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

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Established February 2010
by Jamie, Gina & Bowie.

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Dena Nehele / Something like a soul
« Last post by Rilandra Vlas on Today at 04:38:45 PM »
The days after Sora's stabbing were a blur of sleepless nights and high emotion. When Kale had been hurt, Riley had basically brought her work with her and spread it across the Healing Room's floor. This time was different. The current of the Queen's sadness, anger, and fear made for an uncomfortable work environment, especially for those bonded to her. While in Sora's room, she did her best to stay calm and positive, focusing on the fact that her adopted daughter had lived. While Sora slept, she talked to her, read her books, and sat nearby holding her hand. She would be a guiding light for Sora, a warmth to come to when she was able.

Maybe, when she was completely healed, after she had gone through her Offering, Riley would tell Sora all the things she had been feeling for the past few days. But right now, Sora needed to sleep. When she awoke, she would have enough on her plate with her own physical health to worry about as well as the emotional well being of her males. As expected, Cezar and Marius had returned to Court as quickly as they were able. Both males seemed particularly tense, but it wasn't until Gabriella Robles arrived and Riley watched as Cezar did all but run from the room whenever she entered that she realized something might be wrong between them, something that was keeping Cezar even more on edge.

Riley had to remind herself that the intricacies of connection between Sora, Gabri, their males, and their future Courts was not hers to manage. If Sora asked for her guidance or advice, she would certainly be there. But if her daughter was old enough to practically demand her Virgin Night, she was old enough to handle her own interpersonal drama.

When on the fourth night Sora had still not awoken from her Healing sleep, Riley dragged herself away and made her way back to her rooms. She had barely seen Drake since the performance. She knew he had been busy taking care of things so that she didn't have to. Drake, Val, and Seb worked well together when they weren't divided by moral lines drawn in the sand. Riley trusted them deeply, and while Jeremiah and Chauncey had been staying close to her side, the others had been keeping the Territory running.

With a gentle request to her other males for some privacy, she sent Drake a thread along the Opal to ask him to come see her as soon as he was able. She knew they had a lot to talk about, but honestly, all she wanted to do was bury herself in his arms. When he arrived, he would find her sitting on her bed looking slightly confused, with dark circles under her eyes that revealed just how little sleep she had gotten recently.
Raej / Re: Nothing Ventured
« Last post by Rehema Abbasi on Today at 04:29:46 PM »
They made it into the house, away from the strange, intimidating men on the street. Rehema had to admit that it was a comfort having Corvo, or Corvo as her shadow when such a thing occurred. Had he not been there, things might have ended quite differently. Yes she could fight them off as best she could, but being strained to her limits already it wouldn't have been wise. As much as she hated to admit it, Corvo’s insistence that she would harm herself by trying to save everyone else wasn't false. The guard for hire had her pegged almost immediately, though she was certain he didn't expect a roll of bandages to the head. She had managed to surprise him at least a few times.

The pot began to boil within a minute. The heated ceramic didn't scald her hands, in fact it felt good to feel its warmth under her fingertips. The scent of herbal tea and the tang of lemon centered her and reminded her once more that the dangers faced were behind them. They were gone. It would be embarrassing if a stranger like Corvo knew how her nerves sometimes shittered and rocked at the slightest provocation.  Taking in a breath, she poured two cups of hot water into awaiting mugs. A finger of steam curling above the liquid.

“You don't have to do that. The clinic is probably not on your way back.”  she called to him. He was still trying to be a protector, even when she had not purchased his services.  Returning to the chairs she offered him a mug and a bowl of honey.  Rehema too enjoyed honey in her tea and a splash of lemon.  Folding a leg beneath her she didn't look back up to him until the cup was still, and firmly resting on her palm and she had taken her first sip. When she looked up he smiled and she couldn't help but return the expression, feeling a little scrutinized. Again she reminded herself that she was fine, and for some reason this time it helped. When he offered his reassurance her almond eyes snapped back to him and mentally cursed herself for wearing her emotions so close to her sleeve.  The weight of his hand was comforting, despite the sting in her pride.   “You don't have to do that. You wont make any money if you give away your services for free. I can send word to the clinic. “  Her lips shifted, blinking into her mug.

“As for before? There is plenty of probing in friendly intercourse. Especially if one is doing it right. As for how one gets a proposal? Well that takes a lot more than meat pies and a neck ache.”  The retort came too late, much had occurred since she felt the blood rush back up to her cheeks minutes ago. The men were gone, but that didn't mean she couldn't use their mild flirtation as a distraction from the anxiety that threatened to settle into her bones. Grinding shyly at him she wanted him to know that his choice of words had not gone unnoticed. Nor was the attempt to throw her for a loop.  Had things gone smoothly, he might have succeeded, but Rehema wouldn't tell him that. “This is my parents house. At least it was. My sister Nailah moved them into opulent accommodations once she became the High Priestess.”  She explained, glancing around. “I decided to stay with my other sister. We haven't gotten around to changing things. Its how its always been.”  Running a finger over the edge of her cup, she glanced back at him. “Its not much, but its home.”
Glacia / Re: Diamonds And Dominance Are A Girl's Best Friend
« Last post by Leif Tostain on Today at 04:02:27 PM »
She did not make him wait past his appointed time - that was something that was both pleasing and slightly alarming.  The only time he'd ever known a Dark Jewelled... Anyone.. To not make someone like himself or his sister wait at least another half hour was when they planned on enjoying themselves at him or his sister's expense.

It wasn't something he enjoyed. 

But as with every time it had happened - he always had that hope that perhaps it was a sign of respect.  Or, if he was just slightly fortunate, it would be a sign that the unpleasantness would end quickly in some fashion or another.  He wasn't sure what he would prefer right now.

If Lydia Kalas showed him respect, he would know that his life was likely over - at least in the fashion in which he lived and found some small form of happiness.  It would mean that she did something he truly  did not want her to do - she would notice him as more than a Jeweler and approach his family.  Something he'd rather avoid.

And if she simply wanted to make his life uncomfortable?  It would be more time spent with the frigid bitch, constantly reminding himself to keep a Protocol-Neutral expression and dance a dance that - while he was quite good at it - he despised. 

So he gave her his bow, keeping his eyes just slightly lifted to keep her in his field of view before straightening and tugging on his cuffs to straighten them out after such a maneuver.  "<I>Priestess</I> Kalas."  If there was a faint hint of heat in that voice, she'd likely assume it was in response to her loveliness.  Let her assume it was that.  He had, after all, done the polite thing of looking over her attractive figure when she presented herself.

To not do so might invite worse.  To not react would undoubtedly cause trouble.  TO do more than put a little heat in his voice would also cause trouble - and unless she went peeking, she couldn't 'know' for sure that the heat wasn't lust.

Also something he'd had practice managing.  His eye turned back towards the table, and if she expected a twitch of annoyance she would not get it. Such a set up meant a longer visit -  to him that meant she was not going to try to 'keep' him, only annoy the hell out of him.  He could handle that.

"A little water would be pleasant, Lady Kalas.  I have already eaten, however."  That wasn't entirely true - he'd eaten one pastry on his way out the door.  But she didn't need to know that, and he wasn't going to drink her damned tea or eat her damned sandwiches.  Not unless she made him do so, anyways.  The less time he spent here, the better.

"Your time is precious, and your hospitality impeccable.  To avoid unnecessary delays, I would be more than happy to show you the pieces you purchased now if you would like, though I will understand if you wish to partake of your repast first."

Polite.  Even that faint hint of heat had disappeared as if it had never been, his hands folding lightly across his lap as he sat in her chair looking at her.  Through her, almost.  Like an obedient dog who simply wanted her to get her attempts at entertainment over with.  <I>Sit. Stay.  Good boy.</I>

He could imagine her purring such words over any object that happened to have dangly bits - dog, cat.. Blood Male.  Hopefully her getting married would keep her out of his hair.  A male could dream.
Shalador / Re: Home will be where the heart is
« Last post by Hattori no Shingetsu on Today at 03:00:00 PM »
Hattori had not been in a Queen’s company for a very long time.  Years, and even then, that had been for training alone.  A real Queen as not typically brought in for training, but for certain acts, certain Rites, a Queen might be called upon, or a Priestess.  No other Caste could give to the land, however, and no other Caste’s blood could inspire violence or madness from simply a drop.  A Geisha would not be terribly useful if they--(what was the Dena Nehele phrase he had heard?)--lost their shit every time a Queen shed blood.  The Dragon Queen would have to make this sacrifice, albeit with more ritual and circumstance than any Clan Queen.  It was the clearest proof of her nature, and her Night Given Right to rule as the Dragon Queen, as they have Ruled for time out of memory.

He was not one for ostentation.  Tacea had its ceremonies, but many were of the quiet variety, small and honorable, without making loud declarations about one’s worth or honor.  Hattori preferred that sort of quiet confidence, and he sensed some of that in his Queen as she moved to make her sacrifice to the land.  He was moved to assist her, but resisted for a time, his eyes as drawn to her as iron shavings to a magnet.  He explored that feeling, not probing along the bond, but running psychic fingers carefully along it, as though he were checking a bowstring for defects where there were none.  She was the Queen of his soul.  In all of existence, there was only her for him, and he for her--and she had been in Shalador.  He marveled at all that had to happen to place him there, beside her.  ”You are perfect.”  Hattori stated with the quiet sincerity of a man moved by a work of art.

The Blood Opal Prince watched Nova cut her forearm, understanding instinctively why she avoided her hand.  She had to be able to use her bow, or hold a knife.  He was curious about the need for such pragmatism, but he would not make that curiosity known just yet.  Without a thought, he conjured a clean length of linen, and bound it about his Queen’s forearm as a bandage, doing so with as much speed and grace as her own movements allowed.  If he was surprised or worried about her Ebon Gray, there was no sign of it.  Hattori was more concerned about her bleeding more than was entirely necessary for her Gift to the land.  ”Such a dangerously broad question, my Queen.  About you, I would like to know many things.  I will settle for archery.”

Hattori regarded er for a moment, before he spoke, ”What brought you to the bow?  It was family tradition for me, that and the challenge, I think.  Everywhere but Tacea favors the center grip.  Is it a traditional weapon here, in Shalador?”
Glacia / Re: Intrepid
« Last post by Svala Elkshaarn on Today at 02:43:03 PM »
Svala had been waiting for the Widow to escape but she had not expected her to escape quite so dramatically. The door burst free of its hinges just before two forms stumbled free of the burning darkness within the hut. Svala had a moment of approval when the binding traps sprang, immobilizing the boy and the Widow, and then breathed a tiny sigh as the trap holding the boy was released. Bully, perched on the roof, must have been waiting for that to happen. He ran off into the forest, unknowingly leaving a clear trail for Svala to follow later.

It was barely a moment later when she felt Bully’s frantic **Now, now, now!** against her mind. The arrow was already nocked and now it was in flight, arcing swiftly towards the distracted Widow, who had turned herself to look up at Bully. She raised her hand, exposing her guard in order to cast a spell. Motion slowed. In hindsight, Svala would remember every event from that moment on as punctuated by the opening and closing valves of her heart: tha-thump, tha-thump.

The opening beat matched the moment where the Widow threw a Green spell of something at Bully.

The closing beat matched the moment where Bully tumbled from the roof.

The next opening was the moment the arrow pierced the space between the sixth and seventh rib.

The next closing beat was drowned out by the echoing scream of the Widow.

Svala cursed softly. For multiple reasons.

First and foremost, the arrow had not hit the heart, but it had hit the lower lobe of lung, possibly also the liver, which promised agonizing pain and difficulty breathing. While this would hinder the Widow immensely, this meant that she was still, for the moment, alive. And very much pissed off.

The second concern was Bully, unconscious just a few feet from the injured woman.

Training kicked in. When dealing with an enraged creature near a defenseless target, one had to keep its focus. Svala treated the next few moments as she had wounded a boar that had knocked over a hunting partner.

Running forward, she loosed another arrow, hoping that the Widow had not yet called in a protective Shield. She watched, even as the arrow was in flight, as she did, the snapping of it so quick that it sheared the shaft of the embedded arrow. Svala dropped her own Sight Shield, standing tall and threatening in the clearing with another arrow ready to fire. “Surrender,” she shouted at the Widow.

She was answered by a blast of Green shards that shredded the lower part of her own Shield where she had been too slow to move.

But, the shriek that her opponent let out was interrupted by a bubbling cough and a gasp.

That was all Svala had to do now -- survive. The injured Widow could expend herself trying to fight and would exacerbate her injury. Intending to keep the kidnapper on this course, Svala fired another arrow, and dodged a power bolt that didn’t seem so fierce. Over and over, they went. Svala would attack, then evade, maneuvering the enemy away from Bully. The Widow, losing strength, wasted her remaining moments on trying to keep Svala on the defensive while also trying to Heal her own body somehow. Svala knew it was only a matter of time before the woman made her final decision: die, surrender, or flee.

“Surrender!” Svala shouted again as she loosed another arrow. She was down to three. If she had to resort to her hunting knives, it could get ugly. Even a dying Widow still had virulent poison in that snaketooth finger and fighting in close quarters gave her opponent the advantage.

Hiding behind a currently sturdy wall while she thought her next move over, it was then that Svala realized there was silence in the clearing. The shrieks, the raspy breathing...

Fearful that the Widow had lost interest in her and had decided to extract her fading fury on her partner, Svala darted around the building. This time, weak Opal shards pelted at her Shield, but they were barely piercing. In the center of the clearing, blood bubbling from her mouth, was the Widow, struggling to breathe.

“You have lost,” Svala informed her, approaching with her bow drawn, careful to keep herself between the Widow and bully. “Surrender and I will fetch a Healer to save you.” There was still time, Svala believed, but she left that for her opponent to decide.

The Widow laughed. And coughed. And gasped.

“I,” she rasped out, crimson froth speckling her lips, “but you...and your...filth...will the end.” Before Svala could come up with a retort, the Widow produced a flashing knife. Thinking the woman meant to throw it in attack, Svala tensed and prepared to dodge, but the knife reversed itself and sank deep into the Widow’s bared neck.

Svala watched the life drain out of the woman’s eyes and on to the ground. She lowered her bow, vanished it, and then ran to Bully’s side. Healing spells were Svala’s weakness. She could not tell if there was internal bleeding or anything broken as she ran her dexterous hands along Bully’s frame but Bully was yet alive. “Wake up, please,” she whispered fervently, audibly and along a Summer Sky thread. If Bully had been shattered...
Keep's Registry / Re: Melody Tioriand
« Last post by Leann on Today at 02:12:20 PM »
Changes made!

Ready for round 2!
Pruul / Re: To Calm A Prince, We Insist
« Last post by Ennead al-Bali on Today at 01:59:18 PM »
Zaehrah al-Bali had been the first Queen to remind him why being a Warlord Prince was better when in the company of such a female.  She had shown him what a Queen’s Touch could mean, and that his fears were perhaps not as pragmatic as he believed.  Her embrace was warm and friendly, and while he took no liberties, it would be a lie now, as it was in her arms during that first meeting, to say that she did not ignite his interest.  Ennead was disciplined, however, because he had to me, and was soon simply holding her hands, maintaining that contact for both of their sakes.  If he gave her any measure of comfort, then he was leased to do so.  ”Thank you once again, Lady.”  He smiled warmly for her.

He could not be anything but serious about the Queen of the Bali’s safety.  Ennead was honest, and he did not see this as the wisest move on Zaehrah’s part.  He understood the necessity of it, and he believe he knew why she was motivated to take this on herself, but he did not think it wise.  Lucky was not reasonable when it came to his own emotions, and he and Omid had a lot of feelings to work out, and it had not been properly done.  Doubtless, his friend and occasional pupil, would see Zaehrah as the enemy, even thought he knew that no one could predicted when and where a Bond would form.

”A hundred years, or fifty, you are still a Queen, Lady.  Wisdom comes in many forms, and neither age nor relative youth guarantees it.  At some point, you must trust your own instincts.”  He said with a gentle squeeze of Zaehrah’s hands, ”I understand that I have much to learn, and that knowledge is not the same as wisdom.”  Ennead shrugged slightly, ”If this is what your instincts demand, then I will see you through this decision.  I know you did not come to it lightly.”  He took a long breath, ”Yes, Lady, if I feel it is unsafe, I will remove you without asking permission, it is the least I can do to honor your trust, and that of your Males.”

Ennead escorted her through the crowds, and lanes between building both permanent and temporary.  He remained close to her, shielding them both, and using that shield as a wedge, here and there, to move people apart.  Ennead never moved too quickly, and he always kept I contact with her, her hand upon his arm, as he Escorted her with sharp Protocol, and a quiet ferocity that he normally kept concealed.  If his presence pushed people away, all the better.  Ennead could sense the other Male ahead, and before he stepped into Lucky’s line of sight, he clearly announced, ”Prince Lucky, I have escorted a Lady here to see you.  We come in peace.”  That should be a sign to Lucky that Ennead was acting in some official capacity, and that it was not a lark.
Pruul / Re: Silent Spring Rain
« Last post by Dinah al-Tabur on Today at 01:52:47 PM »
The elders insisted, so here I am.

Dinah was all too familiar with that sort of statement.

Delara was right. She was young, almost too young to the position, but she had the qualifications for it and ties to the previous Healer, albeit it distant ones. Her elders supported her, which said something, but persuading Dinah’s own council was a different problem.

There was something in the blue, something in her eyes, that Dinah was still puzzling through. Why this girl, who loved horses? Why had her elders pushed her? Was she a pawn in someone else’s game or was she truthful? Could she be trusted with secrets or would she be another enemy situated within Dinah’s Court?

Gathering her Craft to her, Dinah mentally recalled her Webs about this decision. Each of the women presented to her had been a thread in those Webs. Some had been easy to test, others had required no testing at all -- they had revealed themselves wanting from the start. But the thread that was Delara...that one begged to be investigated further. Teasing. Hidden.

And thus Dinah asked: “If the elders had not insisted, would you have come?”

The question, while innocent and direct, beckoned forward truth. Delara would feel it. Whether or not she answered truthfully would be her decision but the question was covered in the feeling that she should answer truthfully. Dinah sat with almost absolute stillness in the moments to follow, awaiting that response, peering at Delara through a Widow’s eyes, looking at the blue thread wrapped around the Healer and wondering where it would lead.
Raej / Re: wayward sisters
« Last post by Rehema Abbasi on Today at 01:41:10 PM »
The ringing in her ears began almost immediately. At first it was a faint whine, like the sound of whistling filtering into the house from the nearby alley way. It grew louder the more Masika spoke, to the point that it was almost deafening. The rest of the world drowned in white noise leaving only broken syllables that made no sense pouring from Masika’s mouth.

Clearly something was wrong. She was exhausted, she hadnt slept,  her mind flooded with excuses she could use to make sense of anything she was hearing. Her first instinct was to look away, to ignore the ugly truth that spewed from Masika’s lips like a noxious fog. If she allowed herself to breathe it in, she too would be poisoned. Rehema closed her eyes, opened them again, or at least she tried as she was affixed to the contours of her twin’s face. Then came the rejection of the knowledge that was thrust into her chest like butterknife. Dull, painful.

Masika would never She was angry yes, violent perhaps though she had known her only to be once. The day Nailah fled from the house and she found her twin bound and writhing on the ground  by the power of the Red. She remembered that day, it was when she changed, the rage pouring over onto anyone and everything that got in its way.  But Masika, her Masika was a good person at heart, just bitter and broken. She was the part of her Mother Night had carefully carved free to keep her company.

Rehema truly believed that whatever rift was caused between sisters could be mended. There was always hope, despite her own pain on the matter. Nailah was her sister. They were blood and with it came love.

Sound rushed back into her ears all at once as her thoughts resurfaced from the heavy thoughts that threatened to drown her. She exploded from within, gasping for air. “No. Masika no!”  she shouted suddenly if only to get past the insistent ringing. Her hands lashed out, grasping Masika’s slender wrists before she could hide behind her hands.  There was more remorse in the fact that she failed rather than her actions. For once Rehema didn't coddle her, she didn't try and smooth away the edges of her bitterness with a gentle touch.

Pulling away suddenly she burst to her feet, eyes wide, lips parted, her gaze holding onto the disillusionment. “You didn't. Tell me youre drunk, tell me that you did not do this!”  she demanded, but even the truth would not be neatly tucked away again. “Nailah is our sister, our blood. Did you think of anyone but yourself? Mother? Father? Theoris or the twins? Do you ever think of anyone's pain but your own?” she cried, and taking a few steps away. Her small hands clasped over her mouth, trying to scrub free the horror that settled there.

Dropping her hands again she looked to her twin, her beautiful, talented, broken sister.  “This isn't a competition. Ive watched you make it one but it was never that. This is nothing more than envy. What did you win? Badru is dead, a man’s life wiped and you would so flippantly erase our sister and one of her escorts as though their lives meant nothing? What has she done? Nothing she has said will ever, ever match to what you have done Masika. You had the man she loved killed. Words are just words, they can be forgiven. How can you expect to mend our family now?” she spat back at her. Rehema could feel the pressure in her chest becoming almost unbearable.

“Do you think Mother Night forgives us when we do terrible things, Ema?”

“You need to tell her. You need to make amends. Shes a Priestess, perhaps, if there is hope she will see it as a moment of insanity. She wants so hard to reconnect. If she finds out from anyone else, it will be worse, she will have you tried, or worse.” Nailah would kill Masika, she might even think she too was involved.  A led weight sank into her chest and the ringing in her ears faded.
Dea al Mon / Re: Make Me Numb, Make Me Feel
« Last post by Sabre Tinuron on Today at 01:40:50 PM »
“No,” he growled low and soft against her mouth, a feral sound in response to the fingers that brushed against the ties of his pants.  He pulled her lower lip with his teeth as his hands moved down her body to open the robe the rest of the way.  “Not play.”  His hands gripped her hips and jerked her body downwards, pistoning her legs up to wrap around his waist.  A long aching moan left his mouth as he felt the heat of her soaking through his pants.  Years of restraint battled with the drugs that fueled his ardor and loosened the chains on the primal part of himself that rested deep within.

“Stop,” he barked as her fingers teased along his muscles, tickling just enough to distract him.  He grabbed one of her hands and lifted her wrist above her head, holding it there with an Opal restraint.  He bared his teeth, his eyes blazing as he trailed teeth and lips down her chest before sampling her nipple roughly.  He wasn’t sure if it was the sensimilla or her own flavor, but the taste of her skin in his mouth erupted and shattered the last of his restraint.   Using craft he vanished his pants and in one swift motion, he was inside her.  Buried hard and deep.

His eyes rolled back at the welcoming warmth of a woman surrounding him and for a moment he didn’t move as he absorbed the sensations.  He was aware of her breath, the sounds she made as he pushed into her and when his brain caught up, he rose up on his arms and rocked out and back into her.  Mother Night, had it ever felt so good to be with a woman?  He couldn’t remember, losing himself in the sensation.  Back and forth, long deep strokes as he felt her body beneath him, rocking up on the bed with enough force that he heard the frame thumping at the wall.   He didn’t care.  Blind with need he didn’t even register who was beneath him.  Woman, warm, wet, yes… this is what he wanted, what he had denied himself.  No more.  No more need to restrain, to behave, to control his desires. 

Freedom.  That’s what this was.  Complete freedom.  He should thank Willow when he was sated, thank her for showing him what he had been missing out on all this time.   He bent his head and captured her mouth, swallowing her sounds as his tongue swept inside and savored the flavor of the drug.  More, he needed more, wanted more.

“More,” he growled, and his hips sped up.  “I want more.
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