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Canon: © Anne Bishop
Board's Plot: Blood Rites
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Established February 2010
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* Plot Informaton for Scelt

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 barley, low to the ground  (Read 473 times)

Description: Blodwen

Offline Clark Erskine

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    • white2te
    • bw
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      Reid

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Winter barley, low to the ground
« on: Dec 10, 17, 03:11:04 AM »
Clark arrived at the Province Court of Tramore without an escort, even though that wasn't precisely proper by Protocol. It was incredibly difficult to secure a man who wanted to be seen to protect a Black Widow, and the money required to appear perfectly in line with the law of the land was too great for Clark to justify the expenditure to herself. Molly never had to know what Clark went without to secure a little more budget for the school they were starting to build. It would be worth it someday. In her pocket, her right hand with its missing finger clenched. Someday, it all had to be worth it.

That someday had to start here. Though she was intimidated by her surroundings, Clark walked with a straight back and a steady gait that had served her well on ships. Around her there were plentiful courtiers in beautiful clothes; her own were servicable and, from a certain angle, could be mistaken for Widow's weeds, which they certainly weren't (intended to be). She looked out of place, a dowdy old matron despite the fact that she was at least a decade younger than most of the people she passed.

Eventually she located someone who told her where to wait for her meeting with Blodwen Lyons. Though she had despised the eyes on her as she had moved through the Court, she hated waiting even more. Now her mind could go in a thousand different directions, ways this could end badly. It was good she hadn't told Molly her intentions, only asked for the Head of the Coven to set up a meeting. Clark called in a folder of neatly handwritten documents, her own assessment of which fields most required the assistance. A reworked budget was written on the back of the heavy stock, and Clark wished she'd written it someplace else now. It pained her to be unprofessional, to look disorganized, to be anything but perfect. She was a Black Widow. She started the game with two strikes against her, no matter Molly's determined insistence that Blodwen didn't care.

Plenty of people said they didn't care. All of them did.

Clark tried to take a steadying breath, and found a place to sit.

Offline Blodwen Lyons

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    • ss2pd
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Re: Winter barley, low to the ground
« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 18, 02:47:04 PM »
Unlike the majority of Scelt, Blodwen Lyons did not hate Black Widows. There were many things that the Purple Dusk Queen was scared of. Raiders coming back to steal more horses. Failing her family and Clan as their Queen. Being an inadequate teacher for Alis. Her butler, Archibald. But Black Widows were not on that list.

Her vision of a Scelt without war included a Scelt without war on the near extinct caste. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe they were just hidden away. But the fact that there hadn't been a single one born into the Lyons Clan in recent history was deeply concerning to her. Each of the castes served a purpose. There was a balance that could only exist when they were all represented. Scelt was ailing in this, as in so many things. She didn't have the power to set it right, necessarily, but she would do what she could.

Her Clan did not share her views. They had argued her down, fighting in their gathering to discuss the new school that was being proposed. As was not uncommon, it had devolved to yelling, arguing different points all with the same focus: Did the Lyons want to be known for their kindness to their kind?

Blodwen had remained quiet until she couldn't stand it. "Enough! Is this who you choose to be? To judge those you have never met on nothing more than their caste? What of our motto? By wisdom, not by rashness. Which of you can claim wisdom and not irrational panic in this? In the years ahead, I expect you each to count yourselves lucky that your Queen does not fall so easily into her own emotions. I love you all, but today, I am ashamed of you."

Rarely did she take a stance so staunchly opposed to her Clan, but in this, she would not be moved.

She felt agitation spreading through her Court and rose to open the door to her office to find out what could possibly be happening. She stared at the Black Widow who sat there and her temper spiked. Not at the young woman clutching her folders, at her family's insistence of treating her so poorly. She sighed. "I would ask you to forgive my Court, but I don't feel they have earned such a kindness as your forgiveness." She spoke loudly enough that anyone in the surrounding rooms could hear her. "How long have you been waiting? Please, come in."

The Queen waited for her to enter the office before offering her a seat. Instead of going to sit behind her desk, she sat on the small couch beneath the window, framing herself inadvertently with the roses climbing the side of the manor outside. 







Offline Clark Erskine

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Re: Winter barley, low to the ground
« Reply #2 on: Jan 17, 18, 04:09:03 AM »
Smugglers didn't meet Queens. They didn't have Queens. Putting a Queen on a boat was like putting a fish in the sandy desert, or a cat in a seabound bucket. A sheep in the dress of a wolf and setting it loose among the pack. What was the bloody point? There was no dirt for a Queen to tend in the cliff faces of Dunkirk, and there was less point in upholding Blood law when the whole enterprise was belowdecks anyway, where the Courts couldn't see. On top of her scandalous childhood occupation, Clark was a Black Widow, and those never got the Protocol instruction they ought. She'd only gotten hers because the woman who had taught her lessons had been intended for Court service before her tooth had popped.

All her disadvantages disregarded, Clark's curtsey to Lady Blodwen Lyons was perfect. "I wouldn't think anything of it, Lady Lyons," said Clark. Her accent was rougher than Lady Lyons' more rarefied tones. She overemphasized her vowels and bit off the fricatives. Next to Lady Lyons, she felt even more a rat than she already clearly was.

Clark hesitated before taking her seat, choosing the one which looked like it had been least used. Both of them seemed... comfortable... but a hardback chair would always be Clark's choice. Less chance of something living in the stuffing, which was a real concern when one was aboard a ship. There had been rats in her pillow casing before. (Though to this day she wasn't sure if it wasn't her brother or a superstitious crewman trying to claim that Clark suckled the awful thing, or something so devilish.)

"Lady Lyons," said Clark, clearing her throat, "I have come to ask a favor. Or I suppose it's more of making a suggestion." Normally, when speaking in the moment, Clark could snap off a witty retort with the best of them, cutting words that left the dolts around her spiritually eviscerated. That time in the parlor had let her chase herself near as much as when she sat down to write a letter, and her uncertainty showed. "The... farm... you've allowed Lady O'Kerry to take, for the goal of setting up a school. I was thinking that it wasn't too late for us to set up winter barley."

She opened the folder. Within, its contents were neatly ordered: maps of the farm and its environs carefully drawn by a steady hand in walnut-shell-brown ink, budgeting lists, plans of action for common concerns. "The fields need threshed, and we need to begin endearing ourselves to the local populace before the winter sets in. We were thinking that, in exchange for the labor to thresh and plant the fields, we would give over the grass for thatching, to repair roofs and insulate walls before the weather. Winter barley is good for many things, bread and beer, and whisky, I suppose, though that's more intensive than I would be comfortable with on a first outing. And it grows well in stony soil."

Perhaps she ought to have led with pleasantries. Clark had never been much for that, though.

"It would give employment to the millers come spring," she added. "Though I doubt it would give much profit, as a first planting."

Offline Blodwen Lyons

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Re: Winter barley, low to the ground
« Reply #3 on: Feb 27, 18, 08:54:57 AM »
Blodwen had fought at length with her Clan about the idea of a school for Black Widows. It was one of the few areas where bone deep prejudice overrode the usual logical minds of her family and Court. Even examining the idea that there were going to be Black Widows whether they liked it or not and wouldn't they prefer for them to be trained and not accidentally do something that could hurt themselves or others did not win her the arugment. Luckily for Tramore, Blodwen was more than capable of standing against the Lyons as a whole when needed and declaring her word as law. They didn't have to like it. But they did have to obey.

She was intrigued by what Lady Erskine had come to discuss with her. She took the papers that emerged from the folder and began to flip through them. The information gathered there was extensive, and, by what she could gather from a quick perusal, strikingly accurate. Curating good will with the neighboring farms and the nearest village was a wise idea. No matter that she had granted her protection for their enterprise, that didn't extend to just the common courtesy that could mean so much, especially during a hard Scelt winter. The more the neighboring area was invested in the strange farm of Black Widows, the better it would be for everyone.

"No, of course you wouldn't get much profit from the first year, really if you break even that's about the best you can hope for," she said, still looking over the papers before she looked back up at the Black Widow. "With any crops you have to look at the five, ten, and twenty year projections. Even winter crops." She shuffled the papers back into a neat pile. "May I keep these? Or get a copy?"

She set the papers aside and leaned forward, her body language showing clear interest in what the Black Widow had brought her. "You have clearly put a great deal of thought and research into this. How can I help? Do you need barley? My blood for the land? Wages for the workers?" These things only made sense to offer. Despite what might be happening in other parts of the Territory or the complicated politics that were at play, this was simple. It was farming, and caring for the land. This Blodwen knew intimately.







 

 

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