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Scelt is a Territory in turmoil and peace is tenuously held together by the Sceltic Queens. Rivalry between the Clans errupted into horror for the Territory that resulted in many dead, on both sides, and culimated in Clan Sheane being outlawed in the Territory. Further troubles plague the Territory in a variety of manners - Landen villages are raided, Courts are attacked, and no one seems to be safe.
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Author Topic: Something lost, something found  (Read 1772 times)

Description: Ian and Coira meet

Offline Coira Sheane

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Something lost, something found
« on: Feb 28, 16, 06:10:15 PM »
Coira’s day out with Prince Eamonn sufficiently tired the young Queen into sleeping peacefully through the night- at least for a while:

It was a lovely day. Prince Eamonn kept pace at her side and people rushed about her on their own errands as she tilted her face up to catch the warm sun. Killan Keep was more peaceful than she’d expected it to be and its people friendlier than she’d been led to believe. Lady Killan herself might not be a gentle Queen, but she struck a note in Coira like she’d never felt before. Perhaps it would be alright to stay here and enjoy the Killan Queen’s hospitality and tutelage instead of going off to Dharo. Surely there was some place among those used to Loreniel where she could serve Scelt.

She lowered her face and opened her eyes to see Eamonn had gone and Niamh stood in his place, flanked by her sister. “Niamh!” Coira grinned delightedly to see the older Sheane Queen. “I’ve missed you. Can you stay and talk a while?” They’d had more than one friendly chat while studying with the Priestesses together. It had been nice, almost like she’d imagine what having an older sister would feel like.

“Stay and talk?” Niamh’s face bore a cold look the young Queen had never seen on it in real life. “To you? You’re a disgrace, Coira! How can you stay with the Killan butcher when your kin lie in their graves?”

Coira took a step back, fumbling for the words to explain herself, but they wouldn’t come.  She tripped over something and fell on her butt, recoiling in horror when turned out to be a body wearing her mother’s face. She regained her feet and spun in around in rising agitation, taking in the sea of dead that now littered the previously beautiful grounds of the Keep. “No! There’s more to it than that! Please, Niamh…!” She held out a beseeching hand to the other Queen, only to have it grabbed and forced behind her back as a strong male hand held her by the throat.

“You made your choice. Eirne should have killed you when she had the chance.” Coira froze as the unmistakable voice of Dallan Sheane crooned in her ear. “Fortunately, she still has me.” And then there was a dagger in the air, slicing toward her vulnerable throat-,


Coira bolted upright, frantically kicking off her covers as she raised a hand to feel at her neck. Intact, of course. She dragged in gulps of air as her racing heart gradually slowed and her trembling stopped. Just a dream, that had her shaking like a child afraid of the dark. So spoke a guilty conscience. But was it just a dream, or her subconscious trying to tell her something? With a Black Widow’s talents it was sometimes hard to tell. If she were sensible she’d ask Loreniel to arrange her passage back to Dharo first thing tomorrow.

But that was a task for later. Right now it was only halfway through the night and Coira knew better than to go back to sleep now with the nightmares stalking so close. Grumbling to herself over her foolishness, she grabbed her clothing, dressed for the new day to come, and stalked out into the hallway. Maybe a good run would settle her down.

But she found herself heading down another hallway instead and somehow wasn’t surprised her wandering ended her in the Keep’s kitchens. A teenager wearing the Purple Dusk could always use a snack and Coira wouldn’t mind some comfort food right now. A dedicated investigation of the food stores revealed some Crannachan left over from dinner and Coira wasted no time dealing out a portion for herself. She dug in with a will and savored the sweet play of flavors from the desert, hoping they would help drive the lingering disquiet away.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #1 on: Feb 29, 16, 05:32:58 AM »


Winter, 190 AP
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Clan Laird Ian Falkirk awoke suddenly, tears drying on his cheeks. His fists clenched as he fought with his grief and rage, struggling alone in the dark. The loss of his wife was a bitter wound that while scabbed over, never truly healed. The recent losses of friends and heirs to other Clans and Queens rubbed the wound raw. The lack, so far, of progress towards finding her killers left the rage simmering, and brought vengeful nightmares. But his tears were because her beloved face was blurred in his memory now, even as her scent remained sharply recalled.

He rolled out of bed and fell into the push up position in one smooth motion.  He focused on perfect form and measured breathing until his control was reasserted. Sit ups, pull ups, he pushed himself until sweat dripped down his naked body and burned in the abrasions from yesterday's workout. A swift bath and a change into his formal leathers (still armored, if with less defensive value than his battle gear) and he was ready for his nightly foraging trip. He Appeared his sword and strapped the hand-and-a-half thrusting bastard sword onto his back, the single Sapphire gleaming in the hilt, his Opal split to adorn each flange. It was symbol of his rule as much as weapon, and he was never without it.
 
Spoiler: Ian Malcolm Falkirk (click to show/hide)

He padded down to the kitchen, curious what snack the enterprising and discrete Brighe Devlin would have left out for him tonight. As he rounded the last corner, however, an adorable sight met his eyes. A wee bit of a girl, blissfully consuming Crannachan, the whip cream and raspberries a constant chore to eat neatly. He observed her for a while, the complexities of her scent taking a while to decipher. It wasn't that he didn't know what Black-Widow smelled like, but that the keep was permeated with Queen and Black-Widow. Still, it was spicy and fierce and complex, altogether a beautiful scent. He fought, as he had fought everyday since his son turned 13, to resist the Territory wide fear of the Black-Widows.

Laird Ian had no desire to startle or interrupt her, but even less to leave her eating alone. He grunted, and moved towards the cold storage, choosing half of a pecan pie. Unless she'd fled by then, he settled across from her in companionable silence, subtly eased by her presence.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #2 on: Mar 02, 16, 06:35:58 PM »
Coira opened her eyes at the masculine grunt, watching the strange male complete his mission and emerge with his prize. Why the Hell hadn’t she noticed him earlier? She must be getting sloppy, or as tired of life as a 17-year-old could be, to have missed a Warlord Prince who felt darker than herself. Not that those were in short supply at Killan Keep. She watched him warily in her peripheral vision for a while, but cautiously relaxed when he did nothing but settle down with his own snack.

This must be one of Lady Killan’s guests. She’d heard stories about the Falkirks in just the short time she’d been here- everything from one of their men bonding Loreniel and immediately starting a fight with her, to the rumor that they’d come to the Keep with  some sort of Hell-spawned beasts. She wasn’t sure how much to believe and how much the tale tellers were trying to snow the credulous lowlander.

The man looked battle-hardened and dangerous, but with an air about him that reminded her of the grandfather who’d died when she was six. There was a clear air of weariness and agitation in his psychic scent, even if it was fading, that stirred a prickly feeling of concern in her despite the voice of common sense telling her to mind her own business. She was lucky enough that he seemed to be tolerating her presence.  Unfortunately, she’d never learned to quit pressing that luck, and felt compelled to draw him out.

“Most men would be running by now.” She observed conversationally, her attention apparently more on her food than the man across from her. “Either away, or to take a shot at me.”

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #3 on: Mar 03, 16, 06:47:17 AM »


Winter, 190 AP
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



The little Queen eyed him warily, but was perfectly safe as she made not one move on his pecan pie. Any of his own daughters would have at least threatened it by now. He ate slowly, in no real rush, already planning what bits of cold cut he'd collect next. He really hadn't expected her to talk, yet, and grinned at her snarky, bold faced challenge.

He glanced up, ice blue eyes twinkling, and watched her eat her next mouthful of cream and berries. Glancing back down before the weight of his stare distressed her, he gave a soft chuckle. "Too weary to run at the moment, lass. And I won't deny that meeting a strange low-land Black-Widow can be stressful. But I've that in my past as has me minded to let you show me your mettle."

Laird Ian didn't bother to hide his satisfaction. "And I note that a grumpy Warlord-Prince eyeing your Cranachan jealousy doesn't have you running, either, lass." The Clan Laird would have found a frightened, or timid response, extremely distasteful, but whatever else this little tri-caste witchling had going for her, at least she knew better than to broadcast fear.

"I saw a bit lamb, and some bread, if a sandwhich would do, lass. There's trouble to be had with Hearth-Witches if we eat naught but sweets tonight. And I'd not be fussing the sweet Lady Brighe if I can help it." The Clan laird reluctantly pushed his empty dish away and looked at the lass, ready to hear her answer.

Despite appearances, he was ....just barely .... Able to make a very bland sandwich.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #4 on: Mar 06, 16, 10:32:45 PM »
“Too weary too run at the moment.” She echoed his response, setting her spoon down carefully. Despite his claim to grumpiness, he had a nice laugh. And his gruff voice was a comforting contrast to the silken tones of Dallan from her dream, anchoring her to the here and now. “And if you can tease, you’re not too grumpy, so I’ve got bigger fish to worry about than you. Even with Cranahan at stake.”Coira cursed her tongue even as she said it and tried to keep her tone light and dismissive in compensation. Nothing to see here, no sir. She must be more tired than she thought to imply she was worried about her safety to a Warlord Prince, even a strange one (and she wasn’t, not really. It was just that stupid dream).

No matter how stressful  he might find her, a Warlord Prince had his own instincts to listen to. If he didn’t overrule them where scary Black Widows were concerned. And this one didn’t seem of a mind too just yet. Which he promptly proved by proceeding to fuss over her welfare. At least it was just food.

“Raspberries count as fruit!” Coira protested anyway, quite sensibly. And not willing to concede the battle just yet at any rate. Though she’d been warned to work with a male’s instincts instead of against them, she’d also been cautioned about making the victory too easy. Give a Warlord Prince a cookie and he’d take the whole batch next. “I’m sure Lady Brighe is a sensible woman who understands the necessity of sweets to one’s well-being on occasion.” She looked up to stare him down over the point, already savoring his sure challenge in response.

What she got was granite sliding into her soul with the solid ‘thunk’ of a well-laid keystone. No overpowering roar, no gentle easing into the bond- just the irrefutable knowledge she’d found another piece of her soul and he was here to stay. She stood up, hands braced on the table-whether to prevent herself from going to lay claim to him properly or to give herself the leverage to do so more efficiently, she couldn’t say. But everything about the young Queen’s body language screamed an intention to rise to this challenge as she had any other one Mother Night had set her. The next move was his. Would he run now?

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #5 on: Mar 07, 16, 10:21:40 PM »


Winter, 190 AP
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Clan Laird Ian Malcolm Falkirk felt his instincts roar to life at the merest hint that the young lady before him was afraid. All the logic and reason in the world couldn't stop him from feeling outrage that a teenage girl had to fear anything at all. Yet Ian was no youngster, but a mature man who knew how to handle himself. So he took a few minutes to analyze and consider both her asking for his protection - for how else could that be taken? - and her gumption in challenging him on the fruit.

So his comment was simply, "Bigger, but I doubt meaner ... and no one can harm you while you still owe me blood-debt for that Crannachan!" His voice gentled from teasing, still rumbling but serious. "Someone frightening you, lass?"

Before he could answer her challenge regarding raspberries as anything but candy in their own right, she met his eyes. Lightening hit; the scabbed and battered parts of his soul ripped open and the witchling ...lanced the wound. She stood there, eyes fierce, facing her pain, a perfect mirror to his own. His hand shot out, lightening fast, and ... Unless she stopped him, slid her plate towards him.

"Mine."

His ice-blue eyes never left hers, as his vast soul settled into place. If tears threatened, that was only between him, and his wee lass. She had lost so much, risked so much, bitterness ought to flow from her in waves. And indeed, it's tang sparked here and their but not even pain for her lost male was the defining part of her soul. No, it was her unquenchable spirit.

"Welcome home, lass. What took you so long?"

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #6 on: Mar 10, 16, 09:34:51 PM »
Coira’s hand shot out to stop the Warlord Prince with the instantaneous, automatic reaction of a teenager who’d been living very rough for the last two years. Food was a precious commodity, those instincts said, and not be yielded lightly. But as her hand touched his and the bond flowed between them, she relaxed by degrees. This man was hers, and welcome to all that she had. She sensed the old hurts in him, mirror to her own, and was glad for them. Oh, she hated that he’d suffered them at all, but it also reassured her. Here was someone she didn’t have to worry about breaking by being too stubborn or too sharp-edged or too much the Black Widow, because he knew how to pick himself up and carry on no matter what came at him.

She opened her mouth to speak, to claim him in return, but then the damnable male had to add one last line.  And Coira –badass, tough-as-nails, Purple Dusk Black Widow Priestess Queen, scion and inheritor of the fiery Sheane blood- broke under that display of kindness and welcome like she never had under the general scorn directed at her kind. To her mild horror, tears welled in her eyes and the tightness in her jaw as she fought not to cry gave way to honest, cleansing sobs. It had been a long time since Coira Sheane had had a good cry and she was far overdue.

But Coira hated crying in front of an audience, even this one. It made her feel wrong-footed and stupid. The young woman compromised with the instinct to hide away and the urge to get closer to her new male by sliding the forgotten Crannachan out of the way and vaulting across the tabletop with all the energy of an agile young Queen to wrap her arms around her male’s neck and bury her face in his shirt if he permitted it. Going around would have taken too long and hiding her face, though a mite childish, did help- though that could also have been the increased amount of contact in general.

When the worst of the deluge had abated, she laughed shakily, one hand still wrapped in his shirt, and managed to recover her words. “It might have helped to have a name, Prince. Scelt’s a big place, and I’ve been away too long.” She sniffled a bit; crying, as always, providing an oh-so-lovely variety of side-effects sure to charm those around the crier.

“I’m not the easiest Queen to have, you know.” She wriggled around to look him in the eyes, deadly serious. He was owed the warning. “I don’t have a good record of keeping my males alive and with me, and your Clan won’t thank you to be on the leash of a Black Widow Queen, let alone drag her home with you.” She should carry on with her sorta-decision to return to Dharo, for this male’s sake. But, selfish bitch that she was, her heart hoped he’d stop her.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #7 on: Mar 11, 16, 06:10:52 AM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Coira's grip on Ian's hand, her excellent reflexes and strength were utterly pleasing. His warm, gravely chuckle rewarded her. He watched her, feeling the Bond in all its power. His hand pivoted under hers, to give her a comforting grip, but she did him one better. She all but flew into his arms, his chair rocking back alarmingly, a tiny flash of Craft steadying them.

Ian warped his vast arms about his young Queen in a huge bear hug. A father eight times over, he displayed no unease or embarrassment at her cleansing tears. He rubbed her back gently, as he had his own daughters, and did to this day. He'd defy anyone to deny him the right to comfort his girls as only a father could. And now he had one more wee little lass to call his own.

He murmured soft reassurances, unconcerned about the state of his shirt. He considered her words thoughtfully. "I'm thinking you have a point there, my lass; I'll just be waking up my twin and telling her to take it up with Mother Night." And he did, indeed do so. Elidiah needed a bit of hassling. He seemed content to sit there all day, holding her. "Aye, and you've been gone too long. I'll show you our Highlands, lass. So beautiful." He grabbed up a napkin from the table and tenderly tended to her face. "Ach, now! I should hope you are strong and fierce lass. And I'll be telling you what I told my own Queen daughter, and aye, my niece too. Tis my job to keep you alive, not yours to worry for me. And I'm powerful hard to kill. They've been trying for longer then you've been alive,"

"Now truth to tell some will grumble and some complain. But not over much, for  I'm their Laird, and Falkirks are first and foremost loyal. Plus, lass, I've a secret of my own." He switched to mind-speech, his brush against her shields practiced, firm but gentle. *My eldest son is a natural Black-Widow. He's a good lad but rash. I hope you might be friends.*

"I'm not the easiest Bonded lass, for I've duties and I've been called controlling more than once. I'm stubborn and traditional and love my home beyond reason. So I reckon we'll drive each other a wee bit mad, with quarrels and all ... But I'll stand by you. I'll watch over you, and all my scolds and glares won't mean a thing stacked up against the fact that we belong together. Now, from what you've said, have I a Blood-Brother to return to you?"

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #8 on: Mar 13, 16, 06:39:47 PM »
It had been a long time since Coira had had a father figure around. Long enough that she’d convinced herself that she didn’t want or need one anymore. But his hug felt good and safe and warm; it chased the last of the chill from her bones  and brought back memories of more innocent days. She was long past that, but it was nice to pretend for a few minutes.

 “It will always be my job to worry for you,” Coira disputed firmly, “As much as it is yours to keep me alive.” Apparently they’d start that quarreling now, then. Marvelous. She hoped Ian would be every bit the challenging opponent he promised to be. Her other males hadn’t argued with her much. She’d valued their wisdom and their skills and done her best to listen to them anyway, but at the end of the day they’d usually yielded to her wishes. That had been fine as a child when her wishes had mainly revolved around sweets and toys. But she worried now that she was older. In some ways, Coira craved a leash as much as the Warlord Prince before her. She was a tri-casted Queen who knew her Craft well and would likely make a Dark descent; there was so much potential to go wrong there and the more she saw of the world, the more she feared being one of those Queens so drunk on their own power that they heeded no others.

“I’ve heard that speech before, you know. From Loreniel Killan herself.” She continued, letting Ian dry her tears. “And I understand I’m not your nursemaid, to keep you pent up and safe. But if you’re going to risk your life for me, you need to know what you’re getting into. I assume you know who I am? Coira Sheane- Black Widow and de facto exile of her Clan. Which is now Outlawed and desperate. And depending on the rumor, I may or may not have sacrificed my last male to my perverted Widows’ arts myself.” Her voice hardened as she referenced that last. It had only been one foolish male, who’d been quickly hushed by his fellows –presumably fearful someone would report such sentiment to Killan- but it had been one of the hardest things she’d ever done to turn the other cheek and not dig out his lying tongue to keep as a trophy. But out of respect for Loreniel she tried to leave the elder Queen’s people alone. “Until I met you tonight, I was planning to return to Dharo. I still should, for your sake.” Though the reassurance that he was hard to kill warmed her soul and filled her with purring, possessive pride in this new male of hers.

She’d claimed a Clan Laird? Yes, that would give him a great deal of influence with his Clan. So this had to be Ian Falkirk, and his daughter the Clan Queen Yseult. That could be a problem. A Laird was a powerful voice within his Clan, but not the only one. The Lady would have her say too and there was every chance of her fearing a Darker rival in her territory, as Eirne had. She was still pondering that when Ian shared one of his deepest secrets with her. It widened her eyes and she probed intently with her Purple Dusk to gauge his seriousness. Not that anyone with sense would claim someone like that if he didn’t have to, but finding a male Black Widow in Scelt was like finding a diamond in some Landen farmer’s pigs’ shit. The sheer rarity beggared belief. *Thank you for sharing that with me. And I can promise I’ll try.* Coira’s own curiosity would demand it.

Then the mood shifted, from the touching sharing of secrets and making of promises to Ian offering to kidnap her male for her. “No. You do not.” She said grimly, eager to shut that line of thought down before it started. Her relationship with her Lenox male was… complicated. Coira didn’t know what her own feelings were about him and his about her had to include some resentment over the ruin of his Clan. He’d apparently helped Killan find her, but made no effort to speak to her before she left his Clan’s lands. The uncertainly grated at Coira, but she wasn’t going to force anyone to be around her if he didn’t want to. “I trust Mother Night, Lord Falkirk.” She added, taking refuge in her beloved Priestess caste. The one she’d fought hard to earn and prove herself worthy of. “She put him into my life and took him out of it again. I have to believe there’s a reason for both of those things, and that She will bring him back to me again someday when we’re both ready. I will not force Her hand in the matter. “ Coira’s eyes were hard as flint as she stared at Ian. Here she would not compromise.
 
She was still wary of this whole arrangement, though. Coira Sheane’s life didn’t go this well. “Are you sure your Clan Queen would agree to my presence? She’d be within her rights to be concerned about me.”

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #9 on: Mar 14, 16, 07:17:06 AM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Ian Malcolm Falkirk chuckled roundly and hugged the lass again. "Now, how can you worry about me?" There was a vast humor and honest bafflement in his voice. He firmly denied their shared night terrors as worth worrying about, at least in his case. Hers was a whole different story.

He felt only her needling, testing along their Bond. He knew that there was something important to her in what he had said, but he could not quite sort out what she was after, could not hear her own need for a leash, so he asked. "I see that look, lass, I feel your concern ...out with it!" As close to asking as he could come, in any event.

"I guessed as much when I felt the burden of your Tri-Castes. And I've a solution to your Clan problem, if you fancy Coira Falkirk. I like the sound, Coira Falkirk. And my Clan has some issues as you know, with Black-Widows. My daughter's got a heart bigger than her head, and a Sheane Bonded of her own. You've not to fear there, lass, unless Yseult becomes a wee bit jealous of her father's attention." He spoke more gently then. "She's hurting a bit at the moment, but would you like to meet her? I fear my sister is on her way in any event."

"Dharo lass?" He said incredulously. "No, lass, you don't want to leave the Highlands. It's in your blood, now." He was equally implacable on this matter as she on her missing male, his Blood-brother. "Mother Night still needs our hands and feet to get things done. You tell me you don't want him yet, that he's not ready, and I'll wait a bit. I know a thing or two about Queen Bonds, and he may show up shortly. But if he doesn't it may need looking into, if people know he is Bonded to you."

To his credit, from his warm laugh until now, no physical of evidence of his rage was manifested. But his Bond gave him away, and the slightly clipped, over mild tone of voice told her precisely which comment riled. As if she couldn't guess. "And who said such, my Queen? Who besmirched your honor so?" It was a terrible thing, to prod any Quern over a lost male, but to imply a Queen killed her own ... It struck a cord in him.


A painful one, "Speaking of painful rumors and bitter truth ... You will hear how I was Bonded once before." He tensed, fearful she'd run, but he loosened his bear hug anyway. "She ...craved power more than anything. Wouldn't wait to grow into it. Poisoned my wife, be spelled my children. I had to execute her." 

Offline Elideah Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #10 on: Mar 17, 16, 07:52:40 PM »
[size=13]Winter, 190 AP, Killan Estate, Guest Wing[/size]


Mother night wouldn't have mixed her business with ours if YOU, my brother, hadn't mixed Falkirk business with Hers!* Elideah wasn't really rankled by Ian interrupting her devotions. She'd been restless tonight, the deep almost trance like state eluding her. She was a born Priestess. Devotions and Communing came easily to her, therefore Mothernight wanted her awake, and now she knew why. Her brother had his Queen, the Falkirks had a new queen. Yseult and Ryanne had a new rival placed by Mothernight before them under Ian's protection.   

Elideah platted her long red roan hair into the single braid she habitually wore while sleeping.
She should at least pretend Ian had woken her with his cryptic Opal glee at bonding his new queen. She tried to recall a queen that was an age mate but couldn't remember any. How many queens were lurking about this foreign Court? At least he wanted a meeting now and not in the morning.

She selfishly hoped settling the new Falkirk wouldn't take to long. She had to get to sleep before dawn or that overzealous Killian priestess would press her into mourning service. "I hate morning people!" She grumbled to herself as she made her way to them. They were in the kitchen, which was cozy, filled with good smells and non-threatening. Good place to start a life long relationship. She passed a few clansmen in their night caps and slippers who greeted her with sleepy salutes and offers to escort her. Only one lad actually escorted her to the kitchen. She wasn't sure if he was to tired to understand her "No." or just hungry. He jared awake when he saw who already occupied the Keeps kitchen. He garbled out a greeting and beat a hasty retreat.

Elideah stood framed in the doorway, every inch a Priestess wrapped in Protocol and guarded by Ceremony. She didn't show the shock she felt at the girls age, she knew the lass hadn't yet made her offering, well guided it would be a dark decent. When she stepped further into the room the girls scent told Elideah why Mothernight had caused this bond. "Tri-blessed child, welcome home." It wasn't the formal greeting she'd rehearsed. It was a heart greeting, Priestess to Priestess, it encompassed her brother's bond a heart greeting of Warlord-Prince to Queen, and the secret all three shared in the heartache of Blackwidow.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #11 on: Mar 18, 16, 11:00:13 PM »
<<"I guessed as much when I felt the burden of your Tri-Castes. And I've a solution to your Clan problem, if you fancy Coira Falkirk. I like the sound, Coira Falkirk. And my Clan has some issues as you know, with Black-Widows. My daughter's got a heart bigger than her head, and a Sheane Bonded of her own. You've not to fear there, lass, unless Yseult becomes a wee bit jealous of her father's attention." He spoke more gently then. "She's hurting a bit at the moment, but would you like to meet her? I fear my sister is on her way in any event." >>

Coira forgot all about the question of leashes at Ian’s offer of the Falkirk name. And mention of a Sheane bonded. The Clan had certainly scattered far if one had made it up here. For a moment, sorrow threatened to overwhelm her at that thought: the strong, vibrant Clan of her memories scattered to the winds. But she’d had years to get used to the idea, so the sting of that reminder was rapidly pushed aside join all the other scared-over heart-wounds of the past. Better to look to the future, and her new male offering her a place in his Clan. It would solve many problems for her, she told her nagging loyalties to a dead Clan. There was no good reason to cling to the Sheane name and a whole load of bad ones. But one’s Clan was half their identity and hers had molded her as anyone else’s did. If she wasn’t a Sheane, what was she? Would she like the person Coira Falkirk would become?

She chewed at her lower lip in thought, biting hard enough to drawn blood, and automatically licked at the injured spot. The pain and the thrum of her own power-laced blood proved a remarkable focus for her chaotic thoughts, Mother Night pleased enough with the small offering to great a bit of clarity. “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll stay Sheane a while longer.” There was no need to rush to yet another change in her life. She could always change her mind, unless Ian withdrew the offer. Better to keep her cards close to her chest instead of throwing everything down on the table and risk rejection again, not fitting in. She trusted Ian but she didn’t yet trust the Clan. And so it would be wrong to take their name.

“Let me get to know the Falkirks and they me before I start calling myself one.” Coira’s eyes pled for understanding, hoping Laird Ian wouldn’t take the refusal as in insult to his Clan.
“I’d love to meet your daughter, though.” Better to get that over with as well. If that meeting went horribly, she didn’t want to get too attached the idea of Ian and home. “She and I can be mopey and drown our sorrows in chocolate together. I hear that helps.” She’d offer to kill whatever had hurt Yseult, but if Ian hadn’t already, it was likely beyond her own reach as well.


<<"Dharo lass?" He said incredulously. "No, lass, you don't want to leave the Highlands. It's in your blood, now." He was equally implacable on this matter as she on her missing male, his Blood-brother. "Mother Night still needs our hands and feet to get things done. You tell me you don't want him yet, that he's not ready, and I'll wait a bit. I know a thing or two about Queen Bonds, and he may show up shortly. But if he doesn't it may need looking into, if people know he is Bonded to you." >>

“Is it, now?” Coira was charmed by Ian’s insistence about the Highlands. Her experience with the Highlands so far had been as a dangerous and rocky land more foreign than far-off Dharo. She still missed the rolling green flatlands of and gentle waters of Denford and couldn’t yet imagine anything good enough to replace them in her heart and blood.

Her amusement fled as the Clan Laird cautioned her about the danger of leaving her missing male out there alone. She hadn’t thought of that. And she should have. His Clan couldn’t be very happy with what that bond (and one very stupid Laird!) had brought to their doorstep. But the description of the male who’d returned her Jewel to Loreniel’s Ebon Gray had sure sounded like hers, and Coira didn’t think he’d have done that without a backup plan. “If he shows up, alright. But I’m not ready to seek him out again just yet.” If there had been any witness to the conversation besides Ian, she’d never have admitted to such weakness.
 
“He’ll be alright.” She said firmly, as though she could make it so by force of will. “No male of mine is stupid, whatever he chooses to do with himself.” She’d have to trust Ian on the nature of Queen Bonds. Having Kain with her for two years was the nearest she’d come to a normal relationship with her males. She, and they, had had to get used to time apart and infrequent visits as her education allowed. And she’d not been able to see them at all the whole time she’d been in Dharo- they’d made do with letters as Eirne allowed.


<<To his credit, from his warm laugh until now, no physical of evidence of his rage was manifested. But his Bond gave him away, and the slightly clipped, over mild tone of voice told her precisely which comment riled. As if she couldn't guess. "And who said such, my Queen? Who besmirched your honor so?" It was a terrible thing, to prod any Quern over a lost male, but to imply a Queen killed her own ... It struck a cord in him.>>

“Some young fool with more sperm than sense.” Coira sensed she was treading dangerous ground here, as gratifying as the rage on her behalf felt- a balm to her wounded soul. But it was her responsibility to keep her male leashed on Loreniel’s home ground unless the situation merited it. And this just didn’t- unless the incident was repeated. The fool had had his only chance of reprieve. She opened her mouth to say more, but the mood shifted again quickly.

<<A painful one, "Speaking of painful rumors and bitter truth ... You will hear how I was Bonded once before." He tensed, fearful she'd run, but he loosened his bear hug anyway. "She ...craved power more than anything. Wouldn't wait to grow into it. Poisoned my wife, be spelled my children. I had to execute her." >>

Mother Night’s icy cunt. What sort of male had the Darkness linked her to? Coira sat up and froze into absolute stillness as she absorbed that, barely breathing. It never occurred to her to run, however. Horror at hearing her male admit he was capable of killing his own Queen warred with the knowledge that some people just plain deserved killing- even Queens. She was rather proud that her first coherent thought was ‘how awful for Ian’, sympathy winning over horror or outrage; Coira felt guilty enough for getting Kain killed without dealing the killing blow herself. How much worse would it have been for Ian? And yet, she didn’t ask if there hadn’t been another who could have taken the task in his stead. Already Coira had the sense of him through their Bond that Ian Falkirk was a man who’d never let another shoulder a burden or duty that’d he’d deemed his own responsibility, no matter how unpleasant or soul-rending. It was intimidating awe-inspiring and Coira prayed to the Darkness that had gifted her her Purple Dusk for just one more miracle- to be worthy of and equal to the task of being Queen to such a man.

She forced herself to relax tense muscles and dragged in a cleansing breath. Then she did something about the distance that they’d put between themselves by embracing the Clan Laird again, hugging his neck in a way that had her resting her weight trustingly on his chest and shoulder. And, not coincidentally, putting the sweet spot at the join of her own neck and left shoulder just under her Warlord Prince’s nose. Coira wasn’t one to pass up a trick, especially when it was to her male’s benefit and reassurance. “How awful.” She said into his shoulder. “For them, for you. But I wonder… if the Sheanes had had a male like you, they might still be alive. Your Clan had damn well better appreciate you, to spare them an Eirne.” If they didn’t, they’d be answering to Coira Sheane.


<<Elideah stood framed in the doorway, every inch a Priestess wrapped in Protocol and guarded by Ceremony. She didn't show the shock she felt at the girls age, she knew the lass hadn't yet made her offering, well guided it would be a dark decent. When she stepped further into the room the girls scent told Elideah why Mothernight had caused this bond. "Tri-blessed child, welcome home." It wasn't the formal greeting she'd rehearsed. It was a heart greeting, Priestess to Priestess, it encompassed her brother's bond a heart greeting of Warlord-Prince to Queen, and the secret all three shared in the heartache of Blackwidow.>>

The opening of the door brought the withdrawing of Coira’s embrace as instinct demanded she not turn her back to a potential threat, no matter that she had a Sapphire Warlord Prince now to guard it for her. Then in stepped a lady who wore her blessing from Mother Night like a well-worn cloak. The sense of sisterhood and ceremony brought Coira to her feet, despite any move Ian might make to discourage the move away from him, and she inclined her head respectfully to the elder Priestess. “I am honored by your welcome, Sister, and your blessing.” It might not be on the list of formal prays and rituals, but the informal one offered by this lady (her Ian’s twin?) meant as much as any of them, for it was one of family. “I am sorry you had to be rousted out so late, just to see me. Someone around here ought to get some sleep tonight.” Because it clearly wasn’t going to be her or Ian.  “But I suppose it’s a little too late to teach an old dog new tricks.” She half-turned to raise an eyebrow at Ian, affectionately daring her new male to raise to the bait.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #12 on: Mar 20, 16, 04:36:26 AM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Clan Laird Ian Malcolm Falkirk was a reverent man, rather than devout, but when his little Queen hugged him instead of condemning him, it turned his embittered heart back towards Mother Night. It was all he could do to limit his tears. He hugged her sweetly, breathing in that special scent from the back of her neck that assured him he belonged. For long moments he held her, before he addressed her preceding comments.

"Indeed, lass, take your time to be comfortable with us. We've all our lives together, no need to rush. I'll bespeak Yseult ..." A pause followed, with tiny expression changes that danced from devilish amusement to outright mirth. "You are like to think not a one of us sleeps through the night; she is thrilled you've come into our lives and racing with unbecoming speed to meet you. It's a help that you are her age and not mine; she's powerful protective of her dead mother's place. And she loves sticky miserable sweets as no grown man can safely admit to enjoying." his good humor faded and he hugged her gently. "If you can coax her into sharing her pain instead of denying it, we'd all be grateful."

Ian thought carefully just how to handle his Queen's troubling missing Bonded. He'd bring Aaron in to as least track the lad down. But how tortured must both feel as the very Bond which gave them purpose cost each so much? Likewise, a few loud and destructive lessons seemed in order if men here had such to say about his Coira. It ebbed too close to disrespect for the Killan Queen's males to be happy either. He'd discuss that lapse with Steward Kean,

Then his Queen was squirming out of his grasp to meet his sister.

Elideah was always a treat, the harsh lined features of his own face somehow rendered beautiful. And she too welcomed Coira Sheane Falkirk home. Ian chuckled at his Queen, then rose to his feet, "Sister-mine, permit me to make known to you Lady Coira Sheane. My Darkness Bonded Queen. Coira, my twin and Yseult's High Priestess, Lady Elideah Falkirk," He paused a beat, before adding, "oh, aye lass this'll not be the last time I cost you sleep!"

Offline Yseult Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #13 on: Mar 26, 16, 02:33:40 PM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



If Elideah was the picture of composed peace, the blond-haired, blue-eyed Queen who came dashing into the kitchens after the Priestess was anything but. Hair tumbled free down her back, loosed from its habitual braids, a large fluffy cotton robe was hastily wrapped over a shamelessly comfortable nightgown. Her eyes sought out her father, and as she drank in the joy radiating from him a delightful, an unaffected, fierce laugh poured through the kitchen.

Ian just pointed at Coira, grinned, and said one word. "Mine."

Her father wasn't afraid. He didn't flinch away, wasn't vibrating with the tension and angst each of her own Heart-Bonds caused him. Something that had been torn and wrong in him since before her birth was inexplicably put right. Or maybe not inexplicably.

Yseult's laughter dampened with tears, and she turned her attention on the young tri-casted Queen who had wrought such change. So beautiful. Soft wavy brown hair that probably never frizzed, eyes older than her years, mysterious and aching from her losses. Yseult stepped towards Coira with instinctive grace, and extended both hands in greeting, the scent of Black-Widow/Priestess/Queen filling the kitchen. Trust her father to Bond the most complicated and heartbroken Queen in all of Scelt. Yseult thought about what she wanted to say, and about everything she hoped to hear from her own Bonded's loved ones. She even considered what Clan Laird Liam might recommend.

But all her years of experience as Clan Queen, her training with Liam, even the arrogance that was her birthright as Queen deserted her. All she was was a little girl, thrilled to see her father whole and yet afraid of loosing him. She would no longer be first with him, and she wasn't quite able to accept that without a bit of dismay. "Coira. I know you will take good care of my father." She searched the younger Queen's eyes. "I'm sorry for the losses that bring you to us through so much pain, but so very glad you found us. You've a home with us, if you will." Because it was Coira's choice, in the end. Had the tri-casted Queen a whole Clan, and not a shattered one, this would be a much more politically wrought moment.


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Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #14 on: Mar 27, 16, 12:15:43 AM »
Coira watched father and daughter with an air of puzzled contentment. But the pair’s joy was contagious and she found herself wearing a grin of her own for the first time since the outside world had intruded into the sense of safety the miracle of a new bond had produced. She still worried, of course. Fitting a stranger into a family was a difficult process at the best of times and Ian had mentioned Yseult being touchy about people trying to take her mother’s place. It wasn’t quite the same thing, but plenty of potential still existed for hurt feelings on all sides.

Yseult rose to the occasion, however, with more grace than Coira probably could have in the same situation. Her nature ensured that her possessiveness went to the bone and, as a rule, Coira tended to be more defensive of what ties life gifted her because of their rarity.

“You must have one Hell of a brother.” Was all she could think to say, reaching out to clasp the older Queen’s hands in her own. That Black Widow male had to be something special, if his family was willing to welcome one like him so warmly. “I’ll do my best, Lady Yseult.  I don’t think your father will always make it easy for me, but I’ll keep at it. And I’ll be relying on your expert advice as well- he seems like a two-Queen job to me.” She pretended to sneak a speculative look at the grinning Warlord Prince, giving Yseult a conspiratorial smile. “I would be pleased to make a home with the Falkirks for as long as they’ll let me.”

Though her mouth continued to smile, her eyes went hard as she sought Yseult on a Purple Dusk distaff. *Ian’s too stubborn and partial to hear this, so I’ll say it to you: if you think my presence in the Clan will cause him problems, I want to know about it. So I can take appropriate measures.*Translation: leave Scelt, since nothing less would probably deter Ian from just hauling her butt back anyway. But what she didn’t tell Yseult, the older Queen couldn’t be hanged for by her father later. *I won’t cost him the Falkirks, no matter what he says.* Coira couldn’t quite believe Ian’s insistence of their continued love and loyalty. Not when her own Clan had cast her out for it.

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #15 on: Mar 29, 16, 07:30:17 AM »
Elideah carefully tucked a lock of Yseult's silky golden hair behind her ear and hugged her in delight. "The Falkirks are blessed this night with a new queen. I rejoice in Mothernight's meddling," Elideah grinned wickedly at Ian. She reached out her hand to Coira. "I believe you will love the Highlands. The mountains, the ever changing sky, the openness is a freedom from for the soul rarely found in the lowlands. The people are different too. A Falkirk is a Falkirk, whether Landen, Jeweless blood, Jeweled, Clan born or adopted." She smiled warmly at Coira. "Understand, my dear, Ian has been Laird since his offering. His Clan respects his leadership enough to let him take both our Queens to the lowlands. The Clan will welcome you because Ian welcomes you. However I welcome you because you have mended the tear in his heart."

Elideah glanced at the half eaten desert and quirked an eyebrow at her twin. "This old warrior that Mothernight has chosen for you eats like a warhorse, Coira. But don't let him eat too many sweets at night or he'll be grumpy as a bear in the morning." Elideah crossed the kitchen to the larder and peered inside. "There's shepard's pie, or I can make sandwiches...." Elideah's voice trailed off as she looked doubtful at the hunks of meat, cheese rolls and three different types of bread. "I haven't had to fend for myself in the kitchen in years, well it can't be that hard."


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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #16 on: Apr 06, 16, 11:26:59 AM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Ian Malcolm Falkirk watched as the three ladies most pivotal to his happiness made peace with one another. He relaxed, as Elidieah's grace and Yseult's joy wrapped themselves around his Queen. Likely, Coira had not felt such things directed at her in a very, very long time. Yseult's notion that somehow Coira would take care of him, and not the other way around earned her a raised eyebrow to go with his grin.

He was surprised into a chuckle as his Coira missed not a moment in recruiting Yseult into making trouble for him. He'd been dodging Yseult's attempts to coddle him for a while now, and looked forward to out maneuvering the pair of them. His grin softened it reassurance as Coira accepted, at least tentatively, her place with the Falkirk Clan. It was a measure of his joy in the moment that it never occurred to him that the Killan Queen and Clan might have something to say to the current situation.

"Sandwiches." Laird Ian said firmly. "Coira and I were about to make sandwiches." His grin fell to a smirk, as he watched his twin peer doubtfully into the larder. She was little more use in the kitchen than Ian himself, though at least the idea of her cooking wasn't perceived as a subtle threat.

He knew he should move to the kitchen and assist, encourage Elideah to sit down or ring for a servant. But he was loath to have strangers intrude on a family moment, and could not bring himself to take one step away from his new Queen. Her presence sang in his heart, his mind his soul and he knew he'd pay any price at all to keep her with him.

Anything.

Offline Yseult Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #17 on: Apr 06, 16, 12:22:39 PM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Yseult squeezed Coira's hands tightly, and a brilliant laugh spilled around her. "Calum! He's amazing. Just amazing. Despite needing to hide his Black-Widow Caste more often than he likes, he has made quite the name for himself." She dropped the hands she had held so tightly only to illustrate her speech, using her hands to mimic pressing two things closely together. "He blends the two forces of his personality together into a fierce and fiery whole. You will like him so much, and I think your Priestess will soothe him. He is a fierce Protector, a bit too fierce sometimes." Her eyes twinkled as she recalled him keeping an eye on her at the Highland Games. "He won the strongest man event at the Highland games a few years ago! He's famous for breaking sieges and looking after Landen, they call him the Lord Protector."

She pondered deeply, because she knew that Coira could offer Calum a kinship that was lacking in so many of the Clan's rescued Black-Widows. She practically vibrated with strong will and determination. A smile flooded again, because nothing in Coira's touch or stance had indicated being shamed of what she was. Merely aware.

"Please ... Between us just Yseult. Here amongst family, or when it's just clan, Yseult will do. I hope you will accept me calling you Coira as well." Her smile faded to more serious, thoughtful as she regarded the need to tend to her father. Not sad, only considering something deeper, there, than the obvious teasing. "He does require both of us to look after him." she agreed, but before she had quite ordered her thoughts about how dreadfully hard it was to keep her father from reacting hastily to news of her mother's killer, she felt Coira's brush against her mind.

Yseult, carefully opened her outer barriers, the sense of triumph in that simple gesture making more clear than words that the careful opening wasn't caution or fear but merely that delight one feels in a newly polished skill. Niall had been so very, very good for her. Purple Dusk distaff. *Purple-Dusk.* Delight rippled through Yseult; not jealousy, but delight. *Ryanne is Purple Dusk too! You truly are one of us.* A gentle assurance, cloaked over rock-hard assurance colored her following thoughts. *I promise, Coira. I will let you know when people make trouble for him, or grow too fearful or you, or decide any of the many things that people sometimes decide. I will bring you in to the fold, share with you the fractured spider's web that underlies my Clan's unity. And you, me, my aunts and uncles and Bonded, and who knows maybe Laird Liam too if it gets beyond us, will make a plan for dealing with it as it occurs. You don't have to fight this, or any other battle, alone.*

*Your acceptance will take a careful hand at presentation and timing. I won't pretend that merely being a Queen doesn't cause it's own issues. Add in your Black-Widow Caste and yes, some people, even amongst my beloved Falkirks, will struggle. I do want to plan rather carefully the how and when we present you to the Clan. I neither wish to hide you, nor simply Carroll your bond to the rafter's like my father. You are a sufficiently heroic and tragic a figure that careful handling of that initial revelation will go very far into easing your way.* There was nothing in her mind voice to suggest that she thought her father incapable of holding the Clan due to Coria's presence, nor did she seem to anticipate in anyway that Coira might be willing to leave. The bright, quicksilver mind Coira touched was already planing and accounting for those specific individuals she anticipated trouble with. She paused suddenly, afraid that the rational discussion of the political ramifications of the bond was either too soon, or too intimate for Coira to be comfortable with.

She nodded to Elideah's spoken words, agreeing in sentiment but not particulars. The clan would welcome Coira because those who loved Ian perceived her to be good for him. A subtle, profound difference in perception that Coira might well pick up. As she would the consternation at her father attempting food, and the only slightly less horrific reaction to the idea of her aunt attempting to do so.

"I will make us sandwiches. Go ahead and sit, all of you." whether they sat or not, Yseult swiftly prepared sandwiches with cheese, meet, and (despite her father's grumbles) sliced tomatoes and lettuce. A bit of spread, for moisture, some garlic and pepper for spice and she placed a plate before each, along with the requested apples. "Now to discuss how to present this! Ideas?"


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Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #18 on: Apr 24, 16, 03:36:43 PM »
Coira was actually relieved when their discussion shifted toward political consequences. Practicality and planning were much more comfortable to deal with than all these emotions in the air. She’d have to corner Yseult at some point, she knew, (perhaps under the guise of Girl Talk, to elude Ian’s attention) and go fishing for whatever had put that thoughtful look on the older Queen’s face when talking about looking after her new male. Coira had no intention of prying for family secrets, but after that surprise about killing his last Queen she did want to be aware of other potential pitfalls before she got them both into trouble with her ignorance. But Yseult’s view of her was rather disturbing and uncomfortable on a certain level. She could understand tragic, but heroic?

She smiled and thanked Yseult for her sandwich and reached over to filch Ian’s tomato slices and lettuce when she caught his adorable grumbling. She quite liked them, if he didn’t. “I obviously can’t say how best to handle a Falkirk, but I would suggest leaning heavily on my status as a Ward of Lady Killan’s Court. I believe the lady intends to see my education finished as a Widow and a Queen, and the knowledge that I am still under the Queen of Scelt’s watchful eye may be a reassurance for them.”

Coira’s fingers tapped at her sandwich for a few moments, but she had yet to pick it up. Weighty thoughts occupied her too much to eat. *I’ll go along with whatever story you need to spin. I’m good at that.* She assured Yseult on the Purple Dusk. Dharo had taught her a thing of two of subterfuge and damage control, pallid and pointlessly convoluted though their politics were after Scelt’s more direct and aggressive ways (if nothing else, they’d certainly given her new insight into how Eirne might have worked).*But I’m no hero.* She felt the need to add firmly - and this was the reason she’d resorted to the distaff thread again, suspecting Ian would be very vocal in his disagreement. *I spent the last two years running like a coward and got my ass jumped and captured anyway at the end of it. Not exactly the stuff heroic tales are made of.* She added ruefully. In truth, Coira was a bit stunned and proud they’d managed to survive that long, two clanless youths in a Territory like Scelt, but still: the stuff of legend it wasn’t.

“You can also assure them, as I will, that I’ve no intention of challenging you for rule of the Clan. Not now and not ever.” She said aloud. The idea was ludicrous for more than one reason. A Clan Queen had to live for those under her rule and no matter how she might grow to love them, Coira would never have the Falkirks in her blood and bone as Yseult did. Besides, Coira had grown up knowing she wouldn’t rule anything, so it wasn’t as though the lack of it would be a disappointment now. The best she’d hoped for back them was to serve in Niamh’s First Circle when she became ruler of Wexol and there was no reason the same arrangement couldn’t work with Yseult.

Offline Elideah Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #19 on: Jun 17, 16, 05:12:46 PM »
Winter, 190 AP, Killan Estate, Guest Wing


Elideah glanced around the kitchen, spacious and well appointed, with the fire giving off a cheery warmth. The kitchen smelled of beeswax, beer and spices. The dominating scent was of  Warlord Prince throughly intwined with Queen. The presence of Priestess with a subtle tang of Black Widow completed the aroma. It was decidedly an improvement over the sterile study the Killans had provided for the Falkirk Clan council chamber, and this kitchen was probably more secure. Anyone poking a nose in here would think the family was having a midnight snack.

Elideah surrendered the larder and sandwich making to Yseult. She poured tea for herself and anyone who presented a cup. She winked at Ian and refilled his tankard.  Then, smiling at her niece, Elideah sank gracefully into a chair.

"Present this bonding? But, it's so obvious, Mothernight intended it. It's part of restoring the balance." Elideah stated, smiling at Coira. Elideah ate her sandwich and listened to the others.

Blond, grey and soft brown heads bobbed with each comment. Ian's aged head hearing what the young girls said. He had only recently begun actually listening to Yseult, he rarely actually listened to young people's ideas. Here he was, in a foreign kitchen listening to a pair of young girls. Elideah straightened and looked closely at Coira. The High Priestess of the Falkirks was suddenly sure that little Coira hadn't had her offering. What about her virgin night? Coira spent the last two years running and hiding. When and where would she have found a sympathetic Priestess to assist her?

Elideah was brought back to the discussion at the kitchen table by Coira's declaration that she wouldn't be Clan Queen. Elideah reached out to touch the young Queens hand.
"Don't close your mind or limit the paths before you. Your a tri-caste Queen, one of three Queens the Falkirks are blessed with. You are young, learning your abilities and limits. Ryanne, Ysuelt and your self, any of you, may be called on to become more than a village queen. Clan Queen, Provence Queen, and District Queen could be in your future." Elideah allowed a bit of resonance into her voice, not the full resonance of preaching, just enough to show that she now spoke as her calling dictated rather than a family member.

"But that is future, this is now. I hope you will come to me when you are ready to prepare for your Offering."
Elideah glanced at her very smug twin knowing her next query of Coira would disconcert him.
"Tell us Coira, have you had your virgin night?

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #20 on: Jun 26, 16, 12:55:22 AM »
<<"Don't close your mind or limit the paths before you. Your a tri-caste Queen, one of three Queens the Falkirks are blessed with. You are young, learning your abilities and limits. Ryanne, Ysuelt and your self, any of you, may be called on to become more than a village queen. Clan Queen, Provence Queen, and District Queen could be in your future." Elideah allowed a bit of resonance into her voice, not the full resonance of preaching, just enough to show that she now spoke as her calling dictated rather than a family member.>>

Third Queen of the Clan again, eh? If Coira were a more passive type or a better woman, she might think Mother Night was trying to tell her something. But she wasn't either one. And she wasn't sure she had it in her to play third fiddle again, not when something more was being dangled before her.What Coira wanted more than just about anything else (besides getting to keep a bonded male, dammit!) was to matter, to make a difference. It didn't even matter what Elideah thought her suited for- she found herself touched to her soul that at least two of those present (Yseult had yet to weigh in on the matter) thought she could be trusted with something of import to the Clan.

Thank the Darkness she'd already cried herself out earlier. So instead of collapsing into a puddle of Queenly tears, she deliberately took a bite of her sandwich to give herself time to order her words. "I'm not, Lady Falkirk." As Elideah spoke as Priestess instead of Falkirk, so too did Coira drop a familiar tone for the formal. "Though I'm not used to receiving encouragement in that regard," Understatment of the century, that. Eirne quite firmly quashed any signs of ambition in her junior Queens and even Killan had expressed some concern over finding a Court to take her for her training, let alone hand over something for her to rule, "in this case, I'm simply being practical. It can make people nervous to think a strange new Queen may sweep in and think to take over." Especially, Mother Night!, in light of Ian's story. No force in the Realms would have made her look at him in that moment. "I just wish to allay any anxieties in that regard. It it won't hurt my feelings to play third- I'm used to it." And if a hint  of bitterness seeped into her voice in that regard, none of it touched her politely pleasant expression.


<<
"But that is future, this is now. I hope you will come to me when you are ready to prepare for your Offering."
Elideah glanced at her very smug twin knowing her next query of Coira would disconcert him.
"Tell us Coira, have you had your virgin night?
>>

Again, Coira found herself oddly touched. Priestess-trained herself, she know how personal a Ceremony could be for all participants involved. And here Lady Elideah was offering to share that with her, do that for her, on the strength of less than an hour's acquaintance. "I will, Lady. And thank you." She still didn't like to assume she'd still be here by then -it felt like tempting fate by assuming such- but she'd not refuse the offer if she was.

"And no, I haven't." That definitely came out with all the surliness a virgin Black Widow could muster as she stared at the victual before her as though it had insulted her mother. Coira didn't know how the other castes managed, but it was a special kind of Hell to crave intimate touch, to know in her mind what she needed, but not be allowed to do anything about it in reality. Dharo had been been thorough about warning its novices and providing coping techniques, but those could only take one so far. Even years of uncertainty and fear couldn't dull certain impulses for long- had, in some respects, made them worse the more the spectre of death loomed. And Kain, good as he had been about it for being a horny young male himself, had driven her a special kind of insane. A boy her age, kind, handsome enough, hers... and they couldn't do a thing about it because he wore too light a Jewel. They'd planned on having her Virgin Night after he'd made his Offering (and prayed for something more than Summer Sky), but those plans were dust now.

To distract herself from the melancholy that chased the heels of that thought, she smiled impishly at Elideah and Yseult. "But if you've someone in mind for the task, I'm entirely willing to take recommendations." She purred brightly. She wondered if it would be too crass to ask what Jewel that Black Widow brother wore. But between Ian's presence (Coira was a firm believer that some things needed to stay among Ladies) and having effectively claimed Yseult's father away from her, Coira decided against inquiring as to whether Yseult's other close family member would be available for stud duties.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #21 on: Jun 30, 16, 07:40:52 PM »
The Kitchens, a week or so after the arrival



Ian Malcolm Falkirk watched his daughter greet his heart-daughter, his new Queen. He had not doubted Yseult's welcome; she had an open heart, unafraid of love. But he'd been a little concerned her enthusiasm would be uncomfortable for his Coira. He should never have doubted; His Queen was fierce and wild, the Highlands already in her soul. He felt their conversation, lightly muffled at the Purple-Dusk; he could not discern it, as they carefully kept the Feminine Alliance alive and well. What was it that made ladies so ready to band together against their Males?

The Clan Laird chuckled when Coira stole his much-despised vegetables. He did, indeed watch his daughter plotting and planning, nodding his head at key points. "Aonghus should meet Coira tonight, along with Ryanne." he wasn't at all sure how Ryanne's family would take what they could only see as yet another rival to Ryanne's place. Complete unity between the three Falkirk Queen's would go a long way towards smoothing over Coira's acceptance.

Coira's words, that she would not put the Clan at risk by challenging Yseult, won her a reassuring touch, his hand settling comfortingly on her shoulder and only squeezing gently in support as his sister spoke out, encouraging his little Coira. Just how sat upon must his Queen had been, with the way the Sheane's despised Black-Widows? Surely there was no Clan better than the Falkirks to both protect her, and help her grow.

Ian Malcolm sipped the tankard his sister served him, grateful that he wasn't being asked to manage a dainty tea cup. He disliked the beverage at best, and truly hated the child-sized accouterments. His thick, battle-hardened hands were not meant to handle delicate porcelain cups.

He recalled none of his sister's words before or after asking about Coira's sex life. His carefully cultivated control shattered, all restraint blown to smithereens at the idea of any male touching his Queen in an inappropriate manner. "Coira is too young for such things!" He was on his feet,  his hand on his Queen's shoulder and a Sapphire Shield around her before he quite realized he'd moved. He spoke in clipped, powerful tones. "I will personally, privately and intensely interview any male who dares aspire to her ...affections."

His daughter and his Queen both spoke quietly and reasonably about the topic of his Queen's ambition, and he fought down a bout of pain and loss, both amplifying his protective nature. His girls were fast slipping his control, but he'd be dammed before he made it easy for some male to break any of their hearts. Better the men in question tremble in fear of their Laird than that any of his daughters - Coira included - cry a single tear over one.




Yseult was utterly pleased with Coira Sheane Falkirk's calm demeanor and willingness to plot and plan for the maximum effect. She was also pleased that Coira ate her sandwich without demure. "I think we should introduce you as the Killan Queen's Ward, and then have father step forward and give the formal words of accepting a Bond. I'll see my triangle tonight, then meet personally with the people most likely to be afraid before breakfast. I'll bear heavily on your Priestess Caste, and imply Aunt Elideah will be working with you. I may have you meet .... You and father meet," she corrected herself, "with those likely to be the most nervous before the morning meal. And I'll wake Padean first thing and have him prepare a song to play, that will capture everyone's heart."

She answered part of Coira's concern on their private thread. *Two years, surviving all the people who were trying to kill you? That's pretty impressive. That kind of rugged survival and determination will appeal to the Falkirks. Can you tell me of your story, beyond hiding and surviving your Clan's destruction? Is it possible to say with some measure of truth that you had left the clan's side before the ... Reckoning? I am sorry, I know this hurts. But as close to truth as we can manage, that hits the bed-rock morals of loyalty, courage and honor will be the most helpful.*

Yseult listened intently to Coira firmly state she didn't wish to be Clan Queen, and nodded slowly, thoughtfully. Did Coira not wish to rule the Clan because the loss of her own Clan was still so raw, or because she had other goals? She happily accepted a cup of tea and returned a loving smile to her Aunt. "Indeed, Aunt, it restores the balance. But some people will need a little help seeing that." She was still thinking over her thoughts on what (and where) Coira should rule when her Aunt addressed Coira as the High Priestess she was.

She chocked on her tea when Aunt Elideah went right past rulership to Virgin Nights. Her father had about died facing each one of his daughter's ascent to adulthood; he was unlikely to handle his Queen's anymore gracefully. The Falkirk Queen cleared her throat, and spoke fast enough to ease over her father's explosion. "We must prepare you to rule, in any event. I both have a price on my head and Ryanne's family to consider. Ryanne and I have a plan to secure the future of the Falkirks; it depends upon two living Queens who love our people and the Highlands. But three would be much better. Yes, right now, Ryanne serves in my Circle instead of having her own Court, but that is only to control the costs to our Highland. Ryanne also has sole responsibility for one of our Villages, as you will gain when you attain your Offering. But as our High Priestess says, it is my responsibly to prepare you for any eventually, even being the only Falkirk Queen, if the worst happens." She caught her father with a firm stare, stoping his protest; he hated when she admitted to knowing someone was trying to kill her. "No, Papa; she needs truth, now. If either Ryanne or I attain an appointment to a larger area, then her responsibilities will similarly increase. She needs to know." Her gaze returned to Coira. "And as a Tri-Caste queen sharing two Castes with the Killan Queen, Queen Loreniel may have need of your services as well. Ryanne is exceedingly gifted with the Land, and I am very good with my Emotional Healing. Have you goals of you own, or particular strengths?"

Coira, amazing Coira, answered the High Priestess with poise and clarity. Oh, yes she was a treasure of the clan. Refined, clear thinking and politically minded. *Coira, you are very wise; it will ease the Clan to know you wish to earn a place here, not demand one. It is very respectful, and very ...different from what came before. And we'll talk more later but by Mother Night father is insane about Virgin Nights. Or lovers. And you are a Black-Widow, he must become accustomed.* and just maybe, if he had to become more reasonable about lovers Yseult's own Clan and Court would follow suit.

Yseult couldn't resist Coira's impish grin, and replied swiftly, *Calum is supposed to be the best of lovers; passionate and sensual, both. He's only uncut Purple Dusk, though, so I don't know if that's dark enough to be safe. My brother Seamus is also noted for being good in bed, but everyone complains he's too controlled. He's my current First Escort, and quite handsome. He's a Green Warlord-Prince.* She grinned back, eyes gleaming with mischief and rebellion. *We will talk more, at length, about who will suit you. And when you wish to accomplish it.*

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #22 on: Jul 03, 16, 07:58:32 PM »
Yseult would know her Clan better than she; Coira merely nodded her agreement to the older Queen’s immediate plans. She’d be as charming as a Black Widow knew how to be on a few hours of nightmare-riddled sleep. She opened mouth to say so, but Ian chose that moment to take objection to her forming a sex life. Coira blinked in surprise as the Sapphire shield came into being, then twisted around to regard Ian with a look that combined equal amounts of ‘Are you kidding me?’ and ‘No. Just- no.’.  “I’m not too young to begin making plans. And who said anything about affections? We’re talking about sex, Ian, not love. Two different things.” It seemed clear enough to Coira. No sane Widow in Scelt ever aspired to love and she wasn’t sure why her new male thought it would be any different for her.

“But if it makes you feel better, interrogate them with my blessing.” If a male couldn’t withstand Ian, he’d have no chance whatsoever of keeping up with her. “Provided you let me set a scrying spell on the room beforehand.” She added, as an afterthought: that had the potential to be prime entertainment. She was still smirking at the thought as she reached for Yseult again *I would like to meet both of your suggestions. Either of them would do- my own Jewel came to me cut. I want to do it soon, though, before my Offering. My choices become even more limited then.* Right now, the only ones she’d trust with it would be Ian and Calum. The former dynamic was far from ideal -more paternal than romantic- but it might be her only option if she waited for her Offering. The latter option –a Black Widow who might take a chance on a similarly-inclined lover- would be beyond her reach once she grew beyond the Purple Dusk.

Discussions of Virgin Nights and Ian’s outburst were by far easier to contemplate than the other topics Yseult had raised. Coira almost hoped that visible opposition to her presence did show up soon, because this gentle friendliness and welcome was starting to freak her out. Really, who did that? She picked at her sandwich for a few moments as she thought about the questions the older Queen had raised. “I’ve no goals of my own as a Queen, nor particular strengths. I gave to the land as any other Queen did, but-“ And here Coira uncharacteristically froze, unable to force the words out. That her former Clan Queen found her so unworthy as a person and a Queen that she’d never be tutored in those skills. Or encouraged to experiment with them. At least not in Scelt.

Coira had matured enough, and enough had happened to prove the point since then, that she realized by now that the fault lay with Eirne for sending her away. For not teaching her and fostering her Clan ties and trusting those things to bind her heart and loyalty. If the old Queen had done those things instead of sending her away and giving in to fear, it was possible that Coira would have followed she and Niamh anywhere. But as things stood and despite Coira’s spine of steel, there still lurked deep in her mind the suspicion that there was something horribly wrong with her, something unloveable. It would take time to ease that. And to trust a Clan enough to bond with it again.

“My strengths are as a Priestess.” She started again. This time her voice was clipped, impersonal. “I know the ebb and flow of the Abyss as well as the flow of my own blood in my veins. I can share it with others and use it to enhance my own spells. I know Blood Law backwards, forwards and sideways.” As always, the reminder of the caste she’d busted her ass to learn soothed her and smoothed some of the ferocity from her bearing. “Apart from that, my greatest strength is that I’m a ballsy bitch who doesn’t know when to quit. “ She quirked a wry smiled at the Falkirks. “Make of that what you will. My goals are the slaughter of my enemies and the finding of a purpose, whatever either of those will turn out to be.”

That was another thing that astounded her about the Falkirks and made her doubt their collective sanity. The setting of goals was a bit of a useless exercise for Queens and Black Widows: the latter rarely had such luxury of choice to set any and the former went as the needs of their Clan demanded. Even in Dharo, Queens worked that way. “I’ve little enough experience any of them to know whether I’d most want to serve in your Circle, or rule a village, a Clan or a Province. I don’t even know if I could love a Clan enough to rule it as its Queen needs to, after what my own did to me.” Crap. She hadn’t meant to say that. Alright, so pretend she had meant to and move on. “But I’d try. And if it did come down to me being the sole Falkirk Clan Queen, let me assure you I don’t easily yield what’s mine.” If the Falkirks were hers, she’d care for that responsibility as if she’d been born to this crazy lot. And as for the other question…

*I’ll give you truth for truth, Yseult Falkirk.* She finally offered, resorting to the relative safety of the distaff thread, watching her with steady, serious eyes than nonetheless held a hint of flinty cunning. *You talk to me about how you’re dealing with your lost Clan and I’ll talk to you about mine.* She had, after all, promised Ian to help his daughter deal with her pain if she could. And it would be easier to talk about the painful things she must to spin a good story, if they both bared their vulnerabilities to one another.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Something lost, something found
« Reply #23 on: Nov 01, 18, 02:51:50 AM »
Ian Malcolm was summarily and automatically ignored by Yseult; his daughter had found her Virgin Night a particular trial, as few men had met Ian’s standards. He coudl not be sorry about it; Raild was a fine man, and ..

Well.

There was no ‘and,’ anymore. Raild had Bonded the Clan Queen of the Killans; he coudl hardly then marry the Clan Queen of the Falkirks. That way led to war, if not this generation, than the next. So he shook his head, and settled back in his seat. He watched coira, watched her battle through what amounted to a job interview. Not becuase she’d be rejected, but because every single soul amongst the Falkirks served their Clan, one way or another. Ian allowed no hint of the spoiled, aristo nonesene soem Clans tolerated. One supported one’s Clan. If you had extra, then you eithe saved for a lean year, invested it in the Clan, or shared it.

Coira’s insistence that she could not look for more than mere sex brought the heavy gaze of her Bonded male to her. “Coira, even sex should be accompanied by respect, tenderness and trust. And i can assure anyone, male or female, who touches you without those things will lose their hand, and not only to me.” too many, far too many Black Widows faced brutal treatment. They needed sex as Warlord Princes needed battle ... and too few good men dared tend to that needs. It made his teeth hurt, but he’d have to steer good men her way.

Or let Ysuelt and his sister manage the steering, and he’d mmange the culling.

“Aye, Lass, I’ll tend to it. And you may be in the room or spying, as you will. Web, or mind voice.” he caught his heart-dauther’s eye, and nodded firmly, assuring her silently that yes he knew the risk of such contact with a Widow and accepted it, always, for her.

“My lass, you will find love, purpose and a family.” he spoke absolutely, though not with the blind faith it may appear he had. He had kin a plenty in Dhemlan, and kin-cousins in Glacia, neiethe of whom feared or hated Black Widows as Scelts did. And Ian was darkly enough jeweld to travel easiily, and often, with his young Queen.

He caught Coira’s restraint, when it came to her Queen’s Gifts. They’d figure it out, soon enough. It was one reason they were down here, in this too-hot, crowded place. To get his girls trained up proper.

“Yesult is due to join the Killan Queen and Laird Devlin in lessons; feel free to join her. It may seem to you that the Falkirks have too many Queens, but we’ve land enough. If you can bless the land, lass, you can live comfortably if not in luxury. But Rayne and Yseult, they’ve plans to place one or the other at our Distict, when it opens, and hope to place one at our Province after that. His eyes danced. “Right now, both swear they want to stay home, so dont’ let them push you into a public role your’e not comfortable with. But also don’t be shy about calling it out, if you want more than you’ve got, lass.”

It was Moira who spoke next, thrilled that coira’s heart was with the temple. She had an ancient one up in the Hign Lands just begging for a Dual Castee’s care. Imagine what a tri-casted priestess might accomplish!

He burst out laughing, at Coira’s self description. “Aye, my lass, you’ve the Highlands in you right enough.” he saluted her, for her goals he deeply shared. They were matched, matched as if sculpted by mother night’s hand.

To hear what hurt his Coira bore, in her doubting her abitly to trust or love a clan bond called an immediate response. He placed his hand over hers, gently, the granite in his hand sheltering rAsher than punishing. “Just learn to love us one at a time, my lass. The rest will come when it comes. But our Yseult, here, she’s a gifted healer of hearts. So you while i can’t promise you’ll find none who fear or hate you bearing our name, they wont be as prevent or virulent as most. And ... being Falkirks ... most will show you their hostilty openly.”

He felt the girls speaking privately again, and leaned back, pleased and proud. It was silence as would make this hard; speaking one’s mind only eased matters.



Yseult heard the challenge, and hope in Coira’s voice, and her smile softened. She answered mind to mind, heart felt.

*I ... keep many burdens to myself, for Rayne is in an uncomfortable position and my father is so wounded. A ballsy young lady who doesnt know when to quit sounds like just the answer. I wil need you to prod and push, to get at my hurts, at least until we are used to sharing.*

(End)




 

 

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