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Author Topic: Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice  (Read 575 times)

Description: 192, Spring: the Falkirk Highlands, the Temple. Attn: Coira

Offline Calum Falkirk

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Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice
« on: Oct 01, 17, 03:46:22 PM »
192, Spring: Falkirk Keep’s High Temple, up in the High Lands

Calum Falkirk was not, in any way, a civilized man. He bore countless tattoos, had scars to match, and a physique better suited to one of the rumored war-mammoths of Nharkava than a member of the Blood. He was corded with muscles from neck to toe, and the shoulders of his grey suit could scarcely contain them. The suit strained each time he moved, the whimpering moans of the fabric as individual threads gave way not entirely unlike the way most armies reacted when they realized that they faced the Siegemaster.

Or how he felt, dressed in such a ridiculous manner, despite the gravity of the situation. He’d gone to his own Offering and Birthright naked, and saw no reason why his lady could not do the same. His father, his sister and his many brothers had thought differently; thus, the suit. But right now the Temple felt closed in, like a trap. He rather thought that it was the way his tie felt all too familiar, if in the context of a noose, rather than a decoration, that made him so edgy.

The Falkirk High Priestess, his Aunt Elidiah, moved calmly as she lit candle after candle. Power flowed from her, filling the ancient stone temple with ease. That power pulsed, as she erected the particular and peculiar shields needed to safeguard an Offering.

Far to many, for Calum’s liking; He stood again, and moved to the Temple’s entrance. Icy cold wind howled through the interior of the Temple as he opened the stone door, and let in the evening air. The sun would be setting soon, and then there would be no more time for delay.

His aunt’s voice, as calm and unperturbed as ever, reached him. “Close and bolt the door, Calum. Ian won’t be attending. I’ve just received word that he broke away from the unit he was with, giving orders that he not be followed.” Amusement flavored in her voice, rather than tension, yet the unease which suffused Calum would not be satisfied with a second-hand report.

Every corded muscle on his body bulged when he reached for the powerful and familiar presence of his father’s mind. But his senses did not touch the granite hard clarity of the Falkirk Clan Laird, but rather the brutal beast of a Warlord Prince that lay beneath the disciplined exterior. Sensuality rocked through Calum, and a wild possessiveness. Laughter swelled, exultant and wild, as the Beast within sought to shatter the chains of control and possess the creature that brought him here. And that echo ripped sideways, strengthened and magnified by the Bond to the Queen father and son shared.

Thunder echoed as Calum heaved, slamming shut the vast stone door normally seen to through Craft, and lifted the tree-sized bar into place. He spent a moment longer, gripping the seasoned wood bar so tightly splinters sought entrance to the thick, roughened skin of his palm. Another violent surge of want savaged him before he fully (or at least mostly) reasserted control. After a long moment of complete stillness, he trusted himself to turn and face the reason he had a noose around his neck and a suit hiding his tattoos.

Lady Coira Sheane Falkirk. Queen, Black Widow and Priestess.

“Coira, our Clain Laird has flashed over into a Rut; he’s off hunting some red haired lass that got his attention. I’ve ordered the troops he was with to spread the word.” He shouldered his way past the delicate Priestly decorations set up in honor of his Queen, unaware that two young Acolytes fled his presence the moment the change in his aura reached them. The deeply uncivilized core of him was rawly present, as he stepped into his Queen’s personal space. An amused idea occurred to him. “Whom else would you like as witness Coira? Shall I round up Seamus for your pleasure?” Unlike his father, Calum was deeply amused at Coira’s curiosity for the most civilized of Falkirks. “Or Aaron?”


Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice
« Reply #1 on: Oct 04, 17, 06:07:15 AM »
Coira had missed Elideah’s announcement, having been pacing the far end of the Altar. She’d had her own preparations to make while the Priestess made hers, few related to the acolytes who occasionally attempted to fuss with some last-minute detail of the Queen’s appearance. Calum’s words, however, caught her attention as they always did- if that surge of want from him wouldn’t have done so already.

She turned to face Calum as he stepped up to her.  The note of wildness in Calum’s psychic scent sparked a note in Coira’s own, temptation and frustration rising up to choke her. As splendid as he was in his wildness, there was just something about putting that barely-civilized male in suit that made her mouth water, and her hand surreptitiously came up to check her face for signs of actual drool (none, thank the Lady). The Queen locked her arms behind her a five year old attempted not to snatch at the big, delicious chocolate-chip cookie someone had left unattended right in front of her, because mama hovered nearby and the sweet would spoil her dinner (or, it would be extremely poor form to fuck Calum over the Altar instead of making her Offering with Elideah as she was supposed to. But the metaphor worked, right?). The Mother had best appreciate what she was passing up to commune with Her tonight.

The male’s words did wonders to chill the heat in her blood, however, despite the smile she dredged up for him in response to the tease. Her affection for the Falkirk Clan might have bloomed over the past year, but some of the Black Widow’s trust issues still ran very deep. Seamus, despite her fascination with him, was not in any way hers. Not yet, at least. And Aaron actively belonged to someone else. The thought of either of them seeing her as vulnerable as she’d be during an Offering, even under Calum’s watchful presence… she forcibly clamped down on her unease at the idea before it could taint her psychic scent and agitate Calum further.

“No. Somehow, I don’t think adding more males to a situation ever encourages it to go smoothly, outside of combat.” She finally replied, with a laugh. “And you’d better not be doing any of that when I’d not around to get a piece of the action too! No… I was thinking your sister, actually. If Yseult wouldn’t mind.” The older Queen was steady and caring, and Coira couldn’t think of a better witness to this next milestone in her life than the caste-sister who shared both her Birthright and strong emotional link to those she most trusted in this world. It felt right.

She was faintly concerned for Ian (or, more accurately, for those around him)- should she defer this another few days, just in case the Clan Laird’s Queen was needed? But Ian would not be happy to discover she’d delayed on his account, she knew. And it would feel disrespectful to Elideah after the Priestess had gone to all the trouble of setting up.

She reached out to Ian one more time, a bit sad that the steadfast male who’d been more of a father to her in the last year than her own had been for half her life wouldn’t be able to attend this important milestone of a witch’s life. The wave of male and heat and hunt that flowed back to her in return would have stunned the relatively inexperienced Queen- if not for the fact the Darkness had also attached her to Calum, for whom such primality was practically his default state of being. I will be here, if you need me. She growled firmly to the Warlord Prince, giving a single stern tug to the Bond before letting go. But luck on the hunt to you. She would be too busy with her own to do much more than that.

She gave Calum a last smile, turning away from him to seek Elideah at the Altar itself. The contact with Ian’s wildness did push Coira over into the decision she’d been debating, and the Priestess part of her purred in approval as she proceeded to Vanish her clothing as she completed her approach. She’d laughed when Calum had told her about going to his own ceremonies skyclad, sure the Sheane Priestesses would have had a stroke at the thought of such a thing. But now it felt right to face the Abyss with nothing to hide her, inside or out. “Lady Elideah, I thank you for your guidance tonight, in this matter.” She wasn’t thanking the Priestess for doing her job, as she hoped her face and psychic scent conveyed, but for the fact that Ian’s sister cared enough to want to guide her through this so-important Ceremony beyond caste obligation alone.

Offline Calum Falkirk

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Re: Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice
« Reply #2 on: Nov 23, 17, 06:01:02 PM »
192, Spring: Falkirk Keep’s High Temple, up in the High Lands

Calum Falkirk’s eyes darkened when Coira had to lock her hands together to keep from touching him. He understood her restraint; one touch and the always-simmering heat between them would delay this critical Ceremony. Only problem was, her very determined and respectable intent to be good lured Calum in the opposite direction. He wanted to step nearer still and worship her body as it should be done.

But he did not.

While few things were more important to Calum than celebrating his Queen’s passion and fire, her safety was. So his teeth flashed only briefly, as he struggled with temptation. His hands raised to echo a touch to her heart, without actual contact, before he bowed his agreement to her choice for witness.

“I’ll let Yseult know we need her; she’ll come.” Pride and perfect confidence made the statements fact. His baby sister was a handful at Court, but the same deep loyalty that defined their father-and-Clan-Laird rode deep in the Clan Queen’s soul. A series of Threads danced between them; the wait wasn’t long, for most of the family was gathered nearby, at a quiet party that would last until dawn and Coira’s emergence from the Darkness.

The door he’d so labored to shut opened easily with his Craft, to admit his sister, and closed quietly behind her. A cold gust of Highland spring air whipped through the sacred temple. Calum didn’t look towards his sister’s entrance, as his Queen had chosen that moment to disrobe, vanishing item after item.

She chose to go before Mother Night skyclad; vulnerable and true. A roar of approval echoed through the otherwise quiet place. It was right, Calum felt, that his father and his Queen hunt together, tonight. Visions flickered, of the long sought Dual Casted red-head. Calum’s physical eyes inventoried every curve of Coira’s body, whilst a certainty took place in his soul.

His father’s Hunt, too, would be fruitful. Would bring forth Jewels for the Clan. Some shadow of possibility or foreign will interrupted his meditation upon his Queen’s body. Yet the way his inner Sight had open when he gazed upon her naked form in this sacred place made him wonder. He reached for his hated tie, in order to follow his Queen’s example.

“If he catches her this time, my Queen, we must corral her and bring her into the fold. She’s haunted his mind ever since their first meeting.” a vague portent threatened, but never unfurled. It tormented, like an itch that could not be scratched. Concern grew. Was a Dark Jeweled Widow had interfering with his visions of Ialach? Despite his father’s request that he try, this one glimpse was the most he’d ever been shown. He’d assumed she simply was important enough to the Falkirk’s fate to sort her might-have-beens from everyone else's.




Somewhere, Ian’s soul unfurled to the beloved brush of his Queen’s presence in his soul. It loose something within, some aching grief or sense of betraying his past if he claimed what he desired in the now was swept away. Coira’s well wishes, her concern, even her willingness to Leash him if needed allowed a Ian Malcolm Falkirk to fully embrace his hunt.

He did not answer in words, but in a silent promise to drag his prize to Coira, once he won her free fo whatever threat held her in torment. There was a symmetry, in his Coira seeking her Offering and wholeness of soul while he sought the Dual Caste witch he’d admitted to his Clan, only to lose her.

The one who might Heal him.

Offline Yseult Falkirk

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Re: Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice
« Reply #3 on: Nov 23, 17, 07:04:10 PM »
192, Spring: Falkirk Keep’s High Temple, up in the High Lands

Yseult Falkirk’s soothing, warm aura swept through the small family temple chosen for this rite. Instinctively calming, her hand soothed over Calum’s now-bared arm. She did not touch Coira without permission, but let her joy and pride in the young Tri-Casted Queen ripple in her aura and voice. She offered a fierce and loving hug, undeterred by Coira’s skyclad state. “I am here, Coira; Calum; Aunt.” She gave her aunt that title, in these last few informal moments, for in this it was her place to be honored as much for her love, as for her faith.

Watching Calum and Coira disrobe the rest of the way brought a wild smile to curve Yseult’s lips. Her joyful gaze met the senior Priestesses, before she followed suit. Soon, the three younger Falkirk’s stood naked before the still-garbed Elideah. Yseult, no stranger to these rituals, resisted the urge to wrap Coira in heat shields, but she did place a soft, almost springy Rose Shield beneath all of their feet. When the young Coira had to kneel for her Offering, that softened shield would prevent true injury, though not bruising.

No one could kneel on stone from sunset to sunrise, and not be bruised.

After a brief, silent exchange, with her aunt, Yseult allowed her soothing, calming aura to warp around them all. Soothing; for Calum was both Warlord Prince and Black Widow; there was no saying how the effects of his Queen’s blood would affect him. Not even he could predict.

Outranking Calum, it was her place, her incredible pride, to speak next. Her hand gripped Coira’s right, lightly, and lifted it above her head.

“The Highlands called me here, Priestess. The land weeps, and will not give me peace.” the words were ritual, repeated by a Witness for every Offering of the Falkirks. But this time, it held special meaning to Yesult. Queen standing surety for Queen; sister for sister. For indeed, the Highlands called Coira; the land whispered to Yseult of her need, of her readiness. And Yesult’s father loved Coira with all of the fierce devotion he brought to each of his children.

The next bit was tricky, for Coira was Priestess as well. A slight rewording, then, as clearly the Darkness would answer her. Merely not safely; not wisely. Not alone. This was better.

“Our sister, standing before you, feels the call of the Darkness. She has searched and sought on her own, and her path has brought her here, to us.” Ysuelt lowered the hand she held and offered it to the Priestess.

“Who will stand her as her Guide? Who will anchor her Soul? Who will ward her, while she seeks?”



“Aunt.”

Elideah’s correction was firm.

“Please call me Aunt Elideah, especially in formal situations.”

Elideah’s answer was serene, perfected over the years of her life. Yet a genuine warmth and joy was in her touch as she accepted Coira’s hand from Yesult, only to put a sharp, ritual knife into the young Tri-Casted Witch’s palm, rather than slicing Coira’s open herself. It seemed to the Priestess that the young one needed a sense of control, as well as ceremony.

“I, Elideah Falkirk, will be your Guide. Fear not; the Darkness has told me of your Seeking.”

Coira was free to ask questions or discourse, for a while, if she desired. Elideah smiled, and waited what the young seeker needed. When Coira’s questions were answered, or if she remained silent, the ceremony would move on.

“You, Calum Falkirk, Bonded, will anchor her soul, and be her Guide back.”

The Warlord Prince was visibly surprised by the role assigned to him, but only nodded. He was, indeed soul-Bonded. More, he was Black Widow as well, and would be uniquely suited to being her anchor and beacon. His gaze was torn away from Coira, to slide questioningly to his sister. But she wouldn’t stand alone, if their hated and as-of-yet unidentified enemy chose to attack. His gaze snapped back to his aunt as the Priestess continued.

“You will not call her back, or follow her journey, Calum. You will only be an anchor and beacon. But her Seeking, is her own.” A sharp look ascertained Calum’s understanding, before Elideah’s gaze settled upon the older Queen.

“You, Yesult Falkirk, Queen, shall protect this temple with your life, whilst your sister Seeks. No one may enter; no one may leave, until she returns to us.”

“So be it.”

Ancient shields flared to life, all over the Temple. The network of mirrors, candles and crystals anchor points. In addition, layered Shields of all of those Falkirks gathered outside were flard into the visible spectrum, as real and vibrant as the Jewels that powered them. Their shouted, ear shattering, So be it, made clear just how many were willing to stand between Coira, and all danger.

In the Highlands, Clan was everything. And so the Clan gathered, to guard this young lostling’s Offering, and usher her fully into adult hood and all the risks and glories there of.

As each Jewel-toned duality flared to life, Yseult named the person who gifted it, and thus pledged their blood to Coira’s safety. “Padean. Seamus. Moire. Aonghus. Aaron. Dhuglan ...” The list went on, even children with only their Birthright allowed to pledge, should they so desire.

Only at the end of all of the names, did Yseult’s quieter, gentle, “So be it.” echo within the temple.

And the sky opened.

The roof of the temple was simply gone; perhaps the Shields had moved it, or it was Illusion, but overhead roared the icy winds and eternal night of the highest mountains. Stars glittered with accusing brightness, and inky darkness seemed to seep into the Temple, as if the Darkness itself were in attendance here.

Elideah Appeared a crystal goblet of wine, looking as if it might have been carved from a single diamond, so brightly did it reflect candle and star light; each individual pinprick of light searingly bright. She placed the goblet - which felt older than the stones they stood upon - on the altar; around it, smaller crystal bowls Appeared, each with a sacred herb prepared and preserved within it.

The herbs and arrangement might well be familiar to Coira.

But then, she’d trained in a different tradition; Elideah couldn’t know.

If Coira touched the Altar, she’d find it cold, cold like the glacier heights from which the solid stone had been blasted more than 200 years ago. The knife, too was preternaturally cold where it touched her skin, chilled with the power of the Abyss.

“You are Priestess, as well as Queen and Black Widow, Coira. So choose for yourself, what herbs, if any, to guide you on your path. If you’ve some of your own, you are welcome to use them. When you are ready, add your blood to the goblet.”





Clan Queen of Falkirk Clan
The rugged western mountains all the way to the sea.
They border Clan Killan on the interior.
Glencoe District (Warlord Prince Liam Devlin),
Kilvary Province (Queen Honora Devlin).

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Ceremony and sacrifice, Calum has to look nice
« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 17, 10:48:09 AM »
Coira stood, stoic and serene, as the Highland version of the ritual she’d long since learned the theory of continued- determined to show honor to Rite, Priestess and Clan. She’d never guided an Offering herself, of course, and would not until she’d passed the milestone herself. But simply on a theoretical level, the differences between the Lowland trappings she knew and the Highlanders’ added traditions were… quirky. Fitting. Sweet.

Heart-wrenchingly touching.

The young witch, embodiment of three of the Blood’s honored  castes, had stood quietly and attentively while her Aunt had begun the proper Rites.  Calum’s and Yseult’s elections as her anchor and guardian were met with a solemn nod of affirmation at their place, in both this ritual tonight and in her life beyond it (though her heart twinged slightly at the mention of protection, Ian’s steady presence at her side surely missed).

But it was the Shields flaring outside that brought a tremble to Coira’s lips and a morass of emotion rising in her heart. She’d been told the basics what would happen, of course, but until now a part of her had not truly believed the Falkirks would embrace that quaint tradition on her behalf. Not for a stray their Laird had managed to drag home, rejected by her own Clan and hated Black Widow. The tears gathered in her eyes at the feeling of layers of power flaring to life- and the steady list of names from Yseult stuck a dagger into the heart of all that emotion she was trying to choke back, lest she disrupt the ceremony. Around the fifth or sixth name, the witch who guarded her heart like misers hoarded treasure broke completely, weeping openly  as the list of those who cared rolled on. And here, in the heart of what was sacred and true, she could not, would not bring herself to feel ashamed for it. For tonight, all was bare before the Mother’s gaze and judgment. As it should be.

 The opening of the sky above her attracted her attention and began to dry the storm of tears, as she felt the tone of the ceremony shift. Her tears slowed and stopped as the whisper of the Darkness touched her soul, echoing the unearthly cold touch of the knife in her hand. She watched with interest as Elideah called in the herb-bowls, making a few swift, last-second alterations to her plans. She’d come into this with the intent to take the blooded chalice straight, as she’d been trained to do. Adding things to the wine besides blood, she’d been told, was, at best, for wusses who couldn’t take the mixture straight- and at worst, dangerously corrupting to the ritual. But she trusted Elideah. She trusted that the Falkirks to do nothing that would endanger this attempt to find the heart of herself in the Darkness. And it felt right to make some gesture of acknowledgement that they and theirs had touched and so solidly affected the core of her Self.

After a few moments of thought, Coira reached for the bowl of violet petals, drawing it close to crush a few into the wine. Humility. Sheane pride long discarded, so humbled and awed to be in this place with these people, bared and committed to the will of the Darkness. Devotion. The Falkirks’ to her, hers to her bonded and the Darkness. Faithfulness. Faith she’d always had, even in the darkest of hours (sometimes it was all she’d had). But being awarded her males, and the Falkirks had only deepened her trust in Mother Night’s greater plan  and taught her faith in lesser mortals that had been missing since her birth Clan had sent her away. Forgiveness. Of Mother Night, finally, for taking her first males away from her- and of herself, for letting that happen.

But the other herb she wanted was not there. Not unexpected. These herbs were meant to be pleasing and ease the way, and few would find that this one called to them. Coira lightly touched her Purple Dusk one more time to call in one of the sealed pouches she used for her own work, shaking out the petals within for preparation. Calendula. Sacred affection. It felt right to underscore her gratitude and affection, for both the Darkness and those gathered here today. Joy. That the Falkirks had helped her find again, though she’d given it up for lost. Remembrance. For those she’d lost along the way, all the little pains and trails she’d suffered. All of it had made her who she was, and led her to these people, this moment. Grief. For that which would never truly leave her, even in her joy. Oh, poor Benneit. And dear, devoted Kain. May they rest in Mother Night’s embrace.

Her choices made, Coira turned to hold Calum’s eyes as she made the swift, sure cut that put the scent of her blood in the air. Touch was unavailable to her now, but she tried with looks alone and sheer force of steady will to reassure that instinctual part of him that she was fine. But ritual called and it would be sacrilege of the worst order to waste the blood, so the Queen turned back to the chalice on the Altar and let her essence drop into it as she’d been taught. She felt a touch of someone’s Craft to seal the cut as she reached to lift the chalice with careful hands and raise it to her lips. The sweet taste of the crushed violet mingled with the spicy, bitter note of the calendula (pleasing, perhaps, only to a Black Widow’s tastes) as she downed the blood wine, placing the crystal chalice back on the Altar with reverence for what it would give.

She held out her hands and heart to Elideah once done, already feeling the sweetly looming call of the Abyss, and suddenly desperate to answer. “Aunt, guide me true.” She requested, simple and sincere. Anything else would be said in the depths of the Abyss, and to powers far greater than any their mortal shells housed.