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* Plot Information for Shalador

The capital has been destroyed, replaced with the spewing ash and liquid lava of Shalador’s Eldest Sister. The surviving factions and Clans scramble for a new leader and a way to save the jungle Territory from the remaining volcanoes. The Black Widows, long held at arm’s length, have stepped up to guide, by force or willingly, the Territory towards salvation.
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Author Topic: born from dark waters  (Read 208 times)

Description: tag. Endevar & anyone else w/good reason to be there.

Offline Erisian Maboya

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born from dark waters
« on: Aug 26, 18, 01:54:39 PM »
This post is set two weeks after the events of flesh, bones, skin and soul.

For home again, the Obsidian Court had merged themselves with eternity and come back wrapped in pledges bound in blood and powers divine. Things older than time and deeper than the darkest of Jewels had brushed their tendrils across the souls of those who survived a year and a day of communion beyond ken.

A fortnight  passed since their awakening heralded by fire and sacred glass. Things were not yet back to anything resembling normal. Black Widows still overstepped their bounds and held the reigns of the Territory's power. Yet, their bodies were well on the mend thanks to gifts offered by the Ebon Gray Tacean Healer Queen who sought answers in their Forest, the Gray Jeweled twice gifted Lady of the Omah, and all the Healers of the Maboya at their beck and call.

Erisian, Akan, Lyra, Fariq, Sammy, and Elua convalesced together in the sacred lands of their Priestess Queen's Tribe. The Lady Mad was not quite so Mad anymore. She seemed more aware and whole than she had since before her time in the mines, and she basked in joy.

Juliet had survived. With her? The daughter of their love, Ylli. A Healer, perfect in every way. Eris was not a gentle mother. She often turned to her partner that wore the Tiger Eye in confusion for ways to soothe the small soul when the newness of life in their unfair world set the infant to tears. What she lacked in gentility she made up for with love.

That morning was spent helping her bright souled child stretch and test the strength of her growing wings. By early afternoon she'd tired and Hallian, the High Healer of the tribe, had not so gently suggested Erisian focus her energies upon her own recovery while the girl napped and found comfort in Juliet's arms.

Upon awakening to find the baby still slept, Erisian called on the comfort of her sister witches to join her in smoking, eating, and discussing what snippets they remembered from their time at the mouth of creation.

Lyra had just finished preparing them all a Shaladorian specialty beverage which she'd become an expert in preparing. Each woman gathered was given a mug carved from stone of the sacred Tamanara mountains filled with a rich mixture of cacao and chile pepper. The heat of the red chile highlighted the dark and bitter sweet flavours of the chocolate. It was one of Erisian's favorites and it paired well with the Chaillotian cheese of which Juliet had made her Queen and lover quite the fan.

They'd barely had time to enjoy the delicacies laid out by the Wolf of their pack when Akan entered the large room where they'd gathered. Even before he spoke, Erisian was at attention. She could read the body of her first bonded easily as a text of basic Craft. The lines of his posture and the set of his features warned of trouble.

Her escort wore a  traditional sarong and sandles, eschewing a shirt in the heat. He looked like any other man of Shalador at rest except Akan displayed no collar that proudly denoted the lineage of his people. Many of them couldn't stand anything tight about their necks since being freed from the salt.

Though he was not dressed for battle his countenance bore the readiness of a man prepared for blood's spilling. The room fell silent.

My Queen,” Akan's voice broke the sudden quiet, “there is a man here.  Eyrien face, Hayllian soul. He names himself Endevar, and he calls to meet you.

Silence returned as Erisian and the witches gathered absorbed this information. There was a foreboding gravity to the pause in Prince Uzumati's speech. Eris tasted fear, his and others further away, in the air. The Priestess Queen raised an eyebrow in confusion and concern. Why did that name sound familiar?

What about but one foreign man could strain the visage of her male so? He answered her worries before her voice could make sounds of her thoughts.

“We could not deny him entry if we tried. He wears the Black.” Suddenly, the familiarity of his name clicked in her consciousness. Endevar Ranosi. Son of the Red Jeweled bitch who'd ruined the realms, briefly the leader of Terreille's Askavi, a Warlord Prince who'd carried the Black before disappearing as quickly as he'd risen from the shadows.

It seemed he'd returned and with him an attitude that demanded attention instead of following Protocol's laws to receive what he sought. She hadn't yet met the man and already Erisian felt like snarling. How dare he frighten her people? How dare he set foot on her soil without concern for the great stir his unannounced entry would cause?

Black Jeweled shields rose around everyone gathered in the room, including herself. The Priestess Queen rose. “Stay here,” she commanded those gathered.

Hoping to be obeyed, but fully expecting to be followed, Erisian strode from the building of Craft shaped tree and stone. She knew where he waited by the energy emanating from his being and the full company of armoured guards who stood at the edge of the village. Only once before had she sensed the presence of a Black Jewel. It too had belonged to a Hayllian, a woman named Sybilla who'd shown her the true meaning of carrying power as vast as their own. That had been arranged and considered a boon by her people.

What Endevar was doing? To some of the men who watched him at full attention, ready to fight though their own Jewels couldn't hope to best his own, it was a possible declaration of war. From behind her loyal guard Erisian ordered she be given space to move through their ranks. There was hesitation. None particularly liked the idea of their Lady meeting face to face a man so cataclysmic in his boldness.

Their concern was gently pushed aside. Erisian used a tendril of her power to encourage hastening the steps of men unsure as to whether they should first serve or protect. With the small sea of warriors parted, Erisian moved to meet the Warlord Prince who stood where the forest fist broke to make room for their settlement.

Behind her a large bubble of a shield rose to enclose the whole of the space in which a branch of the Maboya resided. She took no chances. The rapid fire use of her Offering Jewel burned off the haze of her lunch's beer and sensimillia's smoke.

When she met Endevar's gaze her own eyes, the gold of sunlight pouring through the canopy's leaves, were sharp as they came. Were she less furious at his presumption or less frightened for what his sudden appearance meant for her nation, she would've better noticed the shifting that began in her heart and wound across her soul. A bond long denied was sparked between her and Askavi's former ruler. In mere moments she'd feel its weight settling between them. However, just then?

In that moment, all the Maboyan Queen felt was a chilled fury. “Speak your purpose quickly Prince Endevar Ranosi, or I'll have your tongue for frightening my people so. Why have you come unannounced demanding honours in a land where you are nothing but a tribeless stranger? You presume much while offering little for your Jewel is common to me and I am not impressed by your disregard for my forest's ways.








Offline Akan Uzumati

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #1 on: Aug 26, 18, 07:01:21 PM »
The man's approach was not a subtle one. He was as brutish as the legend of him whispered. A boy who decided he was a God. His appearance had been cruel, obrusive, and dismissive of what value the guards held. When he had appeared, death on his heels, he had landed with all intent of a conqueror. Parodying protocol at best, he acted with submission, but would not be moved by any. Perhaps the guards and he were too rash in their own response. But he dismissed their attempts at subduing him as if he were battling bonds of power formed from wet paper. But he made no effort to attack, only to stop the assault from overly eager fools; that, itself, was as galling as anything else, the arrogance of his power allowing him to merely seem inconvenienced by efforts to oppose him.

It fell to Akan to move, as the Master of the Guard remained in watchful vigil over the black jeweled Warlord Prince who had come calling to their lands. It was with the deepest fury that the only one present with even a glimmer of hope to oppose the invader was sent as merely a messenger, but such was his task by his Queen; he was not her Guard, not her protector, he was her voice and her counsel in lieu of a consort. It was his task, his duty, to bring such news before her. And so he had stepped forth into their room, where the women had gathered, and granted them a respectful nod before he turned his tense nature upon his Queen. His defined form glistened with the sweat of effort, but was dressed not in his warrior's regalia; clad in his sarong and his sandals alone, his wings hanging proudly from his proudly scarred back, he spoke with a quiet that demanded attention, steel hidden in his near whisper. "My Queen," he urged, breathy voice speaking of the physical effort that had been his just moments before. "There is a man here. Eyrien face, Hayllian soul. He names himself Endevar, and he calls to meet you." They both knew who he was, he suspected, but he had last he remembered, thought the man to have died in some hole, sure to never bother the jungles of Shalador. It seemed much had changed in a year.

The witches present looked upon the Queen, waiting her response. "We could not deny him entry if we tried," he told her, and they certainly had, as he had presented himself beyond a dozen points at which they would have stopped anyone else, but not him. He would not be stopped. "He... wears the Black," he added, to hopefully see her mind recover the memories of learning of this man who had died before they had escaped the pits of Pruul's mines. She urged them to 'Stay here', and he took those words to mean everyone except himself, certainly. For all that he hated of his role in her triangle, he enjoyed the expectation to be her shadow. And so he was now, moving hastily after her, following at a mere footstep's distance from his Queen's wingspan. She confronted the man with haste, and with finality, her words quiet and full of fire, but he saw something in the damnable Hayllian exile that he could not stand to fathom.

This would not be a meeting that would be easy, but he would not leave it until ordered to by name, and forced to by bond.





Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #2 on: Aug 26, 18, 07:23:26 PM »
Two weeks before, he had awoken suddenly to feel the fire of the world pushing down on him. A shockwave of power had crested through the world on a thread too deep for almost any to feel, but he had felt it. The mountains and forests of Shalador had seemed to mute the power that rushed out from her world, and he knew instantly that the Black had called to the Black.

A thread sent to him on the deepest of levels, something calling for him in the very soul, and he felt the desperate need to respond along that thread by taking to the Winds in ways no Eyrien's wings could manage, to pull at that draw of power that had erupted from the Earth itself and find the one from whom it began. But he could not; there was still so much to do, so much to prepare for here amidst the throngs of Askavi, that he could not risk it. Could not dare to expose himself so openly again, not without settling matters first.

And as with all things, one crisis begat another, and he had commitments he could not shirk.

Two weeks had passed, and every time he laid down his head, he dreamed only of that pull, that draw, which seemed to have dug itself into his very soul, pulling him towards the Darkness which had spawned his very being. It took too long for him to make this venture, but he felt a draw that could not be concealed, and he traveled along the Winds, and along foot, and through bounds of his deepest power. As if a beacon, he followed her, the trail laid out before him, and he appeared where no one should know to find her. The small village received the barechested man in his fine pants, his fine long coat, and his bared feet marked with dirt and soil, learning by touch the shape of this territory. He had arrived, and from his arrival, found ... resistance.

Craft moved to bond him, blades came to threaten or even injure him, and the rage of men leaped to the defense of the recovering Queen. These men would die for her, and he treated them with as clear of respect as he could; vines born of their home caught wrists, turned their blades, and bound them from him, as he knelt before the Master of the Guard and the First Escort who he had frozen in place with a brush of his power, binding them by his essence rather than the reinforced plantlife.

He made his case, and he waited, patient and on his knees before a crowd of a dozen grand warriors who had been almost mockingly bound from the actions they wished to visit upon him in violence and proactive defense.

Only when the Master of the Guard called them to halt, did his powers slip free of all of them, his eyes still closed. They stood armed about him, ready should he act, but they respected their Master; and he felt no fear whatsoever of their reprisal, showing nothing but deference even as they showed nothing but threat towards him in turn. And so they remained in a deadlock for what felt like eternity, hatred burning in these guards while obedience remained in his.

His head bowed in respect for what was clearly a Queen coming calling; closer, he could feel the sensation, and see the structure, of a court devoted to a Queen who would come calling. Whoever called and summoned him held authority in more than just Jewels, and he internalized this thought as he prepared for her arrival, a strange beat struggling in his chest.

Footsteps neared, of more than one, but the power and confidence in one's stride, and the essence of her power eking free of her from her idle use of Craft on her way to find this interloper, told him all he needed. Head bowed yet still, he waited, and he waited.

And then her voice spoke, breaking through the din, and he felt something more drawing than merely her power, which he felt and knew before his head ever rose from the soil. She demanded he speak his presence, and threatened him further; this was the first threat he had known in an eternity that might actually hold its weight. His eyes widened, the cleverness lost in the wind as he took her in.

Breath left him, and he felt as if his soul had, as well. She was rage, she was fury, and she was absolution. "You called for me, when you awoke," he whispered, his words few, and his body not his own as he rose to his feet without being bidden as he planned to wait.

There was a fire doused, and another inferno raised, as his eyes took in the sight of what would be his last thought he ever had. Stepping forward, guards raised their weapons, and his jewel flickered with life as he prepared to insist on his path to her.

"Forgive me," he spoke, all thoughts of clever rejoinders, of witty remark and sardonic defense, had left him in a flurry as the fates chose the path that laid before him, and stole from him his choice and half of his soul as he surrendered it to her against his wishes, but with his sudden blessings.








Offline Erisian Maboya

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #3 on: Aug 26, 18, 11:11:21 PM »
Loudly did the Priestess Queen suck air through her teeth at Endevar's claim that it was she who'd called him. An academic in her own regard she understood well what he meant but found issue with the assumption that the power that carried her and hers back to the Realm of Light touched him by purpose instead of consequence. What he referenced was bigger than sacrifice and mortal strengths. She'd been an instrument of its direction, not the source of its sprawling scope. That had been a miracle meant for far more than one man and his living heart. She wanted to correct him, but the words wouldn't come.

Between them there was a gravity that stole her breath. Like called to like. She wanted to reach for Akan's hand and beg him to make it not be true. The pain of a new bond was a sharp, bittersweet thing. Eris did not want something new on the still bleeding edge of so much loss. The witch still grieved the three circles worth of lives she'd given up to Eldest Sister's fury. She knew what recklessness came with the Black and his choice of entry made clear he possessed it in spades. He was heartbreak in a pretty package; a date with grief.

Erisian Maboya was so very tired of mourning.  Yet, as was so often the case for those most gifted by Mother Night, she was given no choice in its certain coming. They belonged to each other she and the presumptuous Warlord Prince who demanded her notice. He drew near. 

Let him come.” The command from Erisian's lips fell in a tone not to be denied. Men who would've stood against an approach no more stoppable than a hurricane or a flood allowed him passage. Though they hated him for every step, there was no room for their disobedience. The air at the edge of the clearing was charged with emotion of every flavor of fear and fury.

Erisian's eyes in their peculiar shade of not quite pure gold fixed on the traveling vessel of her newly bonded. The weight of him settled tight about the heart that threatened to leap from her throat and run for safety. By virtue of her pride she didn't budge. Though she'd learned it from Rian the lesson of appearances and their importance hadn't become less true in light of the traitor's sins. She kept it together because there was no other option. Their dance was precarious and in it she was meant to lead. A familiar ache resonated in her breast, and she worried at the silver ring she wore, wondering just how Draven might've answered this man's call.

When he reached about ten feet away from her, Eris spoke again. “That close enough, she ordered. That time the declaration was meant for the newest of her men. He obeyed. It made the corner of her lips twitch up in the ghost of a grin.

She began to walk and circled about the rudely bold once Warlord Prince of all Askavi. Her passing brought them so near that if he were foolish enough to reach out without consent, his fingers would feel the heat of Erisian's passing but fail to meet her still shielded flesh.

Her pacing about him complete, Lady and Prince of the Black stood face to face. “I asked once, and your answer was empty, it lacked the truth I sought. You told me what made you come, Prince Ranosi. But what I asked, and what I'd hear from you is, why have you come? What in you is wild enough to stride into my eternally unconquered home and demand of me that which you should humbly ask?

Behind her stood an entourage of an informal retinue all told to stay put and in defiance of their Lady's concern. Not one of them could hope to stand against the Jewel the Warlord Prince shared with their Queen and confessor. Yet, not one of them could stand the thought of her coming against a power with the potential to eclipse her own alone. They'd be damned first.

Erisian loathed their disobedience as she loved them for their brilliant defiance. With Endevar, less he trespassed against those with whom she'd slumbered in obsidian or her nation, it was likely to be the same. Those drawn to the Lady once Mad, something else entirely since resurrection pulled her soul from heaven, were not so easily cowed by anything as paltry as long odds and certain defeat.









Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #4 on: Aug 26, 18, 11:37:56 PM »
She told them to let him come, and it was only with those words that he actually noticed himself even walking. He had been in a daze, his very essence demanding to be closer to her, as close as she could allow him; it was a feeling so alien, so unlike anything he had known. Looking down in confusion at his own feet, she told him to stop, that he had come close enough, and he stalled there, still uncertain of when he had risen to his feet and begun to move. It felt like he had always been like this; it felt like he had never begun. It was all so very confusing, but he had no idea what had begun his steps towards her.

She circled him, and he yearned to reach her, but dared not, still puzzled at his body, that he always had such near perfect control over except when the Edge and the Rut struck him, and was confused as she compelled in him actions he did not even know he was taking. Circling, she had her questions, and he answered, without hesitation, without filter. Still so fresh, so raw, so bedeviled by her in this moment, he was unguarded and honest in his responses.

The clever-tongued ruler was just a man as he fumbled to answer her. "You found it empty? So be it. But you did. And you sent me agony. It was pain I felt. You awoke, and it haunted me, it ached within me. Every night I saw the storm of your return, but saw no face, no being, inside of it. Smoked stone, black as night itself, so dark it devoured the night, forged at the bottom of a deep hole; as if a flower blossomed from stone, rising from the ash of death. I felt not a Descent, but a Rise; a feeling I had never known, yet more still. I had to know what it was. Who it was. Whether it was doom that would haunt Terreille, or blessings that would restore it. I knew not its name, I knew nothing but the pull of your return from the cloying fingers of death."

He was not done, as she reviewed him, as she listened to his words. His eyes hunted her, turning as she turned about him, and he found himself uncertain if it was her beauty, or her soul, that had him entranced. He was certain it was the latter; he recognized by concept this was the Bond he felt, but he had never known it. Yet she was beautiful beyond measure, and he hoped that was his own thoughts, not this Bond, unable to entirely divorce what was his heart and what was his mind.

"You pulled me, maybe not by choice, but by haunting vision, and I could no longer wait, could not send emissaries, or letters, I needed to see what it was or I would lose myself. And I found word that what I sought was a Queen. And then when I saw the Queen I sought, I... I understood why I felt this draw."

It was likely not her fortieth bond. But it was his only. And it seemed, to make it true, the Darkness had placed special emphasis upon those dreams, upon that cascade of power slipped loose during their reawakening. Whether she intended it solely for him to be received as it was, Mother Night had made certain that his summoning was not one he could ignore.

She had filled his mind with torment until he found his way here; and now, present, his feet placed before her, he found himself filling his heart, his soul. Something had flooded his senses, and his sanity, and he had no concept of the torment and transformation happening within him. But it was the only answers he had; he appeared here because he needed to. He came wherever this, because Mother Night would not rest until he had obeyed Her.

As far as Endevar was concerned, there was no one else present. This path before them, the jungles around them, the village behind her people, none of it existed. He stood in a clearing with his Queen, Erisian Maboya, and she needed to know why he needed to be here. And his only task, his only desire, was to make her understand, and to gain her approval. To gain, perhaps, her favor. Or, should he dare, her touch.








Offline Erisian Maboya

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #5 on: Aug 27, 18, 12:34:34 AM »
Time dilated. The seconds spanned between the freshly linked pair passed as such that in moments it felt like they'd known each other forever. Erisian pulled herself from reverie to cast a glance back at her surviving bonded. She needed to see how they, still fresh in their own grief, found themselves with a strange new brother.

He spoke in words more lovely than any of their number save perhaps for Elua. Her stare found him again and did not waver from his rotating attentions. His cadence reminded her of that found in the rituals she loved. The shape of his meaning struck her with its beauty and in it she regretted the sharpness of her inquiry.

The world had not given Erisian Maboya much occasion  to be gentle. She was slowly unlearning the severity of bearing she'd donned out of necessity for so many decades. However, untangling it from who she was? The process was painstaking. That which she'd become to survive would not rest without a fight in a harsh world full of so many fresh betrayals.

In the wake of his earnest confession, spoken with a beauty that burst her heart with the purposeful determination he uttered his truth, she felt the pain of her soul's many scars. She envied Queens like those she'd met since being freed. Those delicate women whose men hovered near them and delighted at their every breath. She would never be that achingly delicate sort of strong.

In the mines of Pruul her gentility and civility were unmade. She was a raw, wild thing, more in touch with worlds beyond than those of flesh. Eris was impossible to contain and dangerous to hold. Those who loved her did so with the understanding that for all the healing she'd undergone their were edges to their Lady that would never be softened. The best she could ever be was careful with her bladed bearing.

With Endevar Ranosi, because he'd frightened those she loved, she'd worn her wounds made pointed like armour. Before her the man who'd risked international incident to answer his heart's calling stood proud. Yet in him she sensed the terrible vulnerability born of what harsh initial judgments she'd passed. He held the Black like she but he was as good as naked. Standing their waiting for his Priestess Queen to name him worthy he was an eloquent man stripped of everything but need.

More than most, Akan was likely to hate what came next. Erisian put herself a step nearer Endevar. Her shields, and those about her people and village, remained. She did not reach out to touch him though her veins howled with want to draw that which she'd been gifted into her embrace. But? They could each feel the heat of the other's ambient energies. She breathed deep the scent of his body and soul and wondered at the humour of their Starry Mother to place such fiercely different beings on paths forever entwined.

It felt like forever since she'd spoken though but little time had passed since the Warlord Prince's answer fell for all to hear.

You must be more careful with yourself, no matter the need, though I forgive you for this day's trespass. Darkness brought you to me and I will not resent you the manner you answered her call.

Erisian spoke in a voice laced  with a tender care she so often hid behind her jokes, her temper, and the haze of strong beer and sweet smokes.

We belong to each other now, Endevar, so we must be cautious with that which the other holds dear. The power we carry can shape worlds and break them. Neither of us can risk forgetting what that means for those who must share this realm with us.

Slowly, careful not to startle the instincts of the male with such reasons to be on edge, she extended her and waited for him to take it in his own. “Come with me and lets right this rocky path on which we've begun. The bond has brought with it for you siblings of soul with whom you are as linked as you are me. They've the right to meet you proper.” 

As if anticipating the disappointment he was bound to feel at not being allowed to drown alone in  the newness of that which marked his soul, Erisian added, “time will come for us to know one another more privately. But it was you who made the choice to meet me on the land of my people and my family, and there's a way these things must be done. You're in Shalador now, my Prince. Let me show you what that means.








Offline Lyra Amar

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #6 on: Aug 28, 18, 01:00:26 AM »
In the weeks since she had been reborn in pain and obsidian, Lyra had watched her Queen begin to heal from their long sleep. There was a concreteness there that hadn't been there before, like a tree that had sent its roots deep into the earth seeking water or stability. Lyra observed in silence. Whatever was happening might be too fragile still to be voiced aloud.

It was a happy time for the Mad Court. Even the wolf found joy in the nesting of her Court and Tribe. Nothing brought her joy the way hearing Erisian laugh did. Her heart swelled when she watched the Priestess Queen with her daughter, the little Healer whose smile seemed to carry its own light. It was a sight she'd only ever dreamed of. Even that had seemed too far to exist anywhere beyond the fantastical. It was a story she would have told her Queen in the mines, using her warped shield to create images for her to watch.

She knew now how underwhelming her offering had been. Not the intention behind it. Every gift offered and received beneath the earth was a sacrament, made holy with blood and salt. Rather the way even her imagination could not capture the lush beauty of the land and the trees. The waterfalls and the towering volcanoes. Was there anywhere more unlike Pruul than Shalador? She couldn't believe there was.

Akan's entrance was met first by a glance and then another, longer look. Anything that unsettled her Lady's Red Jeweled warrior unsettled Lyra on principle. Eris strode forward to respond to the threat and bid everyone to remain behind. There was a single, breathless moment while glances were exchanged before it seemed as a whole those gathered would defy their Lady and follow in her dark wake.

Lyra's efforts to remain close behind were thwarted by her leg. Breathing deliberately through the flare of pain that tore through her at each step, she reached the crowd of guards and Tribe right as the Black Jeweled male moved through the guards toward her Queen. His steps caused a silent snarl to grow deep in her chest. Her upper lip arched, baring her teeth. Brave behind the Black Shield of her Queen, her eyes never left the male who imposed his presence here without warning.

And yet when Eris next spoke and willingly  touched this male of her own accord, Lyra found herself tilting her head questioningly. Was he... hers? Was it possible Mother Night placed the darkest of her children within each other's souls?

Offline Stilgar Belobog

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #7 on: Aug 28, 18, 11:55:55 AM »
The Mines were never far from Stilgar’s mind.  It still haunted him.  Still made sleeping difficult.  He still bore the scars of the countless whippings he had received, some at the hands of Akan himself, all for the protection of their Queen.  A knot of anger, even the taint of hatred, lingered in his heart for the Red Warlord Prince, but their options had been very few.  They were both Eyrien, but Akan was from Shalador, and Stilgar was from Askavi.  They could not be more similar, or could they be any more different.  They had all done what they had to in order to survive, but it had seemed to Stilgar that Akan got the better end of that whip, even if Eris did not.  Their Queen was what really mattered, and she had called him home, in her way, called to him through his Summer Sky, the Blood Bond, and the Queen’s Bond, she had tugged at him.

Stilgar should have gone to Shalador with her, but there was too much anger, too much rage in him.  He had focused it all on those who had sent him to the Mines, and had mistakenly thought their deaths would give him some sort of release, some sort of comfort, but he had lied to himself.  Now, he was in Shalador, enduring Akan’s displeasure, which was thankfully more than balanced out by seeing Eris again, and her feelings at finding he was still alive.  So much had been lost, and yet they remained.  Now, they had a Court, which he was something of a probationary member of, and he had ot join a Tribe.  Their fortunes, the Crew’s and Eris’, had wildly changed.  Stilgar had believed he was in the right place, and that things would FINALLY improve.

Then the second Black Jewel was announced.

He would stand with Eris and even Akan, and while he was glad the new arrival was not a threat, it curled his lip to see that he was a Bond—and still not yet a friend or even and ally.  Fate had struck them again, out of the wild sky.  Fate had always been a bitch, and Stilgar was very tired of waking up tangled in her sheets.  Yet, here he was again, sweaty and unsure about where the day would take him.  Stilgar growled under his breath, and watched as everyone else did, his hand rising to the hilt of the blade at his belt, and closing around hilt tightly enough to make the bindings creak and his knuckles to whiten.  What did this new Black Jeweled boy know of anything?  Of suffering?  Of the whip?  Of their Queen?  Only nothing, and because of the Bond, every fucking thing.  It made Stilgar want to spit, the taste of salt suddenly in his mouth.  He focused on Eris, and what scraps of joy he could feel from her, preferring that to the seething of Akan.  He fell back to Lyra, standing beside her should she wish his arm for support, but leaving that choice to her.   He was, after all, not yet sure how she felt about his return.

Offline Elua Atli

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Re: born from dark waters
« Reply #8 on: Aug 31, 18, 09:37:02 PM »
This was her work.  

This meandering, maddening court of people remade again and again, only now they were impossibly tangled in ways they had never been before.  Surely, where ever in the realms Karlissa tread now, the Black Widow who had ventured out of the mines of the earth as Erisian’s right hand would never have seen that Elua, in all her implacable dignity, could ever stand as deeply in the Black communion as a falling star into the might of twilight.  Elua herself would have laughed about it, if the sudden return to flesh itself not been such a far departure from the dream of eternal stars and mirrored skies, of fair porcelain hands holding her face and lifting it up out of the water, the endless of wave of joy which had threatened to consume her upon first touch.  But as always, as before, work brought her back, the roots of her unfaltering diligence too proud to bend even now. 

It was, admittedly, in many ways much easier now than before.  They had all been forged together in the circle of the power which had held back a raging volcano.  Elua had walked the edges of their dreams and tended the chalices of those tied to web.  She knew, now, the shapes of their souls.  And so it was a pleasurable work, a joyful duty, to play with little Ylli who reminded her of her own sisters, fat with riches and love; to walk patiently now beside Lyra in a wordless stalwart companionship, two who shared twin Birthrights and Offerings. 

They arrived behind the rest of the group, but Elua’s deep emerald eyes flickered quickly, her mind racing faster than the wind at her heels.

Eris — tender, leaping joy, and the tight clench of promise.

Akan — Elua blinked.

To the flavors of his temper, the Black Widow was nearly as familiar as she was with the shapes and turnings of the Priestess Queen’s mind.  And this depth of rage she had rarely come across from the Warlord Prince she held in the highest esteem.  Why? 

Erisian’s voice filtered back, echoes as they replayed in the infinitesimal space of time of thought and the spark of recognition.  She had never been present for the actual moment of discovery, but for this much emotion, this much cautious dancing from a woman who despised the tenuous strictures of the civility that came with a return to a broader community, it seemed an afterthought of a conclusion.  There could be no other reason for the Mad Queen as she was so often called to accept a stranger with open arms.  It had to be a Bond. 

Quizzically now, her gaze swept through the field of riled males, settling briefly back on the strong, wide shoulders and angry slant of Akan’s jaw.  This was a good thing, no?  Bonds were supposed to be things to be celebrated.  And this one apparently had strength aplenty to lend to his Bonded Brothers, to serve and protect their Queen.  Lyra and Stilgar too seemed to share this displeasure, a shadow taint lying heavy upon their hearts, gently relayed to the sensitive confusion of Elua among them. 

Look, she wanted to say to them, to touch Akan’s arm and stand beside Lyra and hold Stilgar’s eyes, Look how gentle Eris is being.  Look how careful.  This gentleness is not for just her, or him, but you.  This is how she stands before him, this Queen who has grown with us and for us, and look how far we have come from the cancer of vengeance and hatred. 

Instead, Elua took a breath.  

She took it deep, down to the heaviness of her sternum, down to the tips of golden and sun loved toes, and stepped out from behind the guarded wall of male flesh, slipping to break the divided eclipse of two Black Jewels caught at the center of all this anger.  They held the right to it, and if Elua were any other, she too would bare her teeth at the intrusion, the presumption, but the task given to her, from beginning to end, had been the brittle pieces of a little girl’s heart trapped in the bitterness of a woman betrayed by it. 

There was little more she wished for in the world than gentleness in Erisian.

The Blood Opal Black Widow broke the space carved out for Priestess Queen and Warlord Prince, her two hands empty before her and palms holding the warmth of afternoon jungle and dappled sunset. 

“I see a poet who has come seeking his song — Shalador has many, but Erisian is yours, as she is ours, so well met are we, voices raised to her name.”

There were other words, ritual words, for the welcome to Shalador.  Elua did not say them.  These were not, after all, of Shalador that she gave; they were the words of those who stood in service of the same spirit and will.



 

 

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