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* Plot Information for Pruul

Seven children are destined to save Pruul and shake the traditions of the territory to their very core. In response, factions have broken the peace of a previously unified territory and violence has erupted across the dessert. It is a battle between the past and the future, the young and the old, and blood won’t stop seeping into the sand.
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Author Topic: Rainsinger  (Read 541 times)

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Offline Dinah al-Tabur

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    • ss2opal
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      Ruling Queen

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      Tabur Clan

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      Pruul

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      halyonix

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    • Nevertheless, she persisted...

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Rainsinger
« on: Dec 06, 17, 03:40:40 PM »
In the chaotic days after Adramalech’s death, the Tabur encampment experienced numerous, less cataclysmic upheavals of its own, but none so terrible as the death of the Voice, Sullah al-Tabur, one the dozen or so casualties of the violence that had erupted over the dying Old Spider.

One of the Aubdina had reclaimed his water and added it to the clan’s stores. Once this had been done for all of the casualties, funeral rites had been performed and the bodies burn underneath a starlight sky. “From the Darkness, we were made, and to the Darkness, we return,” the Priestess intoned as the ash and smoke wafted higher and higher into the night.

Sullah al-Tabur had died defending his grandchildren from the angry mob. Dinah had not always gotten along with the wizened man but they had maintained a calm respect towards each other, which was a better relationship than she had with others in her Court and council. And she could neither fault a man’s devotion nor fail to give him proper respect for defending the lives of innocents at the cost of his own.

But this meant that a new Voice would have to be selected. A small list of candidates were presented to Dinah and discussions commenced but Dinah had the feeling that the council had already decided and the candidate they had in mind made Dinah’s skin crawl. He was a man with connections, yes, but the way he looked at women and the way he spoke about others at times...Dinah could not help but envision a snake when his name came up. They must have told him he was the top choice because he often managed to “coincidentally” run into her when she was en route to another meeting, offering to escort her or join her for a meal. She always, politely, declined, but now it was becoming an annoyance.

The decision should still be hers. She should be interviewing these candidates with the council, not them holding the interviews without her. This was a person she would have to work with often, a person who needed to understand where she intended to lead the Tabur, not another man who would be an obstacle in her path.

Mother Night, please find me that soul, she prayed one night before retiring to bed. If Mother Night answered Dinah in her dreams, Dinah did not remember.

It was the sixth round of discussions about the candidates that day. The council had changed tactics. Instead of pushing their best candidate forward, they offered reasons as to why the others were unsuitable, without ever mentioning their favored candidate’s name. But how were these other men and women unsuitable if the council had been the ones to bring them to Dinah’s attention? No, it was a mental tactic to get her to select the one that made her skin crawl by process of elimination.

She had just thought to call that they adjourn for a brief recess when there was an unexpected commotion beyond the walls of the tent, in the entrance area. Discussion paused as Dinah waited to be informed about what was occurring. One of her First Circle came in hastily and said, “My apologies, Lady. Council. The son of the late Voice is here and demands an audience with the Queen immediately.”

“It can wait,” said one of the councilors testily, speaking up when he should have been silent and let his Queen handle the interruption.

Dinah held up a hand, silencing him. “Send him in,” she said. The murmurs of the council were low and ugly. Before it could continue, Dinah said firmly, “Lord Sullah al-Tabur gave his life for the protection of the clan. Out of respect for him, I will not have his son treated any less than he deserves. He will have his audience now and we can continue our discussion afterward.”

Hang them, her council. It irritated her so much that they did not allow her to lead as she should. She would need to learn how to speak to such headstrong councilors soon if she was going to continue with her plan to align the Tabur with the Mineborn. She could stand to replace some of the men that served but to lose all of them because she spoke too hastily or made the wrong decision would most assuredly destroy the clan because they would replace her with another, far more pliable Queen.

Offline Saladin al-Tabur

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    • rose2opal
    • prince
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      Clan Voice

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      Pruul

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #1 on: Dec 06, 17, 04:17:29 PM »
It had not been Saladin's first choice, but he had to admit that he could not fault the logica of the people at large.  He was the Voice's son.  He had taken up his Father's call, defended the people as they escaped violence, and continue to work in his Father's stead.  Being the Voice was not just standing around dispensing advice, there was a business to it, a real granular side of the care and upkeep of a Clan that comprised many Tribes.  Sullah's passing did not block the path to the tent of the Voice.  People needed advice, guidance, acknowledgements of business trade and actions.  While the Council debated who should replace his own Father with the Queen of the Tabur, Saladin was already making sure that water rations were handed out justly.  That the Aubdina had reclaimed his Father's water was only right, he had worked all his life for the Clan, and in death, he would serve them again.

For days now, people were callng him The Voice, Prince Saladin, Prince Voice, thought that last one was rare.  Everyone that he dealt with was telling him to put his name forward, some had already done so, only to find their suggestions not going very far.  Days had gone by, and no decision had been reached, and yet while the Council and the Queen debated for a sixth round of discourse, Saladin was already doing the work.  He drew in his Craft, gathering the contracts on his Father's desk, and locking them in a drawer.  He called for his boy, who was very nearly a man, but to him--always his boy.  It started the other man in the room, and old Warlord that Sullah employed as his scribe.  "Ishmael!"

The Boy burst into the official part of the tent, clearly having come running.  "Yes, Father?"

"I need you to tell anyone coming for appointments that I am out.  Tell the to return tomorrow.  Do try to leave Abel here to his work, do not let them interrupt him."  Saladin told his Son.

Ishmael nodded, but asked, "Where are you going, Father?"

Saladin half-smiled, and began to roll his own tobacco and herbs together into something he could smoke.  "You will see."

Abel asked, "My Prince, are you about to do something rash?"

Saladin turned to his Father's old friend, "Uncle, when have you ever known me to be rash?"

Abel made a face, "You became a sandrider, Saladin.  I was there when you left, remember?"

Saladin got to his feet with a chuckle, "Well, yes, I do.  But I feel certain that I really thought that one through."  Abel scowled at him, and Saladin winked at him in turn.  He left the family tent, and sought out where the Queen and the Council were ensconced.  When he did arrive, there were a line of petitioners.  Saladin ignored them all, and told the man at the fron of the line.  "Tell them Prince Saladin al-Tabur is here to speak with the Queen of the Clan."  He raised an eyebrow at the hesitation, "I do mean now, like right now."  He made a 'shoo' gesture, to encourage the fellow to make the announcment, and smiled warmly when he moved to go into the tent.  He heard someone say that he could wait, and then the Queen say he was welcome, and some kind words about his Father, but he was already entering the cloistered council space.

He entered and stalked across the space, moving to stand before the Queen, ignoring the men assembled.  Saladin bowed before the Queen, lowering himself to one knee.  "I am Prince Saladin al-Tabur, son of Sullah, Voice of the Tabur.  My Queen, he spoke very well of you, believe it or not."  He smiled and lifted his eyes to Dinah, waiting to see of he felt that cosmic click that some of his friends once described to him, but--nothing.  She was easy to look at, of course, and that made holding her eyes as he spoke that much easier.  "I have come to ask you if I might take on my Father's burden, and serve you as the Voice of the Tabur."  He gestured, "While this pack of well-meaning fools continues to force you into deliberation after deliberation, I have already seen to the tasks that my Father once did--because, contrary to those that would have barred my access to you, my Queen, that work must be done."

Saladin slowly rose to his full height, put a tightly rolled slender cigar between his lips, and lit it with such subtle craft, there was no flame evident.  He turned to face the councilors, and eyed each man silently in turn.  "Is there any man here that would deny my right to speak to the Queen of the Tabur, or my right to this Office--whose duties I am already performing?"  Saladin exhaled smoke, the the Opal jewels in the simple torc at his throat gleamed in the cool shadows of the tent.  He turned back to the Queen, "My Lady, will you have me?  You are the Queen, and if my presence here is unwelcome, only you may tell me so."

Offline Dinah al-Tabur

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      Ruling Queen

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      Pruul

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      halyonix

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    • Nevertheless, she persisted...

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #2 on: Dec 19, 17, 03:26:30 AM »
The man that strode into the tent was one not unfamiliar to Dinah but it had been a long time since she had been in his presence. He had left the clan, joined the riders of the Madrasa, and had only recently returned. She remembered Sullah telling her that. And even if he had not announced himself as the son of Sullah, she would have recognized him by that family resemblance and the few mannerisms he shared with his late father.

Sullah’s spirit lived on, entwined with the soul of this Opal Prince that stood before her.

He came before her and bowed. "I am Prince Saladin al-Tabur, son of Sullah, Voice of the Tabur.  My Queen, he spoke very well of you, believe it or not," he said. Dinah smiled faintly at that. A charmer, then. Unlike the moment she had met Kazim, Dinah felt no soul-tugging bond towards this man, and she was a bit relieved. She was not ready to be shared in that way with another. But there still was something that felt...connective between them, like a spirit recognizing another kindred one.

"I have come to ask you if I might take on my Father's burden, and serve you as the Voice of the Tabur."  He gestured towards the gathered council, "While this pack of well-meaning fools continues to force you into deliberation after deliberation, I have already seen to the tasks that my Father once did--because, contrary to those that would have barred my access to you, my Queen, that work must be done."

Those councillors sputtered indignantly. One even rose to challenge him. And yet, Saladin stood there, lighting a cigar, and did not back down. "Is there any man here that would deny my right to speak to the Queen of the Tabur, or my right to this Office--whose duties I am already performing?" he asked them in return challenge. He was right, Dinah realized. The candidate her council foisted upon her -- what right did he have? What work was he doing to prove that he was capable of the job or eager to have it? Nothing. He showed none of the motivation, the dedication that this man showed, only naked ambition.

Here was a man trained by the previous Voice and that alone should have been grounds for his consideration. Yet, his name was not on the list.

Dinah knew why that was. The council did not want this man, for their own reasons. He would not bend to their cause. He was not pliable, like she was but wished not to be. She did not like that he came from the Sandriders but she could learn to overcome her biases.

"My Lady, will you have me?  You are the Queen, and if my presence here is unwelcome, only you may tell me so."

The answer would be yes, she would gladly have him, but as Dinah opened her mouth to make it so, another stepped in before her, speaking where he had no right but still felt that he did.

“Saladin al-Tabur, formerly of the Madrasa, no man here denies you the right to speak with your Queen,” said Rasheen, the Steward. A Warlord that wore the Opal like Saladin did, commanded others to notice him with his presence as well, but there was a great deal of difference between them in how they acted. Rasheen acted to keep the unmovable traditions of the Tabur in place -- to the point of usurping his daughter. In years past, Dinah had allowed it because she had wanted to be that perfect little Queen. Now, it chafed, as it did now.

She rose from her chair, her gaze squarely on her father. **He was speaking with me,** she said privately to him.

But he ignored her, which infuriated her now even more. Holding up his hand to stay her for the moment, he asked Saladin, “But what makes you think that we believe you will stay with us this time and not run away like you have before?” He spoke smoothly but there was plenty of condescension to be read from his tone. He meant to discredit Saladin by bringing up his past.

It was a question Dinah would have asked Saladin with far more tact than Rasheen and, even though it was a good question, the fact that it had been brought up in such a way angered Dinah. She did not school her expression. The fact that her father continued to undermind her authority was now reaching a point where it had to stop, one way or another.

Offline Saladin al-Tabur

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      Clan Voice

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #3 on: Dec 21, 17, 08:35:24 PM »
Saladin held the Queen’s eyes, intent on broadcasting his sincerity if nothing else.  She was quite lovely, so she remained very easy to look upon, whether he was thinking politically or otherwise.  He was, simply put, the best man for the job.  He would, at the very least, stand with the Queen because he really did believe she had the right of it, and he was a bit worried that the Tabur had forgotten what it meant to have a Queen, just like those bloody Spider-kissers.  Saladin could see the affirmative in the Queen’s stance, in her eyes and he felt certain that his entitlement was upon her lips, but then another voice sounded.  He knew that voice, it was Rasheen.  He rolled his eyes, letting only Dinah see that he did so.

He turned to the Steward, ”I believe you meant to say Prince Saladin al-Tabur of the Madrasa, I departed my Wife’s kith and kin very fondly.  You cannot abandon formality when it suits you, Lord Rasheen.  As the Steward, I should think you were aware of that much.”  Saladin smiled ath the other man, ”No one denies it, because no one here can.  None of you, from the Lightest to the Darkest, has the right to.  Only the Queen herself can, and by extension, one of her Males.”  Saladin tilted his head slightly at the mild insult to himself and to the Queen.  The latter insult implied by the raising of his hand.  He moved toward the Steward, and stood nose to nose with him, reaching out with his damaged left-hand and pushing Rasheen’s down.  ”Nor is it for you to silence the Queen of the Tabur.”  He turned to Dinah, and bowed appropriately, before returning to stand nose to nose once again with Rasheen.

Saladin stared into the other man’s eyes for a long moment, ”Lord Rasheen, you forget yourself.  I am not some stripling to be impressed or intimidated by your snark.  I am an Opal Prince, and you are an Opal Lord, Steward or not, and only ten years my senior, if ages matters at all.  I would suggest that you save both your tone and your disrespect for the lickspittles that stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”  He sneered and turned to speak to the Queen and all those assembled, ”I have shed blood for this Clan.  I watched while my Father was cut down before my eyes, trying to save lives, and were was Lord Rasheen?  Convening a council to debate whether action was necessary, no doubt.”  He narrowed his eyes at the other man, ”I was not asking you, Lord Rasheen.  If you interrupt the Queen again, we will see if you still remember how to use you khanjar.  You do remember what that is, yes?”

He turned to the Queen, ”If it settles your heart and mind, my Queen, I swear on my Water and the Water of my Children that I am the only Voice of the Tabur that you will ever need, until such a time as you feel the need to dispense with me.”

Offline Dinah al-Tabur

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      halyonix

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    • Nevertheless, she persisted...

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #4 on: Dec 30, 17, 10:35:38 PM »
A low ripple of shocked voices could be heard as Saladin turned his attention and his delicately barbed tongue upon the Steward. Dinah was also surprised but not for the same reason. Someone who was willing to challenge her father because he undermined her? To stand nose to nose with a man who wielded such power in the Tabur, because Dinah had allowed it for so long?

She was impressed, and as Saladin continued to point out how Rasheen had been a coward while Sullah had been a martyr for the clan, Dinah felt herself knowing that she would accept this man’s service not just for the rightness of it but because she saw an opportunity to shake off the chains of her council a bit more. She needed no Black Widow’s Craft to foresee the changes that this man would bring.

She needed him, for a very different but equally important reason as she needed Kazim at her side.

Rasheen, however, did not see the same reasoning. He bristled and said, “You presume much, Prince Saladin al-Tabur of the Madrasa.” The way he spoke about the home of the sandriders dripped with the same poison of the worms they rode. Rasheen did not like sandriders at all. He thought their kinds were ruffians and scoundrels, clanless and exiled. He advanced a half step closer, aiming to intimidate Saladin with his size and rank. “To speak to the Steward of the Court so. In the presence of the Queen you so quickly vow to serve. What do you know of service? Nothing. You know of only cowardice and selfishness, abandoning your clan for your own desires. Your father was great. You, however, are not.”

“ENOUGH!”

The air in the tent crackled with Opal feminine fury as Dinah rose, having heard enough of this taunting and trading of verbal blows. If these two men continued on their course, there would be blood shed needlessly. This was not how she wanted this moment, this decision, or even her Court run! This was NOT the Tabur!

“Is this what we have descended to, Lord Steward, snarling like two feral dogs?” she asked, stepping closer. “Is this the Tabur that you want to see ascendent in Pruul?” Wrath straightened her spine, carried her forward.

And still, Rasheen’s eyes were malevolent as he turned to regard her.

She would not quake. She would not give in to fear. She would stand up. She would lead. She would be the Queen she knew she needed to be to this clan.

“We have spent the last week debating this decision. I have listened to the names of numerous candidates but none of them have this one’s firsthand experience,” she said, coming close enough to reach out and touch either male. If she was a stronger Queen, she would have calmed them both with her Touch, but her courage only went so far.

“My father, the Steward, is correct -- Sullah al-Tabur was a great man,” Dinah said, “and I see no reason why his son, who has been trained in his ways, will not follow in those steps. He is certainly the most qualified man for the job, despite his past.” Or perhaps because of it, but Dinah saw no reason to goad Rasheen further.

She would already receive plenty of backlash for this decision.

Dinah did not think she would have to call upon her Master of the Guard, who was her brother, to protect her from the Steward that was her father, but she briefly entertained the thought. Rasheen was a proud man and men whose egos were bruised acting...irresponsibly. She hoped that Rasheen would compose himself in this situation and take their conversation, where he would surely berate her, to a more private setting, rather than publicly humiliate her any further.

She did not think he would be so stupid as to attack her. Today. But she could feel that moment coming. She did not need her fledgling Black Widow Craft to tell her that either.

Her attention turned towards Saladin. “Prince Saladin al-Tabur of the Madrasa, by the Water you have sworn upon, will you accept the duties and responsibilities of the Voice of the Tabur, until your death or dismissal from this position as decided upon by myself and no other?”

In her heart, Dinah knew she was making the right decision. And she knew it was going to cause a great many problems for her in the near future.

Offline Saladin al-Tabur

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #5 on: Dec 31, 17, 09:49:32 AM »
Saladin was a firm believer in pain being amongst the best of teachers.  Rasheen had forgotten what pain was.  He thought they were words, and threats of exile.  He believed inflicting pain was the belittlement of others, and the grabbing of power for himself.  Saladin was prepared to teach him otherwise.  Saladin’s eyes, blue and gold, could see all the points of weakness upon this man, social and physical.  He could pierce them with the right words, or the right thrust of his knife, and he was sorely tempted to.  Men like Rasheen only understood one thing, and if Saladin had to speak the language of pain and fear, he would.  It would not be the first time, but no one here knew that.  Here they called him the ‘Dune Prince’ and did not really think about what that meant.  He was not going to reply to this weak and covetous man’s words, Saladin had kicked over the first domino, the rest was for the Queen.

The air split with the power of the Opal Queen, as if she had wielded a whip of feminine injury.  Saladin smiled; it reminded him of his wife, just a bit.  When Dinah rose, Saladin turned to her, and lowered himself to one knee, lowering his chin to look at her rather nicely shaped feet.  He was not normally about a woman’s feet, but as they went, these were a pleasure to look at.  Not only did his posture indicate the respect due to a Queen of an entire goddamned Clan, it also hid his expression.  This situation had needed a Prince of his particular talents, and as fortune would have it, he was bloody well available.  Saladin resolved not to speak until he was addressed, because that was proper.

”My Father’s Water is honored by your kindness.”  He began with, before he lifted his eyes to the Queen.  ”I will, My Queen, until my death or dismissal by you, and you alone, by blade or by word.”  Saladin slowly rose to his feet, and held Dinah’s gaze for a long moment, before he turned to the assembly.  ”It is done.  I am the Voice of the Tabur, as my Father was before me.  It has been too long since we had one, and there is much the Queen must know.”  He turned his eyes to Rasheen, and caressed the hilt of his sandworm-tooth Khanjar, a small, subtle, quick gesture that basically said, ‘anytime you have the courage’.  He turned back to Dinah, touched his heart and inclined his head once.  ”We have much to discuss, shall we return to office, or shall we settle here once those unnecessary to our business have been dismissed?”



Offline Dinah al-Tabur

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      Ruling Queen

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      halyonix

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    • Nevertheless, she persisted...

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #6 on: Jan 12, 18, 02:41:20 PM »
Rasheen straightened and bristled at Saladin’s subtle gesture, a gesture that was missed by Dinah. The Steward of the Court was none too pleased with this development at all but was now bound by tradition to uphold it. That did not, however, mean he was out of options.

With a narrowed glance at one of the councillors, Rasheen backed away, letting Saladin have the battle, for Rasheen would win the war and bring the Tabur back to their rightful course.

Dinah watched Saladin rise, noting that he had the same innate grace to his movements that Kazim had. ”We have much to discuss,” her new Voice said. “Shall we return to office, or shall we settle here once those unnecessary to our business have been dismissed?” She longed for a more private setting, away from the open space and watching eyes.

“We can retire to my receiving room,” she said, feeling dread beginning to build under her ribs. This was the right choice, she told herself, but that did not alleviate the pressure. She would, undoubtedly, talk to Kazim about this once she had finished speaking with Saladin. Hopefully before her father, the Steward, had his own speech to give.

To the rest of the gathered males, she said, “I thank you for your suggestions during this difficult time of selecting a new Voice.” Let them hang on those suggestions. Undoubtedly, the man they had hoped to put in charge was now her enemy as well. Today was not looking too full of allies.

Absently, her thumb caressed the inside of the wrist that had been pierced by the vision so many months ago. She did not need a quantity of allies, just quality, she reminded herself. “We will adjourn until tomorrow morning, where we will begin again with the morning Court.” There. She had effectively excused herself from all council functions, including dinner, until the next day. It would give her time to collect herself and prepare.

“Prince, with me,” she commanded gently just before she turned to depart. The room was dead quiet as they left but Dinah was certain that the moment the curtain fell to conceal their departure, it would erupt into curses and debates. She wanted to hear none of it. She strode quickly towards her part of the tent, towards a small receiving room where visitors could speak with her in a private setting while not invading the sanctuary of her own tent. **Anahita, if you would please bring refreshments. And something for a headache,** she sent to her maid.

Dinah swept into the well-decorated but comfortable tent, turned, and, the moment Saladin was through the curtain door, enclosed it all in an Opal Aural Shield. He would certainly notice it. “I wish to speak frankly,” she explained, “for together, you and I have set ourselves upon a dangerous path today. And there are things that you must understand about the men in that room before we continue.”

Once Anahita had been granted entry to deposit a tray of nuts, dates, figs, and fresh goat cheese, as well as a small, chilled pitcher of water, Dinah seated herself on one of the cushions and indicated that Saladin should do the same. “As you can see,” she began, “my Court and I are not aligned in the same goals. Bluntly put, they do not support the Mineborn and their attempts to save Pruul, though they happily reap the benefit of those efforts.” She took a small sip of water before continuing, concentrating on the cool liquid in the hopes that it would wash away the knot of dread still nested in her stomach. “My father, the Steward, is the most obstinate of my Court. He wishes for us to return to more...traditional ways. He believes that the Mineborn should be exiled and that we should not follow the rule of children.” In that latter point, Dinah could see reason. But she had also been granted the visions of a Black Widow to know where the truth lay.

No one else, save Kazim and Zenja al-Tarazed, knew this though, and Dinah intended to keep this knowledge secret for as long as she could.

"I can see some of his point," Dinah admitted, "but before the Mineborn brought the Rains, Pruul was dying. My father and others that support him did not believe that. They believed, instead, that if we merely returned to the ways we had before, if we rid ourselves of these 'aberrations', that the Rains would return. I...did not agree."

Offline Saladin al-Tabur

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #7 on: Jan 13, 18, 06:09:55 PM »
As vulgar as the open invitation to a duel might have been in that setting, Saladin had been sorely tempted.  It seemed that Rasheen had forgotten what Prince’s were, and the new-minted Voice of the Tabur would be more than pleased to reintroduce him to the truth.  Soon enough, Saladin was able to dismiss Rasheen from his thoughts at the moment, making clear that as far as he was concerned, the Steward was no longer necessary.  He inclined his head politely at the Queen’s words, and waited for her to take her leave of the Council, before he followed her to her receiving room.  In his opinion, she handled them deftly enough, firmly putting their entire conversation and the entire body on hold until further notice.

At her command, he simply fell into step and moved with her, ignoring the others that were either seething or gawking.  Saladin followed her in to a nice tent, and he felt the Aural shield snap quickly into lace.  His eyebrows rose at the sudden seriousness of the moment, ”I would hope, my Queen, that you can always speak frankly to me, and I to you.”  He stepped towards her, so he could meet her eyes and she could see his.  ”I will be beside you, and I will protect you from idiocy if I must.  I understand that we are on the cusp of regime change, and that change is you, my Queen.”  He looked over his shoulder through walls of fabric, ”I remember Rasheen, my Queen, and I know him now.  It is not ‘tradition’ he is protecting.”

Saladin listened to the Queen and nodded.  ”My Father respected you, though he knew you for only a short time, a regret of his, along with a short list of others.”  He smiled, ”I have been through his papers, his journals, and remembrances.  He meant to support you, Lady, and so do I.  Change is in the wind, you are right, and these strange children are part of it.  Without change, we die.  Pruul dies.  No one at the Madrasa preaches permanence, life is too fleeting.  I want the Tabur to be the honorable Clan were should be, not a shelter for covetous old men.”  He took her hand, and bowed over it, ”You are the Queen of the Tabur.  You are my leader, not these old men that forget both tradition and Protocol whenever doing so pays in power and coin.”



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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #8 on: Jan 25, 18, 03:36:51 PM »
“I understand that we are on the cusp of regime change, and that change is you, my Queen.”

Dinah muted her intake of breath, both surprised and relieved that Saladin had aimed that arrow of truth so well. They were on the cusp of change and change never went over well. That Saladin realized her father Rasheen was not protecting tradition also relieved her. It confirmed that she had done the right thing in cementing him as Voice. He was right -- without change, they would die, and so would Pruul.

Dinah saw that. Why could no one else in her council and Court see that?

She did not quite startle when he took her hand, bowing his head over it as he said, ”You are the Queen of the Tabur.  You are my leader, not these old men that forget both tradition and Protocol whenever doing so pays in power and coin,” but her breath stopped for a second at the touch, not because it was sensual but because she was simply not accustomed still to letting men she had just met touch her, no matter if they were on her side or not. Still, she schooled her reaction, so that Saladin did not think he was not allowed, because she needed him to believe that she was willing to give him a chance at being one of her champions.

“I thank you for your words of support,” she said with sincere gratitude. “I have been in this fight alone for too long. I have forgotten that there are many who know we must adapt or die. It is good to be reminded of that.” Instead of praying for an easy life, she should have searched for the strength to meet the challenge, but she had been afraid then and not the woman she was now.

She was still afraid but cowardly actions or inactions were not the trait of one blessed by a Black Widow. She had to remember that.

Dinah gave Saladin’s hand a firm squeeze so that she could draw hers back into her lap. “I tell you these things because there are many on the council that will seek to circumvent my power and, most likely, yours. They will not agree with us. And yes, I am quite aware that I am the Queen but there has been decades of the council’s authority growing within the clan, almost to the point of the Queen being hardly more than a puppet. Which is how we got to where we are today. It is a trend I aim to change but it takes time and it is difficult. I cannot replace too many members of the council at once without being deposed completely and I fear that they have already begun grooming a pet Queen to replace me.”

She would have to introduce him to Shaula soon enough anyway, since Protocol demanded it. Darkness, she prayed, do not let him Bond to her too!

Offline Saladin al-Tabur

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #9 on: Jan 26, 18, 01:15:54 PM »
Saladin had long ago shedded the need for anyone to approve of him or what he did.  Hera, his departed Wife, had been much the same.  Sandriders as a whole had an independent streak leagues wide, it seemed ingrained in the people.  They had their own ways and traditions, but worrying about how something might be perceived was not really a part of it.  That was something Saladin recalled from life with the Clan, but it was never something he approved of.  His children would likely be as bad as he was in that regard, with how often his Sister told him that he had raised 'wildlings'.  Which might well be true, but they were his Wildlings.  Saladin did not know how to be anything other than honest, as straight forward as a knife to the heart.  It was his gift, and who he was.

So, when Dinah seemed suprised by his statement, his eyebrows rose slightly.  He had forgotten, in the excitement of the moment, how everyone around her had been kindly and sweetly lying to her.  Dancing inside the boundaries of propriety and Protocol, just enough to keep her inside the lines they wanted her, and then moving those lines when she was not looking.  Saladin disliked such disingenuousness.  Dinah would, at the very least, receive his unvarnnish opinion as Voice.  Even taking her hand openly seemed to have an effect.  She seemed truly grateful for his support, which she had even before he had arrived to themeeting.  His Father would have done much the same, out of a desire to see a Queen's place restored.

Saladin appreciated the reassuring squeeze of his hand, and nodded at her warning.  "I am prepared for them to try, My Queen."  His half-smile was more than a little roguish, "I would be terribly disappointed in them, well--more disappointed--if they did not make the effort."  He rested his hand idly on the hilt of his dagger, appearing thoughtful for a moment.  "No, certainly, there are members of the Council whose expertise would be detrimental to lose.  I can see that much."  Saladin met her eyes, his expression going from roguish to somewhat predator, "However, there are some we could afford to lose, and make a point of."

He shook his head slightly, "Bloodshed should never be the first resort, but these are wilful, greedy, stubborn men that have been allowed to bask in the perception of their own importance for too long."  Saladin gazed back the way they had come, as if she could see through the fabric to the Council and the men they discussed.  He turned back to her, his eyes alight with the use of Craft.  "I have found, Gentle Lady, that the right body hitting the floor at the right time can often undermine the confidence and vigor of such false 'heroes' as these."  His smile returned, "I will be your shield in this.  Should you make a decision, whether it is one we have discussed or not.  Even if it is your own idea from start to finish, blame it on me.  Let them think that the dashing Sandrider has somehow charmed his way into a position of Power over them."  He grinned, "They will come for me, and I will be ready."

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #10 on: Feb 19, 18, 11:24:12 AM »
As he spoke so easily about bloodshed, even though it was not a first resort (for which she was glad!), Dinah shivered slightly. She crossed her arms underneath her breasts to conceal the prickled flesh as she looked away briefly. Yes, the right body hitting the floor at the right time did often have great emphasis and amongst the Blood, there was no rule against murder, just consequences of getting away with it.

Still, it did not sit well with Dinah, because she was not as ruthless as Saladin was.  Or had to be, given that he had been a sandrider and they were a roguish lot altogether. It made sense that theirs had been a knife-ridden existence, with Death just a dance away.

“While I can see your point,” she said slowly, still not looking at him, “I do not wish for us to explore that avenue just yet.” Or ever, if she could make that happen. “I do not wish to put you in a position of danger, more so than I already have,” she explained to him.

After saying that, she turned her gaze back to him, through her arms still remained crossed, hugging herself. “At least, let us work together for a few months so that you are aware of who is aligned with whom before we make such a decision. Let us see if we can sway more of them to our side with words and the continued success of the clan.” Dinah had no doubt that Saladin would find an ally in Kazim, who was also eager to stand as her shield and destroy anyone who threatened her.

Turning the subject away from bloodshed (why must males always been so eager to kill!), Dinah said, “Since you have been away from the clan for so long and have only recently returned, perhaps I should bring you up to date on where the clan is now and what has happened.” Surely, his father had told him about a good deal of it, especially the recent parts, but Dinah felt the need to dispel rumors and confirm truths. She told her more about her life, being the only girl born to a band of boys and a Queen to boot. How she had been groomed since birth to rule and how that grooming had determined her course in life for far too long. Her father, as Saladin knew, was also her Steward, which made for a very complicated relationship, since her father had been the largest restraining influence in her life thus far. Her brother, Shinar, served as her Master of the Guard and was quietly on her side. He knew she needed to be protected -- a responsibility he took very seriously -- but he also understood that she was a grown Queen who knew how to make responsible decisions, so he did not seek to hamper her. Another of her brothers, Javid, served as her First Escort but he was more closely aligned with her father’s opinion of her.

There was a pause before Dinah admitted, “Javid is Bound to a young Queen in my tutelage, Shaula al-Tabur.” Though she said it as neutrally as possible, Dinah did not doubt that some of her turmoil over that bit of information seeped through. Regardless, that relationship complicated things further. How could Javid protect Dinah when his soul placed Shaula as a higher priority?

“You will meet Shaula soon enough,” Dinah said. A brief moment of terror ripped through her as she imagined Saladin Bonding to the sensual Queen as well. She struggled to get herself under control again, and it was surely heard in her voice, as she said, “Tomorrow, perhaps. At the morning’s Court.”

She would be up all night with worry, she knew it. Perhaps, she should have Anahita prepare her a sleeping draught. Or have Kazim spend the evening with her, giving her the comfort of his presence while she voiced her doubts.

Or have him give more, she thought. Recently, she had been thinking more and more about that. She knew that as her Black Widow training progressed, she would be drawn to sex more and she was not prepared for it. But it wasn’t just the sex that she wanted. With Kazim, she wanted that union, that intimate emotional connection. She did not want -- she never wanted -- Kazim to think that she was using him just for sex.

Another time to think on that, she told herself as she pushed that problem away.

Mostly back in control of herself, she asked Saladin, “Is there anything you would like to ask of me? I will do my best to tell you what I know.” There was one secret she would keep from him for now but everything pertaining to her Court she would gladly speak about. She did not want to Saladin to have reason to distrust her.

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #11 on: Feb 26, 18, 01:07:06 PM »
Saladin understood Dinah's hesitation.  Violence was not necessarily his first solution, but he had measured the Council and the men that filled its ranks.  He was sure that nothing short of violence, or a catastrophic event, would change their minds.  They had been allowed to flourish under their lax morality for far too long, and they would be extremely reluctant to surrender their profits and lofty stations.  Saladin had used his Gift.  Change never came easily.  "I can handle danger, my Queen.  Danger and I are old friends, and I have the measure of the men upon your Council."  He gestured at himself, "I have a skilled sister, and I am not without my own talents.  I will respect your decision, but understand that I fully expect to be in danger."

He nodded, "I will gladly work with you, Lady, but that will not alleviate the danger.  We should be ready for a poor reaction from those assembled without."  Saladin nodded, "I do well enough with words, by all means, let us make every effort."  He just wanted it understood that if there were trouble, he was more than prepared for it.  His Father's papers had seen to that.  "I understand, Lady. I only want what is best for the Clan and the success of all, and I believe, as my Father did, that you are the way to that success."  Saladin nodded, "I have read my Father's papers, but I should like to hear your perspective on matters, to be sure."

Saladin raised an eyebrow, "Another Queen, surely we are blessed by Mother Night herself."  He smiled slightly, and listened as Dinah pressed on.  He nodded.  "I will be happy to meet her at any time."  Saladin had not expected to be put in front of another Queen, though there was a chance he would be seeing many Queens in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  Any one fo them might be his.  He had been spared the Queen's Bond, not that he had any bitterness towards the notion, but the lack of one had given him the free life he had thus far enjoyed.  "Rest assured, my Queen, no matter what happens, I am the Voice of the Tabur, and your friend."  He half-smiled, "I am fifty-five years old, my Queen.  I am not easily pulled from a path once I've chosen it."

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #12 on: Feb 26, 18, 02:39:03 PM »
"Rest assured, my Queen, no matter what happens, I am the Voice of the Tabur, and your friend," he said and he was rewarded with a thin but sincere smile. Only time would tell if Dinah could truly trust him but she felt more comfortable with him so far than others she had met. "I am fifty-five years old, my Queen.  I am not easily pulled from a path once I've chosen it," he added with a hint of that roguish smile that probably made enough women look his way twice.

“You have determination,” Dinah said thoughtfully, “and I am glad to hear that. It will be needed.” Determination had gotten her this far without allies. Perhaps, now that she had a few, she would get further.

Since he had not asked her anything about herself, Dinah felt free to ask something about him. “You have a few decades on me and spent time in the...Madrasa.” The word was said with caution. Dinah, despite her strong moral compass, had misgivings and wariness towards sandriders. Early childhood interactions with them had not gone well and her father’s bias towards them, calling them the beastial exiles of Pruul, had not dispelled those prejudices. “Can you tell me of those years? Why did you leave?”

And would he return? He had left the Tabur when he was younger, splitting suddenly like irresponsible youth often did. Had his years with the worms taught him temperance and responsibility? He seemed to take his responsibility as Voice very seriously, ready to draw his khanjar for it. Sullah had been the same sort of stubbornly honorable. Dinah hoped that his son had picked up a few of his father’s virtues. It would help her get over whatever vices he brought to the table.

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #13 on: Mar 01, 18, 03:27:05 PM »
Saladin smiled roguishly, and laughed.  "My Father would have said stubborn.  You are being very diplomatic."  He nodded at her thoughts on his steadfastness.  He would stand shoulder to shoulder with her, as his Father had meant to do.  There was no way to make her believe that save to do it.  Saladin believed that his Father would not have committed his thought to paper around this Queen, if he had not seen something worthy of preserving.  He would learn more about her in the days ahead.  "I did, indeed.  I made a life there, raised a family there, our in the deep desert."

He shrugged, "I knew that I had decades, even centuries, ahead of me.  I did not want to live the first of them beholden to the role and path that my parents had determined for me."  Saladin shook his head slightly, in a self-depracting manner.  "It was the logic and desire of a very young man, fresh from his Offering, and his Trials.  I went out seeking the sandriders, but I never truly expected to find them, or to fall in love."  He smiled at the Queen, "What is the saying?  'Life is what happens when you're doing something else'?"

Saladin understood the reason behind the question.  It was the weak point in any argument that kept him in the office of Voice.  "The plan had alwys been to return.  One can only ride the worms for so long, before one must give way to the younger generation."  He gestured, "My children will live long.  I wanted them to know my Clan and my Family, I wanted them to know more of Pruul than the pragmatic hardships of the Sandrider's life.  They marvel at what they see as the decadence of Onn, even as other children their age wonder at their ignorance of simple 'civilized' things."  He shrugged, "Should they choose the Madrasa when they are old enough, I will not stop them, but neither will I journey with them.  Children must make their own way at some point."

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #14 on: Apr 18, 18, 11:22:18 AM »
His smile and easy quip of a quote drew a polite but thin smile from her. She could not relate. Her life had always been planned, ordained. It was only in the last year or so that she had started resisting the chains that bound her because she wanted more. So she understood a need to defy one’s parents’ restrictions but not to the level that Saladin had taken.

He continued to tell her why he had left and why he had returned and when he was done, Dinah said, “I am glad that you have returned to us. It has been propitious.” She smoothed out a wrinkle of fabric before deciding what next to ask him.

And then, she decided to be honest with him. “I will admit, I…” A pause as she carefully chose her words. “I have never been fond of sandriders. It is a bias imprinted upon me by my family, for reasons beyond me.” There was a slight, sad shrug of her shoulders. “Perhaps they had a bad interaction with one before I was born,” she postulated. She had never asked why her family had been so vitriolic towards sandriders. It had been one of those things she had blindly accepted.

“But it is a bias that I am actively attempting to overcome,” she told him sincerely. “I am hoping that…” She made a slight motion of pointing first at him and then at her. “I am hoping that this partnership will dispel those myths.” But the underlying words she did not say, just the information she had given him, would tell him a bit more as to why he had encountered such vehement resistance from her father.

“So if there is something that I say inaccurately or inappropriately,” she went on, “please, enlighten me. I do not wish to insult you or your intelligence. I am in need of an ally like you.” One who understood Pruul beyond the walls of the tent. One that knew the deep desert. One that could navigate the political quicksand as easily as he rode one of the dangerous desert worms.

She gave him a small, sincere smile. "Is there anything you wish to ask of me?"

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 18, 12:19:58 PM »
Saladin’s Father had liked this Queen.  According to his papers, he had meant to full support her for the leadership of the Tabur, going so far as to detail the challenges that the Voice would face in doing so.  Those challenges were now Saladin’s obstacles to overcome.  He had to agree with his Father; Dinah took herself seriously, but not overly so, and showed a bit of good humor even in difficult circumstances.  The Prince knew that if she held on to that, Dinah would be a Queen the Tabur could rely on for many years to come.  She would neither fade nor wither before difficulty or scrutiny.  She had already made a hard choice in trusting him, he would be sure to repay it in kind.

”You can thank my Wife for my return, at least in part.  Before her passing, we had always meant to visit my parents.  She wanted to see where I came from.”  He smiled faintly in memory, ”And when she was taken, it became more than simply a visit.”  Saladin smiled, and then chuckle at her admission.  ”Like as not, it was a bad trade.  We are proud and smart, and know our worth and he worth of our goods.  We do not persuade or bamboozle easily.”  He shrugged, ”Confidence is often mistaken for arrogance.  We ride that which almost every other Pruulian fears, it is bound to cause a few unhealthy divisions.”  He grinned, ”I am certain we will get along famously.”

Saladin’s eyebrows rose, ”Well, now I am curious.  What myths specifically?”  He had heard many things about the people he chose, and the Sandriders had many things to say about the people he had left behind.  ”I will certainly dispel any notion that we, the Sandriders, are somehow uncouth wildmen.  The Madrasa is one of the oldest institutions of Pruul, and that is not an accident. Sandriders cannot afford mistakes, after all.  One could lose more than a finger.”  He held up his damaged hand for a moment, and then lowered it.  ”If you say anything untoward, I will certainly let you know.  I am not at all shy, but I do have some tact.  I will not take you to task before our political opponents.”

”I have no additional questions.  My Father spoke well of you, though he failed to mention you flawless beauty, or the light of your smile, but he was a very focused man.”  Saladin smiled and inclined his head slightly, ”Is there anything I should see to straightaway, by your estimation?”

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #16 on: Jun 15, 18, 10:29:09 AM »
What myths, he asked of her. What stories had she heard about sandriders? Ruffians was the kindest term her family had used. Wildmen, thieves, those had been more commonly said, so many times that Dinah began to wonder if there had been something personal that had happened between her family and a sandrider in the past. Infidels, heathens, barbaric… Dinah had heard them all and while she recognized a certain wildness, a certain unrefined aspect to Saladin’s way of speaking and acting, it was certainly neither uncivilized nor profane.

As he held up his hand to show the consequences of his mistakes, her expression was long and sobering in its assessment of the missing digits. Her own fingers ached briefly, a phantom sort of feeling that came with imagining the same pain inflicted upon oneself.

When he gave her those compliments, a faint blush appeared on her tanned cheeks and she averted her gaze, unsure of how to respond.

”Is there anything I should see to straightaway, by your estimation?” he asked her, drawing the conversation to a close. A blessed escape offered her in that awkward moment.

Dinah slowly shook her head. “No, there is…” She paused to give it further thought. “There is nothing specific, more of a general acclimation to your new duties and position. I trust that your father left good notes about current affairs. Let us meet in the morning to discuss more. I will formally introduce you to the council tonight at dinner.” That would be an interesting affair. Dinah fully expected to spend the next few days hounded over this decision.

As she mulled that over, a thought came to her. “I would like to establish better relations with the Voices of the other Clans. And their Queens. Since my every action recently seems to be hindered and critiqued, can you begin that process for me please?” Having Saladin handle such relations would also prove to their clan that he was capable of these new duties.

Once he gave a response, Dinah nodded her head once, slightly. Her expression turned a bit sorrowful as she said, “I apologize that I am bringing you into such a...difficult climate with this appointment.” The corners of her mouth quirked wryly. “Though, unless I am more naive than I thought, I believe you will...enjoy overcoming some of these obstacles.” He did not strike her as a man who was afraid of a challenge, not with those fingers missing because he had chosen to conquer a fear.

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Re: Rainsinger
« Reply #17 on: Jul 12, 18, 01:01:52 PM »
Saladin could imagine what the Queen’s family had told her about Sandriders, especially her Father.  He had been something of a rotter when they were boys, and now that he was a man his temperament had done very little to improve.  More than likely, he had already dispelled the lies she had been told all of her life.  People did not know how to deal with confidence, and every Sandrider was confident without fail.  They were a people that rode Sandworms, what else could they possibly be other than absolutely confident elsewhere?  No man was going to roll over on them and kill them.  No misstep in a tarven would lose you all of your fingers, unless it was a knife fight, and even then death was more likely.  Saladin’s confidence had begun early, and had only been magnified by his time in The Madrasa.

He smiled when Dinah failed to supply any myths for him to dispel.  He chuckled, ”That bad, huh?”  Saladin grinned, and shook his head dismissing the question he had previously asked.  ”Yes, my Father left excellent papers in his office.  I believe I can move smoothly into his office, and honestly, already have.  Despite his death, there were many that still came to his tent.”  He nodded.  Every meeting with a Queen was something of a risk, but every Queen was also a woman, and  so there was also an opportunity.  ”I will gladly pave the way for you to speak to your peers, my Queen.  Did you want to start with anyone in particular?”

Saladin shook his head, ”Oh, this is not all that difficult.  There’s no sandworm to devour me whole, and I will learn from my mistakes.”  He raised his hand again, ”I learn quickly.  Otherwise I would have far fewer digits with which ti manage.”  He grinned, ”I do enjoy a challenge, and I have made a habit of overcoming all manner of obstacles.”  He met her eyes, and winked with a sly smile before he chuckled.  ”Do not fear or worry for me, my Queen.  I will not shrink from difficulty.  It simply is not in my nature.”