Blood Rites

Kaeleer => Scelt => Topic started by: Adam Rhyne on Aug 27, 18, 01:56:04 PM

Title: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Adam Rhyne on Aug 27, 18, 01:56:04 PM
The morning, at least, was bright and promised a beautiful day to those enjoying it.

But Adam, standing there near the stables, looking up at the sun filtering through the green trees, knew that there was a deception to that brightness. The searing heat of summer had gripped some of the regions of Denford tightly in its burning fingers. The lack of rain in those parts compounded the issue. Low river levels would have to be addressed, as well as the fields that were withering under that oppressive grip.

While waiting for Taryn to join him and the small party that would be accompanying her, Adam looked down at his clothing and wondered if he should change. He was dressed more finely than usual for someone who was probably going to be kneeling in the dirt later that day. Did it matter though? In his brown vest and matching long pants, he was dressed to give a good impression, since he didn’t want anyone to think lowly of Taryn for any reason, so, with a sigh at himself for being silly, he resigned to stay in those clothes unless Taryn suggested otherwise.

There were five of them traveling to the farms towards the north, where, if circumstances allowed, Taryn would offer her Gift to the land to revitalize it, and Adam would offer his horticultural experience to help the farmers keep it there.

He wished Aeron was coming with them. Not that they had had much of a chance to really to get to know each other yet but Aeron was another green thumb and Adam would gladly take the opportunity to get to know his paramour.

Another time, he told himself, following the wavy lines of the branches overhead. If anything solid came of it, Taryn would be one of the first persons Aeron would meet, because Adam would want her opinion. The subject of suitors was a silly sort of awkward thing between them but he enjoyed listening to Taryn grumble with a smile about hers and then tease him gently about finding his own. She was one of the few people he had entrusted with the secret of his sexuality and her wholehearted support of his happiness was a breath of fresh air to his anxious mind.

Still, he was pretty certain Aeron was interested in him, but he really needed to be less shy when it came conversation. He didn’t--

“Oh!” Adam said with a start when he saw Taryn coming their way. “Good morning, Lady!” he called brightly. Wow, he had really gotten into the woolgathering, hadn’t he? Brushing aside his thoughts about Aeron, Adam straightened up a little and got ready to focus on their task ahead. “Are you ready for our trip?” he asked his Queen, his lighthearted grin bright and easy. The Coaches were, waiting patiently to convey them. In one of the Coaches sat five barrels of water, ready to distribute the Queen’s Gift after she blessed it with her blood. Adam would be pouring additional growing spells into that water so they would be doubly imbued when the time came for use. Together, their Craft would be a solid punch against the drought affecting that region.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Taryn Kerry on Oct 07, 18, 10:59:34 AM
It had been a rare summer in Scelt with the dry weather leading to poor crops and near drought like conditions. This was particularly detrimental to Denford as the most fertile of the Provinces in Scelt. Which mean if the crops were impacted in Denford the entire Territory would feel the repercussions, perhaps worst of all would be Kilvary whose terrain was quite barren and craggy.

Taryn’s predecessor might have used that situation to her advantage to undermine the Queen of Scelt, but Taryn saw it as an opportunity to try and shore up the alliance she had struck with the Queen years ago when she had taken the mantle of ruler of Denford. There was much to be done if the issue would be addressed, which is why a party had been arranged within her Court to visit those impacted and see what they could do or offer.

Knowing she would be covered in dust from the ride and likely digging in the dirt later, Taryn dressed casually in a dark coloured, light fabric and serviceable dress with a tartan sash, of Clan Kerry, across one shoulder. It was not the dress that a Queen would wear for formal occasions but she was not going to trounce around in silk while digging in the ground.

A ceremonial dagger was at her hip, and had been sharpened by her blacksmith that very morning. It was the one she used to facilitate the offering of a Queen’s Gift and had been blessed by the High Priestess of Scelt many years ago. Other than that Taryn carried no visible weapons but her bow and arrows could be called in at a moment’s notice. One never could be too careful when traveling in Scelt, the mercenary and brigand problem hadn’t quite resolved itself after Eirne Sheane’s demise.

No matter how many blessings had been bestowed upon the Dagger it never had helped her deliver the Queen’s Gift in any meaningful manner. The exercise that day was merely a dog and pony show, since Taryn’s true weakness as a Queen was the ability to deliver an effective Queen’s Gift. She figured that even if they tore open a main artery and spilled all the blood within her body while emptying both her Jewels there still would be nothing growing from the land she would have blessed. But as a Queen this was expected of her and she had to try.

Few outside of her Triangle, or shadow Triangle, knew the truth of her inadequacy as a Queen. If this drought didn’t pass though in a natural manner she figured it would soon become more common knowledge in her Province. And that could undermine what power she had grasped in the Province.

“Ready as I can be!” She declared in response to Adam’s wide smile. Perhaps he could help make up for her ineffectiveness, after all, the man was truly skilled in the art of gardening. She really ought to spend more time learning from him. “It looks like everything is ready, thanks for arranging all of this.” Adam knew best as to what else they needed to bring aside from the standard accouterments of a Queen.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Adam Rhyne on Oct 29, 18, 11:10:25 AM
As usual, whenever Taryn appeared, there was a happy light to Adam’s eyes that had everything to do with a Bonded male seeing his Queen and nothing to do with a sexual attraction. She was dressed to work but still representing her clan well. Adam’s eyes noticed the blade at her hip but he didn’t ask anything. Every Queen did this ritual differently but just as precisely. That was their decision. Adam’s part in this was to assist.

When she thanked him for arranging everything, he said, “You’re welcome! I’m looking forward to getting out. I hear there’s a nice market out there that we could possibly visit once we’re done. If you’re up to it, I mean.” It was always a gamble how much Gifting the land would take out of a Queen.

Once pleasantries were over, though, Adam would hold open the door to the Coach so that she could enter. It was a short trip on the Winds to their destination, mostly, minus the hour-long ride it would take to reach the first of the farms. Throughout their trip, Adam provided amiable conversation when Taryn wanted it but could fall into silence whenever she needed a moment to think, looking out at the passing countryside.

“It’s a shame we can’t control the weather, isn’t it?” he postulated idly at one point. Not seriously, just…ruminating pleasantly. The guards had fanned out, creating a natural ring around Taryn with Adam riding next to her. “With all of our Craft, as caretakers of the Realm, you’d think the Darkness would have thought of that one.”

But then his focus returned to the present and he smiled. “Or maybe she knew that we’d just conjure up storms right and left and really mess up everything,” he jested. The natural turning of the seasons suited him just fine. The enforced patience as he waited for crops to sprout, grow, fruit, and die… it was a slow cycle, a languid heartbeat that reminded him that not everything moved at the quick pace of Blood life.

Eventually, they arrived at the first of the farms. Horses and Coaches came to a halt as the two point escorts paused to talk with whoever had come out to greet them. Adam let his gaze wander over the furrowed fields with crops yellowing far too early for the season. He briefly glanced at the scorching sun, wondering why this summer was different than others. “I’ll get started on the first of the barrels,” he told Taryn, letting her greet the people herself, while he went to channel his own growing spells into the water.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Taryn Kerry on Nov 04, 18, 07:45:30 AM
Adam’s presence always seem to set Taryn at ease and it seemed to have that effect as she walked up to meet him. The ceremony of a Queen’s Gift always was daunting to Taryn, given her inability to deliver an effective Gift, and left her on edge. The stress couldn’t help in aiding any sense of effectiveness, certainly, but nor was it something she had learned to manage. Yet, with Adam’s presence it was less prevalent, and she took solace in that sense of comfort she so rarely felt.

The idea of visiting the market did sound appealing but Taryn knew she would be in a rough place after presenting the Gift. It seemed that each time she tried it took more and more out of her physically. She poured her heart, soul, blood and Jewels into Scelt’s damaged soil and nothing happened. And each time she tried to increase the amount she could give, and still nothing. Perhaps Eirne Sheane had been the better Queen for Denford given her abilities in this area, and despite her destruction of rival Clans. It was a ridiculous thought from a Queen wracked by self-doubts and anxiety over the upcoming ceremony.

“I do enjoy a nice market.” She commented warmly, not wanting to express these doubts. Not even to Adam.

She climbed into the Coach with his help and settled into the comfortable seat with a sense of dread growing in the pit of her stomach. What Province would want a Queen who could not perform such basic services? She ruled with a fair and steady head and provided good rulings for those who presented cases to her. She protected Denford and ensured that the Province received its fair share of tithes from the Territory Court. She had brought peace to them, for a brief period of time, and was working to ensure the peace would last. And yet the Queen’s Gift was such a fundamental part of their offering of service to the area they ruled she felt it overshadowed what successes she had earned.

“I suppose the Darkness knew of our inherent flaws. We love a beautiful sunny and temperate day. Can you imagine if we had control? At the sign of rain we would push it away, and then experience drought. Or we would lengthen summer and shorten winter and change the balance of nature. It is perhaps for the best that the Darkness manages all this for us less, I would imagine.” Taryn was no Priestess, but she did see the flaws in weather control. She suspected even if she could control the weather she would struggle to do so in a meaningful way. Drought or worse would descend on Denford without warning, and she was already struggling with gifting the land when the weather was outside of her own control.

“Thanks Adam.” Taryn told him with a warm and genuine smile as he left to apply his growing spells to the barrels of water that they would use for the ceremony. She had hope that his horticultural craft could make up for her lack of a sufficient Queen’s Gift. 

She, in turn, approached those in the area with the warmth and confidence they expected from the Queen of Denford. One by one their hosts curtsied to the Queen and exchanged pleasantries with her. On the surface she remained calm, collected and confident, but beneath the mask of rulership her stomach was churning worse than a late autumn squall.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Adam Rhyne on Nov 26, 18, 10:19:36 AM
Had Adam known about her insecurities, he would have poured out half a dozen compliments and counterarguments, because he believed, he knew that she was a good Queen. Everyone had faults but that didn’t mean that she was bad. But he also knew how insecurities didn’t always follow logic. He had tried that on himself numerous times, especially when he had initially discovered his sexuality and struggled with how it differed from those around him.

But Adam didn’t know about Taryn’s insecurities, and thus, did not offer his support and encouragements.

The barrels were being unloaded and tucked against each other. Adam gave the guards a thankful smile and went to open the first barrel. Fresh water, darkened by the barrel’s wood, reflected the sunlight like glittering diamonds. Adam dunked his hands just below the cool surface and closed his eyes. Descending to his Rose, he began humming a low song, a pleasant little melody that helped him concentrate on the growing spell he then began sending into the water. Adam’s strength with growing things helped him out greatly here -- the Craft he was using would extend the benefits of water within the plants, letting them eek out more days of refreshment than they would with unspelled water. The water soaked up the spell easily. Adam capped off the spell with one at the level of White to discourage insects from biting at the already drought-besieged plants. Anything to help.

With the first barrel spelled, Adam replaced the cover and then nodded to the guard standing nearby. The guard took the barrel over to Taryn for her part. Adam repeated the process on a second barrel and then went to join her.

“I don’t think you’ll need more than two at this stop,” he said, mentally checking his own reservoirs. “But I can spell another if so.” He idly wondered if Aeron knew of any other spells like this or different ones that would help in similar situations. As Adam slid his hands into his pockets to await Taryn’s next need, the contented smile on his face was partly because he was certain that the water spells would help and partly because he was thinking about his paramour Aeron.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Taryn Kerry on Jun 22, 19, 09:21:36 AM
The formal dress made of the Kerry tartan that she wore was starting to feel constricting for Taryn. It was making it hard to breath as it constricted her chest. In the far reaches of her mind she inherently understood that it was not the dress but as the panic of an inadequate Queen settled in her heart she had already forgone common sense.

As Adam hummed a soft melody while overseeing the unpacking of the unloaded Taryn focused on his voice. The males she had bonded with all had a unique ability to bring her peace in a variety of circumstances. They were an odd collection for any Queen but fit Taryn perfectly. Mason brought her levity, joy and a competitiveness that challenged her. Adam brought her peace and calm and the ability to focus her energy in positive ways. Lorcan and Dermot brought her a toughness and sturdiness she used in a variety of manners, but that could have as easily been from a brotherly bond than that of a bonded male.

Adam’s unique horticultural skills had provided a small offset to Taryn’s complete lack thereof. And she felt guilty that any success achieved from pouring this water and her blood into the soil would be attributed to her status as a Queen, and not his incredible talents.

“Thank you, Adam.” She told him softly, her voice calm and steady, belying the more turbulent state inside. “I agree that two should be enough for the Gift.” She placed a hand on his arm, a gentle thank you from the Queen. She used the touch to steady herself before closing her eyes, taking a deep breath, and straightening her spine.

The laird of the most powerful Clan in the region was the first to approach the landing circle where the Queen had arrived, and he bowed in deference to her role in Denford. “We have a small gathering to pay honour to your gift, my lady, and a humble feast afterwards.” He intoned formally. The formal nature was not unexpected given that Clan Kerry and this Clan had something of a tumultuous past hundreds of years ago and a fragile peace in more recent years. But they had no Queen of their own and had chosen to align with Clan Kerry not long after Taryn had taken on the mantle of Queen of Denford.

Taryn greeted the laird kindly in turn and allowed two of his men to carry the first barrel towards one of the fields that was showing heavy sign of drought. At the edge of the field waited a small group of clansmen and clanswomen who waited for the arrival of the Queen and her small entourage.

The barrel was placed down and one of the men removed the lid for Taryn. Steeling her nerves and shutting down her emotions she focused at the task at hand, following the steps her Aunt Ayda had taught her to do all those many years ago. Before it was clear that she lacked the innate skill or talent to perform this simple and expected duty of a Queen. And ever since then the Clan, her Court, and friends had all covered for her impotence.

Taryn took hold of a ceremonial dagger that had been carefully spelled by her Court’s Priestess earlier in the day. The Darkness may have blessed the dagger but it had forgotten to bless Taryn herself. She placed the blade of the dagger in the palm of her hand and cut deep to let the blood flow freely into the barrel of water that Adam had so carefully spelled. She spoke a blessing that reverberated, even without craft, across the field and rolling hills:


“From the orchards of Athol
to the fields of Wicklow,
May the Darkness bless the farmer’s work
and help his crops to grow.
And Mother Night intercede for him
that weather rain or shine
his labors are rewarded
this coming harvest time.”

The blood, infused with both of her Jewels, poured freely into the water throughout the length of her blessing. She pushed as much as she could from her body, soul, heart, Jewels and psychic presence. She pushed so hard that she saw white spots at the edges of her vision and even then, she pushed just a bit more.

There was just a bit more to do as she used Craft to empty the barrels into the soil. With craft she flooded the fields and the earth with the blessed water. She could feel her essence soaking into the starved lands and sent a silent prayer to the Darkness to grant her this one success. The rush of craft burned through her soul and drained her exceedingly dangerous levels within both her Offering and Birthright Jewels. But the deed was done.

Her knees began to buckle, and she stopped the flow of power through her and the blood and was saved from collapsing as a steady hand of her brother Dermot, one of the escorts present, grabbed her elbow. He applied a light touch of craft to close the wound but not enough to heal it entirely. The Clan Healer stepped forward to offer her service which Dermot accepted on Taryn’s behalf.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Adam Rhyne on Jul 08, 19, 11:17:39 AM
Her gentle thank you, that hand briefly resting on his arm, let him know that he had been of help to her and that contented Adam greatly. As Taryn took center stage to deal with both laird and crops, Adam faded towards the wings, watching calmly. His presence nearby wouldn’t crowd Taryn or anyone else, yet he was within earshot to be called forward in case.

He watched as Taryn withdrew the dagger and made a steady cut across her hand. The blood of a Queen carried a sharp, alluring scent – but maybe it was just because Adam was Bonded to her. Still, Bond or not, Adam knew that there was something in a Queen’s blood that drew attention to it. Every eye went to Taryn as she spoke her blessing and infused the water.

Taryn’s brother Dermot escorted her along the rows as she distributed the water, further infusing Craft and Gift and Blood into the land. Adam watched calmly at first but as the event went on, he began to think that Taryn might be pushing herself a bit more. As she finished the last row, she swayed getting up and her brother steadied her. Once the Healer finished tending to the cut, Adam moved up to help further.

Cupped in his hands was a restorative brew, one he made himself and was quite proud of, and it steamed lightly as he presented it to Taryn. **It’ll help with the blood loss,** he told her privately, with an encouraging smile on his face. Restorative brews were fairly simple for anyone to steep but it marked the beginning of what he hoped would be a training in Healing later that year since he had learned how to make this blend himself from a recipe shared.

**We’ll definitely put that offer of a meal to use,** Adam said to his Queen, his tone lightly jesting. “I’ll see to the plants,” he said aloud, giving Taryn reason to speak with the laird, who was far more important a person then than Adam was. He took back the cup from her and vanished it. As Taryn was led away, Adam took a private moment to walk the rows of plants, feeling the Craft that had been laid down against his own affinity for green things.

It was a good spell, he decided, as he came to the end of the field. It would need water to keep up its strength but it would last. In a week or two, he would ride out to check it again. On a private thread, he reported this to Taryn, who was inside, and then he went to find her.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Taryn Kerry on Jul 27, 19, 12:42:44 PM
Taryn was barely aware of the laird offering the use of a private suite so that the Queen could have a moment’s respite before the feast that they planned to hold in several hours. Dermot accepted the hospitality of the Clan on behalf of the Queen as he guided her in the direction of the promised suite. Taryn clutched a tonic that Adam had made her and though she had felt his presence earlier she inherently knew that he had left to tend to the earth while Dermot tended to the Queen.

Her brother eyed the tonic warily but obediently (much to her surprise) poured it into a hearty clay mug for her to drink. He held it to her lips when she appeared too weak to lift it and then let her sit for a moment on an overstuffed wing back chair in the suite. Dermot and a few members of her First Circle buzzed around her while the tonic took route and brought her some much-needed strength. It warmed the pit of her stomach and brought her a sense of peace that was not there before.

The Clan had provided significant hospitality, considerable given their struggles, and once Taryn found her strength again, she studied the suite they had been given. Dried fruit had been provided, some of it exotic and native to places like Dhemlan or Glacia, and a full spread of meats and cheeses had been set out in the room. It was light repast before a promised feast, but Taryn recognized that it was a significant amount of food to present the Queen with, and also noticed that fresh food grown from the land was in light supply among the fare. This Clan certainly needed the Gift to take root and help with their harvest and Taryn felt the pressure even more. She would not have eaten the food if Dermot had not forced her hand and reminded her it would be seen as an insult to the Clan’s hospitality.

Who was she kidding? This Clan needed her skills in a bad way, and she was performing rituals that she knew would have little or not help. Unless Adam’s Craft proved to be extremely potent, and even then, it would be unable to match the strength of a Queen’s gift. She’d given this Clan false hope when she knew she was a fraud. She ought to have petitioned for Lady Killan to come and provide the Gift, but the Black Widow Queen would not have been welcomed by this Denford Clan almost certainly. And therefore, the duty fell upon Taryn who was ill equipped to manage it.

By the time Adam returned she had become a self-doubting wreck again and Dermot had all but washed his hands clean of the Queen. “She’s your problem now. She needs to be ready in thirty minutes.” He mumbled to Adam and left the room for a breath of fresh air.
Title: Re: Irrigating Hope
Post by: Adam Rhyne on Aug 22, 19, 11:13:09 AM
Adam had spent a fair amount of time walking up and down the rows of the field, letting his eyes and Craft roam over each of the leaves, checking the spell’s effects and depths. Every so often, he would crouch to touch a leaf or stem, letting his fingers gently trace the line of a stalk or curve of a leaf. It would be days before any progress really showed but Adam had hope and hope was a potent thing.

He spoke briefly with some of the farmers, getting a feel for their methods, but unfortunately, tending for large fields was a bit beyond his ken. Adam made note to speak with some of the farmers closer to the Court’s home when he returned. Maybe they would have ideas.

By the time he made his way towards the suite where Taryn was resting, it was enough time for Dermot to grumble, “She’s your problem now. She needs to be ready in thirty minutes,” as he left the room.

Raddled, Adam stepped into the room and noted that Taryn was definitely not in good spirits. “Did the tonic not help?” he asked, coming to sit near her and placing one hand over hers. No, she didn’t look pale. And, judging by the plate of light food nearby, she had eaten, which was a good sign. So, most likely, the tonic had helped her with her physical strength. Which meant that her darkened, wayward expression was caused by something else.

Adam squeezed her hand lightly. “The spell will help,” he assured her, speaking from a place of experience not false hope. “I can come back in a few weeks to check on it but I can already tell that it has good roots and will do good.” He paused, letting silence fill the space, and then asked, with great care and gentleness, “What is bothering you?”