collapse

* Welcome!

* Important Links

* BR Councils

* COTM and TOTM

* COTY and TOTY

Character of the Year


Thread of the Year

* Affliates

Affiliate with Us

Blood Rites RPG

Listed At

RPG-D Nerd Listings

Our Affiliates

   

* Credits

RSS Feed  Facebook  Tumblr    E-Mail

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

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


* Welcome Guests

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


Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Jeremiah Mercer

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 »
1
Dena Nehele / Re: Searching for a precedent
« on: Nov 13, 19, 01:56:41 PM »
With the letter sent, the matter of diplomats being finalized, they had nothing left to do but await the response of the Dragon Queen of Tacea. Much like Sorinna, the Black Widow Warlord Prince had refined his knowledge of Tacea--picking the brain of Xiaowen no Ureshi-sa in particular--and to reaffirm that which he already knew.

It did not ease his concerns but Jeremiah had faith that if something was truly going to go wrong Claudia would have said something (or he might have sensed something but his skill was not nearly as on point as hers). As much as letting people fall flat on their faces might be tempting, the Sapphire-Jeweled Black Widow would not jeopardize Riley's Court like that. If it was Jeremiah on his own ... That was a different story because she knew the best way for him to learn was often the hard way.

The real problem--while awaiting the arrival of Lady Teng's response--was making sure that Riley did not incite the wrath of an Ebon-Gray Hearth Witch. Codrin was growing steadily, cute as he could be, and healthy. Riley was the one with the problem where she could barely let him out of her sight. That they had managed to get her to do so long enough for the arrival and welcome meal of Sora's potential suitor was nothing short of a true blessing from Mother Night.

With the arrival of Prince Hanaki Hisakawa, Jeremiah acknowledged two things. The first was that while Jeremiah never particularly paid attention to such things, it would have taken a blind man to miss the reaction that many have to the beauty that was the Prince. The second was that Mother Night had made her own decision when it came to the pair because Prince Hisakawa belonged to Sora. Knowing that Riley recognized it--especially as she vibrated in her seat--he whispered gently along Rose fo her.

It was later, knowing that she had reached for Aleia again, that he let out a small huff of breath. Whatever she replied, said Jeremiah, she will most certainly make good on. Just because he did not know what was said did not mean he was not aware of its truth. We have spared our Territory the wrath of one Ebon-Gray. Let us not incite one that much closer to home. Despite the potential sting of such a remark, it was meant with love.

Working with Drake to keep Riley on point meant that he was not as aware of the emotions of those around him as he would have liked. It was only as Sebastian took the letter that he was finally able to pinpoint the nervousness of the Prince. Sora looked antsy as well but that was likely more to do with the fact that Prince Hisakawa was hers and she wished to ease his distress.

A snort escaped as Sebastian finished reading, Jeremiah in agreement with his conclusion. "She's not of the Four Clans," said Jeremiah, "and so her phrasing is more different but," the corner of his mouth curved upward in sardonic amusement, "we knew that she would not be happy." With a flick of craft, Jeremiah slid the letter forward to glance at it once more.

Did anyone else realize that the Lady Teng had called Sorinna a she-bear? It was fitting, all things considered.

He smiled at Sora being happy for the Prince's presence--certainly, another Bonded was a boon--but the rest of the letter's contents ... "I've no doubt that they've dealt with Yuina no Ariake." A glance when to the Prince. "Can you tell me how long ago did they do so, Prince Hisakawa?" He waited a moment for that answer, somewhat pleased to hear it as it eased the lack of dull jewels. Their reaction to the revealed treachery was appeasing in of itself.

"We would not only be getting a Queen but a mind healer as well," said Jeremiah, as Sora spoke of accepting. "Both of those things together would be far more beneficial to our territory than the satisfaction of holding the dull jewels of someone who attacked our Court. We hurt for both of those things, after all."

... because we let them bring it up within their own time, Ryllis, replied Jeremiah, cutting a glance towards her. He is already so nervous, I can't imagine this is easy. This time it was him reaching for her hand, fingers brushing along the inside of her wrist. With a thread of Rose open, it was easy to pick up her thought process. That and I believe a blood bond is expected when a male goes into a Court service to a Queen. Especially like this. Which meant that the Prince likely expected it even though he was already bound to Sora.

Don't do it, he added when he thought that Riley was considering reaching for Aleia once again.

"The offer is more than acceptable," said Jeremiah finally. "Though with that particular wording about the Queen ..." Queerly bright blue-green eyes fixed upon Prince Hisakawa. "Do you know which Queen she speaks of, Prince Hisakawa?" As the Black Widow Warlord Prince had a suspicion, a bit of instinct and intuition saying that while this was in their favor there was a purpose it served to Lady Teng as well.

2
Dena Nehele / Re: first of a thousand questions
« on: Nov 13, 19, 11:14:55 AM »
Within the Black Widow Warlord Prince were a great many truths. Many of them were not his to share but they were within him all the same. There were many reasons why his mind was strong, why his inner barriers could hold against the darkest, and that was one of them. Jeremiah had become particularly adept at learning secrets and then letting them slip away until they were necessary.

If ever.

"I can help too," said Jeremiah with a smile, his countenance softening from the predatory other thing he had become within the space. "Turn nightmare to dream, ease the horrors that the mind can visit upon an individual. Help them through what plagues them, a guide to help them through that which could undo them." In that moment it was clear that--at his core--the Black Widow Warlord Prince was someone who was driven to be a mind healer to help others.

The peaceful image that had appeared in the mirror shifted once more. This time, when it changed, what Maseo saw was not quite the same as what Jeremiah saw. What he saw was this: as he looked at Maseo, already bloodied and ready for more, the Warlord's form shifted. He was a crane, ready to not just take flight but to sweep his foes off their feet with his great wings. In the fog something lurked, just out of sight. He saw the paws of a great cat, watched as Maseo turned at the sound and--

Jeremiah's fingers turned to claws, dragging across the surface of the mirror. The fog within the mirror began to billow outward from the slashes he made. Before it could truly begin to consume the room, there was a pulse of Rose as the Black Widow Warlord Prince was pulling it towards him. Within his hand the fog continued to swirl, turning into a perfect sphere.

"You always will," said Jeremiah, as if he was not holding a nightmare (of sorts) within his hand, "as there is always more to learn even once the Caste takes and your fang comes." The mirror was dull now, not a single image upon it's darkened surface anymore. Jeremiah's fingers flexed, the sphere of fog shrinking and shrinking even as it pressed against its invisible container.

"Sometimes nightmares must be but the time for this one has not come yet." Then he closed his fingers, wisps of fog escaping between them before it was gone entirely.

3
Dena Nehele / Re: Small Stirrings
« on: Nov 13, 19, 11:14:03 AM »
Not so long ago, not even a year ago, Jeremiah would have had to be mindful of his shoulders--especially in the cold weather--and the muscles that were part of his upper back. It was not something he was so concerned with, not anymore since he had been healed, but as he sat the Black Widow Warlord Prince shifted them. It was not a shrug but a movement born of years gone by; a habit to try and ease the ache in them that no longer existed.

"Bidea is lovely during the fall," replied Jeremiah, "and even more so as Winsol approaches." A smile was given, even as amusement danced in those queerly bright eyes of his. The reason why he was amused was not forthcoming. "So you picked a fine time to return, Prince Forsyth, a quiet one even." Something that was rare but it had been such quiet the announcement of Riley's pregnancy (though the babe--her son, Codrin--was getting closer and closer to crawling with every passing day).

"The singer's new but the spirits--of the bottled variety, of course--have always been particularly tantalizing." He didn't speak thanks as the server delivered the bottle and glasses he had requested but he did say it with the tilt of his head in acknowledgment.

An eyebrow rose at the sight of cards, Jeremiah letting out a soft huff of breath. It was a near laugh, that ever-present amusement strengthening. "It's to your benefit that I'm returning from business." A pause as he considered the question about cards. "I do, actually." There was a regular game at the Territory Court. "I suppose a friendly card game is alright." Jeremiah leaned forward, resting his chin on the upturned palm of his hand. For all that his posture might have spoken of a great, lazy wildcat, his eyes were sharply fixed and studying the Prince as if he were a particularly interesting sort of prey. "Playing for coin is boring, however, as there are better things to play for. More interesting things.."

Like how it provided him time to discern what it was that had drawn his attention. Jeremiah tapped the finger of his left hand--his dominant hand--against his glass. The Black Widow Warlord Prince smiled, the hint of too sharp canines visible with that wide troublesome grin. "Mm, I suppose things worked out in your favor if you wanted to meet with me."

4
Dena Nehele / Re: A historically parallel case
« on: Nov 06, 19, 11:48:33 PM »
As much as Jeremiah wanted to respond to Sebastian, Jeremiah just shook his head and did not. Even the don't be coy, Mercer, you're not my type bit. Or how he had never actually said that one Conservatory class would be sufficient. No, the entire point was that with one class under their belt the Conservatory would be in a better position to solicit response (and potential assistance) from other territories within the Realm.

The one thing he did respond to was the matter of the ambassadors--really, trust Sebastian to make a dig about keeping up--as they would be exemplary. Which he said as much.

Jeremiah's attention turned back to the letter, carefully laying it down as he called to hand a fresh piece of parchment to craft the response.

To Lady Xiong Teng, Queen of Tacea,

My most understanding sister,
Though your letter was unexpected, your words have both given hope and reassured us of the future shared between our two Territories. In turn, we wish to instill the same within you and your Court.

We accept the invitation to send an ambassadorial mission to Ito. Once the arrangements are made they will travel forthwith to Tacea as our representatives and help to foster the growing relationship.

The previous Ariake Clan Queen almost saw Dena Nehele brought once more to its knees. To know that she has been dealt with, this individual that worked to sour the relationship for terrible gains, is reassuring but not enough. So the Price we ask is this: the burnt-out Jewels of Yuina no Ariake. This will grant not only peace of mind but assure those among the Territory Court that justice has been done and carried out swiftly.

This also brings us to what is a humble request for assistance. The mind of the Healer, the very one the Ariake sought to control, has been damaged greatly. Within Dena Nehele there are too few skilled in Mind Healing, fewer still that the Healer trusts, and so we hope that you might offer us guidance. If there is one you trust, one that is skilled in such things, and they are willing to travel to our Territory then they would find themselves welcomed within our Court.

There is one matter that might not be so easily discussed: that of the offer of a betrothed for Lady Sorinna Roman. Let us be clear: while we cannot say yes, this is not a no either. While such things do happen, we cannot simply agree and give her hand. Instead what we offer is this: send this brother of a trusted ally to our Territory Court. He will be given a place within the Circles of the Territory Court and a place within Lady Roman's First Circle when she comes to rule her own Court. Let him and our heir-in-fact find the shape of their future together; their relationship the guide in which we will follow.

With the belief that we are taking the first steps towards peace between our Territories,
your kindly sister,

He set his pen down, tapping it against the low table before the letter was passed over to Sora for her to look over. At certain points he was certain that they had been of the same mind--the burnt-out Jewels especially--but it still required her to look it over. It would pass to Riley as well but Jeremiah would likely hold it for her to read (as her hands were still very full with Codrin).

All that remained was for confirmation and then a signature and the response could be sent off.

5
Dena Nehele / Re: Small Stirrings
« on: Nov 04, 19, 11:00:12 PM »
The singer covered it well, the twitch of uncomfortableness that his presence brought. There was nothing that could be done even if he was the most well-behaved Black Widow Warlord Prince about (and he was in most cases, even when there were others in the territory). Still, it looked as if the Prince--who was, he noted, likely unaware of his identity if by how he looked him over was anything to go by--was the spark that had flickered.

But why? Something was familiar.
 
Flagging down the owner again, requesting a bottle of what was being drunk by the man be delivered, Jeremiah inclined his head before downing the last of his drink. From there he was moving through the crowd, his path towards the Prince deliberate and obvious.

Part of him wanted to comment, to make a note of his bravery to openly study him. Too many would not so obviously do such a thing. If for whatever reason he was making note of things discerned with a Prince's eye towards spotting weakness he would discover that the Black Widow Warlord Prince was lacking in any sort of old injury; a clean slate.

Coupled with the silver hair and age (that did not match previously mentioned hair), it made him stand out. Once Jeremiah was closer himself, however, it was with queerly bright--not quite right--blue-green eyes that fixed upon the Prince. "Not many would invite an unknown to their table," said Jeremiah, the oddness of his scent, the touch of the Twisted Kingdom, more easily noticed closer, "let alone the likes of me." It was not an exact truth but the Black Widow Warlord Prince swept into a greeting, perfect to both Protocol and Etiquette (and even that spoke to the fact that he was a man of some renown).

"Prince Jeremiah Mercer." While he did not say it, did not make mention of being both Queen's Shadow and Steward, it was whispered by someone nearby.

"What'cha think the Steward's doing here? Slumming it?" came the voice of a Warlord not so far away. Jeremiah obviously heard it but the glint in his eyes said he was more amused than anything else.

6
"I don't care," said Jeremiah, blinking and twisted his head around to look at Claudia. There was a roll of his eyes. "I am annoyed," even that put it lightly, "that so many of the very youths within these halls think that we are hindering them, keeping them against their will, or that somehow providing them with room, board, and the best education is some sort of insidious punishment."

A sigh escaped when she spoke again--the barb of it may have been a mistake to train you hurt more than he wished to think about no matter how it was said--and truly had nothing to respond. Still, it was deserved for doing anything more than just telling Aleksander nonsensical stories, letting him follow, or distracting him from following something deeper within the Twisted Kingdom. To whisper how he kept the nightmares--the ones that plagued his dreams--at bay was dangerous.

Even if it was better than the paths where Lisichya tried things on his own, pushed at things that would only speed along a dark fate. He already exhibited the uncanny insight, had moments where he simply knew the path to be followed, and could pull information that no one was meant to have to hand. The Twisted Kingdom did so much more than just cling to the Healer.

Jeremiah said nothing, only hummed an agreement out. What's done is done. Claudia could send word and he would reach out to his mentor as well. Not speaking of his concerns, not approaching her once again with them regardless of previous instances showed his inexperience. It was something he truly needed to move beyond. He was quiet, his teacup emptied and set down.

Ultimately, all that mattered was that Lisichya's Chalice was repaired. That they moved towards a future where the other was not caught between; where he could know his mind without concern that he would become lost. Jeremiah cared too much--loved too much--for anything else, anything less, to be acceptable.

"I know," he murmured, thoughts turned inward. His training had come for similar reasons: not just to protect himself but because the touch of the Twisted Kingdom would never leave. It would have slowly consumed him, eaten his dreams, and--

"There's a thought," said Jeremiah. "How bereft we all would be if you were not exactly as you are.” His head fell back against the couch once more, watching her face with a half-smile. “Whatever would I do without that sharp tongue to keep me in line?" Oh, there were things that he wished had not happened to Claudia--the same could be said of himself--but then they would not be here and that seemed almost absurd to think about.

7
"There will be no convincing her of anything," said Jeremiah, knowing it for the truth it was. "It will be an edict decreed, one-handed to her that she will have to accept. We hold her back, we deny her, and this will be a continuation of it." That was how Asimov saw it, in any case despite they were merely trying to ensure she would be safe. The words felt hollow though he could not say why. Just like he stared at his tea, the taste off on his tongue. Would it truly be a dash of safframate and finish it?

The Black Widow Warlord Prince looked up sharply at the mention of excitement within the wing. His brow furrowed, Jeremiah trying to catch what it was Claudia was getting at. It eluded him, would likely continue to do so even when he went looking. His aptitude was nothing compared to hers and yet it made him want to stick his tongue out childishly all the same.

Jeremiah went still at the mention of Aleksander. Alexei. Lisichya. He was quiet, so quiet that someone else might have thought he had let himself drift to a Widow's walk and was not truly with Claudia anymore. It also wasn't entirely untrue either. There were paths within his mind, ones that he had followed time and time again because they--

Finally, after a great shuddering breath was exhaled and his thoughts pulled away from the Healer that was asleep not so far away, he spoke. "I do not know how to approach the subject with Arkadie." Pause. "Or Lady Luceau." Who barely tolerated him as it was. "But you are right." It did not need to be said--as she was well aware--but he said it all the same.

"I used to be afraid of it," his voice was soft, "because it was a darker path but ..." Jeremiah's head leaned against the curve of Claudia's knee. "We keep trying to push against it and all I can see is that helping him is further and further out of our grasp." He let his eyes close, fingers curled around the warmth of his teacup. "Sometimes it is easier for him to follow me than trying to pull him back. Better to talk to him of what I am doing than simply sending the nightmares away when he'll just find them again. He understands so much and yet has not had a single proper lesson."

A sigh escaped. "So there is no explanation but if you are bringing it up then it is past time that we reconsider and adjust." Surely Arkadie had similar thoughts? She was often steps ahead of him but she could also be more stubborn than him (which was a feat, to be sure). The longer they took the more likely they would find one of the terrible paths, the trails that Jeremiah did not even want to think about. "Even if we were to heal him, the touch of the Twisted Kingdom would never truly leave."

8
Dena Nehele / Re: the answers to the questions you never heard
« on: Oct 29, 19, 10:52:56 PM »
It was fortunate for the Yellow-Jeweled not-a-witch that antagonizing him where his Queen was concerned was something that took truly horrifying things to say. If Jeremiah had been the sort to fly off the handle every time someone insulted his Queen there would have been fewer of the Aristocracy within Dena Nehele.

Where she was delighted that she had managed to steal something, the Black Widow Warlord Prince found delight in her reaction at realizing his presence. She was both brave, Jeremiah noted, and horribly foolish. (Honestly, she reminded him of himself in that sense of self-preservation is busted sort of way.) He said nothing, did not even move and only watched as she backed up only to realize all avenues to escape were gone to her.

"Wrong wording," said Jeremiah. "You stole it fair and square. Had you found it things would be going differently, would they not?” A finger wagged back and forth. “Whether or not I need it is immaterial to the issue at hand." Besides: he had something more interesting in her comment about Askavi being dead to her. So the cloak that he saw about her, the that glinted darkly and with sadness, were the wings she had once had and likely lost.

Jeremiah raised an eyebrow at the snarl, the sound familiar from so many years of serving Riley. She had often made a similar noise whenever he had done something to thwart whatever trouble she was getting herself into (when he had not been enabling it).

"You are," he agreed, "but we both know that won't stop you from trying to find another path." Was it being stubborn? Or was it tenacious? It truly depended on the point of few though everyone would likely say that she was being very, very foolish. He did not respond when she spoke of the pocket square matching her hair. There was no point (even though she was correct). A hand was held out, craft keeping it carefully floating above his hand. That it remained in good shape spoke to the fact that she had protected it (though if it had been sullied, Jeremiah would have been able to clean it with ease; he was particular about cloth that could hold craft within it so that such was possible).

"Perhaps," spoke Jeremiah, "next you ask if you want something that matches your hair." His head tilted, bright blue-green eyes studying her sharply. Another person might have found themselves tripping over her words but such things only left him blinking owlishly at her. Poetry was fitting for all manner of things.

"That isn't the truth I seek," he said, "but we can trade all the same." The Black Widow Warlord Prince swept into a bow, one that was rather telling given the truth of her caste but never once took his eyes off of her. "Prince Jeremiah Mercer, Queen's Shadow and Steward of Dena Nehele." His eyes glinted as they stayed fixed upon her. "Though to be clear my position isn't why I am a terrible mark but I do believe you are even if you might argue otherwise."

Then he held his hand out, something of hers resting upon it from their initial interaction when she had taken from him.

9
Dena Nehele / Re: So Take Up Your Pencil Here
« on: Oct 29, 19, 10:48:19 PM »
"Ah, yes," said Jeremiah, "my scandalous years." The Black Widow Warlord Prince was very clearly amused. "Well, more scandalous because I--much like Riley--was not a fan of clothing." They had ruined so many articles of clothing that both of their mothers had nearly had their wardrobe spelled to not be removable unless their hands (and craft) were involved so nothing else would be destroyed. Not that it would have stopped either of them. Riley and himself had been particularly creative when it came to losing things.

"Riley isn't all that different now," he said with a smile. "Though now there's more than just me involved in making sure she's dressed as befitting the Queen of Dena Nehele." Even if she was not currently ruling, still enjoying those first few months of being a mother without the Court being her life.

Whatever else there was to say was lost when Roxanne took his hand. It was not out of the ordinary, old friend that she was. It was that she knew Sweetbriar, knew it for what it had been in their youth and knew that the pain still existed in his heart. "I do," said Jeremiah, the expression on his face both wistful and bittersweet. "Mother wasn't bothered at all, she thought you looked darling." That had been exactly how Meredith phrased and Jeremiah even managed to say it with the same inflection his mother had. His hand turned over, catching hers and squeezing lightly in thanks before he let it go.

"Clearly, I've no idea what you're talking about." The aforementioned recipes. "I would never dream of causing strife between you and Lavinia." Which was truthful as Jeremiah wasn't as much of a shitkicker anymore unless he was in a particular mood. (Following the path that had stretched out before him, that of a Black Widow, had only ensured that it was more often he got into that particular mood. Thankfully Roxanne was safe. For now.)

Taking a drink of his tea--he only ever added a dash of cream--he waited for the Hearth Witch to work through to what she truly wished to discuss with him. Roxanne was treated to a raised eyebrow, the expression painfully familiar to her, at her question.

"Guild," supplied Jeremiah as his status as a Mourning Dove was something unknown in so many ways. It also did not matter that he was essentially on an extended special contract due to his position within the Court.

"Though ..." This time when Jeremiah looked at Roxanne it was with a different look in his eyes, one that spoke to his nature as a Black Widow. "I do not think you are looking for assistance from the Jacks."

10
Within another place--rather, not around Claudia--Jeremiah would have taken a proper seat. What happened was this: the Black Widow Warlord Prince, once let in, moved towards the couch and settled himself onto the floor between it and the table. A huff of breath escaped as Claudia spoke, Jeremiah leaning his head back to look at her briefly before he turned his attention to the tea that was waiting for him.

"I'd thought there recently was someone ..." His nose wrinkled up. "Dipping their toes in." Or at least that had been how it felt in the dreaming to him until he had picked up on Asimov's freefall. It was as he was stirring in his dash of cream that he spoke again. "She would've Broken herself with what she tried, devoured by her own need to know the truth."

So many months ago and Jeremiah might have been annoyed that Claudia was not at all surprised. Now it simply was a fact of life that the Sapphire-Jeweled Black Widow was aware. His head rested on the table, staring at the steaming cup of tea as she spoke onward. "She will fight us every inch of the way," said Jeremiah, as they spoke of Asimov's Virgin Night, "unless we are able to find someone that will suit her." Even with her Green, it did not necessarily need to be someone Darker, though it was preferred, but someone that was experienced, could guide her, and was trusted.

Savi perhaps?

The mere thought of the damage control that would need to happen if Asimov did not descend beyond the Sapphire was daunting for the early (late) hour. Jeremiah let out a hum of agreement about Stela. "Lady Petrescu will be seeking hers soon enough." That was something he knew for a fact, even without the uncanny insight of a Black Widow. That there were going to be fewer Wards, given all the commotion related to some, was almost a blessing.

"Certainly this wing will find a measure of quiet." Even if something in him felt disquieted.

11
Dena Nehele / Re: Mother is the Name
« on: Oct 27, 19, 10:55:32 AM »
An orderly mind was both easier and more difficult to navigate. There were boxes, locked and tucked away, that were full of monsters. Jeremiah heard the whispers even as he felt Nick's hand tighten around his. He squeezed back, the gentle warmth of his Rose a beacon; suffused with his feelings, the care and affection he felt for the young Warlord Prince, it was meant to be a balm to ease his spirit.

It only grew when he knew--allowed inward as he was--that Nick had almost called for a retreat. The strength in that, to face the darkness within that existed, was no small feat and Jeremiah acknowledged it as was its due. To face the darkness within, to greet it, is a great strength. Those words, the presence of his Rose, was all he could offer as Nick gathered himself.

What proved to be more challenging was solidifying the landscape that they were in. Had he been properly prepared--if this was not simply a spur of the moment; a flaw of his if there ever was one--then Jeremiah would have pulled Nick into the dreaming. Eased him into a sleep and touched upon his sleeping mind to help him grasp what they were after.

Jeremiah was able to work regardless. The whispers were brushed away, the warmth of the sun chasing the coldness and the horrors that were not what they sought. Even when the horrifying realization that Nick had had no sanctuary but his mind, the Black Widow Warlord Prince grasped his hand tighter and layered yet another touch of his Rose around him.

Not here, not now, and never again. Those memories, if Nick had truly wished it, Jeremiah would have seen locked away entirely. To do that, however, would be to lock away what was a part of who he was. They were shaped by their pasts, the horrors they faced, and stronger for how they had survived. It was a fact of life.

Yet Jeremiah grasped upon that first memory of Nick's mother; the very thing a child should not have seen. There was no time for him to find anger that childhood was ripped away, that Julian had taken it all from him in one fell swoop. Let me, Nick, spoke Jeremiah. Do not let it be twisted. He cannot have everything when he has already taken so much. Jeremiah faded away as Nick moved his mind away from it. The Black Widow Warlord Prince was working, rewinding and resetting things back. The memory was caught, the mental landscape wavering around them as, with the sweet smell of sweetbrier in the air everything, was blown by a swift wind.

The world shifted and shimmered, Rose craft swirling until all that remained was her face before they had been interrupted. Jeremiah had to work quickly, catching Nick so that he let him work, as he reached forward with immaterial hands. He cradled her cheek with one hand--clasping the feel of her cheek as it rested against the top of Nick's head--and held to it as he reached out further. Spectral fingers brushed against Nick's father, the book he was holding--and it was there, the warmth of his voice as he read to both Nick and his mother--and grasped it tightly. The memories glinted, bright and alive, of their being together as a family.

It was tucked away as the Black Widow Warlord Prince finally turned from it, having captured what he wanted, and followed the path that led him to Nick and another memory of his mother. Jeremiah was distantly aware of the cold, the rage and anger more palpable to him as he was now. He moved about the memory unseen, letting Nick process, and touched upon the ice that pushed at the edges. Once again there was the pleasant warmth of the sun, summers in the fields of Tulzbruja chasing after fireflies, to help ease away the cold. It has no place here, said Jeremiah, a flicker of him visible as he hovered at the edges. Let the future go for now. Nick worried, did not want to burden, but here--in this space--Jeremiah could ease what he was able.

Then he was next to Nick, head tilting and studying him before he--of all things--flicked his forehead. It happened all at once, the Warlord Prince finding himself falling backward.

He never fell.

Instead, he was in his mother's arms, being held by her as she sang to him sweetly. He was a boy again and he had his mother and he knew without a doubt that when she looked at him--when he saw the eyes that were a mirror of his own--he was loved.

Jeremiah hummed as he worked this time, the same tune that Maria Faa sang to her son. It was easier to take hold, to cement this memory in place, with Nick wrapped in his mother's arms. So when he was done--when he was certain that it would never be forgotten; that he had learned its shape to hold just in case--he reached for Nick's small hand and pulled out the Warlord Prince that he had become.

No ice existed at the edges, no darkness encroached. It was simply them, at this moment, as Maria Faa whispered silly things to her son that made him giggle.

Hold to this, said Jeremiah, and never let it go again.

12
Dena Nehele / Re: Small Stirrings
« on: Oct 27, 19, 10:54:22 AM »
Sometimes the world tilted sideways. No, that was incorrect. It did not tilt at all. What happened was that when he looked he saw it one way and when he blinked he saw it another. In those moments he often found himself distracted by the paths that alternate paths, the ones that flickered at the corner of his eyes.

It was an easy way to lose himself, the siren call of the Twisted Kingdom so sweet. Today, of course, was one of those days where he had returned from Silca, having met with Arkadie for lessons (and would continue to do so because while he was moving beyond being a Journeymaid there was still so much to understand so that he could grow as a Mind Healer).

Jeremiah had let go of his favored Rose wind further from the Territory Court than usual, finding that something had sparked and caught his attention. It was more than one of those flickers--a bright flare that was gone as soon as it appeared--and it whispered of ...

Hm.

That was the question, wasn't it? What was it whispering? Or was it singing? It was no matter, Jeremiah adjusted straightened his sleeves and headed inside the tavern. The sweet voice of a singer was heard and that, he knew, wasn't it either. He did, however, know the owner--an old contact, someone he had helped once upon a time--who was behind the bar and waved at him.

"Prince Mercer," greeted the man, falling into the familiar patterns of Protocol and Etiquette; he bowed deeply even with his Purple Dusk, "and here I thought we'd never see you here again with how busy the Territory Court keeps you!"

A soft chuckle escaped wry amusement in bright blue-green eyes. "Perhaps it was your wife's cooking that brought me back, Lord Aldea. I might get her to share her recipe yet."

"Good luck with that, Prince! Have a seat! First drink is on me." Despite the mixture of Castes--Black Widow and Warlord Prince--there was no discomfort from the tavern owner. It was nice, Jeremiah realized, to know that some things did not change (and even if there were others who were ill at ease).

So the question what was it within that had? There was a gathering of Jacks, a couple out to enjoy the evening in this tucked-away gem of a place, and a--

Hm. Well. Perhaps it was the Prince? He'd wait for his drink and then he would see.

13
Dena Nehele / Re: A historically parallel case
« on: Oct 26, 19, 12:30:41 AM »
Jeremiah did not let out an aggrieved sigh, though he wanted to. It wasn't as if Sebastian's words were a surprise, they were quite well thought out and he could agree with several of the points. The issue was that he--

Well.

Mostly the issue was that Sebastian came straight at him and--when were they going to sort their shit. Jeremiah could already hear Arkadie in his head about it, resisting the urge to pinch his nose or give some other tell. It was not that she was wrong but that there were only so many hours in the day and getting his schedule to line up with the limited schedule of Sebastian's while not impossible was not easily said or done.

So he bit his tongue and did not bite out that it was a mixture of his ability and knowledge to gauge situations and Black Widow instinct. It wasn't as if Sebastian had been comfortable with the fact that he had pursued the path that had been laid out before him as a Black Widow. Bringing up either of those points would go over incredibly poorly.

Thus Jeremiah just looked at Sebastian and said nothing as to where he pulled his knowledge from and let him work through every little bit that he had to say. There was no point in cutting him off, after all: this was part of Sebastian taking better care of himself. No bottling up, no holding it back, and--quite frankly--it was what needed to be said.

"You are right, Prince Bane, that we cannot know but I as I'm sure you've realized: I'm not advising we do not take safety precautions or make other arrangements." He had, after all, brought up the position within the Territory Court and Sora's future Court to ease the burn of the potential denial of a marriage suit.

"I also want to trust this new Dragon Mother--and while this opinion will not go over well--I have faith in Lady Natsuhana that she would not support the removal of the Ariake from the Conservatory." A breath was released. "Where I do not have knowledge of the Lady Teng, I do of Lady Natsuhana." If not his word on the matter, then they could speak with Arkadie who also would have opinions of the Ebon-Gray Healer Queen. If Yuki was returning to become the Queen of the Ariake then her weight, her opinion, was one that would hold considerable sway. "We can also come up with contingencies--though someone else will be the one speaking to Lady Grigorie. My nose in the Conservatory, beyond that of Healer Moon and the well-being of some the Healer Escorts," the ones that were Jacks that had been sent his direction, "is not taken particularly well. We have other allies and it honestly makes sense to diversify beyond just the Inaba School," the Ariake Clan's school, "when it comes to healing." To be so reliant on another was never wise. What he said next, however, was probably not a surprise for some in the room.

Or maybe it was. Two years ago and Jeremiah would have likely not suggested something like this. He was still idealistic, yes, but it had its place and being realistic had to come first.

"While ambassadors are all well and good they will only see so much. In the ideal situation we do not send just ambassadors. We have the resources available to make this so." Jeremiah leaned forward, fingers pressed together on the table. He wanted to call to hand widow's thread, to follow the spark of a path within his mind, but that would only upend things further. "I believe that it'd be in our best interest to either find a trusted member of our Court or make use of a Shaos contract to give us another view of the political climate of Tacea. A more complete picture that we are lacking." His eyes had closed briefly, chasing that path that had sparked to life before he spoke again.

"As for Healer Moon and the concerns therein ..." This was a sore subject and Jeremiah knew that he was both biased and compromised in so many ways. "Lady Graveworthy has been speaking of putting together a group, more Mind Healers beyond just us, to work with him. With that in mind, I believe it's advisable to also reach out to Lady Teng and request assistance in finding a Tacean Black Widow that specializes in Mind Healing. That way if there is a concern of theirs, they will be able to see that all that can be done is being done." The process of healing the mind of a Black whose Chalice had been turned to almost dust was a long one.

It was still bad enough that some days Jeremiah had to be careful himself or face the possibility that Lisichya's wandering could pull him. (Though that would always be a concern, a hand absently raising to press to the tattoo on his arm. If he focused, he could feel the sensation of the water flowing, the slick feel of scales, and the scent of-)

"I think that on top of the other solutions discussed, should provide us with more security in our future dealings with Tacea, the Dragon Mother and her Court. As we must be in the best position possible in a worst-case scenario." Here, Jeremiah finally looked to the others in the room. To Sora, to Riley as she cooed at Codrin, and Drake before he turned his gaze back to Sebastian.

14
Dena Nehele / Re: you're not a person, you're a disease
« on: Oct 25, 19, 07:16:52 AM »
Jeremiah watched, proud not only of Sora but also Stela for this day. While he had helped, it would not have gone anywhere was it not for her connection to Lord Cosovei. Without him, without his finally making the right decision, they would have taken much longer to see this rot cut from their Territory Court.

Still, Jeremiah knew that there was more to it than this. It was there, at the corner of his awareness. A knowledge that while this day they ended this group, there was another still in play. Jeremiah had no concrete proof, not yet, but there was still time to find it.

If there was ever a moment to be a proud father it was in the way that Sora commanded the absolute silence of those present. Even if the temperature in the room had dropped several degrees as others joined him in the cold that grew. The insults were unacceptable but they would be dead soon enough.

It was when Lord Serban moved forward that Jeremiah reached out for him. With a suggestion, one of careful consideration for someone he had seen in the company of Prince Randa on more than one occasion, he watched as Prince Keyes moved forward to carry out the Queen's Price.

The sniveling, quiet gasps of Prince Moresanu were not his focus. No, he was focused upon Prince Randa. The Blood Opal Warlord Prince seethed, channeling that to conquer the fear that he could not hide.

A path flickered to life in the twitch of Prince Randa's hand.

"You spineless--" growled the Blood Opal Warlord Prince, charging forward towards Wadim Cosovei only to find himself thrown to the ground as Jeremiah surged forward. It was a quick tumble, the Black Widow Warlord Prince coming out on top with his right hand grasping the Warlord Prince's throat. Any other words turned to a choked gasp as he realized the snake tooth that was just there.

"I told you," said Jeremiah, "to think more carefully and choose your words wisely." His grip tightened. "You did not listen."

Jeremiah watched the way Prince Randa's throat tightened, the Warlord Prince weighing the odds. They were not in his favor. They had not been from the very moment he had made his decision to destroy the lives of so many. Worse: to corrupt others.

"You were Wadim once," continued Jeremiah, "I know you were. Young, impressionable, and caught by those who you thought were better. Changed and tainted. You could have spoken against them and you didn't." A hand came up, closing around his wrist and Jeremiah put the full force of his weight upon the Warlord Prince.

"Be still," he growled, just as he realized that Prince Randa was mouthing something. One syllable, no it was two--

And then the Warlord Prince began to convulse, truly choking as his eyes rolled back into his head. Blood ran from his nose as one last choked gasp came before he went still. Just as Jeremiah had growled out he should.

His Jewels glittered dully and Jeremiah let go, even as he took note of a lapel pin. Something flickered, not quite right. It pulled at his senses in a way he found nauseating. (Later he would vanish it, take it and see what it was but not now.) For now, Jeremiah let go, standing and looking to Charles Keyes who was watching him along with the others of the Court. There was nothing to be said, the Price had been carried out against Prince Randa but by who? (And the perception, what it looked like--well, Jeremiah would not go against it for now.) He looked to Lord Cosovei for a moment, studying him with a slight incline of his head, as he straightened his sleeves. "Are you alright, Lord Cosovei?" It was the best he would offer to one who was only slightly better than the others, to verify he was alright in light of the near attack. The moment passed and he turned his attention to Mikhael, a proper bow of his head, and shared look that he wondered if Lord Serban understood.

Prince Keyes had one less to see ended that day.

And Jeremiah knew that someone else was still in play.

15
Dena Nehele / Re: A historically parallel case
« on: Oct 25, 19, 07:00:44 AM »
Jeremiah was making notes--something that he had ensured he picked up so that when Sebastian returned he could not--and looked up when he heard the mention of his name. There was a nod of acknowledgment (it was Drake speaking) before he turned his attention back to writing.

He paused, giving Sora a smile. "Of course, Sora. I can prepare a response. While we are going over it we can also discuss the ambassadors." It would be the Viktorovs, it would have to be. Jeremiah could think of no other that would fit the bill. The Black Widow Warlord Prince grew quiet as Sebastian spoke up. It was the mention of Lisichya that made him pause, made his chest tighten.

Of all the people in the room, Jeremiah had been the one who had only felt the touch of the Decimation through others. His mother had been long dead before she had been dropped at the party hosted by Vitali Atreides and-- A breath was let out, the guilt placed aside. The only thing he could do was to strive to ensure that the concern about Lisichya stayed exactly that: just a concern. Eventually, in time, it would fade but everything was still fresh over a year later.

"We cannot," agreed Jeremiah, to both things that Sebastian said, "but I also do not believe that the Conservatory is in jeopardy. Not when the Dragon Mother has extended the olive branch that she has. Unless we make a misstep, we do not handle this appropriately, then the Conservatory shall continue onward. Besides: we will be seeing the first of the Healer Escorts soon and the Healers by next fall." The Healer Escorts were an important part, ensuring that their Healers would be protected when the time came.

Making another note, the Black Widow Warlord Prince continued. "He is right, however, that the suitor is not being sent as an ambassador. Though there is a chance that he's educated--if he was a geisha or part of a Clan, it's possible. As it stands, I believe the offer made is because Healer Ariake is already part of our Court." Which generated a great deal of disquiet in him that he pushed aside. Those back in Tacea did not understand, did not know, and still thought of Yua no Ariake instead of Aleksander Moon. There was a brief thought about perhaps requesting a female suitor as well--knowing Sora favored both equally--but it would be seen as greedy in light of his spoken words.

Jeremiah would also not discount the education of the male until they met the would-be suitor. "As for doing more," said Jeremiah, as he turned to look towards Sora, thinking of the potential insult and how to side-step it neatly. "We should offer a position within one of the Circles of the Territory Court. It would also include an offer that he will be granted a position within your First Circle when the time comes for you to rule your own Court, Sora. If we move forward with that, I believe they will understand our desires mirror theirs."

16
Dena Nehele / Re: you're not a person, you're a disease
« on: Oct 24, 19, 12:17:34 AM »
The cold of Jeremiah's mood had lessened but it still was there in the gleam of his bright blue-green eyes. Part of him had not wanted Sora to speak with Wadim Cosovei--to hear the true depth of the depravity--but if she was to be a ruler, if she was to have her own Court someday, then that was how it had to be.

He advised her on patience even when he was itching to do much the same. It was easier to plot and plan, to make the arrangements that were necessary than let himself grow cold once more.

Come the morning, it looked to be business as usual. Jeremiah did not wear the closed-off expression that would have been a tell. Only the glint in his eyes gave him away but then the supposed witchbreakers weren't focused upon him. Even now it was likely that they were taking note, trying to determine if there was another they could--

Jeremiah let out a breath. Each one came forward as called, thinking that they have done something worthy of praise when it was far from the case. Shields had already gone into place--Nick, Savi, Marius, layer upon layer that would ensure they could not escape--and they were trapped.

The Black Widow Warlord Prince moved to stand beside Sora, knowing that Mikhael had already made arrangements to have additional guards in place.

Oh, don't you know, said Jeremiah as his expression slipped to something far more dangerous as his gaze flicked to Drake, that's the one I want. Which was one way to say that he was already on it. The Black Widow Warlord Prince already had an extra agenda where the Blood Opal Warlord Prince was concerned. The others in his cadre were all but useless but the supposed leader?

That one was a different story.

"Those words," said Jeremiah, voice cool despite the look in his eyes, "do nothing to sway the decision. I advise, Prince Randa, that you think more carefully and choose your words wisely." Not that there would be any changing it but watching them squirm, watching the way Prince Randa's gaze turned to him, was it's own reward.

17
Dena Nehele / Re: they tell you it's all in your mind
« on: Oct 23, 19, 01:18:50 AM »
Seeing Shadya with Sora was a good thing, though it was most certainly because he knew that the Rose-Jeweled Queen was seeking out her services for Marius. Jeremiah could tend to nightmares, he could even tend to another's Chalice, but that was not something so easy when it was the Bonded of the young woman he considered his daughter. Marius could permit Jeremiah to help ease his sleep but any more and the discomfort grew. It did not help that the Black Widow Warlord Prince had his plate full and, quite honestly, had found himself dealing more with the recovery of people lost within the Twisted Kingdom more often than not.

None of which particularly mattered now, Jeremiah's expression blank--a tell if there ever was one--as he had greeted Marius and requested entrance. The air around him still held a chill, though it had lessened as he had moved away from the healing room and Lord Cosovei. "I could say the same," agreed Jeremiah, before he inclined his head toward Shadya. "Lady al-Sabbah." That he did not have more banter was another tell.

It was not normal particularly normal to watch as people left the room but then he was a Black Widow Warlord Prince on a mission.

"I am certain that you recall the horribleness that we learned of a few days ago?" What had been passed off as a lover's tryst gone wrong: the death of Anzhela Baciu and the subsequent suicide of Nazariu Cebanu for his part in killing his lover. Jeremiah waited for a beat for acknowledgment, moving to take a knee before Sora and catch her hand between his. Better to focus upon it than let the coldness of his gaze bore into her. His anger was for those of Prince Randa's club.

"It is far more insidious than that," said Jeremiah, who then proceeded to explain what had been discovered. Not every detail was revealed, of course, but enough that she would understand the true depravity of the males and that which they had done. The Black Widow Warlord Prince was tightly contained as he spoke, tone devoid of its usual warmth.

The bag and its contents of memory crystals were a heavyweight that he wished to see destroyed but could not be yet. Once everything was explained, once Jeremiah finished speaking, he let out a long, shuddering cold breath.

"They think themselves above being caught," said Jeremiah, "that no one can claim the Price that they owe. That they can hunt these very halls." Finally, he looked up and the eyes that met hers--this day--were a glacial blue-green. "We will have to spring a trap upon them, however, or they will go to ground. So when you hold Court, and they are present," as they were meant to be as both guard and escort at times, "they will be caught with nowhere to go." Then and there, in front of the people that gathered within the Territory Court, they would pay their Price.

And Stela's contract would be fulfilled.

18
Dena Nehele / Re: the answers to the questions you never heard
« on: Oct 22, 19, 05:26:11 AM »
"That," said Jeremiah, as the witch said he had been stronger than expected, "just proves my point." Not that she was going to agree with him that she had made a poor choice. Had some of the others warned her? It was likely, all things considered, and there were more than a few that knew him. His eyebrows rose up towards his hair, mostly as she swore in Eyrien. While the meaning of the word was lost to him, he was certain that he had heard some of the Eyriens use it during the Jhinka attack which meant that it was probably but rude and crude.

Her attire, however, pointed towards the fact that her thievery was more to prove a point than actual necessity. Though she certainly looked like she could be eating more. They were in the arts district, after all, was she one of Raluca's? Was the Black Widow not making sure those under her care ate enough? No, this little pink-haired witch had a temper and a mouth and probably had some self-imposed reasoning as to why she didn't need to eat as much as she should.

... and her thoughts were loud. There was a flicker of amusement in his bright blue-green eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching upwards. "I'm the exact opposite of a good little mark, you know," continued Jeremiah, back to watching her with that far too knowing yet curious gaze of his. Calling him old man, however, actually did make him let out a huff of breath--a near laugh--before speaking. "You're right, I don't, but you wouldn't find any on me anyway." No, he always called it to hand if he needed it, and any coin he had ever made during a contract as a Jack had always gone to those who needed it.

It was interesting to watch the way her emotions ebbed and flowed; flaring and exhausting themselves before the process started all over again. Not just that but her instincts were all over the place and that, Jeremiah realized, was another part of the puzzle that was this witch before him.

It was as he put together the three scents, breathed in and a single name was on his tongue, that the truth revealed itself. Everything was there but what was truly supposed to be there and that--

--that realization was enough for her to be able to snap forward and snatch up the carefully folded (like a rose) pocket square of his suit. The not-a-witch then disappeared, pulling herself to favorable Winds that existed over Bidea. Jeremiah just growled, though it was more to do with the knowledge he now held than with his pocket square being stolen, and rose up slowly to his feet.

Jeremiah closed his eyes, rapid movement visible underneath his eyelids as he let himself drift. As she bounced between places, the Black Widow Warlord Prince pulled himself to his favored Rose Wind and disappeared. A quick smattering of heartbeats later he was on top of one of the buildings, eyes opening to survey the rooftops that stretched out before him. She was fast, yes, and he was faster but there was no point in proving that.

No, the Black Widow Warlord Prince worked smart, not hard. Not when he knew that she smelled of both Raluca and Kesare. One of those was going to have a lot to answer for and it was not the tri-caste Lady Fuentes that he was fond of despite having never physically met her.

So by the time she made it to the Tantalus Playhouse, Jeremiah was sitting on top of the structure that offered access to the roof. Watching realization dawn on her face, seeing it bloom as she acknowledged he was there, was a certain kind of treat that only a Black Widow Warlord Prince could enjoy. Jeremiah did not immediately respond, only arching an eyebrow and dropping down in a fluid motion to the rooftop.

In the lift of her chin, he could see Liana, even Aurelia; in the set of her eyes, he saw Drake. There was shared blood there, he was sure of it, even if it was distantly so. "If you mean Askavi," said Jeremiah, "I've no intention of doing that but ..." A hand flipped. "You, little one, have stolen from me and that demands a Price." The Black Widow Warlord Prince never raised his voice but the authority in it was heard all the same, even by those that might have been drawn to what was going on. There was no lie. He was owed a Price for her actions.

She would not be running away this time, not as a shield of Rose shimmered and enclosed them. "Before you go and get any ideas," added Jeremiah, "my Price will be the truth and that which you stole." Ismenian had not been wrong: the need to know was only amplified within the Black Widow Warlord Prince, both castes demanding that he confirm what their senses told him.

19
(this thread takes place directly after the events in just want to learn about the truth.)

Jeremiah had not wanted to get out of bed but he had little choice in the matter with the chain of events that lead to his abrupt waking. His fingers brushed through Lisichya's hair, a gently murmured apology for getting up early (he would make it up, of course, by bringing him his favored breakfast treats) and a kiss pressed to the top of his head.

Then he was pulling proper clothing on, ignoring the headache that could feel brewing behind his eyes. Claudia's suite was not that far away, his strides swift as they carried him towards it. His hand had not even knocked upon the door twice before he found it being opened. The look on his sister's face, the way her lip curled, reminded him that he likely stunk of the Twisted Kingdom.

He could drink the necessary purgative in just a moment.

"I found Asimov within the dreaming," said Jeremiah, as he waited for her to let him in (rather than just barge in; it was too early for that nonsense). "Within one of the deeper reaches that touches upon the Twisted Kingdom and the lines blur." His expression was grim, even if part of him was once again thinking that he had not been that foolish. (Oh, he had been far worse in a lot of ways but that was neither here nor there.)

The Black Widow Warlord Prince raked a hand through his hair, pulling it back so that it was no longer loose. "What web she weaved, whatever her intent was--" His gaze snapped then from Claudia and went towards the path that would lead to the wards and their rooms as he realized something else. "She's not in her room. The wards would have triggered if she was." A hand pressed to his face, they would have to tighten the wards again. Asimov was still within the Court, at least, and likely within one of the spare workrooms. "She will not be waking up pleased. I dragged her out by force because she was beyond listening to reason." Which was, quite frankly, a nice way to put her behavior. The fact that she had been taken over by her desire for knowledge proved the decision of her mentors right.

20
Dena Nehele / Re: Just want to learn about the truth
« on: Oct 21, 19, 01:48:53 AM »
This what they had worried about with him. When Claudia had created the token that had kept him from wandering until Arkadie had taught him to make his safe-ward. Asimov would be devoured within this place, consumed by the knowledge she believed she needed above all else.

Everything clicked into place as she spoke. The words reverberated around them, the emptiness taking shape, and suddenly he knew that while this was about her need to know, to gather all the knowledge she could, it was not truly about that.

What would Jeremiah give to have the absolute knowledge of his mother's death? How far had he already sunk himself to try and grasp at flickers of the elusive threads that always slipped away from him?

Asimov had come under one pretense but the seeker had another. The images snapped forward--different for him, just as they were when Claudia and himself looked upon a vision--and the truth within them was both heartbreaking and infuriating.

Maddening.

And yet it also did not matter because there was only one result if this spiral continued. The seeker would call more and more, descend deeper and deeper--even now to him, it looked as if she were sinking--until she became stuck. Jeremiah could see it: a ghostly image that pulled itself away from her; a wail of anger and fury that would pervade the Twisted Kingdom that would never find solace; a Green broken, dull and split.

There was no tell, no sign of what he was about to do. There was not even an apology (and even if he thought it would have helped, the seeker would have been spared). What happened was this: the water rushed back in and Jeremiah surged forward with it. The seeker--Asimov--was taken ahold of, the force of the water lending strength to it as he dragged them back out of the depths.

For one brief moment they were upon a shore, the water lapped at their feet as eerie light filtered down on them.

Then Jeremiah looking at her, his eyes impossibly bright and fixed.

Then she was being grabbed, like an angry wet kitten, and summarily throw out.

The path to knowledge, for this night, closed.

21
Dena Nehele / Re: A historically parallel case
« on: Oct 20, 19, 11:59:30 PM »
"We did host the leader of their Diplomatic Corps for a time," said Jeremiah, speaking of Lady Kyou no Izayoi, who had no doubt returned to her homeland to be part of the enthronement ceremony. It was strange to think that, of the people present in the room, Jeremiah thought--well, fondly was not the word but knowing that Lady Natsuhana was being recalled did not leave him feeling as relieved as the others. If anything, it triggered a more bittersweet feeling and a touch of concern.

Even if thinking of the day that she had come to the Territory Court still made him want to lock Riley in a room until she learned to have more self-preservation than him. Which, quite frankly, wasn't asking for a lot all things considered.

"I could admit that I passed him off when I did on purpose," said Jeremiah, "but that would imply I'm a certain level of evil that I'm absolutely not." There was a glint in his eyes as he looked at Drake, watching as the cloth was carried over to him by Riley's Craft. It was true that he had passed the young Warlord Prince only a handful of moments previous but then he had also ended up covered that morning himself. (The experience had to be shared, that's what it was.)

The Black Widow Warlord Prince shrugged. "I'll give you the information for the tailor I use, Drake." Why? Because cloth that was made to handle getting dirty and be easily cleaned was a thing. The look he was going for was ruined with the thread of Rose from Riley. Bright blue-green eyes cut towards her, Jeremiah raising a hand and tucking a lock of loose silver back behind a pink-tipped ear. Shush, Ryllis.

Mostly because he didn't need to waylay his thoughts towards Lisichya or--even worse--have the Black-Jeweled Healer pick them up. If it had not been an offer for Sora, it would have most likely been for one of Riley's males and-- No, that thought process was firmly shut down with the same quickness that he did not think about why it was honored brother that was offered.

A sharp look was given at Drake's remark--sometimes it was easy to tell where Sora gathered some of her glares from--which softened to a pinch of the bridge of his nose when Sebastian spoke. His hand fell away from his face, fingers wiggling at Codrin when he caught the baby's gaze on him.

There was a part of him that wondered if it would matter for the one that they sent. If he did not like Sora, would they expect him to endure for the honor of being selected by the Dragon Mother? Or would they be horrified--like some Taceans--to have been sent to wed a barbarian Queen? Either way, he was just going to flat ignore Sebastian's statement for the time being.

Mostly as he was certain that a death, even if it was framed as a tragedy, would likely go over poorly.

"... on the topic of ambassadors, however, I do have a Prince in mind. We would be sending him and his wife, however. They're a pair and, to be honest, he would fair better with her than sent alone." A breath was released, his gaze falling on Sora. "In the end, it is your decision to entertain the suit or deny it. Our support is with you no matter what. I do think Riley has the right idea of it: invite him here and see what happens. I believe that the Dragon Mother will understand this given that our cultures are different. Especially if it is worded appropriately and with proper respect." They would, in a manner, be giving a chance for the seed of the wheat she spoke off to begin to take root.

22
Dena Nehele / Re: they tell you it's all in your mind
« on: Oct 20, 19, 03:58:16 PM »
The bag handed over to him was a weight that he did not like. It gave a physical feeling to the wealth of nightmares and more he kept tucked away within his mind--the horrors visited upon ...

Jeremiah could not stop the low snarl that escaped, fingers gripping and holding tighter to the bag. While the desire was there to destroy every single one, that could not be so. Not yet. Not when it was evidence. "They'll stay with me for the time being," he told Prince Serban. There was no argument from the Blood male who only nodded.

"You will be held here for the time being," said Mikhael, turning a wary gaze from Jeremiah to the Warlord. "Word has already spread that you have come down with an illness and were brought it. That will continue to be the case until it is time." Time, in this case, meant when he would be brought before The Queen-in-Proxy along with the others to see a judgment carried out.

There were Prices to be claimed, families that needed closure when it had been nothing but a paltry pittance. Words, perhaps even coin, and none of that would ease the suffering they had, and that was before the witches that were still alive were considered. Mikhael was sick to his stomach but did not let it show.

"I'll go and speak with Lady Roman so that this can be dealt with promptly," said Jeremiah, who turned to leave. There was frost on the floor when he finally moved, the Black Widow Warlord Prince pausing a moment to look at Stela. I have not forgotten, of course, what needs to be done for your contract. It will be so. His head tilted and he paused, bright blue-green eyes glancing back towards the Warlord and then back to her. As it stands, I've another concern but Lord Cosovei will not have the answers I need. Prince Randa, on the other hand ...

With a courteous nod, Jeremiah left the room to speak with the Queen-in-Proxy as he had said. The temperature in the room slowly began to rise back up to normal.

23
Dena Nehele / Re: A historically parallel case
« on: Oct 19, 19, 03:27:32 AM »
It was fortunate that the letter penned by Lady Xiong Teng, Queen of Tacea, found itself being delivered on a day that all of those named were gathered together to discuss Courtly matters in a more baby-friendly environment. Sora still ruled in Riley's stead but the Opal-Jeweled Queen had, with no longer being heavy with child, been allowed to be more involved. So long as she did not push it, though that did not seem to be a problem.

As he was--for the moment--not with an arm full of Codrin (he had been, not even a minute previous, been holding him), Jeremiah took the letter from the runner that had brought it to them. There was a wealth of emotions that went through him as he read the contents. Most telling was that his face went carefully blank as he continued to read.

A breath was let out, the Black Widow Warlord Prince holding the letter out so that it could be taken. "The newly enthroned Queen of Tacea wishes to better the relationship between our territories." That was the barest bones of it, of course, because Jeremiah was still trying to pick through her word choices--so different than that of Lisichya or Maseo--as well as the fact that she had made a marriage offer for Sora.

He found himself thinking back over the word choices once again and thought to later inquire with Lisichya. Would he know of the Teng family? She obviously was not of the Great Clans but to say any more than that would be making assumptions.

"I can appreciate what she is trying to do," said Jeremiah after others had had the chance to read it, "and I believe I understand some of the reasoning behind what she offers." He shook his head, brushing silver hair out of his eyes afterward. "Even if my first thoughts are that it is an arranged marriage that ultimately led to the events that have befallen both Dena Nehele and its people."

The other part was that if there was a request to be made, a Price to be asked, his first response was: the burnt-out pieces of Yuina no Ariake's Broken jewels. There was more, of course, but that was the immediate topic due to its nature. It was also a safer topic than the path his mind spiraled down when he thought of the potential reasoning behind offering the brother of a trusted ally.

Ultimately, however, it would be Sora's decision whether or not to accept the offer for her hand. That was simply the way of things (and neither of her parents--Jeremiah or Riley--would have it any other way).

24
Dena Nehele / there's only two options
« on: Oct 17, 19, 05:19:20 PM »
Checking the time, Jeremiah waved away the documents that set upon his desk with a wave of his hand. The documents could wait until he returned from his regularly scheduled tea with Lady Traianus. It was still somewhat amusing--to Jeremiah, in a dark humor sort of way--that he found himself enjoying the company of Black Widows more than he had almost two years prior.

While there were things he wished had not happened, horrors that had been visited upon those he cared for, Jeremiah knew that if things had gone differently, he would not have that which he did. (What of Riley? Of Sora? Of Lisichya?) Sometimes he still caught glimpses in his sleep, in the deeper parts of the dreaming where he saw the flickers of things that could have been. Within those places were the nightmares that could unsettle him despite the horrors and atrocities he had experienced and saw destroyed within the webs that he weaved.

It was the future that Jeremiah's mind was on now as he moved through the hallways to the sitting room that they usually made use of. Though it had been months upon months, the Black Widow Warlord Prince found himself being visited time and time again by a vision that he had known originally due to Maker's attack upon him in his youth. The barren land and its thirst ...

He shook his head, pushing it away for the time being. Those memories--visions--held even less in common than they had when he had been able to recognize them for what they were. More than that: they would leave him in a poor mood and that was something very few wanted to do with.

There were better things to be thinking about, topics that lead him away from the darkness that lurked in the corners of his mind, and that is what he would let himself focus on for now. At least until he entered the sitting room, sweeping into a greeting with a flourish.

"Lady Traianus," greeted Jeremiah with a smile because even if there was familiarity, Protocol and Etiquette mattered. "Sibylla," he continued, once that was out of the way, "I see you got here first. I suppose I let my reports swallow me for longer than I should have today.

25
Dena Nehele / the answers to the questions you never heard
« on: Oct 17, 19, 05:18:12 PM »
Few and far between were the days that Jeremiah could find himself outside of the Territory Court. Once upon a time he could have even moved through the city without much of a second glance--and truthfully, he still did on some level due to the fact that there were those who were unwilling to risk any sort of attention of a Black Widow Warlord Prince--but those days had fled when he had become Steward. There were still some, of course, who did not know him but it did not bother him.

It was better that way, even if Jeremiah did find himself somewhat amused when individuals were able to put it all together (his face was not known but there were few among Riley's Court that were young, silver-haired, male, and bearing that of two Castes). Besides: today the Black Widow Warlord Prince had a purpose that saw him outside of the Territory Court. He was well overdue to check in with Lady Vaduva to see about certain individuals.

Other, more official reasons were known, but it was the unknowns that were what mattered. This meant, of course, that Jeremiah was moving through the bustling arts district that the Tantalus Playhouse was located within. That it was an open market day--one that boasted fine arts and crafts of all sorts--made it more enjoyable to travel through.

Many had gathered, more still would be through before the end of the day. Jeremiah paused a moment, head tilting to the side as he studied a piece of glimmering glass that hung from the awning of a stall. His gaze flicked from it down to the table that was below it, a glass mosaic embedded into the stone in such a fashion that he knew Craft had been involved.

The yellow was particularly eye-catching; a widow's walk of insight that left him looking distracted.

Shaking his head, the Black Widow Warlord Prince moved forward once more. Even with a bubble of space around him, the kind afforded to a male of his Castes, there were still a great many people about. Enough so that Jeremiah knew the pickpockets would fair well today.

... but not enough so that one would be able to take anything from him. There was not any hesitation as Jeremiah acted, a carefully calculated use of a combat shield sweeping the feet of his would-be pickpocket and letting them fall right smack onto their arse. The silver-haired male had already spun around then on his heel so that he could lay eyes on the potential thief.

"You've poor taste in marks," said Jeremiah, glancing up to where he saw a youth that was likely a cohort and companion in pickpocketing adventures. "Most know better than to try that with me." Bright blue-green eyes flicked downward, fixed upon the young picket. There was a familiarity to her, to the witch, something that plucked at a vision--

No, that wasn't it.

The Black Widow Warlord Prince crouched down then, careful use of combat shields purposely blocking her avenues of escape (she had room to maneuver away from him but not very far), and let his arms rest over his thighs as he did so. He did not say anything else, not yet. Not as he watched her as if he was trying to pick apart whatever it was that tugged upon his instincts, less as a Warlord Prince and more as a Black Widow.

26
Dena Nehele / Re: they tell you it's all in your mind
« on: Oct 16, 19, 11:50:43 PM »
There were few things that kept Jeremiah up, fewer still when Lisichya was close by and keen on ensuring the Black Widow Warlord Prince did not adhere to a certain level of not overdoing it. Which meant that Jeremiah was actually asleep. Not the half-asleep state that left his mind to wander, to catch the dreams of those around him, but honest sleep.

Stela's thread touched upon a sleeping mind but it did not remain so. Almost immediately Jeremiah was up, mentally going back over the dreams that he had. They were the sort that he kept tucked away, the kind that were not easily stomached and--

I'll be there shortly, was all he sent before he went silent. Stela was dealing with Lord Cosovei and someone would need to see a runner to Lord Serban. Jeremiah found himself wishing that Sebastian was back, that he was not still gone from the Court. It was a thought for another time. Quietly pressing a kiss to Lisichya's brow, a promise made to make it up to the Healer for leaving at an earlier hour than usual, the Black Widow Warlord Prince was on his way to the Healing Rooms.

A handful of minutes later, he was knocking curtly upon the door--which was a formality, all things considered, that the Warlord within did not deserve--before entering. "Lady Petrescu," said Jeremiah, no greeting for the Warlord that was within the bed. Lord Serban, it appeared, was not there quite yet. Share with me, if you would? The Black Widow Warlord Prince had a broad view of things but not the specifics that had been shared with her by Lord Cosovei.

When that was done, his bright blue-green gaze had gone cold and fixed upon the Warlord. "She is right, you know," said Jeremiah, as he moved towards the bed, "though I'm sure you know that it's more than simply disavowing you and laying it all at your feet." A pause; there was nothing kind in his gaze, only that of a predator watching prey. "It will be a matter of whether or not they have you killed before you are sentenced." His eyes glinted, a sharp smile given. "As I won't kill you, Lord Cosovei. That would be a kindness and you've done nothing to deserve such." No, Jeremiah would not see Wadim Cosovei killed and would not advocate such a thing. Death was a release and what the Warlord had participated in, whether or not he had been involved, deserved no such thing.

"The only avenue left to you is to do what you can to make up for your lack of action in the face of such atrocities," said Jeremiah as he moved towards the foot of the bed. His hands rested against it, fingers tapping the baseboard one by one. "So tell me all that you can about your leader and let us see where that gets us."

As he finished those words, it was then that Lord Serban appeared in the room. A quick word was given to a pair to stand outside the room but Mikhael took one look at the scene before him and wisely said nothing. For now, he would watch it unfold and step in when it was time.

27
Dena Nehele / Re: So Take Up Your Pencil Here
« on: Oct 16, 19, 11:45:25 PM »
"I'm sure you--much like my mentor was--are immensely pleased to see me continue to not wear solid color suits every day of the week." Which was a truth. There was also the fact that there was a fashion standard that had to be followed. This was especially the case when it came to the fact that both Claudia and Arkadie were his prime influencers (and had expectations; more Arkadie than Claudia).

"... and I will try to not be affronted that you're implying I wasn't stylish before," said Jeremiah, giving her a rather pointed look though he flashed her a sharp grin a moment later. He had always been stylish, especially once he had hit twenty, but it was only the past year and a half that he had become more fashion-forward.

"My apologies," he replied, bright blue-green eyes glinting with mirth, "but I've become quite awful at biting my tongue." For obvious reasons. Jeremiah leaned down, tilting his head just so, to meet the kiss that was press to his cheek. "If you'd like, I could let you flounder about for a little while?" Friendly banter, someone who was let so close--like Roxanne--was something that had been (and still was) rare for him.

"It's good to see you too, Roxanne," said Jeremiah. "My only regret is that it hasn't been sooner." But with Riley's pregnancy, his being Steward of Dena Nehele, working as a Mind Healer, his continuing lessons with Arkadie, and keeping close to Lisichya, there was rarely time for social visits to secluded Red Moon Houses.

"Oh, I was going to ask," he answered, "but I spoke with her just last month." A soft breath was exhaled. "She's finally gotten the room back to the way it should be." The room in question was the one that Meredith had been killed in. The very same room that Maker had--

"I'm glad that she is," admitted Jeremiah. "Her being that way is more reassuring than I can properly express." The fact that there was emotion in his voice, his face emotive, said so much. It was not so surprising now, not after the time that had passed, but when Roxanne had first seen the changes being a Black Widow had brought it had been a different story.

With them settled in the sitting room, Jeremiah was pouring them both tea while they talked. The Black Widow Warlord Prince was making good on letting her divert the conversation where she wanted for the time being. "Truthfully, I've finally gotten her to share her pie recipes with me." Corinne hadn't been the first to encourage Jeremiah to cook but she had been the one to ensure his culinary skill was where it was today (which was to say he was damn good at it).

28
Dena Nehele / Re: So Take Up Your Pencil Here
« on: Oct 14, 19, 10:09:24 PM »
A younger version of him, one that was not both Black Widow and Warlord Prince, might have missed the warm flirtatious manner that Roxanne greeted him with. Truthfully, he still missed it at times but that was usually because Jeremiah often did not think about himself or that attractive was a commonly attached adjective to him. Which was why, of course, there were so many stories of people trying to make passes at him and they fell flat.

That it was Roxanne meant it did not. Too many years having known her, having grown up around one another when she had come to Sweetbriar with her mother Corinne, ensured there was an ease to his interaction with her. It was hard to miss Roxanne, a certain lightness that came with the feel of her presence (both emotional and psychic).

"I have no idea what you're talking about," replied Jeremiah, bright blue-green eyes alight with humor. The exchange was an old one between them, Jeremiah waving a hand over his desk and vanishing the financial report he had been looking over. "Unless you are talking about my suit, in which case I can tell you that I discovered a new tailor that better fits my taste in clothing."

The smile he gave her was far more open as he moved around the desk to greet her. For Roxanne--to see Jeremiah this way--it was almost a return to who he had been as a youth though now he clearly looked more at ease with himself than he had ever been prior.

"I'm glad to see you," he said once the formalities of Protocol and Etiquette were seen too, "even if you've come for a reason beyond old friends visiting." Truly, he did not know how to not be that Black Widow sometimes. An arm was held out to her all the same, the Black Widow Warlord Prince offering himself as an escort. "We'll be taking tea in one of the sitting rooms." There was a quick flash of a smile, too sharp canines briefly visible. "So that sitting arrangements can be more comfortable while we discuss things."

29
Dena Nehele / Re: first of a thousand questions
« on: Oct 13, 19, 12:33:15 AM »
As Maseo spoke, Jeremiah's gaze was sharp upon him. A strange smile curved upon his face, even as a soft chuckle escaped. "Perhaps it is, Lord Shingetsu, but this is no illusion. What you see, what you experience, is real. As we touch upon the Twisted Kingdom, it touches us, leaving us marked." It was why, unlike Raluca, the Black Widow Warlord Prince often was steeped in the otherworldly aura of the Twisted Kingdom.

"In my case, at least, I find it much easier to touch upon what people hide behind their charades, as you put it, when I am here." His fingers dragged in the mirror, the surface rippling as if water, and it shifted once more. Images appeared though they were disjointed.

Almost dreamlike.

"It's easier still when in repose." That glint was in his eyes again, bright and predatory and focused on Maseo. At that moment, the Warlord--the future Black Widow Warlord--would realize that the images within the mirror were the flashes of his dreams. That Jeremiah had plucked them in some manner, though the look on his face and within his eyes gave no clue as to how he had done so.

"I met someone once within the deeper paths, though I can't say for sure if it was the first time or I was simply meeting them again and had forgotten. They called me baku." The word was not Dena Nehelean in origin. It was Tacean. It was a creature of folktale, a devourer of dreams and nightmares. Given that Jeremiah had, for some of the residents, gained the reputation of being able to keep ill dreams away it was appropriate.

Yet it was clear that it was more than that. "I suppose the point," said Jeremiah, his gaze finally sliding away from Maseo to study the dreamy images in the mirror; his finger dipped and what had been a nightmarish scene turned peaceful, "is that as one grows, learns themselves as a Black Widow, that we come to understand the potential talents we have."

30
Dena Nehele / Re: A Kind of Destiny
« on: Sep 25, 19, 03:24:41 PM »
There you are. Jeremiah heard Cristina speak, his focus finally diverted away from Riley and to the Healer that was holding her son. Birth was not so strange, not something he was unfamiliar with, but that it was someone he was close to ... If someone had told him he would be at Riley's side as she gave birth to her son a handful of years ago, he would have laughed.

Now it simply made sense. There was no other path but this one, the one that he had never dreamed of or seen in the webs that Maker had trapped him within.

The Rose-Jeweled Black Widow Warlord Prince looked on as Sora and Cristina worked, smiling when the baby was settled upon Riley's chest. He watched, quietly taking it in as his Queen looked at her son. A glance went to the others in the room, briefly lingering upon Drake with a smile before he heard Healer Dumitrescu speak once more.

"It's preferred that the shields," the ones Drake and himself had slid into place to mask the scent of Queen's blood and more, "stay in place for a little while longer while we clean up." Jeremiah merely nodded, not quite able to find proper words. For a moment, as Sora handed him something to help clean Riley's face, he gave the Rose-Jeweled Queen a warm smile. It reminded him then, with his singular focus upon Riley and her emotions to steady himself, of Nick. To the Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince he sent a wordless thread of Rose, a brief sharing of what was going on.

With his hand--the one that Riley had not held--he reached and smoothed the hair away from her face. Beautiful, said Jeremiah softly, meaning both the mother and child. Even drained, sweaty, and having been through childbirth she was still beautiful. There were other things, more that could be said, but he let it slip unspoken between them along a gentle thread of Rose as he always did. (Thankfully he kept other thoughts to himself. The kind that were associated with having known she would have a son. He had let loose that by accident and it was for the best if he kept the rest to himself.)

31
Dena Nehele / Re: Mother is the Name
« on: Sep 22, 19, 11:37:58 PM »
Within Jeremiah were a great deal of nightmares, not all of them his own. As he had truly come into his power the majority of torments he held were no longer the ones that haunted his mind when he was not careful. The number was beyond counting but he would not stop. That he was able to ensure the true horrors of the mind were sometimes merely untamed beasts helped settle the part of him that demanded he cared and looked after all those he considered his.

In the case of Nick, however, Jeremiah had to be more particular as he worked. There were things within the Warlord Prince's mind that needed to stay out of sight, that he was not meant to see so as to not jeopardize either of them. The issue arose when he had to touch upon them. Where once there had been concern about such, it had lessened considerably. The Guild Master expected him to know things, to grasp knowledge even when it was truly meant to be hidden from him.

Still, the Black Widow Warlord Prince knew it better to leave certain things glossed over. Hidden in plain sight, it made things easier for both of them. What was another unspoken secret that hovered in the air between him and another?

Nick's outermost barrier opened, letting Jeremiah move forward even as his hand squeezed reflexively around the one he held as he felt the subtle shifts in his feelings. Working like this, Nick's mind open to him, his emotions were transparent and easily touched upon. Jeremiah could not completely ease the uneasiness but he could wordlessly reassure the Warlord Prince with a gentle pulse of his Rose.

Think of her, said Jeremiah. Of your mother. The Green-Jeweled Warlord Prince had already spoken of her once, that he believed she would have been as kind as Riley. Slowly, as Nick thought upon that, Jeremiah worked. Gave form to the empty void of the mind until they were standing within a place that came from Nick's past.

No matter what, he spoke, knowing the depth of emotion that could come, I am here with you.

32
Dena Nehele / Re: if what it is isn't all we are
« on: Sep 22, 19, 11:32:27 PM »
Sometimes, as Jeremiah watched Derrial, he thought about the witchblood. There were days when he spent time with it in the central garden, the living memorial of the Queens and otherwise that had died because of the need for power and control.

It was there that he heard the quieted voices of those long gone as he sang softly. There Jeremiah heard the whispers, the ones that were meant for Derrial. No, it was for him but not for him--for the Prince that he had been but no longer was. For the man with the name that was different but as dead as those whose blood had been spilled, giving birth to the witchblood that had blossomed.

When Derrial was ready--when it was time, when it would break him, when it would strengthen him--Jeremiah would tell him what she said.

Even if it would only reinforce that the Black Widow Warlord Prince knew far too much.

Jeremiah watched the honey go into Derrial's tea with a rather sharp-eyed gaze before his attention flicked to his face. (The only reason the honey was even on the tea tray was that the Priest Prince took his tea with it. Much in the same way that Jeremiah only ever put a dash of cream in his.) He smiled, glad to hear Derrial's response as it followed along the path he had seen stretched out before him as he let himself drift along a widow's walk.

"To our benefit, then, that the Conclave has not been so invested in stealing you away," replied Jeremiah, who grew quiet for a beat. The mention of Lisichya had brought his sharp gaze back upon Derrial, eyes seemingly brighter. It was a foregone conclusion that the Priest Prince would be an excellent individual to have on with the young Priestesses that were within the Court.

Yet for Lisichya ...

Jeremiah still held a concern that if things did not continue to align as they were, they were on the edge of a precipice that would see the Healer walk down a path he had only seen through a darkened mirror. The ones where he grew a fang and wandered the deepest parts of the Twisted Kingdom.

"You do," said Jeremiah finally. "He lives upon the edge of the great Abyssal sea, forever swimming in its waters." His teacup was set down, the Black Widow Warlord Prince suddenly no longer thirsty. "I will admit that he is part of why I wish to see you continue here." To perhaps be another to help Lisichya find a measure of peace, of the stability that came only from understanding the Darkness.

"... though he is not all of it, but a fair portion along with all the other reasons to see you stay on within this Court." As protective as he was, as much as he knew that the witchblood whispered the name of the dead man that lived within Derrial, Jeremiah believed that the Priest Prince would help. There was no danger and if there was ...

Well.

Jeremiah would take care of it.

He wasn't expecting to have to but a Black Widow Warlord Prince would be remiss if it wasn't accounted for.

33
Dena Nehele / Re: Mother is the Name
« on: Sep 18, 19, 03:50:42 AM »
There were many things about Nick that were not like any other he had known but one thing was always for certain: Nick understood. When Jeremiah spoke he understood not just the words that were said but the nuance and depth to them. While the emotion was sometimes lost to him he always knew the truth behind the words.

What made that terrible, in some ways, was that it was born of the horrors of Nick's childhood. All the years before he had come to the Territory Court, bloodsoaked and ready to accept a place that would much be the same. He had not expected it, Jeremiah had known, and more than that had not known how to feel. The Warlord Prince had been blank, his emotions simply not there to be found.

It was no longer the case, Nick learning to understand and experience his feelings slowly but surely. Jeremiah suspected that it would likely be like it had once been with him--before he had realized the path he was meant to walk--and that they would always be felt distantly.

To be plucked and studied and then returned because were it anything else then all that he was might topple. Someday, Jeremiah hoped, Nick might be able to experience his feelings without having to study them so. Then again ... He probably did that already, though it was with rather particular feelings he had no desire to consider.

He said nothing when Nick said the darkness did not concern him because he understood. Just the same as Nick understood him. That concern was exactly why he hoped as he did to eventually expand Nick's capability to let both memory and emotion loose. It would be a process, however, and one that would not be finished over one day.

Not even in a month.

And that Nick finally agreed--once again gave his trust--meant a great deal to Jeremiah. The Black Widow Warlord Prince did not say thank you but it was there, unspoken and easily plucked for Nick to find. To look after him, to protect not only his body but his mind and soul, were important. Moreso because Nick was his as surely as Riley or Sora or Lisichya.

"Then let us move as this is not the place." With that, Jeremiah led them away from the conservatory. Their destination was the room he made use of when he was carrying out work as a Black Widow. Properly warded and protected, it was a better space for carrying out that which he wished to do.

Another individual the Black Widow Warlord Prince would not have said what he did next. "Would you sit beside me, Nick?" Even though the younger Warlord Prince had already agreed, given his trust and permission, it was still important that choice was there. In so many ways it was more important to Jeremiah than anything else. To not have it, to deny another of it, was not acceptable in any fashion.

Once Nick did sit, Jeremiah offered out his hand to take. The touch was not truly necessary but it made things easier, especially as familiar Rose tapped against barriers of Green; a gentle request for access so that he could begin.

34
Dena Nehele / Re: they tell you it's all in your mind
« on: Sep 17, 19, 02:06:12 AM »
summer, 194AP
the conversation between beasts


Charles sighed. "Danus," he said drolly, "I know this might be hard for you but I need you to actually think and articulate properly." The Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince was cleaning his nails rather pointedly with a knife when he did not have to. Wisely, the other Warlord Prince--Prince Randa--did not comment on it.

Not when the sharp gaze of Charles Keyes was upon him. Danus was a predator in his own right but not when compared to the Warlord Prince before him. There was a part of him that was envious of that, at all that Charles was, but he kept that to himself. (Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he--the thought was pushed away, locked back where it belonged.)

Danus breathed deeply, trying to edge his anger down. "Cosovei is losing his nerve, I believe."

"You sent an untested, untried yearling after another, Danus," said Charles, "and you're surprised he's showing signs of going soft." There was no question in that, only a statement. The knife was vanished, Charles rising from his seat with a languid stretch before he closed the distance between him and the other Warlord Prince.

"Let me be very clear," he continued, fingers catching Randa's jaw in his long fingers, "that if you cannot keep your little trust in line, I will have to step in." His fingers were squeezing, slowly but surely until it was beginning to edge at pain. Charles was good at riding that edge, knowing how to keep someone at the point that the pain was beginning to blossom.

"Though I suppose I could just be done with you ..."

"No!" snapped out Randa, going immediately quiet when he saw the look Charles gave him. "No," he said in a more controlled voice, "I will keep them all in line. We will continue to do as agreed and provide you with the memory crystals."

Charles's eyes were narrowed, clearly calculating and considering just what Danus Randa was actually worth to him. After a moment he released the Warlord Prince, though the bruise of his fingerprints remained. "Then get on with it. Wayward Priestesses need to know their place."

He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Though perhaps you might want to remind Cosovei about his place, about what is expected of him. Weren't you planning on something soon? Some sweet thing you found that was ripe for the picking." At Randa nodding, Charles continued. "Do not let Cosovei just watch, make him participate. His little voyeur streak is likely part of why he is not falling in line. He is not truly one of you, not until he breaks his first." A sigh escaped. "Really, Randa, what were you thinking letting him play with a Priestess ..."

Randa said nothing, only listened. Charles had called a knife to hand again. He did not need it to make his point but he did enjoy the fear in Randa's eyes as he followed the blade.

"As I believe we've reached an understanding," said Charles, "there is one more matter to discuss." He was approaching Randa once more. "A concern of mine, in light of what you have revealed." He smiled. It was not a friendly look. "Something that requires my taking steps to ensure your tongue does not wag in the event of a worst-case scenario."

Randa was immediately upon his feet, words of protest on his lip and posture defensive. It was nothing against the sheer might and force of a prepared Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince. "Danus. What did I say about challenging me?" Because rising to his feet was a challenge as far as Charles was concerned.

No answer came, not past the gasps of breath as Randa fought to get Charles' hand away from his throat.

"It's time for a reminder, I suppose, and for my fail-safes to go into place." He turned then, calling to someone that Randa could not see because his vision had gone black; the world lost to unconsciousness.

---

Later, when Randa left the Keyes Estate, there was nothing amiss. No bruises on his face, nothing that felt as if his talk with Charles had gone wrong. Only that he knew that Wadim Cosovei would truly join in the revelry that they had planned.

Not the first, no, as he had not earned that right, but after the others had their turn.

Yes, that would work.

Danus Randa walked with purpose, knowing exactly what to do. No witch would consider herself above them, their place below, and it was time to remind the rest of his group of this. Too long had they not acted.

That would not do.

35
Dena Nehele / Re: first of a thousand questions
« on: Sep 12, 19, 05:03:06 AM »
Conscious as they were, their minds were now occupying the Queendom and their bodies reflected it. Thus the physical tell came afterward. It was the way their bodies relaxed--as much as they could, at least--and their posture was no longer so rigid. To bring another, to show them, was not always easy. Especially if one was not particularly adept or willing to let their mind share (and that could be--was the case for many a Black Widow).

"There are many that would disagree with you," about it being beautiful, "including myself before I realized what I had been experiencing and what it meant to me." His eyes slid shut and he swayed for a moment, the ebb and flow of the Abyssal sea below a strong call as it always was to him. One misstep, one moment of weakness, and it would be all too easy to sink beneath the waves and never return.

To devour all that which could be learned underneath their waves and be devoured in turn by that knowledge.

His eyes opened back up, focusing upon Maseo. With the flick of his hand, he pointed towards an alcove. It had only been half-complete but now the stones had cobbled together and created the memory of a room around the darkened mirror that was on the cliff's edge. How the room was even able to hold itself up, precariously placed as it was, was a testament to the Twisted Kingdom.

"This place calls to me, as it always has. From here I hear the whispers, the gentle murmurs of what has been, what is, and what may be." The Black Widow Warlord Prince moved towards the mirror, far more the predatory beast he was meant to be here as he did so. Something in Jeremiah's gaze said he was both present and not, part of him following another path (which did look as if part of him broke away, a fading shadow that moved away only to eventually return).

"It appears differently to everyone," said Jeremiah, "the paths that are ours to walk." Again, he meant the Twisted Kingdom. He pressed his fingertips to the darkened mirror surface, watching as they sunk into it. The mirror rippled and shifted, a myriad of images appearing but no single one taking it over completely.

"Sometimes I hear more. When I follow, when I sink beneath the waves or cross through, I find myself in a place that is no longer mine but someone else's," he continued as if he had not just briefly derailed to a different topic. His head tilted, an eyes half-closed gaze fixed upon Maseo. "Mostly dreams, sometimes not that at all, and a great deal of it ..." His eyes closed fully, a great shudder going through the stone all around them. What had been incomplete, only there in part, was now a complete room. Yet there were no entrances, no exits, and no windows either. Nothing but them, the strange eerie quality that pervaded--the stones seemingly breaking and reforming over and over--and the empty mirror.

"Malleable."

36
Dena Nehele / Re: I Can't Trust You, Because I Can't Trust Me
« on: Sep 12, 19, 05:03:01 AM »
Even before he had felt the touch of Nick's mental presence, Jeremiah had known something was not right. (Though that was far from the proper words for it. It was more than just a not right feeling but something greatly upheaved and beginning to rot; a disquiet that unsettled all those that were present.) Far too used to keeping a finger upon the emotional pulse of the world around him, it would have been hard for him to miss the emotional miasma that had surged within the Court.

So when Nick's thread had reached for him--the familiar brush of the Warlord Prince's Green--Jeremiah had already been clearing his desk with a wave of his hand. There was no need to tell Nick to shield Sora, the Black Widow Warlord Prince knew it was already done. He found himself walking without truly realizing it instead, focused upon the small minutiae that came from receiving both thought and memory from the now Red-Jeweled male.

Jeremiah had no time for the weight that settled within his stomach. The knowledge had been there for some time, that Kale would leave. What he had not been sure of was the nature of Quinten's reaction--how hard it would come--or that it would have merged with other issues to create such toxicity that could--would bring him low.

... and potentially Sora with it, which was enough to set him on edge. Wordlessly, Jeremiah let Nick know that he was on his way. The space in which Sora was holding office was not that far away from the hall that held his (along with Riley's and others of the Triangle). I am here, called Jeremiah, as he finally moved into the room, to both Sora and Nick, and I am going to use a web to shield the room for now.

He did not explain that it was one meant to contain the emotional miasma that could impact those of the Blood that could feel such but that was likely a given. The web was as much for the safety of the patient as it was those around them, helping stabilize the environment. It was something he kept prepared now, especially as a Mind Healer. Pre-made webs, infused with a touch of power, enabled him to act without having to call upon his jewels.

Sora, my lamb, his voice was gentle as he spoke to Sora; a surge of Rose, warm and reassuring given to her to help as only a parent could, share with me, let me feel him as you do. The moment that she did, that Sora let even the smallest tendril of Quinten's anguish wash over him, his bright-eyed gaze flicked to Nick. Anything sharp in the room, Nick, vanish it. There would be no chances, not with what was swallowing Quinten whole. Not with what flickered within his mind, down the Widow’s path for him to see, of what could be.

"Quinten," said Jeremiah aloud finally, having crouched after making use of his web--it had been stretched between his fingers before it had been placed, disappearing and creating the shield--and a few feet away from the young Warlord. There was time for him to be the Black Widow Warlord Prince that was not happy his daughter hurt, that a blow had been cut into her very being. Not when the hurt was because of one of her males. One of the wards they took care of.

"Quinten," repeated Jeremiah softly, "I know everything hurts right now but can you breathe with me? As I taught you to?" The deep breaths, the ones that would help him get more air into his lungs and hopefully help with the pained sobs. In through the nose, hold for five, and then back out through the mouth. The Black Widow Warlord Prince demonstrated it, carefully watching Quinten. Even with his gaze focused upon the Warlord, he was keeping an eye on Sora as well.

Another brush of Rose was shared: Wait until the time is right to approach. As much as he thought the Touch of his Queen might help, there was every chance it could hurt the Warlord. Not just Quinten but Sora as well (though he doubted she would come to any sort of harm outside of the emotional with the current company of Warlord Princes that she had).

Then, another whisper of Rose, his gaze on Quinten for all that he spoke to Sora and Nick: We must make him feel secure. Safe. Though this was more about emotional security than the physical.

"We're--I'm--here for you," said Jeremiah, still crouched. His arm rested across his thigh, hand held out with the palm towards the ceiling. It was a lifeline for Quinten if he wanted to take it, the Black Widow Warlord Prince offering it to him.

37
Dena Nehele / they tell you it's all in your mind
« on: Aug 01, 19, 02:49:06 AM »
late winter, 193AP
the dreams of a coward

Widow's thread stretched from the pollex and pinky of his fingers, pulled taut between both of his hands as he worked. Jeremiah had given Stela his word--in a manner--and he would make good on it. This was the very work that he was meant to be doing, that which the Guild Master wished him to do as one of his Mourning Doves.

It was to his benefit the Summer Sky Warlord rested within the Territory Court this night. While the Black Widow Warlord Prince could have found his dreams, his space within the tapestry of the dreaming, it would have taken more time than he liked when he needed things to start sooner rather than later. He had told Stela a day and a day was exactly what passed before he set to work.

Jeremiah let himself sink, following the spiraling pattern he saw within the web. It spun around and around the trinket he had been able to get, something small that belonged to his intended target. Within the Twisted Kingdom was the way to the dreaming and the sleeping mind of a Warlord.

---

If there were a single word that could be used to describe Lord Wadim Cosovei it would be lacking. It was the first thing that came to mind as Jeremiah touched upon the dreams of the Warlord. There was nothing vibrant or particularly calling to them, only a blandness that he found wanting.

What did catch his attention was the darkness that existed in the corners. Dark thoughts and doubts that were pushed aside, kept carefully contained so that the Summer Sky Warlord could go about his day-to-day and not buckle underneath the weight of them.

It was exactly the sort thing that Jeremiah had wanted to find.

---

Wadim dreamed.

For the most part, his dreams were as boring as he was certain most thought him were. This night, however, he found himself being chased. He could never quite catch sight of what hunted him but he always heard the whispers.

Why do you do this?

Why aren't you better than them?

You will never be more than their tool.

The whispers continued, Wadim never able to escape his unseen pursuer. When he woke, sweat upon his brow despite the weather, he could not remember what he had dreamed. Only that his chest felt oddly tight and the rest of him uneasy.

It faded slowly over the course of the day but somehow he felt as if there was still a weight, one that made him rub absently at his sternum. As if something weighed upon him that he could not quite put his finger on.

That could not be pushed away from his mind.

38
Dena Nehele / if what it is isn't all we are
« on: Jul 20, 19, 12:08:36 AM »
(this thread takes place prior to the birth of rilandra vlas's son in late spring/early summer 194AP.)

There was a calmness to being around the Priest Prince that Jeremiah could appreciate. That or, just perhaps, he was more comfortable with someone who was both a Priest and had been--once upon a time--trained by his mother.

He still didn't think much about searching out that history within the tapestry of a Widow's web. It was not his business, as of now, and he already held a great deal of secrets that were his to keep. More now than ever once he had taken his steps as a Mourning Dove and that was something else altogether. The Guild Master had not called upon him, not as Aleia did, and that was for the best. As many dreams that Jeremiah could touch upon, what knowledge he had gathered, it still did not feel as if it were enough to find the answers he sought.

Some piece of it was missing.

That did not matter at the moment. What did, however, was that he had had Derrial join him for late afternoon tea. With the birth of Riley's child rapidly approaching, the time would come that the Priest Prince would no longer be required to be so attached to the Territory Court. It was not something that was in particular need of being so. at least not unless that was what the Priest Prince wanted. Jeremiah had not necessarily gone looking to see what the outcome would be. What would be, he knew, would be and there would be no way around.

So without preamble, after their drinks were poured and Jeremiah was stirring a dash of cream into his tea, he spoke.

"If you are not going to be snatched up by the Conclave," said the Black Widow Warlord Prince, "I am quite willing to offer you a more permanent position within the Territory Court." A brief pause, as he explained. "As soon the Queen will give birth and that contract will come to an end." Someone, somewhere, would likely be put off by the fact that he launched right into the point but he was a Black Widow where it mattered and that meant his mouth could--and did--run. Not without thought, no, but certainly without thinking about what the impact and reaction might be.

39
Dena Nehele / Re: Let's Try This One More Time
« on: Jul 18, 19, 04:15:27 AM »
"They've no interest in Lady Bannok, Prince. As horrible as it is to say: she was bought and sold as far as they are concerned. Her collar was removed upon her arrival to this Territory Court." Jeremiah's gaze was sharp. "I removed it myself as collars a thing that are soon to be banned entirely within Dena Nehele." The same, however, could not be said about Cassius. Though he was free of a collar, he was still a runaway slave. Such a thing was also why the Black Widow Warlord Prince wanted to put some distance between them.

"As you live now, little Healer," said Jeremiah, gaze fixing upon the Healer, "the distance is what you make it. I have listened to you, through each outburst, and while I understand a great deal," the look in his sharp blue-green eyes was telling that he did and to argue about it would not go well, "they will not do anyone any favors. You long to be an adult but you are taking your first steps in a world that is not carefully cultivated by your mother and Uncle. So do be mindful as not all will be as cordial as I am now. The world bends to those that know how to bend it and you haven't learned that yet." Which was to say there was a time and place to speak up, to counter someone, and this was not it. She was a child, yes, but she was of the Blood--an aristocrat--and such lessons were integral to being able to interact with one another without strife.

A soft breath was exhaled before his gaze softened once more and turned to Cassius. "The number of people that will help another just to help are few but we exist. Kindness for kindness's sake is, I've learned, a foreign concept to some but ..." Jeremiah shook his head. "I do wish it was one more widely known."

The topic of Cassius's Queen--of Lady Bannok--was one that Jeremiah was both looking forward to discussing and not at the same time. "You have made a place for yourself, even found work, Prince, but there is more to it than that. As I said: I believe that you need therapy. Lady Sabbah repaired a great deal of damage to your mind but that does not mean that it's all better. You still have emotional instability and that stems from more than just the Green that you wear." Which was to say that it was known the darker jewels held stronger emotional reactions.

"For me to feel comfortable with you seeing Lady Bannok I will need to see you in therapy, Prince, and to see how your mind has healed over these past few months." Very quickly a hand was held up. "As I said before: I can make arrangements for you two to see one another but not privately and so my requirements for that to happen still stand." Which was therapy and, in this case, a check over of his mind. He could not risk harm to Bannok just as much as he could not risk harm to Cassius. They could do a great deal of harm to one another and never intend it if they were not both ready to see one another.

40
Dena Nehele / Re: when dreams become reality
« on: Jul 15, 19, 08:33:25 AM »
"Perhaps accept that it will come, no matter what. That we are always in transition: from what was, to what is, to what will be." Once Jeremiah had been in a similar place, afraid of what would be and unable to recognize that it was holding in place. Quite literally so as the case had been. He had been afraid of taking the wrong step, of not doing what was right, and in that fear, he had held himself back.

It was in his acceptance of himself--the flaws and everything else that came with--that he had been able to truly move forward as a Black Widow. "... though I suppose when I walk the winding paths of the Queendom," as sometimes, yes, he did call the Twisted Kingdom a Queendom, "I have learned how to filter through everything and not let it overwhelm me." Instead of being rushed, of being swept under the great Abyssal sea of the space he knew, he flitted between what was needed at the time. "... and that trying to know everything will only lead to me being crippled by indecision and hurt those I wish to protect."

Jeremiah studied Alina, a silver eyebrow raised upward as queerly bright blue-green eyes fixed upon her face. He knew all too well that she was wandering again, that he could do--did--the same often enough, at the other paths that she might've traveled this day. "Has anyone ever asked which you would rather be? The keeper of knowledge and foresight or devoured by those very same things?"

At her question, however, Jeremiah was silent. He remained so for a smattering of heartbeats as she finished speaking before finally answering. "I do," he answered. "I believe this is the path I was meant to walk, that this is what I am meant to be. In this life, in another life, in any life where I do not lose myself to madness--to the dreams that could devour me--this is the path that is mine to walk.

"But ..." Here, Jeremiah smiled, and it would become apparent that he had been raised by a Priestess. "I do think Mother Night has something picked for us, chosen just for us, and it is our choice to follow that or to use those as a guide and reach for something else." There was a gentle pulse of his Rose, the brief scent of fresh winter's snow as he raised a hand to touch where the chip of it rested in the vine of sweetbrier necklace he wore.

"The Summer Sky waited for me on the day of my Offering. It was just there, she had put it there for me, but I had already lived a life with it in dreams. Held those memories as painful as they were, and so I turned for the warmth of my Rose to walk a path that would likely be harder and less known." His hand fell back down, Jeremiah's fingers curling gently around the slope of his tea cup's handle. "So I believe in both: chosen or guided, our choice as to what path we wish to take." It was as Black Widows that they held a more intimate knowledge of the paths available to them.

41
Dena Nehele / Re: Just want to learn about the truth
« on: Jul 15, 19, 07:37:54 AM »
Whether the dismissal was expected or not, Jeremiah's eyes narrowed upon her as she turned her back to him. Though words did not leave her lips, some of them simply not able to, the Black Widow Warlord Prince knew them all the same. The lure of the phantom that lurked in this place. It was there, in the water, a reflection of her Self.

Her mouth moved, both in the reflection and not, and he watched still as she plucked yet another orb from the darkened air.

A name reverberated in the air unsaid. It did not need to be. Was that what she had sought? No, he thought, that had not been it consciously. Subconsciously, perhaps? Did it really matter at the moment? That it was a pain they had, perhaps, not truly recognized as the deep hurt it was?

The voice that he heard was hers and not-hers, a shadow self that had been nurtured and grown within. Jeremiah only watched for another heartbeat, the air smelling of blood and viscera as the orb burned the water. She was darker than him, yes, but Jeremiah trusted in what he had been taught. The skills and talents that he had learned not only from his mentor but from the twin sister of his soul.

Jeremiah snapped forward, one breath not near her and another right there next to her. The flowers in the water flowed away from them, the orb she had been reaching for still hovering closer as it brushed along his bicep. As it did it made his form ripple and shudder, a brief glimpse of what was within.

"All of this knowledge is yours, yes," said Jeremiah, "but it will take you if you continue like this. Devour you and leave nothing else but knowledge." He did not reach for her, instead snatching the orb himself. It buffeted against his own senses, a distance flash of images and more that were not immediately decipherable.

It was not held away from her, instead offered. It was a risky gambit. "If this is what end you seek, so be it, but the Asimov," he named her then, called to who she truly was, "I know would not let herself be owned. Not by anyone, let alone a specter of knowledge." Not this strange other presence, the one that echoed within her own voice, or anything else for that matter. "What good is all the knowledge here if you can never put it to use? If you are nothing but knowledge?"

42
Dena Nehele / Re: Ere to a town you travel
« on: Jul 15, 19, 07:37:24 AM »
Jeremiah was not quite sure what to do with this Lisichya who looked at him as he did. Not with that looked, he thought, a lot like the Healer had been caught doing something either he should not be or something he did not want to be seen doing. It was only natural that he regained his form, was it not? The thought of Lisichya taking the steps in regaining the form closer to that which he saw in the deep places was appealing in more ways than Jeremiah knew how to put into words.

"Lisichya, you know I would not mind j--" started Jeremiah, only to stop as the Healer's fingers were pressing to where he knew that one scar was. The one that could not be healed away and reeked of Red. It bothered him more than he would admit and was, in some ways, worse than what had happened to his Healer while in Makoto's grasp. Lisichya was suddenly there, (because he had let himself drift again) with his hands pressed to his chest, quickly pulling his attention back.

"I-- What?" It was not the most elegant moment ever as he started walking backward with only the lightest of pressure from the Healer. He had not even thought about his scent, though Claudia often complained about his scent--psychic or otherwise--often being cloying and too much. Especially on the days when he drank a purgative to ensure he did not reek of the Twisted Kingdom. The smell it left was sometimes too sweet and then compounded by going through the areas of the market that he had ...

"Alright," said Jeremiah, with his expression now chagrined, "as I don't want to stay smelling like that. How ever can I expect you to be around me if I do?" He took another step backward before he spun on his heel and dropped a half-step back to fall into place at the Healer's side. With his work done--for the day; all that he wanted to see accomplished--he was free. Riley's son would not be born quite yet, he had no lessons with Arkadie, nothing to go over with Claudia, and Aleia had not left him a sign that she wished to see him in his capacity as a Mourning Dove.

It left the late afternoon and evening free for him to pursue his own interests for a change. To talk with the Healer about things that had been delayed long enough. With a quick glance backward, one last look at the polearm on the ground, before he looked down at Lisichya and smiled briefly before they headed inside. A quick shower would take no time at all.

43
Dena Nehele / Re: Just want to learn about the truth
« on: Jul 13, 19, 04:47:08 AM »
Within the Metaphysika Mysterium there had been many a warning. The one that came to mind now was the one that had said to be wary of the fall. It had spoken that the dive within the Twisted Kingdom was one thing but to fall--a freefall--could cause someone to lose themselves. Everything could be stripped away, lost until it was gathered up once more. What she had intended to be a dive had turned into her falling fast and deep, parts of her drifting away as she had sunk.

The blossoms floated onward, pushed along by the disturbance of the water created by his presence. Jeremiah caught sight of her, the way both her hair and form rippled as the water did, and frowned. The luminous blossoms had been all around her as if they were drawn by her existence, but his presence had scattered them. As the water flowed, the ripples slowing, the Black Widow Warlord Prince watched as they started to make their way back.

"You know me," said Jeremiah, "and I know you." A pause. "Or you did before you found yourself here." If he tilted his head just right, focused upon one of the lilac-hued flowers, he could glimpse foggy images. No, it was the light and not the flowers. Memories? Visions? Both were likely, given that she had lost as much as she had gained in coming here. It would return to her, that much he knew, but ...

"I have a way with being in places I shouldn't," the door behind him a testament to that, "and that helps me find where I'm meant to be." Did he just imply he was both supposed to be here and should not be here? Yes, he absolutely did.

"It might be best," he continued, "that you find that which you sought and instead brought you here to the deep." A hand flicked outward and though he did not touch the water, it rippled once more. When it flowed back to him, one of the blossoms brushed up against his calf. With a careful hand and too sharp nails, Jeremiah picked it up and cupped it. Bringing it to his lips, he blew air across it. The petals shivered but held, the glimmer of something visible within its core. It was familiar silver hair and strange blue-green eyes and a conversation shared over breakfast between them.

Jeremiah held it out to her. "It isn't what you're looking for but perhaps it might help you remember." Who he was, who she was. Either would be helpful. This, thought Jeremiah, was why he had run afoul both Arkadie and Claudia on the occasion for his dream wandering. Now he had control but he remembered the distant dream, the touch of Red waters, as he had floated not knowing himself until he had been called home. The difference here, however, was that he had already been predisposed and she, so far as he was aware, had only touched upon the surface.

Not that he really had a leg to stand on given how much he tended to dive right on in but that was not the point. The point was that she needed to be brought back. To gather herself and be guided back home but without the answer to what she sought, he thought it would go poorly.

44
Dena Nehele / Re: Let's Try This One More Time
« on: Jul 11, 19, 06:22:51 AM »
"If you wish to work on being normal," which Jeremiah considered overrated but understood what Cassius was getting at, "then do so but also be mindful. To push yourself, to stretch yourself thin, in trying to be normal you can set yourself back a great deal." He leveled a look at the Prince. "You can undo much of what you have accomplished, the healing that you've experienced, if you push yourself for too much too soon."

The interruption from Bellona belied her youth as much as she was trying to put forward the front of an adult. Not that he stopped her, letting Cassius work it out with his daughter. He was a quiet vanguard, watching the ebb and flow--along with the sharp spikes--of the emotions within the room. If anything had gone a direction, something uncontrollable, he would step in.

In the end, there was no need.

It did not mean that the Black Widow Warlord Prince would not speak on the subject. "Make no mistake," he said, his voice gentle but firm; Jeremiah was a man whose voice always carried and could be heard clearly, "that I do not wish to see you two separated. I believe that it's good for both of you to be together." A beat. "This will also not be forever, I hope you realize, young Healer. It will last until you come of age and claim your Offering or we no longer believe that your family wants to see you returned."

Jeremiah was quiet for a moment, letting that sink in. "I am endeavoring to avoid a worst-case scenario: that Lord Longinus and his sister--your mother--come and seek an audience with the Court. It is because of this possibility that I am doing this. With you hidden, somewhere that the Court is not aware of, then we can safely say that we do not know anything." He left out the worst potential outcome: that an audience was granted and aid given to the Longinus family due to the fact that Cassius had no say when it came to his daughter. Jeremiah had the utmost doubt of such things--that they would be told where they could, as his Queen might say, shove it--but the possibility existed; a thread that made up the weave of the future.

"Your father is right, however, in that he can do all those things he spoke of. The distance between you is only as great as you make it out to be." After all: they still had psychic threads that they could speak upon. While Jeremiah had no children that were of his blood, he had raised a child and considered her his. The idea of Sora being gone--especially when she had been younger--was not something he would have indulged as a thought.

"I will be putting you into contact with Lady Raluca Vaduva, a Black Widow." His eyes glinted impishly. "If her name is not familiar, her troupe is; Tantalus." And it would be as Tantalus was known the realm-wide as a theatre troupe that had made a name for itself by putting those that came to see their shows within the very places their stories took them.

They had--even for a few months--been in Hayll. Now, however, the primary troupe had situated itself within Bidea, wanting to put roots down in their home territory. It meant that it was only their smaller traveling troupes that visited, the meat of their performers calling the theatre here home. "After we've finished talking here, you can head there. Simply tell them that Bear sent you to speak with the Lady of Tantalus and that you’re expected."

The Black Widow Warlord Prince leaned back in his seat. "If you've any questions about this arrangement, I will answer them but if you do not ..." His fingers flicked through the air. "I will move on to discussing other matters at hand."

45
Dena Nehele / Re: the monsters that hide in the mirror
« on: Jul 11, 19, 06:19:12 AM »
Jeremiah was a quiet presence, letting Toman find a measure of calm--what little he could get--within this moment that was very much high stress for him. That mantra of he won't hurt me; he's helping and everything that followed echoed distantly. The Black Widow Warlord Prince wanted to frown, to show something of his displeasure that someone had abused and otherwise taken advantage of someone's mind, but it would accomplish nothing. It would only add to Toman's stress, not ease it, and so he kept calm. All those years of keeping himself calm, keeping his emotions in check, proved helpful when he was helping others in moments like this.

Once the Prince's permission was given, once Toman's barriers turned transparent--to his mind's eye--Jeremiah moved forward. The damage was obvious, would have been to a Black Widow untrained in mind healing, and left the Black Widow Warlord Prince with the knowledge that this had been done over the course of years. This was not something sudden, a sharp attack to break and harm his barriers and Self, but the slow erosion of someone as they were repeatedly harmed.

The small patches of tranquility, the pocket spaces that kept Toman from completely spiraling, were fragile. Jeremiah brushed a psychic hand over one, smiling at Toman's thoughts--Hank Trust was certainly a unique name--before gently reinforcing it. At the moment it was all that he was willing to do: stabilize this one bit of calm with a soft touch of Rose. Jeremiah solidified its place within Toman's mind, helped strengthen where it rested within his mindscape, and lingered there to study the rest of the wreckage once he was done.

Come here, please, called to Toman finally. Though he did not want to pull the Prince's focus to anything that was a trigger, Jeremiah did want to reinforce that which might help him not break. (Something that he knew could happen if the Prince started to spiral. His mind was only a few steps away from fracturing and that would not do.)

I need you to remember this place, said Jeremiah, guiding the Prince to the reinforced peaceful place he had found, and the feeling that you find here. Grasp it close and know that it is you and that can never be taken away. Truly, that was what it was: the shredded parts of his Self that needed time to heal. All the Black Widow Warlord Prince could do at this moment--without proper preparation--was bandage. When you feel as if everything is falling apart, that you cannot breathe and the nightmares have found you, focus yourself here.

Prepared Jeremiah could actually put the pieces of Toman’s fractured mind back to rights but that was not the case now. Now he could only help guide the Prince to a bit of stability so that he could withstand a true mind healing without potentially harming his Self further.

46
Dena Nehele / Re: A Kind of Destiny
« on: Jul 11, 19, 06:18:10 AM »
Jeremiah was beginning to wonder if Drake and himself were going to make it through the birth of Riley's son with their hands intact. Their Queen was not going to break their hands but she was certainly going to leave potential bruising, if not a considerable amount of small crescent-shaped indents from where her nails bit into their skin.

He took Riley's snapping at him in stride, continuing on as he had been with being reassuring. If either Drake or himself balked at her snapping, they'd not be able to be where they were. That and he was helpfully keeping his witty comebacks to Riley's outbursts to himself, though Drake might have heard a few of them just because he knew the other was just as amused as he was (and would appreciate them).

The only problem the Black Widow Warlord Prince had was that the ebb and flow of the emotional pulse of the room was all over the place. It might have left his head spinning if he had not made a split-second decision to simply focus upon Riley's. That was not necessarily wise either because--

Well, the echoes of her emotions and the distant pain were not that great. It would, at least, help Riley a little, especially now that she could push. "Just a little longer," he said to Riley as she was pushing, ignoring the sharp look he got. "A little longer and your son will be here." There were other words, a mimic of the proper breathing, but all that was background noise to simply being in the moment.

Truthfully, Jeremiah had known for some time the gender of the babe but had not said anything. (Not after Cristina had looked at him so summarily displeased at the mere thought her half-brother might be a Warlord Prince.) What he had not been certain of was the name of Riley's son. There were too many possibilities, though he had an idea of which were most likely. None of which mattered now as Riley continued to push, Cristina in place to help usher the newborn into the world.

Drake, called Jeremiah. It was just to get his attention, the Black Widow Warlord Prince sharing the thought. The idea was that Rose and Red alike quickly wove a shield around the Queen--Rose tighter-knit around the two of them and Riley; Red enclosing the room--so that the scent of Queen's blood was not heavy in the air. The Black Widow Warlord Prince had no doubts they could handle it but there were concerns about the others. Nick, he knew could but it would still unsettle him greatly. (Truly, the Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince had come a long way and was doing excellent at his post. Even if he was certain that some were likely not enthused with his running updates and their rather visual nature.)

"Would someone put up a--" started Cristina only to cut herself off as she realized what she wanted--a shield to hide the scent of Queen's blood--was already in progress. Her eyes narrowed as she looked to Jeremiah and then Drake. "Thank you, Princes," she said before turning her focus back to the Queen and telling her to push again.

47
Dena Nehele / Re: Let's Try This One More Time
« on: Jul 09, 19, 12:25:07 AM »
"I am well aware that you don't," said Jeremiah, watching Cassius and the way that he practically vibrated in his seat, "but if I were to lie to her then I would be no better than those that have hurt her in the past. Lies may not do physical harm but they can hurt someone emotionally and it is her emotional well being that I am seeking to protect and see grow."

The Black Widow Warlord Prince knew exactly how much this took out of Cassius. How much it made his heart ache to not just reach out for his Queen. Within all his tangled webs that he had weaved he had not seen Cassius take things into his own hands to ensure his Queen was once more within the same space as him. So far, at least, thought Jeremiah, nothing has been seen.

"It would not have offended me," said Jeremiah after Cassius drank, "if you had not taken a drink. There is no need to force yourself if it is a lingering issue for you, Prince." A sad smile flickered into place on the Black Widow Warlord Prince. "I have not had it happen as often but I have had my drink laced without my knowledge, so I do hold a measure of understanding." In the end it had been to help him, when Arkadie had poisoned his tea with her venom, but it still left him with a preference to never take honey in any drink ever again.

Jeremiah listened as Cassius launched into all that he had done in the past few days. Part of him wondered at the Prince going to work for the Silken Lady but it was his choice to continue onward. (Someday he hoped that Cassius would see that working within a Red Moon House--albeit a particularly nice one--was not the only thing he was capable of. As a Long-Lived it was especially true.)

Still silent, waiting for Cassius to finish, queerly bright blue-green eyes flicked to Bellona briefly at the mention of her lessons. "Let us talk about your daughter first, Prince," said Jeremiah. "As you have learned, Healers are rare within our territory. Not only are they simply not born but few wish to even train into the Caste. It has meant that Dena Nehele is a harsh land where even the smallest of injury can prove to be fatal."

Here Jeremiah paused, taking a sip of his tea and setting it back down. His focus went back to Bellona as he spoke again. "So, young Healer, you are someone that must be kept safe." His gaze flicked back to Cassius. "Not only because she is a Healer that wears the Opal and might one day wear the Red. Your daughter she may be, the law of the Blood says that you are not. We've no desire to see trouble arise between the Hundred Families and our Territory Court."

Leaning back into his chair, Jeremiah pressed the tips of his pointer fingers together. "To that end I've made arrangements for your daughter to stay with someone that can both protect and hide her." His hands broke apart, the Black Widow Warlord Prince holding up his hand to stop either of them from interrupting yet.

"You'll be able to visit her all that you want, Prince, and you will have plenty of others your own age to befriend, Lady." He gave them both a reassuring smile. "We will be giving her a trinket that will hide both her Caste and her Birthright from being detected." A beat passed, what he said next directed to Bellona. "You'll also have to pick another name that those outside of this room will call you." Jeremiah leaned forward in his chair, his elbows coming to rest on his thighs.

"We will also see that she gets more instruction, not just in her Caste but as befitting someone of her age." This was said to Cassius. "If you find this agreeable, Prince and Lady, then I will speak further of the subject." As in who the ally was, where she would be staying, and so on.

48
Dena Nehele / Re: Just want to learn about the truth
« on: Jul 05, 19, 04:44:10 AM »
Sleep was not an unknown concept to Jeremiah. The problem was that his sleep was often touched upon by the Twisted Kingdom. Few were the nights where he did not feel even the lightest of tugs upon his senses that something was there he should see.

With the warm weight of Lisichya at his side, it was most often the Healer's dreams that called to him. There had been a resurgence in nightmares in the aftermath of Makoto no Ariake. The Black Widow Warlord Prince was not exactly comfortable admitting how much widow's thread he could go through if he weaved his dream catching webs for the Healer. It was far more effective for him to let himself sink and follow the connection between them until he dealt with the nightmares in a more hands on manner.

Tonight, however, the Healer's dreams were quiet shapeless things. Jeremiah would not say they were necessarily happy but they were peaceful which was sometimes the best that could be had. Letting go, letting himself start to truly slip into true sleep, something flickered in the distance--the flash of a dream newly born. It was not a falling star, not some piece of the Twisted Kingdom joining with the ground once more. It was the descent of someone spiraling into parts unseen.

Jeremiah might have considered the fall a saunter, someone surveying everything that they could as they fell. Their speed was picking up, however, the freefall not controlled as they dove deep within the Twisted Kingdom. He was following after it, this perception of someone sinking into the Twisted Kingdom, before he even thought about doing so, a flaw of his if there ever was one.

At some point, the world shifted. Jeremiah was wrapped in his safe-ward, slipping easily from the place that one might call his to this deeper place of the Twisted Kingdom. Water flowed, not the Abyssal sea that he was familiar with, but instead some long-forgotten reservoir. Flowers floated along the surface of the water, a path carved out that he was able to follow. The blossoms glowed softly, providing a faint illumination that let him see that while the walls of this place stretched upward there was no ceiling that could be seen. There was only an endless darkness that greeted him.

His head tilted, pausing as he let himself get a better grasp on where dreamer might have gone. They were--she, he realized, was familiar. Someone he had sensed distantly over the past few weeks. Someone that was not content to grow into their power but pull it to themselves.

Ah.

Jeremiah sighed, letting out a breath that he didn't need to in this place, and continued onward to find the wayward dreamer. They had gone deep, far too deep for someone that was not used to such things. Here, in the darkness of the place he traveled, it would be far too easy for someone to lose their way and never return.

49
Dena Nehele / Re: first of a thousand questions
« on: Jun 29, 19, 06:54:11 AM »
"I am meant to meet with her tomorrow," as they had ongoing lessons, all to see his skill as a Mind Healer continue to grow, "so I will speak of you to her." Jeremiah had no doubt that the Warlord would enjoy Arkadie's company. Especially in light of the Caste he was training into. (Though let it be said he was not thinking about them enjoying each other's company in a more lascivious manner. Arkadie was considered both mentor and mother figure and such things were, to put it bluntly, gross.)

"Another time," said Jeremiah, "if you wish to mimic how I weave then I will show you." As he caught the look of interest and the brightening of Maseo's emotions as he studied the Widow's thread stretched taut between his fingers (they were the fingers of a pianist, strangely showing no signs of scars either). With Maseo's hand wrapped around his wrist--the Warlord able to tell quite easily that the Black Widow Warlord Prince was cool to the touch; his body temperature naturally low--Jeremiah exhaled softly.

With the next inhale the Black Widow Warlord Prince reached for Maseo, a pull upon him with familiar Rose to follow and keep close. Their eyes closed upon the office of the Steward and when they opened it was within the Twisted Kingdom. Here Maseo was no longer holding onto Jeremiah's wrist, though they were standing close as they had been sitting. Above them the sky was rose-hued, darkened in places to near black by something that looked like clouds.

The terrain around them looked as if it were incomplete. Rather: it was a place perpetually in transition. Pieces of their surroundings broke away, large chunks and wisps alike that floated off into the sky. In the distance there were incomplete buildings, endless staircases that seemingly lead right back to one another, and other signs of a world that was forever changing. Nearby, on the cliff's edge they were upon, stood a mirror with a surface that was empty and black.

When Maseo turned his gaze to Jeremiah he would find that the Black Widow Warlord Prince was a different beast entirely. Here they were that much closer to the dark and eldritch things the Blood were meant to be. His eyes, already queerly bright naturally, were now luminous and glowing within the Twisted Kingdom. As he continued to look, the Warlord would notice that there were serpentine features to Jeremiah. The hint of scales upon his flesh, the flicker of wisps--the very pieces of the Black Widow that broke off of his body, floating away only for others to come and replace them--giving rise to the curve of a tail that was both there and not.

Rose enclosed Maseo and all that remained was the lingering specter of Jeremiah's form. The Black Widow Warlord Prince moved to the edge of the cliff face, looking outward. The Abyssal sea below them calm, stretching on endlessly. Waves crashed upon the rocks, but if there was a breeze or anything of a sort, Maseo could not feel it.

"I think you'll understand," spoke Jeremiah with a smile, far too sharp fangs visible, "why this is a place easier to experience than to describe."

50
Dena Nehele / Re: Ere to a town you travel
« on: Jun 29, 19, 05:52:43 AM »
There were few things that would see him out of the Territory Court of late but most of them involved appointments that related to either his position as Steward of Dena Nehele or his being a Black Widow. Yet there were things that were more personal that could draw him out for a little while. Especially when they required that he pick something up.

His mind drifted, a common occurrence when he did not watch himself, as he was on his way back to the Territory Court. Raking a hand through his hair, he recognized that part of it was Lisichya. When the Black-Jeweled Healer drifted, swept under because of his chalice that was still in the process of being slowly--oh so slowly--repaired, if Jeremiah did not mind himself then it would reverberate along the tether between them and see him sink as well. Today was not as bad as others could be, though there was still a sense of disquiet that echoed.

It was never hard to know where Lisichya was. Even if he did not have an almost preternatural sense of the Healer's location, the uneasy whispers of some of the staff would have guided him. There were not many that would want to be around a Black Jewel who wished to train. Even if Lisichya were not as he was now, Jeremiah knew that there were far too many uncomfortable with the depths of the Healer's power.

So the practice field was largely empty--save for the guards that were just out of sight--as the Black Widow Warlord Prince arrived. The afternoon sunlight cast an eerie glow upon the field, one that would have been distracting if he had not caught sight of Lisichya going through the katas with a polearm that was far too large for his size.

"Lisichya," he called out, blinking in surprise as the Healer almost immediately stopped trying to work through his forms and moved to hide the polearm behind his back. The expression on Jeremiah's face was perplexed, bright blue-green fixed upon Lisichya and the polearm he couldn't hide if he tried (without vanishing it, at least).

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 »