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Canon: © Anne Bishop
Board's Plot: Blood Rites
Points Scheme: Mother Night
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Established February 2010
by Jamie, Gina & Bowie.

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Announcements / Re: Fall Cleaning Event!
« Last post by Leez on Today at 07:09:40 PM »
This thread is donezo

Thread: mask the truth and hide the blues
Thread Link:
Dena Nehele / Re: mask the truth and hide the blues
« Last post by Artemisia Xenopol on Today at 07:08:02 PM »
Artie sat back on her ankles, catching Cristina’s hand as it slipped from her neck, which left them each holding one of the other’s hands and Artie, at least, feeling a bit silly about it. She could hardly believe she was worth worrying about. Even Minerva had been sure of her safety in the care of Lady Graveworthy… but she supposed Cristina hadn’t known about that.

“You didn’t need to be,” she said, blushing. Her! Worth worrying about, indeed. Mother Night! “I was safe with Lady Graveworthy. Were - were you at the party for the newspaper?” It seemed so long ago, so out-of-mind, after everything that had gone on this morning. Artemisia felt a bit silly to have slept through so much of the commotion. Or… she wasn’t sure she’d slept through it, she sort of remembered the middle of it, but… She’d definitely missed the worst of it.

“Have you heard from your father yet?” she asked, frowning. It was still early and the winds were all ajumble, as her ride just now with Jeremiah attested to. Couriers and coaches would probably be delayed for hours or even days. She didn’t know where Cristina’s father was, bu maybe he was just too far for word from him to have reached her yet.

She hoped.

Cristina shook her head.

“Well,” said Artie, squeezing her hands. “I’m sure he’ll send word. We should… distract ourselves, in the meantime. With… um… lawn bowling?”

She cringed inwardly and was pleasantly surprised when Cristina nodded in agreement. “That’s as good an idea as any,” the Healer said, getting to her feet, hand still clutching Artie’s.

(The End.)
Dena Nehele / Re: today will be different, won't it?
« Last post by Zamfir Groza on Today at 06:56:30 PM »
Zamfir Groza was pissed off.

How dare Rilandra Vlas just brush him off like that? He was a concerned citizen with at least two family members affected by the Decimation! She’d and her First Escort, that drunken ignoramus, Dragos Cutrov, had sold him a line about their ongoing investigation and then dismissed him like he didn’t matter. He left the sitting room with a desire to find Sebastian Bane and ask the Master of the Guard a few more questions about the status of the investigation. Then he’d find Cristina, pray that she wasn’t so out of her mind with grief that she’d bite his head off for checking in on her, and break all of this news to Irina. Of course, she’d want to be by Valeriu’s side as well, meaning that Zamfir would be on the outside looking in, like always.

He’d left the sitting room, heading in the direction of the Master of the Guard’s office, but the idea that Irina would be glued to her brother’s bedside scrambled his focus so badly that Zamfir lost track of where he was going. There was a scent on in the air that was clawing its way into his mind, but he couldn’t name it. It only registered that something was off when he rounded the corner and nearly trampled some fool witchling and her escort.


Mild embarrassment quickly gave way to annoyance, which flared into anger. Zamfir shuffled back and started adjusting his coat. His hands moved slowly and deliberately to prevent him from slamming the little punk against the wall. People in this palace thought they were so important that they didn’t have to watch where they were going. Well, Zamfir wasn’t going to take that lying down.

He looked up at the pair, ready to explain in detail why they were wrong. He might have started talking. He might have even gotten halfway through his sentence. But the moment his eyes landed on her, the rest of the words just died on his tongue. Zamfir Groza never ran out of things to say because he was the smartest person in every room he entered.

Right now, in this hallway, the Warlord was speechless.

Her eyes were the most beautiful green he’d ever seen. The flecks of gold were odd, but not in a bad way. Her skin carried the tan that Tulzbrujans were known to have, but the longer Zamfir watched her, the more he understood that it wasn’t a tan. It was the hallmark of someone who carried long-lived blood. He noted her hair, her simple clothing, even the surprised and bashful smile on her face.

She was watching him, too.

This...this isn’t happening.” he said, gesturing at the two of them.

He didn’t recall saying the words. He only realized what he’d said when the young woman’s expression shifted. She drew back slightly, recoiling as though he’d reached out and slapped her. She’d been moving toward him, hand outstretched to take his. The other guy was probably trying to say something, too, and Zamfir was now registering that the other guy was real and still there, already in the presence of what was his. 

When she reached for him, Zamfir backed away. He backed away from her and everything she represented.

Look, I’m...I’m sure’s probably great…

Look, maybe we could sit down and talk for a second? We can sort this out--

I-I can’t do this.” he said, his mind racing. He was supposed to find someone here. He was looking for someone, but he couldn’t recall whom. He wanted to reach out and take her hand. It was right there. But something else screamed that it was a trap, a trap meant to steal everything he’d tried to build, and his mind recoiled at the thought.

No. He wouldn’t be chained to someone he didn't want or need. Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever.

Goodbye.” Zamfir said.

He retreated the way he came, leaving his Queen behind without a backward glance.
Dena Nehele / Re: today will be different, won't it?
« Last post by Sorinna Roman on Today at 06:53:39 PM »
Sora wanted to punch Stela in her stupid face and ask her if Mother Night’s plan cost anyone else their lives. She imagined, for a second, pursuing her and doing just that. But the moment passed. Respect for the caste had been ingrained in the Queen in her youth. Not all Priestesses were as bad at their job as Stela Petrescu, and Sora had to remember that. Also, breaking Stela’s jaw would upset Gabri, Jeremiah, and Riley. She could imagine their disappointment with her, the way that they would look at her if it seemed like she didn’t have a handle on her emotions.

So Sora packed away the urge to break Supid Stela’s nose and concentrated on Quinten’s presence. He was trying to help and he had no idea what was going on.

Lady Petrescu and I don’t get along, but it’s nothing you need to worry about. Some people just don’t like each other.” Sora said, noting the irony of that statement to Quinten, especially where she and Kale were concerned.

Come on. I have this idea that I need some input for and I think you’ll appreciate it.” Sora said, smiling at Quinten again. Stela wasn’t going to ruin her day. Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever. Sora had plans and things to discuss with Quinten, and the rest of her males, but first she wanted to just spend some time with him and learn what he wanted out of his life. Kale was an important part of his life, maybe the most important part. There was no assurance that he wanted anything from her other than friendship and episodic companionship. She hoped that he wanted more than that, but she wouldn’t know until she asked him.

They walked, heading for the palace entrance. Sora was ready to get outside, get some air, and forget about the things that troubled her, just for a little while.

It would have happened that way if not for the man who almost mowed them down as he rounded the corner.
Dena Nehele / Re: checking in
« Last post by Ji Yoon Moon on Today at 06:51:08 PM »
Ji Yoon bit her lip, recalling the peculiar conversation she’d had with Lady Dion all those weeks prior. “I certainly agree that it’s strange,” she said. Even then, she’d thought the woman was barking up the wrong tree… but guilt was a curious thing. “She didn’t seem… sorry about it,” she said, “so much as sorry that I knew her involvement.” Which was still strange - Lady Dion had been a stranger to Ji Yoon then. Why should she care what the Healer knew or thought about her?

“You’re right, though,” added Ji Yoon with a sigh. Jolie Dion didn’t actually seem the sort to act so obviously against the public good. Still, the attack had come from somewhere…

More likely Garen L’Voide had gotten wind of her asking around. She’d been warned about him, had she not? But at any rate, the man was dead and deserved no more of Ji Yoon’s worry. No one would mourn the monster or seek retribution. He was already passing out of her concern.

Which meant the threat Maseo was cautioning her against might very well be past - but it would be easier to accept his warning than to explain that. “I’m always careful,” she assured him, showing him to the door. She paused there, feeling the tension between them in that moment.

“You know you can always call on my help,” she said. “For this kind of thing, anyway.”

And then she turned away, and the moment was gone.
Pruul / Re: what tales of home we don't remember
« Last post by Omid al-Bali on Today at 05:46:56 PM »
I know.

Those two words, uttered from Ghanima, contained things Omid didn’t know that he needed. Understanding of the anger and pain that fueled his rage against the Sabbah. Acknowledgement of the torment that they’d lived through. And not just them, but Cadence and so many others who were imprisoned in the salt mines for reasons that many of them would never, ever know. It was an absolution of guilt, in that it allowed Omid to feel the anger in his heart without doubt or question. She didn’t tell him to let it go. She didn’t ask him to forgive or forget what they’d done. She didn’t tell him that they had no reason to be afraid anymore.

Ghanima acknowledged the fear and shared her own.

Omid took her hands in his own, noting how they retained gentle touch even after all she’d done and been through. She’d torn out a man’s heart with these hands, but Omid felt safer and more content now than nearly anywhere else in the world. Only Zaehrah’s touch reached deeper into his soul, turning the poison of the mines into purpose and clear understanding. Omid raised Ghanima’s hands to his lips and kissed them, then touched them to his forehead. An acknowledgement of her fear, as she’d given one to his own, along with an unspoken promise to endure it with her for as long as she desired.

I hope we will learn not to be scared. I hope that the fear will eventually leave us to live our lives. But there are nights where I cannot sleep without lighting my room as bright as I can. Sometimes, my skin burns for no reason at all. And no matter how bland my food is, I won’t eat it with salt. I can taste it in everything, no matter how little there is. I don’t want it. I never do.” Omid said gently.

But we have the rest of our lives to push that fear away, Ghanima. You will have many days. Many, many, many days ahead to learn, and just to be. We can learn together, if you want.” Omid said.

I do think, however, that the mines gave us our greatest lesson, in showing us that life is not easy. There are many who will never really understand the lessons we learned. I used to rage about how unfair it was, our start in life. It was, but we survived it.

For that, we will always be able to choose who we are and who we wish to be. And I know you'll get the hang of this life in due time.

Dena Nehele / Re: today will be different, won't it?
« Last post by Quinten Heartly on Today at 05:38:50 PM »
When Quinten slept on Sorinna’s couch, he did not fall into a deep sleep. Instead, he stayed lightly conscience, ready if his Queen made a noise or if someone came inside. It was very much how the boy had slept until he and Kale had run away from their father. It didn’t provide the best rest, but it allowed him to always be ready. Perhaps that is why he did not have his nightmares. Those he saved for when he was curled up next to his brother, for when the sleeping brew could blot them out like dark ink against his mind.

Nodding once, Q offered his arm to the Queen, his stomach dancing with excitement. “We can do whatever you want. Hopefully something that makes you smile.” While he said the words, smiling, the Jack slid a Summer Sky shield over his Queen’s skin. He was not going to be caught on his backfoot this time. At least if anyone attacked her there would be a split second of his shield breaking for him to react.

Q took a deep breath of Sora’s scent and relished this time alone with her. None of her other males to distract her. Just the two of them, the intimacy that the boy craved so available. “Life has been good. Kale and I have been splitting time between here and the center we are trying to set up in the Shambles. Oh! We made a cake yesterday too. It was my mother’s birthday. She really like almond cake, so the cook showed us how to make one and I saved you a piece for when—”

The Warlord broke off, pulling Sora a bit closer as he felt her emotions roll through their bond. He glanced down the hallway at the retreating figures, not recognizing the Tacean woman. “Who? Lady Petrescu or the other one? What did she do to you?” He tried to think of the best way to handle a disagreement in a Courtly way. “I could talk to her if you want? Maybe it is a misunderstanding.” It wasn’t like Sora to not like someone. She was so kind. So patient with him, especially.

Gently nudging her forward, Q continued to lead them to the city gardens. He knew the way there by heart. The brother’s had often gone there to beg when they were little. As they walked, the Warlord used his subtle skill at Calming Craft to wring the tension out of his Queen.   
Pruul / Re: what's underneath the skin you live in?
« Last post by Ghanima al-Izar on Today at 05:38:43 PM »
“You are above the double speak of politicians, Samira,” Ghanima jested. 

Her humor would never be gentle, but the warmth of the grin and the laugh in the leaping cadence of her words were a unique and unexpected softness that seemed a contradiction all its own.  The muted mutiny filling the tent had been a familiar one and the irony of it was not lost about a waif of darkness whose voice still bore the ruined marks of a husk.  She had stood alone at the crux of those ancient magics and wielding power far beyond her vessels limits.  She had sung songs to the sun, a son singing songs to the sun, a sum of children’s dreams and a daughter’s plea through the ages mirrored upon her flesh, until the world had yielded rain.

“I am told a sick Healer is a danger to her patients.”

The Queen glanced around, briefly making note of the space, before her eyes returned to the Healer she had come to see.  It was no more, and no less, than she might have guessed: crammed to the canvas tops with various pieces of Healer work.  Scrolls stacked in neat piles, illegible labels hanging off a myriad of vials, glasses, and containers (illegible because Ghanima had no notion how to pronounce or make sense of them, though she admired the gracefulness of hand life trained to written script compared to her still clumsy attempts).

“Thankfully you must have been well rested when you tended me, for I appear to be well enough.”

It was another bit of understated humor, that, and Ghanima knew it.  Qadira’s skill had in many ways been a large proponent in the physical pursuits that had sustained her body while her soul wandered through the Abyss.  Not only that, the firm dedication and diligence, the fearless resistance to awe, had impressed upon the Queen a sense of trust she rarely exchanged with strangers.

“Nothing so dire,” her pleasantly bland voice agreed.

Ghanima was lying through her teeth.

It was dire.

It was life threatening.

It was split her heart in twain with each memory, each recollected press of fingers searching her face; the Queen burned for the price her beloved had paid.  Burned for the price that had been asked and given and fell all unknown at the feet of one who must now live in exile for it.  Saiph was hers, Ghanima yearned to scream into the uncaring sky, and to have anything taken from the heart which beat outside of her own chest was a wound twice as heavy to bear. 

She would have given her own eyes — but that was a pointless thing.  It had not been she who had waded into the past and shouldered the trials of those winding trails.  It had not been she tasked with the destiny of mist and spirit and mind.  Ghanima had been given a different road, to walk beside the moon to her sun, and so that she might one day reach across the world and hold the one she called love to her breast. 

“Just a friend, a friend who I care for, and there are few I would trust to tend those I hold close.”
Pruul / Re: what tales of home we don't remember
« Last post by Ghanima al-Izar on Today at 05:14:36 PM »
I’m glad.

The words choked Ghanima and died an indignant death there in the unspoken cave of a shared hurt, a shared flame of unending rage that might never quench itself upon the peace of understanding or forgiveness.  She, too, hated.  Hated with a fear, a hunger, that thirsted for blood even after all these years.  Even after the punishment exacted by a fair haired child.  Even after she had tasted the iron tang of delusions dying upon her tongue, the heart of her enemy still beating thick and sticky against her fingers.  Yes, even now, as safe as she had ever been from the salt, the slavery, the savagery of power and politicking, Ghanima knew she held tight to the hatred of hell imposed upon her and her kin. 

“I know,” she said instead, the words low and pitched like the slow trickle of water running through a wave, unbidden and unexpected; life from stone and sand, full of the dark tunnels it had taken and traversed in its persistence for survival.  Clean and pure in that untainted breath, untouched by complications; there was a hypnotizing beauty to this rage, an enthrallment all its own.

“Omid,” it was a small offering, that intimacy, but the Queen was not as she had been, and have once given all and more there had been to given to bridge ocean and earth, that need had done a thing to the vengeful barren hardness of the desert dunes in her soul.  Her hands hovered between them before she knew they were moving, a touch suspended in uncertain fearfulness that lent the darkness of her twilight eyes a large, shadowed quality.  “We’re all scared.”

Their fingertips touched, shyly, her Queen’s Gift unfurling around him because they had come from the same hell.  Because she knew what had wrought his beginnings, and how those marks could never be undone. 

“Do you think we will ever stop being scared?  I don’t.  I do not think we can ever forget what has been done to us.  I do not think we are meant to.  Maybe that’s how we know there are things we don’t want to lose, things we are scared of losing.  People like your new Queen.”

A wry smile touched her lips and her hand intertwined with his, holding it loosely so he could pull free with ease.

“Would it be easier if I knew?  Perhaps.  But I am still learning.  You have had these last few years to learn.  I have had… days.  Days to learn what it is I want.  Days to learn who it is I desire to be.”

Ghanima thought of a dream she had shared once, with another Queen, another girl burdened with the weight of prophesy, their fates bound by a want and belonging neither could name.

“It is not an easy thing, this life of flesh and blood.”
Pruul / Re: little lost lies
« Last post by Omid al-Bali on Today at 05:04:37 PM »
Omid let out a small sigh of relief. He’d expected Lucky to fight harder against the idea of accepting that he was Bali, and that Zaehrah was his. He wouldn’t let Lucky speak ill of his Queen, not even if it put them at odds. But Lucky agreed that he didn’t know her and seemed to want to try talking it out. Omid preferred fighting to talking whenever possible, so the Red Prince decided to shut up and take his little victory while it was available.

Lucky, they’re not trying to hurt us. But know that I won’t allow anyone from the Bali to harm the Mineborn, either. I know where I’m going, but I also know where I came from. Zahira does, too. I hope that you’ll extend to her the same trust that you’re extending to me.” Omid said, shaking Lucky’s hand. He would show Lucky, in time, that they were all working toward the same goals. It probably didn’t feel that way to him, but Omid knew it was true.

When Lucky releaed his hand, Omid folded his hands before him.

So...flying. What’s that like?” Omid asked, casting an eye toward Lucky’s wings. Omid wondered how taxing the Craft was to make it happen. Did it come naturally to Lucky or did he have to work at it? How fast could he go? Omid’s mind buzzed with questions and ideas regarding Eyrien physiology. There were also worries associated with it, but he didn’t want to upset Lucky right now. Eyriens were not anyone’s idea of a good time. Lord Fin excluded, most of them weren’t very nice people on the best days.

How are things with Roshan and Hadjara?” Omid asked.
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