though the sun had just risen in the desert of understanding.

I needed to know whether it was memories of your brother, or whether you yourself drew me.

He was silent for a several seconds after she finished. He watched her. Her scent was stronger now and Jupiter enjoyed it eve more now, after weeks without it, than when he was seeing her with regularity.

He took a step toward her, holding up a finger.

You know my brother.

It wasn’t a question.

He licked his lips that had suddenly gone dry, looking down at the floor and shaking his head. Of course. Of course she’d know Gideon. His younger brother was a Priest. Caelissine was a Priestess. For all Jupiter knew, she’d been the one to teach him. For all Jupiter knew, she was someone that Keziah learned from regularly.

Jupiter was silent again, organizing his thoughts. He was not angry at Caelissine, so to speak. He couldn’t be. She was involved with Gideon and there was nothing wrong with that. He hadn’t seen his brother in some time and shame welled up in his chest at the thought. He literally had no idea where Gideon was right now. He had a general idea about Keziah.

He needed to check in on both of them, whether Sabine liked it or not. If she didn’t, she could enjoy her First Escort or Nero, or whoever she wanted to be around. Fuck them all.

Five minutes had passed since Jupiter last spoke. When he realized that Caelissine was probably waiting to see if he’d tear her apart, or worse, he sighed and looked up at her.

Well, this is awkward.” he said, attempting levity that he just didn’t feel.

You and Gideon are lovers. I...I understand. I also understand why you reacted the way you did. I wouldn’t have wanted to tell me, either. Not when we had been so...connected.” Jupiter said, unable to find a better word.

His body tensed and he turned away from Caelissine. Looking at her tangled his thoughts and he needed his mind clear right now. His right hand clenched into a fist before he recognized that it did so. Once it did, he willed to unclench and forced himself to think.

This is my fault.” he said, his back still to her. Recognizing how disrespectful that was, Jupiter turned back to face her, resisting the urge to pace back and forth.

I should have told you my name, my full name, at our first meeting. Had I done so, you would have known me from the first and could have asked someone else to attend me. For that, I’m sorry.” Jupiter said.

It’s not my intent to cause you trouble. Gideon’s a good man. An excellent man. I think you two are fortunate to know each other.” Jupiter said.

Where should we go from here? I clearly can’t be angry at you or him, since I am the interloper here. But knowing that doesn’t lessen the sting.

He should have expected that Gideon knew her, was close to her. It just made too much sense.

34
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 09, 17, 11:46:09 PM »
Jupiter watched Caelissine finish his drink, his smile growing wider as she did. Whatever issue lay between them in the past seemed to have vanished and now Jupiter couldn’t remember what it was. Or what he thought it was. Right now, he knew that he didn’t want to be near her with all of these people around. He saw a few men look in her direction, but they quickly found other places in the room to look when they saw Jupiter watching them. Caelissine wasn’t his; he had no claim on her. But he’d remove someone’s eyes for looking at her right now.

She rose and so did he, putting several marks on the bar  to pay for the drinks. Insulting Cassica was the last thing he wanted to do and not solely because she was a powerful Black Widow who could make him pay for it without his knowledge.

He followed Caelissine to the door, opening it for her and leading the way outside. Outside of Dream’s End Tavern, Jupiter offered her his arm. She’d asked him to choose their next destination. He didn’t care at all that the patrons were unnerved by his presence; so long as Caelissine had not yet tired of him, Jupiter was well content.
“Very well. I cannot take you back to the temple and we just left the tavern. Follow me.”

They walked through the streets of Draega for a bit, with Jupiter making small talk about the last few weeks. They arrived in a much better part of town, a few blocks over, with several well-made townhomes and cleaner streets. Jupiter unlocked the door to particular townhome of white stucco with a red door. He opened the door, stretching out his senses to make certain that no one else was hiding within. Satisfied, Jupiter held the door open for Caelissine.

Please, come in. I’d like it if we talked here.

Inside, the walls were decorated with a number of oil paintings from several artists across Hayll. Where paintings did not exist, there were a number of weapons of non-Hayllian make. The floor was made of hard black and gray tile. The couches in the living room were black and gray leather, and the coffee table was a black hardwood with several set atop it. One of the books lay open, as if the reader had put it aside briefly with the intent to return.

Immediately near the door was a stairway that lead upstairs.

I don’t usually bring people here. It’s where I stay when I don’t return to my Lady’s company. If this is too quiet, we can always go elsewhere.” Jupiter said.

35
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 08, 17, 09:11:21 AM »
Caelissine remained still, her body taut with tension but not fear. Jupiter’s eyes did not move from hers and he found, to his delight, that she met his gaze without hesitation. The Warlord Prince was much more used to the people around him avoiding his gaze whenever he walked into a room. When people saw him coming, they crossed the street to avoid being in his path. Or they huddled close to others, believing that safety in numbers would stay his hand. The situation never mattered. Whether he was clear of mind or in the throes of Rut, Jupiter Cinerus expected at all times for others to avoid him for fear of his reaction.

Caelissine did nothing of the sort. He watched her and she watched him.

Are you challenging me, you mouthy Priestess?

Her declaration to Cassica confirmed that she was, in fact, challenging him. His round of drinks for the bar was outdone by her own generosity. Jupiter’s smile was sharp, a little sheepish as he recognized what she’d done. He leaned back a fraction and considered the midnight-haired woman. He sipped his drink once more, his eyes breaking his eye contact to let his gaze shift around the bar for a few seconds. His gaze returned to her, stronger and more fierce than ever before.

Lady Cassica, please do the same for myself, same conditions apply.” Jupiter said, not taking his eyes off of Caelissine.

Cassica’s Summer Sky eyes shifted left and right between the pair. She’d not had a pair of aristos duel in her establishment in nearly two millennia. But even that duel didn’t involve money and chairty. For a brief moment, the Black Widow was annoyed with Jupiter and his little Priestess. Their privilege-as-foreplay display bothered her, as she wondered if either of them would have done this if they weren’t each trying to convince the other to make the first move.

My Marks Are Larger Than Yours: Mating Rituals of the Hundred Families.

Cassica fought the urge to roll her eyes. The damn book would probably sell.

*You know, you could have just bent her over the bartop. You two are buying food for people but I’m the one in danger of losing my lunch.*

Jupiter did not let his reaction to Cassica’s jab show on his face. Black Widows were prickly on the best of days and considering his...friendship with Cassica, it was probably best not to continue this in her bar. Jupiter nodded at Caelissine’s words about his past, absorbing their meaning. Atonement had been the bedrock of his life even before the Purge and the loss of his father and brother. Now, they were the foundation on which he stood to meet the world. He didn’t feel as if he’d made any true progress in the last three-hundred years, but it was his mission, his duty, to keep working toward the day and place where he was the better man that he dreamed of being.

The Orsini aren’t bright enough to know that, though. They should hear you out. I get the feeling they’d listen to you.” he said, setting his glass down on the bar.

Caelissine picked it up and sipped, and she didn’t break her gaze with him. She’d told him to choose what he was to her and Jupiter saw no reason to hold back anymore.

Lightning reflexes allowed him to catch her wrist gently, the glass still in hand, before she could set it down. She’d challenged him. She had to pay for that.

We’re leaving, then, Lady Caelissine.” Jupiter said, using the thumb of his other hand to brush away slight drip at the corner of her mouth. He drew that thumb back to his lips and licked it gently, taking in the taste of the drink and her lips in tandem.

After you finish my drink.

If she thought he was jesting, his look told her otherwise.

*Does this mean I should cancel our Thursday meetings, then?*

*I don’t know, Cassi.*

*It’s okay, Peter. I knew where this was headed before we started.*

Jupiter watched Caelissine’s reaction though he realized that Cassica, if anyone, had probably seen all of this coming.

*Thank you, Cassica.*

You kids go ahead. Drinks are on me today.” the Black Widow said.

She moved to wait on other patrons.

36
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Mar 07, 17, 09:07:44 AM »
Jupiter, despite his dislike of the mention, was a scion of the Hundred Families of Hayll. While it had drawbacks in the eyes of the public, it also came with a number benefits that he’d known since he was young. Money was one of those benefits, one that Jupiter had used to his advantage to impress a number of women over the years. When he was younger and wrapped up in appearances, Jupiter believed that lavish gestures on his brother and friends made him an important man.

To Caelissine, buying her pot of tea was a monumental gesture that might include a trap.

For Jupiter, it was just tea.

I would advise you, Lady Caelissine, that buying an entire pot of tea in a place where alcohol is readily available, makes a particular statement, too.” Jupiter teased, his tone a little lighter, more playful than it had been in weeks.

The only statement I’m making with this is that I am glad you’re here and I hope you won’t leave. Not until I’ve found my way to the bottom of this issue that lay between us.” Jupiter said, finally looking toward her. His golden eyes bore into her own, as though he was digging past them to see into her and through her as best he could. In turn, she saw him, utterly focused and intent on ever line and curve of her face, the freckles, the smooth golden skin.

There were over thirty people inside this bar right now, but they could have been living, dead, or simply gone home for the night the way his eyes focused on Caelissine. He didn’t even care, truly, that Cassica had returned with his drink. The Black Widow had arranged this somehow. She probably expected a thank you.

Lady Cassica, also put a round everyone in your establishment on my bill.

Cassica smiled, her blue eyes lighting up at the news. “Done.

*By the way, you really should lose the web. Your natural eyes are better.*

*You’re sweet, Peter. But these eyes double my tips.*

Cassica announced that the next round was on the house and the entire tavern cheered as the servers and Cassica went to take orders and fill them.

I haven’t always been a good man, Caelissine. I’ve done a number of things I’m not proud of, things that I’m not sure I’ll ever outlive.” Jupiter said.

I thought that’s why you withdrew from me that day. You heard my name and recognized that perhaps I’d offended or killed someone you know. It would not be the first time my interactions with a beautiful woman were marred by the man I used to be.” Jupiter said, raising his glass to his lips and taking a drink. Smooth, bold, a little spicy, but refreshing. Much like a Dhemlani woman, though Jupiter had only known a few. Cassica always did not know how to pour a hell of a drink.

The last few weeks have been...trying. Deeply trying. I’m glad you came today.” Jupiter said.

If there is no quarrel between us, I’d like to return to the temple. Or see you in a place like this. It would be your choice. I’m content with either one.” he said.

Jupiter did smile now. He wanted to reach out and touch her again but thought that such would unnerve her in a public place. So he remained in his space and sipped his drink, though he noted the scent of her tea as well.

That’s from the Orsini vineyard in Mutina, I believe. Excellent quality, though the bastards sell it for double what it's worth.

37
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Feb 28, 17, 09:52:49 PM »
Caelissine’s hands were soft, warm, and they felt good on his golden skin. Jupiter didn’t take lovers often; mostly just one-night stands that allowed him to scratch the proverbial itch that came with the hungers of his caste. Despite all of the work he’d done to better himself in the last ten centuries, there were facets of the Warlord Prince’s personality that would never, ever be utterly subsumed. His enjoyment of beautiful women was as much a part of him as his love for combat and testing his personal limits. That wouldn’t change.

But he felt the change in the energy between them when Caelissine heard his name.

It was a subtle thing, at first, and Jupiter wouldn’t have noticed it if she’d merely kept still. She laughed and then that laugh became something deeper, more manic, as though she was privy to a joke he hadn’t heard. Her laughing grated on his nerves where there had been contentment, even safety, just moments before. She stood up and laughed, moving away from him, and Jupiter’s eyes followed her every movement with unblinking intensity. He rose, slowly, to his feet, submerging the urge to cross into her personal space and demand to know what she was on about. Was her chalice damaged? Had she been toying with him?

Jupiter couldn’t help but notice that her mood toward him had changed immediately upon learning his name.

She’s heard of me.

What other reason would she have? She’d heard of his less-than-stellar reputation from centuries ago and now she wanted nothing to do with him. Father told him that his actions would have consequences in centuries long after the act. Back then, Jupiter had laughed off Brennan d’Maris’s attempts at wisdom and guidance for his eldest son. His father, he thought, was an old man from an old era, one that still believed that work and duty made better man, rather than their station of birth. Jupiter understood so little about the world back then, though he’d convinced himself that he was smarter than everyone else. How many people had laughed at him in secret the way that Caelissine laughed at him now?

His posture tensed and Jupiter adjusted his cuffs to occupy his hands and center his thoughts.

I didn’t realize that my family held so little esteem in your mind. I apologize if I misread the...situation between us.” the Warlord Prince said, his voice low.

But you should know that I only introduced myself as I did to earn your honest reaction. I supposed I accomplished that in both cases. But I did not need you to pander to me. Only to point the way to enlightenment.” Jupiter said.

This wouldn’t have happened to Gideon. he thought bitterly.

Jupiter took a deep breath, released it, and then took another. The tension in his shoulders would not abate without assistance. He’d not find it here, though; this aura of calm in this place had been dispelled with Lady Augustinius-Agrippina’s reaction to him.

That’s just as well. I should be getting back to Court. My lady will have need of me.” Jupiter said, barely processing the rest of her statement about her being affected by his presence. She asked him to seek her elsewhere, away from this place, but Jupiter couldn’t think about that right now. He needed to get out of here, to think, to get himself under control.

Very well. To the door.

He walked over to the door and opened it, allowing her to precede him. Once she was out, he escorted her back to the main area of the temple where the Acolytes were gathered once more. When they saw Jupiter approach, they scattered, careful to avoid his eyes. That was just as well. He couldn’t have promised anyone’s safety in that moment, with the fire burning in his belly.

Thank you for your assistance, as always, Lady Priestess.” Jupiter said, straightening his tie. Once he was certain that his appearance was presentable, he bowed to the Priestess and then turned on his heel and left.

He did not return the next day or the next. There was no contact for a week. And then another.

And then still another.

The first days of autumn came and went before one of the acolytes would stop Caelissine and present her with a card for Dream’s End Tavern. A few of the acolytes were known to go there and enjoy a drink from time to time.

If Caelissine handled it for any length of time, she’d note that it carried Jupiter’s scent.

38
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Feb 05, 17, 09:17:09 PM »
Jupiter’s eyes closed in contentment as Caelissine rubbed his temples. No one had ever done this to him before and he wondered if this, too, was part of her repertoire of Priestesshood tactics to make others relax. He could not help that a part of him wished that this was for him, and him alone, but that thought vanished beneath the blissful feeling of her hands upon him once more. Jupiter had never known someone outside of himself that enjoyed tactile sensation the way that Caelissine did.

She gives of herself so freely, without abandon. Would it that we were all so giving.

The soft rustle of cloth was the only indication that she’d shifted her position, but her scent grew stronger in the small space between them, playing havoc with his senses. The strength of her scent made him wonder if he’d be fairly drenched in it when he left this place. The thought didn’t bother Jupiter as he expected. His eyes opened a fraction to find Caelissine arranged before him, the curtain of her midnight hair allowed to pool around her. His hand extended slowly and caught a length of those locks in his fingertips.

Beautiful.” he said, letting his golden gaze shift from her hair to her face as she continued.

I enjoy fighting and hard work. When I fight or work to exhaustion, I feel like I’ve earned my keep that day.” he said, unsure of how to continue. How exactly did one explain that they only felt alive when fighting others, when the idea of combat to death excited him as little else could? Jupiter wondered if other Warlord Princes felt the same way. Comparing notes with others seemed foolish or likely to invite unneeded judgment.

Your father was a wise man. I think my own father would have said something similar, if he was alive today. It would have been that or ‘Jupiter, get your head out of your ass and get to work’.” the Warlord Prince said, realizing only seconds later that he’d give Caelissine his true name without meaning to. There was silence for a brief moment while he watched her. It occurred to him how unfair he’d been, knowing her name and learning of her while granting her nothing about himself in return.

Lady Caelissine, my name is Jupiter. Jupiter Cinerus. Sometimes, I’m called Peter, for short. Really, the nickname has fallen out of use but I use it now and again.” he whispered.

Something tells me that you are a little trouble, Caelissine Augustinius-Agrippina, but only the kind worth having.” he said, knowing in that moment that he wanted her. Her scent assaulted his self-control and he wanted to blame the wine for it, to say that she’d given him some drink that lowered his inhibitions. That was a lie, though. The wine wasn’t remotely strong enough to affect him and anything he offered her, or took from her, would be done of his own volition of sound mind. He took a deep breath and inhaled her scent, letting it fill every corner of his mind and body.

There are many things I’d require of you, Lady Caelissine. But I cannot, in good conscience, ask for them. Not in this place where you tend to people who come to truly seeking Mother Night’s will and the blessings of the Darkness.” Jupiter said.

A man less focused on being good would take you here and now, so long as you said yes.” Jupiter said.

He left out the part that he’d been that man not very long ago.

39
Character Plots / Jupiter Cinerus
« on: Feb 05, 17, 04:17:45 PM »
{Jupiter Cinerus}
{Warlord Prince and Hayllian Scion}

CHARACTER SHEET: Jupiter Cinerus


AWARDS:


N/A

SUMMARY:

Jupiter Cinerus is a scion of (one of) the greatest of the Hundred Families: House Cinerus. In his youth, his descent from this bloodline made him arrogant and headstrong, uncaring of the consequences of his actions. After a century of serving in the Praetorian Guard, however, Jupiter began to understand all of the things wrong with his worldview and has spent the time since then atoning for his mistakes and trying to be a better man.

Along the way, he lost his father and younger brother, was made a prisoner and watched his mother enslaved by their Eyrien captors. The memory of his impotence had driven Jupiter not only to better himself through combat, but also to remember that no man is too great to be brought low.

Now Jupiter struggles to deal with his bonding to a Queen he does not like, but sees glimmers of goodness within. He must adjust to the new status quo of his family, with a mother who has grown distant from him and siblings who are far younger than he and have more in common with each other than they do him. The task is daunting but Jupiter has never shied away from hard work.

And he never will.


OPEN THREADS:





COMPLETE THREADS:

I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow - Jupiter seeks solace and wisdom in Mother Night’s embrace when troubles with his Queen arise. He meets Caelissine Agrippina, a local Priestess, whom he shares a bit more in common with than he realizes.

40
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Feb 04, 17, 11:53:37 PM »
Jupiter listened, attempting to let Caelissine speak and explain the reasoning behind her words before he attempted to clarify or offer rebuttal to anything she said. As the nephew of a sitting Senator, it was a difficult thing for him and always had been. In his first century or two, it was hard to argue with Jupiter Cinerus, but not because his arguments and logic were airtight and unassailable. The difficulty came from his stubborn nature and his belief that he was usually right, whether or not it was the truth. Jupiter had worked for centuries to overcome that particular character flaw, so he listened with rapt attention while Caelissine spoke.

She adjusted his tie and that won a soft half-smile from him while he sipped his wine.

Something about this Priestess called to him, made him think things he had no business thinking. He pushed those thoughts aside and nodded as she suggested that his task was to be the person that believed in his Queen while she became the person he thought she could be. Jupiter hadn’t thought of it that way and that forced him to reexamine his anger toward Sabine for a moment. Some of it truly was justified, but how much of it was merely his own ego and expectations for her?

My brother and I find common ground on few things. I’m the elder of the two of us, but he’s so much more wordly than I, I think.” Jupiter said, having heard tell of some of the places that Gideon had seen. Last word had him somewhere to the south, in Raej or some place. He couldn’t imagine why Gideon would go to Raej, but it wasn’t his place to know. Priests and Priestesses went where the Darkness lead them, he supposed.

I think my brother would like you. He strives to be a good man on a regular basis. The irony is that, despite our very different lives, he has never had trouble being a good man. It’s not the struggle for him that it is for m--some others.” Jupiter said, immediately cutting off that avenue of conversation. He wasn’t here to relieve the shitshow he’d been years ago before hard experience taught him that even the so-called greatest could be brought low.

There are a number of other things that bring me joy, Lady Caelissine. Sadly, I can’t engage a few of them as often as I’d like. Some of them are frowned upon, if even they are not illegal. I suppose it’s for the best, though. My Queen requires me to be of sound mind and body at all times.” he said.

She touched his face and Jupiter leaned into her touch, letting his mind wander briefly as he did. She was not his Queen, but Sabine granted him her touch sparingly and never for as long as he liked. Caelissine simply gave of herself and let him take as much as he needed, as he needed. Jupiter wasn’t one given to regret, but a moment like this made him wonder if Mother Night bonded whom she did for purpose or amusement.

I reason that anyone who's tasted your lips received the better end of the deal, my Lady. But I never said you were entirely innocent. In fact, I think you know how to start trouble when you wish.” he said, his smile at her growing deeper. He chanced another sip of his wine, before draining the entire cup in a single go.

Yes, the vintage is excellent. I think I know the very place it was made in Cirta, if I am not mistaken.


41
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 17, 17, 09:23:52 AM »
Jupiter loved Cirta and, now that he thought about it, it made sense that she enjoyed it so much. He knew several of the Hundred Families hailed from the southernmost province where his grandmother once ruled. Few places in the world brought him as much joy as Cirta and its trees and fields. He pondered what else Caelissine enjoyed about Faro, but refrained from questioning her at the current time. He’d asked her a question and it was only fair that he allowed her to answer it as best she could.

He didn’t expect the answer he received. That merely added to his inability to read the woman before him.

She held herself away from him, then invaded his space before darting away again. His desire to hunt and conquer grew closer to the surface each time, making it harder to focus upon her words. But he did. Jupiter had worked many centuries to curb his impulses and become the man he was now. That she’d managed to catch him off-guard twice in several weeks spoke to something different about her, but now he needed to reassert control over himself, at the very least.

He sipped his wine quietly, grateful when she refilled it, while he considered how to discuss the things bothering him. He didn’t bring his troubles to anyone, not even his mother, because those troubles were nothing compared to the troubles of the world around him. When the greatest of a man’s--of a Warlord Prince’s--complaints is that he is bound to a woman whose actions bother him, it’s a good day for that man.

I am bound to someone that I think, in time, could be great.” Jupiter said, his tone cautious. He didn’t want to give away names or the like, mostly because he wasn’t supposed to be here as himself. He was just here to be here, to get away from the things bothering him. She said that this was a place that he could breathe and smile, but Jupiter knew it was only for “Peter” and not for Jupiter. Caelissine probably said the same things to a thousand men over the course of many years. She offered him nothing unique or special, nothing she did not offer anyone else.

So long as he kept that at the forefront of his mind, he could control himself.

But she is surrounded by people who would see her do wrong. People who don’t have her best interests at heart. Not as I do.” Jupiter said.

But I’m a single man and they’re a legion. I’m good at killing people, harming things. It’s what I was born to do. My brother would, and has, disagreed with that assessment. He and I disagree on a lot of things.” Jupiter said.

When I came here last time, it was because I’d had difficulty getting through to her. I’m not as fun as her other escorts. I’m content with listening to her speak or discussing ideas. Like we do now.” Jupiter said

She...has little love for those things and I think we are mismatched. That’s why I asked about the Darkness giving us what we need and what we deserve. If my Queen is who I deserve, then the Price is fair. I was a terrible individual when I was younger. Not fit for polite company, really.” Jupiter said.

What about you? I bet you stirred up all kinds of trouble before you ended up here.” he teased. His tone made clear that he thought the complete opposite. In fact, he did not think that Caelissine Augustinius-Aggrippina possessed the ability to stir up trouble at all.

42
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 15, 17, 11:44:56 AM »
No one can be themselves in Draega, Lady Caelissine.” Jupiter said, joining her against the pillows. The sight of her hair splayed out against the pillows set fire to Jupiter’s imagination and so he focused on his anger at Sabine, at people in general, to beat back the image of his mouth at her neck once more. She’d responded to his greeting and that blunted the harder edge of that anger. He accepted a bit of the wine while he gathered his thoughts. Now that he was seated, he’d relaxed a little, but some of his tension remained.

This town...it’s hard to say just what it is that this place steals away from you. But it does it slowly, by degrees. Year after year, century after century, it just get worse and worse, until you either join the madness or abandon it for the seas or some other land where you feel like the people haven’t just given themselves away to indulging their darker impulses.” Jupiter said, signing as he sipped the wine.

He’d said more than he’d intended to in that exchange, but it felt good to do so. He and Gideon had discussed this (as much as they ever discussed anything) a few times in the past. Unlike with Gideon, he didn’t think Caelissine would eventually wind the discussion around to Sabine and her inimical stance against the Queen of Hayll. Gideon hated her and it rubbed Jupiter’s temper raw to even discuss her with his younger brother. It wasn’t like he’d chosen her to be his Queen. No, that choice was never his to make. Mother Night bound him to Sabine, regardless of the strife it caused between himself and his brother, and left Jupiter to sort the consequences. He and Gideon could debate until the stars fell from the sky, but they’d make no headway against each other. Anarius, were he still alive, would be able to make them understand each other’s points, to see each other’s ideas and come to a silent disagreement if nothing else.

I miss you, little brother. Every day.

He hoped, for his brother’s sake, that Gideon was never bound to a Queen that he did not like.

No, you do not fit in Draega, Lady Augustinius-Agrippina. I grow to believe that you’re a piece that fits somewhere, but not in this place.” Jupiter said.

Yet you raise us up, despite our best attempts to stop you, through your presence.” Jupiter said.

Another sip of his wine as he considered his question. He’d wanted to ask Gideon his thoughts on it, but their discussions had grown tense and by the time he wanted to ask, he couldn’t have remained open to hearing his brother’s answer. He envied Gideon’s duality, the ability to rein himself long enough to learn the secrets of the Priestesshood. Gideon did well for himself and, despite their differences, Jupiter took pride in his younger brother’s strength and tenacity.

A question for you, Lady Caelissine, if you’ll permit. I’ve wanted to ask this of a Priestess but have been unsuccessful.” Jupiter asked.

Do you believe that the Mother Night gives us what we need? Or does she provide to us what we deserve?” he asked.

43
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 14, 17, 07:48:50 AM »
Caelissine suggested her office, that they would be undisturbed, and Jupiter nodded in agreement. He spared a glance at the other acolytes to see who might take issue with the idea. One of them, a male, looked as though he disapproved and Jupiter nearly moved to break his spine for his judgement, but Caelissine’s hand caught his and her thumb massaged his palm as it had before. His anger did not fade, but she drew his attention instead and the acolyte was spared as Caelissine tugged him away to join her.

Office. Right.

The brush of her mind against his was sudden and new. He grasped her hand tighter and followed her, unwilling to let her out of his sight. The office itself was denoted by the door that opened before they arrived, Jupiter feeling the pulse of Craft she used to open it. He grew anxious. What if it was occupied? What if someone else had the same idea they did? That would anger him, especially if they thought to chastise her for attempt to help him.

They entered the office.

They were relatively young, by long-lived standards, so they might debate for centuries after which of them was responsible for what happened next.

Close the door, Prince, and you may have me…ah, to yourself.

The door slammed itself closed, a burst of his own Summer Sky Craft aiding the effort. Then Caelissine found herself trapped between that door and the press of Jupiter’s body.

*Shield us.*

Metal, sandalwood, and spice, his scent, unfurled to mix with the scent of fresh rain as Jupiter leaned down against her, his nose in the crook of her neck, to inhale the scent he felt that he’d forgotten. The hand she’d grasped, his left rose and pinned her hand against the door above her head. HIs right arm lifted her from the floor, separating her legs. He wanted them wrapped around his waist, but Jupiter’s attention focused upon her neck and the hollow of her throat. His teeth nipped at her skin and, all sense of decency forgotten. He’d told her to shield their sounds from the rest of the temple, but the truth was that he didn’t give a fuck if they heard her cry out.

That is, in here, to converse at your leisure.

The words wormed their way into his mind, standing before his hunger like one of the Coliseum’s warriors against a new foe. Her scent was heady, rich, and unlike anything he’d known before, but something was amiss. It took him a moment to understand what it was.

Not like this.

Slowly, he released her, allowing her to regain her balance on the floor. He took a deep breath, filled with her scent, and released it. Then another. Followed by another. When his thoughts reasserted themselves, Jupiter stepped back to look at her. He kept hold of her hand, though. He wouldn’t her get away from him.

She indicated the pillows in the center of the room and, for the first time, he looked over the office. A Raejian rug would do wonders here, along with a Chaillotian music globe. He needed to check whether or not Arconais had one he could purchase.

Yes, sure. I apologize for my greeting to you just now. You crossed my mind once or twice, lately.” Jupiter said.

Once or twice per second? Or once or twice per heartbeat? You should clarify.

I like this room.” Jupiter said, gesturing to it. “There is enough here to catch the eye, but not enough to distract from the purpose of being alone in solitude.

He took off his coat and hung it over a chair, the moved to lie down on the pillows. His gaze drifted toward the ceiling as he waited for her to join him.

44
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 13, 17, 01:31:42 PM »
Jupiter closed the distance between them before Caelissine finished her sentence.

He loomed over her for a moment, staring down at her through lidded eyes while searching for her scent. He knew where her scent was strongest, his eyes flicking to the crook of her neck and the hollow of her throat. His fingers flexed for want of something to grasp, to take hold of right then and there. The Acolytes must have sensed Jupiter’s tension, or his hunger, because their postures became stiff and straight in that small receiving area.

You were a great help to me when last I came here.” Jupiter murmured, moving straight to the point. He’d thought over what he intended to ask for several days after his first visit, when his his rage was at its lowest ebb. While it never left him, the rage at times became cold enough to stymie his reasoning, turning his thoughts into nothing but the desire to hit something until it stopped moving and begged for mercy. Or died.

His other thoughts, the ones concerning Caelissine, were different, but he couldn’t indulge those now.

Her scent unfolded around them. While he could not tell directly that she was a Priestess, Jupiter’s mind focused on the simple things that he did know about that scent. The scent of fresh rain held a single meaning in his mind.

Her.

I came here to seek your aid and to see that you were well.” Jupiter said, willing himself to take a step backward and away from her. The Acolytes appeared partially mollified by the minor restraint shown by the Warlord Prince, though not one of them moved for fear of drawing his ire.

I suppose that I need advice and there aren’t many people I can speak with on the matter. I don’t like to burden others with my issues.” he said simply.

If you’re unable, or not willing, say so and I’ll depart. Otherwise, I’d like to speak privately. I think your acolytes don’t care much for my presence.

The last line was delivered with a deadpan expression. While it wasn’t his intention to make anyone uncomfortable, Jupiter couldn’t spare the feelings of everyone he came across. A Warlord Prince couldn’t alter himself to please those around him. He understood that better now than he had a over a week ago. While he clamp down upon his rage and hold civil discourse with others, his anger never faded or abetted.

What say you?” he asked, offering her the barest of smiles. He wasn’t comfortable talking like this in front of others, but he would tolerate it for the moment because this was her domain and he was the visitor. Perhaps a neutral ground would benefit them, but Jupiter shelved that thought for now.

45
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 10, 17, 10:15:04 PM »
Jupiter watched her go, her scent burned into his nostrils. Part of him felt like stopping her and granting her his real name for the gift she’d given him today, but he didn’t. She vanished as quickly as she came and the Warlord Prince was left in that room for a time, debating whether or not she was real. He’d held her in his hands, had brushed his lips against her neck and throat. He’d nearly taken her in that pool and yet the feeling of her body against his was already fading.

He dressed and left the Temple Agrippa in the late afternoon, returning to Sabine’s estate to deal with his Queen and her mercurial moods.

The gifts starting arriving about a week later.

Food baskets to share with those in the slums were the start, followed by linen for the temple’s use. Candles followed the following week to replace the ones that were likely used with each and every supplicant who sought communion and connection with the Darkness. Yet Jupiter himself did not return for a pair of weeks.

He spent that time dealing with Sabine.

For every step they took forward, Jupiter felt that they moved two steps back. Decoding her moods was easier, but that did not make her request him more. Jupiter sought to be a constant, stable presence in her world, one that would survive whatever things upset or hurt her in the course of her reign. Most times, however, he couldn’t be sure that her smiles for him were genuine or that she wasn’t playing him the way she played others. The only person she showed her true self to was the First Escort and Jupiter’s temper was stoked further and further to anger.

When he could take it no longer, he sent word to the Temple Agrippa for an audience with the Lady Caelissine. He did not know if she had other supplicants to see and, truth be told, he didn’t care. She’d helped him clear his mind and work through his anger in the past; perhaps she could assist him now. Considering the matter more honestly, Jupiter also recognized that the scent of the Priestess hadn’t fully left his mind, either. When it rained a few days prior, he’d been driven to distraction by memory of her. Even Sabine had noticed enough to remark on it. Jupiter indicated that he liked the scent of rain and left it at that.

He arrived at the Temple the following day at noon, the same time he’d come during their last meeting, and unbuttoned his cuffs. When the acolyte saw him, she smiled and advised him that Lady Caelissine would be along shortly.

46
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 08, 17, 01:19:02 AM »
Jupiter’s jewels were refilled but, more importantly, he thought felt Mother Night speak him through Caelissine.

She spoke to his soul and, for a moment, that superseded even the carnal wants of his body as he stood both holding and being held by the Priestess with the hair of midnight that fanned and pooled in the water behind her. He felt her chest against his own, felt their bodies meld together, and wondered if they were not made to fit this way. He’d not been this close to Sabine in all of his time with her. There was only one woman who’d allowed Jupiter this close and been this close to him in turn. His lips brushed Caelissine’s neck several times as they stood entwined and descending in the Abyss until he reached the Green, his jewel of rank.

She showed him an image of the forests of Faro and he drew in a sharp breath of surprise at how well she remembered them. For it matched his memories of those very same forests.

*I know Faro. My family hails from there.* he offered, clearly not thinking of how he’d declined to grant her his name earlier.

It was over too soon and Jupiter returned to his own mind, holding her close. His body tingled with the residual energy between them and the things that bothered him seemed far away in the here and now. He drew back and looked down at her, his eyes focused upon hers and offering her a smile.

Thank you, Lady Caelissine. For everything.” Jupiter said softly.

She asked if he needed anything else and, despite his urge to say yes, that he did need much more than what they’d just shared...he shook his head. His mind was clear and the anger he constantly felt was under his control and not the other way around. He could return to Sabine and deal with any slings or arrows she threw his way. Jupiter felt better than he did when he arrived at the temple and he leaned down to lay a gentle kiss on her forehead.

Thank you.” he said, rising to follow her from the pool. He would likely need to shower and ready himself to return to the estate, but he had time.

Will you be here again? Perhaps I’ll return and speak with you, if you don’t mind?” Jupiter asked.

47
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 07, 17, 06:52:06 PM »
Jupiter followed her into the water, his senses feeling opened and aware for the first time in a long, long time. He’d been to temples before, and enjoyed connection with the Darkness, but he didn’t recall it feeling like this. He had not met a Priestess in the past who seemed so willing and able to give of herself as Caelissine Agrippina gave to him at this moment. He was aware of the curves of her body, known now to his hands but not to his eyes. He was deeply aware of her hands all over him in turn and while his body reacted to her as expected, his mind remained free enough to concentrate on the mysteries she attempted to impart to him, the descent she attempted to bring him both symbolically into the water and the one in his mind, though his own inner barriers to reach the power that Mother Night had blessed him with.

Jupiter’s muscles were firm beneath her hands, though Caeliessine’s fingers might pick out various scars, many healed, a few not, on his skin. The darker part of his mind wanted to lift Caelissine’s robes and take her in this pool. He felt that, he understood it, and then he set it aside like one of the many weapons he studied long before he used it. His rage was a part of him. Not an extension or a tool that he could use and discard at will.

Jupiter’s rage was a part of him, as much as his hair, or eyes, or smile. He did not use and discard those things, but used them at need and focused upon what they told him. As Caelissine used her Craft to scour away the things holding him back, Jupiter understood something he’d been avoiding.

He reigned himself in to please the people he loved.

He’d worked to be a better man to make up for shaming his father with his over-indulgence.

He strove to be learned and wise to mirror his Uncle Brutus and live up to his example.

He fought to be the man that Anarius was, because he feared that Lilith would never again be the mother she was. It was this that bothered him most, because Jupiter also recognized that he tried to be the son that needed nothing from her, so that she would not also worry about him, the way she worried over Gideon and Keziah.

He worked to be a good male for Sabine, because he held on to some mad hope that her could drag her away from the abyss, from her faults, when everyone around her sought to make her indulge them.

He attempted to be a good brother to his siblings Gideon and Keziah, because Anarius wanted it, even though he and Gideon would never be friends and he and Keziah were not as close as she and Gideon.

Each time he succeeded, he wanted more. But each time he failed, Jupiter stuffed it down, fought to put it behind him without examining the reasons for the failure and doing better.

He was headed for an explosion if he didn’t alter his course.

You are forgiven, of whatever blocks your path. Spiral all the way through, dear one. I am here with you.

Her thumb brushed against his lip, and Jupiter captured the pad with his teeth, a graze, before letting it fall away.

*Take.*

His hands tangled in her hair as he pulled her closer against him. Later, he would wonder if she was honestly trying to provoke him or if perhaps his mind had only drawn the encounter that way.

It is safe.

He pushed her against the wall of the pool, his eyes boring into hers as her heat warred with the ice inside of him. He wanted her, here and now, but Jupiter came here seeking absolution, seeking strength of purpose. She offered him all of that and more as she pushed aside his doubts, his worries, and his self-recrimination for the wrongs he’d done in the past. He still blamed himself for things he had no hand in, like his father’s death, and things he could not have prevented, like his mother’s torment.

She said she’d be there with him as they spiraled.

Then we go together.” he said, releasing the balance of his trust to her care. He buried his face in her neck, inhaling her scent as though nothing else mattered.

48
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 07, 17, 07:16:58 AM »
Jupiter now understood better what Caelissine meant when she asked if he sought a true Priestess upon his arrival.

The sensation of his hands being kneaded, venerated by her touch was new to him. His hands had not been massaged before; he did not let anyone close enough to engage in such things. Rather than break or mar his focus, however, Jupiter used the sensation to augment his concentration and increase his relaxation. Thumb-index-middler-ring, he counted back to himself as she used each during her massage. The shower started as a set of bricks, while thoughts of his mother and siblings were the mortar holding his concentration together. Caelissine’s soft, gentle hands within his own pushed a warmth and strength throughout his body that let him reach for peace.

This was not the Queen’s Touch, the gift that Sabine granted him far too seldom for his liking.

But it was new and different. That was enough.

The energy in the room had shifted from the time of his entry. He’d been in command upon entrance to the temple, seeking service and hoping to find someone skilled to aid him. Though he was still the supplicant now, somehow the Priestess had taken the lead, yet allowed him to direct where they went next. The experience was odd, but not unpleasant. When she spoke again, Jupiter strained to hear her voice though she stood directly before him, so deep in his concentration he had been. His expression was heated, quizzical, as he understood what she offered him. He’d not disguised his scent or been surreptitious in the way his eyes had raked over her body beneath her robe. She knew him as a Warlord Prince as surely as he knew her a Priestess.

And yet she offered him something lee and more dangerous than comfort.

You don’t know what you’re offering…” Jupiter murmured, fighting to keep his focus from falling away into the undertow. He started to ask her if she was certain, if she really understood what she was saying, but the mere act of questioning threatened his focus and his ability to drift further into the strength and the connection he came here today to find.

Jupiter drew Caelissine against him, their robes separating their skin from each other. Something in his mind rebelled at that, his body demanded more in that moment and Caelissine would be fully aware of it. His hands, strong and practiced in the realm of combat, explored her form without comment. The moved slowly down the back of her neck, tracing down her spine, and over the curve of her ass, before resting just beneath. Then they moved upward, along the side of her body before finding her shoulders. Jupiter followed this route several times, yet never touched her face. His thoughts wandered, briefly, but he examined those thoughts and then cast them away like swords ruined by the forging process.

I came here for clarity and I will have it.

She voiced her belief at his need for Communion and Jupiter did not gainsay her. He couldn’t, not without disrespecting her caste and the insight she’d gain through her own experiences. Did he feel an energy between them? Was this a facet of Craft that he was ignorant in? A younger, less contemplative version of himself would have read this matter poorly and attempted to seduce the Priestess, conflating the act of release with connection and losing the meaning of both.

I accept your suggestion.” he said, his voice barely a whisper between them. He had no need to whisper and still he did, because he didn’t want to break the connection between them. Her eyes searched his, pinned his soul in place, and the Warlord Prince wondered what she saw. Did she see the lives he’d ended? Could she sense the thousands of Ruts he’d had, bits and pieces of which he barely recalled today? Could she count the number of sins he’d committed, the number of times he’d disappointed his family on the way to becoming the man before her?

Could she see the flaw within him that turned Sabine away from him, to others, stoking his anger?

He breathed in her scent as they swayed together, her body against his in the temple. He could not let go of his anger fully; he never could. But perhaps today it would be changed into something better, something closer to his true purpose.

I believe you.” he said, and found that he meant it.

49
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 06, 17, 09:29:22 AM »
The change in Caelissine’s tone was not unwelcome and Jupiter was glad for it. The sound of her voice was rich, almost musical, and pleasing to him. He knew that he’d been testy upon entering this Temple as well, for Sabine’s indolence and chafing at his presence hurt him even more than it angered him. He’d been tense and ready for a fight of some kind, any kind, during the entire walk to the temple. Earned or not, his tone with Caelissine was sharper than he’d offer any other Priestess he’d come across. He took a deep breath, released it, and considered how he’d treat Keziah or even Gideon if he’d walked into their temples seeking aid. What would he ask of another Warlord Prince speaking to his brother or sister in the course of their duties?

Show respect and reverence to those who interpret Mother Night’s will.

He nodded in acquiescence and focused on the center of the pool as she directed. For well over a minute, Jupiter’s mind refused to calm, refused to cease its train of though, plagued as it was by the feel of the linen robe, the sound of the water before him, and the presence of the acolytes around them. Each time he tried to calm down, images of Sabine, or a remembrance of her disinterest in him snapped Jupiter’s focus like kindling. His frustration, already close to the surface, increased and the room grew cold.

Try to focus on the most tender moment ever beheld in your life…

Jupiter inhaled and reached back across the centuries to find it.

He found his mother holding Anarius, his younger brother, on the day he was born.

Lilith Cinerus was a hard woman, though she cared for her children. She’d endured more suffering and pain than any ten women he knew, but was not broken by it. Yet she did not escape the horrors of the Occupation unscathed. Along among his siblings, however, Jupiter remembered Lilith from a time before all those horrible things had happened, a time when her smiles were easy to earn with a joke or after reading a particularly difficult passage.

Mother held Anarius in her arms, just days after he was born, for she wanted him close to her at all times. Black Widows were known for many things, but tenderness was not numbered among them at first thought. Jupiter would watch her hold him for hours, whispering various poems to him, and pray to the Darkness that the mother of his children was even half so attentive as his own.

She’d been the same way with Gideon, even after the method of his conception. It was hard for Jupiter to accept the half-Eyrien babe as his brother. But Anarius, like their mother, saw Gideon for the whole of his conception and not merely his resemblance to the monsters that had enslaved them. Despite all of the suffering and indignity heaped upon her by Jadar Denvo, Lilith loved her son with all the fierceness and pride she’d shown for Anarius.

His mind shifted to a recent time, merely twenty years ago, upon the birth of his sister Keziah. Both he and Gideon had come to see the new baby as Lilith held close. Jupiter thought he saw a glimmer of the woman--not the Black Widow, not the survivor--of the woman his mother had been when Anarius was born and it was nearly too much for him. Thankfully, he and Gideon had laid aside their need to compete as they did at everything in else in life that day for Mother’s and Keziah’s sakes.

His anger ebbed, broken on a tide of those memories like the waves of Faro broke upon the reefs. The room grew quiet and Jupiter realized that the acolytes had been dismissed, leaving him with Caelissine. She asked for his hands, saying that this would help in the process of Communion. Jupiter, now possessed of a small peace, offered them to her, work-worn and calloused though they were. The peace would not last; it never lasted.

For this moment, however, Jupiter possessed the patience to accept the safety comfort that Caelissine Augustinius-Agrippina offered to him as a representative of Mother Night.

Thank you, Lady Caelissine.” he said, his own words now less harsh, his mood less severe, and his temper leashed for the time being.

50
Hayll / Re: I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did Grow
« on: Jan 06, 17, 01:35:01 AM »
Very well.” Jupiter said simply, unsure what to ready from the gaze of the Mouthy Priestess. She had to have training as a courtier of some kind. Her smirks were just a little too sardonic and her words were weighed and balanced just a little too well to be a mere Priestess. She explained the use of the bathing chamber and how he was to use it in order to prepare himself. She indicated that she’d made an exception for him this time, and Jupiter raised an eyebrow at her in question.
 
He hoped her skill and service was as good as she seemed to think it was.

Make an appointment. Who does this Priestess think she is? The Queen of Hayll?

How many other men did she assist with Communion to require appointments?

He considered the answer to the question during the entire scrub down in the bathing chamber. How did anyone clear their mind going into this? Jupiter’s mind raced with questions about life, about the future, and those did mortal combat with his tangle of feelings regarding Sabine and his family. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d all sat down for dinner together in the same place. Eventually, he tired of thinking about these things and resolved simply to put them aside until later.

It was some time before he emerged and one of the Acolytes handed him a towel to try himself, followed by the simple linen robe. He slipped it on in silence and took a deep breath.

Let’s see if this Priestess is worth her salt.

He arrived at the altar, sighting Mouthy Priestess, also known as Lady Caelissine, and moved to kneel at the altar beside her. He offered a soft prayer to the Darkness and Mother Night while waiting for her to ready herself.

Had she cleansed herself in preparation for this? Did it matter? He supposed it didn’t, but he spared a glance at her while she prayed and noted the darkness of her hair.

He closed his eyes and waited in silence for her to lead him on the next step.


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