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Messages - Carmine Valerio

Pages: 1
1
Glacia / Re: Maybe We Have Been Here Once Before
« on: Nov 04, 19, 11:02:04 PM »
Carmine's expression did not shift, did not change as he approached, but within his mind was already whirling at the possibilities. The things he would have to do, what might need to change, because the world as he knew it now included this Queen. It was hard to say whether or not the Darkness had been kind for giving the Light-Jeweled Queen a part of him to call hers but the Warlord Prince would find it out one way or another.

She stood out, his Queen, and it was not because of her Light Jewels. Oh, Carmine knew how to play this off. How to ensure that he lost no face. There was a reason why he was merely affiliated with some of the Courts of Glacia rather than part of one. Part of it had to do with the fact he would only sign a contract that he agreed with in its entirety (and that, of course, was not easy to find).

The Queen caught the flicker of a different sort of smile. One that reached his eyes before it disappeared away. Kostanca. Even her name was lovely, though Carmine found he liked the way that she was very clearly and pleasantly out of sorts all because of him. It was the exact sort of reaction he found delicious.

"Then it shall be, Kostya." A glance went to her minder, the escort that was nearby, but Carmine paid that little mind. Light for Light, when a Dark Jewel made a move it was to be respected. (Carmine already had a play in mind, answer to this situation if it was necessary, but it only mattered if it came up.) So the Warlord Prince lead her, as he was meant to after all, and was once again nothing but self-assured charm.

Where, came a thread of Sapphire--their conversation would be secure; Carmine would make sure of it--that touched upon the Queen, have they been keeping you that we have not laid eyes upon one another until tonight, sweet one? One of the courts he did not likely frequent no doubt.

2
Glacia / Re: Maybe We Have Been Here Once Before
« on: Oct 31, 19, 09:34:54 PM »
There was a glitter of amusement in Carmine's eyes, though that was the only place that it showed, when the Lady Lindgren took his head. "Never," said the Warlord Prince, his voice soft and quiet for her ears, "say such a thing. Own every action, all that you are, and let the world be none the wiser." It was a gentle admonishment, a Warlord Prince speaking to a Queen and reminded her of all that she was and could be.

Teaching her that handy bit of craft was no trouble at all, Carmine showing her with a half-smile. "No apology is needed," he said, her hand taken into his as Protocol dictated. His grip was warm, his presence solid and there. "Carmine Valerio, owner and proprietor of Vintage Imports." Dark blue eyes glinted. Truthfully he had all manner of connection that had ensured he had an invite tonight but that was how most knew of him. "Perhaps you should--"

It was unlike him, to not finish a sentence, but the feeling would not leave him: the weight of someone's gaze upon him. His gaze looked beyond the Queen, he found her there in the crowd looking back at him. I see you, he thought.

"Lady Lindgren, I would greatly enjoy speaking with you more if you would have me," said Carmine, his gaze flicking back to her with a charming smile, "but I must leave your presence for now." It was rather deliberate, the way he made it clear he did not want to move away from her, but he did.

Then the Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince moved through the gathered people, purpose in his stride. Never once did his gaze break away from the Summer Sky Queen, not once he was moving towards her. In another environment, another territory, he might have knelt before her once he was close enough. Here it was different, however, even as something within him all but snarled mine.

"I am Carmine Valerio, my Lady." Carmine bowed then, as the Protocol and Etiquette within Glacia guided, and offered a hand out to the Queen. "I would escort you, my Queen, if you would have me."

3
Glacia / Re: Can't be blamed, he started it
« on: Oct 30, 19, 02:52:53 AM »
Within Vaasa, so close to the Territory Court, Carmine was able to pick up the subtle shift in the political climate. It had him quietly reevaluating, taking note of everything and anything so that he would be a necessary step ahead when the time came. Ultimately it was a matter of what that time would be more than when it would be. Things had been brewing for years, his being so close to the heart of the territory enabling him to know that in a way that those who did not live within Vaasa could not.

Assuming, of course, they were not the sort that had their heads up their arses. Not that he particularly cared so long as such individuals--truly idiotic people that they were--stayed out of his way. With both Ama and his Queen to consider ...

That thought made Carmine pause, his mind flitting to the matter of Markus Niksala. He had not seen him again, not since the party celebrating the ascension of Kenna Anderson to Queen of Glacia, but the Prince was not far from his thoughts. Not when he had been so close that night and had to let him go.

The Warlord Prince let out a sigh as he carefully arranged a display of new things from Rihland. Already in his mind, he could see another plan forming, another gift to give, to bring Markus closer to him. Had he realized that night? Carmine knew the Prince was sharp and had faith that he had put it all together.

What mattered was what he did when the realization settled.

Even before he heard the chime of the bell, alerting him to customers, Carmine knew that Markus was near. His presence was one that could not be missed, not by the Warlord Prince. Seeing the Prince within the store--within his territory--sharpened his focus upon him.

"Prince Niskala," greeted Carmine, voice pitched low and warm. "Welcome to Vintage Imports." Pause. "So good to see you again." There was a different sort of intensity in his dark blue eyes as he studied the Green-Jeweled Prince. It only grew when he picked up the quick beat of the other male's heart. Here, in this place and as he was now, Markus Niskala radiated prey (for all that he was considered an equal).

The kind that was to be caught and worshipped and--

"Did something catch your eye," Carmine was playing coy despite the way his gaze dragged over Markus, "or have you found my little corner of Glacia for some purpose?"

4
Glacia / Re: An Escape Arist's Reverie
« on: Oct 29, 19, 10:52:53 PM »
Another might have missed it--that tell-tale shiver that went through the Sapphire-Jeweled Queen--but Carmine thrived upon the emotions of others. Lived upon them as if they were more important than the air he breathed (and, in truth, sometimes it felt as if they were considering they were oh so necessary for him to be able to play at the well-mannered beast). Nothing showed that he made note of it, that he even noticed, but there was a glint in his dark blue eyes that spoke of being delighted.

Perhaps it was merely because he had a customer.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Garmi," said Carmine, "as I will always help someone who finds they need more room to breathe." Which was a polite way to say that he understood how one had to sometimes get away from those that were annoying. He was a Warlord Prince, after all, and that sort of moment had a habit of happening more often than not. The question was more did he do something about it or not.

"If you'd like I can lock the shop up temporarily so that you might look at things uninterrupted." Those blue eyes glinted once more, Carmine clearly enjoying the exchange. "If only to give you as much time before your Steward likely makes an appearance." Whatever her decision, the Warlord Prince moved aside, giving the Queen room to move inward further. He watched the way her fingers brushed the air over the items, taking in each one by sight alone despite the desire to touch.

Her first remark about biting made him chuckle, a rich warm sound. "By all means, my Lady, what other way should it be?" It was so very interesting to watch her, to track not just her physical path but that of the mental ones as well as she worked through her thoughts. For the second time, which was a feat, the Queen pulled laughter from Carmine. He did not smile, not fully, but the corners of his eyes crinkled.

"Why not both?" asked Carmine. It was certainly possible to be calm and not starved. "Or perhaps the case is that whatever I am starving for your presence has satisfied." What that meant, of course, was for the Queen to decide. The Warlord Prince watched her--watched the flow of her thoughts; oh that pain, it could be hiding delights--and lingered a respectable distance away. His eyes flicked to her fingers, recognizing the movements for what they were before he finally moved closer.

"Your lucky fate and my lucky fortune then, hm?" spoke Carmine. As for her inquiry, the Warlord Prince catching that errant thought of his name, he had more to say. "My day goes slowly, though it seems to be improving." The corner of his mouth twitched upward into a half-smile. "I was checking a shipment in so no, I would say you have not interrupted terribly." A beat. "... and hopefully you will forgive this potential trespass but, truly, you should be greeted properly."

Much as she had done earlier, fingers ghosting the air of items, Carmine's did the same. Except that his hand went for hers, fingers moving to grasp but only curling around the air above as if to hold without actually touching. Then he leaned his head down before he kissed the air above her hand. There was no moment that he touched her, only tasted the air around her as he exhaled a breath.

"As for the items you seek ...," said Carmine as he straightened back up and returned to her the space he had briefly taken, "I do have some in stock, and I can give you the name of an individual that can see to your piano." There was that half-smile again. "I'd offer myself but it has been too long since I last worked on a piano."

5
Glacia / Re: An Escape Arist's Reverie
« on: Oct 16, 19, 11:51:43 PM »
There was an itch under Carmine's skin that he could not scratch on a slow day like this. Oh, he knew what it was, of course, and would even see it taken care of, but that was hours away yet and for now, he had to satisfy himself with meticulously organizing the shelves of his shop. There had been a delivery--a delightful one from Rihland no less!--and he busied himself with looking over and cataloging each item with a careful hand.

Or he was, at least, until the gentle chime of the bells let him know that he had a customer.

Carefully tucking the packing manifest away, Carmine made his way to the front of the store. He was adjusting his sleeves--everything in place and absolutely perfect--when he heard the sweet lilt of a voice. Oh, what was this? Carmine smiled as his senses had stretched out, letting him know that a Queen had made her way into his business.

Vintage Imports, while an eclectic collection of everything from antiquities to random odds and ends, was meticulously curated. The current window front display was that of instruments though they were not nearly, he noted, as unique as the woman before him.

"Greetings," spoke Carmine, sweeping into a bow, "and welcome." His dark blue eyes glinted, a sharp smile on his lips. "I promise the store does not bite, Lady." A pause. "Nor do I." Unless one asked or it was the appropriate situation.

The Warlord Prince moved a step closer. "Carmine Valerio, owner and proprietor of the establishment you have found yourself within." He watched her with a sharp-eyed gaze, taking note of every thing about her. From her emotional state to the uniqueness of her appearance. As stunning as she was, she had probably had enough people staring at her as if she was an oddity or out of place. No, to Carmine she was perfectly in place. Here, within this store that had many an item that was the only one of its kind, the Queen was beauty among its kind.

“Have you come seeking something, in particular, Lady? Or have the winds of fate brought you to my doorstep today?”

6
Glacia / Re: here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 15, 19, 01:11:43 AM »
It was not easy for Carmine to resist. The need was there, to reach out and capture that which was before him. Markus was the focus of his hunt, though this was one of a personal nature, unlike many others. Only the darkening of his eyes--turning them a deeper shade of blue--gave him away but even then only to someone who knew what they were looking for.

Someone who knew another hunter.

Yet Markus was more than just prey, more than just something to be caught and devoured. He was something else altogether, something that tantalized and teased Carmine's senses. The seduction craft that he naturally exuded--though so very delicious to his senses--only heightened what the Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince found within the Prince.

What would he taste like? Sweat, blood, every bit of him that he could take, Carmine wanted.

All of that was kept neatly tucked away, only visible in the way that the Warlord Prince's gaze swept across Markus's form. His gaze eventually focused upon his face, the rest of the room non-existent for all that he cared. The moment that the predator in the Prince rose to the surface, made itself known, Carmine could not help but smile in turn. "I wonder, my dear Prince ..." Was it telling? The way his voice dipped low and how Markus was referred to? Perhaps, perhaps not, but it was all a part of this dance between them. "What limits does your forgiveness cover?"

His hand reached out, Markus' taken in his own. Yet it was not just the proper greeting between Blood, no. Carmine's fingers grasped Markus' wrist, the tips dancing along the delicate skin of his inside wrist before he was pressing his lips to the warm skin. There was a purpose there--and the Prince would recognize it--when Carmine's gaze ever so briefly did not stay upon his face.

It was not a show of submission, not from him, but rather one of trust and respect. That, to him, Markus was considered equal. "Carmine Valerio," he said, slowly releasing his hand.

The game was still going but oh how it pushed at him. Especially as someone dared to interrupt. It was with a piercing cold look that he greeted the interloper, though nothing was said. They were here for Markus--for something official, rather than anything so pleasurable as more time in his company--and Carmine was tempted to stay and watch.

He did, for a time. His dark blue-eyed gaze followed Markus. The Prince would be able to feel the heavy weight of his focus until it faded. As much as Carmine wished to stay, he had his own business to attend to. His lovely Ama was getting bored with their mark of the evening and there was surely more time to speak with his newfound Queen ...

Besides, he had given Markus another piece of the puzzle. It was what he would do with it that mattered and Carmine could not wait to find out.

7
Glacia / Re: here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 15, 19, 12:42:22 AM »
It was a different sort of smile that Markus saw for a split second. Not the charming one, the one that was never true and merely part of his calm and controlled beast, but one that truly reached his eyes. The corners of his eyes crinkled just slightly, the smile practically changing Carmine's demeanor into something else.

Whatever that something else was for Markus to decide as he had played along. The feel of his Seduction craft buffeted against Carmine's senses, the Warlord Prince letting himself bask in it for a heartbeat. That he felt it ebb, that Markus seemed to unwind, made him enjoy it that much more.

"Only," answered Carmine, "for someone particularly observant." He tapped a finger against the flute of his glass. "She didn't even make sure your drink remained full." With that said, he was once again taking two drinks from the tray of a server as they went by and offered one to Markus again.

"Certainly, if one is going to take up your time, that is the least they could do." The crowds had already begun to thin, Carmine navigating them to an open-air balcony. "... though I admit I am surprised you spoke with her that long," his eyes glinted impishly, "as her perfume was pungent." The witch had practically giving Markus please fuck me right here, right now cues but that was beside the point.

She wasn't worthy as far as he was concerned.

"So I hope you can forgive me for my farce, Prince, and saving your senses from what would surely be a small death." This close to Markus, to the Prince he had practically been hunting, was playing havoc but Carmine was behaving. Even if every bit of his posture, the way his gaze settled upon Markus, screamed predator.

It was different, however, because this was a predator acknowledging another predator. When Carmine looked upon Markus, it was with the recognition of an equal for all that he did not say or otherwise imply it. Just as he would not give away that he was the one that had been showering the Prince in gifts.

Not yet.

8
Glacia / Re: here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 15, 19, 12:35:42 AM »
interlude
takes place during the party celebrating the new queen of glacia

The party was winding down and many had already departed. Carmine lingered still for his reasons with his lovely Ama was not too far away from him. Tonight had put many thoughts out of his mind, at least until he caught sight of Markus Niksala. The moment that he did it no longer mattered that he had found his Queen this night, that he had potentially found another that he could make use of. Now he only thought about Markus and how the Prince had found his latest gift.

Had he poured over it? Lost himself to the pages? Carmine believed he did but had no proof other than his instinct that crowed out Markus was a kindred soul.

Not thinking about it, operating on instinct alone, the Warlord Prince plucked up two drinks from a tray a server was holding. Without missing a beat, he weaved in and out of the lessening crowd towards the Prince. Markus held a drink that was empty and looked to be absolutely bored with whoever it was that he was talking with. Carmine might have even known who the person was but he did not particularly care at that moment.

All he cared about was Markus Niksala and sating the need in him to be just a little closer for a little while. It would play havoc with his instincts but control was something he had. At least enough to be so close to someone he was interested in and keep it to himself. (As one had to be good at the deception of the craft powered kind when they were in his business.)

“I do not mean to intrude, Prince,” said Carmine, charming smile in place and gaze focused entirely on Markus, “but may I finally lure you away to speak as you said we might earlier?” There was no attention paid to the individual Markus was with (who was, Carmine noted, not even someone with enough of a role in a court within Glacia that he cared).

Instead, the Warlord Prince held out one of the fresh drinks he had brought to Markus for him to take. (If one were going to occupy the Prince’s time then they would see to his needs, which at the moment including ensuring he had a drink. That this person with him couldn’t even do that was aggravating and proved they weren’t worthy of the time they were getting.)

“I even brought you a fresh drink in hopes that it would tilt things more in favor of such.” The glint in Carmine’s eyes, a brilliant blue so very close to the Sapphire of his Offering, was one that promised Markus would enjoy himself if he played along with the farce.

9
Glacia / Re: here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 14, 19, 10:16:15 PM »
the third gift
have you figured it out?

He knew the moment the flowers were picked up, the watch-ward triggering and then fading away. The only craft upon the flowers had been a preservation spell, one that dispersed once they were within Markus's hands. Eventually, they would all wither and die, as was the way of the world, save for the single bloom of a white clover. That one stayed fresh, untouched by time.

Carmine was pleased with the fact that the flowers had been accepted. Did Markus put them somewhere to enjoy them? To look at them and think about what they meant along with the other gift? It was a good thing that he had patience, that he was not so impulsive as he had been when he had been younger. The Warlord Prince wanted to simply reveal himself but that would be an end to this game. He was not ready, not yet.

After a meeting with one of the members of the Territory Court First Circle (someone who had, over the years, made use of his particular skillset), Carmine made a detour to drop off another gift. This one was rather personal, though he had made sure that there was nothing within it that could be tied to him (save for, perhaps, the neat and tidy handwriting).

It was a book that Markus found this time. There was no hint of caste or jewel, nothing to let Markus know the identity of his gift-giver. What there was was a dark sense of pleasure, of delight, a lingering emotion that slowly faded. The subject was the anatomy of a body, a breakdown of every system, organ, and otherwise. What notes were within the book were details in how to use this knowledge to their advantage; to open someone up without killing them; to do a great many things and do so well.

He left the book after brushing his fingers against the well-loved and well-taken care of spine. It was, as far as he was concerned, going to a better home.

Would Markus understand the meaning behind this gift? The intimate knowledge of how he thought, how he worked? There was so much more than that and he knew Markus would appreciate that.

10
Glacia / Re: here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 13, 19, 12:29:40 AM »
the second gift
another surprise for a dark mind

Carmine had watched from a distance as Markus had found what was left behind. Satisfied that it was discovered, he had turned away from the scene and carried out the rest of the day's work. Even as he was very much engaged in this particular chase his work could not be pushed aside.

There was someone waiting with Almandine. Someone that needed to learn that they were not as safe as they thought themselves. As he worked, however, he found himself thinking about Markus and the knives. Would he use them immediately? Would he look them over and wonder? They had been taken, at least, and that meant that he was free to continue this little game.

Blood splattered his cheek as he worked, Almandine leaning up and brushing it away. Carmine smiled at her. She truly was a gift. Sometimes one had to hurt another to make the point known and she always helped with the messes.

The question was what gift would be best for Markus next (a thought that frequently made itself known even as he worked). The knives had stated a very particular intent, especially with what they were and being a set, but now he needed to go a step further. Carmine patted the cheek of the Light-Jeweled male in front of him. Some might have considered it a sympathetic and understanding pat if they did not know how much the Warlord Prince did not feel as others did.

Once the male had given up the information necessary and it was verified, Carmine tilted his head to study him. So many years it had taken to craft this necessary reputation. To gain the trust and respect of those that were part of the Glacian political stage to even let him hunt within the territory. Except that Veritas, this day, would not be ending a life. It was not theirs to judge this one for their transgressions. That was for another to decide.

Carmine even told the dull-eyed male such.

Not that he seemed to listen. The pretty flower motif etched upon his collar gave the Warlord Prince an idea.

So the next gift that Markus found, left again just so that he could find it, was that of flowers. They were carefully arranged, dark blue salvia flowers and paler colored hyacinths gathered around a single red carnation and one white clover flower.

I think of you, said the salvia flowers, and the games we can play, said the hyacinths. The single red carnation spoke of the admiration held but it was the clover that was perhaps the most meaningful.

Think of me, it said.

After all, that was what Carmine wanted but mostly he wanted Markus to know that he was someone worth looking at, worth chasing. The Prince deserved nothing less, not for all that he was. Did he know that the Warlord Prince wondered. Well, if he did not, then he would make him aware.

11
Glacia / here comes the feeling, but not the words
« on: Oct 07, 19, 02:38:40 AM »
the first gift
an unexpected delight

Carmine could not remember the last time that he had been interested in someone like this. Not since his Alma but then Alma was his other half, practically a piece of himself, and she did not count as one did not count things that were part of you. He had not expected that his trip would lead to his discovering of a kindred soul but he delighted in it.

Markus Niksala was a gift to the world and Carmine was beginning to think that he might have been a gift to him from Mother Night as well. It was not his appearance that caught him, no. Nor was it the way he smelled, psychic or otherwise, but his demeanor. The way that he carried himself, the way that he looked at people whenever he was certain no one was watching. Markus Niksala was a predator, a hunter among prey, and Carmine felt as if he were called.

So he began to follow him. Unseen, of course, and unnoticed. Carmine did nothing to alert him, did nothing that might draw his attention. The Warlord Prince had to be sure, he had to know without a doubt, that this Prince was what he had been looking for. Someone else whose heart beat a heavy, sticky pattern of the blood of others that had been shed.

It meant that Carmine would begin to leave him little gifts. Presents and trinkets that might have seemed fortuitously placed and just where they needed to be for Markus to stumble upon them. Most likely he would think nothing of such things. At least not until the first true present, something given with thought and intent.

There was no message attached but there was a feeling. One that would curl in the pit of Markus’s stomach the moment that he opened the soft leather and ran the tip of his finger down the smooth metal of one of the blades that were contained within. It was a dark feeling, one that would call to him.

The message was clear as that feeling faded: Do you want to play?

Someone was watching, someone was waiting, but whomever it was was so very interested in the things that Markus did and wanted to encourage him.

12
Glacia / Re: Echoes Of Time Unfold
« on: Jul 11, 19, 06:20:49 AM »
"Perhaps, I do," said Carmine, "or perhaps I have seen my fair share of things that cannot be explained by the confines of our known world." That glint was still in his eyes, impish and mysterious. Not that he would elaborate on what his statement meant, not yet, and Riia had asked him about a particular box. He took a step closer, the tip of his forefinger running along the top of the box. It was almost a caress, the touch of his finger to the box, both possessive and fond.

"I did," he answered, "though its story is not nearly as interesting as the other." His gaze fixed upon her. "I was never able to confirm where it was from. The markings do not seem to point to any particular territory culture ..." A soft sigh escaped. "Though I would be careful in handling it, Lady Lindgren," said Carmine, "as the Warlord who passed it into my care said that it was cursed." That sharp smile of his was back. "The story of the box, as he told it, was that a Priestess of some power and skill captured something evil and trapped it within. Should the box ever be opened, great harm and malady would befall the person that had dared fate."

The Warlord Prince inclined his head towards Riia. "Would you be willing to dare fate and see what is within?" Truly, even without the story, the box was elaborate and well-made. Its craftmanship was clearly of someone by the Blood with how precious gemstones had been embedded into the wood and metal.

"Mm ..." His expression turned thoughtful. "To be honest, Lady, I have gathered many a tale and even more possessions. A Warlord Prince I may be," which was to say he was possessive and inclined to not share what he considered his, "I found that I could not just keep all of this to myself even if my preference would be to gather it all together as if I were a great beast guarding my hoard." With his looks, the sharpness of his gaze, it was a believable statement.

"So I suppose," continued Carmine, "you might say it was the stories." The corner of his mouth twitched upward, the smallest hint of a smile.

13
Glacia / Re: Maybe We Have Been Here Once Before
« on: Jun 16, 19, 09:31:11 AM »
The words were pretty, so pretty. Just as the Queen that spoke them was. Yet that meant little to Carmine. No, what he was interested in was her actions. What she did going forward, how her Territory Court guided Glacia in this time of need. Just how would the Dark Religion, the absolute faith of those Darkly blessed by Mother Night within the frozen land, would continue on. Would the whispers grow? Would they lessen? That was what Carmine cared about.

Only time would tell.

Carmine, thankfully, had patience.

A scent was growing closer, Carmine noted. One that spoke of the pages of a book; that said Queen. Without truly looking as if he were watching her, the Warlord Prince did not bother to move as she was clearly on a course for bumping into him. He let his attention flick back forward as both felt and heard the slosh of liquid upon his suit.

"Only a little," said Carmine, glancing down at where the liquid was soaking into his clothing. "Nothing to worry about." With a flick of his fingers, the liquid was dispersed, the fabric of his morning dress coat dry once more. "See? Everything is quite alright. No apologies necessary." Her anxiety was something malleable, something that he could use. Never would Carmine not take advantage of something like this. Not when it was a Queen.

"I'd be more concerned about your dress, Lady," said Carmine, lifting a hand towards her. "Would you permit? I know a thing or two about cleaning up such things." In the lighting of the room, the blue of his eyes seemed endless as they focused upon the Queen. "A necessary skill when one has traveled as much as I have." Somewhere, he knew, was his Ama. She was not that far away, getting them drinks, and then she would return.

"I simply do not want to presume and do such if you are familiar with the craft."

14
Glacia / Re: Echoes Of Time Unfold
« on: Jun 16, 19, 09:26:52 AM »
The Warlord Prince smiled at that squeak, only the faintest of crinkles at the corners of his eyes appearing as he did so. Carmine aged well, after all, much like any good and proper alcoholic beverage. "I am glad you think so," he replied to the Queen, that smile staying for all that it was only the softest upturn of his lips.

It was a mysterious smile. What it hinted at, what mystery was known, was something that was Carmine's all alone. "Well ..." He glanced back to the shelves and then to the flustered Queen. "Some I acquired when I was still traveling and haven't found the right home to send them to." He was a Warlord Prince after all and he would only part with something if he thought it was going to just the right home. "Admittedly I don't travel nearly as much as I once did, fond as I am of this land."

His head tilted to the side, an eyebrow quirked up at Riia's words. That she could not meet his gaze, that it only made her flush more when she briefly did, was not missed. Right now, however, he was having fun. "I would offer that within myth is often a small kernel of truth. There are, after all, lands that we cannot access, places that do not welcome us, and we know nothing of what exists within them.

"Until not so long ago even Askavi--pardon, Rihland--was not a place so welcoming to those traveling through until a scant few years ago." With the bottle in Riia's hands to hold for the time being, Carmine turned his attention back to the shelves and pulled down another. This one contained what looked like sharp fangs and hand similar handwriting on it marking it much like the one already brought down. It was merely teeth instead.

"I didn't personally attain it, I admit, but rather I got it from an explorer who swore to its validity. She swore to me that she had been traveling the edges of our known world, trying to find things never seen. Much like me." That small smile of his was back as his eyes cut towards the Queen. "She had been traveling through a forest, had gotten herself lost and could not get her bearings. There was no wind for her to reach for, nothing that could guide her, when she heard a rumbling growl behind her."

Here was when Riia would hear the faintest noise. It was so low it was barely audible but gradually it grew. "It became louder and louder until a bear came lumbering out of the darkness and attacked her." When the noise faded, with a snap of Carmine's teeth and a predatory smile, it was clear it was him doing a growl for the purposes of the story. "Right as she thought she was about to die, another beast--a cougar--jumped upon the bear. Fought with it and sent it running." A chuckle escaped. "She was lucky, to be frank, as she passed out from fright and injury. When she woke both beasts were gone save for a blood trail. It was in following it that she found those claws and teeth."

His eyes glinted as he finished. "The reason why she swears it was a kindred was that she believed that it was the cougar that then guided her out of the forest." Carmine paused. "That and she said that it spoke to her, along a thread, but as she was suffering from blood loss ..." His shoulders lifted up in an elegant shrug.

15
Glacia / Re: Echoes Of Time Unfold
« on: May 08, 19, 10:15:34 PM »
Business was slow.

That was not actually true but it was slow enough that Carmine was finding himself indulging in carefully arranging a display within the store. Within the back, Alma was doing the bookkeeping--it was her turn this month, after all--which left Carmine to critically eyeing a recently arrived shipment of antiquities.

Such things were enough to briefly distract his thoughts from the darker delights he often had upon his mind. With the ascension, and following party, of the new Queen of Glacia, the Warlord Prince was considering his options. He had made a wealth of connections, had customers that took advantage of his services to get themselves something unique and one of a kind from outside of Glacia. He also had a smaller selection that made use of his more particular abilities.

The same people that often believed in Glacia's Dark Religion with a fanaticism that put most to shame. Zealots were an interesting lot but also easy to make use of, blinded as they were. In the end, the celebration had brought certain things to light. Certain things that left him reevaluating his stance on things. It did not take a genius to see that change was on the horizon.

What Carmine was not sure of--so far--was who would be coming out on top. Oh, he would no matter what but- Even without the jingle that alerted him to someone coming into the shop, he would have still sensed the arrival of the Queen. He spent far too much time with a loose awareness of the psychic presence of the world around him.

Riia Lindgren had been an interesting woman to talk with. More than that: she had the right sort of connections that made Carmine consider it a good idea to befriend her. Despite the fact that he had no plans, had no ulterior motives, it did not take away that the more friends in high places someone had the better they did. Such a thing was a common fact.

Setting down the shipping manifest, Carmine moved through the shelves that housed many intriguing sights. He could have navigated by scent alone if it was needed, knowing exactly where the Queen had found her attention stolen. At the celebration, the Warlord Prince knew that she had been interested, though not necessarily in a sexual manner. She was stuck in her own head, that had been easy to tell without his particular talents.

Someone that longed to shed their skin and be who they truly were but unable to take that first step. Carmine did so enjoy helping people take those steps to become what they were meant to be. So he had invited her, knowing full well that the Queen longed to travel and promising Vintage Imports would help her escape for a little while with all that it held.

Riia Lindgren was coming to pursue academic and intellectual conversation despite the more neglected aspects of her psyche were potentially interested otherwise. Carmine struggled with his emotions, with feeling, but it did not mean he did not understand others and their motivations.

"I take it," said Carmine with a smile, "that the store meets with your approval, Lady Lindgren?" The Warlord Prince swept into a bow, a charming smile on his face. He came out of the bow, adjusting the sleeves of his suit as his gaze focused on her. It was the same as it had been at the party. A predator in repose, watching; a Warlord Prince that kept himself contained.

"I hadn't been sure you would take me up on coming by," admitted Carmine, slipping forward and pulling down a bottle to hold and look at before passing it to the Queen. The contents looked to be claws, carefully preserved. Most of the handwriting on the label had faded but three words were still legible: kindred; cougar; claws. Whether they were real or not ... Well, it couldn't be told by the glint in Carmine's eyes that was for sure.

16
Glacia / Re: Maybe We Have Been Here Once Before
« on: Apr 02, 19, 11:39:38 PM »
"You are absolutely stunning," said Carmine to Alma. She was just that: absolutely stunning in the dress that she had picked for the evening. It matched well with the elaborate collar that was about her neck, his fingers running along it before he pressed a kiss to her cheek.

There were more words shared, a conversation between Warlord Prince and Black Widow, but those were for their ears alone. So once the carriage had arrived--rather, when their place in the arrival line was up--Carmine was stepping out with his lovely Black Widow companion. He did not bother checking the sleeves of his morning coat, knowing that everything was in place; Carmine's suit was absolutely perfect. Alma was with, though she moved as was her place as a light jewel in service to its darker master.

While this gathering was to celebrate the new Queen, Carmine saw it as an opportunity to get a feel for what the political landscape would be like. The funeral had given him an idea but this event, it would let him know. With so many people--so many minds--he had no doubt that tonight would see many trying to play the particular games to curry favor and otherwise earn a place within the new Territory Court. Would he? Perhaps but then he preferred to be the one whispering in an ear, guiding a situation. Or directly taking a person's mind in hand to correct. Either way, such work required that he was not someone in the spotlight.

His connections to that of the former Territory Court, along with others of the various Courts of Glacia, had seen him with an invitation and it would not be put to waste. Tonight, he thought, there was a great deal to be seen and learned. There were many Queens gathered--it was a night for them, after all, and especially Lady Kenna Anderson who now ruled the Territory--and once within the building he found himself taking note of them. Alma was close to him, a pretty thing that no one ever understood was just as dangerous, if not more so than him. Carmine made his rounds with her, a quiet thread of dialogue shared between them as he took note of quirks and otherwise with sharp blue eyes.

People gave away so much at parties like this. Not just with their loud--to him--thoughts but with the smallest actions, the most absentminded gestures. The slight twitch of fingers of a Prince was not just a nervous tick but something else. The way a Queen's eyes glanced about said she was not at all interested in the courtier that was talking to her but another that she was trying to find among those gathered. There were things to be learned long before minds were touched upon and Carmine did so like watching people.

Even at a party.

So his gaze continued to sweep the festivities, the corner of his mouth twitching up into a smirk as he caught sight of the fingers of one guest briefly sought out another and tugged. A liaison? Perhaps but they disappeared out through one of the doors that lead to the side hallways the room opened to. Carmine was within his element, moving through the other guests with his Black Widow, and planned on enjoying the night to its fullest.

17
Glacia / and i'll compensate your greed
« on: Mar 23, 19, 08:24:17 PM »
Carmine was not an uncommon sight where he was currently, intending to meet a client. The Warlord Prince had made a name for himself within the courts of Glacia, a charming Sapphire-Jeweled male that had found a calling within the cold territory. More than that, to some, he would admit that the Dark Religion spoke to him. Explained so much that he had always wondered about. On the surface, Carmine was a merchant. He provided unique and rare antiquities and otherwise to those that wished to buy them. To his clients, he brought rarities that could not be found any other way.

All that, quite frankly, was complete and utter bullshit. What actually mattered was that the Dark Religion, Glacia's silent war that came because of it, was actually good for his business. Carmine found that within the courts of Glacia there were those that wanted to make use of the unique skill sets that belonged to Veritas, not that of his cover business.

What he had never expected - years ago when it had happened - was to meet the acquaintance of one of the Ebon-Grays. Prince Aksel Winterton was an interesting man, one that Carmine had watched carefully when they had first met. The Prince was a man who recognized within the Warlord Prince those things that made him far, far different than the others.

Such a person was an individual that was meant to be ally, not enemy, and so that began a rather lucrative business arrangement between the two of them. Once, at least, Aksel had realized the value there was to Carmine. There was every chance that they should have immediately disliked one another, given their personalities, but they got along well instead. Well enough that Carmine never particularly minded if he got a last minute request to be seen that would see his entire day and schedule out of sorts.

The smile upon Carmine's face as greeted a servant was one that reached his eyes. He watched as the servant kept cutting their eyes back to him, their face warming. It was rather predictable, to be honest, but then that was his life, was it not? Knowing the predictable nature of those around him. The surface thoughts of the servant were obvious, barely requiring that he even touch upon his talents.

"Thank you," he said, charming to a fault, as the servant bowed and left. Once alone, Carmine turned his attention to the room and perused the bookshelves while waiting. Nothing was touched, of course, as that was a matter of respect. The other part of it was that it was simply part of the facade, the act, the actions that he went through so that the rest of the world never realized how much he simply did not care or operate as they did.

Besides: it was far more interesting to think on what it was that had Aksel calling for him today. It had been a couple of weeks since he and his beloved Alma had had a project. With all the recent turmoil, the death of the thrice-blessed Elisif Brendan, it should have not been a surprise. Then again ... Carmine truly did struggle sometimes with finding it in himself to care. Oh, he could put on the facade, truly, but that did not mean he actually did.

That was his secret, of course.

18
Glacia / Re: Carmine Valerio
« on: Jan 31, 18, 10:46:23 PM »
Oh, Markus ... The games I have planned.

19
Glacia / Carmine Valerio
« on: Jan 31, 18, 08:26:47 PM »
The Basics

Character Name: Carmine Valerio
Nicknames:
Age and Birth Year: 42 (b. 151AP)
Race: Short-Lived, with ⅛ Mixed Long-Lived
Caste: Warlord Prince
Birth Territory: Little Terreille
Home Territory: Glacia

Birthright Jewel: uncut Opal
Offering Jewel: uncut Sapphire (free slot purchased)

Role: Specialist
Faction: Veritas

Appearance

Play By: Maiko Andara
Distinguishing Features:
From his height of six foot four to blue of his eyes and the color of his skin that hints at his ancestry, Carmine cuts a striking picture. It's his smile that is truly stunning, though few ever see it, and it can light up an entire room.

Personality


Personality:
Sharp-eyed, cunning, and with little patience to suffer fools and otherwise, Carmine is a Warlord Prince that knows himself through and through. In full view of the public, Carmine carries himself well and finds that the perceptions (and misconceptions) of his caste aid him more than anything else. He takes delight in being regarded as something dark and dangerous, so easily pushed to the edge, because it allows him to operate as he does. Not afraid of making it clear that a line has been crossed, that someone has earned his anger, Carmine will quickly make his ire known by taking someone in hand. What he does then, be it a verbal or physical lashing, all depends on the behavior of the individual.

True control is not something that known to him, unbonded as Carmine is, but he has managed a facsimile of it through the years courtesy of his particular skill set and habits. When it comes to intelligence gathering, gaining knowledge from the mind of an individual, the Warlord Prince is truly talented. The brutal nature of his caste shines through as he is relentless in his pursuit of an individual, finding thrill in the stalking and hunting of a target before taking them down. Within his grasp, he then lets loose and the violent desires of his jewels and caste find release in his work.

It is his own capability in handling and navigating the mind, plus the addition of his Black Widow partner, that enables him to continue onward should a target be required returned alive and none the wiser. In those cases where it does not matter? Carmine truly gets to let go of the reigns, to sink into the darkness of all that he is to savor the moment.

Such productive work and activities are what enable Carmine to play the part of the well-mannered beast around the population at large. He is charming to a fault, more than capable of navigating the social and political waters of the territory, and does so with ease even if he is another shark within already bloodied waters. Never is he without that edge to him, that knowledge that he is a Warlord Prince, darkly blessed, and should not be trifled with.

The only time that another Carmine is seen is within his personal life. This side of him is guarded against most discovering because it is the source of some confusion within him, even sometimes seen as a weakness that he would gladly be without. While he fundamentally understands emotions, as one must in his line of work, he struggles with actually letting his real feelings be seen, limited as they can be save for his anger. They are a weakness, a part of him that he would rather not be, but they cannot be denied. So he dulls this by only letting them out with those that are his. In those private moments, when Carmine is alone with someone trusted, he is able to let go.

Carmine's sharp-tongue is softened, that predatory gait not so prominent, and his gaze more tender as he takes the time to enjoy those that he desires to spend time with. Such individuals that see this side to him are rare and kept close, as not many are able to contend with the truth of what Carmine is. Even those that he has taken to bed may not know him for who he truly is, only able to claim that they have experienced his sexual hunger and nothing more than that.

The truth is that even Carmine longs for more than just one person who understands him. He craves to have even just one more person that could be considered an equal. This is what often spurs him forward, keeps him moving from place to place never satisfied with what he finds. Within the Warlord Prince is a need to know and be known in turn, though some part of him thinks that it may never be the case. Is it even possible that there exists someone out there that he does not need to see changed in some way? Until then he contents himself with his work, with his beautiful Alma, and continuing to slate his thirst upon those that have fallen within his sights as prey.

Likes:
  • His Work & Projects - Carmine is a problem solver, the Warlord Prince that one would want on the job when they say it cannot be done, that a group cannot be swayed or that a person’s mind cannot be changed. He enjoys his work and delights in being able to bend and direct the wills of those around him; to do exactly what they say cannot be done. It takes a skilled hand to do what he is capable of, especially without it being so easily noticed or tracked, and Carmine takes pride in the fact that what he does, he does so well.
  • People Watching - Not always the most sociable person, especially so as a Warlord Prince, Carmine instead enjoys sitting back and watching people. There is so much to learn, to gain insight into, as he watches people going about their lives. That it satisfies his predator's need to watch and pick out prey is just another thing about it he enjoys. It is also one of his preferred ways of gathering intel and it is also what enables him to carry out his work as most do not even realize how much they give away when they idle or when they do something as simple as chitchat. With their minds otherwise occupied, he is able to slip right in.
  • Almandine - Beautiful Alma, lovely Alma. More than a friend, beyond even a lover, she is his pride and joy; his magnum opus. She is the one thing that has weathered the years from his youth, always by his side, and he cannot imagine what his life would be like without her. Not that he ever worries about such because where he goes, so too does Alma, because true friends never leave one another.
Dislikes:
  • Being Touched - Touch and contact may be something some Warlord Princes need but Carmine finds that he abhors it. Unless you are his, or likewise are permitted to do so, touching is a one-way ticket to finding yourself put down. Carmine is quick to lash out at an individual if they do not take the verbal warnings and otherwise he gives out.
  • Disruption - With so many carefully calculated plans and otherwise going on, Carmine does not take kindly to any sort of disruption while he is working. While he might forgive an interruption if there is a reason, in most cases disrupting his work or otherwise diverting his attention results in an irritable Warlord Prince right in your personal space.
  • Pretentious Nitwits - Nothing is so aggravating as those individuals who believe themselves greater than they are. The ones who think they are worthy of all that Mother Night has created but have little to nothing to show for being worthy of it. Carmine takes particular delight in tearing such individuals to pieces and particularly enjoys the moments where they just can’t quite believe that he was ever affronted in the first place.
Fears:
  • Losing Mental Acuity - It is his own sharp mind, his own intelligence, that enables him to act as he does. Were Carmine’s mind to become compromised, to start to fail, it would be a worst case scenario. As someone who spends a large deal of time perusing the minds of others, he knows how to recognize the signs of such and keeps tabs on his own state of mind. Yet it does nothing to stop the fear that something could happen one day. After all: he does not know what his parents would have been like had they grown into their old age, so what awaits him is unknown.
  • His Fall - The likelihood of this is nonexistent, Carmine extremely effective at covering his tracks and otherwise ensuring that there is absolutely no method of tracking him or his work. That said fears are often irrational and cannot be reasoned with, He would be a fool to ignore the whisper in the back of his mind that says be careful, be mindful, and never be found out or caught. There is a Price for everything and with every passing year he continues to raise it but as far as he is concerned Mother Night is the only one who can claim it from him.
  • Almandine’s Safety - Beloved Alma is collared and kept close, as she is meant to here within Glacia, but Carmine does worry about her safety. As she is near and dear to him, he goes to considerable lengths to keep her safe and protected (even if she is quite able to protect herself, Black Widow that she is). Yet within Glacia, those who are seen as not favored are sometimes considered lesser are treated poorly and worse and Carmine wants no such attention to fall upon her. Not when she is the most important treasure that he owns.
Craft Strengths:
  • Mind Delving - Years of practice and otherwise has enabled Carmine to be adept at slipping through someone's mind quickly and efficiently, leaving behind little trace. With his knowledge of how the mind and memory work, the Warlord Prince specializes in being able to locate and isolate relevant memories or information. This leads to an almost uncanny comprehension of people and their motivations and is extremely useful for securing himself with an individual or group as necessary.
  • Compulsions - Subtle and longer lasting than others of the same jewel rank, Carmine's compulsions are things of art. Once within an individual's mind he is able to use his skill in mind delving along with compulsions to shift an individual's perception of their memory. With the proper phrasing and application of compulsions, what was once perceived as a good memory - under his influence - becomes a bad one or vice versa as necessary. This enables him to use further compulsions to shift the individual’s opinion or thoughts to where he wants. In most cases, this requires him to periodically refresh the compulsions but this talent particularly shines when he works in tandem with Almandine turning it truly insidious.
Craft Weaknesses:
  • Warlord Prince Craft - With all the focus that Carmine has put upon his mental capabilities, his skills with even the most basic of Warlord Prince craft have atrophied to nothing at all. He is not at all capable of channeling his rage into others, cannot seem to mark a target with a touch of his jewel power, and struggles when it comes to fights that see the odds against him and multiple enemies around. It has forced him to pull out of situations, more often than not, and ensured that unless he knows for sure he can win with mental skill alone he may not press an issue for concern of a potential physical fight that might see him losing.
  • Physical Manifestation of Craft - Capable of using craft that remains invisible, such as telekinesis or shields, Carmine cannot - despite all the attempts to learn - manifest or coalesce his jewel strength into a physical form. This means that he cannot call forth power bolts or witchfire or other similar, and quite basic, types of craft. Trying to do so results in exhaustion at best and a blinding headache at its worst.
Life Story

Family:
Mother: Fiore Valerio (45 - d. 172AP) - witch - Rose to Purple Dusk*
Father: Rainieri Valerio (52 - d. 172AP) - Prince - Summer Sky to Purple Dusk*

Companion: Almandine Bone (41 - b. 152AP) - Black Widow - Yellow to Summer Sky

* selected jewels
** rolled jewels

History:
While his father might claim Glacian ancestry, Carmine can claim no such thing. His mother - Fiore, a native of Little Terreille - was fixated upon by a dark jeweled Dhemlanese Prince (barely such, for he was only ¼) for his Rut and, in the aftermath, was with child. While contraceptive brews and otherwise were a common practice among the population, they were not something that Fiore concerned herself with. The reason was a simple one: Rainieri was unable to have children, despite the influence of many Healers. So while many might have not seen the pregnancy through, Fiore and Rainieri seized the chance for what it was.

They would have a child and raise him as if he was the child of their union. So when the time came for Carmine’s Birthright Ceremony that became a truth as Rainieri was given his paternity, finally a true family within the eyes of the Blood at last. Yet Carmine’s Opal Birthright was somewhat troubling with his Warlord Prince caste. There was something not quite right about their son that they could not place their finger on. He did not have the normal reactions that a child his age should have. Carmine watched all that went on around him with a predatory glint to his eyes but disinterested at the same time.

The only time his reactions seemed normal was when someone managed to trigger his anger as a growing Warlord Prince. Then - and only then - would Carmine lash out, every bit the frustrated and agitated young child that he was tempered by his caste. There was only one individual that seemed to be spared his temper and that was the child of Quinia and Cordovan Bone, Almandine. She was barely a year younger than Carmine but they had been inseparable from even before their Birthright ceremonies. The young witch was the only calming influence upon the Warlord Prince, able to put a hand upon him and refocus his ire.

Due to this there were talks, of course, between the families that they might eventually wed when the time came. Those talks solidified more when, not long after her thirteenth birthday, Almandine’s snake tooth came in. Carmine was enamored with Almandine even more, especially once her lessons began as a Black Widow. While he had no desire to walk the paths of the Spider (he was content, thank you very much, that it was Almandine’s place to be), he did find interest in that of the mind. When she came back, speaking to him about the mind, what she had learned, his focus was stolen.

It was from that moment forward that the Warlord Prince began practicing and working upon his own abilities. There had always been something fundamentally wrong with Carmine, something that made him look at all others, save for Almandine, as if they were things to be used or otherwise manipulated. So as she grew as a Black Widow, Carmine grew into something far more insidious.

He started with his parents Fiore and Rainieri. To Carmine they were weak, ruled by their emotions, and flawed in so many ways. For a little while, as he began, Carmine thought that he might have been able to make them better. After all, they were lighter than him and it was so very easy to break into their minds. First was his father, who was not even truly the male that sired him, and Carmine found him wanting. Looking over his thoughts, his mind, Carmine found that his will was practically non-existent. It was easy to weave his Opal through his father’s mind, to make him forget what had happened.

Then he turned to his mother, repeating the process. Over the next few months, Carmine learned to hone his abilities, especially when it came to delving within the mind of another. With their minds already opened to him, it was easy to pick up their surface thoughts when he went looking. Yet throughout that he never saw a way to make them better, to make them more than they were. It left Carmine itching to look within others, to move beyond them.

Yet he did not account for one thing, something he would never do again: his darling Almandine. Closer and closer to the time of their Offerings, she had truly come into her own as a Black Widow and recognized the signs within Carmine’s parents. It was after confronting him, pushing Carmine into a fit of rage, that he used his skill to break through Almandine’s barriers and into her mind.

... and it was exquisite. The mind of a Black Widow was like no other and Carmine did not find it wanting. What he found instead was one word that had flitted through her mind: monster. The word did not even register, completely unfathomable to Carmine. How could he be a monster when he simply wanted to understand?

So Almandine became his first true project. The process was not an easy one, it took time, effort and keeping Almandine with him. With mind delving and compulsions at his fingertips, refined from use on his parents, he was able to at least put her under his thrall. As she was always with him, never far, the need to refresh what he kept upon her was never a worry and he grew more aware of the length of time before such faded. The emotional trauma of such an attack lingered but then what did it matter? She was with him and he could smooth things out over time.

When it was done, Almandine looked upon him with not horror but wonder. With more love and understanding than there had been before because he cared for her so. How ever had he survived all these years with parents that did not understand him? Carmine now had the perfect partner, one that would always be by his side. The problem was, of course, that if Almandine had noticed his parents then others probably did as well. Staging their deaths as an unfortunate break-in by Jeweled Blood murderers was far too easy.

Covering their tracks was the harder part but they managed it with the Valerio home burned to smoldering ruins, done by the attackers to ensure there were no tracks. With his Sapphire in hand, Carmine was the only heir to his family and all the money that that entailed. He still had no home, of course, but the Bone family was quick to offer him a place to stay. Especially since he was so kind and attentive to their daughter for all that he was a Warlord Prince, their tendencies well known.

It did not take long for Carmine to get that itch again, however, as he watched Quinia and Cordovan. This time, however, he had an assistant in Almandine. She was at his side as he broke the barriers of their minds and started shuffling through their memories. Once again he found them lacking, could not understand why they were so weak. They were flawed, pitiful creatures, unlike himself or Almandine.

So they had to go.

Carmine had been the one that had taken the lives of his parents, it was a rite of passage not unlike his Offering, and so he placed the blade within Almandine’s hand a few months after her Offering. Encouraged her when she briefly hesitated in killing them and - when she broke down crying afterward - gently picked her up. He looked within her mind, saw the weakness within it, and saw it undone. Now she had wanted to do it, she had not hesitated, and she even found enjoyment in the death of her parents.

She was free, just like he was, and their deaths - just like those of his parents - were covered up with no trails to point to them. After the death of Quinia and Cordovan they did not stay very long. Carmine wanted to travel, to stretch his wings, and see what the rest of the realm had to offer with Almandine at his side. With the coin afforded to them with the death of their families, they were able to begin their travels. When that coin started to run short, neither of their families was truly wealthy, Carmine decided it was time to truly put himself to the test.

This was how Carmine and Almandine started to make a name for themselves. They worked efficiently, able to gather information or an individual, as necessary. It was with one contracted job that they truly took off. Told to sway someone’s opinion, Carmine’s particular skillset came to the forefront as they captured and altered the mind of the individual. All it took was access behind their barriers, Carmine making use of gratuitous of his skill with delving and subtle compulsions to change the tone of certain memories, and their opinion would begin to slowly change. All of their own free will, or so they would think and say.

With Almandine with him, to help ensure the spellwork was solid and could not be found, no one would ever know. As long as the two of them were together, that they worked together, there was nothing that could be done. They eventually took the name Veritas, something that people could search out to find them if a job was needed to be carried out.

One successful job led to another and another, the pair following where each took them until they found themselves in Glacia. It bothered him to collar his lovely Almandine but that was - and is - the way of things within the territory, the will of the Dark Religion. Carmine presents himself as a devout follower of it and he plays the role well for someone that isn’t native to Glacia. Yet there is little that Carmine truly believes in outside of himself and his Black Widow.

The silent war within Glacia is a boon for their business, though they operate as shop-owners, a pair of merchants who trade in antiquities and otherwise for the aristocrat that wishes to furnish their own. Between their two jobs, Carmine and Almandine are able to live comfortably while the Warlord Prince moves in and out of the social circles of Glacia, a charming novelty of a man from outside the land that has found his calling and faith within the territory. When it is not his tales and travels that are sought after, or the wares that are sold within their shop, there's always use for someone who can change the opinions of those around them.

With words alone, Carmine will say, because it is his secret that it can be far more than that.

Show Us What You've Got

Character in Play:
She was so beautiful, his Almandine. Even as her eyes stared at him vacantly, silent tears rolling down her cheeks, she was still absolutely entrancing. It hurt him to do this, to have to take a stronger guiding hand, but it had to be. Carmine had no choice if he wanted to make sure that she would always be his.

He pressed his lips to her forehead, cradled her face in his hands. "I am so sorry, dear Alma, but you know I cannot abide weakness." His breath washed over her cheek, nose brushing along the skin before he whispered into her. "Not even in you."

Carmine gathered himself and reached out for her mind. It came to him, easy as it always did, but her barriers did not open to him. Not like they had in the past, not like all those times she had willingly lowered them so that he could look within and see as she did. They were closed, unwilling to lower, but he knew how to fix that.

It hurts me to do this, you know, he murmured to her gently as he felt a tremble go through her body, but it is the only way. You must always be perfect, Almandine. Never anything less. Carmine pulled himself back, reached within and gathered up a few sips of his Opal, and surged forward.

Almandine's barriers never stood a chance, not against him. Not against the Warlord Prince that she had let within - in so many ways - time and time again. The first of her barriers fractured, a gap left behind for him to go through. Carmine felt as she clutched at him, a sob stuck in her throat.

"Please ..." she breathed out.

"This is the only way, beloved," he said, an Opal-fueled compulsion layered within his voice. "This is how it must be. Be still. Be calm. It will be alright soon. I promise."

She clutched to him harder as he gathered another sip of his Opal and surged forward again. Another barrier gone. His Black Widow would have fallen were it not for him holding her upright. Yet her eyes slid shut, no longer vacantly watching him. It was alright.

When she opened them again she would know him and the world would be as it should.

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