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Board's Plot: Blood Rites
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Dena Nehele / Stay close little brother
« Last post by Ji Yoon Moon on Today at 02:40:06 AM »
Ji Yoon met Haneul at the landing web just after sunup, on the first arrival of the day from Shalador.  She expected her brother to be about as charming as a wet cat at having been called to Dena Nehele after their recent correspondence, and that meant that depriving him of precious sleep couldn't possibly make things any worse.

Besides. The red eye was cheap.

Her brother, in the way of their family, had changed very little in the year since she'd seen him last. He wore his hair the same and had the same delicate line of kohl around his eyes (this despite the early hour). However, his clothing was far different from anything fashionable in Tacea, from his head to his feet, and his posture was markedly improved, so... perhaps Shalador was being good to him. Or else, Yuki no Natsuhana was.

"Thank you for indulging me, Haneul," she said, guiding him to the waiting carriage. "You can sleep at my apartment."

She took a seat across from him, and the cab lurched into motion. "You look well," Ji Yoon observed. "I like your sweater. It sort of looks like something Nova would wear."

Haneul had mentioned her, and she wondered briefly how close they were - if they'd only been passing acquaintances, or if Nova was still at the court. If they were friends. She and Yuki both wore the Sapphire and the Ebon Grey. They'd have plenty to talk about.

"Listen, I'm sorry I didn't say anything sooner," she sighed, addressing the elephant in the room. "But I'm doing my best to fix it now."
Dena Nehele / Re: No Business in Show Business
« Last post by Ji Yoon Moon on Today at 02:15:22 AM »
Ji Yoon couldn't help but smile, in spite of the overall tone of the conversation. Though her privacy had been invaded, Raluca brought it up in a way that put her at ease - and it wasn't like Ji Yoon hadn't laid the bait. "Indeed," she replied. There was no reason to lie to Raluca when she already had the lay of the land. "Personal acquaintances. Previously professional."

The price Raluca named was high, but Ji Yoon had been warned it would be. Half of what was in her father's purse would still leave her with a sizeable amount of money, but it seemed like a great deal to spend on only a portion of the investigation. If the documents were found to be forgeries, that would be one thing, and the investigation would end there. But if not... well, there was no telling what lengths she'd need to go to. Ji Yoon had access to more funds once these ran out, but this was her father's coin, and she wanted to spend it responsibly.

All things considered, there was always more money in her father's accounts in Dhemlan, and she needed to get this underway.

"Agreed," she said finally, nodding. "A quarter now, which you can keep even if you can't get the documents. The rest on delivery. And a boon."

That worried her a little in how open-ended it was. Ji Yoon only planned to be in Dena Nehele for sure for the next three years, and while it was likely Raluca would ask for healing, she could just as easily ask for sabotage. But her own honor was worthless compared to the importance of securing Yua's freedom.

Ji Yoon tugged the coin purse open and called a few golden marks to hand.

"I'm not trying to cause trouble for Riley or the guilds," she said. "I'm trying to avoid it."
Dena Nehele / Re: Survivalism
« Last post by Lyoshka no Ariake on Today at 02:13:02 AM »
More of it? He already had as much of Garen's cock as he ever wanted to have in his mouth. Lyoshka didn't dare look away long enough to measure how much there was left, not when there was so much else already crowding out his momentary incredulity. He had to let go, had to stop... thinking about it. Just do it. Instinct and reflex. Garen's hands on the back of his head were a cage, for all they were a gentle cage. However far down he pushed, he couldn't be sure Garen would let him back off. Either way, if Garen wanted Lyoshka to choke, it was going to happen.

So: he used his tongue, tracing the vein on the bottom of Garen's cock, took more of his master's length into his mouth, and watched his master's face. He used a hand to hold Garen's cock steady, pushed down until his eyes watered--he didn't look away--and his lips brushed the side of his hand where it wrapped around Garen's cock. He wanted to just let this happen, be quiescent and passive so it wouldn't be his fault. It didn't matter if he got off or not, he didn't want to get off. He didn't want the pain he was sure Garen would inflict for disobedience, so he... he obeyed.

That was the worst part, in Tacea or even in Shalador he wouldn't be on his knees in a fucking garden with a slaver's cock in his mouth. He wouldn't be slipping a slim-fingered hand inside his underthings, tracing the outer lips of the parts of him that he wasn't supposed to have. Clinical, he tried to tell himself, but that was as possible as considering the volcano that had destroyed two islands clinically. It would be worth it, had to be worth it. Eventually it had to be worth it.
Pruul / Re: The art of pruning: to move forward you must let go
« Last post by Aahad al-Situla on Today at 01:36:09 AM »
"By all means." He said to the request to tend to the oasis. "As I said. Man hands." He smiled. He grew a bit more cautious though as she spoke of her dealings with a Black Widow. Not due to the caste but that a subtle worry was proven true. The Chalice was cracked and learning it helped understand a bit more of what she was suffering from.

He nodded at her request to ask for more than what had already been done and thought on it for a moment. "For a cracked Chalice?" He pursed his lips. "To help with the dreams, unfortunately I cannot do. As far as meditation however, that I can help with I think." He spoke as he walked. "Take a moment alone, get comfortable and close your eyes. Think of it like...turning your internal noisebox down to zero for a bit. Don't focus on anything, don't ponder over something. Not even about yourself. Just relax, breathe and be in the moment."

"There is a method that helps when people are new or having difficulty with meditation." When they stepped out onto the oasis he looked around and seeing an oblong rock sticking out at the edge of the lake he pointed to it. "See that rock there? At some point while your gardening sit in the shade, relax and focus on that rock there. The only that exists is you and that rock. When your mind starts racing like it's bored and has something to do? Focus on the rock. Your mind will quiet. See if that helps. When you leave you can simply substitute any marker to focus on or feel free to imagine the rock if there isn't." He hoped the advice would work.

"As for myself I have no real duties as of the moment so I am free as a bird. The only real thing I had planned for today was tending the oasis."
Dena Nehele / Re: No Business in Show Business
« Last post by Raluca Vaduva on Today at 01:24:17 AM »
"It is a rather soothing blend," replied Raluca, eyebrow arched at the implied suggestion. "I purchased it from the establishment that is run by Maseo no Shingetsu. He is a personal acquaintance of yours, is he not?" Just as Ji Yoon's implication was that she meant Maseo, Raluca's was implying that her knowing of the Warlord was far, far more intimate.

Definitely carnal.

There was only the slightest inclines of her head, Raluca smiling politely. There was little to no chance that she would turn on anyone but then ... Well, Rilandra Vlas was protected by the Guilds. If investigating this lead to a conflict that put Rilandra's place as Queen of Dena Nehele in jeopardy then there would be an issue.

Her head tilted as Ji Yoon brought forth the coin purse, not watching each coin as it was counted but instead listening to the  clink. With her tea cup set aside, Raluca leaned forward and settled her gaze upon the Healer. "Half of what you have, part of which is paid now and the rest of which is paid upon the retrieval and subsequent viewing of said documents with a Prince of your choice," said Raluca. "I would also require one boon from you as part of the payment. A favor, if you will, to be called upon when the time comes, if ever." The smile was she gave Ji Yoon was friendly but it was also edged with something else, something dangerous.

"If that is agreeable to you then we can continue discussing the topic at hand. If not? Then it was lovely sharing tea with you, Lady Moon." It was truly that simple. Either Ji Yoon agreed or she did not and it was all over. Not that Raluca thought she would, as while it was still a sizeable amount of coin it was not entirely unreasonable. The request of a boon however ...

That could be something someone may not want to part with.
Dena Nehele / Re: coup de grace as a philosophy of life
« Last post by Jeremiah Mercer on Today at 01:24:09 AM »
Jeremiah said nothing, for all that his eyes brightened and looked sharper. It was there, in that instance, as the Healer spoke of Garen L'Voide and what he had said. Not about himself, he could care less, but about Lisichya. That he had called him pretty, that he had- The implications there, the way the world pressed outward as if to repel him but then inward and settled ... He wanted to growl but instead swallowed it.

Somewhere, further out in the endless ocean Abyss, something glinted from above but it could not reach this place. There was no argument, nothing that could be said. Males were dangerous, guidance was often needed, and he knew more than any other that his Queen calmed him as much as her own fury fueled his.

Once it was clear he was not going to step forward, that he was not going to intrude, he watched as Lisichya settled. Here there was no urge to remove his jacket and set it upon those hunched shoulders. It was a different urge that he felt but it was kept in check all the same. "Then I'll do just that," said Jeremiah, moving to find place to sit upon something comfortable and keep his focus upon the waters.

Lyoshka would be spared the queer blue-green eyed gaze. It took him a moment to settle, the place he found to sit a touch too small for him (just as the doorway had been). His fingers smoothed along his thighs a moment before they curled around his knees as he got comfortable.

"Off is likely one of the nicest ways to put it," he said, simply talking. "The other thing they called me, before my Queen named me her Shadow was her Frigid Prince. Most believe it to be demeanor but another of her males ..." A huff of breath escaped. "He realized that while we have shared a bed, I have not bedded Riley." So help him if he had to say fuck again today ...

"L'Voide was also not incorrect about my going savage. I was-" Jeremiah faltered a moment, paused and breathed and pushed aside the momentary sting. "This place of yours? It is not unlike something that was done to me but this is to help you not trap you. A Black Widow trapped me, my Self, and left something else behind that was bound by compulsions and her Webs. Foolishly I tried to break the web myself but I lacked the skill and only tightened the noose. I went savage because I was fracturing." Dying. Slowly bleeding out. What latent talent the Mercers had against webs had meant nothing in the place of someone who had put backdoors and holes within his mind.

"The Master of the Guard just happened to be the one that triggered the final spiral, pushing me to the Killing Edge." Jeremiah's voice softened then, his attention upon the water and not at all looking at Lisichya. There were things in the water and if he focused they could be seen. "He was my brother, we trained under the same man, and I nearly killed him." The raw emotion could not be hidden for all that he would have preferred it. "If not for his Queen, I likely would have." He still, when true dreams found him and not the Abyss, dreamt of his hands around Sebastian's throat. Except Nova did not come, no one did until it was too late, and then he would wake up with a scream caught in his throat that could never be released.

"Ultimately it was resolved but it is one of many reasons why I am training to become a Black Widow." His fingers twitched, a need there to work thread between them but ignored. "The training takes up a portion of my day, when I study and go over the things I need to know in-between the times that I have instruction." Wasn't he doing exactly what Arkadie had said? Simply talking? It was not providing a willing ear but Lisichya had not asked for that. He asked for Jeremiah to speak. "That is assuming that I do not find myself with wards to look after or something to handle for my Queen or the Court itself."
Tacea / Re: said you better try to have fun
« Last post by Akira no Kagen on Today at 01:01:30 AM »
"Of course I am, Auntie." Akira said with a slight purr of delight; like a tomcat that had been pet for several minutes. "I dress better than you."

He met the former Dragon Queen with a deep embrace. Akira had never been shy with his affections, no matter who the target was. "It's alright." He said as he drew back, still smiling. "I toned it down for you. Don't need the old ninnies who watch over you having nosebleeds all over the carpet."

Akira waved off her concern about the festival. "Seen it. I'd find something else to do. The Territory could use some cheer, and the Flower Party is borrrring. You're allowed to like it. You're the Dragon Queen. You could like Toothpaste and Orange Juice for breakfast and people would think it's swell."

He joined her at the bench and hiked one leg over the other knee, letting his foot bob as he laid an arm across it. "Ohhh, I'm fine. I wanted to check in on some things here and throw a concert and a couple parties before I get back. After all I'm getting married, I better get the layin' while the layin' is good. Once I get back to DN it's going to be bitch duty for the rest of my life, while hopefully getting a new following out there.

We'll see."
He shrugged, not trying to sound down about it but the free spirited performer was not as enthused about marriage as one would hope.
Dena Nehele / Re: hell is empty and the devils are here
« Last post by Artemisia Xenopol on Today at 01:00:47 AM »
"Bidea, that's..." Artemisia frowned. She'd spent so long in one place that she had trouble grasping the distance between places. She'd had to trek nearly a whole day from her village to a larger town to reach a landing web when she left for Sevastopol. "That's far, right?" She'd have to make a whole thing out of it if she wanted to visit, at least by Landen means. The winds were faster, but... the winds were expensive, and everything Artie earned went right back to her aunt as thanks for feeding her and taking her in.

The main thing holding her back was money, but she didn't want to say so. She knew that if she did, Raluca would find some way to take her there, but... That just seemed needy. But she'd get there on her own one day, even if it took a lot of scrimping and saving.

"I mean," she added, brightening determinedly, "I would love to see a show. In a real theater." As opposed to the little skits Raluca and her companions used to stage in her parents' kitchen, which was definitely a fake theater.

They arrived at the riverside promenade, and Artie scanned the grass for a good place to set up their picnic blanket. "Over there," she said, pointing to a spot of grass by the water.

As they got settled, she gave more consideration to Raluca's question about how she was doing. "I'm okay, really," she said, eying the basket. "Most of the time. I mean. I hardly knew Aunt Bogdana before this, but she's been so kind to me."

She paused, chewing her lips, and then added, "I do still really miss Mom and Dad sometimes."

She wrung her hands together, thinking of the thing she couldn't bring herself to mention. That when their killer had grabbed her, he'd felt... familiar, somehow. Like he was someone she'd always known, right down into her cells.
Tacea / Re: said you better try to have fun
« Last post by Hinata no Kagen on Today at 12:51:39 AM »
It hadn't really been that good of a book anyway. Or maybe it had and Hinata simply had far too many other things pressing on her mind to really allow herself to indulge in it completely? Either way, it wasn't enough of a distraction to drag her away from reality or the sudden presence of the Warlord. Not that she minded of course, as Akira was always a delight and a much-needed reprieve from his far more stern siblings. Of which she'd seemed to be dealing with in rapid frequency lately and made up much of what had really been on her mind to begin with.

"I think the real question is," she began, snapping her book closed and vanishing it back into her psychic cabinet for another time. "are you really one to talk about my attire, dearest nephew?" While others might have been far more serious about the inquiry (she never really did approve of how much everyone else tried to quash his sense of individuality), the mirth that trickled in her tone and flashed behind her gaze was more than evident, with her easily returning his beaming grin by way of her own smile.

Standing up to greet him more properly (or less so, depending on who was asking), Hinata met him halfway between where she'd been seated and the corner around which he'd popped out from behind, not hesitating to embrace him outright once she was close enough. "I think this is a very charming color on you. It's a shame you're going to miss the Flower Viewing Festival this year, you'd certainly steal the show," she complimented before taking a step back towards the bench and gesturing for him to join her.

"How are you doing? As I see you did in fact opt to remain for the duration of the week in your sister's stead. A very pleasant surprise, I might add."
Dena Nehele / Re: No Business in Show Business
« Last post by Ji Yoon Moon on Today at 12:18:51 AM »
The tea came up clean by Ji Yoon's detection, and she left it dark and unsweet as she began to drink it. "Interesting tea," she said, trying to suggest to Raluca that she knew they might have a mutual acquaintance in an unlikely place.

She felt very much out of her depth by the revelation that someone besides Carson's Jacks had been keeping an eye on her. This sort of thing had never happened to her rural practice in Kaesong, and she'd worked directly under Yuki in Ito... where guilds were not a concern.

Everything had been so much more straightforward in Tacea.

"Thank you for your interest," she said, trying to downplay her surprise as best she could. Raluca seemed complimentary and not like she had any ill intentions, so she wasn't... hugely concerned. But that might change. She was well aware she was wading into dangerous waters by trying to undermine a member of Rilandra Vlas's first circle.

Ji Yoon nodded. "Yes, the very one," she confirmed. "I have reason to believe something in the chain of acquisition was not strictly lawful and would like to have a Prince whose eye I personally trust examine the documents."

She set the tea down and summoned her father's coin purse to hand. She'd opened it only once, to count the contents, and now she held it demonstratively in her palm. This was why Seung had given it to her, she knew. To fund the rest of his mission - now hers. "Yes," she said. "Those documents. For the sale to Lady Dion. Name your price."
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