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Hayll / Re: stuck in my ways, I am changing
« Last post by Lilith Cinerus on Today at 01:47:53 PM »
Lilith indeed was up before the sun, as she always was.

She had taken the hounds out first, giving herself to exercise in the predawn light. It was one of the few times she felt alive in this hollow frame. The hounds were ever loyal to her, and she had no cause to question their love or their affection. Few things were as great as a dog, and in that time alone with her furred companions she could think clearly and concisely.

Her head swam with reports from the Iarvis that had been drawn in by Indomitus and would be decided on by Ignoto, twin sides of the coin of her person. Jupiter's request had not been unwelcome, but unexpected. She always made time for her sons regardless of the affairs of Hayll or the Coven.

The woman he found in her study was not the woman he had known in his youth. The woman that raised him had been vibrant, full of laughter and jokes and kindness. Furious when angry, passionate when joyous, Lilith Cinerus was now none of those things. She looked at the world ever impassive - her expression a stone mask of gray as slate as her Jewel of rank. Even her 'kindness' was muted, and while she touched him and welcomed his touch and the kiss to her cheek, she never greeted him with the warm embraces that she had once done.

Too much of her had been taken away by the Eyriens for that.

The house was emptier than he would have grown up in. Last summer she had released all of the slaves in her employ and hired a handful of attendants in their place. One might have assumed the estate suffered for the lack of hands, but it had continued to thrive and do well with the smaller, more motivated workforce.

The hounds were laying on their mats nearby, but if she moved to leave they would follow her. They lifted their heads up as Jupiter entered, their tails wagging at attention. The dogs treated her son with as much love and loyalty as they did her.

Another reason why she kept them.

"You are very kind." She said to his compliment, lifting a hand to stroke at his dark hair with the tips of her nails. She lowered the book she'd been reading in one hand and turned her full attention to him. While he had chosen a suit, she wore a simple white gown that covered her frame. She'd grown thin and more sharp in her features from when he was a boy - the Occupation having left its physical after-effect on her frame. Her eyes were just as sharp - nay, sharper - than his youth, though.

"That is a very good suit, Jupiter. You should keep that tailor." She remarked as she drew her hand down to tap the breast of his coat, then let her hand fall away. Her children and Judas were the only ones that she would touch frequently and welcomed the same.

"I am well. I saw your sister the other day and her studies at the Conclave are proceeding. And you? Have you found a woman to give me a grandchild, yet?" Jupiter was the eldest remaining child of hers, and while Lilith did not often joke, she seemed to keep one bit of their old relationship intact in that she teased him now.

Though where as before it had been with a grin, now it was only with the uplift an eyebrow over cool eyes. To an outside observer it would have seemed like a heavy demand.
Hayll / Re: Tragedy Fills Me
« Last post by Lilith Cinerus on Today at 01:34:07 PM »
Lilith felt for her voice as Judas moved her about like a doll or a hollow log rather than a woman. She felt so heavy in her own body, exhaustion still filling her limbs and her head. She reached a hand up to her throat and felt it was intact, much like the rest of her, but cold as well. "No Healer, Judas." She said gently, her eyes looking down at the plate of food he had brought. Her stomach growled audibly and she reached for the broth and the bread, figuring that would be the easiest to consume at first.

Dipping some of the bread into the brother, she chewed first and made an exhalation of soft pleasure. The need of the body outweighed the need of the soul, and it seemed even a corpse could know the joy of food. She chewed gingerly and found her teeth, gums, and jaw still operated. She looked up at him then as he hovered near; protective and warm. Judas was not a new lover, so she had known his tendencies. She had two Warlord Princes as sons and knew how one was protected by the fiercest of Males. "Let me see how I am, after some food." She said after she finished chewing. She reached a cold hand up, the tips of her nails drawing gently across the scruff of his chin.

"Thank you." She said after a moment, her eyes returning to focus on him. It had been no light thing what he'd done for her. "I would have been lost without you, Judas."

Her gaze returned to her food and she began to find some strength return. More she ate, and soon the plate was diminishing in its bounty. A Gray near depleted, she would have need for all the energy she could stuff into her skinny frame. "More, please?" She asked, lightly. Her voice was not quite warm, but it was less hoarse, less broken now.

As he got up to get more of the food he had prepared, she reached out with her senses and her eyes drifted about the room. "What has happened since the attack on the Coliseum?" She had to know where the pieces lay.
Askavi / Re: stabbing westward
« Last post by Lucky al-Izar on Today at 01:14:35 PM »
Lucky al-Izar remained unmoved by the Eyrien males. They moved against Fin, they talked, they existed, but the Warlord Prince knew that Fin could handle himself. He wouldn’t look up to the man if he couldn’t. His hand remained poised to call in a sword, one of his own making, smoothly polished and inscribed with his own mark, but he did not call it in. Not once as they travelled. Instead, he watched the other males with almost curiosity. The way they moved. The way they talked. What they ate. He listened to their war stories, wrapped up in them like he had been to Gunnar’s as a child. Slowly, as the days drug on, he began to pick up a few of their movements. The way their wings folded with ease, the way they walked, the way they kept their gaze on the horizon, expecting a threat any moment.

The Mineborn had never been around so many Eyriens in his life and he absolutely loved it, even if he wouldn’t hesitate to kill any of them if they threatened their small group. The long journey did some to repair the tensions between Lucky and Fin as well, the younger male joining his mentor on watch most nights. Sometimes they just sat there in silence, looking out at the horizon, and other times, Lucky asked Fin about Askavi and what he could expect. However, where there was anxiety and anticipation nested within Fin, there was only breathless excitement within Lucky. He had waited his entire life to see Askavi, to breathe in the air and rest his eyes on the mountains. The few glimpses that Eleanor had given him were not enough.

So it was with joy that he rose the morning they were set to fly, feeling satisfaction that he could enter his ancestors land in the air.

“Better hold on tight, Prince. Wouldn’t want you to fall.” Lucky smirked and a few of Kaderian’s guards laughed, thrilling the Mineborn. He might be travelling with Abaddon and they might share a Queen, but he did not like the man. There was something about him that buried into Lucky’s skin, something that gnawed at him. But Mother Nights tits, he couldn’t figure out what it was.
Rihland / Re: Your kiss and I will surrender
« Last post by Tormund Skybane on Today at 01:13:19 PM »
Malakay's voice was a balm to a scarred soul. He stepped forward more like a zombie than a man, her voice and her scent the siren's call that drew his husk of a form to her. "Alive, but not the same." The Warlord Prince had lived a near feral lifestyle the last two years where he had lived off the wildest parts of Rihland. His eyes fixated on her own and while he hungered for her body her kiss was what he needed most.

"Don't need food. Just need you." He managed to speak out with the rumbling of a bear as he moved to speed past the space between them. Sturdy, rough hands that had hewn stone, wood, and bone sought out her softer curves. He took hold of her hips unless she moved to escape him and with a terrible eagerness he pulled her to him.

He smelled of salt and pine, like she had strolled through the woods closest to the mountains up north. "Mal, please."

It was a begging plea - even in this wild state of the rut, he sought her permission and her consent. His desire for her was not outstripped by his care for her; his concern for her body and her soul. He pulled her close to his mouth, his rough beard scratched against her softer skin. "Please, I need you. Please."

Needed her to keep him sane, keep him grounded, keep him part of this world before he became a beast entirely, rather than just a beast of a man.
Rihland / Re: Trust In Me
« Last post by Konstantin Timur on Today at 12:35:31 PM »
"Kat..." Konstantin smiled brightly as he saw her bite at her lip in uncertainty. Oh, sweet little dove, naive poppet, I'll help you. His hand reached up to brush his thumb across her bottom lip gently. "Don't you worry. I have plenty of money, and if I'm part of your First Circle and we get these trade agreements with Little Terreille and Nharkava, I'll be able to recoup the costs. That way it's not a gift, but an investment."

Konstantin oozed confidence and certainty, an infectious thing to collect in the Bond when she could sense his emotions so easily. "It's absolutely a necessity. Don't think of it as a waste - but an opportunity. If we grow Markoth's industry then your people will share in that bounty. That's worth a few marks for clothes and cosmetics you're going to like anyway.

You're a beautiful woman, Kat, but with my help you could be dazzling. I just want to see you walk into a room and have every set of eyes go to you in awe."

Collecting her hands into his own, Konstantin drew her fingers up to his mouth and planted a soft kiss to her knuckles. "Let me do this for you. Please. You won't regret it, I promise you.

You can trust the Bond, can't you? You know I'd never lead you astray."
Askavi / Re: stabbing westward
« Last post by Tavar al-Sabbah on Today at 12:34:43 PM »

After that day, it was clear that their party was really two separate groups traveling in the same direction. Fin, Abbadon, and Lucky represented Pruul. The Blood Seekers saw to themselves, interacting with the others only when necessary. Kaderian was the thread between the groups, acting mostly as Drakkar’s voice. The groups came together during rests and at meal times, but mostly stayed separate. Ulamar still glared daggers at Fin, but if the Warlord notice, he made no comment. The Eyriens kept to themselves and did not attempt to harass Fin. They did, however, keep their distance from Abbadon, with the word “abomination” heard among the group, though outside the Red-jeweled male's earshot.

Moving westward, they encountered caravans and traders headed to Onn on business. Fin’s thoughts darkened as he realized that the summer festivals were not far off. If this madness dragged on, he would miss the highsummer festival. If he was truly unfortunate, he wouldn’t return until Autumn or Winsol, long after Elenor and the Sabbah returned from the migration. Fin’s mood grew somewhat surly after that realization, wings flapping in annoyance during their walks.The heat was tolerable during the daylight hours, so they traveled on until just before sunset to make camp. More than once, they had to warn the Eyriens against using Craft in the desert. Fin could not shake Prince Omid’s warning from earlier in the season about the sandworms.

They are waking, Lord Sabbah, and growing more active. I don’t think anyone is prepared for what’s coming.

He wasn’t looking forward to the long hike, but he wasn’t ready to risk flying yet. Not with the rumblings he’d been hearing at night among the sands.

The western mountains drew closer and closer each day. Fin missed his clan, Judiah, and Elenor. Even the stories he overheard during the night as the Eyriens told their stories, things he remembered from his youth, didn’t balm his soul. He wanted to march right up to Drakkar, punch him in the face, and leave. That would be his statement, his only statement, about where he’d been all these centuries. But that action risked the lives of Abbadon and Lucky in the short-term, and the lives of the Sabbah in the long-term.

He would see this through.

The end of that first week saw them arrive at the foot of the mountains. From afar, they appeared sheer, with no handholds or footholds to climb. The Blood Seekers murmured in approval, long-sick of walking and ready to take the skies. Once more, Fin cautioned them against doing that which even he wished he could do.

Two miles south is a footpath that leads into the mountains. It’s slow going, but we’d make good distance by nightfall. I want to be out of Pruul completely before we take flight. There was once a Blood Seeker outpost in the mountains. Does it still exist?” Fin asked, turning to the Eyriens.

Nicolar, second to Ulamar, spoke up. “If you’re thinking of Deephome, it’s still there. Prince Kurlov has moved operations to Stonekeep, but Deephome has a healthy contingent of warriors. They may not have much to share, but we’ll be able to restock before reaching Starfall.” Nicolar said.

Fin adjusted his vambraces. “How long would it take to reach Deephome, once we’re in the mountains?

A two days. Three, at most.” Nicolar said.

Fin nodded and adjusted his vambraces. “After Deephome, we’ll work out flying to Starfall.

The Eyriens grumbled, but they heeded his words. Fin lead the group to the path and up into the mountains. The first night in the mountains was far cooler than the deserts, and morale improved. They established guards for the camp at night, with Fin sometimes staying on the entire night to ensure that everyone was safe. Ever since their arrival in the mountains, Fin had been both anxious and excited to see Askavi again. He maintained his weapons to keep the thoughts at bay, speaking only when he was directly addressed.

The first day in the mountains passed without incident, allowing the group to make great time.  The mountains were beautiful, though the winds whistling along the rock reminded him of the Runs. Fin hadn’t flown anything so challenging as the Khaldharon run in centuries. Perhaps, if there was time, he would visit one of the runs and test himself. He wanted to know if he still had it, had the deadly edge that was once part of his adolescence.

By the time they set camp that evening, Nicolar was optimistic that they could reach the outskirts of Deephome by the following afternoon. They’d be able to rest inside a fortified location and restock their supplies before they arrived at Starfall. Fin even allowed himself to rest this night, dreaming of Elenor and Judiah awaiting him at the edge of Onn when he finally returned home. Amira would hug him as though the world was ending and Shadya, his little Spider, would cross her arms and pretend to be wholly turned off by the entire display, but Fin could see her smiling despite herself. He woke in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to make the final push to Deephome, and prepared himself what lay beyond. They woke in the morning and ate.

The Eyriens refused, pointedly, to carry Abaddon.

Fin looked to the Black Widow Warlord Prince directly.

If it isn’t an issue for you, I’ll carry you until we get to Deephome. We can rest there and then be in Starfall by tomorrow or the following day. What do you think?” Fin asked.

Better to ask and be sure than accidentally set off his friend through carelessness.
Dea al Mon / Re: Wrecked on the same shore
« Last post by Alusair Sigurd on Today at 12:18:24 PM »
Whatever Alusair's initial response to Rakal's demand was going to be, it was swiftly sidelined by the serpentine whisper that crawled through her mind. Her eyes narrowed and her expression hardened, and though her heart was kicked into a more desperate cadence she did a fine job of masking the rest of that sudden fear as anger. She'd been on the verge of rebuking Rakal for the slip when he shut the spirit out and apologized, staying her tongue. For a beat.

"You are no longer practicing against distraction," she observed, instead, with an aloofness reminiscent of her more critical days as his personal slave-driver. Of course, she couldn't know for sure what routines he did and didn't adhere to now that the family had been split up. She knew how capable he was when he was on point, though. "Father's imprisonment interrupted your regimen. If you will not return to him for those sessions, you should arrange them elsewhere. You will need all your strength to endure, Rakal. Now is not the time to bend." She rubbed at her arms, trying to erase the chill that lingered there in the wake of the serpent's touch. Hearing that voice never failed to remind her of the one time she'd touched him herself, in Dhemlan when her father's Offering had been broken. Centuries ago, yet she still suffered the occasional nightmare about those fateful moments.

"Akil'hazon is not the same," she said quietly, with a shake of her head. "The nature of the spirit is simpler, more direct. I do not have the Jewels to lock away his voice reliably, but his urges are generally for exertion, violence, action... things that can be channeled into controlled releases. Simple discipline is all that is required to maintain my own will over his, until I have need of the sword's power and choose to give him a leash to run on.

"The creature on your back is more cunning. He tempts you to not expend the energy to suppress him when he is only whispering to you in your own mind, because his efforts seem less harmful in that form. But that is where he will prey upon the fears and pains you may not even realize you have. If you hope to best him, you must not allow him even those whispers. But until you have mastered that, you must seek out those fears and pains with brutal honesty, and resolve them. Make peace with them as you find them, so that when he presses them into your side, you do not doubt that they are rubber blades."
She paused, her eyes skipping eastward, where the sun was beginning to color the sky despite it being a bit off from actually breaking the horizon.

"I have made mistakes. Some things, I will never be able to atone for, where you are concerned; we both know that. But you are the only thing in this world that I love, Rakal." Talking about family and loyalty and faith was easier. Talking about love was more foreign on the lips of the untamed woman. Still, it seemed an important piece of the matter. "Find what you love, and use it when your strength begins to fail you."
Rihland / Re: Cut that ivory into skinny pieces
« Last post by Magnivar Ramius on Today at 12:11:18 PM »
Magnivar turned to his blonde little Queen with a raised dark eyebrow at her statement. She was blushing, and he found the comment to be rather hilarious. "HAH! Of course it suits me! It is my name! I was born to it and molded by it. If I was named Drakkar it would suit me. It would only not suit me if I was named Mia, because it is a Rihlander woman's name!"

Her optimism was refreshing, but he felt it was naive. She was young and short-lived, what did she know of the truth? "Ahhh.. yes, uh..." But he did not wish to say that to her face, her feelings would be hurt. Rihlanders often did not like the truth. "I am certain you will try your best."

Mia touched his arms and he felt his skin flush with excitement at her fingertips. It was surreal in a way, as he had never once looked at a Rihlander with desire. But this Lady, his Queen, made his heart and skin buzz. He felt such a very strong want to show her to the world and make her better, protect her from all the ills -- including those he'd put upon her. "Ah, I am sorry you have lost your family, My Mia. I will walk with you a while, but I cannot be gone very long. I have my own to tend to.

I've been fortunate in that I did not lose any children to the Purge, though my darling wife, Elevan, was killed by the Witchstorm. My youngest son, Delevar, was killed by the Black TRAITOR, General Elbremov."
A snarl of pure hate came from him as he voiced the man's name.

He exhaled, reeling back in his fury at the thought of Kalvar and the loss of his son. He knew that the Rihlanders loved the man, but it was not Mia's fault that the Half-Breed was a traitor and a murderer. "Sorry, My Mia. The wound is still fresh to me. I will see him dead one day for what he's done, but that is a talk for later.

I have four children who remain. Cassanar, Kalanar, Yridian, and Illuvian! They are all beautiful but now they are fully grown. Still within their first thousand years, all. They are very close in age. My wife and I, ah..."
He grinned broadly in memory, looking up to the sky with an air of longing. "We did like making babies."

Turning to Mia then, Magnivar laughed loudly. "I will make a baby with you, Mia! That way you will have a family, and I will have something of you in this world when you die of old age!" He reached down to take her hand then, the giant gentle with how he held her fingertips.

"Come, come. We can tell your Escorts so that they get used to the idea of seeing a superior male in their midst."
Dena Nehele / Re: Done pleading ignorance
« Last post by Toyani no Kagen on Today at 11:49:49 AM »
"Interesting. I was not aware that Prince Bane was a member of the Guilds." Her Ioan had told her, but pleading ignorance was a safer course for them both. "And his wife is a Priestess? Perhaps there is opportunity there beyond targeting her as a liability. I'll consider how to move forward with that.

I'll arrange a meeting with Lady Luceau. Perhaps we can discuss her stance toward Rilandra and how that can be turned to our advantage. If I learn anything I will bring it to your attention."

Minerva said in no unclear terms she wished to see Caecian shift from aristocrat ruled to working-class driven. While she understood her stance, it was not one that Toyani shared. But that was not a detriment in this moment, she felt. Farms would always be important, and farmers would always have a voice if they knew how to use it.

"That works well for us both, then. If I am successful in arranging this negotiation, I'll have educated people from my homeland who can lend their expertise to your enterprises. Those who find themselves disenfranchised by your shift to industry can find a home in Blackwater and the surrounding villages, as I intend to keep with an agricultural focus. The Territory needs food and other cash crops, best that we take advantage of our unique position to do so.

I do not rely on a class as a whole, Lady Tailor. I will call on the aid of individuals. How they reached their status is unimportant to me, simply the level of their ability and influence at the time. And while bloodlines may not wield power in and of themselves in Dena Nehele, money does.

Something, I believe, that you and I will command a great deal of when our work is done.

It is my hope that today is just the beginning of our mutually beneficial work. If you've need of my expertise or my resources, consider them at your disposal. You need but only ask and I will be happy to be of assistance, including as a mentor to any Queens whom come under your supervision."

Such as a certain light-jeweled Queen that Minerva had gotten her hands onto.
Dena Nehele / Re: What if I say I'm not like the others?
« Last post by Toyani no Kagen on Today at 11:28:26 AM »
"Thank you, Lord Welvert." Toyani sat herself squarely in the seat he had offered. She slid one leg over the other, crossing them neatly as she placed gloved hands atop her knee. She affixed a cool stare to the Warlord that ruled the Province Seat, above her, that whole sentence serving as a bewildering indication of the backwardness of Dena Nehele.

Still, there was nothing for it. She could not change a mountain by yelling at it.

"There were several reasons for me to seek you out, Lord Welvert." She did not smile, her tone remained as dry and monotone as a court reporter. "You rule the whole of the Province above me. I have met with Lady Tailor to discuss how we can work together to have both Caecian and Lesser Caecian flourish beneath your supervision. We have a number of ideas, and I wished to discuss them with you.

But there is a more pressing, and I feel, important reason for us to speak. You may have heard of my altercation with Lady Vlas's slaver. I understand that you were her replacement for this Province, and that you have little love for her.

I, myself, am from a strong and powerful bloodline back home. I believe we have much in common, Lord Welvert. I wanted you hear your vision on not just the future of Tulzbruja but Dena Nehele as a whole and see how we can work together to make that a reality."
While she had her own plans for Blackwater and the surrounding farms and peoples, she'd need more allies than what she had currently. Milo was the first logical step after Minerva, and from there she'd springboard to other avenues.
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