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Canon: © Anne Bishop
Board's Plot: Blood Rites
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Established February 2010
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* Plot Information for Raej

The High Priest rules Raej with political acumen and charisma, but not all is well under the desert sun. As the years progress tension between Blood and Landen grow and are now nearly at a fever pitch. Odji Khaldun’s secret war against the Landen is not public knowledge but the workings of it can be seen. Blood and Landen die on both sides while Raej subtly prepares for civil war.
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Author Topic: That which submits, rules.  (Read 450 times)

Description: Odji

Offline Saiph al-Kaid

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      Reid

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    • Here lies a toppled god.

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That which submits, rules.
« on: Jan 25, 18, 03:12:42 PM »
Saiph had been in Raej for almost nine months now, and through that time she had seen little of the Priest Warlord Prince who ruled. Her days were taken up with her lessons, with prayer, with her duties as a member of Syeira's First Circle, whatever those were that day. The Queen's Gift Saiph offered, even as a pre-Offering Queen, was a dear thing here. Raej was not rich in Queens like the Kaid tribe of Pruul, though they weren't suffering nearly as much as the Dena Nehelean people to the north, and every offering of the Gift was valuable to them.

Come the Spring, Saiph would turn twenty. Her Virgin Night and Offering were upon her, and that meant that it was time to put serious thought into her future in Raej. For that purpose, she asked Iskander to arrange a meeting with the man who ruled Raej. It was time to make her request for the right to rule in Lahun.

Returning to Pruul was a tempting option, but her Court was not yet complete. She knew as much as Iskander, Rakha, Errai, and her infrequent letters from the Sabbah Queen could provide her about the situation in her homeland; only her visions had provided her with the view of her Court as it had to be when she returned. There were souls missing from her heart, and she had to locate them. Not only was that true, but the situation was still far too unstable politically to risk it... and Saiph was still blind.

Healing the block might be possible. She'd never put much thought into it. But with Abulurd, with her own gift, maybe she could reverse it and become a Queen and Mother worthy of ruling.

In the meantime... Lahun.

She was ready when Odji arrived at the Province seat. Her dress was in the Raejian style, pale lilac meant to evoke the darker, sunburst shades of her Purple Dusk. A silvery girdle cradled hips that had widened since the last time they had seen each other. When Iskander had married Syeira, Saiph hadn't yet been a woman, and now she was. Her long silvery-blonde hair was tightly braided into a complex Pruulian style, her one affectation that reminded her of home.

When she was shown into his presence, Saiph curtseyed deeply. "Prince Khaldun," she said, "It is an honor to be in your presence once more."









Offline Odji Khaldun

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #1 on: Feb 18, 18, 11:44:51 AM »
Since the marriage of his Queen to his Nephew, Odji had done his utmost to guide, but from afar. Syeria and Iskander were the ones he expected to one day replace him, to rule Raej as a powerful duo of Priestess and Priest, of Queen and Prince. They were, in Odji’s eyes, perfectly matched. To that end, when he’d received news, from Syeria’s hand, that a triple gifted Queen had come to her Court, Odji had been surprised.

It was a surprise mainly because the girl was not a child, but nearly a woman. She wore a Jewel that promised that she’d descended to a Dark Jewel. And she was the once Mother of Pruul of which wild rumor and certain exaggeration were born from. Saiph al-Kaid.

More than that, Odji had reports that she’d arrived blind. It had taken some questions to one of his advisors to understand that the blindness was seen as a weakness in harsh Pruul. He’d pursed his lips then, annoyed at the foolish Pruulians. A triple gifted Queen, no matter if she were mute, deaf, and slow of intellect, was a gift from the Darkness.

So, Odji kept his distance, let the Queen settle into Syeria’s Court. He was busy with ruling from Kemet, and in earnest, he expected many of the stories from Pruul were truly just exaggeration. As she’d taken a position in the Court of his Queen, Odji had left the young almost-woman alone. For a time.

He’d sent word ahead that he’d be arriving at the Province Court and desired a meeting with the young tri-gifted Queen. With all the pomp and circumstance befitting their ranks, Odji dressed in the finest of robes, applied the warmest and spiciest of his colognes, and took with him a guard arrayed of men and women as suited his honor.

He left all the guards at the door except one woman. She opened the door from him as he entered the sitting room of the almost of age Queen. Already he’d noticed a new Queen scent at Syeria’s Court. It had struck him strangely, for he’d not visited in some time, allowing Syeria and Iskander to travel to Kemet instead. Now though, he noticed the change almost immediately upon entering. And where Syeria’s scent was an ever-present balm, the alternative Queen’s scent, that same Priestess paired with the Black Widow that Odji was not as comfortable with, all based on Queen. If it were not layered over the Queen of his soul’s scent, it would have been intoxicatingly unique.

Still, Odji had let the scent settle in his bones so that when he stood before Saiph al-Kaid, he was not distracted by the uniqueness of her. He’d met her before, before she’d grown into her Black Widow caste, before the change. Where he’d seen a child led by others, he now truly woman ready to bloom. He didn’t know what path the Darkness had set for the almost woman, but, Odji had a few ideas of his own.

“Lady al-Kaid. You’ve grown, and not just in height. It is truly my honor to stand before a woman as thrice blessed as you are.” He bowed deeply, even though he was not sure she’d be able to hear the rustle of his clothing or not. Odji was, after all, deeply spiritual and bounded by blood and honor to Protocol. Though Ruler of Raej, he stood before the most unique woman in all of Terreille. She was beautiful in her Raejian dress, but Odji wondered if it suited her. Had she left her heart back in Pruul? Or was nine months enough time for her to start to love Raej as well? Odji hoped to find out.

“Please, take a seat.” Odji motioned to the chair, again not sure the power of her senses. Nevertheless, he waited until the younger Queen had taken her seat before seating himself. His guard, a Summer Sky Witch, took a stand near the door, the sound of her metal armor indicating they were not alone in the room.

“I am honored to know my Queen has honored you with a position in her First Circle. Lady Syeria’s Court is one of the most respected in Raej and you do her a great service by serving. Has the time here in Ta-Awy been kind to you?” His words were a combination of Protocol, platitudes, and curiosity. Odji had many questions for the Queen, but he knew that, first, there was a dance to their encounter. Though she served the Queen of his heart, that did not mean any allegiance of the Queen to him.

But, Odji at least hoped, it did earn him good will.








Offline Saiph al-Kaid

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #2 on: Feb 21, 18, 02:03:03 PM »
Saiph heard him bow, and did not rise from her curtsey until he lifted his head, or even after. She waited a full five seconds, counting carefully in her head, before rising and crossing to the chair that she knew was there. Her webs were lacking; she required more training, but she had dreamed this meeting before, a hundred hundred times. There was nothing about it which she did not anticipate, nothing about it that she did not bear hopes and answers for. The future stretched out before her like the patterns of the rugs she had once woven together, her fingers dextrous then as her mind was dextrous now. She sat, ears pricked for any sounds. The hiss of a sword from its sheath, perhaps, or the slick slide of armor against itself. She heard the latter. The former was not present.

There was no reason for Odji Khaldun to wish her harm. She was a child, too young to rule, with no army and only his protection to defend her. But men were strange and unknowable creatures; Saiph knew just enough of the world to be sure of that. And Odji Khaldun was a Warlord Prince. Their temperaments were well known even to those who hadn't grown up trapped with one who wore a Sapphire Jewel. Her salvation was that she posed no threat to Syeira beyond the abstract that any powerful, or soon-to-be powerful, Queen did. She served Syeira in every way. Every report carried away from each Court duty Saiph performed would reference how she constantly deflected thanks and praise to the woman who had sent her there.

Iskander had told her how Odji was bound to Syeira; thus it did not surprise her when Odji called Syeira his Queen. It was that he called it an honor to have Saiph serve that she paused, tilting her head aside. "It is my honor to serve her," she said, "She is a kind mentor to me. I've learned so much about my Craft from her." Though Syeira's devotion to her own Queen caste was weak, she was a prodigious and talented Priestess, and it was those talents to which Saiph referred. Therefore the statement was not untruthful, though honestly Saiph found herself nudging Syeira in Queencraft more often than Syeira nudged her. "It's very beautiful here, and I have been treated very well, Prince Khaldun. There's much about Ta-Awy that I love." She bowed her head again, respectfully.

She folded her hands on the table before her. Though the Pruulian and Raejian styles agreed that more jewelry was better, her hands were bare; her nails were painted a pale shade of green. The lacquer was still opaque enough to conceal her snake tooth. "I am glad to have this time to speak with you," she said, "if I may be so bold to say so. I would like to make a request, and... an offer, to you, as the High Priest and ruler of Raej."









Offline Odji Khaldun

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #3 on: Mar 01, 18, 08:57:43 PM »
The young Queen, on the cusp of adulthood, was not without her Protocol training. Even if the Queen had thought Ta-Awy too hot, too cold, or even too wet, he doubted the young Queen would say so. For a time she’d been the Queen of Pruul, their Mother as they’d called her. (Though a part of Odji, the Priestly part, found that slightly disrespectful to the true Dark Mother.)

Another time, Odji would have worried about the futures and visions a Black Widow held. He’d never been content and at ease in the presence of a Black Widow, but the young Queen’s mixture, especially the fact she was both Queen at Priestess, did much to ease him. Nevertheless, he’d gaze down at the young woman’s finger, reminding himself he dealt with a woman whose mind traveled outside and beyond the normal realms into a Kingdom unfathomable to him. That she was Syeria’s protege though, that eased him as much as her dualties did.

Curiously, Odji kept the gaze of the young Queen. He knew very well she was blind (how was less clear to him), but he treated her no differently. Still, he watched her eyes, curious if she focused on him, or just near him. He did not often interact with the blind or infirm, and even less frequently, was she a Queen of much power.

“A request?” Odji intoned the question with curiosity but not incredulity. “And and offer you say?” There was a hint of humor in his voice, much of that fatherly aspect of the dual Priest and Warlord Prince. Though not patronizing, there was almost that hint of amused father indulging a daughter in his voice. “For the Queen serving my Queen, I am ready to hear many requests for aid or support, but I am most interested in this offer. Please, Lady al-Kaid, continue with your request and offer. I am most intrigued.”

In truth, he was very curious about the Queen. She’d been called a mother before she’d been a woman. And now she wanted something and was willing to offer something else in return. Fascinated, he leaned forward slightly, if only so he could more easily see the way her face moved, the whole of her body in fact, as she spoke and interacted with him.








Offline Saiph al-Kaid

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #4 on: Jun 20, 18, 02:05:22 PM »
Saiph looked at nothing at all, her dark-eyed gaze unfocused. It wasn't even possible to pretend that she saw anything; her visions guided her steps. She knew where to be, and that permitted her the facade that she was not any different than another witch of her many Castes and gifts... a rarified group, to be sure, as there were few Priestess Queens at all, let alone Black Widow Priestess Queens. It was that triple Caste and the potential for Darkness that she intended to leverage in this discussion with Prince Khaldun.

"My Offering is coming," said Saiph. "It will come upon me before the fall of this year. I know that the district of Lahun is ruled by a Priestess whose years are soon to catch up to her. I wish to put my name forward to rule as the Queen of Lahun, that Lady Neferet's mother may retire and enjoy the twilight of her years. You know that I am loyal to Lady Neferet in every way, and I will serve the people of Lahun just as loyally. My Sapphire--" she knew she would wear the Darkest Jewel her Birthright offered her "--would provide much to the land. But the bounty of my Sapphire is not all that I bring, Prince Khaldun."

She hesitated, half affectation and half genuine anxiety. Perhaps he wouldn't see the value of what she brought. Perhaps he would doubt her. She came prepared to offer a small demonstration of the Craft, but the miracle would mean less to him than it would to any Pruulian who saw it with their own eyes. "When the Mineborn cast their rains spell in Onn, it was with my guidance through the Twisted Kingdom. It was limited by the lack of training that their Queen and Black Widow evinced. I am not so limited, and I can use the Craft to spread my Gift along with the water that will make Lahun a more productive district, both in gemstones and in agriculture."

To her, this seemed a gift of inestimable value: with a Court behind her, Saiph could weave their power into her own and create the massive storms that would have revitalized Pruul, had it ever become safe for her to rule as the Mother, as she ought to have done. "I know I am young, and as yet untried, but I will learn quickly, Prince Khaldun. I swear to you, I will be an asset to your rule as the Queen of Lahun."









Offline Odji Khaldun

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #5 on: Jul 31, 18, 05:34:42 PM »
Though the Prince did not feel the gaze of the triple caste Queen on his, he felt her presence and awareness. Nothing in Saiph spoke of inattention, even if her gaze never quite met his. Odji had spoken to people more difficult than the youthful Queen, and so, he sat at ease. Like a lion, caged, but a known quality to his deathly abilities. He was a master and in his domain and he had nothing to fear. No, Odji felt the tides of power between them, and though there was not the easy equilibrium of Syeria and him, he felt that comfort of Queenly presence from Saiph.

He’d never let her disrupt that which was needed to protect Raej, but he saw the beauty and potential in her. Even as the Queen offered her services, offered her Sapphire to his homeland (which he would not countermand her on, even if he knew Mother Night may not always give into the dreams of youth). Though she was not raised in Raej, he felt the desert soul in her, a kinship. Perhaps it was the same that Syeria felt? He was not sure.

Though he was interested, Odji was serious as he considered. “I will have to seek counsel with the Queens of Raej. There is a young Priestess who had her eyes set upon the District, though she would not be so Darkly powerful as you Lady al-Kaid.” Odji mused aloud as he pressed a finger to his lips and considered. “I know the stories of your time in Pruul, you have ample experience at a much grander scale. Your offer is extraordinary and I would be a fool to deny you, but I cannot give you such a lofty position, without even ruling a village first, without something in return.”

“Would you sign a contract Lady al-Kaid?” Odji paused for a moment, to give significance to his words and the weigh-in which he spoke. “Your agreement to serve for a year, at which point I, with counsel of the Queens in Raej, will yet again look at your tenure and extend it at that point. You are a Queen, tested in Pruul, but untested in Raej. The Queens of my home will want to see your dedication to our people, and I will too.”

A quirk of a smile played at the side of his lips, and his voice lightened slightly. “I think your potential, for the Sapphire and for the people of this Realm are boundless. Mother Night has gifted you and if you gift the land as you say, it will assuredly be a bountiful time for your potential Court. Tell me, do you have the twelve necessary to fill your First Circle? If so, I will have an easier time placating the other Raejian Queens.”








Offline Saiph al-Kaid

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Re: That which submits, rules.
« Reply #6 on: Sep 22, 18, 05:23:23 PM »
He offered the contract she'd wanted. A confirmation of her presence here, a place beneath the aegis of his protection for her and hers. Saiph didn't smile; she merely bowed her head, respectfully acknowledging his right to demand a contract from her in exchange for that lofty position in the seat of a District. "I will sign a contract with you," she said. "Of course. I shall serve for a year, and if you find my service wanting, I will return to where-ever you would place me." But Odji wouldn't find her service wanting. She would comport herself with every bit of skill she had learned in her time at the Pruulian Court; she would raise Lahun's status in the Courts of Raej with her power and her Craft. Syeira was discomfited by her Queen Caste, but Saiph reveled in it. She was a creature of three Castes now, and each of them fit into her as pieces into a puzzle. Odji would not regret that gamble.

"I believe I do," she said, "and of them, most are Raejian." She'd met the men that she would call to her service when she had gone to Lahun to assist with their rituals in the past spring and summer; she had not dared disrespect the mother of the Queen she served by openly courting them for service, but she had felt that bond there. "The few who are not are still bound here by blood. I would not burden you by asking for what I could not give." It would have been incredibly disrespectful to make an offer for a Court placement without knowing that she could fulfill her promise and create more than a skeleton Court.

Saiph smiled at the High Priest of Raej, violet eyes still blank but crinkled slightly at the corners with her sincerity. "If you see fit to allow me the Seat, I will work with this Priestess you've mentioned. I wouldn't want to cause bad blood between us; if she is ready and willing to serve her people by taking on the burden of rulership, it could be that we are of use to each other."









 

 

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