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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: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows  (Read 1524 times)

Description: Wherein Ian and Coira rescue Calum from Saskia. Attn: Coira, Ian, Saskia

Offline Calum Falkirk

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Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« on: Aug 26, 16, 01:35:40 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Calum Falkirk stood, naked, in the middle of the plush and elegant rooms. He was alone, and for some reason he could not recall the last time he'd been here alone, without the beautiful and sensual woman who had accosted him on the street. Just the barest memory of her stirred him, distracted him from what was wrong with the view out of the window.

He recalled her incredible, revealing gown, and her fearlessness. Those were things he respected. But something in her touch had called to him nearly as clearly as a Queen's touch, and he had been all but lost in the carnal pleasures of the flesh since then. He could not, in fact, quite recall when he'd told Tassach he'd acquired a lady friend, and gone off with her. And that bothered him, too. There was an edge, an itch as it were more than a week or so of lust and fun that had slipped by.

And that is why the view out of the window sent chills through his mind once more. Because when he'd met Kia, there had been snow upon the ground. Weeks, if not months of snow to come. The brilliant, blooming trees and green grass seen outside the window were as out of place to him as a glacier in the middle of Tauthal. Yet it was more than the glimpse of trees that pulled him to the window, but an instinct. And he always trusted his instincts. Risk, and fear filled him; yet that could not be. For how could he fear any wearing the Falkirk Tartan, let alone his own father?

It took a long, long time for him to realize that he was afraid for his father, not of him. And longer still to draw his gaze away from the woman who walked beside the Clan Laird. She was a stranger, yet oddly compelling; too far away for her Psychic Scent to reach him, yet seeing her brought a weight, a feeling of portent to this moment. He needed to go out there, to them, and yet he found himself unable to look away. As if they were but a dream, or a tangled web he'd failed to spin correctly. He knew, suddenly and completely, that neither the front door nor the window would open for him. If he were to leave this place, he would be required to find his own exit.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #1 on: Sep 05, 16, 01:36:31 PM »
Just this morning, Coira Sheane had been innocently communing with the Darkness as she often did upon rising. It helped reaffirm her connection with her favorite caste and settle her spirit to face the stresses of the day ahead. But her meditations of late had been troubled by flickers of vision: a house unfamiliar to her, webs in the shadows and a spine-chilling sense of danger. After Kain, Coira was done with the vision thing and the potential for self-sabotage therein, and tried to shove the things away. But the Darkness had finally had its say, surging up out of the Abyss and plunging the Priestess heart and soul into what it had been trying to show her.

She had surged back to awareness already on her feet and running for Ian before conscious thought could catch up. To ensure she wouldn't forget, the Darkness still had a hold on her heart and mind and would not ease until she saw it though. The wild-eyed Coira that had shown up at Ian's room and flat demanded his company in the first real command she'd issued at his bonded Queen. She would need someone watching her back and body while her mind and heart devoted themselves to the Darkness' call.

She'd settled down some on the way. The delicate blend of Widow vision, Queen's land-sense, and Priestess' connection to the Darkness she used to guide her path required too much energy and focus to spare any for emotional outbursts. Coira Sheane prowled through Tuathal with the single-minded focus of a tri-casted witch on a mission and no attention to spare for the people they passed. The smart denizens of the capital found other places to be as she passed, those with axes to grind against a Black Widow would have to be met by the Sapphire Warlord Prince at her back. Coira's focus on the delicate blend of Craft she held ensured she had nothing to spare to either shield or hide that dangerous psychic scent.

Coira finally stopped in front of a nondescript building and dropped the Craft she'd been employing to squint at it suspiciously. Light touches of her Craft revealed some sort of webs at door and front windows, at a level darker and more complex than she could easily counter. The young Queen growled audibly in irritation and proceeded to case the outside of the structure entire, only to verify the same protections at all other visible exits. Damn. Was it too much to ask that the owner be stupid or make a convenient mistake?

Balked of a quick way in, she shifted from foot to foot with restless energy and finally looked to the man she'd dragged out with her. "It's here. It's right in here, I know it. We need it, and I am going to get it." She bared her teeth at the house in a snarl, entirely willing at that moment to tear someone's throat out or take the house down to the foundation board by board if that's what it took. A whole morning's span spent as the subject of a Darkness-ridden compulsion when she hated visions in the first place, only to encounter a figurative brick wall, had pushed the witch's temper in dangerous ways and blinkered her ability to find a more subtle solution to the problem. It would take a brave man, steady hands and careful handling to settle her down now and make her think again.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #2 on: Nov 15, 16, 02:30:09 AM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.


Ian Malcolm Falkirk stood staring at the tangled mess that had once been a neatly made bed. Sheets and blankets were snarled with the skirting, and would need an expert to untangle. He had no idea where either pillow had gone, but so far they eluded his search. He never slept well, but tonight sweat covered his body and tension roiled through him. He had much on his mind, and not nearly enough to do. No matter how he exhausted himself with exercise, a certain Healer Priestess floated through his dreams and nightmares, ensuring that what little sleep he managed was far from restful. He forced his breathing into an even cadence, and decided upon the usual cure.

Food.

The Warlord-Prince had only just shrugged on his trousers when tension and alarm surged through him once more, and he swore. He closed his eyes and forced his hands to unclench. The Bond with Coira had been surging with tension all night, but this morning it was so acute that only the assurance of his Twin that Coira was safe had kept him from charging to her defense.

Ian's head snapped towards the door. It wasn't so much that the Bond told him Coira was headed to see him, as that he was bombarded psychic messages as assorted startled Falkirks sought to clue him into his queen's need.

As if he didn't know.

Ian Malcolm bit back an uncharacteristic snarl, and sent only a wordless exasperation to each thread. She was HIS and he would take care of her.

The Clan Laird leapt for his door, and opened it. He had a suspicion that in her current state Coira would just blast through it if she thought it barred him from her. He was accustomed to the Queen's Bond, from his earlier bitter fate, and was well aware she was in some sort of turmoil. He knew well the burdens of a Priestess, for his own Twin bore the Caste, yet the aura and psychic scent approaching him went beyond that. Even a Black-Widow's burden was painfully familiar to him. (Especially painful, as not one of the Clan's Black-widow's had been able to find even a trace of his son. They could only assure him that Calum yet lived.)

But whatever was happening to his Coira seemed to be a terrible, profoundly powerful synergy of all three.

The cold eyed, distant stare and succinct command that he attend her was a glimpse of who she might be, as an adult. An avenging sword, poised to strike. He bowed, formally; the first time he had ever done so. It was not a reprimand, but acknowledgement of all that lay between him, a silent assurance that rested on both Protocol and affection. He dared pause her intense drive only long enough to finish arming, while someone brought him Calum's Black-Widow's kit. She might need to spin a web or two, and he intended to see she had everything she needed. He slung it over his shoulder, rather than Vanishing it, so that if she needed it in the midst of violence she could simply grab it from him instead of needing him to Vanish it.

Then began the oddest, strangest morning of Ian's life.

Coira's Jewels sang to his, her purpose rang clearly through the Bond, yet Ian Malcolm had no notion what or who they were after. She Delved like a Queen, intuited like a Priestess and followed portents and omens like a Black-Widow. Though he'd ordered a nice set of Falkirks to accompany them, they kept needing to peel off to see to nervous retainers and angry store owners; his Coira was too far gone in vision to care if she used a front door, or a back, or to worry about the difference between private properly or public access.

Yet slowly, they wound their way into a part of town that necessitated the Clan Laird summon and wear his sword. Here, at least, he had no need to worry about bribes to soothe hurt feelings or people so politically inclined that he would need to use diplomacy rather than intimidation. He found a cold look all that was needed to keep order; it felt much more like home.

At last Coira halted, her intense focus slowly settling upon the thee story building across from them. Thick, sturdy grey stones were interlocked for the first floor, with the second being stucco and the third being wood. Lovely, large windows had once been elegant, and now were mostly shuttered closed, save a single window on the stucco floor. Their was no doorman, at the street level, but a closed and locked gate guarded a tiny antechamber with a solid, barred door on the other side.

If Coira meant him to set siege to it, the Clan Laird was missing the person best suited to do so.

Coira spoke to him then, her words angry and disjointed.

It's here. It's right in here, I know it. We need it, and I am going to get it.

"Aye, my sweet lass, I'll get you anything and everyone in that building." Ian Malcolm  paused, attempting to draw Coira's attention back to himself, lest her hateful glare at the building result in an ill-thought out Psychic Blast. Her snarl made him grin, fierce and violent, and his voice dropped to an approving rumble even as his hand settled for a moment on her shoulder. "Now, now, these are just tame city dwellers, lass. They've no fire in their blood to compare to yours. But there's a rare handful of them here, and half my Clan is scattered twixt here and Killan Keep keeping order. So why don't you tell me just what we are after, and why the Darkness drove you here? I'm thinking a Queen's Land Delving might reveal a way or two into the building not meant for people, if you think the front door is a bad idea."

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #3 on: Nov 16, 16, 09:34:06 PM »
Coira’s hand flew to the one on her shoulder with the cat-like reflex of a pissed-off Black Widow ready to claw any fool who touched her, but it was the Queen who turned the impulse upon making contact with her male’s skin. She ended up covering Ian’s hand (or as much of it as her smaller one could reach) with her own in a surprisingly strong grip (Or perhaps [i[un[/i]surprisingly, given how much time she’d spent in weapons training since Brighe Devlin’s death). The contact shook her from her temper enough to look at Ian instead of willing whoever had set those traps to spontaneously explode, wherever the Darkness-taken female may be.

“You mean a lowlander Queen has more fire in her than a bunch of good Highlanders? A damn shame, what Scelt has come to.” She teased him with a patently-forced smile. She knew damn well the townsfolk didn’t count as proper Highlanders by his reckoning, but they were well enough North by the rest of the Territory’s standards.

Joking with Ian was easier to think about than the sentence that followed. When she’d first met him, she’d accepted the Falkirks who came with him with wary reluctance- because they were his and she’d not hurt him for anything. When, then, had she come to accept ‘half the Clan’ acting on her behalf as right and normal? It felt strange and new and probably character-growing, and she wasn’t sure if she liked it.

“…I don’t know.” She admitted, when queried about the object of her search, annoyance flaring again at the lack of knowledge. The Darkness had told her only- “It’s all ‘Here is the trouble: you must fix it’. With the feeling of Bad Things Happening if I fail to do so. We need it, it’s important, it’s mine.” The young Queen managed to shock herself again, even if just on the inside, with that last sentence. This time she noticed using the plural; including herself as ‘we, the Falkirks’ instead of just her and Ian. But it was no longer the distressing concept it had once been to the girl once lost and clinging to the familiar Sheane name, no matter how tainted its associations had become. Perhaps it was about time to think about snagging a male for her Virgin Night and making her Offering, to join Ian’s Clan officially as an adult in her own right.

Equally as shocking was the sudden conviction that whatever had been locked away from them was hersby right, and she was going to gut the bitch who’d tried to keep it away from her if she could. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been surprised, though- her visions had always related to herself and her own more than anything else. Possibly this made her a bad person- but she had the sneaking and comforting suspicion Ian would approve of the sentiment himself.

She set aside those weighty thoughts for later, however, in favor of following his suggestion. It took a few long minutes before her probing hit an oddly blank area at the back of the house and began following it with more care than her earlier frantic chase. It was, in a way, much easier than the morning’s work thus far, requiring focus on only one aspect of Craft. And she didn’t even have to tell what was in the land she delved, just where it wasn’t. 

But by the time they stopped before a nondescript warehouse, the prolonged Craft use had her feeling a bit drained in mind and Jewel. The boost she’d gained from Communing with the Darkness had long gone and high noon loomed too closely to restore it without access to the shelter of a proper Altar. Coira probed her Purple Dusk critically and decided it would do –hopefully- to complete their task if she made an effort to conserve it where she could. Her unswerving focus and alert bearing gave no sign of any worry as she let Ian handle getting them access to the building, but earlier thoughts of an Offering gave way to concrete resolve to speak to Lady Elideah if they didn’t die doing this. This was an adult witch’s work today and she didn’t trust that Mother Night was kind enough to make it an isolated event. She might need the reserve of a second Jewel sooner than they thought.

She led them down into the cellar and touched a section of stone wall that looked much like any other. “Here.” The witch frowned at it. “Smuggler’s tunnel, most likely.” She spoke without thinking, then very deliberately didn’t look at Ian, as she probed delicately for the trigger that had to be there. The Sheanes had been a seafaring people more than almost any other Clan in Scelt, having one of its biggest ports to their name, but they hadn’t always been eager to pay the Killan Queens’ taxes to ship things from it. She and her friends had played in similar tunnels as children (as an adult, she suspected they hadn’t been the dusty relics of the distant past, as their elders had told them) and they’d generally had an easy trigger if one knew how to look. Those who’d used them couldn’t always claim Jewel strength, after all.

Coira’s grinned ferrally at the Warlord Prince as she hit her mark with a touch of basic Craft and watched the illusion it had been tied to blink out to reveal a dark and disused stretch of tunnel. “I believe it’s your turn to lead our dance today.” The witch didn’t actually care which of them led the way. It was what the other end held that concerned her. Illusions she could dismantle and bricks Ian could break through, but the artistry and power in those security webs –uncommonly, freakishly well-trained for a Sceltic Widow- had her worried about what awaited them once they did. Let him guard their bodies- she’d guard them as best she could from the nasty surprises only one of Scelt’s most hated caste could offer.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #4 on: Nov 28, 16, 04:19:57 AM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Ian Malcolm Falkirk, the Sapphire Jeweled Warlord Prince who was Clan Laird of the Falkirk Clan, chuckled. The low reverberation from his chest spread out from him in waves, a wall of mirth as shocking to onlookers as blood might have been. Or even more shocking. He gently shook the shoulder he held, his eyes fierce and warm as they regarded the amazing Queen the Darkness had given into his keeping.

"Ach, now, Coira Sheane Falkirk. These are city folk. We'll not know if the mountains are in their blood until we drag them up there to find out." For all of his words, tension still simmered in him. His Queen was both unhappy, and had a need. He wouldn't know peace until she got what she was after.

He was, perhaps, less surprised than she was that she could not articulate what the building held that commanded her so. Between Priestess sister, Queen daughter and Black-Widow son he had a rough notion of how her Castes might goad and drive her. It was the Darkness' own mercy that he had the people he needed to keep her safe while she obeyed the deeper commands layered upon her soul. So her gentle admission of ignorance merely sharpened his smile, and gave him an excuse to reassuringly tighten his grip on her shoulder.

"Well, my lass, if its yours, we'll simply have to fetch it out of there. That's stealing, to my mind, to take what is yours and hide it. And that gives us all sorts of rights, now doesn't it just? I'm quite sure the Killan Queen will see it so, too. But it maybe as how we'll just avoid large, flashy explosions and killing folks by the dozen, on account of being her guests." He stood quietly then, while his Queen reached out her senses, seeking secrets and truths he could never touch.

He watched her for signs of over exertion, but she handled her Purple Dusk with grace and skill. Whoever her Craft trainers had been, they had done a thorough job on the basic theories and skills. Once more he followed where she led, though he drew his blade the moment they stopped before the warehouse. He studied it carefully, but settled for breaking the hinges off of the door with a touch of Craft rather than the much more satisfying idea of blasting a hole in the wall itself. Entry revealed an old layer of dust upon everything, and the dirty windows permitted only a muddy, yellowed half light. He drew his Blade, and Shielded the both of them. Once inside, whatever gift had led her to the warehouse brought her to a stone, reinforced wall.

Just as he brightened, expecting to be able to blast this wall out of existence, her clever fingers discovered a hidden catch and the solid seeming wall vanished to reveal an old tunnel. "What a clever little minx you are, Coira." He stepped carefully past her and extended his senses to their fullest. His body came alive as it only did for blood letting or sex, and his senses probed carefully down the tunnel. His blade glowed in his hands, a faint sapphire beacon that would guide blows away from his body, and push back the darkness that surrounded them.

Not more than five steps in revealed a branch in their path; stairs down, a damp smelling tunnel to the right, or a sloping ramp up. Without hesitation he shielded the stairs down and the path to the right, and headed up. Coira had been fixated in something high up in the building. Even as they passed, large rats gathered behind his shield, looking like they wanted to strip the flesh from Coira. An uncharacteristic rage made him want to destroy them where they stood, but he controlled it. His violence was for those who earned it, not animals.

They travelled up the dusty ramp, to find a heavy cave in, as if a previous floor of the building had collapsed (most likely from a Warlord-Prince loosing his temper.) Ian found himself moving rocks and boulders, rather than fighting off the enemy. But soon enough the light from his Blade revealed a slender, barred door squeezed between the studs in the wall. Once more, he stepped back to let his queen examine it before proceeding

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 16, 03:44:10 PM »
Coira’s clever mind and fingers found the latch for this new door within a few minutes, letting it swing open behind her with a tear of old wallpaper. She let Ian take point as they moved into the room beyond. It appeared to be an average cellar, damp, dark and full of the cobwebs that suggested her eight-legged kin had had plenty of time to make of this place a home. She swept the room with her Purple Dusk, suddenly worried those cobwebs covered the presence of the more malicious sort of web, but found no trace.

Rather than calm them, however, the apparent stillness of the room only heightened her fears. Tension. Coira was no weeping willow, too fragile for a fight, but she had a healthy skepticism of victories too-easily won. And the sort of creature who’d set those webs over outer doors and windows would surely not neglect her internal defenses. It had been pure luck that their enemy had not been aware of that smuggler’s tunnel, or Coira might indeed have had to resort to explosions to penetrate the deadly defenses. She wondered again just what this building held for the Darkness to be driving her to it so intently, and for it to be guarded so dearly.

She set a hand on her Warlord Prince’s back (easily removed if they should run into resistance Ian would need his sword for) and quietly urged him forward. They crept (or close enough, for warrior Ian) up the stairs and to the cellar door. Coira probed it with her Craft and, finding nothing, reached past him to grasp the knob and push it open.

As they moved into the main house, Coira was disturbed by how normal the downstairs looked. No one waited to ambush them, no webs waited to trap them beyond what still glittered maliciously in her senses over the portals to the outside world. She released her grip on Ian and drifted over to one, tracing it delicately with her Craft out of pure curiosity as to its inner workings. Curiosity and frustration gave way to grudging admiration at the complexity of what her unknown enemy had wrought. Not just guardian webs, upon closer look. These creations also appeared to instill a more general malaise in their beholder; they urged a lack of worry, a distortion of the senses. She didn’t realize just how much so until Ian’s hand dropping down on her shoulder made her startle out of her unplanned woolgathering.

She shook her head in response to the questioning noise he made and turned from the window resolutely. The tri-casted Queen was on the hunt once more, focused and furious. She gestured for Ian to lead them up the stairs, the adrenaline of looming threat and promised prize drawing nearer combining to send a sizzle through her blood. The Queen hesitated once more at the top as she took stock of what instinct was trying to tell her, then moved slowly down the hall to stop at the very end and turn to the one on her left. This was it. Her Purple Dusk was feeling decidedly low as she again probed every inch for tampering by the enemy, but it should be enough to finish this hunt.

Coira hissed at the particularly nasty death-spell clinging to the knob, reaching in her pocket to take out a square of specially-prepared silk. The young Black Widow carefully wove a protective web of her own around the offending web and coaxed the whole mess to detach itself into the silk square, tying it securely and adding another protective web over the whole thing for good measure before Vanishing it for later study (or use- there was no point in wasting a perfectly good death-spell, after all). She carefully probed the door again and, satisfied she’d found the trap, reached out to reveal what waited in the room beyond.

But it was not to be. Either Coira had overestimated her remaining Jewel strength, or their enemy was simply a craftier, stronger witch on this occasion. But when her hand touched the doorknob, it activated the more subtle web she had missed despite her care. The world fell away and Coira took a fighting stance as darkness surrounded her. “Ian?” She called, sensing movement. But the figure revealed as the sourceless light spread was not her Warlord Prince.

“Hello, lovely.” Crooned Dallen Sheane, his dark eyes shining with madness. Light glinted off his suddenly-unsheathed blade as he prowled toward the trapped young Queen.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #6 on: Jan 04, 17, 09:22:03 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Ian Malcolm Falkirk was not a small man. While not the miniature mountain of his son Callum, he was still well over six foot, and quite broad. He in addition wore leather with his tartan, and held his great sword.

Creeping and sneaking had been no part of his life since before his Offering. The creaking stairs of this long unused place made put him on edge, the more so when his beloved young Queen had to creep forward to use her unique skills to probe for dangers he could neither anticipate nor detect.

Ian Malcolm waited with deeply ingrained patience for Coira to scan the door, and tell him her findings before he opened it. He adjusted his grip on his broadsword, glanced back the way he had come.

And during that brief moment, his Queen leaned past him and reached for the door. He growled under his breath, and paced after her into the quiet, dark room. It seemed a residence to Ian Malcolm, though he sensed little in the way of toys or family memorabilia. An empty place, to him; merely house, not home. Coira paced about the room, investigating, and it made his back crawl. He wanted to scold her, that a Black Widow had spun them, and to beware; he needed to sit her down and have a long talk about not opening doors and trapped windows, but leaving it to other people.

Like himself.

His coira's vibrant mental presence was a constant source of comfort, to Ian Malcolm, so when that bright presence dulled, when those quick silver fingers went utterly still, he firmly dropped a hand upon her shoulder and squeezed in reassurance. His attention was upon her, and not the Window, but his brief inquiry was met only by a rush of healthy anger and a renewed vigor on her part.

But between that and her earlier warnings, he schooled himself to avoid looking at any of the Windows. They prowled on, less cat-burglars than High Land Raiders waiting to be discovered. Another flight of stairs, another empty-seeming floor. Tension eating at him; unfamiliar and alien until he identified it as coming from Coira, and bleeding into him. She was many things, but she was not a Warlord-Prince, made for both battle and the tension leading up to it.

A long hall followed, empty and dark. Her tension spiked, and he drew his blade; she didn't have to speak to tell him they were there. He watched with pride, as she carefully and skillfully ... used an old handkerchief to wipe the doorknob. It amused him; for he was very aware far more than that more than that had happened. He felt the pull of her Craft, though the door nob seemed ordinary enough to his senses, despite how much deeper he stood in the abyss than her.

Once more Coira reached for the door ahead of him, and this time there was a Price to pay. Her consciousness vanished from his senses, although he could feel her distress and pain, a tangible burst of guilt and fear, though the Bond which held them together. And nothing, ever, was going to keep Ian Malcolm Falkirk from responding to that call. He tried calling her name, softly; reached for her mind, and found it oddly out of reach, despite her presence here. She was stuck in a Widow's Web, one Darker than she could easily penetrate.

For the first time, he too, wished she had achieved her Offering.

Ian Malcolm Falkirk vanished his battle gauntlet, sent a prayer to the Darkness, and clasped his hand over bare wrist, seeking to pull her free of the trap physically.

But instead, he was all but swallowed in a rush of fear, as something he only partially sensed moved and the world vanished. He reached for that Bond calling for Coira silently even as he heard her call his name.

The mists parted.

Ian Malcolm stood a pace or two behind his young Queen, in a dark featureless room. Eerie light drifted from everywhere and nowhere. The scent of blood and bodies lay sprawled around them, yet Ian Malcolm could not find them with his eyes. Light glittered off of an unsheathed blade, and Ian Malcolm surged forward in a perfectly executed lunge leaving his own bared blade between the unknown Warlord Prince and his Queen. "And this, Lass, is why a Lady always lets a gentleman get the door." His voice rumbled with amusement and bloodlust, both; Ian Malcolm was a born killer, and the chance to destroy a man who dared bare a blade in his Queen's presence was eagerly embraced.

Madness glittered and danced in the stranger's eyes. The strange Warlord Prince was tall and strong, moving like a man who had seen a lifetime of warfare. His jewels were close to Ian's own, Purple Dusk to Sapphire. Yet that gave Ian Malcolm only a sight edge in power, and a Warlord Prince was a deadly combatant, no matter their Jewels.

Ian Malcolm Shielded himself and his Queen, utterly focused upon his opponent and how swiftly he could gut the man.


Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #7 on: Jan 22, 17, 07:43:13 PM »
Her eyes on Dallan and her heart in her throat, it took Coira long moments before the flash of old fear settled enough for her to reply. But as she registered Ian's presence (stubborn bastard, why hadn't he gone back to his Clan and the Court for help?), she took heart form the strong arm and stout spirit of the Warlord Prince who instinctively put himself between her and whatever threatened her. And so long as she had that, why should she fear? He deserved better than that. "I thought you hated gentlemen." She summoned up the ghost of a smile. "Should I have waited for you to call Seamus, then?"

She didn't have the heart to continue the banter for long, mind racing frantically to recall her lessons on how this sort of web worked. "We all have our old demons," She explained softly to Ian, tilting her head in Dallan's direction. "He is one of mine. He wasn't bad, in my childhood, but he was Eirne's creature entire. He... dealt with problems in the Clan, so as to keep her hands clean. As clean as they could be." She amended, well aware that hadn't always been very successful. "I fear him now as the most likely to hunting a Sheane traitor." Despite her own valid reasons for siding with Loreniel, she was well aware of how her allegiance would be seen be most of the survivors. "And because without Eirne, he'll be crazy enough to dare what others would not."

"I... it isn't wise for me to fight him, in here. I'm too afraid of him and what he represents. It will give him power." She stepped back, still wrapped in Ian's Shield, and nodded at the Warlord Prince with all the dignity of the Queen she was learning to become under such examples as Loreniel and Yseult. "I trust our defense to you, my Prince." She grinned, wicked and feral. "Strike Fiercely!"

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #8 on: Jan 31, 17, 11:44:16 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Calum Falkirk was cold.

A chill ate at him, from the inside out. He had lost something, something he needed. Calum paced, flames of anger and need denying him rest or food. An impossible image of his father, standing in the summer sun, kept dancing though his mind. He veered towards the window, his hands reaching for the blinds which shielded the streets below. As always, it took an effort of will to force the blinds aside.

as always?

Fear stirred, slow moving and caustic. The effort it took to move the blinds was familiar; the pain in his hand, the piercing headache. Yet he had no memories of actually ever doing so. The view out of the window as alien, save for that nagging instinct that told him it was incomplete. That his father should be there, sword bared, shielding a curly haired lass. Her features were burned into his mind, clear and sharp, more in focus than his father.

A vision. It was only a vision.

If Callum only closed the blinds, and opened them again, the snow would be falling. Kia would be back from fetching fresh wine, and those spice cakes she so adored. His breathing eased. The pain in his head vanished as he closed the blinds and walked away, heading to the kitchen.

Calum's pace slowed.

There was something he meant to do. Something he needed. Pain lanced through his mind. A bitter, winter's chill stole over his body. He turned slowly to face the window, sweat curling down his naked body while deadly, undetectable Widow's Webs, slowly decaying, sent blasts of power and waves of compulsions through his mind.


Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #9 on: Jan 31, 17, 11:45:57 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Ian Malcolm Falkirk's vicious smile flared, and a laugh like a thunder clap shook the odd place there in. He didn't pause to think about where they were, anymore than he questioned his little Lass's notion that she shouldn't fight the Sheane bastard who'd dared to draw a blade upon Ian's Queen. "Ah, my lass there's a world of difference between a polished, foppish looking fellow like Seamus and myself, sure enough." Almost, Ian Malcolm felt the urge to reassure Coira even Seamus could handle a fight, but he felt it was redundant. And maybe unwise. Much as he was already sorting through his sons to arrange a good a match for Coira, she seemed to have a partiality for the over-educated, disturbingly polished Seamus.

The boy didn't even look like a Highlander.

Ian Malcolm kept his attention upon his Coira's demon. He did not waste time asking where they were, or what sort of demon this was. His Queen's strength and will flowed through him, an odd synergy that told him without doubt he would be stronger, faster, better any time she was near. Unlike other loves, or even his own old Queen, the love and trust that flowed from Coira made him stronger, more focused.

Or maybe it was her own, unleashed, unashamed predatory nature that called to his Beast.

And for the first time, on behalf of his Queen, Ian Malcolm Falkirk unleashed that creature fully. He leapt into action, his blade moving almost faster than the eye could see, a blur of *Sapphire* searing along the tip.

And Dallan Sheane, though empowered by all of Coira's fears, had to face the threat that glint of power represented. Steel clashed upon steel as he wisely parried wide, keeping the tip of the blade from ever aligning with his body. A hard kick to Ian's torso was permitted to land, less because Ian so desired it than because he was unwilling to give up the opportunity that kick gave him to lock blades and close with Dallan.

For there was a reason Ian Malcolm Falkirk used the hand-and-a-half blade, and not a proper two hander. And that reason buried itself into Dallan Sheane's gut almost before the demon even realized Ian had removed his left hand from the hilt. Ian twisted the smaller blade through his inner organs, and pulled a lung out with his dagger, even as his larger blade phased through the sword he'd permitted to block it and took Dallan's head off at the neck.

He followed up by slicing each of the four limbs from the man's body.

Demon or no, there was no way he was going to threaten Coira, even in Hell, without a single limb to call his own.

He stepped neatly back, the shield he wore expanding far enough to drop the blood onto the floor when he collapsed it. He turned to greet his Queen, when his heart stopped and a soft voice spoke from beyond Dallan.

"Oh, Ian ... thank you. You freed me. Now you only have to destroy the rest of the Sheane threat, and your family will be safe. I will be safe. What happened isn't real. I never hurt your children! I was trying to save them. Help me, Ian. Help me, and we can save Cotroinia."

Andraste Acheron was beautiful and regal, her Yellow Jewel about her neck, the rose on the red-gold circlet she always wore. She smelled of a gentle, exotic perfume, and her gown flowed around her in waves. Her hands were soft, so soft as they reached for him; Ian knew just how soft, how sweet the touch was. It lacked the bite and fire of Coira's own, but not the pull. He recalled the precise feel of them, even now, with a dreadful, painful lurch. The last time she'd touched him was when he'd killed her. Hadn't he? Her words struck hard, deep into his mind. His Cotriona yet lived?

Ian Malcolm Falkirk did not move.

He did not bring his sword into line, as the phantom walked towards him, nor did he look away from the deadly, deceptive gaze.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #10 on: Feb 01, 17, 07:41:22 PM »
Coira didn't even have a minute to relax as Ian took the spectre's head and set to cutting up the body with a will. She didn't think such a thing was necessary in this place, but better safe than sorry. The young Queen had no problem with the concept of 'there is no kill like overkill'. But she’d forgotten that there were now two minds in the web, and two prices to be paid.

A vision of loveliness came out of the darkness around them, her hair rose-gold and soft and her voice all for the Warlord Prince who stood and stared at her like he was seeing a ghost. She'd heard of this one, heard her beauty described and her charm praised by even those who damned her actions in their next breath, and Coira's stomach clenched as jealousy and insecurity flared. Compared to this vision, she felt like some stray who’d followed Ian home.

It seemed ludicrous to picture a tough male like Ian bound by the Darkness to a Queen like this, all silk and softness and guile. Then again, some days she still thought it ludicrous that she was bound to him too- a street rat of a Queen with more poisonous fangs and sharp edges than anyone meant to be balm to a tempestuous male's soul should have. If this woman had lived, and if Ian had still met her, this was the one she would have had to share him with.

She didn't think she could have done it. If half the stories she'd heard about this woman were true, she'd have gutted her for Ian's sake alone and accepted the consequences with as much dignity as she could manage.

The sad thing was, part of Coira did get it. Hzving a male like Ian… she didn't have the same sexual interest in him that Andraste had reportedly had, mind you, but it was intoxicating all the same. Having all that power and sure strength at your back, it gave you the confidence to do and reach for things you might not otherwise have felt secure enough to try. If circumstances had been difference, Coira could have very well turned out like this woman: sizing up the lighter-Jeweled Yseult for what exactly if would take to unseat her, grasping for a Clan, a District, the Province- something she could take and prove herself with and rub in Eirne's proverbial face that the thing she threw away was worth something after all. But unlike this woman, she knew what it was like to lose. She knew to appreciate her males while she had them, because power for power's sake was just not worth their loss.

"No, Ian, she's not real." Coira broke in firmly, as it appeared that Ian did need reminding of that fact, and needed rescuing from whatever spell the woman was spinning over his heart and memory. Possibly the depth of that old tie weighed heavier on him than simple fear of the Sheane bogeyman had on her. Or it could be that her Widow caste, however weak in comparison to the artist who’d crafted this web, provided her some insulation from its effects that he lacked. At any rate- “It’s the spell, preying on your mind. It’s giving you her like it gave me Dallan.” She approached carefully, but still didn't hesitate to reach out and grasp the wrist that held his bloody sword. It was her right to touch him and she would not yield that to a figment of the past. She curled her fingers slightly so that the nails pressed little indentations into his skin. Let that small bite of physical pain distract him from the other- remind him that she was here and real. She and Ian had never felt more right than today, when they’d moved in lockstep to hunt what called her. They had each other’s back- and that was what this woman categorically hadn’t done. Ian could open all the doors he wanted from now on, but Coira would be firmly shutting this one. Let the other Queen stay a whisper in the Darkness until she learned better and found peace.

“If you were a lowlander,” She addressed the new apparition directly for the first time, “you would’ve been licking Sheane boot with the rest of them in life. There’s not a chance in Hell you would’ve referred to them as a threat- not where one could hear you.” She released her hold on Ian and stepped away from the Warlord Prince, careful not to come between he and the other Queen. If her words had roused his sense, fine. If not, better he be lost to her eyes and out of the game for this part, than risk the spell making him interfere in what had to be done. Mother Night, she could only imagine what a nightmare it would be to have to persuade him that whatever reality he’d got his stubborn mind set on, wasn’t. 

She prowled with lazy focus to meet the other as she approached, damned soft hands held out to Coira’s Warlord Prince. When the woman hit that line between ‘good striking range’ and ‘too close to tolerate’, the witch moved with all the speed and aim of a woman who’d spent long hours in a ring being drilled by one of Scelt’s best swordsmen until she got it right- and fueled by the possessive, protective fury of a Black Widow Queenling determined to punish a threat to what was hers. Coira didn’t call in her dagger until she was nearly to her target, grabbing that outstretched hand and pulling forward with her left hand to send the woman stumbling forward and burying the dagger into Andraste’s throat with the other and a punch of Purple Dusk. She let the body fall and stood over it as it made its last gasps, her eyes all for Ian instead of the fallen enemy at her feet. Wild energy sizzled along the Queenling’s psychic scent and the feral edge in her eyes suggested that Coira had tasted justice, and found it good.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #11 on: Mar 06, 17, 09:49:40 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

No, Ian, she's not real.

The feral, determined voice from behind Ian Malcolm Falkirk pierced through the agony and loss that burned within him. Crushed the newborn hope, that so many of his greatest losses could be restored.  Andraste's execution was a wound that would never Heal; but Coira's existence changed and shaped that loss. The fierce youngling was layered in his soul without smothering it; she strengthened him without warping him from true.

Coira's hand gripped his sword arm, skin-to-skin, the nails piercing his flesh, the action focusing him upon her, and not the phantom tearing his world to pieces.

Ian Malcolm had never yet needed to defend himself from Coira.

It was only here, facing Andraste, the vicious Widow's Web so powerful that it brought his Bond to life again, that he perceived the profound differences between his Bond to Coira, and Andraste. He had assumed, until this moment, that the differences were from him. His age, his experience, his fierce determination to not allow the burdens of being a Queen to cost Coira's life, as it had Andraste's.

But ... it was so much more.

Coira confronted Andraste; his fierce Lass prowling up to the ghost of his past. Challenged her, as to Sheanes ... made him wonder if he had ever truly known the truth of Andraste's past.

Even now, he should be in a rage so deep that he could not think. But Coira's presence gave him a centered purpose without the torment and doubt Andraste had engendered. His blood lust should be so powerful that he could not permit his Coira to confront this embodiment of deceit and pain, but would knock her aside to take the kill for himself. But he trusted Coira, as he never could Andraste; knew that even as it was best for him to have slain Dallan Sheane's doppelgänger, so she must deal will this vampire from his past.

Coira moved so beautifully, execution perfect, strike precisely timed, her judgement sound. The fatal knife strike was a better, deeper expression of love and protection than any amount of words. But his young Queen looked at him, triumph and worry in her eyes, worried for him. She knew that he loved Andraste, despite the poison dripping from her.

But ... he did not love Andraste most. And he did not forgive her.

Laird Ian Malcolm Falkirk's judgement stood, and His Queen had implemented it without hesitation.

The Warlord Prince walked to his Queen, each step both incredibly painful to take, and freeing. Much like being born, he sloughed off the shell of the past. His roughed fingers brushed across Coira's cheek, then tugged her hair, gently.

"Well done."

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #12 on: Apr 02, 17, 06:06:00 PM »
It would take a far stronger Queen than Coira Sheane not to cling to Ian for long moments right then, treasuring his presence and offering silent prayers unto Mother Night for their survival.

Thank you for Ian Falkirk.
Thank you our strength today.
Thank you for the miracle of trust.


Even,

Thank you for making me a Black Widow.

Which was the thought that startled her out of mindless savoring of comfort. It was an unheard of sentiment for a daughter of Scelt, even a blasphemous one by their lights, but it was surely truth that she and Ian would have died -either today or when the other Widow returned to see what her trap had caught- without the caste she'd always felt cursed and shamed by. Sad that the good side of things had to come fighting against her own. It was at once an uplifting and utterly dispiriting situation.

But she wouldn't be a Scelt Queen if she didn't possess too much stubbornness and drive in full measure to yield to despair without a fight. She made herself step back after a minute or two, still aware that their work here was not yet done. "To the victors, go the spoils, Clan Laird." She gave him a cheeky grin, as through they hadn't been fighting the demons of their past left by some malicious and wayward soul who likely wouldn't appreciate the recovery of whatever she'd stolen. There would be consequences for today, she knew, Knew it in her bones and in the song spiraling up from the Abyss. Mother Night could not favor one daughter over another, but She could give warnings and let the wise ones among them make of it what they would. "Shall we see what we've won?"

She offered her hand and bade him close his eyes, so sure in her trust for him that she didn't even wait to see that he obeyed the direction before beginning to guide him back through the mists that surrounded them. She could handle it, but it was better for a non-Widow if he didn't look.

When her next breath brought awareness of the confines of skin and blood and bone again, the Queenling opened eyes she hadn't been aware of closing and deliberately took her hand off the doorknob her fingers still clenched. "Yours, I believe." She told Ian dryly as she tried to discreetly shake the pain out of cramping fingers too long frozen in place, choosing now to be respectful -in a slightly impertinent way, or she wouldn't be her- of his earlier request to precede her in this dangerous place. He'd better get a move on, however, because lure that had brought them here still sang sweetly from the Darkness, urging her onward.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 17, 05:51:59 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Ian Malcolm Falkirk held his Lass fiercely close, that moment of intimacy the final Healing needed to lance the deep, festering wounds of his past. His soul was cleaner, his breath lighter, his will stronger for this trial they had undergone. The Bond between he and Coira had never been displayed in clearer light, and he leaned into that warmth and strength without fear. She had yet too flinch from his violence, or he from her Caste.

And now he knew, they never would.

In those moments of silent contemplation, it wasn't the Darkness that Ian thanked, but Loreniel Killan. The Killan Queen had laid the foundation, his Clan the reasoning, his son Calum the life experience that led to his ability to trust and respect, as well as Cherish, his little Lass. A grin cracked the granite of his face as he wondered when she'd start resenting him calling her so; but in truth, she was a tiny thing compared to Ian. And she'd always be his.

Ian closed his eyes when bid, and followed Coira out of the place of nightmares. He was glad to be rid of it, to come out again the other side, but the experience gave him much to think on. Aside from Scelt herself, the largest threat to a Black Widow seemed to be being lost in their world of dreams. The Twisted Kingdom, they called it.

"We have already won more than one Price from this place, but out goal lies ahead." He watched as she studied her hand as if it were slightly alien; his own body ached, the deep sleep of the mind reflected unnaturally in the body. His grip on her had been strong enough to have driven the blood from his hands and sent lances of pain down his arms. He flexed his hands, rolled his shoulders, pacing and moving willing the feeling to return to his sword arm.

"I'd like to have what training is needed to use the Queen Bond to call you back, should you loose your way to the Twisted Kingdom." The whole time he spoke, however, his gaze was studying the door which had so tricked them, and the walls which surrounded it.

Ian Malcolm decided that he had no desire to see what happened when such a cursed door was opened. He moved to the left, gave a glance to his Queen long enough to let her finish speaking ... then called up a Sapphire Shield and went right through the wall in a deafening crash of stone, wood and stemware crashing to the floor, his battle cry ringing.

"Strike Fiercely!"

And it was echoed back at him again, as if by an apparition covered in plaster dust, splinters, blood, and nothing else.

Offline Calum Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 17, 08:42:48 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Calum Falkirk was covered in plaster dust, rubble, splinters and sweat. Intricate tattoos covered most of his incredibly powerful warrior's body, sometimes concealing scars, and at other times enhancing them. Wind burns, sun burns, the knotted scars of wrist and ankle bonds warred with the legend he'd etched atop them.
Calum was a big, big man; he'd won the Highland's Strongest Man Competition three years running, without the use of Craft, at all. He had tree-trunk legs, bulging arms, a barrel chest. Naked, surprised, imprisoned, he still held himself like the consummate martial artist he was. Less gracefully lethal than his brother Seamus, less precise than Raild, he was nonetheless amongst the foremost fighters of the Clan, and he'd never met a man who could best him in shear strength.

His hair was spiked, rumpled; his beard over due for a trim. A month (or two) ago, he had been neatly groomed for Court; his hair shorn, his iconic, Highland beard eliminated to make him more acceptable to civilized folks. Yet nothing could truly tame the inherent ferocity of a Highland Warlord Prince, girly pink Birthright Jewel or no. And right at the precise moment his leaf-green eyes slammed into Coira's, he became burningly aware of two things.

First, that he could not move. He was physically incapable of either attacking or hugging his father; he could not force his powerful, tree-trunk legs to carry him towards the newly-created opening in the wall, nor could he retreat from the explosion of violence that had announced his Clan Laird's presence. He could neither access his basic Craft, nor summon either his Rose or his Purple Dusk.

And the second was that he was going to die staring into the startled, beautiful Eyes of his Soul. The reason for his existence stood before him, disheveled and anxious, curly hair framing a fiercely delicate face, vulnerability and strength perfectly balanced. His cause and his inspiration stood before him, and he was barred from going to her. A growl tore itself free of his bonds, then he echoed his father's battle cry, managing only one, single step towards her, blood tearing from his body as the Grey Widow's Webs burned a new set of scars into his battered form.

There had been no attempt to conceal the Webs from an onlooker, and Coira could easily trace each flourish and spike. Even Ian could see the tracery of a spider's web of Grey power flare across his son's legs, chest, arms. Once sophisticated and subtle, they had been meant for near-constant maintenance, and as they deteriorated they reverted more and more to their basic purpose: Keep Calum still. Even as she watched, they settled across his powerful lungs, fighting his every breath, working their way to his heart.

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #15 on: Jun 01, 17, 07:29:34 PM »
“Well, that’s one way of doing it.” Coira muttered to herself as she watched Ian ignore the doorknob completely this time. The Queen was too eager to get in the room to be a kibitzer over how he’d chosen to go about it. The door was down and Coira followed hot on her Warlord Prince’s heels. She’d waited all day, drained her Jewel  and stirred up a hornet’s nest in a good bit of Tuathal for this. What was so damned important that Mother Night had driven her so hard?

As the dust settled and the shouting stopped (only temporarily, of course: they were Highlanders), Coira’s searching eyes fell on their prize.  And what a prize it was. Even as used to big, tough Ian as she’d become, this male was impressive-looking. It was a body that had clearly seen hard use, yet lived up to every demand its owner placed upon it and had come through those fires stronger than before. And that was before she got to the psychic scent! Warlord Prince and Purple Dusk comingled with the lighter notes of what was presumably the man’s Birthright… all limned with a sharp, sweet note that had a part of Coira sit up on point like a cat spotting a mouse. Only this was no helpless creature. It called to the predator within her; an invitation to chase and be chased, to scratch a little and let blood be drawn in turn, secure in the fact that the prey could take whatever she dished out and make the play more pleasurable for them both. This was a male Black Widow, and, coupled with Ian’s reaction, had to be the elusive Calum.

Coira finally finished taking in the man’s body and moved up to his face, sucking in a harsh breath when green eyes settled on her own. Mine. This, then, was what the Darkness had sent her racing to find and claim: a second Falkirk male. One whose castes and heritage were guaranteed to make him one of the most dangerous males Scelt had to offer, and a handful at best to the woman who tried to hold his leash. This was not a task for the faint of heart.

For long moments, Coira didn’t know what to say. Some young, relatively inexperienced Queens would have run for their lives upon finding the single-minded focus of a Black Widow Warlord Prince on them: all she wanted to do was ride him like a pony and find out if he would sate some of the newly-stoked hungers boiling beneath her skin. She couldn’t have summoned a witty phrase to save her life if she’d had to do. Then the big, beautiful (naked!) male fought for a single step toward her, Craft flared, and she found the words come naturally to her lips as she ducked nimbly around Ian and marched over to address the newest piece of her soul for the first time: “Stay still, you damned fool!” The Queen snarled irritably, the better to focus on her annoyance instead of giving into the urge to plant her feet and shamelessly ogle the bounty that some other (poor, fool, evil, rival) female had thought to keep  for her own. Or to lay her hands on that roughened, battle-sculpted body and trace every swirl of ink and streak of scar to test its reality and to claim its bearer as her own.

And she would- right after removing those nasty webs that had clearly taken on a life of their own in their creator’s absence. “Still.” She repeated, less temper but more steel in her words. “I can’t be having those webs fighting you while I’m fighting them. You’ll just distract me.” Her hand reached out to touch one of the few places the webs had yet to cover, instinctively settling in his hair and stroking through the roughened strands to give him physical contact with his Queen upon which ground himself. She kept the touch up while she scanned the dusting of web, alert for any pitfalls. It was a well-constructed thing, if not particularly well-hidden, and at a level much Darker than Coira’s Purple Dusk. Disabling it was possible… but would take time, and much more power than the trickles of life remaining in her Jewel. She’d used it hard today, her faithful friend.

Few a few heartbeats, she was tempted to curse the Darkness fit to make even a Falkirk blush with envy at her prowess with inventive. It wasn’t fair! Though this was typical of Mother Night, to bring her so far only to pull the reward out from under her at the end… unless she wasn’t looking hard enough. Being a witch and a Queen meant getting shit done, even and especially when it wasn’t easy. Fortunately, she had an experienced Clan Laird around to ask for advice on making possible the impossible. She glanced over at Ian, but another idea struck her and she redirected her gaze to the agitated male she hadn’t ceased touching throughout her study of the trap that bound him.

One of the benefits of being a Queen, and having a Clan, was that she had resources, if she but stretched out her hand to use them. “Where are your Jewels?” She demanded of Calum with sudden urgency.

Offline Calum Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #16 on: Jun 12, 17, 03:20:25 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Calum Falkirk's thunderous bass laugh rolled through the shattered room. His Queen's words would be forever marked upon his soul:

Stay still, you damned fool!

The Black Widow Warlord Prince  bared his teeth, clearly ready not only to argue but to force another step towards his Queen, his life, his soul, save that she came to him. His Beast calmed, though the tension still radiated from him. He went still as her hand soothed into his rough red hair. To his scalp, skin-to-skin, Black Widow to Black Widow, Priestess to Warlord Prince, Queen to Bonded male. Each brush brought him images, glimpses, of her life. Insight into her character, and he delved shamelessly into any part of her he could reach with his basic Craft.

Her Craft brush him, and Calum's attention returned to the here and now. He breathed his Queen in, studying the intensity of her as she probed at the traps upon him. Her scent did not speak of home to him, so much as purpose; their Bond was not merely belonging, but fulfillment. He was not content in her presence, but inspired. He was so focused upon that, in fact, that his Queen's flash over to rage had him snarling, his gaze sweeping the room seeking the cause of her ire, so as to remove it from existence. Every muscle tensed, sending dust and debris crashing to the floor, another pulse of blood spraying from his abraded skin.

His Queen's gaze settled upon him once again, and she demanded Calum's Jewels. Lust, ever present, heighten by his earlier call to battle, nonetheless spiked through him at her words; Calum's response was automatic, "Between my ..."



"Calum."

Ian Malcolm's voice was hard and granite, and cold as death. A single barked word, but effective. The Clan Laird stepped further into the room, unwilling to patrol lest he trigger more traps. And unwilling to comment on what had just occurred, beyond a raised eyebrow. Coira needed focus right now, not distractions. And if she had to see one of his sons naked, his first born would be Ian's preference.



Calum's grin was unrepentant, but he reworded, in deference to his father's sensibilities.

"...underwear."

"They are in the drawer." His grin faded to puzzled. "I think ..." Calum could not recall why he'd put them there, a flash of hair, the scent of perfume blocked all other memories. Sweat curled down his body as he tried to remember, once more fighting the compulsions set so deeply within his mind. It became notably harder to breathe, as the physical compulsions burrowed deeper within. When, how had he become ensnared of Black Widow? The memories kept falling away, and slowly he became aware that they were being eaten by the decaying webs in his mind.

He met his father's gaze, the two men sharing one piecing moment of understanding.

Calum's heart eased; his father would not let him become a monster.

Offline Coira Sheane

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #17 on: Jul 02, 17, 12:55:56 PM »
Coira did not fear monsters. Not those that belonged to her. One could do worse, she felt, than to find one’s end at the hands of someone she trusted than at some uncaring or hostile stranger’s. But mostly she could stand and watch this tortured man without fear that either of them would slip into madness in the course of this process because of the steady and resolute soul in the corner. After the events of today, Coira had a renewed understanding of the man who’d become more a father to her than the one who’d shared her blood had let himself turn into and a deep faith in his ability to do what was needful. It was what freed her to concentrate on more urgent matters… which she could do while trading a bit of innuendo, thank you very much. Once she touched her power, concerns of the body faded to a pleasant background hum in favor of sorting through the threads in the room. The Abyss’ manifestations sang in her senses and on her tongue, and the witch licked her lips in a savoring manner as she caught an intriguing hint of Purple-Dusk-maleness that didn’t belong to her or Ian.

The Queen followed the intriguing scent to an old dresser on the right, sliding the drawers open (with some caution, keeping in mind their earlier adventures) until she found her prize. For a moment her expression darkened and her psychic scent swirled thickly with rage (between his underware? Not bloody likely…). Both smoothed out as she reached in and snatched up what looked to be a woman’s lacy undergarment, unshielded as though the owner hadn’t see the need to hide it further. A brief shake slid chunks of Rose and Purple Dusk into the shelter of her left hand, while she stared at the dark red… thing in her right. Then a grin broke her grim expression (both Falkirks would likely recognize it… Coira really had been around Falkirks too long) and she deliberately held it up for Calum to see-

…and her summoned lick of witchfire burned it to ash before their eyes,  the witchling calmly flicking the char off her fingers. Message delivered, she paced back to the bound Warlord Prince and knelt by his side.

The Queenling sat the Rose where it would be within easy reach of her male should she succeed in freeing him from the webs that ate so cruelly into his mind and skin. The Purple Dusk, she held carefully cupped in the palms of her hands, letting the heat from her hands warm the metal of its setting. It radiated power so similar to her own, unused for weeks or months and there for the taking. The power possessed a different flavor, however: a little sharper, a lot more male. She raised the Jewel to her cheek and nuzzled against it like a kitten for a few moments where the stone thrust through the metal holding it in place, breathing in the scent as her eyes half-lidded in… thought? Pleasure? The emotion was perhaps not entirely clear to the onlooking males. If the motion had begun with an element of teasing, it quickly slipped from Coira’s mind (though Calum might strongly disagree). The Priestess’ connection with the Darkness sought to establish an affinity with the new Jewel, filtered rather easily through the new and thrumming connection of the Queen’s Bond she shared with its owner, and her eyes were all business as she reached out with her Widow’s senses to channel the new power to untangle the intangible.

The task took longer than she’d hoped: hours of slow, careful work. The physical webs went easiest, creations which had reverted to brute force without the proper maintenance. Some part of Coira howled at the blood-coated wounds they left behind. But she was no Healer (though for the first time, she regretted the lack of the sole caste she’d never learn) and could only lap eagerly at the fresh wounds as she passed them on the way to other work- unable to miss the chance to have that taste of power and presence on her tongue and in her body in some form, if not the one most pleasant for them both.

The bulk of her fight lay in those webs meant to ensnare his mind and memory. Those were the oldest and deepest: such highly sophisticated creations that Coira couldn’t suppress a curl of envy at the skill that had gone into their weaving. If she hadn’t spent more time studying such skills since the discovery of the Sheane web in Brighe Devlin’s mind, they might have been beyond her entirely. They ate at the heart of him and wore cruel scores into his Self as they sought to erase the man he’d been and mold him into who their weaver thought he ought to be. “So strong…” She murmured faintly in admiration, approval. He had to be, to survive their potency and influence this long. After a point, the Widow gave up on distance and crawled into his lap to let her body drape carelessly and trustingly against his; the heat he radiated an anchor to call her still-wandering and busy mind home.

But finally it was done. Coira gave a gasp of surprise as the mists in her sight parted and the last of the tricky cobwebs unwound to cling to her fingers, tapping her borrowed Jewel again to burn the sticky mess to ash. The webs restricting Calum’s Jewel use had gone with it, tangled up in the mental component, and the witchling breathed deeply for the first time in hours- only to sag back against the Siegemaster’s bare chest with a bone-deep weariness that laughed at any attempt to leave her comfortable perch.  The second Purple Dusk had been drained to dregs as well and the witch had travelled long and hard this day. Her stomach clenched hard with hunger in demand to replace the fuel she had burned, but Coira wasn’t even sure she had the energy remaining to see it filled.

“Home?” She murmured against his neck, for once entirely content with herself and her work. It was Ian’s and Calum’s turn now.

Offline Ian Malcolm Falkirk

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Re: Winter's Webs and Summer's Shadows
« Reply #18 on: Jul 04, 17, 07:06:40 PM »
191, summer: Tuathal, Saskia's safe house there.

Ian Falkirk stood watch, both over the physical realm and the terrifying, subtle intangibles of guarding his son and Queen’s honor. Their very soul. He would never let them fail to madness, never permit them to tarnish the incandescent glory of their souls. He loved them far, far too much.

But inside, he felt a long-held fear ease.

His boy, his heir, the son of not merely his body, but his soul, had found not merely a good Queen, but Ian’s. They were bound now more deeply than father and son, and he knew a simple pride that he’d never face that second most brutal of a parent’s trials.

Being left behind.

That his Coira and his Calum, Black Widows both, would inevitably be sexual bothered him not in the sense of denying either of them each other, but for Coira’s vast inexperience and Calum’s fierce appetites. So he studied them, how they touched and moved, even as he kept watch on their surroundings.

His fierce Coira bunt her enemy’s underthings, and Ian grinned back at her.




Calum craned his neck, to follow Coira’s movements, tensing as rage flickered through her scent. But then the cause of that flash of anger brought an unrepentant smirk to Calum’s face, then a bark of laughter as Coira incinerated his captors really very fine bit of lingerie. But then, such garments were meant to be destroyed, one way or another.

She paced back, kneeling beside him, his Jewels first lovingly cradled her hands, then rubbed along the smooth curve of her cheek. He felt it, every touch of her hands to his Jewels. Even more than the passion engendered by such a response to the jewels between his leg, her touch on his Jewels reached his soul. And then, somehow, his Priestess Black Widow Queen dwelled within his Jewels. She used his power, to peel layer after layer of webs off his body, out of his mind. He focused upon her, his every effort bent towards not jarring her from her concentration, no matter the provocation.

She had to excise the webs physically from his body, all intact, and he forced himself to utter stillness as they cut and burned in their removal. Tensed, desire spiking, as her damp tongue flickered over his injuries, not so much soothing as inciting. A tortured glance at his dad was met with a slim smile, and brief shake of his head.

Thought was suspended as her touch moved to his head, his mind. She wielded the power to level buildings within the inner workers of his psyche and the delicate flesh of his brain. He was a Black Widow, if imperfectly trained, and well aware of just how little it would take for one uncoiling web or compulsion to destroy him utterly. 

Her soft murmurs of praise and delight eased his tension, even as she moved so close that her scent surrounded him. His arms closed gently around her as she flowed into his lap. He bent his head, to nuzzle into her hair, ignoring the strain and stress upon his Jewel, their shared Purple Dusk.

That is when he became aware of what she didn’t have, it’s partner. The Purple Dusk was dark enough that he’d expected it to be her Offering,, rather than her Birthright.

Hunger leached into him, but it took him several long seconds to recognize it as her physical hunger, rather than his own carnal lust. He let his lips brush over the soft skin of her neck, deliberately (infuriatingly) gentle.

“Aye, lass, food and rest for you. At home.”

(End).

 

 

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